We don't know whether this guy from Head East's wearing a sleeveless body stocking, a Spandex Mormon's sacred underwear, or the pelt of a skinned albino teletubbie. Whatever is, don't look at it. It can unseat human reason.
And we would like to be the first to salute the working men and women of America. Who get up every weekday and go to work and work hard to keep America working. Theirs is the axle grease that keeps the cogs of industry in motion, the machinery of our great nation is lubricated by the sweat of their brow. While we sit at our desk not doing our do-nothing government job they drive the big rigs, stand at the assembly lines, erect the gigantic skyscrapers, fill the potholes, set up the jiffy johns at big rock festivals, illegally turn back the odometers of used automobiles, neglect to test the safety of the steel girders used to support mile-long bridges, accidentally shut off the pollution control devices that protect our rivers from radioactive swill, sleep on the job when their job is driving a school bus, let sick people sit in our emergency rooms until they get the message and die, do shoddy electrical work that causes entire city blocks to go up in smoke, spend all of their time on the job blind drunk, spit on our fast food burgers, fail to tighten the bolts on our car wheels, forget to check the safety straps on our rollercoasters, cut corners when it comes to checking our canned foods for botulism, etc. Nobody's safe thanks to their efforts. They're American Labor, and they deserve a day off to relax, sit back, and drink a beer. And plot their revenge against the rest of us, who don't do anything at all.
It's still engraved in my mind, the memory of that day leading up to the Night of the Long Knives. I was staring at my brand new bath towels, which were supposed to be the same shade of blue but were actually subtly different shades of blue, when I received a telephonic message from the Fuhrer's adjunct directing me to go to a popular cafe that served a very good Linzer torte. I was told to bring a long knife. "Jawohl and Heil Hitler!" I shouted, still looking at the bath towels. Who sold a set of matching bath towels that didn't match? Bed Bath and Beyond, that's who. Resolving to take them back I headed for the kitchen to look for a long knife. "How long is long?" I asked myself. I probably should have asked. I had an 8" chef's knife, which was certainly longer than any of my steak knives, but not as long as the 12" bread knife I'd managed to lose in the move to my new apartment. Nor was it as long as the 81/2" Sujihiki slicer I'd lent to Himmler a few months back. Damn it, I thought. I'm going to look like an idiot showing up for the Night of the Long Knives with what at best was a medium-sized knife. Where did the head honchos think we were going to get long knives, anyhow? They weren't exactly a common household item. Would it have killed them to call it the Night of the Medium-Sized Knives?
I needn't have worried. I got to the cafe and there was Julius Streicher, holding a knife that was five inches at best. He looked crestfallen when he saw my knife was longer than his knife. I could hardly hide my joy. My knife was longer than Streicher's knife! What a coup! I would probably get a promotion!
Then Goebbels strolled in. He looked unhappy. We asked to see his knife. He hemmed and hawed. We pressed him. Finally he produced--a butter knife! A dinky little butter knife without a sharp edge to its name! Streicher couldn't contain himself. Suddenly his knife looked positively murderous!
"Ho ho!" he cried. "I suppose you mean to butter our enemies to death!" Goebbels' face was turning red. Streicher cried, "How the margarine tubs of Germany are trembling!"
Goebbels slunk away, muttering. Things didn't exactly go uphill from there. The next three arrivals brought a dull-edged table knife, a Swiss Army knife, and a putty knife, respectively. "A Swiss Army knife!" Streicher howled. "How ingenious! If the knife fails, you can always stick them with the corkscrew!"
It was beginning to look bad. Our night of the Long Knives was turning into a fiasco, a debacle, a humiliation, a joke. We were a rabble armed with kitchen utensils. "Someone should call the Fuhrer," I said nervously. "Perhaps somebody with a credit card could be talked into stopping at a cutlery store," suggested Goebbels. Just then Goring strolled in. We all looked up expectantly. Surely good old Goring would come through! But he abashedly produced a six-piece set of ginzu knives. "They were all I could find on such short notice," he said.
"Exactly!" shouted Goebbels. "We need an early heads-up for events such as this!"
"You hit the nail on the head," said someone else. "It's just like the Night of the Long Spatulas!"
Goebbels was apoplectic. "Precisely. Not only did I not have a long knife, I had tickets to go to the Lilith Fair!"
We all gave him a funny look.
"It was Magda's idea," he said. "I certainly wasn't looking forward to it." "Sure," said Streicher. He pointed at Goebbels suit coat. "Isn't that a Jewel CD sticking out of your pocket?"
We moped about. Himmler walked in. He looked at everybody's knives and proudly produced the very knife he'd borrowed from me. "Eureka!" he cried, holding it aloft. "I win!"
"That's my knife!" I said. Himmler replied, "You're insane! This knife was a gift from my great-uncle Gustav!" I lunged at the knife, cried "Liar!" We tussled. Just then Hess appeared.
"Let's see your knife!" cried Goring. "Quickly!"
"Knife?" said Hess. "I thought we were supposed to bring a fork."
Everything was grey. The buildings were grey. The sidewalks were grey. The roads were grey. Clothing was grey. M&Ms were grey. The M's on the M&Ms were also grey. The sky was grey. Gaily colored balloons were grey. The black, red and gold East German flag was grey. Cheese was grey. Eggs, scrambled, were grey. The leaves in fall were grey. Newborn babies were grey. White dogs were grey. Movies in color were grey. Happy songs were grey. Sad songs were grey. Vanilla ice cream, which was the only flavor of ice cream available except on special occasions, was grey. Grey was the color of your true love's eyes.
