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Turn Your Head and Cough #14
by Jason Torchinsky

During this vacation I decided to allow myself a special treat and took myself for a nice walk. After all, I reasoned, I've earned it, and it was obvious by the way I was scratching at the door that I wanted out. So, after cutting away the bright yellow tape that reads "Police line: Do Not Cross" that mysteriously seems to appear wrapped all over the front porch of my family's house, I began my relaxing stroll.

As I was walking, I smelled the wonderful aroma of my mother's fresh-baked bread. I followed the scent for what must have been miles (my watch stopped, I couldn't tell) but when I reached the source of the wonderful scent I was disappointed to find that it was not some stray mound of my mother's wonderful bread, but rather a pile of smoldering tires. Come to think of it, my mom never baked bread. Huh. Mental note: Mom bread no. Okay. Anyway, I began to look around my now unfamiliar environs.

I noticed a large knot of agitated people standing in the middle of the road. I got closer and saw the body of a young boy wedged under a stopped car. Using my vast powers of deduction, powers so great that I can tell the difference between identical twins that I have never met simply by taking a cursory glance through their wallets. Provided they're dressed differently. Anyway, I reasoned that what had happened was that the young boy was struck by lightning when a freak gravitational flux hurled him into the street, and now a passing motorist was trying to help by applying pressure to the boy's cranium with his front tire, that old folk remedy for being struck by lightning. Did I mention that I was struck by lightning once? Well, I was. Here's the receipt. But I digress. Realizing that the boy was injured, I bolted over to the scene, ready to help. I was forced to shove away many people surrounding the poor youth, including two pesky guys in orange and white suits who thought that just because they came to the scene in a big flashy white van with all kinds of flashing lights on it that they should be allowed to pound on this poor kid's chest and blow down his throat. Sickos.

Immediately when I saw they boy I knew what must be done to help him. In fact, he practically told me himself. On his shirt, just above one of those cute little rhinoceroses or tarantulas or whatever drawn by that "Boynton" person who does those recycled greeting cards, were the telling words: "In case of emergency, administer chocolate." Were these people blind? This wasn't some easily ignored medic-alert bracelet, this was a whole shirt! Fools!

Luckily, I forgoed my normal procedure of soiling myself whenever such a stressful and important situation occurs and instead sprang into action. I took the dozen or so Hershey bars I keep on my person at all times as a result of a childhood promise I made to the now-famous newsman Charles Kuralt, and began cramming them in the boy's mouth with breakneck speed. The last thing I remember was that I seemed to have been making progress, as the boys writhings were growing more violent. Then everything went black.

When I woke up, I was strapped to a small cot. I looked down and saw with much horror that one of my hands was missing. I was about to scream out in shock and fright, but then, much to my relief, I noticed my hand next to me, floating in a jar of wine sauce. Boy did I feel foolish! Thank God I didn't scream. How embarrassing would that have been? One of the two main resolutions I made for this new year was to try and improve the transitions in my columns, to try to write columns that were less bluntly severed in the middle, to try not to switch to an entirely new idea with the careless abandon of kudzu. I think even the moistest of us can see how well I've fared in that arena. My other big resolution, never to use the phrase "sequestered oyster" in a column, I broke about four words back. Based on these results, one can easily see that I have little or no skill at maintaining new year's resolutions. In fact, out of all of my years of existence, and, of course, being alive, I can barely think of any resolutions I've managed to keep. Hell, you know how many times I've kept a resolution? You could count them on one hand! Seven times. Pathetic.

Enough talk of failed resolutions! That stuff is so morbid, and you, you, my readers, you look to me not for morbid text and disheartening ideas, but rather for inspiration, for light, and, occasionally, hot stock tips. With these goals in mind, allow me now to drivel incoherently about some thoughts that flitted through my brain.

During this past holiday season, there seemed to be a resurgence of religious icon displays. At least compared to what you see in, say, February. Regardless, you could probably have thrown a rock in any direction and managed to have hit at least one nativity scene. And I'm not just saying that, either. I tested this out. Although I found that during certain hours, such as daylight and much of the night, I usually ended up clocking a fellow human, or perhaps one of my relatives. Also, in some more sparsely populated areas, the rock you would have to throw to prove my theory correct would require the dimensions of the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs. Such are the risks of science. Anyway, I was in this one nativity scene one night, shearing the little sheep they have in there so I could make some mittens, when something struck me. A heavy brass paperweight, hurled by some territorial pastor who suggested that if I wished to remain bipedal, I should leave the manger scene. I guess the intense atmosphere of the Yuletide season takes its toll on us all.

As I fled the church to find sanctuary, ironically, I began to think about this whole nativity scene thing. As I understand it, those of the Christian faith use them to commemorate the birthday of their messiah, a certain Mr. Christ. Okay. That's fine. But how about this: since Christmas is technically the birthday of Jesus Christ, why does everyone only do the first one? It might be cool to see a nativity scene of Jesus', say, eighth birthday. He'd be sitting there at his little decorated table, cutting up one tiny piece of cake to serve, miraculously, to all of his 12 little friends, 11 of whom are sitting around the table, singing and stuff, and the other, little Judas, is talking to Jesus' dad, ratting on how he saw Peter and John and Jesus playing hooky the other day. Now, now, I mean no disrespect. Calm down, you. It just something to think about.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. I was doing some research on how to achieve total and complete bliss, and I discov-- OW! My back! Oh, I just pulled something. Man, that smarts! Ow. I gotta go...ah oh ow. Man. Uh, look I'll just save it for next week. Ow. Take Care. Dress warm. Ow...Oh geez...Ach...Solidarity.

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