[HUMOR] Humans: Throw 'em out and start over

Mark Q. Maxham (max@atg.apple.com)
Wed, 22 Feb 1995 10:18:31 -0800

I was heavily cogitating my cerebral harem when a loud throbbing sound emanated from my front door. That's normal. What was unusual was the slip of paper underneath it, billowing clouds of steam, or smoke, or both. In a sudden unexplained attack of bureaucraphobia, I threw all three of my dogs at it and yelled "Znigfit!", which is my secret code for coffee, black. I remember the words of my grandfather, who said "All things come to those who waste."

Perhaps I misunderstood him, because the flaming postman never returned and my harem has been bleak without him. I asked once for a can of skyberries, but I was refused. Life, after all, is like a bent wire: the more you try to fix it, the worse it gets. Being born in the beginning of one's mid-life crisis doesn't leave much time to learn such lessons before it is too late. And then, what will you have left to hang your coat on at the end of the day?

My second grandfather--I had to have the first one replaced--was fond of saying "if you aren't confused, you're stupid." I'm not sure I know what he meant. I think it all started with a guessing game--guessing women's ages. I always won because I had an objective rule: the brightness of a woman's lipstick is directly proportional to her age. That trick might not work in a few years, though, since the holes from the lip-rings might make wearing lipstick distasteful. There is another rule, but I'm not really sure which way the causality goes. It is either that the older you are, the slower you get, or that the slower you are, the longer you live. I'm not in a hurry to figure that one out.

Some times I try to turn off the light in my head. My third grandfather used to say "the brighter you are, the darker the world appears." That was the only profound thing he ever said. Otherwise, he was pretty much a dim bulb, and we all wondered if there wasn't a certain profundity in that itself. He was a professional diversionist. Aside from the rubber chicken and the three-orifice, vibrating love-jesus that he always carried with him, he would occasionally wear his tool belt out into public so he could teach people to eat rice with a hammer. His most impressive trick, though, was when he juggled three chainsaws. I'm sure you've seen that before, but not the way he did it--he only had one arm. Recently, he lost the other one, though not to a chainsaw--it was the rubber chicken. We called him stub for a while, but after the charm of that wore off, I had him replaced.

My mother had a solution for everything. One solution--for everything. She figured the stomach was missing the mark. The way to a man's heart is through his chest. Someone once asked her whether God was a man, or a woman. She said it didn't matter--there are two ways to live life: you can fear God, or you can make god fear you. Once when I was dreaming, I asked my father how she was in bed. He just said he hoped she got the skill to do it without strength before she developed the strength to do it without skill.

I decided to stay another year. You see, the great thing about school is it doesn't seem like it's your fault that you're not doing anything with your life. My first grandfather used to say "don't kill time, or time will kill you." Well, he's dead now, so what did he know? The only trouble with school is it doesn't pay enough. What money can't buy, lots of money can. So I'll just have to do without. Who needs love anyway?

Christmas is almost here. It's safe to say that at any time of year. All the wrist-watch companies are bidding for the phrase "there's no present like time." But the real festivities begin with the food. Friends don't let friends eat friends, but family is always fair game. Last year we had a fantastic stub roast.

Actually, that's where I met Michelle. Well, I didn't so much meet her as imagine her. Unfortunately, she lives too far away to have any sort of practical relationship. My father gets upset when we talk in our sleep. I told him I would try to keep it down, but he said she was the loud one. I asked him what we talked about, since I never could remember, but he hadn't understood much beyond that we were decorating a porcupine with marshmallows for some reason. I asked him if that wasn't dangerous, and he just said that everything is fatal, if you wait long enough.

I once took a trip to California. They taught me an important lesson: If everyone were generous, no one would have to work. I was confused for a while by all of the Mexicans laboring away. Clearly they didn't understand. I guess the Californians gave up trying to educate them in the ways of Kantian economics, because they kicked them all out. You have to be open minded to last in California. There, open-minded means "not limited by rationality." Whenever I was accused of being closed minded, I always said "artichokes are more expensive in the off season and I wouldn't want to stand under a wet rag." They always understood.

Before Stubs got messed up with that chicken, he was a great scientist. He used to say "You can't take the pleasure out of science, or the science out of pleasure." After one of many long nights of orgasmic industry, I awoke to find the kitchen had been inverted. I didn't know what this meant, but then I never expect to understand things within the first half-hour of consciousness. In retrospect, I'm not sure if that was subjective, or merely a manner of coping with the unpredictable residues of Stub's nightly activities. Anyway, the orange juice I poured myself had a peculiar color -- or lack thereof -- and almost no smell or taste. Except that it was, in fact, both sweet and sour. When I turned from the fridge, I caught Stubs gleaming at me from around a corner. He stepped out, with a big grin on his face, but didn't say a thing. "What happened to the orange juice?" I asked. "I washed it!" his grin got twice as wide.

When we buried him, we obeyed his last wish, which was to engrave on his tombstone only the word "Oops!"

(c) 1995 Brandyn J Webb