Thursday, August 16, 2018

Something's Fishy, It Must Be School

Life’s A Joke
Chapter Two
Something’s Fishy, It Must Be School

                Mike, Al and I are standing around on the blacktop with a bunch of other kids waiting for kindergarten to start.  It is our first day.  Our Mom’s drove us to the parking lot and dropped us off.  Mine bent down and kissed me good bye so I would not be embarrassed.  I walked out of the car towards where everyone was standing around.  Some were looking away from everyone else.  Some were yelling and slapping.  A few were throwing a ball around.  I’m glad my buddies found me.

                I opened my mouth and said, “A monkey, a bear, and a parakeet walk into a grocery store.  The monkey goes to the pharmacy.  The pharmacist asks ‘Where is your prescription?’   The monkey says, ‘Prescription?  I’m five years old!  I’m going to kindergarten. I’m not in Pre-School!  I don’t have a Pre-Scription.  I’m in Elementary School.  Elementary my dear Watson.’  The pharmacist says, ‘Go back to your Sherlock Homes!’  Then the bear says ‘If our Homes are Sure Locked how can we get in there?”  The pharmacist said, ‘You said Sure Locked, not Goldilocked!’  And the parakeet says ‘Tree Bears.  Tree Bears.  Tree Bears.’  

                Mike asked, “What son are they talking about?”

                Al said, “I don’t know.”

                We all chimed in “Third Base.”

                Mike was the tall guy of our bunch.  Yeah, he was tall but hard of hearing.  Because of his height he had to sit at the back of the row.  The Kindergarten teacher thought he was slow.  Al and I understood, he couldn’t hear the questions.  She got mad at us when we would tell him the questions she was asking.  Heck, we weren’t telling him the answers.  Mike got sent to the principal’s office a lot.  They kept the three of us separated, each in a different row, me in the front, Al in the middle of his row.  We still played together at recess.

                Al looked normal but he had bad feet.  Plus, he had big feet.  What fourth grader do you know that wears size twelve shoes.  Al could not run.  The gym teacher said he was lazy.  Mr. Firerri graded us on running the mile four times that year.  I could do it in about six and a half minutes.  Mike ran at five and a half. Al couldn’t finish after ten minutes.  His ankles ached.  He was trying but just couldn’t do it.  So instead of just the four gym classes out of the year Al had to run every gym day, the outside track when the weather was okay or inside around the gym when it rained or it was winter.  The rest of us got to do push ups and sit ups and on Friday’s we’d play dodgeball or softball.  Al was not allowed to join us.

                I have a terrible singing voice.  The Miss Kain, the music teacher, knew I liked to joke around.  When she leads the class in songs, Row Row Row Your Boat, I’m An Old Cow Hand, Yellow Submarine, any of that stuff, I tried.  I heard myself and knew I was bad.  Miss Kain kept hitting her pointer on my desk while telling me to sing louder.  I did sing louder when she told me and she said, “That’s enough funny business buddy!”

                In Third Grade they tested Mike’s hearing.  You never would have guessed that he has hearing problems.  Now it is beginning to make a little bit of sense that although he got terrible grades on Oral Exams and hardly ever raised his hand to answer questions he got fairly good grades on written exams.  Mainly A’s and some B’s.  He would study on his own and went to the Library a lot.  Finally, midway through Third Grade they started positioning him at the head of the row so he could actually hear the teacher.  Now his grades averages changed from C’s and D’s to honor roll material.

                Preparing for our Fifth Year, when Al’s parents took him out to buy school supplies, they went to the shoe store, for gym shoes and class shoes.  As you can guess, Al was always hard to fit for his age.  They ran across a nice shoe salesman trying to help them not spend too much but still help Al because he walked with his feet spread so far apart like a limping duck.  The salesman suggested that Al should see a foot doctor.  He gave them a card.  Surprise, surprise, surprise, Al has flat feet.  And I don’t mean just low arches.  There are no arches at all.  He got fitted with orthotics.  The doctor gave him stretching and positioning exercises to do.  And he also has a doctor’s written excuse to not take regular gym anymore.  He goes to the restricted gym class room and lifts weights, does chin ups and push ups and does not destroy his ankles anymore than a normal walk will do.  He does like to walk, not fast but far.

                I’m not so lucky.  Miss Kain runs every school play and performance for the parents.  To keep me from getting a failing grade I have to show up at each performance.  When the other kids are singing or acting and reciting I get to stand on the stage, in front of the curtain, at the right or left side and hold up a tree.  I am a wooden soldier.  I am a German in lederhosen.  I wear a kilt, imagine the kidding that gets me.  I am in a nineteen eighteen full body swim suit, except for my legs up to my knee caps, red and white striped.  And I a holding that same stupid, white painted, in a bucket tree month after month, year after year.  And most importantly, I cannot open my mouth.

                Over the years our Mothers did not drive us to school anymore.  We rode our bikes.  We walked through snow.  We got there and back on our own.  We’d stop at the Public Library on the way home when we needed something extra to study, or just because my group likes the Library.  We were not baseball or football or riding your bikes around with hockey sticks and hardened old softball type kids.  As you know, we don’t fit in, but then, over all, it hasn’t been too bad.

