Solitary Confinement

by Mike Jourard.
Column for The Leisure Times, Single Gourmet Newsletter, April, 1990.

Back to the Stone Age

     You should consider yourself lucky that you are reading this. Or I should consider myself lucky you are reading this. And now having stated that, I have just proven it is possible to get lucky with the Single Gourmet.

     Luck, in this case, involves the near-tragic accident suffered by Suzanne, a dear friend of mine. Suzanne helps me in all my columns, processing all the words I write. She keeps track of my finances. She handles my little bits of data. And she plays games with me when I am tired of writing non-stop into the wee hours of the morning.

     You see, Susanne is my personal computer. And on Sunday, February 25th, 1990, at approximately 4 o’clock in the afternoon, with much squealing and gnashing of teeth, Suzanne suffered what can only be described as a massive cerebral hemorrhage.

     Fortunately, I have very good medical coverage for Suzanne. Off she went to the computer hospital, where she was given a brain transplant. She’s home now, recuperating nicely, thanks, with the exception of a bad case of amnesia.

     In the meantime, I’ve had to revert to the old-fashioned method of writing. I dusted off the chisel and mallet, got out a couple of slabs of granite, and my absolutely gorgeous secretary in the sexy blouse and tight skirt is ready to take dictation. I am ready to write my column...

     “Miss Forbish? Be a doll, and get me a cup of coffee and a cheese danish. OK, babe?” Who needs modern technology?

The Space-Time Continuum Explained

     The cost of pens to sign all those autographs is becoming prohibitive, so from now on you will have to supply your own pen. Autograph hounds are part of the price of fame, I guess, but my ego is large enough that it can deal with the notoriety.

     Yes, there’s a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with being a famous columnist. Just the other day at Stop 33, I was identified before I even sat down.

     “You’re that Solitary Confinement guy, aren’t you,” Yoav said. “I never forget a face.” (And as the old joke goes, “I’ll make an exception in your case!”)

     Once they learn who I am, a lot of people are afraid to talk to me. Caroline and Alan took their name cards off the table at the beginning of the meal. If I don’t know their name, I can’t write about them, can I? Didn’t work, did it?

     But these few are exceptions rather than the rule. Many, many people have asked me many, many times what my next column is going to be about.

     I’m usually reluctant to say in case the young lady in question becomes offended when I tell her it’s about the colour of underwear she has on. (Pink, in case you were wondering.)

     Being the polite, young gentleman that my mother brought up proper-like, I tell the sweet young thing that it’s about the interesting goings-on at the Christmas Party at the Original Bakery Cafe.

     (Unfortunately, Mom didn’t tell me when is the proper time to mention a young lady’s panties. Any help you may be able to provide me in that matter will be greatly appreciated.)

     Well, since we are already into February, it seems a bit strange that I would be writing about a Christmas party, especially one that was three weeks before Christmas itself. Needless to say, eyebrows become twisted all around.

     The truth of the matter is that I write these columns and submit them to David months in advance of the publication date. He needs time to prepare them, even though he doesn’t change a single word I write. I suspect it involves slicing, dicing, and making of julienne fries, but I haven’t been able to prove it. (Speling mistakes are probably my fault; I get tired really late at night, my brain goes fuzzy, and my eyes go buggy.)

     So far, I haven’t been able to look into the future to see what went on at the events I haven’t been to yet. I don’t have crystal balls to gaze into.

     Brampton Transit, on the other hand, might. I’m convinced they dabble in astrophysics. It’s the only place I know where you can have a 35-minute wait on a bus route with 20-minute service!

     All of which means that while I write this in February, you won’t read it until June. Or November. That just about says it all, don’t it?

Reinventing the Wheel

     Here’s an old one: “She’s so stupid, she thought a ZEBRA was the largest size they came in.” And a CONDOMINIUM is the smallest size they come in. (It’s a joke, folks. “Shee, you guys are so unhip it’s a wonder your bums don’t fall off,” said Zaphod.)

     So tell me: Why do the girls with the zebras always go out with the guys with the condominiums? Inquiring minds want to know.

     Does anybody ever wonder why I excerpt from some of my previous books? (Go on, admit it! I know you do!) Well, the reason is simple. Why should I spend the time and effort to write something new, when I’ve already said what I want to say? It’s like reinventing the wheel.

     “Ok, I’ll go along with that,” you say. “But why bother to tell people, if it’s your own stuff you are quoting?”

     Fair question. Publishers are funny that way, what with copyright laws being what they are and all. So to keep the Publishers happy, I have to put that line in. (Let’s not tell Doug Adams about Zaphod. We really only have to keep MY publishers happy.)

     And as a reward, my happy Publisher has consented to let you have another wonderful excerpt from another of my wonderful books. This one is from Ludiculous Adventures, and it’s all about...

People Do the Darndest Things

     Living alone in a high-rise apartment has a few advantages. Like being able to sit in your living room in the nude on hot humid nights. Or days. As long as I don’t go too near the window or balcony.

     The only way someone could see me in all my glory is if they are in the next balcony, and lean way, way over and look in the balcony door. And even then they may not see I have no pants on because it’s dark under the living room table.

     It was fun sitting in the boulevard on Front Street outside Union Station, watching people. There was a Knights of Columbus thing going on at the Royal York. I got a laugh at all of them trying to get cabs.

     A group of them would stand on the curb and hail a cab. As more and more cabs came along and more and more people wanted cabs, all the people would slowly start to migrate up the street towards the on-coming stream of cabs, to be the first in a long line of cab hailers, in order to catch a cabbie’s attention.

     Lew and Shelley [my brother and sister-in-law] showed up. We waited for Mom [my mother] to come in on the train. While we were waiting, some bozo and his girl-friend and girl-friend’s sister (probably) stopped his 4x4 in the middle of traffic to get out and get a hot dog from one of the sidewalk vendors! Not only did he stop right in traffic, but he didn’t even put on his flashers!

     Well, the cops who pulled up behind him weren’t impressed at all. When bozo got his hot dog, he got back into his truck and then pulled ahead and off to the side of the road a bit to wait for sister to come back with her dogs. At that point, the cops called bozo over to their car. That’s right, the cops didn’t even get out of their cruiser. They made bozo go over and get his ticket.

     I was laughing my head off. Bozo’s girl-friend saw me and as they drove away, she mouthed something at me which Lew said was not repeatable in public!*

Abyssinia later.

* Excerpt from Ludiculous Adventures, Volume 4: Still An Other Utterly Realistic Collection of Various and Sundry Thoughts by Mike Jourard, copyright © 1988 by Badinage Publications. Used by permission.

** Original version word processed at Single Gourmet offices, due to computer problems at Badinage.

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