Manon Kubler – Is that Samoan for “Reader With Great Taste”?

At the tattoo parlor, they told me this means “courage, faith and eternal happiness”, but the guy at Peking Gourmet said it meant” Shrimp in Szechuan Sauce with Snow Peas”. (Image from checkoutmyink.com)

A week or so ago, I got a notice that a blogger named Manon Kubler wished to re-blog one of my earlier masterpieces.  The post was my biting commentary on the government’s attempt to make bullying illegal, though truthfully, it could have been any of my blogs, they’re all just so damn re-bloggable.  I’m doing the noble thing and not putting a link to that post in here – go over to the right border later and click on “Bully For You” if you want to read it.

As an absolute whore for blogging popularity, I was more than happy to give Manon Kubler the green light to reblog my work.  I figured his scores of loyal fans would read my post, and maybe a few of them would join the fledgling ranks of my followers.  I won’t build a massive loyal following overnight, but small moves like being re-blogged could add up over time.  One complication of it all was that everything Manon wrote in his comments was in a foreign language.

At first I was too flattered to care what he had written.  He had given me exposure to some new readers and I didn’t have to do crap’s worth of work to get them.  That’s a win-win in my book.  After a while, I got curious to see what his comments were.  As my loyal readers can both tell you, I only speak English and not all that well.  My writing is only slightly better than my speech, as I have the luxury of editing and sounding the words out in the privacy of my own home before I hit “send”.  Curious as to what Manon had to say, I went to a few translation websites and started putting some of his words in there, but they didn’t get translated to English consistently.

The words looked kind of Spanish, but didn’t all get recognized by the Spanish translator website.  Maybe he spoke Portuguese or some regional dialect like Catamaran or Pekinese.  After a solid five minutes of trying, I was as stumped as ever.

I do have limited experience with foreign languages.  Occasionally, I’ll be in the home of Spanish speaking clients.   Many of these people have the Spanish television channel on at all times.  The Spanish station around these parts is very entertaining to watch.  Most of the women on it bear a resemblance to Sofia Vergara, only a bit sexier and they tend to dress more provocatively.  They teeter across the screen in 5 inch pumps with skin tight skirts and low cut blouses barely covering their impressive chests, blathering on and on about God knows what – because they’re speaking Spanish.

EeS gonna bee cloudy tomorrow and…are chu even leestening to me? !?  Eye’s up here you steenky dog! (Image of Mary Gamarra from tvallure.com)

If the woman on the screen is standing in front of a weather map and gesturing wildly with her blood-red painted nails, one might assume that she is talking about a tropical depression off the Carolinas.  I tend to provide my own custom translation wherein she is talking about how handsome I am and wishing she had me alone in a deserted vacation home in Hilton Head.  If the woman is holding a microphone as she stands in front of the burned out shell of a rowhome, I naturally assume she is describing how her desire for me burns within her like the flames which displaced a family of four in Brooklyn last night.  As you might imagine, many of my Spanish-speaking clients get a little pissy with me since I tend to ignore them and just watch their TV’s.  There’s just no pleasing some people.

Zee Rerun, he is zee genius, no? Ow ee wearz zee beret and zee sus-penderz! Hees comedy eez, how do you zay, “what eez appening”    (Image from celebslist.com)

It should come as no surprise then, that I have decided to interpret Manon Kubler’s words with meanings of my own choosing.  Here’s the gist of his words:

Manon has written that he and his thousands of avid followers have recognized me, even before my own American countrymen, as a stone-cold genius – kind of like the French did with Grampa Al Lewis and Fred “Rerun” Berry.  I am the next Ernesto Hemmingwayo in their estimation.  Beyond seeing me as a literary giant in the making, Manon’s followers have essentially deified me into something like a cargo god.  They feel they are not worthy of my incredible talent and only read my words on the sabbath.  In the event that I ever deem it necessary to travel to the South Pacific island paradise they call home, I will be greeted in a manner worthy of a spiritual master, descended from the heavens.  Manon didn’t come out and say it, but I’m pretty sure there will be a nice buffet with a roast pig and some of those fancy drinks served in hollow coconuts.

I’ll admit that I may have taken some poetic license with Manon’s words, but if he didn’t want to risk misinterpretation, he could have written his comments in English, or possibly Pig Latin.

Bully For You!

There’s a movement afoot.  The government is trying to outlaw bullying.

There are cynics among us could argue that the United States government knows an awful lot about bullying, having perfected it as an art form over the past couple of centuries.  For the record, I’m not one of those government bashers.  Unlike scores of celebrities and pro athletes, I pay my taxes and drive within 10 mph of the speed limit.  Seriously, I’m a good citizen, there’s no reason to audit me, none…whatsoever.

As long as I’m making disclaimers, let me get this one out of the way.  There have been tragedies, recently and over the course of modern civilization, due to bullying.  Lives have been lost, and lives have been ruined.  The following bit of writing is not making a mockery of those people who have been impacted horribly by bullying.  If you’re concerned about being offended, please stop reading now, you don’t even have to click the “Like” box.

Butch from The Little Rascals. Was he a bully, or just misunderstood?
(Image from thorninpaw.com)

A quick show of hands; has anyone here been bullied?  OK, let me say this;  either quite a few of you are amputees, or you have repressed memories.  Let me help you remember;

If you have or had an older sibling, you’ve very likely been bullied.

