Even though she’s an Indiana girl who had only seen the ocean once before we met, there is something about the beach that feels like home to Tammy. She especially likes Edisto Beach, where we go every summer. But we also have fond memories of Sunset Beach, where we went for a few years before discovering Edisto. When I was a kid, on the rare occasions my family took a vacation, we went to Myrtle Beach, about a half hour south of Sunset Beach, but another world entirely in character.
Sixth grade was not so kind to my daughter. She did better than she expected on the social part — and that was the part that really worried her, since she had heard so many frightening rumors about the chamber of horrors otherwise known as middle school. But the academic part proved to be much tougher than she had anticipated, and she struggled.
She would come limping in from school every afternoon around 4 p.m. with her enormous backpack full of heavy textbooks slung over one shoulder, causing her to list on one side. It was as if every burden of the earth was stuffed into that backpack, and she did not bear it lightly, oh no, dumping it with a thunderous thud on the kitchen floor and then stomping like Godzilla to the refrigerator, where she seized a pint of cherry vanilla yogurt as if it were a small car, ripped the top off, and then stabbed at the occupants with her shiny monster spoon until every last one of them was gobbled up completely. Tourists, probably.
It is just mid-April and already too hot to sleep, but too early in the year to resort to air conditioning. For years, I managed to do without any air conditioning at all, even in my car — partly out of some last remaining strand of stubborn resistance to being overly pampered, but mostly because when I bought my first car and my first house, I didn’t have enough money for such modern conveniences. It is much easier to maintain excellent principles when you lack the funds to compromise them. My car had a radio and floor mats and my house had doorknobs and a kitchen. In the summers, I kept the windows down and drank a lot of ice water.
“She can wiggle her toes.”
This text message — a simple statement of fact pertaining to my mother — would have seemed absurd just a week ago. It would have meant next to nothing, the punchline to some silly joke maybe.
(“And now, for her next trick ….”)
1) The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
If lead singer Craig Finn weren’t fronting this band, he’d be writing short stories for a living. He’s got the verbal chops, believe me. In fact, he IS writing short stories, but instead of publishing them in the New Yorker, he reads them in front of a bar band that owes more to “classic rock” than to the Ramones or Nirvana, a pretty nifty trick in this day and age. Like all good writers, he has favorite themes — degradation and redemption, to name the main ones. Sample lyric: “I guess I heard about original sin. I heard the dude blamed the chick. I heard the chick blamed the snake. I heard they were naked when they got busted. I heard things ain’t been the same since.” Or this one: “She said: I was seeing double for three straight days after I got born again it felt strange but it was nice and peaceful. It really pleased me to be around so many people. Of course half were just visions.” There’s plenty more where that came from. Just add power cords, keyboards, and a drummer to move things along. Flannery O’Connor and William Burroughs’ love child grows up in Brooklyn, learns to play guitar by listening to Thin Lizzy and AC/DC records, lives a little, forms a rock band. Album of the year.
Over the past few months, my 10-year-old son, Jack, has developed an insatiable appetite for all things basketball. We spend hours out in the driveway playing “around the world” or “pig” (an abbreviated version of “horse”), where he unveils a dazzling array of turnaround jumpers and a truly impressive aptitude for the old school bank shot. He loves going to the fitness center or church and playing pick-up basketball with much older guys, even if he is not quite ready for that level of play and spends much of his time on the court nipping at the heels of the bigger guys like a particularly relentless Chihuahua, trying to steal the ball or harass them into making a bad pass.
It must have been 20 years or more since I heard a futurist telling a skeptical crowd the extent to which technology would be changing the way we live. He said that we would eventually — probably in our own lifetime — have unfettered and instant access to just about every form of entertainment we could imagine. He said we would be able to watch movies on our phones, and listen to any recording ever made — from Louis Armstrong to Loretta Lynn — on the Internet, and get the news minutes after it occurred. He said we would literally have the world at our fingertips.
I remember thinking, who wants to watch a movie on a phone? I also remember thinking how cool it would be to have that kind of access. Just imagine: as a lifelong fan of “The Andy Griffith Show,” I would someday be able to watch any episode I wanted with one or two keystrokes! As a lifelong music fanatic, I would be able to listen to any song or album I wanted anytime — and anywhere — I felt like it, since everyone would be using laptop computers and we would be able to get on the Internet virtually everywhere we went. Our computers would become the centers of our lives. Everything would become so … easy and fast. Everything would be great, beyond our imagination!
