Another letter from a reader (The Mr. Boffo Incident)

I recently received the following letter from a fan:

Dear Mikey,
Please don’t laugh at me, but I’m one of 2,485 Americans that suffer from a very rare brain condition called Nogetus DeBoffo Disease. There is still very little known about this strange condition, but what we do know is shocking. Almost immediately upon the onset of the disease, the carrier of the condition ceases to maintain the capacity to understand single-panel comic strips such as Ziggy, The Lockhorns, Family Circus, and of course, the strip for which the disease is named, Mr. Boffo.

It is not known what causes this condition to take over the mind of such a select few individuals in this country. But a group of doctors working in conjuction with the Tribune Syndicate has developed a theory. It appears that through their extensive research, it has been determined that readers of the funny pages who tend to read their strips in a particular order have been exposed to a combination of eye stimulants that, individually, would be harmless to the human receptors, but combined, they form a deadly mixture of ink, newspaper grain, and adoloscent humor that can be crippling to the brain’s primordial lobe region.

But there is a separatist movement in the medical field which has seen a small cluster of doctors coming out against the aforementioned theory. This group of doctors, known simply as The Mary Worths believe that the problem is genetic. They believe that an extremely miniscule percentage of newborns are brought into this world missing one-twenty-fifth of their humor chromosome. The Mary Worths hope to prove this theory through extensive stem cell research.

The fact remains, Mikey, that I am one of the unfortunate souls who has spent his whole life traumatized by his inability to grasp those simplest of life’s little pleasures. And that pleasure is the single-panel comic. You can’t possibly know what it’s like to find yourself gathered around the office coffee maker as everyone admires the new Ziggy cartoon that someone posted on the company bulletin board. Faking a laugh can be a traumatic experience in its own right, and I challenge anyone to live in constant fear of the inevitible happening: “Hey there everyone, let’s see if Greg can tell us why this Ziggy cartoon is so darn funny! Greg?”

I can’t take it another day. So in a last ditch effort to keep from flinging myself into a wood chipper, I’ve enclosed a few single-panel comics in the hopes that you might be able to help me wrap my tiny little brain around them. I have no where else to turn. Please, can you help?

Signed,
Not Gettin’ It Greg

Dear Not Gettin’ It,

It just so happens that this is a field in which I am a trained expert. You’ve come to the right place. Let’s get right to it.


Clearly, poor Ziggy lost his luggage. Upon inquiring about its whereabouts, he’s informed by the friendly customer support representative that his luggage was sent to another country. Once again, poor Ziggy finds insult added to injury when it’s determined that the French luggage collectors actually became offended at the sight of Ziggy’s luggage, and decided that the best course of action would be to throw it away, rather than send it back to the place from whence it came. This is funny for several reasons: 1) Ziggy just has no luck with anything, let alone luggage; 2) the stereotype that the French are arrogant snobs is perpetuated with some effectiveness; and 3) the woman relaying the information about Ziggy’s luggage is doing so with a high level of earnestness, thus providing a subtle undertone of implied irony. But really, it just comes down to Ziggy’s penchant for bad luck.

Moving on:

This one is particularly funny. Let us break down why. For starters, it is expected that the reader know and understand that Don Juan was a man well-known for his ability to woo and bed women on a regular basis. It is expected that the reader recognize that Don Juan was a master of turning a seductive phrase at the most romantic of moments, thus rendering his female prey unable to resist his charms. However, what cartoonist Joe Martin has done here is substitute his Uncle Leon for Don Juan. The first reason this is funny, is because Uncle Leon is a much funnier sounding name than Don Juan. Secondly, the reader is expected to infer that Uncle Leon is still lamenting about the missed field goal that cost his team the big game (presumably the missed 45-yarder by Mike Vanderjagdt which cost the Indianapolis Colts a trip to the 2006 Superbowl, a game ultimately won by the team at whose hands the Colts were dealt defeat, the Pittsburgh Steelers). Thirdly, this is not the sort of question one would normally expect a gentleman to ask a lady when he is attempting to win her affection. Finally, the ultimate punch-line occurs when the reader accepts that this alternate-universe that Joe Martin created is one in which a line about the what-should-have-beens of NFL football serve as a spoken aphrodesiac. Ah, if only this world was real, and our current reality just a cartoon.

