376. Precision Dawdling

The Nation met this morning and inspired me as usual to chronicle this meaningless meeting of human mediocrity. Let me first say that tomorrow is my 60th birthday and the fellas knew it. Steve and Doug were waiting with a chocolate chip muffin on a napkin. Adorning the muffin were two wiggle candles, one yellow and the other green, that resembled DNA strands without the connecting rungs… or bug antenna set on fire. Pick the one you feel is more appropriate. A plastic conifer tree stood at attention in the center, guarded by a plastic clown head that somehow resembled Donald Trump. I was touched as I snuffed out the two snakey candles and peeled the wax paper cup liner off the base of the muffin. MMMMm, not a bad way to start Coffee Nation.

No sooner had I begun eating my muffin than Joel arrived in a spiffy gray pinstriped suit with a black bow tie. Sharp as a diamond studded platinum tack in Al Sharpton’s silky lapel. Steve compared him to Harrison Ford in his fashionable tableau. I just called him Hair Ass, Son, with an Asian accent, and left it at that. Joel noted that his deceased father-in-law celebrated the same birthday as I. “He lived to be 99… and was a miserably smart, horse’s ass who disdained me from the get go.” Harsh words from the usually mild mannered Joel, but I was beginning to see things that only a father-in-law can perceive. Well, that eruption struck me as a methane burp from old decomposing feelings.  Therefore, I decided to share my evaporating weird dream from last night so as to steer a new course for Joel’s psychic dingy, away from the wicked shoals of cranky coral.

I was getting dressed , somewhere in my dream, for the birthday dinner party my wife had set up at the Gourmet Goat in Hagerstown. She had invited 15 folks to join us. We were waiting in a familiar glass house having a glass of wine with vague anticipation, or was it dread? Oddly, Donald Trump was a guest and behaving unpredictably civil. I asked him, “Donald, would you like a drink?” He declined without a bit of attitude, insisting that he did not drink alcohol and loved Mormons, Muslims, Morons, Mandalas, Mandelas, Mandolins, and that was just the M’s. Though it did look like he was passing a kidney stone.

The house began to fill with cousins whose names I did not even know.  They looked familiar and were dressed up for the dinner party.  I counted heads like my border collie does with folks in my house. He likes to keep inventory. He was abandoned by an accountant who moved to Oklahoma with the petrochemical surge in 2010. Fracking idiot!  I was keenly aware that we had way too many Indians for our reservation. As I looked around in my dreamscape I saw my sister-in-law and her kids; my wife’s cousins and their kids; and a deceased aunt who told me, ” I knew you wouldn’t invite me so I invited myself.” She looked good for a dead woman; wore a nice white satin dress; hair perfectly coiffed. Things were getting weird, though, and as  usual my bladder nerve was the director of this movie, so visuals started pulsing faster and faster. My dream self searched frantically for a bathroom or a bush.

That’s when Steve from Coffee Nation pulled into the driveway in a red car. He was early as usual, but had to go buy a helium party balloon at the grocery store. He was in a hurry and no one was in the empty Giant store. Creepy. Being an engineering genius, he went to the helium tank and inhaled two lungs full of the gas… and began to float like a Macy’s Thanksgiving blimp. He grabbed onto a shopping cart for ballast and sort of bounced out of the store, hovering six feet above the ground, resembling a gymnast on a runaway jet ski, only it was all in whoa slowa motion.

Meanwhile back at the house everyone else took off in various vehicles for the restaurant, leaving me behind to select a sports coat. As I exited the newly acquired second story, I realized that I was in Mexico, far south of the restaurant. Just then a Jeep with four Mexican soldiers showed up and arrested me in Spanish. I tried to explain to them that I had reservations for 15 at a restaurant north of the border, but they just looked at me like I was speaking English. I made a run for it up a flight of stairs that simply ended above a walled garden. Two little girls ran around me, teasing me with toilet paper and the key to the locked bathroom door that stood across the courtyard.  I heard the heavy footsteps of the Mexican gendarmes pounding up the stairs behind me. I closed my eyes and took a leap of faith.

