MODERN WISDOM NUMBER 197 MARCH 2015

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
NUMBER 197
MARCH 2015
Copyright 2015 Francis DiMenno
dimenno@gmail.com
http://www.dimenno.wordpress.com

 1. MODERN WISDOM PRESENTS: THE MODERN WISDOM DYSLEXICON

 ARMADILLO. A cross between a pig and a cockroach. My idea of good eatin’.

AUTOMATION. Faster, stupider.

AZERBAIJAN. A country only Iran could love.

BAAL. A pretty nice guy, when stacked up against Jehovah. 

 BABEL, TOWER OF. See UNITED NATIONS.

 BABY ON BOARD. I got a sticker for my car. It says ‘I HAVE NO CHILDREN AND MY LIFE IS MEANINGLESS SO GO AHEAD AND RUN ME OFF THE FUCKING ROAD.”

 BACON. Fatback. The only meat that fights back.

 BAGPIPES. The sound of Cicadas emerging from their nests for the first time in seventeen years and raring to suck with their soft mouth parts the fluids from living deciduous trees are, by way of contrast, soothing.

 BATS. Their parents think they look so cute when they’re asleep.

 BEARS. If you, like most Americans, have a big brown bear chained to a stake in your back yard, you won’t want to be without plenty of Bruin Litter, in the 500 pound and the new two-ton carload size!

BEVERLY HILLS. Place from which the dolt Zeitgeist trickles down regrettably fast.

  1. HEARTWARMING INSPIRATIONAL GUIDEPOSTS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

 1. I’m thinking that maybe if Jesus looked a little bit more like Groucho Marx, maybe Pilate would have gotten a laugh or two, and he wouldn’t have been so quick to crucify Him.

 2. You know that story about Greyfriers Bobby, the Skye Terrier who kept vigil at his master’s graveside for fourteen years? I’m thinking–couldn’t they have put him to work or something?

3. Sissyman Jones. Sissyman Jones. Why did I have to be born with a name like Sissyman Jones? I’d like to change it to something like “He-Man Brawn”. But I’m afraid.

4. For some reason my little boy was very diet-conscious, so instead of leaving a treat for Santa this year, he left a darling little note. This childish scrawl read as follows: “No cake for you, Fatty.” Only trouble is, he is 36 years old.

  1. God set me on his lap and told me it was about time for me to get ready to take that long dirt nap. I just closed my eyes and lulled Him into a sense of false complacency, then quick of a sudden I got up scratching and biting and ran down the long hall to the front door of the hospital. Not so fast, Lord!

 6. You call it a “power outage,” but, Gosh Darn it, I call it a power OUTRAGE! You ever try to dispose of sixteen garbage bags full of dead baby chicks because the Blankety-Blank electric company can’t seem to prevent big old trees from falling over in a storm and knocking down the Blim-Blamed power lines for seventy-two hours? I would sue them, sue them all–except I figure that if the manager of my apartment building ever got wind of my chicken mill, he’d probably terminate my lease. He’s already madder’nell about the “weirdo” who left sixteen bags of rotting baby chicks to make a lovely sizzling noise in his brand new incinerator!

 7. My Daddy isn’t perfect. For from it. A fact which nobody knows better than him and Jesus. Him, Jesus, and maybe also the District Attorney for Suffolk County, the Honorable Thomas J. Spota.

 8. “What a nuisance,” I thought, as once, every hour on the hour, I fed quarters into a meter to avoid a parking ticket. But then I thought of the quarters as Communion wafers that I was force-feeding to a metal heathen–and from then on I just couldn’t stop laughing!

 9. Whenever I go out walking, I always follow the example of blessed Saint Francis, and greet the denizens of the natural world by name. “Hello, Miss Chickadee,” I say one of my gaily fluttering friends. “Hello Mr. Sparrow,” I say to another. And finally I say, “Hello, Mr. Finch,” to the asylum attendant, as he leads me back to my cell.

  1. My mischievous four-year old granddaughter, Rhoda, is adorable. Just the other day, she lisped, “I no set fires, Dranma.” Yet the local police tell me an entirely different story. The little scamp!

 11. Just recently, totally on a whim, I decided to visit the local dog pound. Before I knew it, I had adopted an adorable Beagle pup. I decided to name him “Please God Grant Me My Heart’s Desire.” That way, every time I call him to me…I’m also calling Him…to me!!