Next:

Mr. Lockhorn has arrived home from work and he’s hungry. His statement implies that his wife, Loretta, isn’t much of a cook. That’s pretty funny.

Last but not least:

I think we can all relate to this one. What we’re dealing with here is a play on words. The author of the comic is drawing a comparison to real human life. As it happens, there are things out there called “gay bars.” These are establishments at which people of a certain tendency tend to gather. In this case, it’s assumed that dogs that don’t wear collars are considered a different breed of dog. They tend to sniff the butts of the same mutts, if you get my drift. They use the fire hydrant as more than just a deposit point, if you see what I’m saying. These are dogs that often travel in fudge packs, if you take my meaning. Therefore, it just makes sense that they should have their own drinking establishment. This is funny because these two collar-wearing breeder dogs have wandered into a bar in which they don’t belong. Good stuff.

Okay, one more:

Ziggy has been drinking and doesn’t recognize a quality television program when he sees one. In this episode of CSI: Sesame Street Big Bird was shot and killed while attempting to thwart a robbery at Mr. Hooper’s liquor store. But Ernie suspects that the case isn’t as cut and dry as that. With the help of The Count, Ernie discovers that there were one…two…three…four…FOUR bullet casings on the floor of Mr. Hooper’s liquor store, ah hahahaha! Ernie takes these to Oscar who determines that they were fired from the same small caliber, nickel-plated .22 caliber handgun that was discarded in his garbage can by a large, brown, furry, four-legged muppet with a trunk not unlike an elephant’s, and a tendency to be self-loathing and depressed all the time. Brothers and bail bondsmen Cookie and Telly Monster arrive at the home of one “Snuffy” Snufalupagus and inform him of their intention to present him to the authorities. Snuffy goes cooperatively, and is placed in a holding cell. While in the cage, Snuffy finds himself in a mortal tussle with his cell mate, Grover the Glove, known assassin. Grover was picked up selling counterfeit letter G’s in the alley. As it turns out, the bust was all a big setup. Snuffy finds himself with a shiv buried deep in his trunk as he’s ultimately killed by Grover. The blue assassin struck again before vanishing in into a cloud of chicken feathers. He’s not heard from again. Meanwhile, the post-mortem forensic results indicate that Snuffy was not the Big Bird shooter after all. And through a magnificent stroke of luck, Sesame Street officials stumble across a piece of red fur stuck under the fingerhoof of their dead Snufalupagus. Further tests reveal the fur belongs to one Elmo “Maddog” Timpowski. He’s brought downtown where he cooperates and gives the Sesame Street authorities a full confession. Sadly, after prison guards fail to subject “Maddog” Timpowski to a full body and cavity search, Elmo strangles himself with the human hand on which he has come to rely for animated body movement and well-timed, comic relief providing giggle spasms. The episode ends with a despondant Kermit the Frog unveiling the details of the tragedy to the local Sesame Street media. Elmo is survived by his mother, Elmo’s Mommy, and his uncle, everyone’s favorite former gameshow host, Guy Smiley.

I hope that helped. As always, feel free to drop me a line.

The Creation of Jim Morrison

From time to time, I like to answer questions from my fans. Feel free to email me at bloggymike@yahoo.com with your questions. Here’s today’s question:

Dear Mikey,

I happen to a big fan of the Doors and Jim Morrison, yet I really know nothing about Jim’s early years or how he fell into the band. Can you enlighten me?

Signed,
Rider on the Storm

Dear Rider,

Hmmm. How to explain the legend of Jim Morrison?

Many years ago, there was a tribe of travelers that came to be known as the “Doors.” There are many oral traditions that carry on as to how this band of weary-eyed souls came to be known as the “Doors.” However, only one is held as truth.

The story begins with the tribe’s leader, a man known as Maurice Joseph Rising. It just so happened that this man was the owner of a local hardware store that specialized in porch enclosures, specifically, the installation and repair of screen doors for those porches. Now it’s widely known that Maurice Joseph (his friends came to call him MoJo), was a firm believer that doors held the key to all things in life. When we’re born we enter through a spiritual door, and when we die, we exit through a similar one. The time spent inbetween, however, is time spent searching for the door that will lead us to a level of understanding that might help guide us through this crazy ride called life. He also believed very stongly in the use of double-paned, screen-replaceable, weather-ready outer doors.

