The Almighty® plan

When New York Times bestselling authors are asked for advice from budding writers, invariably they say the same thing: “You can’t just ask walk up to me and ask me questions, not without first contacting my people, who will tell you they never answer those people who don’t have people of their own.”

Sometimes a soft-hearted, heavily armed security orc for a New York Times bestselling author will take pity. They repeat bits of advice they’ve overheard their masters giving to unwashed peeps who trot alongside their limousines and pound on the window as it merges with heavy traffic on the expressway.

Most common among these tidbits are things like “Go suck a wart hog,” or “I said go suck a wart hog.” Another favorite: “Write what you know.” While sound, this is very difficult advice to follow if it turns out you don’t know anything.

For instance, let’s say you want to write a novel set in Paris, but you’ve never been to Paris and aren’t sure if it’s a city or a country or whether the people there really do speak a heavily accented version of English that some call “French fried bathtub rings.” Successful writers will have their people tell your people that this is a fairly good indication you are stupid or, as Parisians say in their heavily accented, and often misspelled English: “stewpide” (rhymes with Stu Peed, who doesn’t mind at all.)

Rebellious young writers rail against such “patronizing” advice, citing their right to write whatever the hell they want about Paris. Take, for example, the first sentence in “Goodbye Paris” by Larry “Lobotomy Larry Lewis” Lewis:

“Buzzy sat in his bathtub, soaking wet from his navel down, when all of a sudden his big toe got tangled up in the chain on the plug. He yanked it, causing all the water, plus Paris, to disappear down the drain causing Buzzy to smile because he never did like Paris or anybody in it.”

Another writing tip from the pros is to avoid “borrowing” sentences or entire paragraphs written by someone else. That is a sin called plagiarism or, in the shrewd judgement of Holy Lawyers “theft by stealing.” By the same bus token, never try to disguise your plagiarism by throwing in a few extra words of your own to make it appear you wrote the whole thing.

In fact, though hard to believe, many would-be writers try to fool other people’s people by copying or altering phrases from the Holy Bible — their work becoming known as “Bibe-zies” or even “Holy Bibleoni, hold the macaroni.”

Consider the very stealable first lines in the Bible, by (Wait for it) (Did you not hear me?) (Well okay, then.) God:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

This has been stolen thousands of times by pathetic hacks, as in this most recent example referred by God to his lawyers:

“So. In the beginning, God was just about to create the heavens and the earth, okay? His phone rang. He muttered something and looked at the fone and saw the call was from his brother-in-law, the Sheckmeister. God sighed and tried to turn off his phone, but He kept pressing the wrong buttons and it continued to ring – actually it wasn’t a ring but a sound tone called The Shondells. It sounded a lot like the Sheckmeister strangling a canary while pounding on an electronic keyboard. By the way, the earth was without form and void (which hardly ever happens); and darkness was upon the face of the deep and after a minute or so somebody shouted “How do I turn off this goddam fone?”

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2021, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Soooo evident

You see a road sign that says “Deer Crossing,” and you understand perfectly that this is where the deer cross. As you whizz past however, you can’t help but wonder how the deer know that. Before you’ve gone another mile (and because you went to college) the answer becomes soooo evident that you feel a bit sheepish. You realize that a truth which has eluded naturalists and un-naturalists for centuries is just another “Thank you, Captain Dumb Ball” to the boys and girls down at the highway department.

For that simple yellow sign proves beyond all doubt that deer can read. Astounding? Yes, but let’s not get carried away because it’s not true of all animals. Yesterday, cruising the back roads, we came upon a yellow sign that bore no words, just the silhouette of a black cow. Just the one cow. We exchanged raised left eyebrows which necessitated a simultaneous dropping of the right eyebrow—something we picked up at synchronized swimming.

So what was the hidden meaning implied in this cow icon? What were those savants down at highway engineering trying to say? Just a few yards past the sign we drew even with a field where a large black cow sat in the lush grass, calmly giving us the once-over. Just the one cow. Meanwhile, I noted that on the other side of the road stood a small cow barn. A one-cow barn, if you will. (If you won’t, go and stink for a thousand years.)

Let’s review: There, a one-cow barn; here, one black cow.

