jimagain

Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the category “fiction”

Why The Platypus Can’t Make Up Its Mind

What do you call a duck-billed platypus, if not confused? I often have difficulty making up my mind. But the platypus…they simply refused to.

It get’s its names, platypuswhich means ‘flat foot‘, aptly. It’s scientific name, Ornithorhynchus, means ‘bird snout’. If you’re looking at a platypus and you’re wondering what happened, so are the rest of us.

This creature is so weird, European naturalists decided it had to be a fake, stitched together from various other animals. In 1799, after examining the body of a platypus, they just knew somebody had to be yanking their chain! I can just see it, all those stuffy professors in their goatees, and all of a sudden one of them snorts Kool-aid through his nose!

OK, What is that? That is not funny!”

It looks like something your eccentric aunt might have knitted, the one that still sends you fruitcakes in the mail?

The platypus, if nothing else, is a collection of conttadictions.

Who else but the platypus?

So what do you call a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal with a bill like a duck, webbed feet, and a broad flat tail like a beaver?

We’re talking about the only venomous mammal on the planet, injecting it’s poison from a spur on the hind leg. An animal so bizarre it has a bill is like a giant electroreceptor, covered with thousands of cells that are able to detect minute electrical fields. The platypus’ snout is so sensitive, it’s able to hunt its food and navigate even in brackish waters by electrolocation, a trait it shares only with the dolphin.

Give up? So do I.

“So much for that theory.” No one ever heard of Darwin after that.

What happened?

Did evolution come unraveled suddenly? I can’t help but think, what would have happened to his theory, had Darwin wound up in Australia, instead of the Galapagos Islands? I think by the time he got to the platypus, he’d have thrown up his hands in frustration.

Everything is going fine. “OK, those are reptiles…birds…mammals…oh? Hey! What the?! Those guys back home are never going to believe this. So much for my theory.”

He just tossed that notebook into the trash. “No one will ever believe this now.”

“What else can I become famous for?”

Afterward, Darwin could only find work in a 7-11 making ‘slurpees’. No one ever heard of him after that.

I have this theory. Bear with me, it is still a theory.

The only obvious explanation for the platypus is that it was actually designed by Congress. This explains much. After billions of dollars of taxpayer money and cost overruns, this was the best we could get because no one could agree. Finally, a strange sort of compromise was reached between the union and the non-union workers.

“What do we do now?” The guys at the office threw up their hands in angst. “These parts don’t even match and we’re out of money again?”

So they just threw some parts together on the assembly line and this is what we wound up with, a chimera of dissimilar pieces.

The project came in behind schedule, and, several politicians are still under investigation.

The Democrats still blame the Republicans for this fiasco, and the Republicans…well, you know how that goes.

It was like a split in the family tree!

It’s like nature got bored all of a sudden and decided to play Mad Libs with the species. The monotremes split from the rest of the mammal family about 166 million years ago. Apparently they were so indecisive, the rest of the animals couldn’t get along with them.

An obvious clue to its bizarre appearance is that it comes from Australia, a continent that insists on its own collection of unique critters found no where else in the world. Where else but Australia?

You’d think, after a few million years, the platypus could finally make up their minds “….bird? …mammal?” So they just made up their own phylum.

I can just imagine standing at the evolution check out line, the dinosaurs are standing in line behind the platypus’. Everyone is in a big hurry to evolve. Two platypi are having a debate –why not platypi? Everyone else is making up their own words.

Listen in on the conversation.

“Oh, I don’t know …bird? mammal? I can’t make up my mind. OK, mammal, definitely a mammal…no. um, bird. no, mammal…wait a minute? live birth?”

“No, too messy!”

“So what is it?”

“No live birth. That’s just too painful. Stretch marks? Nope! Not for me. Birds lay eggs. Why can’t I lay eggs?”

The T-rexes were the first to complain. That’s just how carnivores are!

“Hey, up there! Can you hurry it up? We only have a few million years left and then we go extinct, you know!”

The platypi ignore them.

“Do these webbed feet come in my size, Gertrude?”

“Oh, those are just adorable, Margaret!”

“So what is it, Gertrude? Are we mammals or birds or…what?”

“I’m just not sure”, she frets.

Next thing you know, the plant-eaters are griping.

“Any epoch now!”

Another platypus in line pokes her husband in the ribs. “Harold! Does my tail make my butt look fat?

Harold, being a wise husband is thumbing through a copy of Marsupials Unlimited, the Sports Edition, pretending not to hear…

“My geologic clock is ticking,” bellows another. This time the pterodactyls are complaining.

The impatient clerk at the check out is fuming. Will that be mammal …or birds?”

“Oh for petes’ sake,” a frustrated diplodocus fumes. “Just make up your own phylum so the rest of us can get out of here!”

And that’s how the problem was solved.

Unfortunately, by this time the dinosaurs had already gone extinct….and now we know what really happened! I just solved two geologic mysteries in one theory!

Let’s see them do that on The Discovery Channel!

Things get out of hand quickly in the Jurassic period. I suppose they could have just changed lines at the check out. Easier said, than done.

Every time the long-tailed dinosaurs tried to change to another check out, they knocked over the canned goods display and, …what a mess! Meanwhile the carnivores had such little forelimbs they couldn’t dial customer service for help

Tempers begin to flare!

It’s the T-rexes again.

