|Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.||
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The President of the If Club
I've been called a lot of things during my years as president of the If Club, and I've written down every one of those names. I have a list of all the name-callers. When my term as president ends, I'll be calling around to these people and demanding explanations for why they called me a bother-pot or a whit-bucket or whatever they called me. If satisfactory explanations aren't forthcoming, I'll demand an apology. If a sincere apology isn't delivered, I'll explain my plan for retribution. This will involve calling them a carefully chosen name. I will hire a professional name-caller for this purpose. When the name has been decided upon, I will send the recipient a letter informing them of the name they are to be called. Then all of the names will appear in a full-page ad in a national newspaper, along with the real names.
I have often stated my plan prior to speaking at public engagements in my capacity as president of the If club, and this only seems to encourage the name callers, rather than put them off.
When I began my list I decided not to include fellow members of the If club. Meetings sometimes get heated and words are used that are later regretted. Most of the names I've been called by fellow members have been retracted, and apologies have been forthcoming. There are some instances where I've forgiven the name-caller without receiving an apology because the name was used in response to names I used. Nevertheless, one member of the If club is on the list.
Why do actors think of themselves as actors, rather than think of themselves as beachcombers? This question took up weeks of our time in the If club. It was during one of these meetings that I was called a rud-clopper. I was able to laugh this off at the time, though I was slightly annoyed. I forgot about the incident until the following week. I was looking through the club's dictionary in search of the term 'rufter-hood' when I came across the term 'rud-clopper'. It had been written on the top of the page, along with the following definition: someone who dances like a gorilla suffering from diarrhoea, has a head like a red balloon about to burst and talks like an animal being stabbed.
At the start of the next meeting I issued the following ultimatum: either the person who called me a rud-clopper retract this name he threw at me like a poison dart, or else the definition of 'rud-clopper' be erased from the club's dictionary. This was to be done before the next meeting, otherwise the name of the individual responsible for throwing the dart would be added to my list. An awed hush fell over the group. No club member had ever been added to my list before. No one could have missed the significance of my statement.
The retraction was not forthcoming. I was hoping that this meant the other option had been followed. When I looked up 'rud-clopper' in the dictionary I found the following line appended to the definition: 'and smells like a gorilla with diarrhoea'.
At the start of the meeting, I got out my list and added the name of the guilty party, who remained smiling throughout what must have been a painful procedure for him.
My opening remarks were as follows: "I often have to ask myself why I'm doing this. I often have to ask myself what 'this' is too. Sometimes I'll be holding a frying pan and I'll ask myself why I'm doing this, and then I'll ask what I'm doing with the frying pan, and when that has been satisfactorily answered I'll continue doing what I'm doing, whether it be hitting a cretin over the head or catching falling rabbits. When I've finished doing what I'm doing I'll remember the question I asked myself: 'Why am I doing this?'. At this stage it will be irrelevant because what's done is done. The act of doing it is reason enough for doing it. People often ask me why I took up the role as president of the If club. It's a position with a heavy burden responsibility, and it makes you a target for metaphorical, physical, and metaphysical darts. I say to them, 'But ahhh.' And then I walk away. The act of doing this job is reason enough for doing it, and doing it to the best of my ability provides immense inner rewards. It's a source of pride to be a guiding light and a helping hand to my fellow members, and to see the benefit we provide to the wider community. Does this pride and the inner rewards outweigh the slings and arrows and the darts of the job? I haven't the faintest idea and it doesn't matter. I do it because I do it, and no amount of name-calling will deflect me from my mission."
This was greeted with a warm round of applause. Even the man who called me a rud-clopper joined in. The apology still remained hidden in its kennel, but the entry in the dictionary was altered again. This line was appended to it: 'And someone who hit my brother over the head with a frying pan just because my brother called him a hat-bucker'. I smiled at this. I read an inherent apology in it. At the very least it was an explanation of an action, and this explanation verged on an apology. Then I looked up 'hat-bucker' in the dictionary. This also had been added in, along with this definition: 'Someone with the intelligence of a square peg in a round hole'.
The name of my fellow club member remains on the list. I've also added on the name of his brother.
The Tree and the Horse
A Walk in the Rain
The East Cork Patents Office
Words are my favourite noises
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|very slight stories||
They Met a Bear
They stopped in a small seaside town and they went for a walk. They met a bear.
This is one version of the story. In another version, they met a sailor, and in this one they ended up being held at gunpoint on a speedboat and becoming unwilling participants in a diamond robbery while disguised as a cow, and sharing in the proceeds of that crime.
So when they tell the story they just say, "We met a bear. He waved at us."
The Story of the Fortune Teller and the Alarm Clock
A fortune teller threw an alarm clock at me. This story is deliberately lacking in details to mock the predictions of the fortune teller. Although she was right when she said she'd throw an alarm clock at me.
One. Two. Three, the study. Four, a candle stick. Five. Six...
Seven is missing, presumed dead. One has taken up the case, and two is helping him in his investigations. They both suspect six. Seven was last seen next to six in the garden.
But seven isn't really dead. He's consumed half a bottle of whiskey and he's currently in the orchard, talking to a rabbit. "One of us is as boring as a gate post," he says, "and it's not..." He stops to count on his fingers. "No, actually it is me."
Eight nine ten.
Debbie and his dog
Debbie was sick of people mistaking her for a man.
"Is your dog my parole officer?"
She was sick of people asking her that too.
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