Nicky at We Work for Cheese was corresponding with Mike at Too Many Mornings when she acknowledged that she was bored.
“Tell me a story, Uncle Mike,” she wrote.
Mike had an interesting reaction to this request.
At first, he was a tiny bit upset about being called “uncle.” He would much rather be called Antonio Banderas. Not because Antonio is super-sexy — Mike grudgingly accepts that he’s about as appealing as spoiled fish and will never look like the Spainard — but because Antonio is the star of the new hit movie Puss in Boots. Mike’s theory of life is that if you can’t be good looking, then you might as well be rich and famous.
Sadly, Mike was also fully aware that he had hit the trifecta of bad luck in life. He was not only horribly unattractive, but also poor and nearly unknown outside of his own family. Hell, even his own children didn’t recognize him most of the time. It made him weep, and not in way that elicited kindness and compassion, but in way that made complete strangers want to slap him.
Once Mike was done wallowing in self-pity and regret, however, he also realized that Nicky’s request had made him think of Antonio Banderas. Why? Because Mike harbored fond memories of Puss in Boots, a children’s play that he saw performed live in London when he was a little boy. And that led Mike to reminisce about his youth, which in turn led him to write Nicky the following letter:
My Dearest Nicky,
Despite your denials to your loyal readers, I still strongly believe you look like the spokesmodel for T-Mobile. You know, the perky brunette with the hot-pink sundress and the unlimited-minutes smile who was hired by the marketing department to trick idiots like me into thinking that T-Mobile is the best cell-phone company in the world. A cell phone company so amazing that it’s going to get you laid, when in fact you aren’t going to get laid at all. You’re just going to get screwed, because T-Mobile is Satan’s hell-phone company, not only because its service sucks monster moose cocks, but because its customer service also sucks monster moose cocks.
But that’s not why I’m writing, my sweet virtual niece. As much as I despise T-Mobile and strongly urge you to use any other cell-phone company, I’m writing to fulfill your longing to hear a story, even if that story is so achingly dull it gives you a grinding migraine headache that causes you to see flashing lights and throw up all over your hot-pink sundress.
So relax. Slip out of those hot-pink stiletto heels that match your dress, turn off your cell phone — it probably doesn’t work anyway — and then curl up on the couch with a bottle of whiskey and let your mind wander while I tell you about a land far, far away that existed in an age of innocent enchantment.
Once upon a time, there was an adorably cute and precocious boy named Michael Edward Whiteman. Michael had a very British-sounding name because his mother was 100 percent English and chose to name him Michael instead of Phillip, which Michael appreciates today because even though Michael is the world’s most common name, it doesn’t sound as gay as Phillip. Michael doesn’t need any help sounding gay, as he’s surprisingly emotional for a man, and has often been accused of behaving like a little girl, especially now that he’s going through “manopause” and cries himself to sleep every night.
But that’s another story for another time.
When Michael was about 6 or 7 or maybe 8 years old, he went to England on holiday with his mother and father. He loved England, even though it rained a lot and his grandmother cooked peas and carrots until they were mushy. He didn’t mind the rain or the mushy peas and carrots at all, and he had fun there, probably because most English boys were a little effeminate like him and the girls had sexy English accents, plaid skirts and white knee socks that more than made up for their crooked English teeth and unshaven armpits.
One day, though, something magical happened: Michael’s parents took him to the county fair. The sort of county fair you only read about in books. A county fair with wandering troubadours, archers, pony rides, Cornish pasties, candy, ice cream and dozens of colorful — if damp — flags waving in the breeze.
This particular county fair also featured a donkey race, and Michael practically exploded with glee when he learned that the ridiculously liberal European gambling laws allowed children to bet their allowances on the outcome. Without hesitation, he pulled a shiny silver shilling from his pocket, spun it seven times on the tip of his extended index finger and bet the whole thing on a donkey named Dick, which was wearing the number three.
And Nicky, if you’re guessing that Michael won his bet that day, then you’re absolutely right, you clever girl!
Michael did win. He won a whole pocketful of shiny silver shillings.
And because Michael probably deserved to be called Phillip rather than Michael after all, he didn’t use his winnings to buy a plastic sword or crossbow like the other boys, oh no. He used them to buy two decorative antique-style, brass-plated carriage lamps. He still has those lamps today, in fact, even though he’s never hung them up and probably never will unless he’s allowed to fulfill his lifelong dream of living in an exact replica of the famous house at 221b Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’ residence.
Now, if you’re wondering whether this story has a moral, Nicky, let me assure you that it does.
Two of them, in fact.
First, never be afraid to take a risk, especially if that risk is a twitchy-eared donkey named Dick that wears the number three. Three has always been a very lucky number for me, and I suspect it could be for you, too. But if you’re not willing to take risks, you might never win a pair of decorative, brass-plated carriage lamps.
Second, never, ever, under any circumstances, sign a 2-year cell phone contract with T-Mobile or you will regret it for at least 2 years. Maybe longer.
All my love,
Try to avoid boredom if you can,