Evolution Confusion

I was just finishing up my lunch on my favorite park bench. While eating my banana, a strange looking fella, sunken eyes with heavy dark eyebrows and a protruding jaw, sat down next to me. He was mumbling to himself, then he blurted out:

“Someone told me today that I descended from an ape!”

I looked at the man and I hoped he was harmless.

“I’m very upset,” he continued.

“Relax now, have you heard of evolution?” I said.

“Things change?” he stammered.

“Well, sort of.”

“How terrible to be descended from monkeys!”

“Hold on now, evolution means changes in living things through the process of adapting to their environment to allow them to survive.”

My bench mate looked confused.

“I always thought we came from Adam and Eve.”

I smiled and continued:

“That’s the Bible story, that’s not science.”


“Evolution explains that living things share common ancestors and over time they adapt to survive and this gives rise to new species.”

The man looked sad.

“In other words, you’re telling me there’s no God!”

“What you believe in is your choice, but it might be better for you to understand science, to treat the Bible as a book of rules to live by, a philosophical book, not a text book of science.”

“Now, I am confused.”

“Listen, evolution theory states that one type of organism could change into another.”

“I thought Adam came from the dust of the ground.”

“That’s religion not science. Evolution is explaining the natural world through natural cause and effect. Science can say nothing about the supernatural.”

“So, I did come from an ape!”

“Well, evolution states we had a common ancestor, an ape-like creature, then the species split into apes, monkeys and humans.”

“I wish I could understand this evolution thing.”

“I’ll tell you what, read two books, side by side, The Bible and Darwin’s “Origin of Species” and you will see the differences.”

In two weeks he showed up on my bench again.

“Well, are you any clearer on evolution now?”

He smiled and said:

“Yes, I am, Adam and Eve were apes!”

“Eat! Eat!”

Weather permitting, I usually have my lunch in the park on my favorite bench. It’s surprising how many people sit down next to you and start talking. I call it “Bench Talk”.

One afternoon a woman, looking flustered, plunked herself down and said:

“I just saw two men hunting pigeons with a butterfly net and then they threw them in a burlap sack. Can you believe that?”

“Lady, you see a lot of peculiar things going on now-a-days.” I took a bite out of my chicken sandwich.

“I confronted them and asked what they were doing? Neither man spoke much English. But one of the men smiled and said:

“Eat, eat. We are poor people.”

I laughed.

“Can you believe it, they were catching pigeons to eat!”

“Well lady, someone had to catch this chicken I’m eating.”

She shook her head.

“Some immigrants eat pigeons and other strange things in their homeland.”

She gave me a disdainful look.

“It must be illegal in Chicago and it’s unhealthy,” the woman squealed.

“No lady, it’s not illegal or unhealthy, just remember to pluck them.”

“But pigeons are like pets. How can people eat something that is a pet?”

The woman kept looking at my lunch, checking for pigeon!

“Look, think about a lamb, it’s even-tempered, pet-like, and they don’t attack humans, they’re quite decent and delicious.”

“Lamb! I can take it or leave it,” she scowled.

“Compare the docile lamb to a cat. Cats are known to be vicious. They kill little birds, tiny cute mice and anything that’s defenseless. Cats scratch humans and they give us the evil eye. Yet people eat lambs and would turn green if you told them to eat a cat.”

“I’ve never eaten a cat,” said the woman.

“Neither have I, I haven’t found a decent recipe for cat, but there are some excellent recipes for pigeon.”

“I might be able to eat a pigeon but never a cat,” said the woman.

“Cat might be good, I think some Asians eat them in their homeland.”

“Sir, are you recommending that I try cat?”

“Well lady, whether you eat a cat or not is your personal choice.”

She glared at me like I was nuts, so I gave her one parting shot.

“ If you ever do try eating cat, I have a cooking tip for you: Always remove the bell from around the cat’s neck before cooking. You don’t want to make a tinkling sound when you belch!”

Old? It’s Shocking!

It was a beautiful day in Chicago. I was listening to the birds singing while I was having my lunch on my favorite park bench.

