Never bum out a bum!

by Ken Carpenter

I always admired a good bum. I am not talking about the English, Australian or Canadian bum either, which is what they call your rear-end.

To me a bum is somebody who has removed himself from life as we all know it. He has thrown away all responsibilities, almost all possessions, and he lives hour to hour with only his next meal to worry about.

I started liking bums when I was a kid, mainly because I loved their luggage. TV bums always carried a stick over their shoulder with a bandana tied on the end containing all their worldly possessions. That seemed like a cool thing to do to me, even if it wasn’t the most practical.

Bums seemed to spend all their time lying around doing nothing, looking bumly. They ate beans out of the can, spent a lot of time around campfires, and always seemed to have exactly five days growth of whiskers. They acted like they had discovered the secret to eternal life, and that the secret might involve not owning a wristwatch.

The word bum has come to mean many other things besides being the moniker for a homeless drifter. There are tennis bums, beach bums, ski bums, stumble bums (washed up boxers), Bleacher Bums (Wrigley Field), Dem Bums (as in Brooklyn), bum advice, bum checks, bum trips, and bum knees.

You can be a real bummer, get bummed out, have somebody give you the bum’s rush, throw the bums out, be accused of bumming around or move to a bum’s paradise.

In short, everybody in the world can have one variety or another of a bum experience each day of their life.

Now, getting back to the English for a moment, any discussion about bums much by necessity touch upon the rump. In Britain there are popular chocolates called Bite-size Bums. They look like exactly what you would expect. I only regret I could not order some in time to treat my wife on Easter.

I find it curious that the leader of the United Kingdom is called the Queen Mum, which rhymes with bum, which must lead to hordes of indecent little ditties devised by those with crass tendencies.

While cruising around the Internet gaping at bum-related subjects, I made a startling discovery. An Australian author named Andy Griffiths has written a trilogy of children’s books titled The Day My Bum Went Psycho (2002), Zombie Bums from Uranus (2003) and Bumageddon: The Final Pongflict (2005).

These are not related to American style bums, but rather murderous rumps from space and other places. I guess kids get exposed to different things in the new millennium. I know my boys would have thrived on them in the 80’s, but then again, their Dad was not a normal fellow.

 Zombie Bums From Uranus does pique my interest. I love zombies, I’m partial to bums, and Uranus is my favorite planet without a breathable atmosphere. I know it is a children’s book, and unlikely to be a work of art, but I’m thinking I must have the trilogy. If nothing else I want it on my bookshelf to confound the casual observer.

So now I am thinking some chocolate bums to go with the books would be nice. While I wait for the order to arrive I could fashion up a stick with a red bandana tied on it, to carry around the books and the chocolate bums. 

Gee, maybe eating a can of beans out of the can would help pass the time. My wife won’t mind, she likes bums too.

I know she does, because she told me I was a loveable bum just the other day.