Sunday, May 27, 2012

Guess Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience, but when I was about ten years old, a wolf would come to my bedside at night.  He wasn’t the sort of wolf that howls at the moon and travels in packs.  He was the sort of wolf that walks upright on his hind legs, with a long snout and a dangling tongue dripping saliva.  In other words, he was the type that would occasionally get bit parts in Disney cartoons.   He didn’t watch me from my closet, or from across the room.  He would come right up to my head, sit on his haunches so he was at eye-level, and stare at me.  What particular interest he had in me, I did not know, and he would not say; but I guessed it was the same interest that Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother with the big teeth had in her; which happened to be the same interest that the huffing  puffing pursuer of the three little pigs had in them. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dougy's Big Adventure

When we were kids, in the fifties (yes, I mean the nineteen-fifties) our parents used to say that my brother Doug was accident-prone.   What they meant was, he had a defective warning light.   In normal children, as you know, that light blinks in their brain just before they do something like jump from a moving vehicle, dive in an unfamiliar body of water, climb a rusty water tower, or otherwise endanger life or limb.  Doug’s warning light had evidently shorted-out in some dirty pond.
Our home in the NE Baltimore area called Overlea was on Powell Avenue, a dead end street, and we lived at the end of the dead part.  I know it sounds weird that a dead end street would be called an avenue, but I don’t make the rules, although, of course, I should.   Today our street would be described as a cul-de-sac, but this was back before America purchased the word cul-de-sac from the people of France.  I understand we got it for just $300 billion and Euro-Disney.  This is a lot more than we paid for the word chauffeur, picked up just before the war for next to nothing; but it’s quite a bit less than we paid for the word carte blanche, for which, I was told, we gave the French a veritable blank check. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Impossible Mission

When I was in high school in central Florida in the sixties, the Mission Impossible TV show was popular.   In the unlikely event that you aren’t aware of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), it was (or is) a secret band of government agents---so secret in fact, that if they were killed or captured, “the Secretary” would actually “disavow any knowledge of their actions.”  We were never quite sure who this secretary was, or why it would be such a big deal if she said she didn’t know what these guys were up to.  Now that I have a secretary, I understand how implausible it would be for one to claim no knowledge of her boss’ actions.  The secretary normally gets blamed for her boss’ screw ups.
Each member of the IMF was picked for his expertise in deactivating bombs, breaking into impregnable fortresses, or changing his appearance and voice so dramatically that he could trick a bad guy into thinking he was the bad guy’s mother.  This one came in handy.  Whenever they were out of ideas for how to stop a nasty foreign agent from detonating a nuclear weapon and starting the war to end all worlds, his mother would pop into his apartment, and he would casually mention to her, over lasagna, where he hid the bomb.  Then Mom would pull off her mask, the walls of his apartment would fall down, and the bad guy would discover that he was actually in the back of a truck on the way to a federal prison.