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How I got my start

How I got my start

I was a nervous kid. Everything bothered me. It got so bad that one time a leaf landing on the ground next to me gave me the shiver-me-timbers for a week.
My parents had enough and took me to see our family physician Dr. Flawbers, and he recommended, “Just Like Dad!” brand candy cigarettes. He showed me how to smoke them, and the sensation of the sugary smoke calmed my little kid nerves. Suddenly nothing rattled me anymore.
But then what happened was I sweat sweet sweat that night while sleeping, and I was carried away by a pack of ants to their lair, and when I woke up inside the ant colony I developed claustrophobia and was a wreck again.
I managed to get free, wrote about my adventures, and sent the manuscript to Highlights kid’s magazine. They published it under the title, My Astounding Night in the Ant Trenches!, which got made into an ABC movie of the week starring Danny Bonaduce from the Partridge Family.

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The ballad of Timothy the Turtle

The ballad of Timothy the Turtle

When I was five, the local zoo went under and they had a close out sale, and my parents bought me my favorite amphib, Timothy the Turtle. Timothy and I were inseparable. He was the only soul alive that understood me. I used to whisper to that lovely turtle my biggest secrets, and he would grunt and hiss his sympathies.

One day I decided to run away from home and I hopped on Timothy the Turtle’s back, with a stick and a carrot. I held it in front of Timothy, just far enough out of reach for snacking to get him to hightail it in pursuit of the juicy veggie. Timothy gave chase, but after a minute, he’d had enough and turned around and bit my ankle.

My parents sold him to the local Hormel food processing plant and he was made into soup. I was given a can of that soup, and I kept it on my dresser next to my bed. At night I would whisper my secrets to the can. I still have it. It’s a little rusted.

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Sometimes I need advice

Sometimes I need advice

I felt stuck in my life and went to seek advice from the Big Rock. You get to The Big Rock by walking for three and a half miles through the South end of Boundary Tree Park.

As I walked, I was suddenly joined by Filger the Squirrel. Filger asked if I was going to talk with The Big Rock. I said I was. Filger said she was just as good as The Big Rock, maybe even better, and I couldn’t go wrong by asking her my question instead. I stopped and asked my question to Filger the Squirrel. Filger thought about it and said she didn’t have an answer. So I went on walking by myself.

On the way I came upon Small Rock. Small Rock is a fist-sized rock wedged between the dirt and a Eucalyptus tree root. Small Rock doesn’t speak words but hums. You can ask Small Rock a question, but the answer will be a hum and you have to interpret it, and my experience is if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I don’t have the capacity for interpretation. So I nodded at Small Rock and kept walking.

A little further along the path, I came upon Bousim the Bobcat. Bousim was laying underneath a mulberry bush. I stopped to pet Bousim’s head. Bousim started to purr. The purr calmed me somewhat. But not enough, and I kept walking.

A few hundred yards up I met up with a forest fire. The forest fire glared at me. I nodded and winked. The forest fire smiled and parted so I could pass through. There’s something about a nod and a wink that reduces the chance for mayhem.

Finally I came to The Big Rock. There were a few others in a line ahead of me. A cartoon dog, 2 rabbis, and a hardback copy of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I whistled while I waited. I’m a good whistler. I actually get paid to whistle for large crowds at auditoriums around the world. I said “actually” because I still can’t believe it.

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All due to the generosity of Eugenia

All due to the generosity of Eugenia

When I was born, Great Great Grandmother Eugenia Palmer bequeathed me a pot of gold. Even the pot was gold. Rather than have to wait until I was 21 in order to spend any of the booty, she said that I was free to spend the gelt from that moment forward.

On the way home from the hospital, with my arms around the pot of gold, I babbled as I held up a gold coin and pointed out the window at Spouser’s Pizza Parlor. My dad parked in their lot, and my mom and dad brought me in. I didn’t know how to read yet, so the waitress brought me a kid’s menu with just pictures of the pizzas. I pointed to a pineapple sausage pizza. The pizza was served, and I had my first bite. The taste made me gurgle with delight. Much of the pizza ended up on my bib, table, and floor, but my first meal was worth it. I paid the waitress with the gold coin. She tried to give me the change, but I bawled, and she thanked me.

As my dad drove home, I held up gold coins and cooed at the Fur Vault Emporium. My dad parked in their lot, and we all went in. I bought myself a Mink fur baby’s blankie. It was so soft and cushy! With crayons I drew a picture of my dad’s car with fur. The salesman understood and while we waited, they upholstered my dad’s car with Mink upholstery.

Driving towards home, I let out high-pitched shrieks as the car hit a number of potholes. I shook the pot of gold and pointed to an asphalt shop. My dad pulled in and my parents brought me to the general manager. I pointed towards the road, made a spitting sound, and held up a handful of gold coins. The general manager said it would take two weeks to pave the entire street.

My parents and I got a hotel room at the Ramada Hotel across the street and stayed in the penthouse for the fourteen days. During the first night of our stay, I didn’t like the sleeping cot, so through a series of wild animal gestures on my part, my dad understood, and made a call. Within three hours, a crib with a mattress made of Dodo bird feathers was delivered.

The next morning, while watching a cartoon show with bad reception, I emitted a piercing screech, and through my precocious ability to charade, gave my mom and dad instructions to bring the entire cast of the musical Jingle Bells, Batman Smells to our room to perform their production. I dribbled, holding up handfuls of coins for them to repeat the show 14 times.

At the end of our stay at the Ramada, I paid for our room with the last of the gold. We drove home on the new freshly paved road. It was sooo smooth.

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Way Back

Way Back

I remember when we first met a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. I was a photon and you were a neutrino, and as we hurtled, we talked about the matter we were hoping to one day form into. You wanted to become cheese fries. I wanted to be a finger scratching an itch.