Fending Wall

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(Note: In the world of words, theft is the highest honor one can bestow.  Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” is the recipient/victim.)

 

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Something there is that doesn’t love a WALL,
That populates the Senate with such dolts
And fills the House with leftist nincompoops,
And makes them think they know what’s best for us.

The world of fake news is another thing.
I have gone after them and brought to light
Where they have lied and fibbed and told untruths,
These whores, who hide their slanders up their ass
To please the lapdog traitors in their ranks.

No one admits the truth: All HOLE, no WALL!
(With one strong WALL, I might accept a hole)

As chaos called the Spicshits from their dens,
I let their Wetback leader know that he
Must ante up the millions it will take
To keep his rapist drug-lords on that side.

He treated it as if a children’s game,
And, on the day we met to walk the line,
He laughed (I should have poked him in the eye) …
Right there … there, where we most require a WALL!

In truth, these are all simple folk,” he said,
Who want for little but to stay alive.”

“Alive, my ass,” I cried, “they’re simply scum.
The truth?  Good fences make good neighbors!”

“How do they make good neighbors?” then he asked,
“What is so precious that your might and wealth
Cannot give simple kindness pride of place?
Look at their hands!  They know what hard work is.
Look at their hearts!  They know the good from bad.”

And I?  I know the truth my father taught:

LET NO ONE GET INSIDE THE WALL YOU BUILD
AROUND YOURSELF.  OUTSIDE IS MERELY TRASH!
GOOD NEIGHBORS ARE THE ONES YOU NEVER SEE!”

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Santa’s Night Out

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imagesIt’s not that easy being Santa — working on an impossibly tight deadline to meet the fevered expectations of millions of kids; managing a workshop of strong-willed elves; keeping a reindeer herd in shape for an exhausting, once-a-year marathon.

But that’s not the half of it:

 

(Early Christmas morning)

Dearest, I’m home.

(From the kitchen).  Make sure to take off your boots.  You must be famished.  I’m making breakfast — oatmeal and waffles and pancakes and eggs and sausage and toast and …

Dammit, she never learns.  (Entering the kitchen)  My dear, you know I always get home absolutely stuffed with cookies and milk.  I couldn’t possibly …

And you know that, every year, I tell you to toss your cookies … in the waste basket, of course … and pour the milk down the drain.  You’re not getting any slimmer and, besides, who knows how much time you waste having a pee and taking a …

Please, dear, the elves can hear.

All right, all right.  Just have a cup of coffee.  I can give the food to the elves.  So, how was your trip?

Well, it’s not getting any easier.

Yes, you are getting older.

No, that’s not it.

So?  

Well, drones, for one thing.  I mean, competition with Amazon is tough enough, and now they’re using drones to deliver.  How can I compete?

But millions have faith in you.  After all, Amazon is not a saint.  You are!

Yeah, but they depend on Amazon; they trust it; they love it.  Isn’t that worship?  Isn’t that faith?  What else does it take to be a saint?

In case you forgot:  a miracle and, of course, the Pope and the Vatican.

Not the way they’re headed.  Anyway, the drone problem isn’t just the competition.  It’s getting dangerous up there.  Even kids are flying them.  There’s no regulation.  As we were coming into St. Louis, one ran smack into us.  It hit Rudolph right on the nose!

You mean …?

Yeah, everything went dark.  I had to do an instrument landing.  

Thank goodness you had that!

Well, yes, but it alerted the military, and they called the police, and the police called ICE and …

They have ice, like us?

No, it’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Anyway, they wanted to see my visa and I told them, “I don’t need no stinkin’ visa!”

Wow, so you got to use your “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” imitation?

Yes, but I think that may have been a mistake.  First of all, they didn’t buy the Santa Claus thing.  One of the cops thought he’d seen me at the mall; he didn’t even catch the accent joke and thought I sounded drunk, and wanted to do a breathalyzer, but the ICE guys figured I really was Mexican.  They wanted to hold me as an illegal alien, and then somebody checked the reindeer, saw how exhausted they were, and wanted to callSanta Claus isolated on white flipping the bird animal control.  At that point, I just decided, “I’m finished with this God-damned country and all its suspicion and hostility.  I don’t care how many kids are disappointed; there are enough kids in enough other countries who appreciate what I do.  The hell with America.”

 So how did you get out of it?

images-1I just made us all invisible and headed straight for Mexico.

Why Mexico?

