After lunch, the dog and I went for a short walk through the turgid summer heat native New Orleanians call ‘a bit cool for the season.’ Our efforts earned one of us a sheen of sweat and the other a drooling pant. I won’t say which one won which.
Our next door neighbor, lovingly referred to as “Crazy Shawn” since he is both crazy and Shawn, was outside working on his lawn. Or, for those familiar with Shawn’s house, his lack of a lawn. Shawn spent many years spraying Round-Up on his front yard until every blade of grass was sent to the great green fields in the sky.
Optimists who visit say beautiful things like, “He must be preparing a rock garden.”
He must. Without the rock or the garden.
Rain has eroded half-a-foot of soil from his front yard, weakening the foundation of his house, Crazy Shawn laid down tar paper to protect what was left.
Guests plagued by positivity say to us, “A tar paper garden. Doesn’t Gwenyth Paltrow highly recommend those?”
If she does, I applaud her critics’ collective restraint in their descriptions of dear Gwen.
So this afternoon, Shawn is working on his tar paper lawn, weeding away grass which has launched an attack from our yard on the quarter inch of dirt between his fence and the tar paper.
Shawn is muttering to himself.
As those who know Shawn are aware, Shawn’s mutterings are the flapping wings of a butterfly which eventually cause a tsunami halfway across the world. Only, in this case, it isn’t a tsunami we need fear. Shawn’s mutterings grow into 911 calls, stalking charges, and physical violence.
Reminds one of Wilson from Home Improvement, n’est pas? And just like Wilson, there are important fence related conflicts I don’t have time to delve into today.
As anyone on the street will tell you, it’s best to pass Shawn by when he’s muttering. They’ll tell you that then ignore their own advice — but that doesn’t make the advice any less valuable.
Do as they say, not as they do.
So I pass, ignoring the muttering mischief-maker, when one word catches my attention.
I am a renter, could this muttering be about me? My natural sense of victimhood said, “Of course, why would he talk about anyone but you?”
And seeing as many of the neighbors have restraining orders against Shawn, there aren’t many people for him to talk about let alone to.
Then he paused. He nodded his head. He said, “Really? I can’t believe it,” while yanking up a tuft of grass and tossing it aside.
Silly me. It was an honest mistake. He was wearing a bluetooth device and talking to a friend.
A silly mistake that.
The dog and I passed through our front gate and she flopped down on the lawn. While she rolled around, I listened to Shawn go on about property values.
“And with such an expensive property!” he said, picking up unrooted clumps of grass and tossing them in a garbage can.
“Exactly. How do you handle it?” he asked, after a pause.
His friend must have some really awful renters. People destroying their property. Ruining the neighborhood. It’s unthinkable and, given this alternative, it makes me momentarily thankful to have Crazy Shawn as my neighbor instead of these reticent neer-do-wells.
Loaded up with grass, Shawn turns to drag the garbage can out to the street, giving me a clear view of his other ear.
The ear I assumed the bluetooth device was hung since is other ear was naked.
There was no bluetooth device.
No phone on speaker as he answers and asks questions about those… these… horrendous neighbors.
But while researching (aka procrastinating) I discovered a conspiracy so deep, I had to turn to Wikiepedia for insight.
The Shitsticle That is Queen Elizabeth’s Dog Collection
For those not in the know, as I was until about three minutes ago when I checked Wikipedia, She-Of-Many-Hats has three breeds of dogs: corgis, cocker spaniels, and dorgis.
I, like you — unless you’re British and care for such things — thought the Queen only owned corgis. I also, like you, thought dorgis were a family of house elves in the Harry Potter series.
“So, she owns three types of dogs. There’s no conspiracy in that, Cole.”
Well, no freaking duh, Aunt Regina! It’s what further research of these dogs uncovered.
Stick with me and hold onto your bloomers.
HRH’s Corgi Collection
According to Wikipedia, at last count, the Queen owned five corgis. This “last count” caveat is important, since the last count was as of 2007. Nearly a decade has passed and no one has any clue how many corgis the Queen has, except maybe HRH herself.
And she’s keeping that shit off Wikipedia.
Oh, there’s a reason…
And his name is Monty.
The Queen’s five corgis are named, innocently enough: Monty, Emma, Linnet, Willow, and Holly.
Now aside from naming her dog Linnet, nothing seems particularly askew here.
Until Wikipedia, bastion of all temporal knowledge, goes on to explain the following:
“Monty, Willow and Holly appeared in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony when James Bond (portrayed by Daniel Craig) arrived at Buckingham Palace to escort the Queen to the event. Monty had previously belonged to the Queen Mother, and died soon after in September 2002.”
Did you catch that? No?
That’s because the Queen’s guards fucked around with the order of information so the timeline isn’t clear. Let me untangle this little fuckery for you.
2002 – Monty dies, soon after the Queen Mum passes. 2007 – Monty is one of Queen EII’s five corgis. 2012 – Monty appears next to Daniel ‘slab of carved beef’ Craig in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
If you’re like me, I don’t have to tell you what this means.
Which is why I’ll tell you, because you aren’t like me, you poor, silly, naïve bastard.
Queen Elizabeth is dead!
“Wait, Cole, how do you figure that?”
Thought experiment time!
You’re one of the Queen’s handmaidens. One morning you come in and find her facedown in a bowl of Fruit Loops. What is your first thought?
Wait, you didn’t figure it out?
Fine, I’ll spoonfeed it to you.
“Oh, shit! She of the lesser hat game is gonna be Queen.”
As handmaiden to the Queen, you call all of England’s top scientists together and explain what’s at stake. Then you say, “You have two hours before the Duke of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall show up for breakfast. Fix this!”
So the scientist go all Newtown’s Law and build a time grabber.
“Cole, what’s a time grabber?”
Seriously? Take a high school science class.
A time grabber is like this:
Except it reaches through time to pluck back the thing, or person, you want.
So the scientists build the world’s first time grabber, reach back, and pluck a living Queen Elizabeth off the potty and bring her back thirty seconds before Charles and Camilla walk through the door.
Only the Queen happened to be holding Monty, the aforementioned dead corgi, on her lap while toileting.
Why would she do that?
She’s royal. Don’t ask stupid questions.
I know what you’re thinking…
“But, Cole, this seems highly likely. The cost of maintaining a quantum grabbed person, let alone person and dog combo, in the present day would be astronomical!”
I appreciate your economical savvy set-up for my transition to…
The Cocker Spaniels
You’re absolutely right, of course. Without the funds to support a quantum grabbed Queen, HRH would be sucked back to October 2002 where she came from.
Which is why Buckingham Palace is now home to five cocker spaniels.
Some people think cocker spaniels ground the quantumly kidnapped in the present day. Those people have no understanding of the basics of science caninery.
If you want a dog breed to ground the quantumly kidnapped in the present, you use finnish spitzes. But that’s a rare dog breed, even for a Queen, so instead you need a lot of money to pay the electric bill needed to maintain the temporal shell surrounding the Madam of Monarchy.
“But, Cole! She has a lot of cash, she’s the Queen!”
Yes, but remember, she doesn’t want Charles or Camilla knowing about this. So a secret stash of quantum maintanence cash is necessary.
So what do you do?
Get five cocker spaniels and sell their naming rights to large corporations.
“Cole, that’s ridiculous. You can’t prove it.”
Well, the Queen’s c-spans are named: Bisto, Oxo, Flash, Spick, and Span.
I know, now you think I’m fucking with you.
But I swear to Almighty Schrodinger, this shit is real.
Bisto – a British food company Oxo – another British food company Flash – a Marvel superhero… or DC hero… or a WB coming of age character Spick ’n Span – a cleaning product from Prestige Brands
Now I’ve only done some back of the napkin math on this, but those four brands over five dogs is more than enough to fund a quantum shell maintainment unit.
And if prices go up, she can just add a sixth cocker spaniel named, Beepee.
Now onto the dorgis… the unintended consequences of a quantum grab.
According to Wikipedia, a dorgi is not a house elf, but a corgi-dachschund hybrid.
