2017-08-10 / Features

Silly Social Scenes

A Wand'ring Minstrel (Nye)

THE EX-PCKN IS ARGUMENTATIVE – The Ex-Pet Casket King of No’field was exceptionally disputatious at Grumpy Old Men’s Breakfast of a recent Saturday. Amidst a discussion of the weather in which the prevailing sentiment was that a day of rain lay ahead, the XPCKN declared stoutly that the weather would be sunny and 75 degrees. The other GOM whipped out their eyefones and consulted various sources, which unanimously confirmed the prevailing view.

    “Pace the Ex-Pet Casket King,” one member proclaimed repressively, “there will be NO sun today!” Naturally, the stubby little former second lieutenant of engineers vehemently disagreed, pointing at his own eyefone, which was tuned to the Faux News Network, from which he received all of his misinformation. The row went on for several minutes until one GOM loudly cleared his throat and pointed to a window, through which a downpour could be seen. The Ex subsided into Dark Mutterings, mulishly declining to admit error (his usual tack when shown to be wrong).

    Next, the Worthy Editor passed around his eyefone so those present could see a photo taken early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II showing a group of children watching an adult giving instructions for the proper use of a golf club. One of those present, the WE remarked cagily, was The Torch, who happened to be sitting at the other end of the table, and those present were invited to say which one he was. Catching a partial glimpse as the device him, the Ex loudly averred that it was the one with the golf club. This assertion the WE firmly rebutted, but the obstinate former Buck Private of Industry insisted that he was right. Others at the table correctly pointed out The Torch, which went no ways toward dissuading the Ex – even after The Torch himself agreed that the consensus opinion was correct.

    At this point the Ex drew from his reticule one of the Fatal Factoids for which this Fine Gazette is so justly noted and waved it threateningly at the Worthy Editor, disrupting the steady progress of eggs to mouth. “This says,” the stubby little man announced accusingly, “that you’re more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider.”

    Waving away the annoyance, as he would a poisonous spider, the WE continued to give attention to his rapidly cooling eggs.

    “WELL,” the Ex demanded, “where did you get this?”

    The WE did not deign to reply, so the XPCKN became more aggressive, thrusting the clipping under the WE’s nose, which nearly caused the scrap of paper to be ingested with the forkful of eggs on its way to his mouth.

    “Fake Facts from Faux says that last year 47 people were killed by poisonous spiders, compared with minus three killed by champagne corks!”

    This caused the Editor to halt his fork in mid-flight and turn his attention to the Ex, at whom he glowered threateningly. Beetling up his brows at his pestiferous neighbor, the WE snapped, “Nonsense! All of our factoids are carefully checked by the International Guild of Factoid Checkers, so it can’t POSSIBLY be wrong!” As an afterthought, he growled, “Anyhow, how could there POSSIBLY be minus three deaths?”

    Unwilling to admit that his assertion might be wrong (or that he mis-read it, or that it might be Fake News), the XPCKN continued to argue his case, to the amusement of the rest of the GOM, but to the vast annoyance of the Editor, who “rose like a hawk from his chow mein” and thundered, “De gustibus non est disputandum,” a reply that so crushed his antagonist that the little man gave up the argument and buried his face in his over-easy eggs.

    ROUNDABOUT CLUB PLANNING FUNDRAISER – After getting over his sulks about the Editor’s crushing retort, the Ex announced that the Roundabout Club was planning a fundraiser in support of its Favorite Project, building an elevated railway from the northern end of Southernmost Village to the northerly end of the Falls of the Riviere du Chien. The Resident Cynic archly inquired whether the event was to be another all-the-XPCKN-will-let-you-eat pie social. (Readers with long memories may recall reports in this Column of the disasters which resulted from this event in the past.)

    No, the little man sniffed, this time the women who run the Club decided on something else, whereat he snapped his jaw shut. The others looked everywhere except at the Ex, and a long silence ensued until the speaker realized that no one was going to tease it out of him.

    “It’s going to be a molded salad supper,” he stated, trying to put the ring of conviction into his voice, although the GOM could tell that his heart really wasn’t in it. As he said no more on the subject, and as no one present wished to open a can of worms by inquiring further, AND, more importantly, as it was time to adjourn, the others vacated their chairs and went about their business, firm in their belief that No Good Could Come from such an event, especially as the XPCKN was to have a hand in it.

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