An attractive couple sat down next to me. They obviously had been crying because they were both wiping their red eyes with a tissue.

“What’s the matter?” I said, compassionately.

“It’s cruel, what’s happening,” said the woman.

“What’s happening?” I said, thinking about all kinds of disasters.

They both finally turned towards me and stared.

“Look darling, it is an old person, an ancient!” the woman screamed.

Was she talking about me?

“Hey you, you’ve frightened my wife. I thought you old people were all invisible!” the man said, glaring at me.

“I’m sorry, can I be of any assistance?”

“No, there’s nothing you can do. My wife and I are both turning 40 this year.”

“But, we all go through it. I once turned 40. It’s funny how time slips away.”

“I don’t believe, YOU, once turned 40,” said the woman.

“I did, I kid you not.”

“People like you have always looked old to me.”

The man looked at me, sadly.

“You say it actually happened to you? Turning 40?”

“Absolutely. It happened about a year after I turned 39.”

“Tell me, what’s it like? How did you feel?”

“I don’t really remember.”

“Oh, it was so painful, you wiped it out of your memory.”

“No, it just passed.”

“How could you forget something that traumatic?”

“Easy, people turn 40-50-60 and beyond very quietly.”

“Are you telling us this has been going on for a long time?”

“Yes, for centuries, I believe.”

The woman stared at me in disbelief.

“Then why hasn’t anything been done about it? How come the ‘powers that be” let it happen?”

“There isn’t anything that can be done, except finding the mythical “Fountain of Youth.”

“No! Stop! You’re depressing me,” the woman shrieked.

“You’re born, then the birthdays start passing, you might make it to 80 or so and then KAPUT!”

“What do you mean, KAPUT?”

“I mean KAPUT, broken, finished, all over.”

The man looked shocked. “You mean actually dying? Like in the movies, but for real?”

“How can a person make plans?” The woman said.

They both went silent and then the man grinned.

“You’re trying to scare us. You’re a real joker. It’s a joke, right?”

“I’m afraid not, but you have a lot of time left.”

“Then we can make vacation plans?”

“Yes, go ahead.”

Having made them happy, I got up and left.

As I was walking away, I heard him say: “I still think he’s a joker.”

She said: “Who?”

The Return of Old Muskie

When I was a boy, I used to get my philosophy of life stories from Old Herbie, who owned the local candy store in my neighborhood. I even enjoyed his tales when I was an adult. He was the most admired old man around.

He was a bachelor and he was his own man. If he wanted to wear his old jeans, slippers and Cub baseball cap in the store, he would.

He liked baseball games, poker, drinking a shot and beer, and going muskie fishing in Wisconsin.

In the lounge of his flat, above the store, he had a jukebox, which was filled with his old Spike Jones records. In his bedroom, hung his most precious possession, a 50 pound muskie with teeth as sharp as surgical scalpels.

When he caught the muskie it had bitten off Old Herbie’s finger. So, he had the muskie mounted and also his finger, and they both were on the same wall.

Old Herbie was the neighborhood hero!

Then everything changed. He met Betty the Beautician.

Herbie’s appearance changed. Instead of his old jeans and Cub cap, Betty had him in suit and tie. He stopped drinking and fishing. She had him take her dancing at the local ballroom every week.

He had to take his trophies down from the bedroom wall. Betty replaced them with an oil painting of a nude Greek God. She thought the painting was romantic. Herbie didn’t. She also, put her Perry Como records on his jukebox.

They eventually got married. The ladies in the neighborhood thought it won’t be long, because of Herbie’s advanced years, that Betty would become a well-to-do widow.

I remember the funeral.

Betty looked great, nice dress, fancy hairdo, and a new necklace.

Standing there, crying, Herbie looked down at her and said:

“I thought she’d hold up better than that. Too much dancing.”

He then went home, put on his jeans and Cub cap, and re-hung the muskie and his finger back on his bedroom wall!

The Avoidable War?

