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.


“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.)


©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

FAQ: Without a doubt

Q. My auto mechanic says I have a problem with my rear end. My gastroenterologist says the same thing. My dentist says it’s all in my endo so he sent me to an endodontist. My neighbor says I’ve got my head up my sigmoid colon. I was making dinner Sunday and burned the rump roast. I…
A. Excuse me. Do you see that sign? Frequently. Asked. Questions. Do you have a frequently asked question?

Q. Here’s one: Why do the swallows keep coming back to…um, what’s the name of that place?
A. San Juan Capistrano.

Q. No, that’s not it.
A. Yes, it is.

Q. Wait. I’ve got it. Capistoronto! It was on the tip of my tongue but I mistook it for a sunflower seed and almost bit it.
A. Almost biting only counts in almost sex. By the way: have you ever been to Capistrano?

Q. So, no.
A. Then how do you know the swallows came back? How do you even know they left?

Q. Uh, I guess because people said they did.
A. Which people?

Q. Um, the people who did the saying. I didn’t hear them say it directly, but I did hear the people who said they said it say it.
A. And have those people ever been to Capistrano?

Q. They…didn’t say.
A. Do you believe everything people don’t say?

Q. It’s hard to hear them when they don’t say. But I give them the benefit of the doubt.
A. Does that mean you doubt they said it or you don’t doubt they said it?

Q. It means I have suspended my disbelief that the swallows either  a.) left;  b.) came back;  or c.) ever existed in the first place.
A. How is that a benefit?

Q. People don’t have to suffer the humiliation of being doubted by me. Given the times we are living in, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
A. Has anyone ever sneezed at you for benefitting from your suspension of doubt?

Q. Just once. But to be fair, that person was allergic.
A. To what?

Q. To me. It’s rare to be allergic to an actual person because…
A. AhhhhhCHOOOO!

Q. That sounded like the fake sneeze of sarcasm.*
A. Most people just say Bless You.

Q. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you have an allergy. Or, possibly, a bug flew up your nose.
A. You seem to have a large supply of benefits of the doubt.

Q. I buy them cheap on eBay.
A.  How much?

Q. I’m not sure. I pay in butter.
A. Did you say butter?

Q. I’m pretty sure I did.
A. You mean you traded somebody some butter for…

Q. Six sticks. For two still-in-the-shrink-wrap benefits of the doubt.
A. How did you complete the transaction?

Q. PayPal. They take butter now.
A. I really doubt that.

Q. Don’t I get the benefit of the doubt?
A. The benefit is that by doubting you now, I maintain my grip on sanity.

Q. So, have you ever asked yourself why there’s a b in doubt? You wouldn’t say I’m going oubt. Or strike three, you’re oubt. Or sauerkraubt.
A. How do you know what I would or wouldn’t say?

Q. I have no dout.
A. Did you just doubt me…without a b?

Q. Stings a bit, no?
A. You know what I think the b stands for?

Q. Bong?
A. Baloney.

Q. Why baloney?
A. It’s a friendly reminder to the doubtee that some people don’t know what they’re talking about.

Q. Which people?
A. Generally, people with rear-end problems.


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

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

The p is silent

Waiting requires patience. Patience requires sainthood. Sainthood requires a death certificate. Okay, we’re back live and still waiting. Look, everybody has to wait on something every day and nobody likes it except those offering it up for the souls in Purgatory. (Talk about waiting.)

But instead of becoming more obnoxious than usual, why not view waiting as an opportunity? You could use the time to meditate, for example, or tweet the president. Maybe even compose some hay coup (p is silent).

Stuck waiting for brakes
in tire store with TV tuned
to Fox: the horror

You could reflect on the ordinary, like the label on your bottle of V-8. Note that a label above the V-8 label announces “Fresh, new look label.” Can’t you see somebody running into a conference room, shouting “What good is it to have a fresh new look label if we don’t add a label that tells people it’s fresh and new and deserves a look? Otherwise, they’re down the aisle feeling up the Mango-Squid cocktail.”*

Waiting for the boss
to make up his mind, Johnson
assembled his own

Some waiting situations test our quite deserved sense of entitlement — the sworn enemy of sainthood (requires death, remember?) Why not channel your inner “Do they know who I am?” to your outer “I’m really smart. Look, I wrote a pome.”**

Waiting for Godot
got old so I tweeted “Yo
Godot: where beez you?”

Consider the doctor’s waiting room — a concept invented by the Spanish Inquisition. It often tests our patience as patients, plus our sense of irony, a test we will fail unless we finished the chapter on the meaning of irony. Which we didn’t.

The last patient waits
alone with crap magazines,
gut pain, no wi-fi

But when you phone a doctor an automated voice says “If you’ve been gored by a bull, duh, hang up and call an ambulance, though you’re probably too late.” You are then put on hold as punishment for being alive.

On hold forever
to complain about waiting
on hold forever

Many companies that sell call-answering systems are aware that very long holds can make a grown man want to lock and load. Thus was born the idea of providing calming music for those waiting on hold and within reach of a BannonCannon 50.2 cc 2-cycle 4 amp 8 acorn Leaf Flamer.

