Hate Speech must be Free

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     Lately I’ve heard some talk from well meaning folks who would like Congress to enact a law prohibiting “Hate Speech.” Let me state with extreme prejudice why this idea is both un-American and likely anathema to those who might mistakenly at first support it.

     In the first place, a law restricting speech, whether hateful or otherwise, is literally at odds with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment (emphasis mine) is first because it is primary and precedes all others.

It reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I will focus on the sections of the First Amendment related to freedom of speech and right to peaceable assembly.

     Expression of thought, the combat of ideas, is essential to an open and free democracy. The Constitution of The United States of America guarantees us the right to criticize and lampoon as we see fit, whether the object of ridicule is the President, taxes, the military or notions concerning the self-evidentiary nature of the idea, “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

     In this country, we get to talk about these things without fear of arrest. Might we be censured? Absolutely. Publicly vilified? Of course. But unless and until statements are made that directly threaten someone’s well being, i.e. threats to kill or actions such as the proverbial shouting of fire in the tired, crowded and clichéd theater, then we, as Americans, have a Constitutional Guarantee that boldly states our right to express ourselves as we see fit, whether it is to espouse brotherly love or to champion things abhorrent. And what a right it is!

     It is right for ideas and ideology to do battle in a public forum, for old school to be challenged by new rules and for fools to joust with kings. A call to ban “Hate Speech” is a call to retain the status quo. Every meaningful civil-rights advance from the abolition of slavery and voting rights for all, to equal rights for women and ending the persecution and imprisonment of homosexuals was considered both radical and hateful in its time. Am I comparing the rantings of far right Nazis and Klansmen to the noble work of John Brown, Frederick Douglass or Medgar Evers? Of course not. Nor am I comparing Elizabeth Stanton or Susan B. Anthony to Nathan Bedford Forrest nor Christine Jorgensen or Harvey Milk to Stephen K. Bannon or Fred Phelps, but each view point espoused by these warring factions were or are radical and historically were or could be considered hateful. Who exactly do you want deciding what speech fails the Hate Speech test? It is in the exchange of ideas that progress is made, not through State controlled censorship.

    And it is essential to remember that laws banning Hate Speech will be reinterpreted with different standards in every state, every administration and every court. I can easily envision an  Administration like Donald Trump’s declaring that the Islamic Crescent is a symbol of hate, banning its use and declaring Islam a religion of terror. Once that genie is out of the bottle it is awfully difficult to shove it back in. “Ultimate cosmic power, itty-bitty living space.” And if you dare say, “Can’t happen here,” then your here and mine are very different spaces.

     And I have faith that progressiveness will win, that we do not have to mute and muzzle the barking hateful bitches that call for rancor and the suppression or regression of human rights. Right can best wrong and love can win over hate and I pray that in our desire to stifle the rabid we refuse to increase their power by banning them from the field. For it is in open combat of ideas that liberty shines and to employ the tools and tactics of tyranny and despots, to stifle free expression, is surely no measure of truth’s strength.

     We, the people of The United States of America, are far too grand to feel a need to silence the ludicrous jabbering of Luddites out of fear that ugliness and raucous, rank prejudice can be victorious over progress and fraternity. We can win by being the light we wish to see rather than banishing dissent from the light.

     I have faith in our ability to recognize and castigate darkness without falling victim to desperate, totalitarian measures. I hope you do too.

January Fifth: Part 39 of 49

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abraham_lincoln_statue_in_julia_davis_park_by_battle810-d5vbqw8“What!?” Joni responded, mouth wide open and eyes even wider. “No! At least, not right now! Or in the next nine months; that’s for sure! What in the world made you ask that?”

Deb visibly deflated in front of her daughter-in-law. Her shoulders sank, her chest appeared to turn concave and her head fell. “You just said you wished your mom had lived long enough to see your child. I. Just. You know. Thought?”

John and Dave peered around the kitchen’s eastern partition. “Everything okay?” Dave asked.

