Sunday, July 5, 2015

259. Failure in Communication

“I hope I never have to explain your species to an alien.”

“What?” This took me by surprise. C.W. and I were watching Fourth of July celebrations on television, he in the shape of an American-Asian teenager and me in the shape of a senior citizen on tranquilizers.

“Your species,” he said. “The abode of god and the angels forbid that I should ever have to explain it to an alien.”

“You are an alien,” I said, “and heaven forbid anyone should have to explain anything to you.”

“I’m serious,” he said. “How would you like explaining things to someone who wasn’t from here?”

“Uh, C.W.,” I said, “I’ve been trying to explain things to you for five years or so. Don’t you remember?”

“Well,” he said, “you have failed miserably.”

I bristled. “I’ve done a fine job,” I said. “Where have I failed you?”

He thought, then turned to me. “You haven’t explained hot dog-eating contests.”

That took the wind out of my sails so to speak. My stomach rebelled and I had to stifle a series of retches. “No,” I said, “I don’t suppose I have.”

He nodded as if he were teaching a class in astro-physics. “Care to try?”

“No,” I said. “You have to understand that there are, as the Good Book says, ‘things that passeth understanding.”

“Speaking of that book,” he said, “please reconcile ‘Suffer little children to come unto me,’ and ‘Take this kid up on the mountain and kill him for me,’ if you will.”

“Are you purposefully trying to make my hair fall out?”

“Hate radio,” he said.

“Stop it,” I said.

“The preoccupation with Kate Middleton’s womb.”

“I said stop.”


“Quit, please quit.”


“I’m leaving.”

“No wait,” he said. “I need you to help me.”

“You’re making my circuits smoke,” I said in a reference to a phenomenon unique to confused Falloonians.

“Care to explain NASCAR?” he said.

“Oh please,” I said, “don’t start again.”

“Okay,” he said. “I was going to mention dog shows, but I won’t.”


“Or skiing.”

I didn’t respond.

“Or video games.”

I ignored him.

“Or bowling.”

I'm hoping to use this image as the cover
on my final report on your planet. - C.W.
I studied a spot of poison ivy inflammation on my hand.

“Or banjoes.”

I jumped up straight. “Now wait,” I said. Actually I screamed it this time. “Wait just a damned minute. Let me tell you a thing or two, you, …you, … you ungrateful interloper.”


“Just because something lacks vast appeal doesn’t mean that, for selected members of our species, it doesn’t provide peace, tranquility, a moment of distraction from a troubled world, an appreciation of nature, or a contributing factor to human development. What do Falloonians do to relax?”

“Oh,” he said, “the best analogy I can think of is that it is a game involving the ability to solve matrix algebra problems in one’s head.”

“Sounds like a load of fun,” I said, still smarting.

At that point, he began to whistle the tune from the movie “Deliverance.”
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