In The Event Of An Actual Emergency

In the event of an actual emergency, you would have been instructed to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

(NOT SENT )Dear Grant –  Not to stroke your banana, but apparently this computer, unlike your trusty manual typewriter, has swallowed four pages of terse, succinct, sparse, lean, sinewy prose.

That letter, now known as Letter One, explained I am sincere in saying my visit to Camp Eldorado changed my life. Thank you. Your letter of February 19 nudged my perspective about those halcyon days at SLICK. I had my Aunt and my mother read the appropriate sections, just so they’d feel a little better about my corporate demise.

I have been so poorly treated by the powers-that-be wherever I’ve been, at least through my colored lens, I have trouble seeing the glory of being “so cool.” Randle Patrick McMurphy died in the end, imprisoned in an insane asylum, his brain fried.

I KNOW, in my heart of hearts, your lofty estimation of my worth is an accurate appraisal (Thank you again).  Yet, somehow, the translation of said appraisal into the currency of the times seems elusive. And I don’t mean financially, not simply that.

I am incarcerated by poverty and Hiawatha is Nurse Ratched.  I don’t want to talk about money.  In truth, I am doing reasonably well in that area from moment to moment.  I am hoping to get back to a net worth of zero by the new year, thereby permitting a fresh start. And who among us would look a fresh start in the eye and say, “No.”

Was Randle Patrick McMurphy a winner?

Channeling for Jim Morrison.  Just a dangling idea.

I am a prize-winning poet and an undefeated elephant racer (three and oh lifetime). I feel pretty good about myself. Just wanted you to know. I am not depressed, and I have lottery tickets for three different states. I remain hopeful.

Although still rambling.

Best wishes.

Capt. Jack

(Sent) July 12, 1992. Ann (no relation to Veronica) Lake, Minnesota. MINNESOTA: WHERE NOTHING IS ALLOWED. THE LAND OF BATTERY-IN-WINTER STARTING COMPARISON TESTS.

Congratulations, Captain Condo. Postpone the Home Warming until I get there. Better yet, don’t. We’ll just have a blastoff of our own. Thanks for the $1.75 card. Doggone swell of you. We finally pulled out of New Hampshire last Weds. I’ll miss the surreal hospitality of Grant Ju$tice. Having been jerked around more than a 14-year-old’s kachunga, I am bummed not to get the Dartmouth job. I’ll just assume something better is on its way. Learned you haven’t yet printed the Dave Barry cover.

Glad to hear from Toni. The long slow dance is the best. Sorry to learn about Sasha. I have long thought her comely and nobody’s fool. I can just hear Seinfeld doing a schtick about taking your girlfriend househunting with you. Something like, What could you have been thinking?! When a boy bird says to a girl bird, “Hey, chick, let’s go look at some nests,” what do you think is going to happen? Why do men do that? What can they be thinking? What does he think the woman is thinking? “Oh good, how loving,” she’s probably thinking, “like I’m supposed to approve his choice of bachelor apartment.”

You said something about knowing you have to develop your “natural tendency as a smart ass.” And you know you need to work on “dat.” Can’t be confident I understand the “dat” of which you speak. Precisely, what the heck are you trying to say?

Walking is a positive move. (How’s that for good ad copy, bro?) Exercise helps. Honest. Do whatever it takes to shed the chains of tobacco abuse. Think about this. When you start to bum smokes, maybe it’s a signal you’ve had enough to drink. But, you say you start bumming after a couple of drinks. Maybe it’s time to quit bumming. I bummed about, oh maybe, two thousand or so smokes from you;I speak with not a little expertise. Deservedly described as a moocher, hear my testimony. I didn’t stop smoking until I stopped bumming. Make a deal with yourself. When you stop smoking, you can drink more.

You just won’t want to. Because the next quest, smart ass, is to get your drinking under control. Become your own hero. Here’s some ideas. Don’t get down on yourself. Avoid other smokers. Stay out of smoky places. You’ll smell better. Don’t smoke inside your new condo. No sex with smokers. Above all else, do not eat Italian food and drink red wine in any place named Mama Puta’s.

Barker started drinking again at Grant’s farm, I blame the dozens of free cold beers in the beer bar’s commercial cooler. Rolling Rock. Bud Dry. Cases of cans of Keystone left over from the contractors’ party. “One hundred and sixty people,” Grant said, genuinely pleased at how well the house worked for entertaining. “The place just swallowed them up.”

“Like a womb,” Barker replied. “HA!” He’d been there five weeks and he’d never taken a single moment of it for granted. That’s justice.

Our hosts, Bob & Queen Chuck, smoke Merits outdoors, on the screened-in porch at their own lakeside cabin. Which I imagine gets poco gnarly during ice-fishing season. They don’t use salt, but they eat Canadian bacon. Gave up caffeine, but they drink beer. Read many good books. And they don’t watch much television. They like to sit side-by-side and fish together quieting. Thinking thoughts and releasing the infrequent blind fish who accidently bite into the hook.

Barker loves these people. Queen said she liked me about two days sooner than most women this wise. She’s so cute the way she cooks as she reads one of her fifty cookbooks. She loves to watch me eat her grub. Bob I loved the moment I saw him, he’s one of us. Barker said I needed some new friends and now we have two more.

The Chucks arrived at their cabin, where Merry Miler awaited already, heavily weighed down with six packs of local Scandanavian brews. Like Corona. “I knew you were a lush” were Bob’s greeting words to me.

So, I have been giving some thought to the concept of drug abuse, tobacco and alcohol especially. I don’t smoke and I don’t get drunk. I’m clear. If it was good for us, THE BAD GUYS wouldn’t be selling it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a man who’s got his act together having a couple or few drinks. A couple of glasses of red wine every day might even be good for you. (By the way, C.P, M.D., says smoking and using the Patch at the same time can lead to coronary problems. Which could lead to the Long Dirt Nap.)

Regarding excessive alcoholic intake, i.e., self-poisoning, I am convinced, there’s much to be said against losing your license, or crashing your nice car, getting your name printed in the obits cause you crossed over into the next lane. Leaving your daughter without a father. Never seeing your grandson. Worse yet, waking up unable to move any part of your body below the lips.

 

Bogart smoked, Bogart is dead. It’s just not cool.

There is no phone here; thank you, I’ll call when I can.

Keep up the good work.

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