By Tommy Clarkson from the November 2012 Edition
. . . it may be a brother-in-law, next door neighbor or that particularly irritating high school bully badly who has gone badly to seed.
You know the kind – those guys (and occasional woman) who, no matter what you say, are the “I can top that” sort!
Mine sat but centimeters away – blocking escape to the narrow aisle beckoning me from beyond his substantive hulking girth. And by now, though not a religious man, I found my mind hysterically screaming “Lord, please give me respite, release, escape – a sharp instrument” but none came nor were made accessible. So on my seatmate droned. . .
. . . “But speaking of childhood hobbies (briefly, I wondered at that comment as I was not unaware that we had been) most of my classmates liked to shoot marbles or play with their yo-yos. So pedestrian that,” he archly asserted. “and patently easy, what they did that I – out of sheer boredom, mind you – created ‘toe-yoing’.
“Within a week or so I could easily manipulate ten yo-yos attached to each of my toes – even doing “Around the World” with up to four at a time while orchestrating the other eight in more conventional maneuvers like “sleeping in the cradle” or “walking the dog”. Inasmuch as most of the activity took place directly under the sole of my feet I called in my ‘Arch’ de Triumph! Get it?” He fairly burbled with enjoyment at his word play.
His initial noisy chortle, became a rumbling chuckle that then cascaded up and down his somewhat daunting portliness and then ended with a resounding “Harumpf!”
Then, clearly not even remotely through with this train of thought, he went on, “Now conventional, perfectly rounded, glass or agate marbles were also, simply no challenge to me an eight to ten year old. So it was that I commenced to use, semi-rounded, uncut rubies, emeralds and sapphires from my father’s Burmese mines. The rough hewn nature of these added intriguing dimensions to the game. I could never understand why my little friends didn’t enjoy it the way I did . . . .” His voice actually tapered of in silence – though briefly – as he appeared to give the subject contemplative thought.
But then he caught himself and – on a wholly new track – continued. Did I mention the fun I had with “The Royales” when last in Great Britain. Numbly, with glazed eyes blearily staring at the back of the seat in front of me, I nodded no.
“Charlie, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, of course, is such a card – though few folks actually know it. He loves to do impersonations. Last week, he had Carmilla, his boys, Billy, Harry and me (they consider me family, you know) in absolute stitches we laughed so hard.”
The infectious glee in his voice and twinkle in his eyes – I can not but admit – made his story seem almost believable. “I don’t know what was funnier, his ‘Obama electioneering at a KKK meeting’, ‘Nancy Polosi at an amateur night pole dancing political fund raiser’ or his highly convoluted, ‘Sean Hannity, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh trying to out humble each other at a Maslovian Self Actualization conference!’”
Then, he paused. With a wistful look and contemplative gaze into eyes, stated in a quiet, serious manner, “Liz, his mom of course, has been at me for sometime now to help him with his public image. He’s so tragically misunderstood by so many, you know. Indeed, I may just have to break down and take him under my wing. Maybe if he and I partnered in a darts tournament or two at some of London’s Pubs or maybe did some impromptu Hip Hop or reggae around Piccadilly Circus . . . ”
Then, aside from the engines rumble, there was quiet – the first in what seemed like hours and hours. So unprepared for this hushed state was I that I actually urged him to continue. But, amazingly, such was not to be. The silence persisted for nearly a minute. So accustomed had I become to his seemingly ceaseless dialogue that this stillness now seemed painfully uncomfortable.
Then he roused himself with, “Have I told you how I invented synthetic uranium from old tuna cans, gum scrapped from underneath restaurant tables and dryer lint?”
(The previous 8 “We have all met ‘em..” can be found in previous issues of Manzanillo Sun)
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.