WOW #4

Dictionary

For those of you who had planned not to learn anything today;
“Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”

The Word Of the Week is;

JUXTAPOSITION

noun
an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
the state of being close together or side by side.

Word Origin and History for juxtaposition

1660s, from French juxtaposition (1660s), from Latin iuxta “beside, near” + French position (see position (n.)). Latin iuxta is a contraction of *iugista (adv.), superlative of adjective *iugos “closely connected,” from stem of iugum “yoke,” from iungere “to join” (see jugular ).

For medical or technical use, definition 2, and/or the first half of number 1 are assumed.  Things are placed side by side, usually only for comparison.

Not that the word is commonly used in public, but when it is, the common usage has drifted to almost always emphasize contrast.  It indicates surprise or amazement at seeing two things, side by side, that just aren’t ever expected to be together, like a tiara on a pig, or a Picasso on a Port-A-Potty wall.

Starting in the early 90s, I began hearing about ‘The Palace of Auburn Hills’, a new Detroit-area arena/venue. The Detroit Pistons moved there, and some big-name concerts, including 2 consecutive sold-out Michael Jackson shows, have been held there.  I just thought, ‘Detroit’, and left it at that.

About ten years ago, following a trip to Detroit, instead of crossing back to Canada into Windsor, we drove north to cross at Port Huron. We got off the Interstate, onto a highway, and got off the State Highway onto a narrow, two-lane county road.  Finally, about 35 miles north of Detroit, where urban becomes country, we entered Auburn Hills.

The Palace

I remembered about ‘The Palace’, and wondered where it might be. There on the north end of town, just past the John Deere dealer on one side, and the roadhouse bar on the other, both with muddy, unpaved parking lots, it sits in the middle of acres of blacktop paving, a sea of lights, looking like a Las Vegas casino in a Mexico City slum.

It’s like driving a load of trash out to the landfill site, and finding the Taj Mahal perched on top of the mound of garbage, or London’s Tower Bridge stretched over a sedimentation pond in Canada’s oil-sands project. Now, that’s juxtaposition!

Depending on the show, this thing can seat up to 23,000 people, in a little city of 22,000. The Interstate is not too far away, but, like filling a tank-car with a straw, it must take days to empty that parking lot onto a road not as wide as some driveways.   😯

THE DAY I FELL DOWN

Lighthouse

Chantry Island lighthouse off Southampton Ontario

 

Did I lead a charmed life as an active, adventurous young boy?? Did I actually put enough preventive thought and safety planning into some of my more life-and-limb-threatening activities?  Or is it just that what was, to a horrified adult retrospect, not really that dangerous?

How did some of us ever survive to grow up? Most (but not all) of my questionable young antics involved getting high – I loved to climb things.  I have written of being 9 years old, and scrambling to the topmost branches of a mighty, old oak, located on the highest elevation in town.

When I entered my teens, a trusted friend and I often crossed the river on the arching steel support trusses, beneath the new bridge, ignoring the possible 50 foot plunge to the river below. In the summer by boat, and in the winter by walking across frozen lake ice, groups of us went to an island a mile offshore, and climbed to the top of the 100 foot lighthouse.

It is possible that large rocks, and chunks of logs got up the inner stairways, and accidently fell on the roof of the attached, unused, derelict, century-old storage shed.  When the caretakers bricked up the entrance and added a steel door with a stout padlock, I went around the back, and used the 1 ½ inch copper lightning-ground cable to reach the observation level.  Apparently, only to prove I could.  These were reconnaissance missions only – no bombing runs.  The view of a flat lake, whether liquid or frozen, isn’t really that spectacular.

In the early 1950s, what passed for the cognoscenti of our little town were all agog, waiting for the release of a book. A ‘famous writer’ from Toronto, 100 miles south, had researched 8 lighthouses in the north end of Lake Huron, including ours.  When the book finally arrived at the General Store, I managed to sneak a copy off the shelf, and quickly read what he’d written.

He said that, after climbing the circular metal stairway inside the lighthouse, the view from the top was magnificent…. only; our lighthouse had solid wooden floors every ten feet, for storage, with unrailed wooden stairs ascending from level to level, East to West, then North to South, etc.

I don’t know if he ever actually set foot on the island, or just did his research from the pub. It was the first time I caught an author lying to me.  Sadly, it wasn’t the last.

Alone, and with my friend’s help, I reached the top of many of the town’s public buildings. The arena was easy, but boring.  I got to the roof of one church, and the top of the bell-tower of another.  He and I sat on the roof of the three-storey bank building at the main intersection.  When his mother was late, and he was locked out of the second floor apartment in the building next to it, we scampered up the front and went in the balcony door, or up to the roof and down through the skylight.

The view from the top of the 120 foot water tower, next to the oak on the hill, was worth it. The climb was simple.  A steel ladder reached to within 10 feet of the ground, but was right beside the overflow pipe.  A foot placed here, and a grab there, and soon we were at the top.

It was so easy that my girlfriend caught us lurking near it one evening, as she walked to the library, and wanted to know what we were up to.  When we explained, she demanded to accompany us.  With him pulling and me providing a shoulder, we all soon enjoyed the lights in the town 5 miles away.  Crazy!

The day I fell down, I started with my feet firmly on the ground. I was in Grade 7, and returned to school after a September lunch break, to find a gaggle of boys surrounding a burly Grade 8 lad.  Slowing to eavesdrop on the conversation, I heard that he was bragging that he knew a way to make someone unconscious. ‘Bet you don’t!’ ‘I bet I do!’