 12. I explained to my inquisitive grandson that indoor plumbing is magic, kind of like God, as a matter of fact. The tank filled with water is our faith, the flush valve is old man Satan, and after the bowl is flushed, prayer sends the water of our faith in Jesus through the filler valve–and restores our serenity! He acted confused and told me he didn’t get it. I’m not sure I do, either. I guess I’ll figure it out by praying to God–or, as I like to call it, “jiggling the handle!”

 13. Every farmer knows that in order to harvest crops at exactly the right time, you need the right weather conditions and a lot of patience in case things don’t work out the way you want them to. Which is why I sell vacuum cleaners door to door. The rug can always do with a good sweeping! The way I see it, the dirt in the rug is our sin, and the electricity is God, and the vacuum cleaner is Jesus, and when He died on the cross, that vacuum bag was emptied–right onto Pontius Pilate’s head! Haw haw haw! You shoulda seen the look on his face!

 14. My youngest daughter has a talent for baking, though I wish she wouldn’t do it on a Sunday, because that’s the day when I hide my wine bottle in the oven.

 15. Grampa says that any boy can grow up to be President. But then again, Grampa also says that any Negro who eats peas with a fork ought to be horsewhipped in the town square.

 16. All a soldier really wants is for a civilian to walk up to him and say “Thank You”. And Mister, there better not be no smirk on your face when you do it, because those men are trained to kill. Sometimes I think that I would like to be a soldier too!

17. We are a praying family. My mother is a praying woman. My father is a praying man. And my new pet “Manty” is a praying mantis!

 18. What if, instead of fighting the fact that I am growing older and will someday reside, utterly forgotten, in some bone orchard, I were instead to simply resign myself to my inevitable demise and make peace with all the people to whom I once behaved so harshly to? On the other hand, as a wise police dog once told me in a dream, you can wish in one hand…and spit in the other!

 19. I categorically refuse to own a devilish MP3 player because I do not like in the least the idea that Nancy Sinatra and Nat King Cole would actually be allowed to share the same device. Say what you will, but many good Christians happen to agree with me on this.

 20. When I was very young, I had my very first sleepover at Bozo’s house. I was so excited that I ran over to him and said, “You know, Bozo, I really really love you!” He pushed me away and said, “That’s a Bozo no-no.” Just then, the police burst down the door. Poor Bozo!

 3. HOLD YOUR MARKERS, PLEASE!

Blaze Kozol spent close to half a year shaving the side of a wooden Indian Head.

 It was, and was not, Mr. Schwenke’s idea. He was the seventh grade shop teacher at General O’Connell Junior High. For some reason, they had an Indian head as their Mascot. The flat wooden Indian Head was the first project students were required to finish for Thursday morning wood shop. It was not intended to take five whole months to complete.

 But Blaze Kozol was seldom in attendance on Thursday mornings. One time a classmate offered him a bunch of old Readers’ Digests if he would but show up on the following Thursday. Blaise did so. He was a big fan of Reader’s Digest; particularly the older ones, from the 1930s and 1940s, which had plain covers and looked more like chapbooks than magazines. There were all sorts of fascinating articles on topics such as why it wasn’t a good idea to eat in certain restaurants, and updates on what was going on in India, Germany, and Virginia. Blaze liked the comforting tone of the articles. He somehow felt that the adults who were in charge knew what they were doing, in spite of anything the Hippies might say. The year was 1970. Older kids would pronounce the name of the year just past with a leer. The world “nineteen” would come out normal, but with a lubricious glissando in singing the world “six-tay NINE”.

 Blaze didn’t get it. But then again, he was naïve about a lot of things.  

 Blaze lived with his mother, who was divorced. They lived alone in a three room apartment in the Penfort Street Housing Projects. She would often tell him he was the man of the family, which made him uncomfortable, because he had just turned thirteen, and hadn’t even started shaving yet, and, anyway, he didn’t feel particularly manly.

 The reason Blaze was absent so often from school on Thursday mornings had a good deal to do with his dislike of the school in general. 