“Melvin!” -it’s Mrs. T, his wife. A hungry T-rex gets grumpy when it has to wait in line.

“What?!”

“Quit snacking on the stegosaurs. You know you always get those plates stuck between your teeth.”

Pretty soon a brawl breaks out. That’s what happens when you put the meat-eaters and the plant-eaters in the same checkout line

If you thought the Jurassic Period was a mess, wait until the humans show up.

And now you know…

So that’s it. That’s how it all happened and why no one can tell what it’s supposed to be. Not even the platypus!

Until someone comes up with a better theory, I’m sticking with this one.

And now you know how the platypus couldn’t make up his mind.

Meanwhile, Back at the Dungeon

The door swings open, a shaft of light briefly illuminates the dark confines of a dreary place.

“Good morning,” the dungeon-master exudes cheerfully. “I just love this place!”

“Morning.” -glum.

“Morning.” -depressed.

“Ohhhh…”

“Morning.” -despondent.

A chorus of less than enthusiastic greetings is exchanged. One by one they repeat the obligatory greeting.

“Good morning everyone,” exclaims one cheery fellow!

Everybody groans at the same time ..it’s that cheerful guy in the back of the dungeon.

“Optimist!”

One by one they report various complaints.

“My gruel is mushy,” one gripes.

“You pulled all my teeth,” another complained.

“I can’t feel my legs,” intones another with a low moan.

A female voice mutters, “I gained five pounds last week.”

“Guys,” he chides the group, “we can’t all be doom & gloom. I knock myself out every day trying to do my job as well as I can and this is the thanks I get?” – brief pause before he continues.

“Plagues, pestilence, wars, rampant disease, and more pestilence …forgive me if I try to bring a little ray of sunshine into the world.” His ploy for pity fell flat. It’s a tough crowd of grim faces, staring blankly back at him.

“So …to improve morale I’ve decided to read some things I’ve penned.” He takes out a quill and some scrolls. “Now, Don’t be bashful. Tell me what you think?! I can take it.”

“You’ll like this,” he grins. The protagonist begins to read and is immediately met with a chorus of groans and moans.

“That doesn’t do it for me,” says the guy in the stocks.

“Hmm? OK, You’ll like this one.” One by one the dungeon-master reaches into his ‘toolbox’ to pull out another painful instrument of cruelty.

“How about some insightful commentary? I wrote this last week end…”

They all shriek in unison.

“I know what will get you guys going? A little humor, huh? I think you guys will like this one. It had me rolling…”

More groans and moans.

“Hey. This piece is filled with whimsical observations from life.”

“Stop it,” they plead.

“Oh, …oh! I wrote this really great satire piece…”

“Not again.” cries the poor soul overhead in the iron cage.

“OK, OK. I get it. How about some gleanings from life to brighten the drudgery of…”

Shrieks and howls fill the room. The rat stops chewing long enough to stop up his ears with cloth fragments…

“Raphael?! You too?!!”

“Somebody call PETA,” a female voice protests.

The dungeon-master continues despite the objections of his audience. A little later the entire dungeon is clamoring, “No more. Stop!”

“Come on,” the dungeon-master complains. “How bad can it be?”

The listeners cringe as he continues to read. Their ears huddled like frightened rabbits against their heads …frightened with no where to run.

“Please! No more,” they beg. “Can’t you just stretch us on the rack until our bones come out of joint or maybe pull out our fingernails …like other dungeons do?”

“Yeah,” another agrees. “My neighbor says the dungeon he goes to, they just tie you to the wheel and bludgeon you.”

“The dunking booth! The guy across the street, that’s what his dungeon is doing”

“Well,” the offended jailer protests. “I’m sorry if I’m not like all the other dungeons! Besides, that’s not very creative, if you ask me.”

“So what’s it going to be today? Flogging or blogging, You pick?”

“Flogging” One by one they all choose the same form of punishment.

“Guys,” he exclaims, “Aren’t we exaggerating a bit much?

“No, no. We want flogging,” the dejected group insist!

The dungeon-master breathes a heavy sigh, “Look, I know I’m no Shakespeare but give me a chance. Even the Bard had to start somewhere.”

The guy in the stocks interjects, “You’re a monster!”

“Now Bob,” the optimist lectures “…it’s not going to hurt you to be supportive. Can’t you think of anything positive to say?”

“It meant it as constructive criticism,” his voice dropped off apologetically.

Another pitiful fellow added, “I know we’re a captive audience but couldn’t you try your material out on someone else for a change?”

“So that’s how it is? All this time I felt we had some sort of connection between us?”

The guys in the dungeon avert their eyes, looking around sheepishly. The Raphael gets up to leave. It seems like the rats are always the first to leave…

Someone bangs on the heavy wooden door to interrupt. “You’ve got mail!”

“Mail? For me?” The jailer’s face brightens. He reads a moment, lips moving excitedly before his face suddenly turns pale. Angrily, his countenance changes. He wads up the letter and chunks it down in anger. “What does he know,” he cries in anguish!

“Another rejection letter,” they whisper.

Several let out loud sighs. “Its going to be a long day, isn’t it?”

After a pause, one of the group asks, “How can you be so …cruel?”

“That’s a fair question,” he replies. He pauses to reflect before adding, “I was a writer once.”

“Ohhh,” says the guy in the cage swinging overhead.