To prove his claim, he needed a victim willing volunteer.  Why is everyone looking at me?  “Now you need to take a deep breath and hold it.  I’m gonna get behind you and give you a bear-hug, and squeeze you really, really hard.  Don’t forget to hold your breath!”

….and I woke up with my face embedded in the blacktop. My nose was bloody.  My lips, especially the top one, were swollen, and I’d lost a tiny chip off the corner of one front incisor.  None of us, me included, really thought this thing through, did we?

“Why did you let me fall down?” “Well, you didn’t collapse.”  “How could I?  You were holding me up.”  He’d set me down, but apparently my knees were locked.  Instead of winding up in a limp pile at his feet, (would that have been any better?) I had pitched forward, like the mighty oak up the street, plowing a furrow with my face.

Nowadays, I ingest an OxyContin, and take along a pillow if I have to wind down a window in the car. Surely none of you readers were as foolish as me.  Do you have a childhood escapade you wish to admit to?   😉

Flash Fiction #96

Flying Saucer

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAYR

YOU, F. O.!

What a great adventure, to get away from our small town and enjoy the sights of the big ci…. Dear Lord, look at that!  Gimme the phone!

911, What is your emergency?

There’s a giant Flying Saucer hovering over the north end of the harbor.

We appreciate your call, but that is not an emergency. That is our new arena.  The designer is hiding out in Honduras.  There is talk of impeaching, or lynching, the city councillors who authorized it.  We have received letters of condolence from both Reno and Las Vegas.  Don’t be alarmed, and have a nice day.

***

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

Flash Fiction #55

Carhenge

PHOTO PROMPT – © Jean L. Hays

NOSY PARKER

I managed to acquire a small commercial lot downtown, near the sports arena, perfect for a deli/restaurant.  I used a small crane to demolish the derelict building on it.

Then the city hall bureaucrats said that my building licence could take a year or more – oh, and your taxes are due.  How can I pay taxes without a business, generating income?

The wife said, “Turn it into a parking lot.”  We can’t park enough cars to make it viable.  “You’ve still got the crane.  Stack them on end; get more in.”

I guess we should have paved the lot first.

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

#476

YUK! YUK!

Over at her website, Benzeknees has established Tickle Me Tuesdays, where she reprints funny little stories she finds.  She also posts other interesting and informative articles.  She’s currently working on A to Z in April.  Why don’t you click on over and have a look.

Not wanting people to think that Benze is the only Canadian with a weird sense of humor, I’ve decided to publish a few myself.  Most of the dumb jokes I encounter, drive here from Quebec….but how they get in my pyjamas, I’ll never know! Vinnie-boom-bah!

This first little joke was percolating to the top of my file to be published, when Benze already posted it a week ago.  In case you didn’t see it, here it comes again.  If you promise to visit Benze’s site, I’ll promise never to duplicate another joke.

IF YOU ARE HAPPY

Once upon a time, there was a non-conforming sparrow, who decided not to fly south for the winter.  However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started to fly south.  In a short time, ice began to form on his wings, and he fell to ground in a farmyard, almost frozen.  A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow.  The sparrow thought it was the end, but the manure warmed him, and defrosted his wings.  Warm and happy, and able to breathe, he started to sing.  Just then, a large cat came by and, hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds.  The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping bird, and promptly ate him.

This story contains three morals:

  1.  Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.
  2. Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend.
  3. If you’re warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut!!!

SPEAK UP

An elderly woman phoned her telephone company to report that her telephone failed to ring when her friends called her – and that, on the few occasions when it did ring, her pet dog always moaned right before the phone rang.  The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog, or senile old lady.

He climbed a nearby telephone pole, hooked in the test set, and dialled the subscriber’s house.  The phone didn’t ring right away, but then the dog moaned loudly and the telephone began to ring.  Climbing down from the pole, the repairman found:

  1. The dog was tied to the telephone system’s ground wire via a steel chain and collar.
  2. The wire connecting the ground rod was loose.
  3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signalling current when the number was called.
  4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning, and then urinate on himself and the ground.
  5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.

Which demonstrates that some problems can be fixed by pissing and moaning.

Benze had a story about a husband and wife exchanging bodies.  This is another look at the situation.

WELCOME HOME

Hubby comes home from work, and the house is a mess!!   Wifey is curled up on the couch in her pyjamas, eating chocolates and watching soaps.  The kids are dirty and running around the house screaming.  Stuff has been knocked and spilled on the floors.  The litter box hasn’t been emptied, the sink is full of dirty dishes, and there’s no supper ready.

He demands to know, What The F**k is going on.  She smiles up at him angelically and says, “You know the Nothing I do around here all the time?  Well, today I didn’t do it!”

ICE FISHING

One day, a rather inebriated ice fisherman drilled a hole in the ice and peered into it.  A loud voice said, “There are no fish down there!”  He walked several yards away and drilled another hole and peered into it, and again, the voice said, “There are no fish down there!”  He then walked about 50 yards away and drilled another hole, and again the voice said, “There are no fish down there!”  He looked up and drunkenly asked, “God, is that you??”  “No, you idiot,” the voice replied, “it’s the arena manager!”

A laugh a day, keeps sanity away, or at least, that’s what happened to me.