The UnLost Stories Page
This page is for stories of my own. Some are based on actual events and some will be flights of fancy. It may or may not be clear which are which. The stories so far:
Fish Adrenaline--Cow Alarm--Bull Play--Buried Deep Enough?--Kitty Wigs--Bobbed is Bad
I will start by saying I am not a fisherman, nor have I ever been a fisherman. The apparently inescapable lure (no pun intended) of fishing was always lost on me. That is until the day I stopped by a friend's house to inquire if he was interested in tooling around with me on my new motorcycle. This seemed a reasonable idea, as I knew he was a long time biker and hadn't been on one for some time.
But he told me he was getting ready to go fishing with some other buddies and would have to take a rain check. We got into a discussion of why fishing was so compelling an activity, especially as compared to motorcycling (my pick any day).
He explained it was the adrenaline and the beer, mixed together, that was irresistable. And I flashed on a guy reeling in a fresh catch, which he then gutted with his fishing knife to remove the adrenale gland. Which he then squeezed like a lemon into his ever ready cold beer. I immediately understood how fishing could compare with motorcycling, at least so far as hormonal rush was concerned.
A real natural high. I decided against joining him and his buddies, as I have always preferred my adrenaline rush to be my own.
I think you can understand that?
I heard this tale from a client of my firm (Mr. S.), which does home security systems (among other things). It seems he lives in the country, and has a neighbors' pasture bordering his back yard. The fence line is thus relatively close to his house, and closest to the master bedroom side. This is generally not a problem, except for a period in the past during which one of the neighbors' cattle decided to specialize at eating the grass through the fence near the residence. Even this wouldn't have been a problem were it not for the fact of the cowbell the animal wore, which clanged often enough and loud enough to disturb our hero's sleep. This, naturally enough, annoyed him no end, but he couldn't think of a solution. One morning quite early the situation resolved itself. According to Mr. S., he was attempting to sleep, despite the unusually loud clanging of the cow bell, when his home security system was apparently tripped by the bell noise. This turned on his alarm siren, which happened to be on the pasture side of the house and which alarmed the cow (pun intended). No surprise here, except the cow in question must have had a particularly sensitive nature. The next time anyone saw this cow it was as far from Mr. S.'s property as it could get without leaping over or climbing through the pasture fence, and it was alternately trembling violently and relieving itself where it stood. This solved Mr. S.'s noise problem, but it turned out the cow now gave sour milk and had nervous fits. The owner was disturbed, but as it was the cow's own fault, and no cow psychiatrist was available, he had to live with it.
This one comes from a co-worker of mine (M). He was a member of the local 4H club, and as such took it upon himself to raise a male calf from a very young age as a project. Now, baby cattle tend to get playful at a certain age, much as the youth of other species. The young bull and the young man developed a special relationship around their own version of Tag. This went on for a few years, and then the young man found other interests to occupy his time, as is normal. Not to mention the fact that the young bull was getting to be a bit too large to be playing Tag with. A few years went by and the annual county fair rolled around, with the yearly display of projects by 4H members as well as the normal arts and crafts shows, the carnival, etc. Our hero found himself in the parking lot of the fairgrounds with his father, preparing to off-load the young bull from their cattle trailer and move it to the holding pen where it was to be displayed for judging. The gate of the trailer had been left open, but they knew the bull was tame and weren't worried. The father and son stood facing each other at a few paces, with the trailer behind the son. The young bull knows the young man standing in the lot is his old playmate, and decides to resume their game. He gets out of the trailer and sneaks up behind M with his head lowered, obviously intent on something, but the father isn't worried and watches without giving a clue as to what he's seeing. The bull puts his head between M's legs and brings it up sharply, flinging M head over heels towards his father and bruising his male pride at the same time. The father finds this terribly amusing and cannot contain his laughter, adding to the insult. M lands and lays on the ground, curled around himself in pain, recovering his breath and wits. The bull prances around a bit, expecting to be chased, and then carefully approaches M, as if to see what the problem is. M waits until the bull is sniffing his face and punches the bull square between the eyes, being just a bit miffed at the rude treatment. The bull flinches back and then stands there nonplussed as the father continues to laugh out loud and M slowly gets his act together. Thus ends a beautiful but doomed friendship, sadly but inevitably. One can only imagine the bull's feelings, cast off and then physically abused by his old playmate. One wonders if this tale is passed on within the community of cattle as evidence of what animals the two-legs are.
There used to be a place that I drove by from time to time in my adventures on the road that once upon a time caught my eye as I drove by on my way home. I thought I saw a sign saying "Garcia Drilling and Funeral Home". Now, I know it didn't really say that, but I didn't know what it really said, so my mind sought an explanation that fit my perception. I know that drilling rigs can bore a hole at least 20 inches across and thousands of feet deep. It occurred to me that a coffin could be designed to fit this diameter, and that such a coffin could be placed inside such a bore hole. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting a deceased to be buried thousands of feet down (could you?), generally six feet is enough. But I'm also aware that graves have, from time to time, held more than a single coffin. And such a hole could easily accommodate lots of coffins. So, I wondered if Mr. Garcia had managed to combine two apparently unrelated industries in a new and wonderfully efficient manner. The escalating costs of burial could be controlled by economies of space, although there is still the question of where to put the headstones. But I'll leave that for someone else to solve.
Unfortunately, the place has closed now, and the signs have gone away. So I'll never know what it really said, and neither will you. Unless I can find someone who can tell me "What was this place, really?"
I am what you might call a cat person. I'm not a cat fanatic, but I do like cats and generally prefer them to dogs. As such, I sometimes find myself without a cat and then have to rectify the situation. This is not generally a problem, as cat fanciers are almost as abundant as cats and many times have kittens they will let go to a new owner (if such a term can be applied to a person who lives with a cat). So it was that I found myself with two adorable black kittens
to fill the lack in my (and my wife's) life. These were quickly named Heathcliff and Garfield (it just seemed like the thing to do). Many happy hours of communing with our new friends passed, and then it became apparent that they shared a thriving colony of fleas from their outdoors youth. De-fleaing cats shouldn't be too difficult, except the colony had expanded to include the livingroom couch, which was big and fluffy and full of fleas very quickly. At this point I decided it would be lots easier to keep cats flea-free if they were naked. It's the fur, after all, that makes it such a pain to de-flea cats. The problem is cats are much less adorable, not to mention friendly, after you shave all their hair off. It occurred to me that you could make a body wig out of the cat hair with something like velcro or zip-lock seams and that this could be laundered at will. Separate booties and a headpiece would make things lots easier and would allow mixing and matching
for a "socks" effect. You could even put an exotic wig on an ordinary cat to simulate a Persian or Siamese, if you wished. The major difficulty would arrive in removing and replacing the wigs. Major is perhaps an understatement. Permanent disaffection of the affected cat is not out of the question, which sort of ruins the appeal of sharing living space with cats in general. Some of you know what I mean. Perhaps tranquilizers would ease the pain of wig maintenance, but then you
have the problem of a drug addicted cat. Overall, it seemed like a great idea, but a really bad plan. Which is why I'm not marketing my own line of Kitty Wigs even now. Really, it's just as well. Doggy Wigs, now, there's a workable idea! Maybe?
This is an example of a cautionary tale, or a story which contains a warning. This term I learned from Larry Niven, a favorite author of mine.
The tale was told to me long after the fact by a fellow motorcyclist (Mr. M), and serves to illustrate that sometimes pain and humor go together but not always at the same time. Seems that Mr M was in his youth an avid motorcyclist, and spent serious amounts of time and money on biking, as many youth and even mature people do. He rode Harley Davidsons as a rule, as they were favored by many and indeed still are today. As a youth, Mr. M was wont to observe fads that came and went in the world of bikers, as youth are wont to do in whatever culture they inhabit. One of these fads was a modification of the large rear fender that came on the bike from the factory designed to protect the rider and passenger from road debris and filth thrown from the rear tire. It was called bobbing and involved removing the majority of the back of the fender behind the seat. This in conjunction with the removal or modification of the front fender served to lighten the look of the bike and render it more stylish than stock. Style over function was favored by youth even then. One other pertinent fact concerning the bikes of the day is that they had no rear suspension, aside from the pneumatic tire, and the rear tire could be mounted rather close to the fender with the rigid rear end.
As it happens, Mr. M found himself tooling along one of the largely unimproved roads in his area of the country when he encountered a larger than average bump. This particular bump unfortunately bounced Mr. M not only upward off the seat but backward as well. He found himself straddling the rear tire, pinned by the bikes forward motion and the tire's rotation against the rear edge of the bobbed fender and paralyzed with pain (guess why?) as the machine coasted to a stop and then fell on it's side. He lay there for quite some time before he was able to move again (or probably even breathe) and, as he told me years later "If anyone had come up and offered me a dime for that bike they could have had it then and there." I took this as a considered opinion and couldn't fault it, despite it would have left him on foot. He did eventually manage to get on his feet, and got back on the machine and drove it home, where he promptly installed a stock rear fender. One that covered lots more of the rear wheel and was lots less stylish. He had decided he was more concerned with function than style. He went on to a long history of motorcycling (and even fathered children!), but he's gone now in all but memory. The moral of the story is clear, at least to me. Style is OK, but functionality exists for reasons you may only appreciate after you've traded it away.
Copyright 1998 Wesley Moore
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Wesley Moore [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] Created: 3/21/98 Updated: 02/26/06