The Post World War by Col. Stoopnagle

            I asked a chance acquaintance, who turned out to be a Harvard professor, just what the word ‘post’ meant in the well-known expression ‘post war world.’  He pushed back his Chair of Applied Science, rubbed his college degrees together and replied:  “Well, sir, ‘post’ means ‘after.’” 

            “Like The Saturday Evening After?”  I asked. 

            “I guess so,” he replied, having no idea what I meant.  “And I suppose you know what ‘world’ is,” he added. 

            “Yes, that’s a big round thing,” I replied, “and I also know what ‘war’ is.  Thank you very much, professor.  I’ll see you day post tomorrow.  Meanwhile, good postnoon.” 

            As I went out of the room, I saw the professor pointing to his head; he only had one ear, so everything I had said to him went in one ear and out the same one.

            When I got out into the street, I determined to go into the hinterlands and find out just what it is that people want in the post war world, and whether they really think they’ll have those odorless onions and armpits, those air-cooled hot water bags and those cellophane bathrooms many of the more optimistic magazines are promising them.

            So I set out with paper and pencil and re-treaded eraser to query the populace.  The first guy I met was a certain Mr. George Greenapple, from Stomachache, Indiana. 

            “What do you desire in the post war world, Mr. G.?”  I asked, flicking an old piece of serge from his blue lint suit. 

            “Just this,” answered Mr. G.: “I want my chauffeur to get down on his knees, kiss where the cuff used to be on my pants-leg and apologize for the way he acted all during the war.  Once I asked him to get out and fix a flat tire and he said:  ‘Fix it yourself, lunkhead!’  And when I was through, he made me drive him all around New York while he did his family’s shopping.  It was humiliating.” 

            Mr. Greenapple then drove to a nearby gasoline station and gave the guy 3 counterfeit coupons for 15 gallons of gas.

            The next prospect was a woman -- Mrs. J. Howard Hiccup, of Pardon Me, Iowa. 

            “Mrs. H.,” I began, “what does the post war world mean to you?” 

            “It means only one thing,”  answered this haughty Pardon Me-onion:  “I want to get my hands on my butcher.  I have detested that ogre from the minute rationing started, but every day I’ve had to smile at him, faun upon him and practically lean over the counter and buss him in order to get a choice cut of hamburger.  After this war is over, I am going to slice him up, quarter him, hang him up on the hooks in his own cooler and stamp GOV’T INSPECTED all over his fat, smug mug.  I’m bitter!” 

            As she turned to leave, a package fell out of her handbag.  From it dropped 4 pairs of nylons she had bought in the Brown Market.  (They were brown nylons.)

            The third candidate was a ruddy-faced man who looked like he was ruddy to kill me when I approached him. 

            “You look a little over-taxed this morning, sir.” 

            “Who isn’t these days?” he blustered, “they tax me 110% of what I make.” 

            “I’m sort of an Inquiring Reporter, sir,”  I said, wiping some perspiration off his forehead (we were firm friends by now), “and I wondered if you would say something for the shut-ins about the so-called post war world.” 

            I could hear his arteries hardening as he blurted:  “That Roosevelt!  That MAN!  Here I have a perfectly good job in Washington, tabulating the tabulations and recapitulating the recapitulations of the Retabulation and Recaptulation Administration and That Man wants to win the war and bring the boys back home so he can go hide in Hyde Park for the rest of his days.  And he knows darned well that’ll mean no job for me; I’ll have to go back to my old job of sexing chicks.  Have you ever sexed a chick?” 

            “That, sir, is a private matter,”  I answered, “and anyway it could get a man my age into a lot of trouble.” 

            Apparently he meant something else, and as he stamped off, I noticed something about to fall out of his back pocket.  I called it to his attention. 

            “Oh, thank you,” he said.  “that’s a V-mail letter from a friend of mine; he’s in a hospital in France.  He was badly wounded, but he’s better now.  A blood transfusion, he tells me, fixed him up fine.” 

            “Did you ever give any blood?”  I asked. 

            “No, I didn’t need to; there were plenty of others who did.  Anyway, I heard it makes you dizzy for a minute.” 

            As he walked away, he happened to step into a manhole.  I laughed and went on my way rejoicing. 


Page created November 15, 2006.  Copyright 1998-2006 by Richard D. Squires.