Saturday, April 28, 2018

An Impotent Man

I remember a good joke from when I was a kid: “Were there any impotent men born in your town?” And the answer, “No, just little babies.” That puzzled me at the time, not knowing words and what they meant. So I ran it by my mom, who was always good at sugarcoating things, making them age-appropriate. “Mom, what’s an impotent man?” She frowned and said, “Someone who keeps to himself.”

That’s such a good answer, now that I’m basically impotent myself. In general, I keep to myself. I figure, Who am I anyway? Just another brick in the wall. Just another drop in the bucket. What’s the difference? And I love how she kept it on the innocent side. Because since then I’ve grown up and learned that there’s another meaning to impotent, and probably what she was hinting at with the ‘keeping to himself’ definition.

Still, ‘keeping to himself’ is a pretty good definition. He’s all sad sack, hang dog, long in the face and nowhere else. He’s got a couple dried up raisins lacking savor and flavor. Let’s say. Maybe he dreamt of deserts too much, vast spreads of sand and little else. Or maybe he worried about the humidity too much, kept the dehumidifier on, and now is all dried out. Which could be part of my problem. I’ve been running the dehumidifier constantly, and it looks like it caught up with me. You put a pot of stew on the back burner to keep it warm, pretty soon the stew’s gone and the pan's dry and crusty.

Naturally I’m going to keep to myself, not go out. When you’re impotent, what’s the point of catting around? You’re content to sit at home and watch C-SPAN, old school C-SPAN, not the interview shows, just the one-camera panning an empty Capitol building except for one lone filibusterer. I used to bust a few fillies, at least in my dreams. Now it’s only my eyes that are big as saucers, looking at this Republican wash-out, keeping to himself, impotent like me in every respect.

The great avatar of dried up men everywhere — although now 99% forgotten, fittingly — is the singer Yogi Yorgesson. He’s well-known for the Christmas record “Yingle Bells.” But it's his impotency song “All Pooped Out” I’m thinking of today. Back in his younger days he used "to give the girls the eye, now I only want another piece of pie." Once upon a time he used to “yump and shout,” now he dreams of pigs’ feet because he’s all pooped out. My mom used to buy pickled pigs feet, but I haven’t had any since; think I'll buy some.

So what’s my trouble with impotency? Good question. Mostly age, no doubt. They used to tell me, “Ahh, sonny, get out there and sow your wild oats!” This was the old guys at the barber shop. “'Cause one of these days you’ll be like me!” I’d look at him and not know what he meant. White hair? Needing assistance to his car? Something more? I didn’t know the facts of life. Now I know. He wasn’t put out to stud. He was put out to stood, as in was stood in the corner all alone. And loathing it.

But being impotent isn’t so bad, guys. I kind of like it. No more filthy lucre, as in I’m not even looking anymore. What’s the use, who cares? No more throwing pebbles at girls’ windows and hoping they’ll shimmy down the ladder I propped up. There’s no more shimmy, no propping up. No more sending flowers anonymously, then dropping hints of who might’ve sent them. The flow-er’s kaput, no more anonymess, the only thing dropping is the pp, and that’s a bare prickle. No more big testes, but quizzes still flow easily.

I have all kinds of time on my hands, folks. I mean, what else would I be holding? Just a ticking timepiece, the only piece I need, keeping track of my pathetic days, counting the seconds till the rest of me shrivels and fades away. Put me on a burning dingy and set me afloat; that’ll be the only dingy that hasn’t sunk hopelessly out of sight.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

For The Love Of A Good Sore

We all remember the story of poor Lazarus in the Bible -- poorer even than me -- dogs came and licked his sores. I heard the old preachers of old expound on this passage at some length. By the time they were done, he'd suffered long and they were terrible sores, with one brutal sore right at the nucleus. Of course it took three or four sore points to finish the soremon. Ah, for the love of a good sore!

One of my favorite jingles in advertising is, "Dog’s don’t know it’s not bacon!" Let's say we have a guy carrying bacon in his back pocket. The dog comes running up and bites his ass. Because, "Dog’s don’t know it’s backend!" Now I got another hole where the good Lord folded me, very holistic. My dog’s never been picky either when it comes to food. If it’s related to the meat family, it’s 10 times better than the world’s finest grain.

