I’m turning sixty-four today, April 23, the same date the Bard was born, as well as the date he died. I’m not drawing any parallels here, it’s just a bit of trivia.
I suppose I’ve been an Atheist my entire life, but it took a quarter of a century of study and self-reflection to solidify the designation. I have in turn passed this lack of faith, or what we prefer to call, critical thinking, on to my children. They have without doubt picked up on my general disdain for religion over the years, and on occasion, have given me religious themed novelty gifts. For instance, my youngest daughter once gave me a bar of soap made in the image of Jesus… the packaging claims that I can wash my sins away by using my Jesus Soap. Will it work? We shall see I suppose.
On Sunday, due to the close proximity of the two dates, we had an Easter/birthday Lennon/McCartney inspired tur-bunny thanksgiving extravaganza in my honor. My elder daughter gave me a chocolate cross to celebrate the occasion. My first thought was that it was another novelty item, but nope, it’s a genuine, Russell Stover solid milk chocolate candy confection fashioned into the shape of an ancient device used to torture and kill enemies of the Roman Empire. As yummy as that sounds, my second thought was… I’ll be more than ready if Count Chocula ever tries to attack me.
Speaking of attacks, on the day of my Easter/birthday Lennon/McCartney inspired tur-bunny thanksgiving extravaganza, my dog Chase took me out for our daily constitutional. You remember Chase. It was a beautiful day, and we decided to take a longer walk than usual, thus we ventured down a street we had as yet to explore. As we walked along, there was a small growling sound and I turned in time to see a pitbull mix of some kind hit Chase like a bullet. It grabbed him by the throat, and as advertised, refused to let go. As insane as it sounds, I straddled the pit’s back and fell sideways to the ground so as to take away its leverage. With one hand, I was trying to hold Chase close, with the other, I was trying to get my fingers around the pit’s throat. The holidays can be so stressful, don’t you think?
Two days later and I am officially sixty-four. My wife still needs me, and she most certainly still feeds me, they don’t call me fat Jesus for nothing. I have long hair and a beard, and some believe I resemble European Jesus, you know, the one with light brown hair and blue eyes. To be fair, in the past, I have dressed up like Jesus to attend rallies in support of Planned Parenthood. I find the institutionalized misogyny of religions horribly repugnant.
And hey, you can’t ever candy-coat that…
Vaporlessly discreet, I used this descriptive in one of my novels, although I really can’t remember which one. I’ve always been fond of the term since coming up with it. It’s extremely difficult to turn an original phrase in the bloviated literary world.
When authors cast their nets into the Noosphere, catch some thoughts, arrange them into words, string the words into sentences… paragraphs… pages… chapters… it never fails, someone will eventually ask, what is the word count? Alas, it seems the numerical side of every author’s literary slog always sneaks in from one quarter or another. Personally, I can only give an approximation, albeit an accurate one. I have thus far arranged around two million words into completed novel form.
You are no doubt wondering, why does the word count matter? Are we short on letters? Is it possible the world will run out of words? Highly doubtful, I suspect humans will run out of world long before we run out of words. Is there a chance that some verbose wordsmith will blather on and on and on without ever coming to the point? Maybe… but let us try and not be too judgmental. Sometimes, just sometimes, the writing is the point of the story as opposed to the telling.
While you’re trying to wrap your head around that last statement, I will note that at the end of this sentence, this blog will be two hundred and fifty words in length.
But who’s counting?
My eldest daughter will soon turn forty. I hesitate to use the word turn here, it sounds like the old-style odometers that turned on tiny wheels. The wisdom of experience maintains that comparing females of our species, regardless of association, to inanimate objects, is never a good idea. Yet, to be fair, those were the types of odometers in use when she arrived on the planet, although those new-fangled digital radio/alarm clocks were all the rage.
