First, let me present myself. I am, … well, … me. As far as I remember, I’ve always been me, myself, or I, depending on the context. Who did you think I am? The only reason I can tell you that I exist is because I had parents. Therefore, I must have been born. Frankly, I don’t recall being brought into this world, but since I am obviously here as you can attest to by reading this, then let’s get on with it, shall we?
You might ask, who is this mysterious fellow writing these words? Well, some people, (myself included), would say that I am a decent, polite, caring individual with fastidious over and undertones. Oh, did I mention a bizarre sense of humour? And, let me not forget to include a prim and proper, perfectionist, hygienic sixth sense, on the right side of Attila the Hun. Whew! That was a mouthful even for me!
Now let me introduce you to my friend Harry. I’ve known him for only a short time, but that was sufficient to make an indelible impression on me. We met at a common interest class. Aren’t you curious about what we were studying? Just use your imagination; whatever! It really doesn’t matter, because Harry and I usually discussed any topic other than the theme of the class anyway. Harry is considerably older than I am: a father, grandfather and an all around, happy-go-lucky kind of fellow with a nonchalant, I-couldn’t-care-less attitude about most things. Usually wearing a smile, Harry is very accommodating as long as you are politically correct, painting everything with his brush, and your politics is left of your left arm. He would eat almost anything, paying little attention to either the food, or the hygiene of the situation.
Harry and I are about as different as two people can be, like: black and white, right and left, up and down; you get the picture. The Odd Couple was compatible compared to us; and we are not a couple by any means. Just read on and you’ll see.
In his younger days, Harry was a jogger and a smoker (at least 2 packs a day)! He ran, but never won, several (26 mile) marathons. In one of them, he stopped during the race to pilfer part of a cigarette and smoked it as he continued running! I imagined the perfect marathon for Harry. It would have a drinking and smoking station at every mile; just what the doctor, a graduate of Hollywood Upstairs Medical School, ordered! One day, Harry is partaking of this ideal marathon when to his dismay, a drinking/smoking station is out of cigarettes. As luck would have it, right by Harry’s feet, lay a cigarette butt with some puffs remaining, so he picked it up.
I yelled incredulously at Harry, “Good grief man! What the freaking, flying hippos are you doing? A dog probably peed on that butt. For all you know, somebody with full blown A.I.D.S., Bubonic Plague, or Hoof and Mouth disease smoked that cigarette!”
Harry shot back (with a smile), “You have no idea what it’s like to be addicted. Besides, I hate to see a cigarette go to waste. It just contributes to pollution!”
Do you know what happened to Harry as a result of that race? Nothing! He still has the same healthy ample physique (with a hint of a pudgy midriff).
Once, when Harry’s car was in the shop, he was forced to ride the bus. As you are well aware, the inside of a public transportation vehicle is not exactly as clean as was Howard Hughes’ home. It’s anytime as filthy as your run-of-the-mill shopping cart. Harry was holding on to various hand rails for dear life, as the bus meandered its way through the streets. At the same time, he was trying to stuff a Twinky into his speech hole and looking at me for sarcastic approval.
“Wmpfffoo…would you like some?” he spluttered almost emptying his buccal contents on me.
“Get real Harry”, I said contemptuously. “There are probably more pathogens on that Twinky thanks to you, than there are grains of flour making it up. And that’s just from this bus!”
“Why do you always have to be so perfect; I mean perfectly healthy? Can’t you just enjoy it?” he laughed, unknowingly spitting a piece of Twinky on his own face.
I just shook my head in disbelief. What do you think happened to Harry from this episode? Again nothing! Nature thwarted by my friend Harry. Sigh!
Another time, Harry took me for a drive. As we were passing through a construction site where the dust and grit stirred up made a Sahara Desert sand storm look like a burst of freshly exhaled air, I quickly covered my nose and mouth (holding my breath), whilst Harry leaned his head out the window and defiantly inhaled! In utter astonishment, I tried to keep my mouth closed.
“Nobody, and I mean no one (normal, that is), actually looks for ways to aerobically consume dirt, toxic chemicals and a plethora of microbiological, disease-carrying organisms of every shape, size and colour. Only you Harry, would play these odds like you do the Stock Market”, I said with conviction.
“Now just a minute”, Harry shot back. “The air you breathe has all kinds of crap, and you see people are fine. You’re just too fragile!”
“No, I’m too normal for you”, I interrupted. You Harry, are way off the deep end here, and just about everywhere else I might add.”
“I’ve been smoking, and eating all kinds of junk for years, and look; I’m still here”, he quipped. “And by the way, shouldn’t George Bush be tried for war crimes?” he laughed.
“What does that nonsense have to do with anything?” I asked quizzically.
“Nothing. I just thought I would bring it up anyway,” he responded with a smirk.
Again, believe it or not, nothing deleterious happened here either!
The last straw was when Harry and I went cross country skiing. We came to a lake and had to get to the other side. There was the long way around the ice-covered water, or the short-cut across the frozen surface, where there were several people ice-fishing next to their parked cars. I, of course, insisted that we take the circuitous route and avoid trekking on the floe. Harry adamantly wanted not only to go onto the frosty liquid veneer, but he audaciously suggested that we drive and park at least half-way. To prove his point that everything was safe and under control despite my objections, he parked his car on the ice, took of his shoes so as not to scratch his automobile, climbed onto the roof and jumped up and down!
“You see?” he shouted smiling. “Nothing! Come on, live a little,” he pleaded.
Out of ideas and exasperated, I threw my hands into the air and entreated the Lord. “Master of the Universe”, I sighed. “Why oh why are you protecting this …Neanderthal … this Homer Simpson?”
And the Lord answered with a voice, “Because, he is such a likeable Homer Simpson!”
1196 words written by J. Meir
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