Yeah, like we’re going to believe there enough people are standing around saying, “I want my corgi to have shorter legs and a longer spine, dachschundize-it!” to require a brand new breed of dog.
Here’s a picture of a dorgi:
I’ll admit, it looks like a dog, but there’s not an ounce of dachshund to be seen.
If anything, this is a corgi-Russell Tovey hybrid.
A bunch of furries just melted.
Dorgis are neither of the aforementioned hybrids, but a parallel universe version of the corgi.
“Wait, Cole, you lost us!”
Seriously, what were you doing during high school science?
In science, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Sigh… Fine, I’ll spoonfeed this to you.
Action: Pull Monty from historical timeline and hold him in the present.
Reaction: Alternate universe corgis come into the present to prevent an imbalance in the Force.
“Wait, Cole, that makes absolutely no—“
Ssshhh… Thinking too much hurts the brain.
But that leaves a looming question. If pulling Monty into the present pulled four alternate universe dorgis into the present, what was pulled through to balance out the presence of the Queen?
Welcome, welcome, welcome to Carnivale Cole’s Mardi Gras Pitching Contest! Step right up and show off your strength and accuracy! Prove your skills to that lovely lady or gentleman in your life. Win them beads! A stuffed animal! Or any number of wonderous prizes.
Who will be the first to show us what sort of king cake they’re made of?
You, sir! Thank you very much. Step right up.
Let’s all give him a round of applause!
Now sir, let me start you off with 5 3-lb bags of beads. We’ll put you on this parade float and get you traveling down the street.
Up ahead, you’ll see people standing on platforms and ladders. Knock down at least 3 people and win this amazing stuffed elephant for your lady friend!
Okay ladies and gentlemen, hee went for the college girl on the foot-width platform. Good choice, she had nowhere to dive!
Oh! A near hit! Unfortunately the bag exploded on a ladder showering everyone with beads.
Bonus points for hitting someone already standing on the ground! They crumpled like a wet paper bag!
He must be getting desperate! He went for the baby carriage! Too bad it’s empty! A ruse de guerre!
Last chance, who will he go for?
The gentleman on the ladder who, it seems, was not quite as drunk as our contestant assumed! The man on the ladder caught the bag! No points awarded.
Thank you, sir for playing! Better luck next time!
That’s right! The Basis of Belief machine, or B.o.B., fronts as a Georgian rapper. And Neil deGrasse Tyson responds in B.o.B.’s preferred programming language.
Shit just went Asimov, bitches!
Now I know what you’re thinking, “But Cole, B.o.B. is a crackpot conspiracy theorist not a sentient robot!”
“A crackpot, you say? How do you know?” I ask.
“Because… Um… The world is round, not flat?” you say.
“How do you know?” I reply.
“Because my third grade teacher told me so!”
“She also told you weed was evil and sex kills.”
“Shit! You have a point, Cole!”
I always do.
So put on your tinfoil hat — seriously, I don’t want you distracting me with your sexy thoughts — and let’s get this conspiracy show on the road!
I, like you, found myself wondering, “What if B.o.B. is right? What if Neil deGrasse Tyson, as minister of the Science Industrial Complex, is lying to us? And why was Washington Irving a shithead?”
These are a lot of difficult questions.
Since I know you’re busy with the kids, I went ahead and found the answers for you.
I put on my Dunce (Italian for ‘thinking cap’) and took to the internet to learn how the Earth became round.
“Gah, Cole, are you really going to give a history lecture like Mr. Saam did everyday of Sophomore year?”
Gah, you’re a difficult audience.
Fine, I’ll bump up the entertainment value and give you a little lesson I like to call, “Science History!”
So put on your Breakfast Club Soundtrack and follow along with the all new:
Abridged History of the Theory of the Round Earth: 80s Style High School Movie
Pythagoras – The Stoner
2,600 years ago Pythagoras and his surfing bros were hanging out on the beach, smoking weed, and watching a flock of swans fly overhead.
“Oh shit! Guys, the Earth is round,” Pythagoras said, jumping to his feet.
In reality, he stumbled and wobbled to his feet, but it felt much faster in his head.
