Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome To Sixth Heaven, Cloud Eight

Good Eternity! I'm angel Steve, Marketing Manager and Guest Services Director here at SixEight. I trust you'll find everything here quite perfect--God knows you deserve it. Now I realize you're still a bit disoriented from the move, it's only natural, or, as you'll begin to realize, a bit SUPERnatural. That's our motto here at SixEight, by the way, we put the super in natural! Yes indeed, SixEight, not quite the SevenNine everybody hears about, but Heaven nonetheless; you made it! Congratulations. Well, now sure, a little disappointment is only natural, but I'm certain that in a few short eons you'll get over that. Just about every soul here--including us angels--has gone through the initial sense of disappointment, chagrin even, but trust me, SixEight is indeed paradise. Now remember how you felt when the Paris honeymoon plans didn't quite come to fruition? But then you discovered that for honeymoon purposes the Poconos ended up being, well, quite rock'n'roll indeed? Yes we know, and no, don't worry, there is no blushing in Heaven, no matter the cloud. Anyway, just relax and take in some of the more obvious amenities to help you get situated. No, those are mandolins. The harps are reserved for, yes, that's right, SevenNine. Hey, there are no rivalries, no envy here throughout the entire seven-tiered Heaven, thank God, but, um, really, entre nous, harp music? Eternity? Dwell on that for a millennium or two. Hunh? Mandolins is where it's at, we all believe. Again, not to disrespect or anything, but at FourThree? Glockenspiels. You'd have thought Lucifer would have taken all those before he took the plunge. Yes, I, know him. Knew him. Quite charming in his way, obviously. Anyway,  let's see, over here, why yes, that is a tree. No, no, pluck away. No shortages here. Plenty of bacon trees for everybody. I prefer the crispier ones, just beyond that next puff there. Well, no, sorry, no streams of scotch here. That's a good one. Just gravy rivulets. Well, yes, indeed, SevenNine's shower heads are adjustable in that way; I prefer the massaging gin setting myself. Well we angels get cloud leave every epoch or two. Well, what can I say? It's SevenNine, after all. Trust me, though, by the end of my vacation--every time--I am more than ready to get back to SixEight. Because, well, SixEight is just more relaxed, homey, you know? SevenNine's just a bit too starchy and, well, anal for my tastes. How does angel Gary--you'll meet him soon enough, he's our activities director, well, sure, all sorts of fun stuff--anyway, as Gary likes to say after he returns from his cloud leave, "You can take the life away from a martyr--sometimes all too easily--but you can never take the martyr complex away from the martyr." Nuff said, hunh, hunh? Anyhoo, let me just let you wander around for a few decades and get used to the lay of the cloud, your neighboring souls, the whole, gosh, heavenly aura--whoo, low bridge, duck!--ha ha, that's SixSix, a bit rambunctious that cloud. Look, you'll love it. Relax, enjoy, it's home. Now I'm off to my daily coffee with Job. You know the conversation we've just had--why SixEight and not SevenNine? The one you'll soon realize is nonsense when you come to fully appreciate your place in Heaven? I've been having the same one with Job for a few thousand years now. Let me just say, not to complain, but for us angels, another day in paradise isn't always paradise; it's work. I earn that semi-epochly massaging gin shower, buddy. Ciao.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Moose Whisperer

Talcum Siemens prides himself on being the most adept moose whisperer in the state. Most folks'll grant him this and three or four adjoining counties, but as for the entire state, well, a fella named Harkness up near Butte might take offense to that claim. Only it ain't really whispering. More like cajoling, with a touch of secular seduction thrown in. Talcum, especially with three or four Coors in him--and most folks don't know any other kind of Talcum--don't whisper nothing, not even sweet nothings in his better half Gloria's ears, well, ear, the unsevered one. He a hollerer, what Filbert Octane says. But maybe that hollerin' cajolin' is what works best on a moose. Photographic evidence aside, not a one person I know can exorcise the ornery outta a moose quicker and more permanently than old Talcum. Filbert Octane says I'm speaking in Coors tongues everytime I tell the story, but I swear on my NRA lifetime membership I once witnessed Talcum command a moose to sit, beg for some jerky, and then roll over. He a shaman or whatnot, I tell Filbert; Filbert spits and say sham-man more'n'likely and you the shammee, Sistrunk. Filbert's envious of the world on account of his neck, or lack thereof.

Anyway, the picture. Yep. Since I was no more than boot high the Old Men round here grunt and say trust a moose, but never moose. As in meese, plural. They say it like they chanting something in church they been chanting and believing without thinking their whole lives. I expect Talcum is now a convert. Said he was drinking out back with Honey Dew, his all-time favorite moose, like usual whenever Gloria gets to unraveling her list of wifely demands. Honey Dew allegedly likes Olympia better, cording to Talcum, but all Talcum had in cooler was his usual Coors case, so Honey Dew condescended to hoist a few with Talcum. Nothing out of the ordinary, swears Talcum, just the usual repartee tween man and moose--Gloria's nagging, the price of gas from Talcum, derned ticks and those bastard Sasquatches from Honey Dew--and then Talcum gets up for a routine Coors drain and then--midstream--wham, Kryptonite, the one moose in these parts not on speaking terms with Talcum and who, cording to Talcum, is a bad influence on all the others--knocks him down and apparently out. Next thing he knows he wakes up on top of his truck, trussed, with who but Filbert Octane ("cahoots, I tell you, one hundred percent cahoots," Talcum raged later over a couple recuperative Coors in my smokehouse) snapping pictures while Kryptonite smirks behind the wheel. That's Kryptonite's protege Jimmy in the back with bottle. Honey Dew, sans beer, looking sheepish between the two, apologized like hell to Talcum afterward. Talcum's playing non-commital with his forgiveness at present, but he can't hold a grudge long on Honey Dew we all agree.

"Wait 'til bow-hunting season, Sistrunk. Wait 'til then," is about all Talcum will say these days. "Filbert Octane's gonna find out what's for."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Assorted Other Habits Of Mildly Effective People (R.I.P. Stephen Covey)

Far be it from me to allow all sorts of local, national, global events to stir me from my impromtu estivation, i.e. summer vacation, but farther be it from me not to honor the passing several days ago of an individual whose work has enriched me for years, self-help guru Stephen Covey. I can't say I've ever read (rather self-evident) Mr. Covey's magnum opus, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but in my many years of selling books, I sure have sold my fair share of them, so many I bet, that undoubetdly Mr. Covey is responsible for a percentage or three of my GIP. Thank you, sir.

And so it is that I now consider the death of another cultural icon with mixed emotions: sad at the demise, gleeful with anticipation of the treasure trove of goodies bound to be unloosed--the outtakes, the alternate versions, the early drafts, the never-deemed-fit-for-publication scribbles. The assorted supposed ephemera that will allow us fans to fully judge the scope of the artist and give us a glimpse at the particular mechanics of genius. And farthest be it from me not to indulge my warped imagination and speculate here just what some of those outtakes are. If I know my book retail business, I'm sure it will be only a matter of months before we see something akin to the following.

23 Miscellaneous Habits/Predilections of Mildly Effective Folks
  1. Two-week vacations, not two-month.
  2. Avoid self-help books.
  3. It's very easy to master the skill of putting your pants on two legs at a time; do it.
  4. While stopping to smell the roses, sample the begonias as well, they're quite a treat.
  5. Full commitment to the intricate gesture/comment of firmly gripping a person's shoulder, looking him or her directly in the eyes, nodding your head with a tight-lipped quarter-smile, and blithely, though with just a hint of gravity, saying, "But of course," will keep all the crazies you encounter in their place.
  6. More ketchup, less mustard.
  7. "Watch your parking meters," is a bit extreme; read instead, "Keep an eye out for parking meters."
  8. The grass is always greener where the water bill is higher.
  9. Transform aphorisms into habits/predilections.
  10. Accost, verbally, maybe even fistily, those who crutch themselves on "It is what it is." A little, "Well, for starters, your nose ain't what it used to is," can go miles for the both of you.
  11. A bird in the hand is silly, unless you're in England.
  12. Bring nothing to the table except a better table. A swivel chair is pretty good too.
  13. Number the list after writing it to guard against artificial padding and hair-pulling.
  14. Declare the damn thing unplayable, take your punishment, and get on with it. There are no heroes on a golf course; only survivors.
  15. Respect the Sun, woo the Moon, and always cover Uranus.
  16. Dot your t's and cross your i's sometimes, just to keep the bastards guessing.
  17. Good fences might make good neighbors, but inviting them to your all-night party cements the relationship.
  18. A well-climbed tree begs no hugging.
  19. Clothes do not make the man, but they sure can un-make him.
  20. Austen to impress, Bronte (Emily, duh) to court, E.L. James to score.
  21. Blackjack to wield, not to play.
  22. Get a good night's sleep any hour of the day.
  23. Blog more often.