Tag Archives: Fantasy

Man In the Mirror ©

This column is a beloved favorite by many, including yours truly. Enjoy!!

 

“Surely,” thought Rip, “I have not slept here all night.”
–Washington Irving, “The Story of Rip Van Winkle,”1819.

My wife, Emmaline and I recently rented the old mountain cabin deep in the
Smoky Mountains where we’ve stayed nearly every year for the past 25 years.
Part of the reason we love going to the cabin is that it looks just as it did the first
time we stayed there back in 1989. It’s how we get away from the world. The
cabin is decades old. Beside the cabin flows a boulder-strewn stream that
begins somewhere high in the tree-covered Appalachians.
The front door of the long, narrow two-room cabin is always unlocked when we
arrive. A key, with a note from the landlady, is always on the table in the
kitchen/living room. After we have unloaded the car, unpacked the suitcases,
and hung clothes in the cabin’s only closet, Emmaline and I have our annual
encounter. It’s about who is going to go shopping.
In the early years I always drove the 10 miles back to the super market on the
main highway for groceries and supplies. Then sometime around the beginning
of the women’s lib movement, I spoke up. I said that grocery shopping should
be a shared activity. That led to negotiations that led to the creation of our
annual encounter. Each year Emmaline and I resolve the grocery-shopping –
duty-problem with a game of “Rocks, Paper, Scissors.”
I won this year’s encounter, and as Emmaline drove away, I headed for the
couch to take a nap. Less than 15 minutes later something woke me, and I
walked back to the bathroom.
I glanced in the mirror above the wash basin. and let out a yip. Instead of my
face in the mirror, there was an old man with a long beard. He wore a tri-corner
hat. He winked at me.
I fled to the living room.
There, standing on the table, was the same diminutive old Dutchman. He wore
an outlandish costume—like one that 18thcentury author Washington Irving
described in his famous short story, “Rip Van Winkle.” Here is Irving’s description
of the man I saw standing on the cabin table:
“He was a short square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled
beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion – a cloth jerkin strapped round
the waist – several pair of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated
with rows of buttons down the sides, and bunches at the knees.”
The little old Dutchman beckoned me to follow, hopped nimbly off the table,
and trotted out the front door
I stumbled out onto the wooden deck. The sun was still where it had been when
I lay down for my nap.
I heard what sounded like a gong from the river below, and walked to the edge
of the deck. There on the river bank was my knee-breeched, silver-buttoned
little Dutchman. And lined up along the bank were a dozen more little
Dutchmen, dressed just like him. Each held a small inflated inner tube and a
beer stein . Lying on the river bank was a big, inflated truck inner tube. On a flat
rock beside the inner tube stood a large beer stein.
I waved to the little Dutchmen, and they all raised their steins. I took the
stone stairs two at a time down to the river. I picked up my stein full of foamy
root beer, and hopped on the big inner tube. With a whoop, I pushed off into
the stream.
My Dutchmen friends whooped, hopped onto their inner tubes, and
pushed off into the stream. Then we all lay on our backs, trailed our hands in the
water, and floated merrily, merrily down the stream.
I awoke on the couch—this time for real—to the sound of Emmaline
calling for me to help unload the groceries. Dazed, I made my way to the front
door and looked out. I half expected to see 25-years-younger Emmaline
standing beside our old brown 1987 Plymouth. But fortunately I saw my 2014
Emmaline—looking prettier than ever—walking toward the cabin carrying a bag
of groceries. Then, from far away, I heard the joyful whoops of little Dutchman
voices as my new found friends floated down the mystic stream. If you don’t
believe me, go ask Rip Van Winkle.

 

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: www.daydreaming.co

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Swear??

As far as I was concerned “yuck” was not a swear word, and I didn’t think that
tearing the label off an empty tin can created indecent exposure, but that was before
my alien friend KB-11.2, filled me in on the finer points of galactic decency.
Kaybe and I were having a soft drink together at The Enchantment, a dingy
roadhouse north of Letongaloosa. The Enchantment is the kind of joint that college towns
like Letongaloosa must have to qualify for academic accreditation.
My alien friend Kaybe isn’t one of those scary bug-eyed, green-skinned beings
that you see in sci-fi movies.. Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set® arms
sprout from the curved sides of his body, and three spindly metal legs drop from the flat
underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet. Three sensoreyes
wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top of his lid.
No one at The Enchantment even raises an eyebrow when Kaybe rolls in and
joins me at one of the back booths. Customers are used to seeing unusual folks around
the place.
One night Kaybe and I were chatting in our favorite booth when Recycle Rick
came in carrying a big black garbage bag.. Rick picks up cans and bottles along the
highway. He starts in town and when he gets to the Enchantment he stops in to sort
everything. Then he mooches a ride back to town.
Rick is meticulous. He takes the items out of the big bag one by one, tidies them
up, and sorts them. Then he puts them into smaller plastic bags. He knows all the recycle
rules and regulations.
On the night in question, Recycle Rick came in and set up shop right across from
Kaybe and me. The first item he pulled from the bag was covered with mud. “Yuck,”
said Rick, and wiped away the mud .
“He shouldn’t swear like that,” said Kaybe.
“Yuck,” isn’t a swear word,” I said.
“It certainly is,” said Kaybe. “The Commission on Foul Communication has
banned that word throughout the galaxy. All it would take is a complaint from an alert
cosmic citizen and that guy’s communication license would be jerked, and he’d face a
seventy thousand mazimba fine.”
“Recycle Rick doesn’t have a communication license,” I said.
“Of course he has a communication license,” said Kaybe. “Everyone in the
galaxy has a communication license. Every word you say goes far beyond these walls.
Your words go out into space. Children on other planets could be listening.”
“So, if I say, @#$%^ and someone turns me in, I can be censured by the Galactic
Commission of Foul Communication?”
“No,” said Kaybe.
“Why not?”
“Because ‘@#$%^’ isn’t a swear word.”
“But ‘yuck’ is?”
“Yes, of course, everyone knows that.”
“I didn’t know that, and Recycle Rick certainly doesn’t. Mild mannered Rick
would never swear.”
Just then Rick pulled out an empty tomato juice can from his bag and began
ripping the label off.
Kaybe rotated away and lowered his antennae with their three sensor-eyes to
the table in a gesture of acute embarrassment.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You saw that,” said Kaybe. “He stripped that tin can bare. It’s indecent. I can’t
look.”
“You can look now,” I said, “he put it in a sack. You’re weird.”
Kaybe raised his antennae from the table and winked at me with one of his three
sensor-eyes.”
“You’re jerking me around,” I said.
“Guilty as charged,” said Kaybe.
“So ‘yuck’ is not a swear word?”
“Not in this galaxy.”
“And there’s no Galactic Commission on Foul Communication?”
“Oh there is, but it doesn’t concern itself with words like ‘yuck.’ The Galactic
Commission on Foul Communication deals with such reprehensible terms as ‘federal
regulator,’ ‘plausible deniability,’ ‘social justice,’ ‘politically expedient solutions,’
‘federally mandated diversity,’ ‘combatant rendition,’ ‘enhanced interrogation
techniques,’ and the like.”
“People on Earth use those terms all the time and the Galactic Commission on
Foul Language has never done anything about it,” I said.
“You live on a third-world world,” said Kaybe. “The commission doesn’t waste its
efforts on backward planets like Earth.”
“Lucky for us,” I said.
“If you say so,” said Kaybe.”

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,