Quoting the Spearman

Q. Right. I’ll say something and you say the first thing that comes to mind. Then, I’ll say something else and you give me your first thought and so on and so forth, yada yada yada, yabba yabba do, boom shocka boom shocka, oob la dee oob la dah, brah la la la la la la la, nee noo na na, noo noo nana.
A. Could you give me an example?

Q. Right. Let’s say I say “East Africa.” And the first thing that comes to your mind is, let’s say, French Cameroon. And so you would say “French Cameroon.”
A. Actually, that would be west Africa.

Q. Right. That was a bad example.
A. Plus, it’s no longer French Cameroon. Hasn’t been since 1960.

Q. Right. That is a while, isn’t it? So. Duly noted.
A. And tell me again why are we doing this?

Q. Right. We do this with all applicants. Gives us a better feel for who would be the best fit for a position.
A. You do know that I’m applying for the job of henchman.

Q. Right. We want those you’d be hunching with to be comfortable with you, just as you want to feel comfortable understanding our hunching culture.
A. Excuse me. That’s henching. Not hunching.

Q. Right. Let me make a note. Hunching. H-u-n-c-h-i-n-g.
A. That would be h-e-

Q. Right. Uh, come again?
A. Henching is spelled h-e-n-c-h-i-n-g.

Q. Right. But that would be henching, not hunching. Eh?
A. Yes. Henching as in henchman. I’m a henchman. A professional henchman, actually.

Q. Right. Let me just check…Hmm. Curious. On our list of job titles, I’m not seeing henchman anywhere. Ooh, but look. Here’s hunchman.
A. Obviously it’s a misspelling. Because who ever heard of a hunchman? Look, I’ve been offered the job of henchman by your president, Bob Bobbington. He said sign a few papers and start immediately.

Q. Right. Is it possible you misunderstood? Did he offer you the job at lunch? He sometimes slurs his words at lunch.
A. Yes. He said henchman. That’s who I am. It’s what I do. We shook hands.

Q. Hello. I’m Carl Zinkenwater. I‘m the hunchman here. I had a hunch there might be confusion over your job application.
A. You’re a hunchman?

Q. I’m the hunchman. There’s just me. Been here 11 years in October.
A. What exactly do you do?

Q. Well, I get hunches. About what the Dow’s going to do. Hunches about our competitors. Hunches about new products. Will they sell? Hunches of all kinds. Because, I’m a hunchman.
A. And I’m a henchman.

Q. I had a hunch you were a henchman.
A. Because I just told you I was a henchman.

Q. What, exactly, does a henchman do?
A. Whatever the boss wants. Usually some sort of dirty or devious task he wants to distance himself from.

Q. Like what?
A. Let’s say there’s someone he wants to fire. But he doesn’t want to do it himself.

Q. He told you he wants you to fire someone?
A. That’s not how it works. He might say ‘Will no one riddeth me of this meddlesome soeth and soeth?’ And the henchman would hear it as ‘Getteth thee rid of soeth and soeth, prontoeth dudeth.’

Q. Did he nameth any nameths?
A. Just Joe Namath. But speaking of football, he did mention the hunchback of Notre Dame getting a little too big for his bell tower.

Q. What? Look, I graduated from Notre Dame. And sometimes Mr. Bobbington inadvertently calls me a hunchback.
A. And the alarm on your hunch-o-meter doesn’t go off?

Q. Well, when I have a hunch that a hunch is not so important I ignore it. One of the professional journals wrote an article about it called “Hunch me no hunches.” No big deal.
A. Excuse me, but would you mind a bit of advice?

Q. Advice? From Bobbington’s henchman?
A. I’m not a hunch expert, but I’m getting a hunch that you are out of hunches, especially the one you should be getting right now that says I’m about to tell you that you are out of hunches and your hunching days here are over.

Q. But soft. What light through yonder window breaks?
A. It’s a little late to be quoting Shakespeare. In fact, it’s always too late to be quoting the Spearman.