 General O’Connell School was in a neighborhood formerly dominated by Germans, Irish, Italians and Poles. Many of its teachers fell into one of these classifications. The school seemed, in its student body, to be dominated by bullies and snobs. The teachers didn’t seem to care very much. They were just hanging on until they could earn their pensions and retire. The school administrators tended to leave the children to resolve their own disputes, which was just fine with Blaze. The high school Principal was a woman named Mary Saint John, who tended to favor the snobbish kids, who were seldom punished for any infraction short of sheer vandalism. The working-class students, Blaze was interested to discover, bore the brunt of such punishments as she was willing to dole out. The school had no janitor, as far as Blaze could tell, and in the winter the rooms might be suffocating and hot, entailing the opening of snow-jammed windows, or freezing cold, entailing the closing of those same windows. The entire school–a medium-sized two-story dirty ivory-yellow classical brick edifice dating from the 1890s–had a defeated air, as if all the good times had passed it by a long time ago. The Inverted C-shaped portal was a maw into which students disappeared. So Blaze thought. What came out he didn’t care to think about. Either babies, or robots, or some combination of the two. He was a dreamy child, much given to fantastic thoughts such as this.

 Blaze frankly disliked the wood shop class. The very idea of it nauseated him. All those wood shavings reminded him of the cedar chip litter he put in the cage of his hamster. He bore no ill will toward Mr. Schwenke, who was hearty and wore the collar of his blue shirt open. Unlike the other teachers, he wore no tie–“It might get caught up in the machinery” and no rings–“They might get snagged on a saw and that’s a terrible way to lose a finger, I’ve seen it happen too many times.” He also had hairy red arms. You could tell, because he always kept his shirt sleeves rolled up, even in the winter.

 But the actual reason Blaze was always absent on Thursday mornings was that Wednesday night was Bingo Night at Saint Theresa’s, the local parish church.

 Other than her usual cigarettes and wine, Blaze’s mother permitted herself two luxuries. One was that she always ate steak on Sunday (in spite of the disapproving looks she got at the local market when she used her food stamps to pay for them) and the other was that she always went to the weekly Bingo game at Saint Theresa’s. (Her younger sister was just the same way, at least about the Bingo, only she was still married and lived on the South Side.)  

 Bingo night was popular with a great many of the older women in the neighborhood of Venango Street and the immediate vicinity. The Projects were about a two miles walk away from  the church, but that didn’t deter Blaze’s mother,  Florentyna, a woman in her early 30s.

 Before the beginning of Bingo night and the long trek there through the winter snow, Blaze would get to watch shows such as Nanny and the Professor. He was excited to observe that that night’s episode concerned an escaped hamster. Midway through the Courtship of Eddie’s Father, he and his mother left the house. She wanted to get to the Bingo Hall early to get a good table. The capacious basement room of the Church was usually packed full on Wednesdays nights. Endless rows of tables were spread out with young and old women and, here and there, a few old men.

 Play began. The announcer, who spoke from what seemed to be a far off place through a scratchy microphone, would intone the letters, followed by the numbers. Blaze noticed that one old woman, with a smoldering cigarette butt hanging from her toothless mouth, was keeping track of ten cards, and that she used a special marker which she dabbed at each square as its number was called. When, as often happened, an excited voice yelled “Bingo!” the announcer would respond, with a cadenced snatch of song that sounded almost like a lullaby, “Bingo! Bingo has been called! Hold your markers, please!” And then, in a sly undertone, he would say, “Someone might have made a mistake.”

 Blaze understood that this was his mother’s special night out, and that she would prefer it if he found something else to do. After twenty minutes, Blaze was glad enough to escape all the smoke and noise. Outside, in the cold winter air, thick shining opaque and heavy icicles hung down from the Gothic roof of the red brick cathedral. Blaze was surprised though hardly astonished to find two other children his own age loitering outside of the church. The boy was a dark-haired kid named Carmen whom he vaguely recognized from school; the girl, obviously his younger sister, was called Coco.

 “What are you doing out here?” said Carmen.

 “What do you think?” said Blaze. “I’m eavesdropping on you.”

 “What’s that supposed to mean?” said Coco, with a nasty sneer. Carmen was one of the bullies; it looked like Coco was choosing to go the snobbish route.

 “It means I’m listening in on your conversation,” said Blaze.

 Carmen said “You can’t talk to my sister like that,” and, before Blaze could say anything, Carmen pushed him into a snowbank. The brother and sister ran back into the Bingo hall, laughing.

 Blaze lay there in the snow and looked up at the stars. They seemed to be distant winking giants on a cold sky, but Carmen well knew that they were, as his seventh grade science textbook would put it, “flaming balls of incandescent gas.” He pondered this fact for a good while, as steaming breath escaped from his lips and nose. 