“Dude? Really?” Eschlamidides said, swaying his head to-and-fro.
“I can feel it!” Homeopathy shouted, swaying his hips and trying to catch his balance.
“Cool tan, bro!” Davaros the Feathered Haired added.
And it was a cool tan, bro. So cool it enchanted all the cool kids into believing Pythagoras’s theory.
Then everyone went to the mall, bleached their hair, and talked about how cool it was to live on a round world unlike their parents’ stodgy flat world.
Then a Spartan land developer threatened to tear down the mall, Pythagoras entered a geometry competition, invented his famed theorem, and won enough money to save the Athenacrest Shopping Plaza and Temple.
Aristotle – the Lost Soul
Two centuries later, at a Northeastern boarding school, Aristotle was left grieving the loss of his father. His mother, having recently married Aristotle’s uncle, sent him off to boarding school to ‘get over it, your daddy’s dead,’ and possibly hide the fact his uncle killed his father by pouring poison in his ear.
It’s Greek. It’s dramatic. It’s awesome.
And mostly unrelated to the rounding of the Earth.
Sad, depressed, morose Aristotle, looking for a father figure, finds himself in “Things We All Know But Don’t Have Proof of Yet” taught by Mork-turned-serious-thespian, Plato.
And Plato is a pain in the administration’s side, as all good teachers are. So the administration is looking for a reason to get rid of his hippy, non-traditional ass.
“He plays the lute in every class,” the dean moans in every third scene.
Interesting sidenote: Dean is Greek for “Whines about fun.”
So during the course of the semester, Plato teaches his students about Pythagoras’s philosophy that the Earth is round.
Plato also encourages one of his students, Oedipus, to go after the hot girl he ran into at the Crossroads Bar.
And if you don’t know how that turned out, you should probably stop relying on the American education system for your schooling.
The dean went to Plato’s class, grabbed the teacher by the arm, and escorted him from the room. Just as they reached the door, Aristotle climbed on his desk and recited the following poem:
“Oh Captain, My Captain!
As we move south,
The stars don’t grow in the sky
Because we stand on the orb
They rise northward and high.
Oh Captain, My Captain!
When the Earth’s lonely shadow
Creates an eclipse,
We see a round shape
On Artemis’s lips!”
The poem was shitty, but Aristotle’s sentiment was moving. Also, it offered the first logical proof the Earth was round.
Despite this sad moment, the movie ended happily for everyone except Oedipus.
The dean got rid of Plato.
Plato got a job at Harvard.
Aristotle got vengeance on his uncle and then went on to the illustrious position as tutor to Alexander the Great.
Also, there was a kegger in a cave.
Eratosthenes – the Productive Slacker
“Eratosthenes? … Eratosthenes? … Eratosthenes?” Ben Steinocles repeated ad nauseam.
Eratosthenes was not in school. He was playing hooky because his friend, Camocrates, needed to chill out and learn to become his own man.
Camocrates was pretty tightly wound on account of his father’s super high expectations.
So the boys stole Camocrates’s father’s mule cart and headed off to downtown Aswan for the day. There they caught Aristophanes’s Lysistrata and were transformed by its pro-sexual, anti-male empowerment message.
So Eratosthenes leaves the theater, jumps on a float, and sings Walk Like an Egyptian, because that’s what inspired people do when hanging out in downtown Aswan for the day.
While this is going on, there are two side stories about how his sister and the pedophile principle are trying to prove Eratosthenes is playing hooky. All this is terribly boring in comparison to Eratosthenes’s cool and insightful nature.
While dancing like an Egyptian on the float, Eratosthenes realizes his shadow has a different angle in Aswan than it does at home.
“How can he notice this while singing and dancing on a parade float?” most people wonder.
Because he’s cooler than any person who ever lived or ever will live, thank you very much.
Also, carpe fucking diem.
So Eratosthenes and Camocrates take some measurements in Aswan. Then they head home and take measurements there. Eratosthenes runs some calculations, Camocrates destroys the family mule cart, and the story is almost over.
