Drinking Manhattans

People – usually men people — often ask me “When am I too old to float my boats in the tub?” Some will tell me their mother or their wife, or both of them together will say that any age over nine is TOO OLD! and 39 is, FOR CRIPES AND GOD’S SAKE, YOU LUNATIC.

My standard answer: age is irrelevant. If you’ve got boats, no matter how big or unbig, you float ‘em.

Remember, a boat-floater without flotation is pure sadness. Imagine having  a stack of pancakes in front of you, only to discover the maple syrup bottle is empty and your fork fell on the floor and embedded itself in a stink bug who heard there were pancakes.  Or what if you have a really gigantic bag of money — a duffel bag would be much too small — but inside it there is no money. How do you go on?

It’s hard, because the sadness takes hold of you like a foot (actually, your foot) getting caught in a bear trap left carelessly in your path. Sometimes with an unhappy—and very sad — bear still in it.  Oh, the dreadful wind and rain.*

The next time you find yourself walking down a busy street – on the sidewalk – take a close look at the people you pass, or those who seem to be giving you a wide berth, or who are hurrying across the street as you approach, not waiting for traffic to clear, sometimes in such a hurry they fall beneath the wheels of a runaway vegemite sandwich wagon or a self-driving weinermobile.

Count the faces of those who seem sad, angry, hopping mad or simply hopping. Ask yourself this (with your inside, non-lip moving, pretend voice): how many of these sad people could benefit from floating some boats in the upstairs tub?

Others ask the obvious follow-up: “Is it okay to float ‘em while you’re in the tub? As opposed to being on your knees on a throw rug or bath towel, outside the tub. And maybe singing ‘15 men on a dead man’s chest’ and sipping a Manhattan?”

I like to say it probably doesn’t matter. Although just imagine how you might feel if you were aboard one of those boats and the lookout suddenly spied a gigantic naked man coming up out of the water. And he screamed “Naked man off the starboard bow! I mean, a really big naked man. Wearing a thong!”

I think that would be upsetting.

Once in a while someone will tell me they can’t float their boats because while they were in the House of Corrections, or at one of the padlocked cottages at Whispering Pines or mixing up a batch of meth in the garage, their mother (sometimes their wife) raced upstairs and pulled the plug in the tub, then hid the boats in the garbage can (usually stomping on them first.)

Sometimes the questions I am asked are so serious they give me paws (for example, the sad, rescue possum I got the other day.) Once, a caller said to me “Let’s say I have a friend who is president of a country-to-be-named-later, between, say, Canada and Mexico. And let’s say he is right now floating his boats off the coast of North Korea.”

I found this question very flippant and seditious. So much so that I phoned the Secret Service. The woman who answered said “Who is this?”

I said “Is this the Secret Service?”

She said “I’ll ask the questions, boyo.”

I said “Do you know the president is floating his boats off the coast of North Korea?”

“North Dakota,” she said. “A lot of people get them mixed up.”

“But it doesn’t have a coast.”

“We warned him but, as you know, he is very sad.”

I heard the crackle of a short wave radio in the background.

“Naked man off the starboard bow! I mean, a really big naked man wearing a massive hairpiece!”

She said “Is it orange?”

That gave me such paws I punched out of the call and ran upstairs to fill the tub. Where I found – you guessed it — my sad possum, already in the tub, floating my boats and drinking Manhattans out of the soap dish. No signs of sadness or bubbles.

I mean, whatever floats your boat.

*Thank you, David. Such uplifting lyrics. https://genius.com/David-grisman-dreadful-wind-and-rain-lyrics

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

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

Hating that

I would like to address all of the “that” haters in our land. Does that mean you? That depends. Take this little test: when you read the that in that first sentence above, did your head spin around on your neck at least twice, prior to projectile vomiting? Have you become disoriented, light-headed or perhaps a supply side or trickle-down economist (with or without the barfing)? Did you grab the nearest pencil, or sheet-rock screw or Dymo label maker or a delete button to excise that that?

If so, that is the mark of the true that hater. And yes, that means you.

For some reason, that-haters think that the Constitution has given them the right to lock and load their Glock de-thatters and to go marauding through other people’s sentences and paragraphs on their hunt for rogue thats.