That’s when the penny dropped and I stooped to pick it up (metaphorically; I was driving). Consider that while it may be astounding that deer know how to read, it’s mind boggling that your basic, illiterate moo can make sense of iconic modern art. Anyway, we waved and I shouted “More cow bell!” We got a nice little nod of the head in return and onward did we roll.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2021. All rights reserved.

Posted in The human comedy | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Brain leakage

1. A young man believes he will never die. An old man believes he will kill the next young man who tells him he looks geezed to the max.

2.  Proof that Big Foot is real comes from foot prints found on official Big Foot Footprint® sites in California. But shouldn’t he/she rightly (maybe leftly) be called Big Feet®?  Otherwise you have cranial-rattling people tracking an unshaven, fuzzy looking guy hopping around on one foot. Maybe start looking at feet prints?

3. Sign on truck in front of you on highway for the last 18 miles: work vehicle, do not follow.

4. Announcer during a Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers game, making the point that one of the Packers used to play for Chicago.  “A lot of people don’t know he’s a former bear.”

Are we cynical to think Hmm. Is it possible to be a former bear? Do you still have to hibernate?

5. What would it sound like if your life were called by baseball announcers?   

Booth announcer: Let’s go down to Amanda for this story about young McGuire. 

Field reporter: Bob, I talked to young McGuire just before he went into the restroom. He was pale and covered with sweat. He said he never should have eaten the whole apple pie after eating the entire pizza after drinking a six pack. When he came out I asked why he hadn’t touched the cheesecake. He made a strange gurgling noise and went right back into the restroom. He’s in there now. I can hear him continuing to rest. Back to you, Bob.

6. Warning sign: Long bridge ahead, check gas. Oh, that gas station you just passed? It’s the last one for 73 miles.

7. Here’s something you seldom hear: “Police said the getaway car was a late model Zamboni.”

8. Modern handshakes can be very complicated. (Example: bumping fists, which then seem to explode.) Here’s the latest:

You hold out your hand. The other person pretends to spit into it. You rub your hands together as if you are rolling a meatball. You throw it at the other person. The other person swings an invisible bat and connects at a high launch angle. You reach up as if to grab a soaring meatball. The other person twirls his finger in the air to signify a home run. You pantomime putting on earphones connected to New York. You give the signal for foul meatball. The other person pantomimes pulling a rocket launcher from the bat rack and fires it at you. You raise your finger into the air, signifying the infield flying missile rule is in effect. The missile falls harmlessly to the ground and you make a safe call. The crowd goes wild.

9. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Then they would want saddles. And then saddle blankets. And riding lessons aren’t cheap.

10. A place for everything and everything in its place, on top of the dresser.

11. The devil’s biology

  • An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
  • An idle elbow is the devil’s china cabinet.
  • An idle belly button is the devil’s linen closet.
  • An idle finger is the devil’s handkerchief.
  • An idle you-know-what is the devil’s brain*

12. Sign just before bridge: “High winds on bridge. Use caution.” What caution, other than screaming? Change sign: High winds on bridge. If you get blown off, that will be sad.

13. That guy there is one of those men who thinks safe sex means having sex in a safe. By the way, don’t you think he looks geezed to the max?

14. Usage note: flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. Sometimes lunkheads think inflammable means not flammable. It’s the kind of mistake only a flaming you-know-what could make.**

*Come on, you know what.

**Come on, you know what you-know-what I’m talking about.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2021, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Blown

Let’s say you’re a god. With a small g, because we all know you’re not the Big G. But, for educational purposes only, let’s continue to say you’re a lower case god like back in the day when they had sand and swords and the sheep looked nice if you squinted.

They also had multiple gods in those days, which goes back to the day when The Big G cut the ribbon at the opening of the Okefenokee swamp in Florida. Harold, a troublemaking angel, always up to no good, stayed behind in heaven as punishment for his role in a notorious wind-breaking incident, sometimes confused with Hurricane Jolene).

So, while the festivities played out in the Florida swamp, Harold promoted everybody back in heaven to lower-case god status. As a joke, of course. All in good fun. But you know what? When someone, no matter who, declares you are a god, it sounds just about the same as being declared God. After awhile, you’re drinking Bud Lite lime before lunch and pretty certain your stuff don’t stink.

