Sim Sala Ba-ding!
I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? Listen, I’m on special-reporter assignment to research the whereabouts of the past, so I’m short on the wherewithal to pony up an essay for you’s this week, what the fock.
I thought to take a look-see over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school. The past may be hiding out there. Problem is the Uptowner isn’t open yet, so I figure to swing by my favorite open-24-hours restaurant where a guy like me can get a jump-start on girding his loins in preparation for the day’s daily shit-storm to follow. Come along if you want but you leave the tip. Let’s get going.
Bea: Hey there, Artie, what’s your pleasure?
Art: Bea! How the heck are you? Haven’t seen much of you around here lately. Everything all right by you?
Bea: Everything’s fine, Artie, I’ve been just so busy lately. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. First, I had jury duty.
Art: Yeah yeah, the jury duty can really eat up the time.
Bea: Yes it can.
Art: I’ll never forget the one time I had the jury duty. This guy’s on trial for aggravated assault. The judge says to the guy, “You are charged with assaulting your wife with a hammer,” and I hear a voice in the back of the courtroom yell, “You bastard.” The judge bangs his gavel and continues, “You are also charged with assaulting your mother-in-law with a hammer.” Again, the voice in the back yells, “You bastard.”
The judge is really angry and directly addresses the guy who’s been yelling. Judge says, “We cannot have any more of these outbursts from you, sir, or I shall charge you with contempt. Now, what seems to be the problem?”
And the guy who’s been shouting says, “Fifteen years I’ve lived next door to that bastard, and every time I asked to borrow a hammer, he said he didn’t have one!”
Bea: Really, Artie.
Art: Oh yeah Bea, I swear.
Bea: And I’ve been busy helping my niece get ready for college.
Art: Well, it’s nice to see you back here, Bea. How ’bout you bring me a nice cup of the blackest, thickest and cheapest of whatever it is you’re calling plain old American coffee today, thank you very kindly.
Bea: Coming right up, Artie. There you go.
Art: So what does your niece plan to study?
Bea: International relations.
Art: Good idea, Bea, ’cause you read the papers these days and gosh darn if we couldn’t use more people who knew how to relate internationally—what a world, ain’a?
Bea: That it is, Artie.
Art: Take this terrorism, for example. A lot of people say, “Oh yeah, terrorism. We ought to fight fire with fire.” And I say, you got to be jerking my beefaroni. That’s like you discover your kitchen’s on fire, so you say, “Hey, my kitchen’s on fire. I know what I’ll do. I’ll start my bedroom on fire to boot. That’ll take care of it.” Cripes Bea, how stupid can you get, ain’a?
Bea: Couldn’t tell you, Artie.
Art: These so-called terrorist countries—the people seem to me to be a pretty grumpy bunch.
Bea: I suppose they don’t have much to be cheerful about.
Art: Exactly. Call me crazy, but I happen to believe that bombing the bejesus out of them is not exactly going to improve their disposition. We’d have a lot better chance of turning things around in these countries if we were to fly over and airdrop a couple, three hundred-thousand whoopee cushions for the people ’cause I ask you Bea: Who doesn’t get a kick out of those magical little rubberized gas bags?
Bea: Beats me, Artie.
Art: See, Bea? Once the people get the hang of how to use them, they just might think that “Hey, the world’s not such a bad place, after all.” And along with the whoopee cushion, let’s include the squirt bow-tie, the fake dog doo-doo and a complimentary translated copy of the “Henny Youngman Bedside Joke Companion.” Time to put the “fun” into fundamentalism.
Bea: I suppose it’s worth a try.
Art: Darn tootin’, Bea. And you know, some of these nutball leaders in the threatening countries, they got like a couple, three, four wives each—talk about your perfect audience for Henny on the topic of marriage, ain’a? Like: “I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back.” Or, “I’ve been in love with the same woman for 49 years. If my wife finds out, she’ll kill me!” And my favorite: “First guy says proudly, ‘My wife’s an angel.’ Second guy says, ‘You’re lucky. Mine’s still alive.’ ”
Bea: You might be on to something, Artie.
Art: Anyways, I got to run, so thanks for the coffee and for letting me bend your ear there, Bea—utiful.
Bea: My pleasure, Artie. Always nice getting talked at by you. Take care.
(It’s off to the Uptowner, if I see you there, you buy me one ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)