The Poet asked: “Oh what is so rare as a day in June?”
1. The flame created by the burning of your paid-off home mortgage.
2. The look on the face of a three-year-old child who hears her dad’s car coming up the driveway.
3. A wife seeing her husband of 55 years pain-free after recuperating from back surgery.
4. Your dog’s tail when someone brings him his dinner.
5. Grandpa’s joy at finding where Grandma hid the cookies after she left to play Mahjongg with her friends all afternoon.
6. Grandma’s joy when Grandpa finally agrees to get a haircut.
7. Parking the car in a rainstorm thinking you left the umbrella at home— and then seeing it lying in the back seat.
8. The happiness of a boy who sees his homing pigeon land in its coop after being missing for a week.
9. Ten Lords a-leaping.
10. And a partridge in a pear tree.
I was in Costa Rica and Pope John Paul II visited Central America. As a stringer for several news organizations, I was impressed by the tight security surrounding his Eminence. I was assigned to cover the Pope’s night speech at a youth rally in a suburban soccer stadium. The Pope’s procession approached the speaking platform by driving along a rutted road that ran along the soccer field and in front of the bleachers. Suddenly the stadium lights went out. The whole place was dark for several minutes. When the lights came on again (whew!) the procession proceeded. Calm and unruffled, the Pope gave his scheduled address to the youthful crowd.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired journalist and KU J-School professor. He is working as a humor columnist and is the author of Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia available on Amazon.
With the summer season just around the corner, most people are making vacation plans. I, on the other hand, have been busy stressing about all of the things around my house that need my attention.
I’ve been thinking about what to do with all my “stuff” in the attic. Emmaline runs a trim ship. I sail a kind of garbage scow.
It’s time to get the wet leaves out of the roof gutters, put fertilizer on the lawn, fetch some sacks of pebbles for the rock garden. On a more personal note, I wanted to rescue a couple of my favorite shirts from the church donation box sitting by the front door.
Whenever I think that I have too much to do, my stress rises. When that happens, it’s like I’m being pecked to death by ducks. Its as if I were tied hand and foot and lying on wet grass with a raft, team or paddling (see Google) of ducks pecking me. Their blunt beaks don’t break the skin on my head like the peck of a woodpecker would, but the sensation is still painful, and
The feeling comes when I think I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. I often get relief by day dreaming about decades past when I traveled a lot—to Latin America, the Caribbean, North and Central Africa, Japan. But if I day dream too deeply while I’m doing something like trimming the hedge, and I mess it up, and—out come the ducks.
I’ve been thinking Emmaline and I need to go back to the Caribbean, or Latin America. But then I realize that what we really need is to go back to our good old rental cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I always love our days on the river there, floating downstream on inner tubes, drinking steins of root beer with my friends, the little old colonial Dutchmen.
Back in March I got in touch with my humor column friends and colleagues at The Enchantment, that dingy roadhouse on the edge of town where so many of them congregate. I told them to meet us at the cabin. Then, what with the ducks in my head and all, I nearly forgot about the trip to the cabin.
So today, I got the word out—on Internet, by smoke signals, by homing pigeons, by mental telepathy–and by a few other means of communication that I won’t elaborate on here. I invited everyone
to meet us at the cabin. The invitation to my robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe, for short) went zinging through outer space to his home planet that’s just a few parsecs from our nearest star, Alpha Centuari. And I asked Kaybe to stop by Cuba on his way andpick up Kate in the jungle down there.
Emmaline thought we couldn’t go to the cabin right now because there was too much to be done here: paint the shutters, plant a garden, clean out the garage, etc., etc.
“And What about Ginger?” she asked. Ginger is our dog.
“I promise to paint the shutters when we get back. The weather will be better then, anyway. It’s been a late spring, so we can put in the garden after we get back. Ginger always comes with us, remember? Her carrier is just inside the front door, next to that donation box we’re taking to the church.”
I knew that Emmaline wanted to go to the cabin all along, but we needed to tie up loose ends. After she went to pack, she called down to say she was including a variety of ceramic root beer steins.
She had chosen one for everybody. A few days later as we got ready to leave the ducks in my head took a nap—a nice long one, I hoped.
