Daze of the Dog
I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, I hear another fabulous Irish Fest has come and gone, which reminds me of a little story:
Two Irish ladies were at the wake for their dear friend. “Poor Mollie,” said the first woman, looking down at the body, “she had such a hard life. First she married Mike, who gave her five crying children in six years. He beat her and never worked a day in his life. Then Mike up and died, and she married Jimmy, who was even worse, giving her seven more children and not a penny of support. He was drunk all the time until he died, too. And now Mollie is gone, worked to death taking care of those 12 kids.”
“Well, at least they are together at last,” replied the second woman.
“You mean together in Heaven?” asked the first woman. “But is Mollie together with Mike or with Jimmy?”
And the second woman says, “Neither. I was referring to her legs.” Ba-ding!
Anyways, here we be, smack-dab amid the so-called dog days of the summertime—or diēs caniculārēs as they would say in the ancient country of Latin before it sank to the bottom of the sea. Yes sir, it’s those days this time of year “marked by dull lack of progress,” just as my schoolboy study of Latin was so marked, what the fock.
Yes sir, a secondary translation of diēs caniculārēs means that for our young scholars another summertime full of shoplifting, sneaking smokes and burning bugs with a magnifying glass comes to a kibosh but good. It’s soon back to the books as the challenge of opening them as rarely as possible for the next nine months awaits.
At least that’s how it was for me and the fellas, all those years ago during our glorious school days over by Our Lady In Pain That You Kids Are Going Straight To Hell But Not Soon Enough. School motto: “Discipline, Our Specialty.” Cripes, the sisters were required to summer in the Orient once every five focking years so as to master the latest in torture holds, I kid you not.
So this week was supposed to be my gala back-to-school essay, but gosh darn if that doesn’t sound too damn depressing, ain’a? Back to school. When I was a kid, those three words were right at the top of my hate list; although I tell you, “get a haircut,” “cut the grass” and “change your underwear” weren’t far behind.
Yeah, I still maintain a three-word hate list, but these days at the top are some chart-busters more appropriate to my age: “It’s closing time.” “Your doctor called.” “Open up. Police.”
But even though it’s been many, many years since my golden days at Our Lady in Pain, I still get the heebie-jeebies whenever I see or hear the words “back to school.” In fact, you may be like me and be one of nearly several veteran survivors of the parochial school system who suffer from Back-To-School Syndrome, and it’s no cakewalk on the beach, I tell you.
One sure-fire sign that you got some kind of dose of this pesky syndrome is a periodically overwhelming need to skip out of doing something you don’t feel like doing. I presently am overwhelmed by that need right now, just so’s you know. I need to skip out of writing this essay. Heck, you may feel the need to skip reading it, so what the fock.
None of us back then gave a rat’s ass as to how skipping school could possibly be detrimental to future success. I mean cry-eye, skipping science and simple math certainly hasn’t put a damper on the political careers of tea party members of Congress to my knowledge, incomplete as it may be.
Hey, I’ll bet you a buck two-eighty that this need to skip out of stuff is some kind of misguided attempt to recapture the temporary joy I experienced as a lad whenever I skipped school. Yes, I realize I was partaking in at-risk behavior in that I could’ve been run over by a school bus while attempting to duck the truant officer.
But big focking deal. Life is temporary. At least I would’ve died doing what I loved best—goofing off and screwing around. Heck, that’s got to count for something in the grand scheme of things, ain’a? You bet it does, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.