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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

BILLY'S GRUFF GOAD



When I lived in Washington State, it seemed that people on the surface were nice enough, but it was common for people to divide up into opposing groups and cliques--conservatives  and liberals, pro-lifers and pro-abortionists, traditionalists and modernists, etc., and we'd find ourselves out protesting on the sidewalks, receiving violent and obscene responses. You could almost feel the vibrations of destructive politics in the otherwise clean air, yet people in general there would be polite and considerate. Political correctness was the norm...or else.

Then we moved to the Ozarks, where people are not only friendly, but will wave a howdy to you from across the street. When we first got here and went into a library and happened to tell the librarian our names and that we had just moved here from Washington, an overhearing man we hadn't noticed before went and opened the door for us when we walked out, and with a sincere smile said to my wife several feet in front of me, "Mrs. Lund, welcome to the Ozarks."

The people here are generally much friendlier than in the politically-correct Northwest, and it's not hard to get used to. And people are more honest here. If they don't like you, they're not afraid to tell you so; and if they do like you they're not too shy to tell you why. They're open and instantly familiar, and although the air here is swarming with allergy-producing pollen, the absence of destructive political vibrations makes it seem pure.

Enter Billy. I transferred here in the postal service, from a Washington workplace where things were relatively quiet, to an Ozark workplace where there was Billy and Brent. These two guys worked next to me and were constantly bickering and commenting back and forth and were a lot of fun to listen to. Things they said would have gotten them fired in Washington, and between times they'd come up with some great lines like, "He'd miss the water if he fell out of a boat." Frequently they'd turn their attention on me, and run me down with all sorts of criticisms in lines so clever that I'd get a kick out of it.

When I slid off our road in an ice storm, who should come with his truck and pull our car back up onto the road but Billy? Yelling at me between the kindnesses, he was always willing to help. When our bathtub drain got clogged up, Billy came over to fix it for us. While there, he cussed so much at me, calling me names, that my kids shot looks at me to see what my reaction would be, and were surprised that I only smiled. Once when a new supervisor transferred in, who didn't know Billy, he overheard Billy threatening me and so gave him a letter of warning, but this is another story.

What Billy did for me was to give me a tougher skin. Over the years I became very used to being
criticized, both seriously and in jest, and it's a healthy way to be. I'm not afraid to speak my mind, nor am I intimidated by others who do. And now, on Facebook or elsewhere, when I run into people so sensitive that they can't bear confronting any differing opinions, and advocate political correctness, they seem so wussy--adult cry-babies. What we need in our society is NOT sensitivity training, but Billy. We'd be strong enough to overcome political correctness if we could be blessed with some good, down-to-earth, Billy-goading.




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Sunday, October 12, 2014

AS IF IT MATTERS



Sugared lips and loopy mamas
Cringe at acts of Mighty Mouse,
As they hide with the Obamas
Deep within their whitewashed house.

Nevermore! the raven chatters,
On the floor! the S.S. cries;
They all run as if it matters,
As the oldest soul among them dies.

Crazy years and crazy seasons
Seasoned with the salt that rhymes;
Subway drivers give their reasons
At the very worst of times.

Stand erect around the fire,
Naked, only clothed by sweat;
Six years now we've heard the liar,
We're as hot as we can get.

Black silent birds seek out the raven,
Nevermore will he call out;
The fire dies, we seek the haven,
We're so sure we're all in doubt.

But then the voice calls from the sky,
Here I come to save the day;
And all the people wonder why
The mouse has only this to say.

Go to sleep my troubled child,
Have good dreams my little one;
Perhaps tomorrow you'll be wild
And this story will be done.


No, I'm not crazy. The above is a nonsense poem, intended to be nothing more than an exercise in meter and rhyme, but although the writing flows and it's fun, the result often ends up meaning more than we think. For instance, Obamas is in there only because it rhymes with mamas. But then, subconsciously they are referred to a couple more times in the poem. Try writing a nonsense poem and see what happens.




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Saturday, October 11, 2014

NIGGER BABIES


Nigger babies were a popular licorice candy when I was a kid. We were innocent then. There was nothing prejudice or corrupt about it. It was good candy.

Nathan, a black man, was a good friend of mine in college in the early 1970's -- a member of our clique of friends who hung around together. He was exceptionally intelligent and spoke as if he were. It was fun to listen to him. We usually ate together in the college cafeteria, and one day he was staring at me across the table and finally said, "When the word 'wistful' was coined, you must have been there."

The other members of the clique were doing others things one afternoon, and Nathan and I went into a corner grocery store together. We looked over the candy and I spotted some nigger babies. I hadn't seen those in years and remarked, "Oh boy," and started grabbing a bunch to buy. 

Nathan looked at me, mildly shocked, and said, "Do you know what those are?"

"Sure," I said, "they're good," piling more into my hand.

Nathan shrugged and we both bought our chosen candies at the counter and walked out, happily munching. Of course we remained the best of friends.

C'mon folks, lighten up. Enjoy the candy.





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For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.


Friday, October 10, 2014

SEX ACCORDING TO DALE


Between my house on 4th Street and the main street downtown in Blaine there was a little playground with a teeter-totter and a large swing. I was somewhere between six and ten years of age then, in the late 1950's, and took pride in my ability to shinny. Not only could I shinny to the top of the swing-set, but I could let go with my hands and hang on with just my legs, and even slide down without using my hands.

