Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Sordid Story of Jim and Charlotte

There once was a varlet named Jameson Sneed,
who married a harlot named Charlotte McCreed.
Now, Jameson loved her and pledged her his life,
if she would stop hooking and become his sweet wife.

Their days were so blissful, so filled with desire,
she teased him and squeezed him and set him on fire!
So accomplished was she, in matters of love,
in any position, below or above,
that days passed like minutes, and months flew like days,
while Jim and his Charlotte searched for new ways!

They swung from the rafters, they leaned against walls,
they made love in closets, in tubs and in halls,
they found time for passion at least once per hour,
not stopping to bathe, or even to shower.

But fate intervened , so cruel and so fickle,
when Jim tried to touch her, to sooth or to tickle,
she rudely rebuked him with every advance
and left poor Jim trying to get in her pants.
What once had been torrid with Charlotte adoring,
now led Jim's princess to go back to whoring .

Time passed too quickly as love had flown by,
and poor Charlotte longed for their neighbor named Sly.
Sly was a scoundrel, so dashing and bold,
but Charlotte desired his body to hold,
she imagined him holding her, that gaze in his eyes,
which promised of future liasons and rides.

"Oh, please, my sweet darling, please tell me duly,
what happened to love that you swore to me truly?
You've taken expressions of love I've made nice,
and shunned my advances, you've turned cold as ice!
If I am to lose you to another man's touch,"
Jim asked her conritely, "don't you owe me that much?"

Charlotte's gaze softened as she looked at his face,
she knew she must hurry out, run from this place,
before guilt consumed her and forced her to stay,
she must take her leave of him, she must run away.
Tears streamed from her eyes as she quick turned her back,
"Dear Jim, it's not fair, but there's something you lack."

"Oh, I see," he said, as he sat on the chair,
"my methods are lacking, I just can't compare,
I'm sure that you must have had a great chuckle,
when first you encountered what was under my buckle,
but I don't recall mirth as you laid there wiggling,
when you cried out to God, you certainly weren't giggling!"

"Don't make me spell it out, Jameson dear,
you really tried hard and you got me so near,
but when we were ending the passionate race,
why couldn't you slow down,come in second place?
It's not fun any more, I just can't seem to make it,
when time after time I'm forced to just fake it !"

All the blood now drained out of poor Jameson's face,
his smile was now gone and a scowl took it's place.
He tried to be calm as he looked at his wife,
but he reached in the drawer and he still grabbed that knife.

Calmly he hid it behind his own back,
at the opportune moment he'd grab her and hack!
Char seemed to sense that the end may be near,
his face was contorted with an ungodly sneer,
so she made her decision, poured two jiggers of scotch,
one hand held the shot glass, the other his crotch.

Cooing and whispering, "Please, Jim, don't be bitter,
you know how you make my heart go aflitter,
I can't stand to see you unhappy like this,
so please drop that weapon and give me a kiss."

Her feminine wiles showed the sorrow she felt,
and Jameson's heart was starting to melt,
'What am I doing?', he thought to himself,
and he set the knife down on the top kitchen shelf,
"Oh, you're my enchantress, my goddess, my slut,"
he said as he reached 'round her and squeezed her sweet butt.

"How could I have doubted you, my sweet humble child,
you know I adore you, you just drive me wild!
I promise from now on, whenever we screw,
my undivided attention will focus on you!"

"How much do you love me?" was Charlotte's next word,
and Jameson scarcely believed what he heard,
but calmly he held her and looked in her eyes,
he hoped she beheld his utter surprise.

"How could you ask me that, again must I prove,
that all of my being waits for your next move?
I've put up with your dalliance, oh, I know the score,
I've looked past your attitude, you want more and more,
I've shown you respect at all times, that I heeded,
when you asked me, I gave you the space that you needed."

Charlotte's face now just stared at the floor,
"Jim, it's not your fault, I just need much more.
You're a good man, a kind man, a man among men,
I love when we're doing it, again and again,
but something is missing inside my damned soul,
that doesn't get filled when you fill up my hole."

"Well, that about says it, I guess," Jim surmised,
"I must be delusional, but I'm still surprised,
I should have known, or at very least suspected,
that your needs went unquenched, unfulfilled, undetected.
But don't worry, Charlotte, I should have done more,
I should have known better than to marry a whore."

"Remember that Porsche I promised you in bed,
you can let your pimp-daddy go buy it, instead.
Next time you're laying there, with some guy hopped on,
remember my name's Jameson, and I'm not your John."

"I'll try not to think of the things that you've said,
I may even miss you when they find you dead,
in some sleezy motel infested with lice,
remember that next time when you set the price."

Charlotte just stood there as Jim started walking,
she knew that she'd blown it, and no amount of talking
could change what had happened to them on this day,
as his love had faltered, and then passed away.