Q. Right. So. Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we? I say French Cameroon, and you say…
A. Excuse me, but would you mind a bit of advice?

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, The human comedy | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The 7 People You Meet In the 10-Item Lane

1.The con man with a full cart of groceries. The cashier points to the 10-item sign and he whimpers “This is the express lane? Oh no. I didn’t know. Please. I have very painful bone spurs. And, I’m just a few items over. I’m sure these kind people behind me won’t mind.” Judging by their sudden transformation into Incredible Hulkage, they do mind. And they don’t look that kind.

2.The slob who tries to bluff his way through with 20 bags of chamomile Cheese-its. When threatened with a depantsing by those behind him, he claims he didn’t see the 10-item sign because a kid on a bike in the parking lot rode up to him and ripped his glasses off his face and then pedaled like mad for Omaha, a city known for the illicit fencing of previously seen-through eyewear.

3.The bespoke, besuited nudnik with a dozen bathroom night lights. He says the lights are small so he technically has only 6 items. Which means he’ll also take a National Inquirer and three boxes of those yellow Peeps with the label “New, improved moldering.” The grammar lady behind him says “Technically there are 12 lights, which makes you, technically, an idiot.”

He plays the “I’m a whooping-cough survivor” card, but everyone, including the grammar lady, starts coughing and wheezing and choking dramatically. A little girl with a 50 pound bag of dog food says to the nudnik “Must be a really dark bathroom.”

4.The dude with 11 apples, hoping nobody says “Hey, can’t you count?” But nobody does, possibly because none of them feels they count for anything. The cashier, a battle hardened veteran of Granada, grabs an apple, bites off the stem and wings it 40 feet down the cereal aisle, shouting “Fire in the hole!”  Later, when normality slowly emerges from its fox hole, she rings up the remaining 10 apples and everybody lives happily ever after.

5.The ignoramus with 9 bags of M&Ms who grumbles he couldn’t find packs of all-green M&Ms. Everyone seethes while a stock boy books a flight to the distant aisle where M&Ms grow. He comes back after what seems like years with a suntan, a goatee and a Hawaiian shirt tucked into his jeans. He says “We’re all out of green.”

The ignoramus says “You’re not supposed to tuck a Hawaiian shirt into your pants.” The kid snaps “Whose pants am I supposed to tuck it into then?” The stock boy then reveals two packs of all-yellow and all-blue M&Ms. “Because yellow and blue make green,” he says, proudly.

However, this brings the guy’s total to 11. He is escorted to the 157 item line which winds all the way back to the Congress of Vienna.

6.The old fool with a cane and 15 items. He climbs onto the conveyor belt and starts singing as if this is a musical. He tap dances, spins his cane around and pushes his cap forward at a jaunty angle as a full orchestra starts playing in the background. Customers in line throw their hands up and down, in and out, and break into a chorus-line, leg-kick revue.

The cops arrive and the younger cop tells his partner he fears for his life. He tasers 50 thousand watts into the dancing geeze bag. Everyone stops dancing and the orchestra melts professionally away. The fearless coppers drag out the still smoking old fart. Everyone else looks away or pretends they weren’t dancing or are suddenly very interested in the instructions for the Heimlich maneuver posted above the display of Peeps.

7.The lady with trouble (she’s got trouble) on her mind plucks a bottle of mouthwash at the checkout counter and adds it to her 10 cloves of garlic. She is told she is one item over the limit.

“What crap,” she says, sending out little wavy lines of stage-four breath,  knocking down the cashier and two customers behind her. When summoned – along with the chemical warfare SWAT team — the manager asks if she has a coupon for a free bottle of mouthwash when combined with 10 garlic cloves. She does, and even though it’s expired, he passes her through before passing out.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hundo P

Q. Is that even a thing?
A. Which that are you talking about?

Q. That thing right there. I mean, if it is a thing.
A. Okay, first thing you need to know about things: you have to distinguish between a thing and a thang. They are not the same. Just because Donald and Daffy have the same last name, they are not the same duck.