One day I shinnied up the swing-set to the top and was enjoying the view when suddenly an incredible feeling radiated from somewhere deep inside my body. Never before had I felt such a sensation, and I hung there in ecstasy with my arms draped over the top of the swing-set. What...was that?!

From then on I visited that playground more often, and enjoyed the view at the top of the swings immensely. Over time, I also learned that much pleasure could come from a tetherball pole, and even from the upstairs railing along our stairway at home. And I'm sure many people silently laughed at watching my discovery that this fantastic feeling could be had even on a side railing of the gymnasium bleachers during a game at school.

My Dad was a Methodist minister, and one evening he and Mom were visiting with some adult friends in our living room. Their conversation was above me, so I was bored, and when I heard a quiet sound on the front porch I looked out the window and saw that my sister Linda had come home from her date. And there, on the porch, right in front of my peeking eyes, she and her boyfriend were kissing! Now I was somehow of the notion that kissing made you pregnant, and was beside myself with worry for my big sister! After all, she was even a preacher's daughter! And when she finally said good-bye to her boyfriend and opened the door and came in, in front of our parents and their shocked guests I blurted out, "You'd better be careful or you're going to get pregnant!"

When we moved and I began going to another school, in Edison, I was happy to see their playground with all sorts of neat equipment, even monkey bars. But my greatest joy was the tall swing-set which gave me countless moments of fascinating pleasure. "C'mon, Dale, we're playing tag on the monkey bars!"  "No thanks, I think I'll just stay up here." For some reason, I never told anybody about this wonderful feeling. Nothing that felt that good from deep inside my body should be broadcast to the world. It was my very own special secret. Besides, I couldn't begin to explain it -- an undescribable feeling, better than any other, that you get by shinnying up a swing-set?

FINALLY, one night my sister Linda told me how a man and a woman went about having a baby. (I'm sure she never wanted a repeat of my blunder in Blaine in front of our parents and their guests.) But wow! Gross! The real way to get a baby was far worse than kissing! I thought she had to be just trying to gross me out -- taking revenge on me for something or other. I expressed my disgust, but didn't call her a liar. Instead, I thought, I'll ask Mom the next day to see if Linda was telling the truth.

It was at the dining room table the next morning, where Mom and I happened to be sitting alone, and without telling her that Linda had already given her gross version, I simply asked, "How are babies made?" I was about eleven.

And Mom, without blinking an eye, told me matter-of-factly how babies were made, without missing a beat, but was careful to stress the fact that sexual intercourse is a sacred act between a husband and wife who love each other.

Linda was right! And it was gross!

When I went to school the following Monday, I was on top of the world, because I had been told the secret. I looked around at the kids on the school bus -- those ignorant kids who didn't have a clue about how babies were made -- and I wallowed in the thought that I alone, as young as eleven, knew the secret. Later in class I gazed around me at all the ignorant kids, wondering how they would respond to that incredible and disgusting act that a couple do to get pregnant. And I couldn't wait to share this secret with a friend.

The first chance I got, when another boy and I were alone in a little room in school, I said, practically shivering with the knowledge, "Do you know how babies are made?"

"Sure," he said.

My heart dropped. "You do?"

"Everybody knows that," he said.

Well now of course not everybody knows that, so this guy is giving me the business, I thought. I gave him a sly look and asked, "How?"

He didn't say anything. Instead he held up one hand with his thumb and index finger making a circle. And he poked the index finger of his other hand through the circle, and then moved it back and forth. I understood the sign language, and my bubble popped. Come to find out, I was probably one of the last people anywhere near my age to learn the facts of life. I felt really stupid.

Then, over time, I had to undergo the complicated process of learning how to accept this long-kept secret as a natural act, not a gross but a beautiful act, not a disgusting but a sacred act. And this is when saints or perverts are formed.

And so I am of the opinion that sexual knowledge, the facts of life, should never be some taboo secret, but should be taught as casually as healthy eating or hygiene. But the caveat should be given that the awesome feeling of orgasm is a gift of God, not of a swing-set. And that, to be at peace with yourselves, with God, and with nature, it should be understood that sexual intercourse is a sacred act between a husband and wife who love each other.





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Thursday, October 9, 2014

CHESS


Everett Community College was holding a chess tournament. It was open to anybody, but it seemed that only the best chess players were there to compete. I just enjoyed playing the game, most often with my neighbor Michael who usually beat me, but for the fun of it I entered the tournament, fully expecting to lose early and then go do something else.

As it happened, my first opponent was a master. He didn't even need chess men on the board; he could remember everything, every move. I sat down to lose, but at least I might have some good conversation and enjoy a game, maybe make a friend. Not so with this fellow. He was serious, totally focused on the game, and when he soon learned that I was not a master, he was upset to be wasting his time with me.

About fifteen minutes into a difficult chess game, I saw something that surprised me. It was hard to believe. I stared at it for a bit, then moved a piece and said, "Checkmate." His jaw tightened, his eyes bugged out, his nose flared; then he shook his head in disbelief and began to throw a temper tantrum in front of everybody. 

"It's because you don't know what you're doing!" he shouted, "You don't use any strategy! You just move! I couldn't figure you out!" I thanked him for the game and moved on to the next player, who whomped me, and soon I was out of the tournament. But I went home happy and feeling like a winner, for I had beat a chess master at his own game.

So don't be discouraged or let others intimidate you because of your inexperience or lack of knowledge or skill. It may be your weaknesses that help you succeed. Step out and take risks and take the world by surprise. It doesn't expect you, so you have the advantage. But most importantly, enjoy the game.





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For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.