She took a deep breath and choked back a tear,
she felt so alone then, so ravaged by fear,
flight was not possible, and she felt the panic
set into her being and she became frantic.
Char heard the knob turn as he shut the door,
and once again took back her life as a whore.

Bob Church©Dec. 9, 1998

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's a miracle!

I feel pretty good this morning, at least comparatively speaking. Lately, I’ve been groggy and morose when I wake up, so I went looking for answers. I hadn’t changed my diet and my work and personal life were pretty much the same as always, so I decided to look deeper. The solution was actually very simple. I awoke this morning feeling relatively more vigorous and comparatively fresher after making the decision to cry myself to sleep at an earlier hour.

Give it a try… I promise your mornings will suck a little less.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Myths of Passage

If life is a voyage of discovery, then I am currently stranded on a stark, bleak expanse of terrain frighteningly similar to Gilligan’s Island, but without Ginger and Mary Ann. Every day I wage war against forces of evil that threaten to drag me to the dreaded Dungeon of Adulthood and make me endure the three-pronged Maturation Rituals of Responsibility, Reason and Religion. The natives are fearsome devils trained in the Noble Professions. So far they’ve managed to take away my enjoyment of all-night drinking binges, add thirty pounds of ugly fat around my midsection, vivisect most all my hair and torture me by slowly, agonizingly destroying the glands that supply me with testosterone.

Worse, they’re forcing me to watch non-stop tapes of Saved By The Bell complete with commercials, in their on-going attempts to strip me of anything resembling a sense of humor. I’m fighting the good fight, but I don’t know how much longer I can resist. Already I had to fight an overwhelming urge to flip the TV station to MSNBC’s Business and Financial News Headlines.

I fear the worst. Pray for me… or whatever it is that you do when you see some sap about to bite it. I haven't gotten the Religion Ritual yet...but I swear that if they try to make me watch The O'Reilly Report, I'll blow my head off.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Spot

Author's note: A few years ago, I wrote a book called The Bubba Chronicles. By request, I'm putting up one chapter called "The Spot". I hope you enjoy it.

Every country boy has at least one special fishing spot, somewhere on the river where, by accident or by plan, he finds the right combination of luck, skill, chance resulting in success. Bubba's spot was located on the upper Delancy River, about 3 miles in from Peterson Crossing, on Bill Nevers’ land. If Bill was at the house to unlock the gate when Bubba arrived, there’d be a passable road providing it hadn't rained recently and made it a swamp. Bill didn't have the time to fish much, so he didn't mind if Bubba left him a couple nice channel catfish as a payment of sorts. Bill would never have asked for the fish, and Bubba knew that, but it was a small enough price to pay for such bounty.

Bubba left no clue that he had been at the spot, either-- not a wrapper, broken-off piece of leader-- nothing. Abel Strunk hadn't been much of a father to Bubba, but he had made sure that Bubba respected other folks’ property, not so much for some high-flown notion of ecology, but from the necessity of protecting a private treasure. "Bubba, if you find a place you like, either buy it or make sure that you can get yourself invited back." Since Abel hadn't been fiscally able to leave Bubba much of a grubstake for land ownership, Bubba was forced to resort to the latter.

The river more or less bent back upon itself at Bubba's spot, and was one of the few places he’d found offering natural deep holes fishable without a boat. Also, the current seemed to slow coming out of the bend, offering shallow spots at the edge.

One late afternoon, after setting all of his limb lines, Bubba stared at the bank on the opposite side of the river, noticed a hollow log, and recalled hearing the Nutter boys talk about a new way of catching big catfish, without rod and reel or hooks of any kind--noodling.

Noodling is the practice of catching fish with one’s bare hands. Normally, it’s attempted only after plying oneself with strong spirits, and the quarry is always catfish-- and the bigger, the better. No one knew why it was called noodling, but it didn’t require an over-abundance of imagination to conjure some less-than-sanitary notions about the origins of the word. The only requirement (other than a set of brass cajones) is a hollow log or two, sunk in a likely spot and left unattended for a few days. Catfish are opportunistic bottom feeders, for the most part, especially the bigger ones. They also tend to be extremely lazy when not really hungry. They'd just as soon be left alone, and once they've reached ten pounds or more they have no natural enemies, save man and bigger catfish.

The last time Bubba went to His Spot, he’d grabbed his chain saw and sawed a hollow log into three pieces, each about three feet long and two feet in diameter. He then picked up each piece and sunk it in the river at intervals of about five yards or so. Pleased with his work, he propped himself up against a big oak and listened to the crows and pondered his maiden noodling voyage, while sipping slowly on that long-neck bottle of August Busch's finest elixir.


