Tuesday, October 22, 2013


One day, I decided to stop letting myself get into "odd" situations all the time and start being as normal as possible. 

I rose from bed that morning giddy with a new sense of purpose, but I didn't let myself get too giddy because that wouldn't be normal.  I felt so good about the potential for a newfound normality that the new day promised, I began to skip merrily on my way to the bathroom to urinate.  But I held back and walked "normally" instead.  I was starting to feel more mature already!

Skipping merrily into the kitchen, I tripped over a toaster that I'd carelessly left on the floor the day before and crashed headlong through a bay window,  plummeting two stories into a duck pond that my landlady Mrs. Festermeyer had installed in a vain effort to get noticed by the local garden club.  The huge splash splattered her own kitchen window with enough force to apparently cause her to drop something big and crashy-sounding, and I could hear ear-splitting screams coming from somewhere inside her house.  Shaking my head to clear away the cobwebs, I sprang from  the duck pond and darted inside quickly enough to avoid being "identified" as they say in police parliance.

As I sat down to a large bowl of Post Toasties, I chided myself over having performed in a somewhat less than normal capacity since arising from bed.  Not only had I forgotten my new "no skipping" policy, but I had also clearly neglected to be on the lookout for errant toasters which could be tripped over.  This last mental observation struck me as amusing,  and I began to chuckle.  The chuckle increased into a guffaw until, before I knew it,  I was laughing my head off. 

Suddenly I missed my mouth completely and jammed a spoonful of Post Toasties into my left eye, causing me to scream "GAAAAAAA!!!" and fly backwards in my chair and knock my TV set right through a fish tank full of Sea Monkeys.  Lying there on the floor afterwards afforded me a chance to reflect upon the utter lack of normality in what I had just allowed to happen, and I vowed to be totally more normal for the rest of  the day.  I also realized that I hated Post Toasties and would no longer eat them simply because Andy Griffith had told me to way back in 1964. 

As I dressed myself, I found it difficult to restrain my excitement over how different my day would be today compared to the chaos and clutter of my former existence.  I was so excited, in fact, that I didn't notice I'd already dressed myself earlier and was donning another entirely new set of clothes.  Then I discovered that I had actually gotten dressed four times in a row without realizing it.  I started to get mad at myself until a thought occurred to me:  "Wait a minute...it's NORMAL to make mistakes!" 

With a cheery smile, I jauntily clicked my heels first one way and then the other, catching my foot in the mini-blinds cord and getting yanked off my feet upside-down as the cord suddenly reeled all the way in.  I hit the wall with a substantial thud, knocking down all my framed pictures in unison and shattering the glass.  Hanging there by my foot afforded me yet another moment of reflection, strengthening my resolve to pass the rest of the day in as normal a fashion as humanly possible, until finally the entire window frame gave way and collapsed in a heap of splintery wooden shards and twisted mini-blind slats.  Fortunately, my multiple sets of clothing cushioned the fall.

The phone rang as I walked normally toward the front door, and I picked it up.  "Hello?" I said, trying to sound like the most normal person I could think of at the moment, which was Raymond Burr.  "How can may I to help you?"  I winced at my error, which was due, in fact, to my trying TOO hard.  I would have to tone it down,  I told myself.  "How can...help...me you?  How--"  I sounded like Raymond Burr if he were playing Tonto on drugs.  Finally,  I just simplified it.  "How help?"

It was Mom.  "What's the matter with you?" she asked with her usual guarded concern.

"I'm being normal today, Mom," I replied, struggling to maintain a completely placid and mature demeanor.  My Raymond Burr voice, fortunately, had transformed into a  more functional combination of Merv Griffin and Julia Child.  "Normal as hell.  I'm going to be the King of Normal today if it kills me.  If it kills EVERYBODY!!!"  I held the receiver in front of my mouth and screamed into it.  "KILL!!!  KILL!!!  KILL!!!"  Then, in a dazzling display of my newfound maturity, I instantly reeled in this somewhat over-the-top outburst and regained my  former composure.  "Was there something you required of me,  Mumsie?"

Mom hesitated, then decided to plunge forward as if nothing had happened.  "I just wanted to remind you about Gramps' headstone.  You were going to get it redone, remember?"

"Who?" I started to bark, then suddenly remembered.  I had been in charge of ordering Gramps' headstone, and had somehow gotten the inscription mixed up.  Or rather,  had mixed up the slip of paper with the inscription Mom had written on it with my membership card in the "Beavis and Butthead" fan club.  Thus--and entirely inadvertently, I still maintain in my own defense--Gramps' headstone had been inscribed, Mom and I discovered upon visiting his final resting place,  with the words "Beavis and Butthead Fan Supreme-O!!!  Cornholio Rules!!!   Woo-Hoo!!!"  With some rather nicely-rendered (I thought) portraits of Beavis and Butthead picking their noses on either side.

"Yes,  yes," I snapped impatiently, rubbing my throbbing temples.  "I'll take care of it.  I'LL TAKE CARE OF IT!!!"  I had already wound myself up for a nerve-shattering scream of rage before catching myself just in time.  "Heh-heh.  Anything else?" 

"No, no, that's it," she said.  "Just try not to end up--you know--on the news or anything."  With that, she hung up before any further developments could ensue.  I looked at the phone and laughed.  It was suddenly the funniest thing I had ever seen.  I held it up, grinning like a loon, leering like Death-come-to-dinner, and laughed mightily at the trembling heavens,  my chest heaving like the bounding main itself as the Earth and its billowing bowels churned into a phantasmagorical frenzy of doomed hellspawn catastrophes colliding to shatter Eternity. 

Suddenly a canary chirped.  It occurred to me that I hadn't fed Waldo his birdseed,  and in an instant, everything was all right again.  Merrily, I skipped--no, WALKED, ha ha--to the birdcage with a box of birdseed in hand, and then,  and THEN, I suddenly remembered that I didn't HAVE a canary, and even if I did I wouldn't name it WALDO,  and I wasn't really holding a box of birdseed but a BOMB...a TICKING TIME-BOMB!!!  And it was set to EXPLODE in FIVE SECONDS!!! 

"BOOM!!!" I bellowed heartily, pretending that the explosion had blown me backwards against the wall.  Standing there, I giggled at how much fun it was to pretend.  But then, straightening up, I forced myself to be serious again and resume my wonderful newfound normalcy.  In an extremely dignified manner that I was certain even Mom would be glowingly proud of, I put on my brand-new Bozo the Clown outfit, picked up my "Trick or Treat" bag and my super-soaker filled with finely-aged wolf urine, and strode gracefully toward the front door. 

It would be the most normal Halloween ever.  Even if I had to KILL!!!  KILL!!!  KILL!!!

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