MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
Hitler: World’s most famous vegetarian.
Jesus: Messiah with the purtiest mouth.
Seven: Most charismatic number.
Velcro: Most functional fastener in the universe.
E = Mc2: Sexiest equation.
Icebergs: Most obvuious threat to the Merchant marine.
Ben Gay: Most unfortunately named topical ointment.
Doom Patrol: Most misunderstood hero team in the DC universe.
April: Cruelest month.
Nonsensical Hyperboles: most meaningless form of rhetoric.
2.A BAKER DOESN’T NEED TO MAKE A LOT OF DOUGH
Godfather–can I sit?
Can I speak?
I know you don’t like to be bothered on the day of your daughter’s
wedding, but I’ve got some things I gotta get off my chest.
Anyhoo, me and my buddies was havin’ a drink down at the Pick-Rick,
and I was sayin, “Put the Courvorsier on the lower shelf where the
WORKING MAN can reach it, iGod!” I’ll tellya what WE need–WE need
ANOTHER war. Kids today are soft and yellow. A good scrap’ll put some
lead in their pencils, by jingo.
But not according to my Son-in-Law. He marries my daughter and
promises to support her and guess what–come to find out, SHE’s
pregnant, HE’s on unemployment, and they’re living on food stamps!
Tellya the truth, this is the first I heard of it.
It’s a terrible thing, a terrible thing.
Me and my family, we never asked the gummint for one red cent.
Godfather, lets face it–if poor people aren’t sturdy enough to beg or
smart enough to steal then they should starve.
The world has too many people as it is, by cracky.
Time was when you’d go to your Godfather and he’d take care of yuh–am I right?
My Son-in-Law, he’s been to college, see, and so he thinks he’s a
Harvard man. He comes home spouting all this nut talk about how we
oughta spend less on the space program and more on the poor. I says to
him, Don’t give me that bushwa about how we spend too much on the
military, Sonny Jim. We NEED the military because it ALREADY costs me
66 dollars to fill the tank of my SUV, for criyi.
I says to him, I says, Say, howzabout more big fat honkin’ tax breaks
for the people who actually work for a living–people like ME! Tellya
the truth, I think I’m the only person in the world who actually PAYS
Furthermore, I tells him, I’m sick of your cholera-palsied,
pellagra-weakened, kwashiorkor-bellied roustabouts mooching off the
public trough. They who do not work shall not eat. John Smith said it
and you’ve got to give him credit, for a son-of-a-gun-of-a-gunner was
he. You read about that in your fancy history books, Brainiac?
Furthermore, I asks him, why the hell can’t these people speak
English? It was good enough for Jesus and it’s good enough for me! My
grampa didn’t come to this country jibber-jabbering in Catalan and
expecting Uncle Sucker to give him a fat paycheck! No siree, he rolled
up his sleeves and went to WORK, by jiminy!
And another thing–these rap stars with their expensive limos and
their drug habits–who died and left THEM in charge? Me, I love that
old-time Sinatra. Or maybe Der Bingle.
This whole country’s going to hell in a handbasket, what with Beaver
and Buffcoat and Madonna and 50 Per Cent. We don’t need gay marriage
and flag burning. We need STRAIGHT marriage and FAG burning.
Godfather, let’s face it–these people–they are not like us.
They are animals.
And I’m afraid my daughter has made a terrible mistake.
And so this is the favor I ask of you.
Give my Son-In-Law a job. Perhaps in a bakery.
Although to tell you the truth–he already HAS a loaf in the oven.
Forgive my levity, Godfather.
I wish you many happy returns of the day.
