It’s kind of like Alice’s Restaurant, you know: You can have anything you want… at Alice’s restaurant (‘ceptin’ Alice, of course)!
by Charlie Leck
Nobody loses all the time, 'ceptin' Uncle Sol, of course!
The uncle of e.e. cummings, Uncle Sol, was a born loser. I know a fellow like that. Whatever he touches turns to manure – and moldy, unusable manure at that (and there is another word I’d prefer to use rather than “manure”). I’m trying to write a short story about this guy, fictionalizing it, of course, and romanticizing it as well. Perhaps, in another few weeks I’ll have it in reading shape and I’ll share it with you (or, at least, with those of you who are interested). The story is inspired by the poem by e.e. cummings…
nobody loses all the timei had an uncle namedSol who was a born failure andnearly everybody said he should have goneinto vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol couldsing McCAnn He Was a Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself whichmay or may not account for the fact that my UncleSol indulged in that possibly most inexcusableof all to use a highfalootin phraseluxuries that is or towit farming and beit needlesslyaddedmy Uncle Sol’s farmfailed because the chickensate the vegetables somy Uncle Sol had achicken farm till theskunks ate the chickens whenmy Uncle Solhad a skunk farm butthe skunks caught cold anddied somy Uncle Sol imitated theskunks in a subtle manneror by drowning himself in the watertankbut somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a VictorVictrola and records while he lived presented tohim upon the auspicious occasion of his decease ascrumptious not to mention splendiferous funeral withtall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything andi remember we all cried like the Missouriwhen my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched becausesomebody pressed a button(and down went my UncleSoland started a worm farm)
As I say, I know a fellow like this and the poor schmuck can’t do anything that turns out correctly. If anything can go wrong in his life, it will. In my fictional account I call him “Sol.” His father was wildly successful and left him so much money he didn’t have to work, but he did, trying to start up new businesses; and he ended up losing everything his father gave him and the only job he could get after that was in a cemetery as one of the mowers, but he chipped gravestones and broke mower blades like crazy; so they made him a grave digger. He was terrible at his final job, but the manager of the cemetery was too kind to fire him. One day, another worker found Sol dead in the bottom of a newly dug grave that flooded in a sudden, flash storm. There was a smile on his face. He had died well.
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