Sunday, February 26, 2012

84. Preparations

C.W. procured a cell phone so he now warns me in advance of a visit. Not always─he still surprises me on occasion like when he sidled up to me last week in a supermarket shaped as Mick Jagger.

Don’t ask.

This time, though, I felt grateful. The Lunacy Level Meter in the country has soared lately, so when he called and said, “We must talk. There isn’t much time,” I was eager to see him.

He arrived in his sincere businessperson’s shape, complete with dark blue suit. I couldn’t help but notice, however, his scuffed brown shoes. I started to comment on them when he shook my hand energetically and said, “I’ve something very important to talk about with you.”

We sat, and while he composed his thoughts, I imagined all sorts of impending world calamities, from errant asteroids to nuclear conflagrations in the Middle East. Then he spoke.

“You know you are getting on in years and will die someday before too long.”

The news hit me like a hot flash.

“What?” I said.

“Have you thought about your final preparations?”

He mistook my shock for an answer.

“I thought so. I may be just in time.”

“C.W.,” I began. “What the he …”

“I am with ‘Peace in the Valley Preparations,’ the last word in funeral arrangements,” he said.

“Oh Jesus,” I said.

“Yes, my friend,” he said. “Be of comfort. We offer a full range of services, beginning with infusing your body, upon entering eternal rest, with chemicals so that people can look at you for several days and you won’t stink.”

“C.W., C.W,” I couldn’t think of anything to say. He continued.

“Then we coat you with cosmetics so real you look like you might just jump up at any minute and yell ‘Let’s have another round!’”

I could hear the theme from “The Twilight Zone” in my head. Or was it a banjo?

“Next we offer a wide range of interment options. This week we have our ‘American Idol’ package,” he stopped and smiled. “My personal favorite is ‘Elvis Forever’. It includes the full costume, cape, belt, buckle, and all.”

“Stop, stop,” I yelled. “Will you tell me what’s going on?”

He looked hurt, and he is good at that.

“Just trying to earn a living,” he said. “I saw an ad, and I am a good customer procurement man.”

“You mean salesman?”

“That’s what I said,” he replied, then, ignoring me, he looked into space. “Just trying to earn a little extra money while I am stuck here.”

“Selling funeral arrangements?”

“If that’s the way you want to put it, yes. I prefer to call it peaceful transition planning.”

“Well, you can forget me,” I said. “I intend to leave my body to the medical center.”

“Medical center?” he said. “What for?”

I don't know why Big Dope got so agitated.
The Elvis package was perfect for him. - C.W.
“So they can study it, teach with it.”

He cocked his head to one side. “I see,” he said. “But wouldn’t they want a more typical example.”

“Out!” I said.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

83. Free Enterprise

If C.W. had not appeared so energized, I wouldn’t relate the following. You see, I try to keep these reports “PG” rated, though it is hard at times.

He appeared last evening in the shape of a … well … a “floozy,” shall we say?

The young woman who appeared at my door was unmistakably commercial from her spike heels, through the fishnet stockings, the half-yard or so of satin material that covered her hips, and the low-cut blouse, to the huge pile of platinum-colored hair. She was “on the market.”

“Well,” she said, “You gonna ask me in or just examine the merchandise?”

“C.W.,” I began.

“Miss Tymber, with a ‘Y’, if you don’t mind,” she said, barging past. She deposited herself on the couch, keeping the “skirt” pulled as close as possible to modesty. “Come here and tell me your fantasy.”

I took a chair opposite her.


“Now hon, I’m not going to tell you again.”

I stared at her.

“Well, anyway,” she said, arching her eyebrows. “Just know that I will do anything you wish for a hundred dollars.” She smiled.

I continued to stare.

“Now hon,” she said. “That is where you are supposed to say ‘Fine, paint my house.’”

“C.W.,” I said, “That joke has been around for ages.”

“Now hon,” she said. “You call me that silly name one more time and we gonna have issues.”

“Issues?” I said. “Look at yourself.”

She looked hurt. “I may be a working girl, but I got feelings.”

“Oh, I’m sure.”

“That’s better,” she said. “Now I got some questions for you.”

“What sort of questions?”

“Well,” she said. “The police have been hounding me, saying I break the law when I sell my body for money.”

“That is my understanding.”

“Well,” she said. “I been looking into it, and if I had a camera crew with me, it ain’t bein’ a who …,” she stopped. “It would not be selling my body but creating art.”

“You mean pornography?”

“You are so crude,” she said, appearing to be genuinely hurt. “That’s the kind of attitude that got me into this business.” She retrieved a tissue from her purse and dabbed an eye. “It’s your silly definitions.”


“Definitions,” she said. “See, I was married once but my husband kicked me and the baby out and moved his secretary in.”

“Kicked you out?” I forgot that I was talking to an alien.

“Divorced my ass. I had to take public assistance to feed the baby.” She dabbed an eye again. “Know what he called it?”


“He called it ‘welfare,’ and all the time he was claiming the tax deduction for interest on the house he and ‘Bambi’ were livin’ in.”

“Mortgage interest?” I said.

“Hell yes,” she said. “Now ain’t that welfare too?”

“Uh, no,” I said, struggling for an answer. “That’s, uh, that’s using tax policy to achieve social goals.”

