The Popcorn Chronicle
I am at the movies with a big bag of popcorn and a big drink trying to navigate between the narrow seats. It is awkward.
The movie has started and I am squeezing down the aisle facing the rear of the movie theater and then it happens.
I step on the foot of a woman and the popcorn tilts and much of it lands right in the lap of the lady. I gasp "I am sorry," and reach down to try brush the popcorn from her lap.
My hand trembles because in this process I step on her foot again. More of the popcorn spills right down her front and some of the drink as well.
She jumps up and bumps me and the popcorn flips and popcorn is now on her husband and the people in the next row up.
Pandemonium and the usher is there with a huge flash light inquiring what is going on.
The lady stammers that "he put his hand in my lap."
This is beginning to look bad.
The usher gives me the masher look and I deny everything.
I put my wife in front of me saying "She is the only woman I mash."
The mashee and her husband shake off the popcorn and the big gulp and and try to eject the popcorn from her purse-preparing to leave the crime scene for CSI.
The two go toward the aisle stepping on the toes of everyone in my row and I stand there waiting for the usher to finish reporting the incident on his walkie-talkie.
The buttery couple finally get to the aisle and then the usher motions for me to follow him.
This is bad.
I wait for the couple to finish their under-the-breath curses and then slowly merge toward the aisle with my wife clutching my coat-tail, sure we are going to jail.
Inside the office the usher laughs and laughs and we go next door for coffee with two free passes for the next show.
The Country Connection
I am waiting for a movie and I go looking for a Irish pub that had an Irish motif and decent food.
The bar is gone and has been replaced and was now under new management. It is now a Country Western bar.
I go the the juke box and looking at all of the songs, most of which I have no idea what they sound like.
I am there minutes and suddenly a voice says in a drawl
"How long you gonna take at that box? This is my only day off."
There is the no music, voices can be heard clear as a bell, dramatic silence is now in the room. Everyone looks up, the bartender looks at me and the guy at the bar and smells trouble.
I turn from my music selection process to have a look at my interlocutor and decide to finesse the situation.
I wave my hand dramatically over the glass-enclosed music selections and step toward the bar saying slowly:
"If you know these tunes you could get up here and help me out. You pick'em and I'll pay for 'em.
Not being a fool the bar stool guy gets up after downing his drink and says
"Throw in another round for me and you got a deal."
And that is how I saved the Western World.
The Wife in the Darkness
My love and I are at the movies just entering and it is pitch black-- so dark you could not see anything and we wait for some light from the screen to illuminate the way to some seats.
We become aware, via breathing, that several others are also waiting, in the same dark predicament.
Suddenly an elderly voice says:
"Mabel where are you?"
Trouble-maker that I am, I respond in a heavy whiskey base voice:
The voice says: "You are not Mabel."
I say "Yes I am."
The real Mabel says: "I am Mabel. Who are you?"
The man says "Where are you Mabel?"
Mabel and I say simutaneously "Over here."
My wife kicks me, expecting a riot.
The movie goes to a day-time scene and there are eight people looking around trying to identify Mabel with the whiskey base voice.
I look away, innocently, following Mabel down the aisle hiding my laugh with a cough.
Cheating at Universal Studios
At Universal Studios a restraurant had a mecanical bull and a basketball court inside with dining room tables all around.
Naturally, I told my friends that I could ride the the bull and make 10 free throws in a row.
Gales of laughter.
I have made 10 free throws in a row, many times before and that part of it was not difficult. But it drew the attention of all of the diners, but, I had never ridden a mechanical bull in my life.
I strode over to the bull and made a big deal of inspecting the apparatus so as to ensure that the bull was going to be a challenge for me and demanding to see the bull operator to ensure that the speed would be set fairly. After that conversation I returned and poised myself over the bull, ready to mount
I seated my self and threw one arm high in the air rodeo-style and the bull jerked up and I came down with one leg on the bull saddle and the other leg almost to the floor.
I yelled out " Turn it up," causing many there to doubt my sanity.
But ten seconds later I had succeeded in riding that bull more or less side-saddle, there by saving the honor of my entire family.
I sat down amid the awed silence in the room and stabbed my fork to the sky.
My wife says: "How did you do that?"
"True girt" I said: "But the truth is that the Bull operator is one of my buddies from college-he told me what to do."
And that is I beat the mechanical bull at Universal Studios.
