Just some raw meat for the murderous sasquatch that resides within you.
The Benefits of Fruit
I was watching a program on television – the main source of my information – in which someone suggested fruit as an appropriate gift to give one’s neighbors. And it occurred to me how interesting it is that even after all the millennia, even after all of our changes both physically and socially, on some level we are still apes. Sure, technically, we’ll always be apes. After all, we are one of five species of Great Apes: Bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorilla-la-la-las, and humans. Good ol’ Homo erectus. How many of us live up to that Latin name anymore? At this moment, just how erect are you? And how many of you are giggling at the word “erect”?
Have we really come so far from our apish roots? Yes, indeed, if one was to give a gift to another human being, fruit would be a respectable and appropriate choice. It’s tasty, it keeps you regular, it helps keep off the pounds, and it goes bad very quickly, often attracting a blight of flies. So it is versatile, it has many meanings, many paths of interpretation to give the recipient plenty to think about. “My neighbor is so nice! I will enjoy this papaya as I watch my choice of streaming service tonight!” “What is my neighbor implying? Do I need to lose weight?” “Great. If I don’t dispose of this fast, the flies will come. My neighbor is an asshole!”
Still, fruit is something we’ve enjoyed since we first crawled out of the oceans, and we’ve given it to our closest friends and neighbors since time before record, for whatever reasons. The Polynesian custom is to give a pineapple as a sign of welcome. Who knows how old that tradition is? At what point in history did a human first have plentiful access to pineapples and a neighbor to whom to give one? Yet even today, we humans enjoy the occasional fruit, just as our great ancestors did. Granted, today it is mostly genetically modified fruit from our friends at Monsanto that are trying to kill us, but it’s still fruit, by God. And it still keeps us regular. Fruit will go right through the ol’ bio-plumbing, and the high fiber content will clean it all out. This may have been one of the attractions of fruit to our poop-flinging primate ancestors: It would provide the recipient with a tasty treat as well as a large supply of ammunition for debates.
Although we have become far more articulate about it, we still, each and every one of us, tend to fling the poop in some form or another. Just look at the recent devolution of discourse in the U.S. How far are we from tossing the poop? Those morons that invaded the Capitol Building on June 6th of 2021 were said to have smeared feces on the hallowed walls, so it would appear that we are already there. So I will leave you with this advice: Enjoy your fruits, be they apple, orange, kiwi or Copperfield. And when you feel challenged, don’t be afraid to fling a little poop. Perhaps it is our destiny, to devolve back into our former selves? As previously noted, our status as erectus can be called into question – even yours as you slouch over your electronic screen to read this literary tripe. Perhaps we will continue to slouch until our knuckles are once again dragging on the ground and our vocabulary is reduced to mere remnants of emoticons. We will become Australopithecine II: Havana Nights. Oh, the humanity indeed.
Q&A with a Toddler (today’s topic: Magic)
My five-year-old daughter asked me the other day if magic was real. I told her, “Well, Young Miss (she doesn’t like derogatory nicknames like ‘Puddin’’ or ‘Honeybun,’ so we go with Young Miss). “Young Miss,” I said, “it depends.”
“Depends on what?” Young Miss asked.
“It depends on the technology and the time period in question,” I offered helpfully.
I watched as she thought about this, a half quizzical, half annoyed expression on her brow. And having given the matter sufficient thought, she shot back: “What does that mean?”
“Well,” I said, “For example, if the technology you’re talking about is a smart phone, and the time period is 1776, then yes, I would say magic exists. Could you imagine taking out your cell phone, recording video of Benjamin Franklin, and then playing the video for him? Scientist or no, he’d be pooping his breeches.”
Young Miss giggled at the mention of poop. Or maybe it was the breeches that got her, I don’t know what goes on in her little head. So I continued my overdrawn explanation.
“You see, magic is just science we don’t yet understand. There is a scientific explanation for everything, but we haven’t explained everything yet. We’ve made some progress. For example, we no longer believe that curing disease is witchcraft. And we no longer think lightning is magic, we know it is an electrostatic discharge. We don’t think magnets, or cell phones, or Wi-Fi are magic. Magic exists inasmuch as there is still science we don’t yet understand. And our modern scientific study has only been around for a little over two-hundred and fifty years, so there’s probably a lot of things we don’t yet understand. So for now, they are magic.”
