A male voice I didn’t recognize shot back as if he’d been popping uppers like Sweet Tarts. “Have I ever told you I have this thing about short people?”
“Who is this?” I managed to say.
“Short people. They scare the bejesus out of me.” He was hyperventilating…spitting words into the phone.
“I’m sorry…I think you have the wrong…”
“Pretty sure it started with the Wizard of Oz…the small dudes with the spiky lard hair and weird socks. Remember them?” The male voice immediately launched into the Munchkin Song.
As he sang, the image of that old classic returned…three short stack cherubs swinging their legs from side to side, little Vienna sausage arms buckled together like a chain link fence.
“I believe you’ve misdialed…” I stopped him in mid-chorus.
One perk about having a conversation so early in the day…no one expects much out of you. A simple grunt passes for a commencement address…a yawn carries the weight of a eulogy. Because before 6AM there is something mysteriously profound about just opening your eyes and proclaiming life…breathing in and out…gently making body parts participate with the brain’s reluctant nod that it must once again fire on all cylinders.
“You know who this is, don’t you?” He shouts into the phone.
“No…can’t say I do.”
“It’s Ronnie. Your cousin, Ronnie. Do you still like jokes? I got a good one for you. Heard it in prison. Yeah, that’s right. Prison. Damn, girl, we got some catching up to do.”
“Wait a minute…” I said, and then he interrupted.
“Okay so here’s the joke. The teacher asks the class, “There are four crows on top of a wire. If you shoot one…how many are left?” Billy raises his hand. “Okay Billy, what’s the answer?” The teacher asks. “None,” Billy says, “because the sound of the gun scares the others away.” The teacher smiles, “Well now, that’s not exactly the answer I was looking for, but I like the way you think.” Then Billy says, “Teacher, I have a question for you. There are three women holding a lollipop. One is biting it, one is sucking, and the other is stroking it. Which one is married?” The teacher hesitates and then answers, the one sucking? “Wrong,” says Billy. “It’s the one with the wedding ring, but I like the way you think.”
I hung up on Ronnie right then, but not before I heard him mouthe a showbiz drumroll. “Ba-da-boom! Thanks folks. I’m here all week.”
He instantly called back, and with a pissy ‘tude sprayed, “Why did you hang up?”
I’d had just about enough of this clown. “Listen. I don’t have a cousin named Ronnie. I don’t like perverted jokes…and I particularly don’t like being woken up at 6AM.”
“Wait a minute. This is Carol, right? He asked.
“No, this is not Carol.”
“Oh damn, you mean I have to do this whole thing again with Carol? Why didn’t you just stop me before I went on and on?”
And that’s the way my morning began. I would like to say the day has progressively gotten better, but that would be a flat-out lie. Unable to get back to sleep, I stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the light.
I’m not going to fill you youngsters with fiction. Aging sucks. Not long ago people often mistook me for looking younger than my years. Now I dash from one low lit area to the next to camouflage the vicious effects of age…a zoo mauling if you will. It’s as though my body got caught in a twister and hasn’t touched down. What’s worse is this whole aging thing sort of sneaks up on you. One minute you think you have the looks for pomp and pageantry nailed…and the next, a closer inspection of your mug prompts, “Who the hell is that bloated woman in the mirror? And what’s up with the Sasquatch facial hair?”
Chin whiskers, pointy pubic-like bristles growing out of my damn ears and nose, and patches of it on my knuckles and toes…it’s bloody disgusting. I can only guesstimate that my body was crop dusted with Miracle Gro while I slept.
This morning there was something new to ponder. It’s like the wild hair up my ass has reversed course and resurfaced on my eyebrow. Usually not a problem if you catch it fast enough, but this bugger grew twice the size of its brethren overnight. How could one solitary soldier grow the size of a tour bus windshield wiper?
So, tomorrow morning, do yourself a favor and run a comb through those unruly mite collectors…and check your nostrils. Never good to start a day with gnarly shrubbery clumps above your neck. As for me? I plan to sleep in and let the wild hairs form crop circles.