22 June 2007

Best Left Unsaid?

Some random stains on the fabric of sanity - some thoughts are better kept to oneself, and so they are not included below:

1. As we made our way across the country, Ginny and I visited the sights, like the world's biggest ball of yarn, the Humane Society Museum, the headquarters of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and an amazing collection of dried varieties of dandelions. Imagine our letdown, then, when we arrived at the wax museum and meandered through the building looking for the wax exhibits. But the quality of the taxidermy on the mounted remains of numerous famous people distracted us from our disappointment in the missing wax.

2. At the yard sale I spied the piece of wall art I’d been looking for! – an abstract, distorted scene of a Paris sidewalk cafĂ©, fabricated from dingy, copper foil and wire in such a way that it sticks out from the wall in a sort of 3-dimensional representation of a sculpture. Against the oddly-tilted table in the scene leaned a bicycle with oval wire wheels and abstractly misshapen handlebar – my bicycle! I stood rigidly on a table at the yard sale, some distance away from the sculpture-scene and tried to imagine how I would get back into it, hoping no one would buy me separately. How could they not notice that I too was made of copper? – my face like a folded centime coin, one arm and shoulder of exaggerated proportions, one short leg of thin copper wire bent grotesquely into a foot at the end, the other leg sort of a dented metal straw already oxidizing the same as the bluish tint on the lumpy cluster of gens de la rue in the scene.

3. Flush twice; it's a long way to the cafeteria.

4. For me, the hardest thing about becoming a dentist would be getting over my own gag reflex.

5. I found a dragon in a book. I’d a lot rather find a dollar bill in a book, though, because you can’t spend a dragon.

6. I often while away the dull moments with productive mental exercises. This is to prevent memory loss. For instance, right now I'm working on the names of Snow White's eleven dwarfs.

7. I've seen a bug on my windshield with more guts than Clyde showed in that fight.

8. If I told you the real reason Raelene didn't come, you'd be looking for dried blood in my trunk and Raelene's hair on my rake handle. So let's just say Raelene doesn't like to come here any more.

9. If you want to get rid of a skunk without hurting it, you want to use a Have-a-Heart trap. You bait it with some skunk food, sit it by the porch where the skunk lives, then check it every couple of days to see whether there's a skunk in there. You check it from a distance, of course, because - whoooeee if you get too close! I was kind of hoping you'd come over tonight and show me how to go pick up the trap without, you know, whoooeee!

10. If you worked in an operating room and a guy was having a simple operation under anesthesia and someone paid you enough to do this, and you were kind of bored because you mostly had to be on standby during the operation, would you dress him in a Wizard-of-Oz scarecrow outfit complete with real straw and really good makeup? Of course, you’d have to let the rest of the staff in on the gag. Will you figure out how much and get back to me?

11. In the truest sense of the word, “staples” means something you eat, like flour and butter. But if you catch someone really eating staples, maybe the best thing to do is go to Staples and buy some staples and staple his mouth shut!

12. It cost him $2000 for just 48 hours, but Cedric rented a billboard, 40 feet long, on the top of a warehouse near the river, and covered it with a huge sign saying: “Trudy, I love you! Will you marry me?” Knowing she had to leave on a trip the next day, Trudy rented a billboard on the top of a building across the river for another 48 hours and covered it with a huge sign saying: “YES!” That night, fog settled over the river and stayed for three days. Cedric was shy, but he called her anyway. Her mother hadn’t seen either sign, but told Cedric that Trudy had left town and she didn’t know when her daughter would be back. How’s that for the plot of an episode?

13. Kings in the olden days had many pithy sayings which people liked to hear, like "Give him the GOLD!" and "You can marry my daughter." Which is why we should all strive to be like them.

14. The fortune teller told me she saw big trouble for me if I didn't quit smoking. Then she told me that my second wife would soon be trying to contact me. Then she gave me some numbers to play in the lottery. I've never smoked, and I'm still on my first wife, so I decided to ignore that advice. But I have my tickets, and I'm so excited about the lottery drawing tonight. I just have a feeling she'd be right about SOMETHING!

15. The girl in the middle of the back row looked furtively from side to side, as though she thought she was all alone and looking out from a row of bushes instead of other children. She never once looked at the audience. It was as if she thought a large bus would suddenly – and then there it came! The other children stopped singing and scattered, and when it was over, just that one girl lay mangled beneath the huge cardboard cutout of a bus. The audience exploded in laughter at the gag, but for that one girl, it was clearly justified paranoia.

16. The sun was cooling itself in a westerly breeze. The fish were biting, a flock of swallows was snatching mosquitoes before they became any threat to man or beast, and the beer was on ice in the cooler at the front of the little boat. The shoreline was lush with a thousand shades of green. At home, a beautiful woman waited for me to bring home two perfect little trout. And waited and waited. And waited, because I wasn't there! I wondered how long I would be held captive in this alien spacecraft and not be allowed to make just one single phone call!

17. When I hear someone mention cat heaven, as in: “Puffy has gone to Cat Heaven,” I’m really relieved, because the heaven I want to go to is one that won’t have any cats.

18. With my brains and your money, think of all the mischief we could get into at the New York Public Library!

19. Your portion of the national debt is just about $30,000. But did you know that you can buy “Debt Offset Credits”? These are like “Carbon Offset Credits”. For $19.95 plus $9.95 for shipping and $4.95 for handling, I can show you how you can buy these and many other kinds of credits. (For another $4.95 I will actually fondle it instead of just handling it impersonally.) If you call within the next ten minutes, I’ll also name a grain of sand on a beach after you, or something like that.

20. Every time I reach into my pocket for my wallet I find myself shaking hands with my Congressman.

14 June 2007


We think of the NIMBY phenomenon when people who want something done that will alter the landscape don’t want it in their own neighborhoods. It’s pro bono publico – something we all want and need – but let someone else look at that recycling facility or waste treatment plant when they get up in the morning, not me.

It would seem anathema, then, if the very something that everyone wants and needs were also something that would clean up, preserve, and protect a landscape, but if the loudest lovers of the landscape said NIMBY to that.

Recently I had the pleasure, and I mean that sincerely, of taking the train from Boston to Newport News. The ride was comfortable and every Amtrak employee we encountered was friendly and solicitous. The sad part was the landscape from Boston to D.C. – an open dump all the way within a hundred feet of the tracks. It was a steady view of cultch: discarded furniture, tires, rags, and the nondescript paper, glass, and plastic trash that characterizes roadside litter. But this wasn’t mere litter. The imagination struggles to conceive how, through mile after “northeast corridor” metropolitan mile, the embankments look like the old small-town dumps of New England. The very dumps that we eventually closed throughout Maine have been re-created, or continuously created, in the environmentalists’ back yards.

Maybe it’s sculpture, given how ignorant I am about what’s called modern art.

I’ve been pissed for a long time already about the Massholes and New Yorkheads who want to rescue northern Maine from the natives for fear we’ll turn our state over to “development.”

After innocently taking this trip, I’m ready to insist that the Maine legislature send the next governor a bill: No organization may lobby the legislature about the Maine woods that takes support money from residents of other states. From what I’ve seen firsthand, their time, talent, and treasure is absolutely misspent on saving Maine from itself. They need to save their own states from themselves first.

Oh, the railroad right-of-way is off-limits company property? That can’t be stopping anyone from cleaning it up, any more than it has stopped their friends from dumping it; northern Maine is off-limits company property too, and that hasn’t deterred the imperial environmentalists’ foot soldiers from tramping all over the state in order to save it.

- A Damn Yankee from New England
See more tirades at www.damnyankee.com