ALL OF THE NEWS, SOME OF THE TIME, OCCASIONALLY_VOL XII

Now one thing you have to understand about Florida, or as I like to call it Floriduh, is that it’s the retirement capital of the known universe (aside from being the Covid-19 capital of the world as well, and thank you, Governor DeSantis), maybe only superseded in its number of “senior citizens” by Arizona and Lower Botswana. Truth is, we are up to our gunwales (armed crustaceans) in old people, awash in wrinkles, skin tags, walkers and hearing aids. I was 64 when I first came to the Gunshine State a few years ago, and my arrival down here lowered the state median age by a considerable margin.

Think old people…lots and lots and lots of old people. A place where if you could land an exclusive Ensure franchise you’d make a fortune.

I see lots of my fellow “seniors” every day at my part-time job as a bagger at a Publix grocery store here in the wilds of West Central Floriduh, so I get a first-hand view of this phenomena. I was standing at the back of the checkout line one day recently, waiting for the next item going up for bid, when this elderly couple toddled up with their basket of carefully chosen groceries. (I had noticed them when they first walked in the store, and it had only taken these two octogenarians 45 minutes to pick out eleven items.)

We weren’t particularly busy that day, and one of the little courtesies we do for our customers, especially the ones that look like they voted in the ’64 election (1864), is when we have time we walk down to the unload area and help them get their groceries up on the conveyor. It gives the baggers a chance to shoot the shit with the customer a bit before we check’em out, get’em bagged, load’em up and toss’em out. Besides which, these two looked like the strain of moving the few things they had from their cart to the belt might cause one or both of them to have some kind of unpleasant medical incident.

So I approached Mr. and Mrs. Old Person and gave them my usual greeting.

“How you folks doin’ today?” I said with a smile.

“We’re just fine,” says Female Old Person, apparently having authority to speak for both of them.

“And how you doin’, young man?” I said, addressing the Male Old Person, as I put their groceries up on the conveyor. (FYI, they’re all “young man” and “young lady” to me, even the ones that are demonstrably within spitting distance of being the same age as a redwood tree or a large tortoise.)

“I’m doin’ fine,’ he croaked, “I just had my 92nd birthday last week.” His smile was warm and missing several teeth.

“Is that right?” I replied. “Boy, you sure don’t look it.” He didn’t…I wouldn’t have guessed him to be a day over 106.

“Yep,” he says, “she calls me the old fart,” pointing to the Female Old Person.

I started laughing, and he gave me another of his gap-toothed grins.

“So what do you call her?” I asked him in between chuckles.

He dropped his smile, looked me dead in the eye and said quite seriously, “Honey.”

Welcome to a day in the life of a bagger at Publix.

But what I really want to talk about today is the news, which brings me to a bunch of recent reports from the crack Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding Investigative Team, which operates under the good offices of RUKME. That’s right, exhaust fans, the infamous, excuse me, famous RUKME team of reporters has been out scanning the globe for the stories we know YOU want to hear.

We hope.

So without any further ado…

-Dateline Washington D.C.:

“President Names Witch Doctor New Surgeon General”

In a stunning but not uncommon reversal for President Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump, who routinely says and does things that wouldn’t make any sense at all unless you understand that he apparently has the IQ level of room temperature, today ousted U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams from his post and named Dr. (using the term loosely) Stella Immanuel to the post. Dr. Adams, a celebrated Vice-Admiral in the U. S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and who holds a BS in Biochemistry degree, a BA in Biopsychology degree and a Masters in Public Health degree, was replaced by Witch Dr. Immanuel, who has stated that…

“The Magic 8-Ball toy is psychic and a part of a scheme to get children used to witchcraft.”

“Hydroxychloroquine cures Covid-19 and protective face masks aren’t necessary.”

“The Illuminati has a plan hatched by a witch to destroy the world using abortion, gay marriage and children’s toys.”

“Gay marriage will lead to adults marrying children, and gay Americans are practicing homosexual terrorism.”

“Jesus Christ will destroy Facebook’s servers if my videos aren’t restored to the platform.”

“Sex with night demons causes gynecological problems.”

President Trump stated upon the elevation of Witch Dr. Immanuel to the prestigious post that he did disagree with her statement about the Magic-8 Ball toy, saying that he had been using one for years with no discernable negative effect.

(Editor’s note: as is common knowledge among our readers, the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog is meant to humorous and is satire, or at least we hope for at least one or the other of them most of the time. However, all of the above comments attributed to Dr. Immanuel are quotes and in no way a fabrication of this site. And if that doesn’t scare the living crap out of you, it should, ‘cause even I can’t make up shit that crazy.)

-Dateline Washington D.C. (again):

“NOAA Publishes Study Showing Largest Anus”

In a study commissioned and published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Phyliss Navidad, a distant cousin to newly appointed U.S. Surgeon General Witch Dr. Stella Immanuel, reported that, after an exhaustive study and painstaking measurements, it can now be stated that the anus of the blue whale can stretch up to as much as 40 inches, thus making it the 2nd largest asshole in the world, just after American President Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump. Dr. Navidad was quoted in the study as saying that, “Although the anus of a blue whale is, much like the animal itself, enormous, it pales in comparison to that asshole in the White House by at least an order of magnitude.” Trump campaign manager U. B. Quiet immediately issued a press release stating that, “As so often happens, President Trump is the world leader in so many areas, and this is just one more example of that leadership and how he continues to improve conditions for all Americans.”

-Dateline New York NY:

“Fox News Anchor Tucker Carlson To Sue NOAA”

In a statement released earlier today, Fox News anchorman and lapdog to President Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump Tucker Carlson angrily dismissed the findings of a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study that stated that, despite the enormous size of the anus of a blue whale, President Trump was still the largest asshole in the world. Carlson said that due to his being headquartered in New York rather than in Washington D.C., he was not given proper consideration by Dr. Phyliss Navidad’s extensive examination of anuses around the world and would have easily placed second on the list, had Dr. Navidad done a “fair and impartial” study of all candidates and that he intends to bring suit against the NOAA to claim his rightful spot on the list. The Fox News celebrity was quoted as saying that, “Although I don’t pretend to be near the asshole that our great President is, I am a much bigger asshole than anyone or anything else. This study is obviously ‘fake news’ and it’s a well-known fact that Dr. Navidad is a left-wing Democrat, as well as a member of antifa and a cancel culture Black Lives Matter thug that will soon be replaced by Witch Dr. Stella Immanuel at the NOAA.” Mr. Carlson didn’t respond to questions from RUKME Investigative Reporter Ben Tover to elaborate on just how he became such an enormous asshole.

-Dateline Crazyfuck CO:

“Did Jesus Smoke Weed?”

In an email message recently received by RUKME Investigative Reporter Anna Rexia, conservative pastor Reverend Alfredo Sauce, of this small but totally batshit community high (yes) in the Colorado Rockies claims that, among other things, Jesus Christ did in fact smoke cannabis regularly during his time on Earth. Reverend Sauce goes on to state that “cannabis was an integral part of religious ceremonies of the time and was even mixed into the holy anointed oil used by Mary Magdelene on the Savior’s forehead and feet”, in the famous scene from the Bible. Reverend Sauce was very emphatic in further stating that this combination of holy anointed oil and weed “has amazing curative powers and has been successful in treating all types of diseases, including Covid-19. In fact, we’ve forwarded our evidence to U.S. Surgeon General Witch Dr. Stella Immanuel for her consideration”. When asked by return email what this evidence was, Reverend Sauce replied with a number of quotes from the Bible, including such passages as Excretions Chapter 56 Verse 25, which says, “The ephod is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened to the phenoltart with holy oil,” as well as Dalmatians Chapter 61 Verse 22, which says, “There are some that only chews the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them without the proper ephod.” Reverend Sauce is pastor of the Divine Temple of the Holy Doobie in Crazyfuck CO.

(Editor’s note: Most of the information above was contained in an email I received recently from some organization called “The Exodus Effect”, with a little creative editing by the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding staff.)

Do you think Tucker Carlson has dream sex with witches and demons? Because I’m thinking that if he does, someone should report him to the new Surgeon General, who obviously doesn’t approve of such things.

