Sunday, June 24, 2012

102. Diets

Where C.W. gets his inspiration I don’t know. Maybe it’s a Falloonian thing. Maybe our culture has him in its thralls. Maybe he picked the wrong earthling as his liaison. One thing I will say, though. He’s a persistent little critter.

For example, his latest caper is a venture into the publishing business. I caught him typing away in the guise of the late Orson Welles this morning. He “shushed” me as I walked into the room so I stood drinking my coffee as he pounded away.

With a flourish, he hit “save” and looked up at me.

“Just about done,” he said.

I couldn’t resist, though I knew better. “At what?”

“My new book,” he said. This is going to get me the Fallooniaskregreb++.

”The what?”

“Falloonian Voyager of the Year Award.”

“And it is?”

“A book on how to lose weight. They sell like hot breadlike pastries in your country.”

“And why, exactly, will yours sell like hotcakes?”

He looked at me as if I had just asked why women wear makeup.

“Because it will be easy.”


“No effort or sacrifice whatsoever.”

I pondered this. “Don’t you have to reduce your caloric intake to lose weight?”

He laughed, and his great belly shook derisively.

“And exercise?”

He laughed again, a huge rolling response that shook his jowls in merriment.

“You are so evidenceless,” he said. “With my system, you won’t even need a pedophile.

“I think you may mean ‘pedometer’ and I may be clueless,” I said. “But I have been to college.”

“Just my point,” he interrupted. “Most of my readers haven’t, or if they have, they worked hard at not learning anything.”

“Let me guess,” I said. “You have a magic powder to sprinkle on one’s food.”

“Too expensive,” he said.

“You have a secret combination of ingesting particular types of food that creates a magical chemical reaction that produces weight loss.”

“Too complicated,” he said. “Remember our audience.”

“You just ingest carbohydrates,” I said. “And some process buried deep in our evolutionary past reacts by burning fat.”

“We might get sued for that one.”

“So,” I said. “What is your secret?”

“You won’t let it out, will you?”

Was he kidding? “I promise.”

He looked around with a flourish that suggested some deep conspiracy. “You eat your food standing up,” he said.

“Standing up?”


“You’re sh… uh, kidding.”

“A secret discovered by the ancient Mayans. Doesn’t add a single calorie. Have you ever seen a fat Mayan?”

I was speechless. Finally, I managed to respond. “You are crazy.”

“Not as crazy as people who believe you can talk to the dead.”

He had a point.

“With your understanding of science,” I said. “Wouldn’t you rather publish a fact-based treatise on healthy living?”

“Tried that,” he said. “Didn’t sell a copy.”

As I thought about it, he waved me away.

“Go read or something,” he said. “I’m already working on my sequel.

Your species loves to try anything
that doesnt' require thought, work, or
taxes to pay for it. - C.W.
“Your sequel? How are you going to top this one?”

“Oh,” he said. “It’s a book on how to have sex without contraceptives and not get pregnant.”

It dawned on me then. “Let me guess,” I said, “You do it …”

“Out,” he said.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

101. Metaphors

“I can’t believe you don’t want in on this opportunity.”

C.W. was in a particularly annoying mode, and he has developed annoyance into a heavily nuanced art form. So just imagine.

“It’ll make you rich,” he said.

“I’m already rich,” I said. Thinking better of it, I added, “Metaphorically speaking.”

“Your species and your metaphors,” he said. “What’s a metaphor for? Can you eat one? Spend one? Cruise around the world on one? We’re talking real riches here.”

“You are the voice of Satan,” I said. It was early and I was groggy from a dream I had concerning Jerry Sandusky and hoe handles.

“You are a stench rising from the rotting heap of unfulfilled dreams,” he said.

“Say what?”

“Lookit,” he said. He pulled his suspenders and popped them dramatically, for he was assuming the form of the world’s greatest salesman. “You don’t have to do anything but put up a little money. You will be the lucky seed that falls on good ground and flourishes with neither toil nor spinning.”

“Oh please,” I said. “Don’t just be a carbuncle disgracing the backside of anus mundi.”