A sincere but melancholy smile slowly invaded Joni’s face. She walked over to Deb, placed her forehead against the older woman’s, looked her in the eyes and then hugged her close. “I know what you thought. Sorry. I should have been more careful.

“Yes,” Joni continued, releasing her mother-in-law, smiling at her and giving her a small, triple nod and single left eyed wink. “Just a miscommunication, that’s all. Why don’t you two husky boys take those two chairs into the den and then we can catch up? Okay?”

John looked at his wife with his head cocked slightly to the left side. He narrowed his eyes and waited. She returned his look, nodded at him, minutely shrugged and pointed to the TV room with her head. “Put the chairs away, would you please, sweetie? Then come out to the living room?”

“Sure,” John replied, catching his dad’s eye and turning his hands outward as a sign of confusion. “No problem, Peaches.”

As the two men retreated Joni called after them, “Anybody want coffee?”

“Decaf?” Dave hollered back. “I can’t drink caffeine this late. Acid reflux.”

“Sure,” Joni said. “Decafs probably a good choice, period. Meet you in the living room.”

Joni took the far right corner of the love seat while Deb sat close to her on the couch’s far left side. “Coffee’s perking,” Joni declared to John and Dave as they entered the living room.

“I like this room,” Dave declared. “It always makes me feel comfortable.” Both the love seat and couch had two seat cushions and were in relatively good shape. Though the living room furniture, like virtually everything in the house beside the television, was older than the eldest Hagans child its location meant that it saw far less use than the furniture in the den, bedrooms or kitchen.

“Yes,” Deb agreed as she patted the couch cushion next to her and Dave snuggled up against her, “me, too.”

Once seated Dave took his wife’s right hand in his left, kissed it and let their two hands rest gently on one another’s laps. He sat close enough to Deb so that only the tiniest fraction of his being rested on the right hand couch cushion. “Who!” he declared. “I’m exhausted. You two must be ready to drop.”

Joni smiled at John and offered him her left hand. He took the hand and kissed it as he lowered his frame comfortably close to his wife’s. There was continuous contact between Joni’s left and John’s right sides but neither couple pushed so firmly against one another so as to achieve a contact that signaled insecure possession. They simply sat and were.

“Yeah. That’s for sure,” Joni acknowledged, sighing. “It’s nice to just relax without having to worry about- Well. Things.”

Dave covered his hand with his fist and coughed in a vain attempt to hide his smile. “Yes,” he said. “Things. She’s quite, interesting, isn’t she?”

Joni looked at her father-in-law with eyebrows raised and nodded. “Yeah. That’s one word for it. Nice to see the boys though.”

“Yes,” Dave responded. “From the conversation I take it nobody lives in Cedar Rapids anymore?”

“Nope,” Joni confirmed. “Jake and Bilhah are in Dubuque with their son Dan and Payton and Ashley live just east of Madison in a little town called Waterloo. Wisconsin of course, not Iowa,” she added, rolling her eyes.

In a mocking tone Dave replied, “Really? Wisconsin you say? Never would have guessed that Waterloo, Iowa wasn’t east of Madison.” Smiling, he continued in a conversational tone, “Waterloo. Seems like I should know something about Waterloo, Wisconsin; doesn’t it, honey?”

Deb shrugged. “Beats me. I know where Waterloo, Iowa is but not Wisconsin.”

“Yeah,” Joni said, “the boys aren’t too far apart. Takes about two hours. It’s all like a big triangle from here. Right around a hundred and fifty miles between each point, give or take thirty. They have a nice place tucked down in the southwest side of town. Kinda out in the sticks. Nice park right behind them.”

“Hmm,” Deb said, “sounds nice. You visit often?”

Joni shook her head. “No. Jake’s been in Dubuque before I moved here and Payton probably moved to Wisconsin ten plus years ago. I’ve been to Jacob and Bilhah’s maybe three times and Payton and Ashley’s just once.” Looking at her husband she added, “We really need to make a point of getting together for more than weddings and funerals; you know?”

