“Other Thing” #1

This is Sonny in 2017. Fortunately, he has found other interests in 2020.

It feels odd to be posting something other than a poem today, but I wanted to let you know that I will be getting into a regular schedule of posting poems on Tuesdays and Fridays. In my first week of blogging, I wanted to post several poems so that you would get an idea of what to expect, more or less. This, as the title indicates, is my first “other thing” post. Like you, I’ve been mourning the loss of our “old lives”.

The surreality of the world right now has been having a profound impact on us all, and that point was driven home Friday morning more than ever when I went to Costco. I had expected that the many people who are always waiting outside for the 9 AM store opening would be in the warehouse already, and at 9:10, when I arrived, I would simply sail into the store and get my shopping done. Well, it didn’t go quite that way.

Much to my horror, what greeted me was a long line of people curling around the side of the building. The line-up then snaked up and down three long rows, created by various barriers, before it got to the entrance. It was a bitterly cold April morning, and I hadn’t even taken gloves and a scarf because I had expected just to zip into the store. The line moved quite well for most of the way, but then it stopped when I was right in view of the entrance. The Costco people were only letting a certain number of customers into the store at a time, making sure that crowding didn’t occur in the warehouse which naturally would have made it more difficult for people to maintain a healthy distance from one another. That meant the next group had to wait outside until several of those people had gotten their groceries and left the store. Time slows down, it seems, when you’re waiting for anything, and the colder the wait, the slower time passes.

When I finally got into the place, I was beyond thrilled, and when I got to the huge display of toilet paper, I was ecstatic. The last time I had been in Costco, I had witnessed massive hoarding by, what I considered to be, wildly selfish people. The scene was reminiscent of those videos you see of people in stores on Black Friday fighting over smart TVs at rock bottom prices — but — but this was toilet paper! I had managed to get one big package and left the ugly mob feeling morally superior to them because I had only taken one. I also wondered if these idiots were under the impression that Covid 19 was an intestinal bug. Obviously, Costco had learned from the hoarders, and now people were only being allowed to take one big package at a time. There was even a Costco employee guarding the display. Civility had returned to Costco.

Why I was feeling particularly happy about the resurrection of “old world” behaviour was because I had actually thought about the toilet paper situation several times since my last outing at Costco. (I think I must have been mildly traumatized by my experience there.) I was well-stocked, but I had visions of not being able to find any toilet paper when I needed to get more, and quite frankly, it kind of worried me. I don’t normally worry about toilet paper. Never have. Never expected to. At times, I found myself trying to reason what I’d do if I were to actually run out of toilet paper, and I thought that maybe pulling the layers of Kleenex tissues apart would possibly be a solution. I have a nice stash of Kleenex. Beyond that, I had no solutions.

I suspect the reason that toilet paper has become such an obsession for so many people, including me to some extent, is because our lives feel so out of control. We don’t know what’s going to happen to our families and friends, nor do we know what’s going to happen to the economy. We don’t know how long we’re going to have to live in our homes, seldom going out, and worst of all, even the experts admit they don’t know. However, if we are well-stocked with toilet paper, we have, at least, one important aspect of our lives still under control. It’s just a theory, of course, but I want to rationalize my somewhat irrational interest in the whole subject.

I look forward to the day when I’m unconcerned about standing within six feet of other people and the availability of toilet paper. What I do know is that the most difficult periods of my life have always led me to positive changes in either myself, my environment, or my situation — sometimes all three. Until then, just remember, the limit is one package!

Bathing Blue

My brother and I needed something to do

and so we decided to bathe our dog, Blue.

We filled up the bathtub with water and soap;

“Mom will be happy,” I said with great hope.

Now Old Blue was sleeping and snoring quite hard

under a tree by the swing in our yard.

Mom was out shopping and Dad was at work;

“They’ll sure be surprised,” I said with a smirk.

We pulled and we tugged Old Blue up the stairs

and into the bathtub, despite all his glares.

He tried to escape — that dog wanted out!

Especially when Neil put soap on his snout!

We scrubbed and we rinsed that dog tail to head,

but what happened next, still fills me with dread.

As Neil went to grab a big, fluffy towel,

Blue leapt from the tub with a threatening growl.

He ran from the bathroom and right down the stairs,

just a mighty big mass of drippy wet hairs.

On the living room couch, Blue jumped with great glee

and the next thing he did was as bad as could be.

Blue started shaking and trying to get dry

and throughout that room — water started to fly!

The lampshades soon dripped, the piano did too;

the pillows got soaked with the rug through and through.

The pictures of family were wet as could be,

and the dripping wet ceiling was something to see.

The couch and the chairs and the tables and walls

were totally drenched as were Mom’s antique dolls.

The rest of that day was not at all good —

my parents reacted like your parents would.

Of course we were grounded; of course we were sad,

and our punishment sure seemed to make Old Blue glad.

