Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006


Ink Soup
THE PUDDING MUDDLE

by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
Seattle, Wash.

SEATTLE, Wash. -- I went down to the park along the Puget Sound to feed the pigeons. The birds, the ones I feed nearly every day at the same time, looked at me, at my seed, and seemed to say, "You expect us to eat that? From someone we never saw?"

It was chilly, so I went back to the van, put on my blue windbreaker, and came back to the table. "IT'S YOU!" they screamed, and swarmed around, lighting as usual on my shoulders and hands. It is not me they like, or my seed, it's my clothes.

~ ~ ~

I picked up a prescription for J at Bartell's, and then went to the Ballard QFC for some groceries. She'd asked for some puddings. Tim Anderson, a buddy from the gym, was at the checkout desk ahead of me. "Pudding!!?" he gasped. "My wife has just had a dental operation -- it's all she can eat," I explained. "Yeah," said the checkout clerk, "We've heard that one before."

What is it about pudding? I'd never bought it before in my life. J had to draw me a picture before I knew what it was. And now here I am put down in Ballard as a secret pudding eater. If I know Tim, it'll be all over the gym by tomorrow. It's not fair.

>CENTER>~ ~ ~

The White Sox fans in Chicago bring honor upon the game of baseball. The Mariners had 10 runs to Chicago's 0 in the first inning tonight. Bret Boone hit 2 homers and Mike Cameron hit 4 in four consecutive at bats.

If he came to bat one more time, he had a chance to set a record: 5 homers in 5 consecutive at bats. No one in Major League Baseball has ever done it.

The White Sox pitcher hit him with the first pitch. The fans booed their own man! But a hit batter automatically goes to first base without his time at the plate counting as an official at bat. So when Mike next came up to the plate in the top of the 9th, he still had a crack at a unique record.

The White Sox hurler threw three balls, threatening to walk him and spoil his chance at the record. The fans went wild booing their own pitcher again. When Cameron hit a towering fly ball that looked as if it might go over the fence, the fans exploded. But it landed in the Chicago center fielder's glove and that was that. But the fans! Bless their groaning hearts!

>CENTER>~ ~ ~

One of my friends at the gym is an Asian man with a perfectly bald (because shaved) head. It amuses him to stand beside me when we are in front of the mirror, I shaving the front of my head, he the top of his. He now calls me Professor and tries out his one or two Russian phrases.

He is a Buddhist, which I learned this afternoon. I asked whether he knew the Buddhist journal TRICYCLE (my favorite title, bar none, among religious publications; it beats the Baptist Courier of my youth five ways to Sunday).

He did not, but he could immediately imagine the significance, and began to enumerate for me the various triads of Buddhism. I said that as a Christian I was not unfamiliar with the concept of the triad.

"Oh?" said he. I explained the Trinity in terms that a six-year-old Sunday school student might have found condescending. "Oh?" said he again. " And I thought Buddhism was complicated."

Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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