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For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 7 July 2007 - 11:42pm.

Not On Solid Ground

As I’ve said, my mind doesn’t work the same as those of other folks. Not that I am one of those people you might see on the bus talking to himself—far from it. Not yet, anyway. Laughing softly for no apparent reason, perhaps. Talking to no one—never. But the way I look at it, I agree with whoever said that ‘any day you wake up on this side of the dirt is a good one.’ I just prefer to find the humor in so many things while I am still on this side of it. For all I know I will be doing it in the next life also. I’ll probably die laughing, proving that it is possible and not just a figure of speech. I just hope I don’t actually ‘split a gut’ doing it.

Yes, you might occasionally find me chuckling to myself and wonder if I am sane, if you don’t know me, but I can usually stop short of you deciding unequivocally that I am (I deserve the benefit of the doubt now and then). I just see the humor in things that others don’t, until it is pointed out to them. Okay, even then they might not see it, but it isn’t my fault that I was created with an over-developed sensitivity to the bizarre and unusual, although it might well be argued that it is my fault for adopting it so readily and so heartily exploring it to its fullest.

I also wonder about things that others don’t. I just naturally have a curious mind—in both senses of the term. For instance, I can’t help but wonder—when Frankie Vallee of the Four Seasons sings “Walk Like A Man,” why does he sing it like a girl? There must be an answer, but it eludes me. All the more disturbing is the sneaking suspicion that I may be the only person who has ever asked this question.

Other mysteries abound, as well, demanding answer. Why do they call it a ‘drill team’ when it has nothing to do with power tools? Personally, I think it would be awesome to see these guys marching around to some rousing music (perhaps Jimi Hendrix or some Wagnerian opera…”Kiww duh wabbit…”—nevermind), with surround-sound stereo tracks of revving Harley-Davidson engines accompanying them, laser lights shooting all about while they wave electric drills, chain saws and the like in the air and triumphantly take over the field. I mean, who wouldn’t find that inspiring? And…who would mess with a bunch of guys carrying on like that?

I wonder some of the most obscure things at times, too. Such as, why do women say they are ‘getting a permanent’ when it is only temporary? Another thing—why is something referred to as Cream of Tartar when it’s a powder? Can you honestly say that you understand that one? It’s just plain disturbing! These are age-old questions that need to be asked. It all seems so illogical. It’s enough to give a Vulcan a migraine and ulcers. Fascinating, simply fascinating.

Have you ever wondered this one—if you are ever going to invest in ‘cattle futures’, do you first need to consult a ‘bovine psychic’?

Okay, why do they call redheads ‘carrot tops’ when carrot tops are green? If you ask my opinion, I think this was an act of deliberate subterfuge—perhaps a plot to corrupt our language and destroy the foundations of our social stability. It’s right up there with the profound and undeniable similarity in the phrases ‘Santa Clause’ and ‘Satan’s Claws.’ A coincidence? I think not. This may be the direct result of the efforts of the Socialist Coalition for the Removal of Everything Wonderful in the United States (SCREW-US). Deliberate subterfuge, I say. There can be no other answer.

It begs the question, does it not? What else has been sabotaged in our society and why do we just turn a blind eye to it. Have we all become Lysdexic or something? ‘Darn it, Jim! I’m a writer, not a doctor!’

For example, if you want to join a college fraternity, you are asked to do some absolutely horrendous things to ‘prove your worth.’ Some of these things may include animals, vegetables and minerals, while others do not, but that is not within the scope of our lesson here. The fact is that the guy who refuses to allow himself voluntary or self-inflicted humiliation should be the man in charge of choosing the idiots that are allowed to join the fraternity. He has already proven he is smarter by far than the rest of them, has he not? Let him be the leader of the bunch. There might be far fewer hangovers on the campus this way, too.

