Category: humor

Visions in a Park

At least eight states will have marijuana legalization laws on their ballots this November. California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Maine will be voting for or against legalizing weed for recreational use. And Missouri, Arkansas, and Florida will attempt to legalize pot for medical purposes. Way to try to go forward, Bible Belt!

I’m from Cali, and wasn’t sure which way to vote on this. And then my wife and I visited Capitol Reefer National Park. While at this enchanted park I saw several visions, and these revelations convinced me of the wisdom of legalizing Pakaloco.

Ganoobies Cliffs, Capital Reefer National Park.

Ganoobies Cliffs, Capital Reefer National Park.

In my first vision, a great white president rose before me. He was enwreathed in a mysterious, sweet-smelling smoke. Although he seemed happy in this smoke, he was holding his breath and refusing to inhale it. He introduced himself to me as the Great Clinton. In a raspy voice he proclaimed that in the capitol there are many reefers. He stated that this park was named in honor of all the great leaders of our nation who have secretly toked on the sacred herb of Mary Jane. And then he disappeared into a bush.

Indian Boy Valley, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Indian Boy Valley, Capitol Reefer National Park.

In my next vision, a great black president emerged from a bush, eating macaroni and cheese. Magic smoke swirled about his serene face, and he could be seen to breathe deeply of it. He fixed his gaze on me, then uttered, “There’s a reason why I am known as the Great No-Drama Obama. Reflect on it, man.” Then he sprinkled some salt and pepper on his macaroni and faded away.

Around 4:20 in the afternoon a third vision appeared. An older blonde lady in a pants suit was mowing the grass. She was working hard, and huffing and puffing like a dragon. Then she stopped and sparked up a conversation with me. She told me she was up against the stem, and asked if I belonged to the Tea Party. I told her no, and she said, “Well you win a gold star for that.” Then she pulled out a couple of pocket rockets and handed one to me. We torched up while she asked if I had ever seen the Northern Lights.

Alice B. Toklas rock, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Alice B. Toklas rock, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Yes I had, a few times, I revealed. “In fact, I belong to Triple A, so I have no problem driving up there.”

She got the wind of what I was saying, then got the good giggles. Finally she asked, “Do you know who I am?”

“Sweet Lucy!” I replied, “No, who?”

Zambi Mesa, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Zambi Mesa, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Her eyes drooped and got dewy and her face went solemn. “I have come from the Great Clinton,” she muttered in ghostly fashion. “And I shall be the new Great Clinton. I am going to leave the great Trump in a ditch, after he crashes the speedboat he’s on.

“And after I become the new Great Clinton, I shall make it possible for all Americans to visit this beautiful park.” She spread her arms out wide, gesturing to the desert hills all around her. “Yes, when I achieve my greatness, no one shall be denied entry. The leaders of our country shall no longer bogart this place for themselves. It shall be shared with everyone, and all people will be allowed to toke the sweet air, admire the red buds, and wake and bake beneath the trees.”

Sinsemilla Bluffs, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Sinsemilla Bluffs, Capitol Reefer National Park. If you look closely, you’ll see the contrail of a Jefferson airplane. Wow.

These words were as refreshing to me as a leaf salad. I recalled how so many people had to sneak into this park, and how some of them went to jail for a very long time, after being caught trespassing. I suddenly got very excited. She had won me over. I asked the aspiring new Great Clinton what I could do to help her.

She stared at me sternly and murmured, “Vote to legalize ganja.” And then a strong breeze lifted her up, with her sleeves and pant legs flapping enthusiastically, and she blew away in a vortex of golden leaves.

Kumba Overlook, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Kumba Overlook, Capitol Reefer National Park.

Thoughts That Fell From My Head

Claude Monet Reading a Newspaper, by Pierre Renoir, 1872.

Claude Monet Reading a Newspaper, by Pierre Renoir, 1872.

Sometimes I get a wild hair and decide to read the news. And then I think about it. Yep, there I go thinking again. Here’s a few thoughts that fell out of my head recently, after picking up a newspaper:

The sheriff’s calls section of our local rag is replete with reports of Walmart shoplifters. They’re often caught concealing merchandise under their clothes. This worries me. I wonder, just how many things have I bought have at one time been down someone’s pants?

A tiny tot recently fell into a gorilla exhibit in Cincinnatti, which resulted in the shooting of the gorilla. Some blame the mother for this zoological tragedy. And of course, parents should always keep both eyes on their young children at all times, and never, ever look away. Not even for one second. Not even to eat food, or drink water. Not even to look both ways when crossing a street. Not even to make eye contact with another adult when engaged in conversation. Those pupils must be fixed. At all times. On that damned fucking little rugrat who keeps running around acting like a stupid fool.