Bill Willis joined the Carpetbaggers in 1943. He was thankful he didn’t have to drop bombs anymore on German cities. The Carpetbaggers were night flyers who dropped supplies to the French resistance. Supplies NOT bombs!

He loved aviation and was a B24 pilot. He learned German when he was a boy from his mother, who was a German immigrant. His father was American. He learned to fly when he was 19 years old.

In March of 1941, he came to England from America, before Pearl Harbour, to help fight the Germans. Bill was young and eager for adventure. He wanted to be a hero. He  joined the RAF and started going on bombing missions over Germany, devastating cities that had civilians not just Nazis.

On night in April of 1941, while walking in the woods near his base in East Anglia, he had an amazing experience. He saw a parachute come down and land about 200 feet from him. He ran over to the landing spot, pulled his side-arm and grabbed the injured parachutist.

The man spoke German and broken English. Bill talked to him in German. He asked him if he was a spy. He was dressed in civilian clothes. He had a brief case with him and he was unarmed.

The man said he was Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuhrer in the Third Reich. He told Bill he had a peace proposal that was okayed by the powers that be in the Third Reich. It could end the war between Britain and Germany if it was acted upon immediately!

Bill thought the proposal should be listened to. So he turned the German over to his Commanding Officer. Bill said he thought the man was genuine. But no one in power believed the man’s story and he ended up in a POW camp.

Then in May of 1941, Bill heard of another Rudolf Hess landing in Scotland and proposing the same peace initiative to end the war before anymore bloodshed. But Churchill wouldn’t believe it . The man was definitely a spy.

Bill remembered his encounter, but who was the impostor? His man or the one that landed in Scotland? Or both?

The war went on and Bill flew many missions where probably many more civilians died than Nazis. He became a much decorated hero, but sometimes he felt the image was tarnished in his heart of hearts.

He remembered the stories of Lindbergh being friendly with the Nazis and Bill knew a hero’s reputation could become tarnished.

In 1942, Bill joined the United States Air Force. Then he was transferred to the Carpetbaggers in 1943. No more bombing missions. His guilt subsided slightly. He always wondered if one of the “Rudolf Hess’s” was really the Deputy to the Fuhrer with a peace proposal. Maybe, the war could have ended in 1941!

Now in 1950, whenever Bill tells his story, some people call him a Nazi lover, just because he believed the man from Germany. People even said he was a coward because he objected to the war and wanted it to end asap.

Maybe, just maybe, four years of war could have been avoided!

Bill’s hero image was tarnished and he felt terrible. He never wore his decorations again. Never again to enjoy his hero status!


Love and Diet

I was sitting on my favorite park bench, eating my lunch, two cold roast beef sandwiches, a chocolate cupcake, and a diet soda. I was almost finished with my lunch when a forlorn figure of a man sat down next to me eating  a grapefruit.

“Good afternoon,” I said cheerfully, trying to raise his spirits.

“It’s not a good afternoon,” he scowled.

“Why not? The sun is shining.”

“Because I’m not sure if my wife loves me anymore!”

“How did that come about?”

“Well, the first thing was, she started criticizing my body. I’m getting fat, she says.”

“I see you’re only eating grapefruit, that should help you get thinner.”

“Yes, but I’m miserable on this diet.”

“Is that the only thing that’s bothering you?”

“No, she says I don’t know what love is and I don’t do enough to make our relationship work.”

“Love is friendship that has caught fire. I think you will have to make a decision to do everything possible to MAKE the relationship work, in other words, it’s up to you!”

“What do I have to do?”

“Well, start to really “love” everything your wife does and says because when you admire, respect and love who the other person is, it should help make your marriage or relationship work better. Liking or Loving is a Choice.”

“Well, that’s half my problem solved.”

The birds in the park began to sing!

“What should I do about this terrible diet?”

“Let’s have some fun with this one. Look, I have a diet soda with my cupcake. You know what, they cancel each other out, zero calories!”

“That’s interesting,” he said, smiling.

“See, you’re feeling better already.”

“Tell me more.”

“Well, eat your lunch in the park all the time. Eat everything you want. If no one sees you eat it, it has no calories!”

