HOW LONG? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It was the first of a new month and I was standing on the main deck of the R U Kidding, just aft of the mizzen-mast, talking to my 2nd Mate Gertruden Shepard about the newly begun baseball season, when her boss walked over to us with a silly grin on her face.

“Hey,” I said to my 1st Mate, Taffie Wetzel, with a nod and a smile.

“Happy April, fools,” she said. (You could tell she’d been waiting all day to try that line on someone.)

We all had a good laugh, and then I called a couple of my deck-hands, who had been busy swabbing the deck behind us, over to where we were standing.

“Aye, Cap’n.”

“Take Ms. Wetzel back to the stern, bind her up good and then put the plank in place…we’ll join you there in a bit.” TW turned to me with a look of astonishment on her face.

“Aye, Cap’n”.

They grabbed the 1st Mate, who was by now protesting loudly, and dragged her off aft.

When the boys had her trussed up good and tight, we walked back aft as well and with little to-do, made Ms. Wetzel walk the plank…sadly, she walked 11 feet on a 10 foot board, and in the drink she went. One of the hands up on the bow, not knowing what was going on, yelled “Woman overboard!” (Hey, I run a totally PC ship…none of that sexist iguanacrap on my boat.)

I only let her flounder for a few moments, then I had the hands tow her back in, just before a huge school of paranoid goldfish, masquerading as NRA members, moved in to attack her.

“Why did you DO that?!?” she sputtered, dripping wet, after they had her back onboard. “I thought you were going to let me drown!”

“Fooled you, didn’t I?”

Now that we have the frivolity out of the way I’d like to propagate a monumental sea-change here and, whoa, never thought you’d see this, did you, be serious for once, as unusual as that is.

April 1st marks the six-month anniversary of the launching of the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog, and despite all of the nay-sayers and critics who exclaimed loudly that the Cap’n would sink and not swim, you and I and all the silliness that swirls around the Kidding are still going strong.

Okay, limping along vigorously then.

For the past six months I have been boring, excuse me, regaling you with stories of three-legged pigs, or about being a part-time Front Service Clerk for Publix, or with all my advice to the lovelorn columns (remember the three-breasted woman or the retired proctologist who lived in Whoopee Cushion FL) or my Cap’n John For Pres 2020 campaign, or Montpelierians, or my opinion poll, or my trip to the doctor to find out I’m growing a second head or the Antonin Scalia School of Holistic and Organic Legal Education (better known by its acronym ASSHOLE) or with any of the stories of all the other “interesting” things that I choose to expound on occasionally.

And through it all, you guys, my loyal and faithful readers, have suffered, er, sorry, endured.

Masochists.

So two things, mateys…one, I hope to hell that you guys have had 1/10 as much fun reading the Cap’n as I have had telling the stories; two, and here’s the big one, from my heart…thank you.

Thank you, 10Q, danke, gracias, domo arigato, feliz navidad, xie´xie´, e pluribus unum, spasibo, tierra del fuego, in whatever language you care to apply, I am very, very grateful to you all.

Like double-secret probation grateful.

You guys are awesome, I don’t care what Mitch McConnell says.

Hey, as long as we’re all here, how about a few “Cap’nisms”, wadda’ ya say?

~From “NORTH, SOUTH AND OPINION” 3/16/18

                “…the First Amendment of our hallowed Constitution grants the nation’s citizens the right to pop-off with their opinions, any time they like, about anything they want to pop-off about. The Constitution was ratified in 1787 and Americans haven’t shut the fuck up since then.”

~From “IT’S ONLY HIGHER LEARNING IF YOU’RE STANDING ON A LADDER” 11/18/17

                “I know you Oswaldo, you’re not the kind of man who would let his laundry basket sit on the cowling of a P-51 Mustang that was painted orange and why was the persimmon?”

~From “POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS FOR $500, ALEX” 1/18/18

                “And FYI, “yo ho” is not how you say hi to a prostitute.”

                “Hey, it’s going to be under 30 degrees here in central FLORIDA overnight again, with a “freeze warning” having been issued by the county…you’re damn right I’m in favor of global warming. And it better happen pretty damn soon, ‘cause everybody down here is freezing their cojones off. What, are you kidding me?”

~From “ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T GETTING ANY (AND I DON’T MEAN ADVICE)” 11/10/17

                “My wife of 25 years recently left me for a rodeo clown, who had a line of bullshit a mile long, a pimped-out Winnebago and his own barrel, and I’m thinking of celebrating by spending two weeks at some island resort, naked and drunk. Do you have a preference for vacation spots?”

~From “THE INSISTENCE OF MAMMARIES” 3/23/18

                “I’m a retired proctologist living in a senior’s apartment complex in Whoopee Cushion Fl, and I’m having a problem attracting the “right” kind of women; so far, since I’ve lived here, the only woman I’ve been able to get a date with was an old-maid ex-turret lathe operator with three nipples and a pet iguana named Horace.”

                “The guy in the cubicle next to mine at work is a hunk, but he never says a word to me other than “hello” in the morning and “boiled llama parts” when he leaves at the end of the day.”

                “Well, you could march into his cubicle wearing nothing but an engineer’s cap and a big smile, carrying a left-handed monkey wrench, and announce that you’re there to tighten his lug nuts; that oughta’ get his attention.”

~From “IT’S AMAZING ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE” 1/27/18

                “…a study done back in 2015 revealed that 11% of Americans think that the term “HTML” is actually an acronym for some kind of horrible disease. The report further stated that these same 11% couldn’t find their butts with a flashlight, a map and two hands.”

~From “I FORGOT TO ASK IF THEY HAVE A WENDYS” 12/8/17

                “I’m sure Montpelierians (no way I could say that word three times in a row with a couple of adult beverages under my belt) are devastated at this news…I know I would be.”

~From “DID ANYONE CALL MISSING PERSONS?” 12/4/17 (on babies)

                “They’re generally cute, smell pretty good until they do something unspeakable in their diapers (something my ex- and I used to call a “special delivery” whenever my daughter left us one), sometimes noisy but mostly inoffensive, and although they add little to the Gross Domestic Product, they can be counted on to vote Democratic.”

~From “…AND IN TONIGHT’S HEADLINES…” 10/7/17

                “-“Freshets Of Profanity” would be an awesome name for a rock band.

                “-do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around…order given by the Captain to the crew, or if he’s incapacitated, the Machinist Mate 3rd Class Cosign PiRSquared, to immediately after hearing the “Hokey-Pokey” horn, turn themselves around. That’s what it’s all about.”

~From “BOY, THE WETTER YOU GET, THE OLDER IT WANTS” 2/11/18 (on getting older)

                “…and it flashed into my mind that if I said something about needles being stuck to any of the kids at work, they wouldn’t have the slightest idea what the hell I was talking about.”

                “I gotta’ be careful farting that hard…at my age I’m liable to blow my spleen right out my asshole and shoot it across the room.”

~From “OH SURE, NOW YOU TELL ME” 2/3/18

                “From the wonderful Tony Bennett song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco and My Spleen In Cleveland”.”

~From “A PSA OF DUBIOUS QUALITY (LIKE THE VALUE OF YOUR BITCOINS)” 2/24/18

                “I once ate an entire box of Entemanns Cinnamon Raisin English muffins (with butter melted into them while they were hot, and with a big glass of cold milk…yes) right before I fell asleep and woke up alternately singing “God Save The Queen” and doing Freddie Mercury impersonations.”

~From “LET’S THROW A POLITICAL PARTY!” 1/10/18

                “No donation is too small, and as Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters, no fee is too big, so send in those dimes and quarters and $100 bills ASAP. And remember the immortal words of Will Rogers, who once opined that we should be happy we aren’t getting all the government we’re paying for.”

Yes.

Hey, I haven’t had this much fun since the last time I had root-canal work, but I need to wind this up and get going…Ms. Wetzel just walked by the door to my cabin, where I’m working here at my desk, and when she saw me turned her head away and refused to speak to me.

I think it might be time for her to take another swim…this time I might let the NRA goldfish have her.

With all my heart, thanks you guys.

Love and anchors,

Cap’n John

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES (BEFORE I’M TOO OLD TO REMEMBER)

“There will be a quiz on Chapters 11, 12 and 14 on Friday.”

Remember those hated words? And do you remember how much shorter you were when you were a child?

I have some vague recollections of having been a child once, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, and since there’s photographic evidence to support such a claim, I have to acknowledge the fact. 

I was, or so I am told, a precocious child. Well-dressed too. (Re the word “precocious”, “pre” from the Attic Greek “premature”, as in “WAY too soon, Sparky”, and “cocious”, which, as we all know, is a “Maghrebi dish of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina”, which when read aloud sounds suspiciously like the instructions for applying roofing tar…”apply the roofing tar with your roller in short, smooth strokes.” Okay.)