Well, they’re not disgustingly rich like the Americans.  Maybe that’s the difference that makes them really appreciate me!  It was a love-fest!

Saints preserve us!

Don’t hold your breath!

Life Lessons

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Walker-Stapleton-3-e1544040643684The death of former President George H.W. Bush has evoked fond reminiscences, including a Denver Post vignette from his cousin, Walker Stapleton — Colorado Treasurer and recently, unsuccessfully, Republican candidate for Governor.

Stapleton recalls a day fishing with Bush, he at age six, and Bush, soon-to-be Vice-President, advising him:  Public service is a noble calling.  It’s a great thing to do and you should find a way to do it sometime.

If only I, at about the same age, had had the benefit of such wise counsel!  Like Stapleton, I did have an older cousin who might have guided my future.  He was in show business, and I am grateful for his teaching me how to wiggle my ears, play the ukulele, and cross one eye, but preparation for a life of public service it wasn’t.  

My father might have been the more appropriate counselor.  Like Mr. Bush, he was an amateur fisherman and I was his pupil, eager for sage advice on our day-trips down to Fabius Brook or up to Fish Creek.

These hours together could have guided me toward great deeds, but what I got was, Looks like rain.  Could mean better fishing.  Dunno why.  Maybe harder for the fish to see us.  Or, Don’t hook the worm through that light part there; it’s soft and the worm’ll just get pulled off in fast water.

Don’t get me wrong.  My father was a sophisticated, well-educated guy.  It was just that fishing days were for fishing, and, if you wasted your time daydreaming about lofty goals like becoming President, or, even better, first-baseman for the Dodgers, what you’d end up with was, not greatness, but a waterlogged branch snagged on your hook, with moss.

On these trips, Dad’s longer-range vision ended at whether we should accept our bad luck here and move upstream there to where we got that nice one last year, or, better, where should we go for lunch.

In fact, now that I think about it, lunch was probably a major missed opportunity — father and son sharing a meal together; time for serious, strategic planning.  

It didn’t start auspiciously.  Early days, we’d eat streamside.  The problem was that, in that relaxed setting, where I might have been susceptible to fatherly advice about the future, lunch was pickled lambs-tongue sandwiches, which did not make me receptive to much of anything.

The alternative, once I had worked up the courage to protest the sandwiches, was also not the best.  Dad was not exactly a gourmet (a man who, for years, lived on coffee and tuna-fish sandwiches for workday lunch), and, on fishing days, a greasy spoon — as raffish as possible — was his preference.

One of the favorites was a dive that featured dirty socks thumbtacked to the ceiling, an old barber’s chair in the corner, a juke box, and a menu spattered with ketchup.

Sports talk was the logical common-denominator, especially the Chiefs and Eddie Shokes’ flawless fielding, or the Warriors and whether the Bruins were going to call up Bronco Horvath (they did).  No chat about colleges or professions or higher callings.

Not quite the stuff of future greatness, but there probably was a lesson in all this moreimages-2 useful than what a well-meaning Mr. Bush gave to young Master Stapleton — there’s nothing wrong with big dreams, but the smaller details, like how to bait a hook or field a grounder, are what get you there one step at a time.

Small Kindesses

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UnknownI’m a wanderer.  A library-stack-wanderer.  Though, occasionally, I’ve rambled around the non-fiction section — seeking guidance from ethicists or insight from astrophysicists, or revisiting the wonderful John McPhee — I am habitually a fiction-section-library-stack-wanderer.

I go without preconception and let impulse decide where in the alphabet to start.  I do try to give every author a fair look, though I’m pretty cursory with the bottom shelf (bad back).  Name-recognition can sway me (I was once in a fairly long-term relationship with Willa Cather), but I favor experiment.

That’s how I happened on Jim Harrison, a brilliant writer I had inexcusably never encountered before.  I read The English Major, then Legends of the Fall, and went eagerly back for more.

There weren’t any more.

My stacks are in a small branch library, part of a big system where a book borrowed at one branch can be returned to any other.  What may once have been a Harrison trove at my branch is probably now wandering separately, randomly, branch-to-branch (though, who’s to say that the two I brought home were not the first of his family to live at my branch?).

Sensible people will ask why I didn’t log-in and order delivery of other Harrisons, but why spoil an exciting adventure?  He’ll be back, I’m certain, and, in the meantime, I’m free to explore in different directions.