“I love chocolate cookies.”

“Okay, what you do is break up the cookies into very small pieces. The breaking up process causes calories to leak out.”

“This is great news.”

“And finally, if you can fatten up everyone around you, you will look much thinner.”

He walked away a happy man!

Worthy Women

My friend and I were having our lunch on a park bench where we discuss the problems of the world.

“My wife told me the other night that she read an article that said a wife is worth £20,000 per year!”

“That’s a lot of money,” my friend said.

“With all the work they  do, I guess it’s about right,” I said.

“I don’t think so. Whoever wrote that article should be shot. They’re starting a lot of domestic arguments.”

“You would have to pay a maid that much to do all the work your wife does.”

My friend shook his head.

“Do you realize I could live in a beautiful hotel with maid service for that money and not have to put up with nagging and the mother-in-law.”

This guy was not happy with his wife!

“I think you’re being too hard on your wife,” I said, trying to ease his anger.

“How do you know how much my wife is worth, you’ve never met her.”

‘Look, I didn’t write the article.”

He was looking daggers at me now.

“She does cleaning, cooking and washing, doesn’t she?” I said.

He laughed.

“She cleans a “lick and a promise” when dusting. Her cooking is mediocre and the last time she did the laundry she washed my wallet, which was in my trouser pocket. The wallet contained my paycheck and credit cards!”

He was absolutely livid now! I thought I better shut up.

“So, don’t try to tell me what my wife is worth unless you have met her!”

I thought any minute now he will attack me!

“And another thing, I only make £20,000 per year. I can’t afford her. I think I’ll kick her out tomorrow.”

I went home that night and told my wife about this guy’s diatribe.

“ I’m glad you stuck up for us women, honey. That estimate of £20,000 is low,

I think.”

“I agree with you, darling,” I said, smiling sweetly.

“That friend of yours has such a lousy disposition, I don’t think he could get any hired help to stay with him. Next time you see him, tell him, marriage is the only answer for him!”

“I’ll do that, darling, now what’s for dinner?”

Nature Call

One day I was out in my garden soaking up the sun and trying to snooze.Then my next door neighbor stuck his head over my fence and said:

“Hey Dave, I was burgled last night!”

“George, you old duffer, you don’t have anything worthwhile to steal.”

“Well, they took my watch and ring and a little cash. I think the robbers feel us oldies are soft touches. The bum came in through the garden.”

“But you have a dog that sleeps in the garden.”

“Yes, but the rotter threw a hunk of meat down and the dog was quiet while eating and then poor Chester passed out.”

“Sure, the burglar doped the meat.”

“The scary thing is I was asleep and the bum took my stuff off my nightstand only a foot away from me.”

“What did he do, bust a window?”

“No, he came through the back door. I thought I had a strong lock on it.”

“It wasn’t pick-proof.”

“The weird thing was, I heard a noise but I didn’t see anybody. So I went back to sleep.”

“The burglar was probably hiding under your bed. He waited until he heard you snoring and then continued his work.”

“Well, I don’t know what I can do, Dave, to protect myself. I have locks and a watchdog, nothing did any good.”

“Short of getting a shotgun, I’ll tell you what I’d do.”

“Tell me, Dave, I’m all ears.”

“I’d leave the bathroom light on and the door open a crack. Most burglars don’t want a confrontation with someone coming out of a bathroom.”

“Sounds good, Dave, I’ll try that.”

The next night, George left his bathroom light on and the door ajar.

He heard a noise in the middle of the night and tip toed to the bathroom with his baseball bat in his hand. He threw open the door and there was the burglar sitting on the toilet with his gun pointing at George.

He dropped the bat and said:

“What are you doing in my house? The bathroom light was supposed to deter break-ins.”

The criminal smiled.

“Sorry, fella, last night I forgot the silverware, but when I saw the toilet light on, I thought I might as well relieve my call of nature while I was here!”

His Own Man

The year was 1964. I was visiting my aunt down in Independence, Missouri. One afternoon, I took a walk downtown and entered a restaurant/bar for some refreshment.

