I want to come!

(“My Top Three Excuses” contest. 150-word limit.)

1. I want to come but my mom says if I do, I’ll be grounded for a week.

2. I want to come and my mom is ok with it, but my dad says if I do, he’ll beat me like a drum.

3. I want to come and my mom and dad are ok with it, but my jealous sister Gwen says if I do, she’ll let Brian kiss her on the lips. This must not happen! Brian cheated to win my favorite marble, The Peach, plus he’s a moron and a toad.

I’d love to attend!

(“My Top Three Excuses” contest. 150-word limit.)

Hi, Susie. Thanks for the invitation to your party on Friday. I’d love to attend! Unfortunately, I’ve developed a nasty little cough. I’d better stay home. Don’t want to be spreading this to your other guests. Cheers! John.

Hello, Susie. I’m writing to you from the hospital. The doctors want to investigate this cough of mine. Probably nothing to worry about, but it’s much worse. Thanks for the home remedies you sent me and for your repeated assurances that I can come to your party on Friday, sick as I am.

Dear Ms Smith. We regret to inform you that John Jones has passed away, in spite of all our efforts to save him. He will not be attending your party tonight. In his final moments, he asked us to thank you for your offer of an ambulance to bring him over to your place.

Guest Post: Hyrum Smith

On the occasion of his wedding (50th wife), welcome, Hyrum, and congratulations.


Thank you, DWEW.

Yes, I have 50 wives.

It’s a religious thing.

Don’t ask about the sex. That’s always the first thing to come up. I don’t talk to my wives about it. I won’t talk to you about it. Once the subject comes up at home, I can’t get a word in edgewise, so if a wife tries to sneak sex into the conversation, if a wife even looks like she’s thinking about sex, if she even glances anywhere below my belt, I tell her,  forget about it for the next year or two, period.

I mostly pay for sex in town. Much simpler. Note, however, that I do have 241 children, just in case you think I’m a closet homosexual or something.

Also, don’t ask about food. The cooking competition is worse than the screwing competition, pardon my French. I walk into the dining room, sit down, and eat what’s on my plate. Then I say thanks and get up and leave. You want a review of your dinner? Check my plate. If the food is still lying there, your dinner stinks.

Keep the kids away from me. One hint of favoritism on my part and all hell breaks loose. We’ve got 50 moms here (ages 12 to 92). Take care of your kids! If they want to go to college, make sure they get a scholarship. You can’t beat being a member of a cult for moving to the top of various lists.

If you’re my mother, one of my sisters, or one of my daughters, don’t try to marry me. This means you, Mom. It’s embarrassing to have a whirlwind romance and find myself at the alter, only to discover you’ve used a wig and contacts to disguise yourself.

If this is about money, talk to Sariah (the 92-year-old). She keeps the books. Cult finance is not taught in Accounting 101.

I don’t talk politics, except to say, where do you think Romney got those debating skills? And Jon Huntsman felt right at home as a diplomat in China, a country with a population of 1.3 billion.

One last thing about sex. If you consort with a prostitute on a steady basis, ensure that she has at least one child by you, if you want to keep straight with God.

I become a presidential caucus delegate

I was contacted recently and recruited to the state presidential caucus. Amazing! My vote, on one single night, will help determine who runs for President of the United States next year. What a responsibility!

Of course I knew when I got the call that I was being mistaken for another, real political guy with my same name, who lives about $10 million down the block from me. No car up on blocks in his front yard! (If he has a front yard, down at the end of that winding drive behind those stone walls.)

The candidate campaigns began contacting me immediately and I soon had met a number of famous people:

Somebody Cain (I forget his first name. Starts with an H) – As soon as this guy grabbed my hand and pulled me towards him, staring into my eyes, I knew that he could make me buy a car or vacuum cleaner, or anything else he wanted. I pray that he never knocks on my door right after I’ve got paid on a Friday. How come there are more Cains than Ables around?

Rush Limbaugh – I’m pretty sure he’s not running for anything. That’s a good thing because he don’t look healthy to me. Fat, red faced, sweaty, big cigar in his mouth, cute little thing hanging on his arm. If he hasn’t had a heart attack already, he’s due, and if he has, he’s due for another.

Somebody Bachmann – This woman is wound tighter than a $2 watch. I was afraid for a second that she wasn’t going to let go of my hand until I promised her something I’d regret.

Sarah Palin – Yes, I met her. Shook her hand. She looked into my eyes and I saw something hard come over her face. I felt like one of those wolves running on the tundra with her helicopter gaining on me from behind.

Rick Perry – He was made up a little, not like a woman but like a TV news reporter. He was lively. Jovial. His handler told me that he got like that before an execution. So it happened a lot.