Now, it just so happened that Mr. Mojo Rising was also wildly fascinated with the field of meteorology. In fact, he combined his two passions, doors and weather, to create a theory about the “Doors of Precipitation.” His thesis on this basically broke down to: “When it rains, close the door.”

After a short time spent searching for a way to spread his message, Maurice Joseph met a group of musicians who had a desire to touch lives, but no message to spread. As you might imagine, this was a fated match made in heaven. Mr. Rising was instituted as the leader of this tribe.

No sooner did MoJo join this humble feast of friends than they encountered a problem. Following a very late night of theologous discussions around a campfire, they happened to fall asleep on a stretch of beach known as “Jesters’ Crest.” They also weren’t far from a small town known as Morse — a town famous for it’s soft stance on obscenity laws — but that’s neither here nor there. But as it happens, when they awoke, they found that they had fallen victim to the ambitious pranksters for which Jesters’ Crest was named. Our heroes found themselves in the center of an enoromous sand castle that had been erected all around them. They were completely surrounded by seven foot tall walls of sand.

Scared and confused, one of the younger players in the band of traveling musicians began to experience what can only be considered a nervous breakdown. He turned to MoJo Rising to look for guidance, but he was so distraught that his words came out terribly garbled.

It is believed that the young songsmith was trying to say, “The waves maybe will wash away the sand and we’ll be able to swim for Morse or someplace.”

In actuality, the words came out, “Save me before we’re washed away, Jim Morrisonface.”

No sooner were these anxiety-driven words uttered than the four of them froze and looked at each other. It was clear that as the leader of this tribe, Maurice Joseph Rising — Mr. MoJo Rising — was being told by his young accompanyist, speaking in tongues as the medium for a higher power, that he must assume the name of Jim Morrisonface.

Eventually, the “face” was dropped from the last name. To this day, scholars are trying to pinpoint the exact time and cause for this change, but aside from a few scientific theories and other random conjecture, it remains a mystery.

Having once again had fate step in to play a vital role in his evolution, Jim Morrison recognized that he didn’t have time to revel in his new identity. Rather, he had to act quickly in order to preserve his tribe. Once safe, the four of them could travel the world, spreading their message. From whiskey bar to whiskey bar, from L.A. woman to L.A. woman, from normal people to those people that are strange. He knew that he couldn’t let this be the end. His message must reach both angels and sailors. This moment felt like a newborn awakening.

He looked around at the four walls of sand by which they were imprisoned. He took a deep breath and looked around at his fellow tribesmen.

“These walls are sand, they are penetrable,” said the wise sage.

“Yeah, but how do we get over ‘em?” asked one of his companions. “It’s not like there’s a back door, man!”

“We must break on through,” said Jim Morrison. “We must break on through — to the other side!”

And with that, he ran at the wall, breaking through the sand as if it was nothing more than, well, sand. The group was free.

As the four men stood on the outside of their sand prison, they took a moment to relish that freedom exists. At that exact moment, a line of cars happened to be passing on the road just above them. El Caminos, tricked out and lowered, rolled by as latin salsa beats floated out on the air, surrounding the four traveling messengers.

So powerful was the line of cars, that the tribe’s leader had no choice but to simply state, “A Spanish caravan.”

The others nodded.

The rest of their history is pretty well documented in a movie called, of all things, “The Doors.”

But that’s how it all began.

Misleading web addresses

My good friend Derek forwarded me an email that many of you might have already seen, but I thought was very much worth sharing. It seems that there are a handful of companies out there that have set up shop under a URL that might not give exactly the impression that the proprietor of the web site was hoping for. Read on and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Pen Island
At Pen Island, you can find all your custom made pen needs. Their tagline: “Your pen is our business!”
Just click on www.penisland.com

Therapist Finder
We all need help. We all need someone to talk to. We all have issues that a good couselor could help us sort out. But what’s that got to do with finding rapists?
www.therapistfinder.com
So I’ll admit, this isn’t really that funny since therapist is a real word used all the time, but once you read it differently, it’s hard to see anything else.

Mole Station Native Nursery
This one is easily my favorite because the combination in the address is so blatant that it’s amazing they never noticed it in the first place. They have since been changed their address, however, if you type this one in, it still works, redirecting the visitor to the newer address.
See for yourself by clicking on www.molestationnursery.com.