I took a stool at the bar and ordered a beer. I scanned the booths in the room. In a corner booth was an old grey haired man with circle spectacles writing away on a large pad of paper. I thought the man looked like Harry Truman, the former President!

I took my stein of beer and walked over to the corner booth.

“Excuse me, are you Harry Truman?”

The old man put down his pen and looked up at me and said:

“Yes, I am, and who are you?”

“My name is Harold Wilkerson, from Chicago, and I would like your autograph for my collection.”

“Move on, mister.”

It was one of Truman’s Secret Service minders.

“It’s okay, let him sit down,” said Truman.

The burly minder went to the bar, but continued to look at me.

“Chicago, you’re not a retired gangster are you?” Harry laughed.

“No sir, just in town visiting my aunt.”

“I remember Chicago well, 1948, on election night, the Chicago Tribune newspaper came out with the headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman”, it was hilarious.”

“How did that come about, Mr. Truman?”

“Call me, Harry, please, well I think the polls got it wrong because they conducted them largely by telephone and many of my populist base, those days, didn’t own a phone. Also, many of the “powers that be” thought Dewey was a sure thing.”

The Secret Service man was still eyeing me up and down.

“I often wondered, it must have been tough for you to decide to drop the “A” bomb. Did you have a lot of anxiety and fear over that decision?”

Harry’s expression turned very somber.

“Well, as you might recall, I always had the sign, “The Buck Stops Here”, on my desk. I believed in that saying. I had the last say-so. I had to be bold, another of my sayings was, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

“I agree with you, Harry.”

“As far as fear goes, America was not built on fear. America was built on courage and imagination. A President cannot always be popular. I felt we could save millions of American lives by ending the war then and there.”

“Well, Harry, you always were known for telling it like it is.”

“I tried to tell the truth, as I understood it.”

“A lot of people wanted to make you feel bad about the bomb and apologize.”

“My philosophy was to carry the battle to them. Put them on the defensive and don’t apologize for anything.”

“Well, Harry, thanks for the autograph.”

“You’re welcome.”

“One more thing, I guess when you’re the President, you don’t have many friends.”

Harry Truman smiled and said”

“Son, if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog!”

Boredom Personified

I went to a party the other night at a friend’s house. He had several guests that I didn’t know. So, I got introduced to a woman who he thought was a good conversationalist. The caterer came around with a tray of cocktails. I grabbed one, and asked the lady:

“Would you like a cocktail?”

“No, thanks, I prefer to be sober for a few minutes.”

We both sat down on the sofa.

“Don’t you think purpose gives meaning to life?”

I nodded.

“I heard a good quotation the other day.”

“Oh, what was it?”

“Oh dear, I can’t remember now, sorry.”

I took a long drink of my cocktail.

“Do you know the secret of happiness?”

She was thinking deep now.

“Well, if you make others happy, you will be happy.”

“Hmm, that sounds about right,” she said, dreamingly.

She looked into my eyes in a strange way, I was getting a little edgy.

“Are you afraid of the future? I am.”

“If you live the present good, your future will turn out okay.”

“Hey, I like that. I feel better already,” she said.

I gulped down the rest of my cocktail and grabbed another.

“Do you believe in free speech? I do.”

She stared at me with those big cow eyes.

“I do, but sometimes a person can make a pig of themselves, just because it’s free.”

She looked confused, but she continued.

“I had a dream last night.”

My cocktail was delicious. I felt like another.

“What was it about?”

“ A handsome man scooped me up in his arms and kissed me. Then he rode away with me on his horse. Do you know where he was taking me?”

“No, I don’t. It’s your dream.”

“Oh yeh, that’s right.”

I was starting to feel my drinks now, yet she had nothing to drink!

From now on, I thought, I will just nod my head and smile at her conversation.

While she continued to talk for about ten minutes, not a word passed my lips.

“My word! We’ve been chatting for an hour and I don’t believe you’ve said much.”

“No, I haven’t,” I agreed, smiling.

“Makes it unanimous, doesn’t it?”