Athletes are threatening to boycott the summer olympics in Brazil, due to the Zika virus. I say, why not just introduce a new game? Call it the Mosquito Slapoff. He who slaps off the most mosquitoes, and receives the fewest bites, wins a gold medal. This will motivate the athletes to avoid the proboscis of this insect, and return home safe and healthy.

Donald Trump was on a campaign stop here in southern California, when he proclaimed that we have plenty of water, and there is no drought. Can’t blame him for saying that, as I’ve been known to see mirages, myself. In fact I’m currently under the impression that the Donald has plenty of hair, and no need to sport a combover.

Bernie Sanders is doing his darndest to win the state of California in our upcoming primary, June 7th. So Hillary cancelled some campaign appearances in New Jersey, in order to give the golden state more attention. I don’t think Hillary has to worry about Bernie. But hey, any excuse to get out of Jersey, right?

The Virtue of Lying

Beneath our skulls hide many mysteries that could get us into trouble. Isn’t it nice that these impenetrable skulls allow us to tell lies and get away with it? If we couldn’t tell lies, just think of the power others could hold over us.

Most scientists agree that lying is a necessary survival tool for human beans. In fact, research conducted by MIT University discovered that nine out of ten people have lied at least once in their lives.

Some people regret having told lies, but shockingly, three out of four liars derive secret pleasure from being able to deceive others. That according to a University of California, Los Angeles study.

And most philosophers have advocated in favor of bending or breaking the truth. Socrates spoke of the pleasure gods derive from observing good liars in action. And even Immanuel Kant, that paragon of truth-telling, once remarked that it’s more fun for him to lie and earn one gold piece, than tell the truth and earn ten. Yes, lying has been a hallowed, sacred practice of humankind since our evolutionary ancestors gained the power of speech.

The canards we tell, and the mendacity we engage in, keeps our imagination stirred up. It seems a lie told long enough can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, when it inspires invention. Consider the religious lies told for centuries about the existence of flying angels. The Wright Brothers were deeply religious and were trying to become angels themselves, when they invented the airplane.

Orville Wright's famous first airplane flight.

Lies inspired the Wright Brothers.

Nearly everyone agrees that lying is wholesome. Think about our political leaders. They lie all the time. And look where lying got Donald Trump. He’s a billionaire, and now he’s just one opponent away from becoming our next president. May the best liar win.

You may feel sceptical about all this foofaraw I’m making in favor of lying. But I’ve researched this thoroughly and know what I’m talking about.

Believe me, I would never lie to you.

They’re Out There

My wife and I have been watching old episodes of The Twilight Zone, on Netflix. I’ve been a big fan of this vintage sci-fi series most of my life, and have already seen just about every episode.

But the other night we were watching an episode about a man with amnesia. Funny, I couldn’t remember ever having seen this one before. I probably have, but I just can’t remember. It seemed a little familiar, but then again . .

This really bugs me.

Could it be that many years ago I spent 30 minutes of my life watching this episode, yet now those 30 minutes are gone forever from my memory? How can 30 minutes of my life vanish, just like that? As if they had never existed?

Perhaps if I search hard enough I can find those 30 minutes again. I’m sure they’re out there.

Somewhere.

Off, in a distant place . . . known only to those . . .

Who search The Twilight Zone.

View of the Twilight Zone, from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

View of the Twilight Zone, from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Clinquant Clunker

Clunker1

He was an old guy. I myself was a young man, still in my thirties, and not unwilling to take advantage of the senescent.

“It may look like a clunker, but it runs great,” he claimed. “It has a lot of good miles left on it.”

It was a 1961 Dodge something-or-other. One of those big trucks with no apparent model name. It was a two-ton flatbed. Just perfect for what I needed. And here’s the best part. The engine was tricked out with gold plating. Gilded in gold, I tell ya! But how well would this clinquant clunker run?

“Mind if I start it up?”

The starter engaging and spinning the flywheel played a sweet melody for about five seconds. And then came a powerful rumble and vibration of bolts, like a pyroclastic conflagration. This demon was a firebreather.

As it purred and rattled away like a kitten on a calculator, my brain added up some depressingly-high figures. “S-so, so how much do you want for it?” my voice atremble, in harmony with the running engine.