I braced myself for a hard landing, but when I opened my eyes I found I was standing on Steve’s back, just like I was surfing without water beneath me. Wordlessly I communicated to him that he needed to vent some gas so that we could get moving laterally as the gendarmes lowered their rifles and aimed at me/us. He complied and we took off in a zip. In dream time it was a matter of seconds before we arrived above the restaurant 2,000 miles away. I know because Steve was singing Margaritaville and only had time for two lines…

“I stepped on a pop tart,

let out a big fart…”

The next thing I knew I was droning above the multitude as one of my cousins ordered a shark steak off the menu. Suddenly a 14 foot bull shark crashed onto the table and devoured him. The rest of the party looked away and ordered the chicken in unison.

The fellas interrupted my mad tale so that Doug could present me with a brown tee shirt he had made up for me. It had a nice coffee logo with Coffee Nation written boldly in a circle. On the front chest where pockets usually go was a smaller version with Supreme Leader underneath. I was touched, but wait, there’s more. Doug folded the front of the shirt up like a belly reveal shirt and upside down in white letters it read, “You need to GROWASET”. It was utterly perfect precision dawdling.

 

345. Robbing Reality

Rawcuss Thursday to you, Blogwallowers. As you know by heart, Thursdays begin with Coffee Nation Summit, and today was no exception, nor was it particularly exceptional.  Joel was busily typing a business e-mail as the scavenging coffee crows began to roost around him like fresh roadkill. Me first. Some discussion ensued about his eulogy, which I told him earlier I had cut and pasted to personalize it for his funeral.

Groggily, “I thought you said obituary.”

“Certainly not, my august friend. Well, December friend now. I don’t pretend to know the cause or time of death. That work belongs to the crooning coroner around the corner. The newspaper will publish your obit at no charge under a picture your family will provide. They have little choice. However, I prudently wrote your eulogy before it was needed. (silky soft salesman voice) Think of it as a reverse mortgage plan that frees you to enjoy life now on your terms, knowing that an essential final need has been taken care of, so that your loved ones don’t have to face that awkward question: ‘Whazzznext?”

“Do I have to pay you now?” he inquired with hesitance in his voice.

“Of course. I don’t want to trouble your bereaved survivors with pecuniary matters when you can relieve them of that burden by paying me now.”

“Hmmmph.” Joel knew this game of verbal dodge ball was over. There was only one of him and twenty six of me, and my team had the balls.

“Well I suppose, um, I could, uh… well, look who’s here!”

Rob joined us in his sleepwalking fugue state of new fatherhood, a defenseless uncaffeinated putty puppy. He vainly attempted to make sanity chicken salad out of insane chicken poop. We weren’t havin’ none of it, nosirree!!

Steve needed to do real business with Joel and proceeded to spell his name, “Steve with a V dot com.”

Rob, “Why do some folks spell Steven with ph? What’s with that?”

“At one thyme that was how Jewish Stevens distinguished themselves from Christian Stephens. They made a Vulcan V like Spock did. It was sign language for ‘I’m Jewish Steve.'”

“Really? I never knew that.”

“You still don’t. I am encouraging you to google it and find out for yourself, Rob. Man up.”

“Oh man, why not just trust you? Wait, that’s stupid, but I don’t have time to research it. You make things hard on no thinking Thursdays.”

“It’s tough love, Rob. You’ll need to tone up as your baby boy grows. Consider this DAD CAMP for wusses.”

Next Doug shared family drama with the group as well as several well timed puns. “Joel, estate planning is a dying business.”

Steve gave us a glimpse at managing elderly parents and his obsession with Christmas lights. He’s the kind of guy who will find the bad bulb and replace it, no matter the time or cost. He and Doug shared esoteric bits of insider information on Christmas light repair [and changing diapers. “You never fan the naked baby or it will pee on you.”]