 It was then that he got to thinking about God. “What if,” he dared to think, for perhaps the first time ever, “what if there is no God? Then how will people be punished? Who will be held to account? For wars and stuff.  And for minor stuff that nobody notices, like twisting a dog’s ear, or setting a hamster loose from its cage to hide behind the stove and nibble on greasy cracklings?”

 Blaze was not a subtle thinker. He rapidly proceeded from What If There Is No God to There Must Be No God.

 This revelation horrified him. He liked to think there was someone in control, even if it was only a Divine form of Bingo Barker who randomly decided one’s fate by means of shouted letters and numbers. 

 He thought about the implications of a world without God until his ears grew cold. Then he went back to the church. He would have liked to have discussed this new revelation with his mother, but she was in the grip of an abject Bingo frenzy and he knew better to bother her. He looked around the hall to see if he could spot Carmen and Coco. He couldn’t; but he did see a woman who looked very much like Carmen’s mother. He wanted to go up to her and say that her son pushed him into a snow bank, but then she would say something like “Good. You probably deserved it.” Then at school, Blaze would tell Carmen that his mother was a rude woman, and they would have to fight. Maybe until one of them died. 

 Blaze went to the Boy’s bathroom and made water in the urinal. Then, thoughtfully, he clogged the sink with a bar of soap and let the water from both faucets fill it in a full furious blast. He watched with satisfaction as it slopped over.

 Twenty minutes later, an angry red-faced man accosted his mother. “Your boy here,” he said, “flooded the bathroom!” His mother looked up from her Bingo cards. “Did you?” Blaze said “No, I didn’t.” The man said, “I saw him go in there.” His mother looked at him and said, “You’re not lying, are you?” “No!” said Blaze, feigning deep indignation. His mother said, “Well, if my boy says he didn’t do it, then he didn’t.”

 The man went away, unsatisfied and unconvinced.  

 Blaze fingered a buffalo nickel in his pocket. He thought to himself, “Heads, there is a God. Tails, there’s not.”

 He flipped the coin.

 Heads.

 He stared for awhile at the Indian head, then put it back in his pocket.

 His mother hollered Bingo!

 She went home that night with 36 dollars in her purse. The rent on their three rooms was 40 dollars.

 As Blaze was lying in bed, he wondered why an all-powerful God would bother with the likes of him. He pushed this thought from his mind, and shivered under his blankets, waiting, in vain, to fall easily asleep. 

 4. SPORTSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania should really be called Sportsylvania.  I never fit in too well there. The western part of the state was, and is, obsessed with sports. I am a sometime observer of basketball, and baseball, and (especially) boxing. I could tell you stories of my own athletic triumphs, or lack thereof. About the time I tried to carry the football down the field using the same play three times and got clobbered each time. About the time I stood frozen, holding a basketball for more than five seconds, and got called out. About the time I boxed a retarded kid and almost got completely thrashed. But then there was the time at the high school track meet that I came in third in the two mile event, putting our school ahead by a crucial point. We rallied, and we won! And it was all due to me!

 So, sure, I like sports and tales of manly accomplishment (Let’s be honest: nobody really cares about women in sports) as much as the next guy. But enough is enough. Some people love tales of military derring-do and their eyes tear up whenever they see a flag. Usually they are service veterans. The military gets you when you are at a young and impressionable age. In a way, it’s like college for drunks. Not that college students don’t drink. All the weak culls who are too spindly or despicably feeble for military service become obsessed with drugs. Or they become intellectuals, which is much the same thing, only more intelligent, I suppose. Or maybe they’re really into movies and movie stars. Or chess. Or poker. Or politics. Or they like to paint in oils. Or read a lot of trashy novels. Police procedurals seem very popular. Tales of oddball private eyes. Suspense thrillers in which the outcome is preordained, and the good guys win, though…at what a cost! I guess the point is that everyone has some sort of hobby, or interest, or avocation. So we needn’t be too snooty about what brings enjoyment to other people. But sometimes I think that this sports thing is getting out of hand.

