A Tale of Suppressed Desire, rated PG-65

From a writer’s notebook:  Latent = Talent 

The anagram above demonstrates rather dramatically the age-related awakening that many people discover after a normal professional career has ended. This is the story of one such person, whose identity, because of client confidentiality, cannot be revealed.  So we will refer to him simply as Raymond J. Smigla, because that is the name on his driver’s license.  

Now retired, living in Durham, NC, Raymond had an outstanding career as a pharmacist, both as an owner and hospital manager, and is a renowned family man.  Loyal to his fraternity, a diligent sorority houseboy, a singer of note, he was noted for his delivery of a one-line call to arms, “Plunk your magic twanger, frogEE !” He often repeated the phrase while under the influence of a cold refreshment.  

Fifty years passes quickly, fast forward to Branson, MO, this month, and the very same fellow is selected, from the audience, at random, to play the role of Scrooge on stage in front of an audience of thousands.  An ambitious papparazzi, most likely a freelancer for the National Enquirer, was able to secure a single photo, low-res, taken surreptitiously from the 20th row, concealed behind two elderly silver-haired women.

get-attachment-1aspx.jpeg “Scrooge”, in a bed, with a nightcap on, attended to by a shapely elf.  

At the conclusion of the performance he received a standing ovation.  Scrooge, not the photographer.I was devastated.  Envy and jealousy are such vulnerable weaknesses, however I have to admit to being greener than Kermit, that other Frog.180px-kermit_by_matthew_bisanz.JPG 

Kermie in perpetuity at the Smithsonian, courtesy of the artist, Matthew Bisanz

This episode prompted me to expose a character flaw I’ve sheltered since I retired from active practice twelve years ago.  So here goes…..I’d like to be The Pope.  

Yes, that Pope, the same fellow protected by the Swiss Beafeater guards, living in a walled complex of baronial splendor, adored by millions.

Before taking away my Zyprexa, consider the following qualifications: 

    I took three years of Latin in high school, averaging C+
    I think I look good dressed in white
    Often quiet, reflective, and enjoy Italian food
    Love the year round Mediterranean climate
    I’ve always lusted to drive the Mercedes Benz Popemobile

So last Saturday morning, accompanied by my friend and barber of 40 years, I took the first step.  Our normal haunt, The South Bend Farmer’s Market, an institution that began in 1924, was the venue chosen.  Armed with foil wrapped chocolates to pass to our flock (customers, patrons, vendors, and unsuspecting children) we began our crusade at 7 AM.


Father Charles & Father Patrick 

By 8:30 AM, my hopes and dreams had been shattered by an adoring public that somehow ignored our reverential blessings (but accepted our chocolate goodies) by informing me that:

    you have to be a Catholic
    you have to work on Easter, Christmas, and every Sunday
    you can’t be married

Haven’t these people heard of the ACLU ?

The EEOC ?

The Right to Work statutes ?  

Really, during an economic meltdown and a decline in church attendance, they can’t overlook a few minor deficiencies in a resume ? Well, X qqqq Me. Find someone else to listen to your confessions.

I’ll leave you with a favorite Latin passage, “sic transit gloria mundi” which reminds us literally, “thus passes the glory of the world”.

Or in English, “Bah, humbug”

Merry Christmas everyone. 


  1. Gary Estep says

    “Plunk your magic twanger, frogEE !” OMG!!! As an adoring child I was a faithful fan of Smilin’ Ed McConnell! First on radio then on TV. Since I lived close to Hollywood, I managed to talk my parents into taking my sister and I to the studio to see the live show on several occasions. Actually, looking back on it, I now realize that the man-chld I called “Dad” was as big a fan as I was. He even got me a Froggy rubber toy that stuck its tongue out when squeezed. He actually let me play with it when he didn’t have it at work to stick in the face of some unsuspecting acquaintance, usually in the coffee ship at Lockheed Air Terminal where he was an air traffic controller.

    Great memories! Thanks! Oh, I never wanted to be Pope. But being God would be fun. There are some politicians and corporate CEOs I’d love to go to work on.

  2. insightout says


    You mused_______”being God would be fun.”

    I once confronted my bridge partner, a renowned gastroenterologist, about a particularly clever play he had made on defense.

    “Jim, you like playing God, don’t you ?”

    “No”, he replied, and then with a dour expression, never cracking even the slightest grin,

    “I would be overqualified”

    True story.

  3. says

    Dear Father Charles,

    I confess that one of my favorite duties as a young alter boy while growing up in New Jersey was to pour wine into the chalice during ablutions.

    Elderly Father Conan sternly instructed me not to be stingy and to keep pouring the wine until he raised it, clinking on the cruet (to near filling).

    Thus, I learned about wine bouquet at an early age.

    And now for my penance: I will pray for thee for lusting after The Pope’s Job.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Bro says

    For your penance, do some hail mary’s, rosary’s & that other uummm stuff. Oh, and they think we’re crazy???
    Blue Hair Vistas, Phase 14
    N Sonora, AZ