Q. How do you tell things and thangs apart?
A. Think of it this way. A thing is a do-dad, a balloon animal, a shell casing, a poo poo platter. It’s tangible. A thang, however, is kind of shapeless, more like a situation, or an argument. Even an accusation. One guy says to another “Say there amigo, just what kind of thang are you trying to lay on me?” Or some guys’ girlfriend says “You call that a thing? I’ve seen longer hyphens, you thang head.”

Q. How about a national emergency?
A. A classic thang. Hundo P.

Q. Sounds simple and yet, preposterous.
A. But be careful. Philosophers believe that sometimes you’ll come across what they call a dang thang. They are hard to describe. It’s basically when an illusionary thing smacks head on into an attitudinal thang. The best example is silly putty. Or a toupee. Or doing the hokey pokey.

Q. So what about that thing over there?
A. You mean that dang wall thang between Mexico and the U.S.?

Q. Yes, it seems somewhat fake. It’s like somebody went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of slats. And then went to a bar and left the slats in the men’s room.
A. It’s what we call an invisible border wall. It’s meant to keep out invisible immigrants who rob, steal, rape and murder.

Q. If they’re invisible, what’s the wall for?
A. One of Einstein’s most important laws of physics states “One invisible thing cannot exist without a second, linked, invisible thing.” See, one offsets the other. For example, Einstein notes that his formula E=MC2 is pretty much invisible. But it is linked to a natural, invisible partner: Rex, the wonder weasel. (Many scientists accept Einstein’s MC Hammer deal, but complain that wonder weasels are completely visible, making the whole thing a thang.)

Q. Do you have some kind of I.D. I could see?
A. Meanwhile, in real life, if you want to stop a horde of invisible thieving, murdering immigrants, you need an invisible wall. A long one, to be sure. It keeps nature in balance with itself. The nice thing is that an invisible wall can be made of steel or concrete or popsicle sticks. It can even be in your mind, if you have one. If not, you can get one on e-bay.

Q. Is that the same as calling it a pretend wall?
A. No. A pretend wall is make-believe. Whereas an invisible wall is an alternate truth. The thing about truth is that if the actual truth is at the gym or has left word not to be disturbed, the alternate truth steps up. It carries on just like regular truth.

Q. What if alternative truth seizes power and has actual truth arrested. Would that be a thing or a thang?
A. Neither. When alternative truth takes over in a naked power grab, it’s called a thong.

Q. Are there lyrics?
A. Only if it’s a thing-thong

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.

Posted in F.A.Q., Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The inner chatter

Q. I can’t fall asleep at night. What’s up with that?
A. Maybe you’re overtired.

Q. What the hell does that mean?
A. Sounds like Mr. Grumpy is overtired.

Q. How can I be overtired and not be able to fall asleep?
A. When you go to bed at night and turn off the light and close your eyes, do you hear a lot of inner chatter?

Q. Close my eyes?
A. Much easier to sleep with closed eyes.

Q. What do you mean by inner chatter?
A. People tend to rehash unresolved problems of the day when the light goes out. They conduct an inner conversation with themselves, a kind of play-by-play review of their actions that day. Often they get caught up in second guessing themselves, and…

Q. And there’s shouting? Maybe even someone knocks over a lamp, or throws Milk Duds?
A. Uh, well, I mean sure, that’s possible.

Q. And nobody can hear it?
A. Not if you’re using your inside-the-mind voice.

Q. What if I’ve lost my mind?
A. Oddly enough, if you’ve lost your mind, your head fills up with 100 times the normal amount of chatter. Dozens of different topics. Sometimes in different languages. Sometimes in outlandish costumes.

Q. What if I don’t hear anything? I’m laying there in bed thinking about nothing. Well, maybe about Milk Duds. Or maybe I start thinking that I’ve lost my mind. Okay, not really lost. Let’s say misplaced.
A. Are your eyes closed?

