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By Will Cantrell:
it all comes down to this
I swear, I don’t know what gets into people.
This latest head scratcher starts when the morning’s news feed flashes a headline about an American from Virginia Beach, Virginia who gets ‘run through’ – i.e.: seriously gored – by a bull last weekend as he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
harder than it has to be
It occurs to me that the other people who live at my house have an absolute unholy fascination with time. These people HAVE to know EXACTLY what time it is – at all times. It’s an obsession. Sometimes I think the rest of them were related to Galileo, Pope Gregory or that our last name was not ‘Cantrell’ but rather, Bulova.
There is a clock of some kind in every room of our house. In a couple of rooms there’s more than one…
Atlanta, Georgia will be closed on Monday, February 6th. I would suggest any plans you may have for doing business with anyone in Atlanta on February 6 be postponed until later in the week – or maybe until the following week. All regular human activity will come to a standstill, no business will get done and hardly anybody will even be at work on Monday. You’d think that Atlanta had a full inch of snow on the ground.
As it turns out, you haven’t really ‘arrived’ in today’s world unless the Internet has declared you dead, defunct or ‘discontinued’ at least once. The reportage of death – or some other rite of passage – on the ‘Net is mostly unreliable. Often an Internet obit is a hoax. So when I first hear the latest rumor about PLAYBOY, it could only be that some digital-age scamps – some knuckle-brains — were screwing around on the Internet…
worrying about fear
Sooner or later you have to face your fears.
You have to confront Goliath,’ the thing that’s always loomed large over your existence – the dead of night dark… the soaring heights… the closed-in spaces… flying … or circus clowns. Goliath bullies you, taunts you and then talks about your Mama. Mainly Goliath means to have his way with you, to beat you up, take your lunch money — and whatever esteem you have left.
no reason or compromise
I once worked for an abusive boss, a man who proved impossible to please. Congenitally mean, and though he wore no eye-patch, he had all of the charm, charisma and management style of your average, garden-variety Bond villain.
After three days on the new job, I knew I’d made a mistake. A year on the job, my misery factor was so high, I prayed (I was a church-goer in those days) one of us would either get a better job and move on — or that one of us would die, though preferably not me!
Dear Young Self: Lately, you can hardly turn on morning TV without seeing someone from Oprah Winfrey to Colin Powell to Miss America reading “A Letter to My Younger Self.” It’s one of the latest media fads no doubt designed to garner higher ratings. If it’s not Oprah or Colin, it’s Tom Brady or Tyler Perry or Chrissy Teigen or some other obnoxiously rich, supernaturally attractive or disgustingly successful celebrity smoochin’ on themselves…
Some things boggle the mind…and then they don’t.
Been watching how Trump keeps rising in the polls no matter how outlandish his behavior is, no matter what he says or how boorish, childish and mean-spirited he behaves.
september is literacy month
We’re always celebrating one thing or another in this country — some industry, product, cause, or way of life — whereby Congress and the Chamber of Commerce encourages the rest of us to show our love by wearing a colored ribbon and opening our wallets.
September is National Literacy Month. Since Like the Dew is highly dependent upon literacy for its continued success, it celebrates the month by having one of its intrepid writers (one of them who can also read) spin a few words on the subject.
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…
Certified Funny by Trevor
That damn cat is back.
I spied the black and grey stray lurking about the backyard on the first morning of the New Year. I’d seen him months before and shooed him off any number of times, but he’s back again. I bet he thinks I wouldn’t notice, the same bet I have about the latest ‘just under the radar news’ story. Maybe the ones who make the Rules of the Road thought we wouldn’t notice…
It's Better To Give
“Not bad,” I say to myself, taking inventory of this year’s Christmas spoils. It’s the “night after” and I’m standing next to the nine-foot loblolly pine felled from the woods out back. I’d had my eye on the thing since the dog days of summer and finally gave it the axe the day after Thanksgiving. After a good, proper and practiced “TIM-BERRRR”, I managed to wrestle the tree along with its sticky, cumbersome limbs through the front door to a spot inside, a few feet from the fireplace.
You’re concerned. And you have every right to be. Every right.
You feel threatened.