My daughter, the eldest, the one numerically edging toward the big four O, called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to go skydiving to celebrate our birthdays. We were born on dates exactly one month apart. (in different years, for those poor souls perplexed by the last statement) I have been giving the question some serious consideration. I even checked my bucket list, but it seems the bottom had rusted out, and any wistful inclinations I might have entertained before exiting this embarrassed world have seeped into the ground and vanished.
Nevertheless, I am still considering the possibility of flinging myself into the realms of unfettered space/time and seeing how it measures up to itself. Yet, how does one decide such a thing? Flip of the coin, Tarot Cards, the I Ching, or perhaps simple numerology. Let’s see, my eldest daughter, the one graduating from her thirties, will be 40. I will be 64. 40+64=84. 8+4=12. 1+2=3. Three, that’s a prime number. I like prime numbers.
However, good things rarely come in threes. Three strikes and you’re out. The third man on a match is killed. It’s the number of tines on the Devil’s pitchfork, and the number of teeth possessed by the average Trump supporter. Jesus had to cross his legs because the Romans only had three nails, and in Buddhism, there are three cardinal faults. Also, let’s not forget about Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding the gates of hell… dog breath in triplicate. And last, but not least, the fact that bands having the word Trio in their name seem inherently sad and lonely, it’s only speculation, but I suspect it’s because they were once a quartet that lost one of their members to a skydiving accident.
I have to tell you, it’s not looking good…
Marital and martial, I suspect the words are mistaken for each other quite often. Martial arts drums up images of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, kicking ass and taking names in logograms. Marital advice brings forth thoughts of sage counsel for two people carving out a compromise between evolutionary imperatives tens of thousands of years in the making.
However, I’m not here to talk about that… I’m here to talk about my dog, Chase. My wife managed to adopt him six or seven months ago, and he has been infiltrating our marital compromise with the stealth and determination of a Ninja ever since.
Chase is a black German Shepard, Black Lab mix, with a bit of Chow tossed in somewhere in the distant past. He showed up at our door with the name of Thor, but we quickly learned he experienced full-blown panic attacks during electrical storms. The sheer irony of the designation seemed a bit too… well, ironic.
Chase is a noble looking creature. I am often complimented on how beautiful he is when he takes me out on walks. He is smart, but stubborn, and somehow manages to relate that he considers himself superior to mere humans. If you call him, or give him an order that he feels is extraneous, he will ignore you. At such times, I am limited to flipping him off using my opposable thumbs, a devastating slight to any animal, or so one would think.
We started out limiting Chase’s access to the kitchen and basement only. The basement is finished in knotty pine, carpeted, and has a flat screen with surround sound, as well as a very comfortable couch for him to sleep on. You would think such conditions would be acceptable to a beast of dubious pedigree, but apparently not.
Week by week, he slowly managed to expand his territory. He forged his way from the kitchen to the hallway leading to the living room. From there he edged his way into the spare bedroom; after all, he does need a window with a view of the street. For a time, his encroachment ended there. Chase was allowed in the kitchen, the hallway and the second bedroom during the day, but was exiled to the basement at night, door closed, case closed.
While this arrangement lasted for several months, as you might have guessed, it slowly changed, until upon occasion, Dogly Mc Dumbshit jumps up on our bed during the night and makes himself at home. This brings me to the true subject of this literary jaunt: Marital Advice.
The Marital advice: If you happen to own a dog, and if that dog tends to jump up on your bed during the night, or regularly sleeps there, be advised. When you and your significant other awake in the morning, and you happen to reach out and pat the dog lying between the two of you… do not say to your wife, and I want to be very clear about this, after patting the dog, do not say to your wife… “Wow, you really need to shave your legs.”
There will be elbows…
Well…book sales have been sluggish as of late so I prayed about it…well I did…Jesus, you guys are such cynics…anyway…I prayed about it and God spoke to me…and you know what…He does sound just like Morgan Freeman…how weird is that?
Anyway, God spoke to me and He said, “Jerr…” God calls me Jerr…denoting a sense of friendly comradery, He says, “Jerr, when I want people to do things they might be hesitant or reluctant to do, I threaten to send them to Hell where they’ll experience unimaginable pain and suffering for all eternity.”
“How’s that working out for you,” I prayed.
“As you might imagine, not as well as it used to,” God said. “Since that micro-cloud thing moved in next door, the younger people have wised up, and the rest are completely confused as to what’s out here.”
“Don’t you mean up here,” I prayed.
God sighed and said, “When you’re standing on a ball floating in infinite space, where exactly do you point to find up?”
“Good point…or bad point, as the case may be,” I prayed, no doubt impressing God with my dazzling wit. “But what do you mean confused?”
“Some of them show up at the gates, their clothes still smoking, asking where the 72 virgins are,” God said. “Others show up expecting time-share condos, streets of gold, and angels hanging out on the corners like celestial hookers.”
“So then…what’s heaven really like,” I prayed.
“Hard to say, really,” God said, but He seemed a bit evasive.
“Come on, tell me,” I prayed.
“Okay…okay,” God said. “Heaven is pretty much like…well…it’s kind of like Fairfield, Kansas without all the fun and excitement.”
“Wow, that sounds kind of dull,” I prayed.
“As a No. 2 pencil after a SAT,” God said. “But enough about my problems…you were saying?”
“My book sales have flat-lined lately, what should I do?” I prayed.
“Write better books,” God said with that all-knowing arrogant smirk you normally find on the lips of an Atheist.
“That might take an actual miracle,” I pray-mumbled, but He heard me.
“No shit, Tolkien you ain’t, so okay, go ahead tell them I said that if they don’t buy your books, they’ll burn in Hell for an eternity,” God said.
“Do you think people will believe me?” I prayed.
God shrugged, “Well, you know what P. T. Barnum said…”
“There’s a sucker born every minute,” I prayed in answer.
God shook his head, “P.T. never actually said that, but he did say, ‘Empty threats won’t clean up the elephant shit, but there’re always clowns around.’ ”
“Okay, I guess that’s pretty much the same sentiment,” I prayed somewhat dubiously. “So you’ll back me up and send anyone who reads this straight to Hell forever and ever if they don’t buy my novels?”
“Umm…sure,” God said, “With a complementary nipple twist thrown in for good measure.”
Another thought occurred to me. “Hey, if my novels don’t become best sellers, would you consider flooding the earth and killing everyone as punishment? It’s not like they wouldn’t deserve it.”
A sly smile crossed God’s lips, “I’m already working on it.”
I remained silent for a moment as I considered His words. “Global warming,” I prayed as understanding came to me.
God put a finger up to his lips and winked.
Thus ended my encounter with our creator, and I think it wise that all of you now reading this take note, and not just for your own safety, but more importantly, for the sake of the children, rush to Amazon.com to purchase at the least one of my novels.
FYI, I suspect buying more than one might just get you a heavenly upgrade of some type. Just saying…
IT”S OFFICAL…I created a new word this morning…I Googled it and there were no hits to be found. Tried the on-line dictionary and it chased it’s tale for three minutes before giving up. This makes me an official world class wordsmith, no doubt about it. Oh yea, the word, well I was replying to a rather blasphemous observation made by a gentleman of questionable character, when this new word formed in the deepest recesses of my brain. Holding lesser words like nonsense, gibberish, babble, and bullshit hostage at the point of a point, it forced its way to the surface, stripped off its I heart Books By Jerry R. Travis t-shirt, broke its chains, wiped away the embryonic brain fluid and shouted out, “Top of the world Ma!” Anyway, it’s time to strip the burka off this new expression, and just in time for the political season I might add. So here it is…without further ado…Mumjumary…as in religious Mumjumary, or political Mumjumary…or get thee to a Mumjumary…okay, that last one doesn’t quite work, my apologies to the bard. Time to make this sucker official, © Jerry R Travis 2016