                And now we are ready to graduate.  We all passed.  We are all going to the same high school, Kaldon High.  We have fair to good grades.  Mike is going to give a speech Graduation Night.  The whole class is singing.  That night we are parading down the halls impressing our parents.  You Light Up My Life, I Believe I Can Fly, A Moment Like This.  And there I am marching with the rest of them with my mouth wide open and nothing coming out.

                After the ceremonies, after we walked up to the stage and were handed our diplomas, after our parents kissed us, when we were all standing around buzzing congratulations, and I’m glad that’s over and see you in the Fall, I grinned, looked at Mike and Al and I said, “A monkey, a bear, and a parakeet walk into a grocery store.  The monkey goes to the pharmacy.  The pharmacist asks ‘Where is your prescription?’…”    

Monday, August 13, 2018

Life's A Joke

Life’s A Joke
Chapter One
The Edge Of My Teeth

               A neighbor down the street installed a swimming pool.  It is an above the ground pool.  The metal wall around it is taller than I am.  But then I am four and a half years old so I should not be surprised by that wall.  These neighbors are the Ferber family.  My parents know them and we were invited to a “Pool Party.”

               There are hoses filling the pool.  I also smell something, my mother tells me that is chlorine.  The adults are sitting around a couple picnic tables eating chips and drinking beers.  I am Fred.  I heard that the Ferber’s have a boy my age named Mike.  I’m supposed to talk to him.  My mother pushed another boy named Al into our area of the yard. 

               The three of us are just standing there looking dumb.  I stare a couple times at the pool.  It’s going to take forever for it to fill.  My Mom doesn’t know if we’ll be able to swim today because of the fresh chlorine.  I look at Mike and Al.  They look at their feet.  We’re all bare footed and in swim trunks. 

               I don’t like the silence so I say, “A monkey, a bear, and a parakeet walk into a grocery store.  The monkey goes to the pharmacy.  The pharmacist asks ‘Where is your prescription?’  The monkey says, ‘Prescription?  I’m only three years old!  I’m not even in kindergarten. I haven’t been taught to write yet.  If I was in pre-school I could pre-write and I’d pre-write a pre-scription but I can’t.’  The pharmacist says, ‘Go bananas somewhere else!’  Then the bear says, ‘Bananas!  You can slip on banana peels.  That would be a slipper.  Where there’s a slipper there must be a shoe.  Where do shoes grow?  The answer is on a shoe tree.  I want to scratch my back on that tree.’  And the parakeet said ‘I want to scratch my back.  I want to scratch my back.  I want to scratch my back.’ “

               Mike and Al are looking at me and laughing.  Mike asks, “So did the parakeet scratch his back?”  And Al answers “Yeah, with a bear claw.  They were mistaken.  They weren’t at a grocery store.  They were in a Dunkin Donuts.”  And we all laughed and rolled on the ground.

               I don’t remember doing any swimming that day.  The adults were too busy with their hot dogs and beers.  Mike, Al and me just caught a bunch of bugs, threw a softball around, and played hide and seek.  It wasn’t a bad day.  I guess I learned that just because you are going somewhere for something what you get when you get there won’t necessarily be it.  I went to swim in a pool and I got two friends who laugh at the same things I laugh at. 

               Later that summer, when we really got a chance to swim in the pool, I got my eyes used to the chlorine.  The three of us are swimming and tossing a beach ball around.  I close my eyes and duck my head as I am swimming and I banged my head into the wall of the pool.  I climbed out of the pool and didn’t feel quite right.  Mrs. Ferber came out and looked at my face.  My lip was hurting and I had blood dripping down.  She got a couple wet wash rags and cleaned my face.  Then she dried me with a towel and saw that I loosened one of my teeth.  She got me some tissue paper so I could hold it and try to steady it.  I only lived three houses away so I moaned and said that I was going home. 

               I started running down the sidewalk towards home.  My right hand was holding that bloody bunch of tissues as I tried to keep my tooth there.  I got home and my Mother comforted me.  Mrs. Ferber called her so Mom knew I was on my way.  She was stroking my head and she asked me if she could look at my face.  I took away the bunch of tissue and put a fake smile on my face but that tooth was not there.  Blood was still dripping down but there was a gap.  I didn’t feel it come out.  In fact, other than the immediate pain of bumping my upper lip against the pool side and the slight tang where the tooth was bleeding I did not hurt all that much. 

               After my Mother calmed me down, washed me up, and made certain my mouth wasn’t bleeding anymore we looked around my mouth.  We looked at the wadded up tissues.  We couldn’t find my tooth.  I sat a bit, took a good drink of water, and calmed down.  My tongue kept feeling around in my mouth but no tooth.  I then went outside and traced my steps back to the Ferber’s yard.  I’m looking all over the sidewalk and the grass along the walk.  No tooth.  I talk to Mike and his mother.  I look in their grass.  I even jump back into the pool and swim with my eyes open looking across the bottom but no tooth. 

