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July 29, 2001
dehydrated and flogged
Once again I find myself gripped by writer's block. Like a baseball player in a slump, there are but two ways of breaking out: sit the bench or keep swinging. Unfortunate for the reader that I have chosen to keep swinging with random, thoughtless and poorly written prose. But unlike a major league ballpark, you are not paying an arm and a leg to watch a hack hack; this crap is free.
I like drugstores. I like them a lot. Drugstores are bright and clean and they brim with promise. There are so many products and so many variations of each one. Each one holds the promise of making a real difference in the consumer's life. Of course, they don't actually change lives, but for that brief moment while you are in the store studying, say, a tube of toothpaste, you can dream that cavities, tartar and yellowing are "in the past." After a while, though, when the newness has worn off and you realize you have long been as sexy as you will ever be, you remember what Morgan Freeman's character, Red, told "Andy" in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION: "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope'll drive a man insane."
I was watching an infomercial the other day featuring the Thomas Edison of our day, Ron Popeil. Ron was hawking his Food Dehydrator by making scrumptious snacks such as homemade jerky and "banana chips." As far as I could tell, the advantages of owning the Food Dehydrator are two-fold: You can save a fortune drying your own thinly-sliced animal flesh; and you can savor your jerky and fruit chips knowing they are free of chemicals and preservatives. For the longest time I had puzzled over my monthly cash shortfalls. Why was I unable to save for the future? Then it hit me---high jerky prices were killing me! And though I had never heard of a banana chip, much less eaten one, I knew that somehow I was consuming too many chemicals and preservatives. So I ordered a Dehydrator. It should enable me to retire in about six months. And many of you can expect dried flower arrangements (free of chemicals and preservatives) this Christmas.
Another random thought: I hate listening to others recount their dreams to me. They are so long and so interesting-only-to-the-dreamer that my mind invariably wanders and I awaken from a daydream just in time to catch the end of the tale which, 9 times out of 10, involves falling or flying away. I am often tempted to recount to the dreamer the excruciating details of the daydream I just had while they were droning on about their dream.
If you know an alcoholic who is not drinking, find a way to say something encouraging to him. If you are a sober alcoholic, avoid looking at old photographs.
I do not know if this exercise in free-association will purge my writer's block so I do not know when I'll write anything worth a damn, if ever. But I will leave you with this thought: When Jed Clampett inherited a castle and became the Earl of Clampett, Sir Jethro Bodine lined up the entire castle staff for inspection. Sir jethro ordered all oafs to step forward for a flogging. When no one stepped forward, he called for knaves and varlets. None moved. "What about serfs?" He asked. "Do we have any serfs in the crowd?" Nothing. Churls? Peasants? Finally, the major domo (whom the Clampetts called Mr. Domo) informed Jethro that the castle had no Royal Flogger. To which Sir Jethro replied, "spare the flog, spoil the oaf." For me, these have been words to live by.
© 2001 by the beastmaster