And Next Week, Son, I'll Tell You All About Walnuts

There they go, Jeremy, off on their mysterious pilgrimage...stand back behind the trees now, we don’t want to frighten them off, do we? This is something that happens only once every twelve years; what you’re seeing you won’t see again till you’re a man of twenty-one! Look at that slightly dazed expression in their eyes, their heads all tilted slightly to the left as they march along. What is this long, long procession of part-time nature center volunteers hearing as they move? Watch closely, Jeremy, for you won’t see this many skinny unmarried bespectacled women in their mid-fifties with long gray hair who dress like boys in one place for a long time to come.

Oh, oh, there’s Miss Formsby from the Scrupps Bird Sanctuary! We went there two years ago, remember, and we asked her where the bathrooms were! Oh, and there’s Miss Numster from the Evelyn S. Thangis Wildlife Trail Park in East Smithy---I specifically recall her telling me when I stopped there one day to get directions to Pizza Hut that she worked at the visitor’s kiosk on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So many others I think I recognize…well, they’re all one now, all part of this great and sacred autumn journey that begins at the ocean and moves west toward Ann Arbor, where these thousands of polite, soft-spoken women in ponytails and old jeans who like reading Anne Tyler novels and volunteering at the nature center because it gives them someone to talk to and nice fields to look at will seem to disappear into the earth’s crust itself for exactly nine days, at which point they will reappear as if nothing had ever happened, their memories wiped utterly clean of the fourteen hundred mile walk down I-70 through rain, sleet, hail, snow, and very very rare catcalls. What secret information is imparted to them when they finally vanish from human sight, what immense communal experience do they share as their minds become psychically entwined on a level no normal human can ever experience? We’ll never know, Jeremy. We’ll simply never know. The only thing we do know for sure is that some of them never return, sacrificed by the group to appease the higher entity which silently summoned them. The Overmind must be obeyed, it seems. Yes, yes, it must.

Now then, Jeremy, I also wanted to take this time with you to explain a few other things about the way the universe works. Sometimes, when a man and a woman love each other very much, they want to express that feeling in a physical way. This is called “playing Frisbee on the beach.” You’ll see it happening when we go to Ocean City this summer. The thing to remember in this life, Jeremy, is that no matter how badly you want to do it, playing Frisbee on the beach is not even remotely fun. It’s too windy, the sand is difficult to run around in, you can cut yourself, it’s hot, and women suck at throwing the damn thing. Take it from your old pa, Jeremy---just lie there on the beach towel bored out of your mind when you’re there with a girl; don’t try to bring props or “do something fun.” Got that? The “fun” part is heading to the seafood buffet later and going to freaking TOWN. You’ll see. Oh yes, yes you shall.