The guy chained to the wall adds, “A writer? Yeah …I can see that.”

So much for my Creative Writing class!

The picture suddenly transitions from a dingy dungeon torture scene to a writing class. The unhappy gaggle in the dungeon turn out to be fellow classmates. I’m reading my assignment as the others comment. Out of the corner of my eye I see one guy that was chewing on his pencil, make his way to the door.

“Raphael! Where are you going?”

“Um, to the bathroom…” he alleges.

Deserter,” I mutter under my breath. “The rats …they’re always the first to leave.”

The cheerful one in the back of the room? It turns out he’s the instructor, trying to blunt the criticism of fellow classmates. After several torturous attempts at creative writing, a general groan of discontent is wafting overhead.

“What? What is it now, I cry?”

“You changed your POV again. You were in the first person and you change mid-paragraph and now you’re all over the place. I’m getting all bent out of shape here!”

“Yeah,” the other’s agree. “It’s torture!”

A female adds, “The plot is convoluted. I feel like I’m on some medieval rack!”

– awkward pause.

“Well, OK. It’s a …work in progress,” the cheerful guy in the back points out. No one takes him seriously anymore because he’s always so …constructive.

“I think you’re trying too hard on your dialogue,” says another.

“The punctuation is brutal,” says the guy sitting against the wall. “Excess exclamation marks …I’m tripping over the commas. Was that apostrophe really necessary?”

“No offense,” another voice adds. “Your humor …I’m just not getting it.”

– another awkward pause.

“Well, that’s …all for today,” pipes up the cheerful guy in the back, shoving his papers into a briefcase as he hastens toward the door. “Assignment due on Wednesday. Don’t forget to read chapter 5. See you all next week!”

So much for my creative writing class.

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But Write I Must…

It was all sad and funny, yet pathetic. It was all those things at once.

Sitting in my underwear writing; typing away at the keyboard, watching the letters collect across the screen. I felt compelled to write as I dawdled away the day, frivolously squandering what little time I had left. But write I must. Other things impatiently clamored for my attention but I managed to suppress them. Action demanded I do something. Yet here I sat. As I wrote, a sense of doom pervading permeated my thoughts lurked in the back of my mind poised to leap at me like some dread beast. I felt as if my fate stalked me, coiling for the final pounce.

The clock in the den struck on the hour, striking me out of my stupor. Time was running out. It was all happening now. I knew it. But I had to finish this, before the deadline came. And so I wrote, feverishly. I wrestled with the words as I typed them, carefully choosing each of them, arranging them; crafting them to say what I desperately need them to say, before it was too late.

I looked up. The minute hand announced the next event with somber efficiency as the ticks of fleeting time counted down. Any moment now.

And then, as if on cue, the door to my room swung suddenly open. My wife barged in. She cast her eyes at me. In one glance, her expression went from hurt to scorn.
“Are you going to sit around the house all day in your underwear,” she scolded me! “What’s gotten into you?”
I sat sullen, silent. There was nothing I could say. How could I explain this to her?
She paused before storming off. I knew what would happen next. Like a script in my mind, I heard the angry clack of heels across a wooden floor followed by the slam of a door. The dog sprawled out on the floor as a silent spectator lazily picked his head up to look my way before giving a sigh and slumping back to the floor, limp. Moments later I heard the distinctive sound of a car engine turn over, of wheels crunching in the gravel, and the spin of tires accelerating on the asphalt road; and then…silence. A deafening silence.

I loved her. I desperately did so. It hurt to see her leave. Her absence stung at me like salt in a wound. I so wanted to run after her, to tell her how I felt. But we were about to go our separate ways from here. The time to say I love you, as too often is, that time was past.

Desperate thoughts tugged at me as I resumed to write. I should do something, I thought. But what? What could I do to avert the impending visit? Could I run? Hide? Was there a place of refuge I could resort to? Nay. Was there some one I could call? Again, nay. No, the script was cast in stone. And yet the pathos somehow fed my desire to write, to record my fate as some detached but dreary undertaker going about his morbid task in the mortuary we call life.

I had sensed for days this sense of impending fate but felt unable to change the course of events. Postponing, deferring, prolonging the agony creeping over me, I braced for the next turn. I knew what would happen next.

And yet the pathos somehow fed my desire to write, to record my fate as some detached but dreary undertaker going about his morbid task in the mortuary we call life. I rehearsed in my mind the events as I supposed them to unfold, as if I were somehow performing my own autopsy. Grim duties of the writer, recording my life in the third person. It seemed I had chronicled my own demise, one sentence at a time.

And then the inevitable came. A knock at my door. I answered with reluctance. It was him. I knew he was coming, I was never sure when but now he stood at my door. I didn’t want to answer, I desperately wanted to deny he was there on my stoop but there are some appointments you cannot ignore. This was one of those.

This time I ceased to write. I trudged with trepidation toward the door. Into the maw I go.

The visitor called me by name. Are you he?
“You know who I am,” I stammered. A brief pause and then in quivering voice, “Have you come to do your business?”
He nodded.
A lump formed in my throat. And then silence prevailed. There was nothing more to say.

The eirie thing is two days ago, this turn of events was only a story I had written. A simple work of fiction written by my own hands that quickly became a snare of my own making. And now I found myself caught in the undertow of my own writing. I was becoming a victim of my own narrative. If only I had written this differently.

