Tag Archives: Education

Dean Ima Farseer and the Press ©

          Ima Farseer fulfilled one of her life goals when she became dean of the Department of Et. Al., Et. Al., at Letongaloosa Community Junior College. Ima had from, the time she was a child, wanted to be a faculty member at an institution of higher learning.

          Her other long-held desire was to be a journalist.  As a child, Ima had awakened early one morning to the sound of a newsboy out in the street shouting “extra,” “extra.”  From then on Ima thought that going about gathering information and writing it up in a newspaper would be exciting. 

          Aspiring to be a journalist and becoming one, Ima found, would require her to overcome a long-time fear of talking to reporters. 

          In her capacity as a college dean, Ima had no difficulty meeting and talking with students, parents, faculty members and other educational professionals.  That came with the job and she was comfortable with it.  But when some event brought reporters to the campus and the president ordered her to “take care of the situation,” Ima wasn’t at all comfortable 

          Journalists seemed SO self-confident.  In a group, they tended to be loud and pushy. Reporters asked far-fetched questions like “Dr. Farseer is it true that the president of Letongaloosa Community Junior College has been nominated for a

Ima Farseer and the Press, page 2

Nobel Prize for literature?” 

Ima had to answer such mush without demeaning her boss.

          On the other side, some resourceful journalists who had obtained information from sources inside the institution created serious problems for LCJC.  Those questions had to be answered truthfully (lying to the press always caused problems) but very diplomatically.  

          Responses to questions about the budget, issues of federal funding, and some things about diversity required very careful wording. 

          Being pragmatic by nature, Ima decided to take her questions about the press to the source itself—in this case the editor and publisher of the local newspaper, the Letongaloosa Challenger-Bulletin-Clarion-Journal-Post.

          Ima had known the editor/publisher, Michael Stoneworthy, for years. They had served together as members of local boards of directors.  Theirs was a case of mutual, if sometimes uncomfortable, need.  LCJC needed newspaper coverage and the newspaper needed to cover the town’s major institution of higher education appropriately.

          Ima walked into Stoneworthy’s office at a time she knew he’d be the least busy.

          “Mike, I need your help.  I want to do what you do,” said Ima.

          “Why would you want to fight the rising cost of newsprint and be yelled at by everybody in town?”

          “No.  I don’t want to run a newspaper.  I want to be a reporter.”

          “Wouldn’t we all?” he mused. “Those people have all the fun and have none of the headaches.”

          “So how do I do it?  I’m afraid to ask strangers hard questions, and that’s what reporters do all day long.  I look at them—when I’m not talking about issues at LCJC, and I just dry up.  They seem so formidable and self-confident with their notebooks and tape recorders.”

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          Michael Stoneworthy paused, turned in his swivel chair and looked out the window of his office.

          “A hundred years ago, when I was a cub reporter, I asked my publisher, Carlton James, the same question.  He was a wise old duck, and he looked at me and said:

          “Mike, what you need to do is dethrone these bozos without their knowing you’re doing it.  You need to look at these formidable dudes and pretend that they’re sitting there in their underwear.  You try to see through to their boxer shorts, and the black sock-holders strapped around their shins. They’re wearing their favorite frayed undershirt that they can’t bring themselves to discard.

          “When you see them that way in your mind’s eye you say to yourself, 

“I’m not afraid of these bozos.” 

“Then you just speak up and ask your questions.”

“Did it work?”

“It worked for old James, and it worked for me.”

“Mike, you’re a lifesaver.”

“Ima?”

“Yes.”

“How would you like to go to dinner?”

“I’d love that Mike.”

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Kaybe Finds a Friend ©

The Enchantment is a dingy roadhouse on the outskirts of Letongaloosa. It’s the kind of place every college town needs to maintain academic accreditation. I go to the Enchantment to have a soft drink and chat with friends—some of whom live here and some, like my robot alien friend KB 11.2, live a long, long way from here.

My Alien friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.

Kaybe comes from the Alpha Centauri star system. Many years ago on a visit to Earth, Kaybe saved my marriage. We have been friends ever since. Kaybe communicates telepathically– his voice comes into your mind. When we speak English, Kaybe sounds like CNN’s Anderson Cooper. When we speak Spanish he sounds like the Mexican comedian Cantinflas.

There are a variety of cosmic characters at the Enchantment none of whom are around here: Four-Finger Fanny, Henry the Hulk (about whom I have written) who is small but who has a deep voice, Minature Mike, who is huge and very shy.

