Caught up in the tines

Every day I drill deep into the world-wide web dot (www.) trying to fathom man’s aversion to sucking it up without whining whenever he stubs his sore toe or his sorrier life. Too often I find evidence of men not only whining but sucking up without any hint of an it.

Given my extensive research and colorful anecdotes about ingrown toenails, I am able to wildly – although not recklessly – generalize that, since the dawn of time, man’s failures to stand up to the various its of life, sans-a-whine, explains all of the world’s wars, the famines, the black deaths, the blue screens of death, and yes, the streaming of ukulele lessons.

The solution, menlys, is to change your lives and quit your whining right now. Admittedly, though, changing ingrained character traits of cowardly whining to substantive, heroic bombast is very hard. Put another way, hard very is bombast heroic, substantive to whining cowardly of traits character ingrained changing.

That’s because the inherent requirements of change, (i.e, to change) almost always require doing something. Take, for instance, changing your clothes. It’s one thing to say I think I’ll change my clothes this month. Until a voice says ‘Dude, you look fine. You smell okay. Who cares what people think of the way you look or smell?’

I mean, true dat, although sometimes the health department can cause trouble. Which then begs the double-barreled question — Why won’t you change your clothes? What is wrong with you?

But no matter how much they beg, those questions miss the point. And what is the point? Many have asked that question and heard nothing but the toilet running in the upstairs bathroom. (Before indoor plumbing, it was the sound of a hair dryer.)

Therefore, manlyonians, if you find change difficult, please read the following and ask yourself “Is this me?” (Meaning you and not me, which is why you shouldn’t ask the possibly confusing “Is this you?” Which could mean me and not you.) (Or maybe not.)

You have a flat tire. It has never been flat before, but now it needs changing. You get down on hands and knees on the side of the road in your cargo shorts with traffic whooshing by in a snowstorm. You pop the hubcap and you find that the lug nuts keeping the tire on the axle thingie are rusted-on. You start weeping-sobbing-moaning-screaming-kicking-railing against God-the-father, or God-your-father or the stupid cow on the other side of the cow pasture fence. His “Moooooo” sounds a lot like “Loooooser.” You start laughing hysterically, swearing you’ll teach that cow a lesson. You climb over the fence and fall face-first into cow flop. The cow comes over and sits on you until stuff comes out your nose. You are not seen again until spring when your body is caught up in the tines of a manure spreader.*

It doesn’t have to end that way. In the above example, for example, one small change could have saved you from the flop. To be sure, it’s a difficult change, some would say impossible — though others might say “How ‘bout them Cowboys.” Can anyone guess what change I’m talking about?

(Long pause). (Silence). (Multiple sounds of accusatory sniffing.)

Okay, dudes, as with most difficult man issues, this is all about your nuts. Not talking about your relatives, nor your (ahem) beer nuts. I’m talking of course about the nuts on top of your shoulders.

I’ve said it before, boys, and I’ll say it again: when the old lug nut gets rusty from non-use, then it may be time to call in a nutcracker. I would add ‘Think about it,’ but that would be irony, which is the mother of all rust.

*Adapted from Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of tines, it was the worst of tines.” Thanks, Chuck.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

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

Out the wazoo

I think it’s time we confront the truth. We know very little about flounder.

Yeah, yeah, there are flounder experts among us (you know who you are) (obviously) who know tons of flounder stuff. Like your flounder catchers (not to be confused with Yogi Berra in the rye) who know the difference between a flounder and a flounder impersonator (imfishonator?)

Look, I’m talking about you and me. We know nothing about flounder and it doesn’t seem to bother us until one night the alleged good flounder we ate for dinner — breaded to the nines and slathered in lemon — comes swimming back up the main hatchway to cackle “I’m baaad!”

Unfortunately, bad doesn’t begin to describe the intense metaphishical experience that follows. It opens your eyes along with every other valve, pore, innie, outie or blowhole on the body electric.