John nodded several times and said, “I think we will, going forward. Did you tell Mom and Dad the good news?”

Deb lowered her head and glared at her son. “If you are making a baby joke then it isn’t very funny.”

John emitted one staccato laugh and shook his head. “No, no! Not that. I’m coming home to stay. No more separation for Joni and me. We’re going to not only be husband and wife we’re going to live as husband and wife.”

US of Hate

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We used to hang witches,
and castrate gays
in land that we now call
U.S. of A.

If you were a Jew,
a Mormon, or squaw,
best just keep on moving
lest we lynch ya’ll.

“Irish need not apply,”
on signs we would gaze;
lowly fish eaters
who once on grass grazed.

We had fountains for coloreds,
fountains for whites,
and miscegenation
was unspeakable blight.

Women were beaten,
people were owned;
through imperialism
this continent shone.

We have long tradition
of hating other,
of killing children
and raping mothers.

Slowly moved forward,
folks fought to be free
and blatant oppression
receded slowly.

We are making progress
there’s no doubt of that
and greater equality
is what struggle’s begat.

When the hell did it happen
in fight to be free
that only “liberals”
support equality?

Every soul is our brother
no matter color of skin:
Hatred in His holy name
unpardonable sin.

I’m clean as a whistle.
Married and straight.
I don’t drink very much
but I’ll be damned if I’ll hate.

*************

Growing up I never thought that “Conservative” equaled hatred but I think I’ve changed my mind. Which is funny because, other than in terms of tolerance and acceptance of others, I’m a pretty conservative guy.

Conservatives scream that we are at war with Islam despite the fact that most Muslims are about as violent as most Christians. To make matters worse, we have lawmakers and rabble rousers who are scapegoating American citizens, people born and reared in the good ‘ol US of A, calling for registration of a RELIGIOUS group, denying them the right to hold office, threatening to deport them or place them in Concentration Camps, er, internment camps.

What the bloody hell?

We have a long history of dehumanizing, debasing and abusing other. I am certain that the division of us v them, chaff v wheat began in the territory that we now call The United States of America when Ponce de Leon first touched Florida in April 1513 and it didn’t get any better when that “narrow” minded Giovanni da Verrazzano took shelter on Manhattan nine years later. (See what I did there? No? It’s kinda a New York joke.)

It seems that we Americans love to hate and to justify our actions by dehumanizing.

In this short and incredibly incomplete history of folks we’ve treated atrociously how many categories do you fall into? Hatred begets violence.

January Fifth: Part 38 of 49

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abraham_lincoln_statue_in_julia_davis_park_by_battle810-d5vbqw8By nine-thirty the “party” was over and all that was left for Tuesday night was goodbyes.

During earlier hot and heavy football discussions, Dave had declared that the Vikings were going all the way and Payton had countered with an assertion in favor of the Packers. A twenty-dollar wager had been placed and now, as the senior Knopicks were saying good bye to Payton and wife Ashley, Dave declared, “Ashley, a true pleasure. Payton, Great to see you again. I’ll see you tomorrow. Oh! And be sure to hang onto a twenty so you can pay me after the playoffs.”

Payton shook his head, smiled, and said. “Nice to see you too, Dave. And I look forward to you mailing me that check.”

Amber and Sean smiled at Deb and Dave and Dave held his arms out in a tepid invitation to a farewell embrace. Sean smiled and nodded and shook both Knopicks’ hands while Amber air kissed them. “See you tomorrow,” Deb declared with a little left, right repetitive head bob.

Jake had hugged both Deb and Dave and declared, “Let’s ride.”

Bilhah announced, “You may have driven here but you sure as hell ain’t driving home. Move over, baby, gimme the keys.”

Jacob had smirked at his wife and asked, “Who the hell do you think you are, Prince?” He shook his head and handed her the keys to the Sequoia. “Even when we left I figured that you’d be driving back.”

Bilhah took the keys from her husband, declaring, “Cool. I’ll drive. You passenger.”

