Saturday, March 19, 2005

Enjoy that crap while you can, heaven's gonna get pretty goddamn boring

My grandfather complained in spittles and shouts of the complaints of others. Usually this vehemence centered around movies.

“You’re never happy with movies are you ? You complain about the directing or the acting or the story or the boom dipping into the goddamn frame. So what !! They spend millions on that garbage for you but you’re still not happy !!”

He sometimes held his Bible tightly between his barnacled knuckles while he preached about the cinema in the afterlife.

“The Good Book tells us that we will be in a state of perfection for eternity. You are going to heaven someday to watch movies that will be made with the equivalent of billions of earthly dollars and they will be perfect !! You will have to watch them for eternity. You know how long eternity is ? It’s a hell of a lot longer than the Titanic, I’ll tell ya.”

My brothers and I suppressed giggles and listened politely through these rants as politeness to seniors had been seared into our imaginations. Having worked at a crematorium his whole life, our father always reminded us of the miserable conclusion to most people’s lives and how we had to show some respect for those who were close to the “finishing flames”.

“In heaven you will watch a movie starring Jackie Chan, Errol Flynn and Adam Sandler directed by Sergei Eisenstein. You will see that kind of stuff. At first you’ll think, holy shit this is amazing but after an eternity of perfectly amazing movies you will – mark my words – you will get bored and you’ll dream of the imperfect movies from your earthly lives.”

After he passed away, the house was a quieter place, but we missed his theological take on world cinema.

Friday, March 18, 2005

No Beauticians in Fox-Holes

“So remember during the application of any product to a client's face, you should maintain a constant line of communication. By nature we are all very sensitive around our facial areas.” Her hand spins like a magician's around her own face to clarify what she’s talking about and voila the group of students nod.

An explosion goes off nearby, shaking the eardrums of all 23 people in the room. They readjust their smiles and continue to concentrate on listening to the oral section of lesson 32 in the Holistic Facial Treatment Program. They’ve paid good money for this class.

Another explosion goes off but this time further in the distance. A vase full of white lilies quivers quietly on a table by the boarded up window.

Whoever wins will be in need of some pampering, the instructor reminds herself in her inside voice.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Turning a Gourd into a Face

While the stately beard stiffled some of the King's snore, most of the noise which came from his nose filled the room with nasal reverberations. We stood in patient attendance by his bedside, waiting for the appointed hour of his rising.

The thought of killing him had at one time seemed as simple as crushing a tiny little grape between my forefinger and thumb. There was no rage behind this, I was simply a part of what had to be done to bring about the revolution. I spent years in preparation, training my attention to ignore any pangs of conscience from within, translating my feelings into the logic of historical necessity.

Now I was here by his bed waiting for him to awake, waiting for his dreams.

I had infiltrated the castle through a company of actors that were responsible for taking down the king's dreams every morning and dramatizing them in a short piece of theater for two o'clock. Everyone at the court attended these shows no matter how private the contents of the dream had been. For my part it had been a short step from spy to actor but the honesty of the King's mornings had prevented my final transition to assassin.

"Oh my lord," the King awoke with a yawn. "Last night I dreamt of children - three or four -who were painting Gordie Howe faces on gourds they dug up from an abandoned ice-skating rink. But the whole rink was thick with ice. Their hands were so cold because they had clawed through the ice with their little children's fingers. Their tears froze on their face as they sang some song about a hockey strike. That was something which had happened when I was extremely young."

This too was one of my earliest memories of the world, growing up in a world of frozen heroes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

All Twins are the Antichrist

Holding the book up high he reads from the large text as the twins watch him through four beady little eyes. Every so often they glance over to the colorful images of the storybook but only to scan for something that might someday come in handy: a hiding place, an object with a sharp edge or some revelation of the weaknesses of animal anatomy. Yann turns the page over to reveal the wolf setting fire to the second pig's straw house.

"Get'em !! Get'em !!!" the twins shout in synchronicity. Yann yanks the book out of the air from harms way. After their last outburst they had clawed their hands through the air tearing out page 3 from what had been their great-grandmother's childhood storybook.

"I smell bacon."

"I smell ham."

"I smell pork sizzling in pain from the bottom of the pan."

Yann is about to tell them that they should be siding with the pigs but then he thinks better. Tonight will be the last night that he'll ever babysit his nephews. Tomorrow he'll set out to find a religion that will forbid him from having any kind of contact with persons under the age of 18. There are many religions in the world, surely there must be one with such a credo, he tells himself.

And he'll take "The Three Little Pigs" with him to freedom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

the Running of the Hot Dog Vendors

The sun was setting in slow motion over a street packed with silvery-shiny vending carts which sparkled in the colours of the evening, burly men with anchor tattoos once again huffed and puffed behind the carts as their little wheels raced over the cobbled street and our annual event was rounded out by young adventuresome men who ran in front of the hot-dog carts trying not to get hit. Spectators stood by in awe.

The seasonal Running of the Hot-Dog Vendors once again went off without a hitch. Certainly there were injuries as it is to be expected. You can't make an omlette without cracking a few eggs and you can't hold a public event with hundreds of pounds of weinners whizzing by and not expect a cracked clavicle. The important thing is that we all came out and showed our civic pride.

As I write this for our town's fine community paper, a hot-dog lies poised on the table next to me. There can be no greater testament to the spirit of America than the hot dog. The myriad ingredients inside brings to mind the variety of cultures which have contributed to America. The singular nature of the weiner reminds us that we are all united. The ketchup that is often added to a hot dog reminds us of the blood that has been shed for the freedom which we all enjoy. Finally the bun is the soil of this fine land that holds us all in place and without it we might roll off the plate, onto the floor and under the fridge, a place which is almost never cleaned.

God Bless you Hot-Dog and God Bless the Running of the Hot Dog Vendors !!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Is it Kosher to Ham it Up at a Bar Mitzva?

So I'd just been joking around with a couple friends when suddenly I turn around to find Samantha standing behind me with a half-empty drink in her hand. Her eyes were half-full of drunken distances measured out in questions like "How long will it take me to get to the bar ?" and "How far is it from my cranium to the floor ?" She stood with her head cocked at an extreme angle.

"Your friend is a cunt," she screamed at me.

Okay, I said, let's talk to her.

She lead me through gloms of people standing around with drinks in their hands looking bored.

We arrived at one of the darker corners of the club.

"You talk to her."

Samantha was so drunk that she mistook this stranger for someone I had introduced her to earlier. The stranger whose hair curled in beautiful little ringlets stared at me unimpressed and slapped me in the face.

To make a long story short, a year later I became Jewish and we got married.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Gentleman who Invented Defecation

"Well there have been many inventions through the ages but really the one we all take for granted is the simple act of defecation." The actor playing the part of a scientist says this last word with a flourish of his right arm to point out a portrait of a distinguished looking Victorian.

Almost everyone in the group laughs at the absurdity of this notion except for one glum looking man and his two children. They probably haven't laughed for several weeks or perhaps even years.

"Yes one man investigated the nature of digestion and also the piping that was being used to bring in clean water to cities." The scientist, who used to be an unemployed stand-up comedian, says all this while studying the faces of the crowd for any clues to what material tickles their funny bones the most.

The moustached man with a frown for a face coughs quietly to himself. He wants his ten dollars back as he doesn't find this new fangled Scatatorium funny at all. In fact it offends him to his very anus.