Outside the Uprights
And now summer’s officially over, praise the lord, and not once did I get to the motion picture theater to witness one of the season’s blockbuster suck-ass bombs Hollywood cranked out for our perusal—which reminds me of a little story I’ll send out to my buddy John, slaving away on Van Buren Street:
So Tonto and the Lone Ranger were riding across the prairie. All of a sudden Tonto got off his horse and put his ear to the ground. He looks at the Lone Ranger and says, “Buffalo come.” And the Lone Ranger says, “That’s mighty amazing. How the heck did you figure that out? What, you can hear buffalo coming before you can see them?” Tonto shakes his head and says, “No. Ear sticky, kemosabe.” Ba-ding!
Anyways, no time to whip out an essay this week. I got to decide whether or not I ought to run for governor next year and send Snidely Whiplash Walker directly to the scrap heap. So I got to meet up with my campaign brain trust already gathered over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school, courageously crammed at the hysteric corner of Center & Humboldt. Tag along if you like, but you cover the first round. Let’s get going.
Emil: All I’m saying is I hear the words “back to school,” and to this day I still get the heebie-jeebies. And I’m a guy who hardly went to focking school even when I was going to school.
Little Jimmy Iodine: When I was a kid, those three words were right at the top of my hate list; although I tell you’s, “get a haircut,” “get a job” and “change your underwear” weren’t far behind.
Julius: I think it’s called Back-To-School-Syndrome, and it’s not uncommon among veteran survivors of the old-school parochial school system, I kid you not.
Ernie: I think I might have a dose of that syndrome. I always got this overwhelming urge to skip out of doing something I don’t feel like doing.
Herbie: Ernie, I’ll bet you a buck two-eighty that this need to skip out of stuff is some kind of misguided attempt to recapture the temporary joy you experienced as a lad whenever you skipped goddamn school. Yes, you were partaking in at-risk behavior, in that you could’ve been run over by a school bus while attempting to duck the truant officer. But big focking deal. Life is temporary. At least you would’ve died doing what you loved best—focking off.
Ernie: Heck, that’s got to count for something in the grand scheme of things, ain’a?
Emil: Any you’s guys see that headline in the paper the other day that said, “Bedbug reports skyrocket”?
Ernie: I remember when I was a kid at bedtime, my Ma always saying, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite. And don’t forget to change your underwear tomorrow, for christ sakes.”
Julius: Sounds like an example of lazy parenting to me—like it’s some kid’s responsibility to not let bedbugs bite. You should’ve told her, “Bedbugs? I’m on top of it, Ma. First thing tomorrow morning I’ll call the exterminator, and then I’ll skip school and run over to Schuster’s and shoplift an airtight plastic bag I can wrap around my crappy old mattress, all because you’re just too busy doinking the mailman while Pop’s at work.”
Little Jimmy Iodine: Hey, Artie! Over here. Put a load on your keister.
Art: Hey gents. What do you hear, what do you know?
Ernie: I know I haven’t seen Ray since the Harley hog-riders blew back out of town.
Herbie: All I know is he made up a bunch of T-shirts and went down to the lakefront to sell them. Get this: On the front of the shirt Ray drew a Japanese guy like you’d see in the World War II patriotic cartoons, you know, with the military cap, the horn-rimmed glasses, the teeth. And he drew a word balloon coming out of the guy’s mouth that said, ‘Colonel Yamaha says Harleys are for homos.’”
Art: Oh brother, you got to be jerking my beefaroni. And you’re surprised you haven’t seen him since?
Herbie: All I can figure is it must’ve been such a hot item, he’s locked in his basement already at work on a big batch to sell at the 115th hullabaloo, ain’a?
(It’s getting late and I know you got to go, but thanks for letting us bend your ear, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)