The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Narrowing the way, or the shad run, whichever you think more important

The American shad is a pelagic fish, which I understand has nothing to do with the fourth century heresiarch Pelagius or his denial of the orthodox Christian doctrine of original sin, a belief that led St. Jerome to call Pelagius an ignorant liar stuffed with Irish porridge, amongst other negative things, and everything to do with the American shad’s preference for living in the open sea far from the sight of land, where calls from telemarketers, bill collectors, and mooching relatives need never trouble them.  Living in the open sea is a good thing; I’m sure the shad think so or they wouldn’t bother living there, given the property taxes out in that neck of the woods, but every year the American shad wearies of this near idyllic existence and gather together in great schools several hundred thousand strong and then head for the rivers and estuaries of North America’s eastern coast like so many Rotarians, Elks, Odd Fellows, or the fraternal organization of your choice going to their organization’s annual convention in Las Vegas.  The shad head for the East Coast of America for pretty much the same reason that our Rotarians et al go to Vegas—sex—although the shad make less of a song and dance about their reasons for heading for shore. The shad, after all, are not leaving the little lady behind to keep the home fires burning; nope, the old ball and chain is going with the guys and aims to have just as much fun whooping it up as they do.  There’ll be no sexual double standards here, thank you very much; this is a Democratic Party stronghold and don't you forget it, buster.

For those of us who live near a river on the eastern coast of the United States, and yes, this category includes me, the arrival of the shad is one of the great signs of spring, along with allergies, baseball season, gnats, and having to do your income taxes, and no sooner does the shad run commence than the highways and byways of our happy little burg become lined to the danger point with cars, vans, pickup trucks, SUVs, and such other conveyances that will hold truly prodigious amounts of fishing equipment.  This annual invasion of dedicated sportsmen is annoying in the extreme for those of us who live here, as our Izaak Walton wannabes seldom bother to look both ways when crossing the streets.  What’s worse, or at least I think so, is that these people apparently believe that carrying a fishing rod and a tackle box conveys upon them some form of immunity from the vehicle and traffic laws of the Vampire State as well as an exemption from the laws of physics.  So if any of you people, and you know who you are, are reading this, please be aware that waving your fishing rod at my thirteen year old Ford will not stop the car dead in its tracks; fishing rods are by no stretch of the imagination magic wands and this trick will no more work with my car than it will with a locomotive coming down the line.  Except, of course, if I run you down, you know the law says it’s my fault, no matter how stupid you were, whereas if the train hits you and smears your dumb carcass over a mile of railroad track scores of people, including me, will read your obituary and mock you for trying to stop a locomotive with a fishing rod, and we will be happy that you have chosen to remove yourself from the gene pool.  Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life to improve the species.  It’s a small victory, but they add up, you know, yes they do.

Arterialscerlosis is the order of the day on the Internet these days as well and I trust I didn’t hurt your neck with that segue to another subject, but I cannot help but notice the increasing narrowing of the information superhighway.  For example, whenever I go online I must face a plethora of ads that promise to teach men fifty years old and over, yet another category that includes me, unfortunately, Spanish, French, and/or Italian with one simple trick.  I know why this is happening; I have been going to my local public library and using the online French language program to teach myself a little bit of the language in preparation for a proposed expedition to the City of Light later this year.  I have not been studying the language assiduously—I do nothing assiduously, I fear, except whine about my fate to all and sundry—and I can categorically state that after two and a half hours of not very intensive study my French is somewhat less good than my Spanish, a language that I have not been studying assiduously since high school.  So I guess there’s hope for me yet. Also, I am not sure that this trip is even possible at this point, and to paraphrase Will Rogers, I am wasting no time on a prospect.

In any case, these cyberlinguistic Burma-Shave signs promising me deliverance from the drudgery of learning French irregular verb conjugations with one simple trick invariably come with a photo of an attractive young lady of uncertain national origin whose primary assets are her nice looks, her nice smile, and her overly impressive bosom, which I do not understand, since everything about this young lady is designed to make me forget the various conjugations of avoir (to have) faster than I learned them. I therefore suspect that she is not the one simple trick the advertisers promise I can use to unlock my inner Cyrano de Bergerac; if she were, then Hugh Hefner would, by definition, be able to speak all the living languages of the Earth and most of the dead ones, including Pictish and Akkadian, high school foreign language programs would require their students to read Playboy as homework from one end of this our Great Republic to the other, and Viagra would replace Ritalin and Prozac as the pedagogical drug of choice in the nation’s schools.  That Playboy is not required reading tells me that learning French and Spanish is more difficult than this one simple trick can handle and that the purpose of the young lady is to distract my attention while these jokers loot my checking account.  The thing, of course, is that I’m not fifteen anymore.  When I was fifteen this dodge would have worked in a New York minute; when most of your body weight is testosterone almost anything sounds sensible if presented in the right package; but a couple of generations have come and gone since high school, I fear, and most of my body weight is cholesterol now, a substance not nearly interesting as testosterone, as I am sure a good many people out there can verify.  Avoir, aurai, avais, ayant…I haven’t gotten the present tense yet, but I’m working on it.

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  • At 6:33 AM, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said…

    Learning French? Ye gods, what next? Accordion lessons?

  • At 2:28 PM, Blogger Akaky said…

    Accordions? Not likely. Accordions are the instruments of Satan. You can look it up, it's right there in the Bible.


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