Dear Fucky McFuck:
Your accusations are A WHOLE HEAP OF MISCHIEVOUS NONSENSE. Your
behgavior is TEXTBOOK EMO. I think a DOG, a PARROT, a ROBOT, a CHIMP–
even a MENTAL INVALID could do a better job than you. My advice: Put
down your National Enquirer and actually pretend to do some work. I’m
sorry if I don’t write in SHORT, DECLARATIVE, ONE-SENTENCE PARAGRAPHS
so you can read this without moving your lips. Not to be unkind, but
you are slower than a MONKEY ON DOPE. And trying to stop you when
you’re on one of your tirades is like THROWING PEBBLES AT A CHARGING
RHINOCEROUS. I understand that your comprehension of your job is, at
best, SHALLOW and, as a result, you are FULL OF ATTITUDE. This does
not mean that you are therefore entitled to behave like the GENGHIS
KHAN OF THE INTERNET. Some may be inclined to humor your WRETCHED
BLUBBERING. Personally, I believe you to be A MISERABLE SPECIMEN OF
WRECKED HUMANITY. Your HOOLIGAN REPRESENTATIONS, IRRESPONSIBLE
FABRICATIONS, and DELICIOUSLY INFANTILE FANTASIES OF DESTRUCTION
reveal you to be a HOPEFUL and PERPETUALLY THIRSTY ALCOHOLIC who
probably has a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream in the file cabinet
under D for Drinky-Poo. I, for one, am not one to indulge in COARSE
JOLLITY WITH TERRIFIED TOADIES. I will fight your idiocy UNTIL MY
A Boy Has Never Wept Nor Dashed a Thousand Kim
A kick in the butt
A Track in the Dirt
Ah Please Papa
Any Major Dude
Arnold the Pig
Benny at the Wheel
Blabber and Smoke
Buzzard on a buzzsaw
Call Me Rusty
Care Bear Stare
Chug ‘Em Down
Coonie Up a Gum Stump Shoo Fly Shoo
Corn Syrup Uber Alles
Cream of Tobacco Soup
Crushing Your Head
Dead Dog in a Carnival Costume
Deadbeat Dad and his Soon-to-be-Starving Neglected
Dingos Stole My Baby
Drivin On Nine
Exclamation Point and the Hysterians
Fast and Furious
Fifty dollars and time served
Flowers and Grief
Four Roses And A Thorn
Fun Is Fun
Get Off Me Paw, Yer Crushin My Smokes
Habanero Suppository Surprise
Heavy Metal Thunder
High School Education and the Parking Lot Attendants
Hominy Wishes And Corn Likker Dreams
I Heart My Cow
Kiss My Grits
Let the Fraggles Play
Li’l Abner & the Mattress Testers
Long Neck Bottles
Lovers of Today
Lump and the Lumpkins
Maybe, Maybe Not
Me Grimlock, King
No Full Moves
No Hobo and Poboe
No Photo ID No Service
Oyer & Terminer
Pandemonium Running Wild
Paw Ain’t No Kin to You
Pop and the Tarts
Power of Greyskull
Rabble And The Rousers
Raise the Roof
Sit, Ubu, Sit
Squirrel Brain Pie
Streets of Laredo
The Ass Harvesters
The Beverly Hellbillies
The Coma Bums
The Cowboy Lepers
The Dance Crashers.
The Dance of Joy
The Floating Outhouse Logs
The Leather Boyz
The Lost Coyotes
The Master Cylinder
The One-Eyed Hillbillies
The Ornery Coyotes
The Potato-Seed Eaters
The Pushbroom Zombies
The Red Devils
The Tourette-Dart Band
The Ultimate Warrior
Train I Ride
Train To Nowhere
Why Cousins Shouldn’t Marry
Ayds Mama and the Crystal Meth Diet Revolution
The Costco Greeters
The Cockfight Brokers
Chloral Hydrate and the Mickeys
Birmingham Church Bombers
LD 100 Au-Go-Go
Drop Your Cocks and Grab Your Socks
Two Hours of Pushing Broom
Tongue In Mouth
Bowling for Dollars
Positive Wasserman Jones
Keep Yore Hand On That Plow
The Booze Brothers
Beer For My Horses
The Snopes Clan
The Jew Punchers
Fat Boy’s New and Used Autos
Shiny Happy People
Scraping Cletus Off the Wheel
Gotta Drain Mah Lizard
Chiggers Ripped My Flesh
Boss Hogg Foilers
Red State Zombies
Gummy and the Stumps
Three-Fingered Mo and the Scarecrows
Smack Crack and Pot Make the World Go Round
When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Outhouse
Peckerhead and His Feral Hogs
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Porky and the Chops
Firewood for Sale
Non Compost Mentis
Chubby and the Chubb Group
The Four Beers for Breakfast Club
The Oxycontin Five
“Big Don” Trump and His Short Fingered Vulgarians
Big Barn Boring
Muttley and the Trash Dogs
Thousand Yard Stare
The Ransom of Red Chimp
Jumbo’s Colostomy Bag
Doucheland Uber Alles
Spitback and the Methodone Wranglers
Ask Me About My Meth Lab
Jug band Mujiks
One of the newspapers headlined it, rather poetically, A MIDSUMMER DAY’S MADNESS.
According to them, it went down roughly like this.