Perhaps you should also be careful how you write your own biography.

Imiscible Pairs

Theirs was a peculiar blend of two incompatible extremes, a relationship built on seemingly disparate incongruencies. Less a union than a tense treaty between adversaries at war; hostile yet tolerant, incompatible yet inseparable.

Their mutually exclusive traits somehow melded and fused in some curious anomaly. As far as relationships go, it was more an amalgum of dissimilar entities forged in the furnace of conflict. Each disparity carefully mated to its antithetical counterpart in a reciprocal love-hate state of perpetual disharmony. Together they were a mutinous mismatch of matrimonial dysfunction, immiscible parts paired in a mismatch of irreconcilable differences. To the unfortunate spectator, they must have presented an apparent contradiction of reason, two colliding antagonists, perpetual sparring partners, preferring agitation to resolution.

At first glance, they appear normal but beneath a thin veneer of civility, hostile acts of war prevailed like the constant ebb and flow of the unceasing tide, broken only by a brief interlude between acts of aggression.

No one who knew them pretended to understand the delicate balance that kept them teetering rather than plunging over the brink and into the abyss of self-annihilation. But what is a woman without a man or love without hate? Can order exist without chaos; or logic without reason? Two opposing forces that cant coexist or survive without the other, incompatible yet incomplete without its antithesis. What should have torn them asunder instead held them together, mixed in a curious mortar of mutual repulsion.

Don’t ask me to explain this conundrum of social interaction. Perhaps one seeks to find equilibrium with the other? Perhaps this is why opposites attract, why the most unlikely of partners seek their counterpart?

On the Banks of the River of Passion

It all had happened innocently enough.

We had first stood on the bank of the river enjoying the view. It was a scenic view of its virgin territories untouched and undisturbed. At first we just stood and looked, gawking at the beauty at which we gazed upon. Neither of us spoke.

The view was breathtaking.

The longer we looked, the more we desired to abandon our reservations and dive into the tempting waters together. It was a long time before one of us made the first move, hesitant to exceed our partners’ inhibitions. We cautiously waded into the inviting stream, probing carefully lest we get in too deep, waiting for the other to respond, to take that next step. The waters caressed our skin, invigorating our senses. It was a new experience for both of us. We resolved to not go too far.

And yet each step only enticed us to take another. Before we knew it we had cast caution to the wind, discarding our hesitations as rapidly as our clothing. The beauty we beheld, the sensations the river we are immersed in only enticed and seduced us to go farther that we both intended. How far? To the edge of the forbidden, beyond the safety of restraint. Without realizing it we had both waded out too far from the shore, perhaps too far to go back. The current tugged at us, pulling us out deeper into the turbulent unknown. Knowing that each of us had gone farther than we should, only added to the thrill. It stimulated us. The fearfulness of our precarious situation heightened the exhilaration that was sweeping us away.

Now the current dictates our actions as we’re no longer able to direct ourselves. Groping and thrashing with flailing arms and legs, yet clinging tightly to each other. It’s just the two of us out here, together alone in the river. Now we are in too deep and it’s too late to turn back, to return to where we were. Gasping for our breaths before we succumb, no longer able to resist the inevitable. All is silence as we give in. The struggle ceases, we become still, motionless.

Sometime later, I’m not sure when, we regain consciousness. Laying side by side on the bank, unmoving. We waken, slowly. Raising ourselves simultaneously to our elbows to stare into each others eye with panic. At first we struggle to remember, or perhaps to forget, what happened. How did we get here? The events come flooding back into our consciousness. Did we …?

How easy it was to get swept away in the current., there on the banks of the river of passion.

Soul Stare

Their eyes met. No words were exchanged but it’s not what they said; it’s what they didn’t have to say. It seems words are too often less a means of communication than objects which we mask our true feelings.

Two souls lost in a crowd, each searching for the other, neither acknowledging their bond. They mingle about aimlessly, milling amongst the throng. He searches for her. She scans to see him. They pass in their orbits yet never intercept. Their paths cross yet neither speaks. Their apparent indifference is a complete fabrication driven by desperation.

– – – – – – – –

As we pass in close proximity to the other, we both feel it, some inexplicable force of attraction drawing us together. Neither of us turn our heads to look but we both cut our eyes as we pass straining to see if the other is looking.

We pass by indifferent to the other, painfully aware of how others might portray it if they were to recognize the raw affection we feel; afraid to look into each others eyes lest or expressions give us away. both afraid the others reaction if they should suspect the amorous interest, preferring to sulk under the cloak of denial, hidden in the shadows of anonymity.

But our souls know. They kiss. In one fleeting glance they connect. clutching, grasping, clinging desperately to the fleeting moment. Some seminal seed that passed between them in the moment, making each the unexpressed compliment of the other, conjoined yet incomplete. Barely perceptible, they pass from him to her. He propositions, she accepting, receiving, forever mated after. Something has conceived within her, growing until the time to arrive.

It was an absurd experience should one think about, one that never transpired except in our imagination …or was it?

It was an experience neither dared yet both yearned for. Logic and reason denies what their hearts affirm. Our minds tell us it won’t work; we can’t be together but our souls know differently. On some subliminal level we both know we are destined to be satisfied together or miserable apart. Lovers, intimates, partners -two separates merged into one; at the moment bound only by their mutual hope.

