unaware that I call him
Likewise for "Mr. Flippy,"
Yet there they are,
traveling through life along with me
every day, each, ultimately,
to our individual toils
on the broken-down city bus
It's the place to be for cash-strapped
who don't mind commingling
with the many mutations
populating our proud species.
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
in the entirely ungrateful television
industry for which I produced
thousands of insightful infotainment
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
effectively taking light years off.
But we must leave our stream of
our bus has
hurry aboard ---
you'll get soaked in the rain!
It goes without saying that the
bumbershoot in your Fruitopian
suburban abode that ain't on the
is brightly festooned with
Animaniacs and Muppet
As such, the drenching rains have
you and your proletarian-brown lunch bag
the very bone, and the contents of
your mid-day fare, of course,
spilling forth from the quickly disintegrating sack.
You board hoping beyond all hope that
your fellow commuters will not spy
your secret Snackwells or
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
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
comportment, dear dads,
I am teaching my only
to do the same and I heartily
suggest you do
When this forsaken decade groans at
last to a halt and
we have all suffered
the diabetically saccharine
for the umpteenth play on our
(or blaring Real Audio over the 'Net
if the Unix
perhaps then decent manners will again be
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.
with flood pants and goo-goo-goggle
owns this century's most pernicious, ralphing Satanic
God protect this poor, poor pitiful
if his odious condition is the dastardly work
C.F. or some similarly heinous manifestation,
but when you hear
the flood of sputum
start rattlin' around Mr. H's
I'm tellin' you,
it's time to head for the
A low and wild demon
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,
bolts and chassis nuts in alarming profusion.
Covertly, you hold your breath
one-thousand... THREE-THOUSAND-NINE-HUNDRED-FORTY-TWO, one thousand...)
THREE-THOUSAND-NINE-HUNDRED-FORTY-TWO, one thousand...)
for the rest of the 45-minute ride
so you will not
inhale whatever gnarly microbeasties
Mr. Hock-Head has propelled
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
rolling ten rows aft then bouncing about like a
here and there,
hither and thither,
between the seats,
finally becoming lost forever.
While I am now well positioned
away from the celebrated
Mr. H, I am too near
Flippy and Stinkybutt
for my own liking.
Mr. Flippy exhibits the most curious habit
his hands about in the air,
as if furiously shaking off
the searing sting of a burn,
with no visible provocation
As to the time-honored tradition of we
cueballs in denial who grow
strands near their ears and then
all the way over
our noggins fooling absolutely no one,
Mr. Flippy offers a revolutionary salon twist.
He has cultivated an impressive tress
BACK of his head and flips it over
FORWARD in a
hideous faux mop-top.
I was fooled for many a
believe-you-me, dear readers.
Flippy reads incessantly from
Voltaire, Turgenev, and T.V.
debarking at the same downtown spot
called for one-hundred-and-fifty-three years,
where he will
linger in momentary confusion
before his daily levitation, ever so
reminds him of his surroundings.
I fondly watch him draw chaos
in the Wagnerian skies with
burly chewed and flipping paws, now but
blur through the window's filth.
Stinkybutt is up front as always,
sprawled like a decaying praying
across a seat he will never share,
even if the
aisle were packed with
pregnant poppin' mamas prepared at any
like the expectant Paul Tibbets,
to drop "Little
His suit pants are also flood-ready
(perhaps a good thing today),
and with the elastic in his
evidently gone to its greater reward,
Stinkybutt shows the commuting world
knobby white-man leg,
and plenty of it.
His prodigious Adam's
roughly the size of a Brunswick,
bounces like a
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
too quickly for even Evelyn Wood's
He crams the esteemed
into an overstuffed hovel of a valise,
standing to exit to another busy, busy banking day,
notes his collar half-upturned
and coat creeping up mid-spine
to reveal suit pants
hopelessly bunched-up in his
He doesn't bother with any adjustment,
and rides the next day and the next,
and even the next
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
But on that fateful day,
again assembled on the 56-X line,
the rains of Macondo began to
the overhead fluorescents,
shorting them like
in a backyard zapper might do.
waters broke through,
we were all of us doused in violent
The calamity inspired ingenious
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
as toys and must be kept away from children).
Up went the bumbershoots
the riveted sheet metal sky.
The bus jerked
and there went my sangwich,
in a slo-mo spiral
into the growing puddle by Mr. Flippy's
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
Mr. H joined in with a
and for one brief moment,
and for that
one moment only
as my saturated sangie floated by,
traded a nervous smirk
and its transient attendant suggestion of
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
to return again and again to our
armed as always with kisses and elaborate
for the stained cubicle divider walls,
engage the world
in futile battle yet one more time.