“They’re $3.98 for 150 feet at Lowe’s, for God’s sake. Just buy a new string.”

Doug continued the Christmas light repair lecture as sleep deprived Rob fought for consciousness. “You’re killin’ me. Just go to Lowe’s and get a set!!”

“See when the bulb filament burns out, there’s this connecting wire that burns out with it and then runs the current around the burned out bulb, so that the other bulbs glow just a little brighter since 110 watts are being divided by fewer bulbs. And this will go on until a tipping point where nothing will light up no matter what.”

“Christmas light Armageddon.”

“Go to Lowe’s and get two sets!! I’ll buy them. For the love of the Baby Jesus in the Manger, Stop with the lights stories!!”

“Look, Rob. You don’t have to be cranky with us. We didn’t get jiggy with your wife forty one weeks ago. That was you, Buddy. Look at me and mind meld along!”

I placed two empty 12 ounce coffee cups with white lids over my eyes like Mr. Magoo spectacles. “Listen, Blister Butt. And repeat after me,

For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet…. Everybody sing it…”

“That’s not doing it for me, Supreme Commander. I need real eye contact.”

I moved the cups down to bouncing breast level and gave him the next verse,

” Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
It hasn’t snowed a single flurry
But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry”

“That is truly disturbing. Why not put that in the blog?”

“Okay.”

“I never read it. Why don’t you put me in it and then I’ll read that post, but you have to tell the truth.”

“Done.”

“I used to read it and then I’d feel like I wasted good productive time, so I’d rush off to do something I could feel good about, something with purpose to assuage my guilt.”

“Hey, I take that as high praise. You see, I am providing a much needed service that propels others to lead more upright, productive lives. After wandering in the black hole of Burritospecial, sojourners rush headlong toward sanity and meaning. They go out and lead lives of consequence. It’s just reverse psychology, Rob. The more unglued I am, the more you want to get your poop in a pile and glue yourself into top shape. You feel angrily invigorated to conquer your deficiencies.”

“That is truly brilliant.”

“Yup, like Christmas lights at Steve’s with a V. Or Doug with a potent pun.”

“No, no, no. I need a latte to go for my wife. I’ll see you next week, fully slept up and caffeinated.”

“Good, one day, my son, you will be a real man. And always remember,

  1. don’t fan the baby.”
  2. V is for Jewish Steve.
  3. We all need a little Christmas.”

“Got it.”

 

 

287. Accolades from Coffee Nation, inquire within

Provisional Coffee Nation marketing quotes…

The Nation: making useless men uselesser since 2009.

The Summit: Where small men talk big and loud in order to compensate for their inadequacies.

The Supreme Bean Nation: Why settle for efficiency when you can upgrade to deficiency?

Coffee Nation: Where a disturbed nerd can be… well, a disturbed nerd.

Work is the curse; we are the cure– Coffee Nation.

Productivity– it’s not for everyone. Join the Nation.

When jobs are outlawed, only outlaws will have jobs. Why wait? Join the Nation of the Bean.

Our purpose is purposelessness. CSN.

Bold like the beans we roast. CSN.

W-O-R-K, the original four letter word. CSN.

================================================

These slogans are intentionally mediocre since we only have room for six guys at the Summit table, the rectangular Round Table of Perfidy. However, since Gene was kidnapped by his prospective bride in January and is presumably being held in suspended animation until the nuptials are benubious, and because Pastor Kyle is moving to Detroit (Detroit!!), there are two semi-permanent seats open at the coveted coffee table of peerlessness. Should you pass the stringent interview process, here is what to expect.

Growaset! this was Steve’s word for the day. He likes to throw his chest out and seek pain like a peacock in mating season. If you shy away from being tazed or hit by lightning (two lifelong desires of his that could also end his life), Steve barks, “Oh Growaset!” No one takes him all that seriously despite his position of sergeant at arms, legs  and elbows of the Nation table.

