Sunday, January 29, 2012

80. Motivation

In all our dealings, I had never seen C.W. so despondent. And he was so handsomely attired! He wore this ultra-chic suit with lapels that seemed to soar toward the sky and I could have used his shoes for shaving. He appeared as a handsome, middle-aged man sporting a pompadour with layer stacked on layer like a wedding cake. His tie was fashionably hideous.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Preacher.”

He looked down toward his trousers and squeezed a razor-sharp seam between his fingers.

“Don’t make fun,” he said. “I am far from prepared for it.”

“C.W., old buddy,” I said. “What’s eating you?”

“I’m a failure.”

“At what?”

“My new profession.”

“And that is?”

He looked around the apartment to make sure no one else heard. “A motivational speaker.”

“A what?”

“You heard me. Now go ahead and gloat.”

“You want to be a motivational speaker?”

“I am one. I’ve already set up my first appearance, rented a venue, sent out flyers, ran ads, printed up a preview of my presentation, … the whole shebang.” He brightened for a moment. “I’ve made all the right moves and success should be a golden shower raining upon my shoulders.”

“Uh, … just a suggestion,” I said. “You might want to drop that metaphor.” I paused as his countenance fell again. “So what’s wrong?”

“I haven’t sold a ticket.”

“Really? Why?”

“I have no idea. I created a marvelous eight-step process for success in modern America.”


“I haven’t sold a ticket.” He straightened a fold in his suit coat. “What’s that ‘Purpose-Driven Life’ guy got that I don’t have?”

I ignored the question. “So what are your eight steps?”

He perked up again. “You really want to know?”

“With all my heart.”

”Well,” he said. “I start with a sure-combustion recommendation that we glorify those who are downtrodden because of a deficit of spirit.”

I didn’t say anything. He looked at me for support and, seeing none, continued.

“Then I recommend hanging out with anyone who may be in mourning.” Again he checked for my reaction. I think my mouth may have dropped.

“Then I zap them with my first solid zinger on the ladder of success.”

“Which is?”

“That if you really want to be known among the real winners, those at the very top, you should carefully choose your associates, and they should be …?” He looked at me with his face upturned in anticipation.

“I haven’t a clue.”

”The meekest companions you can find.”

“The meek.”

I guess he must have sensed some doubt in the way I looked at him.


“Please tell me you aren’t going to work your way around to the ‘merciful’ and the ‘peacemakers’?”

“How did you guess?”

I didn’t answer, just waited a second and replied. “And you have sold how many tickets?”

“Yours will be the first.”

Big Dope says I should try
a different approach. What
do you think? - C.W.
“And how long have you been amongst the modern Americans?”

“A couple of years. Why?”

“Oh nothing,” I said. “Just that …,” I struggled.

“Are you implying that I may have missed something?”

“Tell me again. How many tickets you have sold?”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

79. Discourse

It was shaping up to be a pleasant evening. C.W. dropped by in one of the few shapes that he repeats, the conjoined twins, Lucky and Lefty. The long-time reader may remember them as quite a contentious pair. Here is the ending of the description of the first time we met: “With that, they walked away. I watched and they did quite well, except that every hundred feet or so they would stop and turn in circles for a minute or so, first in one direction, and then the other.”

It is true, they couldn’t even agree on how to walk properly. Imagine then, my surprise when they appeared as a happy, contented, pair of siblings seemingly settled into perfect harmony.

“I believe you know my brother Lefty,” Lucky said.

“I do.”

“And I am sure that you remember my brother Lucky,” Lefty said.

“Indeed. But what is up?”

“We beg your pardon?” Lucky said.

“We most certainly do,” Lefty said.

“Uh, the last time we visited, you fellers couldn’t have agreed on what day of the week it was.”

“We have reformed.”

“Yes, we saw the light.”

“Saw the light?” I said.

“Yes,” Lucky said. “We have become extremely concerned about the level of discourse in your country.”

“Well isn’t that something?” I said.

“Yes, when the ‘loyal opposition’ calls the President of your country a traitor and claims he hates America, it gives us pause.” Lefty said.

“Well,” I said, “This is not the first time in our history that it has happened. Senator Joe McCarthy once called General George Marshall, who led us through World War Two, a traitor.”

“Exactly,” Lucky said.

“It’s so 1950s,” Lefty said.

“I see.”

