The Benefits of Bumism, or, An Alternate Lifestyle Explored

It is an exquisite fact that the social group most suited to surviving some sort of plague or apocalypse is that of the Practicing Bums. Practicing Bums are those who embrace bumism as a way of life. These are not the downtrodden who have, through some misfortune, come face to face with homelessness, abject poverty and destitution. Rather they are those individuals who form communities and live in tents in empty lots in the midst of skyscrapers or congregate in disused train tunnels beneath the feet of those who live lives of decadence in comparison. Practicing Bums choose this lifestyle and the skills needed to survive such are similar to those necessary to survive  mass catastrophes. Contact with those who may become exposed to a super-virus is limited. Antibodies and immunities are higher due to exposure to pollutants and microbes existing within dirt, unprocessed water and garbage. Acquiring food is a way of life and the dangers with which a Practicing Bum deals with on a daily basis provide essential survival skills. Living in the midst of apocalypse is second nature to the Practicing Bum.

It is another exquisite fact that Bum culture closely mirrors that of we who choose to lead lives as professionals and homeowners. There have been Bum presidents, Bum emperors, Bum kings. History bears witness to many Bum scoundrels, villains, vigilantes and heroes. In some communities, Bum gangs harass workaday Bums, bumming things no self respecting Bum would ever dare to bum.

Where we have due process, Bums enforce a special brand of Bum justice and are beholden to rules that would confound us with their subtle complexities.

Bum prophets and oracles, who stand on the street corners of large cities screaming things none but a Bum could understand, have foretold the rise of The Great Bum, who is destined to unite all of Bumdom under one flag. All but the most deranged remain skeptical.

Following is an account of one whom many Bums believed was this Great Bum.

The nation of Bumopolis (an optimistic name and a bit of a cliché, to be sure) was led by Supreme Bum Bob. Bob was elected to office because his promises to jumpstart a Bumopolis nuclear program struck a chord with many a Bum voter. Spies from Bum China (as the conglomeration of bums in China called themselves) had infiltrated Bumopolis many times, leaving anti-Bumopolis graffiti on the homes of many an innocent tent-owner. They spread among the people many pieces of propaganda indicating that Bum China already had a nuclear program and would soon unleash it upon the inferior Bumopolites. Bumopolis quickly became a nation quivering with fear. Until the election of Bob, there was much squabbling over what was to be done.

Bob, through many backroom deals and long nights dumpster diving behind small appliance stores, crack-houses and housing projects, had acquired quite a large pile of microwaves. He unveiled his stockpile on the occasion of his inauguration to the cheers of all present (which was everyone in Bumopolis). When asked by a member of the Bumopolis Press Corps what percentage of the microwaves worked, Bob answered honestly, “zero percent.” Before his statement of fact could be spun, Bob outlined his plan of attack. A member of Bumgeist, Bumopolis’s premiere elite fighting force, would board a canoe loaded with microwaves. He would then paddle to China, bumming fish, water and coins from any fishing or pleasure vessel he passed, and deposit the full contents of Bumopolis’s nuclear arsenal on the beach. The Bum Army would soon follow and, with their arsenal in place, launch an attack on Bum China the likes of which had never before been seen in all of Bum history.

Everything went as planned until the attack commenced. The Bum Army stormed Bum Chinese positions, pelting and bashing the enemy with broken microwaves. Supreme Bum Bob had sent no spies ahead, ordering the attack on the assumption that no Bum nuclear program could possibly be any more advanced than his own.

Supreme Bum Bob was wrong.

The ensuing carnage insured that no Bob would ever again be elected Supreme Bum.

The Bum Chinese not only had working microwaves, they also had power sources. The doors of Bum China’s microwaves had been removed and the fail-safes that prevent doorless operation defeated. As Bum China’s foot soldiers fought hand to hand with the invading army of Bumopolis, Bum Chinese elite fighters crept up behind their enemies, clapped microwaves over their heads like helmets and hit start buttons on timers preset to the baked potato setting. Bumopolis soldiers fell by the tens as their brains cooked inside their heads.

Victorious, the Bum Chinese threw the invaders into the ocean that the tides that brought the enemy might also sweep them away.

A single dead Bum in the tattered camo of Bumopolis with a microwave on his head washed up on the Bumopolis shore with assorted flotsam many months later. Realizing what had happened, the Bums of Bumopolis formed a successful coup against Supreme Bum Bob and the local prophet stripped him of his rights of bumming whether on street corners or Bum to Bum. Bob, obviously not The Great Bum and unable to survive on a non-bumming Bum’s salary, was forced to enter mainstream society. He got a job, bought a house, played the stock market and lived unhappily ever after.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy fiction for fiction. Don’t read into this. It means nothing. I was bored and then this happened.

A don’t…underestimate my respect for Bums. They are urban survivalists, doing what they must to live off the land. I’m a free as I can be with handouts and, when offered the opportunity, giving a hand up.

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A Few Questions and a Little Advice: Trivialities, Nonsense and Links to Some Substance

A question inspired by the recent drought: How wilted do the trees have to be before you panic and run for the hills? Or in this case,  for the nearest lake or water bottling plant? Until recently, we had received no rain. The last time we got rain was not so recently ago. My wife has some kind of storm tracker app or capability on her phone. We have watched every storm that had potential to reach us either peter out a few towns over or get to within centimeters of us on her screen and veer completely around us. I knew the situation was bad. I have a single, puny tomato despite my ten plants. My ghost pepper plant has but a single fruit. This is either not haunting due to the lack of ghosts produced, or it is very haunting because the plant itself is near death. It isn’t that I don’t water. Apparently I don’t water enough. I didn’t comprehend how bad the situation actually was. My wife commented on how the limbs of the cedar tree in the back yard were nearly touching the ground. She opined that a good rain would cause them to stand up a little. I agreed vocally, but I had my doubts. This tree is huge. Surely it’s capable of sucking sufficient water from deep in the ground. It isn’t wilted, it just has heavy branches, I thought.  Well it rained recently. The branches now stand well off of the ground, just as my wife said they would. I hadn’t realized the severity of our problem. When humongous trees are wilting, it may be time to prepare for the desertification of the local area and seek some moist oasis elsewhere.

A question inspired by a previous experience: Which side do you take in a crazy fight? Many may argue that you could take no side at all, but occasionally one must reside with one or both of the crazies caught up in the conflict. In such a situation it may seem advisable to take up the side of the one with whom you reside most closely or intimately. I won’t give any advice on the proper way to deal with psychotic lunatics because I am not a trained professional. All I’ll say is that, based on my own experience, it may be a good idea to cut all ties and disappear if your right to have an opinion that may differ is not respected.

A question inspired by my mother’s “wisdom”: Does taste not matter? Mom always said, when we would complain that our mashed potatoes had mixed with our stewed beets (which I don’t believe should make it to anyone’s stomach, anyway), “It all gets mixed up in your stomach anyway. Just eat it.” Dearest Mother, my stomach has no taste buds. Live by your own logic and go ahead and enjoy dessert along with your entrée. How about beef stroganoff a la mode, mom? Maybe some peach cobbler pilaf? Strawberry rhubarb wild rice risotto? Oreo orange chicken? Cheesecake cheese pizza? Ok, so the risotto might be ok, actually, but you get the idea from the rest of them. Its perfectly fine if the stuff gets mixed up after I’m done tasting it separately. C’mon mom.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…check out my mom’s blog on dealing with domestic violence if this is something that interests you. She’s much more technologically adept than I am and her page is actually pretty. There are the electronic equivalent of little doilies all over the place. But it is substance as well as elderly bling. carolynsnotsosecretdiary.wordpress.com. You can also check out my wife’s blog diaryofamadstepmomblog.wordpress.com if you are interested in experiences and insights based on step-parenting.

A don’t…judge me for blogging about trivialities and non-sense when those around me seek to offer useful information.

The Weirdest Alien Abduction Account I’ve Ever Stumbled Across or The Bizzarest of the Bizarre

I often find myself in a semi-dark mood. This is not a depressed mood. Rather it is a state of dissatisfaction with the status quo and the mundane. When I am in such a mood, I generally succumb to it by searching for ghost stories, odd conspiracy theories, strange historical events or coincidences and/or accounts of alien encounters.

