I see that Earl has resurfaced on Facebook. I thought he was irretrievably lost. Those reading this blog in Kyrgyzstan might want to return to whatever it is you do in Kyrgystan, like repairing the roof of your Yurt so it doesn’t leak on your keyboard.
There are a number of things I’ve mislaid, lost sight of, and let slip through my fingers. I’ve lost money in the stock market, frittered away time and money on corny business ideas, and pawned my wife’s jewelry to buy shingles for the log cabin.
For extended periods I’ve most my temper, my sanity, and sense of humor. I’m now missing several body parts, a toe, tonsils and gall bladder. Taking Jack Kerouac’s advice on accepting loss I’ve come to terms with all the things I no longer have, except for one. Earl.
I was named Guardian of Earl after the funeral of my niece, Julie, a Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the Pentagon. Julie was a rabid fan of Far Side cartoons and Saturday Night Live. She found Earl at the bottom of a Walmart discount barrel, took him home, and dressed him in a miniature conical party hat with a matching red ribbon around his neck. Earl became her inseparable side-kick throughout her long military career. Earl helped her break the ice and language barrier with children who were dreading the inoculating needle. During Julie’s last terminal year she requested more and more goofy stories about Earl. I may post a few in memory of Julie. Has it been nearly eleven years already?
The goofy stories include Earl amending Julie’s income tax to include himself as a deductible barnyard animal, building a time machine out of old Game Boy parts, communicating with Stephen Hawking on a regular basis, solving the mystery of Amelia Earhart, and if you owned any Tyson stock back in the day, Earl was the one who started the “Angry Chicken Syndrome” rumor that led to your loss. Earl tried to short sell Tyson stock but rubber chickens lack basic math skills.
Earl has secretly infiltrated genetic labs where they’ve been splicing DNA from Foghorn, that super-sized Leghorn, and other cartoon characters. Earl's been an informant for PETA on a regular basis.
The last time I saw Earl he was sitting on top of the chalkboard in my high school chemistry lab in the middle of a Superfund site in Picher Oklahoma. My students had dressed him in a vest made of aluminum foil after he developed a fear of flying sting rays. Twice I’ve made the trip back to Picher searching for Earl. I think the custodian's son abducted him. I’m glad to see that Earl has made his way out of that toxic waste dump, but saddened to see that someone has tied him to the back bumper of their car as a shock absorber. Very cruel and inhumane!
I also need to inform NASA that Earl has traveled to the edge of the universe and found it is covered with four by eight sheets of half inch gypsum wallboard. During the trip Earl also communicated with aliens from Alpha Centauri who gave him the formula to neutralize carbon. The most important thing Earl found in his intergalactic travel is that, just as Einstein predicted, time is cyclical. That means that all things will come back to us in time.