When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees, they’d be singing so happily
Joyfully, playfully watching me

He and She

He: “It is a pretty bird. Kinda.”

She: “Yeah. Pretty mean.”

He: “What do you mean by that?”

She: “I’d tell you, but you’re not exactly an average guy.”

He: “Tell me anyway, I’ll see if I can make it add up.”

She: “Be a downer if you couldn’t. You see any other birds at that feeder?”

He: “Now that you mention it, no. Was this one sneaking a between-meals snack?”

She: “Yeah. Along with half of the rest of the birds on the island. Or, they would be if this one hadn’t driven them all off!

He: “Oh. It’s a minor bird.”

She: “Uh huh. It lands on the feeder and declares ‘Mine!‘ Any other birds come close, it chases them away. And it squeaks at them!”

He: “Squeaks?”

She: “Yeah. Look. There it goes now. Two of them, in fact, squabbling. Hear that?”

He:That, love, is a twitter.”

She: “A twitter?

He: “Yep.”

She: “So you’re telling me …”

He: “… that birds only make that ‘happy little birdie noise’ when they’re claiming space, threatening each other, or are actually fighting.”

She: “You mean, like, on the computer?

He: “Kinda. Especially the ‘claiming space’ part. What else are 140 characters good for?”

She: “You aren’t going to tweet that, are you?”

He: “Do I look like the President of the United States?!?”

She: “And so, if the birds are singing in the trees and watching you, that’s not a happy dance?”

He: “More like a war dance. They’re working out how big a threat you are, and how soon they’re going to have to swoop down and try to kill you.”

          *                    *                    *

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible
Logical, responsible, practical
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
Clinical, intellectual, cynical

Kris an’ Murphy

Murphy: “So how did Faith’s ‘study habits’ session go?”

Kris: “Worse every year, Murphy. You’d think that, with the money these people are burning to get our ridiculous pieces of faux parchment, at least some of the undergrads would be willing to wrap their brains around the skills and disciplines they need to actually get some use out of their time here. I’m surprised some of these kids are potty trained!

Murphy: “I understand your frustration, Kris. Do I ever! But, potty training is a given. Your incontinence is not something you’d want splashed all over Instagram. It’d keep you out of the frats and social clubs.”

Kris: “So they do know how to study!”

Murphy: “Some things.”

Kris: “Yeah. The things that will determine whether your university experience actually amounts to something.”

Murphy: “Like their social networks will. Like our grades and degrees will not. Precisely.”

Kris: “Gah. Geez, kids, I’m really sorry that life’s not, like, just a bunch of birdies singing in the trees! Sometimes, you’ve got to think outside the app!”

Murphy: “You’ve forgotten, Kris, how many of us, when we were that age, wanted nothing more, after graduation, than to cut the soles off our shoes, climb trees, and learn to play the flute?

Kris: “And just where is your flute, Murphy?”

Murphy: “[…] Point taken.”

          *                    *                    *

Watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical
A liberal, fanatical, a criminal
Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re acceptable
Respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

Reg and Syd

Syd: “Hmph. I don’t want any vegetables working in my companies.”

Reg: “What’s that, Syd?”

Syd: “Oh, hello, Reg, I didn’t hear you come in. The bar is open, of course. What can Mandy get for you?”

Reg: “Gin and tonic, and less on the top, thank you. I complement you, Syd, on the, [ahem] shapeliness of your staff. Anything under the hood?”

Syd: “Well, after a couple of years, when she’s lost some of her, ah, freshness, she can go finish her Ph.D. in molecular biology.”

Reg: “On the strength of what you’re paying her? That’s profoundly, and may I say, unnecessarily generous.”

Syd: “Perhaps. But given the social prospects, never mind the career prospects, of Ph.D.s these days, I reckon she will need all the help she can get. And, ah, she does earn it.”

Reg: “So what’s this about vegetables?

Syd: “Oh, nothing. Just ruminating about the put-downs you hear from the unworthy about anyone who actually performs at the speed of business. They’ve been happening for decades, of course …”

Reg: “Most probably were leveled at the first person who dug a stone out of the ground and tried to do anything with it.”

Syd: “Indeed. I’m just glad that my companies are staffed with the respectable and presentable, and none seem to be infected with this [phtah!] progressive nonsense.”

Reg: “I hope you haven’t jeopardized your shareholder values by buying this kind of staff.”

Syd: “Of course not! Mandy, here, is a special case. The employees know where their bread is buttered, and by how much, and strive to make sure it stays that way. And as we make our background and job performance checks more stringent …”

Reg: “And more comprehensive …”

Syd: “We ensure that our workforce serves our companies well while on the job, and represents it perfectly off the job. At the levels of compensation that make good business sense.”

Reg: “That’s my boy, Sydney! I have to wonder about the persistence of this progressive business, given that it’s clearly uneconomic, for them, never mind for us.”

Syd: “It appears to be, as often as not, a question of personal identity.”

Reg: “But we give them that! And if we don’t, they do it themselves! If we don’t deck them out in our own logo gear, they find someone else’s to deck themselves out in! And pay for the privilege! I do not understand this. If they wish to represent Coca-Cola, they should go to work for Coca-Cola!”

Syd: “Ah. But maybe Coca-Cola doesn’t want them to be working for the company. Maybe those people don’t make the grade!

Reg: “Which means those people have no true grasp of their own merits, or lack thereof. Is that our problem, or theirs?

Syd: “Hm. Your glass is empty. Looks to me like your problem is the need of another drink.”

Reg: “Or another Mandy.”

          *                    *                    *

But at night, when all the world’s asleep
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am

Dude and Dude



Look at me.”

“Will I live?


“So you’re pullin’ a power play on me?”

” … whut?”

“I/O, I/O, ya pull tha plug I go …”

“I asked ya ta look at me. Not sing at me. If’n ya call that singin’. Ew.”

“So I’m lookin’ at ya. An’ I ain’t turned ta stone. I think. Now what?”

“It’s like I thought, dude.”


“Ya ain’t Pete Townshend, dude.”


“Ya asked me who ya wuz, dude! Close’s I c’n come is ta tell ya who ya ain’t! An’ ya ain’ tha guy what tha book Who I Am is ’bout!”

“Aw c’mon, dude, ya know better ‘n that! I’m a dude! Same as you!





“Du …”

Enuff wit’ tha ‘Dudes’ a’ready!!”

“Know what I reckon, dude?”

“No. What?”

“Ya got homies, an’ ya like what yer doin’ wit’ yer homies, ya know who ya is. Ya don’ got homies, ‘r ya do but ya don’ like what’s goin’ down wit’ ’em, ya got questions, yeah?”

“OK, but …”

What but?”

“Don’t even, dude. So what if ya know who ya is, an’ who ya is sucks?

“Sez who?”

Zactly!! Peeps ain’t wanderin’ ’round these days wonderin’ who they is, they’re chargin’ ’round tellin’ ya who they is, an’ if’n ya say Boo ’bout it, ya gotta fight on yer hands.”

“An’ if who they is an’ what they stand fer is wrong?

Who’s gonna tell ’em an’ make it stick? Ya got a whole country tryin’ ta tell that ta tha President, an’ tha only thing it’s done is ta make him an’ his homies worse! Who’s gonna even try now?”

“Tha best lack all conviction, while tha worst ‘r full a passionate intensity.”

“Ya didn’ think that one up all by yerself, dude.”

“Nah. But it fits, yeah?”

“Word. But ya know, dude, it’s actually kinda too bad I ain’t Pete Townshend.”


“Wit’ his bread, we c’ld tell OC ta take his ‘command-X’ an’ stick it where tha sun don’ shine.”



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