You figure even though bin Laden is dead and no matter how good Obama is at aiming those predator drones, there’s still plenty of stuff making you lose sleep at night: Iran, North Korea, deep space asteroids that could be headed for Earth, rising tensions in the Gulf, the Kardashians and the Republican Party just to name a few. You worry about global warming. You’re also terrified that those people over at Microsoft will go through with their threat to roll-out a new version of Windows soon.
Finding anything named after the Deity ought to be easy… very easy… a lead pipe cinch, you say to yourself. After all, its namesake is rumored to be… well… EVERYWHERE. You figure globs of the stuff to be dripping from the branches of trees, oozing from swamplands, being swept from concrete carport floors and dusted from the tops of wing-tipped shoes, like pollen during the high season. The Bohemian side of your nature – and everyone has at least a little – hints you might even find… some of ’em frolicking, like hippies, in a nearby meadow,“nekid” as jaybirds and “up to sumthin’.” It will be easy, you again say to yourself.
For the record, Don Cornelius danced down the precocious gauntlet of the famed Soul Train line exactly once, in 1973. Mary Wilson, then of the Supremes, was his partner.
You’d think that the man who invented the idea would’ve more frequently joined the festivities. But that was not Don’s way …
He was lyrical, emphatic, ‘to the point’ and above all, ‘too cool for school.’ I also noticed, at least I did at certain times, that he had a gleam in his eye that conveyed, not arrogance but the idea that ‘I know something that you don’t (…and I’m still the coolest cat in the room’).
I confess, I took Etta James for granted. I mean it seems like she’d always been around. Like the Moon. Like the Ocean. Or maybe like that monument out on Easter Island. Then comes the sad news: she’d passed away.
The news of her death wasn’t a complete shock, of course. She was ill and had been hospitalized for awhile. I guess that I just subconsciously assumed that she’d pull through. Then I remember the old adage we’ve all heard by now about what happens when one ‘assumes’. Still, I am a little brokenhearted.
Even all these weeks and days later, I can think of him only as “Red.”
It’s one of those “days after.” The market has misbehaved and the Dow is down a gazillion points.
I am at Five Points Station and not far away approaches a man who is anonymous except that he is covered from head to foot in the blood red clay-turned-to-dust of the Georgia drought. The man wears no hat and no boots, but from the look and smell of him, he’s been working hard at something.
Stuff Found Under A Tree
So, for Christmas I get one of those spiffy new E-readers. The gift box just materialized under the small Douglas fir that is this year’s Christmas tree, left there by some Secret Santa.
Several days later, no one has claimed responsibility for the gift though I have a short list suspects.
My new prize was wrapped in a small book-sized (ironic, hunh?) box, cleverly enveloped in gun-metal red gift foil and tied with a wide green felt ribbon complete—and I swear this is true– a bough of holly.
Eye of the Beholder
Almost five hundred years later, after everyone including Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and a plethora of Popes can’t quite figure it out, along comes an amateur who cracks the code. New York based, amateur artist Ron Piccirillo claims the enigmatic expression painted on the Mona Lisa’s face is envy. What’s more, he says, there’s a bonus: if you look at Mona “just right” you can see all kinds of mischief going on behind her back: animals and secret codes and such.
The air is crisp and cool, Christmas music blares throughout the entire free world and even France. These are the signals that a favorite time of the year is upon us, once again: PBS Pledge Week.
Every year, I can hardly wait to see what new scheme the PBS people will try to guilt us into coughing up unholy amounts of cash so they can sponsor even more Doo-Wop Reunions and also televise stuff like the Bowel Cleansing Yoga-Diet Dance Method over and over again.
A few years ago, during Pledge Week, PBS went about shaking us down by digging up the bodies of a bunch of old Rock ‘n’ Roll stars and forcing them onstage to give one last performance.
There are germs in the air.
And stories too.
A writer never knows what winds will carry a seed. Or where a wind blown seed might land. Story germs, I call them and they are found most everywhere: planes and trains and bus stations and bars. Hotel rooms and yard sales and subway stations and barber chairs. I once ‘found’ a story seeded in one of those long, slow moving, interminable automobile tag lines before the days of online renewal. A piece about a grandmother and the tattoo of her new Ferrari was there, just waiting for me.