“Can’t take a penny less than $600.” the old man furrowed his brow.

“$600! $600! That’s all he wants for it!” I pleaded as I danced around my wife, begging for her blessing.

“Okay, okay, I know I can trust you. You’re a lot smarter than me when it comes to business, so it’s probably a very good deal. Go ahead and buy it.” she sighed.

I paid the money and drove this beauty for the first time. The accelerator was gently responsive, and the brake pedal was soft as a downy pillow. It floated uphill like a cloud, and coasted like a cool breeze downhill. Halfway through the 20-mile journey home I stopped and showed it off to a man who knows a lot about old trucks. He liked it so much, he helped me drive it home and park it in the front yard.

“What, you paid $600 for THAT?!” my wife guffawed. “I can’t ever trust you again with a business deal. You’re never going to live this down!” she laughed.

Learning comes automatically in life. Except when we refuse to learn. When our fantasies diverge from reality, we can refuse to acknowledge the way things really are. But when we swallow our pride, set aside our prejudices, or otherwise dispense of our fantasies, our eyes can open up to the beautiful lessons life has to teach us.

This truck was nowhere near anything I needed. I needed a small car for commuting, not a two-ton behemoth. And the engine was not plated in gold. That was rust. The sweet melody at startup was actually the heavy metal tune of a screaming starter motor and grinding gears. The powerful rumble and vibration might have been a loose engine mount. But the engine really did breathe fire. Straight out the carburetor.

The rattling inside was caused by loose rockers, or tappets that needed adjusting. The gently responsive accelerator was a flat spot caused by a clogged carburetor jet. The brake pedal was not soft as a downy pillow. It was more like a wet sponge. But the truck did float uphill like a cloud. Literally. There was a cloud of steam spewing from the radiator. And I was glad I could catch a cool breeze while coasting downhill, because that helped bring the temperature gauge down.

The man I stopped and showed this truck off to was a tow-truck driver. He accompanied me home, with me in the passenger seat beside him, and my truck up on the flatbed behind his cab.

It took me two months to derust the radiator, repair the engine, and make the brakes safe to use. Then I put an ad in the paper. A few guys showed up, stared at it, then shook their heads and walked away without making an offer.

Then one day some hillbilly dude dropped by and looked this old clunker over, and his hands began to shake. A quiver in his voice indicated to me that he had not completely seen my two-ton bucket of rust when he glanced at it. His fantasy kept obstructing his line of sight. But he wasn’t completely blind. He only offered $300. I took it.

Lesson learned. For me, at least.

Happy Privacy Birthday To Me

April31

Tomorrow, April 31st, is my birthday. I would have waited until tomorrow to announce this, but I haven’t been able to find April 31st on most calendars. Actually, it’s my privacy birthday, not my real birthday.

There’s so much identity theft going on these days, I think the business of stealing identity has become a significant part of our gross national product. Or maybe I’m just paranoid. But when people ask me for my birthdate, I often tell them April 31st. I’m trying to protect my identity from being stolen.

Wonk that I am, I memorized which months have 31 days, and which have only 30, way back in elementary school. So it surprises me how many people fall for this ruse. I even have an in-law who sends me a birthday card every year around the end of April.

How old will I be? Plentynine.

I take great measures to protect my privacy, so I’m gobsmacked when I learn about others who aren’t so careful. Celebrities are the worst. The reason why you can find so many nude pictures of celebrities on the internet these days, is because they store their naughty photos on the “cloud” and then secure their cloud accounts with flimsy passwords. Passwords such as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9, or the very clever p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d.

Then they act so embarrassed about their sex videos being displayed for the world to see. I’d be more embarrassed about having a password that was just begging to be hacked. I’d be proud of the sex videos.

I protect my identity so well that even I have become confused about me. Who am I, really? These days this is more than just a metaphysical question. Sometimes I have to check my birth certificate, which I keep locked away in a safe deposit box. It gets a little awkward at the bank, when they ask me to identify myself before they’ll let me access that little plastic box. “That is the question, isn’t it?” I’ll sheepishly stammer.

I avoid giving my real name, birthdate, and other identifying information out, especially over the internet. For all anyone who follows this blog knows, I’m President Barack Obama. But really, I’m Elvis Presley.

I hope you don’t feel disappointed at not knowing who the real me is. Me and my ego would love to tell you. But sadly, you’ll probably never get to find out.

Whoever the heck you are.

Igor Krensky and the Salt Shaker Incident

Igor Krensky stayed at our house for a while. He was our neighbor. His house had burned down from some sort of lab experiment he’d been working on, and he needed a place to live while it was being rebuilt.