You get a sore, the sore has to heal. Dog’s also heel, eh? I have a few little sores. Who doesn't. You scratch too much, there's one, then another. And sometimes I get banged up. A cut. And I always hope the same thing, that the tetanus shot I got in 4th grade is still working its magic.

Other than that, there’s always dogs. Just take your mind off your problems. Watch TV, lay back, relax, and let the dog lick you, like Lazarus. It gets so comforting, you might set an alarm. I had a sore on my leg one time and the dog started licking me. Naturally I went to sleep. I woke up and there it was, all the color out of it, like a bit of ham fat from a can of soup after it’s processed in the soup factory. Hanging there, no substance, no strength, just dead tissue. Two minutes later the dog would’ve been bitten it off and I'd've never known.

Pa, is that dog still licking you? Cover that thing up or it’ll never heal! The dog hears heel and dives to the floor. Dives, of course, being the name of the rich master in the story of Lazarus. He had enough of life here — overdosed, I’d say — and had to go to hell, took a dive, dove right in, to a place where dog’s don’t heel, including Cerberus, the hound of hell. He’ll never heel in hell. I’d rather kneel in heaven than heel in hell, amen? For the love of a good sore.

A sore can be useful. It's nature’s bandage, an organic arrangement of blood and evaporation.

Dogs get so they understand the word sore, depending how accident-prone you are. Especially way back when, when they didn’t get treats like today. It's just like you say ‘You wanna go bye bye?’ They know bye bye means a car ride. You wanna go to the park? They know park. One of my dogs knew the word squirrel. I’d tell her “Squirrel!” Her ears perked up like satellite antennae. She’d look for my finger to point the way, even though if she wasn’t so dependent on me she could’ve just discerned it. Then she was off, blazing speed. Even caught one one time, but I didn’t want her tasting wild blood, so I called her off, letting the squirrel live. There was, however, a time when I came around the bandstand and there was a dead squirrel at her feet. It looked fresh with some fresh sores, and naturally I didn’t let her have it. A squirrel’s a rodent, and rodent’s carry disease. That’s why I don’t allow mice in my home, even if they are good for keeping roaches at a decent level.

Milton, he milt hell for all it was worth. Besides him, mythology has Long Schlong Silver (his distinguished appendage tastefully censored with a dime) with Cerberus appearing on the vast hellscape, that three-headed dog pissing on Satan to help relieve his pain. Or something. 

Sometimes, though, as Kenny Rogers said, the hurting won’t heal. You get a sore, it gets worse, other sores pop up, things run, things get pusy and drip, and the whole thing degenerates into a mass of coagulation, looking a sight. There's purpose in that, too. A good sore sets things right, if you tend to it right. Or not, either way a good sore does its thing. Finally in the end, we fall on our sore and die a noble death.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

No Pure Place On Earth

I’ve been doing some camping lately while they start working on my house (a complete gutting, fumigating, exterminating, re-boarding, paneling, shingling, from the ground up). Being away from the old place — with all the associated illnesses, allergies, and pure phobias that go along with vermin, their foulness and even the thought of them — had cleared my head, to the extent it can be.

Stepping out this morning, for example, I took a deep, very contented breath of morning air. Which, just when I’d done so, was spoiled when I looked over and saw a monster of some sort — perhaps a skunk, otter, or groundhog, etc. — moving its way from the outside air to the confined security of a culvert. Seriously, that’s one culvert I won’t get near! One, I don’t believe in disturbing the peace of another creature; two, yes, it disturbed my peace, but I chalked it up as unintentional.

It made me think what anyone in my position would think: You never know what’s going on around you, not fully. But we definitely share this world with all kinds of things, right under our feet, with no way of escape. As it is, ever since I saw Neil Shuban’s “Your Inner Fish” I know how these creatures and I are intimately related. We could sit in peace and break bread if somehow I could make them watch the same documentary and understand it. My brain, as it turns out, as feeble as it is compared to other human brains, is pretty sophisticated compared to the average creeping rodent.