She stared back at me with a look of suspended comprehension. Then she reached behind her head and showed me the jagged knot where her ponytail used to be. “Then when Jacob cut my hair, can he really put it back by magic?”
“Where’s your brother?” I asked.
The Lesson for that day: Make sure your brother is really magic before you let him cut your hair.
One night, Young Miss demanded her optional bedtime story. So, I sat down on the edge of her bed and asked what story she wanted to hear. She answered, “I want to hear a story about before I was here.”
My interest was piqued. Could she be asking about her previous life? Would she provide evidence of reincarnation? I decided to pursue the truth. “Before you were here? What do you know about before you were here?” I asked hopefully.
“Like,” she yawned. That was an encouraging sign. “Like, what were you and mommy doing before I got here?”
Ah. That question. Or as damn near to that question as I ever wanted to get. “Well,” I stalled, “A lot happened before you were here.”
“Well,” I said, thinking back on how optimistically serendipitous that yawn now seemed. This might not take too long. It was still early, and I was hopeful at the prospect of a beer and some TV before my own bedtime. So I continued, and in true fashion, my excitement got the better of me and I overstepped my goal by telling her, “Well, for example, one time a huge extraterrestrial spaceship came down to earth and freaked everybody out.”
“Nuh-uh!” she smiled, refusing to have reached the age of five a fool. “Not really!”
“Yuh-huh!” I retorted as advised by my lawyers. “It was back in 2012, and this huge spaceship came down from outer space, and it was on all of the TV channels. And it was on the internet. Everyone in the world was watching this thing just drift silently down over Boise, Idaho.”
“Boys-see?” she asked, and her sudden apparent interest was alarming. I had overplayed my hand. The yawning little girl was gone, now replaced by a perky bundle of inquisitiveness. “Where’s that?”
“In Idaho, aren’t you listening?”
“Boys in Idaho?” she asked, sending a chill to my heart. Then to my relief, she said, “Idaho must stink!”
“Yes,” I said, blood pressure dropping, “Yes, it does stink. It smells like potatoes. Anyway, this huge spaceship appeared over the farmlands of Idaho for some reason…”
“Why does it smell like potatoes?” There was that sharp curiosity I would come to fear.
“It smells like potatoes because there are a lot of potato farms there.”
“Yes, really. Idaho potatoes are famous.”
“Why are they famous?”
“They cut an album with Cher. Do you want to hear about the potatoes or the giant extraterrestrial spaceship?”
She thought about this. She actually thought about this choice. Spaceship or potatoes. And then she said, somewhat noncommittally, “The extra-test-real spaceship.”
Thank God. That was a close one. Now to talk her out. “Okay, so this huge extraterrestrial spaceship appeared over the Idaho potato farms. And the whole world was watching. It sat there in the sky for hours, silent, unmoving, just hanging there like a massive illusion. Then, just as the military was about to attack it, this booming voice came from the spaceship. And it was so loud, the very earth shook. And the voice said, ‘Gimme a dollar!’”
I looked at her to gauge her reaction. She looked back at me as if to gauge my story-telling ability. Was mommy, perhaps, the better person for this job? But she was silent. I made my move, kissed her on the forehead, said goodnight, and headed for the hallway.
“Why did it want a dollar?”
Facing the door, so near and yet so far, I admitted failure. My beer and TV would have to wait. I returned and sat back on the bed.
“Well, Young Miss, no one really knows. But the world leaders got together and they agreed this was a fair price. So they organized an elaborate ceremony to present a single dollar to the extraterrestrial spaceship. A huge orchestra played as an international choir sang Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and a very fancy man in a very fancy tuxedo carried a single dollar on a silk pillow up to the spaceship.” She was starting to drift. Now for the coup de grace. “And a little alien appeared below the spaceship, and the fancy man in the fancy tux held out his fancy pillow, and the alien stared down with its big, black eyes at the dollar neatly displayed there.” Her eyes were opening. Pull it back. “The alien took the dollar, sniffed it, and tucked it into his pants pocket. ‘Thanks,’ he said, and then went back into his ship. The giant alien spaceship then flew off into the sky and was never seen again.”
Stephen Spielberg ain’t got nothing on me. She was out like a light. I turned off her bedside lamp and made my way to the bright rectangle that led to the hallway that led to my TV. As I stepped ever so gingerly outside and slowly closed her door just a bit, I heard her soft voice mutter, “Seems a long way to come for one lousy dollar.”
