hey, and Happy Groundhog day!
closest thing we beggars have to a national holiday) I
hope you all got the day off work and school to reverently
pay your respects to all creatures who selflessly scratch
the soil for the betterment of man-
kind. If you didn't get the day off, perhaps you should
inaugurate a massive letter writing campaign to your state
representatives to inform them that their "Contract
On America" means squat without a "National
Observation of Groundhog Day" clause.
do hope this newsletter finds you all bright and sunny,
with your proverbial groundhog casting no shadows. For
a lot of you, this here is your very first newsletter
from your adored Sturdy Beggars. Welcome aboard,
we are glad you have wed our ilk.
I know what you freshmen mudpuppies must be thinking:
"When I thoughtfully submitted my good name to this
admirable institution I made a sober commitment which
only my death shall sever. There is no offering too great,
nor sacrifice too dear, that I would not ecstatically
yield to this hallowed society...a society that I shall
faithfully serve above and beyond all may other obligations
and fealties." And, since I can't cut you off, you
continue thinking, "For I am not one to impetuously
scribble my name on muddy cards and send them off with
no clear thought toward the consequence of my action.
Nay, never! I shall readily give all that is asked of
me, and more. But what, pray tell, shall that be? How
can I serve when I am not privy to the principles and
machinations of this Sturdy Beggar Appreciation
Society? I GOT ME NO IDEAR WHAT THIS DANG MUDDY BEGGAR
CLUB IS ALL ABOUT!!!"
a devout flock of fledgling followers. So, you'd like
to know what this little club is all about. Well, you're
not alone, in fact, most, if not all, of our veteran mudder
members would like to know as well.
I can say is, beats me. I don't know. Nobody seems to
know. None of us Sturdy Beggars have the slightest
idea what we are doing with this thing. We had a big beggar
Pow Wow the day after Thanksgiving to discuss the fan
club and newsletter and the only dogmatical bone we chew
for sure was the United States postal rates were about
to go up a whomping 9.6%.
when it finally dawned on me. Not one of us, not one beggar,
not one fan, not one outside opinionated columnist or
talk show host knows what the Sturdy Beggar Appreciation
Society represents. The impact of this revelation was
so strong that I immediately doubled over with dry heaves
of unity and pride. The fact that not one of us knows
what the SBAS is, is all the proof I need to prove that
I am part of the greatest fan club in the history of the
world. Can you think of any other assemblage that assuredly
shares such unanimous notions as this? With all of us
not knowing what we are, or where we stand, we, beggars
and members alike, thus achieve an unparalleled equality.
An equality that many have fought and died for. An equality...dare
I say it three times fast...an equality of unequivocal
quality unequaled in the quantum quests and queries of
let us all valiantly continue to joyously rock in our
credo: If we don't know what we are doing, we can't screw
anything up. Like my kindergarten professor always told
me, "no brain, no headaches." Whatever that
And the winner of this issue's "Guest Columnist"
Contest is none other than Mud Maiden, age 12, of Portsmith,
RI, with her column, "Moving Sorrow." We beggars,
being quite transitory ourselves, could easily relate
to Mud Maiden's thesis on the difficulty of always having
to try to fit in. Over the years we've found that just
being ourselves is the best way to make new friends. Oh,
sometimes people will stare and point at us, but those
who take the time to get to know us are the ones worth
by Mud Maiden
I think that moving to a new city & state is harder
on the kids than parents. The kids have to go to new schools,
make more friends, and adjust to the new area.
I have moved 6 times and I am in the 7th grade. That's
almost 1 time every year.
When you move, you have to be able to find a way to fit
in. That is not easy at all.
I think one of the hardest moves is during the school
year. That makes it very tough.
There are some advantages, though. You meet new people,
make more friends, and learn about the cities and towns
you live in or near. But kids, always remember,
It's hard on parents too.
Congratulations, Mud Maiden, on winning our first "Guest
Columnist" Contest. Who will the next lucky winner
be? Remember, 300 words or less. Also feel free to enter
our new "Guest Cartoonist" Contest. (Entries
= unreturned donations, dig?)
A Child's Groundhog Day In Oahu
Part II: Enter Punchy
Dudes! What's shaking?! Wakka Ding Hoy here, with another
saga of them Golden Groundhog Days of yore! Yep, last
year's episode went over so big time with the editor dudes
that they insisted I write another one..."Just as
soon as hell freezes over and we have a Republican Congress,"
were Hack's exact words. So you can thank The Eagles and
the gullibility of the American people for this feature.