I promptly put rodent-guy out of my mind as to any fear, let’s say, and thought of the impurity of the grass vis-a-vis piss and animal droppings, including my own dog’s, whom I was just taking for a walk for her morning bathroom break. Sure enough, she arches up and poops. Sure enough, she squats broadly and pees, all in the open, never thinking of it again, never caring.

Right away, though, I — much more self-conscious as to the impurity scale — pictured some irate trailer wife rushing over to complain, “You let your dog pee and poop right there?! Where people spread their blankets for picnics and family affairs?!” This didn’t happen, no one came out. But I had a retort ready, just in case. “Ma’am, may I instruct you in the ways of life? There is no pure place on earth that hasn't been defiled by the droppings of man or beast!” I would've gone on to add that if it wasn’t a defilement from the hind end, I’ve seen countless men and a few women spitting to beat the band.

My grandpa was the classic tobacco chewer and spitter. He even did the spitting-out-the-car-window thing, now something of a cliche, where it returns through the back window. Naturally a lot of his spit made it to the ground. So if you were going to have a picnic nearby you’d probably need not just a blanket but a tarp. I myself spit sunflower seed hulls, which bothers me not just for the unsanitary nature of spit but for DNA purposes. I’d hate to have an evil scientist cloning me, and frankly I'm not sure it hasn't already happened.

Anyway, right here as I camp, I’ve seen every kind of dropping from animals. There can’t be one square inch around here — of course the earth has been here since 4004 BC — that hasn’t been dumped on, drooled over or worse. And that's just the deer! No, you have to figure, this is the New World, and Adam and Eve didn’t travel far, but the animals were running riot. Pee parties on a presidential scale, enough scat to shame a Crothers.

But what about the Himalayas? Well, yes, there too. Since it was essentially the same level before continental drift thought of moving. And more recently, there’s all the backpackers, with plenty packed in their backside, and having to unload it somewhere. You ever seen the top of Everest? It’s so slick with offal that's the source of most fatal accidents. And they say you can’t breathe at those heights, that’s why.

Friends — fellow men and complaining ladies — there is no pure place on earth. Maybe there once was, but it’s long since been hopelessly defiled.

---You can't spell PURE without PU! -- That's Earl, folks!---

Friday, April 13, 2018

Subliminal Messages At The Pizza Place

Our world today is awash in subliminal messages. Are you with me so far? I’m not going to sugarcoat it; I know it’s happening. I want to get into it for a little while, first by throwing out this interesting observation: Why is it so hard to get confirmation from the teenagers and young 20s who work there, at the pizza place? Unless...they are subliminally directed not to expose the works! You're seriously taking your life into your own hands when you go out.

I’ve been thinking along these lines basically forever. Really ever since a friend called me behind the barn to the alley once and showed me his Vance Packard collection, including, of course, The Hidden Persuaders. (About advertising and psychology, how goods are marketed and sold. And the crooked shysters who do it.) Essentially each of us exists as pawns in life in a huge game of “Buy my product or die, you filthy animal! Ve have zo many vays of dealing wid chu.'” Yes, I'd love to wave it off and forget it. Friends, I can’t keep going. I’m old. Let me live out my days and die in peace. I give up! Oh, OK, here's my money, where’s your crappy pizza?

Still, it'd be really nice, if I'm headed for my grave, to get my hands around the scrawny necks of every one of these sleazebags and ring ‘em; who's with me? But I already told you I’m old and helpless; I can't keep up. I’m walking around totally normal, let’s say, when suddenly they start in with the subliminal messages, and it’s like I just had a heart attack. I’m stumbling repeatedly, zigzagging like a pinball, buying whatever it is the Hidden Persuaders are selling. Bastards with the fat cat in his office are watching me on hidden monitors, as well as the kids working for them. It's their job to load the data files, aim the beam, and watch me dance this evil little jig.

There’s a pizza place we go to once in a while. I actually hadn’t been there for probably six months. But I always check the price in the window for the buffet, and, believe it or not, it always goes up. Now, about this pizza place, I'm about 99 percent sure they’ve got a subliminal system up and running. Purring like a cat. Whether it’s actually powerful enough to beam messages from the restaurant all the way to the road adjacent, I wouldn’t swear to that. But that has to be the next step. If they’re doing all the beaming and subliminal manipulation that I claim, they can seriously do anything. If I learned anything in the 1920s and the push toward full rural electrification, it has to be Never doubt the possibilities.

