There’s an old saying we’ve all heard…“no good deed goes unpunished”…
These days, in this time of social upheaval, discontent and unrest, when folks are outraged and angry over such issues as the Covid-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world and our country, of the renewed awakening to systemic racism and the gross mistreatment of African Americans over the years in America, of the sickening and callous jailing of immigrants at our borders, of rancorous debate over the symbols and statuary of the Confederacy, of the demise of Strawberry Cheese Danish Pop Tarts (yes, they have been discontinued), I have come to a point where I pretty much don’t like anybody. Good deeds? Yeah, fuck you, I gave at the office.
But stories about good deeds are typically uplifting, so I have one to tell you. (FYI, I’m told that push-up bras are uplifting as well, although I have no personal experience with them, having never worn one…okay, there was that one time, but alcohol and illicit drugs were involved so that shouldn’t count.)
His name was Phil Harmonic, and he was by profession a door-to-door vibrator salesman and by avocation a nature photographer. As a young man, through being frugal with his earnings and lying on his 1040 tax form, Phil was able to save enough money to realize one of his most cherished dreams…a photography “safari” to the Serengeti in Africa. (“Serengeti” is derived from the Maasai language and means “push-up bra”.)
After months of planning, preparation and great anticipation, Phil finally arrived one momentous day on the African plains, where he met his guide, collected his equipment and together they embarked on their journey to record the beauty and mystery of that portion of “the plateau continent” and especially of the denizens that populate the area, the wildebeests, the cheetah, the cantaloupes, the various types of monkeys, the Chevrolet Impala, the majestic lions, the hyena, and of course, the noble African elephant.
It was truly a dream come true for him.
Phil and his guide were out early one morning, driving down a rutted dirt track deep in the African veldt when they spotted a lone bull elephant, standing some distance from the road, his left front foot lifted off the ground; they stopped their truck on the roadside, got out and carefully approached the monstrous animal, who would now and again place the obviously wounded foot down on the ground and immediately bring it up again; as they got closer, it seemed they could even see the pachyderm wince in pain as he did.
Our hero handed his camera to his guide, a local man named Fred (what? you were expecting Swintua or Mbetwee?) and began walking ever so slowly towards the elephant, barely listening to the warnings of the guide to be very, very careful. As humans always seem to do, he began to talk baby talk to the animal to calm the beast and make his friendly intentions known. Are you hurt, big guy? You okay? I won’t hurt you, just be calm, I just want to see what’s wrong with your foot, it’s okay, there you go, it’s all right, etc., etc. (African elephants, despite being unable to articulate speech, are known for their ability to understand gibberish.)
Phil was able to get close enough to the animal to see the problem…a large sliver of wood had become embedded in the elephant’s foot. He began to stroke the mighty beast’s trunk, calming the animal he hoped, and then, so as not give the elephant any warning of what he was about to do, reached down slowly and then with a strong jerk, yanked the offending piece of wood from the animal’s foot.
The elephant started a bit, but then gingerly placed the wounded foot on the ground, testing it to determine the level of pain. When it realized the sliver had been removed, it turned its giant head and gave Phil what seemed to be a gentle caress with its trunk, a gesture of gratitude and appreciation for the good deed the man had just performed. As the elephant turned to leave, Phil noticed a scar on the left ear of the animal, a lightning shaped disfiguration right at the crease where the ear joins the head.
The elephant gave a small trumpet of thanks and swiftly, though limping, walked back into the jungle.
Many years later, Phil was visiting the local zoo, still taking photos of nature and its residents, when he came to the elephant enclosure. He was using a long “zoom” lens that day, and as he was focusing in closely on one large male, he noticed with a start that the animal had a lightning shaped scar on its left ear, and Phil was sure, in the most amazing of coincidences, that this was the very animal that he had once encountered on the African plain. The giant beast walked over more closely to where Phil was standing, and it seemed to the erstwhile photographer that, yes, this was “his” elephant.
With hardly a thought, Phil set down his Nikon, carefully climbed the fence that separated the enclosure from the people watching, managed to cross the protecting moat and approached the animal, using mostly the same silly, hopefully soothing gibberish he had used to calm the animal all those years before. The elephant watched impassively as Phil came closer and then, with a mighty roar, he turned to Phil and proceeded to stomp the living crap out of the salesman/photographer, ending his career as a purveyor of pleasure and a taker of photographs.
And the old saying about the punishment of good deeds was again proven to be true.
So isn’t it about time we reexamined some of these “old sayings” and gave them a more modern interpretation?
Sure, why not?
> “There’s no accounting for taste”:
Well of course there isn’t; there’s accounting for such thing as expenditures, accounts receivable, accounts payable, expenses, inventory, scrotums, interest, dugouts and other such financial items, but taste, sorry, not really.
Wouldn’t it be better to say: “There’s no understanding why anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature would vote for Donald Trump.”
> “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”:
Well of course you can’t; you can’t make the horse bathe or swim the 200 meter backstroke either for that matter.
Wouldn’t it be better to say: “You can lead a horse to water, but it might prefer Swedish vodka for all you know”.
> “You can’t judge a book by its cover”:
Well of course can’t; you can judge it by how many pages it has, or by the type of font the printer used (FYI, this is Calibri I’m using) or even by the copyright date, but not by the cover.
Wouldn’t it be better to say: “You can lead a horse…”, no wait, that was the last one, sorry. “You can’t judge a book by its cover, but if it’s a “tell-all” piece by Dr. Mary Trump, most of what it says about her uncle being a lying, perverted, narcissistic, fucktard sociopath with delusions of grandeur is probably true.”
> “He was asleep at the wheel”:
Well of course he was; he couldn’t be asleep under the hood in the engine compartment, unless he was a squirrel or a spark plug, or for that matter in the glove box, unless he was the size of a box of Kleenex tissues, which are currently on special at Publix, 2 for $3.99.
Wouldn’t it be better to say: “He was being pursued by aliens from the planet Zatox at the time of the accident and was rendered unconscious by their anti-matter ray-guns.”
> “The early bird catches the worm”:
Well of course it does; everyone knows that no self-respecting worm is outside any later than 5:30am, due to the fact that worms have extremely sensitive skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and as yet have not discovered sunscreen with a sufficient PFS that will protect their little slimy, disgusting tubular bodies.
Wouldn’t it be better to say: “The early bird may catch worms but later in the day will be reduced to eating baloney and Clorox sandwiches, unless it drives over to the local Publix and gets an Italian sub with Genoa salami, tavern ham, cappacola, a kanooten valve, provolone cheese, a raincoat, veggie toppings and your choice of either multi-grain, white, moldy or whole grain bread.”
> “You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry”:
Well of course you don’t; you don’t miss your desk chair until you go to sit down one day and it’s not there and you wind up breaking your coccyx when you fall spang on your ass in front of the entire Marketing Department. (I was going to say “tailbone” but “coccyx” sounds vaguely dirty, like uvula or nipples.
Wouldn’t it be better to say: “You don’t miss your water if you use a synthesized, gamma ray-generating 56mm harmonizing laser cannon to shoot at it.”
Well, speaking of old sayings, “tempus fugit” (that’s Latin for “push-up bra”) and I can see by the word counter thingie down in the left-hand corner of my monitor that, indeed, tempus has fugited.
And remember…”Good friends never say goodbye, the simply say alpaca saliva.”
Love and undergarments,
Post Script…Publix better cough up some cash for all the free advertising I’ve given them.