Love and stethoscopes,

Cap’n John

 

I DREAM OF JEANIE AND BEING WELL HUNG

So here I am in the midst of an unscheduled “vacation” from my part-time job at the Publix grocery store where I work as a Front Service Clerk, which is corporate Publixese for a “bagger”, a true case of a $27 title for a three-dollar job, brought about by an unpleasant run-in I had last week with one of our customers who, despite the fact that she wasn’t wearing a mask or even remotely attempting to observe the rules of “social distancing”, felt it was her unalienable right and duty to stand RIGHTNEXT to where I was working, face within inches of mine, to closely supervise the bagging/loading of her groceries into her cart. (Bagging groceries, although there is an art to it, is nevertheless by no means rocket science…the close scrutiny was unnecessary.)

At any rate, apparently she took exception to my tone of voice the SECOND time I asked her to please step back behind the green line on the floor (full disclosure: I was having a bad morning and I handled it poorly, walking right up to Mr. Rude without quite shaking his hand…I was wrong), causing her to complain to management before she left the store that, although I was the best-looking bagger she had ever run across, I was also very rude, had a poor attitude, was most likely a liberal Democrat and that I should be chastised mightily and then taken out behind the store and beaten with a blunt instrument. Management, with a real and somewhat surprising empathy for the stress all the associates have been under during the pandemic, decided that I should take the rest of the day off, told me to go home and regroup, get my head out of my butt and come back for my next shift with my attitude re-adjusted. Upon arriving at Chez Cap’n I decided that I was going instead to take a couple weeks off and determine my future with Publix while I decompressed.

That decision is TBD.

Anyway, having some time on my hands and nothing particularly better to do this past week, I’ve been catching up with old friends with whom I haven’t spoken for a while, to see how they’re dealing with life these days.

I have a buddy named Bob (not his real name…the names in this story have been changed to confuse the uninitiated) who I hadn’t heard from in a while, so I sent him an email to inquire to his health and well-being; he also lives here in Florida, south of me near Port Charlotte (elevation: 7 feet), where he works as a bartender and part-time condom tester. (For Trojan in a lab, for pete’s sake…you people are disgusting.)

So Bob called me the next day and we chatted on the phone for a bit, swapping lies and laughs, when I asked him what was new in the bartending world.

Well, he says, you know I haven’t worked since back in April when the lockdown started, but I had an unusual incident take place back just before shit got crazy and everything started going to hell in a grocery cart. Oh yeah, I rejoined, what was that?

He then proceeded to tell me the following story…

This guy he had never seen before walked in one afternoon, carrying a cardboard box under his arm. He sat down at the bar, put the box on the stool next to him, reached down and pulled out, first, a miniature grand piano, about the size of a serving platter and complete with a small stool, set them on the bar, reached down into the box again and brought out a tiny little man, dressed in white tie and tails, who according to my friend, then sat down at the piano and proceeded to give a beautiful rendition of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, to the great surprise of both my friend and the other patrons in the bar. When he finished he stood, took a small bow as acknowledgement for the applause from everyone there, sat back down and launched into Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb, opus 9, again playing beautifully.

When the tiny performer was done once again, the man picked him up and put him back in the box; if I don’t stop him occasionally, the guy told Bob, he just keeps playing…gimme’ a double shot of Jack, would you?

Where the hell did you get this little guy, my friend asked.

Well, the man says, I have a place down on Manasota Key; I was out walking on the beach one morning a few months ago, you know, enjoying the breeze off the Gulf and watching the sand crabs run sideways all over the place, just minding my own business, when I saw something sticking up out the sand about 20 yards up ahead of me, like something someone left behind after a picnic, except that hardly anyone ever uses this stretch of beach ‘cause it’s kinda hard to get to. Anyway, I walked over to it, and boy, what a surprise I got, he says…it was this ornate, jewel-encrusted bottle, just the neck sticking out of the sand, the rest buried. I leaned down and pulled it out and whoa, it was like something out of the Arabian Nights, I mean, it was beautiful. So I starting wiping the sand off of it, and when I did it started to vibrate like in my hand, and suddenly the top falls out and this mist starts coming out of the bottle and, Holy I Dream of Jeanie, Batman, out pops this, I don’t know, apparition, ghost, shit I had no idea what it was but it was like a man and it scared the crap outta’ me. I dropped the bottle and the mist starts getting solid and, whoa, there stands this guy, all dressed in a turban and these flowing robes, who says not to be afraid because he’s a Djinn, you know, a genie. He says he was imprisoned in the bottle by an evil vizier for dallying with the guy’s daughter, has been in there for thousands of years, thanks me profusely for freeing him and says, as a reward, that he will grant me one wish, whatever I want.

Beach guy says he was so surprised that he just blurted out, anything I want?

I’m sorry, the genie replied, I didn’t understand you.

Anything I want, the guy repeated.

I’m sorry, says the Djinn, looking puzzled, I didn’t quite get that, putting a hand behind his ear.

So the beach guy, deciding to take a different approach, asks the genie, where are you from? No, says the genie, I don’t play the drums; no, no, says BG, what land are you from? And the genie gets this quizzical look on his face and replies, ham and rum, what the hell is that? and I realized right then, the beach guy said, that the genie must have had sand or salt water in his ears because he didn’t understand a thing I was saying.

So BG says to the genie, raising his voice, I get one wish? and the genie says, a crumb dish, what the fuck are you talking about, and the guy says he then screamed at the genie, ONE WISH? And he said, oh yeah, sorry, yeah, I can grant you one wish, anything you want.

So the beach guy tells me he thought about it for a moment and says to the Djinn, okay, I want a 12-inch penis. Really? says the genie. Well, okay.

Next thing I knew, says BG, all this mist starts coming out of the bottle, the air around me got all murky and weird and suddenly there was this big flash of light, knocked me spang on my butt and when the mist started to clear, there was this box sitting on the sand next to me, and when I looked inside, there was this guy, pointing to the box sitting on the stool next to him.

He reached out, took the double Jack off the bar, downed it and said, that’s when I started drinking.

He took the little guy out of the box again, placed him on the bar, and we watched as the foot tall pianist walked over to the piano, flipped his tails out behind him and then sat down and proceeded to start playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto #20.

I bought him the next round, said my friend.

Love and sheet music,

Cap’n John

Post Script…yes, I know you can’t play a concerto without an accompanying orchestra…call it artistic license.

A LETTER TO COVID-19, BUT FIRST, YOU CAN TUNE A GUITAR BUT YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH

(Editor’s note: The following letter was posted by Cap’n John Krissongs on his Facebook page back on May 7th; the editors felt that the message and style were of the same high quality of writing for which the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog has become renowned throughout the blogosphere and decided to make it a permanent part of the WATRUK experience.)

But before we get to the letter…

Now I want to clear up a few things about seafood…first and foremost, eating creatures from our rivers, lakes and oceans is, well, how can I say it best, ah, gross? Yeah, gross works fine. No, I’ll pass, sorry, I’m okay without most seafood.

I’m no vegan/vegetarian goofball advocating for the rights of animals or deploring the slaughter of innocent wombats or whatever, although for my money, if you mistreat an animal, you oughtta’ be hung up by your balls. No, I’m okay with oink-oink piggies and moo-cows and the firm, supple and up-turned young breasts of chickens, but no, not most seafood. Hey, I have a couple of pieces of catfish in the freezer as we speak, purchased in a nice container from the store, and I’m all for an occasional piece of blackened orange roughy from one of those seafood places that sit right on the shore and serve whatever they can hook off the back porch with a rod and reel, drag it in, smack it on the head a good one before they toss it in a big, black cast-iron skillet. That’s all fine, but for the most part generally, eating seafood is, as I said…gross.

Okay, you want examples?

I’m reading again (for the umpteenth time) the excellent novel Straight Man by world-class author Richard Russo; in it there’s a scene in a bar where two of the minor characters are eating oysters, her for the first time with instructions from him. Let it slide down your throat, he tells her, after a three minute dissertation on the proper preparation of the oyster sauce. Down they go, slurped up by the dozen by these two drunken oyster-slurpers in between copious amounts of beer.