“Do you need a pair?”

“A pair of Percoset?”

“Isn’t that a grass fertilizer? Controls crabgrass I think.”

“Grabass? Who said that? Don’t touch me.”

“Stop! In the name of Love, before I break a fart.”

“Doug, this is a No Hand Dancing Zone. Stop it now.”

“Rob, what’s new with you?”

“I started riding my bike.”

“The unicycle, tricycle, your Big Wheel…”

“Uh, bicycle, please. Trying to get into shape. You know bikini season is coming up.”

“Please, the image of you in a bikini on a ten speed is truly disturbing. My gag reflex is going off. Ahhgggh ahhhgggh.”

“Medic! Medic. I need a tankini and a martini at table one. Stat!”

“No, you need a mental image eraser like Men in Black, the thingy jigger mind cleaner.”

“Oh yeah. Without it I would have  to gouge out my eyes.”

“Both of them?”

“Yeah, Rob. You can’t unsee that pale white bikini flasher biker dude skin.”

“Switch. Oh, look who’s here.”

“Well, DJ himself. Farfugnoodle to you.”

“Farfugnoodle to you too.” Handshakes all around except for the Supreme Imam who insists on hand sanitizer.

“So how many Republican candidates does it take to change a light bulb?”

“Apparently a dozen. One to hold the bulb and eleven to kill each other off in the primaries. Did you see Carly Fiorina jumped in?”

“Well H. my P!”

“No abbreviations are permitted at the Summit Nation, thou perfidious knight.”

“How about Trump? Did he toss his toupee into the ring yet?”

“Only to say he’s going to interview vice presidential candidates on the Apprentice, Wednesday nights at 8 eastern.”

“Oh my gosh, what about the other fight. Mayweather and Paquiao?”

“I heard it was a sleeper. Glad I didn’t spend $100 to watch it.”

“Scamacious if you ask me.”

“And deflategate may cost Brady a game suspension. Maybe the Steelers will win that opening day game.”

“Isn’t that ironic, the first game for Brady after the Super Bowl and he’s suspended? Talk about integrity.”

“Yeah, next time he should snort coke and leave the footballs alone. Protect the integrity of the game.”

“He needs to grow a set!”

“Steve, enough.”

“Sir Lancelate has been recognized at the rectangular round table.”

“Yes, thank you. As you already know, I am a template of fine haberdashery and…”

“Shut up and get to your point!”

“You ever notice how a lot of inventions are the result of warfare? Airplanes, canned food, radar, nuclear power. Leonardo Da Vinci had these elaborate drawings of submarines and flying machines.”

“Yeah. Did you know that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was originally a cannon barrel?”

“No way!”

“Oh yeah, only the turret had not been invented yet so it could only shell the same neighborhood in Lombardy.”

“That’s ridiculous blasphemy and very funny.” (Kyle)

“I know. Only later was it opened for tourists after a spiral staircase was inserted. You should think about that in Detroit, Kyle. You know, tow an old barge onto your church grounds and charge admission to the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It’s a sure money maker.”

“That’s a bit tawdry.”

“Oh, now you’re gonna have standards.”

“Okay, change of topic– child actor burnouts for 50, Alex.”

“Macauley Culkin. Hall of Fame. Definitely.”

“The Olsen twins.”

“Doogie Howser.”

“That’s not his real name. It’s Neil Patrick Harris.”

Image result for doogie howser pictures

“He seems to have turned out well. He’s selling Heineken and not riding his ten speed in a Speedo.”

“Unfair!! That category was explored and discarded, Alex. Unless it’s the Daily Double we’re going to have to move on.”

“Good bye Jodi Foster, Opey, Leonardo De Caprio.”

“They aren’t burnouts.”

“Picky, picky.”

