Out of Kilter

Ken Carpenter's Out of Kilter has hit the web. The same original blend of history and humor. None of the editorial restrictions.

Month: September, 2014

The ruination of the world, and other trivial things

A small load of crap

This story was done in June of 2006, so pay no attention to lines that make no sense now. I am also pleased to say that in 2007 my wife Joy and I moved into a nicer home, complete with a heat pump, so I no longer have swelter in my own juices in my bedroom.
On the whole, this story deals bunk because I couldn’t think of anything else to write at the time.

The ruination of the world, and other trivial things

As I sit here broken hearted,
I try to think but can not get started.
And so, my brain, milked dry of wit,
Shall have to settle for pure bullshit.

Some days it does not pay to get out of bed. The only consolation is that my bedroom will probably reach the temperature of a nuclear reactor by 10:00 AM, further thickening the ample supply of pollen that haunts me like a flatulent brother-in-law.
Scientists agree that global warming has caused plants to produce more pollen, and we have only the greed of mankind to blame. The bees must be happy campers, but I have met people this spring who are having allergies for the first time in their life, so most humans are not buzzing with glee over the changes.
It is the most natural thing in the world for folks to grumble though. One of the main things they gripe about is the weather, unless they live next door to that brother-in-law I mentioned. I’m no different, and the only thing that can stop me from complaining about sneezing and wheezing is watching the thermometer soar above 90 degrees. Heat is hot, and since I’m not a horny toad I don’t like it.
TV commercials would lead you to believe that there could be nothing better than sizzling heat, and I have to admit that the hordes of scantily clad women jiggling to and fro could influence the unwary. Problem is, if I were there the sweat running in my eyes would keep me from enjoying the scenery, and the fact that I was trying to enjoy it would likely earn me a rib cracking from my wife. If there is one thing I know about misery it is that it is miserable, and it should not be sought out because it will find you soon enough.
I wish I was the Dictator of the Universe, I’d set a few things straight. First off, “No Torment For Kenny!” No temperature over 74 degrees, all pollen goes straight to where it needs to go and avoids my swollen beak and watery eyes, no bruised ribs for ogling those who live only to be ogled, no warm beer (unless there is none chilled), all tasty foods only make you skinnier, all toilets have massagers in the seat so you don’t get that unsightly ring and numb legs when you read one too many articles, and please, no three-bean salads at the company picnic.
Those little chores would start my first day in office off right, and I’m sure my reign would be a benevolent one. Of course, the rich would all become poor, the poor would become rich and the middle class would become richer. Texas would have a 100’ fence put around it and all criminals would be locked in to create their own society. I’m sure they would get along well with the Texas Republicans, who would be too crooked to be allowed to leave. Law abiding citizens who happened to be mean bullies would be locked into New York City, where they would have to listen Barbra Streisand for 24 hours a day until they changed their ways.
Last but not least, hot dogs with ketchup would be outlawed.
Sigh, I guess maybe I wouldn’t be a good dictator after all.
I’d just be a self-serving lout like every other leader in the world today.

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The Seven Deadly Grins

Grins and sins

The following story is a take-off on the Seven Deadly Sins. As usual with my stuff, some will like it and some will not. Just because organized religion gets a lot of mileage out of the sins, don’t dare get the idea that I am part of one. It has no more use for me than I do for it, and that is all I’ll say about it.
Read on.