Eeeeyeew…yeah, sure, I’m going to let something that looks the result of a sea lion sneeze slide down my throat. Sea lion expectoration. (After seven years of college with a Bachelors in Social Distancing, I refuse to write the phrase “sea lion boogers”.) You don’t even chew the damn things, you just swallow…bleah.

Or crab legs…oh, like I’m really going to eat the legs from an animal that looks suspiciously like something that should live on a web. No, no fucking way, no. We sell fresh crab legs from the Seafood Department of the Publix grocery where I work part-time, and every time I bag up a bunch, all I can think is, those were carrying a large spider-like creature down the beach sideways just last week. Creeps me the fuck out. And yeah okay, ground beef was “on the hoof” once upon a time as well, but there’s a BIG visceral difference between a pound of ground chuck in a celluloid package and a plastic bag of what looks like the hacked-off legs of an arachnoid that has been eating nuclear waste.

And lobsters? Really? You want me to have as my dinner an animal that was alive and ambulatory until right before you tossed his innocent little butt into a POT OF BOILING WATER, YOU SADISTIC FUCK?!? Are you kidding me? I mean, couldn’t you at least give them a quick one to the noggin with a meat tenderizing mallet and knock’em cold first? Geez.

Or eels…there are no words descriptive enough, at least not in my vocabulary, to even begin to do justice to the grossosity of an eel. (Yes, grossosity…look it up.)

I am literally getting goose-bumps sitting here writing this…creepy, slimy disgusting damn things.

I’m thinking pizza.

Okay, time for the letter.

                                                             ######

An open letter to Covid-19:

Let me state here at the outset that, sir or madam, I don’t like you. (If you’re male, you’re a jerk, and if you’re female, you’re still a jerk.)

No, Mr./Ms. Covid, I don’t like you at all; you’re vile and you’re deadly and you’re creepy and your mother dresses you funny. You snuck into all of our lives a few months ago and things have pretty much sucked ever since you showed up. You’re making folks sick, you’re killing all kinds of innocent people, you kicked the economy in the nuts so hard that all it can do now is sit in the corner and make little mewling noises, you’re making those of us who you haven’t infected a little (a lot) nuts, you’re causing ALL kinds of angry arguments and debates over shit that, prior to your arrival, we wouldn’t have given a second thought to. (Wearing a mask in public? Only if it was Halloween or I was robbing a bank.) You’ve got some of the people in charge so paranoid that they’re telling everyone to stay home and remain in their bathrooms, cowering in fear while they spray disinfectant over their morning bagel, and then some other leader types saying, hey, fuck it, it’s time for full tilt boogey, the cure is worse than the problem, let’s go get a burger.

For me, and I suspect this is pretty much universal for most folks, I’m scared because I don’t know who to believe, I’m stressed out from the worry (am I going to die without getting laid at least once more?), I’m frustrated, I’m kind of dopey looking (okay, that one isn’t your fault) I’m confused about how to stay safe and I want my life back like it was before you came up on everyone’s radar.

And damn soon, thank you.

There’s been much speculation over the years among humans as to whether or not there’s intelligent life on other planets (there’s been some debate from time to time as to whether there’s any on our planet); if there are others out there, couldn’t you have landed somewhere else in the Galaxy and bothered them, like the Planet Zatox maybe? I mean, shit, I hate to wish any ill on the Zatoxians, but you know, hey, that’s their lookout.

I’m pretty sure I could get everyone on Earth to kick in five bucks (or rubles or francs or pilasters or douche-bags, you know, the German thing) and give the proceeds to you just so you would go away. Hell, I’ll kick in ten if you’ll take President Trump with you when you go. (You don’t have to make him sick, just drag his big butt out the door with you as you vacate the premises.)

It’s been so long since I shook someone’s hand that I’m not sure I remember how. (Yeah, I suppose it’s like sex, you know, a bike-riding thing. I hope anyhow.) And hugs? Not on your coronavirus, you prick, not these days.

You’ve made me angry, and I hate that; you’ve made me experience stress, and I hate that as well. You’ve made me afraid, and I REALLY hate that. Tell the truth, you’re not scoring a lot of points with me at all right now.

So, tell you what, Mr./Ms. Covid, do us all a favor and make like Apple stock and split, okay? Pack your bags, say your goodbyes and get on down the road. ‘Cause I’ve got several friends out there that owe me lunch and I’m getting tired of baloney and Clorox sandwiches. And I’d sell my kid sister to a band of itinerate nomads to be able to go to Walmart once again and make fun of all the rednecks. (Okay, I don’t have a kid sister, but you know what I mean.)

Go away, Mr./Ms. Covid, please…oh, if I make it $20 would take Mitch McConnell with you too?

Love and tartar sauce,

Cap’n John

CONSISTENCY IS THE PRODUCT OF A SICK MIND

There’s an old (please pardon the redundancy here) saying that’s been around for years that goes, there’s no fool like an old fool.

And as a good friend of mine is wont to say, I resemble that remark.

Okay, story time…be patient, children, I’m going somewhere with all this.

A couple of weeks ago, April 23rd to be precise, in a fit of rampant despondency, the result of spending a few hours/days/weeks wallowing in a slime-pit of self-pity, I posted a brief item here on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog (since taken down) that said, basically, I quit.

No mas, that’s the ballgame, sayonara, turn in your badge and squirt-gun as you leave, hasta yo’ mama, I am already gone, on the road full-blast and top down, I quit.

I gave the middle finger salute to the whole thing and walked.

I was depressed (depressed my ass, I was irritated) about the “metrics” (stats…metrics just sounds like I know what I’m talking about) of the WATRUK website…they never seemed to go up (i.e., more visitors to the site, more readers), even after doing several months of Facebook advertising and constantly self-promoting on FB, Twitter and Instagram to the point that I feel like a shill for myself, the daily/monthly page views and visits just haven’t increased, and in fact occasionally have dropped a bit. (It was like watching the trading on a new stock you plunged your life’s savings into last year that’s now going nowhere, praying with your fingers, eyes and toes crossed.) And I got discouraged.

Now I’m not looking to be Dave Barry or even that Hershowitz guy here, but shit, come on already.

So I said fuck it and decided that, huffing and puffing and bloviating all over myself, I can find better things to do than bust my ass writing a blog that has, maybe, two dozen regular readers.

Good-looking readers, too, I will add, not like those ugly oinkers that read other humor bloggers.

In the meantime when all of this self-pity wallowing was going on, a curious thing began to happen.

I’ve gotten to be friends with one of kids that works with me at the Publix grocery store down in Trinity FL where I’m a part-time “bagger”; I helped her through a rough patch in her life last year and she laughs at my dumb jokes. Out of the blue one day recently, I get a Facebook “friend request” from her. I laughed at the idea, because most of my FB friends are contemporaries of mine, namely, old people. (Think tortoises and redwood trees.) But she’s a great kid (about 20), so I thought, why not?

Next thing I know, through that miracle of social media, like ripples on a pond, I now have this little group-cluster of 20-somethings, all fellow workers at Publix, all as my new FB BFF’s.

They remind me a little of those kids in the movie The Goonies.

So last week, again out of the blue and into the Black Sabbath, I get another FB “friend request”…

…and this one was from another co-worker, a young lady named Raneem, who is a friend of Sarah’s, a little pixie with a sweet, silly smile who is a member in good standing of the above-mentioned fellow workers/FB friends/Goonies groups (above).

Really? Really?

Now let explain about Raneem, best I can…I believe she’s about 20, college student, works part-time for Publix as a cashier, good worker, beautiful young woman, seems like a nice kid…and one I was pretty sure didn’t particularly like me. (It must run in her family, because her older brother works as a part-time cashier with us as well, and he hates my guts, which is okay, ‘cause I ain’t all that crazy about him either.) I mean, she and I haven’t passed six words to each other in the last year, never had a conversation about work or politics or what assholes some of our customers are or the Dodgers or anything. We’re like Tow Mater and Sally Carrera in the movie Cars…they’re both cars and they both live in Radiator Springs. And that’s it. Ditto Ms. R and myself.

Now I’m not well-versed in the fine art of subtlety, so the next time Raneem and I worked together, I walked over and asked her, point-blank and quote, why the hell would you want to be FB friends with an old fart like me? (I would have accepted the “because you’re obviously a pathetic, lonely old man with no life and a rather prominent nose, and I just felt so sorry for you” answer, albeit reluctantly.)

So this beautiful young woman looks at me and says, well Sarah told me about your blog and I read it and I liked it.

I immediately went in the office and called the local Sheriff’s Department, to come and arrest this girl for Assault with a Friendly Weapon.

I. Was. Stunned. Wash, rinse, repeat…I. Was. Stunned. I had absolutely no idea that she even knew about “the Cap’n” and/or the WATRUK blog and, bigger surprise, that, Holy Compliment, Batman, she liked it.

And it hit me, just like that, oh, Cap’n, you screwed up big.

I thanked her genuinely, telling her how flattered I was by what she said. Twice.

Oh, that thing that hit me? The realization of what I had done when I quit being “the Cap’n”.

I’ve said many times that I would write this blog even if no one read it, and despite my abrupt departure on 4/23, I still believe that. I am also not a believer in false humility…in my own stumbling way, I know I can write and that I’m funny; moreover, I like what I write, and I know some others that do as well. But being my own biggest fan should be enough.

All that I ever intended for the WATRUK blog to be is a place where my readers could go from time to time and a have a laugh or two in the face of all the horror and the fears and the worrying and the cruelty and the insaneness of our daily lives. (Yes, I know, you think I should have used the word “insanity” there, but I thought that “insaneness” portrayed what I was trying to convey more better.) A brief bit of levity to bring some cheer to someone’s passing hours, an oasis in a desert of everydayness. (Poetic, huh?)

Raneem isn’t the only person who has ever complimented me on the WATRUK blog; I’ve had a number of them over the past two-and-a-half years that I have been editor-in-chief. (Her’s just came as such a surprise.) So if you know that people (a few anyway) enjoy what you say here, that it brings them a moment or two of happiness from time to time, then aren’t you being a bit of an asshole, Mr. Selfish Pants Cap’n John, to decide to take your ball and bat and go home, just because The Huffington Post isn’t banging on your door, begging you to write a regular column? And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t just blowing smoke up my skirt, although if she had been, I would rather she had waited until I had my Little Bo Peep costume on, the one with the bonnet and the, well, never mind that now.

Anyway, I changed my mind…the Cap’n, after a short-lived and mostly below average retirement, has returned.

And the crowd went wild.

Maybe not every week like I’ve been doing for some time now…biggest problem with weekly posting is, as I like to call it, the disease of “writerius blockosis”; sometimes I just don’t have any idea what to talk about, and I’m bright enough to know to keep my big yap shut when I have nothing pertinent to say, unlike our President, who’s never had a thought he didn’t just blurt right out with a regularity that is astonishing. Hey, Mr. Trump, speaking of quitting, any possibility you’ll just get tired of the whole mess and go back to being a mendacious, obnoxious, woman-groping reality-show host and let America go find a real President? Huh? That likely?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Love and a woman’s prerogative to change her mind,

Cap’n John

Post Script…hey, Raneem, thanks again. Much appreciated.

You’re a lot nicer than Sarah says you are. (Please insert winky-face here.)

 

ALL OF THE NEWS, SOME OF THE TIME, OCCASIONALLY_PART THREE

As some of you are aware, in addition to my duties as the Captain and Master of the venerable vessel the R U Kidding, I am also employed part-time by the Publix Supermarket chain here in FL as a Front Service Clerk, a very grandiose title for a “bagger”; as such, I come into contact every day with quite a few female members of the human race, both customers and employees.

The other day one of the ladies that I work with frequently, a nice older woman who I am 87.54% convinced has a major crush on me, which is easy to understand, given that I am devastatingly handsome, a sparkling conversationalist and hung like a stud chipmunk, asked me, rather out of the blue, if she could give me a hug; being magnanimous, I acquiesced. (Big of me, right?)

But only with the caveat, I explained to her, that while I was okay with her “giving me a hug”, she must understand that I already had quite a few, and that hers would have to go in behind the older ones…after all, it is a grocery store and we have to rotate the stock for freshness.

I suspect she’s just attracted to tall men who have a third eye in the middle of their foreheads.

But hugs from nice ladies is not the theme of today’s post; no, today I’m going to call on the crack RUKME Reporting Team to get a low-down on a number of recent news items that I’m pretty sure my loyal readers (all several of you) want to know about.

R-U-K-M-E…the R U Kidding Media Events arm of the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog. (Pronounced as one word, emphasis on the second syllable…think Scooby Doo.)

Let’s go to the News Desk…

~Dateline Seattle WA:

“Amazon Announces New Religion, Says Will ‘Glorify’ CEO Jeff Bezos”

Officials with uber-retailer Amazon announced today that the company, headed by gazillionaire CEO Jeff “Sign Up For Amazon Prime Now Cretins” Bezos, will launch a new religion/church in the next few months, tentatively to be called the Church of Jeff, whose dogma/teachings will be based on the glorification of the “Bicep Billionaire” as their spiritual leader. According to company spokesperson Alfredo Sauce, the new church, the brain-storm of the Amazon Marketing Dept., will be dedicated to “spreading the gospel of Jeffism to the general public, as well as his philosophies, ideas and beliefs, to further the influence of Amazon and its unique marketing concepts”. It was further noted by Sauce that “Jeff Bezos: The Life, Lessons and Rules for Success” will be used as the religion’s “book”, and urged all Americans to purchase a copy right away, available on Amazon in paperback for just $9.95. (And free shipping with Amazon Prime.) Bezos, when asked by RUKME correspondent Phil Adelphia to comment on the new church, merely smiled enigmatically, raised his right hand and traced the dollar sign in the air.

~Dateline Houston TX:

                “Astros’ Owner Has New Experimental Teflon Coating Application, Says Works Great”

                In an unusual response to the recent sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the baseball world and has resulted in the firing of three MLB managers (A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the N. Y. Mets) and one general manager (Jeff Luhnow of the Astros) so far, with potentially more to come, owner and chairman of the Astros franchise Jim Crane revealed today that he was the recipient of an experimental application of Teflon coating to the human epidermis recently, and that the new “skin” works “great”. “This product is amazing,” said Crane, who avoided any REAL penalties as a result of his players and managers being involved in the scheme to steal signs from opposing teams by means of a center-field camera connected to a video monitor mounted just outside the team’s dugout, despite paying a $5,000,000 fine and suffering the loss of several draft picks, neither of which will be much of a strain to or a burden on the organization. “I love this Teflon stuff; I mean, absolutely NOTHING sticks to you.” Apparently including any meaningful punishment for the damage done by the Astros organization to not only the integrity of baseball, but also other consequences such as depriving fans of rival MLB franchises of the joy and pleasure of having their teams win, the pall that Crane and his merry band of assholes has cast over MLB in general, to say nothing of the economic whack that the teams the Astros cheated took, such as lost stadium and game revenues, lost income for the players/employees of the team as well as independent contractors for services to the clubs, lost tax revenues to the various municipalities and counties wherein MLB stadiums reside and more. “This coating is slicker than shit through a goose,” said Crane, in a wonderfully apropos comment, considering  that “shit” will be the word that pops in many people’s minds every time they hear about this mess, the Astros and Mr. Crane in the future.

A RUKME EDITORIAL

It is the opinion of the RUKME Editorial Board that Jim Crane, the owner and Chairman of the Houston Astros baseball club, is an unprincipled bucket of warm spit. Even if we give credence to the assertion by Crane that he was unaware of the activities of his managers and players, he still is tainted by association and, more importantly, by his inept and corrupt leadership of the organization. You may not have known SPECIFICALLY what was going on, Mr. Crane, but it was you who fostered the culture of cheating by whom you hired and the toxic atmosphere under which your employees worked and thrived. Don’t think you can avoid the responsibility…you own it.

You stink, sir, as does your organization…we hope you get an advanced case of crotch lice.

_________________

~Dateline Hoboken NJ:

                “Rose says Astros’ Cheating Worse Than His Bets, Thinks Players Got Off ‘Scot-Free’”

                In a related story to the one above, former MLB player, self-confessed cheater and all-around roving asshat Pete Rose told NJ.com today that he was wrong when he bet on his team, “but this (the Astros situation) is a little different. It’s a lot different, actually…” No, actually, Pete, it’s pretty much the same thing…it’s called cheating, doing something you know isn’t allowed by the rules and is therefore wrong. Apparently what you were really saying is you’re a piece of crap for your actions but the Astros are BIGGER pieces of crap for theirs. (Occurs to me that crap is crap.)

~Dateline Hollywood CA:

                “Loughlin Had Surgery But It Was Unsuccessful”

                Cedars Sanai Hospital here in Los Angeles announced today that actress Lori Loughlin had an ego-reduction procedure performed on her by the famed medical center some years ago, but that the surgery was a failure. According to Head (and other body parts) Surgeon Will Power, the 55-year old actor, who was indicted last year by the federal government, along with her husband, Italian designer Mossimo Giannulli and several hundred other parents, for allegedly making a $500,000 “donation” to the Key Worldwide Foundation, which was in fact a thinly disguised bribe to compel the University of Southern California admissions committee to enroll her two moron daughters in the prestigious school when neither of the girls could find her butt with both hands and a map, had the procedure done back in 2010, but that “recent events would seem to indicate that, in Ms. Loughlin’s case, the surgery was an obvious and total failure.” When contacted by RUKME reporter Justin Case, Ms. Loughlin’s only comment was that she “hates dealing with peasants” and that “given my lofty position in the entertainment industry, I shouldn’t have to lower myself to even acknowledge such stupid charges.”

~Dateline Happy Camp CA:

                “Sasquatch Kept Lumberjack As Sex Slave, Jack Describes Ordeal As Monstrous”

                According to the Siskiyou County (CA) Herald Angel, a man was found wandering along the side of Highway 96 in the direction of Happy Camp yesterday, and was stopped and questioned by local police. The man, who told police his name was Forest Fire, said that he had been captured by Bigfoot back in 2015 from his home on the outskirts of Happy Camp, and that the giant, hairy creature had held him captive up in the Marble Mountains since that time, using him as a “sex slave”. When asked to describe his ordeal in more detail, Fire began to sob loudly, and said, “try to imagine being attacked with a giant, furry baseball bat.” When told that Donald Trump had been elected President in 2016, Fire responded, “Donald Trump the asswad billionaire?” and then ran back into the woods from which he had recently escaped, screaming in apparent terror.

That’s all the news we have time for today, which is really too bad, because I had one of those “I Gave Birth To A Three-Headed Llama and Donald Trump Is The Father” stories all ready to go next.

“The problem with news on the Internet is that often it isn’t true.” Abraham Lincoln

Love and headlines,

Cap’n John

Post Script…I apologize if I was a little more serious today than normal, i.e. the above baseball “items”. I promise to be a good little humor blogger in the future. Not.

ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T GETTING ANY, AND I DON’T MEAN ADVICE_VOL X

(Editor’s note: Today’s post is dedicated to a young man for whom I have a truckload of respect and admiration, my soon to be “ex-boss” at the Publix grocery store where I work part-time, Brian K. He’s leaving us, to move onward and upward, and will be sorely missed. Good luck, buddy, and remember, you can call me any time you need help or advice.

The philosopher and novelist George Santayana has been quoted as saying that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, which at once sounds both quite sage and the best explanation for people falling prey to multiple marriages. 

According to Karl Marx, patron saint of the Communist movement and brother to Groucho, Harpo and Chico, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”, words we will remember on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 should this country lose its collective mind and reelect Donald “Tweety Bird” Trump for another four years as President. You will also recall that Obi-Wan Kenobi urged Luke Skywalker to use it.

And as Rodney Dangerfield once said, a comment I have often quoted, “I’m so old, when I was in school we didn’t even HAVE history.”

So history will be the theme of today’s post; I considered writing about “llama intestines” as a theme, but in deference to the delicate sensibilities of my loyal readers (all several of you), I decided against that idea. I’m sure some of you, sensibilities notwithstanding, will be disappointed.

You know who you are.

On this date in history:

~In 1974, then President Richard M. Nixon, facing almost certain impeachment for his role in the Watergate break-in fiasco, announced that he was resigning from office effective immediately. Had it been prohibited by our Constitution, Mr. Nixon could easily have been impeached for being arrogant and inept, an ugly combination in any human being, as we’re seeing with the current resident of the White House. As it was, the charges against him were Obstruction of Justice, Contempt of Congress, Failure to Reduce Speed, Being a Republican and General Mopery, who did it in the Conservatory with the Revolver. (Sorry, that was Colonel Mustard…I get those two confused sometimes. I did write about the board game Clue last week, if you’re interested.) Here’s hoping someone at the White House mentions this bit of history to Mr. Trump, and that he then has a sudden and quite unexpected 180° change of heart and follows Mr. Nixon’s example. As comedian Judy Tenuta often says, “Hey, it could happen.”

~In 1879, in the Mexican state of Morelos, Emiliano Zapata was born. He was renowned for a) being a key figure in the peasant revolution of 1910 against the land-owning hacendados in Morelos, b) having an awesome ‘stache and c) since “zapata” in Spanish means “shoe”, being the first revolutionary leader in the world to be named for footwear.

~In 1846, in an attempt to prohibit the expansion of slavery to the new territories in the West, the Wilmot Proviso was proposed in Congress, and in the debate that followed, much to our chagrin today, the Republican Party was born. Several current historians have suggested that we go back, exhume the various Congressional leaders of that time, give each of them a good smack on the side of the head and then rebury them. And here’s some food for thought…the same Republican Party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower has now graced us with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, which if we were to use a food analogy for the genealogy of the GOP, could be considered “chocolate-covered dog turds”.

~In 1588, the English armada, led by Commodore Lionel Ritchie, in one of those interminable wars that they seemed to fight incessantly over there in Europe in those days, defeated the Spanish fleet in a decisive battle off the northern coast of France. (And as a nod to Mr. Ritchie, the town I live in here in Central Florida, New Port Richey, is named for his brother, who was at one time a prominent local proctologist.)

~And in 1096, a Slabovian peasant named Elwood Pudlooper decided, after much soul searching and contemplation, that he would follow Knight and Lord of the local fief Sir Sean of Connery on a crusade to liberate the Holy Lands from the heathens of SPECTRE, at least according to novelist and accidental historian Sir Ian Fleming. (Geez, is there anyone over there in the UK that they HAVEN’T made a Knight? Sir Elton John, are you kidding me?)

And in the history of the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog, I have received and continue to receive many letters, emails, texts, telegrams and carrier pigeon messages from my loyal readers seeking advice about their love lives, or the obvious lack thereof. I thought, for your edification, that I would share with you some of the more pathetic, err, excuse me, of the more heart-rending of these missives.

Of course, asking me for advice on affaires de coeur is rather like asking your dog to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity. Or as comedian Larry the Cable Guy once put it, “It’s like wiping before you poop, it don’t make no sense.”

Yes.

“Cap’n John:

                I am an author of political manifestos, single and in my early 30’s, and although I believe that “religion is the opium of the people”, I am having no luck finding a suitable female partner with whom to share everything I have, my work and life. I thought that I might eventually meet my “special someone” at a political rally or a Bund meeting, for I am a very “social” person, but I have had no luck. My partner Friedrich even offered to fix me up with his sister Helga, but the Engels are a strict German family and wouldn’t allow it. I’m lonely in my “worker’s paradise”. Can you help me, Cap’n John?

                                Groucho’s Younger Bother Karl”

Dear Brother:

                Yawohl, you Marxist asshat, have you tried living in a commune? Maybe if there’s a group of women from which you can choose your luck might be better. Just don’t try to impress any of them with your money.

