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Flogging the dinosaur

Flailed around on May 1, 2022.

Stray a few miles from Truth or Consequences and there you will find an Elephant Butte. You will not, however, find any actual elephants there: All the dinosaurs from the next town over ate them. At one point, the town had an entire flock of oliphaunts—old-fashioned elephants—but they packed up and left in 1971 when President Nixon took us off the gold standard. Inflation had turned into “stagflation,” they called it, but here in Elephant Butte, it was known more commonly as “elephlation.”

But enough history lessons: This bløg is about the present, not the past. For example, I spent this very afternoon gleefully pressing the “nCr” and “nPr” keys on my old scientific calculator, my two favorite keys on the thing. When that began to bore me, I dug my old Speak & Spell out of the closet and played with that instead. If my paper shredder hadn’t been in the shop I would have amused myself teasing it for a while. But I had to make do with what I had, lest I go mad from boredom.

The weather report predicted rain. No rain came. Instead it’s been day-old pizza with superhero stickers. I carefully lifted the pepperoni from each slice of pizza, gulped down the little discs of spicy joy, and discarded the congealed remnants of the pizza like yesterday’s socks. The gnomes in my hamper would appreciate the snack.

My obsession with using ice cubes in pairs, always starting from the left side of the tray, was met with ruin this morning when a third ice cube fell from the tray due to my ham-fisted attempts to handle it while simultaneously gripping a large spiral ham in each hand. The first two cubes made it into my pepperoni tea, but the third cube landed on the floor. I stared forlornly at it. It lay there on its side, waiting to die. The fluorescent orange traffic cone of failure was staring me in the face again. I shrugged, kicked the cube under the refrigerator, and moobled back to my carpacious living room.

A neighbor was out walking his dinosaur. I watched him from my over-sink, between-cabinet window. (The one in the kitchen: Didn’t I write that I returned to my kitchen? To check on that poor ice cube? Well, I did. And it was gone. The gnomes must’ve snuck out from behind my reinforced wainscoting and stolen it!) I continued watching the neighbor—I think his name was Digdorb—as his dinosaur stopped to piddle on a hydrant. I wish I had a dinosaur—which I would take for a walk each day.

Are my nostrils getting bigger? Sometimes I wonder. I’m sure I’m not the only one (…who wonders).

On Friday, I was elated: I won a battle with a fresh bottle of light cream. Due to the ongoing cow shortage (the cows are on strike after demanding $18/hour and shorter milking hours), the local dairy farms have replaced their cows with robots that make milk out of water, chalk, and glue, and cheese out of rubber, dyed orange or yellow. After mistakenly buying a carton of this “malk-based dairy product” and even worse, mistakenly consuming it, I decided enough was enough (and enough is still enough!) and started shopping at a different grocery store. Their dairy products look real. Even the cardboard cartons and plastic wrappers look real. But there was one small problem: The caps on their bottles and cartons have these curious little nubbles on the threading that cause the caps to lock in place, like a childproof medicine bottle.

Being a curiously oversized child myself, knowing no childproof bottle could withstand this child’s determination and wrath, and remembering the old saw “any tool can be used as a hammer,” after a couple hours of gripping, grasping, gasping, confusion, disorientation, and furniture and drywall destruction, I was able to force the cap off, rend the cardboard carton open, and coerce the whole now-crumpled assemblage to disgorge its white, creamy contents.

I chootled triumphantly. Most Americans may not be able to win a battle against their own housecats, but I could still give a bottle of cream a good lickin’ and keep on tickin’. I hooted, tooted, high-faluted, and even made otherworldly screech-owl noises until someone threw a block of pepperoni at me. I sure taught that bottle of cream a lesson, all right! Yet my overly strident pedagogy meant I had no light cream to dunk my pepperoni in—and I needed a few new couches and walls now, too.

I ignored my predicament, confident that the couches and walls would grow back by next week anyway.

“Mmm, lead(II) acetate, breakfast of champions!” I complimented the new breakfast cereal I purchased along with this “real” light cream. I wasn’t sure why they were fortifying these new “Cap’n Cranch” corn puffs with such exotic vitamins, but if it was good enough to drive ancient Romans and modern industrial workers mad with heavy-metal poisoning, it was good enough for me. I dove in face-down, like a dog slobbering over a bowl of kibble.

The first bite reminded me why I’ve sworn off all foods except pepperoni for the past three months. But I was out of pepperoni, and the shredded football skins in plastic sausage casings that the Spend-O-Mart was now passing off as “100% ‘genuine’ ‘pepperoni’ may have been 100% genuine something, but a pile of poo was a genuine pile of poo, too, yet not something I wanted to eat. At least not until I was off my omnipepperonial diet. And to make matters worse (matters are always made worse), I had already picked all the pepperoni from my backyard pepperoni bushes this month. There wouldn’t be any fresh pepperoni dangling from those bushes for another few weeks.

So what was a Pnårp to do?

I remembered I had neighbors. And they had refrigerators—refrigerators filled to the brim with sweet, sweet sticks of genuine pepperoni.

When I escaped from custody again, I returned immediately to the palatial residence that sat squat and dignified at 229B Bouillabaisse Boulevard. (First, I had returned to 233 Bouillabaisse Boulevard, but that jerk recognized me immediately and threw a dented refrigerator door at me.) When I approached my front door, my eyes widened and I held back a shrill yerk: Someone had painted a series of shocking yet comical insults on my door using what appeared to be mustard!

Not knowing what to do next, I started yerking, shrilly and at the top of my clavicle. No one stopped and stared. Off in the distance, not even a single dog barked. Finally gathering myself after 71 seconds (and seven thirds), I had the answer: I scurried rat-like into my house and returned with a bottle of catsup. “Whoever did this—I’ll show him!” I cackled, even more rat-like, and proceeded to scribble my own comical insults in bright red atop the existing bright yellow. One good insult deserves another, and thirty of them deserve thirty rejoinders: After an hour I had made an even worse mockery of myself upon my front door than the mustardy miscreant had.

Then I went indoors.

I once knew a man who thought it amusing to walk up to random houses, bottle of mustard in hand, and squirt greetings on people’s doors in elegant cursive. His mother had named him after the family dog, which may have contributed to his antisocial temperament and puerile juvenility. (His father named him after the family horse.) After a disastrous homophoning accident caused him to squirt a bottle of mouse turd at the front door of 229B Bouillabaisse Boulevard, he stopped. The irate homeowner had come storming out, frothing at the nose, wall-eyed with rage, and conked the man over the head with a briefcase of goat turds—which may have contributed to the man’s cessation of his mustardly salutations.

The man’s name was Peter Pfister-Fassbinder, and he was only known for two things: His unnatural acts involving dinoflagellates and most intriguingly, the invention of Futurama futanari. But to recant these bizarre tales would be beyond the scope of this week’s happenings-to, much like reminiscing about finding those paper towels in a dog’s butt that one day. If only it had been the Pfister-Fassbinder family dog, it might be relevant, but it wasn’t, so it isn’t, so this paragraph is essentially over with… unless you feel it hasn’t assaulted you enough and would like it to go on some more. (Would you?)

My occasional misunderstanding that “dinoflagellates” involves flogging a dinosaur may have contributed to one of the aforementioned revolting tales. It also contributed 0.15 °C to global warming in 2012. My own endothermic flatulence contributed −0.16 °C the same year, so in this one small sense, I am not a net loss to the world. Except that time in 1986 when I, then holding down a cafeteria job at the local high school, lost my hair net in the vat of horse testicles…