               I finally went home.  My parents fed me.  I had a trying day and I was tired.  I went to bed.  I was a bit sad because, well I knew it was a baby tooth, I knew enough about that, and I did not mind it falling out.  I’ll have a permanent tooth push through soon enough.  But I did not have any tooth to put under my pillow for the tooth fairy that evening.  Darn it, I get a silver dollar if I place my tooth under my pillow overnight.  That next morning, to my happy surprise, I had a silver dollar under my pillow. 

               Even at that age I was pretty certain that there was no tooth fairy.  I thought it was my parents doing what parents do for their kids.  We act and love each other and get on with life.  A few years later my Mother and Father showed me a cloth bound box where they’ve been keeping my teeth.  My parents are the tooth fairy.  And since I liked the thought of them being my tooth fairy I kept all the silver dollars that the tooth fairy had given me over the years.  Why should I spend them when I can get more enjoyment out of looking at them when I’m sad or when I’m remembering the past, or when I just want to think.  I was keeping those silver dollars in the shelf in the headboard of my bed.  Now I’m keeping those silver dollars in that box with my teeth in that shelf near my head when I sleep.

               Eventually fall came.  And the fall that eventually came was the fall that I would go to kindergarten.  That morning my Mother drove me to the school yard.  I got out of the car and walked along the pavement, past the bike racks, past the playground, over to the door that would eventually be opened for me to have my first class.  I was a little nervous.  As I was standing around with a bunch of kids I did not know I saw Mike.  Mike waved and walked over to me.  Then we heard a yell, “Hi guys.”  It was Al.  As we are waiting there with a bunch of strangers getting ready to go into a strange building to do who knows what, I opened my mouth and said, “A monkey, a bear, and a parakeet walk into a grocery store.  The monkey goes to the pharmacy.  The pharmacist asks ‘Where is your prescription?’…”    

Friday, August 10, 2018

Game On

               I do not need a computer in my hand as I walk in the park.  I have a computer at home that is available when I need it. 

               I look at a map before I drive when I need to find how to get to someplace I have not been to.  I keep that map folded up in my glove compartment if I need it.

If I want it
If I need it
When I want it
When I need it

               I read a book instead of an IPad so I can turn back the pages when I want to recall/reconfirm what I had read before.

               I may be old.  I may not tweet.  I may not play angry birds.  But I can program a game on a computer.  And your hand held device can program you to buy a game that seems flashy.  Flashy is not technical, if you understood it.  But they get your money.

               In the past I programmed a machine to replace telephone operators.  But I am out of date. (I regret programming people out of their jobs.)

               Because you bought Pok√©mon Go for your phone, you went  to Grant Park but you did not see Buckingham Fountain.  You did not see the hand carved fountain because you were staring at your telephone’s screen looking at a cartoon character. “Hello BooBoo!”  When I go to Grant Park I see Buckingham Fountain.

               I know depth of field and F-Stops and Lense Speeds.  I am to be laughed at because I am entranced by the Sandstone and Limestone outcroppings along the Mississippi River in North Western Illinois.  That is a view I will remember.  A view I will enjoy, even after I leave.  While you, the Technology Smarty, the Up To Date Genius, you are taking a selfie.  The only reality your eyes will briefly hold is the device in your hand.  The device that is sending your picture – that very picture that you will not – cannot picture, to the cloud.  You are living in a cloud. 

               I can touch, smell, and hear the echoes of the stone and tree and stream of life, beautiful, in front of my eyes.  Even though I can never see the Mammoth, I enjoy, and breathe in through my eye’s pupils the cave drawing of the Mammoth.  You cannot begin to understand the details because you are looking at a great man’s attempted honoring of a great animal rendered to a half inch dab of color on your smartphone screen.  But you are smart.  And it smarts me.    

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Breath Taking

Alien Nate Ted
Chapter 004
Breath Taking

               That transport mechanism I kept in my pocket, I must have broke it when I slammed it on the desktop.  I was figuring that Sue and Reeky were fitting into my environment with as much ease as I was fitting into theirs.  I bet we can change names.  They’re the ones who are now the Alien Nate Teds.  I pushed the buttons, it didn’t do anything.  I look at it and do what any thinking intelligent being would do next, I slam it on the shelf and it disperses in crinks and cranks and powders and shards.

               Sue and Reek looked puzzled at me.  I said to them, “There now.  Because you both are there now.”

               Sue asked, “What do you mean?”  And I replied, “Well, just as those papers you gave me yesterday didn’t work, this transporter doesn’t work anymore.”

               I then continued, “And since it seems our positions have reversed, let’s get going.  You now need to be hired by me.  I’ll ask the questions and you’ll supply the answers.

               “Reeky, if Fred is a monopole and Jack is a monopole, how did you ever get between them?”

               Reek gave out with a stunned, “What?”

               Nate, “Oh, three point seven five ohms, what watt do you expect?”