Just last week, I was at my local branch.  I decided to start near the end of the alphabet.  Working back from S, I got to P (don’t expect a facile joke here), and gave the bottom shelf my usual passing glance.  There, in the middle, was Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country.

I hesitated.  Reading a work that had been famous and influential for over half a century didn’t seem to qualify as adventure.  Alan Paton was not a new name, even to me.  

But my smaller, sensible part reminded me of the power of famous books I had once neglected — O Pioneers; Madame Bovary; War and Peace.

I picked up Paton.  I knew the book was a passionate indictment of Southshopping
African apartheid.  But I didn’t anticipate how understated and persuasive that passion actually is — unpreachy in its tone, measured in its narrative, and subdued, even, at times, monotone and repetitive, in its dialogue, as if the country and its people — black and white — were being worn away one slow, inexorable drop after another.

It made me weep.

What we know of the evils of South Africa at the time Paton wrote, and what we know of the changes the book helped advance, are emotional enough.

But we can’t help reading through the lens of our own era and experience.

I was weeping at least as much for my own beloved country, reminded of the crassness and stupidity and outright evils we endure, one slow, inexorable drop after another, but also of the ultimate power of human reason and compassion and kindness.

imagesI can’t think of a better way to start exploring what we’re about, and where we’re headed, than wandering through the library stacks for something good to read.  It doesn’t have to be limited to the fiction section.  Every book, just by being itself, is a small kindness.

 

Mean Streets

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imagesI didn’t mean to cause trouble.  Actually, when they began to build me, I dreamed of being a kid’s push-scooter — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous … all that Scout stuff. 

But I began to suspect that things were not headed that way when they started fitting wiring and a battery and an electric motor on me and gave me an odd name — Lime (I think of myself more as Rex or Ted, not some sour, green fruit).

Within a couple days, I was finished, then boxed, shipped, unboxed, tossed in the back of a pick-up, and dumped on the street.  I say dumped, but, from what I now know, it was more just being left there … in the middle of the night … who knew where? … the only rookie among a bunch of hardened veterans.

I slept fitfully and woke up suddenly, early next morning, with somebody’s cellphone in my face.  Within seconds, we were off.  It was just becoming light, in a strange city, but at least the sidewalks weren’t crowded and my new owner rode carefully.  

New owner?   That’s what I innocently assumed, but, instead of taking me home, or to her office, she just left me leaning against a tall building, without a thank you or good-bye.

But I didn’t have much time to pout.  This time it was a guy, and he rode me along a now-crowded downtown sidewalk.  Why are we not in the bike lane or even the street, and why don’t I have a horn or a bell? I wondered, as we startled and bullied innocent pedestrians.

We’d gone about three miles when the guy stopped, hopped off, and left me right in the middle of the sidewalk.  Blocking the way was bad enough, but worse came as angry pedestrians we had sideswiped caught up with me.  I got one nasty kick, and a lot of bad language, but at least the fellow who wanted to throw me into the street decided against it and then a samaritan picked me up and pushed me into an alley, out of traffic.

I consider myself a good person (well, maybe more being than person) and I felt awful for my rider’s bad behavior, but what could I have done?  At least, stuck in the alley, I was invisible and no one else rode me for the rest of the day.  As night fell, I worried that this might really be my end.  But, around midnight, a guy found me and, rather than ride me, tossed me in the back of his pick-up, along with a bunch of others.

I thought I was being kidnapped, but the scooter next to me explained that we were just going back to some garage to get juiced up overnight.  I wasn’t sure what he meant, but, once I was hooked up, and could feel my energy reviving, I realized how depleted I’d become.

Next morning, before dawn, we all got tossed into another pick-up and distributed around town.  I was feeling pretty peppy, which maybe was what attracted my next rider.

He was an even-wilder one.  We careened down the sidewalk, knocking a couple peopleimages-2 over; then we were in the street, where cars, and even some bikes, missed us by inches, then back on the sidewalk again, heading toward a crowded intersection.  When the light turned yellow and we sped up, I knew we weren’t going to stop.

The next thing I knew, I was coming-to in a courtroom, and the guy who had ridden me (bandaged and limping) was being hauled off, handcuffed, by two policemen.

Then the judge looked straight at me, and I thought I was done for.  But he said:  This poor, battered, object cannot be held responsible for breaking the leg of an old woman and injuring two other unsuspecting pedestrians.  The real guilt, here, lies with those — from the boardroom to the shop floor — who have created these devices and unleashed them, without plan or permission, on an unsuspecting public.  They are the real criminals.

