’21 A To Z Challenge – F


 

There is no “English Language!”

I tried to explain this to a reader, recently.  I don’t think that he understood – or believed me.  Every word in the English language came from somewhere else.  Some are just more obvious than others.  Take, for example, the word

FRANGIPANI

A flower of the tropical American tree or shrub, Plumeria rubra, of the dogbane family
The tree or shrub itself
A perfume prepared from or imitating the odor of the flower

The word is in every English dictionary – yet it is obviously Italian.   It entered the language circa 1860 – 65 from French, who spelled it frangipane – after Marquis Muzio Frangipani, a 16th-century Italian nobleman, the supposed inventor of the perfume.

The true, original meaning of the Signor Frangipani’s name is bread-breaker, as in, to break bread with others, a banquet-giver, a host, or merely, a good travelling companion – another Latin-based word which indicates togetherness, and bread.

Google’s translation department would have you believe that the word means bread-crusher – a totally different concept.

Stop back again in a couple of days, after you’ve had a sandwich that you tried to make by putting cold butter on fresh bread.  I’m going to try for a scratch-and-sniff post using Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop “This Candle Smells Like My Vagina.”   😯

goop x Heretic This Smells Like My Vagina Candle | Goop

Flash Fiction #258

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

PEACE AND QUIET

Keep driving.  The GPS says that it’s just a little further

Are you sure this guy exists?  I thought they lived on mountaintops.  Rural Postal Route #22??!  I’m not happy with directions that say, “Turn off the paved road, and drive till the radio goes Ttthbbbrrst.”

There’s his cabin!  Stop!
O Wise Wizard of the Woods, what is the secret of everlasting serenity?

Silence and Solitude!!  How’d you guys find me??  Why don’t you bugger off and find your own patch of bush??!  I guarantee I’ll feel a lot more serene when I see your tail-lights disappear in the distance!

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Smitty’s Loose Change #15

There are many people in this country today who, through no fault of their own, are sane.  Most of them are Atheists.

***

And God created the universe it expanded exponentially. Then god divided this sky from the sea that then created life and he told it to multiply. After this he added man and subtracted his only son.

Standing back he looked on in confusion and wondered why this equation didn’t work… At this point a mathematics teacher came over and said, “You forgot the brackets ( ).”  And that was the last time God worked with BEDMAS.

***

I recently got within touching distance of two original Volkswagen Beetles, within hours of each other.  I found the first at a French fry wagon.   (Don’t tell the wife! She thinks I’m still on my diet.) It was greenish-yellow, in decent shape, with a little rust, mostly in the rain-gutters above the doors.  The owner said that it was a ’75 model, and it had custom license plates that read KAFER VW.  That’s a deficiency of the License Bureau.  Kafer, translated from German, means ‘coffee(maker).’  What it should have read, was KӒFER VW.  The addition of the umlaut over the A, changes the meaning to ‘beetle.’

The next one I saw was Fire-Engine Red, and in pristine shape.  I saw no rust.  Even Beetles had year-to-year (tiny) model changes.  Slightly smaller and different-shaped tail-lights told me that it was pre-’73.  It had Historic license plates, and its owner said that it was a ’68 version.

FUN WITH NAMES

The service tech at my Kia dealership is named Faucher.  It’s a French verb that means to mow (grass) the lawn.  His Father worked for, then purchased and ran, a landscaping company, all his working life.

A farm boy that the school bus picked up on one side of my town, was/is named Coulter.  I recently discovered that a ‘coulter’ is a plowshare, a cutting wheel or bar, in front of an actual plow.

A farm girl that the school bus picked up on the other side of town, was/is named Collard.  Back then, I did not know of the cultivation and, mostly Southern culinary, use of collard greens.

***

To err is human, but to really fuck up, you need a computer – with a bureaucrat running it.  Locally, we have been blackmailed into recycling green waste.  Garbage pickup has dropped to every two weeks, but blue-bin and green-bin waste is collected every week.

The region has issued every dwelling two green bins – a small one to put kitchen scraps in, and a larger ‘garage’ one to repeatedly dump the smaller one into.  Compostable-plastic-lined paper bags to hold wet waste are available at all local stores.

The larger bin is 12” X 13 ½”.  The Region-approved bags are 8 ½” X 12 ½”.  No wonder it must be dragged to the curb each week – the bag isn’t big enough to fill!  The smaller one, which I use for cat-shit – (it’s compostable) – is 6” X 7”.  The bureaucrat-authorized bags for it are 3 ¾” X 7 ½“– so long that they partly collapse when inserted, causing loss of volume, and barely half wide enough, causing more lost space.  I sense two different departments, each too self-important to communicate with the other, (You change!  No, You change!) involved in this, and Dilbert in the middle, shaking his head.

***

We’ve all seen the movies, or TV shows…. The CSI forensic technician enters the crime scene.  He/she plucks one dust mote from the air, and a couple of tension-filled moments later, gives the age, sex, name, address, phone number, and shoe color of the culprit.  What then to think of this newspaper story??!

A body was pulled from a lake.  She (at least they got the sex) was 28 to 50 years of age.  28??!  Why not 25?  Or 30??  How in Hell did anyone come up with 28?  Was someone converting from metric??  She was between 4’ 5”, and 5’ 1”.  😯  😳  Put her on an autopsy slab and measure her!!

They didn’t give her weight, but did publish a nice photo of a bead bracelet she was wearing…. Oh, and she might have been Asian, based on the keen observation of her yellow complexion, and lycanthropic epicanthic fold at the eyes.

Remind me, if I die of suspicious causes, I should do it in the big city, not in West Hickstowne, where an exciting day for police is one that has a moose fall into someone’s pool.

***

N.B.

In the above VW story, I downloaded a capital A with an umlaut over it, and put it in my post.  For some reason, WordPress separated the A and the two dots, into two adjacent spaces, and I don’t know how to get them back together.  Just try to visualize it correctly.   😳

Monkeying With Comedy

A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old laws of the church by hand. He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, “You make a good point, my son.”

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held in a locked vault. Hours go by and nobody sees the head monk. The young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.

“We missed the R! We missed the R! We missed the R!”

“Father!” cries the young monk. “What’s wrong?”

The head monk with tears in his eyes replies, “The word is celebrate!”

***

A man was shopping in a nearby supermarket when he noticed a package that said “Olympic Condoms”. He bought it, and told his wife about it.
Wife: “Olympic Condoms? What’s so special about them?”
Man: ”They have 3 colors: Gold, Silver and Bronze.”
Wife:”And what color are you going to wear tonight?”
Man:”Gold, obviously!”
Wife:”Why not Silver? It’d be great if you came second, for a change.”

***

“How does my new toupee look?” Noah asks his family. “Honest opinions only.”
His son says, “It looks great, Dad!”
His wife says, “It looks totally realistic!”
His uncle says, “It looks like something crawled up and died there.”
Noah throws his uncle over the side of the Ark, never to be seen again. Coming to his senses, he apologizes, then turns to the animals. “And how does my outfit look? Honest opinions only.”

The horse says, “Great! The colors really go together.”
The parrot says, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
The unicorn says, “Bozo called, he wants his tie back.”

***

My neighbor is in the Guinness Book of Records.  He has had 44 concussions.
He lives very close, in fact, just a stone’s throw away.

***

A trucker in Newfoundland stops at a red light, a blonde catches up. She jumps out of her car, runs up to his truck, and knocks on the door. The trucker lowers the window, and she says “Hi, my name is Heather and you’re losing some of your load.”
The trucker ignores her and proceeds down the street. When the truck stops for another red light, the girl catches up again. She jumps out of her car, runs up and knocks on the door. Again, the trucker lowers the window. As if they’ve never spoken, the blonde says brightly, “Hi my name is Heather, and you are losing some of your load!”
Shaking his head, the trucker ignores her again and continues down the street. At the third red light, the same thing happens again. All out of breath, the blonde gets out of her car, runs up, and knocks on the truck door. The trucker lowers the window. Again she says “Hi, my name is Heather, and you are losing some of your load!”
When the light turns green the trucker revs up and races to the next light. When he stops this time, he hurriedly gets out of the truck, and runs back to the blonde’s car. He knocks on her window, and as she lowers it, he says “Hi, my name is Kevin, it’s winter in Newfoundland and I’m driving the SALT TRUCK!”

***

Just as the graveside service ended, there was a huge distant lightning bolt, accompanied by a tremendous rolling peal of thunder.  The little old man looked calmly at the Pastor and said, “Well, she’s there, and it’s His problem now.”

***

I usually work the evening shift, finishing close to 11:30 p.m. I normally have to run to catch the 11:30 bus. Last New Year’s Eve, I finished work and raced to catch the bus, but by 12:10 it still hadn’t come, so I figured I’d likely missed it.

I turned to a man who had been waiting alongside me the whole time and said, “Sir, how long have you been waiting?”

He looked at his watch and said, “Since last year.”

Flash Fiction #257

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

MOUNTAINS OF MOLEHILLS

Chris didn’t know why most people hated him.  In fact, most people felt that Chris didn’t know that they hated him.

There wasn’t a comment or request that he couldn’t read out of context, and take personal affront with.  A simple request for a work-file, had him running to HR with accusations of harassment.  There was always plenty of Guilt, and Blame, and Fault handed out.

Seemingly asleep on most Social Justice Issues, he still managed to stridently surf the crest of the Woke wave.  While not belonging to any, he constantly voiced loud opinions on BLM, LGBTQ+, and Feminism.

***

If you’d like to join the fun, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Another Near Cats-Ass-Trophe

Our beautiful boy was kidnapped.  Our beloved baby was snatched from us, causing 48+ hours of anxiety and worry, waiting for a ransom call for our feline hostage.

You’d think we’d know better.  You’d think that we’d learned from experience.  He wasn’t really kidnapped.  We ‘misplaced’ Mica, our oldest, and prettiest, Bengal cat.  The only time I left the house one night, was at 1 AM, to pick up the newspaper from the driveway.  I saw the cat perched on top of the humidifier, at 3 AM.  I say that it was the son’s fault.

I went to bed at 5 AM.  The night-shift-working son came home at 8 AM.  He says that he came in, locked the door as usual, and didn’t go out again.  It must have been me.  While we think that the cat is gorgeous, he has medical conditions that we dose him with four different medications for.

The son went to bed at 1 PM, which told me that it was time for me to get up.  I went to the kitchen and got juice and pills for the wife, and dropped a capsule in a shot-glass with a bit of cooking oil, for the cat.  I hold him, and the wife shoves the capsules down his throat.

I went back to the laundry room, where he has taken to sleeping on a pillow that now has to be washed.  He was not there.  Oh well, he’ll be back downstairs in the wicker basket on top of the storage cupboard.  He was not there.  I opened closets and cupboards.  He might be sleeping in the storage area under the stairs, where I can’t see.  He might have taken refuge behind the gas fireplace in the basement.  He might have climbed up on the suspended ceiling in the rec-room.

Two of his meds are to keep him from getting hyper.  Soon, he’ll be out, pacing and yowling.  By 7 PM we had to reluctantly admit that he’d somehow got outside.  He has no interest in the deck beyond the French doors.  One way or another, he must have got out the front door.

“Lost” cats remain around their home for a couple of days.  I put the wicker basket with a cat bed on the front porch.  “Put out something with your scent.”  The son added a pair of my socks from the laundry, and I shucked a sweaty tee shirt.

I put a water bowl and a plate of cat food beside it.  The wife felt that was a horrible idea.  Skunks…. and racoons…. and…. and…. hyenas will come to eat it and attack the cat.  The next morning, when the veterinarian suggested it and she authorized it, it was suddenly a great idea.

She even thought of a great addition to it.  Roll up the garage door a few inches – enough for a cat to get in, but not dogs or neighbor kids – and put food and water out there.  I got to check each door every five minutes quarter hour.  Now the list of chores begins.  Our pets are all micro-chipped, so call our vet.  Call the nearest animal hospital, in case someone brings him in.  Call the Humane Society and report him lost.  Use their online form to add a photo to the ‘Lost’ notification.  Get the daughter to put up a notification on Facebook and a couple of other social media sites.

The wife used the above photo to produce a “Lost Cat” poster, and printed a dozen copies.  With the help of the son and a roll of packing tape, we plastered 6 community mailboxes within a couple of blocks, and light poles at street corners.  Took a copy to the animal hospital.

Not only is he a handsome cat, but Bengals are expensive and valuable.  We were lucky to get ours at deep discounts.  Anyone who enticed him into their home might want to keep him.  The posters said that we loved and missed him and wanted him back.  They also added that he had health problems, and required medications.  Such a cat is far less likely to be kept.