And this post isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned it. I post it and they take it down. But they haven't been able to stop me talking, and when I tell folks my suspicions they about lose their appetite. One dude did unleash an upheaval. Were it not for the subliminal messages aimed at us, he would’ve loosened a complete upsurge. But as it is, somehow — miraculously — folks recover and are again famished and can’t wait to get through the door.

So we’ve established the first step, the reach of the beam. The beam reaches midway from where most cars are parked and the front door. We were there today and I was literally salivating; I was about a quart low before I got to the door. And what did the messages say? They were along the lines of: “Our pizza is mouthwatering good. You simply must come through our doors. You are nearing the heaven of refreshment. Our pizza buffet is heaven on earth. This is the afterlife. Be a sunbeam for God.”

So far so good, we’re through the door. Naturally the price has increased a dollar or two since a few months ago, giving them an extra 75 cents or so per customer with which to tweak the subliminal messages. The random price increase is also meant to confuse the issue. Is this pizza more popular or less? Must maintain status among my peers. The rest of the apparatus is upgraded, new software's running, etc., making it hard to pin 'em down, like apples and oranges.

Let's say now you’ve paid, it’s time to eat. This is the tricky part. Because they don’t want you to eat so much that you cut into their profits. But they do want you to eat enough that you realize you’ve eaten, just not a bite more. (There’s other variables, like if police officers are present. I’m sure they flip most of the apparatus off; the times I’ve been there at the same time as our public heroes, I’ve eaten my fill and have had to be rolled out.)

But here’s how it generally happens. You see the buffet spread out. The messages start in: “It all looks so good, but I must restrain myself so that I’m not rude. Many other customers will be coming in and it wouldn’t be fair to deny them a hot selection.” Some pizza’s older than the other. Naturally I want the freshest and hottest, and always take some, but I suddenly feel “sympathetic” for the older pizza and have to take a couple slices. Why is that? Your sympathetic nervous system. It's always conjuring up sympathetic messages, also telling you not to skip the drink machine, observing how lonely it is, etc. And to choose water, being "good for you." Well, guess what? Water's a cheap hooker, but pizza has to be your wife, worth many rubies. I'm there for the pizza! And the powers that be know that!

So let's say you've now eaten your first slice. Around the beginning of the second slice, they’re already on you with messages about “eating right,” “weight loss,” “looking good for that special someone,” “only thinking you were hungry when you came in,” and so on. See how they’ve changed their tune? You’ve barely eaten a thing and they’re zapping you with “I’m full” or “I shouldn’t eat so much” riffs. It's hard to win. Just writing-down the phrases I feel stuffed!

Maybe I'll get them on the dessert! I try my best to save room for dessert. I approach the desserts, I start to get four or five different things, when suddenly I feel I should concentrate on “Quality vs. Quantity,” and brag later about having had a responsible dessert. Where'd that message come from? I don't think like that. I've been a dessert hog since I was three. Maybe two or younger.

Be that as it may, it's desserts at the pizza place I want now. But where has the time gone? It seems that time's run out. In my mind I'm hearing subliminal messages like crazy. That it’s time to hit the door, because, as everybody knows, “Traffic will intensify in the next five minutes. There were six wrecks within 50 feet of this restaurant a week ago today, all with fatalities.” Could that be true?

I'm thinking it over, then my mood is brightened at the door. As I'm leaving they’re telling me, “You need to hurry back. This was the most delicious and satisfying meal of your life. You rate this quality dining experience a solid 10. You must tell your friends — any that you judge worthy of such a pleasant time out. They'll thank you for it. You're such a good person!"

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Wooden Nickels and Eye Vampirism

One of the more famous wooden nickels,
and rare because the plows are usually broken
or tainted with crusted ear wax

No history of Eye Vampirism is complete
without referring to one of the biggest villains,
John "Suck 'Em Dry" Smith

I had to help a friend in need the other night. A friend in need being a friend indeed, this friend of mine is a huge friend, always being in need. Be that as it may, as needy as you are, you're never too needy for me to swoop in and try to save the day. Or die trying.