“Is that even a word?” Jake slurred.

“If you have to ask then you damn well know I should drive,” Bilhah responded. “You’re tanked.”

Swaying slightly, he said, “Not tanked.” And then with a big grin and silly giggle added, “Not driving either. I’m tanked!”

“Hey, drunken frat boy?” Bilhah asked, “Did you finish that eulogy?”

“Pert a near,” Jacob acknowledged. “Just need to smooth it over in a couple places.”

“Okay,” Bilhah said, nodding her head. “I can help if you need. I’m just a tick away from cold sober.”

“Well, if we’re going on who’s had the least to drink, then I should drive,” Amber declared.

“Well, Thumbelina, just a few things wrong there,” Bilhah said, intentionally crowding Amber. “Number one is that I’m bigger than you are so my drinks don’t count as much as yours. Two, this is my truck, too, and unless I’m dying from blood loss or am missing a limb you ain’t driving. And C, this is a full size SUV; I don’t think it’ll accommodate somebody who’s pixie sized, so, unless you’re spending the night here or calling Uber I’m your ride, Clyde.”

Turning to Dave and Deb she winked, hugged them both and said, “It’s been great seeing you. Next time we’re in CR we’ll have to be sure and get together; okay?”

Deb smiled and nodded while Dave expressionlessly looked at her and asked, “Are you’s gonna rough me up if I says no?” Then he smiled, brought her to him for a better hug and whispered in her ear, “Maybe Amber’s the reason that we don’t come see Joni more often.” Followed by an audible, “It’s been great seeing you all, regardless of the circumstance. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

John and Joni stood directly behind the closed storm door while Dave and Deb looked over their shoulders. Everyone waved as the Hagans clan piled into the Sequoia and once the engine fired and the SUV pulled away from the curb Deb declared, “They’re always such nice people. It must be nice to have a sister close by.”

John stole a peek at Joni and she reciprocated his surreptitious glance. They both raised their eyebrows at Deb’s statement, John wondering if his mother was being ironic and Joni’s expression convincing him that she was wondering the same thing. “Oh. Sure,” Joni said. “Family can be a big help sometimes. “

Turning from the plate glass, storm door window Joni shut, locked and dead-bolted her front door. She then turned off her porch light and declared, “And speaking of which, it is just so great to see you guys!”

“Oh, you too!” Dave responded, walking to the living room and picking up one of the dining room chairs. “I’m really sorry it took a funeral to get us here. And, I know I’ve told you this before but, I really wish we could have been here for Lou’s.”

“Oh, Dad,” John replied, “don’t be silly. You guys were in Marina Del Rey for Isabella’s birth. What do you think, we’re gonna hold it against you that Justin and Heather dared to give birth while Louie died? Please, we understand.”

John grabbed the remaining dining room chair and brought it to the big table where he pushed it into place. “Goodness!” he declared. “That means that Isabella is three next month, doesn’t it? Where does the time go?”

“You think it’s bad now?” Deb asked, gathering empty wine glasses and bringing them into the kitchen, “just wait until you’re our age. Oh, Joni. I’m so sorry about your mom, she really was a sweet lady.”

Joni nodded, running hot water in the sink and washing the glasses. “There,” she said, “it’s nice to get these done now so we won’t have to face them in the morning.

“Thank you, Deb,” she continued, speaking to her mother-ion-law’s retreating form. “She was. I just wish she’d taken better care of herself. Both of them. Maybe then they’d have been around long enough for our children to know their grandmop and grandpop.”

The crash from the living room startled everyone. Immediately following the crash Deb bounded into the kitchen and declared, “Really?! Is it really true?! Are you two really, really going to have a baby?”

 

Harvest of Hatred

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Using rhythm and rhyming couplets
I enjoy creating mental scenes;
Though I’ve had people call me snowflake,
I like to remain calm and serene

Too many easily are angered
on this blue green, floating, twisting globe.
Hordes who think only they’re entitled
to claim portion of the earth as home.

