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Archive for the ‘Writing Samples’ Category

American Life at 173 MPH

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Written by Paleocrat
Jan. 8, 2009

What I wouldn’t give for a typewriter. A real nice vintage one. The kind you would see on Citizen Kane or in an old picture of Hunter S. Thompson. If my memory serves me well, and it rarely does, there used to be one tucked away somewhere in friend’s attic. Not at all sure what happened with it, but I wouldn’t put it past the poor saps to have slapped a $1 tag on it in a garage sale. Unfortunate.

My fascination with typewriters may be chalked up with a simple love for all things old. Cars, quills, clothing styles, black and white photographs, music, you name it. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that they require a relatively decent amount of finger coordination. Mistakes aren’t easily glossed over. Errors are obvious, smudged over with White Out. Were I to be tapping away on one of these typewriters at this very moment, this entry would be as mark-free as Tony Soprano’s wrap sheet.

But this post isn’t really about typewriters. At least not directly. Instead, as with most other things, it correlates to my obsession with all things socio-political. 

Americans live life fast and furious, tapping away at their keys without but a care in the world. The delete key, unlike the White Out of old, provides the luxury of fumbling around without having to pay much mind to errors. A simple backspace and all is well. Most forget just how many times, and exactly on what words, they utilize this feature. This allows them to fumble through life while minimizing the number of visible cover-ups by which to recall their errors. Pounding out words and actions as if they bear no consequence. Easily out of sight, easily out of mind. This is the American way.

While life may be dandy when all is easily forgotten, it is those very errors, as well as the reflections thereupon, that make us all the better. We see common mistakes, we notice redundancies, and we get a better grasp on where fine-tuning is in demand. It is here that we begin to more accurately realize our need for betterment, and where exactly these things are to be found. This is not so when all is blotted out with broad strokes and no visible remains.

While I may have a personal passion for the nostalgic, I am by no means encouraging all to return to the yesteryear of typewriters and quills. But maybe it would do us well to be more cautious, more calculated, and more willing to reflect long and hard on those areas in life where haste took precedence over prudence.


Written by Paleocrat

January 8, 2009 at 10:49 am

Mr. Wizard Misses Mr. Snuffleupagus (3x’s fast)

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By Velleitaire and Paleocrat
Dec. 15, 2008

“Sir, how much for that woolly mammoth over there?”

I guess woolly mammoths have been extinct for a while now…or so I’ve read. Leave a woman at Green’s Tavern on “Boozeday Tuesday” and one may think otherwise. Then again, woolly mammoths typically had teeth and didn’t wear wife-beater undershirts splattered with week-old stains from coffee and Skoal chewing tobacco.

Crazy scientists announced that they have almost finished sequencing the genome of this wild, harry creature formally seen only in museums, movies, or dope houses on “the other side of the tracks.” Turns out, if these wild-eyed Dr. Wizards get their way, little Johnny Q. and Sally Sue may get to ride one of them at your nearest petting zoo.

Dale McFeatters, a class act of a syndicated columnist, thinks we owe it to Mr. Snuffleupagus to resurrect him and his pals from their icy tombs. McFeatters frames it in moral terms. This fellow believes that the mere fact that someone’s 1o,000-year-old  neanderthal relative hunted these monsters down with rocks and clubs all the way to extenction somehow requires modern humankind to give these beasts a “second chance.”

Have these people not seen Jurassic Park? The late Michael Crichton would have punched them in the face. What is the old saying? Mr. Snuffleupagus may have been cool to watch on TV, but don’t invite him over for dinner? Something like that… either way, this whole thing is crazy.

Off-the-Cuff: Eggnog Escapades

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By Velleitaire and Paleocrat
Dec. 11, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: There was at no point during this event, or even thereafter, where Paleocrat was intoxicated. Furthermore, the Meijer associates at no time referred to the Jews or spun recklessly on the floor. The rest has been slightly dramatized for the reader’s enjoyment.

Eggnog…we need eggnog. But where? That is the question… Aha! Meijer, of course. Most certainly Meijer.

Paleo and I jump recklessly out of the vehicle as it speeds at 76 mph towards a most frightening curb made of adamantium and dynamite. Dusting the bitter remains of failed dreams and government cheese off our clothing, we made our way to the door.

“Dang Nazis,” he said, “why are the enter doors on the left side?”

Curious question. Curious question indeed. But we submit ourselves – grudgingly I might add – to the whimsical fancy of the fascist draftsman who plotted out the absurd left-side entryway. We hadn’t passed through the automated doors once operated by low-wage immigrants before Paleo began rambling on about Koreans and how “it’s all their fault.”

“Well of course, why wouldn’t be?” I replied.

In typical Paleo fashion, he is oblivious to – or just ignores – the fact that there is a door greeter just a few feet away. She heard ever word… and was apparently made nervous by what appeared to be a racially charged accusation against all Korean people! With her gross globs of lipstick and painted on eyebrows, the elderly woman uttered what was obviously nothing more than a nervous chuckle.

Paleo turns around abruptly, looking the woman straight in the eyes. She smiled, but no amount of caked makeup or globs of lipstick could hide her sudden timidity. I can only imagine her wondering what was going to happen next. I was wondering the exact same thing. A crazed white man ranting about Koreans in the middle of the night.