To me this is trespassing on private usage with intent to show smugness (TOPUWITSS).  (Not to be confused with Sir Felix Topuwitz, the inventor of the tops to your garbagowitzes.)

BTW, in the sentence above I was going to say that is trespassing. But I knew I would hear only the spittle frothing shouts of “Fix bayonets!” or “Give no quarter or change of any kind!” And that would be that for another innocent that.

Not all that-haters are that-killers. But at the very least they want every that to be called out and made an example of. (This, even though sacred grammarians insist you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition.) (FYI: of is a preposition.)(Although how come you can end a sentence with the word “preposition?”) (That is ridiculous.) (!).

Often, those who would destroy that’s want to replace them with impotent its or boot-licking whiches. Oddly, the Salem Which trials began when people actually took umbrage with the word which — even though the Mayo clinic specifically warns that you never take umbrage when you’re also taking MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) or MAOBs (Mayon Aise On Burritos).

Anyway, after the Great Umbrage Drought, a mob of Salemonians gathered at the Salem Mob’s Club and decided which wasn’t so bad after all. There came an ominous pause. The piano player stopped playing. Everyone looked around this way and…

“Look at that!” somebody shouted.

With flames in their eyes, the whole lot of them charged out of that club after that that like a mess o’zombies. (Some stopped off at an Urgent Care for flaming eyeball syndrome.)

Meanwhile, captured thatters were dragged to the public square and placed into stocks—usually chicken stock, sometimes beef, sometimes plain old junk bonds. Affixed above them, a sign proclaimed their crime: “For Unlawful That Usage.”

Angry thatters picketed the scene, carrying signs that read “Unlawful schmunwaffle.” Hardly anybody noticed except the sticky-fingered CEO of the International House of Schmunwaffles.

The next day the signs were replaced with only the familiar initials of the crime. Over time, that became the quintessential insult to hurl at quintessential insult deservers:  Yes, I’m talking about Fut U.

Later, when horses asses were invented, the insult evolved into “Fut you and your horse whose rump bears a strong resemblance to your mother’s face.” But that insult fell flat when angry Moms countered with the paradox of Schrödinger’s Mother. It posited that while a mother inside a box (large) might have a face like a horse’s ass (usually the reason she was placed into the box), no law of quantum schmantum could state with certainty that she also had to be a horse’s ass. Although, as Schrödinger found out to his dismay, once the box is opened, all bets are off.

A more recent development in the that-which wars is the urban lingo corruption of that into dat. Hence, the popular urban youth phrase “True dat,” where “true” simply confirms the wisdom of a previously uttered, though not explicitly stated “dat.”

Pathetically, the whichers tried to one-up the thatters with their ludicrous “True ditch.” Hearing that, young, chillaxin’ datters from Kalamazoo to Timbuktu could only wonder aloud “Whut da fut?”*

* WDF?

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

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

The rats are dead

So. I went down to the Social Media Blackmarket to procure some followers. As a blogger, I want lots of followers for the simple reason that if you have, say, just two followers and one of them is make-believe, it looks like hardly anybody is reading your blog.

The idea of a blog, as with every phase of life, is to project the bathos-free image of a cool and endlessly wise hummer a-hum with electrically-charged particles associated with the intrinsic spin. For some reason, intrinsically spun scientists don’t actually call it that. They like the magnetic dipole moment. 1 (Not to be confused with magnetic dipole dancing which is a horse — in some cultures an aardvark — of a different color.)

Let’s review: So, a-hum, blah, blah, etc.

Now. The best way to maintain your magnetic dipole is to get lots o’ followers. Look, status seekers no longer rely on tired, flesh and blood toadies, suckups, gofers or reluctant relatives. They have learned that life offers nothing more electrifying than getting your particles abuzz with a magnetic woowoo, and having someone you’ve never met click they “like” you and are following you.2

Sadly, it can all come crashing down the moment you ask each follower (politely, if necessary) to send you a dollar. If the typical rate of response is, let’s say 13 per cent and you have just two followers, you can do the math or have your sharp nephew do it for you. Either way, you’re talking maybe 17 cents and you have to take out for social security and the prohibitive mime tax. Don’t forget a nickel for your nephew.

