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by: Max Burbank

The other day as I was leaving the playground after having dropped my daughter off at school, a young boy asked me "Hey, donít you know my Dad?"

"Why yes!" I quipped "We were cellmates! I drew a picture of a woman on his back!"

Now, if youíre like me you think thatís pretty clever. If youíre like that little boy, you were briefly puzzled and then you forgot about it. If, however, youíre like one of the many teachers or parents who heard me quite clearly, then instead of talking to you I ought to be running. But Iím not talking, Iím writing, and the Web is a highly anonymous medium, so Iím not concerned.

Iíd like to state clearly and for the record, I was only joking. The boyís father tiled my bathroom, and apart from being a fan of the Doobie Brothers, has very little in common with Buzzy "Doberman" Yates, a man whoís unconditional love for me once had to be curbed with a homemade Ďshiví. The implication regarding my Daughterís classmateís Fatherís at least passive homosexuality was merely a Humorous device. I hardly know the man well enough to guess as to what floats his boat in the boudoir. Despite my habitually mincing gate, I myself know very little of the Insidious Vice of the French or their fine community.

The point is, having thought of a witty rejoinder it just seems a crime against humanity to hold it in. Just the other day I purchased a rug at a discount store. The less than helpful staff rolled the rug for me, but that was it. I asked if they had any strapping tape I could use, which they gave me. I then asked for a knife or scissors. After a lengthy pause, the unfiltered Camels habituate behind the desk asked, "What for?" Torn between responding

A.) "To cut my carotid artery right now." or
B.) "I collect knives and scissors." or
C.) "How else am I supposed to gouge your eyes out?"

I was unable to answer and eventually settled for silence and a brutal stomachache. (I toyed briefly with the cryptic "The better to see you with, my dear" but abandoned it as too cerebral.)

If a telemarketer says to you "This is a courtesy call", arenít you obliged to respond that the greatest courtesy would be if theyíd take the phone and beat themselves about the privates until the chance of them contributing to the gene pool was significantly diminished, or if they were in the unfortunate position of already having reproduced they should beat their children instead? If a cabby says, "do you mind if I smoke?", is it really so bad to set them on fire? And if a third thing happens that really puts the capper on this pyramidal humor construct, mustnít I, perforce, make a jibe still funnier than the two preceding it?

As my therapist says, "You canít keep this stuff bottled up." No wait, it wasnít my therapist, it was a burly orderly during my most recent involuntary commitment, but the gist is still the same.

Yes, itís true; politeness is a worthwhile social value. But when life serves up a straight line and you donít jump on it, Iím pretty sure it says in the Bible that makes Jesus cry. Thatís a religious value, and itís well known religious values are the Paper to social values Rock. The value of Scissors has already been discussed.

And yes, as I was often instructed in childhood, nobody likes a Smart-Ass. But honestly, when did you last hear someone say, "Iím so glad we invited you. Everybody here just adores you because youíre such a Dumb-Ass"?

note: Max pretended to not speak English the last time a telemarketer called him with a "courtesy call". You'd be amazed at how long they'll still try to sell you something even if the only words you say are "I no speak a English!"

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