An exaggeration? Okay, imagine that someone parks a 1982 Datsun 210 (5-speed) in your stomach. It’s towing a trailer full of loose and very hard to digest racquet ball balls. The blue ones. On leaving your stomach’s parking garage, the Datsun crashes through the toll gate without paying or even saying “Have a good one.”

The trailer comes loose at the intersection of the body’s internal and metaphorical Holland tunnel and the Canal Street subway stop. The Datsun takes the subway north to Columbus circle and changes for the museum of natural history where – long story, short — it crashes into a stuffed moose and all the stuffing comes out.

The trailer, meanwhile, overturns, sending thousands of blue balls bouncing through the Holland tunnel, rolling out the barrel, so to speak, into the Zuider Zee, (aka New Jersey, exit 14C). They surround and overturn the governor, Chris Christie, who selflessly alerts the citizenry with his final word: “Balls!

Or think of a packed church parking lot emptying out after a service. Everybody in such  a hurry to do God’s work. See them cutting off fellow churchgoers, jumping curbs, blazing new shortcuts through the wisteria,  turfing the adjacent graveyard, blithely flipping the bird at elderly volunteers directing traffic. Oh, yes. We’re talking myocardial infarctions out the wazoo.

Which, of course, reminds me of Kierkegaard. The nineteenth century Danish pastry chef was best known in his early years for the daring back-slash he inserted into the second letter of his first name (Søren) (I know. Really?). His life and pastry changed profloundly one night when a poorly vetted flounder with a rap sheet, came back up the down spout singing Lil Wayne’s “Something you forgot.”

Kierkegaard began shouting, raving, spewing (lots of spewing) that life was meaningless, absurd and gross. He kept up the rant long after he’d been hosed down, swearing off — and frequently at – fish. His raving gave rise to the term floundering, although today, his idolizing party poopers call his philosophy existentialism. Even so, while shooting marbles one day with the 10-year-old Nietzsche, Kierkegaard rambled on about regurgitationism, and “Revenge of the Flounder.”*

My concern about our societal floundering makes me ponder one of the great questions of life. Who invented the name flounder? Some legendary angler with a name like Tennessee “Buddy Boy” Flounder? Or was it a simple misspellling at the Lost and Flound department down at Bob’s Beer Rental?

Can you see it? A fisherman stops at Bob’s for a cold one. He drops a fish while staggering home. A stolen steamroller steams by and flattens it. Someone tosses it into the Flound box outside Bob’s. When Bob sees it he says “What the hell is this?”

Larry, his assistant, says “Looks like a…wait for it…a flounder. Get it? Flound-er? In the Flound box. Get it?”

Bob, not what you’d call a fun guy, did not get it. Larry – long story short – is now a bouncer at a racquetball ball factory (the blue ones).

*Nietzsche mentions this in his work “Also spake Zarathustra.” It should be noted–and in fact, it is being noted, so get off my back–that handwriting experts believe The Nietster (his mother’s pet name) wrote spanked. This makes some sense when one considers that Zarathustra was Kierkegaard’s pet name for himself and that the Nietster, in his seminal work “Stocks and Bondage,” describes paddling an elderly gentleman who had lost his marbles.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Four guys with Uzis

Q. Hello. Ray, here, at Paranoia Check where we say to the unzipped, the unglued, the madly awry, your crackers, your nuts, your bananas deep-fried: “If you see something, say something.” And remember: the If is always optional.
A. Hello. Is this the see something, say something line?

Q. Ah, the madly awry. What have you seen that would frighten God-fearing people? Or even people-fearing God?
A. Actually, I want to say something first.

Q. About something you’ve seen?
A. Not exactly.

Q. Hold the phone, Jerome. Have you seen something or haven’t you?
A. How did you know my name is Jerome?

Q. Just a wild bark, young dog.
A. Because my name isn’t Jerome.

Q. To which I wildly bark “So?”
A. Look, I saw something yesterday. But I don’t see it today.

Q. And was it worth saying something about yesterday?
A. No, which is why I said nothing.

Q. Call the “If you see nothing, say nothing,” line and don’t tell them.
A. I did. I said nothing about seeing something yesterday which turned into nothing today. They got a little shirty and gave me your number.