Q. Your point?
A. If your eyes are open, you’re technically awake.

Q. Ah. The exact opposite of being technically asleep.
A. Technically speaking.

Q. Can you give me an example of inner chatter?
A. Suppose during your wakeful day you set up a meeting for 9 a.m. the next day. When you go to bed that night you remind yourself of the meeting at 9. For some reason it triggers a memory of Ed Wood’s classically bad sci-fi move Report From Planet Nine.

Q. I do that all the time.
A. You think about Planet Nine?

Q. No. I mean I go to bed at night. All the time.
A. So, as you’re trying to fall asleep you’re thinking of Planet Nine. And you’re internally chattering to yourself about how bad the movie is and part of you says, yes, but it’s so bad it’s good. Before you know it, you’re shouting at the idiot in your head who said it was bad, or good. It suddenly reminds you of the time you broke big time woodwind at the symphony. Knocked the pianist off his stool. Snapped the maestro’s wand. Everybody stared at you, as if you were from Planet Nine. That was very bad, but later, when you told friends the story they laughed and that was very good. And you started thinking maybe you should become a comedian. Or a politician. But wait, what if you’re assassinated? Or heckled? Or assassinated, then heckled? What if…

Q. It sounds exhausting. I feel very sleepy.
A.  Not surprising, because I’m a certifiable professional sleep causer, what the Chinese call 睡觉的人. It is often said that a good night’s sleep will essentially wrestle your anxieties to the floor so you can get down on your knees next to them and press your mouth up close to their ear(s), and deliver a very stern warning to leave you the farouk alone or the next time you will go full-out Popeye-the-sailor-man on them.

Q. Popeye was in the navy? I thought he was a fried chicken farmer in Louisiana?
A. You wake up in the morning refreshed and, what ho, you find lots of space inside for new anxieties you never dreamed about having. Like the fear of finding chunks of pineapple in your jello at the home to which you are eventually carted off in your Hopalong Cassidy bathrobe.

Q. Did you say “What ho?”
A. You mock me. (Tu t’es moqué de moi)

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, F.A.Q., News You Can Use (Sort of), Scribe v. Pharisees | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Elephant check

I was in the counting house, counting all my money. Okay, our money. K-Mac sat counting the ways I needed to improve if I expected her to hang around for another 50 years.

She suggested I stop fantasizing all the time and start getting real. No more stories about being followed home by a sad elephant.

I’d known this day was coming. I knew it the day we first met, back in the days when it was still legal to carry a banjo in broad daylight. But I just said “Sure, no more fantasy.” Too glib? To show good faith I added “Heh, heh.”

But when I stood, I noticed I had a pocketful of rye. And no, not the drinking kind. I walked into the kitchen and struggled not to see four and twenty black birds sitting in a pie. It didn’t make sense. K-Mac is a vegetarian and doesn’t eat anything that has (had) a face (or beak). Or poops when it flies.

I stepped outside and found my other pocket filled with wry. Completely new territory for me.

I met Jones, the grouch next door. “Do you know the muffin man?” he barked.

“The muffin man?” I frowned. How long has Jones been barking?

“The muffin man,” he barked again.

Wow, no doubt about it. “Uh, the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane?”

“No, no, no,” said Jones, scratching his armpit with his foot. “You’re thinking of that Porgie idiot.”

“You mean Georgie Porgie?”

“How many other Porgies do you know?”

“Isn’t he the one who drives the pudding and pie truck?”

“He got fired,” Jones growled. “Little pervert kissed the girls and made them cry and when the cops came out to make him pay, Georgie Porgie lawyered up. He’s now in seclusion, asking everyone to respect his choice of ties.”

“By the way,” I said. “I found my pockets full of rye and wry this morning.”

“You don’t say,” he said.

“No, I did say,” I said. “I didn’t don’t say. That’s not who I am.”

