Ernest Flink, 68 years old, Sarasota, Fla.: Rascal Mobility Scooter Rider
...Been riding my Rascal a couple years now. Yeah, see, I got it after I saw this TV commercial that said I could get one through MediCare ... for free. Excuse me, did I say, "For free?" I meant to say, "FOOOOOOR FREEEEEEEE!!!" Which got me more excited than a Viagra/Cialis speedball. Because in case you didn't know, offering free anything to us seniors is like offering a Third World baby to Angelina Jolie. You do not want to get in the way. Seriously, one time I had my daughter drive me clear across town for a free box of chocolate-covered glass shards. OK, that's not quite true. All I had was a dollar off coupon.
Anyway, my Rascal. I went down to the medical equipment store and picked one out with everything: automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, a turn signal I could turn on and then forget about for miles. I even told the salesman to make sure my scooter had a couple of small imperfections so I'd have something to start complaining about right away. When I took delivery, it was love at first drive. Love. No more walking or shuffling for me, I thought -- walking and shuffling is for suckers. The AARPless. The Less-Than-Greatest Generations.
Until one day, about a week later, I'm cruising into Wal-Mart when this teenager comes up and asks me, "Didja get that 'cause you're old or 'cause you're fat?" So I say to him, "Boy, a better question is, did I get this to increase government spending and in that way crush you and your generation under a massive federal deficit or did I get this to drive to my polling place and vote for Republicans who'll send punks like you to your death in Iraq?" Boo-yah! Then I yelled for security and ran over the punk's foot..
Frank Lee Sottid, 21 years old, Venice, Calif.: binge drinking USC student lying in a puddle of his own vomit
Damn! What kinda foul, (bleep) mess did I make here? 'S like I puked up a skunk that'd already puked up a skunk ... that'd puked. 'R sumpthin'. 'S like, uh, um, I ... uh-oh. Either I'm pissing myself or the tide's coming in...
Ariel Haffacarp, 127 years old, South Pacific: mermaid
Ever notice how whenever you get accidentally caught in a tuna net and then dumped on some boat, the exact same thing happens every time? You're layin' there, sore, kinda dazed, picking nylon netting out of your cloacae, and all of a sudden some rubber-booted doofus spots you and yells to his buddies, "Hey, this fish has boobs." It's like a rule or something. And it sucks. Me, I just wanna say, "Hey, this boat has boobs, too, and I'm talking to one right now."
Of course, to do that would be asking for trouble. And there's enough of that with these fin jockeys already. Like last week: I'm getting ready to slip off the starboard bow and back into the sea when this old salt comes up to me and says, "Hi, there. I'm the Gorton's Fisherman." And maybe he is. 'Cause this guy's either got a fish stick in his pocket or he's glad to see me...
Evan Tuttle, 36 years old, Minneapolis: bodiless head being kept alive by medical science and suspended upright in a shallow pan of life-giving fluids by a cranial clamp
I'm recently divorced. Yeah, my wife finally got fed up with my not helping her with the housework. Actually, it wasn't so much that I wouldn't help -- it was that to her dusting the furniture didn't mean licking it off. But hey, what do I know about cleaning? I'm a man, and men have different priorities than women. Like sports. If somebody'll pour a 12-pack in my fluid pan and turn on ESPN, I can hang and watch sports all weekend long and never get up. 'Course that's probably because I'm a frustrated jock. Yeah. Not many people know this, but I came very close to playing in the NBA. Turns out, though, I'm just shy of being regulation diameter and when I'm inflated to a full 7 psi my nose bleeds...
Nude on a Divan, 1944, Málaga, Spain: oil on canvas by Pablo Picasso
It seems like no one these days is happy with themselves. Practically everybody's having work done. On their bodies, their faces, you name it. And sometimes that's good. I mean, who doesn't think The Mona Lisa could use a brow lift and a little volume in that limp-ass hair of hers? But, ladies, please, you've gotta be careful with this stuff, too. Like, not too long ago, this nice little 19th Century portrait of a milkmaid I know went in to have her nose restored but instead the conservator spotted something underneath, stripped her whole kisser off the canvas and now she's a seascape dating from the Renaissance. Of course, it seems my hanging buds -- that is, other nudes -- are always talking about getting breast augmentation or reduction or whatever. Me? I'd settle for my breasts being on different sides of my torso and rendered in perspective...
CONTACT BOB WOODIWISS: firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears here the last issue of each month. His book, Keys to Uncomfortable Living, a collection of humorous and satirical essays, is in bookstores now.