It turns out the great civil rights leader's most famous speech almost wasn't. According to researchers, it was only at the last moment that Dr. King decided to substitute "dream" for "a 1963 Chevy Impala that I'm willing to sell cheap. It has the whitewalls and everything."
We always think about the Jago boys, who lived the next town over in Bonneauville, which was to our hometown of Littlestown as Pottersville is to Bedford Falls. They were your standard smalltown JDs, and we probably wouldn't remember them if they hadn't died in a horrific car accident out at Crabb's Corner, the details of which became grislier with each retelling so that before long it was a known-for-sure fact that one of them was found with an unopened beer bottle pushed into the cavity where his heart was supposed to be, etc. The fatal high-speed car accident is the centerpoint of every smalltown male teen's mythological landscape, wrapping up as it does youth, death, booze, a hot car, and instant legend status in one neat burrito of cool. Deep down inside we all wanted to die in a car crash, because it was--or would have been if the corporeal obstacles hadn't been so daunting--a guaranteed way of getting laid. Anyway, we would run across a few other hoods besides the Jago as we got older. The Hauk brothers for instance were real hoods, and not to be mistaken with the standard issue heavy dopers we would up running with. To achieve hood status you had to be eager to punch somebody's face in, instead of running at the first whiff of violence and hiding behind your bong like we did. The Hauk brothers considered it unseemly to show up at school without at least one cigarette burn deep enough to drop a couple of Jujubes in, the product of weird he-man rituals conducted late at night in the glare of the headlights of jacked-up muscle cars. Unfortunately for the Hauks they didn't expire in a spectacular multi-fatality car accident and hence are probably still alive and bummed about their third kid's failure to make the high school debate team. If you want to be a true boy of summer, you've got to hit the showers when the corn's still high.
Has presidential candidate John McCain gone too far? First he got tortured, and now he has chosen Sarah Palin as his vice president. As we learned just seconds ago, Palin is governor of the Alaska, which we also learned just seconds ago is a bona fide U.S. state. Are they kidding? Since when? Alaska's not a state, it's a giant frozen penguin turd sitting somewhere way up in Canada. It isn't even connected to the United States. It's up there by its lonesome doing god knows what. You would think it would want to come down here and stick itself to the edge of Washington state, but no. It doesn't want anything to do with us. It would prefer to stay right where it is so the rest of us won't see it's up to no damn good. God forbid we should see it with its hot pants around its cold ankles. Or smell the reek of booze. Or accidentally walk into one of its crazy parties where bears wear berets and play bongos.
And John McCain picks its governor to be his VP? Perhaps he has forgotten that Alaska's only a hop skip and a jump away from Russia, that spreader of bad habits. Would anybody be surprised if the two of them sat around up there drinking vodka and eating Chicken Siberia? No sirree.
John McCain, you mock us. Juneau it. And you blew it.
Here's what we're thinking about this morning: Nose anatomy. In particular, that thin strip of flesh at the bottom of the nose that acts like a median strip separating the nostrils. You know the part we're talking about. The nose hole divider, that no-man's land without which we'd only have one mononostril the picking of which would require a really really wide finger. Anyway, what we're wondering is, what's that thing called?
Because you know it has a name. Everything that is has a name. If it's there, we humans will fall all over ourselves to give it a name because nothing, and by that we mean absolutely nothing, can go unnamed. The unnameable is unacceptable. If an object were to appear in the world that couldn't be named we would all fall upon one another with sharp objects. Within a week the planet would be one big laughing academy. As Larry King once put it, "Beware the unnamed; it'll drive you insane."
That's why the ear lobe has a name. If it didn't everybody would go mad. Nuts. Crazy as a bedbug. Bonkers. From having to constantly be saying things like, "I spent all last night flicking my finger against that fatty boneless thing that hangs at the bottom of my ear. You know the thing I'm talking about. It's that floppy thing that's fun to bounce back and forth with your finger or a pencil or a little stick if you're in the woods camping with your cousin Dwayne who has really little ones he can hardly flick. Oh, come on. YOU KNOW. It's called the... the...uh... arrrrriiiiieyyy!"
Christ, it really DOESN'T have a name! Quick, hand us a steak knife!
She likes to think of us as a one-man sitcom. Take yesterday. The missus was out with the pooches, skulking around in back alleys because our dogs go barking mad at the sight of other dogs, children, baby carriages, rolling suitcases, bicycles, joggers and anything made out of wood, metal or stone. Anyway I went outside, peered down the flat-rat alley that runs next to our apartment, and sure enough, there the three of them were at the far end of the alley, maybe 150 yards away.
We took a step towards her, then thought for some reason that the totally right way to join them was run towards them like the Terminator, starting in a jog and then gradually increasing in speed while running in a totally machinelike cyborgian inhuman way.
So we did it. And we did it well. We looked just like the Terminator! Implacable! Relentless! Remorseless! A blur! Schwarzeneggerian! A taut flesh-covered Swiss Watch with Power! God help the fool who got in our way! Because we were a vision of finely tooled futuristic metal mayhem!
Alex watched us as we neared. It was obvious she was transfixed. She stood frozen and staring as we closed the distance. Her jaw dropped! She was reeling in the dogs, preparatory to flight! We were practically upon her!
When we realized it wasn't Alex. It was some guy who looked nothing like Alex with a dog singular that looked nothing like our dogs. He had this look on his face--the look of a guy being charged by an idiot pretending to be a cyborg.
We slowed to a stop. He continued to stare at us. We looked at our feet, the beat-up garages and creaky old fences on either side of us, the sky above. Then we turned around without saying a word and started running the opposite way, our entire body enveloped in a miasma of mingled shame and embarrassment, resolving to have our eyes checked ASAFuckingP.