“You know what I find odd about your species?”
“You find a lot of things odd about our species.”
“I mean really odd.”
I played along. I was taking C.W. for a ride in my new truck to let things cool down a bit back home. Since we were in the country, he was in the shape of a farmer, or rancher, or how he assumed one would appear: khaki shirt and pants, and a “stockman’s hat” perched over a sunburnt face. He was trying to develop a proper wave, since rural men each have a unique wave that identifies them, even if their face isn’t clearly visible while driving. He had about decided on the “two-finger flip," modified to make it slightly different from that of a neighbor. Then he worked on a “turkey tail,” as he called it but couldn’t decide whether to unfurl it as part of the wave or simply flash it full blown.
Did I mention that he was getting on my nerves?
“So,” he said, flashing his “unfolding turkey-tail” wave at a woman mowing her yard. She looked at him as though he might have been, well, an alien or something. He turned back to me. “Want to know what I really find odd?” He flashed a motorist who shot back a one-finger wave, and it was not a friendly one. "Would you?"
“I think I’m fixing to,” I say in a mocking rural tone.
“You Americans have no sense of humor.”
“Not a smudging bit.”
“That’s a smidgen bit,” I said, “and most of us do.”
“Not around your house.”
“Are you referring to my wife?”
“I report. You decide,” he said, mocking a fake news channel he turns on when my wife isn’t looking.
“You don’t think my wife has a sense of humor?”
“Reports are,” he said, “the last time she showed one was the night she married you.
“You’re blaming her for the little dust-up this morning.”
“She certainly wasn’t exhibiting the quality of being filled with cheerfulness or merriment.”
“She normally doesn’t exhibit much jollity when someone uses her best and most expensive sewing scissors to cut tin cans for making their artwork.”
“I was making a mobile, and I told her it would be hilarious.”
“She didn’t think so.”
“It would have been. It was little figures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Popeye and Olive, Charlie Brown and Lucy, and others. Their little arms and legs would be coiled pieces of tin can and when the wind blew them into one another the springs would pop free, and their limbs would wrap around one another. It would look like they were …”
“I know what it would look like,” I said, stopping him. “And she didn’t think it was funny.”
“Case closed … you have no sense of humor.”
“Americans have a great sense of humor,” I said. “I can prove it to you.”
“How?” he said, flipping his fingers to a passing farmer who returned the “modified salute” greeting.
“The one John McCain called a ‘wacko bird?” he said, suppressing a smile.
The smile broke through. “That toupee. The horror. The horror.”
He giggled. “Oh please, not Michele ‘Carbon dioxide is harmless’ Bachmann.”
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”
He guffawed, “Prisoners in pink. You can stop now.”
“Oh please,” he said. I looked over and saw tears forming.
|If he had said, "Joel Osteen" I really|
would have had an accident. - C.W.
He was convulsing. “Oh stop,” he said. “I can’t stand it anymore.” Snot was coming from his nose.
“Oh stop. Stop,” he said. “You’ve got to stop.”
“I have more.”
“No,” he said. “I mean really stop. Stop the truck.”
I braked and pulled over. He shot from the truck toward a stand of trees. I could see a dark stain forming in the seat of his farmer’s khakis.