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It was the first day of school. De'Shawon Jones - who for a second consectutive year had been held back in the third grade - pushed through the double doors and strode onto the teeming recess blacktop. He glanced around. From his jacket pocket he took a rock the size of a concord grape, and whipped it sidearm at a small boy playing four-square. The stone crashed into the bridge of the child's nose, and he crumpled in a heap. De'Shawon marched towards the baseball diamond. The air was crisp. Gossamer altocumuli flecked an azure sky. He kicked a first grader, who was crouched on the ground playing jax; he grabbed a girl by her ponytail, whirled her like a lariat above his head and sent her spinning into a chainlink fence. He taunted a fat Chinese child, stole his creamsicle, and took a seat on the bench along the first base line. The sun felt warm against his skin. He fashioned a crude dagger from the popsicle stick, which he stored in this tube sock for later use. He watched an inning. He grew restless, rushed the mound, bludgeoned the pitcher about the head and face with a shoe, and cursed him in Ebonics. From across the schoolyard, De'Shawon heard the cries of a dodge ball game in progress. He ambled over, punted the ball onto the roof of the school, and grabbed a kid around the neck, preparing to hitch the child by his underwear to the crossbar of the soccer goal. But just then something - the play of light on the high windows of the school auditorium? the sweet scent of cut grass? - something made him hesitate, and he was plunged into a reverie. Oh, Mnemosyne!, De'Shawon said inwardly, as the memories flooded back: a windmill on a hillside, the smell of the sea, an old clocktower in a village square, fresh-baked rugklapper brød cooling on a slate stone countertop - a thousand tender scenes, vivid as day and impossibly distant, of his native Denmark.

Date Written: May 28, 2004
Author: Craig Lewis
Average Vote: 3.7143

06/2/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan (4): Who hasn't fashioned a crude dagger from a popsicle stick and stored it in their tube sock for later use?
06/2/2004 Will Disney: so he was danish, eh?
06/2/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): Liked the writing but not the idea. A three point five but alas, still in the three family.
06/2/2004 Mr. Joshua (3): The ironic ending thing has become the stock-in-trade guest short set-up. Hey, I plead guilty myself, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
06/2/2004 TheBuyer (3): I'm gonna stand about a foot behind Mr. J and shout, "Ya! What he said!"
06/2/2004 Jon Matza (4): "Gossamer altocumuli flecked an azure sky"
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: Craig Lewis returns!
06/3/2004 John Slocum (5): my god! In my humble opinion this is the greatest short ever (a bold claim I'm sure I won't be able to back up), despite the absence of the vine. I certainly laughed more than at any other. I can't heap enough praise on this one. It has legs. When others have faded this one will still be shining. It is Shapiro and Viz. The twist here works a million times better than the P-man.
06/3/2004 John Slocum: "whipped it sidearm" "He taunted a fat Chinese child" "He fashioned a crude dagger from the popsicle stick, which he stored in this tube sock for later use" "punted the ball" "fresh-baked rugklapper brød" etc.
06/3/2004 scoop: Yeah "punted the ball." Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah. LOL! Oh yeah and "whipped it sidearm!" Whoo-whee. That sure is funny.
06/3/2004 John Slocum: Hey now, that was uncalled for! Although now that I'm sober the 'punting' isn't as funny. I still stand by my glowing comment.
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: Yeah, scoop. What's with the "Arbiter of Funny" T-shirt you've been wearing lately? Besides, isn't that job already taken?
06/3/2004 scoop: I'm not an arbiter. An arbiter is a "person with power to decide a dispute." I vote and comment like everyone else. I would make links connecting to the dozens of time you commented/voted on a short, but I think that would be excessive.
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: Saying a thing is not funny is one thing. Telling someone that the reasons they thought that thing was funny are invalid is something entirely different. Keep in mind that I'm not trying to prevent you from doing this. Your right to tell people what to think is not in question. You're just not having the one-to-one relationship with the text that I think you're trying to suggest. Furthermore, I dare you to prove that I've ever commented or voted on a short.
06/3/2004 scoop: Perhaps if I qualify my comments with lip-service to humility and then say the same ting anyway, and do so with a bow and curtsy it wouldn't rankle you so much? And I find it interesting that the following comment: "my god! In my humble opinion this is the greatest short ever (a bold claim I'm sure I won't be able to back up)" does not earn you snippy arbiter comments, but mine do. Perhaps I need to preemptively say that I will never be able to support anything I say before I say it. And as for this comment: "Telling someone that the reasons they thought that thing was funny are invalid is something entirely different." But telling me the reason it is funny are valid? So anything critical and authoratative borders on meglomania, but slapping someone on the back and telling them why its funny is just good-hearted fun? If OI tell someone that GArfield isn't funny because its not a socail commentary on Romantic philosophy that's wrong? But if I tell them it is funny, because man that cats on a diet, AGAIN, that's ok? Your logic is uncharcteristically mushy.
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: I'm waiting for your proof.
06/3/2004 scoop: Proof of what? that you voted? I saw you do it at my house with my own eyes.
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: Seeing is believing, I guess. Seriously, though, I guess what I'm saying is that the nature of comedy is a little more flexible and elusive than, say, chemistry. We speak about humor in very concrete terms, not because any of us is dumb enough to believe that funny can be scientifically proven, but because, I suspect, it makes our position seem stronger, both to ourselves and our audience. As for your response, do you really think I'm asking you to qualify everything you say? I'm really not. You know what, though? I'm really splitting hairs here. Also, defending my use of the word "arbiter". What's the point of that? Anyway. My snippy comment is withdrawn. Carry on.
06/3/2004 annebot (3): This is OK. I would like to see more involvement with a shiv, preferrably a home made one.
06/3/2004 John Slocum: I don't know if this is relevant, but I appreciated Scoop's remarks on my comment, both their style and content. In the morning light, my original comment looked ridiculous to me.
06/3/2004 qualcomm: who's the P-man, slocum?
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: I thought y'musta been pretty drunk or somethin' too. I reckon I's just havin' m'self a knee-jerk REsponse t'scoop bein' s'harsh. Scoop's m'pal, see, an' he's usually s'nice and sweet, and seein' him bein' all sore at yeh like that; well, it got me ta thinkin'...well, worryin' really. Just kinda quivers m'gizzard to see m'pal scoop bein' s'hateful-like t'both you, Mr. Slocum sir, and t'th'author of this here short. He ain't like that, scoop ain't. He's one a the good'uns, you betcha.
06/3/2004 John Slocum: I sensed undercurrents of affection, cleverly hidden by those same harsh words.
06/3/2004 John Slocum: The Lerpa: The P-man appeared in a twist at the end of another short penned by this individual.
06/3/2004 qualcomm: yup, there was affection in there, if i'm not mistaken. also, "punted the ball" is not funny, objectively speaking.
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: It could be, but no, it's probably not.
06/3/2004 Mr. Pony: I'm telling you, we should all start using emoticons.
06/3/2004 John Slocum: It was the kid ruining a perfectly good kickball game by meanly punting the ball on the roof that I found funny, not the isolated phrase "punting the ball"
06/3/2004 John Slocum: this short sort of reminded me, in part, of "Skinheed" from Viz. It would make a good comic.