It's time for another installment of the occasional question-and-answer feature Ask Ol' Assmunch.

This is the summertime installment, and will be limited to questions about summertime topics submitted by recent high school and college graduates. As you probably know, Assmunch has been banned by the Arkansas Commencement Activities Association from speaking at graduation ceremonies, so he's reduced to treating in this forum the many questions that graduates are eager to ask a man of his great experience and erudition.

In case you didn't know, he was banned because he persisted, after repeated formal warnings, in making anti-inspirational graduation speeches, even at high-class educational institutions. His message to Arkansas youth was one of unrelieved hopelessness. He told graduates that most of them would wind up living in trailer-park squalor, with snotty unambitious children who themselves would face an even bleaker future, and then they'd have to raise the children's children while the worthless children were out gallivanting irresponsibly around. The highest calling any of them would aspire to would be assistant manager at one of the squat-and-gobbles.

    When the 2008 graduates got old, they wouldn't be able to draw any Social Security, not ever having paid any in, but Social Security would be long-nonextant anyway, and, unable to afford being sent to rot in a nursing home, the class-of-'08 grads would most likely be put out beside the road, like Helena does stray dogs, where, if they wanted to form oldtimer hobo camps with zombie-looking invalids fighting over roadkill scraps, then their degenerate no-teeth descendants to the fourth generation still hunkered in the foul ruins of the old original homestead singlewides surely wouldn't care.

A heart-breaking situation all around.

The Arkansas Commencement Activities Association's position was that this drear Assmunch vision of the future was unrealistic, or maybe overrealistic. In any event, it was uncalled for. It would depress and demoralize Arkansas youth for no good reason. It would turn them into a generation of scoffers, unappreciative of traditions such as the Hope Watermelon Festival, and of heroes such as David O. Dodd, the Developmentally Challenged Boy Martyr of the Confederacy.

Today's graduates don't need such discouragement; they need uplift. They need motivation to hurry out into the workaday world where they might win a place on the yanking-poultry-innards line if one comes available, then home evenings to the tin mansion to numb out on idiot TV in order to anesthetize tomorrow and the next 30 years. If there's not a graduation speaker to buff a rosy hue onto that very likely likelihood, how can we expect enthusiasm in the graduate going out to meet this glorious destiny?

On another career track, even if it's true that, should they exceed all expectations and claw their way upward to, say, a coveted associate's position at, say, Wal-Mart, then some company sleaze like Tom Coughlin will slither in and screw them out of any benefits their hard work might have earned them, and for a few more months than expected  send them scuttling back to the vittle bins with the bent cans long expired if they want to go on eating, or to the poor house if they've given up on such an extravagance as affordable nourishment, why should they have to hear about that now?

The world will disabuse them soon enough. Let them be young and carefree for a little while yet.

That in short was, and is, the Arkansas Commencement Activities Association's view. It could hardly be more different from Assmunch's, which advocates brutal honesty up front with the little bastards so that they   won't be coming back later with a lot of 20-something and 30-something whining about what a crappy legacy we left them. In this matter, at this juncture, Assmunch and the association are at what is called loggerheads, meaning in this instance not a kind of turtle, or a kind of shrike, or a lumberjacks' portable toilet , but rather a kind of standoff – the Mexican kind.

I don't see how the thing can be resolved, both sides being mighty stiff-necked, as the Lord was always calling the Israelites, but in the event that either neck limbers noticeably in the foreseeable, I'll try to remember to let you know.

    OK, now, if you'll pardon that lengthy digression — pretty numbing in its own right I see looking back — we can move on to those summertime questions from those budding supersizers and nuggeteers

Q. I was wondering about the old summertime baseball rule that you're out if you hit 99 fouls in one turn at bat. Is it really a rule? Who made it up, Bowie Kuhn? Ford Frick? It's not on Google.

A. Let me get this straight: You're going into the definitive part of your life and this sort of foolishness is what rouses your curiosity?  Do me a favor. Read some Shakespeare, some Joseph Conrad, some Wally Hall. Expand those horizons.

My space has run out but the others are comparable. Civilization teeters, but when has it not?


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Bob Lancaster

  • Wretched rez

    I had some New Year's Rez(olutions) for 2016 but that ship sailed so I'm renaming them my Spring Rez or my All-Occasion Whatevers and sending them along.
    • May 26, 2016
  • Nod to Bob

    A look back at the weird and wonderful world of Bob Lancaster.
    • Mar 21, 2013
  • On black history

    If you're going to devote an entire month to appreciating the history of a color, it might as well be the color black.
    • Feb 14, 2013
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Bob Lancaster

  • Lancaster retires

    Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.

    • Feb 21, 2013
  • On black history

    If you're going to devote an entire month to appreciating the history of a color, it might as well be the color black.
    • Feb 14, 2013
  • Making it through

    Made it through another January, thank the Lord.
    • Feb 6, 2013
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.


    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation