THINGS THAT STAY THE SAME, AS FAST AS THEY CHANGE

(Editor’s note: Today’s post is dedicated to my good friend and former partner-in-crime Joel, a/k/a DJ Chef Boyardee. He lives up in the wilds of rural (RURAL!) Central Pennsylvania on the family “estate” with his Mom, a pet hamster and a herd of indigenous elk that passes through their property daily, leaving in its wake a trail of floral destruction, a trampled lawn and elk poop in copious quantities. Joel is the one who told me the following story last week…well, he told me HIS version; this is mine.)

Once upon a time, up in the wild and woody land of Central PA USA, deep in the forest that stretches all the way across the state from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Philadelphia Phillies, there lived a family of groundhogs (distant relatives of Phil from Punxsutawney ), one of whom was a teenaged male named Tadfield. (Groundhogs are prone to giving their offspring grandiose names apparently.) Tadfield, or Tad as he was known to all his family and fellow ‘hogs, was young, curious, obnoxious in the way that most teenagers are but fundamentally a good guy.

One day he was out walking in the woods when he picked up the scent of a large carnivore somewhere upwind from him, but since he was a groundhog and didn’t speak English, he had no idea what a “carnivore” was; he just knew that his senses were telling him that there was a big-assed animal up the path a ways, probably an animal that would like to take him to lunch, table for one.

Tad proceeded cautiously ahead, even though he knew he really should double back and get away from his potential lunch date, but he could hear muffled noises, like the cries of an animal that’s hurt or in distress, and since he was more curious than cautious, he decided to very carefully find out from where the cries were coming.

He came to a big stand of oak trees, with a rushing creek right alongside, and Tad could hear the animal crying, the noise coming clearly from a depression that had been carved out at the base of one the big trees by the passing water…something was trapped or hurt. And not ten feet away from the hole in the bank of the creek was Mama Grizzly, anxiously walking back and forth in front of it, stopping now and then to reach into the hole with her massive paw. But she and her paw were too big and too short and she couldn’t reach what was in the hole.

(Yeah, I know, grizzlies aren’t native to Central PA…just go along with me on this one, all right? Geez.)

Being a groundhog, emphasis on “ground”, Tad was a lot smaller and closer to sea-level than the MG, and from his vantage point he could now see the problem…one of MG’s cubs had crawled up into the hole and somehow gotten stuck. The cub couldn’t get out, Mom Bear couldn’t reach it, the cub was crying in fear and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV, and how do you like those apples?

So Tad sent a non-verbal, animal ESP message to the grizzly matriarch, which roughly translated into English said the following…

TAD: MG, I can see your cub. If you promise not to eat me, I’ll crawl up into that hole and get him/her out for you, since I’m a groundhog and all.

MG: Oh, that would be wonderful, Mr. Hog, and no, if you save my cub, even though I’m very hungry, not having eaten anything since yesterday because I’ve been so worried about Chicago, I won’t eat you, I promise.

TAD: Cross your heart?

MG: Oh yes, cross my heart with anchovies on top. (Grizzlies are freaks for anchovies.)

TAD: Okay.

So the Mama Grizzly stepped back about ten paces, allowing Tad some operating room, and the brave groundhog crawled around to the front of the tree, got down into the hole where the grizzly cub was stuck, told the kid to stfu and stop squawking, dug the little furball out and shoved him up to the front of the hole, into the waiting arms of Mom.

And joy reigned supreme.

The cub was thrilled to back with his Mom, out of the dark of the hole, MG was delighted to have her cub back and Tad was pleased that he had done a good deed for a fellow denizen of the woods.

Mama Grizzly turned from soothing her still-sniffling-just-a-little child and said to the groundhog, oh, thank you, thank you for saving my baby. Thank you so, ever so much.

And then the huge grizzly suddenly reached down, grabbed Tad by the scruff of his neck and proceeded to devour the kindly groundhog in two massive bites.

You get a choice between two different morals for this story…

Moral #1- As the old saying tells us…no good deed ever goes unpunished; or,

Moral #2- Stay away from grizzlies when they’re a tad hungry.