Me: I saw her about, too many times for coincidence, here and there about as we both flitted about from one group to the next. Roaming, wandering yet not belonging. She seemed ill-fitted and out of place wherever I saw her. She seemed an unattached peripheral among the crowd, a non-participant. It seemed to me as if she were looking for someone. Could that someone be me, I wondered?

Our path crossed, our eyes met but neither spoke a word. We were frequently adjacent and never connecting. And then it happened. Inadvertently our eyes met. And if the eyes are indeed the windows of the soul, then in that moment our souls communicated. What we both felt but were afraid to express, our souls lacked no such restraint, straight to the point with no guile or secrecy. Suddenly these two lonely souls impatient on their keepers to bridle their hesitations, cast aside the restraints and and acted without fear. in a moment they transacted their business. No negotiations or compromise but a raw naked exchange between them. No terms given, none required. Two lost souls in a sea of people, floating about in the crowd.

Our souls met. Our eyes fastened on each other. In one single imperceptible glance we expressed our latent desires. No words exchanged but none were needed. Nothing was said. Words weren’t needed. In that brief glance lasting less than a millisecond, our souls connected. The conversation you could not hear…

Suddenly time slows. The moment is frozen as the crowd stills. The background fades away revealing two souls to linger.

“Hey.”
“Hey.”
“I’ve been missing you.”
“Me too. Do you still love me?”
“Yes. Yes, I do. I want us to be together.”
“Yes. I too. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“One day you will be mine; we will be together.”
“I know. I can’t wait…” A pause.
“I’ve been looking for you.”
“I’ve been watching you.”

They talk and touch and laugh. clutching, grasping, clinging together tightly.

She: “I’m so tired of the charades, hiding behind a facade. When can we tell each other how we feel?”
He: “I wish I knew. One day.”
“Do you think they will ever figure it out?”
“Eventually.”
They kiss.
“One day surely they will figure it out and no logic or reason will be able to keep us apart any longer. I feel it.”
“I feel it, too.”
“One they will discover what our hearts already know.” Embracing. “Won’t they be surprised?”
“To say the least. All those who would laugh at the prospect of us together; aren’t they in for a shock!”
“Maybe not as much as we will be,” she says!

They laugh

“I think on some level of consciousness we both know it…our minds tell us we can’t be together. Too many reasons, too many obstacles; the difference between our ages, our families, our own fear of rejection.
As they start to look away, “Don’t leave me again,” she pleads.
“I can never leave you. You’re in all my waking thoughts.”
“One millisecond,” she complains. “Is that all they can give us? Look at them! Are they so afraid to admit to themselves how they feel?”
“I guess so,” he smiles.
“See you around.”

One last embrace, one last lingering kiss. And then they separate. Time resumes. The surroundings begin to fade back in.

We break the glance, our eyes look away. We both part company, pretending nothing happened between us.

Dejected, I turn away resisting the urge to stare back at her. As I walk away, I can’t resist the urge to reach out and tug at her purse as she stands there with her back to me. Not looking back I keep going, reaching up to wave my hand back at her; as she turns to see who nudged her.

“Hey.” She calls my name.

“Hey,” I reply over my shoulder without looking back.
She smiles at me. I smile back at her without turning as I walk away. Suddenly she’s taken with a capricious urge to run after me and chat like an eight year old girl. She stops herself. “What would he think?” She hesitates, then looks down realizing the moment is lost.

It’s not enough …but it’s enough for now.

I sigh loudly to myself. She hears me. And that’s the end of that …until our eyes meet again.

Why The Dinosaurs Really Became Extinct

There are a lot of theories about how dinosaurs became extinct. Since no one really knows what happened, you can pick your favorite one. If you’re a scientist and you don’t know, you can guess as long as you call it a theory.  This does not work in third grade math because I’ve already tried to make up my own theories. Apparently our teacher is not a scientist because she’s not buying any of my theories in math.

So what happened? Asteroids, say some! Others blame changes in the climate or a lack of food. Some say that evolution just deleted them and started all over with small mammals. Whether it took place in one cataclysmic destruction or due to small changes over a long period of time by less dramatic events, one fact is without dispute. They’re gone!

It’s not ‘scientific’ to blame ‘asteroids’ for their demise because I don’t think that video games had been invented back then. And have you ever noticed their scrawny little arms? They couldn’t have operated the game controllers, anyway!

I think that they became extinct because their names were too complicated. Think about it! We know they had extremely small brains despite their huge size. Some of them even had brains as small as a grapefruit. Now, can you imagine it? Two big dinosaurs are munching down on a clump of ferns when one is about to step into a tar pit. Before the other can even pronounce his name, it’s too late. If they had smaller names it would have made all the difference. “Hey, Earl”, say one, “don’t step in those tar pits!” “Whew! Close call there. Thanks Bob.”

See how that worked?

Because dinosaurs are now extinct, every thing we know about them are from books written by people who have never seen one. The problem with that is obvious to me; if dinosaurs couldn’t read, how would they know they’re supposed to be extinct? Since they don’t really know what happened to the dinosaurs so we have to call them experts!

There are something’s that you can’t learn from books. For example, all the books tell us that they had small brains but none of them tell us why. So I’ve got a few ideas of my own. Who knows, some day I may even write my own book?