Fortunately for this innocent victim, whom we cannot simply abandon, the Wounded Scooters Society is prepared to shelter and rehabilitate him.

images-1I was apprehensive.  But, once the Society had nursed me back to health (and removed my devices, lest I be returned to a life of crime), I was adopted by a family to be their five-year-old’s playmate.  We ride almost every day, sometimes with his little sister.  It’s true that I sometimes get my knocks, but it’s just juvenile exuberance.  And, if he carelessly leaves me on a sidewalk or in a yard, everybody in the neighborhood knows me and makes sure I get pushed, or ridden, carefully and safely home.

And To Think That I Missed It On Mulberry Street

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When I leave home to walk to school, Dad always says to me
“My son, just turn your cellphone off and see what you can see!”

But what’s the use of telling Dad each step of where I’ve been
When nothing that’s worth telling have I ever ever seen?

All the long way to school and the longer way back
I’ve looked and I’ve looked, and I’ve kept careful track.

But all that I noticed except my own feet
Was a dog and a trash can on Mulberry Street.

So today, heading homeward, I up and decided
(Though I knew that my Daddy would not be delighted) 

I reasoned it out: really, why should I bother
When there’s nothing but nothing to share with my father?

And besides, I’d be missing three new texts from Ned
Or ten photos of kittens on top of a bed.

Still, I knew that I had to have something for Pop
Something big, something thrilling that no one could top.

 “Just a minute!” I thought, “put my cellphone to use
And Google that guy … what’s his name? … Dr. Seuss!

I could do it right now, on my way home from school
But it must be convincing; my Dad is no fool.”

Omigosh!  On my phone! There it was! And so neat
A story set right here on Mulberry Street!

There were elfants, policemen, calliopes, bands
And people were yelling from up in the stands!

There were banners and flags and the Mayor appeared
Then an airplane flew by and the people all cheered!

So, I practiced and memorized all the way home 
And not even once took my eyes off my phone.

I swung round the corner and dashed through the gate
I ran up the steps and I felt simply great!

I now had a story that no one could beat
Thanks to Google and Seuss, right on Mulberry Street!

But, before I could open my mouth and begin
Dad hopped up from his chair with a ten-foot-wide grin:

“Oh my boy, I’ve been sitting here watching TV
When the local news started, and what did I see!?

Unknown

There were elfants, policemen, calliopes, bands
And people were yelling from up in the stands!

There were banners and flags and the Mayor appeared
Then an airplane flew by and the people all cheered!

But the best part of all, and what made it so neat
It all happened right here, down on Mulberry Street!”

Then he stopped and he quietly said, “Son, I’m sorry
I shouldn’t have told what is really your story.

There is more, I am sure, that you saw, so exciting
I’ll just sit in my chair.  You go on, start reciting.”

“Is he joking?” I wondered, and wanted to shout
Was I there on the street?  Was I maybe passed out?

But I knew from his eyes it was just as he said
 And I knew I’d been living inside of my head.

“I saw nothing,” I said, my heart turning to stone
“Not a thing but the glow of the screen on my phone.” 

Unknown-6

  

Small Favors

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The infinity of things that might have happened, but didn’t — the child that might have been conceived but for a nighttime summons by the boss; the man who might have cured cancer but left school at sixteen and became the car-wash guy with the drying rag — are beyond our knowing or caring.

But some things are close enough and common enough that, when they don’t occur, we just might notice their absence, as Sherlock Holmes realized that the dog did not bark in the night, and thus solved the Silver Blaze mystery.

Unknown-2Perhaps, especially when so much seems to be going so wrong, we should keep an eye out for the small annoyances that could have happened, but didn’t.  I have, and it’s lifted my spirits.  For example, there’s …

… the guy in the blue Volkswagen behind me, at the intersection, who did not honk when I took 3 seconds to respond to the green light

… the man ahead of me in the King Soopers check-out line who did not send his son back to pick up the forgotten pack of hot-dogs, did not have 17 coupons, and did not pay with a wad of crumpled singles and a handful of pennies

… the woman I was canvassing for her vote who did not answer the bell, so the front door did not open, and her enraged mastiff was not able to hurl itself through the flimsy screen door and maim or kill me

