Monday, October 1, 2007


When I was a teenager, it was common for my father to hand me something and say, "Read this to me, I don't have my glasses." At some point I began to get annoyed and eventually turned to sarcasm to express my irritation. Of course my protests were duly noted but never acted on. However, I must have left enough of an impression because dad once rebutted, "Just remember this, we mock what we are to be."

Unfortunately dad was prophetic; because now that I am saddled with my own need for reading glasses...I frequently find myself asking my son Andrew to read things.. I confess it's my own laziness and a lack of planning but misreading things has led to varying levels of my expense.

I recently added a Korean dollar bill to Andrew's foreign banknote collection. On the portrait, somebody had done calligraphy in large Asian (presumably Korean) characters. Before showing it to my son, I wanted to be the expectation that he would ask me what the fancy writing said.

I mentioned the bill to a Korean co-worker and brought it in the next day for her to decipher. Unfortunately, her English skills aren't perfect and from the second she took hold of it, I could see her struggling to put the translation into words.

Finally, her first words were, "I dunno." Then, "This NOT Korean!" In frustration, she turned the bill upside down and said, "I no can help."

I was about to take it back from her when she turned it horizontal and said, "This crazy language."

I grabbed for it again and she pulled away from me. She then tilted the money on its other end and stopped. She stared up at me and said triumphantly, "Aha, I KNEW this not Korean."

I said, "It isn't? What language is it, Japanese?"

She said, "No silly man, dis Inger-ish."

Before I could put on my glasses she pointed to the letters and said, "It say, 'To Linda, good luck.'"

I don't embarrass easily but I was mortified.


On September 6th, our Guinea Pig "Picasso" went to rodent heaven.

Although we avoid speaking ill of the dead, Picasso simply never lived up to his colorful potential. The son of other guinea pigs, Picasso left his humble South American roots for a better life in the U. S. He applied to many pet stores and was finally accepted at Fins, Feathers & Furs at the Cardiff Circle. While waiting to be adopted, he became exposed to the propaganda rantings of a socialist cavy named Ernesto. Perhaps because of his impressionable nature, young Picasso was derailed from his dream of becoming a martyred product-tester and was manipulated into becoming a foot soldier for a counter-revolutionary movement. That is until Andrew selected him as our family pet.

When we bought Picasso we had no idea how anti-American he was. Andrew named him Picasso because of his odd coloration,. However, from an aerial view five hundred-feet up, our guinea pig's coat had been dyed to a reasonable facsimile of the Venezuelan flag.

Picasso was showered with our family's love and affection and all seemed normal. Eventually our attention caused him to waver in his socialist beliefs and soon, he expressed a sincere patriotism for the good old U. S. of A.

These notions were verified after his death when we read some of his old E-Mails. In these correspondences, he indicated a greater joy in running free on the vast carpets of America. He also made it clear that he appreciated the freedom to gnaw on the communication wiring of this powerful nation or to chew on the walls of the very foundation of democracy.

Problems surfaced when Picasso learned of his beloved predecessor, Cutie or as he was commonly know as: Zhitnik. Zhitnik was a great family pet who loved being left over night on narrow furniture ledges and playing *hide and seek. *(He excelled at hiding...sometimes for days at a time but was a less than enthusiastic seeker). Zhitnik loved the attention of children and handled being pawed at by visitors gracefully. He also excelled in traveling to school to entertain large crowds of second graders.

Moreover, Zhitnik liked quiet Norman Rockwell-like evenings with the whole family. He liked sitting on human shoulders and watching TV. At these times, during commercials, he loved to play, "Pass the Pig." A take-off of "Hot Potato" Andrew, Mommy and I would keep handing off our little Zhitnik until he peed on the loser...truly hours of fun.

Picasso yearned for such fun but his anti-capitalist spin on life cut the joy out of most everything. He finally sank completely back into anti-American sentiments when we brought our dog Roxy into the house. Immediately Picasso protested. In defiance of house rules, he began throwing litter from his cage. This action caused him to be relegated to one of the back bedrooms. Cut-off from the mainstream, he began calling himself Che and calling for the death of his oppressors.


Nevertheless we'll always remember the good times with Picasso and his loud chirp that when translated meant, "Even though your lettuce has been picked by my exploited illegal immigrant cousins, give me more. Because I don't know what you infidels put in it...but I crave it nightly."


Let me get my glasses so I can proof read this bef@re I send it out.

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