Four-Finger Fanny speaks telepathically, but she also speaks human, for which I am grateful. It gives me a headache to speak telepathically for very long.

“Kaybe’s back in town, said Fanny. ‘He has a companion. Come on out, have a soft drink and chat.”

“I’d love to. See you soon.”

I drove out to the Enchantment, slid into a back booth and ordered a soft drink.

A little later Kaybe rolled up to the booth, and another alien who looked just like him, rolled up right behind him.

“Hello, good friend,” said Kaybe, telepathically.

“Hi, pal,” I replied. “Who’s your friend?”

“This is K.B.11.3, nickname K3. She’s an old (eons old) friend of mine. K3 just swung in from beyond…well she comes from way beyond any place you’d recognize.

‘’It’s a pleasure to meet you Ms. K3.”

“Just call me Three,” she said telepathically.

“So, what’s going on in the outer reaches?”

“Comets, black holes and the reach of infinity. What can I say?”

“Here on earth things are roiled and getting hard boiled. Elections are coming up and people are all excited to see what happens. Do you choose your leaders by elections? I assume you do have leaders and followers.”

“Eons ago we had leaders. But we evolved a system of governance where everyone has an equal say.”

“How do you deal with divergent views?”

“We talk it over—and we talk it over and we talk it over and we talk it over. We don’t measure time like you do in this section of the galaxy, so these conversations last and last. Eventually when we have turned up and discussed the galaxy of information and opinion and we have pondered it all for a long, long time all that “stuff” begins to seem old and raggedy. And we say, This stuff is old and raggedy. We’re not going to waste any more discussion on old, raggedy stuff like. Let’s play some board games.”

“Indeed?” I say. “That’s fascinating. What you are describing as “stuff” looks and sounds very much like what we here on Earth call politics. We’ve been chewing on the same political soup bones for decades, but we act like the “stuff” is new and compelling.

“So, do you chuck it all out and go and play board games?” asked Three.

“That would be marvelous,” I said. “That would be SO sensible. We could just agree that some “stuff” will never be resolved and go play board games.”

“Do you think that will work?” asked Three.

“I’m afraid not. I think we’d get into a big hassle about which board games are “socially and politically acceptable,” and which board games are not,” I said.

That’s stunning,” said Three. “What a wonderful bunch of “stuff,” that is.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I said.

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There Is Hope ©

Last Sunday night, I found myself sitting in front of my keyboard preparing to write this column. As I sat staring at the screen, watching the eyebeam flash, and waiting for inspiration, I realized I was stuck. This was a difficult column.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to write. It was because I had too much to write…which is worse than having too little,

For those of you paying attention, the world has gone mad—100% certifiably mad.  The unjust policing and loss of black lives in America and the protests that have followed is overwhelming enough. Couple that with a rampant pandemic that has forced a global lockdown, it’s difficult to find calm in all the chaos.

I’ve been a journalist for nearly seventy years. Those who follow my social media and blog know that in my early years, I was a foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires. I also have worked as a reporter at a few newspapers here and there. Through the years, I’ve lived through and written about some crazy things.

I retired in the late 1990’s. I went onto teaching at universities throughout the Midwest before ending up at Letongaloosa Community College. I started writing this humor column. It’s hard to believe, but that was 15 years ago.

As a journalist, I know its part of my job to look for inspiration EVERYWHERE.   Usually, I write about something I saw or did that inspired me during the week.     Whether it’s a fun place Emmaline and I discover on date night, a happy headline in the newspaper, or a light-hearted story at the end of the nightly newscast, anything can spark an idea for a column

But with all that is happening:  the lockdown, the protests, the arrests and the assaults of fellow journalists all being brought to the forefront, it’s unprecedented. There’s NOTHING funny about ANYTHING that’s happening.

Like all of you, Emmaline and I have been watching A LOT of television.  Since we can’t really venture out to our favorite Mexican restaurant at the moment, we hunker down with takeout. While watching the interviews of the doctors and nurses, the elected officials and news anchors, not to mention, the talk show hosts and celebrities, I ‘m inspired to write.

Through the plethora of serious conversation, I see and hear hope. It may take awhile to get to a solid plan of resolution, but conversations are being had by EVERYONE. There is HOPE.

