Sunday, January 27, 2013

133. Education

Bless his heart. You have to admire C.W. when he sets out to do something special for our species. That is, if you can quit laughing in the process.

This time it was education. He is fascinated by Michelle Rhee, the woman who has drawn much press recently over her attempts to restructure the process of teaching. (I think he secretly has a crush on her).

Anyway, he’s on the kitchen table after my wife ran us out of the living room where we were interfering with a TV show that proves, it claims, the Panspermia Theory. Don’t ask. Anyway, he has taken the form of a graduate of L’Université Paris-Sorbonne. I think it is the neat gowns and hats they wear, for he had chosen this attire, probably another reason we were evicted from the living room.

He was explaining to me how he plans to fix our country’s education system.

“It’s a simple process,” he said. "It is based on my theory of the three 'Hs' as a guide."

“Oh,” said a voice. We looked up to see my wife passing through the kitchen to refresh her drink during a commercial. “You boys learning how to give an enema?”

“An enima?” C.W. looked at her with that endearing look of confusion he adopts when our language confuses him. “And Mme. Doper Grande, may I ask what is this ‘enema’ of which you speak?”

She, who was a Registered Nurse Practitioner at one time, explained, to his evident discomfort.

“And how does it relate to our conversation?”

“The three ‘Hs’ she said. “That’s the directions you use in the hospital for giving enemas.”


“High, hot, and hell of a lot,” she said as she left the room doing her best imitation of Lauren Bacall in the last scene of “To Have and to Have Not.”

He squirmed “Your wife is, how do you say … bizarre?

We say ‘bizarre,’” I said. “But tell me about your three Hs.”

“Simple he said. We form classes that are, first, composed of high achievers. No room for mediocrity.”

“Go on.”

“Then, our classes comprise a homogeneous population cohort. Children don’t have to be distracted by adjusting to those from other backgrounds.”


“Honor,” he said.


“Yes, we restrict our classes to those with perfect behavior records. No time wasted on kids who act up.”

“Uh, C.W.,” I said. “What about the students that don’t fit within your Three-H profile? What do you do with them?”

He looked confused. “What do you do with them now?”

“Confine them to public schools.”

Bien sûr. Problem solved. Now, here is the best part …,” he straightened his Sorbonne chapeau, and proceeded. “I now introduce a Falloonian technique we call Snorcpy++tachra. We use it to implant vast quantities of vital information into the brains of space travelers like me.”

“Like you?”

“Yes, it involves a direct transfusion of so called ‘knowledge neutrons’ into an unused portion of our mind, along with triggering mechanisms much like your memory cells.”

My French counterpart and I stand ready to
save your education system with our
three step plan. See how well it has worked
with me? - Your friend in knowledge, C.W.

“When the trigger is activated, say the standardized test is opened, the stored knowledge pours out, the HHH students perform flawlessly, test scores soar, and the teacher receives a bonus check.”

“The knowledge flows out?”

“Like a stream.”

“Well I’ll swan,” came a voice from the next room. “It is like an enema, isn’t it?”

Sunday, January 20, 2013

132. Puppies

Would you believe it? Of all things, C.W. wants a puppy.

Don’t ask. He’s been obsessed with social media lately (well the computer in general with the cold weather) and it seems that cute puppy pictures are flooding the cyberways.

I found him in the living room in the shape of a cute young boy of ten. He had photos of dogs cut from magazines spread around him on the couch. The pictures covered every breed, shape, and size imaginable. He looked up expectantly.

“Hey, Mr. Big Dope,” he started.

I knew I was in trouble for he had never called me “Mr.” before.”


“I’ve got this greatest idea,” he said.

When he gets a great idea, I usually keep quiet.

“Wanna hear?”

“Not really.”

“I want to get a puppy.”


“Why not?”

“Because they cost money, mess the place up, require constant care, and grow up to be the most obnoxious creatures on the planet.”

“Great,” he said, paying the least bit of attention. “When can we go get one?”

“Didn’t you hear me?”

“What did you say?"

“I said no, because dogs cost too much money.”

“Mine won’t.”

“Oh, and who will feed it?”

“He’ll eat my leftovers. Won’t cost anything. It’s called the ‘pitch down theory’ of dog feeding.”

“I’ve been feeding you for years. You don’t leave much to pitch down. Besides, who’ll take care of him when you have to visit Falloonia?”

“You and Mrs. Big Dope.”

“Oh really?”

“Sure. Don’t the members of your species believe in caring for one another?”

“They used to,” I said. “Anyway, dogs aren’t of our species.”

“Great,” he said. “Let’s go.”


“What now?”

“Have you thought about what happens when he gets old?”

“We’ll take him to the pound and leave him.”


“What now?”

“Who’ll pay for having him fixed?”

“What do you mean, fixed?”

“Fixed so he can’t make babies with a female.”

“Oh,” he said, thinking. “I didn’t think you made the male of a species responsible for babies.”

“There are a great number of things you don’t know about our species yet.”

“This fixing,” he said. “It isn’t the same as contraception, is it?”

“Not exactly. It’s only called ‘contraception’ if it involves a female.”

“Oh,” he said. “Then that would be okay. When can we leave?”

“C.W.,” I said. “You cannot have a puppy.”

“Why not?”

“For all the reasons I have listed, and because they involve commitment, care, and responsibility.”

I promise, promise, promise!
Mine will stay just like this forever. - C.W.
“Oh, mine won’t require a great deal of care.”

