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Number of posts: 92
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Posts by Will Cantrell:
nice soot, kid
At eleven years-old, the most infuriating thing about trying to “apply yourself” is the universe doesn’t always cooperate.
Take the situation in which I’m in, the evening of Tuesday, September 10, 1962. Blindsided by Sister Jean, Sixth Grade teacher at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic School with a very first day assignment to write 500 words all about “What I Learned This Summer,” I’m stumped. Fully…totally …and absolutely!
revenge of the grown ups
It is a fact that if you’re a kid growing up in America in the Fifties and Sixties, the last day of school is better than Christmas!
You’re free, unfettered and unchained. Nothing but blue skies ahead …at least for three months, which is ‘till eternity’ in the Kid Standard Time.
For the next three glorious months, you’re not required to study, sit still, do homework, do book reports, memorize, read, recite, remember or do anything remotely enlightening…
separate but separate
“Sorry for the delay,” the Delta rep says. “2270 is in a stack pattern, circling north Georgia with a dozen or so other incoming flights. Can’t get clearance to land because of the storms. Weather folks say give it another 25 minutes.” I’m no good at waiting. Problem is today, I am without my ever changing ‘just-in-case-there-is-a-delay book I constantly keep nearby. Drat! However, while I have no talent for the waiting game, I can still listen with my naked ears–and with NSA-like aplomb too. It is ‘sport’ I can still do as well as ever and without getting caught.
not eatin’ that
No one in his right damn mind pays “you’ve gotta be kiddin’ me” prices to see a movie — even if it is an advance showing of a major motion picture. I’m willing today because this little excursion is part of my scheme to throw some serious ‘shade’ –- and some serious ‘cool’ –on a despicably hot summer day. I’ve come to the mall multiplex to match wits with Tom Cruise, to see if I can keep up with the on-screen goings-on in the latest installment of Mission Impossible.
Just within the mall, but outside the cinema, the conditioned air smells of popcorn and pastry. ‘Hot buttered’ emanates from the theatre; ‘Eau de Cinnabon’ oozes from the adjacent food court…
breakfast over hard
“Ol’ Obama knocked it outta the park yestiddy didn’t he?”
“Sumbitch always does. He always does.”
“Big O was fuckin’ magnificent in Charleston. I can’t believe he actually sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ I think he knew Clementha Pinckney…”
The conversation was on-going at a table across from where I’m taking refuge from ominous weather. As near as I can tell, their names are Stan, Roy and Tommy. All three are African-American. They are gray-beards, firmly ensconced in the demographic labeled ‘active seniors…
racist act of terror
These past few days I have been frantically trying to wrap my brain around the slaughter of nine African-American men and women at the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston S.C last Wednesday night.
The crime was heinous, profane and an extreme act of cowardice. It was pre-meditated, mindful and calculated. Above all — it was a racist act of terror.
out to pasture
You couldn’t wait to retire. Could. Not. Wait.
In the run-up to retirement, you took stock any number of times. Don’t misunderstand, you told your inner-self for a zillionth time, you enjoyed your career. You did. (Well, mostly you did.) You’d survived every economic downturn since the Nixon Administration (there were six of those suckers), two Middle East oil crises (gas lines stretched to the horizon), more company budget cuts than one cared to count, four company down-sizings…
My current inconvenient and woeful truth is I’ve got the mother of all colds. This misery has all my senses confused and discombobulated …and there’s no relief in sight—at least none that’s not days away. It is times like this that my ‘inner-small boy’ wishes Aunt Lula was still around…
Lula wasn’t my real aunt. You certainly couldn’t find her name anywhere on the official family tree, the one Mom kept folded up in the family Bible. In Mom’s heart though, Aunt Lula was as official as any blood-relation; they had been best friends since they were toddlers…
pain in the ass
I’ve been getting older for awhile now. The whole thing starts happening around the time I’m six years old, though truthfully, it’s entirely possible that my aging could have started earlier. (But since this is my account of the story, we’ll agree it started on my sixth birthday, the one where I was all dressed up in new Roy Rogers regalla as I blew out candles and wished for a birthday pony that never showed up.) For years, ‘my aging’ rolled along in more or less an orderly fashion and at fairly comfortable pace. I paid scant attention to it — except for birthdays, of course. Truth be told, even at an early age, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the concept of relentlessly getting older.
One wryly fascinating aspect of achieving “seniority” is that my senses have become more adept at finding free entertainment. Locating alternative sources of amusement has become almost a necessity these days. Daytime television remains abominable, cable TV is objectionally priced (probably by those same pirates who sell inkjet print cartridges) and the ransom one has to give up for seats to professional sporting events is unconscionable. Also, our local news daily, though not unreasonably priced is but a shell of its former self. It is no longer a joy to read.