“So we are concentrating on positive dialogue,” Lucky said.

“It takes one to know one,” Lefty said.

“The Devil’s boots never squeak,” Lucky said.

There was silence.

“It is possible that my brother has not quite reached the end of the Eightfold Path,” Lefty said.

“My brother …” Lucky began.

“That’s enough. I get the point,” I interrupted. “Let’s not return to our old habits.”

“Certainly not,” Lucky said, but I could tell his feelings were hurt, so I asked him a question directly.

”So, do you mean that you directing us to a more gentle collective consciousness?” I said. “Say for example, ‘If you have done this to the least of these my brothers …”

“Oh,” said Lucky. “That is so FDR, so 1930s.”

“We represent a more utilitarian consciousness,” Lefty said.

“I am confused,” I said.

“We want to present your species with a cosmic truth,” Lucky said.

“But one that is, at the same time, of lasting practical utility,” Lefty said.

“Such as,” I said. “Go boldly forth …”

“Oh please,” Lucky said. “That is so 1960s. We have a much more meaningful and useful utility paradigm for you.”

“I am all ears,” I said.

“You do have your notepad and pencil ready?” Lefty said.

”I do.”

“Are you ready?” Lucky said.

“Lay it on me.”

May the Farce be with you.
- Lefty and Lucky
Each took a deep breath. Then they joined hands, looked at one another, and smiled.

“Lefty loosey,” Lucky said.

”Righty tighty,” Lefty said.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

78. Faces

“Now here is some news that you should find comforting.” C.W. was playing on my computer again when I came in to make coffee this morning.

“Goddam your eyes,” I responded.

“No, really,” he said. “Check out this article from ‘Science Daily.’”

I looked him over. He had, far as I can tell from historic photographs, assumed the exact form of a young Charles Darwin.

“Why are you messing with my computer?”

“Relax, my son,” he said. “They didn’t have these things in my youth. Imaging what wonders I might have imagined.”


“As I once said, ‘… natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.’”

“So?” I made a sour face. “Everyone knows that except the ‘home skooled.’” I laughed

“It certainly hasn’t acted, in some cases, to produce brighter dispositions of a morning,” he said, with a cheerful smile on his face. “But that is beside the point.”

Ignoring him, I continued making coffee.

“Here is the part that should interest you,” he said scrolling an article he had on the computer monitor.

“Did they teach you to operate a computer at Oxford, or did you learn about things digital on the Beagle?” I thought that was pretty funny and laughed.


“Alien.” I had watched some political debates of late and it was the harshest insult that came to mind.

“Let us be friends, my son,” he said. “I really do have some good news for you.”

“Okay,” I said as I caught the first whiff of coffee brewing and my mood elevated.

“It says here that ‘We found very strong support for the idea that as species live in larger groups, their faces become more simple, more plain.’”


“It goes on to explain that this is matched by a pronounced dependency upon facial expressions for communications.”

“So?” Would the coffee ever get ready?

“You remember telling me that your mother used to tell you that you happened to be born ‘plain featured?’”

“I think it was just a country expression.” He was getting on my nerves.

“Well maybe, just maybe, nature placed you high on the evolutionary scale.”

“How so?”

Big Dope just doesn't understand that everyone
can't look as distinctive as young Charles Darwin - C.W.
“Your plain face may be an evolutionary blessing.”

I groaned.

“No, really,” he said. “Show me an expression.”

My response was unprintable.

“Would you like to see my war face?” he said. “I did learn that on the Beagle.”

As I turned to pour my coffee, I heard a loud “Oooorawww” but I didn’t turn to look.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

77. End Times

If you remember, some time ago C.W. decided he wanted to learn to drive. Since then, he proudly announced to me one day that he had procured a driver’s license.

Don’t ask.

At any rate, it was hardly a surprise when he showed up in the country wanting to borrow a pickup truck. I have to admit that he looked quite trustworthy. He was in the form of a nice looking young man in western attire, including cowboy boots, jeans, and a flannel shirt.

Still, there was no way I was going to trust an alien to drive one of my vehicles. But I was curious to know what he wanted with a pickup truck.

“I’m collecting loot,” he said.


“Lots of loot.”

“What kind of loot?

“Mostly guitars and stuff. Some banjos and a fiddle or two.

“And where are you getting it?"

He looked a little sheepish.

“Where?” I insisted.