As was his nature, Bubba was given to flights of fancy from time to time, and today his thoughts envisioned various scenarios of his friends accompanying him to The Spot. Not being the most confident guy in Alabama, he maintained, with a deep and abiding belief, situations never played out in his favor-- no matter what extravagant scheme he’d concocted. In the back of his mind he just couldn't quite convince himself that he wanted to give away his favorite spot until he gained some experience. His history replete with such misadventures, he had no desire to become the butt of yet another joke. Whatever self-esteem he could muster needed to be protected along with his sanctuary.

Bubba knew what he had to do-- a trial run. So, after hosing down his cement truck, Silver Streak, and putting her to bed for the night, he jumped into his pickup, made a quick pit stop for gas, and headed southwest into the setting sun, armed with a 12-pack of Bud and all the courage he could muster.

Bill Never’s wife, Esther, greeted Bubba warmly, smiling broadly when he drove onto the property. Their small talk lasted only a minute or so, as she explained that Bill had gone into town on business. Bubba merely smiled politely and said he'd be on his way. It would have been impolite to ask permission without her husband present, even though he was sure that Bill would not have minded if he used his road to The Spot. Instead, he drove back to Hatchet Creek, parked his pickup in a grove of trees and started walking, cooler in one hand and his bucket of tackle and blood bait in the other—there was no point in walking all that way without setting out a few limb lines along the way. In the heart of summer, evening would come slowly as the glow of late afternoon persevered. The last rays were still evident through the tops of the trees as Bubba scurried down the embankment toward the awaiting river.


The first three or four Buds had gone down very easily, indeed. The orb in the west dropped below the horizon, slowly replaced by the brilliance of a late summer lunar presence. That special light gave rise to shadows which shouldn't have been there and made Bubba a little self-conscious and uneasy. Water moccasins would be hunting tonight, also. Snakes were not his favorite creatures, especially cottonmouths. They were aggressive by nature-- Bubba had seen one jump right into a boat-- and left untended, a bite could be fatal.

By wading upstream toward the concealed hollow logs, he would not risk disturbing the riverbed around them, and although the fish probably wouldn’t be able to see his legs in the water, he didn’t want to spook them. The dark water rose to mid-chest as he approached his landmarks, making Bubba wonder if the logs had been forced into deeper water by the current. Taking short, measured steps, he felt his boot contact the first log. Summoning all the courage he could muster, the intrepid hunter forced air deep into his lungs and dropped to his knees beside the log, his hands probing the insides. He almost expected to start pulling out chicken guts, like that sideshow psychic healer last year at the Boone County Fair.

Having failed to find any occupants in the log, Bubba surfaced, content that he’d found the right spot, at least. He continued slowly upstream, keeping track of the number of paces that he took. After all, if he was showing all his friends this magic place, he had to be able to find the damn logs. His reputation (such as it was) depended on it.

One of the really neat things about wading in the river was that if you felt the urge to pee coming on, you just let it rip; although, the warmness did seem to linger a little… perhaps to remind you that, yes, you just pissed your pants. Bubba smiled and snorted at the thought and wondered how many of his buddies had thoughts like this, although he would never ask.

After seven paces, once again he felt a log, and his feet traced the contours below them in order to get the proper attack angle. Figuring the fish would most likely be facing into the current, he paused to prepare himself. Silently, the hunter closed his eyes, swept his arms from his sides, and felt that cottonmouth slither across the front of his chest.

The water instantly boiled, arms flailing, a piercing howl emanated from deep within Bubba's throat as he attempted to force the snake away from his body. Legs attempting to find the slick, muddy bottom in retreat, every reflex he possessed put all his gears in reverse, and his body instinctively backed into shallower water. At some point his efforts overcame the current of the river and his own inertia, and Bubba fell backwards onto shore.

He hurried back to the cooler, pulled out the flashlight, and immediately checked himself thoroughly. Finding no puncture wounds, relief swept over his body as he began taking deep cleansing breaths. The only sounds now were the crickets, the beating of his heart, and the hissing escape of gas, as Bubba lifted his left butt cheek slightly and farted, praying he hadn't crapped his pants. The crisis averted, he was free to evaluate his methods and strategy. This would require some serious thought and the better part of his remaining Budweiser stash.

Bubba had been taught to get right back on the horse after being thrown, so he needed to get back in the water before the night was very much older. It would take more than a cottonmouth to keep him from attaining his goal. As he replayed the recent events in his mind, it occurred to him that he didn't feel quite as mobile in the water as he would have liked. Wondering if he had gained too much weight, he pinched the love handles on his side; while they didn't seem to be excessive, maybe he should start drinking Bud Light. Billy Ray drank it now, and most of the kidding had started to subside, although it also was true that Billy Ray never got a lot of kidding, anyway, given the fact that he could body-slam a Volkswagen.