Or you can thank me, I don't mind.
You may recall not much was happening on Groundhog Day,
since we like didn't have any Groundhogs. We'd surf and
eat that poi, boy, much like any other day. I'd also hang
some with my bro Punchy. That dude was something, man.
He'd walk right up to a Haoli (non-island guy), a drink
in both hands, and say, "Hey, Tourist Guy, would
you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?"
"Sure," the unsuspecting Haoli would answer.
"Blam!" went Punchy, decking the dude out cold.
We'd then gleefully pick the guy's pockets, tie his shoelaces
together and squirt papaya juice up his nose. This is
a Traditional Island Greeting, one you seldom read about
in the brochures, but one which makes island life richly
rewarding. For us, at least.
That Punchy! What a dude, Guy! What a guy, Dude! But one
fair morning he punched out the wrong touristo, a man
with some serious juice of his own. The dude didn't want
to press charges, he just wanted revenge, so next thing
you know, ol' Punchy's in the States shilling some swill.
Hey, surf's up! Gots to go! Still haven't said much about
Groundhog day in Oahu (ain't much to say) but at least
you know the true story of an advertising legend! Later,
Ding Hoy Your Hawaiian Poi Boy Pal
WHO YOU ARE
of you know who we are, and from your letters and returned
questionnaires we know who you are. But we figure, a lot
of you don't know who you are. Or, to be more specific,
you don't know who each other is. We have painstakingly
compiled some stirring statistics from your application
postcards, and after categorizing all the responses from
the "Reason For Joining" segment, we would like
to share our crunchy numbers with all of you. Behold what
you are made of.
lot of your reasons for joining are vast and kaleidoscopic,
and defy any type of categorization, but don't worry,
we were able to ram them all into some random little pigeonhole,
from Squirrel, 18, of Osnabruck, Germany, who wisely informs
us, "Bad taste is international," to Grover,
21, of Glen Burnie, MD, who sadly enlists because, "my
life needs purpose," to T. Bear, 38, of Lyons, IL,
who was only thinking of others as he joins, "to
keep a tradition alive for future generations," to
even little Skupper of Mud, 46, of Franklin, MA, who,
well, he has his very special reason for desiring to muster:
"intimate relations with Legs Akimbo."
reasons seemed to summarize it all. Maybe Magic Man, 55,
of St. Jacob, IL, joins for the noblest of causes, "to
help show the world that conflicts can be settled at the
Mud Pit," or maybe Pookie, 5, of Norwich, CT,
saw the big picture the clearest with her penetrating
rationale, "You're yucky."
take a good look at how the count crumbles...
38% have exquisite taste and join because they love
the Mud Show
17% join for their zealous appreciation, stimulation,
and/or titillation with mud.
10% join with the definitive "why not," "because,"
and "none of your business" justifications.
7% are your run-of-the-mill wild thrill seekers who
join just for the "fun."
7% join because they believe they share with us a philosophical
ideology and regard their "place" being within
this consecrated confederation.
5% opened their eyes for the first time at a Mud Show
as to what they believe to be their true life's calling.
5% join up out of some sexual impulse.
5% join for a potpourri of reasons, many of them being
the common non-sequitur.
3% fervently join up vocally diagnosing their "sickness."
3% carefully neglected to fill in the blank.
carefully scrutinizing these statistics, we Sturdy Beggars
have assiduously drawn up our own "Contract For Whatever,"
which we pledge to promise as a testimony of our commitment
toward what we now vow to be sacred.
here it is...
do solemnly swear to devote 38% of our efforts to continue
making our Mud Shows lovable, while devoting 17%
of our enterprise to see to it that our mud fills everyone's
expectations and/or desires. 10% of our undertaking will
be vague and unsure, with a healthy 7% of our devotions
going towards the projection of good clean "fun."
Exactly 7% of our drudgery will be the extolling of utopian
ideologies, and a good 5% of our sweat will be excreted
in keeping our role model status intact. 5% of us will
go towards miscellaneous and sundry practices, while another
5% will be devoutly devoted toward innuendo of the libidinous
essence. A whole 3% of our attention will tend towards
nurturing the sickos among you, and a full 3% of every
action, word and deed we display will be fully committed
to being resolutely blank.
our promise to you, our fans. Take it or leave it. We
Ground Hog Daze of My Youth
Feb. 2nd forever tattooed on my remaining brain cell, my
parents left me in the care of one of my older brothers.