The Sound of One Hand-Clapping
My philosopy professor always over-used the question: "What is the sound of one hand clapping" to make his points. His implication was that one hand cannot clap.
It was irritating.
One day I realize I can make one hand clap by slapping my fingers against the palm of my hand. It is a stunning realization. It is a soft sound and barely audibile, but with 30 people in a class it could be heard.
The next day five friends and I wait for our moment, when he says: "And that would be the sound of one hand clapping."
Five hands go up and the sound of soft clapping could clearly be heard. Then there are fifteen and then other people in the classs did it just to see if it could be done.
Professor was stunned. "I see I have a class of empiricists" he said embarrased.
It was a stunning victory for the students of the world.
He said finally "And that was the sound of 30 students laughing."
Take the Women First
I am sitting in a diner while on vacation and a man comes in the front door yelling and screaming:
"Women are the Devil's spawn. Women are the Devils spawn!"
There is a tremendous tension in the dining area and people start to get up to leave.
The man finally comes to our table, stops and yells at me "Women are the Devil's spawn."
I turn to my wife and I say in my best stage whisper: "It's for you dear."
The place explodes in peels of laughter and the man, looks confused, turns and leaves.
Why All English Teacher Substitutes Have Grey Hair
She knew she was in trouble and tried to make friends with the class opening, after introductions, with an ice-breaker question.
"Who is the most quoted author in the English Language?"
Cruel smart-aleck that I was, I began the festivities with a gem:
"Mr. Ibid." I say
Unsure if I was serious and flawed mentally she ignored my answer and moved on to her next question.
"Who was Hamlets father?"
"Mr. Eggs" I said in my cheeriest voice.
"What is your name" she asked in her most demanding voice.
"Mr. Op. Cit." I chimed in.
I am now in front of the class at her most serious request, as she tried to make my humiliation an object lesson for the entire class.
"Mr. ah, Hicks it is, tell the class what you know about Shakespeare, perhaps we can all learn from you, since you are so very verbal."
I am quick witted so my response: "Well I know one thing for sure, he is still dead."
Even she had to laugh.
She said "Tell us then the story of Julius Caesar, one of Shakespeares most famous plays. What is the plot of that play?"
She thought she had me.
I thought she had me.
It was a tense moment but I offered up:
"The plot of Julius Caesar is that Caesar went to meet some friends at the capital and they tricked, killed him and each one of them claimed the other ones had done it. Just like junior high food fights in the cafeteria."
"Go on." she prompted. I did and only later did I realize she had tricked me in getting everyone else to accept her.
She had become my ventriloquist and I was the dummy.
And her hair didn't change color at all.
The Seven Day Fight
On marching through the cafeteria I go to the vending machine, buy a Baby Ruth candy bar and sit at a table across from Gather, the Hater, who ignores me.
I pick up the Baby Ruth from the table, peel back the packaging and take a bite and place it back on the table.
Gather looks at me with amazing hate and then he does the incredible, he picks up my, repeat, my Baby Ruth bar and takes a bite from it.
I am sincerely outraged-scared because Gather is known as the Hater, and is big as a bear and looked exactly like a bear, nose and all.
Standing up for freedom, and ignoring personal safety, I pick up the bar and take a big bite, making a Candy Statement and standing up for the US Constitution.
I saw from the look in his eye that this was not going to end well.
He takes the Baby Ruth bar and stuffs the rest of it into his mouth, stands up and says, "That's it; you and me little man (the "little" was correct) I will come to your house and whip you and your whole families butts."
This was bad news; especially, since after he stalked off, I put my hand in my pocket and found my Baby Ruth Bar.
I literally had eaten Gather's Lunch.
So, I adopted an aora of bravado and pretending to him and others that I had done it on purpose and became a cafeteria hero, and I would be a hero as long as I lived and that would be to about five o'clock.
I went home and stuck to my hero verison of the story and Gather showed up just like he had a watch, yelling for me to come and take his whipping.
I started on my journey out and my Dad, shook his head and whispered a word of advice, just like I was going to face Joe Louis and would not return alive.
"What you want to do son, he said is "get low" That was always my Dad's advice in a fight or gang situation; "get low."
I and my brothers smirked at him in the past saying "Get low and get kicked and stomped on, yeah right."
Day one of the Gather fight. I go out and don't get low and get beat but tell Gather that next time he should bring another Baby Ruth bar for my brothers. I had refused to go down, instead grabbing him and pulling him forward whereby he hit his head on the concrete beneath me.