But this isn’t about how great I am — I’m modest enough to say I’m only modestly great — but about a moment of sharing I had with a doctor.

It started with my friend calling, saying he needed someone to take him to the emergency room. He didn’t want to call the ambulance — and I took this as a huge compliment — because he’d read my blog post on emergency workers basically being in it for the free pastries. I told him I’d be right over, right after I finished the last three quarters of a cinnamon roll. Seriously, it had nuts like a boar, along with about a ton of cinnamon drizzle!

Anyway, I got there. He was hanging by a thread. And we got to the emergency room, where — wouldn’t you know it? — they let him linger on and on while they helped other folks, and walked by laughing with pastries of their own. So we sat in the room. I kept checking his pulse to make it seem like something was happening.

Finally, a guy presenting himself as a doctor showed up. He held the stethoscope up to the patient's chest and said, "Cough," murmuring over and over to his phone, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, no — scratch that, insert yes.”

Even though I wasn’t on my friend’s HIPAA list — the folks they can legally confide in about the patient’s prognosis, everything from their temperature to their pulse, Dr. Yes-No was forthcoming: “Just as I feared...” “What is it, doc?” I pleaded. "This doesn’t look good...” “What doesn’t look good?” I demanded. “I haven’t seen a case like this in ages.” By now my friend was also interested in his case, which seemed dark and dire. “Just as I feared,” the doctor repeated, “You’ve got Wooden Nickel Syndrome.” Of course my friend repeated the words back to him, being generally clueless about these conditions.

I answered for the doctor: “He means you’ve been taking too many wooden nickels,” which means different things determined on a case by case basis, like interpretive dance. The doctor looked at me as a fellow traveler. Our eyes met with an intensity I hadn’t experienced since the time I was heavily advocating Eye Vampirism in early 2002, a hobby horse I abandoned soon after because of a lack of fellow travelers. It’s damned lonely, a life as the only openly-confessing eye vampire in town.

“Exactly,” the doctor said, “Wooden nickels. And there’s nothing I can do.”

At that point — and I’m not a man given to professional confrontation as you might think — I protested violently, saying, “This, sir, is where I must disagree! There’s lots you can do for Wooden Nickel Syndrome—

“True,” he said, “but I haven’t lost a patient yet and I don’t want to start with him.”

Hearing such a lame excuse, and because I had Eye Vampirism fresh on the brain, I stood up and walked directly toward the doctor. He saw the intensity of my Bela Lugosiesque stare and backed all the way to the corner. I trailed him, staring, staring, staring. At last he buckled, and spoke in the grayest shade of monotone, “Yes, Master, I see and I shall obey.”

I stood aside and watched with pride as that man of medicine — thank God for doctors who can be reasoned with — walked calmly to my needy friend and shared valuable information with him, no doubt going well beyond the Physician’s Desk Reference in scope. It's true what they say, the hidden truths of life are the most interesting.

“If you take wooden nickels...” he said, staring into his eyes as he explained point by point the prognosis, its cause and its cure, the positive steps my friend could take to recover once and for all, and many other truths, well known and daringly arcane, “ the end you’ll be fine.” I myself have studied the hidden lore of Wooden Nickel Syndrome over the years, of course, but even I didn’t know that its modern revival is attributed to carnival freaks in the late 1800s, originating as a kind of curse against folks who tried to pay them with wooden nickels. I thought it had to do with laughing at them, meaning, if the doctor's right, I can resume going to carnivals.

All the way home, my friend manifested the signs of a swift and sure recovery, seeming in every way his old self. Upon separating for the night, I restrained myself and did not — DID NOT — say, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” Naturally that would’ve been very harmful. I did, however, use about five seconds of Eye Vampirism on him as we hugged goodbye, knowing I could calm him down without a word and ensure him a good night’s sleep.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Black Helicopters & Jets Are On Me


I’ve recently taken to camping, but now even that looks spoiled for me. If you’ve known me very long, you know I’m a very careful person. I don’t want anyone on my trail, know what I mean? My dad was the same way. When we had to fill out some papers on our family life in 6th grade, he warned me, "Do not fill it out!" if it asked, “Do your parents sleep in the same bed?”

