Son’s Metal ‘Phant

Son’s metal ‘phant–
the oldest and wisest of all
the terrestrial mammals
that we’ve uncovered to date–

has an uncanny ability to get under one’s skin
in a matter of minutes, though

you’d think that such a gigantic specimen
would have trouble assimilating themselves
into such a tight space.

Fortunately for us (and, indeed, the world at large),
proportionality has no place here.

Nowadays

Inundated by swirling squirrels (plural),
my world unfurled and I hurled
at the girl–named Shirl–
who told Earl, who told Pearl.

Word spreads fast around these parts nowadays.
Definitely a far cry from stacking turtles
and expecting some kind of a turtle volume discount.

The world doesn’t revolve
around my every concern
,
I must constantly remind myself;
it simply revolves around
the vast majority of my concerns,
which is not bad (as far as I’m concerned).

Regardless, I’ve shifted my priorities
toward more avian-oriented pursuits
in lieu of proper purpose fulfillment.
I once naïvely wondered if my
blundering about
could be prevented by taking a step too far
off the beaten path. They never manage
the nettles or brambles out there,
and the poison ivy situation
has gotten completely out of control.

At least I’m better prepared now.
Beginner’s luck let me
somehow sidestep preventable peril,
but then the paywall went up. And with it?
All intuitive botanical knowledge (once
freely accessible during the initial trial period)
just up and evaporated, leaving in its wake
a credit card authorization form
and the promise of easy unsubscription.

That was three years ago, and I
still haven’t managed to speak with a human
customer service rep. I’ve called in
every
other
business day
and built a rapport with a quirky AI bot
named Jimmy. He has a perfect memory
and seemingly always has time to talk,
even though the waiting list for a human
operator is still forty-seven months long.

To put it bluntly, this human
mass-extinction has really been ruffling
my feathers. All I want to do is yell
at a member of the species that made
this planet so unbearable to inhabit,
but of course that’s now practically impossible.

Well, I’d always like the opportunity to yell… but
I’d also appreciate crossing paths
with that elusive customer service rep
(a subset of human
that may very well have gone extinct by now).

Public or Private

Pudgy pigeons
pluck plinko players
from plaid plundering,
piracy never preferred
over pragmatic pilgrimages
(purchased with privilege
and pursued with primeval
predilections). Predictions
produce practically no pressure
in this prideful pageant, Professor–
public or private.

Perfectibillies

Sometimes you just need to keep rattling out random strings of words until you hit that one vein of gold ore that you wouldn’t mind blasting and smelting for the cost of three chicken sandwiches a day–though the price of those chicken sandwiches would be in direct opposition to the idea of one’s own self-worth, which tends to be inherently problematic.

On the one hand, I know that chicken sandwiches are really only worth about a few bucks a pop, but if I feel emotionally bankrupt, a double-digit dollar figure may be too hefty a price tag to tack onto my floundering ego (even if imposed as a thought exercise and nothing else).

Some folks prefer to invent misfortunes due to the dearth of such impediments in their naturally-occurring existence. The culmination of all human experience has led us to quarrel with our inner Perfectibillies (those naïve mind-dwellers with the sole objective to get the point across that we used to be a much more resilient bunch in the midst of chaos). We’ve lost our litheness, and it shows.

Very Reasonable

Charper Images Integrated Incorporated® would like to welcome you to the polyrhythmic phantasmagorical spooky kabuki dance theater extravaganza, an annual tradition tracing its roots all the way back to the pre-revolutionary times in a small cattle town outside Kankakee. Of course, we may or may not have any factual basis for these claims, but who does research on this stuff anymore anyway? Everyone will just go on about their business buying widgets for easier daily toiling, and that’s just fine by us.

At CI3®, We can’t stand idly by and let you fine people be suckered in by the global farce of disingenuous corporate lip service we’ve come to know (and even somewhat adore in our own sick way) lo these many years! “Only the most for our customers”–that’s our motto. The most of what? That has no relevance here.