“What makes you think so?”

“When he grows up, he’ll pull himself up by his own little paws.”

My head began to spin. “Wouldn’t you rather have a Play Station instead?”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

131. Riots

C.W. scared the daylights out of me. I was reading when he burst into the room in a panic, slammed the door, and started pushing furniture against it.

“You’ve got to help me,” he said breathlessly.

Being still stunned, I simply looked at him. He put an ear to the door and listened. He was in a blue workman’s outfit with a nametag stating, “C.W. – Prophet” over the pocket. After a few moments, he relaxed and turned toward me, leaning his back against the door. “Thought I was a goner,” he said.


He continued to catch his breath. When it became apparent that no one was following, he walked to a chair, sat, and began to explain.

“It all started with an assignment from the Falloonian Elders,” he said.

“Which was?”

“To report on all the furor your species has created over gun control.” He took a breath. “It’s not the first time, you know.”


“So …, my conclusion was that guns are not your problem.”

“Oh, really?”

“No, your problem is your reliance on violence as the method of choice for conflict resolution, your distrust of strangers, and a general hatred of folks outside your immediate tribe. Guns are simply the easiest tool for the otherwise powerless.” He paused. “The distrust is significant. There are even entire cities, you know, where everyone there is just like everyone else there.”

“Go on,” I said.

“Well,” he said. “I didn’t leave it at that. No. I decided that what your species badly needs is a communal philosophy that counteracts these impulses.” He looked at the floor. “And, that I could design such a philosophy and spread it.”

Now I was getting interested. “So?”

“The philosophy was simple,” he said. “It would urge people to honor peacemakers, the merciful, the pure in heart, the poor in spirit, and those who comfort one another instead of blowing them away.” He looked at me for approval. “Those are the main ones. There are more. Oh, there’s also the admonition not to condemn others—say for their sexuality—so that you won’t be judged for your own sexual habits.” He smiled. “I like that one.”

“C.W.” I said. “That all sounds vaguely familiar.”

“Oh, I borrowed much of it from an old body of teachings by a group once quite prevalent in your country. It has dwindled now to a few small bands, mostly elderly, and a few so-called filthy liberals.”

“So, how it is going?”

“Not good,” he said. “I decided to try it out.”

“Try it out?”

“Yes, I saw where a large group had gathered in some huge building out on the interstate, so I assumed my most charming form and asked if I could deliver a message to them.”


“I had to bribe them with something called a ‘love offering’ but they finally allowed it.”


“I got about halfway through and they began to fidget.”

“And then?”

“I saw the flash of a pistol barrel. Then another. And another.”

“What then?”

“I got the hell out of there. They formed a mob and chased me here.”

As it is written:
We played the flute for you, and
You did not dance;
We wailed, and you did not
-The Alien C.W.
“The congregation chased you here?”

“All the way. I was terrified.”

“They wanted to harm you?”

“Harm me?” he said with alarm. “I think they wanted to crucify me!”

Sunday, January 6, 2013

130. Funerals

We had quite an experience last week, C.W. and I. I took him to his first funeral. It was a professional acquaintance with whom I had done business in the past. C.W. promised to behave, which I should recognize as a warning signal by now. Anyway …

He showed up as a non-descript senior citizen, complete with sansabelt pants and comfortable shoes. How much damage could someone like that cause? I soon found out.

It started as soon as we arrived. Though I tried to avoid it, we were trapped in the line in which one viewed the body before being seated. As we neared the casket, C.W. tugged at my sleeve and said, loudly enough for anyone near us to hear, “What on earth is that?”

I whispered, “That is the deceased.”

“Why did they coat her with wax?”

I froze, pretending I didn’t know him. I tried to hurry past, but he was having none of it. Stopping dead still (no pun intended) in front of the casket, he pronounced judgment. “That looks awful,” he said, then turned to me. “You wouldn’t let them do that to my body, would you?”

Ignoring him, I hurried to the back section of pews and sat. Had I been able to see the future, I would have kept going straight out of the church. But, no …

Pardon me if I don’t attempt to describe his attempts at joining in with the singing of hymns. His musical abilities tend to ebb and flow. This time they were at low tide. More than one face turned to stare at us before the song leader finished and the minister stepped forward.

“That’s a man,” C.W. whispered, indulging in one of his better known habits—that of stating the obvious.

“Yes,” I said. “Quite so.”

“Shouldn’t they have a female minister if the deceased was a female?”

“This church doesn’t believe in having female ministers,” I whispered and leaned forward slightly to catch the speaker’s first words.

“You’re shitting me!” C.W. blurted out loudly enough to be heard for a good distance.

What could I do? I grabbed a Bible from a rack on the back of the pew in front of us and desperately tried to follow the directions of the minister in finding the appropriated text.

“You don’t have to find it,” C.W. said, nudging me in the side. “He’s going to read it to you anyway.”

Surely enough, the minister began to read, in sonorous tones, an account of King David dealing with his grief over the death of a young son.

“Is that the kid that came along after he screwed around with his best friend’s wife?” C.W. wondered aloud.

I turned away and studied the stained glass windows as if I were in a French cathedral. I could only imagine the stares.

By some miracle, we finally found ourselves nearing the end of the service, the part where folks would stand and share memories of the deceased. All went well at first. Some recounted her kindness, some her generosity, and others her love of friends and family.

Then, to my utter horror, C.W. stood.

“Bless her heart,” he said. “I always heard she did the best she could with what she had.”