My Irish Up: No sense reading this (secret message to Agent Y)

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

I am sure that you, being a “fellow American,” or perhaps a “gal American,” or a “gay American,” or a “straight American,” or a Native American, or an Afro-American, or even a foreign dignitary with several kilos of something good to sell — oh beans, let’s drop the apostrophe here and just acknowledge that you must be somebody, somewhere in America, or possibly in Canada, reading this, and becoming increasingly more aggravated because the writer, whoever the heck he is, can’t seem to get to the point of his or her or possibly its topic sentence, and so you throw the article against the wall where it settles all night, until… wait for it… until about now — what time is it? — about four a.m. — when you sit bolt upright in bed, if I am not mistaken, and you — there’s my faithful reader — retrieve the newspaper and squint to find where you left off and read back to this sentence, bound and determined that you’ll discover what the stupid point was, only to find that even I have forgotten it, if I ever knew. But maybe it doesn’t matter to you anymore. It certainly doesn’t to me, and I’m willing to let the matter drop if you are.

If it makes you feel any better, we’ll talk about something else that’s been bothering me for quite awhile, although of course it may not bother you, it’s such a small point really, and I know the strangest things can get under your skin, you’re so sensitive, like your allergy to horseradish, or kind of like that song that gets in your head, that one you don’t even like, but you can’t get it out of there, you know the one, it goes ta-da-da-da-da-DUM-da-da-da-DUM-dee-dum-DUM! — remember that? From about 1996, I think, or maybe ’94 — that’s right, that song — who did that, M.C. Hammer? — and then that little drum solo where you can’t resist flailing away at air drums like Kermit the Frog on amphetamines and that also makes you kind of sad because you can remember when you liked The Muppets, even well into your forties, and how you used to sing those catchy little tunes along with Bert and Ernie, those great old singable songs on Sesame Street that went like, “A is for ASININE and for ANTHROPOLOGY/And for AM-PHET-A-MINES/And hey — vroom vroom, look at my butt, Ernie!” Good times…

What? I’m not “stalling.” This is very important stuff. I am telling it straight.

Ah, don’t be that way! I’m getting just a little tired of your “business-like” attitude. How it’s all about you, and your precious time, and your needs. You’re not the only fish in the woods, as they say. Oh sure, it’s all chop-chop, just-kill-me-now, with you, Mr. Owns-His-Own-Car — but what will your attitude be when your family ups and leaves you because they can’t put up with your selfish attitude for one second longer? Chill, for Pete’s sake. Didn’t you ever just sit with your kids and look at a tree? No, the one on the left. Yes, that one. Well, did you? Now, you ever notice how that tree never complains about how it’s such a long time until spring — even though spring takes forever to get here? All I’m saying is, you should be more like that tree. No, the one on the left. I’ll give you a moment to study it and think about how childishly you’ve been acting today…

…Okay, finally! All my erstwhile “readers” are gone. It’s just you now, Agent Y. See, had I written one of my usual, compelling essays, so clearly-developed that people couldn’t help but hang on every word, then everyone in the eastern United States would still be with us, not just lonely little you, and they’d see the Secret Message so obvious even the NSA can’t track it down. Without that boring intro we’d have to do something truly Byzantine and mind-numbing, like encoding every fourteenth letter or something, and then there would always be a chance, with your attention deficit issues, that you’d lose track and then you’d end up in Lubec or someplace.

IN-THE-CLEAR MESSAGE FOLLOWS

To: AGENT Y:

As planned at the flag burning, you and Agents Z and K are meeting at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday next, corner of Elm and Pine in Augusta. Do not forget the automatic weapons, this time! — s/AGENT Q

Mike Corrigan lives in Lewiston, Maine. (Note to Agent Y: This is NOT part of the message, repeat, NOT part of the message. Do NOT go to Lewiston again.)

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