2018-01-11 / Features

Silly Social Scenes

A WAND’RING MINSTREL (NYE)

SEMI-PENULTIMATE MEETING OF YEAR ENDS IN FABULOUS TALE & NEAR THEFT! – We refer not to No’field’s Bored of Selectdodos, but to the Grumpy Old Men’s Breakfast Club, which held its last, next-to-last or second-to-last meeting of the year. (The GOMBC’s reckoning is based on the Greek calends, leavened by a touch of the Benubian-Rite Unorthodox Church computation, which differs wildly from twelve-month to twelve-month and is so complicated that none but a Child of Six can figure it out. This explains why Our 5.972 [statistical] readers have not yet seen a Year-in-Review.)
On a frigid morning, five members and a Curious Onlooker gathered to break their fast at the Falls Generalized Emporium. The Ex-Pet Casket King, disgruntled by the sub-zero conditions and by the fact that he had to leave his cheap Asian car running all through the weekly seance, demanded that the Columnist-Ad-Hoc write a “stinging indictment” of the weather. After a gnarly discussion as to whether the Ex said “stinging,” “singing,” “sinking” or “stinking,” it was agreed that a condemnation was warranted. Thus, having received the request via carrier pigeon, We are pleased to offer this indictment: “The sinking weather stinks!”
Next, the Ex loudly demanded to know WHERE ex-Coast Guardsman Perky got his chapeau, which was emblazoned with the name of a building in that Vast Sinkhole of Ineptitude, Incompetence and Flim-Flammery laughingly known as The Nation’s Capital. For Reasons of National Security We may not mention its name, so We will call it The Hexagon. Perky (AKA Mister Instant Pot) thereupon spun a tale of intrigue, mystery, and Wrong-Way-Corriganism, which strained the credulity of the group to the breaking point (except for the XPCKN, who believes everything he’s told or reads, ESPECIALLY if it comes from the internet [which, HE, in an instance unparalleled in Human History of prognostication gone wrong, denounced as “a passing fad”].)
In the Year 1962, (“three years after the Cuban missile crisis,” the Ex intoned [it wasn’t], “when that Commie Brezhnev was Premier [he wasn’t], right at the end of the Eisenhower administration” [it wasn’t]) Perky began, he was in a men’s unwatering hole in the Hexagon when a “tall blond man with one red shoe” and an alternating limp hove to alongside him. Espying the Hexagon-emblazoned cap atop the stranger’s head, the intrepid Coast Guardsman expressed admiration for the headgear. Flattered by the attention from an obviously high-ranging naval officer (wrong on both counts), the adjoiner, who spoke with a thick accent that Perky immediately identified as having a Magyar lilt to it, removed the hat and handed it to Perky. Their business concluded, the pair adjourned to a nearby watering hole, where the Magyar (for he was, indeed, Hungarian) told Perky his Curious Story. 
As a boy growing up in the village of Szekesvarfeherpestazhyzbathorykitsz, 275 kilometers from the nearest town, the fondest wish of Mysterious Hungarian (who must remain nameless for reasons that will become obvious) was to fly airplanes off the deck of an aircraft carrier. Bent upon obtaining an education, the MH earned enough selling platypus eggs and milking wild boar to put himself through the Napi Frissitesu Hirportalja Institute for Advanced Ballet & Aeronautical Studies. The aspiring naval aviator was destined for disappointment, however, for the Hungarian navy, with no access to the sea, had only small river patrol vessels. On learning this, the MH made tracks for Romania, which did, in fact have two aircraft carriers – converted merchant vessels upon which 100’ flight decks were hot-glued. As the length was not conducive to proper take-off and landing, the two vessels always traveled in tandem; when a plane was to be launched or recovered, the ships carefully maneuvered into a bow-to-stern configuration to provide sufficient space. As might be expected in such a Rube Goldberg arrangement, plane losses were frequent – and this in 1939 as war was breaking out.
After surviving the war, the MH made the transition to Soviet-Bloc Romania, where he flew on real aircraft carriers, one of which was cruising off the coast of Cuba in October, 1962 (“A Mig-23,” the Ex thundered [Wrong; the Mig-23 was introduced in 1970.]). Whilst on patrol one day, the MH lost his bearings (he later blamed it on the Jamaica Rectangle) and he landed at the Norfolk naval base, where he was welcomed as a hero, given a square meal, a tour of the Hexagon, a fancy cap and a new identity. 
“And THAT,” Perky innocently explained, “is how I got my cap.” The Ex argued that Romania didn’t have a navy because it was located north of Greece, next to Argentina, but a Worthy Editorial Verysmartfone search revealed that Romania had had a navy since 1860.
At this point Chief W.C. Nylon shuffled off, a fact of which the argumentative Trained Engineer was oblivious. Several minutes later, the Ex let out a bellow, pulled on his jacket and raced out to his running vehicle just in time to prevent the Chief from shutting off the engine and making off with the key. This provided a nice touch of hilarity to the meeting, and the other GOM adjourned in a merry frame of mind.

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