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Sunday, February 18, 2018

413: Communications Are Us

“No, let’s see, not ‘oodagh,’ more like ‘oaaard.’ Yes that’s it.” I heard the sound of computer keys clacking. Then, “Be sure to alter volume with each syllable. This is especially effective for older customers.”

I rounded the corner and walked into the room. There sat C.W. at my desk and working with my computer. He had taken the shape of a young man in his thirties, looking much like a stockbroker, political junkie, or perhaps a defendant at a murder trial.

“Just a moment,” he said. He took breath and blurted, “Wiiikledmardls-wuchlickor-dalysshhicletoody?”

“What on earth?” I said. “Are you working on your Falloonian?”

“No,” he said. “I have a contract. A thought struck him. “Urdootallybeesimoupnoint.”

“What?”

“Pliadouantodsuchantweeedur.” He continued without paying me any attention.

“What kind of contract and with whom?”

“A teaching contract,” he said, at last giving me his full attention. “It’s for a fast food federation.”

“A what?”

“Fast food federation.”

“And what are you doing for a fast food federation?”

“Writing a manual on confusonics.”

“On what?”

“Confusonics. It’s a training manual.”

“Who for?”

“The kids who take orders for fast-food drive-throughs.”

“Come again?”

“It teaches them to speak so there is no possibility that they can be understood by anyone trying to make an order.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“No, no, the corporations have found that confusion makes money and money makes profits.”

“Confusion?”

“Yes. Confused customers then to order more expensive items.”

“So they teach the kids how not to be understood?”

“Of course,” he said. “Comprehension is the enemy, and is to be avoided."

I shook my head. “It works,” I said.

“It even works better when they rush the customer. Unhurried customers tend to buy cheaper items.”

“I’m glad to see you’ve found a calling.”

“Business is booming,” he said. “We offer free, introductory chewing gum with this product. Want to help?”

“I don’t know.”

“I have an assignment just made for you. It’s from your own profession.”

“Urban planning?”

“Right. It’s for another manual.”

“What manual?”

“It’s called Misunderstanding Upon Demand.”

“Misunderstanding?”
"Good! Next man. How great I am and what
 a pleasure  to serve under me." - C.E.

“Yep. The subtitle will be, Let Your Work Be Clear As MUD Can Make It.”

I must have looked confused, for he took a sheet from the table and read from it. “The plan, using a broad array of self-empowerment aids, will allow citizens to efficaciously move through a time-synchronized myriad of wayfinding enablements to established a community-oriented sense of place.”

I must have looked confused, although a hint of familiar made its lonely way through my comprehensatory mechanisms, as we say.

“That’s just the back-cover blurb of the training manual,” he said. “Neat huh?”

“Are you serious about all this?”

“Maybe you’d rather work on an assignment for the Army.” He picked up another pile of sheets and read. “The strategic and service-wide transitional depositions activated as comprehensive tactical support directives requiring the accommodating of the mandatory incorporation of gender-variable war-wagers into combat-planning doctrine, as previously set forth, are hereby non-mandated and superseded, and the provisions herein are effectuated and installed for immediate dissemination.” He smiled. “Neat huh?”

“So you write training manuals now?”

“Oh, much more than that. I have a major study I’m working on.”

“What kind of study?”

“And in-depth analysis of why young Americans use texting as a replacement for face-to-face conversations.”

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

412: Treasures

He talked me into it. It was C.W.’s idea all along. Please let the record read that he talked me into it.

It started this way.

We were going to do some carpentry project. I don’t even remember what it was now. We met a little after sunrise, me as myself and he as Dan the Handyman, complete with carpenter’s belt.

We opened the door to my shop, and he was crestfallen. The shop is 40 feet by 60 feet and there was hardly a foot of it that was free from stacks of ju…, of things.

“What in the world?” He turned to me and shook his head like a schoolteacher who had just been told that the world was flat. I fidgeted.

“It’s just things we have collected over the years,” I said.

“You couldn’t have collected this much over the years,” he said. “Maybe centuries but not years.”

“Flea Market Fever. It’s a common malady among Americans.”

Whudafreeksdes,” he said.

“Say what?”

“It roughly translates into ‘someone has slipped off the behavioral tracking mechanism,’ and it is considered a serious malady on Fallonia.”

He studied the mess for a moment. “Well,” he said after this perusal. “Let’s get a path cleared so we can work.” He headed for box loaded to the hilt with National Geographic magazines.

“Wait,” I said. “This stuff doesn’t belong to me.”

He walked over to the partial remains of a small outboard motor from the 1950s. “What’s this?”

“It was on sale for three dollars at a yard sale.”

“Where is the rest of it?”

“Waiting for us at another yard sale? She’s sure that she’ll run across the rest of it someday and can get the thing running.”

“How long have you had it?”

The question took me by surprise. “Let’s see,” I said. I remember moving it from our house on Broadway and that was, …” I did some mental ciphering. “We’ve had it about 30 years.”

He said nothing. He just looked at me and shook his head.

“It’s got to be good for something,” Yes, I said it in a rather weak voice, the one I reserve for explaining why the housework I do doesn't turn out right.

He walked a little farther, kicking short pieces of lumber aside. Spying something of interest, he walked over and picked it up. It was a lightweight ball composed of small pieces of steel wire. He didn’t ask, just held it toward me and cocked his head.

“Pieces of wire,” I said. “Too small to use for anything so far, but they could come in handy someday.” He didn’t move. “You just never know,” I added, again in a weak voice.

He laid it aside. Kicking his way a bit farther, he picked up a photograph in a cheap metal frame. One corner of the frame was loose, and the glass covering the photograph was broken. “Want to explain this one?”

“Sure,” I said. “All it needs is a couple of screws and a new piece of glass.” He didn’t move. “I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”

“And when did you come in possession of this treasure?” He said it kind of sarcastically and I considered withholding the information. Instead, I said, “Five or six years ago.”

He looked more closely at the photograph. It was a young man in a navy outfit and hat. A nice looking fellow, I might add.

“A relative?”
 
Yard sale: the root of all evil. - C.W.
“No,” I said. “We have no idea who he was. You just thought he looked lonely.Don't you remember?”

“Let’s clean some of this mess up,” he said, ignoring me. “We need some room to work.

“I’m not sure we oughta.”

“Nonsense,” he said, looking through a box of magazine from early 1980s. “Come on. There’s twenty years of dust on these. It’s been at least that long since someone touched them.”

The next afternoon, we sat watching Casablanca, me for the hundredth time, he for the twentieth. Bogart was about to mention Paris, and C.W. always cried at that point.

I heard someone calling my name from the vicinity of the shop. I told him I would be right back and that he could fill me in on the plot.

The credits were running when I came back. “Come on,” I said. “We’ve got to go to the dump.”

“We went yesterday. Don’t you remember?”

“I do. That’s the problem.”

“What problem?”

“We’ve go to find the October 1982 edition of The Rural Housewife Magazine.”

“Mind telling me why?”

“There’s a recipe for cornbread gravy in it that someone wants, and that someone is plenty mad.

“I told you we shouldn’t throw her stuff away without asking.”




See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

411. Money

“I’m confused.”

Well that was understandable. He, the Alien C.W. was in a shape the calls “Carl the Confused.” It’s sort of a cross between The Riddler on the old Batman series and the newscaster Geraldo Riveria. I know, very weird, but I usually just let him run with whatever.

“Yes. And just what are you confused about today?”

“Borrowing money to pay for things.”

“You don’t do that on Falloonia?”

“Oh heavens no. We just use money curry favors.”

“Well, if you don’t use money to buy things, why would you want your favor curried, so to speak?”

“To amass money. Why else?”

“To buy things then? Now you are confusing me.”

“No, just to amass wealth and the prestige that comes with it.”

“Not to purchase things you need?”

“Oh, we have everything we need. We even have everything we want, allocated according to our social status. We inherit that from our parents.”

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “You have everything you need or want, yet you strive to amass riches? That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard of.”

We were walking around the pasture at our farm, trying to stay fit. He stopped us, turned to me with a solemn face. He nodded it slowly and winked.

The he burst into a maniacal laugh. It rose from him like a volcano erupting and spread over his body. It shook. He clasped his arms around himself and the shaking slowed. After a moment, he began to regain composure, raised his gaze to mine, and said, “I was screwing with you. Is that how you say it?”

“But why?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just read where your government is going to have to borrow a trillion dollars so it can give money the most blessed of those among you. I thought that was funny.”

The point he was making was interesting. I found his method of making it most annoying. I had to admit, though, that it was true.

He said, “A million, a billion, a trillion … those terms sound quite a bit alike, don’t they?”

I thought. “Yeah,” I said, “I suppose they do.”

“It makes them easy to toss around playfully and interchangeably. I heard a woman say that in a documentary I watched this week,” he said. “Want me to tell you what else she pointed out?”

He was going to tell me anyway. “Sure,” I said. “Go ahead.”

“Well,” he said. “If you were to stack brand new, crisp, $1,000 bills on top of one another, do you know how high the stack of a million dollars would be?”

“Enlighten me.”

“About four inches. And a billion-dollar stack?”

I shook my head.

“About 364 feet. That’s about the height of …,”

“A thirty-story building,” I said, interrupting him and shaking my head.

Correctamundo,” he said. “Now, about that trillion you are giving to the rich?”

“It strains my mind,” I said.
 
Will he let us know
when it's enough? - C.W.
“A stack 63 miles high, give or take a few feet.”

I said nothing.

“Now,” he said, “Do you think your people would approve of a 63-mile-high stack of borrowed money being given to people who are already rich?”

“I don’t know.”

“Or,” he said, “would they approved that it be tossed away invading a sovereign country just to prove you could?”

“I don’t know.

“Sure they would,” said. “And I find that most confusing. We, on Falloonia, call that Stchecundetnuronerss.

“And what does that mean?”

“You don’t really want to know.”

See also:
Delta Dreaming
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It makes him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.