So why were dinosaurs so dumb? It’s really very simple. I think it’s because they could never pass third grade at dinosaur school. And probably because they had a third grade teacher like mine, Mrs. Bloat. She is tough and old, too. If anyone could have known the dinosaurs firsthand, it would have been Mrs. Bloat. Now I like to learn but at school we don’t learn anything important like dinosaurs. It’s all boring stuff like history, mathematics, and science. None of that is anything practical that we could actually use in life.

My theory is that all the dinosaurs tried to learn about fractions and ancient civilizations in places with funny names like Mesopotamia, but with their grapefruit-sized brains, they all failed to pass. When their moms found out, they soon became extinct. “Another ‘F’ on your report card,” she would have cried, “You’re grounded. Go to your room for a million years!”

Let’s face it, school was a bad idea for dinosaurs. For one thing, all the desks and chairs were just too small. And if the tyrannosaurus sat too close to the stegosaurus, all they did was fight. Beside, their forearms were just too small. They were always late because they couldn’t tie their shoes or carry their books to school. Imagine them trying to hold a pencil to write with or to raise their hand to ask a question, like, “May I be excused to go to the restroom?” One hundred and fifty millions years is a long time for even a dinosaur to ‘hold it’.

Make sure that you read my book about dinosaurs when it comes out, That is, if I can pass Mrs. Bloat’s third grade class. If I don’t, I too may become extinct.

And now you know why the dinosaurs became extinct, which makes perfect sense to me. Mrs. Bloat gave me an ‘F’ on my book report.. She must not be a scientist.

I UNDO: Love & Second Thoughts

Since this was about time travel, why not travel back in time to read it? NO? Then, whatever you do…don’t push that button. NO! Not that button!!! Oh great. Fasten your seat belts, you just sent us back in time.

jimagain

Have you ever wondered, knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again? …or would you run?! What if you could go back in time, what, if anything, would you change? What if you could press the UNDO button on your marriage?

After twenty years of an unhappy marriage, a disgruntled husband goes back in time to undo their relationship…and despite his best efforts and against his best judgement, finds himself falling in love all over again with his contentious spouse-to-be.

“I guess it’s her disposition that I find most irritable about her. I can’t find fault with her looks. But if beauty is skin deep, ‘grouchy’ goes all the way to the bone. We used to be close, be affectionate, now it seems we just drift farther apart. The only spark that remains in our marriage is the friction when we’re together.”

Fast forward to the…

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RV Shopping Again?

Me and my buddy got to talkin’ the other day between shifts at the fertilizer plant.
Me: “I’m beginning to wonder what my wife is up to?”

My buddy scratched his head. “What’cha mean? You think she’s been cheating on you?”

“No, worse!” He leaned forward to whisper, “My wife’s been RV shopping again, I found sales brochures and. . .the salesman called the second time this week. I’m starting to get suspicious. I’m gonna’ reduce my death benefit just in case she’s thinking about knocking me off for the money.”

You might ought to cancel your policy. Now that you mention it, the girls have been acting a mite suspicious. My wife’s picking out flowers and a suit for my funeral. Can you believe it? Me? In a suit?!! I wouldn’t be caught dead in a suit. Well, I guess if I was already dead…but you know what I meant.” He was more upset at the prospect of being laid to rest in a suit than the fact that his wife may have been scheming on collecting on his insurance money.

“So…are we overreacting?”

“Surely they wouldn’t be plotting to bump us off for the insurance money just to have a good time and travel?”

“Nah!” – chuckle.

“Not the girls!” – nervous laughs.

Awkward pause…

The other day at the house, she asked me. What you up to now on your life insurance,  honey?”

“Oh, I’m worth about $200 now,” I say.

That’s still more than I can  get for you at the stock yard,” she retorted smart-like back at me.

“Hah,” I told her! “What you gonna get for $200 dollars.”

My buddy dug his elbow into my rib cage. “You outta’ your head?!! Dresses go half-price at Wal-mart this week. Heard ’em talking about it earlier.”

It’s comments like that makes me suspicious ’bout my wife?

I heard she’d already picking out your pall bearers?”

“That doesn’t bother me. My wife plans everything. She even plans when she gonna get sick, based no small part on the disease-of-the-week movie.”

Silent pause…

“Men…we dont plan nothing, do we? We just show up and wing it. That’s how we roll.”

Like last week…fade to a prior conversation;

“D’joo hear? Old Burt kicked the bucket at the feed store this morning. Some pretty young thing walked by and his wore-out old ticker couldn’t keep up with his pacemaker.”

We remove our hats and pause in a moment of silence.

“Burt don’t have no burial insurance?”

“Nope.”

“What happened to all that alimony money his ex-wife got?”

“I think she spent it all on liposuction…and that plastic surgeon she ran off with on that cruise.”

“That don’t surprise me none. Not saying she’s a floosie but her dress was as high as the price of gas.”

“We can’t just leave ol’ Burt laying out on the dock like that.”

I scratch my chin. “S’pose your right. Reckon they got an old feed sack or a cardboard box in the back they’d let us have?”

“Could be. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“I got a roll of duct tape and a shovel in the truck.”

“Then it’s all settled. All that’s left to figure out is where we gonna eat afterward?”

“Dunno? I got a hankering for some catfish.”

“We ate catfish yesterday.”

“So?”

“Catfish  it is.”