From folks who trust the Mayans.”

“That do what?”

“Folks who believe that the Mayans acurately predicted that the world would end this year.”


“Look, I have to go. Can I borrow the truck or not?”

”No, and what does needing a pickup truck have to do with the Mayans?”

“Oh nothing. Do you know anyone else that might have one?”




“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

But I wasn’t going to let him get away so easily. “Where are you getting stuff to haul in a truck?”

He looked at the ground and then back at me. “Well, some people are giving their things away because they think the world is going to end.”

“And what makes them think the world is going to end?”

“Because the Mayans said so.” He grinned. “It’s been in all the news.”

“And what do you believe?”

“I believe it is a good time to collect some loot.”


“Because some people don’t think they will be needing it any longer. Look, you should be buying up property all over.”


“Now listen here,” he said. “You and I have talked before about the tendency that some members of your species have for believing any weird and strange thing they are told.”


“Why shouldn’t I profit from it? Everyone else does.”

“If everyone else drove their spaceship over a cliff, would you do it too?”

The faithful are gathering for the end of times.
Will you be there? - C.W.
“What on earth are you talking about?”

“Never mind.” I said. “Have you been involved in any other way?”

He avoided eye contact.


“Well I did publish a video.”

“You did what?”

“A video,” he said. “But it’s okay.”

“And why is it okay?”

“Cause I put your name on it.”

And sure enough, he did. Click here if you would like to see it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

75. Role Models

“We ain’t sorry. We’s hippies,” she said.

Oh my goodness. C.W. had only appeared as two people twice before, and those involved the conjoined twins Lucky and Lefty, one of his favorite shape-shifts. This time he appeared as two separate individuals, a couple who looked as if they had just been evicted from a “meth-house” in Alabama.

“Have you met my wife, Dolly Winona?” the male figure asked.

“What’s up, C.W.?” I said.

“I have an idea,” he said.

“And that is?”

“We want us our own television show,” Dolly Winona said.

“Television show?”

“Yes,” said C.W. “I think it would look good on my final report to the Falloonian Elders if I had a television show for awhile.”


“Well they don’t exactly feature the best and the brightest on shows these days, do they?”

“No, you got to be crazy, worthless, or just a plain misfit to make it,” Dolly Winona said.

I must have looked confused.

“So we are hippies,” said C.W.

“Don’t you know hippies went out after the 1960s?”

It was his turn to look confused.

“So how about the 1970s?”

“Not much but disco.”

“Ain’t nobody would be hard up enough to make a movie about disco dancers, would they?” Dolly Winona said.

“We’ll talk about that another day,” I said.

“So what’s worse than disco?” C.W. said.

“In modern times?”

“Yes, we need a theme featuring what your gospel writer Matthew called, ‘the least of these.’”

“Outlaw truck drivers?”

“Taken,” he said.

“Intermediate hominoid species who live in swamps in Louisiana and, say, hunt alligators for their livelihood?”


“Gun enthusiasts with diminished mental capacity?”

“Bless his heart,” Dolly Winona said. “Don’t he know the State of Texas ain’t never gonna run out of them shows?”

“Slutty women with no talent, no abilities, and no redeeming qualities?”

“Taken, taken, taken, and taken.”

“Whur’d we ever find a slutty woman, anyway?” Dolly Winona interrupted with some indignation in her voice. And besides, we’s figurin’ on bein’ a couple on the show.”

“A couple?”

“Yeah, You know how family oriented TV is these days.” She reached into her bag and retrieved two cans of Mountain Dew.

“You ‘ont one?”

“No thanks,” I said.

She handed the other a can and both popped the tops. Spray settled on floor and couch, but I ignored it.

“We got to think of somebody sorry,” Dolly Winona said. “Just plain sorry. We’s aimin’ for a big hit.”

Inspiration struck me. “How about ….”

They both leaned forward.

“How about …”

“Come on, spit it out, Hon,” said Dolly Winona.

“How about … Trailer Trash Ministries?”

“Say what?”

“You could be television evangelists specializing in ministering to a different trailer park each week.”

Ya'll come see us at our new
International Headquarters. - C.W. and Dolly Winona
They were speechless for several seconds. Then Dolly Winona broke into a big smile. “At tar’s got promise,” she said. “At’s got sorry stacked on top of sorry.”

“Where can we get us a Bible?” C.W. said, rising to leave.