When The Big G got back from the swamp and saw all the other gods running around acting like they were God, he just about went through the roof. Not such a hard thing to do, because as most people know, heaven has no roof. Still, he was beside himself, which was very unnerving because, with all the other gods, it was hard to tell if the god standing beside you was a little g or the big G. (Note: If you’re a god, all other gods look the same, which was never a problem when there was just the one God.)

GOD himself called all the new gods into a conference room. He then sent in a guy named Moe, whom he was grooming to be part of a semi-holy trinity called The Three Stooges. He had Moe walk around the room sticking his finger in eyes, bopping heads, jabbing bellies and pulling ears.  If anyone complained he said “Oh.  A wise guy,” and he tried to twist off their noses.

But I digress. That all happened a while back and you probably read all about it in the papers, when they had papers.  Look, the life of small g gods today leaves much to be desired. I mean, let’s say you’re a small god named Apollo. Your super power is correct grammar usage. Anytime you hear someone using bad grammar, you puff up into a blue nosed gopher and dig a long tunnel into that someone’s back yard. It’ll take some time, but sooner or later it will dawn on you that a backyard crisscrossed by gopher tunnels is not a big deterrent to keeping people from using the passive voice.

Really? Okay, I see the doubt in your ears. So listen up. Let’s say you hear someone say “The gopher crawled into the tunnel.” Of course, you have no trouble with that.

But then the gopher says (yes, yes, it’s a talking gopher; accept the premise, you’ll enjoy the bit.*)… So the gopher says “The tunnel was crawled into by Pete the gopher-hater who took his 12 gauge Mossberg into the past tense where the actual gopher, known as Ed the goofy gopher, was blown.”

Is there a lesson in this story? Why does every story have to have a lesson? More to the point, why does every lesson have to have a story? Can’t we all just get along?

Of course, the sharp eyed reader will immediately see the point I’m trying to make:  passive gophers stand not a chance against an armed copy editor.

Have a nice day.

*Stolen from David Letterman

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

The Usually Better Business Bureau (TUBBB) has issued the following Consumer Warning:

The NLG corporation makes Nice Looking Gizmo knockoffs that do everything the more costly but less nice-looking gizmos do. Except they only work for about a week and then become nice looking gizmos that don’t do anything except maybe chirp or hum or emit the scent of burnt money.

Everyone in their customer service department has been trained to identify themselves as “Bob” and cheerfully pledge to resolve consumer issues. Callers are advised to put the offending gizmo in a box and ship it to an address in Mumbai where a technician named “Sanjay” will send out a brand new gizmo on the first steamer leaving port, C.O.D.

Because the cost of shipping is seven times the cost of the gizmo, our investigation showed half the complainants said “Do I have some kind of sign on my back that says ‘Sucker?’

“Bob” is instructed to say “I completely sympathize, but recently I was diagnosed with stage four Schwartzman’s Spalpeen. As you’re probably aware, it’s a disease that attacks, um… and… uh…withers the uh… the…um…er…”

“Bob” is instructed to patiently wait for the caller to say:

“The spalpeen?”

“Exactly. I’m hoping to avoid stage five.”

A full 100% of the callers say:

“What happens in stage five?”

“Bob” answers with one word: “Amp-uh, amp-uh Amputation.”

Two thirds of the callers say, in a higher pitch than usual, “Not the spalpeen!?

“Leave me your number,” “Bob” is instructed to say, “and I’ll phone you from my hospital bed.”

As for the third who don’t say “The spalpeen?” they say “Oh, forget it.” But sales receipts show that when these people see an ad for a really nice looking, new and improved, second generation gizmo knockoff that costs half the price of the real thing, they rush online and contact “Gerald” in sales. He says “Oh, lucky day. We’ve still got a few in stock!”

That’s half of the original dissatisfied customers. Another third ships their broken gizmo to Mumbai, in care of “Sanjay.” At this point, one of two things occurs.

One, “Sanjay” sends a new gizmo out and the customer is happy as a gnat in hummus for about a week and then the doodad poops out and the slow grinding process begins again.