“I’m tired,” the tall, cadaverous white man said as he entered the
still-hissing subway train at the Haven stop. He was
heavily bundled in a long black hooded overcoat even though
it was the dead of summer and 92 in the shade and even
the normally cool tunnel of the subway station was
weeping moisture from its cobbled brick walls. “I’m tired,”
he said, according to witnesses at the scene, then
took out a machete and began menacing a sweaty teenaged girl in a pink
“I’m TIRED!” he said, as he backed her into a corner of the subway tunnel.
Just then a light flared and a young, shavetailed
and very no-nonsense Transit Cop jumped out of the token booth,
and just as quickly The Tired Man, still holding on to his machete,
took a flying jump across the tracks to the platform on the opposite
jumped off the platform and onto the tracks. The Transit Cop,
a chunky guy who ran with jackhammer steps, gave chase, but The Tired
Man ran into a tunnel where his black coat blended in
with the unlit interior. The Transit Cop
decided not to follow in after him. He was alone and had
dropped his flashlight and there were too many
unpredictable variables in following an armed suspect
into a dark tunnel. So he went back to the the platform, took the girl’s name,
interviewed witnesses, made notes for when he’d write up his report and
wondered if The Tired Man was the same freak who had
been terrorizing passengers at the Townville station.
He supposed he would check it out when he got back to
About a quarter mile into the tunnel The
Tired Man climbed up a rusty ladder, its metal
prongs like staples impressed in the cobbled wall,
emerged from a manhole on Skid Road and shambled to
his boarding-house room above a disreputable nightclub
where, every weekend evening, young people gathered to listen
to amateurish four-piece pop ensembles and underaged
three-piece heavy metal devotees as their made their Visigothic
assaults on the Western Music Tradition. He squeezed in his wax
earplugs so he could nap before the night shift. It was 4PM.
The Transit Cop got back to the station at about 4:15PM.
At 5PM, in an interrogation room with a single light and a single
wooden chair, he proceeded to beat the tar out of a
fourteen-year-old black kid named Tyrell who had gotten drunk,
stolen a Cadillac, driven it across the street, and
wrecked a police cruiser. The boy was unhurt. When they
tested him on the breathalizer he blew .29. Needless
to say, he was practically incoherent. As the Transit
Cop beat him with a nightstick rolled up in a
newspaper, he was careful to avoid the head, for he
well knew the risks of brain damage associated with
drunken concussions. As he placed a well-aimed kick at
the black beanpole’s skinny ribs, he worried about The
Tired Man. It was rare for this type of subway felon
to be white. He was more likely to be a loner, not the
kind of person who would drunkenly brag of his
exploits to his friends. How do you catch a man who
had no friends who were willing to rat him out? He
hauled the black kid up and made him sit down in the
chair because he believed he had made his point. “Stay
there,” he bellowed, and left the room to call for an
ambulance to take the kid to the hospital for x-rays.
He worried because he still didn’t have idea one of
how to find The Tired Man. It was a major black eye,
the press would likely be all over it, and the Old Chief—
an irascible Irishman–would not be happy.
The Bartender took off his heavy coat, undressed,
showered, put on a jacket, a freshly-starched white
shirt and tie, and a neatly-pressed pair of black
dress pants; pilled on his thin grey socks and slid on
his black-tasselled loafers, then proceeded to the front
door of the popular nightclub Depot Provera.
He took out his ring of keys, and unlocked the nightclub.
He turned on the exterior lights, even though it was only about 6:30PM.
He turned on the interior lights, took the chairs down from the tables,
looked at his watch—it was 6:45PM–then took his place at his station
behind the bar.
The Transit Cop decided to play a hunch. The Old Chief wanted
The Tired Man jugged and all was fair in love and war, so at about
11PM that same night he went to the Townsville hospital and visited Tyrell.
The kid, needless to say, was startled when he awoke from a dreamless drunken
sleep to see looming three feet above his head the face of the Paddy
who had sucker-punched him that afternoon. “What you want?”
said Tyrell, and looked ready to cry. “I ain’t said nothin’!”
“I know, Tyrell,” said the Transit Cop. “I’ve been asking around.
About you. You’re a smart kid. No arrests.” He paused for
effect. “But smart kids can sometimes do dumb things.”
He paused again. “Smashing up a cop car on a DWI can
get you a long haul in Juvie, but I can make it all go away,”
he said in a sing-song, “if you do me just. One. Little. Favor.”