“Just listen, will you? Be a vessel waiting to be filled with hope.” He produced a pair of expensive reading glasses, retrieved a flyer from a briefcase, and thrust it at me.

I looked. Across the top bold letters announced the creation of “Fauxlar Panels, Inc.” Beneath this was a large photograph of a house, the roof of which proudly bore a series of dark panels facing the street.

“Know what the problems are with solar panels?” he asked.

“They are expensive,” I said.

“That’s one,” he said. “Want to guess the other?”


“Good,” he said. “I’ll tell you. Orientation.”


“Yep, orientation.”

My mind flicked back to the dream state and the terror on the coach’s face as he imagined life as a great road traveled in retributive agony.

“I’ll explain,” C.W. continued, addressing me as a devoted pupil sitting at the feet of a master.

“You spend all this money to be the very face of ‘with it green sensitivity’ by adorning your house with solar panels.”

“Yes,” I said, returning to the real world. “And then?”

“You are a dense forest, shutting out all light,” he said, showing exasperation. “Then you realize you have spent your savings but your house faces north.”

“Your house faces north,” I repeated numbly. From the distant recesses of my memory, the screams of the coach broke through as he became the vessel of justice.

“And just what,” he said. “What is the advantage of spending all that money if the result is hidden from view?”

“As in, not visible from the street?” I was beginning to understand.

“Precisely.” He paused and pointed at the picture. “Fauxlar panels. They don’t do anything but they are cheap and you can place them anywhere. Voila! In the eyes of your peers, you are a great dragon guarding the future of the planet and it costs you pennies.”

Misery shall be the reward of him
 who would build a life of iniquity on a
 foundation of mankind's glorification.
 - St. Ludicrous of Salvatia
I stared dumbly at the sheet.

“And you can be a pilgrim on this journey to riches,” he said pulling out a contract. “Just sign here and write me a check.”

I thought about those who become symbols with no underlying moral foundation.

“Have you ever heard of a hoe handle?” I said.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thought for the Day: June 16, 2012

And there arose in that day one who praised my holy name while wallowing in a storehouse of riches and, lo, those without were starving, and I was not pleased thereof. Woe be unto you hypocrites who delight your bellies at the trough of greed for I shall not abide thee. Book of Ludicrous, Chapter 1, Verse 1.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

100. Gospels

The day began somewhere between bemusement and annoyance. I needed to talk to C.W. and when needed, he is often nowhere to be found. He does it to aggravate me.

Problem was, quotes were appearing on an on-line social network under my “page” quoting a mysterious document called “The Book of Ludicrous.” I can’t create a password on my computer that C.W. can’t hack, so I knew it was one of his capers.

I finally found him in a corner of the attic at the farmhouse in the guise of a renaissance scholar or something like that. He had fashioned a desk from an old dresser and illuminated his writing space with a small candle. It was stifling hot there, and sweat covered me but, as he looked up from his writing, he paid no notice.

“My son,” he said.

“We need to talk.”

“Of course,” he said. A boney finger motioned for me to wait. He finished the sentence, smiled, and looked back at me.

“What troubles you, child?”

“Have you been posting on my computer again?”

“Computer, what is this … computer?” he asked, a roguish twinkle in his eye.

I wiped the sweat away. “Cut the crap,” I said. “People are asking me about it,” I paused. “What the hell is ‘The Book of Ludicrous’?”

“Ah,” he said. “Your are familiar with my work: ‘The Gospel of Humankind’s Struggle as Set Forth by St. Ludicrous of Salvatia.’”


“We are urged,” he said. “Urged by the Falloonian Elders to leave something of value with your species when we depart.” He pointed at his manuscript. “This shall be my gift.”

I glanced over at it.

“It is much better than pictographs cut into wheat fields, right?”

“So you are leaving?” I tried to change the topic.

“Not anytime soon,” he said. “It will be a long manuscript.”

”But why a gospel couched in satirical nonsense?”

He looked at me as if I had just asked how demons could inhabit pigs.

“Can you think of a more fitting paradigm for your species than a book of the ludicrous?”

I began to ponder this.