Mankind has made remarkable progress in every arena of human endeavor except possibly getting Congress to do anything, getting women as hosts on late night tv and getting speedy service from the local pharmacy. Even in this Twenty-First Century, the time it takes to get a fill or refill of a script can take “from here to eternity.”
Recently, I trudged up to the neighborhood apothecary for a prescription re-up. It’s toward the end of the work day, the place is crowded and I’m at the end of a long line of folks waiting to be served. None of the folks waiting appears to be in a festive mood.
If you ask me what makes the world spin around, I’ll tell you it ain’t love or money or even oil from the Middle East. I swear to God, it’s irony — sheer good old-fashioned, unadulterated irony. Sometimes I get the impression the thing has jumped on my back, attached itself like a leech and hung on like the hot Georgia sun in the Dog Days of summer. Irony seems to stalk me wherever I go. Of course, I’m getting a little ahead of myself… Man, I wish I could take credit for that look on her face! I’d like to say it was because of something I’d said that was righteously clever. I can’t though. But, I swear, the look on her was all quirky and bizarre and priceless at the same time…
Hollywood died last week. No, not that Hollywood, not that Hollywood of a lesser kind–that Hollywood out in La La Land. Rather, it was the real Hollywood, the iconic cherub-cheeked, perpetually smiling man, who cut hair and worked magic over at Murden’s Barber Shop in southwest Atlanta, Ga for almost forty years. Even for some of the legions who know him, ‘Charles Allen Lattimore, Sr.’ could be the answer to a trivia question on TV’s Jeopardy quiz show: ‘What is Hollywood’s real name?’
long in the tooth
“Blah, blah, blah…, sir.” All I really hear is the “sir.” It’s the cashier at a sparkling new CVS who first catches my ear. ‘Course, she’s wearing glasses. Maybe the lenses are fogged over and her vision’s obscured, I wonder. She’s mistaken me for someone older. “Honest mistake…could happen to anybody,” I mumble under my breath.
world cup futbol
Dear Soccer: Congratulations! The World Cup has been truly great. You`ve really outdone yourself this time around. As it turns out, you really ARE a ‘beautiful game.’ You’ve had boffo TV ratings and you’ve inspired a resurgence of U.S. national pride. You’ve even raised our awareness of geography — such as the fact that South America is not really “… Alabama, Mississippi and the parts of Georgia that ain’t Atlanta” as many Americans previously thought. We learned other things too, such as…
duck and cover
If there’s one thing that scares me to death, it’s death.
There’s other stuff that terrifies me too, such as going to sleep and waking up as a giant insect, or waking up Republican, but the visit by the Grim Reaper has always been The Big Magilla. The straight up truth is I’m not exactly thrilled none of us is going to live forever.
computer blues - part II
Just like my neighbor Carlos’ ferocious, man-eating cocker spaniel — or my Sixth Grade nun — Internet password strength checkers can smell fear on a man: Gotta’ get by me first punk, before you can do anything,” each one of them barks. But again, I’m getting ahead of myself…
“What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?” The statement is made by the head of the Credit Card Fraud Department of my current bank and former longtime employer. His cramped office is located in the bowels of the bank headquarters building in midtown Atlanta…
computer blues - part 1
The truth was that I’d have ponied up a week’s pay to watch the guy — if it was a guy — roll those two monster truck tires on board that Jet Blue flight to California’, two week’s pay to watch him stuff both the behemoths into the overhead baggage compartment. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Every time me and my computer get to a place where we finally understand each other, where we get things worked out between us, something goes awry. The honeymoon does not last for long. The threat to happiness ever after often comes from the outside, in the form of a new and ‘even worse than ever before’ computer virus…
a brief & sordid history
You promised yourself you would not get involved this time. You knew all about the probabilities … the impossibilities, really. You knew all about the odds against success, heard Nate Silver — or somebody — use five dollar words like “implacable,” “infinitesimal” and “asymptotic” to assure Charlie Rose the odds were ridiculous. And yes, you knew it was a Fool’s Notion for a grown man — someone who should know better — to think he had even a ghost of a chance of predicting the outcome of a 63 game string. There were too many X-factors a mere mortal couldn’t possibly know. Even the players and the hangers-on had no clue. Not even that Neil DeGrasse Tyson guy or Johnny Cochran, if he were still alive, could manage it.
Moments before, I’d accidentally dropped the TV remote. The thing must’ve flopped on the floor at some crazy-ass angle and flipped the channel to something else. I’d been laughing at a Saturday afternoon Three Stooges Marathon. Now, at the very top of the hour, an announcer, Jim McKay tells me I am about to enjoy “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
Every Blue Moon or so, comes another heretofore unfathomable, unthinkable, damn near frightening moments that causes me to come to the stark realization that life as we know it has very likely just changed forever — and nothing will ever be the same. The first of these moments I remember came in the Seventies when somebody came up with the bright idea you could actually charge people fees for stuff that had previously been free forever…
The Hawk has come South and Hell has frozen over.
