Big Whoop

A man named Garvey sedated me once, though the whole outcome could have been avoided. We’d begun feuding the week prior, a trivial dispute over the price of corn muffin mix. Stupid, right? Well, this Garvey feller sure didn’t think so. And it just so happened that his friendly neighborhood drug dealer unloaded a ton of vicodin on him that week, so he was bound to sedate me whether or not we disagreed on anything. I may live to regret having anything to do with that man, but life is a rich tapestry that deserves its fair share of intrigue.

His sister, Nancy, had her own agenda when it came to handling the G-Man. Having lived with him a majority of her life, she’d developed an ingenious coping mechanism for dealing with his ridiculous foibles. Any time he began ranting about the military industrial complex, the go-to strategy would be to bring up the time he’d run into Steve Harvey while jogging on the riverfront–near the Wrigley Building. That would immediately stop his conspiratorial theorizing and send him spiraling through all five stages of the celebrity run-in phenomenon. Turns out Garvey is this joker’s last name. First name: Steve.

Originally, Nancy had only been prepared to shift her brother’s mania away from excessive government spending, but she eventually developed a secondary strategy out of necessity. After letting Steve go on about the Garvey/Harvey thing for a couple minutes, she’s gotten quite skilled at channeling his enthusiasm into a creative jag. Now–since Garvey prefers to make ink drawings, Nancy has set up a corner in her apartment designed solely for her brother to zen out after he gets a little too worked up about the 10-second exchange that he and Steve Harvey’d had. The passion lends itself to the page as he jots up a storm. He doesn’t want to burden himself with any extra material possessions, so he leaves all his creations at Nancy’s place. Nancy has turned a tidy profit from his efforts, since Steve-o gets worked up quite often. It’s reached the point where Nancy could take a year-long hiatus from waitressing and not feel pinched for a minute of it.

So yeah, I let Garvey sedate me. Big whoop. I was hoping he’d feel bad about it and draw me a nice picture that could finance a backpacking trip through the Black Forest.

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.

Quackery

Edification via popular happenstance (due to improper ventilation) would not be my goal for this symposium, since occurrences related to HVAC quackery deserve their own symposia just to unpack the harm done by feckless contractors for decades in the name of frugality. “But At What Cost?” would likely be the working title before a more effective one comes along.

I’m really looking to discuss the aerodynamics of flat vs. concave disks when shot out of of a giant sloth’s rectum (damn near killed ’em). Older studies have been conducted with various megafauna from the glamorous Pleistocene Epoch, but not a single one of them exemplifies the untethered wildness of apex mammals more than Megatherium (particularly when cloned specifically to shoot laserdisc-sized projectiles from their dang bungholes).

Our work in this field is second to none, as our data will no doubt show you… some other time.

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!

Privy

The entrance to the dragon’s putty stash
still remains more elusive
than the eye can even behold,
beyond the fine sheen of the monkey cages
and dull luster of the eccentric
bayonet-wielding sailor whose ship washed
ashore fifty years ago.

We never heard from him again.
Most folks say he died forty-seven years ago–
a rumor started by a since-defamed
public soothsayer–but those once closest
to him claim he’s still there to this day,
perpetually working his way inland,
bayonet in hand,
determined to gaze upon the epic treasure trove.

Nobody knows where the fabled dragon came from
or where it developed its affinity
for putty and putty-related trinkets, but
there’s also no real confirmation
of its actual existence. As a matter of fact,
I think I overheard once that the sailor
made up the entire dragon story in order to justify
the protracted remainder of his marooned life.

I don’t know how the person I was eavesdropping on
could possibly be privy to that knowledge, but…

——

First draft posted on 12/25/11,
originally entitled #80

Led to Believe

The bioluminescent bloomenary, a spectacular specimen just discovered in a subterranean cave beneath the land formerly known as Entrenchment Village—since abandoned for Encroachment Peak—is somewhat smooth to stand so tall in such a way, Agnes. We sure have come a long way since the aftermath of those Cleveland fires, and we couldn’t have done it without the chimney sweep frontier project—I believe that with all my heart (and a great majority of my soul, to boot). I sure hope we have the common sense and decency to look each other in the eyes before we swallow our pride, however much or little that may be.

A temper for granted on the northwest side of the pilgrim monitor is just a symptom of the intrinsic capacity for glue-footed rafter people, or so I’ve been led to believe.

(#373)

We are the TOXIC Group:

Tastemakers
Obligating
Xylophones
Into
Conversation

Our meetings typically consist of 30 seconds of clever xylophone-related banter followed by 48 minutes of unbroken claptrappery (occasionally punctuated by a sneeze or self-important cough that reminds folks in the group of their own flimsy mortality). The list of covered topics is indeed long and tedious; an indeterminate amount of talking points is covered multiple–sometimes numerous–times, with very little ceremony.

The talking points typically meander around with little consequence, and our staffers have learned to endure them long enough to get to the meat of the meeting: attempting to reach a quorum on where to go for pizza afterwards. There’s been a glut of new “artisanal” pizza joints in the area, not to mention the existing restaurants who need gimmicks to keep up.

Gino’s Northeast: an old school pizzeria with a hint of sports bar (now with 25% more sass back)
Donnie’s Bunker: war hero’s spot with authentic Vietnam War memorabilia
Skip’s Dugout: retired baseball star’s spot with authentic ’60s and ’70s memorabilia
Gugliotti’s: Sicilian-themed ristorante
Chunkster’s: Most Toppings Around!®
Steggo’s Dino-mite Pizza: self-explanatory
Jeffrey’s Tamborine: adults-only gaming and entertainment-related eatery (wine allowed in the ball pit)

This particular installment of the TOXIC Group (#373) eventually ended with a near-unanimous selection of kofta kebab, since there’s only one local option for that cuisine and we were rapidly running out of time. For the record, a good portion of the group rallied for the adult play place, but Susie’s new around these parts, and we want her to stick around for a month or two before we test her patience with a drunken happy hour.