As a writer, my mind is always racing with ideas for stories. Most of them dissipate as soon as I discover someone else has beaten me to the punch (that sounds violent), some of them get lost forever in the cavernous echoing chambers of my head, some I’m actually able to pin to the wall long enough to strip them down to the bones and then flesh them out again my way, and some of them never see the light of day because they’re too far out or low down. I can be quite the mischievous imp if left alone in a room. I’m grateful and blessed that my old friend and minister Billy Cagle is around for me to bounce the edgy story ideas off of. If it weren’t for him I’d be in a constant state of trouble.
One of the story ideas I’ll have to keep chained in the basement is as follows:
MEMOIRS OF A BLIND MAN
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Billy told me it’s disturbingly funny, but inappropriate. I replied that I didn’t think blind people could be offended by something they can’t see, but he convinced me to leave it alone.
I passed a story about farts by him and he said it stunk. While I admire Billy’s blunt honesty, I wish he could be a little more specific. Personally, I find the whole subject of flatulence quite fascinating, and while I understand the subject is really something one should not mention around a formal dinner party, it does provide people with a giggle or two no matter how stodgy they are. The funniest ones are the church pew farts (if ripped during a pause in the sermon) and the farts that erupt when an old person bends over to pick something up. I’m currently in the process of inventing a device that will allow us to channel the force of our farts into a form of self propulsion. I’m thinking about calling it ‘Toot-n-Go’. Unfortunately the project has come to a screeching halt because I can’t find any willing test subjects to wear the device and try it out. They say it looks like it would be too uncomfortable. Billy said it will never get off the ground. I don’t want to lift people up, just move them forward. I mean, it works for me.
Then there was the essay I wrote called “1,000 WAYS TO MESS WITH PEOPLE,” but Billy told me it might give folks the impression that it’s ok to swap out toothpaste with hemorrhoid cream, or sneak 3D pictures of cracks into a passenger plane and stick them on the walls, or put a glob of peanut butter on your toilet seat (make sure you clean the seat very well beforehand) and when the husband or wife goes in to doo their business and starts yelling a bunch of crap, you casually scoop it up with your finger, stick it in your mouth and walk away. Billy just doesn’t believe in having fun.
I had a great idea once about a special group of policemen called the Suicide Prevention Squad whose job it was to go around and kill people who threatened to do themselves in, like when they shot a guy who stood on the ledge of a ten story building wanting to jump. Billy told me that’s already been done. It’s called the legal system.
He told me I shouldn’t write about bodily functions, or poke fun of the handicapped, or point out the profane and perverse (what is it with all these gigantic women who think it’s remotely all right to wear Speedos in a Wal-Mart?), or make light of death, or incite riots and anarchy, or promote polygamy in the animal kingdom, or anything along those lines. Heck, that doesn’t leave me much to work with, does it?
How dull life would be if we didn’t chuckle when someone toots in the elevator, or rolled our eyes when we spot a big man in a tutu walking down the street, or secretly cheered when a child gives us a wide open mashed potato smile from across the room, or thought about doing something with our spouse’s dentures, or belting out our favorite limerick in a crowded public bathroom. I say it’s ok to be naughty from time to time. Don’t worry about the puritanical political correctness crowd, and for goodness sake don’t apologize every time the cheese slides off your cracker, or they’ll own you.
Just do me one favor, though, ok? Don’t let Billy read this. We wouldn’t want to stir the muddy water up too much, would we?