And what’s up with the graffiti that you find these days? I saw one at the bus stop the other day that read ‘Weed heads 4 life!’ Now, is this the marijuana users faction of the anti-abortion movement? I don’t think so. No, it is painfully clear that the perpetrator of this slogan was actually proud of the fact that he was killing brain cells and would be relegated to menial jobs all of his life as a result of this choice. I can see the job interviews now:

“Can you say, ‘Would you like fries with that order?’”

“Uh-h-h-h, m-m-m-m…er, uh…no?”

“Excellent! You’ve got the job!”

And, if you are reading this WHILE you are stoned, it was funny before you got into that state—the only difference is that you would have understood it.

While we are on the subject of graffiti, let’s consider the gang graffiti that seems to abound in certain areas. Many people are afraid to erase it or paint over it, for fear they will anger the local gang members. You need to remember that you are talking about individuals who are applying for the jobs we just mentioned above—and they are getting them!

These people could raise their I.Q. level by eating a stalk of celery. There are effective ways to deal with the unsightly mess that these (is ‘imbeciles’ giving them too much credit?) are leaving in your neighborhoods. You simply “help” them with their art projects. If the sign says ‘Shy Boy...East Side Dipsticks’, you augment it a bit to say ‘Shyte Boy, etc.’ None of these folks can speak Irish. That takes an education and the brain capacity to reason the meaning of the change in the word. These people haven’t the I.Q. that God gave to a crowbar. Which is why you may actually need to escalate your campaign to get a result that goes beyond simply drawing a bunch of mystified punks to gather and stand scratching their heads for hours on end before their garage door masterpiece.

So, another addition you can make to the sign is to comment on his choice of wardrobe—‘Shy Boy...East Side Dipsticks, wears pink panties.’ Or, ‘Paco...sex change complete!’ This approach may even get the offender to erase the graffiti himself, just to keep his peers from laughing at him. If so, mission accomplished and congratulations are in order.


Here is as good a place as any to discuss my Magnetic Fart Theory—if indeed any good place exists to discuss such a thing. Anyway, why is it that some farts seem to follow you everywhere you go and there is no way to effectively escape them? I call these Magnetic Farts. So foul are they that they follow you even into another room. It’s like they are programmed to be heat seeking. But finally, I have a theorem of sorts to explain the phenomena.

(Hang on...phone’s ringing.)

Okay, that was just plain weird! I just got a call from a woman that may be a founding member of the Weed Head Brigade. The conversation went something like this:

ME: “Hello?”

HER: “Hello.”

ME: “Who am I speaking to?”

HER: “The owner of the phone you are using. It was stolen.”

ME: “I just bought this phone a month-and-a-half ago, on Wirefly.com.”

HER: “Is your number 520-491-XXXX?”

ME: “No, it’s 520-491-XXXZ”

HER: “Hang on, let me look up my number.”

ME: ???!!!

HER: “Oh, uh….” (Silence/disconnect)

ME: ???!!!

In fairness, she did call back and apologize—she dialed the right number and found her cell phone. Life can be interesting. Reminds me of the guy that called me and we talked for about five minutes before we realized he had called a wrong number. Only after I hung up did I wish that I had kept his number—he seemed like a great guy. We could’ve had a BBQ together.

Anyway, back to the Magnetic Fart Theory. I hold that since there are eddy currents that lie in your wake as it were, as you move from one spot to another, it stands to reason that some of these noxious vapors are bound to be captured and travel in that wake, also—much like surfing, only backward, if you get my drift. (Several puns could be made of this. Seems a shame to waste them. Have fun.) Combine this with the fact that farts are composed of hydrogen, a lighter-than-air gas that rises, and methane, a heavier-than-air gas that settles, and you have the perfect explanation for why you can’t seem to get away from some of these vicious human back drafts (you might also refer to them as ‘A Blast from Your Past.’). Either way, the effects are ghastly (yes, that was a pun).

Now, there is an effective way to get rid of these toxic and odiferous gases in a hurry. It involves the use of a match or a lighter, but I definitely recommend that you be wearing some garment to cover the offending orifice when you apply the flame. It is not first-hand experience that leads me to this conclusion, but I have it on very good authority, none-the-less. Blisters can and will result.

