Category Archives: Silliness

Slug’s prank

Dear readers –

What my dad doesn’t know is, when I first saw him drink “tar” I thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if he was allergic to that ground hay, also!” So one day when my friend F.D. (Fiendish Dog) came over he, my brother Slug, and I went out and collected pollen. When we had collected about two ounces of it we substituted it for his barley grass. I borowed his camera and took a picture of him while he drank it.

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Apparently my dad can put two and two together; after he saw me with the camera, and Fiendish Dog’s green-stained hands, he pretty much figured out what happened. This is what he looks like right now … AAAAHHHH! HELLLLLPPPPP!!!

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Desperate Measures

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It is a sad thing to see a man brought to his knees by the trials and vicissitudes of life. In cases of extreme physical discomfort, even the most rational of men may set aside his education and experience, engaging in the most superstitious of rituals, hoping for some relief. I am ashamed to admit that I have fallen prey to such unscientific methodology, in the midst of allergy season.

I live in a forest, and I seem to be allergic to tree pollen. Rudely, the trees around here continue to pollinate each Spring, year after year, with no apparent concern for my troubles. A kindly neighbor has given me Green Magma Organic Dietary Supplement with Essential Nutrients, Active Enzymes, Antioxidants and Chlorophyll (ground hay), which I consume daily, much to the amusement of my children. As it is entirely unpalatable, I mix it with tomato juice:

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Mixed, it closely resembles tar, or at least it no longer looks like tomato juice. Nevertheless, I drink it down faithfully, hoping against hope that my allergic reaction to tree pollen will somehow be diminished by um, er, consuming minced barley grass.

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I suppose, even if eating hay does not help at all, it does not seem to do me any harm; I do try to resist the impulse to trot around the house neighing like a horse. Nobody seems to mind — during allergy season my family has come to expect a lot of weird noises and even weirder behavior from me.

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Elk Rocket Scientist

It is said by some local hunters that, in order to shoot an elk, you have to outdumb them — trying to outsmart them will leave you sitting alone with a blank elk tag. Personally, I have a lot of experience in chasing them around with a camera, and I can attest that they have a unreasoning prejudice against people pointing things at them.

I was out yesterday helping a customer with a virus problem; as I returned home, I noticed a half-herd of elk grazing in the clearing that will, we trust, soon contain the Retreat Center. They glanced indifferently at my car as I hurtled past; lifting their heads briefly, they soon returned to the serious business of nibbling Mom’s flowers and fruit trees.

I determined to get a close-up picture — not owning a telefoto lens, I routinely fail to capture wildlife with my digital camera. As I stepped out onto my deck, I was pleased to note the sound of a helicopter nearby — although I am careful to move quietly, and am widely known to be dainty in size, the elk usually (for some unknown reason) hear me coming.

Unfazed by cars and helicopters, the herd perked up their heads and began trotting away as soon as I descended to the ground. Gnashing my teeth, I snapped a few halfhearted pictures but was mostly treated to the uninspiring sight of 40 elk bottoms.

Elk, unlike me, are not particularly dainty. When pursued, they cause substantial destruction among the local flora; I soon abandoned the chase in hopes of preserving what grass may remain down by the pond.

About an hour later, a neighbor called to warn that the herd, having been reinforced and now 80-strong, was heading back through our property. Hope springs eternal in the heart of an amateur photographer, so I sidled out onto my front deck to try once more. Again, most of the elk quickly reacted to the dire threat of my camera, and harumphed and galumphed gracelessly into the underbrush where they glared at me from under lowered brows. (Actually, I’m not sure elk have eyebrows, but they definitely managed to glower.) Just as I was about to give up, a particularly feckless elk doe walked around the corner of my house and provided me with this picture. She may have been the victim of a practical joke, elk lodge hazing, or perhaps even a triple-dog-dare. As you can see, she was startled by my presence but too dumb to run away.


I suppose if I was an elk hunter, I would wait comfortably at home and shoot the first elk that rang my doorbell, except that they would probably eat the doorbell instead of ringing it. There is the additional drawback that I don’t have a doorbell.