Who Represents?
If you’re looking to see what agents are representing your favorite celebrity then click on
www.whorepresents.com

The Cumming First United Method Church
This one isn’t so much an unfortunate combination of two innocent words, as much as it is simply an unfortunate name.
www.cummingfirst.com

And here are some honorable mentions:
Programmer exchange site:
www.expertsexchange.com

Italian Power Generator Company:
www.powergenitalia.com
Site is under construction as of 10.20.06.

Computer software company:
www.ipanywhere.com

So what’s the moral of this post? When you start your own business, be very, very careful when selecting a web address.

Air Conditioning

Many of you are aware of the heat wave enveloping the country. Yesterday it was up in the nineties here in Chicago. That’s pretty hot. On Sunday I finally put my window A/C unit up in my bedroom. This was definitely much needed as I slept much better.

The problem is, though, that I think the damn thing might actually be broken. Because I went to bed last night and turned the dial to “Maximum Cool,” but when I woke up this morning I was still the same lame dumbass that I’ve always been.

I’ll never be cool.

Akismet Spam

So WordPress has this filter that catches spam from solicitors posting comments that are full of links to various pharmacutical websites, or porn websites, or insurance websites, or really any website that’s selling anything. Some of these comments are just blatant, with a whole list of links to various places.

But the fun spam comments are those that try to hide the fact that they’re spam. They’ll have a link to the site they’re peddling but their comment will be something complimentary about the blog. The hilarious thing is that clearly very few of the people who leave these comments are very well versed in the English language. And those that can construct complete sentences are so complimentary, it’s comical.

So, please enjoy the following examples of some of these comments. They’re all cut and pasted exactly has they appear in my folder.

  • like your site ! Its very well !
  • i try to find something at google.com and take it on your site…thanks
  • Great job guys… Thank for you work…
  • looking for information and found it at this great site.
  • Very needed information found here, thank you for your work
  • Great site!!! Very Cool. Keep up the good work. Very sweet person to chat with. :) Luv, ME
  • You are the best! Im glad…
  • This is one of the best sites I have ever found. Thanks!!! Very nice and informal. I enjoy being here.
  • Take care of it and keep it on the road!
  • Your site is very convenient in navigation and has good design. Thanks!
  • perfect site good information, very nice news and etc… tnx
  • Very interesting and beautiful site. It is a lot of ful information. Thanks.
  • Updated: 6.21.06

  • This is a cool site! Thanks and wish you better luck! Brilliant but simple idea.
  • Interesting, but navigation system is a little bit confusing
  • Hello, nice site look this: [links to computer/business/shopping/etc.] End ^) See you
  • I’m love this great website. Many thanks guy
  • Sehr guten site. Alles arbeitet deutlich(klar), schon eben storungsfrei. Wer machte? Vielleicht vom Weg?
  • Hello, Admin! You are the best!!! Congratulations. Best regards from regular visitor of your site. ;)
  • Super site ! Bravo au webmaster qui a su rendre le site tres interressant.Continue comme ca ;)
  • Hi! Your site appeared very useful to me. Excellent work, thanks.
  • I’ll be sure to come back and add more of these as they’re posted. But if anyone wants a website where they can buy Xanax or Levitra, just start a blog and in no time you’ll be getting links to all these things. Not to mention the links to “disney cartoon sex picdisney cartoon sex pictureadult cartoon disney free sexadult disney sex cartoondisney cartoon having sex.”

    What the hell is Disney sex? Old pictures of Walt with his secretary? Who would really want to see a picture of Pluto and Goofy tag-teaming Daisy Duck? For crying out loud, what has this world come to?

    Ricardo Montalban – Lima Bean Farmer?

    Someone once asked me, “What’s on your mind, Mikey? What are you thinking about?”

    More often than not, I’d answer with something like, “Nuthin’. Why? What are you thinking about?”

