Medela (me-de’-la): When you can’t deny or defend friends’ faults and seek to heal them with good words.

The guy with brown shorts, brown shirt, brown belt, brown hat, brown socks and black shoes dropped the package on my back porch. He didn’t even ring the doorbell. Well, he might’ve tried to ring the doorbell.

Ever since we had the house built seven years ago the front and back doorbells don’t work right. I always try to look on the bright side though.  God only knows how many times we’ve been graced by the broken bells and left Jehovah’s Witnesses, Born Again Christians, and Mormons standing on our porch, tracts in hand, anxiously waiting to save our souls. I love it when they leave complimentary tracts stuck behind the storm door.

One of my favorites is the “Lady Gaga Tract.” It’s a postcard with a gorgeous picture of Lady Gaga on the front.  On the back it says encouraging things like: “In an interview with Larry King, [Lady Gaga] admitted that she thinks about death a lot and even dreams about it. Is there life after death? If so, where will Lady Gaga go? Or, MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR YOU, where will you go? The Bible says that people will either spend eternity in Hell or in the Kingdom of God/Heaven.”

The forward slash between God and Heaven prompted me to ask “What is the Kingdom of God/Heaven? Or more specifically, “What is God/Heaven?” What exactly does the forward slash mean?  Why didn’t the evangelical postcard use an ampersand, or an equal sign, or a plus sign or one of the other punctuation marks lined up across the top, the side and the bottom of the scribe’s keyboard? What about God$Heaven? What about God\Heaven? What about God^Heaven? What about God@Heaven?

The front and back doorbell began ringing at the same time, filling my home with a joyous noise! “Just as I was thinking about God/Heaven, the doorbells began working! It’s a miracle!” I cried.

I ran to the front door.  Nobody there. I ran to the back door.  Nobody there. Suddenly a beam of light shot from above illuminating one of the Adirondack chairs by the swimming pool. As the blinding light began to dim, the shadowy figure of a naked woman began to appear. I looked toward the sky, held my hands above my head and shouted: “Thank-you dear God/Heaven!” Even though I hadn’t prayed specifically for it,  I was sure when the light refocused that I would behold Lady Gaga lounging naked by the pool.

A weird sounding female voice cracked the air:

“I am Special Agent Hoskins of the IRS. I am not really totally nude. I am wearing a synthetic bulletproof flesh body suit and rubber meat-wig helmet.  I’m speaking through a government issued Autotune Bull Horn. That’s why I sound like Cher.”

“You may remember, even after years of sucking up vodka and smoking pot, that we were married in 1973. I was a high school senior and you were a playground equipment salesman. I remarried after the divorce, and yet, I still love you and I still consider you a friend despite the decades of self-doubt that haunt my marriage to my wonderful husband Elvis Dakota George Washington Hoskins, Vice President of  ‘Bolo Ties ‘N Brisket’ the largest chain of Western Wear/Fast-Food restaurants North America.”

I was awe struck. It was Wife Number Two! The bane of my existence. The wine-box sucking loser I married on acid somewhere in Colorado. To say the least, her recollection of our meeting and marriage were a little off!  She was a pole-dancer in a Chinese restaurant and I was working as a urine sample collector for the LAPD. They called me Captain Pee Pee.

There was a brief moment of silence and the now tearful Former Wife/Special Agent Hoskins slowly put the Autotune bull-thing to her quivering lips.

The beam of light turned red.

Raising her free hand in a clenched fist she sobbed:

“Despite all that, and with no regrets, I am here to officially inform you that the United States Government has placed a tax lien on your property.”

I knew something was sure to come up when I tried to pay my Federal Income Tax with Bitcoins. But this! Wino Wife Number Two in a rubber nudy-suit! An IRS agent? Damn!

“Put your hands over your head and get down on your knees!” she said like an animal tamer at the zoo.

“I can’t do that. Can’t I put one hand on the ground first and then kneel?” I whined.

“NO! And do you want to know why?”

“I guess so?” I ventured.

“Because it’s your birthday Big Boy!”

The next thing I knew fireworks started going off and a giant smoking mocha bundt cake pulled up to the pool!

‘Wife Number Two’ tore off her rubber nudy-suit and meat wig. Oh my God! It was actually Wife Number Four–The Brown-Eyed Prankster!


Before I even had time to soil my linens, ex-wives One, Two, Three and Five popped out of the smoking bundt cake’s hole, each waving a pair of J.A. Henckels Twin L Kitchen Shears over their heads.

Suddenly, the smoke cleared, the red light went out and it was so quiet I could hear the crickets chirping. It was so dark that I couldn’t see anything. There was a rustling sound right in front of me, and then the sound of kitchen shears making snipping sounds! The light came on and there they were! Five naked ex-wives. Five pairs of kitchen shears pointed at my crotch.

They were chanting in solemn unity: “Cut them off. Cut them off. Cut them off.” I was terrified. I was cornered. “Ok!” I said, and then I played my trump card.

Trembling, I yelled “If you cut them off, I’ll cut you off–no more Country Club. No more Mercedes. No more “Blue-eyed Svens” to stroke your egos!”

They stopped chanting! They looked at each other, nodding their heads. Wife Number Four raised her kitchen shears and, looking up at the shears, she quietly said: “I’ve got your alimony right here, Big Boy!”

Without warning, my one-armed accountant Elmo “Scarlet” Shagrug stumbled out of the pool house. He called the pool house the “Tax Shack” and had been “staying” there for about two weeks “takin’ a break from life,” reading and memorizing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, drinking his way through all the Johnny Walker colors, and eating sushi delivered in dog packs by his Corka-doodle Beaver. When I saw him yesterday he told me that the “invisible hand” had given him the finger.

He looked like a cracked-out 1941 Maureen O’Hara with a beard and Marty Feldman eyes.

Shirtless, with his drool-stained cravat ruche carefully centered on his hairy chest, barely able to stand, and with his one arm aiming the Parker shotgun my grandfather had given me when I was a little boy, Elmo shouted (quoting Aristotle):  “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

He fired both barrels into the air, fell over backwards and passed out.

In unison The Five Former Wives began chanting again: “Cut them off. Cut them off. Cut them off.” They were moving toward me in a mini phalanx.

“This is it!” I yelled as loudly and boldly as I was able.

I pulled down my pajama pants, and to everybody’s shock, awe, and amazement my . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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