I should tell you more about Ol' Herb, the guy I sometimes bunk with in the dump behind the burned out school.
He's a swell guy; he's great to chat with late into the night, he's warm to spoon with when it's cold, he knows eight languages, seven of which he invented himself, and all eight of which sound like the sound a wildebeest makes when it sheds its baby spleen, he wears the coolest sunglasses I've ever seen as super impractical underpants, he smells like vinegar so whenever he's around you don't have to worry about your spare fingers disintegrating, he claims to have once knitted seven thousand fully functioning mountain bikes in just nine days, and when you point out that physics would make that implausible and that in fact he probably only knitted four or five thousand perfectly functioning mountain bikes, he whips off what you think is his scarf and is suddenly popping wheelies on it, which is funny, because it's not a mountain bike at all, it's a more like a freestyle BMX, and even still, it doesn't change a thing, five thousands is the maximum number of ANY kind of fully functioning bike you can knit in nine days, that's just physics, he has great taste in who to violently loath based on what music they like, and he has a badass nickname - 'Herb' ('Ol' is his given name).
Yet he's not ALL fun and games. (Although we do have great fun playing the game 'throw a spare finger near a kid and see if he eats it' copy write me and Ol' Herb). But like most people he also has some flaws. For example he doesn't understand metaphors. And I'm saying he doesn't understand them AT ALL!
Like say I say to him something normal such as - 'I'm gonna go fondle a scream level taste of the moon lit monsoon principle that's going on below the rust hatted simulating harbor night'.
He'll reply something like 'huh'? When clearly the obvious response, from someone who DOES understand metaphors, would be - 'ah yeah, I also feel like rolling myself up in a ball of bubble wrap and diving into crowds of people waiting in line to meet the meat eating star of the film 'Meeting the Meat', can I come?'
Yes! I'm being serious here. Like he doesn't understand metaphors AT ALL.
Or like one time I said to him - 'well dungeon beyond the flip of a gregarious hunch boot'.
And instead of replying - 'Can we add two junctions of length streamed poll rip', such as you or me would respond. He just went - 'wha?'
Doesn't understand them. AT ALL. Metaphors that is.
Or one time I asked him - 'clip flung desert wielded quip fast?'
And instead of replying the obvious - 'no thanks, I wrap young plied ether myself', he simply said 'eh?'
Just doesn't get them. Metaphors we're talking about. AT ALL!
And another unrelated thing, he also doesn't hear great, which would be another of his flaws.
And here's the lesson. You can still learn things from flawed people. Valuable things. In fact hanging out with Ol' herb has taught me quite a few things in my life, things that affect me almost daily, things such as:
- Don't steal a man's blanket when you're both sleeping outside in a blizzard, or while you're sleeping he'll dump a deep pile of snow on you.
- Never discuss music with an adolescent spleen shedding wildebeest, or you'll end up singing three part harmonies in a style that really ends up hurting your throat.
- Don't play 'throw a spare finger at a kid and see if he eats it' near a flock of Maroon Beaked Vulture Hawks unless you really don't care if you don't get your fingers back (and yes I know Maroon Beaked Vulture Hawks have officially had their existence denied, but things that don't legally exist are often very hungry). And..
- If you're ever in danger, which you always are, because danger lurks everywhere, if you're lucky enough to figure out what SORT of danger you're in, then you can't dilly dally, you have to respond, and your response needs to be BIG! And it needs to be NOW!
Ol' Herb had said this last one to me thousands of times.
- He said it when we were licking our wounds having been pecked half to death by non-existent birds.
- He said it after we'd injured our wrists diving into hordes of Meeting the Meat fans. And...
- It was the last thing he said to me as he was taken to the hospital due to some random freak hypothermia.
And I always nodded along. Promised him I would take his advice. That I would learn from him. That I would not let the wisdom he learned from his many sufferings go to waste. And I meant it too. Why wouldn't I? Ol' Herb is a swell guy after all.
The only problem was that I had a secret. Something BIG. And something that affected me right NOW, and by NOW I don't mean then, I mean NOW!
Yep I still didn't know what 'dilly dally' meant, and this lack of knowledge was about to affect me NOW, and in a BIG way...
*In what way to be revealed shortly*
*Short like Ol' Herbs patience for wildebeest that can't harmonize well*
*A well being where we'd sing, the acoustics down there are great!