               Reek, “Oh come on.  This is an easy one.  Even I can answer it. Obviously, you are a monopole of a different valence.  Therefore, Fred and Jack want to be near you.  They notice each other and what do you think?  They take sides.  How else did you think you’d get between them?”

               Then I asked, “Sue, what was your job at Wanda B.?”

               Sue let out, “I worked for Human Resources.”

               I smiled and said, “That’s promising.  Let’s say that I hire Reek.  Since he is not paper or lead or fluorite or a reductio ad absurdum he will be my first Human Resource.  I am high up on the level of command here so I hire objects that have other objects working for them, ad absurdum.  I might need to hire someone to work for my Human Resource. 

               “Hey then, if I hired you, and if you are a Human, you would be my Human Resource.  Again, Ad Absurdum I would need some thing to work for you since you obviously don’t have the knowledge or ability to work.  You would ad absurdum work for my Human Resource.

               “Then, If you are hired to work for yourself I wouldn’t have to pay you.  Anything you need, just take it up with yourself.”

               Then there came a knock at the door, “Nathan, we know you’re in there.  Come out already!”

               I turned the light on.  Reek and Sue could see we were in a small blue metallic walled room with three white shelves on the wall, a couple chairs and a couch.  I walked over to the door and opened it.

               In stepped my buddies, Pate and Barrow.  They are about the same heights as Reeky and Sue.  Pate looks at me and asks, “What are you made up for?”

               I told him, “You gotto see this.  I’m wearing these because I got a couple new pets.  I’m training them.”

               I then threw off the white plastic bowl covering my head, that box covering my chest, and those sewage pipes I stuck my arms and legs through.

               “Pate, Barrow, try not to scare them.  Here, meet Reeky and Sue.

               Remember that lecture we had that told us to make noises like them, no matter how stupid they sound to us?  They really do think that I am talking to them.  They think I’m one of them!”

               Barrow yelled “That’s neat!  Do They bite?”

               I said, “Yes they do, so be careful. I’ve got them a glass case where I’ll keep them in the storage shed.  I found a heat lamp for them.  I’ll keep it on for ten to twelve hours each day.  I’ve given them a bucket that I’ll refill with fresh water each day so they can drink and wash themselves.  My Mom made me a mixture of carbon and calcium with a touch of iron and nitrogen.  I think they’ll eat that.”

               Pate said, “If you can keep them alive they can be your science fair project at the end of the school year.”

               I agreed, “Yeah, it’s better than those stupid paper Mache volcanoes that erupt once and all washes away.

               Barrow agreed, “Yep.  Those have gotten pretty boring.  However, what about when Nat mix in iron with his bicarbonates and weak sulfuric acid and not only did his volcano bubble up but it released a ton of carbon dioxide.”

               Pate smiled, “He killed off his competition.”

               And I figured that if Sue and Reek die I’ll get a couple more and try it again next year.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Home Work King

Alien Nate Ted
Chapter 003
Home Work King



                The next morning Reek and Sue from Human Resources greeted me as I entered the Wanda B. facilities.  Reek introduced me to Sue.  Sue said, “Mr. Ted, we are having some problems verifying your paperwork.”

                I told Sue, “I worked on those papers a long time yesterday.  I’m getting sort of tired.  Maybe it is time that they start to do some of their work.”

                Sue sort of glared at me.  I wouldn’t say that Sue looked strange, she just put on that same kind of face that Reek wears when he talks to me, or more likely when he listens to me.  Not that Reek really listens to anyone much. Now, more and more, that look I get is not strange when I look at the people that listen to me.  Anyway, Sue continued, “We checked the files and we can’t get a confirmation on where you live.  Have you moved recently?”

                The first thing I said was, “I didn’t think that a person’s religion should matter if you’re going to be working here!  Alright, so I didn’t get some guy wearing a robe and a pointy hat to give me Confirmation!  And I wash up every morning so I don’t feel the need for a Bathism.  Personally, I have gluten intolerance so I can’t eat that bread.  Don’t you see I’m not a gluten for punishment?   So I won’t ask for penance.  Heck, that bread would really make me sick and I don’t want to be sick.  What is so sacred about the annoying of the sick?  As for marriage, I’m already married to Eva.  I wouldn’t be very sincere if I looked to be married again.  When I go to a restaurant they usually get my order right, why should I waste a prayer over that?  Isn’t there such a thing as a First Amendment?”

                Sue said, “You misunderstood.  We need to validate where you live.  Have you moved?!”     

                That got me thinking, “Isn’t it obvious?  Look, I had to place one foot in front of the other to transport my body from the parking lot to the entrance of this factory.”  So, I verbally stated, “Yes, I moved very recently.” 

                Then Sue recomposed herself and went on, “Okay, we’ll check more into that later.  Continuing, we also need to identify your wife, Eva Ted.”

                I asked, “What about her?”

                Sue asked, “For instance, what is her background?  What does she do?”

                I replied, “She sits.”

                Sue continued, “What do you mean, ‘sits’?”