So we were just minding our own business, ‘conversating’ in the truck going through the drive-thru: “Can you believe what them guys at the funeral home wanted to charge us for Burt’s final expenses?” The girl at the drive-thru window perked up at our conversation.

“I hear ya. Burt didn’t make that much in a month. Burying him at his favorite food plot was a way better idea, plus we get to pay our respects twice a week.” Neither one of noticed her roll her eyes as she handed us our hushpuppies and coleslaw.

“Alright! High fives.”

Her mouth dropped wide open, her eyes got huge!

Later. “Can you believe that lady in the drive thru?”

“I hear ya’. All that hollering and making a commotion wasn’t necessary.”

He whacked his buddy with his hat! “No wonder, ya idiot! She saw old Burt stretched out in the back of your pick up truck and she freaked out. I told ya’ we should have buried him before we went through the drive-thru.”

“It was on the way,” he defended himself. “She shoulda’ minded her own business instead of calling the law.”

“It coulda’ been worse. We got off lucky; talked the deputy down to a ticket for ol’ Burt not being in a seat belt.”

He guffawed and snorted. “I know! That made about as much sense as taking your mother-in-law on your honeymoon.” Bud got real quiet. Awkward pause. Things suddenly got as tense as the last chicken leg at the buffet. He glances over at Bud, looking sullen, who shoots him back an accusing look.

“Oh, sorry Bud. I wasnt makin’ fun of you.”

“Wasnt my idea,” He said testily. “My old lady made me bring her along.”

Back to the present.

“What you reckon your wife is holding against you?”

“I dunno.” Pause…

“Well, I did made her mother ride in the back of my truck once.” pause…

“What’s so bad about that?” Another awkward pause. “Tell me you didn’t…not in the dog box? You made you mother-in-law ride in the dog box?!!”

“What was I supposed to do. She was barking and howling and acting all crazy…nearly bit old man Preston on the leg.”

“That woman does go off her rocker when she forgets to take her meds.” Pause…

“What else you aint telling me?”

“The bad part was…my wife found her still there the next morning.”

Is that’s all?!!”

Shrugged. “Who knows. Just like a woman to hold a grudge over nothing.

“What’choo reckon they’d do if’n we both bought the big one?”

“You mean, if we both kicked the bucket…at the same time?!! Wouldn’t that be a coincidence? Ha! I figure the first thing would be they’d get some major body work done then they’d both be off on a year-long cross-country trek. Sort of like Thelma and Louise, only in an RV.”

“Body work? What for? Why don’t they just buy a brand new RV with the insurance money?”

“Not for the RV, ya dolt. I’m talking about the girls getting body work done on themselves.”

“I don’t know so much if I like the idea of them having all that fun after we’re gone?”

“Probably sell your guns after you’re gone,” he paused, “and give your old dog away, too.”

“That brazen little hussy!”

“Better get a will.”

“A will?!! What for? My old hound dog can’t read?”

“They’re up to something. I can feel it.”

“I got a nervous chill…like somebody just walked over my grave.”

“Hey Bud? Reckon we both gonna’ make it through to hunting season?”

A Guide To The Perils Of The Multiverse

Beneath the cloak of the mundane and the routine, I have discovered a multiverse of incomprehensible multiplicity filled with the arcane and the obscure, inhabited by aberrant and anomalous phenomenon. What I have stumbled upon is no less than a bizarre underworld beneath our very noses lurking inside our own homes. Some will no doubt call me crazy, others will scoff, and a select enlightened few will grasp the significance of what I’m about to tell.

Read at your own risk. I fear you may never be the same. This is not for the squeamish; go and never return! Do your laundry, mow your grass, watch re-runs of Family Feud; go back to the comfort of your boring and mundane lives while you still can!

Not since the days when ships routinely sailed off the edge of a flat earth has something so ominous, so nefarious been revealed. In a time before recorded history, when ancient aliens visited our suspicious prehistoric progenitors, when knights fought off fire-breathing dragons indiscriminately ravaging entire villages, these tales all pale in comparison.

Malicious, foreboding, menacing…

Brace yourself!

Many bizarre discoveries have been discovered at great peril to the intrepid or the inadvertent…journey to the center of the earth, lost in space, becoming stranded in a parallel earth frequented by giant insects and voracious dinosaurs roaming vast unexplored jungles locked inside a hidden valley – in most cases I would be the guy that gets chased by the tyrannosaurus and eaten.

How can this be? The typical home contains a multiverse of the irrational and the inexplicable. Anomalies abound, such as hauntings, the lone missing sock, the empty sink mysteriously filled with dirty dishes, the un-ending laundry basket, the car keys that are never where you left them, children mysteriously teleporting in and out of your home…how else can you explain your children’s behavior when they suddenly turn into – gasp – teenagers…need I go on?!!

I speak of a dark and sinister place, an alternate reality, a parallel universe that exists inside my own house…and perhaps yours as well.

Dread discoveries, inconspicuous phenomenon occur routinely around us . . .you may not be aware your attic might be occupied with goonies – did I just hear a thud in the attic followed by giggling??? Maybe aliens have burnt yet another crop circle in your unmown lawn . . .perhaps a grotesque wrinkled old troll lives under your footbridge…excuse me. Honey?!! I found your Aunt Ethylene – pause – under the bridge in the backyard on her walker. Sorry for the interruption. Now where was I? Oh yes! It all happened innocently enough, going about the mundane affairs of life when….wait! Is that Twilight Zone theme music I hear in the background???