I was 10 at the time, he 16. As I stood shaking, peeking
out of the curtains and watching them drive away, a shadow
of impending doom crept across the floor (no, it wasn't
a groundhog's). As I turned, seeing no one, a voice echoed
through the house "...SMOTHER..."
hit upon my worst fear, suffocation, my brother appeared,
holding a pillow and grinning (a scene similar to a current-day
politico who constantly pulls a plasticized document from
his lapel and STICKS IT IN YOUR FACE!) My feet froze as
he pushed me down and stuck the pillow over my face. He
pulled it away long enough to ask, "Can you breath?"
I'd suck in a quick breath of air before the pillow descended...again...and
again and again.
often wondered why he did this - was it Groundhogs Day?
Something in the drinking water? (no, the local nuke plant
hadn't been built yet). Or, was it the whiskey he had stashed
in his room? Whatever the reason - it made me what I am
Fairdinkum (aka in Chicago & Des Moines as Randy
Passions and/or Sir Osis of Liver)
A Groundhog Day Afternoon
by Legs Akimbo
O.K., O.K., I'll try to talk about it...if you...think that
it will do some GOOD. But as you can probably SEE, it makes
me very nervous...'Cause, it's just that this whole time
of YEAR is...not easy for me...what with...the SNOW and
the lack of FOOD and the LIGHT depriVATION and the snowblowers
and snowmobiles ROARing along just when I'd stopped dreaming
about the Panzerish LAWN tractors. (shudder) Can I have
Please let's try not to leap to the conclusion that I am
delusional. I KNOW...it's, it's documented as COMmon KNOWledge
that the winter months will produce this effect on those
like myself, but I ALSO know that I get MORE than usually
icky and catatonic when it gets cold out. Oh, I'm either
IRRITABLE and barely moving or more likely I'm practically
COMATOSE or at any rate USELESS and junk food-riddled, watching
daytime fergoshsakes COMMERCIAL T.V....for the dysFUNCtional
and the unemPLOYED...and oh I could just weep...it's just
so...(shudder, sigh, HONK)
This, I ASSURE you, goes on for MONTHS at a time; me barely
moving a muscle from, say, after the pumpkin pie is served
at Thanksgiving until...this whole "EXPECTATION"
thing, you see..."February SECOND," they say,
"that's the big DAY," they say. You think that
PARENTS can lay a trip on you, try the meteorological COMMUNITY.
OH...I'm getting hives...
Yet OH, you can bet your little buckTEETH that come Feb.
2nd...be it rain, shine or impending CONTRACT negotiations...all
those annoying WEATHER persons and, forgive me, TURISTOS
will show up outside my hole with their cameras ready to
POP POP POP and their, "OOH, what's he gonna SEE? and
what do we MAKE of what he sees?" and HEY, y'know,
SOMEtimes after 3 months of nappin' MAYBE you feel that
you'd like to step outside WITHOUT the benefit of an audience...And
for WHAT...some hoodoo about my SHADOW? (I dunno, but I
think that SOME of these people need to get out in the sun
a little LESS often)...so anyway, and THIS is what really
sits me up with the small-mammal COLD SWEATS: I'll finally
get to this point where I say,"NO! this year I'm NOT
going out there. I won't give them the PLEASURE. They can't
know the torture that it is TO BE ME."
ANYway it doesn't MATTER because then...IT happens: One
moment I'm sitting there with my righteous indignation and
everything intact and then, suddenly...I'm not sure that
I can HEAR them - my adoring public, as it were. What if
they've decided NOT to trust me this year and are off staring
down some WOMBAT'S burrow instead? I want to be strong but
ultimately I'm so small and furry and egoTIStical that after
some few rounds of wrestling with myself I lose or I win...and
it's up and out of the hole. The crowds go WILD. I feel
cheap...but loved. And everything's all right again until...Valentine's
Day. I dunno, maybe I just never got over Mrs. Bemister's
refusal to acknowledge the massive crush that I had on her
in the 3rd grade. Was that FAIR? She could've SMILED, at