I certainly don’t expect to win the Nobel Prize in physics for my theorem, but next time you pass gas, think of me with some degree of reverence and reflect upon the meaning of what you have just done. You won’t regret it, I assure you. This is not to say that others won’t, so be forewarned.

Also, my studies have led to the classification of gas-passing into three sonic categories that are based on the already existing frequency crossovers used in three-way stereo systems; namely: Woofers, Squawkers and Tweeters. Woofers are the low resonance, growly types—the perpetrator may be referred to as “Rumble Seat.” Squawkers hit in the mid-range band, comprising the majority of farts. Tweeters are the upper register and the sounds tend to carry the furthest. Add to these the Ultrasonic and Infrasonic farts (among these are the dreaded SBD’s—Silent, But Deadly.)

The approaches, or delivery methods if you will, of any of these will likely fall into the Bark—a single, sudden report; the Staccato—a series of sharp reports; the Floater—a long, sustained note carried out according to the skill and control of the individual deliverer; Articulated—a highly skilled individual will make it sound as if there are words or phrases being spoken (this is akin to throwing your voice, if you will, although the breath is considerably worse); and the Flat or Muffled delivery—no apparent sound is noticed. Despite common belief, the word ‘flatulence’ does not derive from Flat or vice-versa. They were labeled independently, although the coincidence is certainly eerie.

It should be noted that no truly accurate method for measuring ‘muzzle velocity’ has been developed (and anything that comes close, I don’t even WANT to discuss), so far as I have been able to ascertain (no pun intended), but that the velocities can be tremendously high is beyond question, as some will actually develop resonant frequencies sufficiently powerful enough to cause physical pain at the exit orifice. This can only be accomplished with very high velocity jets of gas.

Before passing (couldn’t resist) on to another subject, why do things seem to happen in bunches? (We could make another related pun out of that, but we need to maintain some level of dignity, do we not?) Just in the past few days I have repeatedly been on a bus that had a defective announcement system. The nice, soothing female voice that was meant to tell you what corner you were approaching or where you were getting off was having some very real difficulties. The amount of distortion in the recording made it sound, not like a woman’s voice, but a high-pressure human gas leak. No, really. So, every time someone was getting off the bus they would walk under this speaker that would make a strained farting sound. Oddly, no one laughed except me. What’s wrong with the world (I ask as I sit here on my metal chair in a small room)? Maybe I need to stay away from buses.


This may not be the proper section for this. Then again, after the last topic, you may wonder if there ever was a proper section for anything here. At any rate, I got a laugh out of the movie Norbit without watching it. I am sure that many other films have the same notification printed on the DVD cover, but this one stood out like the proverbial sore thumb. How else would you format a movie about a 400-pound woman, except to have it in Wide Screen? Makes sense to me—she has a huge crush on the male character. What’s not funny about that?

BTW, Murphy is an extremely talented comedian and actor. Too bad he isn’t creative enough to control his “French” in this film.


Which means it is time for a discussion about language. Not bad language, but the origins of a word. The word they use in Mexico to denote ‘restroom’ is baño (pronounced: bahn’-yo). In Brazil they speak Portuguese and call a restroom by the name ‘bañero’ (bahn-yeh’-roh). What does this have to do with anything, you are asking. Well, it has to do with the discovery of peppers. I see that giant question mark over your head, but be patient for a moment.

You see, some peppers burn just as bad coming out as they do going in. And if they give you gas, you could easily self-ignite. A sort of ‘spontaneous human combustion’ situation could ensue; but I digress. What would they do in Mexico, where there are lots of Jalapeño peppers, if they found their mouths (or their anterior regions) burning? They might yell, ‘Agua! Agua!’ which means ‘Water! Water!’ Or they might yell, ‘Baño! Baño!’ because that’s what they call their restroom. Don’t ask me why—it’s their language, not mine.