Lately, I’ve become as fidgety as a small kid riding in a car bound for a place he’s never been.
“Are we there yet?”
The destination is the End of the Recession. Until we get ‘there,’ I am tumbled about in the backseat of an old roadster careening down a bumpy and pot-holed Recession Road. I am hanging on, bouncing up and down, praying that whomever is driving will sober up — and that we’ll get there in a hurry.
I had no interest in seeing the movie, “The Help.” I’d read the book – TWICE —and as any avid reader knows ‘the movie’ is never as good as the book. Never! For one thing, one of the great problems in translating the written word to celluloid is that the film medium typically removes entirely, or drastically changes some of the elements the book’s author left to the reader’s imagination. (You say “TO-MA-TOE” and I say “TO-MAH-TOW, as it were.) Then, there are the inevitable dramatic effects added by Hollywood in order to make the screenplay more bofo at the box office.
There‘s always one thing or another going on with me.
I guess that it’s just the nature of things and as my late Uncle Copernicus would say “Kid, if it’s not one thing, it’s two or three of ‘em.”
My current problem is musical. For the past few days, there has been a song rattling around inside my head–like a couple of loose marbles. I can’t seem to turn it off, at least not for very long. Good songs and sometimes even bad ones are like squatters, the common cold and a few of my relatives: they show up and stay until they decide it’s time to leave …
“You’ve got a weird brain, Cantrell. You really do. ”
I’ve heard the above quote long enough so that I am beginning to think that my accusers may have a point. Well, at least some of the time. Nevertheless —and maybe it’s just me — but now that Hurricane Irene has come and gone, my brain is (still) left with three ongoing mysteries:
When will the National Hurricane Center learn to properly name monster storms in the Atlantic Ocean? In the three day run-up prior to Hurricane Irene (later Tropical Storm Irene) hitting the East coast, various and sundry authorities spent a lot of time urging the 65 million or so Americans in the storm’s predicted swath to “…get the hell out, Irene is coming.”
I have an Aunt Irene and I suspect …
Normally, I’d avoid sticking my nose into a scrap, especially an ongoing scrap at City Hall. However, I bear at least some responsibility for the latest mess, especially since not everyone I voted for in the last election, lost. (An unusual occurrence , one can be sure) On top of all that, I am an expert in recognizing ‘not knowing what the hell you’re doing’ looks like when I see it. Since I’ve been in the circumstance so many times myself, I am even familiar with what not knowing what the hell you’re doing smells like. The latest dust-up looked and smelled like one of those situations and I figured that the City Hall boys could use a little help.
“Look, how shinny and glossy I’ve gotten the dining room table. You can see your face in it …”
“Yeah, I see …but what’s that behind your back?”
“Oh this thing? It’s just an old rag.”
“Lemme see…. gimme that. This is no rag. Is this what you used to polish the furniture? You’ve been using my lucky T-shirt as a dust rag!? Woman, do you realize that I scored the winning touchdown …
I held my breath.
I always hold my breath when the scientists at Harvard sound the bell and tell us to gather round.
Harvard scientists are always up to something, studying one thing and then another. You can never know what they are going to come up with next. Whatever it is though, you can bet that it is going to be life changing; some fun activity that you’ve done all your life and that you better drop immediately or face the prospect of grim death. Or they’ve come up with some new super food … that you have to start eating in order to add about fifteen minutes to your life expectancy.
You have to look at yourself first.
All of the relationship experts tell us that it’s just the mature thing to do after a breakup.
In my taking of stock, as it were, I must testify that I’ve discovered Southerners to be tough ‘sons of guns’. We’ve have to be. The evidence is obvious. Every year, we endure oppressive summer heat, suffer through humidity that can make rocks sweat, and suffer through a cloud of pollen that invades the lungs and otherwise colors everything above the ground a hazy-lazy ‘yellow’. We carry on through droughts, persist through tornadoes, survive floods of near Biblical proportions and put up with the incessant, fake Presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich.
Rhonda Williams recently hit the jackpot! A few weeks ago, the Fairburn, Georgia resident was cleaning out her purse and discovered a lottery ticket worth a hundred eighty nine thousand dollars! A month prior, Irving Przyborski came across a lotto ticket that he’d bought and misplaced a year ago. The Chicago cab driver’s find was worth nine million dollars!
