Category Archives: Prose

Of Cats and Men

I’m sitting on the floor of the barn, Indian style, at the farm where I grew up. I’ve got literally four cats either on my lap or curled up directly next to me, and several more cats are nearby, because I’ve just put out food and the entire cat population is there to visit.

Suddenly a neighboring tomcat that’s a bit of a bully comes charging in at full speed.

All of my pet cats scatter.

Tomcat notices me and puts on the brakes. Tomcat just happens to do this while positioned on an empty feed bag.

Tomcat becomes surfer cat as the feed bag acquires tomcat’s momentum, and he skids the remaining six feet, leaning back, eyes wide … wider … super wide. Hair standing on end, ears laid back, horrified at the thing happening to him.

Tomcat and feed sack slide ever so precisely to a stop, roughly two inches from my crossed legs. Still leaning back, looking like he’d rather be anywhere but here.

I lean forward and, not sure what else to do, let loose with a single shout: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

Tomcat disappears so fast, if we lived in a cartoon world, the shadow image of him would have hesitated and then snapped away after him like elastic, leaving a cloud of smoke in his wake.

Possibilities and Chili Fries

I quickly put my newfound powers of possibility to good use. At Hollywood Grill with Adam and Moriarty one day, I felt a certain craving. I said, “What I’d really like are nachos, but not with chips, with french fries. I had some at ESPN Zone for a work party at the end of a huge project, and they were the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Crumbled bacon, sour cream, melted cheese, green onion, piles of olives, all seasoned and spiced. That would really hit the spot.”

The waitress came out. “What can I get ya, hon?”

“Look, I know it’s on the menu, but I have to ask. Would it be possible to get the nachos, but without the nachos, and with fries instead?”

She looked at me for a long moment.

I tried again. “I mean, all the nacho toppings placed on top of a big plate of fries.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Adam clapped me on the back. “You really talked to her! You convinced her of the possibility, and she went for it! That’s how it’s done. Wrong on, dude.”

“Wrong on? What are you talking about?” asked Morty.

“It’s sort of an inside joke. Scott and I realized how much we both like to be right, so we decided to embrace being wrong to get over the hangup. See, there’s this racket about-”

“Wait, is this Landmark stuff? I don’t want to hear it.”

“All right. The point is, we say wrong on instead of right on, but it’s just a joke.”

A few minutes later, the food came out. Indeed I’d gotten my fries with nacho toppings. Sad, Hollywood Grill toppings, which meant cheap greasy cheese and a lump of ground beef along with a couple of wilted jalapenos on a plate of undercooked fries. No olives, no green onions, most definitely no crumbled bacon or sour cream, and I knew well enough that the fries wouldn’t be crinkle cut, not the way I really liked them, not the way ESPN Zone did them. I got exactly what I asked for, but not at all what I wanted.

When the bill came, I saw the waitress also solved the problem of figuring out the proper price by just charging me for both a plate of nachos and a plate of fries, no discount for the missing chips. Fair, I guess, but disappointing. Even worse, Adam kept talking about it for weeks, unwittingly reminding me about the bad outcome.

Horseshoes in Aspen

Now I confess. I had played horseshoes exactly once, one week before, at my office summer picnic. And even then I’d been taught by someone who seemed to be making it up as he went. So with a complete lack of care I just made up whatever seemed fun. I knew about ringers, and the cliche about being close, and I may or may not have been fudging when I had special rules for leaners, danglers, sliders, burrowing bees, hellsmount footpads, and one special combination I liked to call a “reverse Mormon.”

All the same it was a good time, both our spirits brightened, and when Langston finally beat me 24a to seventy-blue, we agreed neither of us had had such fun since the Great Wumpus Rumpus of ought-four.

Low and Bee-Holed

Now I don’t want to be pidgin holed as one of those P-brains (or pee brains, even) who gets too obsessed over a little thing like spelling, when for all intensive purposes we can usually understand each other well enough, but sometimes you’re words really due matter.

Aisle admit to some fussiness. I apparently have a deep-seeded need to correct verbal foe paws when I see them, ranging from stray apostrophe’s to unnecessary quotes put around ‘words’ for emphasis, but as the mourning star shines, what really makes me cry grate crocodile tiers of frustration is the spelling error. Even when I’m not a steak-holder in the matter, such as someone else’s conversation on a discussion bored (you really think they’d be more exciting), I still feel the kneed to make corrections. Old King Coal was a merry old sole, but apparently I’m a reel stickler for details.

Whether it’s big causes like visualizing whirled peas or helping those starving euthanasia, down to the most miner house-holed conversations, proper communication is key. It *should* be as easy as pi, but four sum reason it’s knot.

For example, recently Eye replied to an appalling posting which red, “your in this country, learn the language” with an offer to make the poster the first deportee, but my suggestion only earned an unappreciative “yore a jerk.” Their may be a colonel of truth to that, but I still think it was the foolish poster who looked bad for making such a silly mistake. You simply can’t expect someone to take you seriously while you’re talking about a title wave, or a device that scans for finger prince, or most especially if you’re trying to peek customer interest in a sneak peak of your product. Precise spelling gets a bad wrap at times, but you’ll be mocked if you mangle the lyrics to Comma Chameleon, and calling someone a no-nothing will only cause readers to glance askance at the extent of your own knowledge (unless the principal of the double negative means you really intended to call him a “something-something,” which may be fare game.)

In the same vain, if you try to take the reigns, be prepared for “your royal highness” jokes–far less likely to get any kings or queens than jokers and lumbar jacks. As the great barred once said, “Two bee, ore not too B.” Or was that a line from The Malty’s Falcon? I always get those too mixed up.

But that pails in comparison to the thyme my brother warned me to (and you’ll have to pardon my French here) “look out for the big asshole” in the parking lot, and as I looked around for an improperly behaving pedestrian or vehicle, I ran through the big-ass pothole that he’d been trying to pointe out.

Now some may argue that the time spent trying to be precise is waisted if other people can figure it out anyweigh, but in my mind it’s shear arrogance to save yourself the trouble of doing the thinking if it puts the burden on the udder party. If you don’t have your queue stick lined up with the Q ball, don’t make it my fault when your intentions go a-rye. Even if you have the best can-dew, never-say-dye attitude, I refuse to let your across-the-bored misspellings make a lyre of me.

Mostly it’s the principal of the thing (have Aye used principal already? My apologies if the repetition wares on you), that if you have a capitol idea to share butt know-buddy is abel to understand it, then you mite ass whale not bother.