Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gorilla Fears

What would cause a gorilla to jump off a bridge? What could be so horrible that anyone would be tempted to jump from the solid security of masonry and brick into the cold, cold waters and face the terrifying sensation of liquid slowly filling your nostrils and lungs, covering your eyes and cutting off all hint of life.

Well, the potential of banana extinction could bring him close to that state. After all, seeing the devastation of the rain forests on TV over Thanksgiving break brought a lump to his throat. No, not a lump of sadness, but a lump of fear. The cold, sheer terror of wondering whether there would be bananas tomorrow, or the next day, or a year from now.

After crashing into a roller-skater while dodging traffic across College during rush-hour, Gonga also fears riding his skateboard. In fact, he now refuses to ride his skateboard anywhere near real traffic areas. And if he sees even one roller-skater, he gets off his skateboard and carries it home.

Gogna has the usual workplace fears as well; getting kicked in the shins, running out of flyers, having someone steal the cash tips out of his accordion case or even the occasional pie in the face. Yes, shin-kicking gorillas seems to be a hazing activity of one of the fraternities, hence Gonga’s increasing desire to wear shin-guards while at work. He figures if construction workers get to wear hard hats, he can at least add his own form of protection.

But one fear that truly makes his blood run cold is the fear of textbooks going online. If textbooks go online, then there will no longer be used copies for re-sale; only used log-in credentials. And since those are usually limited to a certain time-period, the resale value drops dramatically.

Even online textbooks wouldn’t quite cause Gonga to rush to find the nearest bridge. However, the thought of student loan companies going bankrupt does. After all, without a steady supply of fodder for the textbook mill, “The Textbook Game” will fail, and Gonga will be begging on the streets again. Even the thought of student loans becoming more difficult to acquire makes Gonga queasy on the inside.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Impotence Of Proper Spelling

I am sure you have had the necessity of proper spelling drummed into your head from a tender age. Teachers say it, parents preach it and your friends all compete at spelling in those ‘honerous’ contests called “spelling bees.”

Gonga has always wondered why they’re called spelling bees anyway. After all, proper spelling of the noun for those little insects which fly around gathering nectar to turn into honey is not all that difficult. No, it’s words a bit longer than that which trip Gonga up.

In response to one worried note from a teacher which attempted to convince Gonga that he should work harder at learning to spell properly, Gonga sent another note asserting that he agreed that proper spelling was impotent. The teacher took this to mean that Gonga thought her teaching style was impotent. From that point on, Gonga was on his own.

He later posted on a girl’s wall, telling her, “You are such a sweaty girl!” Not only did he accuse her of overactive sweat glands, he also happened to forget to insert the comma before “girl,” which is probably why she immediately sentenced him to a life-time of Facebook friendlessness. Less than a year after that he made the mistake of messaging another friend, stating that the deodorant he used was utterly senseless. He meant “scentless” of course, but that friend called him up and started cursing him out in the middle of class. Suffice to say that this time Gonga had the pleasure of de-friending the person and deleting all the vulgar things that had been posted on his wall in the interim.

More embarrassing, and also more damaging, he addressed a thank-you letter to the donor who had funded his scholarship that year to, “The Deer Fiend.” Apparently that individual did not appreciate being likened to some sort of four footed, cloven hoofed demon and promptly revoked any future funding to the school.

In general, Gonga forgets letters and often confuses the proper use of vowels. When he writes his mother that he is going to get ‘beat’, she has finally stopped worrying for his safety and realized that he is simply talking about vegetables. He will also occasionally write home, telling that that he accomplished a spectacular ‘feet’ in finding shoes large enough for his ‘feat’. This inevitably sends his parents into ‘contusions’ of laughter.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Football

Gonga stared at the orange orb on the table in front of him. It glared back with as yet un-carved eyes. Gonga scowled in response. Of course his pumpkin would end up glowering at him. That’s always how things worked.

He raised his knife thoughtfully, considering how to procede.

Should he make a big mouth, or a little one? Bother with a nose at all? Maybe do eyebrows instead?

Eyes first.

Half an hour later Gonga looked at the mangled mass in front of him. He suddenly realized that he never should have worried about the eyes in the first place. They wouldn’t remain intact enough to glare back at him anyway. He speared a chunk of pumpkin on the end of his knife. How did those girls manage to make such realistic faces anyway?

He looked at the next pumpkin and grinned.

He shouted, “Derrick!” and swept the pumpkin off the table.

“What?” Derrick shouted in response from outside the screen door.

“Football!” Gonga barreled out the door at break-neck speed, curling over the pumpkin and shouldering his way past Derrick.

“Hang on there!” Derrick was after him in a flash. “Pass!”

Gonga turned and hurled the pumpkin at him.

Derrick juggled wildly for a second before capturing the orange ball.

Gonga smacked his hands together.

“You want it?” Derrick smiled and lobbed the pumpkin towards him at top speed.

Gonga recognized the glint in his friend’s eye a second before the pumpkin smacked him in the skull. It shattered, spewing pumpkin seeds and pulp all around him.

“You!” he shouted, diving towards Derrick.

The two went down in a heap with a mass of pumpkin rinds in-between.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guy Fawkes Day

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why the gunpowder treason,

Should ever be forgot.”

Gonga stared at the flat-screen, watching the scenes of blackness and fire swirl around each other. Indeed it was the fifth of November, and he for one was not forgetting the treason Guy Fawkes had almost perpetrated on the British Parliament over four hundred years ago.

It was a fascinating story to Gonga. How could a person manage to smuggle over a dozen barrels of gunpowder into the cellar underneath Parliament and then not quite detonate them?

Now children all over England burned their own bits of gunpowder every fifth of November in celebration of the British version of the US’s 4th of July. Well, almost their version of the 4th of July. There were some notable differences, but Gonga decided not to parse it out right now.

It was enough to stare into the flickering screen and enjoy the newly Holywoodized version of the story behind Guy Fawkes’ Day, “V for Vendetta”.

Then he paused. It would be awful fun to make an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Find some old clothes and stuff them with paper. Maybe even grab one of those “V for Vendetta” masks that the protesters downtown often wore. Then take him to the middle of campus, on Speaker’s Circle and light him on fire.

Gonga started chuckling. It would probably draw a crowd.

Children in England may get away with burning stuffed “Guys” on this day, but it was hardly accepted cultural practice on the United States. People could get away with flag burning…but Gonga wasn’t so sure about this.

Still, he had to give it a try.

He hit the second speed dial on his phone, “Derrick?”