“I’m talking about my wife,” Paleo explains. “My wife is Korean, and most certainly to blame for everything.”

She gives a nervous laugh, then says, “Now don’t you go forgetting about those Jews.”

For the love of all things sacred! Did she just say what I thought she said? No… there is no way… certainly the sweet, old greeter didn’t say something about the Jews! Oh well, we must move on. To the dairy section… focus Mary, Paleo certainly won’t can’t focus for himself. No, not tonight.

Ah…yes, alas, rows and rows of artery-clogging eggnog. For the first time since entering this establishment I thought all was well and good. No more Koreans, no more Tammy Faye Baker greeters… oops, spoke too soon.

“The ether is suppose to stay in the car, Mary!”  he said with the kind of frustration that comes from those who know too much when speaking to those who know too little. “For crying out loud, Mary, you have it all over your scarf.”

In most any other situation this would be no problem… but not this time. Paleo, pretending to be in a drunken stupor, just so happened to have blurted this out in front of another customer. She looked like she got a kick out of the entire thing, but she was probably confident that Paleo was on a copious amount of drugs. To make matters worse, the woman probably thought that I was also a drug addict! How to get out of this? How? I will insist that I am his designated driver!

I walk towards the woman, signaling that I wished to tell her something. “Ma’am,” I said…

“Can you help us?” Paleo interrupted.

No, he did not just do that! He chose to use that very moment to begin asking innocent bystanders whether a jug or a carton is a better deal. “I am not good with this stuff,” he admits, “too many numbers. It’s like demanding me to Velcro my shoes! Tough stuff for any man, really.”

The woman, apparently moved by what appeared to be his drug-induced state of mind, convinces him that the best deal is to buy three cartons. She also informs him that any more than about a shot of Captain Morgan in a glass of eggnog will overpower the other flavors.

“Honestly, toots, I am not at all sure that would bother me at this time.”

Oh goodness! He called her toots! Am I blushing? The woman was, but almost in a way that gave the impression that she didn’t mind being belittled in such a way. Toots? Toots??

Check it out, bag it up, and walk towards the exit. That is all we had to do. Simple enough, no trouble, and certainly no Koreans.

It is in this comfortably safe place that Paleo began jabbering on about Rumple Minze putting hair on your eyeballs. “Everyone knows it.” Yeah, everyone… everyone except for me!

“What the heck does that even mean?” I asked. “For that matter, what is Rumple Minze?”

He stopped mid-stride, jaw hitting the floor.

“What? Are you serious? Everyone knows! Even these two broads behind the counter.”

The comfortable safety quickly vanished as the two “broads” he was referring to overheard his remark. Here it comes… we are so screwed.

“It’s a figure of speech,” one of the girls said. “It’s like the saying about how drinking Brandy puts hair on your chest.”

“And don’t forget potato  chips,” Paleo added, “those worked for me.”

The woman rubs her chest in a manner much like Paleo, admitting, “It worked for me too.”

The two of them began laughing hysterically, the woman obviously having no qualms with being referred to as a broad. Sanity had vanished. They began giggling so hard that snot was running out of their noses. The two of them hit the tiled floor, spinning wildly in circles, faces turned red with laughter over what appeared to be some kind of sick inside joke. He later told me he never met her before that time. His reaction was purely spur of the moment. He was just amazed that she was as much into the hysteria as he was.

So we head for the door… oh no, the greeter! Isn’t it past her bedtime? Doesn’t she have to get back for the Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote, or Matlock? Aren’t there hard candies or sherbet to eat?

No matter what her excuse, she was still there by the doors. Paleo chances one more encounter with this woman. He tells her that if a Korean woman comes asking for a man named “Jeremiah,” that she is to tell her that he went on a safari, and that, Lord willing, he will be back sometime Tuesday.

Finally, back to those irritating backward doors we first entered. We had our eggnog. That is all we came for… Or was it? As I looked over at Paleo, he cracked a half-smile, returning to his typical sober demeanor, only to make a snide, off-the-cuff remark about how gullible people really are.

What a sick man. Truly a sick man. I always knew public apperances with Paleo were unpredictable…unpredictable indeed… but this had been something altogether otherworldly.

Reflection Upon Broken Glass

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I’m not who I am, at least last time I checked. Looking through rose glasses would be better than the shattered mirror I’m gazing into. Walking away, only to forget what you look like… but you can only forget those things you once knew.

Names blur into faces, and faces meld into a mass of anonymous cameos. Nothing but shadowy figures, each going their own way, wishing only that you remember their name. Like smudged pastel on a weathered canvas, the names and faces have streaked across the horizon of my memory, leaving nothing but a haze.

What is a name? Sounds to go with a face.

Curled in the corner of a circular cell is doing me little good. The memories can’t escape the fog, and the names are stranded on the tip of my tongue. All these faces, all those places, lost within the abyss of an abysmal past. Fight though you want, Jeremiah, they are lost. Love made is love lost, and past lives now clutter the graveyard of things you shouldn’t let go but just can’t remember….

I originally wrote this on MySpace. I may be submitting similar material to the Garfield Lake Review.

Written by Paleocrat

September 23, 2008 at 10:51 pm