When I lifted Ginger into her carrier, she nestled down on top of my favorite dear old (not to be discarded) shirt. It was folded neatly underneath her.
I put the church donation box in the car to drop off on the way out of town.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor, turned humor columnist. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available on Amazon.
When you go out, take along sunscreen and a warm jacket.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor columnist. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia, is available on Amazon.
“Ring.” When Eloise Simplekins picked up her phone, a robot voice said: “Hello. This is Jan. Congratulations! You qualify for …. Please press ‘one’ now to speak to a customer representative. Press ‘nine’ now if you wish to be removed from the qualification list.”
“Fiddlesticks!” said Eloise, and clicked her phone off. It was the sixth robo call this week. She had tried hanging up, she had tried pressing “nine,” but a salesperson always came on the line anyway. She had pressed “one” and told the person who answered to take her off their list. The person didn’t answer Eloise’s request. All Eloise heard was a click and a dial tone.
Eloise Simpelkins is plain—beginning with her name and continuing with her squat chunky figure, her thick unruly hair, her flat face, her squinty eyes, and her pug nose. But she is very smart.
Years ago Eloise became a pre-cleaning lady for the women of La Mancha, that rich part of town where the streets are winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile. It embarrassed the women of La Mancha to have their cleaning ladies see poopy toilets in their husbands’ bathrooms, so Eloise became their pre-cleaning lady. But she became much more. These women ached to reveal their foibles to someone. Eloise was there every week and seemed discreet. She became their confidant, and the women rewarded her handsomely. She invested wisely and became a wealthy woman.
Robot phone calls irked Eloise, and after she became rich they irked her even more. When she couldn’t convince the “you qualify for…” robot voice organizations to quit calling her, Eloise turned to Hadley Wilkins for help.
Readers will remember Hadley “Cyberman” Wilkins. He’s the electronic engineer who helped develop cell phone technology.
“Hadley,” she said. “I need your help.”
“Say on, oh Wise One.”
“I get six to eight robot calls a week,” she said. “If I hang up, they just call back. I press the button and talk to a live operator but they still won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Hadley, I want you seek out the private phone numbers of the executives who run these robo-call outfits. I’m going to give them a taste of their own medicine.”
“On it,” said Hadley.
Randall Egregious, the vice-president for operations at Techaly Communications, Inc., was relaxing in his den when the unlisted number on his cell phone rang. The screen said “Mara Belle.” Mara Belle Function was a Techaly executive. Egregious clicked on.
“Are you being pestered by robot telephone calls?” a robot voice asked. “If you get robot calls seven days a week, please press one. If you get robot calls…” Egregious clicked the phone off, but the robo- voice continued talking: “If you get five or fewer robot calls a week, please press two, if you get fewer than three robot calls a week, please press star. To repeat this message, please spell out “help,” on your keypad. ” Egregious hurled the phone across the room. It slammed into the brick fire place and fell to the floor. The robot voice continued to speak: “If you are angry and frustrated and want to destroy your cell phone, please press the “tone” button.” Egregious picked up the cell phone, ran outside, and threw it as far as he could.
He came back inside and turned on the television. Instead of his favorite channel, the screen showed a television test pattern. From the television speaker the robot voice intoned the same message.
Egregious ran to his car and sped to his office. He called the company’s technology director at his home.
“George, this is Randall Egregious. I’m at the office. How do I shut down the robot-call apparatus?”
“You can’t. Don’t you remember? You ordered us to create closed-circuit hardware and software that would, in your own words, ‘make robot calls forever.’”
Egregious clicked off and ran down the hall to the fire safety cabinet. He yanked it open, grabbed a fire ax, ran back and smashed all the robot-call machines.
Then he scribbled, “I quit, Randall,” on a scrap of paper and taped it to the CEO’s office door.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. His book of humor columns, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia, is available on Amazon. You can also visit his website at www.daydreaming.co
+ We observe Earth Day when we pick up an empty soda can in the middle of a supermarket parking lot.
+ There are 6.7 billion galaxies in the universe. Other folks out there somewhere must honor a different Mother Earth than we.
+ Earth’s hard crust covers a warm heart
+Childlike awe is a good way to celebrate Earth Day.