Eratosthenes calculates the circumference of the planet, which he couldn’t do if it were flat like a pancake, and wins the science fair.
When his sister and principal finally catch up with him, Eratosthenes says, “I couldn’t have won the science fair if I was playing hooky, could I?”
The principle is foiled.
His sister learns a valuable lesson about life and science.
Camocrates stands up to his father.
And Eratosthenes hangs out by the pool with his girlfriend.
Revenge of The Protestants
Two centuries later, the Protestants have gotten pretty fed up with being bullied by the Catholics.
“St. Francis of Assisi gave me a swirly yesterday!” Dave complained, puffing on his inhaler.
“St. Augustine of Hippo invited me to the dance and then poured pig’s blood on me,” Jennifer whined, adjusting her glasses.
“Pope Gregory VII burned my girlfriend at the stake because she wouldn’t go out with him,” Chuck cried, popping a zit in the bathroom mirror.
“We’re Seniors! We can’t take this lying down. Do we want to be losers for the rest of our lives? It’s time we showed those Catholics they can’t get away with this!” Trevor said, adjusting his pocket protector, because no 80s nerd likes ink stains on their shirt.
So the Protestants put their heads together and develop a plan.
In an amazing montage, with background music sung by Huey Lewis and the News, the Protestants run around whispering to people in the hallways; having discussions in the bathroom overheard by people in the stalls; and getting new clothes at a trendy boutique.
The next day, or perhaps the next week, it’s always difficult to tell with a montage, the Catholics enter school, high off a big win against the Muslims in the big Crusades game.
“Winners! Winners!” the Catholics cheer.
“Losers! Losers!” the rest of the student body yells.
The Catholics stop, look around, and notice everyone is pointing and snickering at them.
“What gives?” Heather the Catholic asks.
“You guys think the world is flat. You’re so stupid! This is the Age of Enlightenment, Gawd!” someone named Napoleon replied.
“No we don’t, butthead!” replied Biff.
“Well you did. You forced everyone to believe the Earth was flat for thousands of years. Remember the Dark Ages?” Pedro, who would soon be class president, replied.
As with any school, the Dark Ages referred to Sophomore year.
The thing was, the Catholics never said that. During Sophomore year, the Catholics pretty much beat the snot out of anyone who suggested the Earth was flat. Granted, they thought they were the center of the Universe, but they still promoted the belief the Earth is round.
But being terribly hated for burning so many preppies at the stake and handing out purple nerples like they were jelly bracelets, everyone accepted the Protestants’ rumor about the meathead Catholics.
A grand old comeuppance story if ever there was one.
Washington Irving – the Ugly Duckling
Washington Irving, a misunderstood loner, walked the halls of Bayside High. He was invisible to the jocks, brains, basket cases, princesses, and criminals. Even Principal Vernon ignored the dreamer in the trench coat.
This was in the days before trench coats were used to smuggle high assault rifles onto campus.
So Washington wandered around campus with a notebook writing poems and short stories, dreaming of a life where horsemen chopped off the cool kids’ heads and where he could fall asleep until the future made everything better.
Then one day during lunch, Washington is writing a fictional account of Christopher Columbus’s travels.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” the Spanish advisor yelled. “The world is not round! It is flat!”
“You don’t know me. You don’t understand me! You don’t know anything!” Columbus shouted back.
One of the jocks grabbed Washington’s notebook and tossed it to the captain of the football team.
“Hey!” Washington yelled.
“Hey, you,” the captain said. “This is really good!”
You see, the captain of the football team is a sensitive jock who writes poetry. He not only redeems Washington’s faith in humanity, but also our own.
“Thanks!” Washington said, blushing. He’s never gotten noticed by anyone in school, let alone the star quarterback.
“Everyone! You have to read Washington’s factual account of Columbus. You won’t believe the stupid shit the Spanish tried to pull!” the star quarterback said, flashing his beautiful green eyes at Washington.
“Uh… I… Yeah!” Washington said, afraid he would lose the star quarterback forever if he admitted the truth — the story was an allegory for his troubled relationship with his father.
Everyone loved the story. They called Washington a genius. The administration asked Washington to read his story at an assembly for Columbus Day.