Under the bed is a parallel universe…

It’s a dark place, where ‘dark matter’ of the universe fills, a veritable black hole that sucks objects and small pets into its clutches, never to be seen again.

“My sandals are under there,” she tells me.

And she expects me to reach my hand under the bed? Fear of being pulled under never to be seen crosses my mind or – gasp – draw back a nub of once what used to be my arm. Is that the theme music from Jaws I hear???

“Oh, sure,” I say “let me be the sacrificial offering.” Suddenly I feel so…expendable. not only can she survive without me, she would be much happier than she is…and I’m not sure I like the prospect of her being so happy after my terrible and gory demise.

“Wuss,” she calls me.

Nope. I’m not falling for that one either. They always resort to tactics of coercion to overrule your common sense. That’s how they prod the curious but reluctant kid to stick his head inside a crashed alien space ship, right before the aliens snatch him. Not me.

Suddenly I remember all those irrational fears of monsters lurking beneath my bed, the ones that came out at night, when the lights were turned off which is why for many years I refused to sleep without a night-light or my stuffed monkey to protect me. Finally my wife scolded me for being an overgrown ninny.

Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed!

“Uh, uh,” I say. I’ve seen this before in most intros into horror movies; they start off with innocent endeavors by unsuspecting persons in peril unknown to them while the rest of the movie audience screams & squirms in their seats, hoping to catch grody scenes of gory dismemberment between tightly clutched eyelids.

“Oh, sure! Something horrible happens to me and you collect the life insurance. You stick your arm under there.”

Anybody got a broom handle?

Still don’t take me seriously? You’re talking to a budding astrophysicist here. I watched too many episodes of Star Trek to be unaware of the perils. Thanks to great scientific minds like Spock, Data,, and the grand guru of future knowledge, Gene Roddenberry. “What?!! You were thinking Carl Sagan? Isaac Asimov?!! How many episodes of Star trek did they write? See my point?”

Have you noticed that Kirk, Mc Coy, Spock…never get vaporized by the alien. It’s always those unnamed security guys they beam down with them. They must have worn the shirts that said, “Disintegrate me, I’m the underling!” In every episode, when they beamed down a couple of security guys on some alien planet, I immediately knew some terrible thing would happen to them and they wouldn’t be returning to the Enterprise. It was some immutable law of sci-fi plot writing.

I was not a wuss. I’m wary.

Once a crazy unsubstantiated theory that rapidly gained credibility after initially being rejected by disbelieving scientists; dark matter is now an accepted fact despite that it sounds like some ‘corny’ phrase invented from the fertile imagination of a 1920’s sci-fi comic book writer.

Dark matter exists in the universe. We know this because it neither absorbs nor emits light and therefore is not detectable by normal scientific means available. The inescapable evidence is that there is no evidence to explain the discrepancy, when the relationship between the mass versus the rotational speeds from galaxies light years away is calculated. Theories make convenient bridges to gap the unknown with plausible speculation. If this makes absolutely no sense to you, it’s because you aren’t intelligent enough to believe in something you can’t prove, therefore you can’t be an astrophysicist.

Everybody knows that black holes suck light in, never to escape, which explains why my flashlight never works. Think about it. The batteries are always dead because the black hole sucks the light right out of it as soon as I turn it on. Battery manufacturers know this but don’t tell you so you will keep buying their products.

And what about black holes? Rotating gravitational vortexes of indescribable density, compressed elements so heavy they implode upon themselves until all the normal empty space in atoms has been expelled, leaving incredibly dense matter with exponentially strong gravitational forces to suck you in…and you want me to stick my hand under there?

If the 83 per cent of the universe is filled with dark matter, you can’t tell me there’s not some of it lurking under my bed!

“There is nothing you can say that will make me do it.”

“Fine.” She threatens. “I’ll go buy me a new pair at the…” I interrupt. “Grab me by my feet,” I tell her. “I’m going in.”

Shoe stores are another black hole of the universe, sucking all the money out of my wallet She goes just to look and returns with twelve more pair of shoes that don’t fit. And every time women go there, something happens. The same person never comes back from those places; they exchange personalities with a myriad of denizens of feminine persona that inhabit those places. Think of it like an ectoplasmic bus stop, a busy terminal for incorporeal  passengers in transit. It’s an alien body snatching, murrain-seizing portal where roaming spirits randomly quantum leap from one estrogen inhabited corporeal habitat to another…which explains why you end up with a different wife every time she returns from shoe shopping. I’ve been married twenty-eight years to the same woman, whom I barely know. Her identity has quantum-leaped into so many alternate personas, every time I think I know her, she changes.

So what is a woman’s fascination with new shoes? Allow me to explain. Remember the cartoon where Elmer Fudd’s personality changed whenever his hat changed? That’s what happens when women change shoes. Don’t laugh. Those Looney Tunes cartoons were a carefully encrypted encyclopedia of female psychology delivered to mankind by a sympathetic alien culture that visited us in eons past. Left to mankind to help us decode the enigma of the estrogen-impaired gender. Watch these episodes often, let its wisdom sink into your soul. As you observe how the other side of the gene pool think and behave, you too may become enlightened.

Don’t call me a coward. Call me wary! The multiverse is no place for the squeamish or the naive.

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