“Dear Cap’n John:

                I’m female, 22 years old and a student at a local college, working part-time at a grocery store as a cashier to pay for my education. Lately I find myself VERY attracted to one of my co-workers, a young man in his late 20’s who is quite handsome, very nice and, according to several of his buddies, hung like a stud horse. We’ve spoken on many occasions, had some good conversations and he seems interested in me, but it also seems like something is holding him back. So here’s my question: didn’t it creep you out to the max when Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were in a serious lip-lock in The Empire Strikes Out On A 3-2 Slider and then we learn they’re brother and sister in the Return of the Jed Clampetts?

                                Megan the Merciless, Ruler of the Galaxy”

Dear Ruler:

                Hey, being “hung like a stud horse” is all well and good, but does your potential suitor know that there was an apartment house in my neighborhood out in L.A. that was named “Los Huevos”, which in Spanish means “The Eggs”? What the hell kind of a name is that for a building? Next thing you know, some guy named after footwear will being charging around leading revolutions.

“Cap’n John Krissongs:

                You continue to ignore our repeated attempts to collect this debt…”

Okay, never mind that one.

“Dear CJK:

                I just can’t believe that, according to scientists, the Moon moves away from the Earth at a rate of 1.48 inches annually, or at about the same rate that a person’s fingernails grow. If this is true, and I really don’t think it is, ‘cause who the hell has a tape measure that long, then how come I can’t find a good-looking woman to walk down the aisle with? I’m in my late 20’s, told that I’m good-looking by my friends, who are notorious liars, have all my own hair and teeth, and pardon my bragging, hung like a stud horse, so I can’t understand this total failure with women. There’s this one girl at work that looks interesting, but she recently told me that she has three nipples and is a Republican as well, and that sure brought things to a grinding halt. How can I take her home to my Mom, who plays linebacker for the Packers and hates Republicans? How about some help here, Cap’n?

                                Terry the Trojan Horse”

Dear Horse:

                Have you tried using a 56mm left-handed kroysening wrench?

Well, gang, I see by the old word-counter down in the lower left of my computer screen that it’s half-past August and time to move on to bigger and better things. And remember the famous words of George Orwell in his incomparable book Brave New World, quoting Henry Ford, who once said that “History is bunk beds.”

At least I think that’s what he said.

Love and geography,

Cap’n John

Post Script…and how about that segue this week, “And in the history of the Welcome Aboard yada, yada, yada”…pretty slick, huh?

Post Post Script…that thing about the Moon moving away from the Earth at the same rate as the growth of a person’s fingernails is true…check it out.

SHTICKS OF ONE AND HALF-A-DOZEN OF THE OTHER…CAP’N JOHN FOR PRES

President Teddy Roosevelt, at his desk in the Oval Office, reading a press release

Back in the mid-80s, I was living on the south side of the great city of Chicago, in what has been known for years in the Windy city as the “Back of the Yards” neighborhood, and managing a medium sized steel warehouse not far from there, up on 35th and Pulaski; I had moved into the city, rather than commute every day, as I had been doing for a number of years, after I got divorced from Bubona, the evil, conniving Goddess of Cattle and perpetual tormentor of yours truly. (I think it was the comedian Gallagher who once said that “there’s no such thing as an un-contested divorce…somebody’s pissed”. Ours wasn’t uncontested.)

About a year after Bu and I went our separate ways, I got a call from her kid brother, whose name was Alfred, although everyone had called him “Shithead”, er, sorry, “Skip” ever since he was a baby; at the time of this incident, he was not quite 19.

I had extended an invitation to him to stay with me for a time, during a period when he and my ex-in-laws were battling over, at any given time, either his lack of a job, his hair, his attitude, his friends, his music, his shish-kabob, his pet tortoise Heloise or whatever; Skip was fundamentally a good kid, and when I volunteered to take him in and get him a job at the steel warehouse, my offer was, despite being the hated “ex-husband“, accepted by all with great relief.

So young Skip came to stay/work with me, and I’m happy to say that I believe I contributed mightily to making him the total failure he is today. (Hey, it’s a gift, you know.)

We were sitting in my living room one evening, after he had been staying with me for about a month, dinner eaten and dishes done, watching TV, when an ad came on soliciting funds for research into finding a cure for the devastating childhood disease, spina bifida. The Grasshopper turned to his older mentor and asked, what’s spina bifida?

It’s a disease of the spinal cord, I replied, being the “older mentor” in this instance.

Weird name, he said.

Yeah, I replied, it was named for the guy who first identified the disease, Dr. Biff Kadootie.

Now one thing Skip knew about me, despite his youth and inexperience, was that I occasionally “finagled” the truth a bit…

Yeah, I repeated, Biff Kadootie, Spina Bifida.

He looked at me with suspicious eyes and asked…you sure?

Yeah, absolutely certain, I said. Hey, they sure weren’t going to call it Spina Kadootie, were they?

I have always thought, since that day, that the denouement in this instance was pretty funny. So much for being a mentor and teacher.

And thus were the seeds of good Cap’n John planted in fertile soil and allowed to grow to immaturity.

Speaking of “teaching”, one thing I have learned, being a major party candidate for President, is that there’s always more info you need and/or should assimilate into your thinking as you run for the highest office in our country.

That’s right, radiator fans, the Cap’n John for President 2020 campaign is running full-speed ahead, and gaining momentum and supporters at a furious clip…all three of them.

My campaign manager, or “camman” as I like to call him, Mack DeKnife, has assembled a top-notch staff, with a number of politically savvy men and women as Department Heads, to focus on certain aspects of the campaign and to keep me abreast of news/developments in their area of concern; I get reports regularly.

And unlike our current President, I actually read them…of course, I don’t pretend to know everything, like some Presidents.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you folks some of the reports that I have received from the various persons on our staff recently…

~From the Midgets Aren’t The Only Thing Vertically Challenged Department, it was recently learned by my crack team that the highest point in Florida is the town of Britton Hill, which is 345 feet above sea-level, or about one REALLY big tsunami wave away from being the only spot in the Sunshine State that you don’t need snorkel gear to visit.

And isn’t “snorkel” a great word?

~From the When We Pray To An “Imaginary Friend” It Won’t Be To Your Heathen God Department… according to an Associated Press article on 4/2/19, several legislators from the great state of North Dakota recently abstained from participating in a pre-session prayer that was offered by Mr. Rajan Zed, a visiting cleric from the Universal Society of Hinduism in Nevada, “marking the second time in recent years that some GOP representatives have objected to an invocation from a non-Christian”.

Really? Are you kidding me? Really? You mean to say that only Christians are allowed to have an imaginary friend, and that all the other equally confused religions can go pound sand?

~From the If Publix Ever Enforces A Minimum IQ Requirement They’ll Lose Half Of Their Employees Department, comes this news. According to one of our FEC’s (Publix corporate jargon…Front End Coordinator) who will remain nameless here, on a day when we were short-handed in Customer Service at the Publix Supermarket store where I work part-time as a Front Service Clerk (more jargon…I’m a bagger), we were expecting several cashiers to come into work in the next few hours, thus alleviating the personpower shortage we were experiencing. The FEC involved, a nice lady who has over-stayed her time with the company by a factor of “a bunch” (she’s 75 and getting squirelly), mentioned to me that Alice, Fern (the names have been changed to protect the foolish) and Payola were due into work soon.

Who, I asked her, thinking I hadn’t heard her correctly.

Payola.

Okay, now the term “payola”, as many of you will remember, refers to a scandal that involved record companies making payoffs to certain well-known disc-jockies/radio stations back in the late 1950s to ensure their records got increased on-air playing time…I was pretty sure this wasn’t what she was talking about, although it was possible, given the individual involved.

I glanced down at the schedule she was holding, and then it dawned on me…we have a sweet nice lady from Peru who works as a cashier at our store, a wonderful lady who smiles all the time and with whom it is a genuine pleasure to work.

Her name is Paola. (And for those of you who don’t have the benefit of 3-1/2 years of HS Spanish as I have, the word is pronounced POW-la.)

This could easily be the explanation for why some species eat their young.