In a bar I ordered a tankard of world peace. The barkeep, an elephant, said “Pease porridge hot or pease porridge cold?” I asked which he recommended and he shrugged. “Some like it hot, some like it cold. Some like it in the pot, nine days old.”

“It must be like cement.”

“It’s a very nice pot, though,” he said.

“How much?”

“How much you got?”

“I have a pocket full of rye.”

“Who doesn’t?” he said sourly.

“What about a pocketful of wry?”

“Is that the stuff that makes you speak wryly?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “but I’ll ask Reilly when I see him.”

Just then, Reilly rushed in and told us the village idiot, Old Man Dumpty, fell off the border wall separating here from there. I went out and saw all the king’s horses and all the king’s men galloping up.

“What are they doing?” I asked an acquaintance, Peter Peter.

“Isn’t it obvious?” said Peter. “They’re trying to put Dumpty together again.”

“Hmm,” I said, knowing from experience how quickly horses can go bucking crazy when trying to reassemble an egg. (And I wondered, not for the first time, why Mrs. Peter would name her son Peter Peter. I mean how could she know he’d grow up to be a professional pumpkin eater?)

By then, my pocketful of wry felt empty, bringing me semi-closer to reality. I hailed a passing tub and rode home with a drunk butcher, baker and candlestick maker. When I got out, the baker whispered  “Rub a dub dub. Pass it on.”

K-Mac met me with some sad news. “Mr. Jones has been acting like a mad dog,” she said. “They came and put him down.”

“What?” I blurted. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

“Of course I am,” she non-blurted. “I was out making a random elephant check, when I saw you get out of that tub.”

“Heh, heh,” I hehhed. “Too much fantasy?”

No,” she said with a smile I hadn’t seen since the Orioles last won a game. “Not if you show me how you did that.”

I was overcome by an immediate, loving feeling that the next fifty years were going to be even more interesting than the last. Rub a dub dub interesting. Alert the media.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Dogs I Have Known | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nightmare traffic

Unidentified Patient (Not me): Does any of this make sense?
Dr.Pepperoncini: I could ask “Any of what?” and you could blather on and while you’re blathering I could be thinking about what ruined my chances of becoming  a sturgeon and you could say “Excuse me. Are you even listening to me?”

UP(NM): Excuse me, did you say sturgeon?
Dr. P: When?

UP(NM): Just now. You said something about ruining your chances…
Dr.P: No, I said pants.

UP(NM): Pants?
Dr.P: Yes, it sounds like chance. A lot of people make that mistake.

UP(NM): No, you said chances, which doesn’t sound at all like pants. Unless you say pantses.
Dr.P: Oh no. Pantses is plural for pants.

UP(NM): But pants has no plural. It’s just pants. You’d never say pant.
Dr.P: Did you ever see a thirsty dog with it’s tongue unrolled the full 9 feet, gasping for water? It can never say pant either. But it’s still very thirsty.

UP(NM): Look, pants is a non-count word. It’s like folk. Or audience. Or music.
Dr.P: Which is why you may see someone singing folk music, but there’s never an audience. Especially if there’s a banjo which, by law, can never come within a hectare of another banjo. Did you know that?

UP(NM): You were talking about medical school and wanting to be a sturgeon. You meant surgeon, right?
Dr.P: Actually, I wanted to be a podiatrist.

UP(NM): Sometimes known as the banjo of medical specialties.
Dr.P: But I realized I didn’t like handling other people’s feet. There’s more between the toes than meets the eye, you know.  Once, a woman came in to have her foot fetish removed. She called it Eddie and it became clear Eddie was having no part of no stinking removal. I’m not ashamed to say I ran like the upstairs toilet. Next day I signed up for brain sturgery.

UP(NM): You went from feet to brain? That’s a big jump. I don’t see the connection.
Dr.P: Because, if you think about it, there is no connection. It’s like saying you’re connecting your new DVR. Look. You can’t connect your DVR. No one above the age of reason can. The terms “Connect” and “DVR” are simply strangers in the night. Sometimes in the afternoon.