All day, I wore a rut to the front and garage doors, checking.  I finally got to bed at 7:30 AM.  At noon, my first action was to open the front door to look.  I must have whipped it open a bit vigorously.  Something brownish streaked from the food dish, past the end of the garage.  Was that Mica??  I unthreateningly followed onto the common driveway with the other half of our semi.

Dogs are dumb enough to come if you call their name.  Cats…. not so much.  There I stood, like a fool, going, mrowr – mrowr – mrowr.  I looked all around, but couldn’t see him anywhere.  I got down on hands and knees, and looked under our car – Nothing.  I turned my head and looked under the neighbor’s car – and two bright eyes below two perky ears looked back – and answered, mrowr?  Mrowr?

I carefully backed toward the garage, constantly talking to him.  Slowly, he emerged, and slinked under the door.  I quickly went inside, and opened the inner door.  He’d skipped the food and water, and was sniffing at the junk along the far wall.  I sidled past him, pulled the cord to disengage the door, and pushed it down tight.  SAFE!!!  Now we have to undo all that we have done – call the vet’s, call the animal hospital, call Humane Society, get them to remove notification, pull down all the posters – I’m too busy stroking Mica.

Two days in the wilds of suburbia to get him all hyped up – two days without medication to take the edge off – he was a bit wound up.  After a couple of rounds of fresh food and water, we finally got him back on his meds cycle.  Always a bit stand-offish, for the first several days back he was never more than arms-length away.  Even now, he’s a far more sociable cat.

’21 A To Z Challenge – E

I’ve often said that, if the English language must evolve, I don’t want the changes caused by people who have their names on their work uniforms.  I want it guided by intelligent, educated scholars and linguists.

I HAVE CHANGED MY MIND!

One of the newer words in English is

ECDYSIAST

added sometime before his death in 1956, by the all-time pompous spoilsport American journalist, H. L. Mencken.

Also called stripper, exotic dancer, or stripteaser. a person who performs a striptease.
From ecdysis – the shedding or casting off of an outer coat or integument by snakes, crustaceans, etc.

With at least three acceptable alternatives, this pretentious prat added yet another, to turn an enjoyable, social pastime into something as cold and clinical as a colonoscopy.  He makes Mr. Spock seem like a party animal, and looks like he parts his hair with an axe.

Some of them can appear as dumb as a sack of rocks, but the stoners flipping burgers, and dreaming up new words seem to be a helluva lot more fun than tight-ass, Latin-loving Mr. Mencken.  Ignore the word.  Ignore the nerd who birthed it.  What is your opinion about strippers?  😕

Flash Fiction #256

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

CHRYSALIS

His parents wanted him to go to university, or at least a Community College to learn a trade.  They were just so tight, so restrictive, so controlling.  He burst free from their bondage and got himself a great job at 18, with his own income, and promise of advancement.

A month later, he was smart enough to see that it was just a clerical dead-end, and a barely legal pyramid scheme.  He was also smart enough to tell his parents, “You told me so.”  Let’s have a look at the course catalogue at Conestoga College.  I could become a welder.

***

If you’d like to join the fun, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

What If, It’s Another Challenge

I am awed and amazed at the number of people who read these personal-reveal posts.  Thanx, and here is yet another one.

21: Something you just can’t seem to get over
23: Something you always think “What if….” About

I’m not much one for navel-gazing.  I feel that I am not entitled, but rather, pragmatic, fatalistic, realistic.  What is – IS!  The past is in the past.  It’s over, and cannot be changed.  Deal with it!  Time and psychic energy expended in worrying about ‘What Might Have Been ‘, is lost and wasted.

There are many people, often with an overcharged ego and an excess of entitlement, who feel that if they work hard and apply themselves, get a good education, and make what they feel are the right decisions, then God, or Karma, will ensure them success in life.

IT DON”T WORK LIKE THAT!  The universe is supremely disinterested in any one person.  It is almost impossible to fare well in life without taking these steps, but doing so is no guarantee of success.  No-one is assured a smooth ride.  Nothing is God-ordained and meant to be.

When most people think about “What If” and something they just can’t get over, they imagine that some small change in the past would improve their life in the present.  It’s just wishful thinking.  I’ve had hardly any free times in my busy life to brood about lost potential opportunities.