During one such semi-dark mood, I decided aliens best fit the ambience my mind had established for itself and I searched for encounters I’d never heard of before. The search was quite extensive, since I’ve brooded over the subject quite often and have read many accounts. As I scrolled through details I’d already read, I stumbled upon something new.

And bizarre.

And that’s saying something because E.T. encounter accounts are bizarre by definition. Strange beings with strange powers from strange worlds possessing a strange interest in ordinary humans and farm animals? What’s not bizarre about that?

But a while back I found an account that really takes the cake. Or perhaps I should say instead, it takes the pancake. More precisely I should say that this particular account gives the pancakes.

Allow me to explain.

According to the account I read, a farmer in Wisconsin was in his field when he noticed a strange shiny craft had landed in his back yard. He approached it and a hatch slid open to reveal three creatures that, according to the source, were wearing some sort of beret-like headgear and resembled Frenchmen. The beings held a shiny metallic container out to the farmer and somehow indicated that they needed, of all things, common water. The farmer obliged as many farmers seem wont to do and the beings, in actions reminiscent of Frenchmen rather than aliens, cooked the man some pancakes. The cooking apparatus described sounded to me like some sort of camp stove and the source mentions that it emitted no flame and no other furniture was visible within the interior of the ship. Or tent. Or whatever it was.

After treating the man to the world’s most curious culinary curiosity, the Frenchmen/Aliens/French campers in the American outdoors/Whatever they were took off into the Wisconsin sky. The farmer allegedly ate one of the pancakes and then gave the other to a judge he knew. The judge sent it to Wright Patterson Air Force Base where it was tested and then placed on display. The pancake was found to contain water (obviously), unknown flour (according to the first source I found) and grease. Disgusting. Un-Frenchman-like. Proof positive that it was indeed aliens, rather than Frenchmen, that cooked for this man.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the original source I got this story from. For some of the details and a picture of the farmer holding one of the pancakes, you can visit http://obscurban-legend.wikia.com/wiki/Pancake_Bakers_from_Space. The name of this source takes away from whatever credibility the story may have had to begin with but, let’s face it, the story was never extremely credible.

It is, however, quite entertaining and certainly bizarre.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…believe the tale if you wish. Such stories add a certain, well, not spice…they add a bit of extraterrestrial grease to life that makes the non-greasy (difficult) aspects of life easier to slide through.

A don’t…eat alien pancakes. The one in the photo looks like a sea sponge. Plus, given the ingredients used by the Faux-French, you never know what’s really in store for you. It’s like taking candy from a stranger who is stranger than any of the very strange people that already reside on planet Earth.

P.S. I finally decided it might be fun to do the Twitter thing. If you are a fellow tweet producer and have absolutely nothing better to do with your time, feel free to look me up: William Ennis @sirdonkeylegs. You may or may not regret it. If you do you can always unfollow me.

Thai Tea, Anxiety and a Brush With Death: An Eye Opening Experience

I suffer from anxiety. I have mentioned this in a few previous posts. It is not something I am proud of, but it happens. My brain always knows that there is no real reason to worry, but my body refuses to believe it. I suffer from nausea and sleeplessness even as my mind goes over all the logical reasons why I should be calm and asleep. It makes no sense and frustrates me to no end. I just want to enjoy my life that presents no reason not to be absolutely ecstatic every single day. I have a wonderful, beautiful wife, three amazing children, a house, a job and more food in the fridge than is really necessary.

I love Thai iced tea. It tastes like a sweet tongue depressor. For some reason, I love this flavor. It even seems to dry my mouth out as I drink it. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do.

Recently I’ve been plagued by severe anxiety. I don’ t know why. I started a college history class, the syllabus of which caused me to not sleep for three nights and break down in tears at work. I work in a jail and broke down in front of my captain. Thankfully, I still have a job. I dropped all my history classes and changed my major. This was right after July 4th and ever since, I’ve experienced nausea every time I’ve signed in to do some work on the English composition class I am taking. My wife thinks that I’m actually suffering from PTSD due to my Army service and the fireworks did something to me. I did dream about my son being blown up in a desert which was quite disturbing, but I still don’t want to believe that I may have some disorder related to the Army.