… the little girl, sitting behind me at the ballet, who did not kick the back of my seat and did not persistently ask her mother why Sleeping Beauty could wake up from a sixteen-year nap and dance like she was a first-grader on the playground at recess

… the man standing beside me on a hot, crowded bus, who did not reek of tobacco, and was not wearing a shirt that had not been washed for three weeks

… the dishwasher repair person who was not late and did not track mud into the house

… the dry cleaner who did not lose my shirt and did not substitute a new stain for the one she removed

… the phone call that was not from the IRS, about money I owe, and not even about my overdue student-loan payment, but actually from my mother, letting me know it was not going to rain in Toledo, so I would not need my raincoat (in Houston)

… the doctor who was not running two hours behind schedule, with a stethoscope that was not freezing cold

… the visit from the police which was not about the red-light I ran or the car I sideswiped in the parking lot, but simply solicitation for a donation to the Policemen’s Benevolent Association, which I (respectfully) did not give him

… the morning paper that was not left so far from the garage door, in the snow, that I would not have been able to get it because all I had on was my socks and I would have had to go all theUnknown-1 way upstairs to put on my shoes, which I would not have been pleased to have to do.

For all these admittedly small, but not completely inconsequential when you add them all together, blessings, I am not unthankful.

Where’s Jamal?

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October 2, 2018: Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, resident of the U.S., and Washington Post contributor, enters the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.  His fiancee, waiting outside the consulate, later phones friends that he never emerged.

October 3: Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman says that Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after about an hour there and went to the beach. He provides a photo, in which, he claims, one can see Khasoggi in a red-and-white striped jersey: 

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October 12: A Saudi team is dispatched to meet with Turkish officials.  The Saudi consulate provides a photo of the team arriving at Istanbul airport:

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October 15: A Saudi spokesman denies Turkish claims that a Saudi hit squad had arrived in Turkey on/about October 1 to kill Khashoggi, saying they were simply Saudi tourists.  As proof, he provides a photo of their arrival at Istanbul airport.  In response to journalists’ observation that this is the photo of the Saudi team that arrived on October 12 to meet with Turkish officials, the spokesman claims that could not be the case, pointing out that this arrival space is clearly much smaller:

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October 17: Turkish authorities search the Saudi consulate.  They find no body, but praise the Saudis for their hospitality:

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October  19: Saudi authorities acknowledge that Jamal was killed in a fistfight and provide a confirming photo, offering as proof that Jamal is still wearing the red-and-white striped jersey he wore to the beach. They explain the odd image on the right as an appended, up-close shot of the badly wounded, stitched arm of one of the Saudi officials.  They offer no explanation for the red-and-white circle above the stitched arm, nor the word MENU, below it:

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October 27: Turkish officials publicly press the Saudi’s for information on the location of Jamal’s body.  The Saudis decline, but rumor begins to circulate that he is buried in a castle north of Istanbul, and thousands flock to the presumed site.  Local press provides a photo of the scene, but reports no conclusive results as yet:

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October 28: Turkish and Saudi officials meet to discuss a possible resolution to the diplomatic standoff.  Noting that the Khashoggi story has riveted the entire world, the Saudis suggest that, given a decent interval, it could be made into a series, with books, games, puzzles, possibly even a Netflix series.  This could be as big as “Where’s Waldo,” one official comments.  Now, what the hell should we call it?  The two sides agree to work on that, and to meet again soon for further exploration.

I Am Knowing When You Are Sleepening and When You Are Awokening

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Note: I recently received this e-mail and am not certain how to proceed.  I think it’s a hoax, but it does include some information that might … just might … possibly contain a grain or two of truth.  Just in case, would any of you be in a position to advance me a bit of money (cash only, please) if I decide to accede to the sender’s demand?  Thanks to all.

Dear Friend,

Let us to the point directly get.  I am having your password — ABCD12345 — (which, let me make comment, I am thinking is incredulous stupidness and most see-throughingly obvious; if, once your obligation, as denotabled below, is filled up, I can be at your service to help you make more opaqueness in protecting against someone actually like me myself).  

Why am I giving you this informations, this is something you may be wondering?  Well, as I can say, I have entered you by the avenue of your password, and have installed in your insides a malware which has keeped — and still it is keeping, and will be keeping until certain activities on the part of you are undertook — a video record of your internet journeyings.