Bubba finally decided that the time was right to either return to the water or go home. He wasn’t a quitter, but tomorrow was another workday, and he could no longer pull the all-nighters he once had and still make it into the plant by six a.m. This time, he vowed that if Mr. Cottonmouth wanted to bite him, he better damn well get after it, because one way or another, Bubba Strunk would stick his hand in a catfish’s mouth somehow before he left the river tonight!

At that very moment, Bubba’s expression resembled that worn by Marines about to assault a beach while drawing enemy fire. It wasn't so much a grin as a leer; born of ignorance and nurtured by inebriation-- that dumbfounded deer-in-the-headlights stare. He was God's own drunk and a dangerous man!

Back into the water he ran, high-stepping until the depth made it no longer possible to do so, counting paces as he went. After some searching, he found the third submerged log with the toe of his boot. He un-sheathed the K-Bar knife he carried strapped to his side, put it between his teeth like some crazed pirate getting ready to board an enemy ship, and lowered his head into the water. Holding onto the sides of the log, he reached inside and immediately felt a sharp ribbon of pain explode in his head. Pulling back, his only option was to surface. As Bubba’s head came out of the water, a blood-curdling scream pierced the silence.

Bubba managed to raise his hand out of the water, a ten-pound snapping turtle attached to the fleshy web between his thumb and forefinger. He knew better than to pull on the turtle's shell. It would most likely result in a nasty gash through the meat of his hand. Instead, he backed onto shore, stabilized the turtle with his knee and reached for his K-Bar, which, of course, had fallen out of his mouth when he screamed.

Having no other choice, Bubba lifted the turtle, and started walking back to the pickup. Never had a two-mile walk seemed so long. Upon reaching the truck, his next problem became how to suspend the turtle while opening the drivers' side door, where Bubba’s hatchet lay under the front seat. He balanced the turtle on the side rail of the bed, lifted the handle and watched the door swing open. As luck would have it, he couldn't reach under the seat from that position, so while Bubba groped underneath for his hatchet, Mr. Turtle got to sit on the seat behind Blue’s steering wheel, an honor extended to no human.

Once again, Bubba picked up the beast, carried him to the back of the truck, managed to get the tail-gate down, and set his new-found reptilian buddy down. The Lord High Executioner awaited his signal to begin. Counting on his knowledge of turtles, Bubba began to pull steadily backwards, causing the turtle to back up slightly, extending his neck. He hoped he could chop its head off with one whack, envisioning how painful it would be if the turtle tried to suddenly pull his head back inside his shell. Also, he knew that his dexterity left-handed was not as good as he'd like, and there was very little available light. Changing his angle slightly for better vision, Bubba raised his hatchet. Suddenly, the turtle let go of his hand and retreated inside his shell.

At this moment in time, Bubba knew the true meaning of rage. Robbed of his dignity, viciously attacked, forced to walk miles on end carrying some ignominious creature not worthy of consumption, now he was being cheated of the one measure of revenge left, the demise of his tormentor!

As Bubba placed the snapper behind the back wheel of his pickup, a small inner voice spoke to him. Just exactly what the hell are you doing? Fool, you won't even eat the damn thing, why kill it? At that instant he knew what he had to do, so he picked up parrot-beak and started walking back to the river. Certainly not a Rhodes scholar, neither was Bubba a cruel, demented monster who killed for sport. Besides, he'd left his cooler on the riverbank and he needed to wade out and see if he could find his knife… might just as well throw the damn turtle back in the river, too. Scared by a snake, bitten by a turtle, still had no idea what it felt like to actually go noodling, what the hell else could happen to him tonight?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Then It Hit Me...

After a lifetime of unexplained anxiety and nearly forty years of amateur psychotherapy involving the liberal application of copious amounts of alcohol and/or psychedelic drugs, I think I’ve isolated the source of all my problems. Finally, I know why I tend to write needlessly convoluted, disjointed sentences, why I consider drape color a major influence point in story development, and why my topic selection sometimes falls outside of the norms established by society for the limitations of good taste.

The age of thirteen is a volatile time in anyone’s life, a time filled with raging hormones, developing attitudes about the major components of life in general and the tug-of-war being waged in the psyche of every youth between the yin of parental influences and the yang of society at large. I certainly was no exception. There, in a head filled with Cream Of Wheat and dedicated to the pursuit of lecherous activities of the highest and most perverse order, existed a very small region of reason capable of stabilizing the entire load, if only for short periods of time. This remote island in a sea of mayhem was capable of sustaining only one thought at a time and communications with the outside world were muddled at best, even during those glorious times when not bombarded with homework or chores.

Then, it happened—on a Wednesday night in early October, the single event that forever changed the course of my life—I saw my parents joined together, grunting and sweating, cavorting in a manner so lewd and distasteful that its image still burns in my psyche. There, on our living room floor, my father and mother stood smiling and embracing—in their square dance costumes, gyrating to some up-tempo form of music in a manner that I can only describe as disturbing. Even now, I vividly recall the words “Allemande right with your left hand, promenade your partner to a right and left grand”.

I think I better stop for now…

Monday, February 12, 2007

New Element Discovered!

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Bushcronium." Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.

These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. The symbol for Bushcronium is "W". Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists tobelieve that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity or concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass". When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has one-half as many peons but twice as many morons.

(author unknown)

Summer Sobriquet

Find a cloud you can play out loud,
and the rain from your refrain
will soon abound with inspired sound.

Part will glimmer, some will shimmer,
resounding booms fill quiet rooms
with furious pace to grace the place.

Loud and frightening, hail and lightning
play tympani in this symphony,
never boring, faith restoring.

Kids cannot play outside today
they’re forced to hide and stay inside.

Magic christened— if stopped to listen.

Fertile Ground For Discussion

“Daddy, what does it mean to be important?”

The man looked at his son carefully, never before having heard his six-year-old ask a question of such substance. Nervously poking at his eggs with his fork, he responded, “Well, Sean, I guess ‘important’ means that you have value to someone. What makes you ask? Is it a word you heard at school, from your teacher maybe?”

Sean absent-mindedly stirred his cereal with his spoon, staring into the bowl as though he still didn’t quite understand. Without looking up at his father, he quietly replied, “Daddy, are you important?”

“Well, Sean, I hope I’m important, at least to you and Mom. Do you think Mom thinks I’m important?”

“I think so, Daddy, I heard Mama tell Mrs. Wilkins that she thinks you might be important.”

Wiping his mouth with his napkin, Sean’s daddy understood. Sean’s mother, Sarah, and Jean Wilkins, their next-door-neighbor, were very close… sometimes a little too close for his liking. Might be? He decided to press on. “Are you sure you heard her correctly? What were they talking about?”

“She told Mrs. Wilkins that if she doesn’t get another baby soon, she’s going to make you go to the doctor to see if you’re important enough to get me a brother or sister.”

Dad sipped his coffee, trying to steady himself before proceeding. “Yea… well, did she say anything else?”

Sean picked up his cereal bowl and carried it to the sink. Placing it on the countertop, he looked back at his father. “Mrs. Wilkins told her to stay away from Mr. Wilkins cuz’ he isn’t important. Then they giggled.”


“Yes, Daddy?”

“It’s time for the bus. Don’t forget your lunch.”

The boy picked up his sack and hugged his father before walking out the back door. Jim Briscoe took his phone from its cradle on his belt and touched one button. In a few seconds, he said, “Mornin’… Jim Briscoe here. I’m going to be late this morning, my wife and I are going to have a discussion of some… well, let’s just say that it may or may not be important.”

Bob Church©2/12/07

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Yes, We Have No Bananas

I sat down at my computer this morning and a very strange thing happened— nothing. That’s right, nothing. No random thoughts in passing, no alliterative phrases embedded in my frontal lobes leaping to freedom, not even a hint of a sarcastic cattle prod to apply to the back of this or that celebrity or politician. Nothing. I’m intellectually numb— not that this comes as a surprise to anyone— but my addle pate does vary in the degree and intensity of the affliction.

Happily (for me, at least, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions), I think I’ve identified the source of the problem and with any luck at all, should be able to correct it. The boogeyman, the great bandit of my bullshit is the clock.

That’s right, it’s the clock. I slept in this morning. Arising at {{{gasp}}} 8:30 a.m., my metabolic processes had already closed the window at the creativity factory. So, if you feel cheated and wish to continue your search for quality entertainment, I recommend you click on any of the links I provide on this page. Better yet, click on all of them.

Assuming this is not the early onset of Alzheimer’s or some other dread mental affliction, I should be able to conjure up a little something tomorrow. If not, then I guess you’re on your own.

Friday, February 09, 2007

"Number 87264 Please Step Forward"

Well, Anna Nicole Smith’s body has now officially assumed room temperature and every television, radio and print media network has chronicled every single detail of her life. Now the only tasks remaining are how her fortune (if any) can be stolen from her heir(s) and who is the true father of her infant child. Whoever’s DNA wins the Anna Nicole Baby’s-Daddy Derby will entitle the donor to a court fight with every single relative of the old coot who married her at the ripe old age of 89 and in very short order keeled over dead, leaving them to fight for the funds and property bequeathed to Anna Nicole.

It’s cases like this that make me wish I had gone to law school instead of circumventing the process and merely robbing people on the street. Every ambulance chaser in LA must be lining up at one or more of the prospective Baby Daddy candidates’ front door. This process, in and of itself will be tedious and time-consuming, considering the fact that there are currently three studs in the running, with more sticking their heads out of the bushes every day. By the time it’s all said and done, the entire adult male population of Hollywood may petition the court for the test, be they gay or straight.

If it weren’t for the baby’s welfare mucking up the process, the entire situation would almost be laughable. It’s readily apparent that not only are our collective societal countenances vapid and barren, they’re also corrupt and mean-spirited. But, I guess I should expect no more from a culture that prizes celebrity more than achievement, money more than virtue.

Probably Not a Mensa Member

In this hi-tech world of creative innovation, mankind has devised or invented solutions for virtually every problem. We can now purchase environmentally friendly solar-powered automobiles, miracle fabrics capable of keeping us moisture-free and comfortable under any climactic condition and fabulous robotic tools to help us manufacture everything from pharmaceuticals to computers.

Plus, since we realize that we are not perfect, for our mental well being we have devised support groups and self-help groups for most every affliction mankind has ever suffered. Be you alcoholic, drug-addicted, suicidal, overweight, underweight, anorexic, bulimic or suffer from low self-esteem, spousal battery or gender identification problems, a few mouse clicks will provide someone to help you.

However… I would offer the following warning: For those of you who think a rolled-up bag of Cheetos strapped to your steering wheel will suffice as an automobile airbag, sadly, there is no cure for stupid.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

No, It's Only Second

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is my second favorite mental illness. I enjoy reading about it in medical journals, etc., and I loved Jack Nicholson’s depiction of an afflictee in As Good As It Gets, where he plays a neurotic/borderline-psychotic writer who washes his hands with a fresh bar of Neutrogena soap every fifteen minutes and can’t step on a crack for fear of breaking his mother’s back, which, of course, he wouldn’t since he’s like sixty years old and his mother has been dead for about fifteen years. Plus, it might not be Neutrogena soap at all, it could be some other honey-colored, non-opaque, low-lathering, individually-wrapped knockoff brand that looks like Neutrogena soap, who knows? I'm certainly not privy to all the inside details involved in making a major motion picture, but with a big star like Nicholson present, I can't imagine that they'd skimp on something so elemental to the story as Neutrogena soap, do you? After all, they have multi-million dollar budgets, so why would they take a chance on pissing Jack off and risking one of his legendary rants that could shut down the lot and set production schedules back over something as silly as buying imitation Neutrogena soap?

I mean, schizophrenia is, and always will be my all-time favorite, but that’s not what I want to talk about this morning.

It wasn’t always this way, either. At one time, psychosocial disability came close to edging out obsessive-compulsive for second place, but lately it’s become so prevalent that every time I watch the news I realize that virtually every celebrity has it, thereby making the terms ‘celebrity’ and ‘psychosocial disability’ synonymous. I prefer my mental illnesses to be a little less common, don’t you? The laundry list of other maladies such as schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and general anxiety (like who doesn’t have that?) don’t even come close.

No, obsessive-compulsive will never reach the stellar heights of schizophrenia, but it couldn’t be expected to, could it? Schizophrenia is the apex predator of mental illnesses, stalking the population like a great tyrannosaur, taking what it wants and generally wreaking havoc wherever it shows up.

But, obsessive-compulsive embodies many of the characteristics necessary to top my list. If only it were a little more prevalent, I think there’s a good chance that it might someday overtake schizophrenia. We’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, I think I'll pop As Good As It Gets into the DVD player and watch Nicholson do his thing. I love how he washes his hands with a fresh bar of Neutrogena soap every fifteen minutes, but that goes without saying... who doesn't, right?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

David Mogen At Your Service

The hit-and-run summer thunderstorm caught me unprepared, as I stood in front of the aged brownstone on 45th Street waiting for my ride to Carnegie Hall. I carried no umbrella and the onslaught threatened to drench my rented tuxedo, so I hastily took refuge down a short series of concrete steps, under the eave of adjoining basement apartments.

Soon, a large unkempt man wearing a filthy green overcoat and cloth gloves joined me. A certain repugnant stench pervaded the small area we shared, although he seemed oblivious to both the odor and my presence. Staring blankly out onto the street, he soon pulled a large paper bag from one of his overcoat pockets. Never losing his fixed gaze, the man allowed the bag to slip off, revealing a bottle of Ripple Port. Possessed of a diamond cutter’s precision, he screwed the top off the bottle and flicked it onto the concrete in prelude to the rising curtain of his little one-man show.

No dehydrated Andes crash survivor ever attacked a bottle with greater gusto. His sallow cheeks pulsed with each glug as the ruby liquid flowed unerringly into his bottomless pit, his thirst seemingly un-sated even as the last drops disappeared. It couldn’t have taken him more than twenty seconds to drain the entire liter. Once assured that the bottle was empty, he tossed it aside along with the bag and cap. I watched his face contort into a grimace as he beat his chest with his fist, forcing out a belch that reverberated across the small enclosure. At any moment, I suspected he’d start relieving himself, forcing me to dance to avoid the splash on my patent leather Gucci’s.

It is precisely that moment he first saw me. I interpreted his expression as embarrassment, although I must admit it could certainly have been gas. He then put his forefinger to his lips (no doubt a pregnant pause to collect his thoughts) and taking a cautious step toward me, said, “I detect a piquant tartness at first taste, delicately subsiding into a gracious, subtle nuance. A rather impetuous nose, unpretentiously fruity, delightfully broadcast across the palate!”

I’ll never know whether he thought it had stopped raining or if he just didn’t care that it hadn’t, but he made no effort to shield himself from the downpour as he steadied himself and began his journey back up the stairs, teetering with each step.

Momentarily, he stopped, and with a glint in his eye, he peered briefly back over his shoulder at me.

“You’ll forgive my manners, I hope,” he offered. “These days, sharing doesn’t come as naturally as it might once have.” And he disappeared around the corner.

I like to think that as I sit in this theater, somewhere he’s acquired yet another carafe and is even now teaching his cronies the finer points of wine tasting… and I pray I’m not asked to explain my grin.

Can you show me the way to a road?

Look, I understand that English is rapidly becoming the world's language, okay? I get it that people across the globe are clamoring to show their devotion to their new-found language skills and I applaud them for their efforts.

But, for the sake of all that is holy, before you pay some tattoo artist to translate one of our witticisms onto your tummy, please understand that there are certain semantic differences in Finnish/English translations that, while barely raising an eyebrow in Helsinki, might cause some of us on this side of the pond to shake our heads in pity.

Who could possibly forget the old saying? If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, "There were is will, there is a road".

Nice try, chicky... now be a good little girl, pull your pants back up and run along. I wouldn't want to be responsible for you missing your American Idol audition. For your sake, I hope your English isn't good enough to translate what Simon Cowell might have to say.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Exceli the Monster Mutant

What is up with Roman Numerals? Did some Roman drink too much wine and get up hung over one morning and say, “Ya know, Maude, our present number system is really boring. How would it be if we assigned letters for some of the more significant numbers and sometimes add and subtract them backwards instead of forwards? Division and multiplication will be impossible. We could make it so confusing that we’d be the only ones who understood it. For thousands of years to come, kids around the world will hate us. Eventually someone will invent a game that makes M’s and M’s of dollars and it will have our numerals in front of its name.”

And that’s how Super Bowl XLI came to pass. That’s pronounced ‘Super Bowl Eckselleye’, and isn’t a bad name, all in all—rather distinguished, if you ask me. It wouldn’t take an incredible imagination to convert it to ‘Exceli’ and market it as a new super hero: “Hey, kids, are you bigger than all the rest of the kids and mean to boot? Well, forget those books, just grab a football and don’t forget to take your steroids. Remember our motto:

Run fast, jump high, you could be an Exceli.
Take some drugs and buy a gun, Exceli is lots of fun!”

Oh, by the way, just in case you’re living in a biodome in the Marianas Trench and a pressure leak forced you to the surface this morning, it rained in Miami last night. Nothing else important happened there.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

6 a.m. Ivories Tinkle

Just in case anyone needs a reminder why I don't write much poetry, I offer the following muck perched brashly atop a moldering pile of steaming effluvium:

6 a.m. Ivories Tinkle

Just a-ramblin’ and a-scramblin’, duckin’ and divin’,
over here, just a keystroke or two, don’t matter

where when or who, gettin’ a little workout
while my mind comes up to speed.

T-h-e-q-u-i-c-ki-b-r-i-w-, damn, made two mistakes!

That’s okay, we’re just doing a quick spin
around the block with our two-minute test drive.
Can't slow down now.

Mind’s a-swirlin’ now, so many subjects, just can’t keep up,
Pop-tarts and Darwin share the same space,

quick pit stop for a sip of Joe, find your home keys, dummy,
or you’ll end up with whatever happens one key over.
Shit! Sometimes I wish I hadn’t learned to type by touch,
somehow it seems like cheating.

That’s it, better now… intelligent choices, proper phrasing—

clear the hurdles, that’s right, now you’ve got it…
time to stop so the other guy can enter—
the guy who wants it right, the guy who has to make it work.

So long until tomorrow.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Truman’s Library

Truman, the inquisitive gopher, felt knobby upon arising, the probable consequence of too much after-six latte, a habit he’d fallen into as of late due, in part, to his association with Brenna. He still wasn’t sure whether she was his type, given her opinionated stances freely offered without so much as a veiled request, but she didn’t stink and presented a coquettish demeanor that he found quite disarming, thus her presence at the impromptu gatherings at Sadie’s became his sole reason for attendance.

Now, while all gophers are inquisitive to one degree or another, Truman distinguished himself among other members of the group with his intellect and discrimination. In fact, he was the only gopher in the hamlet that had read Trout Fishing In America, a reality lost on his peers but of considerable significance to himself… and Brenna. If they were to have a future past their coffeehouse meetings, certainly it would revolve around an arcane knowledge of Nelson Algren’s obscurity and a shared belief in the holistic powers of watermelon sugar.

Still fresh in his memory, he recalled parts of their conversation the evening previous. “Brenna, do you feel a sense of envy towards the humans, given their ability to construct libraries and whore houses?”

Brenna batted her eyes in a decidedly non-gopherly manner, commanding his attention with a protracted pause. At some point, she took pity upon him and offered, “Envy? No, not envy, exactly, although I wouldn’t mind spending a few days in St. Tropez at the mineral baths or perhaps feeling the exotic trade winds of Moorea or Papeete upon my face. I guess I wouldn’t mind a little privacy when I poop, either, without the intervention of others of my species that immediately run up behind me and sniff it to check its edibility. That would be nice… but I digress.”

“Rather a didactic expression of the inevitable, I suppose, but not without merit. One could certainly argue that the more unsavory of our habits, if considered in human terms, to be ‘undignified’ or ‘embarrassing’, however, to do so would risk dissociation with the majority of our colleagues who accept such things as naturally-occurring responses to stimuli. How human can we become before we lose ourselves?”

Again, she had paused, but this time a different comportment adorned her features. A newfound alacrity brightened her face and brought forth a gleaming quality any rodent would admire.

“Truman, honey…” she purred, “what do you say we continue this discussion at another time? I just felt the first twinges of impending estrous and I thought I might offer you exclusivity in its pursuit… that is, if you’d be willing to offer a girl a little watermelon sugar.”

There Truman’s memory of the evening stopped, the victim of hormonal activity so spectacular, so mind-blowing, so all-inclusive as to send all other memories to his subliminal graveyard of lost ideas.

And there they would rest in peace until such time as they, too, felt the biological urge of re-incarnation. Such is the way of ideas, be they gopher or human.

Bob Church © 2/3/07

Friday, February 02, 2007

How Could I Have Missed This??

I’ve decided to start a new business. I keep hearing the radio ads for home-based businesses and how people make ten, twenty, even thirty thousand dollars a month (or more) working just a few hours a day, and how Ron J. Mercer will send me his fabulous book and DVD… for nothing!

Yea… nothing! Starting to understand the genius behind this yet?

The man has obviously unlocked the secret to the universe—how to make money by giving stuff away! It’s brilliant! Of course, it will destroy the capitalist system within a few years, but, hey, what the hell. Need a loaf of bread, a jug of milk and maybe a small jar of chunky peanut butter, preferably not Skippy, but you’ll eat it if that’s all you can get? Give Ron a call and he’ll send ‘em to you! In a week or so, we’ll no longer need grocery stores.

When I think about how stupid I’ve been the last forty years… selling myself into white slavery for a myriad of ungrateful wretches willing to scrawl some very small numbers on a payroll check every other week, when, in reality, all I had to do was give Ron a call.

I’m so ashamed…

But, I think I’m going to ease into it. I don’t want to cause any problems down at the bank when all those checks start rolling in, so I think I’ll still keep a job of some sort, something to provide a temporary buffer between wealth and poverty. For just ten dollars (cash only, please), I will come over to your house and sit on your bed—for five golden minutes!

Oh, by the way, please don’t tell anyone about this, I wouldn’t want to flood the market before the American economy has the opportunity to adjust. Let’s just consider it our little secret.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I knew there was SOME reason!

There are times when simple explanations for specific events just don’t suffice. After decades spent trying to understand why my mind doesn’t work like everyone else’s, I decided to take a new approach to the problem. I contacted a biogeneticist at a large midwestern university and inquired as to what, if any, benefits might be derived from undertaking a personal complete DNA work-up for the specific purpose described above.

After grilling me for a few minutes to make sure that I wasn’t trying to scam the university into giving me a free DNA analysis, she agreed to do the work. I’d done some research of my own and I’d previously determined that any anomalies of the Hardy-Weinberg principle affecting specific allele frequencies within the spectrum of the Lee Equation might provide a diploid explanation, if and when a determinant gene could be isolated at a site previously identified with cognitive thought processes. So, if I could substantiate her results when evaluated within tightly defined and exposed dominant phenotypes not expressly structured as haplo-sufficient, then ribosome contacts with that allele would, necessarily, be taxonomically defined as aberrant!

Well… imagine my relief at her conclusions! Of course, it offers me few solutions, if any whatsoever, but at least now I know that I’m not just ‘kinda funny about some things’; there are definite uncontrollable somatic maladies affecting my thought processes and subsequent treatment of language patterns in all regards.

I guess I could consider a lobotomy.