The kid looked at him with bleary dislike.
The Transit Cop proceeded to describe The Tired Man. “Ask
around. Ask your Crew. If you find out for me who this guy is
you can walk outta here in a week and go straight home.”
The kid tried to spit on the floor but missed and instead
stained his bed sheet with pink spittle. “Why should I help you?”
Tyrell said. It was a bluff. The Transit Cop played him. “I know
you got a Crew meets at the Mall and plans subway shakedowns,”
he said. “I got nothin’ to say about that. But you gonna let some
white guy come in and mess with your turf?” “Hell, no!” said the kid.
“Das right, makes us all look bad,” the Cop half-muttered. “Find out
who this mutt is and you get a get-out-of-jail-free card.” “A whozit?”
said Tyrell. “A pass. I’ll see you walk on the DWI. I ain’t had
time to write it up yet,” he lied. “I been too busy chasing
some crazy-ass machete motherfucker.” The kid smiled,
dry-mouthed. “Lemme see what I can do,” he mumbled.
“You do that,” said the Cop. “Today.” He gave the kid his card.
But Tyrell never called him. Days passed. Meanwhile,
the Transit Cop had applied for a transfer to the Vice Squad
and by the end of summer he was on the street mostly
shaking down low-level drug dealers
for poker money which he invariably ended up losing, night
after night, to the Old Chief. During these sessions
the Old Chief complained incessantly about his nephew, a drunk
who had gotten entangled with a crack-addicted Dominican prostitute who’d
claimed she was carrying his baby. “The man is always the last to find out,”
said the gruff Old Chief, and the former Transit Cop, who owed his
promotion to the Old Chief, tersely replied “Tell me about it,” and
tried to remain deadpan as he surveyed yet another garbage hand.
The game was Pot-Limit Omaha and, if he didn’t know better, he’d
swear the Old Chief was dealing with a marked deck. He tried to ignore
Mattingly and O’Shea, two other Transit Cops who were in on the game,
and wondered if he should ignore the conventional wisdom and
try just this once to draw to a flush.
“Ever find that skel?” said beefy Mattingly.
“Which one?” said skinny O’Shea.
“Our old friend The Tired Man” said Mattingly, casting a
meaningful look at the ex-Transit Cop.
Christ, he muttered— since joining Vice he hadn’t thought
twice about the Tired Man. It wasn’t his beef. Ancient history.
He’d hoped the guy had either moved on had or been murdered
by one of his would-be victims.
He tried to focus on his hand but by now it was a losing battle.
He was just about tapped out. He needed lots of money, and fast.
Tomorrow night, he decided,
he would pay a friendly visit to the owners of the
new nightclub down on the Skid Road. He’d gotten
vague reports of the bouncers making drug deals and
figured that might be good for a fat shakedown of five large.
That would just about cover his car payment, he thought brightly,
and longed for the day when he’d ditch the Buick and Taco Bell
and move up to a Rolls and chateaubriand. What was that joke?
“If you’re hung like a horse you don’t need a Rolls to pick up chicks.”
He chuckled through puffy lips. His poker buddies had heard him laugh
so rarely that they took this for a tell and folded their hands and just
this once he actually ended up winning the pot. Maybe the
nightclub business could wait, he thought.
By mid-October, Tyrell had had no luck with the members of his crew. Not one of
them knew or had ever heard of The Tired Man. A week later
he got sent upstate to a Juvenile Detention Facility.
The bored Bartender listened to one of his regulars gassing.
It was Halloween. The drunken white kid with the red hair and
the map of Ireland all over his frog face complained for the
umpteenth time and with all his might about his Dominican
girlfriend and how she disrespected him. The Bartender rolled
his eyes. The kid stopped sniveling and glared. “At least you
can PRETEND to listen, maan,” he said, slurring.
“I’m tired,” said the Bartender. “I’m tired.”
And he thought about someday maybe going back to fetch the
gleaming machete he had lost that hot summer day in the subway
tunnel. And he smiled.
“Wass so funny?” said the kid, still annoyed, and using
the querulous tone of voice popular with lovesick drunks.
“Freshen her up?” he said to the kid.
The kid dry-snorted. “Y’ got any gak?’
The Bartender thought a moment, then replied.
He made a serious frown.
The kid backed away so fast he knocked over what was left of his
Jameson’s. He threw a crumpled wad of bills onto the bar and backed
out the door of Depot Provera.
“I’m tired,” the Bartender thought. “I’m tired.”