Mail My Brains To Jesus

M ail my brains to Jesus
Send them C-O-D,
Mail my brains to Jesus
Handle carefully,
Mail my brains to Jesus
Return postage guaranteed,
Mail my brains to Jesus
They're no use to me.

Cuttin' Back

This here’s Stretch Coyote talkin’ at ya.

When I was a little cowboy, well, a little boy with a bicycle for a horse and a six-shootin’ cap gun, I just naturally assumed life would get better as I got older. I thought that was what the so-called American Dream was all about. What with all these newfangled innovations like television sets and air conditioning, I thought the future was about makin’ life more entertainin' and comfortable.

But now the electric company tells me I’d be a better person if I stayed hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The water company tells me that my days of leisure, soakin' sore muscles in a warm bathtub after a long day of mowin' and blowin', are over; that it’s my civic duty to jump into the shower just long enough to get moist and soapy and then get the heck out. And what the hell was I thinkin’ when I flushed my toilet every time I took a leak? Some sustainable eco-friendly enviro-poet even made up a little jingle: “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”

I can understand times of crisis when we all have to cut back, but it does seem kinda like these gluten-free, carbon footprinters are getting’ a bit too personal when they go to talkin’ about my bathroom habits.

So OK, I suppose I was livin’ in a fool’s paradise to actually have some nice heat-absorbin’ grass growin’ around my domicile. I’ll just keep my cowboy boots on when I go outside, walkin’ on that lovely hot gravel that simmers where my cool green grass used to replenish Planet Earth with oxygen. After all, my hybrid mix of crabgrass and locoweed died anyway after the local water police told us we couldn’t water our lawns except on religious holidays.

Now I suppose if you’re in the water, electricity or gasoline business, things are probably workin’ out real good. Once upon a time water, electricity and gasoline were relatively cheap and plentiful. Now they’re rare jewels worth any price we are made to pay for them. Not that any of those commodity oligarchs planned all this out. How could I be so cynical? Yeah, how could I? After all, you gotta shut them oil and gas refineries down for maintenance sometime, so why not do it in summertime when folks is travelin’ and can’t say no to risin’ gasoline prices?

When I was a little cowboy, a regular fellow like my pap could have a job that would buy his family a house and put food on the table. And if mom was not a career-type person, she could stay home with the kids and the family would still be OK, puttin’ a little money away for rainy days and retirement.

Yeah, I know, now we’re livin’ in a great big, interconnected world with competition for wages that go beyond our national borders. If somebody in Bangladesh is willin’ to work for ten cents an hour, then what do we expect rich factory owners to do? Take care of their own people? Now that’s a pretty dang old-fashioned idea, ain’t it? I do understand. It’s just business. It's the new American Dream—cuttin' back and payin' more.

But I just can’t shake the feelin’ that the fix is in, that no matter how hard you try to keep your head above water, there’s always somebody pushin’ you back down—somebody in a big yacht.

~ Stretch Illustration by John Sherffius
~ © All Rights Reserved


This here’s Stretch Coyote talkin’ at ya.

There’s been a wagonload of palaver lately about connectin’ just about everything up to the Internet including my refrigerator and even, for gall darn sakes, my toaster. Can you believe it? And the kind of folks who walk around holdin’ their smart phones screen-up and on the ready—should there be some interesting sandwich somebody they know took a bite of—seem to be all for it.

No kiddin’!

Some of ‘em are already hookin’ up their vital signs to the World Wide Web, just in case they feel a calcium deficiency or some such thing comin’ on. Now if you got a serious ailment that needs round-the-clock inspection, then OK, I get it. But somehow all this techno-hunger reminds me of my cousin Alpern who once weighed about 347 pounds until he gave up cheeseburgers. He was eatin’ cheeseburgers round the clock for nearly 20 years until he finally saw the light. In fact, it was the light in the bathroom which he could not get into anymore as he’d grown too big to get past the doorway. That’s when he decided enough was enough—cheeseburgerwise.

Now there’s a new concept: Enough is enough.

When it comes to technology, I don’t see any sign of the general public sayin’ enough is enough. It seems like the main idea of how to sell a new product is to put a computer chip or two inside and connect it to the Internet. And sure enough, folks will line up to buy it.

Now my grandfather, who grew up on a small Texas farm, used to tell me about the grandeur of sittin’ around a campfire sippin’ hot coffee from a tin cup, lookin’ up at a million stars and listenin’ to the coyotes' sweet songs echo through the chilly night air. He said there’s somethin’ kinda magic about puttin’ everything down after a busy workin’ day and just lettin’ the natural world speak to your soul.

I don’t want my life to be boiled down to a bunch of data on a computer screen. And I don’t want the Internet warnin’ me about eatin’ too much chili or tellin’ my toaster how to toast my toast!

Now I know there’s a lot of helpful stuff made possible by this technological stampede. But I also know there’s a lot more that takes up too much of the little bit of free time we’ve got here on Planet Earth. I’d like to think folks can learn how to tell the difference. Maybe they will, or maybe their grandchildren will.

Meanwhile, on my way to work, I almost ran over this college girl who stepped right out in front of my truck. She was busy checkin’ somethin’ out on her dang dumb smart phone. Lucky thing I was just listenin’ to Willie Nelson on my 8-track and not checkin’ my blood pressure or sendin’ a text message to my refrigerator.

Now if only the guy behind me in the yuppified midnight-black BMV had not been sendin’ a text to his stockbroker, then I wouldn’t have this big dent in my rear bumper. But I guess I can live with it. After all, it’s a pretty old truck. Doesn’t even have a computer screen.

~ Stretch Illustration by John Sherffius
~ © All Rights Reserved

The Big Jackpot

This here's Stretch Coyote talkin' at ya.

Well, whattaya know but some old gal in her 80s who won the big lottery has decided she might as well step up to the bar and stake her claim. She only had 60 days to come clean and about 15 days had already passed.

“Do I need this kinda trouble?” she most likely consternated. Just imagine how much mail she’s gonna have to sort through.

This old lady--well, not too old, certainly not too old for me, just in case she’s considerin’ matrimony--anyway, this aging beauty won about $590 million. But reports say she’s gonna take the lump sum cash amount in the neighborhood of $370 million. That’s some kinda highfalutin neighborhood that I could not even get a job mowin’ lawns in anyhow.

I hear tell this were the biggest lottery jackpot ever, more than half a billion greenbacks. Now that there’s a whole lot of buffalo chips to see you through a tough winter or two. Hell, you could get through an entire ice age with that pile.

But on the other hand, can you reckon’ how tough it musta been to say: “OK, I’ll take the cash now and you can keep the other $220 million.”?
Go ahead, try sayin’ it:

“You can keep the other $220 million.”

I can’t even fathom givin’ my favorite waitress at the local Happy Joy Luck donut store more than a buck or two.

Oh yeah, I bought a couple tickets, cause as they say: The only game your losin’ is the game your playin’. Uh, hold on a minute. That can’t be right. I meant to say somethin’ more like: You’ll never win the game if you’re just sittin’ on the sidelines eatin’ a hot dog. (But you’ll still probably have a pretty good time, especially if it’s free cap night.)

The dandy thing about the lottery is that there’s always next week. So until next time, I'm gonna figure out if I am truly capable of sayin’,
“Go ahead and keep that other $220 million.”

That will take a little bit a head scratchin’ to be sure.

~ Stretch Illustration by John Sherffius
~ © All Rights Reserved


This here’s Stretch Coyote talkin’ at ya.

Seems like a lot of this planet’s inhabitants wanna kill each other, or at least round up their so-called enemies and re-educate ‘em. You’d think with all the awful headlines nowadays about beheadings and such that we’d all be lookin’ for a little contrast to the rough and tumble nature of human conflict.

But once again, the top money-makin’ movie this weekend was about how if you’re really good at killin’ people and surviving explosions folks will line up around the block to buy tickets, just to watch the splendor of it all. I suppose if you’re stuck workin’ in a cubicle all week long you might yearn for an explosion or two, just to shake things up.

A coupla days ago I had to go to my local cable TV office to get a new remote control cause I’d worn out some of the buttons, especially the one where you back things up cause gal darn it I can’t understand what that guy was whispering to that girl when they were hiding in a dumpster from the Russian assassination squad. Then there’s them downtown abbey folks who say stuff like:

“I’ve kept back a few in bud. I’ll be home for the dressing gong.”

Yep, I had to rewind that one a few times, what with them peculiar British accents and all.

Anyway, I was standin’ in this long, long line at the local cable TV office where I caught sight of one of the clerks sittin’ in the back eatin’ a sandwich even though it was well past the lunch hour and the natives were restless. And this big TV screen on the wall was playin’ some movie with these guys flyin’ around in-between machine gun bullets while all sorts of stuff was explodin’ and burstin’ into flames. Kinda made it hard to be patient.

On the way home, tryin' my best to avoid random road rage, I stopped to get gas and this itty bitty screen on the pump started playin’ a commercial for some TV show about guys in animal skins who are especially good at slicing off body parts of their enemies.

I do believe it’s gettin’ harder and harder to find a peaceful place in this world.

Now I do understand that the news is not just about what’s new. It tends to get all worked up about what’s goin’ wrong. And some of them cable TV news shows will sit on one of them god-awful stories all day long, askin’ just about everybody but the family dog to come up with an opinion about what it all means.

At least in my imagination I’d like to live in a nice, peaceful place where everybody is pleasant and there are more kinds of desserts than you could shake a stick at. The older I get, the more I’d like to climb inside one of those nice little books with pretty pictures my grandma used to read to me when I was a young'un. I wish there was a way I could go back in time and see my grandmother again and spend some quality time with her two dozen cats. Both grandma and her cats were especially reassuring when I was young and tender.

In fact, I’m just about ready to give up the entire adult experience, makin’ a few exceptions for romance and whiskey.

~ Stretch Illustration by John Sherffius
~ © All Rights Reserved