Igor was a genius. He could fix anything, and he was always eager to please. That’s why we let him stay with us. Yeah, I guess you could say we were using him. We charged him $800 a month, room and board, and we let him fix anything he wanted to fix. And we had a lot of broken stuff. There were frozen computers, leaky faucets, a dead vacuum cleaner, and all kinds of other little unfinished fix-it jobs that left me feeling flummoxed and apprehensive about tackling.

I would wait for a strategic moment for Igor to be standing nearby, and then I would try to use the item in disrepair. Then I would point at the malfunctioning thing and cast a doleful glance at Igor. His face would light up into a big wide smile. He was always eager to please, and fixing things was the best way he knew, to make people happy. “Hmmgghh!” he would passionately exhort with a breathy exhalation. And then he’d get to work.

Igor mostly communicated through verbal, whispery breaths. Occasionally he would mumble something that sounded Romanian, Hungarian, or some other central European language. My wife and I were never quite sure where he was from, but we assumed Romania. He looked about 30 to 40 years old. He had blonde hair, deep-set eyes with bruisy shadows beneath them, a prominent nose, and sallow, hollow cheeks. He was tall and thin and rawboned.

He rarely looked at anyone straight-on. It was mostly gazes asquint, where he seemed to be sizing his subject up. He was a calm man most of the time, lost in the genius world of his reflective mind. Just the same, there were a few things that could annoy him and rouse him from his reverie, into a restive state of pique.

For one, you would never want to make a sudden loud noise around Igor. He would jump up from a sitting position, or rise about two feet into the air if he was standing. Then he would stretch his arms out like he was ready to tackle someone, and search the room with quick left and right twists of the neck, trying to identify the source of the commotion. In those moments he would make direct, full-frontal eye contact with you, if you were the source. And you never wanted that. His eye contact was scary.

SaltShaker

Igor also had a lucky salt shaker. It was made out of thick glass–thank God for that–so it never broke when it fell on the floor. It was empty. The screw-on top was missing. It was just the glass portion of an empty salt shaker. He would always set it at the very edge of a table or counter top where he was working. And if it ever fell on the floor, Lord help him. Igor would transmigrate into another world.

He wouldn’t hurt anyone on these occasions. No, it was more of a deep inner turmoil that was harming Igor himself. He couldn’t function. He would stop what he was doing, rise from his seat, and glare mournfully at the fallen shaker. Deep, heavy growling sighs would rise from his chest. He would occasionally throw back his head and jab Romanian invectives into the air. He would pace back and forth, next to the salt shaker. He would cry like a puppy, pule like a baby, shake his head vigorously, and lose himself in hysterical bouts of sorrow.

But he would never pick the salt shaker up. Someone else would have to do that. And then his face would gleam with joy, and all would be well with Igor again. But if you set the salt shaker in a safer location, such as the middle of the table, he would quickly pick it up and balance it precariously right there on the edge. And then he’d get back to work, happily mumbling and breathily breathing, while tinkering away with his delightful little tools.

One day my wife and I were watching Igor fix our vacuum cleaner. It was a very expensive vacuum, and so we were intensely interested in this particular repair. We didn’t want to shell out the bucks to buy a new one. He had it up on the workbench in our garage. I sat next to him, and my wife stood opposite the workbench, directly across from me. I was so fascinated watching this mad genius, that I didn’t notice how close my elbow was to his salt shaker.

A reflexive nudge from my elbow, and I glanced over just in time to observe the empty glass shaker disappear over the edge. Thank God for that pile of rags it landed in! It made absolutely no noise. Nobody noticed this tragedy but me. But I couldn’t help but utter a sudden, throaty “Awp!” which I quickly stifled.

Igor startled a little and quickly swung his head at me, gazing directly into my eyes. I had to do something explanatory. But I couldn’t just reach down and pick up the salt shaker. I don’t take on accountability very well. And I didn’t want Igor to notice that his precious shaker was missing. And I especially didn’t want him to know that I was the one responsible for it being missing.

“Aww, ahhhhhhhh, aww, ahhh, ahhh!” I melodiously sang out, trying to convey to Igor that I was so happy I was breaking out into song. He furrowed his eyebrows disapprovingly. I stopped singing. He swung his head back and returned to work, grunting and mumbling something in Romanian.

