|SkimFest, Fibucetera 10,
is the key to literacy."
- Ancient wisdom that's
been passed down
for generations by
word of mouth
Today I celebrated SkimFest by reading as
much as I could as quickly and as lackadaisically as possible. It's
the way I personally choose to celebrate every Fibucetera 10th, and if
anyone has a better idea they may send it to me in a letter I'll be sure
to give all the attention it deserves about a year or so from now when
I should be in the mood to read again.
I started off with the Grand Retrieval of the Morning Newspaper.
As near as I could tell from a rapid perusal of its pages while a radio
blared in the background and I vacuumed the floor, news has happened again.
What's more, it seems to have happened in a wide variety of places.
Europe. Some continent next to Europe. Some continent or country
that sounded something like Europe, but not really. And even someplace
that wasn't Europe, doesn't sound like Europe, and will never in its wildest
dreams be Europe, but of course was once administered from there by people
better equipped to do so than the natives on the scene.
Seems there really is no end to what one can almost learn if one will simply
force oneself to consume 60 pages of fine print in less than 29 seconds.
The rest of the day was devoted to ardent skimming of books, magazines,
and the occasional table that got in the way, but what sticks with me tonight
are two articles that I think I saw way back in the very first section
of that newspaper.
This is what's known among us dedicated SkimFest celebrants as "ironie."
One of those articles was a two-line obituary which may have run something
like this, for all I know, though oddly enough it would now appear
to be rather longer than two lines in length:
"CRAMER, Bob. 1923-2000. Bob was a well-known figure
among his friends and a much beloved son and husband outside his family
who made a bare living for five decades working as a one-man band.
In recent years as his bookings had gone from parties, weddings, and funerals
to bus stops, coal mines, and voodoo cult meetings, Bob grew more or less
despondent and finally cymballed himself to death last Saturday - precisely
at 3 pm, if his last playbill is to be believed. To the best of our
knowledge, it was the one and only time Bob was not called back for an
encore performance. Survivors include Bob's parents, grandparents,
and several distant ancestors, all of whom independently called this paper
on Sunday to share their long-standing belief that he could have been a
one-man symphony if he'd only applied himself a little more. Although
no visitation is planned, it's a well-known fact that there's little chance
of one's being arrested in a cemetery for playing the spoons in the middle
of the night beside the grave of one who allegedly enjoyed doing that sort
of thing himself - enough said."
The other thing I read that more or less sticks with me hours later was
a brief story about a group of junior high students (or maybe nuns) who
have taken to trying to raise money for their band (or maybe choral group)
by prostituting their cats.
Although I believe the newspaper stressed that nothing sexual was actually
going on, the editor made clear in a note at the start of this article
that the reporter who wrote it would be using that charged phrase -"prostituting
their cats" - because he thought it sounded far more interesting than the
simple truth and he heartily suspected others would feel the same way.
Whatever one chooses to call it, the fact remains that these kids (or possibly
monks) were attempting to raise money for their camp (or maybe for the
repair of their classic Packard car collection) by allowing people to pet
their cats in exchange for money (or the equivalent in cash).
Local authorities, to say the least, were not amused (let alone bemused).
Apparently the community standards of whatever community this was were
such that only FREE cat petting was considered moral and proper.
Indeed, judges there (or nearby) had just recently ruled (or guessed) that
it was wrong (and therefore illegal) for anyone to allow others to pet
their cat in exchange for money even when that money was to be used
solely for the care and upkeep of the cat being so petted (less taxes and
To which the kids (or garage mechanics whose livelihood depended on the
upkeep of Packard cars) pointedly replied, "Well, what about the city-run
petting zoo, huh? What about that?!"
To which the city authorities replied, umm, something I seem to have entirely
missed or forgotten.
In any event, the case appears to have been at least partially resolved
to the satisfaction of one (or at most a handful) of the parties involved.
And when you stop to think about it, isn't that really what life
is all about?
Too bad we only take the time to re-learn this lesson in this way just
once a year at most....
To Something Else You Can
And Misunderstand In A Crazy Rush
As If This Wasn't Enough
Page, Main Index, Counters
Other Stuff It Would Be Kinda Odd
For Me To Hide Away Here
To - Well, Really, How The
Should I Know? I Haven't
It Myself Yet!
by Dan Birtcher just to keep one more set of parentheses off the street)