JANUARY 1, 2003
THE COUNTRY CORNER
A pet shop in Chile has opened a car wash for dogs. Dirty dogs enter a tunnel on a conveyer belt, which takes them through a wash and rinse cycle, then past groomers who do their ears and nails, and finally through a blow drying tunnel. "We have had an excellent response," said the owner of Dogwash, Javier Fresard, who pipes classical music into the tunnel to help dogs relax. "On hot days we take in around 30."
A lady walks into the welfare office in the hill country of West Virginia trailed by 15 kids.
"WOW," the social worker exclaims, "Are they ALL YOURS???"
"Yes, they're all mine," the tired mother sighs, having heard that question a thousand times before.
"Well," says the social worker," then you must be here to sign up. I'll need all their names."
"This one is my oldest-he's Leroy."
"OK, and who's next?"
"Well, this one's Leroy, also."
The social worker raises an eyebrow but continues. One by one, through the oldest four, all boys, all named Leroy. Then she is introduced to the eldest girl, also named Leroy!
"All right...I'm seeing a pattern here...Are they ALL named Leroy?"
"Well, yes. It's actually really convenient. When it's time for dinner, I just yell 'Leroy!' and they all come running. And if I need to stop the kid who's running into the street, I just yell 'Leroy' and the kid, whoever he is, stops in his tracks. It's the smartest idea I ever had, naming them all Leroy"
The social worker thinks this over for a bit, then wrinkles her forehead and says tentatively, "But what if you just want ONE kid to come, and not the whole bunch?"
"Ah, that's easy," said the mother. "Then I call them by their last name."
A guy was sitting in an airplane when another guy took the seat beside him. The new guy was a wreck, pale, hands shaking,
biting his nails and moaning in fear.
"Hey, pal, what's the matter?" said the first guy.
"I've been transferred to Los Angeles, California," he answered nervously. "They've got race riots, drugs, the highest crime rate in the country..."
"Hold on," said the first. "I've been in L.A all my life, and it's not bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, enroll your kids in a good school and it's as safe as anywhere in the world."
The second guy stopped shaking for a moment and said, "Oh, thank God. I was worried to death! But if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your word for it. By the way, what do you do for a living?"
"Me?" said the first, "I'm a tail gunner on a bread truck."
Back in the cowboy days, a westbound wagon train was lost and low on food. No other humans had been seen for days. And then they saw an old
Jew sitting beneath a tree. The leader rushed to him and said, "We're lost and running out of food. Is there some place ahead where we can get food?
"Vell," the old Jew said, "I vouldn't go up dat hill und down other side.
Somevun told me you'll run into a big bacon tree."
"A bacon tree?" asked the wagon train leader.
"Yah, ah bacon tree. Trust me. For nuttin vud I lie."
The leader goes back and tells his people that if nothing else,
they might be able to find food on the other side of the next ridge. "So why did he say not to go there?" some pioneers asked.
"Oh, you know those Jews -- they don't eat bacon." So the wagon
train goes up the hill and down the other side. Suddenly, Indians attack and massacre everyone except the leader, who manages to escape back to the old Jew, who's enjoying a "glassel tea."
The near-dead man starts shouting. "You fool! You sent us to our deaths! We followed your instructions, but there was no bacon tree. Just hundreds of Indians, who killed everyone."
The old Jew holds up his hand and says "Oy, vait a minute." He
then gets out an English-Yiddish dictionary, and begins thumbing through it.
"Gevalt, I made myself ah big mistake. It vuz not a bacon tree, it vuz a ham bush!"
Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 . instead of 7:30.
Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
"Oh, Jason, take me!"; she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.
He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame - maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.
It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
Copyright 2000 Claude Dern, All Rights Reserved
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