“Growaset!!”

“Steve, three Growasets and you are out, okay? It’s a rule on Jeopardy.”

“What are you gonna do if I say it again? Taze me?”

“No, you’d like that. I’ll call Alexandra Steele and tell her you are married.”

“You wouldn’t!!!”

Lance, “Gentlemen, please. A bit of poetry to soothe your torrid bestial minds.

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.”

All, “Well done. Do you do funerals and grocery store openings?”

Steve, “I have one…

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.”

“That was just thoooper with all the thee’s and thou’s.  Thoooper.”

Rob?  “Okay, Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I’m a schizophrenic,
And so am I.”

“Nice modern twist to that, Rob. Super.”

Doug?

“Ahem, One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t, see
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don’t believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too! Amen.”

“And you, Coffee Sultan. Have you a rhyme for us?”

“Certainly:  Here’s to you and here’s to me.

May we never disagree

If we do,

Here’s to me.”

“Lovely, lovely. We will serve no yogurt before it’s time.”

“Culture… my people, culture.”

“That’s bacteria, man.”

Image result for bacteria pictures No, that’s coffee nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

240. Time is short

No time for silliness, my silly blogwillies. Get that smirk off your face and stand up straight! It’s time for sober realism. Or somber surrealism. Pick one.  It’s the end of the world as we know it…. We could say this every day, dontcha think? We do say it every day… on the news anyway. “It’s the worst case of the dreaded Ebola virus since the last one. Epidemic Domestic Violence. HIV/ AIDS. Anthrax. Epic Abuse. WMD. Chemical weapons. WWJD? Catastrophic. WWTMW. Expialadocious.” And that’s just the sports section.

 

“Oh my furry whiskers, I’m late. I’m LATE!!”

So, in order to save time and live expeditiously, we began planning our funerals at coffee summit nation this morning. Steve volunteered way too much information about his post-life needs. He expressed his wishes that the nation would function as his pallbearers, providing there were six of us, sober, and at least four capable of weight bearing loads. Dustin has a bad back but was assigned side, left duty between two taller members in good  standing. He can still call cadence without actually supporting any of Steve’s corpse’s weight, unless Steve consents to post mortem mummification. As in life, so too in death.

Steve asked that I would give the eulogy if I did not precede him in death. I am considering preceding him just to get out of that gig. What would I say, ” Steve liked pain. Amen.” Further, he requested that the pallbearers wear black suits with white shirts and black ties and dark sunglasses like Men in Black or the Blues Brothers, depending on our collective mood– high tech or old school blues. Furthermore, which is more than further, he wants Taylor Dayne’s greatest hits played at his funeral. He said his widow Robin will understand and appreciate this 1980’s touch. Well, in my journalistic effort to document her greatest hits, I found that Taylor’s real name is Leslie Wunderman. Okay? Uh, I was crushed almost as thoroughly as when I learned John Wayne’s real name was Marion Morrison. And John Lennon’s real name was John Lennon. Do you see a drift toward crisp, one syllable Nordic stage names here? But never mind; we have no time to waste. Steve is aging and we must plan his memorial. Fortunately we still have him presently carrying on across the table this dreary morning about needing to go to Vegas and be tazed. “Wouldn’t that be fun?”

“And so, let us remember him in death as we did in life. Steve liked pain, NASCAR wrecks, Taylor Dayne, lots of napkins and mindless violence. Amen. Please lower the carcass now before the shedding of the tear gas. Thank you all for coming. There will be a reception at the coffee shop following Steve’s internment, if his name really was Steve and not Rod Blogoyavich or Petroff Nogoodnovich.”

Meanwhile Gene brought his class picture from 1965 to the table for our inspection and to see if we could accurately pick him out of the black and white line up. Only the newest provisional member, David, was correct. Which means that, counter-intuitively, the longer you have known someone, the less likely you are to be able to pick him out of a childhood photo line up, thus proving once again that eye witness testimony is shady at best.

