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I Wish Eyes Are Smiling

Mar. 14, 2012
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I'm Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain'a? So listen, as a guy of Polish plus who-knows-what-the-fock heritage, you won't catch me blowing my party horn this time of the year, here in the throes of St. Patrick's Week-and-a-focking-Half, I kid you not.

But this year, for personal health reasons, neither will you catch me pissing and moaning about all the blarney, malarkey and Irish hoopla. I figure my blood pressure would be blessed if I were perhaps a wee more charitable toward those who fancy the Emerald Isle for whatever reason. And so I will for once not whip out my familiar chestnuts, such as the reason the Irish are known as great storytellers is for the centuries-long need to dream up yet another excuse for being late to work. Nor will I query the riddle as to why the Irish have all the potatoes, and the Arabs all the oil. (FYI: Shortly after the Lord banished mankind from Eden, he offered the Irish first pick.)

, instead I offer the following story so as to assist, rather than hinder, in fertilizing the garden of cultural unity (and if you've heard it before, now you'll hear it again, what the fock):

John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said, “Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!” And that won him the top prize for the best toast of that night at the pub. He was so thrilled that he went home and told his wife, Mary, “Good news! I won the prize for the best toast of the night!” And Mary asks, “Aye, and what was your toast, husband?” John said, “Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife.”

“Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!” said Mary. The next day on the street, Mary ran into one of John's toasting buddies. The man chuckled leeringly and said, “Did you know, Mary, that John won the prize the other night with a toast about you?”

And Mary said, “Aye, and I was a bit surprised me'self! You know, he's only been there twice! Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come.”

Hold on a second. It's the phone. I got to take this 'cause it might be my doctor. Be right back.

OK. It's not my doc. It's my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine. I'll be off in a second.

“Cripes, Jimmy. I can't talk now. I got to crank out my essay and I only got 10 minutes 'til the paper has to have it.”

“Yeah yeah, Artie. Listen, I'm in this pool for the basketball where these kids in the college have a tournament. Sixty-four focking schools. And I got to fill out this big honking chart where I'm supposed to choose who the heck's going to win each and every game. I might even win a buck two-eighty. Hey, did you know one of these teams is called the Aztecs? The Aztecs, I shit you not. You think they sacrifice a virgin for good luck before every game, Artie?”

“Couldn't tell you, Jimmy. College kids can get pretty wild and cavalier; so maybe it would be best if they were home-schooled all the way through the achievement of the undergraduate degree as awarded by the individual parent. But Jimmy, I got to go.”

“Yeah Artie. So I'm working on this chart with the brackets. I'm figuring this, I'm figuring that. Hours and hours and hours. I finally work my way to the last game of the Final Four, where they play for the championship. Guess what? I got BYU/Iona against BYU/Iona, and that can't be right, ain'a Artie?”

“It's a long shot, Jimmy.”

“Jeez louise, now I got to go back and do the whole dang thing over, ain'a? Oh well, at least it gives me something to do at work.”

“Jimmy, I really got to…”

“Yeah, OK, Artie. So see you Sunday afternoon, April Uno, over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school for your 25th-anniversary get-together for the people, all invited. I hear the Brewhaus Polka Kings might play to boot, ain'a?”

“You betcha, Jimmy
—the mighty Kings who sacrifice themselves on the altar of professional show business each and every time they ascend the bandstand. I'll fill you in more on the shindig later; so later, my friend.”

And gosh darn it, come to think of it, I just might bring my saxophone along April 1, climb that bandstand and breathe some air into the horn for my friend Jim; poet, cornetist; favorite son of Whiting, Ind.; and mentor of mine, sweet inspiration, always.

“Go Sox” indeed, mister, all the way, 'cause I'm Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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