                Rolling through my mind was that yesterday, when I filled in the paperwork, instead of those lazy papers doing anything, I had to make up a wife, Eva.  Well, if I started making her up by making up that name.  I felt that I should continue and make up all of her.  So I went to a department store and took some Play Dough.  I would have Real Dough if I was working but since I wasn’t working yet I could only have Play Dough.  I formed her and put her on my shelf.  At that department store, in that same area, I saw a bunch of small objects like trains and busses and airplanes on display.  I asked people what those were and I was told that those were models.  Eva is small and on my shelf so I told Sue, “Eva is a model.” 

                Sue and Reek were continuing their look at me that is not strange.  Sue said, “And about your son, Alec…”

                I got mad.  I interrupted and said, “Why don’t you just meet him?”  I pulled my transport mechanism out of my pocket and slammed it on the desktop.

                To their eyes the surroundings grew walls up and flashed white and black.  Their ears must have heard an “Eeeyou Eeeeyou” and an abrupt “Eeeyup.”  We then were standing in the middle of darkness.  I had four white shelves suspended in back of them.  The air was electric and crisp.  Those two, Sue and Reek, stood steady and looked at me wide eyed.    I displayed my truer inner self: a two foot diameter shiny sphere tangent to a three foot by one and a half foot by five foot cuboid with two gelatinous cylindrical extensors six inches from my sphere and two more longer extensors connecting me from the bottom of my cuboid to the unseen flooring beneath us. 

                My upper right extensor reached between my two guests and I grabbed and lifted Eva to their eye level.  She is a stacking of three varying radii of elliptical blobs with a pair of crude eyeholes poked in the top and the cutest little smile traced under those eyes.  I get so warm looking at her.  That smile was the last physical attribute I attempted on her. And we all know that the last, after notated practice, is the best.  “Sue, Reek, might I present the close to my heart Eva.”

                After an ample viewing period, I gently returned Eva to her shelved place of honor.  That is a special shelve and I like it when Eva is “This Shelved.”  It was time to proceed to lift Alec.  Alec who possessed an echoing of my lower body cuboid combined with Eva’s bi-upper ellipticals, in smaller proportions of course respective to age.  “And here is that liddle rascal, the pride and continuance of Eva and mine existences, Alec.”     

                Reeky let out a long, not very loud “Whaaaaat….”

                Sue asked “Am I awake?”

                I led them to a place to sit down.  I offered them beverages, warm banana tea.  And I explained that I was feeling rather alone and “incommunicado.”  I wanted to show them that where I come from, when I have paperwork, I really make that paper work.  I then told three reams of paper make the tea and serve us.  I proudly told Reek and Sue “Visit me and you’ll really see paper work.”  Then I snapped my fingers and a Seine Net brought in some sushi for them.  I told them, “When I entertain I make the network.”  Lastly I started sputtering a bunch of stuff out.  “I believe my arm can raise a three pound block two inches.”  “I imagine a ton of coal in a cart can be pushed a mile up the mountain.”  “In my mind Joel is a dying centipede.  Err.”   Then I asked them “Did you enjoy hearing that guess work?”  

Monday, July 30, 2018

What The Depart Meant

Alien Nate Ted
Chapter 002
What the Depart Meant

               Man, some of you people have a way with words.  I just don’t know the way.  Other times I would just like to say “Go Away.”  You know, to find their way a lot of people use a compass. I can tell that you do that because you are going in circles. 

               Okay, I, Nate, accepted a department manager’s position at the Wanda B. Corporation.  They really take business to heart there.  Even after just a few seconds of observing, I could tell that everyone is a real Wanda B. 

               For instance, I’ve just been hired to manage the Cabling Department.  The guy that hired me is a real Wanda B.  He was this department’s Barely Manager. His name is Reek and he does.  This Reeky wants to be the manager of any department in any other company so he gave himself a promotion to Line Leader.  That is the Line he is using on his resume.  He hired me to Barely Manage the Cabling Department.  That will give him more time to call about jobs and play miniature golf during week day afternoons. The Cabling Department’s new Line Leader makes the same money as the old guy that used to Barely Manage that department. He sure brags that he got a promotion, he just doesn’t say that it was a self-promotion.  Their new Barely Manager, me, makes half the money the old Barely Manager made. I cannot even begin to imagine how much money the people that actually do any work here at Wanda B make.

               Reeky told me that I now had a lot of paperwork.  At first, I was happy.  In my alien mind I thought that not only are people going to be working for me, I’m going to have paper working for me too. 

               In my alien mind I could imagine paper all over the place.  I sure could see a lot of uses for paper.  Couldn’t you see it, too?  Outside of the obvious there was the job of paper bagging at super markets. I could have paper chasing students around the school yard.  The company could make a lot of money with a service taking fat people and making them Paper Thin instead of getting them to diet.  I can see it, like the people at those Jenny Craig meetings, their excuses for what they ate were Paper Thin.  One of the first things I thought I had to do with the people that would work for me is to get the paper to train them. One example of paper training people is books.  You used to have a lot of paper backed books.  However, I didn’t realize that I was the one that had to work on those papers. Reeky asked me If I was ready to start.  I said yes.  He said “I’ll take your word on that.”  What he meant was that paper would take my word on that.  And not just one word.  Those papers wanted tons of words.  Word to the wise, try not to get stuck with a lot of paper work.  But then again, if I were wise I wouldn’t have gotten stuck in it. 