He lumbered off promising murder next time.
Day two: He's back and my Dad says: "Kick him in the shins. Bullies can't bully if they's can't walk." I go out and tell Gather that I wanted a fair fight and as he protested I kicked him in the shins and he went limping and hopping.
Day three: I sent my brother out and he kicked Gather in the other shin.
Day Four: Gather shows up with a lead pipe and gets kicked in the original shin by me.
By now I am feeling like Tarzan of the jungle, dancing around like Mohammad Ali.
Day Five: Gather gets hot water thrown on him by my sisters.
Day Six: More shin splinting.
Day Seven: Gather goes down and hits his face on the concrete breaking his nose.
That night we had a marshmellow roast-cause Gather left calling us "Crazy."
The Ice Pick Cometh
Summer's are sweltering hot in Chicago and in my neighbor the ice man literally brought around blocks of ice for poor families that had "ice boxes."
Electric refrigerators were not in widespread use, except among the rich and the middle class.
But the situation in summer for kids presented the opportunity to get some ice to cool off.
The ice man would take a huge block of ice from his horse-drawn wagon and hoardes of us Killer Urchins would wait until he disappeared into a house with that block of ice and chip ice shards off the remaining blocks on the wagon, pet the horse and generally ruin his business.
He would come back be outraged especially since, sometimes, we spooked his horse and it would be down the street eating away at some tree.
I, leader of Stupid Kid Pack, ran away a short distance, stood sucking ice, and I taunted him.
I actually stuck my tongue out at him.
I didn't see it coming. All I felt was a sudden pain in my tongue and swallowed blood.
The ice man, incredibily had thrown his ice pick and it hit me in the tongue. (People don't believe this story but it is true .)
I run back to my house and my mother is horrified, puts ice, yes ice on my tongue, (the hole is still there this day) and a neighborhood posse is organized to deal with the matter--after all, free ice was possible from all this.
The posse advances on the ice man, who stood helpless with a huge block of ice on his back, glares at the approaching group, drops the ice block, and slaps the horse into a gallop with a chasing group of citizens behind the wagon.
Ice blocks dropped off the wagon and this felt like Justice for group and they took the haul back to their respective domicles, satisfied that the day had turned out well.
Kissing the Mesh
My first kiss was a disaster, well not entirely, but... Here is the story. I had a neighbor girl who I had a crush on and in relentless fashion I would casually show up on her back porch to talk. Yeah talk.
She would stay inside behind her screen door and our chats were great especially since we hadn't learned to talk social or anything, therefore, there were long silences and deep-eyed looks between us.
Her eyes were pixelated because of the mesh of the screen door and to this day I like that look. Imprinted I guess.
Anyway, one wonderful hot day, I move toward the mesh drawn by the mysteries of hormone development and that virus had her in a similar grip, and, I am all puckered for my first kiss, screen door or no screen door; and by the way that way of kissing is sort of exciting, no danger of pregnancy and it has the aura of forbidden fruit along with the taste of metal.
Ten delicious seconds later a sound like an A-bomb makes up both jump and her mother is emerging from another room, asking in that quiet but Death is coming your way" voice "What is going on here?"
We both repel like two magnets and adopted the best wide-eyed innocent look we could muster.
Mother is no fool and says to her daughter "What happened to your mouth?"
I peer through the screen door and the evidence was plain as the nose on her face--fine mesh, screen-door squares all over her mouth and some on her cheeks too.
The mother, instinctively, aprons off the rusty kiss remnants at first not understanding the situation until she peered onto my face. Like the Lock Ness monster surfacing she places the daugher behind her and starts to open the screen door to get a better look and to verify her suspicions and to mentally start to construct the scaffoling upon which I would be hanged.
I stepped back placing one hand over my mouth and the other to cover my neck, while she emerged 10 feet tall above me and in an instant aproned me too.
She laughed. "You kids," she exclaimed. "Be sure girl, your father don't see this."
To this day, I sometimes like my kisses with the faint taste of rust.
Good News-Bad News
Bad news-I am driving along and a car is bearing down me from the rear.
It keeps coming.
Bad news-The car hits my little car at 60 miles an hour-bam!
Good news-I keep control of the car for a second or two
then the car begins to skid.
Bad news-The car skids, swerves and overturns, flipping, flipping.
