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Back to Schoolin’

Sep. 3, 2008
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man ohmanischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, as the tailpipe exhaust yet dissipates into the declining atmosphere of another every-half-a-decade post- Harley HOG fest, I’m behooved to banter that I inhabit the downtown city of Milwaukee by choice. When you live here constantly day-in, day-out, day-in you learn to appreciate the notion that you don’t need to go out and drop $20-grand on a bicycle with a motor in it, then ride around somewheres for five focking years until you can cruise back into Brew Town and drink beer outdoors at the next hoedown. No sir, for some of us who spend every single second right here in the thick of the City That Always Sweeps, every day’s just another focking holiday, what the fock.

The alternative I suppose would be to reside out there in some kind of suburb where concrete is king of the road. But since I can’t pony-up the cost and maintenance for one of those vehicles with four wheels—and given that the “mass transit system” here in the southeastern slice of Badgerland makes riding a donkey from Oxtotepec into Mexico City appear as some kind of futuristic 27th-century pipe dream—cripes, a move for a guy like me out to your Muskego, your Butler, seems impractical when I calculate what I’d be spending monthly for walking shoes.

But I do appreciate that the motor-psychos supposedly maybe drilled well over $100 million smackeroos into our town’s economic pipeline; and as a resident, I do look forward to the check-is-in-the-mail I ought to be receiving for the pain and suffering I endured from all the goddamn car alarms going off in the middle of the night every time one of those soft tail-fat boy-sportster-dual glide two-wheelers farted on down the boulevard. And when I do receive my check from the city, I promise to spend it wisely.

Anyways, this isn’t at all what I intended to be blathering about. This week’s essay was to be my sort-of annual gala back-to-school address to our matriculators and fatriculators of any age who will be harassing one poor, underpaid teacher or another if by nothing else than their mere presence whenever they bother to show up. But it was not to be.

Let’s say I got sidetracked last Labor Day with my deadline coming up the stairs ready to bust down my door. First, hey it’s Labor Day. All I wanted to do was celebrate the American workingman by sitting on my ass doing nothing except drink somebody else’s beer. Second, it was Labor Day and I woke up feeling like hell, the kind of hell that’s sure to turn into a Category 5 bout of bronchitis by midweek just like it always does this time of year for me. And third, I got a phone call from my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine that I recall going something like this:

“Artie, it’s Jimmy. Listen, I got a question for you.”

“Jimmy, I can’t talk now. I’ve got about thirty-five focking minutes to whip out an essay, and my ears feel like some snot-nose is trying to cram a two-inch peg into a one-inch hole.”

“I won’t keep you, Artie. Just wondering if you heard if Ted Thompson has chosen a No. 2 to back-up Rodgers for the Packers yet, ’cause all of a sudden I got nervous thinking he might pull a McCain and choose a woman with no experience, since so far it seems to be work ing for the Republicans with the news people, and lord knows Thompson can use all the good press he can get after flushing Favre down the toilet, ain’a?”

“I don’t think they allow the women to play in the NFL, Jimmy.”

“Seems kind of sexist in this day and age to me, Artie. And I’ll tell you, I was downtown last weekend when all the motorcycles were there, and I noticed some gals who sure as heck looked big and tough enough to play linebacker if not the defensive line, I kid you not. One more thing, you seen or heard from Ernie or Ray lately?”

“No, Jimmy. And the way my ears feel, I won’t be hearing anything for awhile.”

“OK Artie, just wondering. They made up a bunch of T-shirts and went down to the lakefront to sell them. Get this: On the front of the shirt Ray drew a Japanese guy like you’d see in the World War II car toons, you know, with the military cap, the horn rimmed glasses, the teeth. And they drew a word bal loon coming out of the guy’s mouth that said, ‘Colonel Yamaha says Harleys are for homos.’”

“Oh brother, Jimmy, you got to be jerking my beefaroni. That’s so wrong in so many ways, what the fock.” “I suppose maybe, but they thought the motorcycle people would get a kick out of the shirts. But I’m getting a little worried ’cause I haven’t seen them since.

Maybe you could call around, see if you can find out anything. All right then, Artie. Later.”

Focking swell. Now I’m supposed to track down a couple of knobshine buddies, so I got to run. And as for all you’s going back to class for reading, writing and arithmetic, the best thing I can tell you is this: Brush your teeth and stay in school. Maybe I’ll expand on that next week, then again maybe not, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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