“Dad, do you think we’ll get out of school tomorrow?” My son, Jack, is standing in the doorway of our bedroom. Sunday night is bearing down again, and the weekend forecasts have been taunting him and his sister with the promise of a big snowstorm, which is supposed to begin around 7 a.m. on Monday morning, just in time to get them out of school. But he’s not quite prepared to buy in, not after having been burned already three or four times by faulty forecasts. What’s that song by The Who? “Won’t Get Fooled Again?”
I am living the days I have dreamed of all my life. “One day,” I said, somewhere ages and ages ago, “I will have children, and I will watch the Super Bowl with them just like I watched it with my dad.”
And now I do have children, and I am watching the Super Bowl with them, explaining different fine points of the game, explaining what the game represents and why the game means so much to the players, the coaches, and the fans. I am explaining (I do a lot of explaining — I am a teacher, you see, and a former sportswriter, so it’s not as if I can help myself. I would explain the game to the dog if the kids weren’t here) … wait a minute, where was I?
One of the pure joys of my job — teaching English on the college level — is getting to spend time with young people still working out their identities and finding their own way. In my composition classes, they tell me (and each other) their stories, and in my literature classes, they wrestle with Emerson, Dickinson, and Shakespeare, among others, absorbing it all and testing new ideas against their experience. We discuss, we debate, we search for meaning, we try to find common ground.
Two miserable characters — the larger one in a terry cloth bathrobe and fleece pajama bottoms, the smaller one in his new school clothes and orange parka — stand at the bus stop, huddled together in a sad and pathetically ineffective attempt to generate some small bit of warmth between them on a brutally cold and windy January morning, the first day of school and work after Christmas vacation.
Teachers worry that their students will lose momentum or enthusiasm for learning during their time away from school right in the middle of the school year, but the boy in his new school clothes has indeed learned something over these past few weeks. He has learned about inertia, not just the dictionary definition of it, but the implacable reality of it.
We’re all at home, on vacation at last. Ella Fitzgerald is wishing us a swinging Christmas, as she does every December. First “Jingle Bells,” then “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” then “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and on and on, her voice like honey butter on a hot dinner roll. Tammy and Kayden are in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies and joking about the utter foolishness of boys of all ages, including the one who keeps darting in and out of the kitchen to swipe Hershey Kisses — which are intended for the cookies — and another one who is sitting in the living room, enjoying a glass of Pinot noir while watching the cat make a punching bag out of a silver ornament hanging on one of the bottom branches of the tree. The dog is curled up on one arm of the recliner, also watching the cat, as he often does.
I am in my office between classes, eating egg drop soup out of a little plastic container with a white plastic spoon, checking email, separating student essays into stacks, wondering whether I will be able to make it until Friday, when my next appointment with the chiropractor is scheduled. Every six months or so, my back slips out of alignment and I spend a few miserable days in varying degrees of pain, with tingling and burning sensations radiating through my torso. I gobble down muscle relaxers and handfuls of Ibuprofen, but get very little sleep until I’m properly aligned again and the pain finally abates, a square inch at a time, a minute at a time. I don’t have time for it, not with the end of the semester bearing down like the gray, oppressive sky just outside my office window, but back pain is notoriously indifferent to my plans and responsibilities.
I cannot take a nap, at least not on purpose. Whenever I try, I twist and turn as if my wrists are tied behind my back and I have to work myself free. Try as I may to fall asleep, I cannot help obsessing about the things I should be doing, worrying that I may feel worse when I wake up, that I may have insomnia from having slept earlier in the day. A nap has to sneak up on me like a big cat stalking its prey, pouncing on me while I’m listening to jazz in my easy chair, or reading the short stories of Herman Melville. The older I get, the easier prey I become for such naps. When I wake up from naps, I’m usually confused, even disoriented. Where is everyone? What time is it? Why am I reading Herman Melville? Who is that man knocking at the door? Or am I merely dreaming of a man knocking at the door?