“I mean, think about your species’ habit of starting unfunded wars.”

That stopped me.

“Or,” he continued. “Pantyhose. Neckties. Designer pets. Or automobiles designed to travel a hundred miles an hour faster than any posted speed limit.”

“What …?” I began.

“I haven’t even approached the more fantastic tendencies,” he said. “Such as the belief that criminal proclivities may be assuaged by locking the miscreant in tight quarters for long periods with more advanced criminals.”

“Well, uh …,” I stammered.

“Who thought that one up?”

Before I could answer, he reached into a drawer and retrieved what looked suspiciously like a joint. He laid it on his desk and then pulled a wicked looking pistol from the same drawer.

“Observe,” he said. “Many of your species would have no problem with my blasting you away with this if you annoyed me.” He waived the pistol in my direction. "And sometimes you do."

“Put that down,” I said.

I still maintain that a
Falloonian female would find
pantyhose baffling at best. - C.W.
He did. Then he picked up the joint, observed it, and said, “But those same brethren would have me join the incarcerated for simply smoking this and grinning like an idiot.

I said nothing. He began to write, speaking as he did so.

“He who shall wallow with the unholy shall feed with the iniquitous.”

“Don’t suggest to my wife that pantyhose are ludicrous,” I said. Then I wiped the sweat away once more and left him to his work.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

99. Happiness

Okay, so C.W. shows up in the following form as I was relaxing with a beer. He is a middle-aged man of slight stature, flattop haircut, a short-sleeved white dress shirt, a thin necktie, and plastic pocket protector full of pens and pencils of all shapes and colors. He is holding a clipboard and smiling at me through thick plastic glasses.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Engineer.”

“Wrong,” he said. “Social scientist.”

“I thought so,” I said, practicing the cold-reading technique I learned from TV psychics. “So what’s up? I have the feeling something is on your mind.”

Just a little research,” he said. “Let me ask, are you happy?”

I considered it. “Almost always, I think.”

“How about your wife?”

I thought again. “As long as she doesn’t run out of pets.”

“Most of the people you know?”

This one took a little longer. “Well,” I said. “I don’t think most of them are too unhappy.”

“I have produced a significant corpse of research on the topic,” he said.

“A body of research on happiness?”

“Precisely. Want to hear some of my findings?”

“Of course.”

“Well, there are correlations, you understand, but that doesn’t imply causality.”

“Yes,” I said. “One of the few things I remember from graduate school.”

“Except in these cases, I suspect.” He flipped some pages on his clipboard, studied one and looked up. “Bicycles.”


“Yes, mixed results. A cheap, slow, heavy one with wide tires, lots of metal attachments, and streamers from the handlebars is correlated with great joy and happiness.”


“The more expensive the bike becomes, and the narrower the tires, the more angry and antisocial the rider until their face becomes, how do you say in the south?” He paused, “All squinched up?”

“That sounds fairly accurate.”

“Health foods, now that one I am pretty sure about. High correlation with an angry outlook on life.”

“Are you sure?”

“I think so.” He consulted his clipboard again. “I would like to find some evidence for the null hypothesis but I haven’t been able to find a health food addict who is capable of smiling.”

I couldn’t think of one either.

“Want to know about religion?” he asked.


“Another topic with mixed results. Members of the so-called ‘mainstream’ congregations seem to be fairly happy. The more fundamental the sect, the angrier the followers become until ….”

“Until?” I asked.

“Oh, until they start kissing rattlesnakes, planning the incarceration of other sects, or threatening to execute people who don’t do the sex thing the same way they do.”

Even an expensive bicycle can bring happiness,
perhaps, though, not to the rider. - C.W.

“The sex thing?”

“On the positive side,” he said quickly. “Want to know some topics with a high correlation with happiness?”

“Very much so,” I said.

“The top five are banjo playing, beer, junk food, dancing the polka, and chocolate.”

He handed me the list and I studied it. “But some of these are not conducive to popularity or to a long life,” I said.

“There you go again,” he said. “Why would a member of your species want to live forever with his face all squinched up?”

I opened another beer.