               I had to put a lot of things into those papers.  One example is, they asked me for my wife’s name.  Since my wife did not exist, we all know that something that does not exist is hard to find.  I wrote that she was Eva Ted.  Then they asked me for my children’s names.  Since I elected to work here I thought to myself, “Son Of A Gun.”  So, I named my son Alec.  Now this is getting political, since I chose him, you could say he was Alec Ted.  The address I put down for where I lived was 111 First Street.  That was the first street I could think of.   The papers asked me where I worked at in the past.  Since work is determined by the force times the amount an object moves I understood they were asking me where I have been.  It is simple physics.  Work equals Force Times Movement.  To answer that I wrote down addresses I had passed through at intermittent prior periods when I walked somewhere, anywhere.  My walking is defined to me as the force I exert.  And if I walked, by my own definition, I moved, so me, the objectionable (and by objectionable, I mean object) had moved a distance because of the force that I asserted on myself and therefore I worked.  Man, that was a lot of addresses.  Man, I filled in a lot of paperwork.  I thanked Reeky and told him, “Here, this paper can work for you now.”

               Reeky said that my next step was to meet those people whose work I am going to manage.  I asked Reeky what do Cablers do.  He told me, “How am I supposed to know?  I only managed them.  You don’t need to know either.”    Then I asked, “Are there only two of them?”  He said, “What?”  And I replied “You said that I don’t need to know either.  When speaking English ‘Either’ is used before two alternatives.  So, I thought you meant that there were only two people in this department.”  Reeky then said, “You’ll fit right in.  I meant that since I don’t know what cabling is, I believe you do not need to know.  And if you do need to know you can’t get that answer from me.  This should be pretty obvious. But then if you knew things that were obvious you would not be here. By the way, since I am now the Line Leader and you are the Barely Manager, we are both “in” this department.  So, since there are already two of us and work gets done and the two of us know nothing, after adding two and two together a thinking person might realize that there are more than two people here.  Oh, I see, I said ‘a thinking person.’  Since I hired you I should realize that you were not a thinking person.” I said, “You got that right.”  I was thinking that Reeky emphasized the “person” part of his sentence.  And it really was the “thinking” part.  But then neither of us have many “thinking” parts.

Friday, July 27, 2018

I'm Still Green

Alien Nate Ted
Chapter 001
I’m Still Green

               Hello.  I am new here.  My first name is Nathan.  My second name is Ted.  I may have stars in my eyes but I don’t have my head in the clouds.  Clouds don’t exist where I come from, just a bunch of rocks.  I came here for a breath of fresh air.  Where I come from there is just methane.  Methane is just carbon and four hydrogens.  Sheesh, there ain’t no oxygen there.  Fresh Air, talk about your oxymorons.  You’d really have to be a moron if you air anything about oxygen.  Air, you should really say Err.  Yes, you are finally getting it.  I am pretty much out of this world.  I am an alien.  And you could really say that I am Alien Nate Ted.

               I like your cities.  All that concrete and those iron bars all over the place, exhaust pipes, sewage pipes, the smell emanating from that old guy in the plaid shorts and navy blue suspenders walking down the street.  There’s nothing green in sight for miles.  What do people see in plants anyway?  I tell you, give me your iron plants, your steel plants, your sewage plants any day.  If there are any leaves around me I’m the one that’s going to leave.  And just look at that over there.  That’s the Chicago River draining into Lake Michigan.  That is some more of the green I like to see.

               I got a job within the first few days I got here. It’s at some electronics manufacturing company.  The hiring manager said that the place was light on the green.  I said, “Count me in!”  They asked me to add three plus four.  I couldn’t.  They asked me to nail on board to the next.  I couldn’t, I took the hammer, the nail bent and it didn’t even get deep enough into one board to connect to the other one.  They showed me a bunch of cardboard boxes.  They showed me some different sized triangles and el shaped pipes.  They showed me tissue paper and bubble wrap.  They told me to get the triangles and pipes into the boxes.  I told the people that were putting squares and spheres into other boxes to also put those triangles and pipes into boxes. 

               I was walked to the department manager’s office.  He shook my hand.  He said, “Mr. Ted, our hiring manager told me that you have no mind for numerics and you are too weak and unskilled to do the simplest construction tasks but when you are told that you should get something done, you tell other people to do it.”  I said, “Yes I do.”  He continued, “You also told our hiring manager that you have no idea what wages people make at various jobs.”  I said, “Yes I don’t.”  He finished, “As long as we have people who know what they are doing and have worked enough in life to have the physical skills to accomplish what we want, as long as we have that, we need to hire people that mindlessly manage them.  You know, we need managers to thoughtlessly tell the people that work for him what other people, upper management, told you to tell them. And we pay those managers low wages so we can tell the skilled and knowledgeable workers that they cannot be paid more than their managers.  We will hire you to manage this department.”  I was happy.     