If you have more than one older sibling, you’ll almost certainly need counseling for the bullying you suffered – please sign up on one of the clipboards in the back of the auditorium when we break for lunch and someone will get back to you.

If you played organized sports and weren’t the star of the team, you were probably bullied.

If you didn’t play organized sports, you may have been bullied by someone who did.

If you wore glasses as a child and you weren’t a bad ass, please don’t forget the clipboards in the back.

If at any point, you had bad skin, you were likely bullied.  If you never had bad skin, you’re a damn liar, and you should be in the damn liars group, they’re down the hall in 3-A.

If you spoke with a lisp, a funny accent or had braces, you were likely bullied.

If you had a pulse, grew up in America and actually had social interactions of some sort, you were likely bullied.

Obviously, we’re going to need a bigger auditorium, and more clipboards.

Scott Farkus! He was a bully AND he's a ginger with braces. Surely he's been on both sides of the bully dilemma. (Image from Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" - MGM)

Let’s have a little experiment.  Open the newspaper, or for you tech savvy types, your browser, and take a look at the movers and shakers.

Oh! Here’s one!  He’s one of the most powerful, rich and influential men of our time, Mr. Bill Gates.  Let’s take a look at Mr. Gates for a moment and envision him as he may have appeared as a child.  Now, let’s ask ourselves a hypothetical question: Was he the victim of bullying at some point in his childhood?  I’m going to go ahead and speculate that perhaps he suffered a wedgie or three in his early years.  Some of the more cynical among us might even speculate that it’s possible that Windows Vista is not so much an operating system as it is a gigantic F-U to the bullies of his childhood, who had to learn how to find their email all over again.

Here’s another guy, Mr. Steven Spielberg.  He’s got Academy Awards and the adoration of all of Hollywood.  He picks up his satellite phone and even creatures from other galaxies snap to attention.  Take a good long look.  Consider his career, he’s made movies like “Jaws” and “E.T.- The Extra-Terrestrial”.  Do we think perhaps Mr. Spielberg may have been bullied just a little, many years ago?  I’ll take the lead and guess that the answer is yes as well.

How about mega-best selling author, Mr. Steven King, or Oprah Winfrey?  What about Donald Trump?  For the record, I don’t necessarily think that Mr. Trump was ever a victim of bullying, but there are quite a few readers who would enjoy the thought of him getting a “swirly” with that hair of his.

So what if many of these people were actually bullied as children?  Even if we assume they were, what if they weren’t?  Would Bill Gates have been driven to do the things he did later in life?  If he had NOT been bullied, I’d likely be writing this blog on a stone tablet with a chisel and posting it in my front yard.  Would “E.T.” have touched our hearts so deeply if Spielberg had sailed through his early years without a single titty-twister?  Would Jonas Salk have invented the polio vaccine or written Braodway musicals if he had never gotten that wet-willy in 3rd grade?

You can see where I’m going with this.  Before you nay sayers, start saying “Nay” (so obvious, why not say something else – change it up a little?), let me finish.  I realize that Adolph Hitler was probably bullied as a child, I mean, look at that hair and his choice of mustaches.  I’m sure Charles Manson and Rick Santorum were bullied as well.  I accept that maybe bullying played a part in the creation of those people too.  Maybe it didn’t.  Maybe the evil of the world and the goodness of the world is there and it’s going to come out regardless.  For the record, I’m not condoning bullying – you leave your little brother alone mister, or you can forget about any dessert or parole!

So the government is going to outlaw bullying entirely.  They’ll effectively rid our culture of potential monsters and the youth of America will be able to grow up in an environment free of the unpleasantness of bullying.  Perhaps they can do something about skinned knees and splinters too.  Also, I never scored the winning run, goal or basket during my entire tenure in youth sports – can somebody legislate the pain away for me, please?

Right off the top of my shiny, hairless head, I can think of  a couple of major flaws with the premise of the government’s anti-bullying movement.

For one thing, government leaders don’t actually give a rat’s rear end about bullying.  The entire issue of bullying was just their “hot topic” of things to pretend to care about between elections.  Odds are they’ve already moved onto the next “big issue” threatening the American dream.  My guess is that the issue will be the increased use of pesticides in hair-care products currently being manufactured in 3rd world countries by out-sourcing American corporations.  Outraged bald Senators will clamor to appear to be spear-heading the issue.  The media will find some unfortunate souls with scarred but insect-free scalps to profile in hard-hitting news stories.  The whole thing will quickly fade, shortly after haircare and pesticide lobbyists descend upon the halls of power, not unlike rich, generous locusts with great hair.

Another flawed aspect of the anti-bullying legislation which no one seems to see as a problem, is that kids are pretty much immune to grown-up law.  There’s a story in the news every week about some 7 year old killing his babysitter, or a 9 year old pimping out his 6 1/2 year old sister.  Nothing ever happens to these kids.  The courts, which admittedly can’t even consistently convict guilty adults, are powerless at dealing with kids.  So the powers that be have put the onus of stopping bullying on school administrators, coaches and parents.  These people are trying to run schools, win games and keep up with mortgage payments – and that’s just the school administrators.

Mark my words America, by this time next year, we’ll all be too busy scanning the tiny print on our styling gel ingredients looking for roach poison to notice that little Jimmy is getting a purple nurple from that Thompson kid from up the street.