John Wayne. Marion Morrison. Jim Morrison. Bruce Wayne. Marian Cunningham. Dandy Featherwafer. George H.W. Bush. Abraham Lincoln.
Ok so I don’t know the lyrics to REM’s hit single “It’s the end of the world (as we know it).” I don’t even know if that’s the actual name of the song. I’m just picturing a 45 (type of vinyl music disk) with the words as shown above. Later on, if I feel like it, I may actually look up the name of the song. Right now, it’s Thursday (I never could get the hang of Thursdays) and I’m trying to get to somewhere in the vicinity of 1500 words. As I type this (pre-edit), MSWord has me at 120 words.
Here’s the deal. I don’t have any stories right now. I only have an obligation to blog something by tomorrow. Maybe in a few minutes, I’ll have a story. Maybe I’ll pick up one of the threads of storyline I’ve been working on the last several weeks. But I’m pretty sure I’m keeping these words in either way. These 180 words.
So where was I? Oh yeah – those names above. They are all linked somehow. I look at it this way. When I was a kid, we were astonished that big tough, masculine John Wayne was from Iowa. Just kidding. That actually makes sense. What amazed us was - what kind of name was Marion Morrison? First of all, the only Marion we ever knew Was Mr. C’s wife on Happy Days. And the only Morrison we knew was, well we’d never heard of Jim Morrison (and he was already dead). Oh I’d heard the song “People Are Strange (when you’re a stranger. Women seem wicked, when you’re alone).” Ok, I don’t know what that song is called either. I had heard of The Doors, of course. And as you probably know, Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of perception ( AKA trippin’ balls)” – might not have that title correct either – was required reading for all 3rd graders who took Mr. Featherwafer’s 3rd grade English class. I remember it like it was yesterday …
“Ok who’s next,” Featherwafer asked, “Oh yes, I’ve been looking forward to this one. Fred Hinsley, you’re up.”
“Actually, it’s pronounced Hinsley,” I corrected.
It was my turn to read my poem. After weeks of struggling with this assignment, I had come across a brilliant idea. The poem basically wrote itself as I listened to the radio one day.
Head down, I pulled myself from my seat near the back of the room toward the podium where I was to recite my poem. I could sense all eyes on me as I looked down at the floor. This was crazy. These were my classmates. We play together every day. But now, they are my enemies. Burned into my brain as I make the long walk to the front of the room is the type of shoe that each child wears. Mark Anderson’s shoe is all ripped out, I notice. It looks a lot like mine. Delia Davenport’s Shoes are seriously tidy and clean. My face feels hot as I turn to face the 30 or so Benedict Arnolds in the room. How can they be so cruel. Yes. I know. I’ve mercilessly ripped into every poem so far, cracking jokes and generally being class appointed heckler. But that doesn’t make it right. At least I have an ace up my sleeve. My poem is literally a hit. No way they will laugh at this masterpiece.
Standing silent, waiting to begin. Stalling, I look at the class, sweat dripping from my bangs. I then look down to the podium. No paper of course. I have memorized my poem. Finally, I lift my eyes toward Mr Featherwafer who nods for me to begin. So I do:
“I remember all my life,” I start as several kids who were carving into the desk, stop and look up to me, “Raining down as cold as ice,” Not the best rhyme, but I kind of lisp it to make it work.
“A shadow of a man, a face through a window …“ now all eyes are on me. Some of the children begin rockin’ to the natural cadence of “My poem”
Then I dramatically slow down my reading …
“Crying in the night,” I confess as tears begin to well, “The night goes into,” Then overtaken by the beauty and emotion, I skip a big huge section of my poem and sing as other join, “Oh Mandy, well you came and you gave without taking” and so on.
“That was, Um, not very original was it?” Featherwafer judged
“No, I guess I might have heard it somewhere before,” I admitted.
Our grading system was 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. It equated directly to A, B, C, D and F.
“Well I’ll tell you what. You can take a 5 on the assignment and remain “Fred Hinsley” the way you pronounce it. Or I’ll give you a 3 if we can just call you Barry for the rest of the year.”
“I’ll take the 3 sir.”
“Wise decision young Barry. You see class, what Master Manilow did here is called pandering to his audience. It’s also called plagiarism. He knows his audience too well. So he can get away with it. Sit down Barry.”
“Thank you Sir,” I was so glad that was over. A 3! And all I had to do was sell out. Sweet.
895 words. You know what. I’m not going to edit this. It’s going in as written. Sorry everyone, but there’s football on tonight.
Ok, so what’s next? I always thought that if Marian Cunningham had hooked up with Batman and got Married she would be called: “Mrs. Bruce Wayne”.
There are precisely 2 problems with this, of course. The first is nobody wants to watch a show called “Happy Days,” where the main character’s mother runs off with a superhero and leaves the lovable Mr. C to drown in misery. That’s not a Happy Day at all. The second problem is that a move like that (Marion marries Bruce Wayne) would surely be a ratings gimmick. And instead of the familiar “Jumping the shark,” We might be saying “Marrying Batman” Or possibly “Marian Batman” to play on several linguistic thingies all at once.
The First president of the United States who was named George Bush was related to Abraham Lincoln. I don’t actually know if that’s true or not, but once I dated this girl who claimed to be related to George Bush, Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe. What are you doing hanging around with me, I sarcastically thought. What I really thought was wow, Marilyn Monroe is related to Abe Lincoln?
Every summer, Dad took us all on vacation somewhere. Sometimes we went to Colorado or the Grand Canyon. Sometimes we went to Florida or California. But we always went somewhere.
Every place we went had tourist shops. Places to buy souvenirs. We could spend an hour in these places, looking at the coolest stuff. But dad would never let us buy any of those “trinkets” because they were a huge ripoff as he put it.
Anyway – every single one of these places had, somewhere in the shop – a certain plate. It was fascinating, this plate. My brother and I always looked for it. It was a little game. Who can find the plate. Usually it was dad because “spoiling the fun” was what dad often mistook for fun.
The plate had on the left side a list of things about Abraham Lincoln. On the right was a list of eerily similar things about John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Things like “Kennedy drove a Lincoln. Lincoln’s barber was named Jackie O” or something. I don’t really remember.
Anyway – when this girl said indirectly that Marilyn Monroe was related to Abe Lincoln, I thought of yet another entry for the plate. 1323 words exclusive.
Well that was lazy of me wasn’t it? It’s unfortunate and rude of me – I know to post this unedited effort in. I was mildly entertained by it, but most of all, it was really easy. It is possible, but unlikely that I will make a better effort next time, but you never know. Ok here’s the deal. We don’t have work tomorrow or Monday. I’m kind of in weekend mode. I think I will do one thing that I suggested earlier and see what that song is called.
Oh my god I’m laughing pretty hard. The name of the song is: “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).” Way to give it all away, REM. Why don’t you just name “The Crying Game” “The Crying game (because it’s a dude)” Or how about we call “Fight Club” “Fight Club (Tyler Durdin is the narrater)” One more; “The Sixth sense (is being able to see dead people, like say Bruce Willis’ character, for instance. Just Sayin’)” 1500.