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January 14, 1977     The Texas Sun
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January 14, 1977
 

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22 Big Boy Whiteman's Burden Slowly the Whiteman stalked the unnatural silence. Even with the University recessed and the Sun hidden by the sky's winter wardrobe, some audial perception should be available in the Texas'Hill Country. Perhaps (thought the Whiteman in his altered subconscious), something is happening? Slowly the Whiteman followed the tunnel of negative noise leading through the briar patch of inconsequence between the river and the road. Arriving at the river, he skipped a rock just as Washington must have that fateful day on the Potomac. Dragging his pale bull back toward the road and the safety of his parked car, Whiteman cut his fingers on thorn bushes, skinned his knees on slick mossy stones, and frightened away his wits when he stepped on a harmless toad. Whiteman wondered why he ever left the centrally heated comfort of his home. After climbing for what seemed like minutes, Whiteman spotted the crest of the hill and the asphalt trail winding back to the reasonableness of urban chaos. Choosing this occasion to light a fresh cigar, Whiteman flipped his burning match into a pile of rather dry weeds. As if doused with kerosene, the weeds burst instantly into flame. Whiteman did not panic, but quickly swatted out the blaze with his new Xmas denim jacket. Satisfied that the blaze was extinguished, Whiteman started to continue his assault on the summit, when he spotted a shiny object in the middle of the dark ashes of the burned bush. Truly it was a metallic cigarette box embellished with assorted gems. How fortunate, thought Whiteman, who estimated the value of the box at no less than fifty dollars. Lifting the box with his hepatitis yellow fingers, Whiteman felt the weight of its contents. Assuming the weight indicated tobacco, Whiteman casually flipped open the lid of the container. Blinking wildly, the jaundiced hiker stared straight at two ounces of pure cocaine crystal. Rubbing his nose in the pile of pleasure, Whiteman quickly became euphoric and looked toward the green horizon above the blue water and exclaimed, "Oh Gawd, I love life!" As if jarred by Whiteman's declaration, the four sprawling cedar trees shielding the hiker from the solar rays seemed to wave slightly in unison, as if moved by an invisible hand. Before Whiteman could close his find, the cedar trees exploded in an abundant celebration of their pollination season. Puff! The cedar pollen engulfed Whiteman in a celestial fog. "Whaa!" sneezed the highly allergic Whiteman. "Whaa, whaa, whaawhoo!" he sneezed again as grains of his newfound treasure were blown into the air to drift aimlessly with the pollen. Overcome by his allergy, Whiteman fell to the ground and began rolling down the hill. Even in this time of stress, Whiteman carefully clung to his precious discovery, hardly spilling a granule of the coveted cargo. Colliding finally with a boulder, Whiteman came to rest on the bank of the river with his arm extended over the water and his vanilla fingers clutched desperately to his prize. "Saints be preserved," sighed Whiteman, as he cautiously began to lift his bleached bulk from its muddy resting place. All That Glitters With the sunshine sparkling from the gems on the box and Whiteman jiggling the silver trophy ever so slightly, a prismatic phenomenon east a~ rainbow on the still water. Retrieving his arm to only a few inches from the bank, Whitman-- ~s moronically gleeful grin of expectation suddenly turned to a teeth-gnashing cry of guttural anguish. The cause of this effect was the majestic leap of a lunker largemouth bass that had taken a fancy to the glittering bauble in Whiteman's hand. Knocking the box from Whiteman's grip and scattering the contents on the surface of the water, the fish was unable to escape the frantic lunge by the enraged human. Grabbing the bass, Whiteman was determined not to lose him. Anticipating the lunker's moves, Whiteman wrestled through five feet of icy water before he finally held the prize fish in an unrelenting vice of finger and thumb. "Well, I lost one trophy but I caught another," thought Whiteman as he placed the seven-pound bass between two rocks and removed his wet clothing to wring them out. Just then a DPS patrolman rounded the bend and spotted the naked Whiteman holding up his monstrous fish to admire it. Nude bathing and fishing without a license placed a sneezing Whiteman in jail on New Year's Eve. The frogs and minnows gobbled the cocaine and the patrolman's family praised Papa for his fishing prowess. New Year's Resolutions Learning from Whiteman's problems, I began the new year with an increased awareness of the perils of life. In order to avoid as much unpleasantness and danger as possible, I motored to Rankin, Texas, last week to attend the thirteenth annual convention of psychic prognosticators. During the scenic drive through the elegant bleakness of West Texas, I pledged to improve my lot in '77. First among my resolutions was "to be more sincere." I feel that if everyone would be as sincere as I shall be this year, the world would be a more sincere place in which to live, and I mean that sincerely. My second resolution is "No More Mr. Nice Guy." For too long I have silently suffered the abuses of my friends and associates. From now on I'm