My wife gave me a quizzical, wide-eyed look, like, “What the fuck are you doing?” I just sheepishly cast my eyes downward and began plotting how to return the salt shaker to its rightful position without anyone catching on.

But apparently Igor’s subconscious had detected something was wrong. He seemed distrait. He fumbled around with his tools, grunting breathy expressions of frustration. His hands shook nervously. He cast gazes about and began breathing and grunting louder and louder.

My wife was becoming visibly upset just watching him become visibly upset. Meanwhile, I sat stone-still, silent and mortified. My wife studied me. She knew by my frozen demeanor that I was somehow the perpetrator of this unhinging scene. Then she spotted the glass salt shaker in the pile of rags on the floor. She pointed it out to me. Igor caught sight of her pointing finger and spun on his seat, facing me down with laser eyes and beads of sweat on his brow.

I could dissimulate no longer. I just very quickly reached down, picked up the salt shaker, and set it back on the very edge of the workbench, where it had rested just a few minutes before. I gave a simpering, nervous, apologetic smile to Igor. Igor growled a long, deep, gutteral growl. He sounded like a jungle cat. He curled his lip and formed a distasteful message of complete contempt, with the scrunching lines of his face. Then he slowly turned back to the vacuum cleaner and tinkered quietly away.

There were no more happy, breathy grunts of pleasure from him. There was only an icicle silence, save the tiny scratchings and tappings coming from his little tools. Igor was pissed.

I had to be punished. It was the only way to get back into Igor’s good graces. That evening I stood in the living room with my shirt stripped from my chest and my hands tied behind my back. My wife approached me with a glass jar, and inside that jar was a dime-sized spider. Igor sat on the couch and watched with an amused interest in his eyes.

I’m deathly afraid of spiders. Whether they be big, medium, small, or tiny; hairy, bald, dull, or shiny, I cannot abide arachnids. My wife lunged at me with the jar. I jumped back in horror. Igor guffawed loudly. My wife lunged again, and began chasing me around the living room with the spider in the jar. I heard Igor utter something like, “Huh-ha, huh-ha, huh-ha!” My eyes were saucers of terror. Igor’s eyes were terpsichorean dancers. I squirmed. He slapped his knee. I squealed. He howled.

This went on for a good fifteen minutes. It was holy, shit-my-pants hell for me the whole time. My wife was a little uncomfortable with it, herself, but seemed to be getting into it toward the end. Meanwhile, Igor’s amusement reached a climactic plateau of pitched, hysterical laughter, then slowly subsided to intermittent convulsive chuckles. Finally he relaxed into a calm, smiling state of peaceful repose. He was back to himself again. Back to the old, eager-to-please Igor.

He slapped my bare back good-naturedly and headed off to his guest bedroom in the backyard, to retire for the night. My wife untied me, let the spider loose in the front yard, and then we both headed to bed. With Igor back in our good graces, all was well in our world. At last we could get a good night’s sleep.

And in the morning, who knows? Maybe I could get him to fix that light switch.

Gender Neutral

MorningGlories

I read that men and women become more like each other as they age. I don’t believe this. But I brought the subject up with my wife over a cup of tea.

“Nonsense,” my wife grunted, jerking her arm and accidentally spilling hot green liquid on her new Levis. “Goddamnit, I just bought these!”

“Well they need a few washings anyway,” I reassured, “so they’ll start feeling as soft and comfortable as one of your old shirts.”

“Are those new shorts?” she asked.

“Yes, and I love them! They’re very loose and allow cool breezes to get up inside them. Keeps me dry.”

My wife rubbed a hair on her chin and mused, “Come to think of it, my grandmother acted a little masculine. I remember how she used to wolf-whistle at construction workers.”

“Hmm, now I remember how my grandma could drink any man under the table at her favorite bar.”

“What was her drink?”

“Bud . . . she was a Bud lady.” I softly murmured, as I slowly stroked my thighs while admiring my wife’s broad chest and strong arms.

She put her hand on mine and drew closer. “You’re looking kind of sexy today,” she grinned.

I pulled my hand from hers and put a pouting moue on my face. “Not until you apologize for what you said to me yesterday.”

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry I said you look fat in those clothes.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” I wiped away a tear. “I think you were right. I really do.”

“No, no you’re very handsome!” she reassured. “Anyway, I’m feeling tired.”

“And I have a headache,” I said.

We finished our tea and went our respective ways. She lounged in front of the TV set, watching women’s basketball while munching on a bag of potato chips.

I got busy pulling weeds out of the flower garden. Which wasn’t a good idea. I should not have been wearing my new white shorts for such a dirty activity.