It’s important to keep the momentum. Life must keep moving. The stories of those who have perished from the pandemic are many.  Our hearts go out to their families. The stories of those who have lost their lives and helped reignite the Black Lives Matter movement  must be told. We will continue the dialog. We will move forward. It will take work, but we will be better than we were before. We have to be.

Like all of you, Emmaline and I are confined to daily expeditions around our neighborhood.  We see the RESILIENCE and the COMMUNIITY of those around us. Everyone is coming together, despite the continued unrest and uncertainty and all will be stronger for it.  STAY SAFE and GOD BLESS.

* This column is dedicated to George Floyd (June 2020), Ahmaud Arbery(June 2020), Rayshard Brooks (June 2020),  Breonna Taylor (March 2020), Amadou Diallo (1999), Patrick Dorismond (2000), Ousmane Zongo (2003),  Timothy Stansbury (2004),  Sean Bell (2006), Oscar Grant (2009), Aiyana Stanley-Jones (2010), Rekia Boyd (2012),  Trayvon Martin (2012), Ramarley Graham (2012), Kimani Gray (2013), Michael Brown (2014) Eric Garner (2014), Sandra Bland (2015), Corey Jones (2015), and ALL of the men and women who have tragically lost their lives as a result of racial injustice.

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Ribby Falls in Love ©

       Long time readers of this column will remember Ribby Von Simeon. More recent readers probably won’t be acquainted with Ribby, so here’s a brief introduction.

Ribby Von Simeon is the son of internationally renowned movie star Sippa Margarita and Balderdash Von Simeon, the news and entertainment magnate.

Ruthless Von Simeon, Ribby’s grandfather, was a Western mining tycoon. Between them they acquired a heap of money.

Miss Margarita’s media profile says she was born in Valencia. Her public  relations packets contain photos of her in and around Valencia, Spain.  Reality insists that Josipa Margarita Ruiz was born and raised in Valencia, Kansas.  The couple had one son, Ruthless Ignacio Balderdash San Bernardino Cortez Ruiz Von Simeon, known all his life as Ribby.

Ribby Von Simeon was raised by his Latino grandparents in Kansas.  It was all his mother could do to handle her fast-paced movie career.  Ribby’s one enduring childhood memory of his mother was of a voyage they took. He flew to Europe and together he and Sippa sailed back on an ocean liner.

The voyage was bittersweet for Ribby.  He had his mother all to himself. But he was seasick from the moment he stepped on board until the ship docked. He spent the whole voyage in bed being tenderly cared for—this to her credit—by his mother.  She brought him broth and hard rolls and read to him.

Ribby didin’t come into his inheritance until he was in his thirties. By that time he was living simply but comfortably as an adjunct professor at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.  The news that he had inherited a pile of money came at the same time news reports said that the luxury liner Santa Maria de la Valencia  on which he and his mother had sailed the Atlantic had been decommissioned and would be sold for scrap.

The thought of that dearly remembered vessel ending up as scrap iron infuriated Ribby. That fury transformed him from a diffident and taciturn academic into a man as rapacious as his grandpa Ruthless Von Simeon and as vociferous and belligerent as his father Balderdash Von Simeon.

Ribby used his resources to attack the astonished lawyers, financial conservators, bureaucrats, politicians and shipping company executives. When it was over, Ribby owned the ship and had permission to do anything he wanted with it.  He had the ship carefully dismantled and transported piece by piece to Kansas. Then Ribby had the ship reconstituted, refurbished and moored  at the top of a hill on a large tract of land he owned a few miles outside Letongaloosa.

After the re-commissioning of the Santa Maria, Ribby dropped back into academic anonymity until 10 years later when another crisis arose.

Newly elected county officials were young and eager to raise tax revenue. They changed zoning regulations. Ribby’s property became part of an urban renewal project. The officials knew little about Ribby except that despite being a lowly professor at LCJC, he owned the land and the ship. They ordered him to dismantle and remove the vessel at his own expense.

That order transformed mild-mannered Sippy Von Simeon into an amalgam of his forebears Ruthles and Balderdash.  Within hours highly placed officials were threatening to strip the county of federal funding, bankers had cancelled favorable interest rates.  Bureaucrats, politicians and diplomats denounced the county officials and demanded that they cancel the project or leave Ribby’s land out of it. The county capitulated.

About that time Angie Appleton, a pert thirty-year-old who had focused her life and energy on her academic career, joined the LJCC faculty. Ribby fell for her the moment he saw her across the room at the first faculty meeting of the semester.

A first Angie ignored him. Then she was curious. Then intrigued.

For his part, Ribby was, at first his shy, taciturn self. But love is powerful. After an agonizing few days of despair, Love awakened Ribby’s Balderdash qualities—appropriately softened for the occasion—and LOVE won out.

Angie and Ribby snuck away and got married, went on a honeymoon, came back to Letongaloosa and settled down—more or less.

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Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Dr. Ima Farseer Solves a Dilemma ©

Dr. Ima Farseer had been chair of the Department of Et. Al., Et. Al.at Letongaloosa Community Junior College for a long time. Her long tenure became a problem. She had done such a good job as dean under three LCJC presidents that none of them would approve a promotion to which she aspired. Dr. Farseer wanted to be provost at LCJC, but the presidents refused to let her change positions.
The presidents were all ambitious men. They all wanted to rise higher. They all wanted to move away from Letongaloosa and acquire more prestigious academic positions. For that to happen they needed Dr. Farseer to use her administrative skills to keep the university sailing smoothly and successfully semester after semester.
“No, Ima,” they said. “You are too valuable to the university where you are. We can’t take the chance of promoting you. If something went wrong, administrationwise, where would we be?”
“If I quit, where will you be?” she asked.
“We can give you a raise.”
“My salary is already at the upper limits. The state won’t approve any higher salary for me.”
“Ima, Ima, please! You need to work with us !”
“No. YOU need to work with ME.”
“Look, it’s nearly the weekend. Give us until Monday to see if we can come up with something that will work for everyone.”
“You’d better come up with something good. Otherwise I’m out of here.”
Up against it, the men put in some heavy thinking (not, for them, an easy thing to do). Finally, one of them brightened. He didn’t actually shout, “eureka!” but he might as well. “We’ll promote Ima to provost but we’ll fold the dean’s duties into the description of the provost’s responsibilities. She’ll report to which ever of us is still here.”
The following Monday the designated speaker (the one who pulled the short straw) met with Dr. Farseer.
“We came up with an excellent solution to this Quandary,” he said.
“I bet it stinks,” said Ima with calculated insolence.
“On the contrary, it’s a ball of fire.”
“Don’t burn the place down.”
“You have your promotion.”
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch. It just required a small rewrite of your position statement.”
Dr. Farseer remained silent.
“You have your promotion.
“As I said, ‘What’s the catch’”?
“Your duties will include you’re doing the work of dean of Et. Al., Et. Al., as well as those of Provost which position will be redefined to accommodate all the things you require.”
“Excuse me, sir. Are you high on something?”
“Yes, indeed, I am. I’m high on the desire for the University to continue to benefit from your invaluable administrative skills, but at the same time reward you with the promotion you so richly deserve.”
“And you guys would continue to use the university as a springboard to better, more rewarding academic positions in the great outside world . A world a million light years from Letongaloosa.”
“A jaundiced view,” he said. You’re a hard woman, Ima, if you’ll pardon my saying so.”
“Accurate, not jaundiced.”
The president nodded in acquiescence.
“You’re saying I can write my own ticket.”
“Within the requirements of academic responsibility and in keeping with the viable demands of institutional stability.”
“Persiflage.”
“Beg pardon?”
“Balderdash! Baloney! Let me hear you say that in plain English.”
“My dear Ima, we are, members of the academic community. Our profession is awash with ambiguity. None of us is capable of saying things accurately.. If we were capable of straight-forward speech we’d be working in the real world, making real money. Does anyone around here make real money?”
“No! That’s the point. All you geeks get your ticket punched in academe. Then you look for a real job
You’re a hard woman, Ima, if you’ll pardon my saying so.”
“Hard but accurate when you strip away all the baloney.”
The president inclined his head. “So, where does that leave us?”
It leaves us with a quote from the gospel according to Saint Ima .”
“Which is?”
“Go soak your head.”
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Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Antofagasta©

One doesn’t come across the name Antofagasta—a Chilean city 678 miles north of Santiago—in ordinary conversation and one assumes that the words Atacama Desert come up even less frequently. Probably even fewer readers of this column have stopped off at either place. The region produces much of the world’s supply of copper.
I certainly didn’t intend to land in Antofagasta when my flight left Bogota, Colombia.  My destination was Santiago itself. I’d made many trips to Latin America and the Caribbean over the years on assignments for the United States Information Agency (USIA) to train journalists and seek their support for friend of the press.
The first indication that passengers had that we were going to land before we got to Santiago was when the pilot’s voice came over the intercom. Pilots often talk to passengers from the cockpit, pointing out places of interest.
“This is the pilot speaking. We have just been informed that the Santiago airport is fog-covered. We can’t land there yet. We’ve been instructed to land at Antofagasta, which is nearly 700 miles north of Santiago. Please fasten your seatbelts and put your tray tables in the upright and locked position in preparation for landing. Thank you.”    The plane banked and we began a steep descent.  After an uneventful landing the plane taxied to a very small terminal building that was apparently closed.

