Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Neighbor

Frankenstein came to my house last night.  I told him he was looking swell.

"Unghh," he said ... "aarrrr ahhhh nguu umm-umm!"  (Translation:  "Man,
these neck bolts are a bummer!")

"Well," I told him, "they really don't look that bad;  and look at the
bright side:  you'll never have to worry about losing your head."  I fixed
him a steak and a baked potato — boy, he's a sloppy eater — and sent him
on his way.  "Don't be a stranger!" I called after him.

Then, wouldn't you know, Dracula stopped by ... dressed to kill, as usual.
He looked kinda pale to me.

"Business a little slow, huh?" I said.

"I vah-h-nnnt your blood," he hissed.

"Killer Boris Karloff, babe," I said, offering him a cup of tea.  We chatted
about the good old days back in Transylvania, when he was in his early
hundreds and you still could find a decent tailor.  "Yea, Count ...
everything's gone to hell, hasn't it?"  I must've reminded him of an
appointment, or something, because "POOF!" he was gone.

I heard something rummaging through the garbage can and turned on the porch
light.  Startled, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Mummy ran and
hid in the bushes by the driveway.

"Hey, you guys!" I shouted.  "The good stuff's still in the kitchen!
I haven't taken out the garbage yet.  Come on in."  I emptied the can onto
the floor and watched them go at it.  You'd have thought they hadn't eaten
in years.  "Hey, fellas ... do the Abbott & Costello routine, huh ... you
know, the 'Who's On First' thing?"  I'm tellin' you, it was to die for.
Funny guys, those two.

Then, the doorbell rang.  I looked through the peephole.  It was my neighbor,
Phil.  I tiptoed back to the bedroom and pretended I wasn't home.  That guy
gives me the creeps.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Great Gilldo

Ever meet one of those people who's simply been everywhere, done everything?  I knew a guy like that once — an amazing person ... The Great Gilldo.

From our first visit, I knew Gilldo was not of this earth.  His talents, his experience all seemed otherworldly by comparison to the average human.  Had I not encountered him in the men's room now and then, even I would have questioned his mortality.  Alas, even Gilldo had to pee on occasion.

As magnanimous an he was magnificent, he told me, “Recognition?  Fame?  Fortune?  Don't need it.  Been there — cover of Fortune, Time magazine ... made millions ... bought low, sold high ... beat 'em at their own game — done that.”  To him, he said, the thrill was in the chase, the joy in doing for others.

But the “48-inch vertical leap” thing was just too much.  “You mean,” I asked incredulously, “you can jump ... straight up ... FOUR FEET ... from a standing start?!”

“You betcha!” he answered, unnervingly confident.

“So, what you're saying,” I continued, “is that your mom was a kangaroo?”

He chuckled condescendingly.  “Can do!”

“Prove it,” I said.

“Nope.  Don't need to,” he said.  “My word is my bond.  You can take it to the bank.”

“Unbelievable,” I told him.  “You are truly an amazing person,” I said, shaking my head, as I left his office.

For weeks on end, I practiced jumping — straight up ... from a standing start.  At my best, in my $150 Nike Air Jordans, I reached a summit of 22 inches.  I so wanted to believe him.  “Maybe he has some kind of anti-gravity boots,” I reasoned.  “Or maybe he fell once and bounced four feet ... ”

I decided to put him to the test.  One morning, walking into his office, I announced excitedly, “I was abducted by aliens last night!  A UFO landed in my backyard, kidnapped me, and tortured me for two hours by forcing me to listen to old Andy Williams recordings they'd picked up in space from itinerant radio waves.”

His eyes turned skyward.  “I got him!” I thought to myself, leaping 48 inches for joy in my mind's eye.

The Great Gilldo pushed himself back from his desk and leaned backward in his overstuffed leather hydraulic-suspension executive VIP chair.  “Been there ... done that,” he sighed.