    But today, if someone were to ask me that question, I’d have a different answer for them. Today, that conversation would go something like this:

    OTHER PERSON (assume this is a dude): “What’s on your mind, Mikey? What are you thinking about?”
    ME: “Actually, I was thinking about lima beans.”
    OP: “Lima beans?”
    ME: “Yep.”
    OP: “Huh. That’s odd.”
    ME: “Yep.”
    OP: “Any particular reason you happen to be thinking about lima beans right now?”
    ME: “Probably, but I can’t really remember.”
    OP: “I see.”
    ME: “Do you?”
    OP: “Well, actually, no. I guess not.”
    ME: “I didn’t think so.”
    OP: “Well let’s try to figure it out.”
    ME: “Let’s.”
    OP: “Okay. Were you thinking about soup or anything earlier?”
    ME: “I dunno? Why would I be thinking about soup? That seems like a pretty odd question.”
    OP: “Well I was just thinking that some soups have lima beans.”
    ME: “Oh! The lima beans. I forgot that’s what we were still talking about.”
    OP: “Yeah.”
    ME: “Okay.”
    OP: “So you weren’t thinking about soup then?”
    ME: “No. At least I don’t think so.”
    OP: “Well then what other things have lima beans in them?”
    ME: “Um, stew? I think some sorts of stews have lima beans in them.”
    OP: “Were you thinking about stew?”
    ME: “No.”
    OP: “Oh.”
    ME: “I like stew.”
    OP: “Yeah?”
    ME: “Yeah.”
    OP: “Okay. So you weren’t thinking about soup or stew.”
    ME: “Well, I might’ve been.”
    OP: “Are you sure?”
    ME: “No. Not really.”
    OP: “You’re not really helping here, are you?”
    ME: “Well, I’m not sure I understand why it’s important we figure out the reason that I was thinking about lima beans.”
    OP: “Well what if it had something to do with something else? Maybe it could actually be a very important thing.”
    ME: “How could lima beans possibly be important?”
    OP: “Because, maybe you overheard someone talking about something and that something could have been like some murder plot or a planned governement overthrow and the words ‘lima beans’ might have been the subliminal trigger used to trigger the unknowing assassin.
    ME: “You watched Naked Gun last night, didn’t you?”
    OP: “Yeah, how’d you know?”
    ME: “No reason.”
    OP: “Bull.”
    ME: “Remember him from Night Court?”
    OP: “Yeah. What a great show. I miss that one.”
    ME: “Me too.”
    OP: “Wait, why’d you ask me about Naked Gun? How’d you know I watched it?”
    ME: “Because, you dorksweat, that’s sort of what happens to Reggie Jackson in the movie. He’s playing right field for the Angels and Ricardo Montalban triggers something so that Reggie will shoot the Queen of England with a gun that happens to be hidden under second base.”
    OP: “I never knew the Queen was a baseball fan.”
    ME: “I think it’s because she can’t figure out cricket.”
    OP: “Why would the Queen go to see an Angel’s game though? When that movie was made they sucked.”
    ME: “I know. It’d be like the Queen coming to America and going to a Bob Saget stand-up show.”
    OP: “Don’t knock Bob Saget, you fucker.”
    ME: “Don’t knock Bob Saget? What’s wrong with you?”
    OP: “I happen to be a very big Bob Saget fan. He was to Full House what Henry Winkler was to Happy Days.”
    ME: “That’s it, you’re crazy.”
    OP: “Alright, tough guy. Let’s go. Them’s fightin’ words.”
    ME: “Are you serious? You want to fight to defend Bob Saget’s honor?”
    OP: “That’s right I do. Now put ‘em up. I’m gonna give you a knuckle sandwich for lunch.”
    ME: “Hey remember when you came in here, you asked me what I was thinking about?”
    OP: “Yeah.”
    ME: “Do you remember what you were doing right before then?”
    OP: “Yeah. I was licking a stamp.”
    ME: “Right. But it was the kind of stamp that’s a sticker.”
    OP: “So? I stopped licking when I figured that out.”
    ME: “Well I just remembered what I was thinking.”
    OP: “You did?”
    ME: “Yes.”
    OP: “Well?”
    ME: “I was thinking about what an idiot you are.”
    OP: “Hey, now. Wait a second.”
    ME: “No! It’s true. I mean you were licking a stamp that was actually a sticker so you could make it stick. And now you want to fight because I might’ve made fun of Bob Saget.”
    OP: “Well what’s all that got to do with what you thinking about earlier?”
    ME: “Do you remember what I was thinking about earlier?”
    OP: “Lima beans.”
    ME: “Right. And what was one of the things you asked me?”
    OP: “Were you thinking about soup?”
    ME: “After that.”
    OP: “Were you thinking about stew?”
    ME: “Before that.”
    OP: “Why don’t you love me?”
    ME: “Um, no. You never asked me that. And now I think I’d like to leave.”
    OP: “Oh. WAIT! I remember! I asked you if you knew what other things had lima beans in them.”
    ME: “Right.”
    OP: “So you were thinking about something that had lima beans in them?”
    ME: “Indeed I was.”
    OP: “You’re about to say that I have lima beans in my head, aren’t you?”
    ME: “Aw, no c’mon, what sort of person do you think I am?”
    OP: “Well, you can be an asshole sometimes, you know.”
    ME: “Now I think we both know that’s impossible. I’m far too nice of a guy to ever be an asshole.”
    OP: “No. Sometimes you can be an asshole.”
    ME: “Alright, lima bean brain. You have lima beans in your head!”
    OP: —-
    ME: —-
    OP: “Asshole.”
    ME: “Lima.”
    OP: “Why don’t you love me anyway?”
    ME: “Good-night, everybody!”

