Credibility

The Cro-Magnon magnate
of sponge cake diversity
reared his ugly head last night,
just as I’d exited the bath.

I said “begone, damn caveman!
Get out of this place!”
The tremors in my voice
betrayed my cool exterior.

Wearing a towel at the time,
I had no use for losing any more
credibility.

He leapt once, stood still–
leapt again and planted himself;
scratched the small of his back.

After some minutes of this,
he began looking around as though
he’d never seen the place before
(even though he’d clearly been there
for some minutes).

What a nut,
I couldn’t help but think to myself.

By All Accounts

As a younger man–though old enough to know better–I once navigated a rather cryptic epoch during which I chose (wholeheartedly or pigheadedly) to stick with my plague-rich mentality of promotional ice cream lotteries, confident in my god-given ability to strike it rich. With my trusty two and a quarter inch nail at my disposal, I scribed the five luckiest numbers ever known to man and beast in my favorite subterranean cave, positively declaring an end to the ceaseless turmoil of fumbling around in the cosmic muck for a few measly digits that–at one of my lower points–I thought would elude me as long as I were to inhabit this particular body. I then hastily chucked good ol’ Rusty (that’s what I called my long-suffering galvanized friend, knowing that his kind doesn’t rust for decades–a joke we shared on countless occasions) into the nearest ravine, a flourish that would–by all accounts (payable or otherwise)–bring this self-imposed trudge to a meaningful conclusion.

Boy, what a boneheaded mistake. No sooner than I’d comforted myself with that symbolic nail toss, a magpie hopped on by and casually reminded me that the most lucrative lottery drawings typically have six numbers. I wept, knowing that I’d severed the most rewarding relationship of a lifetime under the false pretense of a free scoop of rocky road at a participating Neddy’s® Frozen Custard.

I shaved and went back to my old CPA job.

(Nothing More, Nothing Less)

Let’s take a look at the specials, shall we? Ah yes, the infamous Reuben Dip! Once heralded as Middle America’s foremost club dance from 1963, a clever chef has converted it into an open-faced sandwich comprised of corned beef, Swiss, kraut——you bloody well know what comes on a Reuben. The kraut does have a tough time sticking around, which means that the Swiss is really pulling double time to blanket all of its unruly counterparts for the purposes of a successful thousand island dip (and, of course, more than just one dip, because what kind of sandwich would that be, falling apart after just one dip!?). All of this just goes to prove that you really can’t have an idea too grand to be transposed from the clear blue sky, as long as you believe in the work you’re doing. Once upon a time I——of all people——caught myself poo-pooing the idea of representing a pinto bean omelette cooking on the planks of a cruise ship’s bow as it headed to the Galapagos for some tortoise observation (nothing more, nothing less), and for what? A tedious bit of self—censorship for no purpose other than suppression of a creative pang? No thank you, Mr. Governor (if that is your real name). So I wrote it all out, the fateful egg mix congealing to form a canary semicircle of legume-y goodness and taking on life’s subtler philosophical quandaries with a bit of a sense of humor. I called it Hull of Beans, and it was universally panned.

Sheer Self-Pity

What am I supposed to do with this armful of goddamn apple brown betties? I’m gonna have to toss them off the side of this overpass like I saw that fellow do yesterday. I can still see the stain left on the road from the impact of the beefier bits of crust. Upon witnessing such an atrocity, I told myself I’d never have to settle for the same outcome… ain’t life a bitch sometimes? One day you’re showering your spouse with serenades and streusels, and the next you’re choking down a pie-in-a-can you purchased out of sheer self-pity. They didn’t even have the strawberry flavor that you like, so you had to settle for heart of palm, a gruesome concoction you never even knew was in their product line, but dominated the shelf space at your corner bodega for god knows how long.

Phourit Gharl

Triumphance rarely conquers the spirit of the wide-ranging pituitary-minded poltergeist wrangler in his heartiest of times (from the Belgian Riviera to the Spanish beer mines the proletariat sent their kids to one fine Summer evening only to find that mines aren’t as fun as they’re cracked up to be); I’ve lately found myself drawn toward the lively canary fields from my youth, where the kids and elderly alike would frolic in ways suitable to their particular stations. I would perform amateur somersaults and insist on becoming a gold-medal gymnast, knowing full well that I’d most likely have to settle for silver and a life of abject mediocrity (though producing a silver medal in and of itself is quite impressive from a layman’s standpoint).

Nevertheless, the frolicking continued into the wee hours of the afternoon, both the youths and elders needing to be put down for naps by their respective caretakers. At such a bizarre turn of events–otherwise considered contrived–the caretakers had a brief period all to themselves while their wards recharged their batteries. Seeing as how I was never awake under these circumstances, I have no idea as to what my au pair would have been doing at the time of my napping. However, I do have several theories batting around in my head (not unlike the 1927 Yankees’ unfair offensive firepower). I won’t bore you with the sheer volume of my ruminations, as those would only emphasize my madness. I will, however, provide a few of the “greatest hits”, as it were.

