“You know you’re in a small town when the turnout for a burning skidoo outnumbers the members of the fire department.”- Mark Twain
That quote is bogus. I just made it up. I’ve come to find that regardless of the circumstances you may find yourself in, if you attribute a quote as coming from Mark Twain, then it instantly makes you sound literate. It elevates you to the status of Office Brainiac. Also, if you add that Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens, you get extra nods and possibly a promotion with a new office with a new view instead of the old cubicle with the old view oft the staff toilets.
“The line is fine between sheer profundity and stupidity,” -Man of Mystery
So, okay, sure, the quote doesn’t come from Twain; it comes from me, myself & I, but since no one ever finds any of my musings to be “quotable” in any form, for credibility whenever I drop some sheer profundity or something just gibberishly ridiculous, I’ll add: “Twain said that,” and they’ll nod, pensive. I’ve also pulled that with Oscar Wilde while in mixed company. “Well, it reminds me of something Oscar Wilde once said: ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’.” Once, when proposing a celebratory toast at a friend’s wedding, I copped a Charles Bukowski quote saying: “May you both find what you love and let it kill you. Bukowski said that.” If you just use the last name of the person you’re quoting, you get extra kudos and 30 bonus Banana Boat Clemens Public Speaking Points.
For maximum effect, if I really want to take this whole thing up a notch, I can claim to know the person I’m quoting personally. “You know, I was playing two-man beach volleyball with my pal, the Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, when he took a dive and ate a face full of sand. Poor dude. So, he get’s up, dusts himself off, looks at me square in the eyes, while straightening his glasses, and says to me: Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory. Then I helped him find his sandal.” Boom!
Back to the skidoo. My Jeep Patriot (no, this is not a plug for Jeep Chrysler, just a factual detail) is not fancy like them big city TV commercial Jeeps. It’s a front wheel, one-wheel drive, plopped atop four all eco-season tires. It gets stuck everywhere and drifts all over the place; not them cool Fast & Furious Tokyo drifts, but back-end drifts that scare the hell out of me. This means, in the winter months, I approach and round sloppy corners slowly, always ready to compensate for the inevitable back-end drifts, to minimize the severity, which I did that day, and it was quite a scene: Even under the harsh dreary lighting of an overcast January afternoon, the brilliant white, red, blue, green, yellow strobes of three fire engines and two police cruisers and a flare from some inexplicable reason, other than the ‘shock and awe’ factor cut through scene. I slowed, compelled to crane and look at what all the fuss was about, but other than the disco lights and the day-go flare fizzling up skyward a few feet, there did not seem to be much ado about anything. You know there’s nothing too serious when all the firefighters are smoking cigarettes while holding a water hose. There were no smoldering remnants of anything – just a blackened metal frame of what I recognized as a snowmobile. I also spotted just a small red piece of plastic in the snowbank, presumably from the machine’s hood? There were no first responders on the scene and I think I recognized the driver who was still holding his helmet in one hand and a cigarette in another. The skidoo would need some serious repairs which reminds me of something Jeff Spicoli told me one time when I wrecked a vehicle by jumping it over a canyon. He says: “Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.” Classic Spicoli