To test our theory we had Gene commit a simple crime in full view of pedestrians and commuters and then hang around for identification. He kicked the glass out of the Gypsie gift emporium door and then sat back down. Ten minutes later the Turtle Town police showed up. When they asked us if we’d seen who did it, we identified Gene and his younger version in the old class photo. The cops arrested him, thanked us and hauled him away as he tried to con his way out of it with “it was an, an, an, experiment, officer.” I hope he gets out in time for Steve’s funeral. I don’t want to carry all that dead weight alone, mummy or no mummy. I think it’s odd carrying corpses around, unless you are in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

It’s unfortunate, indeed, that life is so short that we must occasionally throw one another under the troika, as they say in Russia. But we can’t be wasting time. No sirree. However, as I consider this profound thought, it brings the entire Coffee Summit Nation’s purpose into question. Our sole expressed and implied mission is to waste time, to avoid work, and to contribute next to nothing to the greater good. I guess that’s three missions tied tightly in our one-sided napkin constitution, thus the previous troika allusion. (The original magna napkina is getting harder to read after five years in my wallet.) If this mission statement is true, then something important needs to happen soon for the Nation to continue in its false sense of urgency. We must invade another table or challenge the banker contingent to a uselessness contest. You see, three snappily dressed, snarky bankers from an abbreviated bank (M&T) stroll down to the coffee shop every day whilst we are harmlessly wasting our time. They laugh and make comments about the Nation, but one day Boy oh Boy, we are gonna go off on them like espresso steam spigots. We may have to wait till Gene gets out of jail and Lance remembers what time we meet so our numbers are in our favor.
Steve may have to postpone his funeral and take one for the team until we re-establish hegemony in the downtown community of nations. Oh, so little time and so many delusions.

230. Magical Mystery Tour

Okay, this post has nothing to do with the Beatles album of the same name, I just thought you might peek in if I baited you with art and then switched you into madness. I am currently under the influence of Pink Floyd and Cream at this very intense moment and my thoughts seem to be erupting slowly like methane bubbles rising out of the decaying detritus from the floor of an intellectual swamp and then popping onto this blank canvas you are reading. Visual flatulence… could be the name of a band from Toronto that never quite made it, like Spinal Tap. Anyway, at this morning’s Coffee Nation Summit things turned and twisted uglily (yes, I’m sayin’ that) as they normally do… five wet shower curtains in the wind on a drizzly day. Each very limited man put in his unlimited input, like PGA putters put in their putts or putzes, depending on your personal preference and people group. But put or putt or putz, no one was disputin’ Rasputin or Vladimir Putin due to Article I of the Nation’s Constipation:  no politics or religion will be broached or tolerated in Summit. Failure to comply will result in a slow, painful death by pun firing squad, which may take up to six months. [Most victims of the pun firing squad actually die of dehydration since they only drink coffee during the painful firing of the puns. They often beg for a quicker death near the end. It’s a cruel and inhumane way to die and must be carried out beyond the outer limits of the Geneva Convention in caves on the north beach of Aruba, aka Pun Island, where the pun is truly mightier than the sword.]

Joel our jovial attorney was in no hurry to get to work printing counterfeit money. He stayed quite a bit longer than normal. (I hesitate to use the word normal, since that has mental health implications that we cannot justify. We are abnormal putzes. If we had an alma mater, that would be our cheer: “We are… abnormal putzes. We are…”) He had shared his thimble of wisdom for the morning and invited us all to his summer tendonitis attorneyment. You’ve probably already guessed its name:  Thimbledon. It’s a fortnight of blindfolded barristers yelling legal citations back and forth over ankle high badminton nets followed by a round of icy mojitos on the  croquet lawn. Instead of golf carts they have summer interns push them around in wheelbarrows to avoid any possible DUI’s. This year’s theme is “Liability and Libation, A Study of Contrasts”. Most attendees will never forget last year’s rousing rendition of Pete Seeger’s “If I had a margarita, I’d hammer out justice, I’d hammer out freedom all over this land” by a young member of the local bar who chooses to remain anonymous. (It was Eddie Fickle, but you didn’t hear this from me.)

