PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Yet Another Gun Farce

I haven't attended an actual theatrical farce since the late 1980s, when I went to see Joe Orton's "What the Butler Saw," accompanied by a woman with whom I was hopelessly infatuated. My strongest memories of that evening – in the darkness of a tiny theater somewhere on Charles Street in Boston (need to check the facts on that) – are less about the comedy itself than the revelation that we humans spew an incredible amount of saliva when we talk.

The director of this production had backlit the stage, such that every time the actors yelled – especially the balding guy playing the central character of Dr. Prentiss – the audience saw impossibly huge clouds of salivary droplets spewing into the air. It was both comical and disgusting and went on for a couple of hours. At times it was hard to follow the play because I was so awestruck by the bursts of goo coming out of the actors' mouths. It didn't exactly provide the romantic atmosphere I was hoping for that evening.

One day, when I was in grade school – call it fifth grade – a teacher angrily hollered at us for treating English class as a farce, which made me laugh because, as a French Canadian, I had many times eaten a meat stuffing called "farce." Then she yelled "Patrick McVay wipe that smirk off your face now!" I might not remember many of the world's thorniest crises of that era, but I remember her saying "farce" and me laughing about it.

Calling our behavior a farce was, to be honest, inaccurate. It was more of a circus. Farces, to my mind, have a pattern to them. Several doors as well. There was only one door in my fifth-grade English class, and our unruly behavior had no discernable pattern.

I've never written a farce, but I did once claim, in these very pages, that I was going to write one called "Gun Farce." I'm guessing that I posted that blog entry shortly after a mass shooting occurred. I won't even bother to check what mass shooting might have happened around January 13, 2013, because, let's face it, they happen just about every day in these increasingly disunited states.

Sometimes, I feel that penning a play around the general contours of my Gun Farce blog entry would be worth the effort, if nothing else to assuage the guilt I feel for doing otherwise little to combat the conditions that enable teenagers to waltz into gun shops and purchase semi-automatic rifles without a license and use them to murder children in their classrooms en masse. However, I don't think it would end up being terribly funny. It's hard to lighten the mood when a minority of Americans are arming themselves to the hilt. It feels eerily like preparation for war, except the enemy is, apparently, young people in school.

Maybe what I'll do instead is write a farce about the US Senate. After all, the Capitol has lots of doors, the principal characters are mad, and there is a decades-long pattern of defending the purchase and sale of guns at any cost.


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Me And My Mustards

Mustards

If you know me, you know that I have mustards. You may have ketchups and maybe even catsups, but what's in your mustard arsenal? I get that it's really none of my business. I'm not going to pry into your mustard stash like some kind of food voyeur, then post mockingly about you in social media because instead of finding mustards I run into a plethora of ketchups. That would be really weird!

But seriously, I have to ask, do you have various ilk of ketchups? We don't in our house. We have Heinz 57 and that's it.

But we have our mustards. Several types of honey mustard, Dijon, horseradish (can't get enough), plus your standard yellow mustard for when you want a taste of the ballpark.

Still, those ketchup people want to ruin everything! Taking away the spotlight that had been shining on the world-class mustards that have done so much to spice up our lives!

Don't get me going on mayo.

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Stalling Tactics

Hey, a quick note to say I got your email message. I'm packed to the gills at the moment, but I should be able to respond later today, or at worst tomorrow. Thanks!

Hi again. Sorry that I haven't responded, but I haven't forgotten about your request. Back in touch soon!

Hey there. Just wanted to say that I started writing a response to your initial email message, then got interrupted, and then my day just got super crazy! That's the way it seems to be these days, doesn't it? Back in touch soon.

Hello again. I'm about 90 percent of my way through a response to your very complicated request. There are still a couple of people I need to touch base with before I can dot the I's and cross the T's. Call it more like 95%. Sorry for the delay! I think we'll be able to help you, but I just need to connect on a couple of technical issues first!

Oh dear – has it really been a month since I last responded? I guess so, although I will say that I have an email all queued up and ready to go, except for one last tiny bit of information that I'm trying to get from a colleague on my end. She's not in today but I expect to see her tomorrow. I'm sure you're frustrated but just sit tight for one more day and I'll be sure to get back to you!

Hello. I am out of the office on an extended leave. If you need immediate assistance, please call our main number below and someone will be happy to assist you. Have a great rest of the year!

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Freedom

Britt-Daniel-at-the-House-of-Blues Britt Daniel of Spoon - Sorry, No Pix of Jack White

When I attend the April 16th Jack White concert at the (awful) Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University, everyone from social media influencers to the mainstream media will be trying to ascertain if this is the first time that I will be at a "phone free" concert.

Before I tell you whether it is or not, let me explain what a phone free concert is: it's a concert where you are given a phone for free. (With a two-year contract).

OK, not true. That would be a free phone concert, which may happen one day.

Although they are calling it a phone free concert, it's more accurately a camera free concert. The extremely ornery Jack White hates it when people pull out their cell phones and record him playing Seven Nation Army, as he understands that their photos and videos will come out terrible, and afterward the insatiable pull of the little device will trigger them to check their social media accounts and text their friends about where the after party is. In the old days (like, 20 years ago) it wasn't uncommon for wedding reception tables to be peppered with "disposable cameras." These old fashioned (but plastic, so not that old fashioned) devices had something in them called "film," and when you pressed a button a "shutter" would open for a small fraction of a second, resulting in an image being imprinted onto the film. Ancient technology! But in those super old days of 20 years ago, married couples could retrieve these cameras and send them off to a photo lab, where the film would be printed onto special paper, resulting in hilarious pictures of drunken wedding attendees with lampshades on their heads. (Or something like that).

Now of course weddings are documented so thoroughly with smartphone cameras that every inadvertent belch and tipsy off-color joke is sitting up there in the cloud for Vladmir Putin to retrieve and use to blackmail people who have claimed in their political ads to be belch-free their whole lives.

Where am I going with this? No idea.

Oh, wait, I know: I'm going to a rock concert where the most cantankerous musician since Joe Jackson dislikes smart phones so deeply that he is requiring us to "lock" our phones in pouches during the concert. This will enable us to focus on his dissonant latest album instead of shooting awful photos and videos of his blue hair.

But here's the truth about me and my phone freeness: in circa 1977, when you could still smoke on airplanes and in rock shows, I attended my first rock concert – the Doobie Brothers – and believe me when I tell you that no one had a phone, except for the kind that were connected to the wall. I mean, if someone did have a phone, it was a character from a 007 movie, and I don't believe any 007 characters attended that show.

So not the first phone-free show ever, but I get it - first in quite a long time. 

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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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