1/11/13 How Far Do Nuts Fall from the Tree?

Apparently, not too far.

We all knew Canaan, my 23 year old son, was talented . . . we just had yet to discover what those talents were. Charm, wit, affability, unfailingly loyal, an easy graceful manner – it was easy to discern these, but, arguably, they aren’t really talents, I suppose; they are mannerisms . . . gifts, but mannerisms.

But now something has been revealed which had heretofore been occluded by those very things mentioned above. He published this story on FaceBook the other day. It is worthy of publishing here. His FaceBook post was unedited. Here, his story is in the hands of a (somewhat) capable editor. The story’s edited form is published below.

          Kitty Kitty

©2013 Canaan Christopher Sharp

I am working at a generator plant in Greenwood, Mississippi, this week, as I often work in different locations. One of the joys I have working at this said plant is a cat simply known as “Kitty Kitty”. Kitty Kitty is extremely friendly and easy to get along with. I pet him often when he comes to visit me in my tiny portion of the vast plant. He comes to say, “Hey!” about 2 or 3 times a day. He has a trick where he stands on his back legs so I can reach his head to pet him (that just how nice this cat is).

Well, that’s all dandy, but I’m somewhat allergic to cats. Usually my eyes will become engulfed in flames if I pet them (exaggeration) but my eyes will burn, water and itch intensely. For some reason today they didn’t burn, making me think Kitty Kitty was a miracle cat.

I got off work and chilled at the motel room for a while, enjoyed “My Cousin Vinny” (great movie), then my tummy rumbled. It was dinner time. I found myself craving breakfast, so I went to Waffle House, sat down, and ordered my food. I was waiting for it; then it hit me. My right eye was itching and burning and my left eye was watering profusely. From experience, I knew not to rub the itchy eye because that would only make it worse. As I cursed Kitty Kitty under my breath, I closed my left eye and started violently blinking my right eye. After about 3 minutes of gritted tooth, angry blinking it was over . . . and I could see again.

I realized I had been staring at a police officer who was waiting to pay for his food and he had the most creeped out, bewildered look on his face as if he had just watched an exorcism. At this point I was thinking that this police officer had just seen me chanting, “Damn you, Kitty Kitty,” while rocking back and forth holding my left eye shut and winking directly at him violently for at least 30-60 seconds, possibly more . . . not to mention the waiter beside me who said simply, “Dude! You good?”

All I could muster in reply was, “Yes. Ha! Cats!” with which he let out an awkward laugh of discomfort and walked away.

Damn you, Kitty Kitty.

Now, tell me that didn’t stir up a funny mental image. Yes sir, that nut fell pretty close to the tree.

One can write about anything. Anything at all. One can even write about writing, or not being able to. One just has to write. To be funny, one can take the mundane, ordinary things and move them towards ridiculous, exploring all the various scenarios that could develop, letting the reader’s imagination take them where it will from the images the writer suggests with words. After all, don’t the best writers paint images for us using words as the colors and washes on their palette?

The funniest stories are always the ones we tell on ourselves.

By the way, Canaan was born nearly ten years after I married his mother. Today is our anniversary. We have been married for thirty-three years today, January 11, 2013.

I also went to see Hemosapien on Wednesday. A few indications, already known, have suggested the need for a CT scan. I am off week after next to drink the Barium cool-aid, then enjoy some brief, but high radiation, after which the radiologists will look and see if I have more enlarging lymph nodes. This was not unexpected. Things are changing in my body, and it bears watching . . . that’s all at this time . . . just watching.

In the meantime, I expect to get some more funny stories from the other writers in this family. I think we are all becoming writers. I use a full size keyboard. Piper and Canaan seem to enjoy using their iPhone. I will write on my iPhone, too, but only under protest.

Happy New Year, everyone, if I haven’t already told you so in person.

12/21/12 Today’s the Day the World Ends

The world is definitely ending today. Well, it is ending for about 153,319.64 people. The World Health Organization says that on average, 56,000,000 deaths occur worldwide every year. Since I don’t want to include or miscalculate for a leap year, I decided I would divide the annual death number by 365.25. That’s 153,319.64. I guess the .64 person is just really sick, perhaps having eaten some bad spinach, or maybe some bad sardines, and has a mere 36% chance of recovery. I can’t be sure. I am speculating about that person. The other 153,319 need no speculation. The world will end for them. It will be over. December 21,2012 will definitely have world ending consequences for them.

What about the rest of us? Well, the world won’t end for the rest of us, but some of us are in the 153,319. Is it you? Is it me? Is it both of us? Hmmmm! I don’t think it’ll be me, but you won’t know for sure until I write about my survival on December 22. And then, I can’t be sure that you will be here to read my writing if I am alive to write it because you could have been one of the number to fail to make it through the day. If we both go, how will you know that I went, too? I won’t be able to report on it and if I did, you won’t be able to read about it. We will have become statistics, and I have been told by those who collect statistics that I don’t want to become one. It is never good to be part of someone else’s statistical compilation.

Ol’ Clyde, the sportsman’s sportsman became a statistic back in November. You remember him. His funeral was handled by Bubba’s Bait Shop and Funeral Home. I nearly went to his funeral, all because I wanted a coke and a bag of potato chips. According to some, cokes and potato chips will soon make a statistic out of me. It could do so today. If it does, you can tell your friends, “Those cokes and chips got him.” You can tell them, that is, if you are still here.

There’s lots of folks that aren’t here anymore. It seems the older I get the more of them I know. That’s a remarkable thing. I wonder about it since speculation is not really useful here. It is what it is. I can remember a time earlier in my life when no one that I knew had ever died. Since then, many people have done so, some of them with not so much as a goodbye or any apparent reason. I heard about a man this happened to one time.

When I lived in Jackson, Mississippi, there was a clerk in a run-down convenience store near where I worked. One would never stop at this particular store at night, or even be in that part of town at night unless one was after something that was for sale at the store, but not by the store. After lunch one day, a co-worker and me braved stopping in there so he could get a pack of cigarettes. This particular store mostly dealt in quarts of beer and Newport cigarettes. They did not have the Benson and Hedges that my colleague wanted, so he opted for the Newports, saying, “One kind will kill you just as quick as the other, I suppose.”

At this, the clerk waxed philosophical . . . poignantly philosophical. He twirled the goatee on his chin, looked off into the distance, and recalled, as if seeing an angelic vision, “You know, I knew a man one time. He was a good man. He didn’t smoke. He didn’t drink. He didn’t chase women. He didn’t do nothin’ wrong. Then one day, he just up and died.” He shook his head sadly at all the things he, himself, might hate to miss out on by dying before he could complete his appointed rounds. My friend and I shared in what seemed to be his grief for a moment, his remembrance of this good man and his apparently pointless death. The clerk recovered and said, “You know, when I go, I wanna  have a reason. I want them to say something kilt me. I don’t want to just die for no reason at all.”

We all burst out laughing, shocked from our sharing of his apparent sadness and surprised by the humor of his statement. Though he laughed with us, I could tell that it wasn’t really a joke to him. He was determined to engage in those vices he enjoyed until his friends would be able to say that they finally caught up with him and kilt him dead. That was the way he wanted it. That’s the way he would have it. A pointless life was to die for no apparent reason. By golly, he would have a reason. He would see to it. No one would ever to be able to say about him, “He didn’t do nothin’ wrong, he just died.”

I stopped in that store several times after that. As soon as I walked into the store the clerk and I would start grinning at each other, recalling the conversation. One day, they closed the store down and he was no more to be seen. I have often speculated about him. I have wondered about him. I reckon if he’s not dead yet, he’s still chasing those things that are likely to kill him. I suspect he’s not wasting any time on things that are not likely to kill him. He would think there’s no fun in that.

But he could be dead. Something may have killed him. Then again, he could have just died for no apparent reason in spite of his best efforts. I don’t know, nor do I have any reason to think so. I can only speculate. I can only wonder. The place where he worked is now a part of Jackson that looks like a fire-bombed Dresden after World War II. That part of the city certainly died. Maybe he died with it. I hope not. I am choosing to think not. But I don’t know. If he is alive, I doubt he’s reading this, but he could be. If so, I wish he’d drop me a line. I’ll more than likely drop dead before I get that note. I could drop dead for no apparent reason of from a multitude of them.

Me? I’m still here. Nothing has kilt me yet, though a couple of things tried their best. I was better than them, with the help of others, this time. Maybe next time it will be different. If so, my friends will be able to tell folks what kilt me, since I won’t be here to write about it.  I’ve certainly gotten to the age where I think that had I known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. We all get there if we live long enough.

I hope you pass a peaceful and joyful day, today, December 21, 2012, the Winter Solstice. Maybe it won’t be the day the world ends for either of us. Some will be less fortunate. At least, being the Winter Solstice, it’ll be the shortest day of the year. That should be of some comfort.

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