As Lance arrives, Joel says, “When I see you, I have to go.” The table reassured him that there are medications that can help with his random urinary urges. He did not protest as we offered various homeopathic remedies such as corn starch and fiber supplements to balance and help him control his aging bladder. My favorite suggestion was for him to sleep with a penny under his pillow each night to pay off the bladder fairy. With a sheepish grin he thanked us.

Big Steve regaled us with his pool maintenance tips and warned us of using outdated hoses on updated pumps. Someone could be violently hosed if the couplings did not get along. (There’s a Lady Gaga joke in their somewhere.)  And isn’t that a universal truth?  This was a natural segue into the topic of war. D.J. shared his near death experience in Iraq when a nursing mother attacked him with a squirting breast. His soldier buddy collapsed at the absurdity of it all, laughing himself into a helpless state as D.J. had a tense standoff with the milk bomber. Later he wrote it up as an encounter with an IEBD, Improvised Explosive Breast Device. “She was deadly accurate with that thing. I mean it, man. I was ready  to shoot back!” Imagine his PTSD flashbacks and nightmares. Huge zeppelins spraying laser streams of 2 % milk on him as he fights against his high count Egyptian cotton sheets and shudders, “Don’t milk taze me, bro!” It’s not funny. A simple trigger of a pool pump could throw a man back into his struggle for life in a godforsaken land of booby traps… something his recruiter completely failed to inform him about. Maybe one of the Thimbledon lawyers will take his case and together they can push wheelbarrows filled with young interns around Aruba. “Mojitos for everyone.”

Meanwhile Gene sits like a disgruntled Buddha with hemorrhoids who occasionally shouts, “Shut your face!” He gives his shots at the Nation, knowing that when he leaves he’ll be subservient to Lance’s razor at the barber shop tomorrow. ” N-N-Not to be smart, but I can’t argue with a man who’s got a razor at m-m-my neck.” He’s as meek outside of the coffee shop as he is cantankerous inside it. The Nation functions as a catalyzing poop magnet for Gene, keeping him emotionally regular from week to week.  Lance sat across from Gene and was not content until he got a blast, “Shut your pie hole, you!” This outburst led to bent over contortions of laughing.

And that leaves me. The nice thing about being a blogger or the Dictator for Life of Coffee Nation Summit is that you answer to no one except your wife. So I am under no legal or moral obligation to say what I did or did not contribute to the group… unless my wife jacks me up and makes me confess. Anyway, I remember others’ silliness far better than mine. So let it be written. Let it be sung.              The magical mystery tour is coming to take you away. Dying to take you away, take you today.

 

 

9. summitmultaneously

At the Coffee Summit Nation things were slow but nice. Steve came in first. He buys frozen coffee drinks all year round. Yesterday was his birthday, 48. We talked with Joel about age, hair that is gray, and Joel’s spinning class. He is surrounded by 20- and 30-something women. He’s 63 and not complaining about the view. (Joel is our Coffee Nation’s unofficial attorney, so any further revelations would violate attorney/client privilege.)

Chuckles sauntered in to join us. Tired and played out from working late last night. Still, he has a gentle spirit and always laughs despite pain and burdens. We once spent an entire hour trying to link Chuckles to the Abominable Snowman/Yeti of Tibet. He has huge feet and makes a gurgling purring sound that is disturbing at first. If you heard it on a dark night around a campfire, you could become incontinent. Chuckles is an entire book to be written later. For now I just enjoy his company.