We learned later that the air terminal only opened when flights were scheduled. Fortunately, the landside of the terminal was open 24 hours a day to accommodate traveler and commercial vehicle traffic.  Food and beverages and travel items were available at various counters.
The passengers disembarked and headed for the counters and restrooms. They were immediately surrounded by people wanting to purchase U.S. dollars. Passengers were offered a variety of exchange prices depending on how vulnerable they looked.  The gullible-looking passengers were offered 7.50 pesos for a dollar. The official exchange rate was 750.00 pesos per dollar.
One could tell the seasoned travelers by how few people surrounded them.  One could detect the passengers who hadn’t understood decimals in school by the fact that they got taken by buyers who moved the decimal point one or two places and cheated them ruthlessly.
Shysters moved through the crowd s trying to bully passengers into yielding their dollars. Others gazed into passenger’s faces and with mock sincerity and sought dollars by pleading poverty and hunger.
To their credit a number of honest citizens berated their crooked country men. The most effective do-gooders were those who spoke English. But they were berated by the shysters also. A few fights broke out.
At this point the aircraft’s captain grabbed a bullhorn, climbed on top of a wooden box and began shouting. The captain was a veteran of this airline route. He spoke Spanish fluently.
He shouted: “This is the captain speaking! Everyone take a step back and be quiet.”
Then he spoke in English.  “Passengers, move return to the airplane and take your seats. The fog has lifted and that the airfield in Santiago is ready to receive our flight. And in the meantime, courteously decline currency transactions of any kind.”

Despite the pilot’s orders there was a flurry of currency exchanges as the the passengers moved across the tarmac and climbed the stairs to the airplane.
As the plane taxied and lifted off, a few passengers complained about the delay. Most were glad for the diversion and for a chance to see a place they had never heard of and to which they would never have thought of booking a flight.
The plane reached cruising altitude and passengers were told they could move around the cabin.
A passenger shouted, “I forgot. How much is this money worth?
Another shouted, “Who cares? I’m saving mine to give to my grandkids. I’ll give you $30 for all your Chilean pesos.

 
“Pesos?” shouted another passenger. “Pesos?” Shoot! Some shyster sold me a hand full of Brazilian paper money I thought I was getting a real good deal.”
“I’ll give you a buck for all your Brazilian money,” said the grandma.”
“Coffee, tea or milk?” asked a flight attendant.

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-Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Zimmy, Kate and the Cuban Beetle ©

Until recently the U.S. government didn’t want you to go to Cuba.  That policy, which started way back in the Eisenhower administration, required that everybody apply for a license before traveling to Havana.    My friend Zimmy Tarbox  has a Ph.D. in entomology. He’s been all over the world measuring the space between the eyeballs of baby cockroaches.  Zimmy’s British colleague, Kate Billingsly, is the world’s leading expert on pond scum skimmer bugs.    Back in 2006, Kate and Zimmy attended the 15th Annual International Cockroach and Pond Skimmer Conference in Cuba.  In 2016 the sponsoring group, the Entomological Society scheduled its 25th annual conference for Havana, and Kate and Zimmy were invited to give keynote addresses in recognition of their outstanding contributions to entomological research.      In Hong Kong last January, the two talked about their upcoming visit to Cuba.    “Speaking of,” said Kate,  “I met Ricardo Calvez in Samoa last month.  He says that the Hypolestes trinitatis, a beetle endemic to Cuba, is in danger of extinction because of loss of habitat.”  “We should do something.”  “Yes, we should.”          The two scientists got the opportunity sooner than either of them thought.  They were invited to the White House.  The President was preparing for a trip to Cuba and, covering all bases, wanted a staff briefing on the flora and fauna of the island.  After speaking with Zimmy and Kate,
one of the staffers proposed a presidential field trip on the island to search for the Hypolestes trinitatis. She wanted something to showcase the President’s interest in the environment.  Kate and Zimmy were invited to lead the expedition.  So, it turned out, Zimmy and Kate flew to Havana, not on a crowded commercial flight from Miami, but on Air Force One.   Organizing a private “off the agenda” trip by the U.S. President to the forests of central and eastern Cuba could have been diplomatically and politically difficult.  But Zimmy and Kate had “friends at court” in the persons of two members of Cuba’s Central Party leadership who were avid amateur entomologists.   The two leaders had been aching to look for the Hypolestes trenitatis but couldn’t justify the cost to the government of such a trip.    At first the Secret Service threw a fit over the idea of the president tramping around in the outback of a communist nation, but under heavy pressure acquiesced to the endeavor.  Thus the party—consisting of the President, three Secret Service agents who didn’t look like what they were, Kate, Zimmy, and the two Cuban party members, slipped out of Havana by night and headed for the highlands.  As they trekked through the sub-montane forest, sometimes on little-used trails and at other times cutting through thick foliage, the members of the expedition kept their eyes peeled for a glimpse of the elusive beetle.  There were a couple of false sightings that disappointed everyone.  Then one of the Cuban party members spotted the prize, a large bug that looked like Hypolestes trinitatis.  The members of the expedition stepped back and waited for confirmation from Kate and Zimmy.