    Jessica Simpson and My Garden Hose

    What’s a guy to do when he really wants to blog about something but really has nothing to blog about? Before I get into that, I need to point out that I accidentally deleted my post from yesterday. I was talking about how Jessica Simpson would probably fall in love with me if we were to meet. So that kinda pissed me off. (The fact that I deleted it pissed me off, not Jessica Simpson falling in love with me.) But really, sometimes the silliest little things piss me off. Like when you get that one part of your sock bunched up under the arch on the bottom of your foot and the only way to fix it is to take your shoe completely off. That pisses me off.

    But even though Jessica and Nick are splitting up, I can’t help but wonder about the future. But wondering about the future often leaves one longing for the past. Longing and wondering.

    For example, I’m wondering what Jessica was drinking on this night.
    MeADork 2^2
    Probably just Diet Coke.

    So I was cleaning my house last night. And by house I mean apartment. And by cleaning I mean pushing dirt around. Actually, I got on my hands and knees and washed the kitchen and bathroom floors for once. I cleaned my toilet and my bathtub.

    Bathtub cleaning sucks, cause you clean it and scrub and then when you rinse it all the water drains really slowly so the film of cleanser sort of just floats on top as the water level drops until it just ends up sitting on the floor of the tub again. It gets to the point where you actually have to push the water toward the drain and stuff. I mean this is sort of hard work. And for a guy who’s only ever done this like three other times in his life, it’s a little humbling, let me tell you. I mean I can coordinate and edit a 360 page Disney storybook, but getting the soapy film off the bottom of my tub is a freakin’ challenge. So I decided the best thing to do would be to get the hose. So I ran to Ace Hardware and bought 1000 feet worth of hose and ran it up from the front of my apartment complex. It took quite awhile to get it all strung up there, cause I live on the second floor, but once I did, man, what a timesaver! I hosed down the tub, the sink, the toilet. It was great. It worked so well, I decided I should try it in the living room. So instead of dusting I hosed down my bookshelves, the televsion, my desk — really, I just sprayed anywhere that I felt was dirty.

    I realized too late that hoses and living room cleaning don’t really mix all that well.

    They’rrrree grrrrrreeaaat!

    Last night for dinner I ate Frosted Flakes.

    I didn’t have a bowl of Frosted Flakes, mind you, I just ate them straight out of the box while watching a Seinfeld rerun. It was the episode where Kramer’s first name is revealed and George thinks he’s dating a bulimic model. But there I was, enjoying my box of Frosted Flakes, thinking to myself, “Now this is eating,” when I looked down and saw my shirt covered in Frosted Flake crumbs. Crumbs and sugar covered me like I’d been sunbathing in a sandstorm. “Now that’s an attractive look,” I thought to myself.

    Of course, I was joking. There’s nothing attractive about that. But it occurred to me that short of a bib, I needed some sort of device to prevent this sort of mess from happening. Perhaps a tool to transfer the Frosted Flakes from the box to my mouth.

    I wasn’t eating the Frosted Flakes from a bowl, so a spoon wouldn’t work for me. I thought about using a larger serving spoon, but that seemed too impractical as well. Perhaps I could fashion some sort of funnel device. Then I could pour the Frosted Flakes directly into my mouth. That seemed to have possibilities. However, it was clear that an undertaking like that would require an awful lot of work and would sort of defeat the purpose of lazily eating the Frosted Flakes right out of the box in the first place.