But let’s say you have 300,000 followers. At a buck-a-head, thirteen per cent is roughly $641. And even after you pay taxes and give your nephew his nickel, you come out of it with, let’s see, three times zero is…um drop the zero (next to the pretense), put your numerator very carefully over your denominator (prohibited in Iowa and Kansas) add the one, carry the dog, divide by Zunar and you come away with…Wow, almost $227 bucks that you can spend on anything.

This raises two questions. First, why would any follower send you a dollar just because you asked them to? The answer is complex but it boils down to this: who knows? In fact, who cares as long as they do. And they do — as many as 25 or 26 (including, unfortunately, the cheapos who will cluck and mewl about getting a receipt.) Still, a tidy profit with or without the nephew.

The second question is where do you get these 300,000 followers? The second answer: It’s as easy as opening a Social Media account and clicking peeps into your cart.

(Not sure if this matters, but a lot of your purchased peeps are simulated real people who have been denuded of their real life numbers, letters and punctuation3 and then run through a people shredder. Take the very real Bob Bobertson of Bimidji, Minnesota. A name snatcher stole his poop and slightly altered it to avoid originality and prosecution. The result: my newest follower, Bobo Schlobertson of Bemidget, Minnieminoso.)

By the way, these fake followers are known as bots. Not to be confused with people who have botulism (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) They include Virtual bots (combining the idea of virtue with a guy named Al) and Half-bots (essentially half-asses, but sometimes confused with complete asses, raging asses, and molasses in January.)

Bots look as real as real can be. According to an expose in The New York Times4, one bot-pushing, name-swiper said “Our followers look like any other followers and are always delivered naturally.” (Less respectable vendors deliver their followers by Caesarean section or by singing telegram.)

The Times guy also said you can’t tell the real from the fake. “The only way anyone will know is if you tell them.”

Curiously, this is also the first law of teaching anything, from Latin grammar, to how to silence your cell phone when it suddenly plays L-O-L-A Lola at a funeral.

Might as well throw in the second law of teaching: “The only way you will know they are listening and give a rat’s ass is if they start laughing hysterically and throw dead rats at you.” Which is encouraging on two counts. One, they are listening. Two, the rats are dead.

1. Actually, there is a third question. Would they send more than a dollar if you asked politely, or implied (whined?) that you need the money to make the bad man go away?
2.They may or may not be armed.
3. Some places have not yet cracked down on punctuation theft, arguing “If you outlaw dangling participles, only outlaws will have dangling participles and guns. (See “If you outlaw guns…”).
4. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html .

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2016, all rights reserved.

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

The penguin incident

I sat in the Washington office of Dr. Holler B. Snowbody, the Third Junior Deputy Deputy Undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Frisking, Risk Assessment Division, Penguins. I was on assignment for Big Beak (the magazine of birds with big beaks) to get the poop on the 1.5 million extra penguins just discovered in Antarctica, waddling along without so much as a by-your-leave.*

Dr. Snowbody was on the phone with Dr. Hans Hoofing (say HANDZ OOF-ing), America’s chief penguinist in Antarctica (no, no, no, not HONZ. And not HONCE, Say HANDZ.) (I can’t heeeear you.) I couldn’t help overhearing one half of their conversation — coincidentally, the half I was overhearing.**

“Who the hell is in charge of penguins down there, Hoofing?” asked Dr. Snowbody. “I can’t believe that somebody just la de da stumbled over one-and-a-half million extra penguins that no one ever knew about. What? The penguins knew? Here’s a career tip, Hoofing. If you’re going to be funny, you have to be funny. It’s a very unfunny rule.

“Look, we’re supposed to be on top of penguins. Congress gives us millions to keep an accurate beak count. What if we woke up some day and a billion undocumented penguins came paddling ashore in Florida, expecting pastry puffs and daiquiris. Haven’t you ever seen Planet of the Apes: The Rise of The Apeshit?

“Who do we have down there? Neely? I thought he died last winter. Last summer? Right, they found him frozen to a stool at a Tiki Bar. Too much ice in his margarita, I heard. Did we…What? We just left him there? Nobody had a blowtorch? Does his wife know?  And she’s not raising holy hell? How much? In one lump sum? Who the hell approved that? Why wasn’t I informed? I mean when I was in my shoot-the-poop-gimme-the-scoop mode?”