Each is but one in seven-billion,
in vast population of the Earth;
quaint, how the mighty and privileged
are convinced that only they have worth.

Forces seemingly omnipresent
urge each of us others to despise.
Attack with modus operandi;
success lies in conquer and divide.

Fear and hate are two strong emotions,
both created in amygdala.
Easy to let preachers of hatred
get inside your head and screw with ya.

When someone points and shouts, “Pariah!”
don’t accept role that they’ve tried to cast.
Scapegoating’s ancient as the Bible,
need to recognize it as bombast.

Look around, you will find your brother,
not an alien to be despised.
Just need quantum of toleration
to stem bloody flow of fratricide.

Death is harvest of sowing hatred
it’s a crop we should not cultivate.
Need to stop demonizing other
before whole Earth we annihilate.

 

 

January Fifth: Part 37 of 49

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abraham_lincoln_statue_in_julia_davis_park_by_battle810-d5vbqw8
With the addition of the senior Knopicks both the character and content of conversation at 136th Street East turned. John began to wonder if Bilhah’s tongue was bleeding from all the times she had metaphorically bitten it over some of Amber’s conversational tidbits. With Sean and his sister-in-law in the love seat to his right his straight ahead visual perspective rested squarely on Bilhah and Joni, who snuggled against one another in the couch’s far, right corner.

Every time Amber said something childish, derisive or condescending he could see Bilhah come up with a biting retort which, for the sake of John’s parents’ emotional comfort, she chose to chew and swallow rather than utter. As the night progressed he’d actually tried to keep track of how many times Bilhah obviously chose to display the better part of valor by embracing discretion but after a few dozen incidents he lost track and decide to enjoy the spectacle of his favorite almost-sister-in-law controlling her vicious tongue. It surprised him how much he enjoyed the pageant.

“Well, what do you think, John?” his father asked.

Caught in contemplative visual observation John realized that he had no idea what anyone was actually talking about. Feeling like a delinquent student staring out a classroom window he decided to come clean. “I’m sorry, Dad. I was lost in thought for a minute. Would you ask me that again, please?”

Dave exhaled, the exhalation was longer and more forceful than mere breathing required but fell short of an unmitigated sigh, then smiled at his son. “I said,” Dave emphasized ‘said,’ “how about those Saints? They’ve been all over the board since Katrina; haven’t they?”

“Oh,” John replied. “Oh. Yeah. I thought they did a great job of coming back in oh six, you know? Division champs and ten and six after the flood? But it seems like seven and nine could be their motto.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jacob challenged. “Division champs, what? Three times? And winning Super Bowl forty-three seems pretty good to me. And how about two-thousand eleven? Thirteen three is nothing to sneeze at.”

“Hmm,” John said. “Two-thousand eleven was their Big Hit Bounty debacle, wasn’t it?”

“Oh crap!” Jake exclaimed. “That was so blown out of proportion. It’s the NFL, man! People hit!”

“And, what?” Payton interjected, “Five playoffs since Katrina? Five in ten years? That’s good.”

“Eleven years. If we’re counting 2005,” Dave corrected.

Payton’s head visibly retracted. “Huh? 2005 to 2015? Isn’t that ten years?”

Dave’s face grew a half smile and he shook his head minutely left to right five times. “No. It’s inclusive, not exclusive. You have to count five and fifteen and everything in between. It’s like voting. Even though John here voted for the first time in, what? Ninety-eight, right? By oh six he’d voted three times. Inclusive, you know?”

Payton’s eyes narrowed minutely and his fingers wiggled. Then his eyes grew wide as he tilted his head back and to the right and a big grin eclipsed his face. “Oh, sure, sure! Makes total sense. Maybe I should cut back on the beer.”

“Not me, hermano,” Jacob pronounced. “I’m just getting started. Anybody else?”

The only response Jake received was small, silent, head shakes. “Dave? You? You’re only on one, man!”

“Better not,” Dave said. “If I drink too much before bed I get GERD.”