~From the I’m So Old, When I Was In School We Didn’t Have History Department…I was watching another of those re-runs of America’s Funniest Home Videos on YouTube the other evening, of some boys and girls playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey at a kid’s birthday party, and it struck me that, given how long ago it was that I was young (I started to write “a kid” rather than “when I was young” but I’m still pretty much, even today at the ripe old age of old, an overgrown kid) that if that had been myself and my contemporaries portrayed in the video, that we would have been playing Pin The Tail On The Dinosaur.

~From the I Assume Trojans Are The Official Condom Department…it was announced on numerous occasions during the television broadcasts of the preliminary rounds of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that Wendy’s is the Official Hamburger of the NCAA Tournament. It must be noted here that MLS, being mostly sissy vegetarians, vegans or some other Commie Pinko nonsense like that, has no Official Hamburger…they do however, have an Official Tofu of the MLS, but I can’t recall the name of the company right now.

And last, from the Pictures of Adorable Animals Department, which has nothing to do whatsoever with my campaign for President, comes this pic (see below), taken of one of my kitty buddies that I feed all the time that live on the abandoned golf-course out behind my apartment complex; I was standing in my living room, looking out my window, when I saw him/her.

The Photography Gods were good to me that morning…sadly, if I was in the North Dakota Legislature, I wouldn’t be able to offer a prayer of thanks to them out loud.

Love and sound bites,

Cap’n John

THOUGHTS ON THE BLOGGER AS AUTHOR

(This is for my buddy Katrina, a sweet lady and a good boss…she got me thinking about “writing” the other day.)

It occurs to me that, as a writer, I’d make a fine truck driver.

Unlike a lot of my fellow bloggers who are wannabe authors (at least I suspect this is the case), there’s no epic novel percolating around in the back of my fevered brain, no saga of the open plains with strutting cowboys, voluptuous cowgirls and large, smelly animals, no hard-boiled noir detective drama involving a stolen diamond, a beautiful women and a cadre of vertically-challenged pursuers (previously known, prior to the advent of being “PC”, as midgets), no sci-fi tale of three-legged, chartreuse striped space aliens from the planet Rgh6%kkTl3.ty22 blasting their way across the outer rings of the Clystron Nebulae with synthesized, gamma ray-generating 56mm harmonizing laser cannons, intent on mayhem and dominance of the Ford Galaxy, no meaningful yet melancholy tale of two sisters on a journey of self-discovery as they search for their long-lost Uncle Clarence in the Outback of Australia or for that matter even a tale of love lost and/or love unrequited with repeated scenes between two people deep in the throes of serious lust, copulating on a bearskin rug like two minks run amok…sorry, there just isn’t any of that in my mind anywhere.

Good thing too; there’s enough silly shit going in there already that I don’t need all the distractions. 

Once upon a time, I considered authorship, and still do periodically, but after due and careful (and brief) consideration, I reached a conclusion…see the second paragraph above.

I do try to be a good story-teller however, which to my way of thinking is a fine quality for which to strive…a well-told story is like a beautiful, sexy woman, something to admire, to cherish, to return to over and over again, that makes you feel satisfied and content with the world.

Problem for me, I just have a hard time being serious for any extended length of time, say more than 10 seconds at a crack.

Some examples of beginnings to “books” that I’ve contemplated over the years…

~ “She was a tall woman, supple and slender yet possessed of an inner strength that shone through to the people she met like a beacon from a lighthouse, at once a guiding light to the safe harbors of who she was and a warning of dangers concealed in the darkness. She walked through life with a calm that was reassuring to others, and she made you feel like she knew intrinsically the secrets that the rest of us could only dimly perceive. Her face was open and inviting; she had long, chestnut hair and eyes deep and blue, except for the one in the middle of her forehead, which was the shade of seafoam made by waves rushing across the sandy shore.”

Or this one…

~ “There was never a moment in Albert’s life when he wasn’t aware of the passing of time; he lived and died a thousand deaths in the minutes and seconds of each hour, each sixty minute block an agony of anxiety. Time passed too swiftly for him, too rapidly to grasp, to arrest somehow, to stop the ceaseless ticking of the eternal clock, to bring to an abrupt halt for just a brief respite its relentless passage. Albert also knew that butterbeans were evil, and that he would never have enough Saran Wrap to finish the snare drum project.”

Here’s a non-starter…

` “There was no one there the spring day that Sheila decided to change her life around; it was a solitary decision, after much deliberation and careful thought. She was a careful and thoughtful woman, the kind of person who only took a step down off the curb after she had looked both ways twice, thus ensuring her safety. So it was only in keeping with her nature that she had finally, resolutely, made up her mind to shave her pet gerbil Constance; the weather was warming now and Connie would no longer need the comfort of hair, and she felt that possessing a naked gerbil would her bring the celebrity and fame that she so craved.”

See what I mean?

Here’s another…

~ “Rocky peered up at the Lieutenant from his perch on the fo’c’sle, his legs dangling over the side of the ship where he had been sitting, staring out at the whitecaps on the ocean.

“Hey, Lieutenant”, he said in greeting.

“How long have you been sitting here, sailor?” the Lieutenant asked.

“Ever since I got off mid-watch, sir”.

“Thinking of that girl, what was her name, back in Singapore?”

“Bronwyn. Yeah, I was,” Rocky sighed, taking a deep breath and letting it out all at once in resignation. “At least, I was at first. Then I started thinking about what I would get if I crossed a gazelle with a can of peas; I can’t decide if it would be a really fast legume or a really small green bovidae.”

“Well,” said the Lieutenant in reply, “you’d need an enlarged thistleclanger and three vertical kanooten valves to do that, wouldn’t you?”

“Only if you didn’t want a simulated glacker.”

It’s hopeless…Hemingway or Dickens or Steinbeck or any of those other Greek guys will never be threatened by me. Shit, Harvey the Zealous Wombat would probably have better luck writing a serious novel than I’ll ever have.

I am verklempt. (To all my Jewish readers, my apologies for the unauthorized usage of a Yiddish word by a person not of the Jewish persuasion…it is a really good word, like gerbil or gonorrhea. And I think the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” would be a lot more interesting if you substituted the word “gonorrhea” for the word “hallelujah”. Just in time for the holiday season.)

Oh well, it’s probably for the best; if I wrote a really deep-with-meaning serious novel, with my crappy luck it would become an instant best-seller, receive nothing but rave reviews, sell millions of copies and make me a gazillion dollars, causing me to become rich, pretentious asshole. I suppose it’s better that I should stay a struggling pretentious asshole who writes a silly but devastatingly funny blog about shaving gerbils, finding iguanas in your toilet and being abducted by space alien sluts.

I’m pretty sure that’s how Stephen King got started, wasn’t it?

Love and The Grapes Of Wrath,

Cap’n John

Post Script…One of my fellow Front Service Clerks at Publix, where I work part-time, was walking around the store one day last week all smiles and happy, like he had won the blueberry pie Lotto at a Marie Callendar’s restaurant; his name is Ed, and recently when I heard a customer call him “Mr. Ed”, all I could think of “Oh, Wiiilllburrr.” Anyway, I said to him, hey buddy, what’s up with all the grins and cheerful? Oh, he says, I just finished a really tough jigsaw puzzle yesterday. Uh, okay, I rejoined, perplexed. Yeah, he goes on, it said 2 to 9 years on the box lid, and it only took me 6 months to do it.”

(Insert rim-shot here.)

Post Post Script…you guys should be proud of me; I didn’t use the word “fuck” once in this entire column. Except for just now, thereby ruining my perfect record.

Shit.

STEVEN AND ERIC AND ME

Two points I need to make here at the outset: one, unlike my usual posts, there will be no attempts at levity or humor today. Two, there is no moral to this story, no “teaching moment” as it were.

Maybe the only message here is that of hope…as Mr. Shakespeare once said, “The miserable have no other medicine but only hope”.

As you may recall, for the last 2-1/2 years I’ve been working part-time for Florida’s largest grocery chain, Publix Supermarkets, as a Front Service Clerk, a bit of Publixese for, as comedian Bill Engvall puts it, Bobby the Bagger. And it was at my job week before last when the following occurred.