Mitt Romney – I was a little drunk when I met Mr. Romney. He opened his mouth and I said, “Don’t even start, Mr. Romney. I can tell you’re going to lie like a rug before you even start.” Of course I regretted that later.

I never met Newt, who they tell me is still running. Newt. Newt. What the hell were his parents thinking? Unless they’re named Salamander and Gecko, that is.

Eventually, the caucus folks discovered their mistake, but not before I had attended many a cocktail party and rubbed elbows, or shoulders, or whatever you rub, with the rich and famous. I guess it was my 15 minutes of fame.

My time as a monk

When I was in my 20s, I renounced the materialism of the Western world. I got a job on a freighter after obtaining my seaman’s ticket, and worked on the high seas until taking my accumulated pay and debarking for good at the port of Chittagong. I could have lived like a king for a year in Bangladesh but instead I secreted my money on my person and made my way north on foot, depending upon the kindness of strangers for my biryani and llish.

In time, I passed through the hills of Meghalaya (the Scotland of India) and crossed into Assam. I endured rain, sat and watched the one-horned Indian rhinoceros, and eventually progressed into Bhutan. Here, in the deep valleys, as I approached the mighty Himalayas, I began sitting with the Vajrayana monks whom I encountered. Finally, in the company of these monks, I began the long, long tramp to Cona in Tibet, at 14,000 feet, and eventually, as the seasons passed,  to Gonggar. I was tempted to apply for membership in the Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism at the Gonggar Dzong or the Gonggar Choede Monastery, but I craved to leave the valleys and trek up into the wild and rocky Himalaya hinterlands, which I did, feet wrapped in burlap. I could feel myself leaving the world behind and approaching true understanding on the edge of the great voids of thin air that fill the spaces between the mountain peaks up there.

I arrived finally in a small and nameless village on the stoney gray flank of a gigantic mountain. A woman, Chomo-Lung-Ma (Godess Mother of the Universe), took me in. There were no monks in the village but she explained by gesture that this was a good thing – that I could best advance my own personal monkhood in solitary fashion.

It developed that she had six children. She kept me busy with chores, which seemed good for a newbie monk. I never figured out where the village’s food came from. The goats would wander off over the flinty slopes; they must have found something to eat somewhere back there because they came back sated. Chomo-Lung-Ma gave me sustenance sufficient to keep me alive and able to work, no more.

When Spring arrived, she gathered the family’s meager belongings and the kids and prodded me out onto the track through the village. It seemed as if we walked for months after that. Walked and walked. In fact, we did walk for months. We walked until we arrived on the ocean shore at the harbor of Beihai in Guangxi province. Chomo-Lung-Ma took my money stash, which had remained intact since my final day on the freighter, and she and I and her children crossed the Pacific and were smuggled ashore south of L.A. We caught a succession of buses north to a furnished bungalow in Canoga Park. Five bedrooms, three baths, red-tile roof, full landscaping. We took up residence as a happy, middle-class married couple. She worked with a gang smuggling Far Eastern drugs; I was in charge of the kids, the pets we acquired, and the Escalade. Two housemaids came in on Tuesdays and Fridays.

I would have done some yard work, but a Mexican crew showed up every Thursday to take care of that.

I join the 1%

I was moaning and groaning about money and how I didn’t have any and how unfair it was.

“Go see that young fellow David Dollhouse. He’s rich as Croesus. Maybe he’ll share,” my mom said.

I had first met David Dollhouse (of the Rhode Island Dollhouses) out in the woods. Money’s no good in the woods. Me and David were equals in the woods and we got along fine, because I was always careful to recognize his special interest. David believed (and still believes)  that every insect used to be a human being.

He’s a member of the 1%, or even the 0.1% or 0.01%. He lives in a room in a Motel 6 on the outskirts – the outer outskirts – of Curtoe, Oklahoma. He spends most of his time out in the fields behind his room.

“See that ant?” he would say to me. “That ant was a Jew. See him scurry around like that? It’s pathetic.”

He told me I could share his room. He gave me a credit card and told me to use it for anything I needed in Curtoe. The first time I went into town, I had to walk. I checked the credit limit on the card at the local bank. There was no limit. I drove back to the motel in a spanking new used Honda Civic that I bought outright from a lot in town. It had a good AM/FM radio and new retreads.

“I want to introduce you to a snake,” David said to me. “She used to be my piano teacher – the one who charged a lot and put her hand in my fly to bribe me into practicing Hanon, which I hated. So now she’s a snake.”

“Snakes aren’t bugs,” I said.

David snorted.

“Snakes are bugs,” he said. “You have a lot to learn, Grasshopper. There are people who are bugs.”

“Confusing,” I said.

“This snake tried to crawl into my fly. That’s how I know it’s Mrs. O’Dowd. Never trust an Irish piano teacher.”