At the time I was unable to see the concern. It wasn’t till I grew up that I realized the school’s basic function was not education, but fitting us as zombies in a totalitarian culture. If they knew who slept where, let’s say, they’d zero in on all our ways, knowing if we were a threat to The Man or The Woman or whoever ruled us now and in the future. Well, I lied and said I didn’t know where anyone in my family slept, including myself. The truth is, I literally slept under the bed, that’s how afraid I was, mostly of the Russians. Now of course they’re our overlords, but I dimly recall — although it’s hazy after the shock treatment and drugs — a time when we as a nation opposed them.

OK, a guy like me does enough “dimly recalling,” then jotting down the scraps of memories, and after a while I can piece together a narrative. And believe me, these bastards have gone beyond who sleeps where. Everything’s computerized now. They can scan your pockets when you walk by the turnstiles and see what you’re carrying, and find out everything about you. It makes a guy paranoid, except naturally for so many citizens who are already zombies. I keep the allowed change in my pockets just like they want, but I’ve hammered out a thin lead jockstrap that keeps my other business undetectable. As far as they can tell, I’m a neutered creature like the rest of the drone class.

How is it I’m able to go camping instead of working in the hives like others? Heh, heh, it pays to be disabled! You know the game toe I’ve got? That slips in and out of place when I need it to? That allowed me to get a special government disability check for the last 20 years? They determined I wasn’t fit to serve the realm. So I have some independence, although of course I still have to be careful. (Please don’t print a copy of this blog, thanks in advance. I have your phone or device set to self-destruct 20 seconds after you read it.) A little computer coating I learned. I know three different kinds of coating: 1) Lead coating on genital shields; 2) Goop coating on clams; and 3) Computer coating. You remember Acey-Deucy? My coat.

Anyway, OK, I’ve been camping. But my crazy paranoia is kicking in again. Mainly because I’ve been absolutely beset with a plethora — another word for coincidences up the yin-yang — of black jets and black helicopters buzzing me. As far as everyone else thinks, they’re just harmless passes, going from one place to another. So why are they always right above me? The scariest helicopter was a couple weeks ago.

I told myself it’s nothing. But its official markings were obliterated by a giant rubber-ducky bandage. Seems innocent enough. Then a voice comes through the speaker, “Enjoy Hell!” That had me worried. However, now — with lots of reflection — it’s hard to know if that’s a positive or negative. “Enjoyment” is typically a positive, “Hell” a negative; therefore, all things being equal, we might just as easily call it a wash.

Then a week ago today, a series of jets started coming over, apparently from the M class of planes, going by their shape. I would categorize them in the stealth group of planes, since they were entirely quiet except for an occasional chirp or beep. I outsmarted them by staying in my camper most of the time. The only downside to which — well, it was twofold — I ran out of groceries the second day — now I’ve got nothing but clams — and since I clean my portable toilet every other day, the bathroom is a complete mess. (I once knew a guy whose bathtub was up to the faucet with backed-up sewage. I console myself with the fact that my faucet is still mostly free and clear.)

One of the jets shot a fearsome bomb of some sort — the shape of it was like a comet, but the substance was more a goo or gel. I called out, mad as hell, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” What else could I say, but of course it was too late to do any good. I collected a wheelbarrow of the stuff, and a science major friend of mine examined it and said it closely resembled Glocoseoxytonicphosphate, which he chose to simply call Goop. Since then I’ve been using it as a sauce over baked clams.

Tell me when this ends! Don’t rat me out to The Man or The Woman! I don’t remember where my parents slept!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My Huge Dog Is Out Of Control

I’ve always been a person grounded in reality. So it’s not a case of denial here, despite what the veterinarian says. To those clowns, it’s always your fault, never the animal. Which is clearly false. I don’t force feed her, she could refuse. I put the food out there, she eats it. There’s no funnel. There’s no mouth brace under the meat grinder.

Whew, glad I got that off my chest. I have such RAGE against veterinarians, which, I suppose you share. Veterinarians are like psychologists, in a way. Psychologists know people and we are people, so we know if they’re right or not. But dogs aren’t people. So veterinarians read their psychology, then think “You’re not a dog,” so you should take their word for it and pay through the nose.