I was sitting in the break/conference room upstairs off the sales floor, answering some texts and perusing the Internet news on my cellphone, when my buddy and fellow Publix toiler Eric strolled in, lunch bag in hand and a smile on his face. Eric works as a stock clerk in the Grocery department, and although we don’t work directly together, our paths cross frequently and in doing so, we have found that affinity that so often obtains between two human beings that is at once indefinable yet very real. We fist-bump a lot, laugh often and like each other a great deal.

He is a good man.

He put his bag down on the table to my right, went and threw something in the microwave and then sat down next to me. We started talking about the local NFL representatives, the Tampa Bay Sucs, as I call them, and as we bemoaned the current status of the team (lousy) and their staring QB Jameis Winston (even lousier), another of our brother Publixians, Steven, a fellow bagger, walked in and joined us at the table.

The three of us sat in studied conversation, berating the Buccaneers and speculating on the fate of the team and other topics for about twenty minutes, and then I had to get back to work. It was a pleasant interlude in another mundane day of selling groceries to the denizens of New Port Richey FL.

My day was shattered however, when I got home and learned of the killings at the Tree of Hope Synagogue in Pittsburgh; like so many, I was sickened and dismayed at the story of the senseless carnage that some nutcase asshole named Robert Bowers had inflicted on that congregation and community. I know I am no different from most decent folks who experience the frustration and anger that these ongoing random attacks generate. It’s the feeling of helplessness that I think is most disheartening.

As I was making dinner a bit later that evening, my break-time conversation with my two co-workers popped in my mind, and it occurred to me, as it hadn’t before, what the three of us had done that day.

Steven is about 40 and developmentally challenged; I would say that he functions about at the level of a middle-school boy. He isn’t stupid, just slow, but he tries hard and uses the skill-set he has as best he can and he’s a good guy.

He’s also a Jew.

My buddy Eric is about 50, a married man who works two jobs to support his family.

He’s also African-American.

A Jew, and black man and an old white guy sat in a common room, eating and talking and laughing and enjoying each other, and I believe I can say with no fear of repudiation that neither of these men considered the dynamics of what we were doing that day any more than I did at the time. It was only later, upon reflection, that it occurred to me.

It didn’t occur to any of us because it didn’t seem significant. And yet it was.

Steven’s religion wasn’t an issue, nor his afflictions; the color of Eric’s skin wasn’t an issue; the fact that I’m an old fart wasn’t an issue. It was just three guys shooting the shit on a Saturday afternoon during their breaks at work.

I refuse to devolve into the old 60’s hippie nonsense of love, peace and the Utopian paradise we can all get to if we only come together, right now; the world, sadly, will always be filled, to one degree or another, with animals like Robert Bowers.

But in my distress and horror over the events of that sad day, I was heartened by the presence of my two friends, as I hope they were by mine.

There’s that word again…hope.

Desmond Tutu, a black man, once said that “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”.

It occurs to me that when three ordinary people, of completely diverse backgrounds, can sit together peacefully and see past race, religion, creed, nationality, gender or whatever, and give these differences no credence, then there is hope.

I will cling to that thought, and go on with my life.

Cap’n John

THE TALE OF MY DAD AND THE BIGGER HAMMER

(Note from the Editor…I spent about an hour on-line, trying to find an old black and white photo that captured the theme of today’s post, with no luck. So I said screw it and went with a “Spring-time” pic from Cap’n John’s portfolio of photos. See above.)

I note with no particular interest that it’s that time of year again when the Hallmark holidays of Mother’s Day and of Father’s Day are almost upon us; as I’m sure you’re all aware, and for those of you who are not, Mom’s Day is Sunday, 5/13, and Dad’s Day is next month on 6/17. Wasn’t it thoughtful of President Woodrow Wilson, back in 1914, and President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to declare certain Sundays of the year as days to express some type of affection towards our Parental Units? (Can we assume that President Tweety Bird will soon issue a proclamation, declaring some date or another as “National Porn Star Day”?)

I’m deeply grateful to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Johnson for the reminders…of course, both my folks have gone on to their eternal whatever, so for me, the point is moot. But Publix is most definitely aware of the impending spring-time celebrations of the joy of parenting.

As some of you may recall, in addition to my duties as the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding, I am also employed part-time by the Publix Supermarket chain, one of the largest in the country and the dominant group of grocery stores here in Florida, as a Front Service Clerk; as I have remarked previously, this is a $200 title for a $27 job…I’m a grocery bagger. Publix, like many large corporations these days, is awash in jargon, right up to their little green name badges.

Publix gets a lot of mileage out of the fact that the company has been on the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For list for the past twenty years running, and for the most part, it is a pretty good place to work; they have their moments, but overall, I’ve had worse jobs. (I’ve worked in places where that old joke about “The beatings will continue until morale improves” was operative.)

Although I’ve never had the job, I have to think that working as a bagger for Pubics, as I like to call them, is probably a better gig than being a proctologist for Butts R’ Us.

Now as you may have noticed from time to time, I have a well-developed sense of irreverence towards, well, just about everything, now that I think about it; I can do serious, but it’s an effort. And as I further think about it, this might be genetic…keep that thought in mind as you read the rest of this story.

So my “irreverence” towards most things will not come as the surprise that the iceberg was for the crew of the Titanic to my loyal and long-suffering readers…humor is my coping mechanism. If I got my tit caught in the wringer, I’d find a way to make light of it. (And as I wrote that line, I realized for the first time ever that, given the way the old wringer-type washing machines were constructed, it was entirely possible to have that happen.)

(I have a friend who I went to high-school with who went on to become a doctor…he always said that laughter was the best medicine, except for treating diarrhea.)

Back to Pubics, and being irreverent…about a month ago, as I was standing by the time clock waiting to punch in for my shift that day, I saw a notice on our employee bulletin board that caught my attention…it was from the “Corporate Communications Department”, which is Publixese for the PR people, asking anyone who cared to do so to send them a note telling them “the best advise you ever received from your parents”, and giving an email address to use for this corporate communication.

As Gru from the Despicable Me movies would say, lightbulb.

I noted the address and when I got home from work later that afternoon, sent off an email to the CorpComm people, telling them that the best advice I had ever gotten from my parents came from my Dad, who once told me this: ”If at first you don’t succeed…get a bigger hammer.”

Several points here…one, I did this in jest, strictly to have a little fun with the PR folks. Two, my Dad never said this to me, although given his personality, it is something he might have told me. (I once asked him, in the midst of a home project with which he was having some difficulty, said difficulty causing great profane expressions to emanate from him, if I could help…I was about 10 at the time. He turned to me and said, you want to help? I nodded, and he responded bluntly, then stay out of the way. He later apologized.)

Three, I had NO friggin’ idea what was coming next, believe me.

The email, once sent, was forgotten by yours truly. Completely…I had my yucks and moved on.

So imagine my utter surprise when I opened my email inbox yesterday to find a message from Megan in the CorpComm office, to wit:

“We would like to feature your Dad’s advice in our upcoming issue of Publix News.”

After I was able to get up from the floor where I had been laughing hysterically, I continued reading Megan’s message…she requested a pic of my Dad, preferably one of both of us together, included a “photo release form” I needed to sign, told me they needed my answer by May 3 and thanked me “for sharing”. (FYI, Publix News is a monthly news magazine sent out to the stores for the greater edification and enjoyment of the employees.)

In for a penny, in for a buck three eighty-five, I thought, so I immediately went online with the devious intent to find a pic I could use…see the photo to the right. However, upon reflection, I decided that sending this picture would be taking the joke a bit too far, so I rummaged around in the large box of old photos that lives in my closet and came up with the one below, scanned it onto my PC, signed the release form and sent them both on their way.

As I explained in my response to Megan, that’s Dad on the left…I’m the one in the beret.

The old man would have been proud of my restraint, I’m sure.

And you know, I have a feeling that this isn’t the end of the story…more later.

Love and greeting cards,

Cap’n John

Post Script…if you would like to see more of Cap’n John’s photography, here’s the link to a video on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding‘s Facebook page…I hope you like them.

Go ahead…there’s no charge.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LuvCapnJohn/videos/?ref=page_internal