As Dr. Snowbody rattled his desk with a bloviation-device suitable to his rank as a junior deputy deputy, a sheet of paper floated to the floor. It was a partial transcript of an interview between Hands Hoofing and Jens Volvo (Say JENZ) and his brother Vilbo (Look, it’s JENZ, not YENZ). The Volvos, a pair of Swedes from Norway, were on holiday in Antarctica when they accidentally discovered the penguins.

Hoofer: How did you know there were 1.5 million penguins?
Volvo: I take a pencil and paper and I look at the first penguin and I say “One penguin,” and I write down “one penguin.” Then Vilbo takes a piece of chalk and marks the penguin’s beak so I don’t count it twice. Then I look at the next penguin and I say “One more penguin,” and I write down “one more penguin.” Then I have to tell Vilbo to stop eating the chalk…

Hoofer: So clever. And yet, so simple. But how important is it to say the words “One penguin” and “One more penguin” out loud while you’re counting?
Volvo: If I can’t hear myself thinking, how am I supposed to know what to write down?

Hoofer: That reminds me. Sometimes I’ll start counting the number of belt buckles in my top dresser drawer beneath the socks that I wear at weddings and funerals. I’ll sometimes lose count and have to start all over again. Does that ever happen to you?
Volvo. No.

Hoofer: So how did you discover these penguins?
Volvo: Vilbo and I and our cousin Lars were driving around Antarctica one afternoon to see the sights. Coincidentally, we were driving a Volvo.

Hoofer: You know, that might actually be ironical.
Volvo: They are very white, these sights we were seeing, and hard to see. Plus, the cost of parking was outrageous. We did see some stuff that was off-white, maybe even beige. Suddenly Lars shouts from the backseat ‘Stop the car. Back up.’ Well, we backed up and Lars says ‘Have you ever seen so many penguins?’ Well, in fact, we hadn’t. Lars says “If there aren’t at least three billion there, my name isn’t Stan, Stan the Science Man.’ Which, as you now know, it isn’t. He’s still just Lars “Lars, the Swede from Mars.”

Hoofer: Um, how do you know that we haven’t already counted those penguins?
Volvo: Have you?

Hoofer: Uh, no.
Volvo: That’s how we know. Ha! Just busting your icicles. We actually ran their names through a database of penguins already counted. Came back clean.

Hoofer: So clever, so simple.

*http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/penguin-colony-discovered-on-antarctica-1.4583359

**I have not ruled out ironical

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

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

Just some guy in the stands

Q. I’m hearing a lot of talk about duality and dualism. I get that dualism is when you have a sword fight at dawn. But what is duality?
A. You’re getting the term, duel confused with the term, dual. They are two completely different aardvarks.

Q. Like an orc and a warg rider?
A. Excuse me?

Q. Oh, and sometimes it’s pistols at dawn. So here’s what I wonder: to get into a duel do you always have to slap the other guy across the face with a glove? Or can you just use your bare hand? And as long as you’re doing that, can you just punch him in the face? I know, I know, he then gets his choice of weapons, right?
A. Let me explain the dual that is spelled d-u-a-l instead of duel, spelled d-u-e-l.

Q. What about the dool spelled d-o-o-l?
A. Let’s start with something very basic like the co-eternal binary divide between two moral opposites.

Q. Where did you learn to talk like that?*
A. So, basically, in a discourse on philosophical duality, everything that happens in life is either light or dark. Right or wrong. Black or white. Good or bad.

Q. Chocolate or Vanilla?
A. The classic moral dilemma. Nobody said philosophy was understandable.

Q. But then, where does Cherry Garcia fit in? It’s nature’s only perfect food.
A. Perfection is beside the point, except, of course, when perfection is the point. If you follow.

Q. I think I’ll just grab an Uber.
A. Just remember the basic law of duality: ak-SENT-you-ate the positive, e-LIM-in-ate the negative and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.

Q. Who gets to say what is POS-i-tive and what is NEG-a-tive?
A. There’s a committee. Very distinguished. Very positive. Appointed by the Koch brothers.

Q. But what if their stinky is my stanky?
A.  You’d be messing with Mr. In-Between. Also, the Antonym Police.

Q. What about Mrs. In-Between?
A. We don’t talk about her. Faced with the moral dilemma of guitar or mandolin, she ran off with a dueling banjo player.