A very few times, I’ve wondered, What if I didn’t have learning disabilities?  What if I didn’t have my essential tremor?  What if I didn’t have a sieve where my memory should be?  Would I have achieved a post-secondary diploma?  Would I have got a six- or seven-figure job?  Would I have had a great career-arc, and have lots of money?  Would I have ‘married better’?

Then I hear the little flutter that warns of the butterfly effect, and the heavy tromp of Karma’s boots in the hall.  If things had been different, would I have done any better?  Would I have had to spend so much time and mental energy getting my diploma and continuing study to master a trade – that I didn’t have time to study and appreciate the English language?

Would I have to rely on aides and secretaries to make my reports and directives literate and intelligible?  Would I have failed to learn to read for enjoyment – would I be incapable of composing blog posts, both of which now occupy me in my retirement?

Money can’t buy happiness, although it makes looking for it a lot easier.  Would I have married better, and would I have great amounts of money in savings and retirement funds, or would I have a string of three, successively-younger trophy wives, whose alimonies empty my bank accounts, and I live in a bachelor apartment till I die on the job, because I can’t afford to retire?

They say that you can’t cheat an honest man.  You can, it just takes so much extra time and effort that it’s not usually worth it.  Similarly, no-one wants to bother stealing from a poor man.  If the stock market nosedives, I don’t care.  If I’d been smart enough to make a lot of money, I might have been dumb enough to meet a Bernie Madoff, or a Nigerian prince.

Strive and struggle to make the most of what you can.  Accept the present, and face the future.  Don’t get a sore neck from looking back at what if!  Let sleeping dogs lie, and don’t trip over them.  My readers are my riches.  You can compound your interest by showing up again in a couple of days.  😀

The Jokes Just Suit Me

The fellow was being sold a very cheap suit. “But the left arm is a lot longer than the right arm,” he complained.

“That’s why the suit is such a bargain,” the sales clerk explained. “Just cock your left shoulder up a little, like this, and tuck this left lapel under your chin a bit, like this.”

“But the right leg is way too short,” argued the customer.

“No problem,” the sales clerk answered. “Just keep your right knee bent a little at all times, walk like this, and no one will notice. That’s why this suit is only $30.”

Finally, the fellow bought the suit, cocked his left shoulder into the air, tucked the suit’s left lapel under his chin, bent his right knee, and limped out of the store toward his car. Two doctors happened along and noticed him. “Good heavens,” the first doctor said to the second, “look at that poor crippled fellow.”

“Yeah,” answered the second doctor. “But doesn’t that suit fit great?”

***

An employee went to see his supervisor. “Boss,” he said, “we’re doing some heavy housecleaning at home tomorrow, and my wife asked me for some help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff.”

“We’re shorthanded,” the boss replied. “I can’t give you the day off.”

“Thanks boss,” said the employee. “I knew I could count on you!”

***

“What’s that piece of cord tied around your finger for?”
“My wife put it there to remind me to take a letter to the Post Office.”
“And did you mail it?”
“No, she forgot to give me the letter.”

***

I was desperately trying to get my wife’s attention.  So I sat down on the couch, and looked comfortable; that seemed to do the trick.

***

A wife walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a flyswatter.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Hunting flies.” he replied.
“Oh, kill any?”
“Yeah!  Three males and two females.”
Intrigued, she asked, “How can you tell the difference?”
“Three were on a beer can, and two were on the telephone.”

***

Playing golf with his buddies, my grandfather had to make a slick 25-foot putt. As he lined it up, he announced, “I have a dollar bill that says I can make this putt. Does anyone want to bet?”

His three friends eagerly agreed to the wager. My grandfather missed the putt by ten feet, and his friends gathered around to collect their money. Granddad pulled out a dollar bill on which he had written, “I can make this putt.”

His pals are still trying to collect on the bet and grandpa is too.

—–

My drama queen teenage daughter was recounting to my seemingly uninterested husband what she deemed a near-death experience and concluded the story with, “And I think I saw my life flash before my eyes.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, my husband replied, “Wow! That must have been a sad short story.”

—–

Just helped my neighbor throw a rolled up carpet in the dumpster…
Her boyfriend would have helped but he is out of town.