The next time I was in town, I bought a Boeing 777. They told me that it was impossible to ride it back to the motel. It turns out, no matter how rich you are, there are some things you can’t buy.

“You can’t buy happiness,” said Mrs. Smith, who ran the motel, but she seemed pretty happy. Once David had moved in, she closed all the other rooms.  She doubled the cleaning staff, though, mostly family members, all for David’s room. He tipped with his credit card. The maids put bugs in his bed.

I helped David organized a bug parade on Veteran’s Day. Then I went into town to test Mrs. Smith’s theory. First, I needed to be unhappy, so I went into the hardware store and hit my thumb with a hammer. It hurt like the dickins. I was unhappy. I complained to Mr. Jones, the owner. He told me that I had only myself to blame.

“Oh, yeah?” I said, and I bought the store, lock, stock, and barrel on the spot. Mr. Jones and his clerks and bookkeeper all left and the next thing I knew, customers were pestering me to find items and check them out at the register, wanting to return purchases, wanting gift wrap, and me with a sore thumb. A sore right thumb. I didn’t have the sense to hit my left one instead. So Mrs. Smith proved right. Money could not buy happiness.

My idyll with the rich came to an abrupt end when David caught me with a bucket of KFC. He claimed that chickens were bugs and I was in fact a cannibal, and I was out on my ear. My new Civic pooped out before I reached the state line and when I tried to get it fixed, my credit card had expired.

Masks on the Streets of Asia

They say that if you see a person wearing a mask over his or her nose and mouth on the streets of Asia, that individual is responsibly trying to prevent the spread of his or her germs to others. If you see someone wearing such a mask in the U.S., it’s to keep from catching someone else’s germs.

In the U.S., if you’re sick, you go to work anyway. Everyone does it. For example, a leper named Carol works at my company. She’ll take every opportunity to assure you that her disease is not communicable. You can be sitting in a meeting and somebody at the table will sneeze and Carol will say, “Well, at least right now everybody isn’t breathing in leprosy germs,” and Dave will say, “Well, at least my nose isn’t going to fall off in my coffee.”

The mask thing is one indication that Asians are team players. Which is strange when you consider that China’s best sport is ping pong. There is a safety for the Patriots named Patrick Chung but he’s from Jamaica and he doesn’t look Chinese. It might be that, the population of China running to a billion or so, the Chinese require very large teams for their cultural biases to kick in. The country could support one thousand teams of a million each, but this would have to include, in addition to sports teams, debate teams, drill teams, and casual neighborhood pickup teams. Note that for a basketball team, the shoot-around practice will take so long that it’ll be hard to fit in a game.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., a football player will enter the game with a runny nose. Yet, have you ever seen a player use a kleenex or handkerchief on the field? You understand what this means, snotwise. It’s all about the germs.

They say that conflict is coming between America and China. There are many Chinese in America, but few Americans in China. Chinese-American children are taking piano and violin lessons and acing math and physics exams; American children in China rarely leave the embassy compound. In America, there are many Chinese restaurants; in China, there are a few McDonald’s. So, will Chinese germs find happy, pleasant homes in their welcoming American hosts? Will American germs find any purchase in the countless Chinese hordes, where the Chinese germs are formed into those million-man teams? I have a friend who says that he has “yellow fever,” but he seems OK to me.

Parks and Recreation

These is a lot of park jealously out there aimed at Zuccotti. What’s so special about Zuccotti? It’s close to Wall Street? So what? Lots of parks are close to Wall Street, and lots of other parks have benefits to offer protestors.

Top five parks to replace Zuccotti:

1. Cohen Park, New York – 100 blocks uptown from Zuccotti, but fun horse-drawn shuttles to Wall Street have been arranged with Aaron and Ike and their wagons. A Port-A-Potty is onsite. One of those clowns who twists balloons into shapes will perform at the noon hour, except on Saturdays.

2. Motor City Park, Detroit -You can buy the park and every crumbling building on the block for $99.99. No bank involved; they all went out of business in this neighborhood years ago.  A few winos and addicts to deal with, but no police presence whatsoever.

3. Kodiak Park, Wasilla – Empty and quiet. You can see Russia if you stand on the picnic table (which is bolted down, so your protesters can’t walk off with it, or burn it for firewood). Far from Wall Street, true, but only two blocks from Sarah Palin’s house!

4. Wo Shih Park, Qingdao – Very easy administration this park. All protesters shot first day.

5. Tahrir Square, Cairo – You can’t do better than this. Street vendors sell grilled corn, roasted potatoes, sesame candies, various breads, and koshary (rice, macaroni, spaghetti, lentils, and chickpeas, covered with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions, and optional vinegar). Downplay your Christianity, please; the Coptics are rioting and you  don’t want to get drawn in. Auxiliary space is available in the prison, subject to an OK from the Army.