    As I ate, the mess upon my shirt became greater and greater, but the ideas for solving this problem didn’t increase with the same proportion. In fact, I sort of stopped thinking about it as I suddenly faced a new problem: my Frosted Flakes were gone.

    Rather than solve the problem of the Frosted Flake transfer, I was now faced with the dilemma of transporting myself from my couch without creating a landslide of Frosted Flakes, Frosted Flakes crumbs, and Frosted Flakes frost from my shirt to the floor below. Thinking quickly, I peeled the shirt from my body, careful to do so in a manner that would trap the Frosted Flake shrapnel within the shirt.

    My options at this point were to either throw the shirt away, or shake out the Frosted Flakes and its crumb-y byproduct and save the shirt. I opted for the latter, as I’m not made of either money or shirt-growing trees. So I shook out the shirt on the back porch, replaced the shirt on my body, and opened the fridge to find some dessert.

    I’m no poet, that much is clear. See? That didn’t rhyme.

    Something Fishy
    by Michael P. Fertig

    Since the stream was wet that there fish was too.
    The fish was in the water, which was blue.
    Minding his own business, the fish he did swim,
    right down that stream as if on a whim.

    He stopped as he swam at the sight of something squirmy,
    a worm on a hook in need of an infirmiry.
    “This freakin’ hook is stuck right through my damn ass,”
    the worm said to the fish with a heavy touch of sass.

    “That’s a hell of a spot, you’ve got yourself in,”
    said the fish to the worm as he licked his chin.
    “But it’s a shame you’re so helpless and looking delicious,
    when I eat you, please know that it’s nothing malicious.”

    And in an instant so quick, that worm he was lunch,
    the fish had been starving and needed to munch.
    But wait, what had happened? Something’s not right.
    That fish found himself stuck like a pig in moonlight.

    “Aw hell,” said the fish, “I’m such a freakin’ chump
    That dumb worm even told me he had a hook in his rump.”
    With a sudden violent pull, the fishhook lodged solid,
    and that fish was on a boat with a man who looked squalid.

    “Well you’re a ripe sized old fish,” said the filthy old man.
    “I’ll keep you and gut you and fry you up in a pan.”
    The fish gasped to breathe but the air was quite dry,
    He thought that flip-flopping might be worth a try.

    But then a revelation came over the fish,
    What if he offered the old man a wish?
    Or more wishes even, like three, four, or five.
    Maybe the old man would let him survive!

    “Hey there old timer,” said the fish to the man.
    “If I grant you some wishes will you spare me the pan?”
    The grizzled old fisherman spit out his tobacky,
    “Is that fish there talking? Or have I gone all wacky?”

    “No no,” reassured the fish in voice soft and kindly.
    You’re not going wacky, I’m speaking refinedly.
    You caught me and plucked me right out of that stream,
    But let me go and I’ll make real your wildest dream.”

    “At first I might not think that wishes you could grant,
    but as I breathe, here I stand listening to a fish give a rant
    about making dreams real and granting me wishes,
    so if you can talk, you must be one of them magical fishes.”

    “Magical I am,” the fish replied quickly,
    “hurry and wish before my scales turn prickly.
    For whatever you utter I am obliged to produce
    You want girls, or money, or how ’bout a goose?”

    “A goose?” asked the man with a smile and a laugh.
    “That’s crazy you freak, I should cut you in half.
    I should eat you right now, have a feast made of fishes.
    Yeah, I wish for a goose, instead of a great piles of riches!”

    “Okay,” said the fish, “you said it out loud.
    A goose you shall have, instead of riches abound.”
    The sky crowded with clouds for a moment then cleared,
    and from out of nowhere a big fat goose just appeared.

    “You ordered a goose?” said the bird to the fish.
    “Sure did,” he replied, “just granting a wish.”
    And they chatted right there, that fish and that goose,
    the fisherman couldn’t help it, he took a swig of his juice.

    “This is one crazy day,” he muttered as he drank.
    “If I ain’t drunk, then my name just ain’t Frank.”
    “If you say so, then Chuck,” responded the fish with a grin.
    “But you’re probably Frank ’cause that’s water, not gin.”