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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The Suit Case Irony ©

My older sister, Merci, is six years older than I. She graduated from high school in in 1947 and was accepted at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. We lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho—a 350 _-mile trip.
Back in those days one took the Greyhound bus from place to place. Merci packed her belongings in two of family’s battered old metal suitcases. She was living in a dormitory. She took a taxi to the dorm from the bus depot. The taxi driver carried her suitcases into the lobby of the dorm. The other residents saw the battered suit cases. Merci was embarrassed.
Fast forward. Merci graduated from BYU in three years and got a good job back in Idaho Falls with the Atomic Energy Commission. She was making really good money.
When it came time for me to get ready to attend BYU Merci bought me a an expensive matched set of leather luggage to take to college. I wasn’t going to live in a dormitory, I was going to live in an off campus apartment with four guys from Idaho Falls. The irony: we drove down to BYU in my roommate’s car. I unpacked the beautiful luggage and stored it away.
The story does have a happy—and worthwhile conclusion. After two years at BYU I was called by the LDS Church to serve as a missionary in Uruguay. The luggage was excellent for the trip down and it held up well over the two-and-a-half years I spent in various towns and cities in Uruguay.

-Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Kaybe and Four-Finger Fanny©

The doorbell rang. When I saw Four-Finger Fanny I knew that I was needed at The Enchantment.
The Enchantment is a dingy roadhouse on the outskirts of Letongaloosa. It’s the kind of place every college town needs to maintain academic accreditation. I go to the Enchantment to have a soft drink and chat with friends—some of whom live here and some, like my robot alien friend KB 11.2, live a long, long way from here.
As you may remember, my friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.
Kaybe is from the Milky Way, but his home planet is several parsecs closer than the Earth to the center of the galaxy. And his people have solved the problem of traveling faster than the speed of light.
Kaybe speaks telepathically. His words form letters in your mind. Four-Finger Fanny is also from outer space, but she just looks like a middle aged woman who has spent too much time on her feet.
Kaybe and Four-Finger Fanny communicate telepathically, but Four Finger
Kaybe and Fanny.
Fanny also speaks human. I’m really glad she does, because I’d rather not converse telepathically. It’s tiring and I tend to get a headache when I spend too much time communicating telepathically.
“Hi, Fanny,” I said. “What’s up?”
“Kaybe and I need your help,” she said. Kaybe picked up a rock the size of my fist from Mars last time he stopped by there. She unwrapped the rock from a yellow cloth in which she had wrapped it.
“ He needs a new rheostat and I need to retire and get off my feet,” she said. “We thought you could contact the National Space Administration and see if they want to buy the rock.”
So off I went to our nation’s capital, and to our five-sided military building.
I had put the rock into a red cloth bag and the bag into a corsage-sized box that I held on my lap. As I watched, I could see no recognizable pattern as to who got treated kindly and who got ignored or invited to take a long walk on the mall. People who looked like hicks were ushered into offices immediately, while some well-dressed folks were treated like a dog catcher’s assistant.
Then I saw a large, tall man in a military uniform with enough fruit on his chest to open market. As he walked down the hall people parted like the waters of the Red Sea parted for Moses.
“That’s my guy,” I said to myself, and fell in behind him.
I’m short and narrow, and he was big, tall and self-absorbed, so I sailed along in his immediate wake like a dingy behind a cruise ship. And, believe it or not, he walked right up to the offices of NASA and entered. I melted in behind him and tapped him on the back.
There was was a pause. Then he turned like a giant redwood wearing shiny black shoes.
“You want to buy a moon rock, general?” I asked, opening the box and bag and holding them up to somewhere near his chest.