Q. So what’s the point of reducing everything to just two choices?
A. It makes life easier. You don’t have to agonize over 17 flavors of ice-cream or what to get people for Christmas. It’s either socks or underpants. And political parties are easier, if not completely meaningless. No more Whigs, Tea Partygoers or Bernie Sanders. Just good old fake Republicans and Democrats.

Q. Speaking of stinky or stanky.
A. Keep in mind, one of those choices is always the wrong choice — from the stand point of the right people — or the right choice from the standpoint of the wrong people.

Q. How ingrained in life is duality?
A.  Oh, it’s spreading like blood on a toga. Consider the classic version of duality at the start of an NFL football game where the choice is heads or tails.

Q. Yeah, but sometimes people don’t have a tail. Or if they do, they can easily spot it by standing in front of a shop window, pretending to admire the goods. In the reflection they see the tail behind them. Sometimes it’s hard, though, especially if it’s a toy store and the goods are little toy trucks and cars and trains.
A. Yes, well, let’s just say I’m flipping a coin at the Super Bowl.

Q. Oh, and sometimes there’s a tiny rubber Tyrannosaurus Rex just about to eat a tiny plastic guy out for a walk. And then, here comes a tiny plastic school teacher firing a tiny plasma cannon. It’s a good thing you can still legally get those at tiny outdoor stores.
A. Do you want heads or tails?

Q. Are you the Super Bowl referee or just some guy in the stands flipping a coin?
A. No, I’m the referee.

Q. Wow. How did you get a job like that? And do you have to supply your own coin?
A. Uh…

Q. I really love it when the ref says “Heads, it is.” He always sounds like Yoda.
A.  As in “Nuts, you are.”

*From Wikipedia.Hope you didn’t think I knew what I was talking about.

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

Posted in F.A.Q., Mockery and derision | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

FAQ: Worried Man Blues

Q. Should I be worried?
A. Yes.

Q. Wow, I thought you’d say no.
A. No.

Q. Yes, I did. And then you said no. Just now.
A. Yes.

Q. So wait…you’re not saying there’s nothing to worry about?
A. Yes.

Q. You know, that reminds me of this grammar lady in Lockport who’s always saying stuff like “Two negatives make a positive but three negatives don’t make no sense nohow.”
A. You forgot the comma.

Q. This may be off topic, but suddenly I am reminded of the saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” So how many wrongs does it take?
A. The saying is two rungs don’t make a ladder.

Q. Just free-associating here. What about two rugs? What do they not make?
A. You’ll find that ladder is a suitable answer for any question that asks “What do two what-evers not make.”

Q. Whatever. Whatever. Okay, I see no ladder, so you’re onto something. But just to be clear: I should not be worried? Or I shouldn’t not be worried?
A. No. Yes.

Q. You know, when I was a kid I would tell my mother I was worried and she would say “Everything is going to be all right, so don’t you worry your little jelly doughnut head off.”
A. Classic doughnutpomorphism.

Q. She used to say I was her little creampuff. Or, I was so sweet, she wanted to eat me up. 
A. That sounds like Munchinhousen by pastry.

Q. Anyway, ever since I left home I’ve kept my head on my shoulders and have never worried about anything. 
A. You’re a lying fried cake.

Q. You don’t believe I kept my little doughnut head on my shoulders? Or that I never worried?
A. Is that jelly leaking out your ears?

Q. Okay. I admit that I wonder about worrying. For some reason, that gets me worrying about wondering.
A. I wonder if that’s because of your little head?

Q. I don’t wonder that. And just to be safe I don’t not wonder that. Because my head is no longer small. I don’t want to say it’s big or even very big. That would be immodest. Let’s just say it’s not so little anymore. And it has never been off my shoulders. Or even my neck. Not even once.
A. Pants on fire.

Q. You don’t believe me? Look, if my head had been off my neck, even just once, don’t you think I’d know it? In fact I’d be de–Oh geeze, my pants are on fire!
A. This is a no-pants-smoking zone.

Q. I’m not smoking. It’s this dude behind me in line. Hey buddy, you just set my pants on fire. You want to stand back a bit? You’re just lucky I carry a fire extinguisher everywhere I go.
A. A textbook example of a flaming doughnut hole.

Q. Him or me?
A. Yes.

Q. By the way, have you ever heard that song “It takes a worried man to sing a worried song?”
A. The folk song. Sung by folks playing banjos. With plastic heads.

