Saturday, July 1, 2000

Space-time Keeps It's Shape

A Poem Regarding Humor’s Essence,

Or Opus I Lost Count, Can I Get Back to You on That?

by © Dr. Wes Browning

Some say the essence of humor is hostility.

I say it’s clown squeezings.

Extra virgin clown, first cold press.

Some say comedy is always ultimately cruel.

I say, here, have some grated Bozo.

Or, clown-ka-bob, made from tenderized marinated clown.

Or, crushed clown with chives, clown croutons,

or filet of clown, minced mime,

chipped clown on toast,

mime pâté, or clown à la mode

Yes, these are all excellent, I admit,

but I still say the essence of humor is

clown squeezings.

I think it is high time to give credit where credit is due to some of the many wonderful people who help make this paper the constantly changing reality that it is. I don’t know what that has to do with the poem above.

No, wait! Yes I do! I wouldn’t feel so generous if the Real Change weren’t “featuring” me this month. I am feeling heartily squeezed! And look out, I am about to squeeze back! I’m a little garlic, and I’ve got some juices!

I’m being “featured” because I went to Portland. Imagine that. Think what would have happened if I had went all the way to Walla Walla! Or Boise. Or San Jose! Especially since I don’t know where San Jose is. Do you know where San Jose is? Never mind.

As usual I digress. I also exaggerate. I had another reason to think of talking about other people besides me — Stan “two r’s, two s’s, eight lines” Burriss, glorious editor person, remarked in his official editorial capacity last Wednesday, at an official editorial meeting, that he didn’t have a clue where Tent City 3 is anymore, and hadn’t for 4 days.

Let me put this in perspective.

We are talking about Stan Burriss, former president of SHARE (Seattle Housing And I forget what the R and the E stand for. SHARE. You know. Look them up in the phone book. Homeless organization. Runs self-managed shelters, Tent Cities, stuff like that. We’ve written about them three hundred times.)

This is the man who for the last five years, every time there has been a Tent City, of any number, has said to me, “Say, Wes, you know, it wouldn’t hurt you to go up to Tent City and look around. You just might learn something. And you could write about it, and educate people.”

Every time he has said that, I have said, “What? I’m a teacher now? I’m writing a humor column! Knock, knock, is anyone home?”

So do you all see what an amazing turn of events we have witnessed here? If Tent City has had to move so often that Stan Burriss, of all people, can’t keep track of where it is, surely the foundation has moved under our blush and highlight, so to speak, hasn’t it? Or anyway, that’s how I feel about it.

There is another man who is deeply involved with Real Change whom I’d like to talk about. I am speaking of a man who I have known for many, many minutes, nay, days, Scott “SXN” Nodland, Real Change Board Member, once and probably future Treasurer of the Board and Real Change Landlord.

Scott once told me (this is an exact quote) “I want all the money!” That helps explain why those of us at the Real Change affectionately refer to Scott as “our Real Change Yuppy-Scum Landlord.”

Don’t misunderstand, we love our landlord. The expression Yuppy-Scum is just our way of acknowledging that Scott makes both Frazier and Niles Crane look like trailer trash. If there’s a Yuppy in Seattle who can kick Crane butt it’s our Scott! You want to talk Brie? You better know your French provinces buddy, ‘cause our guy is fully armed!

Anyway I’ve gotten carried away again, and have failed to explain that the reason I should be calling attention to Mr. Nodland is that he has somehow managed to become some kind of housing director or other at the Low Income Housing Institute, aka LIHI, aka, some other organization we’ve written about a half zillion or hundred times.

The way I see it, I live in the best of all possible worlds. Tent City keeps finding places to move to, not only faster than the city can follow, but also even faster than Stan can follow. The Real Change maintains a presence on LIHI. Meanwhile, space-time retains it’s shape, as I was sure it would.