He’s Back

July 27, 2001

Like most people, I’m concerned about endangered species. It’s estimated that one-fourth of mammal species and one-third of bird species will become extinct within the next twenty-five years. Scary, isn’t it?

But there is some good news. For instance, the lamprey, a large bloodsucking eel, is nearly extinct in its native habitats in Britain, but several couples apparently hitched a ride on a tanker to Canada where they’ve now become pests. One man’s endangered species is another man’s pest, and plans to take lampreys from Canada and reintroduce them to Britain may inspire a new reality show, "The Lamprey Love Cruise". Actually, reality-based television and bloodsucking animals aren’t a new combination–feel free to insert your own joke about TV executives here.

The best example of one man’s endangered species being another man’s pest, however, came from my Uncle Rupert. Some of you may not be familiar with my Uncle Rupert, so let’s recap. He lives in a small town in Tennessee where he’s: attempted to drive to Europe; fertilized a kudzu vine, turning it into a dangerous mutant organism that could only be destroyed by the entire contents of a herbicide factory; blown up a bug-zapper while using a coat-hanger to put an earthworm in it; once entangled himself in three miles of duct tape; built a car-theft deterrent out of various parts and a shotgun which nearly "deterred" his brother to the hospital; and, perhaps most famously, rewired an air-conditioning unit into a device capable of splitting atoms. Recently a travelling zoo exhibit brought a California condor through Uncle Rupert’s home town, and in one of those quirks of fate that either make you believe there’s a higher power in the universe or stop believing there’s a higher power in the universe, the condor escaped. If you’ve ever seen a condor, you know they’re not attractive birds, but they do have a large majesty and quiet grace which made Uncle Rupert immediately decide to shoot the one that landed in his front yard. Grabbing the rifle which he keeps by the front door for such emergencies, he decimated the world’s condor population by one. Of course he had to share his extraordinary marksmanship–shooting a large object less than three feet away–with someone, so he grabbed the bird and ran to his neighbor. His neighbor, by another quirk of fate, happens to be a wildlife biologist. To make a long story slightly longer, my Aunt Vita, as so often happens in these situations, then had a revelation that she and Rupert had to go and perform missionary work in Florida. They’ll be pests there as well, but we can take some consolation in the fact that there’s only one Uncle Rupert, which makes him an endangered species.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.



God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. Now that I’m older (but refuse to grow up), here’s what I’ve discovered:

ONE – I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

TWO – My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran.

THREE – I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.

FOUR – Funny, I don’t remember being absent minded…

FIVE – All reports are in; life is now officially unfair.

SIX – If all is not lost, where is it?

SEVEN – It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.

EIGHT – Some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the hydrant.

NINE – I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few.

TEN – Kids in the back seat cause accidents.

ELEVEN – Accidents in the back seat cause…kids.

TWELVE – It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

THIRTEEN – Only time the world beats a path to your door is when you’re in the bathroom.

FOURTEEN – If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

FIFTEEN – When I’m finally holding all the cards, why does everyone decide to play chess?

SIXTEEN – It’s not hard to meet expenses….they’re everywhere.

SEVENTEEN – The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

EIGHTEEN – These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter…I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I’m here after.


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