looking out for Number One. In fact, my first act of the new year was to forcefully and sincerely break the thumbs of a nine-year-old delinquent who tried to short-change me at her lemonade stand. Luckily she turned out to be an orphan, so no law suit is pending. Convention of Futurologists Most responsible for the distinguished assemblage of clairvoyants and psychics in Rankin was the renowned French phrenologist Pierre Minutiae. Monsieur Minutiae sold out his complete collection of famous instruments of torture in order to finance this year's convention. And what a convention it was! From the outset the prognosticators were divided into two camps--the Waries and the Whangdangles. Zanzibar Sleech and F. Stockton Redfish see something happening in 1977. A Wary, as exemplified by the imminent astrologist Zanzibar Sleech, is principally concerned with cosmological changes and events effecting the masses. On the other hand, Whangdangles, such as the loquatious Belchologist F. Stockton Redfish, deal with more personal incidents in an individual's existence. For example, a Wary might predict a tremendous earthquake in Greece, while a Whangdangle would interpret the same sign as a financial setback for Jackie Onassis. Zanzibar Sleech caused the fn'st excitement at the convention when he stated that he envisioned a discovery of another inhabited planet in 1977. Sleech claims that the intelligent creatures of the foreign planet w.ill communicate with each other by the use of cliches. Other than that, the only things they will have in common with earthlings will be drive-in movies, bowling, and an inability to open aspirin bottles. Curious about the Whangdangle reaction to such an extraordinary prophecy, I sought out F. Sockton Redfish in Rankin's only juke joint, the Ace of Clubs. After buying F. Stockton several bottles of Jax Beer, I learned that he was related to an associate of mine in Austin named Travis Redfish. Unfortunately, it turned out that Travis owed his cousin money and had forgotten his birthday for eleven consecutive years. It took two six-packs to make F..Stockton forget about past indignities inflicted by his relative and to begin to discuss more pertinent issues. BB: "Well sir, what did you think of Sleech 's theory?" FSR: 'TB tell you, son, that weird little duck is real gifted. 1 remember back in '56, he predicted that much stress would be put on the fiber of our nation but haL~./styles would continue to change anyway." BB: "Truly remarkable, Mr. Redfish, but anyone could have made so general a statement." FSR: "Sure, anyone could, but it took a Zanzibar Sleeeh to actually do itl Everybody has an ability for prophecy; some just know how to use it." BB: "Hmmm. Perhaps you could explain some of your prophetic methods and tell us what's ahead for us this year." FSR: "Why sure! First of all, I think 1976 is going to be a really swell year. I see .... " BB: "Wait a minute-this is 1~77. " FSR: "Seventy-seven? Are you sure? Damn, these self-winding watches are always stopping. I guess it wouldn't be fair to give you my '76 predictions. I was more prepared for that." BB: "Are you really a psychic?" FSR: "Certainly! Didn't you see my name in the registration book?" BB: "OK, could you please tell us about belchology and your forecast for "77?" FSR: "Sure nuff, big fellow, that's what I'm here for. First of all, belchology is the study of the sound, density, aroma, and frequency of gaseous material escaping from the human body through the oral cavity." BB: "Do you mean burp?" FSR: "No, but I sneeze wickedly. Anyway, when a belchologist encounters a sample phenomenon, he is granted a vision. Now do you see that wino at the end of the bar7 He just experienced the miracle of audible gas excretion. In his liberation, I see the face of Richard Burton watching Barbara Waiters wall down the aisle of a church. I see King Kong receiving an Academy Award, but asking J. Fred Muggs to receive it for him. I see Eddie Fisher making a great comeback as a newscaster and marrying Patti Smith. I see a great awakening of the American public as the price of coffee goes back down. I see the President of the United States publicly grasping the bosom of Phyllis George, as she interviews him at the Peanut Bowl Game in Atlanta, while the First Lady is secretly serviced by one of her bodyguards. I see a friend stalking the countryside in his attempt to mass murder baby grackles. I see scandal in the state capitol when Dolph Brisco is caught in the men's room of the Quorum Club playing whisk with a Unitarian. I see John Denver and Barbra Streisand starring in a remake of Gone With the Wind. "I see a black man in the Governor's Mansion in Alabama, but he successfuBy escapes with a TV set and a tape recorder. I see the New York Yankees breaking up when Anita Bryant forgets the words to the national anthem on opening day. I see Willie Nelson shaving his head, Lorene Rogers skinny dipping, Bud Shrake going on the wagon, Darrefl Royal moving to Detroit, Frank Erwin going on the wagon, Barbara Jordan converting to Judaism, Melee Guinn going on the wagon, and the Texas Sun making big money. I see your face, I raise you an arm and a leg, and you can bet your life that the rich get richer and the poor get five-to-ten with time off for good behavior. Anything else you want to know?" BB: "Yeah, how are we gonna pay this fifly-doUar bar bill?" FSR: "I see a reporter with dishpan hands and a prophet without glory in his homeland."