Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 15, 2016


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An overheard classic

Statler and Waldorf

by jaydub99

I was flipping through the channels the other night when I heard the familiar voice of the world's most beloved amphibian, Kermit the Frog. The Muppet Show was on and I paused to watch. They switched to a scene with the two old guys, Statler and Waldorf, in the balcony. I listened to the banter and the insults they exchanged. My memory swam backwards and I was reminded of a time long ago and a phrase that has stuck with me to this day.

In the summer of 1989 I was sitting at a bar stool in a converted garage in Southeast Idaho. The bar was a favorite watering hole for many and was a great place to waste a few hours watching TV. Usually it was a football game, the NBA playoffs, a Mike Tyson fight or a particularly funny episode of Saturday Night Live. All my friends were there, I knew the owners, and the bartender and I had been friends since third grade. It was always a place to relax and where "everyone knows your name."

On that occasion I had arrived early and decided to throw back a few ice cold Coors Lights. I was home from college, had the night off from work, and was doing a little pre lubrication before a night out on the town.

I noticed a couple of old codgers sitting next to me at the bar nursing what looked to be whiskey. It was presented straight up and in a small shot glass. They looked old and salty, dressed in jeans and flannel shirts. They both sported beards which had recently been trimmed. Hell, for all I knew this might have been their annual night into town. They didn't say much to one another, mostly stared at the TV hung up behind the bar. Every now and then I could hear one of them take a noisy slurp at the whiskey in their glasses. It was early so the only television on was the nightly news. They were running a story on the AIDS virus and the epidemic that was spreading. A suited newscaster was talking about the emergence of new drugs and how the disease was moving from a fatal disease to a treatable one.

Both men were intently watching the program and finishing their whiskeys. They waived at the bartender and silently ordered another round. When the drinks arrived they both tasted and like synchronized swimmers each dug out a bag of tobacco and papers. They rolled, shaped, licked and lit. One finally spoke.

"Man....that AIDS is terrible. People are sure hurting."

"Yup.....it shore is." said his partner.

"Gonna be hard to cure that AIDS....it is pretty tough."

"Yep."

"Hell.....the only way they gonna cure that AIDS....they gonna have to take fire to it."

The other guy nodded as if agreeing that fire was the be all, end all, solution for nasty little viruses like this one. Nothing is more powerful than fire. They went back to drinking and watching the TV and I almost fell off my chair. Simple, you just gotta take fire to it. I walked over to a table resisting the urge to discuss with them the makeup of a virus and why fire was a poor solution to eradicating it. Gotta take fire to it, I would have to remember that.



Non-Fiction Writing Contest contest entry


It is chance encounters like this that make life fun.
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