Not the Least Bit Ethnic

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She kept pretending to be exotic, from some Pacific Island nobody had ever heard of, but I heard she actually came from outside of Omaha. Her father worked in meat packing.

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I first met her when she was just a kid. Always scraping her knees on my sidewalk and hoping I would invite her inside to perform first-aid. I was too shy to do so. By the time I grew up, she was already on her way to Hollywood.

There, she made quite a splash. She changed her name from Dorothy Klinger to Fifi La Zoom, and ran with a fast crowd that included several young men who once showed promise but amounted to nothing.

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Me, I became a magician, and had an act that toured Lutheran churches. I would submerge a volunteer from the audience and turn her into a chimpanzee. It was strictly an amateur enterprise, and often the chimpanzee wasn’t real, just a stuffed doll.

Eventually, I moved to a former Soviet republic where I got a job as a fashion designer. I was finally in my element! People liked my style and my creations flew off the shelves of many a collective farm variety store.

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Unfortunately, my success aroused envy in the local officials, who I refused to bribe out of a misguided sense of propriety. I ended losing everything, but I got to keep my life.

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I moved across the world to Asia, where I became a hit as a character actor. Strange how life works out. You never know what’s in store for you, do you?

Heartbreakers

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I should have known she had a drinking problem. Most people don’t drink wine at breakfast. She wasn’t a sloppy drunk, and that was the problem. Most of the time she could hide the true extent of her inebriation. I knew when she was plastered, which was most of the time, but I had a hard time getting other people to see it.

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We met at University. She’d come over and listen to music with me. I had built my hi-fi from a kit and was quite proud of having soldered the components in my five watt mono amp. She’d come over in her nightgown and after a few hours of listening, we’d end up on the couch. I didn’t really have a bed back then. Who needed luxury when we had youth?

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When we got a little older, we started frequenting these “swingers” resorts. Everyone seemed really “square,” as if “swinging” were their ticket to a less boring life. Eventually she and I grew apart, and she ran off with a divorced dentist from Cedar Rapids.

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I sold my house and bought an RV, which proved to be a great idea. Back in those days there were always girls hitch hiking, and I’d take them where they wanted to go, though not in a hurry, if you get my drift.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE!

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You don’t need to trouble yourself with the details. Let it suffice to say that it’s bad. Real bad. There’s no more room in the ICU’s and they’re sending people home to die. Who would have thought it would come this? And yet it has, and there seems to be no unified response from the authorities.

The only responses have been political. Jockeying for status, maneuvers designed to deflect blame…but no real concern for the facts, because nobody knows what to do about them. The truth is too horrible to acknowledge.

So those of us who aren’t in charge of anything, we can relax and seek diversion. What’s new on Netflix?

If you don’t care, you’re lucky. You’ll be fine no matter what happens. That’s the place we’d all like to arrive, a state of contentment and total acceptance. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get there when you can’t breathe or you’re bleeding out of several orifices simultaneously.

The pleasure one can derive from blaming the authorities is small compensation for the agony of actual ill health and poverty. When tempted to go that route, draw yourself up sharply and mutter “thanks, but no thanks. Today I take total responsibility for myself and my position.” You may be still be a victim of the misguided policies of your nation, but at least you will be unaware of that fact. You will be under the delusion that you’re in charge!

Yes, a lot can be accomplished with a simple change of attitude.

THE BAD NEWS

 

Slime mold going from plasmodium to sporulation

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Tests show that the fungus has invaded every part of your body, even crossing the blood/brain barrier. Frankly, we’re surprised you’re still lucid and ambulatory. Most people in your condition are already on life support.

Maybe your fungus is a more benign variety than the ones we’ve seen in the past. You also seem to lack to characteristic odor of bitter lemon that was so evident in the others who suffered from your condition. Fortunately, most of the time their period of suffering was brief. In one case, death followed diagnosis within hours!

But again, my goal is not to alarm you or make light of your plight. If there were a proven treatment, we would try it, no matter how slim the chances of success. But there is no such treatment. The fungus always wins. We can only urge you to get your affairs in order while you still have the strength to do so.

The fungus is intelligent. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you can outsmart it, for it has resisted all treatments and man-made remedies for eons. Like slime mold, it is more than a single organism. It is a community. There is a single slime mold in British Columbia that is almost one thousand square miles in size. We’re not sure about the scope of this fungus yet, but there are signs that it communicates with its own kind, planning and creating strategies that cannot easily be understood or countered. It is one cunning fungus.

Resistance is futile. Acceptance is the answer. If the fungus knocks, let it in. Its clammy embrace may ensure you a better future.

Download Today!

 

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THE RULES OF THIS PLACE

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There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of here. This place is as safe as anywhere on the planet. You will be allowed maximum freedom, but you won’t be coddled. No one will take care of you, or make your path an easy one. To do so would be to insult you, depriving you of your dignity.

Here, you are free to change your mind, make mistakes, accomplish absolutely nothing for days at a time. You are free to reap just what you sow. If you are easily bored, you will be even more bored than usual. If you can entertain yourself, your time here will be well spent. A few small challenges will keep you busily occupied. Solving problems builds character.

There are others here who will be like you. If you are especially active, or popular, they will see you as a threat. They will strive to cut you down to size. Others will try to inspire pity in you, to entangle you in their chronic problems. If you are wise, you will avoid them. Do not give advice. Do not take anyone under your wing. You have no wings.

You’re simply an inmate like everyone else here. Accept that fact and your life will be easy. Fight to achieve distinction and your life will become a living hell.

Just Around The Corner

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I’m waiting for the phone call that will change my life. The one that comes from an entirely unexpected person, the one that will finally make most of my problems disappear. That one.

OK, it could be an email message, or arrive on Facebook messenger. It will be surprising and it will change everything. All the issues I’ve been mulling over, worrying and fretting about will suddenly be moot.

Can’t pretend to know when this will happen. I’ve already been waiting for years, so it might be a bit longer. Every morning I arise and think “maybe today is the day they’ll call!”

Will the caller be a man or a woman? Young or old? Hip or square? Will I recognize it as important and life-changing when it happens, or will I find it just another irritating invasion of my privacy?

THE PHONE JUST RANG! But I missed answering it before the ringing stopped. They left no message. Maybe they’ll call back. Or maybe it was a mistake. Living in a foreign country, it’s a common occurrence. I answer the phone in English and I hear someone mutter something in another language and then hang up.

There’s a strange scent in the air, it smells like burning wires. People riding bicycles pass by the front of our house. Often they are whistling as they ride, and the tune they whistle sounds menacing, at least to my ears.

At night I see red laser beams scan the neighborhood. Are these coming from assassin rifles? Sometimes I hear the squawk of a walkie-talkie coming from the bushes. Are these real, or simply a neighbor’s television show. My hearing is not so good anymore.

When the good news arrives I will finally be able to relax. The world will no longer seem as sinister. It’s just a matter of time. Just around the next corner.

Surrender While You Can

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You might want to surrender now while you have the chance. Eventually, they won’t be so nice about it. They’ll just kill you and say you gave them no choice. So if there was ever a time to lay down your arms and assume a prone position, this is it.

Sure, they might kill you anyway. Even if cameras are rolling, they can claim to have been in fear for their lives. It was either you or them. You resisted their lawful commands. You left them no choice.

Chances are, however, that if you act soon to stop resisting, you’ll be alive at this same time tomorrow. As I said, time is of the essence. They only have so much patience, and it’s rapidly wearing thin.

Once they are sure of your intentions, they can set about the task of rehabilitating you. That might take some time. If you still think your cause is just and theirs isn’t, then I don’t have much hope that you will be able to successfully join their ranks. At best, you will always be an outsider, looking in, nursing a grudge in your rebel heart.