And I was just offering directions!
- Tymber
“Yeah,” she said, “And what I do is just to give Mom a night off.” She dabbed her eyes again. “Tell, me,” she said. “Don’t old men make most of your country’s laws?”

What could I say, dear reader?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

82. World Peace

Hey folks, C.W. here. Big Dope took his wife downstairs for martinis last night and is still asleep. I know he won’t mind if I borrow his platform. I do it all the time. Besides, it is for a very important topic.

World peace.

Yes, I said, “World peace.”

Now, what, you might wonder, do I know about world peace? A lot. On my planet of Falloonia, there exists no strife of the type your planet exhibits. War? We haven’t had one since the Tlogogian Epoch

How do we manage it? It is simple really. We are a happy species. What makes us happy? The most important contributing factor is our love of Suploficating. What, you will ask, is that? It is hard to explain but it involves the communal exciting of our Suploficate membrane, an appendage that can develop a quite pleasing sensation when we exercise it.

But enough of that. You humans have no such body part, at least none without dreadful side effects, so I have had to look for some external mechanism for making your individual units happy.

I have only found one.

It is … are you ready? The banjo. Playing it, that is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always include listening to it, but playing it produces instant and universal joy. As your comedian and actor Steve Martin once said, “You simply cannot frown and play the banjo at the same time.”

So, here’s my plan.

Your country has committed, I understand, to build four new aircraft carriers at a cost expected to reach $10 billion each. The actual purpose of such a program is unclear to me but the stated reason is to produce world peace. Pardon me, but producing world peace with aircraft carriers seems to me like extinguishing a fire with gasoline, but never mind.

Here is my plan.

For the cost of constructing one aircraft carrier, we could purchase approximately 25 million banjos. This would be enough to outfit a substantial sample of the following, remembering that these categories overlap in many cases.

- Conservatives

- Hard-line Muslims and Israelis

- End-times evangelicals

- Right-wing radio hosts

- Military contractors

- The employees of Fox News

- Third-world dictators

- Others of a generally unhappy disposition

Now, for the cost of operating one aircraft carrier, estimated at a half a million dollars a day, we could supply an additional 1,250 instruments per day or 456,000 per year.

The beauty of my scheme is that each banjo would be equipped with headphones so that only the performer would have to listen to any given output.

Can you imagine Rush Limbaugh
after a few months with a banjo?
I know that you find yourselves overwhelmed by my simple logic.

Before you scoff, however, imagine Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and the board of directors of Halliburton Corporation sitting around a table picking banjos.

Peace in our time!

Next time, I’ll offer my ideas for (1) eliminating hunger, (2) fixing your country’s physical environment, and (3) providing decent housing for everyone.

(Oh, and visit our sponsors; I'm saving for my own banjo).

Sunday, February 5, 2012

81. Pundits

Possibly encouraged by the latest employment data, C.W. remains fixated on pursuing a professional career. After his stint as a motivational speaker “died a’borning,” he reappeared last evening in pretty much the same form, albeit with a toned-down haircut, and announced that he was going to be a pundit.

“A pundit?”

“Yes,” he said. “My inter-galactic perspective and superior intelligence make it a natural choice.”

I had to think about that for a moment.

“And besides,” he said. “This is a year in which you hold elections, so pundits are in great demand.”

“Along with tranquilizers,” I said.


“Oh, nothing. Now, tell me what you are going to pundit about?”

“Anything,” he said. “Anything at all. A pundit simply has to have an opinion. It’s the only real requirement other than minimal credentials. I can create those at will.”

“Just an opinion?”

“Yep. Ask my opinion on any topic.”

I thought. “How about world affairs?”

“The war in Iraq will be ending soon,” he said. “Both sides are exhausted and peace talks are imminent.”

“May I tell you something?” I asked.


“The Iraq War has ended. The troops came home last month.”

“Really?” he said and his face assumed a puzzled look. “Who won?”


“Somebody has to win in a war.”

”Not anymore.”

“Then what is the purpose?”

“You’re the pundit. You tell me.”

“Let’s move to another topic,” he said.

“How about the stock market?

“Oh,” he said. “One should never purchase stocks. Too risky.”

“Too risky?”

“Way too risky,” he thought for a moment. “As a majority of your Supreme Court justices were kind enough to point out, corporations are ‘people’ and one should never invest one’s money on the anticipation of how a person will behave.”

“Say again?” I was totally confused.

“It’s simple really,” he said. “I have discovered, over the last two years, that the race of homo sapiens occupying your country represents the most unpredictable organism that I have encountered in the universe.”

Stunned, I was.

He continued. “So, would you ever invest your hard-earned money on the hopes that a person under the stress of unforeseeable forces would behave it a certain manner?”

“You do have a point.”

“Yes, never invest in corporations.”

“How about politicians?”

“Them either. They say one thing one day and another thing the next. Stay away from them.”

“C.W.,” I began.

“I know,” he interrupted. “You can’t imagine how I became so astute.” He stopped and assumed an air of arrogance. “That’s just the way a pundit is.”

Punditry - if this sleazy sl ..., oops,
Big Dope won't let me say that.
If this "lady" can do it, anybody can. - C.W.
“No,” I said. “That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.”

“What, then?”

“I was just thinking that it is going to be a long year.”

“Great,” he said, boring into me with his eyes. “That means there will be lots of work for me.”

I sighed.

“Now about that Super Bowl game …”