“Incredible,” I muttered to myself.  I slumped against the door jamb, wide-eyed, suspended 48 inches above the earth in airborne awe.

“Yup,” he continued ... fantasizing in fast-forward.  “About four years ago, when I was climbing Mount Everest.  They were from a distant galaxy — can't recall the name, but I'll get back to you on that.”

“They found me fascinating.  Probed my brain ... said they'd never seen anything like it.  Kept it for further study.”

“Wait,” I interrupted him.  “They removed your brain?” I asked, delirious with disbelief.

“You betcha!” he said.  “Replaced it with a cantaloupe.”

I settled back down to earth, humiliated and humbled.  At last, The Great Gilldo had redeemed himself.  “A cantaloupe ... ” my voice trailed off into space.


Finally ... now, there was something I could believe.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Past Imperfect

I admire people who never make mistakes. It must be because I make so many of them myself. I'd like to be able to say that, at least, I never make the same mistake twice. But I can't; because I do that, too.

I know what you're thinking: "How can you even live with yourself ... making the same mistake twice?" Well, let me assure you, it's not easy. Especially since I once met someone who never made mistakes. I worked for him, even. And, boy, that was hard! I mean, I set some pretty high expectations for myself; but even these pale by comparison to working for someone who was as close to perfect as anyone I've ever stood close to.

I know what you're thinking: "How can you be so gullible ... thinking someone actually never made any mistakes?" Well, let me ask you, would a person who never makes mistakes ever make the mistake of telling me he made mistakes if he really didn't?

I thought he made a mistake once. He told me several of our competitors were sure to go out of business – "absolutely," he said ... "six months at the most." And then they didn't. I asked him about it. He said not to worry, it was only a matter of time. "I thought so," I said. I knew he couldn't have been mistaken about a thing like that. Then, we went out of business. I asked him about it. He said not to worry, he was just "ahead of his time."

I know what you're thinking: "How could you stand it ... believing in someone who not only was mistaken like that, but actually refused to admit it?" Well, let me confess, everyone needs to believe in something.

I believe I won't make another mistake like that one.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

There Is a God

There is a God. He has His own section in the Sunday paper, His own television shows ... He's on the radio a lot, too. He's a billionaire, you know.

I saw Him once -- standing in the check-out line at the health food store. He was barefoot ... and kinda dusty. But it was Him, alright. He had on this robe, and He was real quiet. I was just this close to Him; I probably could have touched Him if I'd wanted to. He needed a bath, I think. Just standing there barefoot with His granola -- I couldn't believe it. God ...

I used to see Him in all of those old movies -- you know, the ones where He's standing on some mountaintop in the middle of a thunderstorm, and the wind's blowing His hair all over the place; and then this light comes down out of the sky and shines on Him. And there are all kinds of people standing around, but the light just shines on Him and nobody else. And all the people go, "Oooh ..." and "Aaah ..." and get down on their knees and bow their heads. And it's dark, and raining and thundering, and the wind's blowing, and there's a terrible racket. And God looks up at the sky. And the people look up at Him. And it's all so moving and meaningful.

And then you see a closeup of some woman's face; and she's looking at God, and she's ooohing and aaahing. Then there's a closeup of God's face; and He's still looking at the sky, with the light shining in His eyes and the rain blowing on Him. And He looks like He needs a shave; a bath probably wouldn't hurt Him, either -- but I suppose He has more important things to think about.

I mean, He was just standing there in front of me, like some ordinary Joe. And nobody even seemed to notice Him! But I knew. He wasn't fooling me -- I knew it was Him.

I felt like I should at least ask Him for His autograph or something. But then I figured He probably had some reason for being so quiet -- like maybe he was incognito. So, I let Him go. And He just paid for His granola (imagine that ... God paying for something -- not that He couldn't afford it, I mean, but ...), and He walked right out. I watched Him. He got into His Volkswagen and drove away.

I wondered what kind of granola he bought.