Like most people, I suspect, my memories from my childhood range from joyous (vacations at Grandma and Grandpa’s place down in Southern Indiana) to sublime (the first time I heard “California Girls” by the Beach Boys…I was 14, and life was like a wide, wide highway open far ahead of me) to agonizing (my first kiss, and the immediate aftermath, which I will not discuss here, other than to say that it involved a calliope, a chain-saw, two Hostess SnoBalls and a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee) back to joyous (day-long baseball games) to painful (never mind) to REALLY painful (I’m thinking of writing a book on my summer camp experiences…”Summer In The Gulag: Wait, There Is No Summer In The Gulag”) and back again, all across the gamut of emotions that we, everyone, experience as kids.

I overheard my mother once remark to a neighbor, when I was six or so, discussing her youngest and brightest star (that’s me, on the left, with my cousin, Martha, my occasional accomplice)…”He’s adorable in a ‘you want to smack him on the side of the head’ kind of way.” Mom and I had many issues, and never really got along, but I give the old girl credit, she was long-suffering with me. My brother and sister (both older and not NEAR as smart or as good-looking as their younger sib) combined didn’t even come close to having as many emergency-room visits as I did; they were dull and respectable (still are); I started playing drums at 13.

We raced our bikes (which meant more than a few falls and at least one trip to St. Joe’s, the local Catholic hospital) and built our forts (ER visit #56…stepped on a nail that went ALL the way up through my right foot, so my Dad had to come and carry me home from the woods…I needed a keeper, for sure), we played Monopoly for endless hours on rainy days, and wiffle ball Home Run Derby in the backyard, and there were Halloween nights that we ravaged the neighborhood and 4th of July fireworks at the Municipal Stadium just down the street from our house, where we sat 50 yards from the pyrotechnic displays, watching the rockets go off, right up over our heads, and then as I got to junior-high age, I walked with Jimmy Roberts down to the Rec Center swimming pool every day during the summer, to check out the, ah, swim meets and Red Cross events.

I had a shitty childhood, in between all the fun I was having.

And then there was this headline on the ‘Net last week…”Congressional candidate says aliens took her on a spaceship”, and oh joy, yes, she is from Florida, running to replace a retiring Congressperson over in the Miami area. I mean, come on guys, isn’t it bad enough that we already have Senator Marco (The Hispanic Donald Trump) Rubio and Rick (Am I Governor, Really?) Scott here in the Sunshine State, do we need this as well?

The candidate in question, Bettina Rodriquez-Aguilera, says that she was taken up when she was seven, and has had telepathic contact with her alien “abductors” several times over the ensuing years. 

She further says that she learned many things from these creatures, such as “the world’s energy center is in Africa” and, even more interesting, that the Coral Castle, a limestone tourist attraction in the Miami-South Dade area, “is actually an ancient Egyptian pyramid”. No mention was made as to how an ancient Egyptian pyramid came to be in the Miami Florida area here in the 21st century, but it would be reasonable to assume a rudimentary United Parcel Service was available back then, to expedite shipping it here. (Who are they united with, do you know?)

Taken up in a spaceship at age seven…boy, the most exciting thing to happen to me when I was seven was getting a new 26” Schwinn bike for Christmas, which was red, of course (see above).

I promptly went out, on the first day that it was warm enough and there was no snow on the streets, jumped on my new bike, which by that time had had the chain tightened and oiled, the tire pressure brought up to optimum, the seat height adjusted to millimeter specs, the handlebars at just the right tilt and the streamers on the ends ready to meet the wind I would create on my new racer…and fell off the damn thing, two blocks from home, when I turned a corner too quick and went down, spang on my butt.

I have no idea if aliens fall off of, or for that matter, even have bikes, but I’m pretty sure they have synthesized, gamma-ray generating, 56mm harmonized laser cannons, so there’s that.

We can ask Bettina…I bet she would know.

Love and fireflies in the summer,

Cap’n John

Post Script…Game One of the 2017 World Series, featuring the Astros from Houston as the American League Representative, and the soon-to-be World Champions, and the best team in MLB, the Los Angeles Dodgers as the National League reps, takes place this evening at the home of the eventual champs, Dodger Stadium.

A small sign has been placed over the doorway to the visitor’s clubhouse…”Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.