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I'm Not Making This Up

November 24, 1996
I've been trying to think of something to write about for the past several days. Nothing really profound has turned up so I thought I'd just share a few things. My favorite kind of humor runs toward the absurd. Or the disturbing. Or best of all, the disturbingly absurd. Just a few things in the past week have struck me as slightly weird at the very least.
One of the malls in San Antonio has been advertising all week that jolly old St. Nick is going to be there starting this weekend for children's visits. One of the local high school marching bands is going to escort him from his old place to his new home in the Food Court. This alone may have some disturbing implications but I won't go into that--if St. Nick has a penchant for Chick Filé I certainly won't hold that against him. I suspect it will make the kids more prone to nagging their parents for a coke while they wait in line--an underhanded marketing ploy but probably nothing more sinister than that. No, what really arrested my attention was a line that was added to the commercial almost as an afterthought: "Children coming to see St. Nick will get a free set of reindeer antlers." Let me say that again. Children coming to see St. Nick will get a free set of reindeer antlers. I have hunted deer in the past and collected a few sets of antlers myself (though of the whitetail variety--we don't get many reindeer in south Texas), but it seems to me that the dismembered antlers of a reindeer could turn a kid off of Christmas permanently. I can see just some poor kid, with tears welling up in his eyes, blubbering, "Mommy...these didn't come from Rudolph, did they?!" I suppose next year they'll be giving away free severed shiney noses. I'm hoping that these "reindeer antlers" are just their "cute" name for something somewhat more benign.
Many things that seem somewhat less than clever and, well, downright dumb happen at my workplace. I'm sure most readers will probably empathize with this. Recently we were shown an inventory flowchart. Previously, I had thought that maybe the flow of inventory was more sophisticated than it seemed from my restricted vantage point, but when I saw this chart I realized my suspicions had been correct all along and my worst fears were realized.

flow chart

Here follows my reinterpretation of the inventory flowchart:


I have a fairly long commute from my home in the country to my workplace in the city, a distance of 45 miles one way. So I get to see a lot of the countryside and notice all the little changes that happen as time goes by. One of my favorite points along the way is a little church building right off the highway. The humble reader may be familiar with church buildings that have a sign outside which states an encouraging or cautioning proverb or scripture, and is periodically changed by whoever thinks these things up. This little church is no different. Sometimes these sayings are rather convoluted, requiring a few moments thought to follow to their obfuscated moral. Sometimes the proverbs sound like a bucolic Zen master on acid, like last month's:


This may be highly encouraging to dairy farmers and the occasional literate Holstein but to the rest of us was only mildly confusing. However, this month's proverb was a real gem, one that I know you'll be repeating to yourself in days to come and will help you cope with the travails of this life. Ready?


There, now don't you feel better?