Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 4, 2005
Think Difference (Engine).

It's the Thought That Counts

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

Ah, there is nothing like the Vigorously Bracing rush of a New Year's beginnings! The Egg-Nog has been drunk, the Plum Pudding extinguished: it is a Fresh Start, as we rub our bleary Eyes in the glare of a bright January morning. January! - When indeed the Time arises to take care of certain Annual Obligations, including the completion of our Resolutions, the contemplation of our Taxes, and, most Alarmingly, the Disposition of one's Christmas Presents.

It is surely no Exaggeration to say that nearly all of us are positively Awash in Holiday Giftery at this time of year. It is also no Exaggeration to say that not Many of these recently-unwrapped possessions are what one might term "Useful." The challenge is to appropriately Honor the intentions of those who Inflicted these astounding objects upon us, and essay to obtain some Measure of Enjoyment from them.

For my own part I have a great many bottles of Bourbon and similar American Whiskies, which I will be quietly Re-distributing o'er the next few Weeks to the Tobacconist and the Haberdasher. But the most Egregious offender by Far is my gift from Ephram: which I was most Surprised to receive, in any event. Alas, his gift was Not, as I had feared, Socks: it was instead Much Much Worse.

Allow me to attempt to convey the Horror of this monstrosity. It has the form of a small Fishing-trophy, a stuffed Trout or some such mounted to a beveled Plaque. Such an object might not be out of Place in, for example, the Club I frequent, which has a particularly handsome Hammer-head Shark mounted in the Game Room. But this! - This is no Ordinary fish, but a Simulacrum made of India rubber. And by all the saints in Heaven, through some Devilishly cunning workmanship, it Sings.

I very nearly threw it in the Fire when first it Bent its piscine face toward me on Christmas Morn and began warbling a rather Off-key version of "Jingle Bells." I thought at First the poor devil was still Living, tacked to the board; but Ephram's mirthful countenance reassured me that it was but a Model. I put on my Best smile and thought, perhaps, there is some Salvation in this gift. I then requested "Silent Night" in a firm Clear voice. Woe! It reprised its questionable performance of "Jingle Bells." Desperately I cast about for Some Other Song the infernal Fish might know. "The First Noël!" "Silver Bells!" "Old MacGregor's In his Cups And Now The Yule-log's Burning!" Nothing. It is, alas, a Remarkably Stupid Fish for all its Singular talent.

However, the problem appears to have been Solved once I put the poor thing in Water. A Fine Place for a Fish, thought I, the more so because it does not Sing under-water.

I harbor no Ill-will towards the lad, who indeed went out of his Way to procure me an Actual Present this year; and so I proudly display his Gift in a small Fish-bowl atop my Filing Cabinet, that he may see I appreciate it Daily. He is not Concerned however with my reception of the Fish, being more occupied with his Own gift from my dear old cousin Esther. Ever mindful that Ephram is a lad sorely wanting in the Employment department (at least before he came to work for me), she sent him a Very Thoughtful Grinding-Organ, complete with Monkey, so he may try his hand at a career suited to his Temperament.

Great Scott... that monkey is making off with a bottle of 15 year Bowmore! Come back here you simian Scoundrel! - It appears Ephram has been busy training his new charge. I think I need to have a little Talk with dear old Esther, bless her heart.

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