People used to stand around on corners a lot. 

   Most people didn’t have anywhere to go and they were happy about it. 

   Then the depression came along and everyone thought they were supposed to have a place to go and it became a crisis.

   Waiting around in an airport for your flight to leave is a lot like standing around on a corner when you have no place to go, but it’s not nearly as much fun.

   I don’t fly much any more, and I’m glad. 

   I find all of the new security regulations confusing. 

   I found all of the old security regulations confusing, but back then, no one paid much attention, so it didn’t matter.

   These days, you have to get to the airport three hours before your flight leaves, and then it leaves three hours late anyway.

   What if you had to get to the library three hours ahead of time when you wanted to take out a book, and then had to wait around for another three hours before they’d let you out?

   Librarians would actually have to work for a living and that would be another crisis.

   There have been some improvements at airports.

    In the old days they had maybe two places to eat and they both had the same awful food. 

   If your flight was delayed, you’d eat a bad tuna fish sandwich, sit on a hard seat, and complain to your wife about the price of plywood.

   Now airports have all kinds of places to eat, from McDonalds to comfy seafood restaurants. 

   So you can eat whatever you like before you go back to waiting around with nowhere to go. 

   That’s called progress, although in the meantime, the price of plywood is still nothing to write home about. 

    I like McDonalds, even though they don’t serve peanut butter or make pizza with Ritz crackers.

    I once had a dog who liked Ritz crackers. 

    He would stand on his toes begging for a Ritz and after a while, if he didn’t get one, he’d fart and go chase a kite.

    I like kites. 

    I don’t like getting them off the ground because when I run I look like a platypus.

    The male platypus has a poisonous claw, which is probably why you don’t see a lot of charities raising money for them.

    I donate money to a lot of things, but only if they send me return address stickers with my name on them.

    I have about twenty thousand return address stickers that I’ve received free in the mail, and only about half of them have my name spelled correctly.

    I donate more money to the causes that get my name wrong because I figure they need the help.

    I don’t like waiting around at the motor vehicle bureau. 

    Sometimes the lines are long and sometimes they’re short but you never know until you get there. 

    Even when I don’t need to go for my own license, I still go to give my wife moral support. 

    I stand off to the side and try to read the eye charts without making the security guards suspicious.

    One time I filled out a form and got on line as if I had some business to conduct, then I argued with the clerk because she said I didn’t need to file the form.

     While I argued the line got longer and longer, and I liked that. 

    For once, I was the one making people stand around with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

    Normally, I just make people listen when I have nothing to say.

    These days, Republicans in Congress have nothing to say other than “no,” and they won’t let the Democrats pass any bills that would actually end the current recession or create jobs--which would give more people something to do--so the Republicans stand around and complain about “death taxes” that only about 3000 families in American would ever actually have to pay.

     And somehow, by having nothing to say and no suggestions about how to make anything better, the Republicans have succeeded in making the financial crisis they spent eight years creating into the fault of the Democrats.

    I didn’t have much to say to the security guard at the motor vehicle bureau who came over to see what the problem was that I was creating, so I smiled and mumbled, “Sorry, I guess I’m a little confused these days.”

    He let me go. 

    I was very convincing because, after all, I was telling the truth.


Dear Major Ashpole,

   I’m a librarian and I object to your inference that librarians should have to work for a living.

Matilda Dammad

Novel Falls, Tennessee

Dear Major Ashpole,

   I’m a librarian and I object to your inference that McDonald’s should serve peanut butter.

Fallon Falson 

Mad River, Utah

Dear Major Ashpole,

   Plywood is one of the great values in America today, and has been ever since it was created in the mid 19th century.

   Also, my sister is a librarian and I object to your inference that dogs who like Ritz crackers are impatient and flatulent.

Dusty Kingwood, Director

Plywood Manufacturers Association

Dear Major Ashpole,

   I like to say “platypus.”

   It makes me laugh.

Sean Hannity

Laughing All The Way To The Bank

Dear Major Ashpole,

   Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

Paul Williams

Still Writing Songs No One Will Ever Perform

Dear Paul,

   Don’t give up.

   You’re bound to write another good song sooner or later.

Dear Major Ashpole,

   If an airplane leaves three hours late, why don’t they just get everyone to lean forward so it’ll go faster?

Houston Touchedown

Director, Aeronautical Engineering


Dear Major Ashpole,

   So: do you think anyone enjoys waiting around at the motor vehicle bureau?  I mean, why mention it in the first place? 

   You may as well say you don’t like Katie Couric, for all the difference it would make.

   In fact, I think you should say that.

Diane Sawyer

Formerly Number Two in the Morning, Now Number Two in the Evening

Dear Diane,

   Say what you will about Katie, and I’ll probably agree with all of it, but she has certainly learned how to do a good interview, unlike some former Nixon employees who can’t stop looking at themselves in the monitor long enough to actually hear the interviewee’s answer.


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