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Shell Game

               I look like a conch in the stream.  That is not me.  I am just reflecting on that conch.

               I was anchored in limestone remnants, multiple historic indistinguishable rendings of past lives, past communities, past individual existences.

               I am not the conch.  I replaced him.  I took his place.  I took his form.  I took his shape.  I took his position.  I extended his death.

               I am that fossil of a long lived, strong past inhabitant of an ocean that is no more.  He was there before the shelf.  He was there before the mountain building of your “Great Land.”  He was there before the plates tore a stable community asunder.

               Think about being before the commanding of the mammals.  There was a time before the dinosaurs.  You only remember the giants, those thunder lizards.  But they were all shapes and sizes.  They combined communities of outcasts.

               They did not realize a fish had to take a stand.  A need for oxygen, a need for protein encouraged those fish to stand tall and stand proud and stand up to that risk of walking on land.

               But my idol, the guy I memorialized from the past, he represented the spin of life.  That spiral plotting of his shell is ingrained in the molecular make up of your iris, your skin repeats those set mathematical ratios, the chain link of electrons crystalizing with protons, that very chain of command of your DNA.  Life, all life, and the pre-life building blocks of nutrients, hydrations, and the sturdying of cell walls is that masterpiece, that symbol, that inspiring spiraling of his long evacuated shell.

               He, the conch, expressed it in his shell.  He presented it to the world.  He was life and life went on in multiple forms, in diverse breathes, in asymptotic arrays of scale meets skin meets dark meets hard meets heat of bone and blood. 

               I myself am mineral.  I sculpted a faint echo of his life in the rock.  In this rock.  I claim not nor lie the ability to copy his grandeur.  His force and will of life is seen though barely understood by myself.  I like it.  I wish it.  I show my yearning for it by my chiseling, my molding, my add pyrite here, wash talc there, as I stab some ionic silicates until in my denseness I slightly feel and childishly see this hardened mass that reminds me of what he accomplished.  He is the one I look up to, with my foot printing and scrawling and hands on push here and smooth there.  That echo in this rock, that echo of his life.

               The sun and water were my tools.  The minerals gathered from other deceaseds, gathered from past wants and thoughts of no more cells entooling their own energies and fibers, gathered from other diverse long gone lovers of life, these minerals were my media.  The forming of North America from the continental drift and the deep sea volcanic spreading of the Atlantic Ocean is the canvas I joyfully and luckily saved my cheap imitation of what he was.  Think about your blood being the tint and hue of the portrait of the man who was more thought than reality to a long transpired nation.

               The seasons allowed me to save, for the ages, or some ages anyway, the shape and hold of this conch.

               His ocean is not there.  The shelf he steadied upon is not there.  Even that slab of limestone metamorphized into dolomitic marble, pocked with wind burn and the eating away of acidic rain and the roots of oxygen giving plants that I sculpted, that flank connecting us all broke and was buried into life enthusing soil.

               Reeds grew.  An elm stood up.  And the local plates cracked as plates are want to do.  As seen by the dendritic connection of streams and rivers across any part of foot steadying ground that dew is want to collect on.  I, luckily, was in one of those streams, the stream that fresh water steeped with life draining the surrounding farmable acreage.  And the artwork that is myself was viewed by a human child, a child enjoying the look of the river.

               As over the years, my heat of the matter, my silicons and carbonic particles escaped that flowing stream to feed the corn which fed the cows as I dissolved in that boy’s mind.  He wanted to pick me up.  He wanted to take me home, to show his parents, his friends, his schoolmates, his teachers.

               Alas he did not.  But I remained in his mind.  I am in the words he shares with others.  I like to hope that the image of my respect for that prehistoric conch lives on.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

I'll Stay At The Erasers

                Jim didn’t like it that Fred was staying after class to erase the black boards.

                After dinner Fred read mathematical proofs so that during Algebra Class he could figure out how to solve the given equations.

                Bill had memorized some of the Distributive Properties of multiplication over addition but he did not know how to execute it when A Squared was equal to Seven B plus Four C.

                In front of the classroom, Fred chalked a couple lines but always forced each side of the Equal Sign to be treated the same.  He knows you can’t be blinded by one side.

                Jim paid no attention to what “He learned yesterday” so he did not even attempt to repeat it.  His mind held nothing to repeat.  Therefore, he did not, could not learn to act on both sides because, no matter if they look different, they are stated as Equals.

                Jim just threw spit balls at the guy who only repeated what was accepted from yesterday. 

                Jim also just threw spit balls at the guy that is learning how to manage and react along with the world.  What does Equal really mean.

                Sure, Fred missed out on being with the other kids and their game playing after the bell rang.   He did not hide on the jungle gym when Bill played marbles and Jim crashed into smaller kids playing football.  Instead Jim climbed the foot stools to erase the top of the chalk boards.  In doing so, Fred realized that erasing the left half and erasing the right lower corner was aesthetically like acting upon the corner as if it is Equal to the left side of the room’s presentation.