But not today. That’s for a different time. For you see, in the time it took me to describe my aversion to pointing out the minute details of my meandering mind, the youths and elders have already awoken from their sun-drenched siestas, relegating their caretakers to once again looking out for soiled diapers, skinned knees and broken hips.

Appetite for the Absurd

Heralded as the Jonestown Network alternative to Stem, the Fruitful Terrier Sitter Extraordinaire, Pango Pango Junction packs quite the wallop when it comes to pure, unadulterated edutainment at a reasonable price. Parked at the intersection of broad leaf swelling and matriarchal patronage, I defy anybody to come away without some kind of interesting new trivia in their noggin by the end of each episode.

Before I agreed to subject myself to the bizarre ritual that is test-viewing a public television program for the determination of proper demographic distribution, I thought “oh jeez, here goes another several hours of my life that I’m never getting back. And right on the heels of finishing up my kite-flying apprenticeship at Old American [for Profit] University, too.”

But, being the good sport that I am, I didn’t even balk at the dubious honor. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the show’s producer and I had a bit of a fling a few holiday seasons ago, and that we still flirt pretty heartily with each other. I’m a real sucker for shallow intimacy, especially if it’s spread out over the course of several years, where I can put the person/people out of mind for a while and reconnect with that polarizing animal magnetism as though we’re on a sinking ship/divebombing plane/bucking bronco… I guess it would be tough to get two of us on one of those beasts at the same time, but you get my drift.

You know, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this topic. Not to wax depressing, but living alone has afforded me the time to step back and reflect upon the foundation of relationships at their very essence of innate human fragility. I’ve come to develop the inconvenient understanding that I was never meant to settle down with any one person, and the fairy tale love affair might as well go the way of the dinosaurs–at least, as far as I’m concerned. Damn, now I’ve gone and gotten myself all glum again! What the hell?!

But anyway, I promised Gwen I’d do her a favor by giving my unvarnished opinion on the latest project, so I borrowed her official showbiz flash drive and gave the first few episodes a spin. Yes, plural episodes. Just shooting a pilot clearly wouldn’t have been enough doing to properly showcase their dean’s list-caliber aptitude for creative enterprises. One could chalk it up to insurmountable confidence or simply an arrogance that never got flushed out of the system by regular beatings/embarrassments, but I reserve such judgments for the critics of the world.

Well, this review got a bit out of hand. Suffice it to say that I recommend Pango Pango Junction to anyone looking to spend some time on a contemporary spin of the “one-size-fits-all daytime head-scratcher” subgenre. Or simply anyone with a healthy enough appetite for the absurd.

Until we meet again, gentle reader–

Sardonicus Q. Jellyknife, Esq.

Roses

The ever-present Rumpelstiltskin type of orangeade
seems to have no connection to the ingenuity
of a person concerned with a corrupt bargain
and everything to do with a personal vendetta
to be meted out over the course of several decades,
if not millennia.

Such a skip in discourse may only lead some people
to believe of its malintent, but truly
there is nothing wrong with such a change in scale.
How else are we to judge our actions
against the actions of others in present or past?
How else are we to compare ourselves
to the species who specialize in longevity?
The trees out there, the mollusks, the fungi,
all of them. We’re just individual pinpricks
in their rearview mirrors, and it would take a miracle
for us to cause more than just a blip
on their collective radar screens.
How do you like those terrible mixed metaphors?
Yeah, it’s getting me pretty hot too, come to think of it.

Who needs any kind of inspiration anymore anyway?
It would seem as though folks
mainly just seek to consume
pleasant media at a reasonable price,
and anything falling outside of that window
must be judged much more critically,
since fewer people have sought it out.
And the ones who go out of their way to discover
such outlets must therefore–in their own minds–
be superior beings, leading to tirades
about their keen eyes and intellects
while we sit there right next to them
with a thumb up our ass, hoping only
to take that thumb and plug up their infernal nostrils.

“What is that intoxicating aroma? Roses?”

“No, genius, it’s my shit-covered finger. Why don’t you go off somewhere and have a time of it while you prank a local youth?”

“Why, you insubordinating little trolley-hopper, I’ll have you know that I earned this domineering nature through sheer pluck and grit. Also, possibly through piss and vinegar. Over the course of my years, I haven’t been able to differentiate the two, though you might say I’m a bit of a glutton for the cinema. Wait, what kind of critic am I? Shit, I forgot. A jack of all trades such as myself can only be concerned with where the next paycheck’s coming from.”