The Cactus Affair

Cactus

Murphy Zephrengle had seen that little potted cactus in the bedroom a thousand times without really noticing it. But something caught his eye. It looked like maybe a bloom on the side, catching and reflecting light. Strange. He picked up the pot from the shelf and inspected it closely. It wasn’t a bloom, it was a camera lens. And the cactus wasn’t real, it was plastic.

Someone was spying on him. His wife.

He’d never cheated on her, nor given her any reason to believe he’d cheated. And yet she was possessed by a demon of insecurity. She watched Murphy’s eyes whenever he talked to any woman, making sure his gaze never wandered below the neck. She interrogated him after every phone call. And she asked him where he was going or where he had been whenever he left the house or returned home.

Murphy figured out that the camera sent a wireless signal to her computer, where it recorded images at one frame per second. And there in the archives were thousands of images of him at various times of the day, doing various things, whenever he was in the bedroom. Mostly he was napping.

He thought he could have some fun with this, so he ordered a life-size doll from a sex toy website. It cost him over a thousand bucks, but he got his money’s worth. She looked very real. Murphy named her Sophia, because she felt so soft. And the velvety texture of her silicone skin actually turned him on a little when he stroked it.

The stage was set. He carried Sophia, reclining in his arms, into the bedroom, and gently laid her upon the bed in full view of the cactus camera. He kissed her and slowly undressed her as the camera silently clicked away. She was anatomically correct, even down to her orifices, and I’ll allow your imagination to figure out what he did next.

The following morning Murphy’s wife was seated at her computer when he heard a loud shriek. He rushed over and saw her fall upon the floor, curl into the fetal position, and begin weeping hysterically. There on her computer monitor were the pictures of he and Sophia.

When she recovered enough to talk, he let her dig the deepest hole she’d ever dug for herself, with every accusation of adultery and threat of divorce that emerged from her lips. He just sat there smugly and waited for her to finish. And then came the line, “I TRUSTED you until now!” And that’s when Murphy Zephrengle let her have it.

It’s been six months since this incident. The Zephrengles are still together, and I think everything will work out. That’s because they’ve both been receiving very wise counsel from competent professionals. Yes, they’re both in therapy. She’s being treated for her insecurity issues. And he’s being treated for a serious problem too, although it was kind of embarrassing for Murphy to admit it.

He’s fallen in love with Sophia.

Kill or be Killed

It started with a meal. We were over at my in-laws, and wanted to cook some dead bird, or pig, or cow, or some other poor critter that had been killed in a slaughterhouse. But hey we all have to eat. It’s kill or be killed in this world.

We used their oven in the back patio, because it was big enough to toast this feast. My wife set it to preheat. About ten minutes later a rank smell invaded our osmic senses. Smoke curled out of the oven. My wife killed the flame just in time, to prevent a fire that might have killed everyone in the house.

Field mice were scattering everywhere. They had ripped and torn all the insulation from the oven, and made a huge nest inside, where they could live cozy and warm. Now they were trying to save themselves from being killed by this very same, very warm home. Meanwhile, my senile mother-in-law cursed these mice that killed her “brand-new” oven. After all, she’d only bought it 20 years ago.

My father-in-law disconnected the oven and had it hauled off. But he too is getting forgetful in his old age. He neglected to completely shut off the gas. If my wife hadn’t noticed, we all would have been killed.

But my father-in-law still has most of his marbles. And he knows how to set traps for mice. My mother-in-law wanted him to use poison. They argued about it into the night, and almost reached the point of killing each other. But traps won and they both lived. However dozens of mice would soon be killed.

Then they decided we could get them a cat. The cat would kill a few mice, but that would scare away the rest, sparing their lives.

"Killer Sam"

“Killer Sam”

We went down to the animal shelter and selected a ball-bearing mousetrap. A six-month old male kitten, to be exact. But it won’t bear balls much longer, as it’s the policy of the town to fix the felines they adopt out. It’s their way of killing future kittens before they’re conceived, to save them from having to kill them after they’re born.

So now, to save the next brand-new oven from being killed, we’ve saved a kitten from euthanasia at the animal shelter (well, we saved everything but its balls). The kitten will kill some mice, but will save the rest from being killed by traps. But cats also predate upon birds, snakes, gophers, and anything else that moves. So there will be a general slaughter of wildlife, in my in-laws’ backyard.

No matter how hard we try, there’s no escape from bloodshed and death in this kill-or-be-killed world.