Preface: All we can really do to stay sane is make observations and somehow find it entertaining.
A spoof on the human condition
Tripping Over Dust
“No one can keep up with the dust. Dust is the true barometer by which we are reminded of how much time has passed, and within which we are eternally immersed.”
Clovis Bigglebee was standing outside a day-old bread store waiting for a sandwich to happen when he met his wife, Wanda. He was busily calculating Cyberkinetic morph ratios in his head at the time, and a compelling thought occurred to him. The first thing he asked Wanda was “which direction do you load a toilet paper roll?” When she said “overlap”, he immediately asked her to marry him. It just so happens that she had on a “Yikes Super Bra”, “Holy Mother of God Underwear”, and “Sheer Nonsense Pantyhose” that day and was feeling very chipper. During previous courtships, most women Clovis dated would leave underwear or a toothbrush at his house, she left Tupperware. He found that odd, but endearing, and he told her so. Wanda was more than happy to shed her old maiden name, Wartwhacker. It had been a source of consternation her whole life. Clovis had always wanted to get married and now his wife was Wanda Bigglebee. He bought her a wedding “spring” instead of a ring so, if she got bigger, it would expand. Clovis had always made meager attempts to stay in shape. He burned most of his calories dusting off his exercise equipment.
Their neighbors and best friends, the Follinofski’s, were descendants of one of those old West families who were named after what they did, like the Smiths or Carpenters. The Follinofski’s were named because they kept falling off their horses. The Follinofski’s, Fred and Fanny, didn’t get along too well. He had more money than he could burn and it caused some strife in the marriage. Fanny liked to pester Fred. To make light of her taunts whenever the Bigglebee’s were there, Fred loved to say in jest, “The only way to fight a woman is with your hat…grab it and run!”
The following summer, in the next town over from Brokenyoke, Arkansas, Carla Crumbcatcher, Condo “pool queen” from the Breakwind Condominiums, chaired the ‘Rodent Awareness Weekend’ opening ceremonies. When the residents weren’t floating around in the pool with their water noodles, they would be minding someone else’s business, or someone’s dog’s business. Rita Rubbernecker, her head turning quick with rapid glances to see if she were being watched, and her chihuahua Goober, would try to stealthily speed off after they did their business and you’d hear Sara Bellum scream from the pool, “I saw that. Get your butt back here and pick that up!” Sara was usually looking for any excuse to celebrate. She had a cut on her elbow. “I cut myself putting the Band‑Aids away”, she laughed. The irony escaped most of the attendees, as there was an abundance of alcoholic beverages being consumed. Dental hygiene was not Sara’s strong suit. She had drifted from barn dance to barn dance in recent years in search of a dance, but was most times left at the barn. Most of those in attendance at the pool started to lose interest when who showed up but Clovis Bigglebee from Brokenyoke. He hadn’t been out of earshot of a chicken his whole life, so listening to the cackling of Carla, the condo queen made him feel right at home. Clovis got to talking with Ms. Crumbcatcher and they got on the subject of how there are entirely too many commercials on television nowadays. Clovis said that his hometown newscaster and weathergirl Donna Dewpoint did her last story on the evening news about how hemorrhoid and diarrhea commercials were outlawed in China during the dinner hour because people were losing their appetites. “The Chinese need all the nutrition they can get in order to maintain their trade surplus over the United States, you know.” Donna spoke in a far out, ethereal way as if her thoughts were merely dreamt. Her mind was too big for Brokenyoke. The people there seemed small minded. She described the effect of living there as “plowshares of ignorance glancing sparks off dirtclods of intolerance”. She knew that only a jackass would argue with another jackass and yet that was exactly what she experienced there. That was enough to make her want to move away. She gave them a piece of her mind, and now there was nothing left.
That weekend, at the local hotel where out-of-town business visitors would usually stay, a suspicious unattended bag, who went by the name of Density, sat in the lounge. She had just arrived from a trendy new boutique. She sported a remotely operated hairdo, all the rage at the time. She could push a button to make her bouffant slowly rise up, then push the button again to make it fall elegantly. She let her hair down at the bar. She had meant to put down some loose change, but she had much more hair than money. Cosgrove Hairpile, a local hairdresser witnessed the whole display and was immediately smitten with Density. Density’s mother had wanted to name her “Destiny”, but spelled it wrong. The name stuck. After several stiff drinks, Cosgrove and Density stumbled into the night. A visitor from Dogslobber, Iowa had been in town a few days trying to get away from a problematic relationship. He was using the newspaper to hide behind mostly, but having had no choice but to read the paper, noticed an ad for a new store, “Bedrash and Beyond” for people who could barely get out of bed, and the new shampoo called “Nogginwash”. Miss America was on tour and happened to be in town for the day. A small group of reporters had gathered around her at the end of the bar and were asking her some questions. “Would you do anything to help crime?” Her response…”Yes, I always wanted to rob a bank.” Another reporter asked her, “What would you do to help save the human race and planet Earth?” She said “No problem, we can eventually mold a new planet out of our landfill materials.” Later that evening, a local entertainer was impersonating Katherine Hepburn doing a rendition of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. The audience was spellbound by the performance. One patron who had consumed a large quantity of raw broccoli appetizers expelled gas in such a violent manner that it was thought to have altered the rotation of the earth slightly for several seconds. The impersonator stopped to catch his breath, but there was no oxygen left in the room and he passed out. Some local teenagers were driving past the bar on their way to Mount Runamuk and stopped about a half block down the street to pick up one of their buddies who was waiting for them, leaning up against his Dad’s gun case, when the broccoli induced eruption occurred at the club. He fell into a pile of old army bullets. One of them went off but was, fortunately, stopped by his wallet full of fake I.D’s. Later, up on Mount Runamuk, the boys gazed at the stars, pondering the true meaning of the days events. One of the boys concluded, “This town’s like jello. One wrong move and the whole world knows.”