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Duckabush Death March

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One early March day dawned bright and clear, the morning sky washed that deep shade of cornflower blue that only comes after a good rain, or so my wife told me.
“Could you please pipe down, and pull the blinds closed a little tighter?” I mumbled into my pillow.

The shrieks of my children preventing me from resuming my slumber, I rose to greet the day, albeit in a surly manner. After a desultory attempt at work, I was forced to acknowledge that this day must be spent outside. I summoned my two oldest sons, Slug and Weasel, to my office, pointing imperiously for them to sit at my feet.

“Something wrong with your finger, Pops?” snickered Weasel as he slouched against my desk, kicking his leg aimlessly at my computer’s reset button.

“We must seize the day and hike to the Ranger Hole!” I trumpeted. “But first, I will tell you a story of the road marches we had when I was in the Army.”

My sons concealed their pleasure by rolling their eyes and holding their stomachs, groaning. “Seriously, Dad,” whined Slug, “Can’t we just hike to the Hole and pretend we listened to your stories?”

Two stories and four hours later, we climbed into my trusty bronze car and careened up the valley to the trailhead. “The problem with kids today is that they don’t have any stamina,” I warned. “You two watch me carefully and you’ll see how a real hiker handles a trail.”

“Can we get going yet, Pops?” Weasel droned. “How many times are you gonna lace up your shoes?”

We set off at a brisk pace; I wanted to see how quickly these soft youngsters would fall to the wayside. Just as I expected, they were soon both out of sight.

“How long do you want us to wait for you?” shouted Slug from the top of a small mountain.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” I wheezed.
“I don’t know about slow, but you don’t look any too steady.”
Weasel always did have a sharp tongue.

Their boundless energy was beginning to discourage me, as I puffed up an incline that rivaled the North Face of the Eiger. I motioned for the boys to halt, and after five or ten minutes, caught my breath. “Say, I just remembered that I left my camera in the car — why don’t you two run back and get it.” Craftily, I hung the camera across my back where they wouldn’t see it until they returned, when I could apologetically ‘discover’ it. Lacking my years of hiking experience, they both fell for this ancient ruse.

“You sure didn’t get very far,” griped Slug, returning. “The car is locked, and you forgot to give us the keys.” He didn’t even seem out of breath, so I gave him the keys without even a twinge of conscience. A kid like that needs more exercise, I’ve always thought.

In what seemed only moments, he and Weasel had returned, resuming their disrespectful practice of prodding me forward. “Ha ha ha, that was some joke, eh?” I laughed nervously. “I had the camera all the time.”
“Very funny, Pops — nearly as funny as the time you had me and Slug search the beach for your Palm Pilot, until we remembered that you don’t own one!” Weasel chortled, poking me expertly in the small of the back with his walking stick.

Finally we reached the river, where I passed the time entertaining fantasies of pushing both of them into the glacier-fed waters. It fell to me, as their father, to provide these impressionable young boys with an example of maturity and good sense. This was a bit of a problem, since I had managed to grow to adulthood without acquiring either.

Slug seemed to respect and understand this, as he retrieved his hat from the patch of stinging nettles where I had thrown it. “You sure are a scalawag,” he guffawed, tossing my wallet into the bottom of a ravine.

The trip back to the car was even worse, if possible. Weasel amused himself by running laps around me, loudly keeping count. Slug jogged ahead, ostentatiously taking naps whenever he found a comfortable bed of pine needles. I found their vulgar display of physical prowress very distasteful, and said so:
“I find your vulgar display of physical prowress very distasteful.”

As I sagged into the driver’s seat of my little bronze car, muscles aching and gasping for breath, I took the only revenge possible:
“There I was in the woods. The rain was pouring down, and my M-16 was slung across my back. Suddenly, the Sergeant-Major popped out from behind a tree. ‘Gimme 20 pushups’, he roared … ”

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This posting made in honor of Pat McManus, author of many hilarious short stories.

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