I can’t prove these two events scientifically but I am very sure both happened in the last few days. Suddenly, the area to the south of the Mason-Dixon line is the freeze-framed Land of Petrified Cold. Mother Nature has turned into a frigid, heartless, cold-blooded shrew.
It hasn’t been this cold since…
Dear Fate (aka Pure Dumb Luck): A few days back, out of what must have been millions upon millions of contest entrants, you choose to smile broadly on a lady living in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Statisticians tell us that ‘Ms. Stone Mountain Big Winner Lady’ (not her real name) has a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Powerball Lottery. Ms. Lady is extraordinarily lucky TWICE last week then. First, she doesn’t get struck by an electric bolt out of the blue yonder and second, she wins ONE HUNDRED TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!
in these crazy days
I’ve been doing the grocery shopping at my place for awhile now. An arrangement that came about when ‘the management’ (as I sometimes call her) grew weary of me carping about the monthly food bill. So I take her’ double-dog dare’ to”… see if you can do any better, Buster” And of course, the way these kind of things always go, I couldn’t. But I did learn a few things…
Roger’s Fine Foods (not it’s real name) is one of those bigger box national grocery stores located in close proximity to Atlanta’s Little Five Points area.
Who'll Be Infallible?
Black Pope Cometh? Yankee Pope Goeth?
Lately, I am especially intrigued by odds and probabilities. This recent fascination can be traced back to last December when I was pondering whether to pay bills or buy Christmas gifts. The ultimate decision hinged on the odds of the Mayans being right in their prediction of an upcoming Apocalypse. Not long into the deliberations, I was poking around one of those gambling websites that handicaps various events. When it came to Mayan’s predictions, the site promised there “…is a better chance of the Pope quitting or a meteor hitting Russia next February than the chances of…
Real Life Tales
“It’s 12:00 noon for crying out loud. What do you mean; I’ve got to wait for my fries? How can you be out of fries…at this time of the day,” I asked the young woman barking orders behind the service counter at BigBuckle’s, where they boast over 30 billion served.
BigBuckle’s Burgers and Fries Fast Food are nearly ubiquitous as pine trees or television evangelists.
Confession. I’m a junkie. There, I’ve said it. I’ve bared my soul. But it’s the truth, I’m addicted to print. I’ll read anything that happens to be in my line of sight no matter who put it there: bestsellers, bathroom walls, drug store rags, Proust, skywriting and self-help books (though it’s arguable any of these have ever worked on me). Non-fiction works, the works of Scott Turow, the fine print on bottles of analgesics…
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
I think of myself as a realist. A diehard realist. I believe I am truly a child of the Age of Reason. But can reason explain all things, unlock all mysteries? Don’t think so. My Uncle Lehman, for instance, my Aunt Mary Grace’s husband, could talk warts off. As I write this, I can see you shaking your skeptical head. Well, I didn’t believe it, either. Nor did Meredith, my first wife, who once was his “patient.” But he did it anyhow, and it couldn’t be called faith healing, for the subject’s disbelief was no deterrent to the cure. You ready for this? We go by their house one night in Read on →
Grandpa was a quiet and gentle man. Grandma did most of the talking. He was over six feet tall and she was a little over five feet, feisty and independent. They obviously had agreed that he would make the big decisions and she would make all the small ones. All of the decisions were small. I was four years old when my brother and I were sent to live with Grandma and Grandpa, whom I called Papa, during World War II. My father was away, not at war because he had failed the medical, working on the railroad tracks and bridges. Read on →
Responding to criticism that its soft drinks contribute to epidemic obesity in America, and that it hooks kids on the sugary sodas like Bill Cosby giving away Quaalude Jell-O shots to kindergarteners, and that it has funded research to confuse Americans about how horrible soft drinks are for human health, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. said it is thinking doing something – but probably not. “Sure, we could recall all 600 billion soft drinks Americans drink on an average day, and you could make the case that these sugar-packed sodas contribute to the nation’s appalling weight gain, in the same way you could Read on →
“Well, then, ask me your questions. I won’t be around forever.” That’s what Floyd told me a few years ago when I said that just when we get old enough to ask the right questions of our parents and grandparents, they’re all gone. Floyd was true to his word and did not last forever. He is now gone, six months short of his one-hundredth birthday. I was assured he died without pain and without lingering more than just a few days. As a rabbi friend told me once about the way my mother died instantly from a stroke ... she was taken wit Read on →