PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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In The Event Of A Crisis...

Paracord-2---r

I'm always looking to steal story ideas from other people. I pilfered this one from my daughter.

The context is that I own a rope bracelet (aka "paracord" bracelet) – a gift from my two kids years ago. These bracelets are allegedly useful in emergencies. However, when I observed that I have no clue how to disentangle the bracelet in even the most benign of moments, she mused that a character in a movie could find himself confronted with an emergency and be called upon to use the bracelet to save another character, but cannot unwind the damned thing. Silly hijinks would ensue.

Let's test the paracord's usefulness. Quick – cut to an emergency. Let's say I fall off a boat, could I use the bracelet as a floatation device? No. How about if I'm stuck on the third floor during a house fire; could I lower myself two stories down to safety? No chance.

OK, how about this: I'm walking down the street in a hurricane and a window blows out, flying through the air and striking my leg; would I be able to use this as a tourniquet? Yes!

We now have the first plot line of our newest piece of short fiction: Guy walking down the street is suddenly struck by a large pane of broken, jagged glass, creating a bloody scene on Harvard Ave in Allston, MA. Bystanders try to help but are freaking out at the gory scene. The victim then says he needs a tourniquet. This is when I swoop in with my paracord bracelet and, whilst the victim is dying, I try, but fail, to disentangle the cord.

Working on the happy ending. 

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No, Canada!

Firesmoke Time to quit smoking, Canada

On and off in these pages, I've been known to allege that my children are Canadians. I don't mean they act like Canadians by being overly friendly, drinking maple syrup, and wearing toques, but they nevertheless had what seemed to be an airtight legal entitlement to live and work in the 51st state, given that their grandma was Quebecois.

Mais non!

Despite the fact that my kids were born (or "borned" as we little kids often said back in the 1960s) prior to the laws changing in 2009 and were bona fide citizens when they emerged into our cold world, they are not grandfathered under previous law. Changes in 2009 that eliminated citizenship being conveyed by a grandparent unless you had already applied for "proof of citizenship" (i.e., not citizenship per se, just proof that you are a citizen, which at the time they were) means that our friendly northern neighbors will bar these two from entering their smoldering country if/when the next US Civil War gets approved.
On the plus side, they won't be expected to doggedly defend any ice that still exists up there in the Canada parts of the arctic region, if ice continues to exist, which is not a given.

As if to put an exclamation point on the denial of their citizenship, Canada is blowing smoke at us Americans, preventing us from playing bad tennis outside thanks to terrible air quality. It's like they're trying to push us away from their border, or mimic the Vatican by sending messages via smoke signal. Sacre Bleu!

This issue is something short of tragic, I suppose. We are not Ukrainian refugees, or Sudanese trying to escape civil war. But with the US south sweltering, our government and society divided, and all those guns floating around, having an escape hatch would be great. (As would the tuition relief they would see if they managed to get into McGill.)

I'd like to say that we're going to protest the government's decision by boycotting Canada altogether, but the fact is that just last week we went to The Shaw Festival in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, with our tails between our legs, and yes, we had a really nice time. I guess there are reasons to be north of the border beyond escaping our heat, guns, and the US Supreme Court.   






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My Tools

When I die, I’m going to leave a lot of tools behind, and I’m worried that you’re going to use them inappropriately and hurt yourself. Despite their colorful outer shells that draw you in for a closer look and beckon you to plug them in and give them a whirl, they aren’t toys. Several of them can easily cut off a limb, put out an eye, or burn you badly.

My guess is that this won’t dissuade my friends from engaging in a melee after my untimely demise. The tear-streaked faces of my wife and kids, still shocked that I’m no longer here on earth and pretty certain I’m not anywhere else either, watch in disbelief as you guys come waltzing into my basement with a twelve pack and start grabbing at my chop saw.

Then, during calling hours, a line forms leading up to the casket, where I can be found laid out with a weird smile on my face, thanks to the misguided work of a new, young undertaker. You utter a few polite remarks to my family and hope to move on, but find that the greeting line is backed up thanks to an octogenarian who has knelt to pray over my dead body and then can’t get back up onto his feet. It’s awkward to be standing there and not saying anything more than “He was a great guy. Really, great guy.” So eventually you blurt, “So, uh, how many battery packs does his impact driver have?”

My personal opinion is that the family should just put everything out on the sidewalk and see who takes what. Bar clamps, pipe clamps, drills, levels, hammers, wrenches, torches, anything that wasn’t put into my personal pyramid in case I need it for the afterlife is sitting out there for the taking.

Of course, no duct tape will be left for the taking, as that is going to be part of my afterlife “tool kit.” But don’t worry – they carry it at most hardware stores. 

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Strange Customs

Another thing that happens in my BBC radio play contest entry, soon to be written (due date 1/31/2020!), is that the border guards at US-Canada crossings are full of misinformation. “Each adult is allowed to bring two children, half a pound of cheese, and a loaf of black bread across the border.” There’s no truth to this, but we comply, since most of us couples don’t have more than four children total. (But imagine if we did!).

Other border guards get it into their heads that you aren’t allowed to enter if you’re not bringing with you, per adult, two children, half a pound of cheese, and a loaf of black bread, which gets everyone very confused. There’s this major snafu in which people are barred from entering the US from Canada without these items. Many have exactly two children and half a pound of cheese, but fail on the black bread. They get hollered at by the border guards: “This is pumpernickel!”

And there’s more.

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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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