We called it “in-between weather,” too warm for a coat, too chilly for short sleeves. Back then, just about every boy in town — and many of the girls, too — wore flannel shirts from late September until spring came around again, when mothers would neatly fold a whole slew of them and pack them up in boxes labeled “Winter Clothes” with a black magic marker. It seemed that all I ever wore were flannel shirts or tee shirts, unless I had to go to church or a funeral, or unless I had to dress up for a rare family picture. Mom made us dress up for Easter and Christmas, but we didn’t go to church that often otherwise, so my dress shirt and dark navy pants hung in the back of my closet, segregated from the others, a “uniform for special occasions” that I would outgrow before anyone would be able to tell it had ever been worn at all.
It is a fine day for a cookout, this Father’s Day. It is hot enough that most of the younger folk are wearing shorts and T-shirts, revealing traces of recent sunburn and the random bruises and scratches of youth. This one has a strawberry from trying to steal third base, that one a burn from a dirt-bike muffler. Most of the boys have brought their girlfriends — some faces are familiar, others fresh and wide-eyed and eager to make a good impression. They pay special attention to the toddlers, trying to make them giggle, making over their tiny sundresses and overalls with grand gestures and exaggerated praise, as if the toddlers had put a lot of thought and care into what they were going to wear today.
Though I will wear one sometimes as a “fashion statement,” on most days I do not wear a watch. I don’t really need to wear one. Everywhere I look, I see the time of day. In fact, no matter where I go or how hard I try, I cannot seem to escape the passage of time. It’s on my cell phone. It’s on the oven AND the microwave in our kitchen. It’s on the dashboard of my car. It’s on my computer screen, lurking down in the right hand corner.
As a teacher, I most assuredly do not need a timepiece. Everyday, the world around us changes so fast it seems we ought to be strapped into something to avoid being flung into orbit. Simple tasks become complicated burdens. I have been known to stare at gas pumps in astonishment, looking at the assortment of options spelled out for me on the pump and the equally astonishing assortment of cards in my wallet, trying to figure it all out as if it were a column in the second round of Jeopardy. Do I want to pay inside? Pay out here with credit? Where is the button for debit? How do I qualify for the three-cent-per gallon discount?
Tammy is out in the yard burning the couch. There is no telling where this will end. All by herself, she somehow managed to push and pull an overstuffed sofa out of our guest bedroom, through the downstairs den, and out the backdoor into the yard, where she proceeded to push it end over end from one side of the yard to the other to our burn pile. Then she set it aflame. Perhaps next year, they can add this as an event in the Highland Games along with the caber toss and the Scottish hammer throw — the sofa roll and burn. She is so gratified to see the couch reduced to its blackened metal frame — the charred bones of some prehistoric beast — that she soon adds a faded maroon recliner to the pile.
I have no idea. I’m in the bedroom watching the Panthers playing the Ravens when my son drops in to check the score and watch the game for a series or two.
Her name was Glenda. She was a senior and one of the more popular girls in school, a volleyball star and a member of assorted clubs, the kind of girl who shows up in a lot of photos in the yearbook. Her younger sister, a very sweet and charming girl that everybody just naturally liked, was in my freshman biology class and had, over the summer, undergone a radical bodily transformation that was thrilling and perplexing in equal portions. She wore her flannel shirts looser in a mostly futile attempt to deflect this sudden new attention, but one day she accidentally nudged a pencil off the edge of her desk with the bulky biology text, and when she bent over to pick it up, her loose shirt betrayed her. I knew then my life would never be the same.
Some people complain all the time, about everything. They complain about the weather, the price of gasoline, their neglectful friends, the ratio of cashews in the average can of mixed nuts. Everything is a conspiracy against them.
Road construction makes them late for work, as do you, if you are driving in front of them and dare to put on your brakes to avoid hitting a stray dog, or maybe a family crossing the street. The president’s State of the Union address is causing them to miss “American Idol,” and tonight’s episode is PIVOTAL!
The reason that the death of Robin Williams seemed so particularly shocking, so cruel, even so personal, very nearly like a betrayal, is that when we think of him — his body of work, his persona, everything we know about him — our very first thought is of an irrepressible life force the likes of which we have never seen on the stage or screen. It was obvious from the very first minute that he captured America’s imagination as Mork from Ork on the 1970s television sitcom “Happy Days” that Williams was that rarest of birds — a complete original. He would remain so for nearly 40 years, not only continuing to find new ways to make us laugh, but by taking unexpected turns into drama, revealing depths that we hadn’t been able to imagine, perhaps giving us a glimpse of the darkness deep inside that eventually pulled him under.
I’ve become hooked on Dr. Phil. Don’t ask me how it happened because I don’t know. He caught me unawares, I guess, creeping up on me during my fall break while I was innocently trying to feed my son, Jack, some mashed up fruit out of a tiny jar with a tiny spoon, desperately trying to find something to keep him distracted enough to sit still and actually eat his breakfast. I tried a couple of cartoons but quickly learned that Jack, at the age of nine months, would just as soon watch ESPN Sportscenter, The Price is Right, or The Discovery Channel as any cartoon. He’s pretty much OK with anything as long as there are images moving around on the screen and sound coming out of the television.
I wasn’t very good at sports when I was a kid. I wanted to be good — the star of the team, the captain, the leading scorer, the clutch player — but I was barely good enough to make the team in football and baseball, and not much better in basketball. I worked hard and attended practice faithfully, and I could execute a bounce pass or finger roll lay-up with considerable verve, but what looks good in practice doesn’t always translate into real games, and I seldom made much of a splash once the buzzer sounded and the fans were seated. I seldom even made a plop. Most of the time, my role was to join the other benchwarmers during timeouts in a huddle around the starters, our arms wrapped supportively around their sweaty torsos, or to yell encouragement from our seats, which were, after all, the best in the house. Once in a while, if our team was up — or down — by 30 or 40 points with a minute or two to play, we were sent in to finish the game, peeling off our warm-ups like banana skins and hustling to the scorer’s table with great earnestness, as if something important were about to happen.
EDISTO ISLAND, S.C. – My daughter has ordered an elaborate omelet, with spinach and cheese and who knows what else, but she seems to have lost all interest in actually eating it.
Instead, she pokes listlessly at one edge, as if her plate has an invisible fence around it and she is guiding the omelet toward the gate, trying to help it escape. Though we are only a little over two days into our weeklong summer vacation and enjoying our first meal out, she is also dreaming of escape. Her omelet has become a metaphor.
“Daddy,” she says with a laden sigh, “I’m ready to go back to North Carolina.”
It is now official. I am not young anymore. I guess I should have paid more attention to the signs, and perhaps it wouldn’t come as such a shock, but I didn’t and it does. My youth has expired, gone out of date like a carton of milk forgotten in the back of the fridge. When I reach for my youth to get a refreshing drink of it, the stench is unbearable. I play one game of pick-up basketball with the kids at school — these are college students and here I am calling them “kids” — and the next morning my legs feel like a mob guy tied me to a chair and beat my thighs all night with a laundry bag full of navel oranges until I finally admitted I was middle-aged.
Mike and I were not exactly a match made in heaven. In fact, I didn’t think we were much of a match at all. At the time we were “introduced,” I lived in a tiny rented house with an equally tiny yard, and I already had one dog, a skittish collie named Russ, who was skeptical of anything new, especially other dogs. I barely had room for Russ, and barely got the bills paid each month. The very last thing I needed or wanted was another dog.
There are movies that I simply cannot turn off once I stumble into them when I am switching channels, which I do whenever there is a commercial, as men have been hardwired to do since the dawn of the remote control. One of those movies is “Fargo,” by the Coen brothers, which I consider to be one of the five best movies ever made. Another is “Tombstone,” a western that I do not really even consider to be a very good movie, though it does contain an astonishing performance by Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.
In fact, it is Kilmer’s Holliday that compels me to keep watching every time I find “Tombstone” on cable. I can tell within five seconds exactly where we are in the movie, what scene featuring Holliday will come up next, and what the dialogue is in that scene, even when Holliday and his nemesis Johnny Ringo are trading ominous bits of Latin in their first encounter in the Oriental Saloon.
We lost Barney Fife last week. When the news came that Don Knotts had died of pulmonary and respiratory failure in California at the age of 81, those of us who have always counted “The Andy Griffith Show” pretty high on our list of reasons to go on living were hit where it hurts. If Sheriff Andy Taylor is the backbone of the show, Deputy Barney Fife is its flesh. Except for those infrequent occasions when he underestimates either women or his son, Opie — a weakness which is always revealed and corrected by the end of the show — Andy is almost too saintly for us to relate to very much. He’s the fellow we aspire to be, a kind, generous, strong man who faces life with integrity, dignity, courage, and humor. And he can play the guitar and sing, too.
A few weeks ago, my brother called me to ask if I thought he should apply for the job as president of Wilkes Community College. I have been teaching in the community college system for 23 years and was a dean for several years, so he thought I might have some special insight.
You have already read or heard about the three guys who were arrested for “operating” — yeah, I guess the pun is intended, although I should probably cut it out (stop it, NOW!) — a sadomasochistic castration dungeon here in Waynesville. How could you not? It is literally all over the media. On the Internet, a quick Google search of “Waynesville castration” turns up more than 10,000 hits.
San Francisco Giant outfielder Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of this era, and one can make a good argument that he is the greatest player in history. Bonds will almost certainly pass the legendary Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list this season, and it is conceivable that he might also break Henry Aaron’s home run record.
Some people say I can be cheap, or at the very least, my priorities are out of whack. They say, “You’ll spend $30 for a bottle of wine, but won’t spend 30 to get that dent in your car fixed.” That may be true, but that dent in my car doesn’t go nearly as well with a good steak as an excellent bottle of Shiraz does. I figure I will get around to fixing the dent in the car, but that steak has got to be eaten now — there is an expiration date on it. If you ask SOME people, I guess I should just eat it with tap water or cherry Kool Aid.
Mother’s Day was probably not everything Tammy had hoped for.
She may have had visions of sleeping in until 9 or even 10 a.m., then being served breakfast in bed: cinnamon and apple muffins, a western omelet, a medley of fruit, piping hot coffee, and a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.
A few years ago, I was asked to give the keynote speech for an area high school’s graduation ceremony. At first, I thought one of my so-called friends must be playing a joke on me. Why would anyone want a local newspaper columnist/college English teacher to address a group of graduating high school seniors? What would I be expected to say? “Esteemed graduates, you face many problems and challenges in the world you are about to enter — skyrocketing health care costs, our dependence on foreign oil, the scourge of terrorism — but when all is said and done, if you do not finally get a grip on comma usage, I swear I will track down every last one of you and write nasty little comments with a red pen on everything you ever write from now on. If you do not learn the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’ I will haunt you from beyond the grave. Now go forward and prosper, but do not let your participles dangle.”
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Before our son was born almost a year and a half ago, Tammy and I made an important decision. She would stop working and stay home with our two kids until they were both in school. We weighed the advantages and disadvantages, realizing that losing her income would put us in occasional tenuous circumstances financially, but we felt that even if we had to go into the red some months, even if we had to watch our credit card debt crawl (and sometimes leap) upward, it would be worth it for our family.
In every town I’ve ever lived in — and I have lived in several — I have made a Sports Friend. In case you don’t know what a Sports Friend is, perhaps a brief definition is in order: a Sports Friend is someone with whom you can talk about urgent issues of monumental importance. For example, how will the Charlotte Bobcats’ selection of Adam Morrison help the team’s chances of making the playoffs this season? Do the Carolina Panthers have a chance at winning the Super Bowl? What is wrong with the Atlanta Braves?
Even though she’s an Indiana girl who had only seen the ocean once before we met, there is something about the beach that feels like home to Tammy. She especially likes Sunset Beach, where we go every summer. When I was a kid, on the rare occasions my family took a vacation, we went to Myrtle Beach, about a half hour south of Sunset Beach, but another world entirely in character.
Driving down Russ Avenue on yet another scorching day, I saw a couple of girls out in front of the Pizza Hut waving at people as we drove by. Behind them, there was a big sign promoting a sale on pizza. I couldn’t really tell you what the sign said because the look on the girls’ faces was so forlorn, so pathetic that I watched them instead. Their waves were not even half-hearted, arms barely lifted, heavy probably from the exertion and the heat, their motions slow and sodden.
On July 13, the Buncombe County Republican Action Club posted two billboards in Asheville featuring a photograph of a Mexican flag flying over an American flag, the latter of which was also turned upside down. The accompanying message read, simply, “Had Enough?” I’m not sure, but I believe the original photograph was taken when some high school students in California hoisted the flags in this configuration, a stunt that was quickly shut down, but not before the photograph was taken and transformed into a rallying cry for the Action Club and its supporters. The topic, of course, is illegal immigration, a complex problem that the Action Club would like you to believe is not complex at all, but the result of bleeding heart liberalism, pure and simple.
Just in the past couple of months, I have been forced to confront a prejudice I didn’t really know I had. For years, as it turns out, I have secretly harbored a suspicion that most people who claim to suffer from debilitating back pain are either hypochondriacs — who complain about everything from chronic migraine headaches to an unbearable sensitivity of the eyelashes — or simply freeloaders looking to get out of work and/or draw disability, the sort of people who show up to court hearings in wheelchairs and neck braces and are seen the next day playing racquetball or doing workout routines on the uneven parallel bars.
In the five years since the terrorists attacked us on 9/11, it has seemed that President Bush could get away with virtually anything, from falsely connecting the attack on 9/11 to our pre-emptive war on Iraq to completely ignoring the Constitution (which he took an oath to defend) in various and egregious ways, including warrantless wiretapping and the seemingly endless detainment of so-called “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo Bay.
The kids and I are in this strange new bonding phase of our relationship. For years, they displayed not the slightest interest in my personal history, even shrugging in absolute indifference when relatives pulled out old Polaroids to demonstrate the uncanny resemblance between me and them when I was their age.
Or we might be in the car, and an old song would come on the radio and remind me of a funny college story, which I would immediately begin narrating until it got sucked down and drowned in a vortex of moans and groans from the back seat.
Friday afternoon on the deck. The kids are home from school, and the three of us are enjoying another beautiful spring day, watching the squirrels and chickadees compete for the bird seed strewn all over the deck, thanks to the regular suicide runs the squirrels make for the feeder in spite of the best efforts of our miniature dachshund, who patrols this area with alarming vigor, to deter them. We call him “The Sheriff.”
The kids have bowls of chocolate ice cream with M&Ms, and I am enjoying a rare glass of red wine. In the background, Ryan Adams is singing about trains derailing and love lost and how he wants to be somebody’s firecracker. Jack has a chocolate moustache.
If someone had told me 30 years ago that someday I’d be sentimental about a Shoney’s restaurant closing down, I would have laughed out loud and accused them of being delusional. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for their potato soup and hot fudge cakes, which I used to order as a kid when my parents took us there on infrequent trips out of town, but it is nothing I’d ever get misty-eyed over, anymore than I would over a three-piece original recipe chicken plate from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Then again, 30 years ago, I could not have foreseen the unlikely role Shoney’s would wind up playing in my family history. Not just any Shoney’s, but this particular Shoney’s, sitting high on its perch in Waynesville like an enormous neon bird watching over the bustling traffic on U.S. 23-74 while keeping one wary eye on Lowe’s across the way.
We had talked about going to Disney World for so long that it had become an abstraction, so distant and unreal that we might as well have been talking about taking a trip to Saturn. Still, the notion kept forcing itself upward though our cluttered and chaotic family life and back into our consciousness, like a dandelion that finds a way to grow through a crack in the sidewalk.
Los Lobos: The Town and the City
Remembered by most as “that band that revived ‘La Bamba’,” this criminally under-appreciated group from east Los Angeles may well be the best rock and roll band of the past quarter century.
There was so much blood all over the place that her home looked more like a slaughterhouse. That’s what she said. She said that he chased her back into the bathroom and she felt the cold, sharp barrel of a pistol pushed hard against her head, and his threats, always with the threats he came, relentless, unpredictable, set off by anything, set off by nothing at all. How many times had he beaten her bloody, threatened to kill her, lost control utterly? She didn’t say.
Heath Shuler says he will bring integrity and accountability to Washington? Ha! We have here in our satchel 76 examples of Shuler’s low character and corrupt tendencies. Space and decorum prevent us from elaborating fully on every example, but we here at the Hail Mary Headquarters to Re-elect Charles Taylor felt it was vital to make you, the unsuspecting voter, aware of at least some of Shuler’s transgressions.
“Excuse me, miss, but did you happen to see a princess and a small cow come through here a minute ago?”