How are you? Hope all the excitement of the Wine Country RG didn't leave you with the perpetual turmoil of the pancreas or some other topical ailment. Sorry I couldn't be there. Jury duty. We respectable citizens were trying Jim McCool for wife beating, child abuse, and general uglity. Too bad we couldn't use "try" in the slaughterhouse sense of the word; we might have got a hundred pounds of lard and a tubful of cracklings out of him. As it was we didn't get anything. Judge Parker dismissed the charges when it turned out Deputy Neville Wong was so excited over having captured 350 pounds of raging bull that he read Jim his rights in Cantonese.
[quoteright]But old Casey, the retired ape who sleeps in my basement, was at the RG. He and my little sister Vernalee. They went with a couple of hippies who make costume jewelry out of used wine corks. Said they got a year's supply the first day. But that's all the news I got out of the hippies, and none out of my little sister Vernalee. She's close-mouthed until I do something she wants to gripe about. Lucky Casey was there. He gets around and socializes and tells me what he learns so I know things like what happened to Bob Steiner, and the secret life of Gareth Penn. No, I won't tell. This is not a gossip column. I will tell you that Casey didn't like the wine. Says it tasted like buffalo urine. Says the next time he goes to an RG he's going to bring along a few jars of raisinjack so he'll have something fit to drink.
Anyway, it's Happy Anniversary time again. What Anniversary? Why the anniversary of this letter from Mburg. Eight years ago I dropped you a line one day and it was printed in the May Intelligencer. May 1974.
Well, it wasn't exactly you I dropped that line to, it was Dick Amyx, but that don't make no nevermind. It may be a different Editor and a different publication, but it's still the anniversary of the Letter from Mburg. Just think, Gifted Children born that month are now reaching the full flower of Objectionability. If they haven't yet been terminated with extreme prejudice by family, friends, or neighbors, they are arriving at the age where they can really start driving people nuts.
Well, to change the subject before it gets out of hand, I'll donate a couple of items you can use the next time you play the Question and Answer game.
Q. What do you call a bowl of mashed potatoes that's gone sour?
Q. What do you call it when your doctor cuts off your laxative?
No, I don't believe my brain is any more scattered than usual, it's just spring, and the tulip tree's in bloom. You remember that poem of W. B. Yeats that goes:
"How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought.
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms.
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!"
Call it the "spring rut" if you want to, it's a fact of life.
But the tulip tree in bloom also means the tourist-blight cannot be far behind. Sad, isn't it, that the stunning beauty of the tulip tree serves only to remind us that the summer clang-bird with his ungifted progeny and fume-farting proliferation of internal combustion engines is about to descend upon our hapless heads, bringing poison gas for our lungs, cacaphony for our ears, and green money for our greedy little fingers.
I believe a more congenial harbinger of spring is the Technical Virgin, back from the southland with a reticule full of wampum and a head full of bawdy tales to tell. She says that slum area stretching south from Pismo Beach to the Mexican border is still there, unchanged and unchanging, still acrawl with con-artists, wastrels, chickenhawks, sodden winos, Jesus freaks, Birchers, movie-moguls, entertainers, ex-presidents, and other oddments of the slimeball culture which they invented and apparently intend to proliferate unto the end of time. "A land that has never been thought in," says Mencken. Breathing their air is like breathing hot lard, and eating their food is unheard of, yet they continue to seduce our sons and daughters, who disappear into their gas cloud and are never heard from again.
But our friend the Technical Virgin disappears into that gas cloud every year when the ice starts to form along the creek, and returns seemingly unharmed when the tulip-tree goes into its act. I think she's a lot tougher than your ordinary run-of-the-mattress streetwife. For instance she says she escaped going to jail this year by driving off in the police car. Says she was strolling around out in Yorba Linda sort of taking the evening air, when she was accosted by this harness bull in a prowl car. After patting her down very thoroughly, he put her in the back seat and went back to look along the roadway where he'd seen her flip her stash into the weeds. She crawled into the front seat and took off.
The cop popped a couple of caps after her, shot out one of his rear tires in fact, but she kept going. She drove to Cal State Fullerton and parked it in the college parking lot, called a cab, and went in to Placentia to check the action at the 7/11 Club. Says she didn't find out until the next day how much trouble she caused. Seems that after her cop shot out his own rear tire he used his portable radio to put out an APB. A nearby policeman in a prowl car heard the call and squirted out to help his fellow officer in distress. Two college cops heard the call, saw the rescuer bugging out and, thinking he was the culprit, took off hot on his trail. A deputy Sheriff heard the call, spotted three speeding vehicles headed his way, parked his car as a road block and neatly shot out the front tire of the leader. That was the patrolman heading out to the rescue. He hurriedly abondoned his vehicle and fled into the tall timber just before his vehicle was demolished by the two college cops bringing up the rear.
All's well that ends.
The same to you,
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