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Jumping for joy is the leading cause of sprained ankles in excitable people; sprained ankles are the leading cause of loss of excitability.

My aunt Irma was an excitable soul who nursed more than a few sprained ankles since 1971. That year, her enthusiasm for life jumped a few notches following eye surgery restoring her sensitivity to colors. I often wondered why she didn’t restrain her leaps, as her ankles were not made of the same stuff as those of kangaroos. To be sure, she wasn’t as massive as a kangaroo. Even is she had been, she’d have lacked that giant meaty tail for support.

K

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Keystrokes and kimonos are the first and last terms on page 381 of the desk dictionary that got me in trouble with “M”.  Another letter, presumably another post for the dustbin. Let’s see:

Anyone with some fashion sense can stroke keys in a kimono. Let them. I find the loose arm sleeves of the garment invite too much airflow for a comfortable typing experience. I rather my elbows stay warm during a blogabout (with this I claim the term “blogabout” for dogchewedopals before a lesser competitor dallies with it). Kimonos are better suited for a stroll down a boulevard bordered by blooming cherry trees, perfectly cut for lounging on a short sofa while holding a carafe of hot sake in one hand and a glossy copy of Power Sumo in the other.

Mercifully the keystrokes remaining in this entry are coming to an end. Though I can’t pledge this is the first write-up linking keystrokes and kimonos, I suggest it be the last.

L

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Lucas J. Weberley is a lad of 20 months. A wee lad. He commands a wee vocabulary, and can hold only wee amounts of things in his wee little hands.

The boy lives simply. He busies his days transporting plastic blocks of all colors, stacking them on tabletops and then swiping them off in a quick dismissive gesture, notifying the blocks they’ve exhausted their capacity to entertain. Lucas reveres bulldozers as monstrous mechanical gods that can move mountains. He pays no concern to the shift of continental plates, salary restrictions of professional athletes, or that whole eggs do poorly in a microwave. Neither does it matter to him if one shoe is untied, there’s a beet juice stain on his upper left pant leg, or that light rain is soaking his playhouse outside. Lucas demands little from life except lungfuls of clean air, nearby smooth surfaces from which to swipe blocks, and well-fitting shoes, tied or not. He does not insist on his apple pieces being peeled, does not aspire to be President.

Yesterday, sitting on the sunny lawn behind his house, Lucas conversed with a cricket. The two exchanged greetings, then relayed details of their day. They shared stories: Lucas told of an enormous metal monster that groaned as it pushed rubble around a construction site nearby. Mr. Cricket returned with an account of the delicious shiny green beetle that appeared practically at its jaws.

After sundown, Lucas’s day concluded in a Toy Story diaper. It kept his midsection warm, and would warm it further as the night progressed. The boy dreamed of a cricket, of red and white and yellow blocks, and of a bulldozer. Tomorrow will be a fantastic day.

M

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“Moonstruck”, in the opinion of a red paperback dictionary (the “foremost” dictionary, it reminds me) within my reach, means: 1. “mentally unbalanced”, and 2. “filled with romantic sentiment”. Upon learning this, my first instinct is to question why the word doesn’t also refer to a collision between an object and the natural satellite circling our planet. My second instinct is to scratch my head. My third is to scratch again, this time in a different spot, and wonder why “moonstruck” links two concepts seemingly at odds. My fourth instinct is to choose another “m” word as I’ve just exhausted the number of thoughts I’m apt to muster about “moonstruck”.

N

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Namibia to Niger flights are known for their turbulence. Airlines travelling between the capitals Windhoek and Niamey advise their passengers to wear extra-cushioned pants to tolerate the bouncing.

Nangolo, a Namibian boy of twelve years, missed this message. He was too excited about his first trip into the heavens to notice the corporate advisory finely printed on the bottom reverse of his paper ticket. He was finally headed to Niger to meet his long-time pen pal Boubacar, a lad with whom he’d been swapping scribblings for five years. In reality, Nangolo could have used a cushioned stomach prior to departure. He’d been vomiting profusely from the anxiety of leaving the familiar beloved dirt of Windhoek and handing control of his life to a captain of a flying vessel, a stranger in a strange costume adorned with curious pins and patches. During the flight, the rattling of the plane intensified Nangolo’s misery. Neither the complementary cranberry juice nor the flight crew’s words of comfort were enough to quell the nausea that gripped the boy.

Upon arrival in Niamey, Nangolo disembarked onto the tarmac with the other passengers. The whirling of his stomach had not yet subsided. Boubacar stood just outside the airport’s terminal doors. Recognizing his pal from photos, he ran up to Nangolo. The boys shook hands and embraced briefly. Nangolo, still nauseous, vomited promptly on his friend’s right shoulder. Boubacar had predicted an alternative greeting.

A fortnight hence, it was time for Nangolo to return to Namibia. Recalling his earlier aerial expedition, the boy’s stomach grumbled. Nangolo set out on the 2,700 mile journey. This time, he would stroll.