Saturday, November 10, 2007


There’s a fine old epithet that applies to Really Stupid People. The kind of people for who the wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead. The kind of people that are dumber than a box of rocks…or a truckload of hammers.

These are the people who Don’t Know Shit From Shinola.

To be unable to distinguish between Shit and Shinola – assuming that one has a rudimentary Olfactory Sense, that is – is a mark of Extreme Stupidity.

Fortunately for me (and the people with whom I associate), I can tell the difference between Shit and Shinola. Between Excrement and Shoe-Polish. Really. Witness my experiences over the past few weeks.

Let’s start with Shinola. This afternoon, we stopped in at a shoe store in downtown Asheville. (Of course. Gary and I have JoAnn and SWMBO with us, so a Shoe Shopping Expedition is sorta unavoidable.) Tops Shoes is reputed to have the largest selection in the Southeastern United States, and I can understand how it came by that reputation. But when we walked into the store, I was hit by a rush of Shoe-Polish Aroma. Kiwi Pong. It was intoxicating.

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh shoe polish. It’s like New-Car Smell, but even more accessible - because to enjoy it, all you need do is open up a convenient, portable can of Shoon-Wax. Kiwi, Shinola (do they even make Shinola anymore?), or whatever, it’s a magic aroma. Foot fetish Poon-Tang.

So much for the Shinola part of the equation. Now for the Shit.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Savannah visiting the Mistress of Sarcasm, the Kid Brother of Elisson in tow. We took lunch at Back in the Day Bakery, and afterward were in the process of getting into the car when The Other Elisson stepped on a Land-Mine.

In many neighborhoods, Land-Mines - always a hazard back in my Snot-Nose Days - have become a rarity, a thing of the past, thanks to the ever-more-ubiquitous Pooper-Scooper laws. But it seems that there are parts of Savannah where the Pooper-Scooper Laws (assuming there are any) are not obeyed scrupulously. [For that matter, the laws against murder, armed robbery, pillage, and rapine are also not obeyed scrupulously in all parts of Savannah.] And so, in these areas, one must be vigilant, lest one encounter a Doggy Land-Mine. This particular Land-Mine was disguised by fallen leaves and other debris, and so...

...the Other Elisson encountered it, scoring a direct hit. He immediately realized his error, and, fortunately, was able to scrape most of the Offending Substance off before getting in the car. Meanwhile, I chuckled quietly to myself. Sucker, I thought. Ahh, if only I knew.

Later that evening, The Other Elisson and I accompanied the Mistress on an errand. A friend of hers keeps three pet chickens - really - and the Mistress had committed, in her friend’s absence, to go over in the evening and make sure the chickens were secured in their coop.

This was trickier than it sounds, as it involved driving to a very sketchy part of Savannah, creeping through a couple of debris-filled backyards in pitch darkness, and then finding our way back out to the street. A flashlight would have been handy...for this time, it was my turn to discover a Land-Mine.

Unlike my brother’s earlier Land-Mine Encounter, however, I did not realize my Soiled Condition until we were in the Mistress’s car...which promptly was filled with a delicate Shit-Funk.

Upon arriving back at our hotel, I examined my shoes. No mistaking it: here was a Land Mine of Epic Proportions. Fortunately, it confined itself to the shoe sole, being wedged up against the heel-sole joint. But it was unspeakably vile.

It took an entire roll of toilet paper, a gallon of boiling water, six washcloths, a bath towel, and a bottle of bleach to restore my shoe to its former semi-pristine, un-dogstooled condition. Bet the maid had a shit-hemorrhage when she saw that pile in the hamper.

As for the Mistress’s car, I did the right thing and sprang for a full-service car wash, complete with carpet shampoo, first thing the next morning. A fifty-buck landmine, that was.

I blame those stupid chickens. Stupid, yes. They don’t know shit from Shinola.

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