The Seven Deadly Grins

Both religious and archival history have gotten a lot of mileage out of “The seven deadly sins”. In reality there are many more, but I suppose you could encompass them all with some tie to the lucky seven if you wanted to get creative.
One day my shifty mind came up with the idea for a story title, The Seven Deadly Grins, and I threw my shoulder out of joint patting myself on the back. It was Pride, the deadliest sin, paying me back, I’m sure. I smugly decided to piece together a story to go with the, I was so sure, unique and oh so clever title.
I put the Seven Deadly Grins in Google, where it only had a miserable 38,700 hits. To my further and eternal disgust, one of the Seven Deadly Grins is a punk mariachi band. The concept makes me dizzy, and I refuse to ever put those two words together again as long as I live.
Out of pure stubbornness I will keep the title, though it does not roll off of my tongue as easily as it did before.
King Solomon, son of David, was the King of Israel from 970-931 BC. In some publications he is called one of the wisest men of all time. In others he is called a pervert, whose lustful ways caused the Jewish kingdom to be torn in two. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines, so in my mind he was simply crazy.
Anyway, he wrote much of The Book Of Proverbs, which included its own lengthy list of deadly sins. In the 6th century Pope Gregory the Great whittled the list down to the current seven, since a more manageable list would be easier to keep believers in line.
Just to jog memories and establish my ill-guided direction and focus, I will list the seven in the order from least sinful to most. They are as follows: Sloth, Greed, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and, to my great surprise, the original and most seriously hated by the pious, Pride.
Now that I have bitten off more than I can chew, it is time to create a few deadly grins to go with each deadlier sin. I wish I had stuck with my first idea, Fat-bottomed Gripers, which I know a little more about.
It should be established now that the difference in a smile and a grin is simple. One is used exclusively in a positive way and the other can be used both in a positive situation or a negative situation. A smile usually has love or appreciation as a sidekick. A grin can be happy, or it can be hiding an evil enjoyment of another’s bad luck.
Ogden Nash quoted that “The only people who should really sin are the people who can sin and grin.”
In my mind, even if it doesn’t always fit, he pretty much nailed it. Why sin if you can’t enjoy it? I think most people make a conscious decision to maximize their self-indulgence, prompting a sin filled life, and others do so accidentally.
Now, from the original sin Pride, considered the sin that spawned all others, and on down to the least of the seven, Sloth, my monument to ineptitude continues. I also have to point out that in ancient times when paintings were done showing all of the active seven sins, animals or women were the sinners depicted. Who was the true sinner there?
Pride-Deadly Grin #1: The Mocking Taunt, Pride is designed to limit excessive belief in one’s own abilities but can be induced by an inadvertent show of Pride, thereby sinning without meaning to. It may also be accompanied by a cheerful bellow if your child just hit a home run in the championship game. On the whole, overly prideful types have a superiority complex.
Envy-Deadly Grin #2: A Tight Lipped Grimace, fueled by Envy. These are not nice grins, nor are the thoughts that accompany them.
Have you ever pulled up to a stoplight in your ten-year old car, looked to your right, and wished with all your might that you owned the gun metal blue Mercedes without the payment that might accompany it? You always look at the driver, wondering what life could have been like with a few more good choices. Bottom line, you want the car and would stomp a bunny to get it.
Gluttony-Deadly Grin #3: The Bloated Sneer, because you just spoiled yourself rotten. This is often paired with a gurgling burp.
If you watch any TV, you know that the entire advertising world wants you to become a bigger glutton than you already are, if you have any hoggish tendencies at all. Eat the triple patty, six slices of bacon burger, then waddle next door and buy the biggest flat screen and flashiest phone you can find, neither of which you need.
Lust-Deadly Grin #4: The Lecherous Leer, usually brought on by four Aces, another overcharged customer or a bare bottom. Don’t deny it, we have all been afflicted with it at one time or another.
Lust is an uncontrollable craving for sex, power or money. Ask King Solomon about that, he of the 300 concubines to fill the time his 700 wives could not.
Anger-Deadly Grin #5: The Wild Eyed Smirk, providing self-justification for wicked ways, the only true fuel for an empty soul.
Some folks let Anger rule their lives, belittling others for no reason, bullying those who allow it and generally looking for a flimsy excuse to pound or push around somebody smaller than them. They are a great pleasure to embarrass.
Greed-Deadly Grin #6: The Lip Smacking Snigger, for pure greed satisfied will put you on an imaginary pedestal quicker than anything.
Greed should be further up the list, for it is usually the cause of every war, even if the foes say it is for ideological differences. A look of pure greed on a human face is one of the most unsettling things in the world.
Sloth- Deadly Grin #7: The Sly Jeer, no teeth showing. It takes too much effort, doncha know, but the unreasonable contempt these freeloaders have for their supporters can’t be hidden.
Lazy is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, for there are often unknown reasons for a person to ignore physical duties. On the other hand, the country is full of those who want their needs provided for by others when they are capable of doing it themselves.
So there they are, the deadly seven, all of which could probably be improved on with a little more practice. Don’t stand in front of a mirror and rehearse them, I don’t want anybody to sprain a lip.
I guess as we pass through the world we will either grin and bear it or grin and bare it, determining if any of the sins will pop up occasionally to steer our life.
Decisions, decisions.