    “So what now? Is that it? Or for another wish have I a choice?
    You tricked me of my first. Now I’ve got a goose with a voice.”
    “Right you are,” said the fish, “that was horribly unfair.
    Make another right now and I’ll make it come from thin air.”

    The fisherman sat, crossed his legs, and began to think,
    “I’ve got it!” he said, and to the goose threw a wink.
    “I wish for some dinner, something good, something tasty,
    a full scrumptious meal, and for dessert some pastry.

    “A meal it is,” said the fish in a whip,
    and suddenly a kitchen appeared on the ship.
    A stove on which sat a pot and some potaters,
    a pastry nearby, and two lady caterers.

    “We’re here at your service,” one lady did say.
    “What sort of delicacy may we whip up today?”
    The man did look upward, trying to think of a dish.
    “You know what?” he said. “I feel like some FISH!”

    The fish took a gulp as he recognized his fate,
    the goose sort of giggled and asked for a plate.
    With a sigh and smile, the fish said in a whisper,
    “I don’t suppose you wanna try cooking my sister?”

    “‘Fraid not,” the man said as he walked down the boat.
    “You’re what I’m eatin’. And keep your bones out my throat.”
    The fish looked up and said, “Funny how this all transpired.”
    Then he was tossed to the chopping block, where he violently expired.

    So what did we learn from this situation today?
    Talking fish can’t be trusted, so go on and fillet.

    The Sound of Silence

    I was wondering if it would be possible for me to go a whole day without speaking to a single person. I mean, not that I have any reason to attempt this, but how hard would that really be to do? I’m thinking it would be tough. Okay, it wouldn’t be tough if I just stayed home and didn’t pick up the phone. I’ve done that before. In fact I’ve probably gone whole weekends without speaking to a single person.

    What I’m saying, is how tough would it be to go to work and get through a day without actually saying a word to another human being. I guess I’m not really sure why one would want to attempt to accomplish such a thing, but what would have to happen in order for someone to be successful at this endeavor?

    For starters, they couldn’t have a job as a 911 operator, or an air traffic conrtroller. An attempt at vocal cellibacy in either of these fields would certainly have tragic ramifications. So it seems that the first step in acheiving this goal would be to work in a setting where human interaction is not a specific part of one’s job description.

    I work as a children’s book editor. Much of my job relies on me interacting with other editors, art directors, and so on. But like many jobs, we have our slow days. So it is conceivable that I could go an entire day without talking to anyone about any projects or other work related items. However, I’m not a social recluse, as it turns out, so I actually talk to people I work with about matters other than children’s books from time to time. So this also makes it difficult.

    So, it seems that the second qualification to achieving this goal is to be somewhat socially retarded. This way you won’t have to worry about people stopping in your cube to see how you’re doing, how your weekend was, or if you’d like to step outside for a cigarette.

    But then again, maybe being a person known to socialize would make this effort that much more worthwhile. Would it be possible to go a whole day without hearing from these people? Or to effectively dodge them thoughout the course of a business day? (Emailing them not to stop by your desk would be considered cheating.)

    The third consideration for making this happen is lunch. I think it’s clear that you’ll have to bring your own lunch to work. I guess if you went out to eat you could order food from a menu without speaking. But pointing is just rude, though I guess it could be done. Although it occurs to me that you could always buy a sandwich or something from a grocery store shelf. No need to talk to the cashier necessarily. Clearly, however, the Burger King drive-thru is pretty much out of the question.

    Other than that, I can’t really think of many other obsacles. I guess there are a handful of random events that could take place, thereby spoiling your efforts. A person could get pulled over by a police officer who suspects that person of driving under the influence. In adminstering the various tests to guage sobriety, it is very likely that they might ask a person to recite the alphabet. At which time all attempts for day long silence would be shot.

    Naturally, I’m discounting the possibility that one could just blatantly ignore people or carry some sort of card explaining their situation. This would defeat the purpose of the experiment.

    So who wants to try it? I’ve alreay spoken to a couple people today, so I’m out.

    Also, I think text messaging is out of the question. As is instant messaging. These would be considered conversation devices and would defeat the purpose of our experiment.

    As for what the purpose of the experiment is, well, I guess I’m not really sure. It’s all in the name of science.