These are inclusive numerable adult sights with many nakeds and enterings and even some devices said to make for pleasurableness.  (Also there is a snake, but I am thinking that possible this is what you call nature program.)  I am quite unbelievable how many oftens you have visit these internet sightings, but I am not doing judging — this is excludingly practical proposition and not moralness or making judgmentalisms.

So, you have two choice-makings: (1) You will ignore this and go on businessing your life as usual and not paying the amount I will be saying to you in #2 option; or, (#2 option), you will give me $3,000 and I will not make knowledge to your family and friends the viewing of the nakeds and all the other gatherings of playing with body parts.

If, with considerable wiseliness, you choose #2 option, you will be making pay with bitcoin and sending to 1potato2pOtato3PoTaTo4 (to stop and making note that this is example of very security password).  If you do not know the buying of bitcoin, Google can information you how to make purchase of this thing.  You should not waste time trying to trace payment, which is defying all traceabilities.

Then, you will be happily going on your business like something like this never happened, and no person will know how amazing time-wastingness you are taking for the nakeds, and I will eliminate all videos and even send you message, proving by saying, that I have made a nothingness of the videos.  

But then now, if you decide unwisedly to make ignorance of my offer, you must be informationed that I have your completely e-mail addresses book, and I will make a sending of your sexiness habituals to your friends and uncles (and even grandmothers if they are still in a living situation).

And, do not think to go to constabulary, which they cannot possible downtrack me.  And consider not friends for helping, who may sophisticate computers, and even hacking, and believe they can get me.  I am filled with ungettability!  

And also do not think to try to make a negotiations.  All this is in complete unnegotiatableness and I will be thanking you not to be wasting my time or even your time with beggings or threatenings or backdoor opening tryings.

I want to hope that it will be a pleasure in making business with you.

Yours sincerely,

(Surely, you can not be imagining that I would be giving you my actuality name.  So, I will just ask you to think of me as “Donald Duck,” which will be the name you will be understanding is actually me if your actions are necessarying farther communications.)

Exit Strategy

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poe-3-16-0389_1_origFor you, gathered at my bedside, wondering When already?  When already? let the following apply:

Living Will:  I do not wish to live in constant pain if there is no prospect of recovery.  When the time comes, if Trump is still President, PULL THE PLUG! How much pain can anyone endure?

Nonetheless, if the bookies are giving good odds on impeachment and conviction, keep me alive!  However that issue is resolved, let the necessary then be done and I can depart, either for heaven or hell.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: 

I shall be deemed incapacitated if:  (1) the thought of Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt no longer makes me laugh; (2) I am found to be tweeting without aid of a cell phone; or, (3) I offer no response to the therapy puppy frolicking on my bed and licking my face.

Especially because we think as one when it comes to Seinfeld and puppies, I appoint my spouse my attorney in this regard.

Durable General Power of Attorney:  I also authorize my spouse to:  (1) settle all accounts owed to me, except where the use of physical force may be necessary; (2) respond to any demand for payment as I would have, by changing her name and moving to another state.

My Last Will and Testament:

My Assets:  With the exception of moneys designated for a specific purpose, as below, I  leave to my spouse all my financial assets and worldly possessions to do with as she wishes, with the following specific provisos: (1) do not throw out my hockey gear immediately, but let it resolve itself naturally (as it will very quickly considering its current state) into its constituent elements; (2) destroy the 407 unpaid speeding tickets in my top drawer, behind the purple socks; (3) keep my e-mail and bank accounts open until Prince Afolabi provides confirmation that the $1 million inheritance I am due has been safely deposited.

Should my spouse pre-decease me, I leave my estate in more-or-less equal shares to those children of mine of whom I am aware.  It would be nice if they carried out the three requests in the above paragraph, but I’m not banking on it.

My Remains:  It is my wish that I be cremated and that my urn and I attend a hockey game in each NHL arena within a single season.  Even if the score is 9-1 at the end of the first period, I wish, always, to stay until it’s over.

To that end, I designate $200,000 to pay for:  the services of a companion to accompany me; air travel (including a first-class seat for each of us); hotel (separate rooms); tickets (a box seat for each); and popcorn (none for me, thanks).  If there should be any funds left, let them go to the Old Hockey-Players’ Home.

Final Service:  If my survivors wish to arrange a memorial service, well and good.Unknown-2  I ask only that the use of foul language be kept to a minimum and that, if the various reminiscences about me differ substantially, the most favorable be declared the winner, if possible without recourse to intimidation or physical force.