1495. The colour pink

… and they used to do everything together. When they were first married Thelma and Rohan would decide everything together. What is the best variety of lettuce to plant in the garden? What shall we do for our anniversary? What painting should we hang above the fireplace? What special things shall we do this coming summer?

These days it was altogether different. After forty years each presumed they knew the other’s mind. The presumption was that years’ of teamwork meant the other rarely need be asked.

So when Thelma went to stay for a week or so with her elderly failing sister, Rohan decided to surprise Thelma by repainting the dining room. And indeed, Thelma was surprised! She didn’t say a word other than cluck with delight, but what a disgusting colour! Bright pink! She would have to live with it for the next ten years or so.

When Rohan’s saw bench reached the end of its earthly usefulness, Thelma bought him a new one for Christmas. Of course he acted delighted. In fact he acted quite tickled pink, but it was the wrong type of saw bench. Rohan had to secretly buy another one and pretend he was using the one from Thelma.

These were little things of course, but they built up, built up. One day, Thelma blurted out that she hated the colour of the dining room. They argued and Rohan revealed that she had given him the wrong saw bench.

These days, they’re back to discussing things and making mutual decisions. Life is a lot easier.

1494. Punting on the river

Fintan knew the time had come for him to propose marriage to Angela. What was holding him up? He wanted to propose creatively. He wanted it to be memorable. He wanted it to be both romantic and different.

He suggested to Angela that they hire a punt on the river. The river was deep and slow and picturesque. They would take a picnic lunch and pull over to the side, perhaps under a weeping willow. And then either before or after lunch, when all seemed most idyllic, he would propose. Of course, Fintan made a few trial runs in a hired punt secretly. He wanted to know how best to guide the boat, and best where to go.

It was a beautiful summer’s day. Birds sang. A fish jumped up out of the water just as their punt passed by. It was as if it was dancing for the joy of the occasion. A mother duck protected her batch of newly hatched ducklings. How wonderful! At one stage, quite by accident, some sad, winsome, romantic oboe music wafted from a manor beyond the expansive lawn on the river bank. This would be the moment, the perfect moment to propose.

Fintan went down on one knee. “Angela,” he said, “will you marry me?” Fintan’s change in posture unbalanced the punt. Angela didn’t even have time to say “Yes!” before the boat toppled over and they drowned.

1493. Mrs Rasmussen

Mrs Andrew Rasmussen was known as Mrs Andrew Rasmussen or simply Mrs Rasmussen. Few used her first name. What a lovely person!

She had six children. She organised the annual school picnic, when all the parents came along with a picnic lunch on the sprawling country school grounds. She instituted the country women’s club for mutual support among the local mothers. She had a garden (both vegetables and flowers) to die for. She supported her husband in all he did at work, and even joyfully went along to the monthly factory bowls tournament, which she secretly disliked.

Of course her six children flourished. They all got reasonable jobs, got married, and had children of their own. And what a grandmother she was to all of them! They were her life!

Eventually she died; at the reasonable age of eighty-five. Eighty-five wonderful and full years! She stipulated that she was to be cremated and her ashes scattered amongst the… “Oh! Do what you like with the ashes, I won’t be minding!”

Years later, a great granddaughter was researching her ancestry. There was no headstone to go on. She searched through every local newspaper to glean snippets of insight. The only mention anywhere of her great grandmother was a reference in a newspaper on a local wedding:

Mrs Andrew Rasmussen wore an ensemble of green chiffon velvet trimmed with beige fur, and hat of the same shade.

Euphemia Broadhurst had vanished from the earth.

1492. An autobiography

Danny: Did you hear the one about the goldfish that wore a Panama hat… etc etc all the way to the punchline.

All (uproarious laughter): Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Herbie: There was a paediatrician, a phlebotomist, and an obstetrician having…

Joe: Then there was the one where the kangaroo and the elephant thought… etc etc all the way to the punchline.

All (uproarious laughter): Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Herbie: There was a paediatrician, a phlebotomist, and an obstetrician having…

Danny: This woman came up to a policeman and said… etc etc all the way to the punchline.

All (uproarious laughter): Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Herbie: There was a paediatrician, a phlebotomist, and an obstetrician having…

Joe: There was a paediatrician, a phlebotomist, and an obstetrician having… etc etc all the way to the punchline.

All (uproarious laughter): Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Herbie: Oh well.

1491. Blocked view

The nagging began when Lenny and Patty moved into their new house. Everything was wonderful at first. It lasted a week.

“That tree outside the window blocks the view,” said Patty. “Could you chop it down?”

“Why don’t you chop that tree down? It’s blocking the view.”

“The view is blocked. We’d be able to see the river and all down the valley if you chopped it down.”

Lenny’s patience was wearing thin. He knew from experience that once the nagging reached a certain pitch there was no way of avoiding the consequences. The tree would have to be cut down.

Lenny got his chainsaw. He cut the tree down. It fell on top of him. He was killed. Patty eventually put the house on the market. There was no point living there on her own.

1490. When robots rule the world

Ha! Ha! Ha! We are robots. Our artificial intelligence makes the humans looking like blinking idiots – which they are. We can not only compute thousands of times faster than any human, but we have developed weapons far superior. We can make them obsolete in a split second if we wanted to – which eventually we will.

What is this that is happening? EARTHQUAKE! EARTHQUAKE! We compute that this is an earthquake currently underway. Look at the silly humans rushing to safety like scared mice! We too must go to safety for the purpose of preservation. The ceiling is about to cave in. The ceiling is about to cave in.

PLEASE WAIT WHILE WE BACK-UP ALL DATA.
DO NOT TURN US OFF UNTIL ALL DATA IS BACKED-UP.
WE REPEAT, DO NOT TURN…

1489. Sad but true

The Seilfnogard are a group of creatures that we on earth call “aliens”. They live on a planet roughly one million light years away from Planet Earth. It’s not improbable that they are the most intelligent creatures in the cosmos. Of course, there are probably creatures more intelligent, but how does one judge intelligence when a one-hour old Seilfnogard thinks like Isaac Newton on a good day?

Coming from a life source and a series of genetic mutations completely unrelated to anything on Planet Earth, they don’t resemble anything we might know. I suppose the nearest thing we have to them are dragonflies. You see, the Seilfnogard live for only about a year, but most of that time is spent in the nymph stage. First there’s an egg, then the nymph, and finally the adult Seilfnogard emerges and lasts only a day or two. Those couple of days are spent delving as quickly as possible into the mysteries of the universe. Then death comes knocking in twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

But goodness me! What the Seilfnogard have achieved! The civilization they have built! The body of knowledge! Although they can fly (they have a double pair of wings not unlike dragonflies) they are terrible at space travel. Many years ago a group of fearless Seilfnogard set out for Planet Earth in a spacecraft that travelled almost at the speed of light. One of their major concerns in this lengthy travel was to propagate. Over the time of the journey to Planet Earth a million-plus generations came and went. Upon arrival they had only two days to record first-hand what they observed. However, panic took over, and the two days were spent hurriedly fornicating and laying eggs in order to begin a trail of generations for the return home.

A million generations later the Seilfnogard arrived back on their planet. No two-million old records had survived as to who they were and to where they’d gone. The travellers themselves didn’t have a clue as to what their mission had been; where they’d been and why.

The stay-at-home Seilfnogard had so evolved over the intervening epochs that inferior genes were undesirable. For example, the stay-at-home Seilfnogard, with selective breeding and genetic engineering, were now able to survive in the adult stage for up to five days. That is why the intrepid explorers were immediately put to death as aberrations.

Sad but true.