On the day of the assembly, Washington walked to the center of the stage. He looked out at the crowd and made eye contact with the star quarterback. Then he looked to his father, who Washington had reconciled with when his dad took the day off work to attend the assembly.
“Everyone, I have something to say before I read this…” Washington said, clearing his throat.
“I”m really glad you all like my well-researched and factual explanation of Columbus’s life and voyages!”
As Washington begins to read, a voiceover explains sometimes in high school it’s difficult to do the right thing. Washington and the star quarterback went on to have a wonderful summer, then they went off to separate schools and never spoke again.
“I’ve always regretted not telling the truth that day, but I learned a lot from it,” Washington says warming our hearts.
Because if he learned something, we can all agree he’s not a shithead, right?
Back to the Present Day
Now we get back to the present day where our underdog B.o.B. is taking on the administr… err… establishment.
B.o.B. has offered several strong arguments, not the least of which is this:
“Can you believe this shit?” she wrote and then pasted a link.
I opened the link, which turned out to be a recipe for tapas.
“Tapas isn’t an actual dish. It’s a style of dish,” I pointed out.
“Huh? Dammit! Wrong link!” my friend said, in slightly more salted language.
Another link popped up.
“Sweet Mother of God,” I wrote.
“Sweet Mother of Humanity,” my friend corrected.
Before I share this mind-blowing link with you, I’d like to take you back.
6,000 years back to when God dipped hands in the mud of what would one day be Flint, Michigan’s water system, and created man.
“Jesus,” God muttered, seeing his creation. “It’s rather floppy in parts. Let me invent unleaded mud and then create another creature.”
There were some bunsen burners and beakers, sugars and spices, and a bit of Chemical X, and lo and behold, there stood Eve.
Now imagine, you’re Adam or Eve. You’ve just been invented. What is the first thing you do?
No, you don’t get Five Guys.
No! You don’t go to Disney World.
You invent walking.
That’s right. Adam and Eve fucking invented walking!
I mean, who did you think it was? Copernicus?
You think everyone dragged their sorry asses around for thousands of years and Copernicus suddenly said, “Hey, why not balance all our weight on two feet and not fall down! Also the Earth goes around the sun!”
Anyways, enough of your misconceptions about history! We return to Adam and Eve perambulating around the garden when God happens to stop by.
“Holy Shit! What are you doing?” God asks.
“We call it walking,” Adam said, taking credit for what was mostly Eve’s idea.
“That is the shiznit!” God said, having spent all of eternity, up until this point, riding around on a cloud. “Not only do I like your invention. I like the name! How about you go around and name all these creatures running around? And while you’re at it, give yourself a little something.”
That’s right, before this moment, Adam and Eve were nameless.
So they go off, as instructed, and name all the animals.
Which went something like this:
Adam: What should we call this thing?
Eve: How about a duck-billed platypus?
Adam: What’s a duck?
Eve: What do you mean, ‘what’s a duck?’
Adam: Well you used ‘duck’ as an adjective to ‘billed,’ so I wondered what a ‘duck’ is.
Eve: What’s an adjective?
Adam: We don’t have time to invent grammar, Eve! We have to name all these animals. So what’s a duck?
Eve: How about that thing over there?
Adam: Good enough for me.
And so it went…
After two years of work, Adam and Eve named all the animals and had nothing else to do. So they invented Netflix and Chill, deciding their progeny could later invent a netflix.
“What’s this?” God asked.
“Netflix and chill,” Eve said.
“Nice! Well, since you haven’t shown any interest in this tree over here, I’d like to point it out and tell you not to touch it. Okay?” God said.
“Okay,” Adam and Eve said.
But being the first parent of two-year olds in the history of… well, history… God knew telling them not to touch something wouldn’t be enough.
So God two-year-old proofed the shit out of the Tree of Knowledge.
No expense was spared. Electric fencing, photon torpedoes, and those lion hunter pits covered with sticks to ensnare anyone walking over.
So what did Adam and Eve do? They concocted a caper so brilliant George Clooney turned it into Ocean’s Eleven.
