A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I have a weird sense of humour. My friends are all saying, “Oh really? We hadn’t noticed.”
I don’t think anyone felt there was anything odd about me until I was one or two days old. Up until to then, I think I was a fairly normal child. By the end of my first week however I was beginning to show signs of eccentricity along with a perverted desire to poke fun at children less intelligent than I was. Fortunately there were none.
I have no idea why I became somewhat kooky at an early age unless I was dropped on my head several times by exasperated and highly stressed parents. There were war clouds forming over Europe in 1937 and I think my folks thought that I might be partly responsible.
I excelled in kindergarten, but not in the usual subjects such as finger-painting and snacks. My forte was nap time, a skill that I practised daily until Grade 13 when I discovered after a particularly restless afternoon in May of 1956 that it was not a subject on the curriculum. I did do amazingly well in English though, but not the grammar part. You have no doubt seen evidence of that many times if you are a regular reader. It was English Literature and Composition that captured all my attention and it showed in my marks. Many times I was in the high 50s and on one memorable occasion received a 61 for a story I wrote about a classmate and his girlfriend. He was expelled, the girlfriend disowned by her family and I was known forever after as a nosey little voyeur who would bear watching.
Echo- A Tragedy
Once upon a time, a Tuesday if I recall correctly, Zeus, King of the Gods, didst stagger down from Mount Olympus after a night of heavy drinking. Being somewhat of a rascal, he fell madly in lust with the fair Tracheotomy, a young milkmaid from a nearby village whose shapely bottom was most rounded. Her nether cheeks were oft compared to the golden apples of the huntress, Diana, although not by anyone with an orchard. In truth, Tracheotomy wasn’t bad looking for a maiden with a hole in her throat.
Rather than risk getting caught for the third time in a week by his shrewish wife, Hera, Zeus didst offer Echo, a wood nymph, 25 drachmas to bemuse the old witch whilst he didst bedazzle the fair Tracheotomy. (Hera was inclined to be a bit jealous and had been known to pack a switchblade on occasion.)
As so often happens, even today, the affair was ill conceived and went rather badly. It appears Tracheotomy had a thing going with Hercules who took exception to the King fondling his lady friend and didst amuse himself by cold-cocking his Lordship and dragging him behind his chariot from Athens to Sparta and back again.
Hera on the other hand, tiring of picking a card, deduced that Echo was stalling for time while Zeus was out trying to add to his count and didst box her ears.
After the poor wood nymph unpacked them, she realized that not only was she now hard of hearing, but she could no longer speak except to repeat the last words of someone else. This can be a bit of a nuisance particularly if one is in politics or being questioned during a police raid.
It wasn’t long before Echo found she was rarely included on the ‘must invite’ list for cocktail parties. On the rare occasion she did attend a bash, she usually ended up knee-walking drunk and alone.
Now Echo wasn’t a bad kid really, but as you might imagine this repeating of everyone’s last line business became quite a problem. Not only was she growing tired of people shouting, “Helloooo” in her ear and giggling, her sex life was becoming a regular scandal. The satyrs and other horny forest animals quickly learned how to ask the right question.
“How about a go?” was a guaranteed romp in a leafy glade. “Do you want to go back to my tree and see my etchings” was another winner.
Now, according to the Greek myth, a handsome youth by the unlikely name of Narcissus was passing through the forest on his way to an FTD Florists’s convention. As the day was hot and he was sweating like an ox, Narcissus stopped beside a babbling brook for a bit of a dog paddle and a whiz.
It just so happened that Echo was also having a scrub at the same time. The little nymph was standing knee-deep right where it babbles and looked up just as Narcissus was pulling down his white leotards and doffing his pointed shoes. Of course Echo could not speak; she just stood there like a naked idiot waiting for Narcissus to start a conversation.
It was fairly common knowledge around Greece that Narcissus was not what one would call the sharpest knife in the drawer. As a matter of fact in the Greek dictionary under ‘moron, his picture is there along with the guy who first bottled Retsina wine.
I wish I could tell you the two kids fell in love and lived happily ever after. Alas they did not. Echo ended up alone and still wanders the Earth doing occasional gigs in rain barrels, abandoned mineshafts and working the Grand Canyon tours. There is not a great deal of money in the echo business and I’m sad to say she has been on public assistance many, many, times.
As for Narcissus, the randy gods were so appalled by his stupidity that he was sentenced to fall in love with the first person he saw for being such a bonehead in the babbling brook incident. They originally planned to have him meet someone really homely like (you fill it in, not me) but on the way he stopped by a service station for another whiz and fell in love with his own reflection.
That was quite a disaster since the mirror was cracked and covered with soap spots and cobwebs. Now whenever he wants to make out with himself he has to find an Esso station and get a key from the guy peddling gas.