Until recently I was only able to acquire Thai iced tea at restaurants. Yesterday my family and I found a grocery store that stocks items imported from such places as India, Japan, China and…God be praised…Thailand. I found a bag of Thai iced tea mix and bought it. I restrained myself as long as I could because my wife had company after we got home, but I eventually broke down and brewed a cup as the ladies sat and talked.  The ingredients listed simply “green tea” and I had my doubts as to whether just green tea could taste like a Thai iced tea. After a bit of experimentation, I took a restaurant quality sip. In a fit of carnality, I gulped down the whole glass and sat on the couch, satisfied. As I listened to the world’s most amazing woman chat with her friend about trivialities, I began to feel nauseated. I assumed it was because the children would have to go back to their mom soon and I was missing them before they were gone. As the afternoon wore on, I began to experience what I thought was anxiety and assumed it was related to a rather extensive assignment due that evening. After we dropped the kids off, I was absolutely miserable. We grabbed a burger and I felt a little better after eating.

As I worked on my assignment, my distress continued to worsen. This was despite the fact that the assignment was nowhere near as taxing as I had assumed it would be.

When my throat began to constrict, I became worried for a very real reason. I threw my computer across the bed and bolted for the bathroom.

Long and disgusting story short, I soon felt much better. I finished my assignment and held my wife close as my stomach recovered from its recent severe contractions. At some point she got up and left the room. When she returned she shook me out of my semi-comatose stupor to inform me that the Thai tea mix had a label warning that it could cause cancer and birth defects.

Needless to say, we trashed the crap.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy what you enjoy, but be wary of items that list a single natural ingredient but stain your lips a garish, unnatural shade of orange.

A don’t…drink Thai tea under stressful conditions. Or perhaps any conditions. What a horrid experience.

Mad Science Father’s Day: A Realization of True Gifts

First of all, happy Father’s Day to any other dad who may read this.

Secondly, please note that the attached photo has nothing to do with the mad science. A portion of the mad science can be viewed at Facebook.com/williamennisauthor. The video is very short, but the result is satisfyingly hypnotic. I am too technologically inept to add videos to my blog. Of course, this admission may cause you to question whether or not I should be conducting mad science, especially with kids around.

My wife and I thought ourselves silly trying to decide on a family activity for today. We’ve gone fishing nearly every weekend so far this summer, so we wanted something other than that. Then we thought about some sort of family craft, but for some reason this idea fell through; although there are many good ideas for that sort of thing out there. Then suddenly last night, my wife epiphaned (or whatever the past tense of epiphany is, I believe it’s: had an epiphany, but where’s the fun in that?). She searched some science demonstrations (the website’s term. They were very careful to point out that it is only an experiment if you alter the parameters based on “What if?” type questions). We did several experiments, and the kids loved every minute, as did I and my wife.

We then went on to have a water balloon fight, the ammunition for which I made most of, and I grilled some burgers for everyone.

I remember thinking at one point how much fun I was having doing most of the grunt work for our activities. I’ve been a grunt before, so I’m used to that part. The payoff was seeing the wonder, pure joy and satisfaction in the faces of my children, but this wasn’t the best part. The charming hand made gifts weren’t even the best part.

The best part of Father’s Day 2018 was when my oldest daughter, soon to turn ten, said “Daddy, I bet I know what your favorite activity was today.” Discussing our favorite activity of any fun-filled day is something we do often. “What was my favorite?” I asked. She smiled and said “Spending time with your family for Father’s Day.”

My daughter was absolutely right. As cheesy as it sounds, all the sweat, mad science related sticky hands and the burned thumb from grilling lunch were totally worth it. I don’t want to relax on Father’s Day. I want to family.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear gloves if you plan to do mad science.  Some “demonstrations” will leave a sticky on your hands that is hard to un-sticky.

A don’t…let the hard work and sweat dissuade you from family fun. The hardships are worth happy little faces.