 On the way over to work (the train was on time even though we had three inches of snow last night) I got to thinking (it might have been even earlier in the morning, as I slogged my way through my routine, which includes sleepily opening the refrigerator, closing the refrigerator, retrieving my cereal bowl from the sink, opening the refrigerator again, pouring the milk and going to my room and eating the cereal, and making sure the thermostat in my room has been turned down) that maybe sports partisanship is actually a form of mental illness.

 Sportsylphrenia, to coin a term.  

 (I then undress, and reluctantly take my shower, on those days when I feel as though I cannot get by without taking a shower; such days are generally Monday; Wednesday; Friday This may, in fact, have been a shower insight.You know how you step into the tub with the fizzing shower- head suddenly bucking on, and you let the water run for a minute until the water is streaming out at you steaming hot, and yet there is still cold water on the bottom of the tub, so that shocks you awake, and there is very hot water pounding you on the shoulder, and that also shocks you awake? I have always found the shower very conducive to thinking my odd thoughts.)

 Sportsylphrenia  An undue fascination with, and belief in, the magic of sports. You have noted, perhaps, how people rooting for their teams seem compelled to comment upon their comparative progress. How they seem to have a magical, and nearly psychotic belief, in their own far-off ability to affect the progress of the game? How their thoughts revolve around the doings of their far off Olympian heroes–namely, their favorite sports figures, or totems? When people are unusually devout about saints, and spend all their waking hours in observance of their faith, it is known as religious mania. It is expected of extremely old people that they be, or become, particularly devout. Sportsylphrenia, I reckon, is suffered by the very young and very old alike. In my younger days I, too, suffered from this malady. But now I line myself up with the despicable intellectuals. You ever notice how these weak sisters pretend to enjoy sports, perhaps in an ironic fashion? But you won’t see them laying their money down. No—that’s the mark of the true sports devotee. 

 (After I take the shower I dress and somehow manage to launch myself out the door, dressed, as is the fashion in this weather, in a stout puffy coat with an undercoat; a knit cloth hat, and gloves. After clearing the aforementioned three inches of snow off my car, I lurch and lumber slowly from out of the driveway, remembering, belatedly, to turn on my lights.) 

 I had barely enough time to catch the train. I arrived at the station not unusually late. Thirteen minutes early, as a matter of fact. But I spent a good ten minutes scraping the space in front of my car to find the number of the space. With a big plastic shovel which I keep in the front seat. I failed. (The thrill of victory—the agony of defeat.) But then, not wanting to get a ticket for the four dollars and having to “waste” a check in paying it, to say nothing of a postage stamp, I circled back to my car. A woman noticed me scraping with my shovel and said “Look at you”. Which is something, it seems, that women have taken lately to saying. She also informed me that if I couldn’t find the number of my space it was probably because I was parked too far back. She was right. Finally, I did find the number. 261. (If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There is no substitute for victory. Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.) I looked at my phone. 6:38. So I hurriedly paid the parking fee. To pay it, my favored method is to take two dollar bills and fold them lengthwise in thirds, push them through the slot, and then repeat the process. It generally takes about a minute or two. I then run like an athlete, like the runner I once was, up the 33 rusty steps to the ramp which leads to the train platform. On the way up, a man stumbles. He is wearing a green coat, and his balding head was bare. Are you all right I said, and made to support him in case he fell backwards. “I’m fine,” said he, and I pressed onward. (Sportsmanship isn’t dead.  Teamwork counts. We are all in this together. I still have a mostly full head of hair.)

 Turns out I needn’t have run. I was there on the platform with a minute or two to spare. (I wonder whether when, in running to catch the train, young men and old men and middle aged men are given to thinking of their athletic days–nearly every healthy man has had them–when to run at a brisk pace was as nothing. Back before the accumulation of what one might, in a parodic mood, refer to as “wisdom fat”. Which puts me in mind of the fact that Sportsylphenia might not meet the criteria for major (or even minor) mental disorders in the DSM, possibly because it appears to be seasonal. But true sufferers from this affliction–which they defensively cherish and even treasure up–suffer from it year-round, since they go from ardently cheering on their grimly serious team when it is engaged in basketball or hockey or baseball or football. Some degenerates are even ardent devotees of—dare I say it?–golf.) 