Two, nothing happens.

In either case, weeks go by. The customer gets upset and does one of two things.

One, the customer suffers some sort of stroke, seizure or, in many cases, Schwartzman’s Spalpeen. The NLG corporation quietly considers the case closed.

Two, a customer texts Sanjay asking “do you think I have nothing to do but wait for somebody named Sanjay in Mumbai to take his sweet time getting a new gizmo out to me?”

Here, one of two things happens.

One, nothing happens.

Two, an email bears the sad news that “Sanjay” was on a ferry—originally designed for 43 but carrying 2,738 pilgrims — when it overturned and sank like a stone while crossing the Straits of Mumbai. Meanwhile, people at the NLG factory tell unhappy customers they are sorting the mountain of returned, defective gizmos stacked “next to Sanjay’s desk beside the box fan he won for being employee of the month and which he treasured because it’s very hot in Mumbai, so please try to understand because Sanjay was well loved and left two wives and an elephant with serious trunk issues.”

A good half of the third of the disgruntled customers give up and are never heard from again.

Half of the other half of the third call and demand to speak to “Bob.”

Meanwhile “Bob,” recovering from surgery, has taken over for the late, beloved “Sanjay.” Half of the half of the other half of the third give up at this point. The other half asks to speak to “Bob’s” replacement who turns out to be a bubbly 19-year-old trainee named Honeynut.

After hearing her squeaky, air-leaking-from-the-stretched-thin-neck-of-a-balloon voice say “Hi, this is Honeynut. How may I help you on this beautiful morning?” almost everyone of the other half of the half of the other half of the third log off with very irritable bowels.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

You may feel a little pinch

Have you ever tried to walk a mile in somebody’s shoes and then got arrested for shoe theft?

Have you ever tried to follow the guidelines to life in the Good Book, like killing the fatted calf when your prodigal son spends your fortune drinking, dallying with different women every night and flunking out of college, only to come back home to live? Did the neighbors call the cops when you tried to kill the fatted calf in your backyard?

Did Dr. Phil’s advice that you’d better get your crap together backfire when thieves broke into your house and stole your crap? The good crap!

Have you ever noticed that you can barely walk fifteen feet without someone giving you advice on how to walk the next fifteen? Have you ever gone to the dentist and sat there in the chair as he drilled into your pain center with glee because he is a happy dentist. Only thing to take your mind off that glee was a large banner hanging from the wall right in front of you. It burbled with little bits of homey, corney advice and wisdom like “Stop blaming others,” and “Marry only for love,” and “Leave the toilet seat in the down position.”

Eyeing that list while someone’s hand is in your mouth and a voice says “You’ll feel a little pinch,” just before the voice says “Uh oh,” can make one a tad cynical about all the jolly good advice hanging on the dentist’s wall.

The last time I was there, with a pain in my neck, I mentally adjusted the rules to make them more realistic.*

  • Keep your promises (no matter what) Example: “No matter what I promised I promise I will forget it.”
  • Count your blessings. Don’t forget being out of prison.
  • Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s a hard one. 
  • Compliment even small improvements. I see you finally trimmed your nose hair.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “I made a mistake,” or “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
  • Drink champagne for no reason. Like, duh!
  • Never underestimate the power of love halitosis
  • Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter. Send a stranger’s child to college while you’re at it. Steal an expired stranger’s car and drive it past the stranger’s hearse, beeping the horn and waving while you’re at it. 
  • Stop blaming others. Start suing them.
  • Always accept an outstretched hand, assuming hand sanitizer is available.
  • Take responsibility for every area of your life, unless your lawyer gives you the silent, zip-it signal in court.
  • Plant flowers every spring, not winter. 
  • Use the good silver or steal some good silver and then use it.
  • Look people in the eye but not the one with the eye patch.
  • Commit yourself to constant improvement, then have yourself committed to an institution.
  • Avoid negative people. Like that’s even possible.
  • Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards. Pay in Monopoly money. (They’re kids.)
  • Overtip breakfast waitresses. Tip over breakfast waitresses who are slow with the coffee.
  • Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know unless you don’t know anybody like that, in which case, never mind.
  • Keep it simple. It lowers expectations.
  • Think big thoughts but relish small successes. Warning: using mustard sends the wrong message.
  • Leave everything a little better than you found it. Just a little; don’t go crazy.
  • Compliment three people every day. Make sure they are different people.
  • Learn three clean jokes. Keep them to yourself.
  • Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full. Return stolen vehicles with no body in the trunk.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.
*Apologies to H. Jackson Brown, Jr., author of Life’s Little Instruction Book  https://books.google.com/books/about/Life_s_Little_Instruction_Book.html?id=YVTFOsaSkQUC&source=kp_book_description

