By Art Kumbalek
But first, I be headed over to my favorite open-daily 23-hours and 59-minutes restaurant where a guy like me can get a jump-start on girding his loins in preparation for the day’s daily shit-storm to follow. Come along if you want, but you leave the tip. Let’s get going.
Bea: Hey there, Artie, nice to see you. What’s your pleasure?
Art: How ’bout a nice cup of the blackest, thickest and cheapest cup of whatever you’re calling plain-old American coffee today, thank you very kindly.
Bea: I’ve still got maybe a cup’s worth at the bottom of a pot from yesterday I could squeeze out for you, Artie.
Art: Nothing from last week left, Bea?
Bea: I’m afraid not, Artie.
Art: Then squeeze away, Bea. Squeeze away.
Bea: Can do, Artie. So what do you hear, what do you know.
Art: I know I’ve been reading a book called The Hidden Reality by some physical scientist who uses some fancy-schmancy mathematics to say there may be an infinite number of parallel universes where no possibility is inconceivable, even as we speak.
Bea: I wonder if there’s a universe where I work only 70 hours a week, make ends meet, can afford to get the health insurance, and know for sure that my Social Security will be there for me instead of for life-blood-sucking Wall Street bankers. That’s a universe I’d like to go to, Artie.
Art: That universe may exist, Bea. It would be the one with no Republicans. Natch’, the universe I’d most appreciate is where all the women are Marilyn Monroe and all the men are me.
Bea: Gary Cooper for me.
Art: I’d also like a universe where before the start of each session of Congress, by law they’re supposed to get the AV crew to set up a movie screen and watch Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.
Bea: How so, Artie?
Art: These in-the-corporate-pocket jag-wagons need to see the climactic courtroom scene where Longfellow Deeds is on trial for being nuts ’cause he inherited $20 million and wants to give it away to the needy. It’s when Deeds says this:
“From what I can see, no matter what system of government we have, there will always be leaders and always be followers. It’s like the road out in front of my house. It’s on a steep hill. Every day I watch the cars climbing up. Some go lickety-split up that hill on high, some have to shift into second, and some sputter and shake and slip back to the bottom again. Same cars, same gasoline, yet some make it and some don’t. And I say the fellas who can make the hill on high should stop once in a while and help those who can’t. That’s all I’m trying to do with this money. Help the fellas who can’t make the hill on high.”
Art: How ’bout you scoop me out another cup of that dark matter you’re calling plain old coffee there, Bea?
Bea: My pleasure. What kind of job do you think you’d have in a different universe, Artie?
Artie: Good question. I do know there are at least three jobs that right off the top of my head I know I’d never be able to pull off, no matter how hurting the market was. One: Astronaut—heights make me queasy. Two: Gondolier—my Italian sucks. Three: Head referee for the all-lady fan-focking-tabulous Lingerie Football League. And that’s because I’d be the most, and perhaps only, penalized football referee in history, let me count the ways: illegal use of the hands; offensive holding; extra man in the huddle; (p)ass interference; quick whistle on a run-up-the-middle turnover resulting in a play blown oh-so dead; and for those who enjoy a reverse Spoonerism—defensive interference on a fair catch of punt. Ba-ding-ding-ding!
Bea: You are a rascal, Artie.
Art: God bless you, Bea. So I got to run. Thanks for the coffee and for letting me bend your ear there, Bea—utiful. See you next time.
Bea: My pleasure, Artie. Always nice getting talked at by you. Take care.
(OK, off to the Uptowner, where dreams may be drowned but never die. If I see you there, then you buy me one ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)