The following Friday, down at the “Wits End” bar, a production company was filming an episode of the new soap opera, “As the Argument Weakens”. Several of the cast were trying shots of a new liquor. The label on the bottle read “Dr. Spock Vodka…It’ll make your ears point.” The star of the show, Biff Starlow, came to a screeching halt outside the bar in his new Dodge “Hangover”. He was running late and he looked very disheveled. He had had an unsuccessful drinking career, so he took up acting a few years earlier. His day had not gone well so far. He had been stood up by a woman, and knocked down by a car. The night before he had visited the new bordello, ‘Cleopatra’s Mattress’. Another car screeched up behind Biff Starlow’s. It looked like a wolfwoman driving a jaguar. She was a wretched mess, destined for low level luxury. She had just purchased an outfit from a clothing store called “The Fashion Hole”. She had fibrous mango residue in her teeth and had apparently not been keeping up with her eyebrow maintenance program. She sounded like a combination of Bob Dylan, Ronald Reagan, and Floyd the Barber. The members of the cast called her Buffalo Betty. She was a groupie who didn’t have much to do. She would always show up during filming, hoping to be an extra. She was hairy, hot, and sweaty and had toenails like J. Paul Getty, but they loved her just the same.
Meanwhile, at the board meeting taking place up in the administrative office of the “Fashion Hole”, grandiose ideas filled the room. These Board Members had nicknames for each other modeled after Ancient Greeks. One was “Birdbrainicus”-Ancient Greek Nitwit. The second was “Articules”, the Verbally Resplendent, and the third was “Hideocritus” philosopher specializing in hideous mediocrity. Together they had come up with some wacky ideas over the years. Their answering machine at the reception desk said, “We have an ‘outstanding’ customer service department. They are ‘out standing’ on the front porch smoking cigarettes right now.” The company succeeded in spite of itself. They were considered by their loyal customers as being way out on the edge. One of their biggest sellers was a sweater made from the bellybutton-lint of movie stars. In one of the offices, a design manager named Ronnie Roadrash briefed his new secretary, Pixie Glert. “You are going to overhear things that you shouldn’t, Pixie”. “Just remember, you’re supposed to have a short memory, and don’t forget it!” Pixie tossed her candy wrapper on the floor and dug her heel into it. Ronnie asked her to pick it up and Pixie replied, “Why do you think they call it refuse? Most people refuse to pick it up.” Pixie’s son was a troubled carnival worker and, as a kid, a bit masochistic. One time he got a spanking by Pixie with a wooden spoon. It broke, so he ran out to buy another one.
At the local “early-bird” special in Greater Ache, Alabama the silence was deafening. You could hear the collective groaning and creaking of eyebrow hairs sprouting in reckless abandon from the patrons thereabout quietly dining. You could hear an occasional grunt or the clearing of someone’s throat or someone saying “Huh?!”. Many a tidbit of conversation was stopped cold by an ear canal heavily congested by a tangling of ear hair. All was not about pleasantries and the daily offerings of joy that retirement can sometimes bring, but oftentimes it was about the soup that was cold, the bread that was stale, or the waiter who apparently hadn’t bathed. You could hear accusations of stinginess, slovenliness, and graft. There were toupees noticeably tilting and jello chunks that had made the fateful, silent journey from fork to floor. One elderly gentleman, having heard too many details about his wife’s incontinence prevention asked her, “Can we have serenity now, and talk about Serenity-Pads later?”. Another couple at the bar was approached by a Jehovas Witness and asked, “Have you found God?” The wife answered grudgingly, “No, why? Is he missing?” Another gentleman, trying to be funny, was complaining that a Martian had folded his t‑shirt wrong. It all came to a head when someone started to choke after ordering the latest orange juice derivative, “Nothing but Pulp”. Fortunately, the fry cook knew the Heimlich maneuver. When the pulp was violently expelled and the excitement finally subsided, the early-bird crowd filtered out through the front door into the glaring sun with their gigantic wraparound sunglasses to live another day.