Well, no more! This dog knows what she’s doing when she eats and drinks. And if she didn’t want it, she wouldn’t browbeat me to give it to her.

Actually, the browbeating began when she was tiny. That look in her little eyes was “You give me what I want or you die.” I didn’t give it much thought then because she was so small; what’s she going to do, nip my heels? But we compromised. I’d go halfway on her demands, a little bacon, a little hamburger, a sip of whiskey; that’s reasonable. Once she put on a little weight the browbeating got worse. Pushing me in my chair to face the pantry. Pushing me to the fridge. Nudging me toward the hutch where I keep the whiskey. Then — and we’re skipping some months, probably a year and a half — the pressure was greater. Picking me up by the scruff of the neck and setting me by the pantry, flipping me on my back and pulling me by the foot to the fridge, and demanding whiskey with bared fangs. Leading me to observe, “Jeez, all that food and no dental hygiene and her fangs white as pearl. Has to be the whiskey.”

OK, now I’m on my own. The vet said don’t come back till I’m ready to “face facts.” I suppose I didn’t help myself when I dressed him down, calling him a dog- and cat-killer for all the old crippled dogs and cats that are put down on a regular basis. I even tinkered with the idea of sending him a card on Hitler’s birthday; I couldn’t find much at the card store that was to the point.

I went home, dedicated to making my dog face facts. The first day went OK. She grumbled but I cut the portions way down, a pound of bacon and a pound of hamburger and a cup of whiskey. She looked at me like “OK,” very tentative. But the next day the look was worse, then worse yet. Until she took matters into her own paws, and that’s when the pushing and dragging started. Now I’m compliant, because, really, she’s so insistent, I might be her next meal if I’m not.

Still, you know, I’m proud of her. She’s a like a body builder, only you have to flip the picture. She’s a body bloater, with my hope that at some point she’ll take up a healthy exercise regimen and keep her size but be so muscular that they take her into the service, exactly what happened to a dog in my hometown that was mean as hell. He went to Vietnam. Whether he got hooked on Vietnamese food and booze, they never said. Doesn’t it have a lot of soy?

So that’s how it stands. But how about the veterinarian? He’s a loser. He gave up without a fight. He “knew better,” but couldn’t convince me or the dog with reason. Therefore he was just a bully. And there’s only one way to handle a bully. Go the other direction, leave him in his misery. Maybe he’ll come around with age or die trying, I don’t know.

Yet I still insist it’s not my fault. The dog’s the one that allowed herself to spiral out of control. She got hungry, and instead of rationally saying, “I don’t need these larger portions, I think I’ll look after myself,” she threatened me. Strike 1. I blame her for even wanting bacon, hamburger, and whiskey. Although they are all delicious, and they make dog food to resemble bacon and hamburger. And there’s a phrase, “You old booze hound;” that had to come from somewhere.

It’s hitting me hard for the simple inconvenience (1) and (2) the money. There’s nowhere to move in the house, almost. And the money’s going down the drain. I only have money from Social Security and the disability checks from my game toe. I can’t be in economic thrall to her appetites forever!

All that said, it’s still something of a source of pride that I have the largest chihuahua mix on the planet. I have to laugh. We were home one day when the Cancer Lady stopped by for her annual check. She goes, “Oh, where’s your dog?” I go, “See that couch in there?” “Yes,” she said. “I don’t have a couch...”

Artwork credit: Tony

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Bunnies -- Get Free Sugar

Money’s been tight chez Slump. But the Good Lord above keeps me in His thoughts. Right in the nick of time He scheduled Easter to occur. You never know when it's going to be, but it's always about the same time as the Easter craft sale at the shopping center. As if by design.

Tossing and turning one night, I had an idea to increase sales of my bunnies, based on something my grandma used to say, “Give Grandma a little sugar.” Kiss her cheek and everything was right with the world. Then there was Grandpa, who always told us sugar was the key to good commerce: “You can sell anything with sugar on it!”