Um, on-hold music
sounds like Manson’s prison band
and six cats on meth

Not even Richard Simmons could turn explosive rage into warm and fuzzy rage. It can’t be done – not unless another line opens up and you knock enough people over to get there first.

I wait in long line
For kind clerk, while grumpy clerk’s
short line draws sniper

People have been waiting in line since they started handing out brains. It’s too bad brains came just before the eardrum line and not after, because a lot of people thought they were handing out cranes and didn’t bother waiting because who needs a crane to lift a beer?

Speaking of beer, remember when your mother used to say, you need a haircut?

Waiting for barber.
Butt on rock-hard folding chair.
Squirming, re-squirming.

Or “just wait until your father comes home.”

Wait just a second,
you can’t talk to me like that.
I’m your father, Luke

Undoubtedly you’re familiar with the philosopher who reminded us that life isn’t about crossing the finish line. It’s about the journey. A little known fact: that philosopher tweeted his observation while waiting on hold to get an ambulance out to where he’d been gored by a bull.

On his tombstone:

To complain about
waiting on hold forever
one waits and waits and…

*Formerly Molotov.
**Did I mention I’m also very wealthy?

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

Posted in Mockery and derision | 2 Comments

A little secret

Have you ever found yourself running down the dream and suddenly realized you’d lost your self-awareness? The answer is no, because, if so, you’d be self-aware and already know you’d lost it. See how that works? (The key there is “if so.”)

I mention this because I have just stumbled across a new favorite word that is oh so perfect for decorating the despair in our times: ladies and gentlemen, give it up for deindividuation.

Because I took Greek and Latin etymology in college in a previous geological epoch (Plasticscene) and because I did not have to cheat that much on the final, I am qualified to ease your understanding of deindividuation by hitting it with a hammer and breaking it into little bitty etymites:

De: “away from” or “out of it,” sometimes “out to lunch.” Alternately “the” or “de” as in “de feet dey hurty, oh dey doody do.”

indevid: short for “in de video” (Duh). Not to be confused with inna-godda-devita.

u: as in You Tube; alternately “u” as in u.

a: as the Canadians pronounce it, eh?

tion: a formal setting where you are required to dress up (to have de tie on) but not to look up de dress.

Put it all together and you have a word that literally means “a short movie about a natty, out-to-lunch Canadian haberdasher, looking for a lovely dress in all the wrong places, especially Guelph.”[1]

Of course, language is very elastic and sometimes if you stretch a word too far it will snap in your face like a pair of edible undies in a tug of war. Today, deindividuation has come to mean “You aint nothin’ but a hound dog,” with the full implication that “you aint never caught a rabbit and you aint no friend of mine.”[2]

What you’re probably thinking right now is “What is the meaning of this? I’m texting the cops.” To which, I reply “Keep your tion, pal.”

Because, look. Whether writing, painting, dancing or writing about a dancing painter, we artists don’t start out to make a point or send a message. For one thing we’d have to think up something sophisticated, punchy and glib. And it’s hard enough assembling the damn easel and getting the top off the paint cans without spilling. If you’re smelling me.

Besides, most artists don’t know how to use the message function on their device and they end up sending E-MAILS IN CAPITAL LETTERS which, as they are repeatedly warned by their sophisticated, punchy and glib nephews, nobody sends anymore, no how, no way, you geezing hashtag@whatthehellisahashtag.

Thus, in the grand scheme of things, just as Mr. Big planned it, we artists are required only to be artsy. Fartsy, however — finding meaning or beauty, or cooties — is like falling bird-do: totally on you.

So stop trying to figure out what the artist meant. He/she has no idea/idea. Your job is simply to check the box that says “Saw, read, heard, got down, got funky on art: □Yes □No □Um.”

And here’s a little secret. Whether the artist knows it or not, under the Constitution there are only a handful of things any piece of art can legally mean. Seriously. Clip this list and keep it in your sock for easy reference.

What art means:

  • Life Sucks
  • Death Sucks
  • Limbo sucks
  • See that guy over there? He sucks
  • Look in the mirror. Kinda reminds you of a Turbo-charged shop vac, no?

Meanwhile, good luck sucking up to your self-awareness.

1.Come on, everybody knows it’s in Ontario, (and not the one in California.)
2. Not quite Heartbreak Hotel, but then what is, eh E?

©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

Full disclosure

Are you a denier? If you’re not a denier and someone says you’re a denier and you deny it, does your lobotomy scar start to throb? Is it possible you’re in denial? Is it even possible you’ve misspelled your way into Alaska’s Denial National Park? Do you deny that Denali, the huge mountain at Denial, is named Denali since it still secretly answers to “Yo, McKinley?”

Speaking of the late President McKinley, do you deny he is late? Do you insist against all evidence — including an assassination that was in all the papers — that he is merely tardy?