A balanced equation
A balanced board
A balanced life

                Fred thought about dividing in a distributive manner while he physically removed the A’s and B’s and irrational I’s  realizing in his mind that his erasing was distributive and dividing, like multiplication was distributive and the outcome was his thought about what dividing was and is, and that enabled  his mind to be distributive.

                When grown up Bill could eventually remember to unload the trucks on the loading dock while claiming he managed that business’ interdepartmental growth.

                Jim just supervised the loading dock that Bill managed (what is the difference other than oral, verbal sequence).  For one month Fred plotted their next year’s loading schedule and servicing requirements.  He estimated from seasons and trends along with accounting for licensing agreements and durabilities.  Once Fred was through with this mapping he went on to a totally different assignment.  At least, for Fred, each month’s goal was different.  Not so for Bill or Jim.

                It is now understandable that pounding erasers was not so bad for the long run.  

                Bill said while talking with Jim, “About the pounding of those erasers, that is the Sanity Clause.  Every contract has a Sanity Clause.”  Then Jim laughed because, like Chico to Groucho, Jim said, “I don’t believe in Sanity Clause.” 

                And they both, using the distributive function, were laughing at Fred who had been doing the eraser cleaning.  In their future, each day became boringly the same to both Bill and Jim.  Fred, although he started by pounding those erases, he also thought about the theorems, began to understand the gaining abilities from using those proofs, so much that along with the needed work to clean one’s thoughts, minds, and boards he also talked to the teachers about the construction of mathematics, chemistry, and language.  To Fred, for now and building into his future, it was not just his Sanity Clause, it distributed to his “Sanity Cause.” 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hopping Mad

               “I cannot notice.  I am not ignoring you.  I cannot understand what you are saying.”  And then the Frog hopped away.  One splash and then a swim and he was gone.  It upset me that I heard and understood what he said.

               I wanted to go look for him.  But I had to get back to work.  There I know what to do.  I cannot enthuse, I cannot (honestly) connect, but I have memorized the five actions I need to perform, those five actions I am paid for.

               I acknowledge the debits to their matching accounts, when a receipt is received for the transactions occurrence.  I honestly, notedly, manipulate the holdings accordingly.  I request more funds when the need nears a certain level.  I increase the credits on the related accounts, again when acknowledged traceable transactions occurred.  I increase the holdings accordingly.

               But that frog in the swamp was better than this daily grind.  I know the numbers and some of the immediate connections to those numbers but I do not know the symbolic of the people in the half walled corralled department near my own lined off work area.  What that frog vocalized to my ears took in, my mind interested, that it was my type of English.  In the unrelated of the work a day world, my fellow employees just make loud noises and expel hatred, or a rotten egg for breakfast.  Hatred I know.  Hatred everyone knows.  Generalized Hatred.  Hatred expressed at all.  Specifics are not there.  Generally, he hates me.  Generally, but not coinciding with any specific thought, word, or deed I have been accused of performing.  He or she should be used to the rotten egg or any other undigestibles by now too.

               The frog acknowledged my existence.  The frog did not complain.  He did not compare.  The frog just stated that he did not make a knowing connection and then he left.

               My boss told me that I hurt his department’s evaluation by not adding three plus five.  My boss told me that I detrimented our (especially meaning mine) company worth by attributing general workman’s safety to temporary taxations. 

               That frog showed that I was there and reacted with instead of against me.

               In work I walk into an announced dislike of one department for the next.  In work my ears take in a constant disarray of any day, any face, any time a dislike of what is just there but not what has a definition.

               In work I walk into the false condemnation of me, my self-defining activities and knowledge that these words coming from someone who does not understand that the cost of insuring that your welder breaths oxygen instead of carbon monoxide is not fault of the specific cost of a communities tax to discourage the use of foreign owned chemical components to produce drinkable water to the avail of school children.  That manager had to hide his company ripped off purchase of a couch for his office which was switched with the one in his living room, by blaming me that I entered the debit into the wrong column, of which I did not, but if you say something and repeat it enough you get to that point that you believe that the upper management believes you, besides they don’t care about the people that do the real work anyway.  Your boss got his manager Bulls Tickets so who is management supposed to believe, you or the boss.  Any number of people will put forth the effort to do what you do, how many of them will kiss up to the unknowing management?

               I’ve yet to meet a work environment that is truthful and honest.  Don’t blame me because I do accounting and you look for places to buy our raw materials from.  Don’t drench the guy at the next desk with your swearing and derisive laughter because THIS IS WEDNESDAY!.  Hey, incase you didn’t know it, tomorrow is Thursday.  Do Not Deride someone because Today is Today! And I’ve yet to meet a work environment that is managed by someone who can work and talk and make sense and knows what you do (including why would you do it if it was not needed) instead of blaming you because he tied his own shoestrings together and “Stump da dump dump.”  He faw down and it was not his workers fault.

               That frog acknowledged unintelligible noises, yet did not insult the mechanisms that produced those sounds.  

He looked for a fly.

He hydrated his skin.
And he hopped on.

I should start hopping.