A Letter on Behalf of the HOA
Dear Murderous Sasquatch:
I’ll get right to the point. I have a bone to pick with you. At first, it was all well and good when you moved in next door. The horrific sounds and terrible odors took some getting used to, but I saw it as my duty as a good neighbor to live and let live, as the saying goes. As long as you stayed out of my pea patch I was fine with your nocturnal habits. I might disclose with some discretion, however, that said habits were a topic of severe discussion at the last HOA meeting (to which you were not invited, for obvious reasons). Some wanted to admonish you, but I stood up for you, pointing out that you were a stranger in our midst, with your own habits and peculiar customs. It was decided that our small community would try to grant some tolerance in your case. When our garbage cans were tossed during the night, we naturally blamed punk kids. That Clemens boy is always a viable suspect, with that blue hair and nose ring. When the neighborhood cats started to disappear, nobody pointed any accusing fingers at you. Some said they saw the Clemens boy drawing pentagrams in his driveway, so that temporarily diverted any suspicion from your house. Even when the Wilson’s dog turned up with his head torn off and bowels ripped out and hung up in a tree, the words “Murderous Sasquatch” never passed anyone’s lips. “Murderous Clemens boy” maybe, but not “Murderous Sasquatch.”
I’m sure you can see where this is leading. When the Clemens boy was found with his legs torn off and half his torso missing, well, all other suspects had been eliminated. Suspicious eyes fell onto your humble and smelly abode. But still, no action was taken out of sheer neighborliness. And besides, no one could prove anything. The official police report said that the Clemens boy had been ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs. But seeing as how all the dogs in the area had already been dispatched in a similarly gruesome manner, many folks got to wondering. Questions began to be raised: “How well do we know this Sasquatch fella?”; “Doesn’t anyone find it odd that a Sasquatch was able to buy a home in an upper-middle-class neighborhood?”; “Is there a reason they don’t allow Sasquatches to join Twin Oaks Country Club?”; “Why doesn’t the Sasquatch ever mow his lawn?”; and “What religion is ‘Sasquatch,’ anyway?” You, my big, hairy, smelly friend, were the subject of much suspicious scrutiny. I, however, held my tongue, even though as your closest neighbor, it was towards me that many of these inquisitions were levied. Still, I insisted on giving you the benefit of the doubt. That was, of course, until ten o’clock this morning.
While perusing my prized pea patch, I noticed not one but no less than three footprints in the soft, fragrant, and highly nutritious soil. And these footprints were rather large. And misshapen. Too large and misshapen to have been made by a normal human being. No sir, these prints were of a very big foot. And then it hit me: Big Foot! That damn Sasquatch has been rummaging in my pea patch! Well sir, that’s where I draw the line. Scattered garbage and dead punk kids are one thing, but when you trespass into a man’s prized pea patch, you’ve crossed the line.
I realize that as humankind’s world is increasingly encroaching on your natural habitat, you are forced to adapt to living in our world rather than your own, much like the common raccoon and coyote. But you must realize that we have rules in our world. And it is these rules that preserve our way of life, and it is these rules that have given us the ability to grow at such a successful rate as to utterly wipe your environment (and that of the common raccoon, coyote, and black bear) off the face of the planet. Maybe if you ape-people had had some rules, it would be a different situation today, but that’s just not the way it worked out. Nature favors the civilized.
The point is, You must abide by our rules. Mow your lawn. Stop rummaging in our garbage cans and killing our young. And stay the hell out of my pea patch! If you cannot adjust to our way of life, then perhaps you should relocate. I hear there are some lovely homes down in the valley that are going cheap. And perhaps those rowdy, drunken hooligans will be more accepting of your poor behavior.
For shame, Murderous Sasquatch! I had hoped we could live next door to one another in harmony, maybe even barbecue together on Labor Day weekend. All of those carcasses piling up outside your garage, you know what they say: Grill ’em or chill ’em! Maybe just bury them, okay? They really do stink. Regardless, I was hoping relations on our block would become more neighborly over time. I am beginning to think that this was a naïve perspective. Was it?
In the interest if improved relations, please accept this lovely fruit basket. Eat it fast before the flies come. Seems to me you’ve already got enough flies around your place. Please bury the carcasses.
Sincerely, Your Neighbor,
PS: Get a haircut, hippie!