He’s a six year old and as cute and precocious as all get out and, with little more than a fidgety smile, he cut me the deal of a lifetime. Obviously, part of a school fundraiser of some sort, the purchase in question, one of those coupon books that you never open once you’ve shelled out the twenty bucks, teeming with special offers and, as advertised, would quickly pay for itself in no time.
And, no doubt, if one were a normal functioning human being who went out into the world and consumed in a mainstream fashion, that very well might be the case. However, there is not now nor never has been anyone around this joint that fits that bill. Nuclear families are the target demographic of such endeavors. And, of course, those lacking a defensive perimeter when beset by the fidgety smile.
Now I could be wrong. There actually might be opportunities for the eccentric among us to save a buck or two while participating in the economics of the day. It’s quite possible that if I were to, in fact, actually open and peruse the coupon book, that many of the offers might be aimed directly at the odd and offbeat in our midst.
What a "Neverland" that would be. Page after page of two-for-one coupons good only at Ken Sanders Rare Books down in Salt Lake City. Get a free "Hayduke Lives" or "Bonnie Abzug" T-shirt with each purchase of an R. Crumb illustrated edition of "The Monkey Wrench Gang."
Or how about half-off on "previously nurtured" copies of "Naked Lunch," "Tropic of Cancer," "Ulysses," or "Howl and Other Poems" when purchased during the Utah Republican Convention or the LDS General Conference. Or a "buy-three-get-one-free" left-coast special that would be good for anything on the Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Charles Bukowski or Lawrence Ferlinghetti shelves.
In the mind’s eye, the hits just keep on coming. More pages of coupons appear, including a few for any intellectually thirsty, road trampin’, hungry hearts. While knocking back the trail dust with a shot of red eye up at "Pete’s Roc and Rye Saloon" on the service road east of Evanston, get a free oral history of the "Lincoln Highway."
Or for just one more coupon, you can hang out on a barstool and listen to the "best jukebox in the West" and take in the latest on Dylan or Cormac McCarthy or that fossil of a prehistoric horse they uncovered up north of there. Oh, that’s right. You get that for free just by moseying in the door.
Or maybe there would be coupons that would aid you when playing the ponies down the road on the other side of Evanston at Wyoming Downs. How about one free "Bloody Maria" for each half-dozen losing quinella, daily-double, or trifecta tickets you turn in at the bar? History has proven they are quite easy to acquire. Rumor has it, by the way, that the new owners are planning on expanding the summer race meeting at the track.
In another section of the book would be detachable vouchers for Havana Brothers Cigars with which you could acquire one free, hand-rolled, pre-embargo "Gurkha" Cuban for each mixed six-pack of Perdomo and Diamond Crown maduros you pay for. Back in the day, when their humidors actually contained such fare, that would have been a coupon to die for.
Let’s see what other "exclusive offers" await the discriminating coupon shopper within the soon-to-be-dog-eared "two-for-one, fifty-percent-off, half-price" publication. What about free admission to a screening of the next ever-so-hot independent film de jour at either the Tower or Broadway Center theaters if you were the only one who sat through the last one.
For instance, if this imaginary book had existed previous, which it didn’t, and if you were the only film buff present for a noon-thirty showing of a biopic concerning the "deconstruction" antics of French philosopher Jacques Derrida , which you were, you could have cashed in a coupon and taken in, at no extra charge, a subsequent screening of "Drawing Restraint 9," a Bjork vehicle at which you were also the sole patron. Now we’re getting somewhere.
The Republican — an Irish pub and truly wondrous haunt down in the valley — would also be a perfect spot to spout a coupon or two. I’m sure this book of dreams which caters to the curious and divergent among us I wouldn’t take issue with "screwy" or "weird" or, even, "mutant," for that matter could be put to good use at such an exquisite watering hole.
For each pint of Guinness quaffed, say, one could request his or her favorite Pogues or Clancy Brothers or Planxty from the highly ethnomusicology-ridden jukebox. And for each glass of Tullamore Dew or Jameson lovingly consumed, you would be allowed to, at the top of your lungs, butcher Joyce or Yeats or Behan or Beckett or Wilde or Shaw until you either grew tired of yourself or were knocked off your stool, whichever came first.
Or how about something you could put to good use at the Owl Bar up at Sundance or the Rough Rider Saloon up on the north rim of the Grand Canyon on the Kaibab Plateau or that joint in Los Alamos on the corner of Trinity and Oppenheimer. Then there’s the Territorial House in Corrales, the Cantina on the way into Cuba, and the small local’s hangout in Creede. And what about that airport bar on Kauai?
In my book, they’d all be coupon-friendly and you’d make your money back before closing time. I suppose including room for a few pages of two-for-the-price-of-one designated drivers or taxi rides wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. Or possibly, buy-one-get-one-free 800 mg Ibuprofins.
So, whaddaya think? Shall we get this puppy put together and send it on to the printer? Those of us who are a couple of bubbles off-plumb need love, too. And, I know just the right six year old with a cute grin and the correct amount of fidgety shyness to head up sales and distribution.
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Columnist Tom Clyde wonders whether it would hurt newcomers to Park City to offer the customary “Hello” when passing others on the trails.