Heartwarming lost and found episodes like Rhonda’s and Irving’s are not uncommon. Someone wins one of those state-run sweepstakes somewhere every day. The jackpot is usually somewhat less than our two friends above, but I have it on good authority that the finder/winners can usually make good use of the money.
“You’re lucky to be alive.”
“What do you mean? How so?”
“You’re lucky that you never ran into a wall, fell down a flight of stairs or into an open manhole. This prescription that the optometrist sent over for you is pretty strong. Your vision looks like its gotten worse. From the looks of things, the doc thinks you’re blind … an accident waiting to happen,” the technician in the optometrist’s office says. Then she hands me a set of gargantuan black horn-rimmed spectacles that could have well been ‘Buddy Holly Originals’.
“Here, let’s try these bifocals. That’s what the doctor says you need…”
“BIFOCALS!? What the …? There must be some mistake … the wrong script. Surely, I can’t need bifocals. Some of my friends even call me ‘Hawkeye’.”
Author’s Note: In Action Comic No. 900, Superman says that he is going to renounce his U.S. citizenship. Well buddy-boy better think again …
“Thanks for coming on short notice, Superman.”
“…my pleasure, Mr. Pres …”
“Also, I want to thank you for walking through the door this time instead of bustin’ through a wall, like you normally do. The last time you almost caused an international incident when the Chinese Premier was hit with that flying plaster. He also thought that you were a little ‘over the top’. Do you have any idea how much the re-plastering costs are in an Oval Office? It ain’t cheap and I’ve already got the Republicans on my butt about government spending. The OSHA folks aren’t too happy about these grand entrances of yours either.”
How long’s it been now?
Since there’s been a good one … a really good one?
Not some ‘governor lying that he was lost on the Appalachian Trail but was really on a love rendezvous in Argentina’ type ruse. (Despite the South American connection, the story is far too local.) Certainly, not one of those tepid Medicare payment scams. Instead, I’m talking about shenanigans of prodigious proportions … a political ‘CYA’ escapade gone haywire, stuff that cuts a wide swath across the length and breadth of the land and makes us question the very sanity of the participants. One of those … a rip-snorter, a page turner, the kind of stuff that sells good old fashioned newsprint, launches new careers, and is fodder for late night comedians – for months and months.
And while I would order up no collateral damage in terms of life or limb, a good political cover-up uncovered can be breathtaking. It captures the imagination –if not immediately the crooks — and diverts the attention of our collective mind from a weak dollar, a too high unemployment rate, and the obscene price of gas.
Lost in Space
Atlantans have recently learned that our city’s bid to be the retirement home of the Space Shuttle Atlantis has been turned down. You can bet that we are more than a little shocked — and steamed — about this and can only view your rebuff as a direct snub to our southern hospitality.
Our invitation was heartfelt, sincere …and besides … we’d made plans!
We have spent the last few days pondering what could have possibly been the problem. Was it our notorious and sometimes ponderous rush hour traffic? Was it our kid’s performance on the CRCT ? Did we have a low credit score? Were you put off by the insufferable pollen which colors everything in sight around here, ‘yellow’ for two months? What NASA? What was it?! What?
One of my guilty pleasures (I have a few of them) is pickles.
Under the cover of darkness, when no one is looking — guilty pleasures are best carried out clandestinely — armed only with a cocktail fork stolen from my best friend, Booger Wadsworth’s last birthday bash, I do a shifty-eyed slink into the kitchen. No plate, no napkin. Just me … the fork … and a jar of naked gherkins. On occasion, I’ve even been naked myself, or nearly so. Oftentimes guilty pursuits are best enjoyed sans clothes. And on the sneak.
The damn thing just pounded its iron fist on the table and said “Give it up, dammit!”
Nonetheless it was a sad occasion. I’d looked forward to the monthly game of deciding whether to buy groceries or pay unconscionable prices for Cable-TV being piped into the house. Lately Cable-TV has become little more than ambient, background noise provided by what surely must be scripted reality shows, televangelists dressed in sheep’s clothing and infomercials telling me that “Individual Results May Vary”.
That I could still play a shell game with cable-TV as one of the players was my own litmus test …