Jim Bishop | Cryptic Tales Emanating from the Shriek of Araby

Greetings, boys and ghouls, on this howl of the ‘ween, 2009. Don’t want to employ scare tactics, but it’s only fair to warn you that we’re about to embark on another frightful foray through the haunted House of Seven Gables with Nathaniel HAW-thorne.

Sorry if this jolts you. Would it help if I offered the bribe of Frankenstein? Yes, Master . . .

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

You have the capacity to learn from your mistakes. You will learn a lot today.

A thing not worth doing isn’t worth doing well. Further, if a thing is worth doing, it would have been done already.

I don’t have a solution, but I do admire the problem.

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.

Speaking of which, let’s paws here to pussyfoot around some purrfectly putrefied define of the times . . .

Cole’s Law: Thinly-sliced cabbage.

Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

Karaoke: Japanese for “Tone Deaf.”

Laughing stock: cattle with a sense of humor.

Mummy: An Egyptian pressed for time.

Polynesia: memory loss in parrots.

Don’t lose your head in the catacomb laughing over this (“it’s the pits,” whispered the pendulum). What Poe gallows humor . . .

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

All generalizations are false, including this one.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

As I said before, I never repeat myself. As long as I can remember, I’ve had amnesia.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

A seminar on time travel will be held two weeks ago.

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys

Bureaucrats cut red tape, lengthwise.

Clones are people two.

Doesn’t expecting the unexpected make the unexpected become the expected?

If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

If analog clocks have hands, why don’t digital clocks have fingers?

Why do bankruptcy lawyers expect to be paid?

Friction can be a drag sometimes.

I tried to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.

As the journalist said to the hangman, “No noose is good noose.” Hey, cut me some slack . . .

I used to be indecisive, now I’m not so sure.

The violinist spent the night in a vile inn (and got strung out).

At this point, feel free to state any opinion even if I don’t agree (everyone’s welcome to my opinion). Just keep reading . . .

When I bought some fruit trees the nursery owner gave me some insects to help with pollination. They were free bees (I know – buzz off!).

I went to my department supervisor and told her, “We’re doing some heavy house cleaning at home tomorrow and my wife needs me to help with the storage shed and walk-in closets, moving and hauling stuff.”

“We’re short-handed right now,” she replied. “I really can’t give you the day off.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I knew I could count on you.”

Anyone should know how to put a saddle on a horse so it won’t slip and cause an injury. It’s a cinch. But the question remains: can a young woman overcome her fear of horses and still remain stable (neigh!)?

I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn’t work very well. As soon as the gum lost its flavor, I went back to pondering my mortality.

Let it be a sign unto you . . .

On a septic tank truck: “Yesterday’s Meals on Wheels.”

On a plumber’s truck: “We repair what your husband fixed.”

At a tire repair shop: “Invite us to your next blowout.”

In a nonsmoking area: “If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.”

At an optometrist’s office: “If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

At a car dealership: “The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

Outside a muffler shop: “No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”

At the electric company: “We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don’t, you will be.”

In the front yard of a funeral home: “Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”

At a propane filling station: “Thank heaven for little grills.”

I think it’s past time for those of us on the skeleton crew to stop ribbing others and bury the hatchet – but don’t mark the spot.


Jim (I want my mummy) Bishop works the graveyard shift writing arresting news stories as public information officer at Eastern Mennonite University. Issue a restraining order at bishopj@emu.edu.


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