Ambers face scrunched up to the point of a throwing dart as she demanded, “What’s that?”

“GERD?” Dave responded. “I don’t remember: Gastro intestinal reflux disease? Acid reflux? I, well, it’s when you spit up a little in the back of your throat. Nasty feeling and not good for your esophagus. Ever hear of Prilosec? Big fat dude does the commercials. If I watch my diet I’m usually good but drinking just before bed is a big no-no.”

“Oh! Larry the cable guy! I love Larry the cable guy,” Amber replied. “And yuck. That sounds disgusting.”

“Getting old gets ugly,” Dave answered, raising his left eyebrow and letting it fall.

“Oh crap, Dave! You’re not old,” Bilhah insisted.

Dave shrugged. “It’s all relative, I guess. I’m way past two thirds of three score and sixteen.”

“Huh?” Amber replied.

“’Three score and sixteen?’” Dave replied. “That’s in the Bible, right, John?”

John bobbled his head back and forth. “Sort of. Close enough. Bible says between seventy and eighty years unless we’re Methuselah. I think there’s like five people in Genesis who are said to have lived past nine-hundred.”

“Nu-uh!” Amber declared. “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

John shrugged. “While I have great faith in God and look to the Bible for wisdom I do not look at it as literal truth. One of the advantages to growing up Catholic, eh, Mom?”

Deb smiled at her son. “I wouldn’t know, son. I didn’t; now did I?”

“That’s right!” Joni said. “I forgot. You told me that when I was going through RCIA before John and I got married.”

“And I meant to ask you earlier,” Dave declared. “Speaking of old as dirt, where in the Sam Hill did you get that suit, son?”

All heads swiveled toward John, who jerked his head back in surprise, looked down, looked up, grinned, ran his fingers down the front of his wool suit jacket and emitted a single, barking laugh. “Ha! I forgot I had this on. I found it upstairs in the chiffarobe this morning and I was literally asking everybody if I could keep it when you guys showed up. Sharp, isn’t it? I’m going to wear it at tomorrow’s service.”

“Well, that’s one word for it,” his dad conceded, brow wrinkled, head tilted and mouth quirked. “And did you say, ‘chiffarobe’?”

“Don’t go there!” Amber commanded.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” Jake declared. “You all can talk about whatever you want but please, just answer my question first. Anybody need a drink?”

“No!” Bilhah hollered at him. “We’re fine. But I’ll take a kiss,” she added offering him her lips.

Jake winked at her, leaned over, kissed her lips and then gently took her lower lip between his top and bottom incisor teeth where he held it for two seconds. Upon release of her lip he stood and declared, “And don’t yell at me. I’m very sensitive!”

 

White On!

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     There is the great white hope, from boxing’s bad old days, when pugilistic violence was seen through genetic haze. There may be white clouds in the heavens shading us from the sun and those four boys from Liverpool gave us the White Album. (It was on that very album Beatles sang “Birthday” song once new.)

     “White as the driven snow,” is cliché denoting purity and a fresh, white piece of paper is perfect for doodling. The Fabricated Four sang of white knight on a steed as they pinched their dollar one and sang to Sleepy Jean. But today the white I’m thinking of is librarian so lovely.

     Meredith Willson wrote of Marian when he penned The Music Man and there’s no finer librarian than Amy White in any land. Three score years this very day MS Amy came to Earth and since she descended from the heavens she’s done naught but increase it’s worth. She’s full of loving compassion tempered with grit and common sense.

     Raise your glasses up for Amy White (but not up on your forehead) words honoring this elemental force are far too often left unsaid. Age brings some of us to bitterness, while others wisdom find, all I know is that Amy White is bright beautiful and kind. Happy birthday on your special day! I sure hope that it is grand!

 

Leslie’s Boobs

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     May have been the mushrooms, may have been the booze, just know it all ended when I squeezed Leslie’s boobs. Leslie’s boobs, Leslie’s boobs, those double D’s just make me swoon.

     Found that I was tripping and fell down a hole, Grace Slick she was singing about Alice of Carrol. Mathematician Dodgson had Alice sitting on his face; I was awfully worried that my mind had been erased.

     Don’t do hallucinogenics, man, I stay away from weed! But whatever I’d ingested had me tripping at full speed. I was hunkered down with Klinger, yeah, he was in drag, and that hairy Lebanese dude was looking good for an old hag.

    Can’t tell you how we got there but we were in Fox hole, Horowitz screamed, “Get ready!” as Kim Jong Un came o’er the knoll. Corporal Klinger looked at me, then took me in his arms, we shared manly embrace as we prepared to buy the farm.

     Leslie’s boobs, Leslie’s boobs, it all ended when I squeezed Leslie’s boobs.

    Much to my surprise, and infinite delight, next thing that I knew I was running through the night. Poitier was on my left and we were both chained to Tony Curtis, defiantly running from the law made me awful nervous.

     We hopped aboard a freight train, swam across a swamp, trailer for our action called it, “A merry romp!” Our great escape from prison morphed to a marathon, oh, great googly-moogly, what the hell am I tripping on?!

     Ebenezer, he was laughing, screamed, “It’s just some undigested beef!” All’s I know I’m running like a cop from the thieves. The marathon exhausting had nearly done me in, I was sweaty, I was tired when I time hopped again.

     Leslie’s boobs, Leslie’s boobs, it all ended when I squeezed Leslie’s boobs.

     There at the race’s finish stood Leslie looking so demure, I hoped that in her presence I’d again find my footing secure. She laid a lei on me and I pecked both her cheeks, but like David Mueller I Swiftly acted like a freak.

    I bussed lovely Leslie firmly on the mouth that wasn’t so exceptional nor was it uncouth. It was my following action that had Leslie crying foul for it was at that moment that I groped her and she yowled.

     Woke up feeling thirsty from a very vivid dream, glad to know that I’d only imagined treating my friend obscene.  Lot of crazy things right now floating round as news and in the future need to remember portabellas not to abuse.

     Leslie’s boobs, Leslie’s boobs, it all ended when I squeezed Leslie’s boobs.

January Fifth: Part 36 of 49

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abraham_lincoln_statue_in_julia_davis_park_by_battle810-d5vbqw8Dave used the restroom while John grabbed two chairs from the dining room and placed them on the front door side of the living room. Joni showed Deborah the master bedroom where Deb asked, “This was Lottie’s room; wasn’t it?”

Joni nodded mutely, momentarily overcome by emotion. She looked down, inhaled and then again tried to look Deb in the eyes. Still finding herself tearing up she once more diverted her gaze floor ward. “Yes,” she finally whispered. “It was. Thanks again for coming,” she added.

Deb squeezed her daughter-in-law’s hand and said, “You are so welcome, dear.”

Joni and Deb entered the living room where Amber and Sean had retaken their spots on the love seat. Everyone else was still standing. “Gee, Mom,” John proclaimed, “it’s really great to see you.” He paused a moment and then asked, “So whose idea was it to make this a surprise?”

“Mine!” Joni declared, obviously delighted with herself. “When Deb called and said they were thinking about coming I told her how great it would be to see them and how happy that would make us and I just suggested we keep it a secret.

“Uhm, I guess I should add that I may have lied about Mom’s and Dad’s room not being available earlier. I didn’t want to spill the beans about the Knopicks coming.”

“Oh. So now the truth comes out,” Ashley said, nodding her head. “I was wondering why we had ten people over at Amber and Sean’s four bedroom and there were just the two of you here. Now it makes more sense.”

“Is there a problem with our house?” Amber asked.

“’Is there a problem with our house?’” Payton repeated in a sing-song voice, bopping his head left to right. “Yes,” he said, returning to a conversational tone and voice, “It is not meant for ten people.”

Amber inhaled and looked as though she felt compelled to respond when Dave walked in. In an attempt to Forestall an Amber retort Joni asked, “Dave? Have you eaten?”

“Oh, yeah,” Dave answered, unaware of any tension in the air. “We ate at the Cracker Barrel just off of fifty-nine in Naperville. We’re good. Please,” he continued, “sit!”

Everybody looked around and then Jacob, Bilhah and Ashley sat on the couch. John and Payton sat on the two wooden dining room chairs while Joni and Deb sat in the padded and upholstered TV room chairs, leaving Dave with the recliner. “No, no, no!” he insisted. “I don’t need this!” he said, indicating the Lazy Boy.

“Oh, just hush and sit down!” Bilhah commanded. “Jake? Be a sweetie and sit where Deb’s sitting; okay? Deb? Joni? There’s room for four on this couch; get over here. John? Move over to this chair right next to me so I can keep an eye on you; won’t cha?”

Everyone complied except for John who said, “I’d better not. With you on one side and Jake on the other I’m liable to get hurt. Payton? You go sit.”

“No, no,” Payton insisted, “I’m fine.”

John stared at his brother-in-law who stared back. Eventually Payton shook his head, rose and took the seat next to Bilhah. “Looks like you’re stuck with me,” he said.

“Looks like,” Bilhah agreed, winking. “I’ll live.”

John picked up the chair he was sitting in and brought it over to the group so that it just brushed the corner of the love seat. “Everybody set?” he asked.

“Almost,” Jacob replied. “Deb? Dave? Drink?”

The senior Knopicks looked first at one another and then around the room. When they saw that everyone else had a drink Dave said, “Sure. Thanks. That’d be great.”

Deb nodded mutely but enthusiastically and Jacob asked, “Anybody else? Speak now or forever hold your pees. Okay,” he added and went outside to gather beers before heading to the kitchen for wine.

“So, how was the drive?” Ashley asked.

“Good, good,” Dave answered, nodding. “Hectic when we got close to the city. I guess I figured all the traffic would be flowing outbound but there was still plenty heading in.”

“Always is,” Jake answered, handing the Knopicks their drinks and popping the top of his own beer. “We got behind a little collision ourselves coming over. That’s why we were late,” he added conspiratorially to Joni.

“Did you take the highway?” Joni asked her brother.

Jake coughed. “No. We had a long discussion but were overruled. Mistress of the house insisted surface roads would be faster this time of day.”

“Well, they usually are,” Amber insisted.

Jake nodded, shrugged, and took a long drink of beer. “Don’t doubt it. Just not this time. Hey, Dave, who you rooting for in the playoffs?”

“Well, those Vikings sure look good, huh?” Dave asked. “Eleven five record.”

 

Platitudes and Pablum

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Platitudes and Pablum are for dinner,
these two are what we routinely eat.
Fill our bellies with misinformation;
none of the three should be considered treats.

Comfort food is not a healthy diet;
junk leads to hardening of arteries.
Gluttons gobble what’s bad for our tickers;
Shallow Lie Diet will not set us free.

We scan the headlines for affirmation
rather than search for things that we should know.
Play Breitbart card to trump changing climate,
often wonder how did we fall this low?

Platitudes and Pablum are for dinner,
these two are what we routinely eat.
Fill our bellies with misinformation;
none of the three should be considered treats.

Swear to God, there is a petition
seeking Constitution to amend:
People who hope to make it legal
Muslim’s rights in USA to end.

See no irony in position
of having religious litmus test:
Duplicitous to state of treason,
using Constitution to oppress.

Platitudes and Pablum are for dinner,
these two are what we routinely eat.
Fill our bellies with misinformation;
none of the three should be considered treats.

I fear we’ve abandoned Age of Reason
regressed to ignorance and Tarot cards,
everywhere seems to be silly season;
wallowing in false facts isn’t hard.

Ignorant hatred now our mantra
as vast mass of other we despise;
contempt touted as family value?
Makes me from world want to run and hide.

Platitudes and Pablum are for dinner,
these two are what we routinely eat.
Fill our bellies with misinformation;
none of the three should be considered treats.