Q. What losers. They get calls about nothing with nobody saying nothing, and they whine about saying “Hello? Is anyone there? Hello?” And they hear nothing, which is what they’re paid for. Here, in the paranoid real world, something is always being seen by people who always want to foobing say so. By the way, nobody says shirty anymore.
A. Yesterday I drove by an old house on a corner.

Q. Imagine that.
A. Today I drove by the same corner and the house was gone.

Q. Gone?
A. Vanished. Vaporized. Visibly not.

Q. Was it torn down? Did you see a bulldozer or excavator nearby?
A. Yesterday, sure. But here’s the thing. Not today.

Q. You know, we get lots of calls from nut whisperers.
A. You mean people who whisper to nuts, or nuts who whisper to…?

Q. But you, Captain Pistachio, are so something I should call myself and say something. But the number would be busy and I’d have to put myself on hold and listen to crappy music and hear myself say “All of our staff listeners, i.e., me, are assisting other lost Waldos. Thanks in advance for holding your water.”
A. Uh, what happens when someone says they saw something?

Q. We have them repeat it. Then we repeat it to them. They either say “Exactly!” or “Are you even listening? I said ‘blah blah blah.’” Then we say “You mean ‘blah blah blah?’” And they either say “Exactamundo!”  or something with the word foobing in it.
A. And if it’s exactamundo?

Q. We grab some guys with guns. They’re everywhere. Happy to help. We launch a raid at the exactamundo location. Almost always — at the very least, almost sometimes — the truth comes out and justice is done for.
A. What about the rule of law?

Q. Out of an abundance of caution, we err on the side of fear. Sometimes you’re paranoid because you’re paranoid. But other times you’re paranoid because something paranoidy seems to be going down-ish.
A. How did you know my name is Ish?

Q. Look, the rule of law is like the rule of the strike zone. Sometimes umpires call a ball a strike and sometimes they call a strike a ball and sometimes a guy will hit a ball that is a ball and not a strike and sometimes he takes a strike that looks like a ball and is, in fact, a ball. But sometimes, like that statue of Lady Justice with her blindfold, the umpire adjusts his sleep mask and shouts “Steeeerike-ish.”
A. Are you even listening? I said blah, blah, foobing blah.

Q. Hold your water, Captain. Just recruited four guys with Uzis. We’ll be right over.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

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

Running downhill in the dark

I think it would be appropriate if I were momentarily serious while discussing my recent and actual brain surgery.

If you have had brain surgery you may be thinking “Who gives a flying burrito about your brain surgery?” A completely understandable reaction, especially since I don’t give an enchilada platter about yours either.

In the words of the orange-haired man leading us toward the vending machines in the wilderness (correct change only), our righteous refusal to give a refried bean about anybody else is what makes us so full of guacamole. Remember, he insists, that includes not worrying  about anyone’s brain but your own as well. Presuming you have one.

Apropos of which, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the old saying that, just as you can’t have politics without tics, you can’t have brain surgery without a brain.

Nowadays, if someone questions my grasp of topics like nihilism, obstatism, the importance of strong safety pins in Sumo wrestling, the many ingredients of SPAM found at Chernobyl  —  or who sneers “Where were you when they handed out the brains?” —  I present my hilarious medical bill. I note the line-item “Searched for and found brain, $21,078.” I counter-sneer “Anyone ever found your alleged brain?”

As we grow older, our brain tends to shrink like a slowly deflating balloon animal — I like to picture a Koala bear. What’s needed is an immediate streaming of content (formerly known as stuff) including alternative facts, gorilla-walks-into-a-bar jokes, Sudoku solutions, nachos, lyrics to Jumpin’ Jack Flash, memory foam, a distorted photo of Link Wray and the Wraymen, Welcome to the Basement re-runs on You-Tube and more nachos.