UP(NM): So, this sturgeon thing. No one ever told you it’s a type of fish?
Dr.P: When I told them in medical school I wanted to be a sturgeon, they pointed me toward the school of psychiatry. In there they had no problem with someone wanting to be a sturgeon. In fact, as I found out, there is a crying need.

UP(NM): Who was doing the crying? Surely, you don’t mean the sturgeon?
Dr.P:  They don’t like to be called Shirley. It makes them weepy.

UP(NM): Wait a minute. Are you saying that fish cry?
Dr.P: So. You’ve never been to a fish fry?

UP(NM):  Fry? I thought we were talking about crying?
Dr.P: We can talk about crying. How often do you cry?

UP(NM): Look, I don’t cry.
Dr.P: Is it because you don’t think a grown fish should cry? It sounds like you’ve never gotten in touch with your inner flounder. My guess: you’re worried your fish-hood  would be compromised if you cried.

UP(NM): I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am not a fish.
Dr.P: And how long have you felt this way?

UP(NM): Okay. We’ve gotten off track. Let’s go back to when you were in the psychiatry ward, uh, I mean department.
Dr.P: Did I mention that self-hating flounder are more prevalent than self-hating sturgeon. Just not as self-aware.

UP(NM): Come on, Why do you insist on saying sturgeon?
Dr.P: It just sounds better, don’t you think? Like Parsippany, New Jersey. It practically rolls off the tongue compared to Secaucus or West Orange or Brick Township. Which is why I wish I was in Parsippany.

UP(NM): That sounds like a song title
Dr.P: Yes. It goes like this:

(A one and a two)

I wish I was in Parsippany, N.J.
The weather there is always okay
And when it isn’t I always remember
That always doesn’t always scan in December
If you’re shoveling up what I’m laying down, down, down
Lots of snow in Parsippany on the ground, ground, ground,
Oh yeah.
Pick that thing.

UP(NM): This whole conversation is a dream, isn’t it?
Dr.P: I could say yes and you could blather on and while you’re blathering I could be thinking about how you drank six Yoo-Hoos last night and haven’t yet visited the head and how your bladder is trying desperately to get through all the night traffic to tell your brain: Dude. Get. Up. And. Go. NOW.

UP(NM): Excuse me, are you even…Holy Moley. Make way. Clear for action. Splice the main brace. Man overboard.
Dr.P:This is why I warn psychiatry students against a career analyzing dreams in media  res.* Billing is a nightmare.

*But not in Media, Pennsylvania

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Uh oh, fake Haiku

Saturday, a day
for fixing, or feeling guilt
for fixing nada.

A day to repair
the broken strings of harmo
dang, I whacked my ny.

Mow the lawn, rake leaves,
Vacuum downstairs then the up.
Say goodbye to nap.

Out for groceries,
list scribbled in red crayon.
Who stole the ink pen?

Jeepers, store looks packed.
Pushing, shoving near veggies.
Ho boy, no bok choy.

Please point me toward
the good tomatoes, my man.
These here are tooth proof.

Take-a-number’s jammed.
Madding cold-cut crowd as one:
“Slice my baloney!”

Can’t read your writing:
ketchup or kaopectate?
No prob, it’s all good.

Ahead, woman stops.
My nose bumps her long baguette.
We swap insurance.

Got burgers, got shrimp.
Got week-old donuts on sale.
The essence of life.

Excuse me, cant find
those talking M and Emziz.
Only mutes; what gives?

Where’s the firm tofu?
Super-firm you got, but man,
do I look super?

Checkout woman asks
Did you find everything?
No, I say. She smiles.

Ten cents off on gas,
bags in trunk, beer store beckons.
Shrimp on the barby!

Saturday, a day
not for the lame or the halt.
Well, lame, but no halt.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, The human comedy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments