Monthly Archives: February 2009

The Wit and Wisdom of Carrie Fisher

I just finished reading Carrie Fisher’s delightful book, “Wishful Drinking.” If you are fascinated by someone who grew up rich and famous, played an iconic figure (Princess Leia) in an iconic movie (Star Wars), married Paul Simon, had a PEZ dispenser made in her image, woke up in her bed next to a dead man, had electroshock therapy, “turned” another husband gay and much, much more … read the book. Here are just some of the spot-on slices of her brilliant and tasty literary pie:

1. “I heard someone say once that many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell.”

2. “Resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

3. “He was said to be distinguished looking. That’s ugly with money.”

4. “Instant gratification takes too long.”

5. When Bob Dylan asked her for a good name for a cologne: “Arbitrary … for the man who doesn’t give a shit how he smells.”

6. “It’s important to be able to distinguish between a problem and an inconvenience.”

7. When asked by an interviewer if she was happy: “Among other things.”

8. “I don’t have a problem with drugs as much as I have a problem with sobriety.”

9. “How tragic would it be to be runner-up for Bipolar Woman of the Year?”

10. Mike Nichols on why her marriage to Paul Simon failed: “Two flowers, no gardener.”

Franky Fly’s Away From Home

A Short Book About a Long Life

by Waverly Huff

Chapter 1: A Fly is Born

A variety of smells, not all of them good, rose from the almost full garbage can. The can vibrated slightly as a large truck rumbled down the street nearby. Inside, at the bottom of a McDonald’s Happy Meal box, something stirred.

Fernando and Fredericka Fly flew inside the can to better see their 73 children slowly emerging from their pupae cases, the warm Florida sun drying their young wings.

After a while, Fernando cleared his throat to get their attention. “Welcome, my sons and daughters,” he said in his loudest voice. “Welcome Felix, Frank, Farris, Fenton, Farrah …”

“It’s not necessary to call them all by name, dear,” Fredericka said, interrupting her husband. “It will only tax your memory and their patience.”

“Good idea, my love,” replied Fernando. “Your mother and I will depart soon for a retirement trash receptacle on the beach in Palm Bay. But before we leave, we want to wish all of you a long and happy life.”

“And to leave you with a few words of advice,” continued Fredericka. “First of all, beware of what we in the fly world refer to as The Unholy Trinity. Father, if you will.”

As his wife spoke, Fernando pushed a small easel to the front. He flipped over the first page, revealing a drawing of a fly swatter.

“This is called a fly swatter.” Fredericka paused for effect. A low buzz filled the air as her 73 children moved closer together.

“W-w-what’s a fly swatter, mother,” asked Fenecia with a slight tremor in her voice?

“It doesn’t sound good,” added Filbert.

“It’s not good,” said Fernando. “This is what some humans use to … to kill those of us who dare enter their houses. So … never go into a human’s house!”

Fernando flipped to the second page: a can of Raid Insecticide.

“This is a spray that humans use to kill flies, ants, bees and other insects,” said Fredericka. “We flies have a saying: If you sniff it … you’ve snuffed it.”

“Why would the humans want to do this to us,” asked Felipe?

“Well,” answered Fernando, “some of the dirtier and more careless members of our species have been known to spread diseases to the humans. This is why personal hygiene is extremely important.”

He flipped to the last page. A few audible gasps came from the group as the image came into view.

“This,” Fredericka said, her voice taking on a deadly serious tone, “is a Venus Fly Trap.”

“I’m afraid,” whispered Fyllis. “I’m very afraid.”

“Me, too,” agreed Fester.

“Wait a darn minute,” shouted Franky Fly. “You’re saying that not only should we avoid humans both inside and outside their houses … but that there are also plants that can cause us harm?”

“That’s right,” answered Fernando.

“But if there’s one thing your father and I want to impress upon you,” Fredericka quickly added, “it’s that you cannot let fear run your life. Yes, there are a few dangers we must look out for. But this is a mostly a world filled with wonder and joy.”

“If you but take reasonable care,” Fernando continued, “you can have that long and happy life I mentioned earlier.”

“Exactly how long,” asked Franky Fly?

“Our species has been known to last as long as 21 days during the summer months,” answered Fernando.

“21 … days,” said Franky Fly in a halting voice?

“Yes,” replied Fredericka. “So make the best of them.”

“We must now leave you,” said Fernando. “Farewell and good luck to all of you. We love you very much.”

As their mother and father departed for Palm Bay, the 73 young flies waved at them and shouted their goodbyes.

“21 days,” Franky Fly repeated. “I wish I had a calendar.”

(To be continued)

On the Occasion of My 65th

Tom,

Congratulations for having arrived at what we old hands call the “The Medicare Years”. It is a time when you sit back and thank God that wrinkles don’t hurt.

Think back the way your dialogue with friends has evolved over the years:

In your 20s, you talked about sex and sports;

In your 30s, you talked about sports and sex;

In your 40s, you talked about jobs and careers;

In your 50s, you talked about a second home – or a second partner;

Now, in your 60s, you talk about body chemistry.

From time to time, you may feel nostalgia for the old days, but I have a sure cure for that: when you think about the joys of youth, just remember algebra.

People may tell you that 65 is the new 45, but the real truth is that there is an infallible test: You’re not old until you begin to like accordion music. (Of course, in your case, that means that you were an old man at age 11!).

Really, Tom, don’t worry about being old – just don’t be surprised when you are sitting on a park bench and a Boy Scout comes over and helps you cross your legs.

Happy Birthday and much love.

Jan & Bob