Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Giving Tree Redux


And one day the boy came back, and the tree was so happy she could barely speak.

"Come, boy, come climb my trunk and have fun again!" she whispered. 

"I am too old and sad to have fun," said the boy. "The world is not fun. I need a boat, to sail far away from here. Can you give me a boat?"

"A boat?" said the tree. She didn't know what to say. Only that morning there had been news of wildfires, and drought, and starvation, and beheadings, and mass extinctions, and a bunch of walruses with no ice left in the ocean for resting had come ashore in one giant tusky bawling mass.

"Were you saying something?" asked the boy, checking his stock listings on his smartphone. "Yeah, a boat. My life isn't all sunshine and butterflies and bears scratching their backs on me, like yours."

And the tree looked at him a long time. Then she sighed. "I wish I had not given you all my branches," she said. "Because now I cannot beat you violently with them like you deserve, you whiny little dickhead."

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Legend of Pumpkin Spice

"Tell me a story, mommy," the baby pumpkin whispered as he bounced into bed and pulled up the covers. "A scary one!"

"Are you sure you want a scary story, honey?"

"YESSSSS. Really scary!" he cried.

"OK, Gourdy, but then you have to go to sleep," said Momma Pumpkin, tucking him in. "Once upon a time, we Pumpkin-kind started rubbing ourselves with a Sacred Spice Blend to protect us and make us tasty so that People wouldn't notice that we're actually kinda slimy and starchy. We wore the Spice, and People loved us and planted us and made us into sacred pies to celebrate their Day of Gratitude. Everyone was happy. But then there was a Marketer, who saw that there was all this leftover Pumpkin Spice that wasn't making anyone any money, and so he started telling People to put Pumpkin Spice into everything!"

"EVERYTHING?" Gourdy said, his eyes wide.

"Yes! First it was just coffee and Yankee candles. Then, as time passed, they started putting it in beer, and then into Oreo cookies and potato chips and pizza and skin cream."

"What happened then, Mommy?"

"Well, soon there was no protective Spice left for us Pumpkins. And our flesh began to rot away and people noticed we were actually kinda gross and mealy, and then the beer and the coffee and the cereal and the bratwurst and the shampoo, who were all sick of smelling and tasting like Pumpkin Spice, got really angry and came out through the night and gathered around all the Pumpkin patches and got ready to come in through the vines and smear themselves all over us and force us to taste like them. They're outside the patch right now ... can you hear them whispering?"

"I can! I can hear them, Mommy!" Gourdy cried out in terror, diving beneath the covers. "I don't wanna taste like a shampoo!" 

And Momma Pumpkin realized she had made the story too scary again, and felt terrible, and began to try to comfort Gourdy and remind him it was all just a story, but then she felt the vines shift all around and heard the chant -- taste like us taste like us. She felt the cold, sharp edge of a Pringle against her skin and she realized that they had finally come.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Advice to Fidgety Children Who Ate Their Dinner Quickly And Now Have Been Told to Just Sit There Quietly Even Though it is SO Boooooring

Little kids, let me give you some advice: When you're at dinner and you wolf your food in 2 minutes and want to leave the table and go back to fun, important things like tree-climbing and LEGO and worm inspection, and your parents won't let you and tell you to be polite and wait for everyone else to finish: DO NOT LISTEN. 

On days when I have one meeting up against a conference call overlapping another meeting at the same time as another meeting, the ability I developed in childhood to open my mouth, insert half a pound of salad and swallow it in a giant lump like an anaconda, is all that keeps me from wasting away into a floppy pile of dial-in codes, shifting organizational paradigms, and pasty, cubicle-wan skin. 

Your parents don't want that! They love you. They don't want you to starve. So if they ever tell you not to wolf your food, it's probably because ... and I know this will be hard to hear ... they're not really your parents. They are replicants who have stolen your real parents and have them tied up somewhere dark, where your mother is weeping quietly and whispering, "God, I just hope he eats quickly and runs out to play, before they take advantage of his lack of fidgeting to drain him of his organs and fluids!" And your Dad will feel the same way, but he won't say it, because they will have already drained him.