The Sadiator

My wife and I spent a wonderful day at the Renaissance Faire. We ate smoked turkey legs and watched people throw tomatoes at an insulting pirate. We toured the torture chamber and the catacombs. We watched medieval dances, enjoyed acrobatic shows and trained bird of prey demonstrations. We were hailed as My Lord and My Lady as we passed through the various shops and stations. Most significant, in a petty way, to me was the purchase of a Gladiator-esque helmet. When I put it on I felt invincible. It was hot and smelled of metal and hurt my head but I enjoyed every minute. Then I had an epiphany.

Gladiators were poorly so-called. They had nothing to be glad about, unless, I suppose, they survived to fight another day.

We composed the photo attached as a tribute to those who saluted Caesar as they were about to die. Please consider the following a caption to the photo:

They call me a Gladiator. I am a slave who must fight to the death for the entertainment of a petty populace. Those who fight against me are all the more brutal because only my death guarantees their survival. I have nothing for which to be glad. I am, at best, a Sadiator. If I were to be brutally (pun-in-poor-taste intended) honest, I am a Clinically-Depressediator.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…travel back in time whenever you can. No diversion I have yet found is as effective at dispelling the stresses of modern life as living, even if for a moment, in the medieval past. I bought soap that smells of fresh-baked bread, for crying out loud. Can I get a “Huzzah!”?

A don’t…buy a steel helmet within the first hour of your sojourn to ages past. You will still be sore even as you sit, hours later, in your bed to type of your experience.

Worn Out Glasses and Being Stuck In One Spot: A Few Ideas With Little, If Any, Philosophy Behind Them

Would it not be strange if the lenses of your glasses could be worn out simply by looking through them? It would be. But it makes some sort of sense. Clothes wear out, but they are admittedly more roughly used than glasses. A science teacher once told me that glass is actually a liquid and that the panes of old windows will be thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top because the glass has run down like very slowly melting ice. I have never bothered to verify this claim, but it is interesting. Suppose that after many years of looking through the same lenses, they develop small holes where your pupil focuses most of the time with thinner glass surrounding these and then glass of fairly normal thickness around the periphery. An interesting idea indeed.

Pray let us consider the fact that everything that is a particular person can only occupy one infinitesimal space within the universe and that everything that is that person is confined in a meat-bag. It is so commonly true that it may not occur as weird to many people. But it is weird. There is an absolutely enormous universe out there and we are confined to one itty bitty space. All the travel a person may do in a lifetime, including space travel, equals a fraction of a fraction of the totality of all there is. The number is so laughably minute that it boggles the mind to consider it. It boggles mine, anyway. Why are we trapped in a meat-bag?

And why must we eat and defecate? If evolution is true, why would we not have evolved past the need to do these things. On the other hand, why did God place these burdens upon us? It is my understanding that he expects us to work and strive for sustenance, but why would this occur to him? I will freely admit that good food is one of life’s singular pleasures. I may oft be found dining upon the greasy gloriousness that is a cheeseburger or slowly ruminating over the flavor of a complex soup as I masticate the chunky bits. But the need to eat and eliminate still baffles me. What on earth is the point?

Lastly, let us extrapolate the profundities of everything. I garden. I garden hard and I garden often. I am known, to my wife’s chagrin, to stand in the midst of my vegetables, stock still and staring. It is fascinating to me, the process by which plants grow, mature and ripen. From a miniscule seed bursts forth abundant sustenance! How? I recently observed my tomato seedlings and wondered how this puny plant would be capable of ever producing a second set of leaves from its tiny stalk, much less a 1/2 lb. fruit in a couple of months. So many miniscule transactions take place in a single thing such as a tomato plant on a daily basis that if we lived in “The Matrix” it would require a computer bigger than the universe itself to keep track of it all. And these things happen on a massive scale every second of every day. Cells divide. Plants photosynthesize. Worms squirm. We digest our food at our own particular metabolic rates. Chicken eat bugs which, until they were eaten, ate poop and other such. It all happens whether we notice it or not! Mind blowing.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider these things which I have presented. It is sublimely insane.

A don’t…think me high or otherwise intoxicated. I think about these things completely sober and it makes me want to do drugs. I won’t. But I have to shove the thoughts out of my brain quite forcefully sometimes. I think the thoughts are my drugs. Also a don’t…think that I think these thoughts originate with me. Similar things have surely been said and written in the past. This is simply my take on them.