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I Hear a New World

May. 27, 2009
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I‘m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, I’d like to express gratitude for the kind words that appeared on this page last week, words meant not only to explain my absence on account of being in the thralls of a death’s-door experience, but also to assuage the anguish my legion of faithful readers would suffer upon news of my condition, yet that brighter and healthier days for yours truly surely lay just around the bend, lord willing.

But there were no kind words; instead were the disturbed and libelous ramblings of a pisspot junior copy editor with a severe speciesidentity issue (am I man, or am I suck-ass stink worm). Fock ’im.

So no expression of gratitude from me this week, and no essay either; since my weakened constitution is in need of amending, which I hope to accomplish with a relaxing breakfast ala caffeine du jour over by my favorite open-daily 23-hours and 59-minutes restaurant, since it’s a tad early for a nice cocktail over by the Uptowner tavern cum charm school. Come along if you want but you leave the tip. Let’s get going.

Bea:Hey there Artie, nice to see you. What’s your pleasure?

Art: How ’bout a nice cup of the blackest, thickest and cheapest cup of whatever you’re calling plain-old American coffee today, thank you very kindly.

Bea: Coming right up. So what do you hear, what do you know.

Art: I hear there’s a serial killer on the loose in our town. And what I’d like to know is how come whenever the TV news says something’s “on the loose,” it’s always something bad like a deranged asshole or some kind of epidemic flu? How come nothing good is ever “on the loose”—like a rich guy passing out $1,000 bills, or a cobbler who breaks in while you’re asleep and resoles your brown-patent wingtips?

Bea: Couldn’t tell you, Artie. I guess it’s just the way of the world.

Art: Then I’m ready for a new world, Bea. With the one we got, doesn’t it always seem the future’s here before you know it, and when it shows up, it’s like big focking deal ’cause how come everything’s not silver and black yet, not to mention there’s no cure for cancer?

Bea: Lordy. I’ve got no truck with the future. I’ve got my hands full with the here and now. I don’t want to be like my friend Loretta who went to see a psychic.

Art: How’s that, Bea.

Bea: I’ll tell you how that is, Artie. She went to see a psychic who was gazing into this crystal ball when she suddenly says to Loretta, “There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just be blunt: Prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year.”

Art: Good lord. So what happened?

Bea: Nothing yet, Artie. But Loretta is simply beside herself, wondering if this comes to pass, whether she’ll be acquitted by a jury of her peers or not.

Art: We need a new world, Bea. The scientists say with the global warming, the one we’ve got is going to be good for crap before we know it. Remember that movie, “2001: Space somethingor-another?” Well, now it’s 2009 and we still haven’t been to another planet to see if we could all live there or not.

Bea: But at least we’ve been to the moon.

Art: Yeah, the moon. All those millions of dollars so a couple, three flyboys could knock a golf ball around a place that looks just like Nevada, minus the gambling and legalized prostitution. Big focking deal.

Bea: I suspect someday we’ll land on another planet, Artie. Don’t you think?

Art: Someday we’re going to have to move to another planet, Bea. I just read about an astronomer over by the Carnegie Institution who says there may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone.

Bea: So what’s the problem?

Art: Plenty, Bea. We’re talking about moving a couple billion people and all their stuff clear across a galaxy. And if we’re lucky to find a place just like Earth, it could still be nothing but one big headache without proper planning. What if people in Finland don’t want to live in the new Finland ’cause they’re sick to death of Finland and want to live in Tahiti instead—just like everyone in Norway not to mention all of us here in the Upper Midwest. Well, we can’t all live in Tahiti can we, Bea?

Bea: I suppose not, Artie.

Art: And we got to get the technology together to build really, really big spaceships to haul all the peoples’ mementos and keepsakes. The French will want to bring their Eiffel Tower, the Egyptians got some pyramids and a Sphinx, the Chinese with the Great Wall, terrorists and their smuggled nuclear warheads, Chicagoans and their goddamn Wrigley Field. The list is endless.

Bea: I’ve always found moving to be a good time to get rid of things you don’t need.

Art: You betcha, Bea. Put me in charge of the moving-planning committee and our new world will have no lawyers or politicians. But I got to run, so thanks for the coffee and for letting me bend your ear there, Bea—utiful. See you next time.

Bea: My pleasure, Artie. Always nice getting talked at by you. Take care. (Okey-dokey, off to the Uptowner. If I see you there, then you buy me one ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)


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