“Let me look at that,” he said in a voice that sounded like thunder in an echo chamber.
“Where did you get this?”
“My friend, an alien from outer space, picked it up on Mars.
“I’ll give you ten thousand dollars for it.”
“How do you know it’s real?
“It’s real. I was an astronaut. I own the only other rock like this on earth.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a horse-choking wad of large denomination bills
And that, as the man said, was that. What a joy forFanny and Kaybe..
Nowadays when I roll into The Enchantment, folks sometimes applaud.
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Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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The Golden Fleece Redemption©

To strangers he looks like a tall goofy rich guy from the Midwest. To the people of Letongaloosa, Blair Trimert is a smart, good-hearted man who does lots of things to help the community.
Blair Trimert was tall. His big ears, long face and loopy smile were acts of nature. Nature, perhaps to compensate, also provided Blair with superior intelligence and quick wits. Blair inherited a pile of money because of maternal nature. Blair’s mom yearned for a child, but never had one, so she and her husband adopted Blair as a baby.
His parents were third generation Basque-Americans. Blair’s adoptive grandparents had come to the U.S. early in the 20th century to herd sheep, but like a number of Basque immigrants, their children ended up owning banks.
When they adopted Blair, Balasi and Adere Intuxuast wanted their son to benefit from their rich language and heritage, but they didn’t want to burden him with a first and last name that his American playmates would find unpronounceable, so they retained Blair’s birth name.
Years ago while he was in Chicago on business, a couple hoodlums from the Pyrenees kidnapped Blair as he walked out of a bank carrying a bundle of expired and worthless financial bonds that he was going to destroy. The two Basque hoods, Mitch and Moe, grabbed Blair and pushed him into a waiting car. The hoods owed their bookie money and he had ordered them to pay up or he would rub them out. As they drove away, a quick-thinking Blair yelled at them in Basque. He convinced the two hoods that they were all part of a bond robbery directed by the mob. They believed him and agreed to follow his orders.
Blair gave them the satchel full of worthless bonds and then told them to drop him off at a restaurant. The two hoodlums took the worthless bonds to the mob to pay their debts. Somehow the two smart Basques were able to escape after the mob realized the bonds were worthless. Moe and Mitch ended up in Letongaloosa because Moe’s cousin Billy Adkins (nee Bidari Azarola) was a bank teller there.
So then the three of them cooked up a plot to rob the bank. They made their plans over the telephone speaking Basque, assuming no one could understand them. A Letongaloosa police detective got a court order to tap the hoodlums’ phone and asked Blair to translate the conversations for the authorities.
Blair was surprised and delighted when he heard Moe’s voice and realized that it was his old nemesis. The police were waiting for the three when they ran from the bank with a satchel full of money. The Basque hoodlums were sent to prison.
In the joint, Moe changed his life. He quit his bad habits, joined Alcoholics Anonymous and was released early. As part of his AA pledge Moe came to Letongaloosa and contacted Blair to apologize for his behavior.
Blair was walking downtown on a fine warm day when he saw Moe standing on the sidewalk. He spoke:
“Kaixo (hello) Blair,” said Moe
“Hori zu zara, (is that you) Moe?” asked Blair
“Yes sir. I’ve come to apologize for my behavior years ago.”
“Where have you been?” asked Blair
“I’ve been in prison. While I was there I changed my life. I joined AA. They let me out early.”
“Congratulations, Moe, That’s excellent.”
“So what are your plans?” asked Blair.
“I want to get a job but there’s not much work for someone with few skills and a prison record.”
“What kind of work are you looking for?”
“I’m pretty good at math.”
“I’d like to help.” Blair introduced Moe to Dean Ima Farseer, at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.
Moe worked hard and graduated with honors. Blair got him a job at a local bank where Blair had large checking and savings deposits.
So in an ironic twist, Moe ended up as a teller at the same bank he and Mitch and cousin Bidar Azarola had tried to rob years earlier.

 

-30-

-Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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