But since they died, the world’s been wracked with diabetic fits; everyone I know except me gets them. The neighbor guy, he has diabetic fits so bad there's a special fence around his yard to set off an alarm if sugar is near. If he even hears of sugar in the neighborhood — picture a kid a mile away with a Kool-Aid stand — he goes to his 1950s fallout shelter. Authentically stocked in every way, old vaccines, canned meat, and pith helmets for his family, who by now are grown and moved away or dead.

Anyway, putting all the pieces together, and not sounding any alarms in the neighborhood, I did what would’ve been unthinkable in the old days — when craft sales were the universal craze and you had to beat the crowds back with threats of arrest and deportation — I sweetened the deal for customers. I bought several five-pound bags of sugar and was prepared to give away a spoonful of sugar with every bunny purchased.

I had to do something, because, face it, craft sales aren't what they used to be. They've more or less fallen into abject desuetude, am I right? While there’s still a few old dinosaurs like me trying to keep them going, basically it's no use. Why? Most of us blame the internet. Look at the evidence: You’d have to be pretty dumb not to realize you can make all the crafts you want right at home for a fraction of the price. The instructions for everything are right there. The only thing they can't fake is the deep love we dedicated crafters put into our product. Not one of my bunnies leaves me without knowing I'd never part with it for anything but money.

So I had the idea early yesterday: I would give away free sugar, a teaspoon of sugar with every sale. I tell you, it went great guns. I’d barely set up and a woman came over and was going nuts over the bunnies: “How cute! Have you named them? Where’d you ever get the idea?!” I figured she was toying with me, rubbing it in just before she set them down and vacated the premises. But, no, she was sincere and bought one! But it turned out she didn’t want the sugar. “Give mine to someone else.” She held her belly as if to say, either, “I’m still full from breakfast” or “This is where my diabetic demon dwells.”

To summarize the course of events. Right away, I sold around 15 bunnies and none of the ladies wanted the sugar! I thought it over: 1) More profits for me; 2) I can use the sugar myself; it’s found money; or, 3) I can use it as a promotion to get more people to my table. How best to do that? KIDS! I usually shoo kids away, since there’s no more natural thief or merchandise-breaker than a crummy kid. “Oh, we’re so innocent, we didn’t know the bunnies were for sale!” Or “They must be very poorly made to break so easily, I’m sure Johnny or Sally didn’t mean it! What have you got in them anyway, a quarter apiece?” Dadcrumb, sonofa buck'n, God! ... bless you...

So a kid gets within 10 feet of my table -- are you with me? -- and I'd call them over and get them admiring the bunnies. “Would you care for a free tablespoon of sugar?” This was like 20-25 kids, amazing since kids are more generally dumped by their parents at the arcade. And every kid wanted sugar! Which got me thinking back to my childhood ... If there was a scuzzy old man in the neighborhood giving away free sugar, we'd be there. We didn't care what he was up to.

The great thing about this is, It was a total success! Not only did moms come over and completely thank me for being such a generous goodhearted person for giving their kids free treats, they were buying bunnies to compensate me. More, more, more! Plus, it seemed that just having sugar at my table gave me a better reputation. You seem sweeter if you're seen with sugar! But what about giving sugar to kids without their mother’s permission? I believe it made them happier, since I assumed it'd be OK. And because I wasn’t putting pressure on them, trying to get them to buy a bunny in return. (I know my own parents would've appreciated all the free food anyone might randomly give us.) Which meant they bought bunnies out of their own free will, not as an expectation.

OK, let’s assume most of the kids will survive the sugar. I'm hoping for at least a 90% survival rate. Next year I’ll be giving away other loss leaders. Not just sugar, but sugary drinks, sugary candies, sugary cereal, whatever I can get my sweet little hands on! With a dish of prunes, let's say, just to be on the safe side, if diabetes rears its ugly head.


Previous Easter Bunny Craft Sales:

Local Man Makes and Sells Easter Bunnies
Selling Easter Bunnies at the Shopping Center
Last Call for Easter Bunnies
Boxing Up My Bunnies

The Easter Craft Sale

I'm Selling Easter Bunnies at the Craft Sale

Easter Bunnies -- Is This The End of Crafts?
The Easter Craft Sale -- Post-Mortem

Shell-Shocked -- The Easter Craft Sale