Pinned

Jim Olivo left a note behind for me
many summer camps ago–pinned
to a pine–that reads:

“If you want the recipe for that turkey sandwich from mess hall, you’ll have to pry it from the clutches of none other than Neander The Articulate. Born with almost-exclusively neanderthal blood, his scrawniness prevented him from competing with his peers on a physical level, leaving him alone with his thoughts on a regular basis. Over the years, this ostracized fella developed a peculiarly sharp wit, mainly due to his constant observation of the individuals he would have considered his peers (if they would ever let him). Little by little he started sneaking tiny esoteric quips in edgewise–mainly in passing–that befuddled the muscly alphas and intrigued the blossoming females.”

It goes on like that
for a couple more pages.
I think Jim was working out
some kind of material on me,
because I couldn’t ever find
a turkey sandwich recipe
or a local neanderthal
for the life of me.
Maybe he was talking about
the camp across the lake.

Sweet Lady Science

Where do I even begin? Well, we stopped dropping the snakes down the hole and letting them just smack their bellies on the ground because this here sarcastic douchebag decided to get sensitive one day and say “geez, we sure do like hurting snakes!” We all looked at him like he had three or four heads, the favorite number of heads to picture an alien having when you’re gawking at this here guy who all of a sudden gives a damn about snake welfare.

They’re just damn snakes, they’re cold blooded. They’ve lived unchanged for millions of years now and they don’t give a damn about being slammed on the slab if it means we can sleep in peace. That’s right, sentient snakes who have been telepathically communicating with me for a good… seven years now. Wow.

So anyway, go on ahead with your little protest, we ain’t changing these rules for nothing or nobody.

—-TWO WEEKS LATER—-

BREAKING NEWS: SNAKES FEEL PAIN
Scientists Everywhere Urge Citizens:
“Discontinue Dropping Snakes on Slabs”

Jesus, what are the odds? We’ll probably never find out just how this study was started or funded, or how it coincided so perfectly with that sensitive douchebag making his impassioned plea down at the firehouse, but Sweet Lady Science has spoken, and we must heed her words.

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

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.”