 The train, when it does arrive, does not stop properly. The last car–the quiet car–is very nearly hanging off the platform. We aren’t permitted to enter via the back door. So we all have to walk down the ramp to the ground level to board there. At least, we were supposed to do so. I, and one other man, circumvent the process by using the drifted snow as a ladder from the platform to the ground, thus avoiding the ramp. Actually, I used the snow. He was younger; less cautious; more heedless; and he jumped.  I grabbed a three-seater on the train and waited. I hoped a woman would sit next to me. I recall thinking, with no small satisfaction, that I was still as limber as a monkey. But then I began thinking of the time when I failed to scale a climbing rock wall erected in the Parking Lot by the local National Guard as a recruiting tool. I was, at the time, only 47 years old. One year too old, as it turns out, to join the National Guard. By the way, war-madness is a big symptom of, or at the very least feeds into, the epidemic known as Sportsylphrenia, which, unlike many mental conditions, is also contagious.) A woman wishes to sit next to me and I gallantly get up and let her have the window seat. I felt glad. Protective. That I was able to give her a portion of my seat. My manly duty. (I think that Sportsylphenia–and, I hasten to add that I am not a medical professional–primarily afflicts males, although some females also acquire the affliction–perhaps, by proxy.) 

 A blind man got on the train. He looked retarded. His big fat lips stuck out and he had a prognathous jaw and looked faintly cretinous. (Sportsylphenia trains us to scorn the weak.) A woman gave up her seat for him. (That is just the sort of thing a woman would do.) The train was very crowded. An Oriental woman sat on the edge of our triple-seater. On the armrest. There was no room for her on the seat. (Sportsylphenia trains us to disregard the needs of women.) The lights went out and the heat failed about thirty minutes into our hour-long trip. (Sportsylphrenia gives us the stamina to stand for half an hour or more in trains, and to walk a mile without tiring, as I attempted to do when I arrived in the train station at 7:41–some 8 minutes late–and saw that there was nobody waiting for the bus. I succeeded. But it took me 24 minutes to walk 1.1 miles of the slippery walkways. Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in.) 

 Well, Doctor, I’m afraid I’m going to have to miss my next appointment. I am going to be out of town at a conference. You know how we all get together and talk shop at those things? I’m thinking maybe I’ll tell them about my theory of Sportsylphenia.

 Then again, maybe I won’t. There might be some people there from…Sportsylvania. 

 5. WE ARE SURROUNDED BY STORIES

 Love makes the world go round, though cynics may sneer, because that is their job.  I was thinking recently of the Honey Bunches of Oats cereal commercial in which the coffee shop slave-woman flawlessly recites off the stuffy businessman’s coffee order while the cartoon bee smugly remarks “That’s not just the coffee talkin’!” (I wish I had some more coffee right now. I only have half a cup, and yet, if I have any more I won’t be able to fall asleep.)

 This brutal Iron Law of Wages scenario would lead to the TV viewer’s fantasy (TV viewers must surely devise their own narratives) of the businessman being so impressed with her memory that he hires her for his firm and soon she’s pulling down big bucks and is wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice and eventually she marries the wealthy businessman and they have several bouncing baby boys but eventually the man feels trapped and says he should have known better to marry a mere coffee shop worker and she goes back to college to get her Master’s degree and divorces him and takes the kids and makes a rather nice living for herself running a chain of coffee shops where, on offer for all employees, along with all the coffee they can bear to drink, would be little bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats.

 That reminds me of a man who met his future wife when they were both working in a Dunkin Donuts. After many fertility treatments they had twin boys. One good, and one evil? Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, other than The Shadow, and I haven’t seen him for awhile, as Cher said of the man who planted a baby in her womb in her exciting narrative “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves.” Of the twin boys, one is a jock and one a musician. Both of whom, I believe, work in a liquor store.

 But here we are getting out of the realm of fiction and into the realm of biography. Damn that Emerson! (“There is properly no history, only biography.”)

 You learn a lot about drunks from working in a liquor store. (He said, in a world-weary voice.) Seems as though hardly a day passes by when you don’t have some sort of disgusting kind of old man make leering insinuations to the female clerks. They’re good on the cash register, because they tend to be more patient. (And not because they’re probably drunk.) The owner likes to keep an eye on things by looking at TV monitors in the back room. He keeps a baseball bat handy. Also a gun. Loaded. (Like his customers!) This reminds me, for some reason, of a song from long ago:

 Take me down to the liquor wagon Lord I need a drink    

Take me down to the liquor wagon I don’t want to think

About her….

 Uh-huh. Love truly does make the world go round.

 And that’s not just the coffee talkin’!

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