Over the winter I gave him my old 1992 Honda Accord. His 1984 Civic was about shot with 250,000 miles on the original speedometer. He wouldn’t take my car until he could give his Civic to this Haitian fellow he knows. So there we were one day in the notary’s office swapping vehicles out. The three of us stood in line and signed and passed papers to the right on the counter. Some money was paid in fees, tags were traded, and the haves gave to the have nots what they did not want any longer. This worked out well for all of us. Chuckles said the Accord felt like a Cadillac after living with the Civic all those years. It was a nice little car that I loved to drive. It wouldn’t have been a gift if it had no value to the giver.

The Egginator arrived later than usual. He is my daughter’s boyfriend. He has chickens and chickens lay eggs. He keeps a number of folks stocked with eggs, thus the moniker “Egginator”.  Once, he had two dozen fresh eggs for one of the fully vetted Coffee Summitteers. Another Summit wannabe, Mark, the local hobo/rock star, asked him if those were his eggs. Egginator cracked us up with his reply, “No, I’m holding them for a friend.” Like it was two dozen ounces of pot. “Are those your eggs?”  “No, I ‘m just holding them for a  friend.”

Steve had been to a NASCAR race and told us all about it. Sarah Palin had waved to the crowd from the back of a pickup truck. Seems fitting for a former vice presidential candidate. It was Steve’s brush with FAME…less  ness. She waved right at him. After the race he told us about a drunk woman fan who kept leaning into him and  touching his butt. It was the perfect bookend to the Sarah Palin episode. It was his brush with SHAME…Less ness.

One of our church’s pastors was leaning into his laptop and eavesdropping on the Nation’s conversation. He occasionally chimes in or breaks with pastor protocol and sits with us. Kyle is his name. When he rolled in he said, “You’re always here!” like it was a bad thing. I replied, “Well, for you to say that, you must always be here!”  He laughed a little, just a little. He’s young. Once when one of our other  pastors came in the coffee shop, I uttered aloud, “What’s better than one King STreet pastor in a coffee shop?” Kyle anwered first and a bit tentatively, “Two King Street pastors?” BK, the other pastor who looks like a young Groucho Marx, replied, “No King Street pastors!”  I laughed and recognized BK’s answer as the best answer to the puzzler.

One thing led to another as single things do, (that’s a completely useless string of words pretending to be a transition) and we moved to the chess board. The Egginator played white and had me in a pickle, when out of nowhere my wife sits down next to me. It was a collision of two worlds and I squirmed a bit. First of all, the Coffee Summit Nation is a male bastion of submediocrity. And secondly, what was she doing downtown with time to order and drink a frozen coffee fru-fru drink? And why was she so pretty after all these years of living with me? (That was not my third thought; it sort of floated above the other lame cognitions firing across my neo-cortex at the speed of a capsizing cruise ship.)

She messed up my game with her mere presence, and the Egginator knew it. He smelled blood or some odor from the bathrooms behind him. He knew he had me on the checkered ropes of my vinyl tournament chess board. (Does that sound as lame to you as it does to me?) Anyway, one bad move led to another as bad moves do, and I saw my chess obituary written in front of me. I had told the Egginator that is was impossible for me to win the game, but only a few moves away from checkmate he realized that he had to leave for class. As he had done the week before, he asked Chuckles to finish the embalming. I knew then that I had a good chance.

My wife had left minutes before and I could regain my singular focus. She was cheering on the Egginator the entire time. However, after a series of lousy moves, Chuckles snatched defeat out of the whale-sized mouth of victory. It was funny like  breaking your arm after doing a foolish trick on a rope swing, standing on the bottom knot and reaching for an apple hanging off the tree across the dry creek gulch below. Okay, maybe knot that funny when motion overrides balance and common sense loses to  derring do. [PARENTS:  Little boys should not be left unsupervised.]

And that was a good place to leave the Summit. Lance had arrived late and had his riddle game going. Steve was answering them left and right. The circle grew smaller as I left for my haircut.