Could you explain our present day to one of your ancestors?
Say you were granted one hour with your great-great-great-great-great grandfather – a person I’m sure you’ve never met. How would you explain the world to someone so far removed from our time?
"Hi, Super G! Is it OK if I call you that? We only have an hour, and I don’t want to waste time with all that great-great-great-great-great nonsense, if that’s OK? What? Oh, sorry. I didn’t know that was ‘grand impertinence.’ I was - Whoa! Did you seriously just hit me with a switch? Really? You’re back from the dead for one hour, and you came packing a hickory stick?
"Back off, old man! We don’t wallop people here. Abuse went out with those silly shoes and that high-collar shirt you’re wearing. Hey! Again with the switch? If you hit me one more time, I’m leaving, and you can sit here and watch ‘American Idol’ for the rest of the hour for all I care!
"What? – I mean – ‘Sir?’ - Oh. It’s a TV show. Television. ...TV... No. I didn’t say TB. You don’t have to cover your mouth; no one has TB here, and... you’re already dead! TV is entertainment; didn’t you have entertainment back in your time?
"Oh. ‘No time for folly.’ Well, we live a lot longer now, so we budget in a bit of folly and we add in some falderol just for grins. Look, we only have 45 minutes left... do you mind lowering your stick?"
I’m confident your hour with "Super G" would be perfectly wasted with him swinging that switch and seething over "those harpies and harlots" on the cover of the lingerie catalog - the one he keeps glancing at on the coffee table.
No, you need a better strategy. Wipe the drool from his chin, and tell him it’s still 1843. Make him think he just dozed off for a few hours, and everyone he knows went to the blacksmith’s shop for a new horseshoe.
Don’t even try to explain anything about the present. The living don’t understand life, so why place such a burden on the dead? Oh, and take that lingerie catalog away from him before he leaves.
He tucked it in his waistcoat while you were dodging that last wild swipe from his hickory stick, the old reprobate!
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at email@example.com.