Ink Soup: TRIPUNCTUALISM REVISITED
by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
SEATTLE, Wash. -- The dean of Seattle newspaper columnists, Emmett Watso= n, died here last week at the age of 82. Like Herb Caen in San Francisco a= nd Flann O'Brien in Dublin, he was the unelected voice of his city. He wrot= e in the "three dot" format, beloved also by Caen and O'Brien, and not alt= ogether unfamiliar to readers of Ink Soup.
It works like this.
The FBI (see? who was talking about the FBI?) exasperated by the delay = in the execution of Timothy McVeigh (a delay occasioned by its own failure = to supply his defense lawyers with a ton of documents related to the case),= decided to carry out the execution itself. A transcript of the conversati= on at the scene between FBI Director Freeh and his agents follows:
--OK, men, let's get this over with. Hand me the needle.
--What needle, sir?
--The needle with the f---g poison in it!
--I don't have the needle. I thought you had it.
--OK, the hell with the needle. Let's just shoot him.
--Aren't you--uh--forgetting something, sir?
--Turn off that damn TV camera!
--Can't do that, sir, the AG himself turned it on.
--Then get me the CIA. They'll have a needle. Move!
Here we go again! Wouldn't you know the first soul I met in the afterlif= e would be that of a ladybug?
--How'd you...? I began.
--Die? she said. They don't avoid the word here. I was eaten by a spa= rrow.
--Yuch! said I, helpfully. That must have been...
--Were you by any chance a three-dot columnist on earth? she asked. Y= our responses are so predict... Never mind, it doesn't matter. Nothing ma= tters here. So I don't mind talking to you.
--But (I persisted), how was it, being eaten by a sparrow?
--Horrible, she said. But hardly worse than the life I was living. --= Which was?
--Go through the alphabet, and when you get to S, think of the first wor= d that comes to mind.
--Now I know why you're called a LADY bug.
--I worked in a greenhouse. For a literature professor who thought he w= as Luther Burbank.
--And was he?
--Who knew? The only Burbank I ever heard of was a fuzzy caterpillar in = the duct-cleaning business. But enough about me. How'd you get it?
--Get it? Oh! I was blown up by a terrorist.
--Jewish, are you?
--No. South Carolinian. What made you think I might be Jewish?
--For starters, the circumcision.
--Yes, I thought I recognized the work of Rabbi Schloydermann. He did m= y son Sheldon. And he cuts on the bias.
--Wait a minute. You're a bug. You had a son named Sheldon...
--There I was a bug. Here I am Doris, mother of thousands. --D= oris. A sparrow ate you?
--Yes. But not before I made him wash his hands. I was a bug, but I ha= d my standards. He said: C'mon, I'm a bird, I don't have hands. Wash what= ever! said I. And he did. Some people think it is messy to be eaten by a = sparrow. Not when you enforce the simple rules of hygiene! Which, frankly,= this sparrow should have known without being told. I knew him. From the = neighborhood.
--A nicer boy you wouldn't want to meet. From nice people. But he bega= n to hang out with a bad crowd: Nazi seagulls, militia eagles, the Avian F= irsters, and the rest of that rabble. Sparrows are very impressionable. = Not to mention overconfident. Their motto is His eye is on the sparrow.= For them that means that Bessie Smith will not let anything bad happe= n to them.
--Bessie Smith, God, whoever. The name doesn't matter.
See? Now you try it.
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus ofCompara=