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  The Opera


William Wellstone and his wife Olivia had a love-hate relationship with the opera. She loved it and he hated it. He loved her, though, so he put up with it. Wellstone was a high powered , high priced attorney. He was really good at what he did. So good that he had to beat clients off with a stick. He’d like to beat whoever came up with opera with a stick.

Being as good an attorney as he was and making the kind of money he did put Wellstone way up there in terms of money, power, and influence. People like that gravitate towards one another like flies to horse manure. For some reason when people get that way it’s expected that they become cultured. Opera instead of pro wrestling. Wellstone has all this money and influence and he gets opera.

The first thing he disliked about the opera was having to get dressed in a tuxedo to go. Why? He can’t hear any better in a tux than his other clothes. Why can’t it be like a rock concert so he could wear jeans and still be overdressed. Tuxedos were not comfortable in any way. Drop something on a tux and it looks bad; do that to jeans and who’d know?

Then there was the atmosphere at the theater. Everyone acting as if they had their butts wrapped in an Ace bandage. No one could act relaxed. You couldn’t talk about sports there. You had to discuss modern art as if there was any such thing. Kindergarten kids could do better with finger painting. Everyone wearing their false smiles as a badge of their class. Most of them didn’t have any class to begin with.

Most operas were sung in Italian. Wellstone spoke four languages and Italian wasn’t one of them. He couldn’t understand a word of it. Olivia Wellstone didn’t speak Italian either. She read the book and claimed to enjoy the opera. Wellstone thought that maybe she did. The singing was done in a fashion that even if he spoke the language he wouldn’t understand what was being sung. Of course, rock was like that so what the heck.

Wellstone figured most of the male singers were gay. Only gay guys would dress that way and sing that way in public. Wellstone didn’t have anything against gays unless they were opera singers. The women were scary looking. Wellstone didn’t think he could take many of them in a fight even if he fought dirty. He’d definitely be leery of running into one of them in a dark alley- or anywhere else.

Olivia had a grand set of opera glasses. Wellstone didn’t know why she wanted them. Why would she want to take a closer look at any of this? The opera was like a snack. It may take the edge off but certainly doesn’t satisfy. Wellstone would go home after the opera and listen to some Stones with the volume cranked up so high the wallpaper moved.

The post opera parties were terrible. He’d slaughter some other attorney in court during the day and have to be nice to him after the opera. The two of them being at the same opera at the same time didn’t change anything.

“I enjoyed it immensely when Maria Theresa hit that high note in the middle of the third act,” someone would say.

Wellstone would reply, “Probably someone goosed her.”

Olivia would scold him for those kinds of remarks. She tell him, “Remarks like that give people the impression you don’t like the opera.”

Yea, he’d think, wouldn’t want anyone thinking that.

Then, since Olivia was a patron of the arts, someone would bring one of the fat ladies over to meet them. Olivia and the Buffalo Girl would gush all over each other. Wellstone would change his mind about the goosing. No one, but no one, would have the nerve to goose this woman. Or want to.

Olivia was a good sport about it all. She’d go to rock concerts with him since he went to operas with her. She’d wear a wig, thick glasses, and get e rent-a-wreck so no one would recognize her. The fact that she was with William Wellstone didn’t seem to mean anything he guessed.

The post -rock parties were parties!!! No gushing fat ladies; no being nice to your opponents. No lying that you liked it.

“Are you ready, dear? We don’t want to be late for the opera.”

Yea, right


  Learning To Drive A Stick-shift


This is from a long, long time ago. My brother-in-law had his own way of teaching something. His way was always different and usually adventurous. I learned to drive a stick with his help, if you can call it that. He taught me how to drive a stick by telling me I was driving Gene home. Gene was too drunk to drive. He was too drunk to walk too but he wasn’t going to walk home.

I said, “Well, Joe, I don’t have a license and can’t drive a stick so I guess not.” There.

He said, “Guess again. Driving without a license is nothing compared to a DUI. You remember what I said about a stick shift.”

“Yea, we talked about it. I never actually did it.” I didn’t actually hear that much of it and didn’t pay any attention to what I did hear.

“Well, tonight’s your big night then.”

Big night. Just what I need at a tender age. I wasn’t sure I knew how to get to Gene’s house. I knew he lived two streets over from my sister, who I was living with, but I didn’t know for sure I could get there from where I was. I knew for certain sure I couldn’t drive a stick shift except in theory. Then I realized that Joe had left so I had no realistic choice.

Gene got into the car with me very reluctantly. He looked at me or, at least, looked in my general direction with one eye not quite following the other. He sort of creeped me out to be honest about it.

“You know how to drive?”

“Yea. Hell yes”, I told him. I knew how to drive. I just didn’t know how to shift gears on my own.

“Okay, then let’s go.”

It took me a couple of tries to get the car going instead of jerking and stalling. Gene started bitching about me screwing up his tranny. I made a big decision right then and there. It wasn’t my car and it wasn’t my transmission. So- to Hell with it. I was going to go for it.

Fifteen minutes later I got to the area my sister and Gene lived. It was a jerky ride that Gene claimed was making him feel like throwing up. I told to go ahead. It wasn’t my car and I wasn’t the one going to have to clean it up. I was close enough to home that I could park the car and leave Gene to do whatever he wanted. My driving did get a lot smoother after that. I admit I was afraid he’d toss his cookies up on me.

Pulled into his driveway and shut the engine off. I looked over at Gene and he was sleeping. Sleeping or passed out. Same result. I shook him a couple of times but all he did was snore. I thought I’d leave him there until ...I thought of something else.

Gene was tall but not that big. Unfortunately I wasn’t tall or big. I went around and opened his door. Gene half-fell out of the car. Great! I managed to drag him the rest of the way out. He lost one of his shoes but otherwise seemed to be all right. Alright for a passed out drunk lying in his front yard. I got back into the car and backed it out of the driveway. I went down a couple of streets and parked the car. I walked back to Gene’s and threw the keys down beside him and walked home.

The next morning he called wanting to know where his car was. My sister didn’t know; my brother-in-law didn’t know but suspected I did. I told Gene I didn’t know. I left him and the car parked. Not together but he didn’t ask that.“Maybe someone stole it.”

“Damn! Guess I better call the cops and my insurance. This is-” I had hung up so I don’t know what else he may have said. My brother-in-law expressed some doubt about it being stolen but didn’t press the point. He rally didn’t care that much.

Gene called in a stolen car report and then called his insurance agent.

“Damn it, Gene. I was just getting ready to go to church. What the Hell do you want? Uh, ha. Okay. Yea, I got it. Go rent a car and call me in the morning with the police report number. We’ll wait two weeks until we’re sure the car isn’t going to be found. Good bye!”

On Tuesday afternoon a detective showed up at Gene’s shop and took him outside.

“You reported a stolen car a couple of days back. We found it.”

“Great! Is it all right, I mean-”

“It’s fine. In fact it’s perfect. The patrol officers called it in and I went out to take a look at it. No sign of forced entry; no sign it was hot-wired. Nothing; nada. You see where I’m headed with this?”

“Uh, no.”

“You said you had the keys, right?”

“Well, yea.”

“Yet the car was stolen with no forced entry and no hot-wiring. You know where we found it? Three streets from your house. Seems strange to me. I think you better come along downtown with me. You got a lawyer?”

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Quick, funny reads for commuters or beach-goers.

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Funny Stuff To Read On the Commuter Bus

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Funny Stuff To Read On the Commuter Train

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Funny Stories Don Roble
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Appalachia Two Don Roble

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      Poems And Rhymes Of Our Times
...by Brian Cecil and Megan Cassavoy


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