Thursday, May 20, 2010

Precedents and Antecedents

When I sit down to write with no idea of what to write the only thing I can do is disable my mental Blowout Preventer and see what spews forth. Should I then be held responsible for the havoc my words inflict upon the environment of your sensibilities? Of course not. After all it was my parents that gave me the capability of dismantling the blowout thing in the first place – so they are clearly at fault. Then my wife didn’t jump in and pour critical concrete down my nostrils thereby plugging up the gush. (Don’t even think about that last sentence.) My point is, this whole blog entry is clearly my wife’s fault. And my parents. But not me. So I’m completely innocent.

I think we need to think about precedents and antecedents and other big words so this confusing world can be put into sane context. When one talks of ‘pre’ and ‘ante’ things you know the discussion involves history…you know, like pre-1900 or ante-…well something...okay how about diluvian? Antediluvian was way back there somewhere.

You see, I know about history. I only had one good history teacher and he was good because he told stories…..back stories….the real stories that you don’t find in a history textbook. Although I made a ‘C’ in the course that doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn the fact that there are stories behind the historical stories. So now I am able to put things in historical perspective. I ascertain the precedents and antecedents – the truth – about how we got here. I have the insight.

Get that darn blowout preventer back online…hurry. He is now gushing about insight!

For instance.

There is so much consternation and back-and-forth about The Right to Bare Arms. I think it is one of those constitutional amendments or something…but don’t get bogged down in details. It is by concentrating on details that you lost the ability to see the real story. After careful thought and precedenting and antecedenting I have figured out that our really nifty forefather Benjamin Franklin had a hand in drafting this whole concept. We all know he spent a bunch of time in France, and he wisely looked at the way they did things and desired to take back to America those things that he thought was good for the country. After getting into bed, so to speak, with French society and with what he saw he figured out that France must have a constitutional amendment somewhere that provided for the Right to Bare Breasts. Although he fervently grasped, so to speak, this notion he figured to sort of ease the concept into American society. And the fact that the Short Sleeve Manufacturing Union was a heavy contributor to him provided even more impetus. This we now have the Right to Bare Arms.

This blowout preventer sucks. What to do? The concrete truck is on the way. Call them back and tell them to hurry!

You see, I have to look through the posturing and pontificating and dry verbosity of our history books. I have to understand motivations, human desires and needs and foibles. I have to point my laser vision through the fog of learned academia and into the tunnel of….okay, I lost myself there.

Laser vision? Put a cap on him – enclose the spewing…suck it up and start redirecting.

For instance.

One of the best loved holidays is Thanksgiving. That is the time you try to figure out who you can con into saying the prayer and hope that your daughter doesn’t wear that stupid nose ring and you vainly vow to eat only one helping of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, squash – who the hell put squash on the table? – yams, gravy and dinner rolls…..all the time thinking vaguely that this had something to do with Pilgrims and Indians sitting at a picnic table and then playing football and maize even though no one knows what maize is.

Vague knowledge is a poor precedent and antecedent for a national holiday. You would remember the history if you knew the love and lust and scandal that was the real story that my insight can provide.

Oh Jeez….now he’s gonna’ mess around with National Holidays. Hurry! Stick a pipe in him.

Way back in 1512, or 1554, or 1612…or some year like that – once again, stop getting bogged down in details – Johnny Smith became a Captain in the Pilgrim Brigade (which I think later evolved into the Knights of Columbus. I need to check on that.). With his new rank he no longer had to clean blunderbusses and stand guard and figure out what maize was. So the 33 year old Captain Smith took to taking long walks through the forest with his Sergeant, Elijah Giving, following behind to provide protection from Indians. Sergeant Giving was dedicated and loved Captain Smith and would do anything for him. Now I am not going to suggest that Elijah loved John ‘in that way’, but it is curious that Elijah was vehemently opposed to John’s relationship with that Indian gal.

Her name was Pocahontas and she was indeed lovely. The 14 year old Indian maiden was immediately smitten with Captain Smith, as he was with her.

Now lets stop a second….don’t get all prudey. It was common practice for adult men to marry young teens back in the precedent and antecedent times. A mature historian such as I deigns to not pass judgment on the heroes of our history.

Much to Elijah Giving’s dismay, with all this smitten stuff going back and forth between the couple, Johnny done smittened his way into getting her knocked up. Now The Pilgrims Code stated that whilst it was kosher to marry a young maiden, it was forbidden to have sex with them before said marriage. In fact it was punishable by death.

To Poca’s credit, she tried to hide it by buying plus sized clothing and asking around about diets to make people think that she was just getting fat. Elijah Giving even offered to state that he was the father to save Johnny – but really, no one would believe that Elijah would have anything to do with a woman. But finally everything became too obvious and the Pilgrims Council on Truth and Justice and the American Way (and their nosy wives) met and did what they had to do. They condemned Captain John Smith to death by firing squad. 

That fateful day in April, or July or one of those months arrived when Captain Smith was made to stand in front of five Pilgrims lined up with their stupid looking blunderbusses. Captain Smith was stoic as he proclaimed his love for Pocahontas and voiced his blessing to the firing squad for he indeed had sinned. Pocahontas frantically paced back and forth cursing herself for not taking the pill. Sergeant Elijah Giving was crying in agony as he realized that John was indeed going to get blunderbussed.

Oh for Lord’s sake, can’t someone shut him down. He is polluting the complete internet.

The command was given: “Ready”. John stood tall and sucked in his gut. “Aim”. John’s lower lip began to slightly quiver. But as the command “Fire” was given, Sergeant Elijah Giving screamed “No!” and threw himself in front of John. The blunderbuss balls ripped into Elijah’s chest and he fell to the earth. John in horrified dismay could only scream, “Thanks Giving” – and thus Thanksgiving was born.

What happened next? Captain Smith was freed because his lack of death was considered an act of God. Pocahontas gave birth to a beautiful daughter she named Sacajawea, which means  ‘One day I will lead pale faced pioneers across this land so they can get the credit for discovering it’. John …’….. Poca finally…… moved …on .....

Wait. I think we’ve got it. He’s sputtering.

…to help……

Shut him down. Now!

..fight at….the……….Alamo………..

Yes! Zero output.


  1. My son says that my journey into dementia will be a smooth transition. I suspect you and I will share a table in that place where the demented go. We shall give thanks, eat our pudding, and play cards. A simple game, requiring little memory and very flexible rules.

    Bob Newhart would love this.


  2. Lmao!!! Now that is a version of history I have never heard! LOL! What an imagination! AND you make it all seem so plausible.

    Loved it!

  3. Very entertaining! But I think I'll use the story written in the history books to describe Thanksgiving to my 4 and 7 year old grandsons (even though I like your version better)!

  4. I don't believe it. I've found one. A man who, like me, scored 9 out of 9½ on my BS-o-meter. That is one of the goofiest stories I've ever read—or perhaps I was thinking with my eyes closed the day they taught it in school.

    Either way, a job well done. Or, a job done well. Whatever.

  5. Ok, first of all, I know all about my right to bare arms, but have you seen these bat wings, it really is better to keep them under wraps, unless of course you are fourteen and your upper arms do not sway in the breeze, then you have to latch on to that Captain as quickly as you can and because you are fourteen have babies with difficult to pronounce names all in the name of discovering a new world.
    Don't you love it when you let your mind out of it's cage and it says whatever the hell it wants?

  6. From what I remember, you are telling it just like it was, and who are they to argue with those of us who were there. Which brings me to the right to bare arms...having been there, or nearly so, I think I have probably outgrown the right to bare arms. All precedents and antedecedents aside I'll move on to a non sequitur and say I really do remember $.25 gas.

  7. I like your story much better than the way I learned it from those history books. Who writes those things anyway? Dry as dust, they are. I need passion, romance and scandal...and you delivered!

    My husband always calls "Thanksgiving" the "day we celebrate cheating the Indians out of land that was rightfully theirs". I'm so happy I can now tell him the true story and we can go back to blissfully enjoying a national holiday pretty much devoted to decimating the domestic turkey population and gorging ourselves into food induced comas. Yay!


  8. Thank you for this nuanced and informative discussion. I love the back-stories of history, too, especially when told by a man with a broken blow-out preventer.

  9. My kids would probably like to know where to purchase the now infamous Blow-Out-Preventer...Alas, they know not of my internet goings on.

  10. Jerry, I just WISH I could write like this!! Dang! Wish I knew a publisher to send this post to.