But when the Brazilian gets hold of a Habañero pepper, he doesn’t react the same way. His response is more like this—the initial moment of shock (when the body recognizes that it has been severely wounded) and he shouts, ‘Hah!’ as if catching his breath or exhaling flames; this is followed by a request for the place of relief, where he might either get water or eject the foul matter that so grievously attacks him—‘Bañero! Bañero!’

So, it makes complete sense when we put the exclamations together: ‘Hah!’ and ‘Bañero!’ Irrefutable proof that the Habañero pepper originated with the Portuguese and most likely in Brazil. …You’re welcome.


Tattoos. You either love them or hate them. I can’t make up my mind. I love the artwork aspect of it. I even love some of the material chosen to place it on, but there is something there that keeps telling me it is defacing a monument. Besides, are these folks gonna look that good when they are old, wrinkled, droopy and the art is faded? Half of the work will look like it has melted and the other half will be like, “What the…oh” as the viewers turn away and snicker or vomit.

I have heard that some folks are actually offering their bodies to be billboards for corporate advertising. Can you imagine having this on you for the rest of your life? When does the company stop paying you for ‘breach of contract’ or for libel? When you can’t read it anymore? About the time you get to where the folks in the last paragraph are, I would guess. And if the I.Q. is sufficiently low, you may find someone with a tattoo that says, “Your Ad Here.” I think Bill Engvall would agree that it could as easily read, ‘Here’s My Sign.’


I have a project in mind. You know all the old jokes about books and their authors—Under the Bleachers by Seymour Butts, etc? Well, I have the goal of coming up with 1,000 of the Greatest Books You Never Read. I am almost there, actually. I know the audience will be slim—maybe just grade school kids…if I can keep it on their level. My wife thinks this should be easy for me. …? She’s very supportive. No…really!

For example, one would be Starting And Finishing Your Goals by Allred E. Dunn. With some of these, I just need to work on the I.Q. level aspect of it. Does this title work for you? The At-Home Podiatrist by “Stinky” McPheeters. Maybe I need to include a glossary in the back, too.


Addictions. There are so many these days that you never would have thought of even a few decades ago. We have become a victimized society and most of it is self-inflicted. Drug and alcohol addictions we knew about forever, but now there are far stranger ones. Food addictions. Sex addictions. Soap Opera addictions. Harry Potter addictions. What will they do for a ‘fix’ when the last Harry Potter book and movie are made? You will have junkies hanging out in bookstores and having to be removed by the police and taken to rehab centers, which have yet to be formed, but ultimately must be. Now, there’s a job to consider. Here’s what you’ll have to deal with:

“Wean me off gradually—no ‘cold turkey’, please? Maybe some Stephanie Meyer, PLEASE! I beg you—just a few chapters!”

It all seems too bizarre. But then, as a writer…. Hmmm, I think I feel a best seller coming on. Who needs a ‘fix’?


It has been hinted strongly that I have been rambling on in this book, but in order for it to be rambling I would have to be talking about nearly everything. That is questionable at best, because there are also many who say I have yet to talk about ANYTHING, so how could I be rambling—huh? Tell me that, will ya! Rambling, indeed! Puh-leeeeez! I never…who in their right mind would ever…I mean, do you think seriously…? Well, sure, the title says…but that’s just, you know…. mmm, would you excuse me a moment?


Have you ever noticed the names on bottled waters? For example, one of the first widely recognized names was Evian (Ah-vee-ahn). Spelled backward it is Naïve. I always thought most folks that were into buying bottled water were just that—until I moved to the Phoenix area, where they have hot- and warm-running yuck. Still…Dasani backward is Inasad (‘Isn’t that sad?’)


Have you been as confused as I am at the grocery checkout lately? Used to be that when you were asked, “Paper or plastic?” you knew what they were talking about. Now you don’t know if they mean the money or the bags they are going to place your purchase in.


If Al Gore really did invent the Internet, then why does it say Dubya, Dubya, Dubya all over it?

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