The world outside the wind shield revolves upside down.
Bad news-Things go blank and I see water coming into the car;
I had landed in the river.
Good news-I am sinking but not yet under water.
Bad news- The water starts to come in faster and faster.
Bad news- The water keeps coming in the car. It is sinking.
It is over my head.
I am drowning.
Bad news- I hold my breath for 30 seconds and decide that I will die here.
I regret that it has to be in the mud and silt of the river. Undignified. I take a deep breath ready to go.
Good news, The car suddenly bobs to the surface from an air bubble
inside just as I take that breath.
Bad news-I look around and notice that the car is sinking again
this time even faster.
Bad news- I look around to try to open a door. But the door won't open.
Good news- I hear voices above. Someone saw me go in.
Bad news- The water is rising so fast I am sure they won't get me in time.
Bad news- I bang on the wind shield but it does not break
Good news- Someone from the outside breaks the wind shield and asks
if I can get out.
Bad news- I drag myself out over the cut glass-
blood in the water, gasoline and mud.,
Good news-Outside, there are men with a floating flat board and they float me to the shore.
Bad news-They ask me who is President and what is today's date.
And they are my rescuers, I think, and don't know this stuff?
Good news- The helicopter air-lifts me to the hospital with broken ribs, eye
smashed, blood everywhere.
Good news- I recover and can't get a cigarette and thereafter quit for good
as a way of thanking God that I lived.
Bad news- Broken ribs lead to pleurisy and later pneumonia.
Good news- I recover.
Good news-People at work give me a snorkel for my birthday; lol.
The Sayings of Uncle Dan-Words to Live By
Don't think too much;
that makes you
smarter, if you believe in it.
Don't be too obsequiously humble
it implies you are great enough to need
Don't be too wise;
it upsets people
hold back a little
you seem smarter that way.
Don't try to look too good
people will see you only
as good for looking good.
Make one or two good
too many and you
will acquire enemies posing
Don't think too much
about the Future
you'll forfeit Right Now
Love your parents
even if they don't deserve it
because you have to have
to give some love.
Remember is Karma is Karma
Don't get all hung up
on bad and good
pretty soon you won't
have any friends.
Kiss and hug
all the children
all the time.
People are not a movie.
People are real
and they are not in your movie.
Don't watch television--
Open the blinds;
it'll prove you don't have
You can't be cute
Don't kiss in the dark
if you are not willing
to kiss in the light.
Wonder why and why
at all times.
Smile at someone
for no reason;
much it meant
when it happened to you?
Don't try to be sexy;
Get low with animals
get on the floor.
Let someone else
Be quiet sometimes,
You don't have to talk
just because you can.
Don't eat anything
bigger than your head.
Don't eat just to be nice.
Control what goes into your body
you are going to need it a long time.
Nobody is better than you
even if they think so;
and you are no better than
even if you think so.
Want what you need;
it works out best that way
and need, too,
what you want.
and play for keeps.
makes you laugh til you pee
The rich are children.
You can't go home
if you never come back.
You can get along with people
if you can be alone with people;
Your life is going to be
engraved on the inside lid
of your casket.
Don't have it be blank.
You can get over yourself
if you get naked
face a full-length mirror
and look through your legs.
If Jesus came back
he'd go to some churches
and take his money back
and the collection plate too.
If someone calls you a name
ask for details;
what kind of cow?
Do you mean Jersey,
'Oh you don't know you say?
Then you are not only mean
but dumb too;
You are old if you
don't want to get out of bed
in the morning-and depressed too.
If you do then you are young
no matter what your age.
The perfect woman wears
a gingham dress.
The perfect man
wears only a smile.
When you come home
give a hug and a smile;
don't be a coward.
Kissing a pig
don't make bacon
and kissing rear-ends
don't make friends
Wearing a watch
you know what time it is.
If being smart made you happy
happy people would be smart
but they ain't
but they do know something
I had an uncle Dan
who always said that a man
had to be taught
how to please a lady
by learning to say 'yes dear'
just like she means it.
I had an Auntie Sal
who always said that a woman
had to be taught how to please
by learning to say 'yes dear'
just like he means it.
in life until somebody
falls in love
Every time someone says
'Now I am not bragging on my self'
expect some self-bragging is going to be happening soon.
You can win every argument
by calling your opponent a pee-pee head.
I walked pass the plate glass window
on the street
and a demon had taken over my body-a plump one.