Without enough content, your Koala bear  becomes indistinguishable from a shitzu, leading to the dreaded “no-brainer” diagnosis.

Questions?

Q. Did you consider the less expensive option of an appendectomy?
A. As with common sense, the thought never entered my mind. Here’s the deal: Late one night I set out on a walk. I was attached by leash to a large, inexperienced dog (related by marriage.) Suddenly, the dog barked and leapt after a hill troll — visible only to canines and mummers. Yanked off-balance, I careened downhill at 150 miles an hour. A voice (Mine? The dog’s?) shouted “Let go of the leash, Pat. Now, you idiot!” followed by “Who are you calling an idiot?” Too late, I bounced, cranium-first, onto a concrete sidewalk.

Q. Did you seek medical attention or just whine?
A. I staggered home, bleeding and soaked in dog slobber. K-Mac rolled me in gauze, stood me in a corner to dry, milked the cows and finished painting the barn. I passed the NFL’s Broken Bonehead Protocol, allowing real men to continue being real after correctly answering “Like a wrecking ball,” to the question “How does your head feel?” Three weeks later, unable to assemble my underwear without falling over, K-Mac drove me to a hospital (The NFL was closed). I was relieved of my overwear, my underwear and my medicare card (which has since melted).

Q. Why didn’t you just try poking your brain with a stick?
A. Because, hey, sticks don’t grow on…um, I mean, my doc had a medical degree and a very cool miner’s headlamp. He said my neuro-noodle was leaking fluid like a cracked radiator. He cut out a chunk of my thick skull (Specifically, the W in my “Born to be Wild” tat.) He ran a shop vac in and out, laid down a new coat of (antiseptic) garage-floor paint and reinserted the chunk. (K-Mac is pleased that I’m now “Born to be Mild.”)

Q. What lessons did you learn?*
A. No more running downhill in the dark. Outriggers a must when I go out without a leash. Urge Congress to outlaw hill trolls. At the very least, hills.

*Laughing at brain surgery, even when it’s your own, is one of our last taboos (just ahead of laughing at yourself.) Most surgery is no fun, not funny and sucks mud through rocks. A prayer, then, for all who find themselves angry and frightened and unconvinced that, somehow, it’s all good. It isn’t. I mean, unless it is.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

Posted in Dogs I Have Known, F.A.Q., Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

One strike away

Have you ever started to sing “Somewhere, over the rainbow” but forgot what comes after the?

Have you ever started to blow your nose but weren’t paying enough attention because you were reading the New York Times on your device and suddenly swerved to avoid a paragraph about Nebuchadanezzer (because you’re just not into ancient Babylon) and you lost control of your nose and fumbled the Kleenex and double-nostrilled into international airspace while your dignity rolled down an embankment and overturned with the flubbed Kleenex drifting, floating, screwing with your mental, and all you could think of was whether you-know-who took it the wrong way, got into a Huff and drove off with the last deviled egg?

Have you ever said to someone “I’m not getting any younger,” and had them respond “Not true. Yesterday you were the 71-year-old leader of the free world and today you’re a 9-year-old leader of the free (only less so than yesterday) world.”

Have you ever thought of just keeping it to yourself?

Have you ever sank back and sighed at the state of the world, but a burp came out instead? Have you ever burped and tried to explain it was a sigh gone wrong? Have you ever fluffed and claimed it was a burp gone wrong because a sigh went wrong? Have you ever gone down a narrow hallway and tried to squeeze between two people who were standing there talking, rudely blocking your way? And just as you were in the middle of the squeeze, you quite accidentally broke the sound barrier?  Have you ever gotten over that? When you suddenly recall that incident in the middle of a meeting, say, do you sink back and sigh, but a burp comes out instead?