“But Adam, there are only the two of us, and neither of us is Bernie Mac,” Eve pointed out.
So they revised their plan into a Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper vehicle called The Silver Linings Playbook, so named because of God and their scheming.
So let’s recap. So far Adam and Eve have created:
Names for every animal
An Oscar Nominated Adapted Screenplay
They are smart, but not as smart as God. God left one final thermal detonator next to the Tree of Life to stop Adam and Eve from getting in trouble.
That thermal detonator was named Snake.
Who wasn’t very good at his job.
Now I know what you’re going to say. “Cole, you’ve mixed your allusions! Photon torpedoes are from Star Trek; thermal detonators are from Star Wars!”
To which I respond: “This is religion, Jim! Not sci-fi!”
Which is exactly what Adam and Eve did.
Like every other exhausted and frazzled parent in history, God said, “Look, I don’t have time for your shenanigans. I’m busy creating ultraviolet light. So you’re going to need to take a time out.”
Only God called this “Original Sin,” which is why God is a better parent than you. You call it a time out, how weak is that?
Does this time out deter Adam and Eve’s inventing spree? No. Those goddamned geniuses (quite literally at this point, I’m afraid) invent “the move.”
Boxes, tape, packing material, trucks too big to park comfortably on a residential street – the whole kit and caboodle.
Yeah, I know, you thought Copernicus invented that shit. You give him too much credit.
They move, then go on to invent the human race. Now they wipe their hands and retire. Right?
Holy Edison’s Patent Attorney are you wrong.
Which is where we come back to the present day.
Scientists have recently determined some of our most popular fairy tales are nearly 6,000 years old.
Which means someone wrote these stories right around the time God created the Earth.
And who else was around to write these stories other than Adam and Eve? Bernie Mac?
While Bernie Mac would have kicked the bejeezus out of the three act story structure, Eve already informed us he is not there.
That’s right, Adam and Eve created the bedtime story. They filled Cain, Able, and Seth’s heads with the likes of Snow White, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Herbie the Love Bug.
It’s a lovely afternoon in New Orleans… a lovely afternoon for EVIL.
After what we’ve experienced, Mardi’s keeping a close watch on the front gate. Every two minutes she turns to me and gives the all clear. Mostly this sounds like “ruff,” but I know what she means. Even though we don’t speak the same language, when you’ve been through the trenches with another creature a connection is wrought. We can ruff without ruffing.
Our excursion began innocently enough. An after-lunch walk through neighborhood to aid in digestion; which is society’s polite way of saying it helps us poop.
People used to walk in the evenings after dinner. Now they watch television. The loss of the evening walk is, most scientists agree, the reason so many people are full of shit.
Pardon me, I’ve veered from my tale of horror into the realm of fact. Facts, I’m afraid, are life preservers for the coward’s sanity. And I, my dear friend, am a coward.
We perambulated down one street and up another. The sun shone, but the birds did not sing. Perhaps they knew of the darkness in the light. Perhaps they were singing racist Disney songs.
Perhaps I once knew the reason but that knowledge was scared out of me.
I chatted to my four-legged companion. “Will you be voting for Beagle Sanders or Pug Cruz in the upcoming Pawsidential election?” I asked. “Or perhaps Basset Trump?”
Mardi gave me the same look you have now.
Two houses ahead I spotted an elderly lady making her way down her front steps.
She bore the marks of Cain – a light blue dress and wild white hair. I know these marks well. I went to Catholic school.
Was it morning or afternoon? I asked myself, preparing a proper greeting, so as not to draw her ire.
She glanced up. Evil was in her eye.
Most people mistake evil for cataracts.
Those people did not go to Catholic school.
“Good—“ I began, in way of a greeting, but was unceremoniously spun around, before I had a chance to finish.
The dog was flat on the sidewalk, muscles taut, attempting to army crawl backwards down the block.
“Knock it off,” I hissed, pulling on the leash.
Perhaps if the old woman did not know the I knew what she knew to be true, she would let us continue on our way.
But the pull launched my companion into action. She bolted to the side, across a lawn, and dragged me into the street. She continued moving backwards, keeping her eyes on the old woman.
