Abandon tedium, replace redundancy. Renew the excitement of life. Get into cuddling, the next new thing.It’s a dismal, gunmetal gray day on the Georgia coast. No sun. The kind of day to cuddle up with something: a bottle, a book or a blonde. Or Waffle House hash browns.
Ace Blackbanks, an old friend (chronologically speaking) drops by, shambles upstairs. He wants to commiserate on the state of things, mainly his state of apathy. Boredom drips from him like raindrops down the window. Ace needs an ear. I listen, the hallmark of friendship, but continue trimming my nails, trying to hone my diminishing ability to multi-task.
Some may remember Ace, a highly decorated special ops CIA operative who was singularly responsible for demolishing the Berlin Wall 1989. I wrote an expose on him and was interrogated harshly for divulging his identity. Witness Protection goons mean business.
Me: “Sit down, pal. You look troubled.”
Ace: “I am. No fire in the belly. Life’s dull. Retirement sucks. I’m bored. Life has passed me by. My sunset years are not like the TV ads.”
Me: “Which ones, Cialis, Disney Cruises, Downton Abbey?”
Ace: “Nah. Advertising bunk. Why did I quit working? Excitement surged through me then. Better than an overdose of T shots.”
Me: “Go no further. That’s your problem. You quit life, hopped off the merry-go-round, bought into the faux life of leisure. Too many naps. You lost your soul.”
Ace: “Right. Now I’m irrelevant. Girls call me ‘Sir.’ Hanging around the house is driving me mad.”
Me: “Get yourself a job. Use your brain again. Your brawn left a long time ago, remember?”
Ace: “Job? You kidding? Who’d hire me? I might fail the drug test. Say, what is the half-life of a stout scotch and soda anyway? Besides, they run criminal background checks.”
Me: “You still worried about that incident in college when you exploded a cherry bomb in the toilet?”
Ace: “Mistaken identity, but it keeps popping up. Even the preacher asked me about it recently.”
Me: “Harmless childhood prank. Forget it. Besides, remember the Berlin Wall? Now, that was an explosion.” He laughs.
I toss him an article from the WSJ.
Me: “Read this, Ace. Says cuddling is the next new thing. Open a cuddling studio. You’ll be an overnight sensation, the talk of the island, the envy of your boring golf buddies.”
He reads it. His eyes sparkle. His nerves twitch. His brain wakes from its slumber. Life crawls out of the cave.
Ace: “What will my wife think?”
Me: “Cut her in on the action. You’ll have the only couples cuddling company in the area. You’ll be rich overnight.”
Ace: “Who’ll want to cuddle with two old people?”
Me: “Look, change your names. Calvin and Clarissa. Buy some wigs, some colored tight silk tees, a few gold necklaces and some Ray Bans that cover your face. Dim the lights, dig out your cornball one-liners, like, ‘Honey, your daddy must be a terrorist, ‘cause you’re the bomb.’”
Ace: “Now you’re talking. How much will folks pay to be cuddled?”
Me: “Says $80 to $400 an hour. Look, low overhead, government tax credits for employing some low work-ethic ne’er-do-wells. Plenty around here. Cheap. No Social Security.”
Ace: “I’m feeling empowered. Where do I start?”
Me: “Convert your guest bedroom into a brothel look-alike. Re-wallpaper with some used red and black flocked French castoffs from Las Vegas on e-Bay. Be sure they still reek of stale cigarette smoke. Hang a few velvet Elvis pictures on the wall, install some red lights and pipe in mood music from Perry Como.”
Ace: “What about my clients?”
Me: “Take anybody. Start with your married friends over 50. An under-served market. They haven’t had a good cuddle in years. Rent a high school kid, dress him in a kitty cat costume and stick him out on Frederica Road with your sign, Cuddles Anonymous.”
Ace: “What about widows?
Me: “Forget widows. They’ve had enough male proximity. They’re starved for attention, for sure, but constant jabbering about bridge destroys the cuddling ambience.”
Ace: “Credit cards?”
Me: “No credit. Cash only. No refunds. No IRS intervention. Pure profit.”
He mulls the possibility over. Suddenly, he springs up, throws down his cane and bolts for the door.
Me: “Where you going?”
Ace: “Home to write a business plan. Great idea. Thanks.”
If the art of cuddling has arrived, can The Au Pair Man franchise be far behind?
Life is there for the taking. Grab it. The sun will shine again.
Editor’s Note: Visit Bud’s blog and enjoy his vast collection of musings at theweaklypost.com. He can also be reached by email: BudHearn@mindspring.com