A busload of locals had gone to Memphis for the Graceland tour. The usual introductions were taking place as the tourists mingled out front. “Hi, were from Wisconsin. I’m the big cheese.”, said one man. The guide started the tour in the kitchen, “In this freezer is a half- eaten ice cream Sunday from Elvis and Priscilla’s first date”. On the wall were some photographs of some of Elvis’s suspect offspring. It was fascinating to some, especially a local realtor lady who told how she used to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood. Her feet looked like she ate candy laced with plutonium. She had elongated metatarsals that looked more like fingers than toes. Apparently a government nuclear facility had been operating there when the lady was little. She suspected that that was the reason she could never have offspring. She had tried to sue the Government, but gave up. ” It’s better to be ‘barren and sterile than starin’ down a barrel”, she said. It was a clear reference to Government intimidation. Gravitational pull had gotten the best of her. The gleaming gold ornamental bicuspids that she had recently purchased were her most noticeable beauty upgrade. As she was leaving, they all waved goodbye to her and her dog Pomeroy. As her car pulled out, it back-fired. Everyone dove for cover. She stuck her head out the window laughing and shouted, “It gets me where I want to go, I’d better keep it”. As she drove away, a bumper sticker clearly read “Dog is my co-pilot”.
Down at the local police station a guy was being interrogated. He described a getaway car to police as “a Powder blue Daewoo Legauza CDX 2003 luxury edition”. The interrogation team realized that only the actual owner would know a car description in that much detail. They cuffed him with complete confidence that they had their man. Even if they were wrong, they felt that anyone who would own such a car should be arrested anyway on general principals. Either way, that was Memphis justice. The owner of the Blue Daewoo, Gerber Sniffleberry, was a mailman who had been hoarding product samples rather than distributing them. A list of items found in the Daewoo were “Big Bang popcorn”, ” Tuba Toothpaste”, “Biohermitage Hemp Dressing”, ” Pollywanna Crackers”, “Captain Siamese-Twin Cereal”, and “Starterchex” a crunchy new cereal for babies. It was more than the judge could bear, the local citizenry being deprived of the benefits of such fine new products. Gerber Sniffleberry was sentenced to six months on a different route in a neighborhood that had a high population of dogs. He traded the Daewoo for a Dodge “Rambo”. It would give him the defensive edge and getaway power that would be required on his new route. One time he was getting chased down the sidewalk by a strange looking, rather large dog. It was either a chihuaberman or a Great HuaHua. It was a mixed breed of Great Dane and Chihuahua. Whatever it was, Gerber ran like hell to his Dodge Rambo to get away from the giant lumbering beast with the tiny head, all the while throwing his new samples of Barbie Tree-food spikes at the beast to hold it at bay or at least slow it down. He got into the car just as he nailed the dog with a bottle of Tubby McGumpkin’s hair remover. The little Chihuahua head was stuck in the door. The stench of medieval dog food breath quickly filled the car. Gerber reached into his mailbag before passing out, pulled out the last Barbie Tree-food spike sample and knocked the yapping freak dog unconscious. When he came to, the Great HuaHua was gone. Gerber crawled out of his car and completed his route. Mr. Sniffleberry later went on to start the “Let’s Breed Sanely” foundation for dogs.
Down on the South side, Hugh Manatee was attentively viewing a new movie, “Crouching Grandma, Terrified Child”, when into the room sauntered his arch-nemesis, “Cape‑Wearing Man”, a neighbor who would pop in, at first intimating that he was there to stop some sort of crime, but then pausing as if he weren’t sure why he was dressed as a super-hero in the first place. This went on for months until one day Cape‑Wearing Man was walking down Main Street and the alarm bells went off at the bank across the street. It was at this point that the true nature of Cape‑Wearing Man’s valor became painfully apparent. He looked straight forward, started whistling a tune, as if oblivious to the bank heist occurring in his midst, and at his first opportunity, darted around a corner and disappeared.
Upon boarding the new “Reality Airways”, Heather Liplock, in her first official flight as a stewardess couldn’t help but notice the immediate sensation of being coughed on and generally being nauseated by the sound of people clearing their throats. She had been briefed on this during training and had received commendations from the directors of the fledgling airline for providing the impetus to implement a novel approach to the phlegm problem. Heather announced with precise hand signals so that she would be clearly understood, “Please fasten your seat belts after you have settled in. There is a ‘throat clearing’ area at the back of the plane. We strongly suggest that you take advantage of this opportunity to clear your throat. Anyone who is entertaining the idea of coughing up phlegm for the next three hours must understand that Reality Airways does not consider this to be a realistic option. Making noises with offensive phlegm is not permitted on any Reality Airways flight. Also, we serve pretzels in bulk to keep the cost of this flight to a minimum. You will be given a half pound of pretzels out of this hermetically sealed, fifty pound box. The date of manufacture is clearly marked so you can be certain of their freshness. Any remaining pretzels at the end of the flight will be given to anyone who wants to take them home. This ensures that you won’t be eating out of the same box of pretzels on a future Reality Airways flight. Thank you, sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet of the cabin and all the pretzels you want.” The End
22,000 years earlier, a cave man went to pick up his date. He left after waiting forty-five minutes. She wouldn’t go out until she shaved her legs, waxed her lip, brushed and flossed, primped and teased, plucked and dyed, gargled, manicured and pedicured. It was the beginning of the end for spontaneous interaction between men and women. It is a theory being bandied about in Anthropological circles as to why the Neanderthals became extinct.