So long, goombahs!

May 19, 2000

After hours of careful consideration and brainless TV watching, I’ve finally decided to leave my present job in a library and take on a whole new career on the Mafia. Of course I did the proper amount of research first. In addition to those hours of TV, which were enough to convince me that the Mafia is glorious, fun, and not nearly as dangerous as my conversations with the FBI have suggested, I also called up my old friend Benito "The Pangolin" Brancusi (no relation to the sculptor). Mr. Brancusi and I first met in Florida when I was six years old. I was there with my family, and he was taking care of some business with some very special friends he referred to as "goons". We talked about seashells, how much fun it was playing in the surf, and the proper way to conceal a large firearm under a beach towel. I even did him a favor: I delivered an oddly shaped seashell to another man in a pinstripe suit.

Mr. Brancusi was very grateful, and said I had a real knack for "whacking people". As it turned out, though, the Mafia business isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to a series of high-profile movies, television shows, and Congressional hearings, anyone even tangentially associated with the Mafia has made enough money that there’s no reason to "whack" anybody anymore. What was once a proud and glorious business built on a system of honor, respect, and heavy weaponry, has been reduced to a group of old men in expensive suits eating linguini and reminiscing about the good old days when they might’ve been caught dead in the same room together. I begged Mr. Brancusi for a suggestion, some way I could get into the business of being able to kill people on a whim, holding small neighborhoods in fear, and building up frequent flyer miles to Italy.

"Well," he finally said after some thought. "There’s always televangelism."

Enjoy this week’s offerings–or I’ll whack you!

Words of wisdom


SYMPTOM: Feet cold and wet.
FAULT: Glass being held at incorrect angle.
ACTION: Rotate glass so that open end points toward ceiling.

SYMPTOM: Feet warm and wet.
FAULT: Improper bladder control.
ACTION: Stand next to nearest dog. Complain about house training.

SYMPTOM: Beer unusually pale and tasteless.
FAULT: Glass empty.
ACTION: Get someone to buy you another beer.

SYMPTOM: Opposite wall covered with fluorescent lights.
FAULT: You have fallen over backward.
ACTION: Have yourself lashed to the bar.

SYMPTOM: Mouth contains cigarette butts.
FAULT: You have fallen forward.
ACTION: See above.

SYMPTOM: Beer tasteless, front of your shirt is wet.
FAULT: Mouth not open, or glass applied to wrong part of face.
ACTION: Retire to restroom, practice in mirror.

SYMPTOM: Floor blurred.
FAULT: You are looking through bottom of empty glass.
ACTION: Get someone to buy you another beer.

SYMPTOM: Floor moving.
FAULT: You are being carried out.
ACTION: Find out if you are being taken to another bar.

SYMPTOM: Room seems unusually dark.
FAULT: Bar has closed.
ACTION: Confirm home address with bartender.

SYMPTOM: Taxi suddenly takes on colorful aspect and textures.
FAULT: Beer consumption has exceeded personal limitations.
ACTION: Cover mouth.

SYMPTOM: Everyone looks up to you and smiles.
FAULT: You are dancing on the table.
ACTION: Fall on somebody cushy-looking.

SYMPTOM: Beer is crystal-clear.
FAULT: It’s water. Somebody is trying to sober you up.
ACTION: Punch him.

SYMPTOM: Hands hurt, nose hurts, mind unusually clear.
FAULT: You have been in a fight.
ACTION: Apologize to everyone you see, just in case it was them.

SYMPTOM: Don’t recognize anyone. Don’t recognize the room you’re in.
FAULT: You’ve wandered into the wrong party. 
ACTION: See if they have free beer.

SYMPTOM: Your singing sounds distorted.
FAULT: The beer is too weak.
ACTION: Have more beer until your voice improves.

SYMPTOM: Don’t remember the words to the song.
FAULT: Beer is just right.
ACTION: Play Air Guitar

And as it was once told to me, let us pray….


Our lager,
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink,
Thy will be drunk,
(I will be drunk),
At home as I am in the tavern.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillage1s,
As we forgive those who spill against us,
and lead us not to incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers,
For Thine is the beer,
The bitter and the lager,
Forever and ever, Barmen.

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