Monday, July 8, 2013


Sometimes I like to pretend that the Wolf Man and I are hog farmers and that, at the county fair, I get to put my hog next to the Wolf Man’s hog. Would you like to put your hog next to the Wolf Man’s hog? If not, why not?

Here are some other very deep, profound questions that I’ve been pondering lately:

“What is the definition of a man?”

Let’s take a look at a few of them. First, there’s Ernest Borgnine. Somebody had to marry Ethel Merman, and Ernest Borgnine stepped up to the plate. That was the first hurdle. The next one was the honeymoon, and the inevitable wedding night. Somebody had to see Ethel Merman naked, and Ernest Borgnine took the bullet for the rest of us. I won’t even discuss what happened next. Ernest Borgnine made the world safe for all of us that night, going where no man had ever wanted to go before and coming out of it alive.

Next, there’s Wilford Brimley. The man. The actor. The legend. A mound of unmolded clay, waiting to be formed into something that will uplift and inspire the world. And, in the final analysis, all it really takes to light the eternal flame that is Wilford Brimley is a horse, a fork lift, and the Grand Canyon. So when he tells me to go to the doctor to get something checked, I do it without question. Or at least think about doing it. Or, at the very least, make an attempt to consider remembering to think about trying not to forget to come within a reasonable approximation of intending to imagine myself beginning to formulate an almost semi-valid simulation of the actual consummation of the act of doing what I will probably never get around to doing anyway but did, after all, entertain the notion of doing in a somewhat vague and abstract way. Which is, of course, the magic that is Wilford Brimley.

Finally, there is Charles A. “Clench” van Wellenmellen, the guy with the mullet who works in the Pet Department at Wal-Mart on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some Saturdays. I was going to buy the expensive name-brand windshield wiper fluid, but he told me that the less expensive generic brand was just as good. This saved me eighty-five cents, which I then spent on popcorn. I wanted a corn dog, but that cost more. I went back to find Charles A. “Clench” van Wellenmellen to see if he could save me some more money on something else so that I would then be able to afford the corn dog, and maybe extend my projected meal into a corn dog-popcorn combo.

But then I wanted a Dr. Pepper, too. So I decided at that moment to purchase a set of Firestone whitewall radial tires, which were on sale that week, in order to be able to save enough money to afford the entire meal that had so inflamed my imagination as well as my appetite. But I couldn’t find him. He had gone back to the Pet Department, as I later discovered, to remove all the dead fish from the aquarium displays. What do they do with all the dead fish that they remove from the aquarium displays, I wondered long after I had returned home in defeat.

But what, I then pondered, is defeat? Not getting a corn dog? Well, I realized, if defeat is not getting a corn dog, then that just makes the popcorn taste all that much better. And the windshield wiper fluid worked splendidly, by the way. It cut through the dried bug guts like a knife slicing through hot butter. Which is why, after all these years, I still heat the butter before I put it on the table and then watch the amazed looks on everyone’s faces when the knife slices through it like a windshield wiper cutting through dried bug guts.

(Personal note to “Fluffy”: Yes, you did leave your “Planet of the Apes” DVD at my house.)

“If a man says something in the woods, and there is no woman around to hear it, is he still wrong?”

Hmm, wait a minute — let me ask Phil Donahue. Okay, the answer is “yes.” Which is why you rarely see me hanging around in the woods, especially if there’s a possibility of running into Phil Donahue in there. He may look relatively normal on TV, but if you see him out in the woods it’s just creepy.

“When a man thinks he is good in spirit and heart, how does he know if he is righteous?”

Well, Regis, I think I’m going to have to use my third lifeline on that one. Hello? L. Ron Hubbard? You don’t know me, but I have a question I’d really like to answer, and I thought maybe you might’ve covered it in that book you wrote…you know, the one about dieticians…oh, it wasn’t?…that’s funny, I did everything you said and lost forty pounds in two months…anyway, when a man…hello?…hello? Okay, Regis, I’m going to say that he doesn’t know, and it doesn’t matter if he knows or not if he is. Righteous, that is. Yes, that’s my final answer. Oh? Well, thanks for the lovely parting gifts. The leg cream will really come in handy next time I decide to go rock climbing in the Himalayas.

“Does a hummingbird have too much space in its nest if it has only one nestling?”

Before I attempt to answer that question, allow me to ask one first. What the f***? And now, here is my answer. No. I could have said “yes”, but I decided to say “no.” Why, do you ask? That’s what I say — why do you ask? Well, here it is in a nutshell. If a hummingbird has only one nestling, then she suddenly realizes that, at last, she can finally rearrange the nest according to design, rather than being a slave to function. Which means more space for walking and sitting, along with more negative areas within which to ponder positive thoughts. What might a “positive thought” consist of in the mind of a hummingbird? Oh, I don’t know…”gosh, look at all the delicious worms”, I guess. Or maybe something like “cool, this hummingbird feeder isn’t extremely rank.” (Note: change your hummingbird feeder occasionally. That red crap doesn’t stay fresh forever.)

Besides, the nestling will have extra space to grow up in, and for a baby hummingbird, that’s a positive step toward becoming a big, strapping, adult hummingbird ready to take on the world. Which, if you stop and think about it, is a pretty stupid concept. Ask anyone on the street if they care one way or another about how big hummingbirds get, and chances are they’ll look at you and ask, “Aren’t you the guy I saw prowling around my garbage cans last night?” Which, of course, I am under no obligation to admit to, regardless of whether or not I can actually prove where I was or discern the comparative size of a hummingbird just by looking at it from a distance, which you will find out when you try to get close to one with a ruler.

For example, have you ever heard anyone say “Hey, look how big that hummingbird is compared to that other one — I’ll bet it was an only nestling”? Which doesn’t even take into account the possibility that hummingbirds don’t even care how big they are. In fact, it’s entirely likely that inordinate size is a distinct disadvantage for hummingbirds, since I can’t remember ever seeing any hummingbird feeders or hummingbird houses or hummingbird anythings that were designed to accomodate the “full-figured” hummingbird.

But, at this point, I have gone well beyond my usual daily allotment of wondering about hummingbirds, and besides, this is getting to be a pretty big nutshell. More like a walnut shell, perhaps, or one of those big Brazil nuts that they never put enough of in a can of mixed nuts because peanuts are cheaper. But then again, that’s life — every once in a while you get a Brazil nut, and the rest of the time you get peanuts. If you happen to like peanuts, life is good.

No comments: