(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.



One day back in June of this year, I was standing in front of the counter in my kitchen early one morning, a plastic container of orange juice sitting there in front of me, shaking my entire body as vigorously as I could…hey, that’s what it said to do on the label.

What do I know?

So anyway, I was just about to pour myself a big glass of OJ (now that the preliminaries were complete), when suddenly every light in my apartment popped on and began to glow intensely, bright as the sun it seemed. I could hear a murmur of sound from outside, low at first; it immediately started to build in intensity, like I was standing at the end of an airport runway, waiting for a distant oncoming 747 to race towards me and lift off just over my head. The sound seemed to be coming from all around me, and as it grew, I turned towards the window and peered out, hoping to see what the source of this strange phenomena was.

I didn’t have to wait long to get my answer.

I could see huge billows of cumulus clouds, still well off in the east but moving rapidly towards me, building in size and range, boiling over themselves raggedly as they approached. As I watched, standing there in my undies and my fave “I look better online” tee-shirt, the front continued to move right at me, getting larger and more turbulent as it came. It raced forward, covering the sky in all directions and blotting out the sun, and came to an abrupt stop just above my apartment. The clouds were still raging all over themselves, but more slowly, less raggedly, becoming stationary.

Suddenly, an enormous airship appeared through the clouds, as if the huge gathering of cumulus was giving birth, an alien object in its appearance and in its non-earthliness. It was ancient-looking, gray and old, weathered it seemed by the billions of miles it had most likely traversed through space, shaped like a saucer with a row of small, pulsing lights along its flank, like celestial turn-signals, signaling its intent to turn left onto Earth Boulevard.

It hovered for a moment or two, then sank slowly with a sigh of rato jets, and softly came down behind my building. Several huge appendages, like landing gear, abruptly popped out of the underside of the ship and settled into the grass, and after a few minutes, time I spent staring out my window in a stupor of amazement, a hatch opened on the side of the ship, and a long row of steps descended, stopping when they reached the ground.

What happened next was right out of a Robert Heinlein novel.

Three long, greenish, multi-jointed limbs appeared at the top of the steps; for lack of a better description, they were obviously the “legs” of an alien creature that would slowly expose itself as it climbed down the ramp. I was at once terrified and fascinated by what I was seeing. It began its descent, and by some intuition I can’t explain, I knew it was there for me.

I ran to my closet to find my synthesized, gamma-ray generating 56mm harmonized laser cannon, determined to defend myself to the death if need be from the alien threat. (Florida has the infamously stupid “stand your ground” law don’t forget.)

Okay, none of the above happened…I lied. Hey, if Donald Trump can tell 6042 lies since he became President (see the link below), I can tell a fat one occasionally as well.

I know it’s rather late in the year to be talking about what I did/didn’t do on my summer vacation, but hey, I’ve always been a late bloomer…like my mother always said, better late than Republican.

Anyway, here goes…

~I wrote my Christmas letter REAL early this year…”Dear Santa: I can explain”;

~I swore I would never use Bumble Bee tuna again…it said on the can “Since 1899”, and for my money, that’s WAY too long of a “Use By” date;

~I achieved my one millionth time in my life for putting on a tee-shirt;

~I learned that the Miami Marlins have a relief pitcher on their staff named Cloyd, and I just knew that I had FINALLY learned the missing tense in the progression “cloy, CLOYD, cloying”. (Hey, it made sense to me at the time);

~For the first time in my life I uttered the phrase, “I need a 5/16ths socket, Mindy, Mayor McCheese is up on the 10-meter board again”;

~I learned that scientists have decided that octopusseses came from outer space (probably on that same ship that landed outside my apartment building), but now I can’t find the link so you’ll have to take my word for it;

~I further learned that Pat Venditte, a pitcher in the major leagues who throws both right- and left-handed, according to the Associated Press, is “amphibious”…the gills should have been the dead give-away I suppose;

~I also found out that iguanas are out of control in South Florida, and have threatened to move north to Tallahassee and take over the Florida legislature (see link down there);

(Reminds me of those ugly dudes from that scene in “Journey To The Center Of The Earth”…great movie. Definitely space aliens…wait, that was the octpusseses.)

(Would someone please explain to me where Florida comes up with all these weird-ass names…Tallahassee, Thonotosassa, Okeechobee, Weeki Wachee, Kanoottensandwich, Kissimmee, Marco Rubio, geez, the list just goes on and on.)

I did a bunch of other stuff as well this past summer, things that I can’t discuss in a family forum such as this, but suffice to say they involved a horse collar, a xylophone, a case of Crest toothpaste and a 55-gallon drum of lime Jello. (There’s always room for Jello, right?)

I have to end this now; I’m going to go out in the kitchen, get the OJ container out of the fridge and think real hard…hey, it says “concentrate” on the label.

Love and the Summertime Blues,

Cap’n John

Post Script…do you guys know what Winnie the Pooh and Alexander the Great have in common? Same middle name.

And for those of you who didn’t like the Blue Cheer version…