Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Wick's lyrics, gimmicks and limericks

Wick's World

 

October 25, 2018



Some things are best when left unsaid. In my world, “little pitchers have big ears,” meant to watch what you say in front of your young children because at some point it will come back to haunt you. It happened a few times to me; several being one-word phrases which I choose not to share.

Here are a couple I can share. They have withstood the test of time and are sometimes repeated, for no rhyme or reason by my Number Two Son. I picked one up at a bus stop in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Every morning Monday through Friday, a tall, lanky individual would stand around waiting for the 7:50 bus to arrive, taking him and I to our jobs at New York Bell Telephone. Had I not worked with this guy, I would have assumed he was one of the many residents of America’s largest city who enjoyed having continual conversations with themselves.

“Get up on that bus!” he would yell out. "There’s a policeman watching you.”

The year was 1970. By the turn of the century, I finally began to understand what he meant. Indeed, this Afro-American man had reason to believe that statement. It took me years before I ‘got it.’ What once was amusing to me was, and still is, a deadly reality to a certain segment of our population.

Back up a couple years to 1968. I was an airborne paratrooper stationed at the notoriously nasty Army Infantry base referred to by our Armed Forces as a-certain-four-letter-word -hole of America. Located mostly in a backwoods swamp, Fort Polk, Louisiana had one mission and that was to train soldiers on their way to Vietnam.

While there, I hung around with a tall, lanky Texan named John Bonner. Sometimes we would spend the weekend in the sleazy town of Leesville, Louisiana. Unlike me, Bonner fit right in. Before getting drafted by Uncle Sam, he was sort of an uncle himself. He had a crew of girls who worked the streets in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He was a white, blond, baby-faced pimp. He would go around muttering to himself, “Slap me if I’m a —", you can finish the rest. No interpretation necessary here.

I didn’t know if it was a long tall Texas tale or if he actually had a horde of girls making him money. I do know that I regretted the day Number Two Son heard those five words that haunt me every time we have a family gathering; and it’s always the in-laws who are raising an eyebrow.

One evening following a Jerry Jeff Walker Concert at the Minnesota Zoo, I was sitting with him at the bar. My wife and I had just finished giving him a guided tour of our new Tesla. Although he was a notorious drinker, like myself, he had long since given up the bottle to settle into the quiet life. Our Tesla tour had convinced him that it was time to buy a car that was safe and could essentially drive itself. He interrupted the Tesla talk when he noticed the face of Hunter S. Thompson on my t-shirt. Many years ago, Hunter inspired me to pick up pen and put my words on paper. He taught me that you didn’t have to be a journalist to be a writer. The architect of “Gonzo Journalism” showed me that storytelling and witty sayings could carry a quote, a column or even an entire book.

Below Hunter S. Thompson’s face on my tee shirt was probably his most well-known quote. “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity, but they’ve always worked for me.” 

Jerry Jeff Walker, best known for his song “Mr. Bojangles,” is a famous Texas storyteller who puts his words to music. He grabbed the lapel on my sport coat so he could read the quote under his friend’s face. Afterward, he said that the HST quote he liked best was the one about his profession:

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.”

I will counter with this innocuous limerick from Louis Untermeyer.

“There was a young fellow named Hall

Who fell in the spring in the fall

‘Twould have been a sad thing

Had he died in the spring

But he didn’t-he died in the fall.”

Brooke Shields once said, "Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”

Vice President Dan Quayle one-upped her when he said, “I love California. I grew up in Phoenix.”

Some things are best when left unsaid.

 

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