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Cabinet Boy

Dec. 10, 2008
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, I’m feeling a tad bit too distracted to pony up a bigtime essay for you’s this week on account of because I’m expecting the phone to be ringing any time soon with the Obama people on the line to offer me some kind of top-cat gig with the new government. As a longtime presidential candidate, you’d figure I’d be at the top of their list for this or that, but I’ve yet to receive an offer. So I wait for the call, that’s all, trusting that this crowd knows what they’re doing, what the fock.

Personally, I think I’d be a good fit for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It may not be as lofty a slot as the cabinet since it’s a bureau, but I think I would enjoy working in quality control or research and development. And I promise to be a team player. Better alcohol, better tobacco, better firearms? Yes we can.

But with my luck, they’ll probably stick me with something like secretary of commerce and my experience with commerce is nothing if not all about getting personally screwed on an advertised deal time after time after time. I will say, however, that honesty in the marketplace can have its downside, for some anyways, as in the following anecdote:

So this gal was shopping at her local supermarket where she selected a half-gallon of 2% milk, a carton of eggs, a quart of orange juice, a head of romaine lettuce, a 2-lb. can of coffee, a bag of kitty litter and a 1-lb. package of bacon. As she was unloading her items onto the conveyor belt for checkout, a fella behind her in line who may have had one-too-many watched as she placed the items in front of the cashier. The guy says, “You must be single.” The woman was a bit startled but intrigued by his intuition, since she was indeed single. She looked at her items on the belt and saw nothing unusual about her selections that could have tipped off anyone as to her marital status. Curious, she asks, “You know what, you’re absolutely correct. But how on earth did you know that?” And the guy says, “’Cause you’re ugly.”

OK, hold on, it’s the phone.

“Hey Artie, it’s Jimmy. Got a second?”

It’s my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine. I’ll make this quick. “Jimmy, I can’t tie up the phone. I’m expecting a call from the new president about maybe filling an opening in his cabinet.”

“What, the liquor cabinet? I don’t know about filling it, Artie, but you’d be the man to empty it, for sure. I called ’cause I was wondering if your newspaper planned to have any stories about all these pirates sailing the seas that’s in the news, in case you haven’t heard. Listen, I’ve got a story about that you could use so’s to boost your journalistic credibility:

“There’s this guy walks into a pet store and says, ‘I’m playing Long John Silver in our community theater production of Treasure Island, and I’m looking for a parrot. Can you sell me one?’ The pet-store owner says, ‘You don’t want a real parrot, it’ll squawk all the time and crap on your shoulder, and what if it falls off during the play?’ The guy says, ‘But I really need to be as realistic as possible.’ The pet-store owner says, ‘I’ve got a stuffed parrot you can use. Can you pick it up Thursday?’ And Mr. Actor says, ‘Thursday? No can do. I’m scheduled to have my right leg amputated below the knee.’”

“Jeez louise, Jimmy. I don’t know if our paper’s got room for pirate coverage.”

“Artie, you got to be jerking my beefaroni. Listen, there’s a local angle to this, to boot—a story in the daily paper the other day about a parrot stolen from a pet store out there in Honkey-sha. And who needs a parrot besides a pirate? You tell me, although I can think of one instance that comes to mind from some years back:

“Seems there was this little old lady, nearly blind, and had three sons who wanted to prove who was best to her, probably to get their mitts on her dough, I figure.

“So Son Number One buys her a 15-room mansion, thinking this would be the best thing that any of them could offer her. Son Number Two buys her a beautiful brand-new Maybach luxury car with on-call chauffeur included, thinking this would surely win her approval. And Son Number Three thought hard how to top his brothers, so he buys her a $30,000 parrot that had been training for 15 years to memorize the entire Bible. You could ask the goddamn parrot any verse in the Bible, and he could quote it word for word. What a gift!

“So wouldn’t you know, the old lady goes to the first son and says, ‘Son, the house is just gorgeous, but it’s really much too big for me. I only live in one room, and it’s too large to clean and take care of. I really don’t need the house, but thank you anyway.’ And she says to the second son, ‘The car is wonderful. It has everything you could ever want, but I don’t drive; besides, I think the chauffeur’s a pervert, so please return the car.’

“Then, to Son Number 3 she says, ‘I just want to thank you for your most thoughtful gift. That chicken was delicious.’ Ba-ding!”

(Oh, brother. Listen, this may go on for longer than I figure, so you’re free to go. And wish me luck with that cabinet job, would you? I’m figuring I may need it, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)


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