Let’s face it. You’re all going to need to blow your hard-earned money somewhere, so we’ve prepared a world-class experience tailored to your every shopping need. Sound too good to be true? As of last night, you would have been correct. But as of 02:00 GMT today, our interactive holographic technicolor shopping center has just been brought online, and you can waste your cash from anywhere around the globe, 24 hours a day!

Never again will you be lacking an excuse to spend beyond your means! That’s the CI3® guarantee! We won’t even waste your time pretending that the proceeds of your purchases contribute to worthwhile causes, unless you deem stuffing our pockets while we pay no income tax to be worthwhile (we certainly do). Frequent shoppers can apply for our CI3® credit card (the Ci3CC®). There are no rewards or cash-back gimmicks, no bait and switch offers–just a very reasonable 32.99% APR (rate increases to 65.99% after first missed payment, and rises an even 30% with each subsequent late remittance).

Fuddy-Duddy Study Buddy

Do your friends and loved ones sometimes/constantly refer to you as a fuddy-duddy through no fault of your own?

Is your worldview a tad more progressive and alienating than the average bear’s?

Does the resulting existential void leave you longing for a sense of companionship while you burn the candle at both ends to support your workaday lifestyle and inner child?

If one or more of these has happened to you, then don’t you fret! Dr. “Nutty” Muddy S. McGillicuddy has just unveiled his latest invention: The Fuddy-Duddy Study Buddy!

Simply download the proprietary app and connect to fuddy-duddies in your area! The app (short for “application”, for our more luddite buddies out there) is flooded with study buddy knowledge that’s been orally passed down through the last several dozen digital generations (they just upgrade those gadgets too fast nowadays, we feel your pain). We’ve laid out all of the information in a common sense and larger-font format, for an ease of use factor that even the ruddiest and sluttiest fuddy-duddies can appreciate.

Did we mention the app is free? And no, we will NEVER charge you for basic access. However, if you wish to get the all-access scoop (proven to increase “with-it-ness” by an average of 42% over the control group), you can purchase the wisdom of Dr. McGillicuddy in his in-app store: Dr. “Nutty” Muddy S. McGillicuddy’s Miracle Fuddy-Duddy Study Buddy Putty! It’s just as exciting as it sounds! Now you can waste hours upon hours surfing through dank memes and using Dr. McGillicuddy’s Putty to copy/paste them on top of one another, just the way folks used to preserve their favorite comic strips on a stretched-out rubberized pink putty substance that would be stored in an egg of all things.

So if any of this appeals to you, give us a call. Wait, we don’t have a phone number. Well, however you figure out how to reach us, we’ll be here.

Larry Lou Hu

The gaidens being offered (ninja or otherwise) must be propelled by moral turpitude, especially if their turpentine-laced morel mushroom business sends morsels to Larry Lou Hu, that guy who said he’d prefer to die in a mysterious way, like by just not waking up one morning. “Some kind of internal organ thing” is the way he always puts it. I can only listen to his moaning for so long before buying him a drink. “Belly up to the bar, Larry Lou, this next one’s on me.” That lifts his spirits somewhat. He sputters on the tequila, no turpentine necessary in this one. Tequila is actually worse for you (no it’s not, are you kidding?). I then reassure him that he really doesn’t want to die, and that there are multiple ways to die with a purpose, like from getting shot in the back while running from the Chicago police, for one. At least then he’ll be a statistic that goes into a more official drawer down at city hall, and he’ll most likely have people instituting candlelight vigils in his honor, helping to further the message that no matter who you are, the police will kill you. Plus, getting shot in the back is an internal malady of sorts, and you can’t see it coming. “Pretty much fits all your criteria, does it not, LL?” He laughs and shrugs it off.

“I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“Larry Lou, you crazy bastard, maybe I’ll be the one to kill you, with the sheer number of times you’ve said that to me over the years.”

“Touché, Jerry. Touché.”

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