Have you ever answered a question and then said “Was that the right answer? Because, I have others.”

Have you ever noticed that the guy who has been following you for the past three days looks a lot like the guy who was following you last month? When you confronted him he claimed to be a secret service agent named Mel, assigned to your detail. Does Mel know you absolutely abhor details?

Have you ever said to yourself “If I had a beard I would shave it?” Conversely, have you ever said to yourself “If I didn’t have a beard, I doubt if I would shave it?”

Have you ever seen what horse tranquilizers can do to a horse? Have you ever secretly wished you were a horse? Have you ever been measured for a saddle?

Have you ever gone out for a walk and presto! you suddenly became a bowler on the pro tour, one strike away from a perfect score of 300, and you stopped and gripped your Brunswick Snake Glo in both hands and went into your dainty, four-step approach to the alley, swinging your ball so far behind it was yesterday back there, and then you glid into your glide and let loose your Brunswick with an ecstatic cry of “El Cid!” and then presto! resumed walking down the street as if nothing happened?

Have you ever thought of just knocking it off?

Have you ever told so many lies that your pants spontaneously combusted and nobody ran for a fire extinguisher? Completely off topic: has your nose ever grown as long as a telephone wire?

If you answered yes to any of the above, please leave the planet immediately. Don’t forget to leave behind the little book with all the missile codes.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

On the couch

The other night while watching baseball on the Smart TV, we saw the $80 million pitcher for the visiting team struggling. His cut fastball kept bleeding out; his hairball showed scarcely a follicle; and his trademark sleazeball danced into the zone freshly scrubbed and polite to a fault.

The TV announcer described it like this: “Something’s going on up there inside his head. When you get those things inside your head you fight. You fight.”

I mean, haven’t we all been there — summoned to a hastily called meeting of the mind only to find nobody minding the store but those things. To outsiders it may look like you’re talking to yourself, but inside the old jelly bean, it’s kung fu city.

Meanwhile, as Manny, a long-slumping member of the home team, stepped into the batter’s box, K-Mac grabbed the metaphorical microphone on the metaphorical PA system.

“Manny,” Manny” Manny” she announced, -nounced -nounced “is going to hit hit hit a meatball”  ball” ball”

Although a baseball fan for just a few seasons, K-Mac quickly became one with the insider jargon.  (“That pitcher has good tilt on his slider.”) But before I could kindly — though patronizingly — tell her meatball is not a baseball term, Manny belted a big fat hunk-a hunk-a burning meat-a-ball high above the Hemorrhoid Awareness sign in centerfield.

I do realize that baseball is not-a-for everyone. Some say it’s a-too slow, a-too boring, a-too full of fat contracts and fatso umpires. Too full of odd terminology.

Good example: In real life you can tell your friends you flew out to LA, but the Grammar Lady would never let you say you flied out to LA. In baseball you can’t say a batter “flew out to right field” (unless he’s with the Angels), but you must say the batter “flied out to right.” (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s F-LA or F-9).

In baseball you can say short stop, but never tall stop. You can steal a base, murder the ball, slap a dribbler, even gun down a man at home, all with impunity. You can say of the pitcher “His ball location is tremendous.” But saying of your colleague at the Monday morning staff meeting “His ball location is tremendous,” draws only stunned silence.

Since revealing her meatball super-power, K-Mac has turned down speaking engagements with door-to-door roofing salesmen. Her loyal assistant, however, usplains the policy: ten-nine-eight get off the porch, seven-six-five or I’ll start reciting “Sonnets From The Portuguese,” four-three-two all forty-four of them, one, How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.

Frankly, though, K-Mac has been stingy with her super-power. More than once during a game, I’ve said “This guy needs a meatball.” Her response: “I’m not going out on a limb for every Tom, Dick or Larry with a bat in his hands.”

“What happened to Harry?” said I.

“Hemorrhoids.”

“I wasn’t aware,” I replied meekly. “So, will we ever see another meatball?”