"Really, really smart people are always ugly." he said
"It's a rule."
'You must be very very smart.' she said.
She asked me where babies come from.
I told her LA; they also whine a lot there.
'He was beautiful' she said
but not as beautiful as Ben Franklin
on the 100 dollar bill.
"I used my rapier wit on him," he said 'but left out the wit.'
Always choose the happy meal at the restrauant and over-tip
Don't tell the truth if it will be used to murder someone else.
Be nice to people;
it don't cost nothing.
Growing up is about
more than just getting taller.
You can have anything you want in the world
if you are willing to let others have what they want too.
Always give credit to others more than yourself
even if this is not true .
You can get any woman to fall in love with you
if you really love women. If you don't like women
the woman you end up with will return the favor
If you don't like men, see above.
Gossip is the refuge
of those who lack skills
Don't spend your life protecting
what didn't deserve protecting in the first place
It is hard to find a good woman
so get a hard woman to help you look
Women want a man who understands
what women want without having to be told.
A man wants a woman who gives him what
he wants without asking
You can't find your princess
without being a prince yourself
Act like a loving person
and soon you don't have to act no more
Being happy only comes to the happy being.
Happy being is the willingness to be without demands
Joy is a happy smile
Best be yours.
Scheme, plot, and calculate at all times
to tell the exact truth.
Hit a man when he is down
make an enemy for life
Never eat what you can't digest.
Animals are people too.
Money is the root of all evil;
greed is the tree upon which it grows.
Past 40, just stop looking in the mirror;
you'll be happier
Big lips kiss better
Don't hold on to the illusion
that you can hold on to what you never had
to begin with.
"You never listen to me," she said
"Huh? he said
"I don't like sex" she said
too many noises, too many smells and grunts
and the position is ridiculous."
"Good thing" he said "it only lasts a coupla minutes."
When I was a young man I liked thin girls and after I went to sleep.
When I was an older man I liked thick girls because they provided the pillow.
Enjoy life," Uncle Dan said
"just not too much."
Ask "Were those gunshots?"
five blocks away.
Love starts when you stop being all hung up about love.
Peace is the ability to get along with others.
Cowardice is the inability to tolerate peace.
Always, always, be the first to reach out;
from there you have the choice to shake a hand
or slap a face.
Communism is the exploitation of man by man:
with Capitalism, it is just the other way around.
With Dictatorship the people get the leadership they don't deserve
With Democracy the people get the leadership they do deserve.
A Six-foot goose standing beside a man on a corner:
"Embarrassed to be seen talking to an imaginary goose huh?"
The object is not to think things out
but to let thought in
Surrender is the first step toward empowering.
You can't kiss the sky
if you haven't kissed the ground
Flying is very simiiar to falling
and vice versa
Touch the cheek
brush the lips
and you shall receive the kiss
In war the goal is to conquer
in love the goal is to surrender
Being right about eveything is not enough-
even if you are right about everything
Never start what you can't maintain
Women will love you if you love them first
and they think it was they who prompted it.
A man never disagrees with a woman
who tells him he is irresistably attractive
All women think they are beautiful
inside or out-sometimes both.
Men need to learn to see that first.
Women need to hear a man's dreams.
Men need to hear a woman's fantancies.
Women want to attach
Men want to be close enough to implant
Learn never to talk too much with your heart full
allow the silence to speak your sincerity.
Don't call home to borrow a quarter
to call home with
A confused man in the desert craves water
a wise man craves salt.
Silence is loudest when we stop talking to
allow the soul to speak.
If you are not funny
you are not funny
Holidays are for taking a holiday
from the person you should not be
trying to be everyday.
I picked him up-just released from mental health treatment-they'd drugged him to some nth degree and I could feel himlooking out the car window deciphering hospital life from the outside highway realities.
We pass road kill and he yelled stop! stop!
I stopped, backed up and he got out to have a look.
A dead cat, mauledand bloody.
He got down on the road and began to weep and cry out.
'What? what? ' I said thinking they had damaged him.
He said 'they killed him.'
'Who killed him? '
'He was hit by a car, ' I said.
'No, no, ' he said.
He was not hit by a car, he said staring at me.
'They killed him in the bushes
and dragged him up here
to make it look like an accident.'
He then looked at my startled face steadily and suddenly
'Just a little paranoid joke' he said.
We laughed all the way home.