I’ve learned many things from that messy mistake,

and if buying a dog, my advice you should take.

Chihuahuas are perfect so buy one — please do,

while a dog to avoid is a Sheepdog — like Blue.

The Talker

Sarah talked the whole day long —

that kid would not shut up.

She talked so much on school days,

her teachers would erupt.

They’d send her to the office

to talk to Mr. Green.

He was, of course, the principal,

and he, of course, was mean.

“Why are you here?” this man would roar.

(He was quite short and fat.)

“I’ve seen you here too many times.

You must be quite a brat.”

“I never swear,” dear Sarah said.

“I never hit or cry.

I never steal, I never cheat,

I never, ever lie.”

“You see, I’m really not a brat.

In fact, I am quite good.

The problem is, I can’t shut-up —

even when I should.”

She’d then keep talking bout herself;

she’d really ramble on.

Soon Mr. Green would get so bored

that he would start to yawn.

And soon her voice would disappear

cause he’d begin to snore,

and Sarah would just sit and chat

until the bell at four.

Sarah never did shut-up

though tried her very best,

yet Mr. Green was quite content

for he got lots of rest.

Regrets

Last night I just couldn’t get to sleep.

I tossed and turned all night,

cause Santa Claus is coming soon,

which fills me with great fright.

You see, I’ve done some things this year

that now — I sure regret,

and thinking of those things I’ve done

is making me now fret.

I think I’ll write to Santa Claus

and tell him I feel sad

about the rotten things I’ve done

which I know now were bad.

I shouldn’t have said that certain word!

I shouldn’t have tripped those kids!

I shouldn’t have wrecked Mom’s dinner

loos’ning salt and pepper lids.

I shouldn’t have hidden in the shed

to scare my dad and mom,

and putting worms in Ashley’s shoes

was nothing short of dumb.

I shouldn’t have brought my frog to church!

I shouldn’t have set him free!

I shouldn’t have laughed when Freddy

hopped upon that lady’s knee!

I’ll tell St. Nick I’m changing.

I’ll do things folks will like.

I’ll tell him it’s a promise IF —

he’ll just bring me that bike!

The Missing Bone

My dog has dug a great, big hole;

he wants to hide his bone.

His tail is wagging happily —

he thinks that he’s alone.

I see him drop his bone inside;

he thinks it won’t be found.

But I intend to take that bone

when Spotty’s not around.

Soon Spot will dig the garden up

just looking for his treat.

He’ll dig and search and search and dig

which really will be neat!

Cause my mom has some work for me

and there will be no pardon.

She said this coming Saturday —

I have to dig the garden!

The Lonely Meatball

One meatball sits upon my plate,

a lonely, little guy.

His meatball friends have gone away;

I’ll bet he knows not why.

The noodle hill was washed right down

by my huge glass of milk.

The sauce was sure the deepest red,

so rich — and smooth as silk.

This meatball is the lucky one;

he doesn’t have to die;

cause if I eat this meatball now,

I won’t have room for pie.

The Hunt

Nancy has the meanest dog;

they tell me he broke free,

and that the rotten flea-bag

is hunting now for me.

You see, I am the paper-boy

who tries to do his best,

but it really isn’t my fault

that rotten dog’s obsessed.

I must deliver papers

before the hour of eight,

and when I get to Nancy’s,

I see the dog I hate.

He barks and growls hysterically

the whole time I am there.

His leash is my salvation,

but he gives me quite a scare.

So I quickly throw the paper,

cause I know he wants me dead,

but it really isn’t my fault,

it keeps landing on his head.

The Doubter

There was a boy who liked to doubt

whatever teachers talked about.

He doubted two and two was four;

he doubted three and three was more.

He raised an eyebrow when he heard

the ostrich is the biggest bird.

He disbelieved that some squirrels fly;

he said it was a great big lie.

He doubted that the world was round;

he doubted what Columbus found.

He said that science was so phoney,

and that teachers talked baloney.

Years later, this boy still sits there,

doubting what is round or square.

He may have doubted just for fun,

but he’s still sitting in grade one.

The Sleepwalker

My brother sleepwalks every night,

but something bout it isn’t right.

The doctor says we must not try

to interfere — I don’t know why.

The sleeping boy, just looking fine,

escapes his bed each night at nine

and to the TV he will go

and always finds a favourite show.

He then will get potato chips,

(I see the sly smile on his lips!)

My mother says, “Sssshhhh — let him be.”

He has her fooled, it seems to me.

He’ll eat those chips and watch his show

while off to bed I’m forced to go.

But last night as I tried to sleep,

into my head a plan did creep.

I’m sick of watching that kid munch

the only food I love a bunch.

So I intend to get my share

cause after all — it’s only fair!

Therefore, tonight, my folks will see

a little change occur in me.

Yes, they’ll observe, when it is late,

to sleepwalk is a family trait.