Schmooze

Apple juice permeation of what would have otherwise been considered a cordial affair has shed a new light on the rather pretentious category of social gatherings as we’ve come to understand it (ever since the bungled bungalow endeavor of ought-three).

This particular fiasco began when an advocate for fresh fruit juices invited himself to the festivities, taking every possible opportunity to schmooze with the big names in booze. He slipped past security under the guise of a schnapps magnate named Sir Wilfred von Königstupp and promptly began pushing his non-fermented agenda on the room to decidedly mixed results. The drambuie set found his spiel appalling, whereas the cointreau folks were rather intrigued. Grand marnier was unavailable for comment.

Needless to say, our buddy Wilfred (whose real name will be protected for arbitrary reasons) got the old heave-ho once the Jaegers found out what was going on. His famous charisma at least allowed him to get a couple stream of consciousness quips out there, if only to confound the preppy old money set. Most notable was his impromptu list of “lost arts”, which included (among other things): stadium hopping, hamburger flipping, turkey trotting, limburger tossing, butter mashing, charity giving, the pompadour, and original origami.

Bub

“Flick of the litter”
is what I said to my marmelstreusen,
that most genuflecting
of all marmalade pastry alternatives
to the average bear’s
amount of gnarled bark.

If you had trouble following that, I wouldn’t blame you. The above content was written by a computer algorithm designed to prioritize buzzwords and randomness over all other particular variables, with a penchant for losing itself in syntactical dross from time to time (occasionally inventing words based upon various pseudolinguistic principles).

That was a lie.
I am a human, and those words
were composed organically.
Joke’s on you, bub.

Anyhow

The gratitude of my temporary inmates seems only to ring truer with each passing circumstance. I suppose I may have acquired a skill or two over the years where it pertains to the custodial caretaking that so many in this throwaway culture would prefer to ignore.

It’s not Stockholm Syndrome that these folks have come down with, since I’m not the one responsible for my subjects’ captivity, but it is definitely a similar phenomenon (a guy sure could get used to all the attention, anyhow). My wards do actually receive that kind of no-strings care that the medical insurance industry forgot about as soon as private concerns got their hooks into it (even though their advertising tries to sell a different story).

Perhaps because of this comfort, every single one of our emerging beer-krausening technologies has been behind schedule under my watch. Maybe it was a mistake to combine a halfway house with a chemistry lab. Our three chemists-in-captivity are functioning alcoholics who just use this particular project to get tanked on the job all day–with my tacit blessing, I suppose. Last Thursday, Ernie–the least-tactful of the three–decided to not look both ways before crossing the street on his lunch break (I do give them at least a little time in each week to get out and smell the flowers). Long story short, Ernie got hit by a shipment of cabbages (with a truck attached), survived, and is now suing the city for not putting a stop sign in a 40 MPH zone. As soon as he got back from the hospital, you’d better believe I gave him quite the lecture on roadside awareness!

Executive Decision

This particular set of tambourine excruciations lacks the comeuppance factor that my quarry companion would typically dish out. I’m so used to thinking of my submissive bud as “not without its sassy comebacks,” but this time it’s waxing heavily depressive, not even bothering to mount a modest reprisal.

I’ve made the executive decision to leave it to its own devices; I don’t need a triggered sidekick lollygagging around and confusing me more than normal. Such a distraction could undermine the very essence of my oh so lucrative pastime. I’ll just let it take a little time to itself (I’m generous that way) so it may sort out its existential concerns of its own accord–mainly because I just don’t want to be subjected to the ceaseless whining. And when I say whining, I mean good ol’ fashioned day-in day-out grumbling unlike any other you’ve ever seen, the very peak of which generally verging on psychosis.

Boy, I sure do know how to pick ’em. Of all the quarry companions made available to me, I just had to choose the one with the watery puppy dog eyes. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now I have a flat out martyr on my hands who professes to be a beacon of emotions for its less-gifted brethren of the oft-neglected sedimentary sidekick school. All I want is a cheerful little buddy that I can count on to occasionally get me out of scrapes. Is that too much to ask?

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.

Name-Dropping

The kids are doing their kidly things again today, just the way they always do (until their hormones start flaring and they become walking orbs of self-pity just wallowing in their existential dross for as long as would be necessary for humans working on that whole enlightenment bit while also losing faith in the authorities once-espoused as the be-all end-all for retrograde composition of exquisite fanfare technology (though very little else when you actually think about it for longer than 10-15 seconds at a time)). Our lord and savior once said “you know, when it comes right down to it, I’m the one who created everything, so you can just go ahead and sell that model train collection, Deborah.” I don’t know who Deborah is in this particular verse, to be honest, but the statement still carries plenty of weight even if you don’t engage in any specific name-dropping activities.

Waking Lives

Informally wedged between a significant mile of alterations and a limitless power of inventory tallying, my golf ball’s normally-understated carryover floundered briefly–the northern lights had obscured my vision, rendering my lie-finding skills ineffectual on this particular fairway (perhaps I shouldn’t have made a habit of getting in a tight nine after midnight, but free golf is free golf).

At least I got the chance to gawp at the Canada geese flapping over the course, wings beating black against the nuclear waste green, a cacophony outmatched only by their aggressive calls to each other, expressing–what I intuitively deemed to be–awe at the display they rarely see. Though you know, travelers of their caliber get many more opportunities than your typical vertebrates, having inhabited the skies every year of their waking lives.

——

First draft posted on 9/26/11,
originally entitled #20