Do you deny global warming? Deny that ice melts? That pigs who never sweat are now sweating their pants off? Do you deny that pigs wore pants in the first place? Second place?

Are you a truther? Do you believe former president Obama was born in Babylonia, moved to Arizona? That the moon landing was actually filmed on a sound stage on Mars? That 9/11 was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by 17,000 carefully chosen secret agents whose names are known only to a cigarette smoking man who vanished during a Mr. Clean commercial on a 2004 rerun of X-Files? (Full disclosure: I just took a Gas-X.)

Speaking of Sculder and Mully, do you deny that the truth is out there? If not, where? Way out there? Or, like, oh wow, man, far out? How far in miles (millimeters, for our friends the millipedes).

If you answered yes to any of the above, please accept our condolences and commitment papers. (Sign and date all, then step into the rubber room.)

If you answered no or probably not, ask yourself: if it’s true you’re not an idiot but you believe it’s not true because nothing is true (which, ironically, is not true) then what kind of idiot are you?

Take this quiz: (Last chance for condolences)

A bear walks into a bar in the midst of remodeling. You’re seated on one of a sampling of bar stools the owners are trying out with the new decor. Do you

1.Throw yourself at the bear to save others.

2.Throw yourself in front of the bartender’s shotgun, shouting “Wait! Let’s hear what he has to say!”

3.Have a beer sent over to the bear. When he takes a sip, shout “It’s not gluten-free, you bear-head. Haw!”

4.Get the bartender’s attention. Hand him a bag. Tell him it’s a holdup. Put all the money in the bag and no one will get eaten by the bear. Take the bag and leave the bar. Tell the bear you’ll beep when you bring the getaway car around. You forget to beep.

5.Deny it’s a bear, with a disgusted “C’mon, it’s just the band.”

6.Ask the bear if he came in for a beer or to use the remodeled uni-species rest room or to eat people. If he says “Did you say meet people?”  introduce him around, but avoid the open carry dopes who like to shoot bears without getting to know them. When the moment is right, ask him if he has an agent.

Bonus answer: Dial 9-1-1. Tell them a mare has walked into a czar. When they ask “Did you say a bear walked into a bar?”  say “Why would I say something crazy like that?” When they say “Sorry. Um, which czar?” say “The one who looks like a bear.” Hang up and go back to your stool sample.

If you chose any of the above, congratulations. You’ve won a two-week vacation to sunny Bering Strait beach. All expenses paid, plus a free, short-sleeve strait jacket.

©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 , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Unraveled pants

Need some quick fame? Verrrry simple: Rewrite famous sayings (see below for examples) and claim them as your own. Alert the media. Bask in glory. Good luck avoiding paparazzi.

I think, therefore I am. (Descartes)
I think. Okay, been there, done that. When do we eat?

To be or not to be, that is the question. (Hamlet)
2B or not 2B? That is a middle seat and I specifically asked for 2A or 2C.

Many hands make light work. (Heywood)
Many feet make scary bug.

Life’s too short to borrow sorrow. (The Delmore brothers)
Death is too long to borrow anything.

Sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care.(Macbeth)
Beer unravels the legs of your pants.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. (Aristotle)
The roots of education are bitter because the tree with the sweet fruit has been chopped down to build a wall around Mexico.

Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t. (Leon Carr)
Sometimes I feel like taking off my clothes before I shower. Sometimes I don’t.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. (Old adage)
If you make a bad first impression, your only hope is to blame it on your evil twin. If that fails, there’s always the “Evil Triplet” defense, but it does require some tap dancing.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by. (Frost)
Two roads diverged in a wood and I said “What the fork? This isn’t on Google maps.” Anyway, I took the one less traveled and now I need a tow.

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. (Emerson)
Beware when the great God lets loose a stinker on this planet.

As a cure for worrying, work is better than whisky. (Edison)
As a cure for worrying, not worrying is better with whisky.

A short saying oft contains much wisdom. (Sophocles)
Piss Oft.

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. (Sign at Vince Lombardi rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike.)
Getting a rest room on the Jersey Turnpike named after you when dead is neither everything nor the only thing. It’s one of those inexplicably stupid things. Get in there, wash your hands, and get out of New Jersey as fast as you can.

He covers the sky with clouds, He supplies the earth with rain, and maketh the grass grow on the hills. (Psalms 147:8)
He sprinkles the land with bugs because they’re driving himeth crazy upeth there.

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things but their inward significance. (Aristotle)
The aim of the artist is always improved by standing as close to the canvas as possible.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. (Peter Drucker)
The worst way to predict the future is to take a poll, which is pretty much what Drucker said.

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. (Einstein)
Everything that can be pickled does not necessarily pickle; everything that pickles cannot necessarily be pickled. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers because he was in a pickle and, necessarily, pickled.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone. (Wilcox)
Laugh and everybody laughs with you but the nun. Weep and you weep alone in the principal’s office, mister.

God gave Noah the rainbow sign: No more water but the fire next time. (Negro spiritual)
God gave Noah the rainbow sign: No more water but The Donald next time.

©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 , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment