- Ward
 Cleaver's Prozac Fever

macondo transit authority

I am relatively certain he is

unaware that I call him

"Mr. Hock-Head."

Likewise for "Mr. Flippy,"

or "Mr. Stinkybutt."

Yet there they are,

traveling through life along with me

every day, each, ultimately,

to our individual toils

on the broken-down city bus line.

It's the place to be for cash-strapped dads

who don't mind commingling

with the many mutations

populating our proud species.

For it was the 90s that put

your favorite dad on the bus, dear readers.

The agonizing, final wheezing days

of our prototypical family's second car,

a snappy, cancer-clad econo-wagon,

sealed my commuting fate.

That, coupled with leveraged buyouts

in the entirely ungrateful television

industry for which I produced

thousands of insightful infotainment shows

now, undoubtedly, informing alien populations

worlds distant of the many wondrous ways

to cook a Butterball,

or how hemorrhoid medicine

can tighten up those hideous crows feet,

effectively taking light years off.

But we must leave our stream of

semi-consciousness as our bus has

finally arrived.

Now, hurry aboard ---

you'll get soaked in the rain!

It goes without saying that the

only bumbershoot in your Fruitopian

suburban abode that ain't on the fritz

is brightly festooned with

Animaniacs and Muppet Babies.

As such, the drenching rains have soaked both

you and your proletarian-brown lunch bag

to the very bone, and the contents of

your mid-day fare, of course, begin

spilling forth from the quickly disintegrating sack.

You board hoping beyond all hope that

your fellow commuters will not spy

your secret Snackwells or Ho-Ho's.

I am old and dadly enough to be of

the diminishing school of gentility

dictating I defer my own entry on

the bus, or into any entranceway for

that matter, to the fairer sex.

If there IS a door to hold open,

I will do it --- even if the fair damsel

in question is the hairiest, most scabrous

butt-ugly creature on

God's formerly green earth.

Despite the uncertainty in these

despicable times of the political correctness

of the foregoing cavalier

comportment, dear dads,

I am teaching my only begotten son

to do the same and I heartily

suggest you do likewise.

Who knows?

When this forsaken decade groans at

last to a halt and we have all suffered

the diabetically saccharine

"1999" by the-Artist-Formerly-Known-As

for the umpteenth play on our radios

(or blaring Real Audio over the 'Net

if the Unix freaks win),

perhaps then decent manners will again be vogue.

Who knows?

After the ladies,

I generally wave Mr. Hock-Head aboard before me,

and with good reason.

You see, Mr. Hock-Head,

a wispy-thin Mr. Peepers-sort-of geekazoid

with flood pants and goo-goo-goggle glasses,

owns this century's most pernicious, ralphing Satanic hack.

God protect this poor, poor pitiful soul

if his odious condition is the dastardly work

of C.F. or some similarly heinous manifestation,

but when you hear the flood of sputum

start rattlin' around Mr. H's bronchia,

I'm tellin' you,

it's time to head for the freakin' hills.

A low and wild demon roar,

attenuated with a riot of phlegm,

begins to emanate from the meek-and-mild Mr. H.

When he finally erupts,

the very mantle of the earth shakes.

The bus rumbly-rumbles, loosening

bolts and chassis nuts in alarming profusion.

Covertly, you hold your breath

(...ONE, one-thousand...TWO, one-thousand...


for the rest of the 45-minute ride

so you will not inhale whatever gnarly microbeasties

Mr. Hock-Head has propelled into

the vehicle's atmosphere from the

diseased depths of his exhausted alveoli.

My Granny Smith

(the kind with those new-fangled

little stick-on brand labels I always wind up swallowing),

breaks through the soggy lunch bag,

rolling ten rows aft then bouncing about like a pinball,

here and there,

hither and thither,

between the seats,

finally becoming lost forever.

While I am now well positioned

half-a-bus away from the celebrated

Mr. H, I am too near

Messrs. Flippy and Stinkybutt

for my own liking.

Mr. Flippy exhibits the most curious habit

of flipping his hands about in the air,

as if furiously shaking off

the searing sting of a burn,

with no visible provocation whatever.

As to the time-honored tradition of we

cueballs in denial who grow Rapunzel-length

strands near their ears and then

flip 'em all the way over

our noggins fooling absolutely no one,

Mr. Flippy offers a revolutionary salon twist.

He has cultivated an impressive tress

in the BACK of his head and flips it over

FORWARD in a hideous faux mop-top.

I was fooled for many a decade,

believe-you-me, dear readers.

Flippy reads incessantly from

Voltaire, Turgenev, and T.V. Guide,

debarking at the same downtown spot

he has called for one-hundred-and-fifty-three years,

where he will linger in momentary confusion

before his daily levitation, ever so slight,

reminds him of his surroundings.

I fondly watch him draw chaos

in the Wagnerian skies with his

burly chewed and flipping paws, now but

a Doppler blur through the window's filth.

Mr. Stinkybutt is up front as always,

sprawled like a decaying praying mantis

across a seat he will never share,

even if the aisle were packed with

pregnant poppin' mamas prepared at any moment,

like the expectant Paul Tibbets,

to drop "Little Boy."

His suit pants are also flood-ready

(perhaps a good thing today),

and with the elastic in his black knee-highs

evidently gone to its greater reward,

Stinkybutt shows the commuting world

knobby white-man leg,

and plenty of it.

His prodigious Adam's Apple,

roughly the size of a Brunswick,

bounces like a piston up

and down his emaciated throat.

He feigns financial erudition,

pretending everyday to study the Journal.

His cheapazoid suitcoat sleeves

ride up to his scrawny elbows as he

blasts from page to page to page,

too quickly for even Evelyn Wood's

preternatural comprehension.

He crams the esteemed publication

into an overstuffed hovel of a valise,

and standing to exit to another busy, busy banking day,

one readily notes his collar half-upturned

and coat creeping up mid-spine

to reveal suit pants

hopelessly bunched-up in his dupa.

He doesn't bother with any adjustment,

and rides the next day and the next,

and even the next beyond that,

in the same grey suit.

It should not, then,

take an undue amount of imagination

to glean the genesis

of Mr. S's pitiless nickname, dear dads.

But on that fateful day,

as we again assembled on the 56-X line,

the rains of Macondo began to infiltrate

the overhead fluorescents,

shorting them like lightning bugs

in a backyard zapper might do.

When the waters broke through,

we were all of us doused in violent torrents.

The calamity inspired ingenious defenses

against the usual boredom of our commute.

Magazines and blue recycle bags

formerly carrying office snackies became rain hats

(CAUTION: plastic bags are not intended

as toys and must be kept away from children).

Up went the bumbershoots

against the riveted sheet metal sky.

The bus jerked starboard

and there went my sangwich,

flying end-over-end in a slo-mo spiral

into the growing puddle by Mr. Flippy's jerking feet.

He laughed out loud,

and Mr. S balled up his Journal in a stinky hysteric too,

as my olive loaf and swiss

serenely drifted down the aisle's rubber runner.

Mr. H joined in with a rattling guffaw,

and for one brief moment,

and for that one moment only

as my saturated sangie floated by,

we all traded a nervous smirk

and its transient attendant suggestion of humanity.

The driver bellowed my stop,

and slammed his brakes throwing me


against the front windows as

the chugging behemoth hydrofoiled to a halt.

With just enough change for the farebox

and no more,

I left them all knowing I was condemned

to return again and again to our

Sisyphean little exercise,

armed as always with kisses and elaborate Crayolas

for the stained cubicle divider walls,

doomed to engage the world

in futile battle yet one more time.

Last "dads"
Past "dads"

2003 Arhythmiacs

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