Q. Right. So here’s something I wonder about: what happens if you’re not worried, but you sing that song anyway? Just for grins.
A. Lightning.

Q. You’re saying you’d be struck by lightning?
A. No.

Q. Then what are you saying?
A. You.

Q. Me what?
A. Pants on fire.

Q. You aren’t saying…
A. Yes.

Q. But…
A. No.

Q. You do know that my fire extinguisher is empty?
A. Yes.

Q. Um, should I be worried?
A.  Very.

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

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

Jiggling my grandmother

Sometimes, I get anxious. Ironically, the condition is called anxiety. I got it one day when I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in. I was pretty wired so they took me right away and later said “If you were a board game you’d be The Game of Life with the spinner missing its arrow.”

Otherwise, I am completely normal: I walk, I talk, I eat, I sleep, I dream of accidentally on purpose nuclear war and famine and being eaten by a zombie and the rapture happening while I’m in/on the jake. While out walking I sometimes stop and point to the heavens and say “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s…wow, you know what, dude? I think that’s a rapidly plummeting truckload of North Korean cement.”

And yes, on occasion, I bounce my leg. It’s hardly noticeable unless the front windows rattle or a stink bug falls off the wall or a mini tsunami sends the pea soup over the lip of the tureen. Or maybe you’re one of those superior people who notice every ding in everybody’s dong, but haven’t the ding-dong decency to shut up about it.

“You’re bouncing your leg. Did you know that?”

“I can do both legs at the same time,” I respond teeth-grindingly.

“It’s like a cop tasered your leg.”

“Wow,” I say, “don’t look now, but a truck load of cement is about to turn you into a patio.”

Hearing this, people with their dead eyes and puckered behinds offer you a sweet-and-sour smile of pity. But they always, always take a precautionary peak at the sky, because they have places to go and people to pass judgment on, and a cement bath would ruin everything.

We, the people prone to the occasional leg bounce, are often given friendly advice by well-intentioned loved ones: “Stop bouncing your leg!” Or, sometimes, the abrupt, tough love approach: “STOP THE DANG LEG BOUNCING!” The unloved say: “Quit bouncing your leg, you faroukhead, you’re jiggling my grandmother’s bust of Elvis off the shelf.”

Pardon me a moment. My Smart Ass phone is making a noise like someone hitting a calliope-playing moose over the head with a bag of sonar pings.

“Hello?” I suggest.

“Hello! This is Heather at account services and we’re calling about your credit card account.”

I’m feeling anxious, again. If my leg could talk it would be saying bouncybouncybouncybouncybouncy.

Sigh. I suppose that somewhere in this world there really is someone named Heather who works in some company’s account services department and who places perky-yet-ominous calls suggesting you have a credit card problem but there’s a perky solution that will cost you mere thousands.

I punch the red button, cutting Heather off in mid-exclamation point. I know she doesn’t exist. I’m also PRIT-ee sure I have no credit card problem.

Just as I am also pretty sure that last night’s dream was merely a dream. I’m on a plane and the pilot announces “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a life and death emergency situation. Is there anyone on board who can play the banjo? The five-string banjo. In the Earl Scruggs style. Please, not the Pete Seeger style. If so, see a flight attendant, immediately.”

When pilots make that kind of announcement, first of all, it sounds like they’re speaking into a can of Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty. Second of all, they’re urgently looking for a doctor or a priest or a stock broker and there’s nothing I can do to help.

But this time I clearly recognize the raison d’être moment of my life. I flag down a flight attendant. Breathlessly, I blurt “I’m a banjo player. Of the Scruggs persuasion.” And she says “Oh, thank God! Quick, where is it?” I say “Where’s what?” She says “Your banjo.” I say, “Um, it’s back in Baltimore.” And she screams “Jesus wept!”

Moments before I wake up, I notice her name tag: Heather.

I hurry back to my conditioner. I ask what they make of my condition now. They say it’s complicated. If I were a baseball bat, I’d be an ash. If I were a duck I’d be Daffy. If I were a sandwich I’d be a Reuben, hold the cabbage and if Reuben comes in, don’t let on.

“Seriously,” said my air conditioner, “the pilot should have said ‘a life or death situation.’ It can’t be both. By the way, you’re bouncing your leg, did you know that?”

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

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