“I think your dog is hurt,” the old woman said.
An obvious ploy with which to invite us into her house of horror, which was accented with a lovely azalea bush.
“Yes, she must have — Oof!” I stumbled, the leash slackened, Mardi bolted. My imbalance afforded her the opportunity she needed to get us to the other side of the street.
I kept myself from being thrown to the ground by locking my knees and pinwheeling my legs. Safely on the other side of the street, Mardi pulled forward, away from the woman.
“I think she’s hurt,” the old lady called out again, relentless in her pursuit to draw us into the devil’s pit itself!
“Yes, perhaps she is — Oof!” the dog yanked me back a few steps.
Frustrated, I knelt down and took her face in my hands. Making eye contact I firmly said, “Calm down. It’s fine.”
I wanted to explain the dangers of letting evil know you know it’s evil, but before I could, she nudge me aside.
I was blocking her view of the old woman.
“Ruff!” she said, with just enough softness to suggest maybe she hoped the old woman wouldn’t hear her. She turned, lowered herself to the ground and began crawling down the street, dragging me behind her.
Every five steps she turned, looked back at the woman, and let out another, barely audible “ruff.”
“Have a good morning!” I called, waving to the woman.
Damn, it was the afternoon.
Would my lapse show her how terrified I was?
The woman rolled her eyes, bent down, and began weeding her garden in the cruel, soulless way evil has of landscaping.
Mardi dragged me three blocks back home, all hopes of a properly digested lunch gone.
The dog knocked against the gate until I opened it.
She knocked against the front door, until I opened it.
Then she bolted to the front window, where she stands now, waiting for the woman to appear.
“Ruff,” the dog says, her hackles rising. She tucks her tail between her legs. Someone is knocking on the front door.
Ma and Pa Adler are visiting New Orleans for the first time on their bi-annual inheritance tour.
What is an inheritance tour you ask? Why a tour to identify the child most deserving of the inheritance. The middle brother has been the running winner for over a decade, but I’m hoping to eek out a win this year.
Here are a few of the things I’ve already done to secure the top spot during this tour:
I picked Ma and Pa up at the airport.
I helped carry one of their bags!
I made Ma a cup of tea.
I let them buy me lunch! (Parents love spending money on their kids, especially the moochy, adult ones.)
Pretty good, huh?
And to help secure my spot, last night I pulled out Cards Against Humanity. Ask yourself, what else would two, god-fearing, Midwestern parents want to play?
Winning an inheritance is about one thing – Know. Your. Audience.
Some people would argue those are three things. These people don’t understand dramatic pauses.
Don’t be one of those people.
No one likes them. (I’m looking at you, Yolanda!)
In Round 7, yours truly was the Card Czar and I was magnificent at it. The skill, the charisma… Apparently, Card Czaring is what I was born to do. Thankfully, I was born in the right place at the right time.
Sometimes I feel bad for people who weren’t born at the right time or in the right place. Then I enjoy a Kit Kat, because empathy is a downer.
I read the card… “And the Academy Award for <blank> goes to <blank>.”
And here is the winning response:
Yep. “The Academy Award for the Art of Seduction goes to Daniel Radcliffe’s delicious asshole.”
Played by none other than Ma Adler herself.
Tears streamed down her eyes, her complexion turned ruddy.
“Ma!” Pa said, shocked.
“I don’t even know who Daniel Radcliffe is,” Ma said, choking on laughter and falling from her chair.
“It’s Harry Potter!” I said, clutching my proverbial pearls.
“Oh. Oh! Well that’s not appropriate at all,” Ma Adler said, becoming quiet, before melting into a fit of laughter.
Now I’m just a small-town inheritance scientist, but this seems like a really good sign. I think I may take down the reigning champ of the tour… the middle brother.
They still have a visit with the youngest brother, so anything can happen.
But regardless of the outcome, I suppose I’ve already won the inheritance tour, since we now know where I got my sense of humor.
Now sentiment aside, I still want the real inheritance – Grandpappy’s old Folger’s can of nuts and bolts.