Your choice.

Now this is an old joke which, being a collector of jokes and being old, I have heard previously, in several variations, one of which in fact was the basis for a post here on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog (AS I WAS SAYING…), back in July of last year in the form of the ancient story of the nice man who removes a small stake from an elephant’s paw, elephant is grateful, man meets elephant many years later, thinks how grateful the elephant once was, approaches elephant and elephant stomps man into a bunch of little mini-nice guys.

Same old general story, same old ending.

FLASH! FLASH! FLASH! 

We interrupt this blog post to bring you a Breaking! News! Story! from the RUKME News Desk…

~Dateline Mar-Ma-Lardo Resort, Palm Beach FL

Ex-, former and thankfully now gone First Lady Melanoma Trump has been “bitter and chilly” towards husband Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump since leaving Washington in January, according to a report from CNN, based on the way she departed the White House. The wife of the loser of the November 2016 Presidential election feels that her husband’s incessant, ongoing and proven baseless claims of a “rigged” election and his incitement of his followers for the deadly January 6th attack on the Capital building has “tarnished” her reputation. Chief Sunshine State Correspondent Coral Gables sent an email enquiry to Mrs. Loser asking how, considering that she once plagiarized another First Lady, lied about her educational background, lied about her parent’s background to get them into the United States, once wore a coat with the message “I Really Don’t Care, Do You?” written on the back, complained about having to deal with the “fucking” Christmas decorations in the White House and POSED NUDE FOR SEVERAL MAGAZINES, did she feel her reputation could be any worse than what it already is? The only reply from Ms. Trump was a message that had a “selfie” of her giving the camera the finger.

More on this breaking story as it becomes available.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled column.

I got to thinking about “old jokes” like the one above (the groundhog/bear story, not Melanoma) and how we see this pattern repeated over and over again…things seem to change, and yet they really don’t.

We’ve been fighting the “culture wars” in this country for time out of mind, but just in my lifetime, I’ve seen the left/right, liberal/conservative battle that started in the late 1950s and blew up the decade of the ‘60s, with the “Love It Or Leave It”, America First, God, Guns and Glory crowd vs. the pot-smoking, hair growing, 1-2-3-4, we don’t want your fucking war hippie counter-culture. It continued through the ‘70s with the ongoing racism controversy and the Roe v Wade and the bra-burning feminists against the “it’s life at the moment of conception” gang, got a boost from the HIV plague being called “heaven-sent” as retribution for our sinful ways by the Christian folks and Ronald Reagan’s now infamous “trickle-down” theory of economics getting called-out by “libs” as “discriminatory to Black Americans”, continued through the ‘90s with the rise of Newt Gingrich and his band of merry asshole buddies, the emergence of conservative stars like Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Fawell competing with a burgeoning sense of “we need to accept people of different sexual orientations”, into the 21st century where we’re still arguing about race, women’s rights, abortion, immigration, guns and all the same stupid shit we’ve been arguing about, in one form or another, for practically my entire lifetime.

And it started long before I came along, but that’s BCJ…Before Cap’n John. I can only comment on that which I’ve seen personally and that’s enough, believe me.

That silence you hear? That’s the sound of an audience of one-armed people, clapping, giving Americans a Standing O for their intelligent and thoughtful approach to the problems that beset our country.

We could let a group of first-graders run the United States and get better results.

You know, if Tad had stuck to the family business of weather forecasting, rather than trying to be one of those cupcake, do-gooder libtards, he might have lived longer.

Hopefully long enough to collect his Social Security…which depending on the way you lean, is either a socialistic entitlement program that’s sapping the financial strength of American industry or a guaranteed way to ensure senior citizens don’t have to live on cat food and moldy buns from the dumpster out behind the Panera Bread store in their golden years.

Okay, by show of hands, how many of you thought naming Mama Grizzly’s cub Chicago was pretty funny?

Boy, tough crowd.

Love and lunch dates,

Cap’n John

Post Script…did you guys know that Punxsutawney Phil lives in Gobbler’s Knob PA? Yeah, me neither.