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, funny, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Itsky

…and  in conclusion, let me say if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t know what I know now. I might have taken a different path. I might not be here now. I might be over there where you are. And you might be dead or waiting in the car in the parking lot. Or both. What to make of it all? Hey, “It is what it is.”

Questions?

(Disheveled man in 3rd row) You bet. Saying “It is what it is” leaves unanswered the basic question raised by Noodleman in “The Writings and Grocery Lists of Noodleman.” “What if it isn’t what it is?” By the way, those italics are mine.

(Red faced man in 15th row) Hold the phone, Jerome. If it really is what it is, okay, I get it. Fine. But way before Needleman ever said it, Prince Rastraprovitchy asked in his third Monad of the Igalorium “If it isn’t, then how come I say po-tah-toe but you say po-tay-toe?”

(Disheveled Man Rejoinder, 3rd row) Look, I said Noodleman, not Needleman. I’ve never heard of Needleman. Needlemeyer, yes. But not Needleman. And by the way, my name is not Jerome.

(Janitor, sweeping up) You all have violated the inviolable precept laid down by the viola player Toadman Ricky in his overture “Why The Itness of Cosmology is not the Isthmus of Panama.”

(Sheveled rejoinderist, 3rd row) Look, Mr. Janitor man, maybe you’re not aware but the so-called boy genius, Toadman “Picky” Ricky, traded in his viola for a 5-string banjo.

(Cardi B look-alike, shouted from the back.) Noodleman, Needleman, Who cares? When you ask “What if it isn’t what it is?” you have sadly misjudged a key isn’t in the itness of it. To wit: isn’t denies the very existence of a completely obvious it. I mean there it lay, or it lays, or it

(Hollered from the balcony) Layla! Give us Layla!

(Inebriate from last row). Lola! L-O-L-A, Lola.

(Insistent balconyist) It’s Layla, you idiot.

(Undersheveled man in 3rd row). Wait a second. Those look like my italics.

(Purple faced man in 15th row, being carried out on stretcher.) Hold the phone, Jerome. I’m just saying it cannot be denied because there it is. As the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero put it “Ipso facto, Jacko.”

(Resheveled man in 3rd row) My name is Jacko and I am quite offended by your purple face. Is he still breathing? Can we please substitute Whacko for Jacko?

(Bitter cry of Miley Cyrus impersonator [I said Billy Ray Cyrus.]) Siddown you fascist whacko.

(Dude dressed as Marie Antoinette, eating cake.) I am not a fascist. I’m a Ronald Reagan Bonzonist, you D-word head

(Oversheveled man, 3rd row) Okay, go ahead, call me Jerome. I actually like it better than Wendell.

(Second Janitor. Looks a lot like first Janitor. Possibly the same guy?) I’d just like to say “It is what it is” is a meaningless statement that insults all of us. On the other hand…

(Captain Hook, Perth Amboy) What if I only have one hand?

Q: (First or second Janitor) As I was saying, on the same hand but with a different finger, the saying “it is what it is” perfectly captures the painful conundrum that those of us afflicted with “existentialist” angst…

Q.(First or second Janitor.) Wait. You have existential angst?

Q. (First or Second Janitor.) To the max.

Q. (First or Second Janitor.) What do you take for it?

Q. (First or Second Janitor.) A lot of crap

Q. (Third Janitor.) The police are here. They found a body in a car in the parking lot. Somebody may have waited too long.

Q. (Vladimir Putin look-alike [without shirt] ) If that isn’t what it isn’t, I don’t know what isn’t.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, funny, Mockery and derision, The human comedy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment