Text Mistext

[texting the wrong person]


– ive got a stalker!

– omg no way

– way facebook twitter texting

– did you reply

– no. b/c 2 creepy

– how creepy

– u know. hes interest. how about a drink and a movie

– whoa

– u know i am a little interest

– careful

– id like a date 4 once

– me too. but some stranger?

– he sent pic

– yeah if real. good looking?

– course. still. no way

– yeah

– still. BEG

– yeah me 2 i guess

–  how about it? dinner and a movie?


– Doctor, I’m worried about my schnauzer.

– What?

– There is hair loss and the skin underneath is red.

– Itching?

– There is some scratching.

– First, try shaving it.

– Shaving it? Won’t that look funny?

– I see it all the time. I’ll prescribe a cream.

– OK. Any special instructions with the cream?

– Twice a day liberally and stay off bicycles.

– What? Is this Dr. Jones, my vet?

– No, this is Dr. Smith, your ob/gyn.

Help from Mom

 – its just not working. i need your help

– i can help

– last night everything was going fine. it was working last night

– ok

– but this morning i started to get some static. it started ok but then it started to get really really weird.

– ok. how?

– you do one thing you expect a certain thing back u know?

– yes. what did you expect and what did you get?

– i didnt expect to have my hands tied

– you mean you couldnt fix?

– fix? my hands were tied

– so what did you try?

– try? my hands were tied

– how long have you had this problem?

– what? a weird problem like this? its like totally new.

– many folks have their hands tied many times and find statis when seeking help.

– mom r u nutz?

– mom? this is technical support in india. thank you for calling. go red socks.

Suicide Hotline

– im desperate. may do something crazy.

– talk to me

– may do something i regret. everything going wrong

– tell me about it

– im lonely so lonely. then i meet a guy

– and? 

– he seems  nice. we talk. i tell troubles.

– and?

– he just wants my body. making me crazy. to end it all.

– why u think the guys behave this way?

– they seem me you know they see how i look my body and they assume

– they see your body and they assume you want physical relationship

– yes. i am so tired. may just take pills end it

– no wait wait. don’t think this. all guys not same. you can have good life.

– you think so? there is hope?

– yes yes there is hope

– but how can i meet this guy

– i am the guy. dont worry just because i sell enlargement treatment to guys. we meet i show good time. please send picture for my look at your body.

Medical Report

– Mr. Jones?
– Yes
– I have your results.
– Thank you
– Apparently you have had relations with at least three different persons.
– Three diseases?
– Yes, with genetic markers indicating two women and a man, one old, one young, one very young. Different races.
– Catching?
– very. Avoid further relations before cure.
– If the diseases are passed on?
– First there will be itching. Then, a rash. Then, madness. Nose and eyeballs will drop off. After that it gets really bad.
– I’ll warn him.
– Wait, what? Who is this?
– The ex Mrs. Jones. What can you recommend for itching?

Bank Withdrawal

– I’m ready to make that withdrawal.
– OK.
– You ready?
– I am ready.
– In place?
– I am in place for withdrawals.
– I will walk in, get the money, walk out. It will be quick.
– Yes. Very quick.
– I hope to get a lot.
– As much as you want and need.
– I need it all ha ha.
– It is all available for withdrawal, Sir. Your complete account if you wish.
– My account, your account, all the accounts, ha ha. Here I go!
– Sir? This texting has disturbed our bank security for some reason. They will be speaking to you.

Emergency Travel Agent Contact

– Linda, I did not sign up for crocodile adventure.
– No need sign up
– No, I mean I don’t want this adventure.
– No refund
– OK, no refund, just get me out of here.
– Tour last four hour
– Linda, call the tour guide and tell him this is a big mistake.
– No mistake! Have fun!
– Linda, what is wrong with you? They are trying to get me on a croc. It’s madness.
– Croc no mad. Croc happy.
– Linda, do something before it’s too late.
– Me no Linda. Me BanJoo. Better put down phone. Need hand hold on. Croc like eat hand.

Pop Quiz

– The current size of the universe is explained in part by positing an inflationary period during expansion.
– True
– The universe is flat.
– False
– In one trillion years, only our galaxy and Andromeda will be visible to us.
– False
– 100 billion galaxies are visible from Earth.
– False
– Dark energy far outweighs dark matter in the universe.
– True
– We understand dark matter but not dark energy.
– False
– How did I do?
– How did you do? I answered the questions. How did I do?
– You answered? Clyde, it’s you, not Professor Smith? Those were my answers to the handout quiz questions, moron. It wasn’t a true/false quiz.
– You are an idiot. True or false? True.
– Oh yeah? Well all your falses but one were true. And that last true was false.moron. It wasn’t true/false.
– You are an idiot. True or false? True.
– Oh yeah? Well all your falses but one were true. And that last true was false.

Hot Date

– im totally lost

– i can help. where are you?

– on something called patterson street in front of an old white house with a picket fence

– ok. go straight ahead to the next intersection and turn left.

– ok… ok im turned

– keep going up and over the hill. GYPO.

– ok… ok im over the hill. sorry its so late. Be there AEAP

– not a problem. turn right at the blue post office box.

– its looking familiar. but ive never been to your house janie

– keep going.

– its… its… aw mom. i come for a visit and finally get a date with janie and you do this to me?

– she’s all wrong for you son. come in and i’ll give you milk and coookies.

Greetings from Space Lab

– Hi, Honey. Texting from space. Pretty cool, huh?

– $^&^ $%&  ^(*&

– What was that? Got a little garbled.

– @$%  #$%^  $%&^*#@%&$#

– Sorry. Try once more.

– @#$  Greetings Earthling

– Ha ha. Tad is that you? You should be in school.

– $#^#  There will be no school  @#$@%

– No school today? What is it, a holiday? Gosh it’s good to hear your text.

– @#$%  Earth will become holiday place for @#$@ race

– You were in a race? How did you do? Did you win?

– #@$@^@ We will win

– Great! Kiss your mom for me.

– @#$@% There will be no kisses. There will be no lips  #$#@

– Ha ha. Don’t worry son. You’ll be interested in girls soon enough.

– #@#$%^ yes we will keep some of the girls. the babes only.

-Tad, what kind of talk is that?

– @#$%@  All of your base belong to us  @#$%!$

– Ha ha. Well, so long, Son.

Imaginary Friend

– I shouldn’t be talking to you.

– Why not?

– My shrink says you’re not real.

– Well, you knew that already.

– He says it’s a bad habit.

– Maybe this isn’t me you’re texting.

– Oh, it’s you. I know it’s you.

– Well, if it’s me and I’m imaginary, how am I typing these messages?

– WTF?

– Riddle me that.

– Who is this? Dr. Klienermann? What have you done with my imaginary friend? What have you done with Lloyd?

– I’m just messing with you. I’m Lloyd.

– How can you text me? You aren’t real.

– Maybe your phone isn’t real. Maybe you aren’t real.

– Maybe the next check I send you won’t be real, Klienermann.


– Forgive me Father for I have sinned.

– Sinned?

– I feel the need to confess.

– Well… confess what?

– First of all, I’ve had impure thoughts.

– Impure… Listen, don’t worry about that. That’s normal. You’re a teenager.

– Second of all, I sort of cheated on a test at school.

– Cheated how?

– I sort of looked over on my buddy’s paper and sort of copied some of his answers.

–  Don’t worry about it. Everybody does that once in a while. You’re a bright kid. Your buddies have probably copied off of you plenty. Anything else?

– Yeah. I was texting like this and I sort of dinged up the front of the car. I worried about taking it home.

– You what! How many times have I warned you about that, Son! It’s coming right out of your allowance! You’re spending the weekend pulling crabgrass!

Master Thieves

On the first day of February, the media announced that master thief John Smith had stolen all the money in the world. By the time this news went out, everyone had already begun to notice that their credit and debit accounts were empty. The banks found themselves fundless. Annoyance ran high all over the planet.

How did this happen? Digital cash, Smith a hacker’s hacker.

Murray Posner drove a taxi cab. His first fare of the day climbed in and handed him a credit card. He ran it and it came back empty.

“That’s impossible,” the passenger said. “I’ve already used it today.”

“Well, it’s zero now,” Murray said, regret in his voice. He did not like to refuse anyone.

Just then, his dispatcher called him.

“Everyone’s card is being denied,” she said. “Must be a glitch in the system. Take the fare where she wants to go, write down the amount, have her sign it, and give her a copy. We’ll bill her later.”

Smith the thief, in a communique, said that he’d give the money back. All he wanted was recognition as the greatest cyberthief in the history of thievery, and a harem comprised of the thousand most beautiful, intelligent young women in the world. A legal marriage between him and the lot of them. Single ceremony. Good conversationalists, they had to be, all of them. That was a must.

Before the world’s governments could get organized and react to Smith’s demands with a slapdash beauty contest of some sort, master theif Robert Brown stole all the money from Smith. He too said that he’d give it back, not to Mr. Smith but to its original owners, and that as he was happily married, he didn’t require a harem; he just wanted to show Mr. Smith up. Oh, and also, he wanted to be acknowledged as the world’s greatest thief and, incidentally, the ruler of the world. King of the world, actually.

Murray’s wife called from the supermarket.

“Everyone’s card is being declined,” she told him. “It’s crazy.”

“Same here,” Murray said. “We’re just keeping track and delivering folks to their destinations.”

“That’s what they’re doing here,” his wife said. “They check you out and write down what you owe. It slows the lines a little, but otherwise it’s business as usual.”

Before the world’s governments could crown Brown in a slapdash ceremony, and with the citizenery clamoring for his coronation so that everyone could get back on track, master thief Cleo Jones let it be known that she herself had stolen one third of Mr. Brown’s ill-gotten gains. Simultaneously, Mr. Smith proclaimed that he too had swiped back about a third of the moolah from Jones.

This left a third of the world’s money in each of the three thieves’ hands.

Meanwhile, Murray had a doctor in his cab.

“I’ve got three operations to perform today,” the doctor said.

“What if the patients never get their money back?” Murray said.

“What am I supposed to do, let them die?” the doctor said.

Murray glanced up as he drove. The morning sky was clear, a deepening blue. A single contrail ran its length, feathering behind the plane that left it. A sudden stab of worry struck the driver, concern for his family, for his children. After the doctor got out, Murray called his wife.

“The teachers are reassuring the kids,” she said. “They’ll stay with their classes as long as it takes to get the money back, even if that means weeks without pay.”

Murray was glad to hear it.

“We can’t deliver your paychecks today,” the dispatcher told the drivers. “Stay on and we’ll keep track and make good as soon as we can.”

The drivers kept at it.

The thieves Smith and Brown stood by their demands. Cleo Jones gave back her third of the loot, but despensed it according to her own lights – evenly – rather than giving the fat cats most of it. This caused delight or outrage, depending. Governments considered deleting all three thirds somehow and starting over, but it just seemed easier to hook Smith up with all the women he could handle, annoint Brown king of the world, ignore the complaining rich who were coming up short vis a vis the Cleo returns, and go home, now that a king was running things, which they did.

In his cab, Marray learned that the buses and trains and trucking companies were all still operating, keeping track of thier business. Farmers were farming. Zoos fed their animals. When Murray needed gas, the station let him fill up, noting the amount he pumped. Twice, high school students got in and asked to be taken downtown. This was something new and Murray refused to do it. They were just out for a lark. A dentist told him that she had refused to cap a woman’s teeth because she felt that the woman would not have asked for the procedure in normal times.

King Brown sat down on his throne, a huge naughyde Lazyboy, and immediately issued a proclamation making clear that he was Thief Number One. He taxed Smith so severely that the man couldn’t feed his harem and was left destitute. Brown lined up the fat cats behind him by snatching away Cleo the Robin Hood’s money from the undeserving formerly poor and middle class and giving it back to its original owners. The tabloids were upset that Smith’s mega-harem wasn’t able to get into mischief anymore. The millions who had benefitted from Cleo’s windfallsthreatened to riot. Smith and Brown worked together to steal Brown’s recliner. He was de-crowned.

From him vantage point behind the wheel of his taxi, Murray was amazed at the way the wheels of society and the economy, not to mention  traffic, mysteriously continued to turn. The level of trust amongst the people seemed incredible, and yet everyone continued to keep track and life move on. The occasional ambulance or fire truck would pass him, sirens howling. No change there.

“I’m supposed to buy an island today,” said a rich guy whom Murray was taking to J. P. Morgan downtown. “The owner is desperate to sell because he needs the cash for some other deal that he’s doing. Of course, there is no cash.”

“You won’t get your island?” Murray said.

“I will get it,” the man said. “The world’s finanaces are becoming one giant escrow account. As long as we all go along, we’ll be OK. If a wealthy man or celebrity wants to buy a Lear jet, he can still do it. Lear doesn’t want to go out of business.”

It seemed to Murray that if the rich were finding a way to cope, the way that everyone else was, there was hope for the world.

He picked up a guy in a hurry to catch a flight.

“Break the speed limit if you have to,” the guy said to him. “What are they going to do, give you a ticket?”

“Since nobody can pay off a ticket anymore,” Murray said, “the police are suspending your right to drive for a while instead. I wouldn’t want that. Besides, I never speed. I’ve got a wife and children.”

In fact, it seemed to Murray that in the current crisis, folks were driving more carefully than ever.

Smith, Jones, and Brown announced that since the thieving pecking order was unresolved, they were thinking about stealing all the money again, but by now, money was somehow beginning to seem old-fashioned and clunky. Overrated. Folks were frankly sick of it. Everyone on the Internet, which is to say, everyone, agreed that money was, to coin a phrase, the root of all evil.

Gradually, Murray quit keeping track of his passengers’ fares. He noticed too that when he stopped for gas, the station attendants were not paying attention to the amount that he pumped.

A young, up-and-coming thief named Chiang Mai went ahead and stole it all again and was rewarded with a global yawn. Smith caused a news blip by stealing Jones and Brown themselves, and setting his angry harem on them, but that act was treated as a celebrity high jink. Thievery, like money, had become old news. A button reading “Take it, and screw you!” became popular.

As for so many others in the world, Murray’s life, and the life of his family, continued on a day-by-day basis, with ups and downs, triumphs and challenges, happiness and tears. He did more good than ill, and so did most of those he knew.

Crime did not disappear, of course, people being people. The crimes that counted for most now, however, concerned upsets to the new world order. For example, the master demagogue Marcel Parcel identified all of those office workers worldwide whose productivity level averaged 91% and convinced them, for bogus reasons, to call in sick for two straight weeks when they were in fact perfectly healthy. Now that was a real crime.

Product endorsements

A Real Lifesaver

I love my husband but he does have some anger-management issues.  Most of the time he’s a real puppy dog, but when he loses it, he will clock me pretty good.  I know I should report him to the law or head for a women’s shelter or something, but gosh, I just love the big lug. Sure, I’m abused, but are a bunch of shiners too much to pay for marital bliss most of the time? He works like a dog and I lay on the couch all day eating bon bons.

Afterward he beats me up, he’ll be apologetic for days and he swears that he’ll never do it again. Of course I don’t believe him, but I think that he believes it himself. Then when he starts getting wound up again, he’ll say that I made him do it.

Anyway, I was down at the hardware store the other day and I bought a 12″ cast-iron skillet that I needed, as I do cook. The thing weighed a ton. A black beauty. You can’t hurt it. I accidentally left the fire on under it the other night after cooking dinner and although it got hot enough to melt lead, it was otherwise unscathed.

The other wonderful thing about the skillet is that I’m strong enough to take it by the handle and give my hubby a whack in the noggin with it that will send him into cuckoo-land on the kitchen-floor linoleum for a good ten minutes. When he comes to, he isn’t angry any more. His head hurts too much. You can also make an unbelievable omelette in it.

Classic Bug

I bought a classic ’67 VW bug from a guy relocating to Florida. I paid him fifty cents, which was all I had at the time, and moved in immediately.

The bug sat in an empty lot on 116th Street. No wheels, but the doors still locked. A good growth of tall weeds surrounded it and provided a rustic feel.

The seats were long gone and the floor was covered in layers of cardboard. Pretty ritzy! This was a movie up from an ancient Morris Minor for me. Luxurious.  I’ve got a buddy who lives in a Buick up on 125th by the river. He’s got room in there to invite some folks over, they smoke a J, drink a little Thunderbird; in other words, he entertains. He’s like that. Me, not so much.

It’s part of the American Dream, right? Own your own place. King in your castle. As far as I’m concerned, ’67 was the last good year for bugs. After that, they switched to those ugly new bumpers, which I hate.


You ask me, flame throwers don’t get the respect they deserve. Well, maybe they do if you’re facing some guy with one in your hands, all lit up and ready to barbeque him. But I mean from day to day, hanging around the office, bs-ing with your friends. Unless they’re into Call of Duty or suchlike, you’re lucky to find a guy who has built a flame thrower from a kit. As for women, forget about it!

To be clear, I’m not talking about these safer, commercial, gas-streaming models. I’m talking about manning up and throwing a good long stream of burning liquid out there onto a crowd or building.

Yes, I was a yellow, underweight weakling with thinning hair, cardboard lifts in my shoes, and a congenital fear of leafy vegetables. Yes, my mom forced the vegetables, either raw or cooked to a consistency of gray-green mush. Yes, I wouldn’t play outdoors.

But then my dad died and I was able to sneak down into the basement without him threatening to kill me, and it didn’t take long to find the heat. Two tanks of oil-based liquid fuel, a tank of compress butane, a gun housing, and an ignition valve. My first trip over to the playground where all those little rats from my class hung out, that was probably the best day of my life!

Valentine’s Day

I met Wendy in our Phoenix office. There were thirty of us working in Phoenix at the time. She transferred up from Tucson when her Air Force husband was reassigned from Davis-Montham to Luke. They found a home in Surprise and Wendy made the long commute every day. Our office was located on First Avenue, near Central and McDowell.

I was attracted to Wendy immediately. We both liked our work. We both looked forward to coming in every day. We laughed a lot. This was almost a year after my divorce. I had been dating, but without much enthusiasm.

I found myself thinking about Wendy when I was away from work. I knew that her marriage wasn’t going well. She was young and pregnant when she married, but not in love. Now, her son was five. Her husband was a good father. She had no complaints about that. I learned all this from her in bits and pieces.

I told her about my divorce. Annie and I were in love when we married, crazy about each other. We ran off to Vegas, shocking our families. We had a lot of fun for a while and then, little by little, the romance evaporated. One day, we weren’t in love anymore. We parted friends, but not friends enough to exchange Christmas cards, or to keep track of each other afterwards.

I spent a lot of time alone after that, trying to remember the romantic feeling that had kept me so excited about my life while it lasted. I wanted to figure out where it had come from and where it had gone, but the whole experience remained a mystery to me. I thought about Annie and I couldn’t image how it had happened.

Wendy and I usually brought our lunch to work and ate in the office. Every once in a while we’d go out at noon with some of the others, but never alone together. We did start taking a little walk almost every afternoon, up toward the library and Hance Park. In the winter months, the days were always pleasant, sky a washed-out blue, doves calling, house sparrows strident.  We always had something to talk about. Which was better, the U of A or ASU. Japanese versus Korean cinema. This became the high point of the day for me.

And then one afternoon, strolling along, we were holding hands. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know which of us started it. Neither of us said anything about it. My heart rate went up. I can’t remember a more intimate moment in my life. I chattered away as I tried to think what it meant, what we were doing, where we were heading. I remember giving her hand the smallest squeeze and her returning it.

Then, heading back toward the office, we weren’t holding hands anymore.

The next day was the same. And the next.

A week before Christmas, we walked a little farther. I remember that Wendy was telling me about the gifts she and her husband had bought for her son. Presently, we found ourselves standing in front of the Pioneer Hotel. We looked at each other. The Metro light rail passed with a clang, down on Central.

“Let’s not do this,” Wendy said, finally.

“Of course not,” I said. I don’t know whether I meant it or not. I don’t know if I was disappointed or relieved. Either way, I felt light on my feet. Floating on a cloud, just because the possibility could even arise.

In my calmer moments after that, I worried that I was repeating the romantic fantasy I had had with Annie – this time with a married woman, a mother. Our conversations began to include hints about the future and what it might hold. Always, our holding hands seemed to represent a bond and a promise between us, unspoken but clear.

On February 14th, we went to lunch alone together for the first time. We walked over to Celia’s and took a table for two by the window. The flower boxes outside were full to bursting with color.

Halfway through the meal, feeling awkward, I took a little wrapped box out of my pocket.

“Valentine’s Day,” I said.

“I’m embarrassed,” Wendy said. “I didn’t get you anything.”

“That’s OK. It was an impulse.”

She opened the box and took out the small turquoise necklace I had bought.

“That is so sweet,” she said.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. It’s lovely.”


“This is going to sound crazy.”

I waited. I suddenly knew what she was going to say.

“It doesn’t make any sense and I couldn’t have worn it, at least not yet, but when I saw the box, I thought you were giving me a ring. I’m sorry.”

I told her then that I was afraid the wonderful romantic glow that we shared might somehow fade. That we’d find ourselves, like Annie and I had, just two ordinary people, along with her son, living together for no particular reason. How could I tear her family apart for that? I didn’t trust myself, or romance, much as I wanted to.

“The excitement is supposed to fade,” Wendy said. “It’s like those flowers. They’re beautiful for a while but they won’t last. They can’t. Something more important and more lasting replaces the infatuation.”

“But what if it doesn’t?” I said.

Wendy sat looking at me with her eyebrows raised a little. I didn’t say anything. I wanted to agree with her but I was afraid to.

“I want to get on with my life,” Wendy said. “This is romantic and crazy, but it isn’t my life.”

We remained friends. We were affectionate with each other. We spent eight hours a day together at work, five days a week. We chatted, we laughed. We stopped our afternoon walks.

I bought a ring, but it was too late; I wrapped it but said nothing to Wendy. A month later, Wendy told me that she was pregnant. She had wanted a second child and her husband was willing, so they went ahead with it. The next nine months, she spent more time with the other women in the office than she had before. I learned all about the long, slow lead-up to parenthood, but I was stuck on the outside looking in.

I was invited out to Surprise a time or two, just a coworker coming to dinner. I met the Air Force husband and Wendy’s son Tommy, now six. The husband seemed like a decent fellow; Tommy was a nice kid. Wendy was friendly with her husband but treated me with a tenderness that made my heart ache. These were the toughest evenings of my life. The baby was born in October.

I dated. In June, it seemed as if something might develop between me and the woman I was seeing, but I thought about Wendy so much that the relationship didn’t last. When I drank too much, I tended toward tears.

Work was intolerable with Wendy gone after the baby’s birth. When she finally returned, I couldn’t wait to get to the office every morning. I cared what she thought, how she felt, what she wanted. I cared about her son and her new daughter. I walked a line every day and I never crossed it, but I thought about crossing it to distraction. Sometimes I felt as if Wendy were nursing me back to health, trying to help me become as strong and happy as I was before. I had the notion that being a mother twice over somehow deepened her, increased her warmth and beauty and her feeling for life.

In December, we started to walk again in the afternoon. No hand-holding, of course.  We talked like we had before, about everything. About the baby Elizabeth. About how Tommy was adapting as big brother. We’d stop in the park by the library and sit for a few minutes on a bench facing a square of dead Bermuda grass, traffic coursing through the freeway tunnel beneath our feet. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her.

On Valentine’s Day, I made up my mind. I suggested that we go out to lunch together. Wendy agreed. I couldn’t read her mood. We walked over to Celia’s again and chose the same table. The flowers were in bloom.

“You’re wearing my necklace,”  I said, surprised. I don’t know when she put it on, but for me, a year’s pain and regret lifted a little when I saw it.

She reached up and touched it. Her eyebrows lifted, challenging me.

“That crazy romantic feeling of mine,” I said. “It sort of faded away.”

“It happens,” she said

“It faded away,” I said, “but I still love you, more than ever.”

Before I could change my mind, I pulled the little box out of my pocket and handed it to her, a year late. She took it with a glorious smile.

Samples on the Flip Side

Her response was of the “Flip, side with me, please” type.

I’m on the dyslexic side. Flip the phrase around.

For her hair, she chose The Flip. Side view, not bad; full on, not so good.

Before an American football game comes the flip. Side that wins the coin toss chooses to receive or to defer.

Thanks, dudes. See you on the flip side.

[100 Word Challenge]

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

There are three Saint Valentines, all martyrs. For the profoundly religious, such as myself, it seems appropriate to celebrate Valentine’s Day every year by reenacting one of these Valentinian sacrifices.

Why should there be so many Muslim martyrs in current times, while so few Christian ones? Christians in certain communities reenact the crucifixion of Christ. All well and good. But why stop there? I, for one,  don’t.

How does my annual candidate react to the honor of being chosen Saint Valentine for a day, and to the prospect of eternal glory, beginning before the sun goes down if I hurry?

“Please let me go! I’m begging you! Please! I’ll do anything! I have a family. I don’t want to die!”

What has become of the strong religious faith so common at one time in this country?

How do I choose the annual martyr? I use Facebook. I open a new account on the first day of January, accumulate friends, and select the most popular of them as my candidate. Naturally, I have to figure out where my candidate lives. Then I must travel there and stalk him (Saint Valentine was not a female!). On February 14th, as early in the day as is practicable, I pounce with my chloroform.

Once the lucky martyr-to-be has been secured at a secret site that I have prepared, I give him a choice. Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter was impaled on spikes. Hieromartyr Saint Valentine was immolated at the stake. Saint Valentine Africanus was torn into quarters by elephants. (There are other Saint Valentines, but I see no need to go crazy with this.) My ceremonial candidate for martyrdom is allowed to choose one of the three saints. After I perform an informal mass, the consecrated execution proceeds, just as it occurred so many centuries ago. Except that instead of four elephants, I use three trees and a Ford F150 truck, when my victim chooses quartering.

I’m no sadist. I don’t want to cause unnecessary suffering. That’s why I wait until the 14th to collect my martyr. I would never keep the candidate locked away for days, worrying about what is to come.

My goal is to get the martyr under control, dress him in period costume, perform the mass, and put him out of his misery!

For example, you could impale someone all day without killing him. I would never do that. Contrariwise, you could kill the candidate with the first spike, but what kind of martyrdom is that? Ten spikes, more or less. That seems fair, doesn’t it? Twenty, perhaps, if I’m inspired to use that many.

This year, for the third time in a row, my victim chose the spikes. For some reason, no one wants to burn anymore, or get parted out after having their limbs torn off (no sense wasting healthy body parts when there is money to be made). I do miss getting my truck involved, but the disinterest in fire does not make me unhappy at all. Communities have become so fussy about smoke in the air these days. It’s hard to burn leaves or tires anymore, never mind humans.

And by the way, just to prove that I’m not some evangelical nut, please note that on Presidents Day, I celebrate the assassination of our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln. I go out and find some tall, ugly guy, and take the part of John Wilkes Booth myself, of course.

This year’s Saint Valentine was Josh, a popular and active fellow on the Web. Tweeted like a madman. Lived in the San Francisco area, which pleased me. I flew out two days early. Found his condo complex down on the Peninsula, by the San Francisco Bay. The ungated community was a hive of social activity. I kept track of Josh with ease. There were always people hanging around him. I don’t know how he maintained his Internet presence because he seemed to spend all of his time squiring women about and drinking in upscale bars and putting in time at the gym and the racquetball courts. Most of the women appeared to be married. Not to Josh. He looked smooth and cool. I couldn’t see into his soul but I could watch his expression change when he turned away from those he was charming. He was as crazy as me. Not that I’m crazy, per se, but that list of martyrs I have to my credit might make me look that way.

I didn’t see the sun once from the time I arrived in California to the time I chloroformed Josh. No rain fell, but a low winter marine layer blanketed the sky. The temperature invited sweatshirts but not jackets; then a chill would slide in through the fleece fibers and made my skin thicken with goosebumps. I could smell the Bay and I felt like a seagull sitting on a piling, waiting to swoop down on a scrap of garbage. In this case, Josh.

The hours passed and gaps would open in the gray floor of clouds, light spilling through with pale blue sky behind it, reminding me that the world is gray and heaven is not. Then the gaps would close, cutting me off from the radiant day hidden above. God likes to show us how small we are. When the clouds fill in and cover the sky while you watch, God is closing the bedroom door in your face and going out somewhere to have fun while you, the little kid, are left home to cry yourself to sleep in your bed, alone and frightened out of your wits . When God is at home, drunk, it’s no picnic, but it’s better than spending the night afraid of the dark.

I snatched Josh and secured him with ease. He took it badly. I hope that no saint, especially one of the Valentine persuasion, blubbered like Josh did. Getting him to chose his method of execution (spikes again), was a major pain. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be fun, not a grind!

“Why me?” Josh would say. “You’re the holy man. You should be the martyr.”

I chuckled.

“I wouldn’t presume,” I said. “I’m not worthy in the least. You are. You’re vain, immodest, a fornicator, wealthy. You’re perfect. Providing that you repent first, of course.”

“Well, I won’t!”

The sweat ran off him. He was as vulnerable as it is possible for a human being to be, and he knew it. The storage locker was bare. I had a gag ready, but Josh kept his voice down.

“Listen, Josh,” I said. “We can’t martyr you until you repent. Say the word and I’ll go get your Saint outfit and the spikes. We’ll have you sitting on the right hand of God before dinner time.”

“I take it back. I don’t want to be impaled.”

“I’ll tear you into quarters if you want, but I’m not going to burn you. Immolation is a royal pain in the neck.”

“No, I don’t want to be killed at all. I won’t repent.”

It took a while, but he did repent. Still in one piece, too, minus some blood.

When I went out to my truck to get the necessaries, a complication arose. Someone knocked me out. When I came to, I was handcuffed to the pipe in the storage area, and Josh was standing in front of me.

There was a light in his eyes and it wasn’t a holy one.

“Ouch,” I said. “What happened?”

“A private detective was following me,” Josh said. “A suspicious husband hired him. Before he could get the camera shots he wanted of Beth and me in bed, he noticed you lurking about. He thought you were another detective. When you jumped me, he knocked you out and brought you to me.”

“Why?” I said.

“So I could buy him off, which I did. He’ll report to the husband that there’s no need for concern. He left you to me.”

“Did you buy him off before or after he let you go?”

“Hey, I’m not proud. I grovelled and pleaded and promised him the moon. I can afford it. I please a lot of wealthy women. He let me go and cuffed you to the pipe instead of me.”

My hands were numb. The back of my head throbbed.

“Here’s the good news,” Josh said. “I’m going to go clean up and visit your truck.Than I’m going to come back and we’ll celebrate the day, Mister Saint Valentine.”

“I won’t repent” I said.

“That’s OK,” Josh said. “I’m not Orthodox. You can decide which Saint Valentine you want to be and I’ll send you off just as you are, sinful and all.”

I decided who I would be before he got out of the room, although I didn’t tell him so. I’m going with the fire. Hieromartyr Saint Valentine, Bishop of Interamna. Let this jerk find out for himself what a hassle it is trying to burn a 250-pound man to death.

Man Adopts his 42-Year-Old Girlfriend

Headline, Huffington Post]

The guy’s name is Marvin. Once Sue was all adopted, he took her home to meet his former mom and dad, now his adopted son and daughter.

“Fred and Betty,” he said to them, “meet your new sister Sue.”

“Keep it down,” his daughter said. “Your son is taking his nap.”  

The elderly woman was trying to assemble a lego jeep.

“I’m sure glad to be here,” said Sue. “Say, Betty, can I help?”

“You can go make dinner,” said Betty. “After you put in a load of wash.”

Sue frowned.

“I meant, can I play with you,” she said. “I’m not your slave.”

“Now, kids,” chuckled Marvin. “Don’t start scrapping. Remember, I love you all equally.’

“We’ll see about that tonight,” said Sue.

“Whoa, there, Pilgrim,” said Betty. “This is a Christian home.”

“Remember that when you hear me shouting Oh God! tonight,” Sue said.

 “Marvin!” Betty said.

Spot, Marvin’s other son, came in through the doggy door.


“Oh, goody,” said Sue. “I always wanted a brother, and not some old geezer asleep at two in the afternoon. Spot, sit boy! Roll over!”

Marvin took Sue aside.

“Baby,” he said. “I’m afraid that tonight’s off.”

“What? Just because you’re my daddy?”

“No. I adopted myself today, too. I’m your big brother now. I’ve got to look out for you, and that includes not letting your daddy take advantage of you.”

Walmart Evicts Workers Living In Store Parking Lot

[Headline, Huffington Post, 02/10/12]

All over America, there are husbands temporarily living in their car after a fight with their wife. Where do they wash up, shave, and brush their teeth every day? At work, of course. Many sleep under their desk rather than in the vehicle.

(In which other countries does this occur? There was a vogue in Finland, until a spate of hypothermic incidents led to a dramatic increase in widows; in Romania, husbands woke up sharing their automobile with a family of gypsies; in China, to find an iPad assembly line in the back seat; etc.)

In general, companies are comfortable with this situation. The employee stops asking to “work from home.” Commute time is zero. Employees purchase all their necessaries right there in the store, instead of letting their mate at home go cruising out to Safeway every day. So what went wrong at Walmart? All seemed copacetic. Right next door at Target, a husbands’ support group was meeting in an RV in the parking lot. On the other side, husbands were quietly dumpster-diving at Jack in the Box.

It turns out that Walmart experienced an uptick in husbands living in their cars, not due to domestic discord, but to avoid onerous chores and childcare duties at home. These men were telling their wives that Walmart was making them work around the clock. That to keep their job, they had to “work late.” Then they would party all night long in the lot, in Winnebagos tricked out as huge mancaves.

The bottom 80% of workers at Walmart are moms, many harried. When they found out what was going on, they threatened a Spartacus-like revolt. The parking-lot husbands, including many Walmart executives, were sent home.

Cat from Hawaii found in Ohio

[Headline, CNN]

I was sitting on my porch when I saw a cat coming down the street. He was obviously lost. I whistled him over and as I scratched his head, I checked his collar. He was from Hawaii.

I went inside and found some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and a little leftover poi and brought it out to him. He wolfed it all down. I could tell he was hungry.

I called my sister, who lives in Wailea.

“I’ve found a lost cat,” I said. “His collar says he lives in Kihei.”

“Why, that’s right down the road,” my sister said. “Where are you?”

“Home in Ohio.”

“I’ll be darned. Well, put him on a plane to Kahului and I’ll meet him there and take him home.”

“Thanks, Sis.”

I had a carrier that I bought at Target after a lost dog showed up from Paris and caught me unprepared. I put this little guy in it (his name was Kamehameha) and took him down to our local airstrip. He had to make a connection in Columbus but after that he had a straight shot to the islands.

What You Don’t Know About Dish Towels

[Headline, Huffington Post, 02/09/12]

1. You never have to wash a dish towel. Why not? Because you are wiping water off clean dishes with it, and that water is effectively washing the towel itself. If your dish towels get dirty, don’t blame the towels!

2. You can use a dish towel as a bath towel but you shouldn’t use a bath towel as a dish towel. This is because you can rub a dish on your bottom, for example, but you ought not rub your bottom on a dish. Wait a minute. Does that make sense?

3. If you are a guy and you want to meet girls at the beach and you take a dish towel out there and spread it out on the sand, instead of a beach towel, hoping to get the “Aw, isn’t that cute” reaction, go home. Stay there.

4. If you are a gal and you want to meet guys at the beach and you take a dish towel out there and spread it out on the sand, instead of a beach towel, hoping to get the “Aw, isn’t that cute” reaction, and you also wear a seriously tiny bikini, and you’re cute, then the size, shape, and color of the dish towel will prove immaterial to your success.

5. In the case of a kitchen fire, knotting together dish towels to use as a rope out the window will get you an “Aw, geez!” reaction when the fire-fighters finally reach you (your remains).

6. On a happier note, disagreements about dish towels and bathroom-guest towels come in at #7 on the list of common reasons for divorce. I believe that guest towels and their use are the real culprit here.

7. You can use a dish towel as an oven mitt, but don’t use an oven mitt as a dish towel. I think a lot about this. It’s a metaphor.