Cryptically, she said “The meatball knows.”

People say “It must be fun being married to a super-hero.” Actually, no one has said that yet, but they will as soon as K-Mac orders up another meatball. It would certainly silence some skeptics on the couch who are beginning to toy with the term “one meatball wonder.”

“Okay,” I said in frustration last night with the bases loaded. “I’m taking over. Manny is going to hit a meatball. I can just feel it.”

In fact, Manny struck out. Looking.

K-Mac flashed me a vicious line drive to third and as I was ducking, she coolly repeated her “Meatball knows,” line.

I mean, I’m pretty sure she said “knows” and not “nose.” Because nobody but a meathead has a meatball nose. Right? Right? Right?

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

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

A cheap novel

Friends, I am finding it difficult, if not impossible, to attempt to be funny or silly (don’t even think funny and silly) at such a deadly, unfunny period in our American experience. Out there, madness is blooming and being watered daily by a mannequin-child with bad hair and a seltzer bottle.

This new, Unf- – – – – – – – ing[1] Believable Reality, writ large across the sky in an UH OH, WORLD ENDS font, deserves all of our attention. There is scant (I say scant) time to waste mocking our brethren and sistren for bungling the trivial rituals and manners of everyday life — no matter how bungledorfian their bungle be.

(I’m thinking specifically about that time when Monsignor Macanudo, came over for Sunday dinner and stood up from the dining room table and he somehow had the end of the table-cloth tucked into his pants with his napkin and when he headed off toward the bathroom everything got pulled off the table and onto the floor where the dog got the turkey and Grandma got the palpitations plus a carving knife in her left buttock and the volunteer squad had to come and give her oxygen and attempt to remove the knife without actually touching Grandma’s butt, which they accidentally did, and given Grandma’s strong feelings about the holiness of her butt, it went down ugly, including knuckle sandwiches and headlocks and it explains why the volunteer boys, especially the one with the stick of Land O’Lakes up his nose, refused to come to our house ever again, not even when Kracko the clown exploded on the front porch, but anyway, before they left they had to bandage Monsignor Macanudo’s hand that got bloody when he got locked in the  bathroom and had a panic attack and instead of saying the rosary or singing about a low-swinging sweet chariot ride coming for to carry him the hell out of there, he started taking you-know-who’s name and middle initial in vain and beating on the door so hard his fist went through it and he couldn’t get it back out, which tied up the bathroom so long Mom had to go crawling, in soul-crushing humiliation, to the Protestants next door and ask to use their wash room when she didn’t have to wash at all, that’s right, a bald lie (not necessarily a mortal sin, but certainly a major league venial and you don’t want too many of those piling up in your permanent record file) and she had to confess it the following week to Monsignor Macanudo who, still bandaged and refusing to pay for a new bathroom door, was in no mood to be lenient with the penance (two Hail Mary’s plus the stations of the cross, on her knees, over broken glass) which made Mom so mad she stomped out of the confessional, became a Unitarian and joined the Women of the f – – – – – ing[2] Moose).

Now look, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore the lunacy out there (we might choke to death and/or K-Mac might throw her back out digging the holes.) If this was a cheap novel we could give it to Goodwill along with our previously undered underwear because the main character in the novel is so completely f – – – – – ed[3] and far from home. Dictionary editors are meeting in conference rooms as we speak, discussing how to redefine words like unbelievable, whacko, presidential and of course f – – – – [4] and f – – – –  [5]

Being backed into this non-funny corner, however, has forced me to think seriously about thinking seriously. Quite without non-seriousness, I must tell you that I have decided to climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow but leave a number where I can be reached with the magic words: the bad man has gone away. (Yes, I’m thinking of taking a keg along, although K-Mac still has the back brace from those holes which—and I hope this doesn’t sound like whining — I could barely squeeze my head into.)

1.iretruck
2.arouk
3.rigg
4.rick
5.rack

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.

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