“Let’s call ourselves‘Pro-Chase’.
That’s what Mildred said. Or that’s at least what I heard. See, I don’t spend a lot of time staring her in the face. I mean, meeting her gaze at meetings. Not fair, but something in that name. I’m afraid it’ll show. “Mildred”, who names a kid “Mildred“? All I can think of is “The Dred Mill Decision“ or some kinda rare phobia of windmills. Quixotophobia? The closest I ever got was once, at one of the Uprisings, I quick-spoke “You’re too young to be a ‘Mildred’, Mildred”, and then hurriedly changed the subject. I wish I could call her “Millie”, but like, then I’d think of her as.. um.. one-thousandth of something. Oof!
“Pro-chase”?, I attempted to sound neutral, like I was trying it on. No use. It didn’t fit.
“Um.. that’s worse than ‘Anti-gravity’. We might as well just stick with what we got. The flyers.. oh, and the tee-shirts, they all say..”
“Sounds more optimistic.” She believed in the suggestion with all her revolutionary heart.
“So what’re we chasing?” I knew we were going for a ‘Pro-choice’ type of new-speak clone-job, but still..
“No, it’s ‘c-h-a-i-s-e'” she spelled it out. “Like, duh, what you’re sitting on..”.
I hadn’t put it together. We both sat there a minute, by the pool, waiting for the interminable waiter to bring us our orders. Me thinking, “Um, right, when you need a new name, (and I didn’t dispute that point).. see, what you do is gawk around at the furniture for an inspiration. Sure thing, Mill. Good thing they hadn’t voted her General Secretary of the Movement.”
“No really, Bob, you are sitting, what, six inches above the terrazo? Gravity tries to hit you, they lose. It’s all over before the first toss-up..”
“So that’s what we’re agitating for, huh, low-down seating?” I might have sounded a touch grouchy. Where’s the damn waiter?
Suddenly he was upon us, handing Mildred her TV-dinner, and me, mine, without even asking “So, who had the Flintstones Dino-meal®?”
I was hungry, I’ll admit, but still..
“Excuse me.. er.. sir. I ordered a Radio Dinner, did I not?”
the waiter’s face betrayed his disdain. A closet ‘Pro-Gravity’ supporter? Posibly. Or perhaps he knew that the AM-FM cusine contained seven more peas in the tray. Like he was paying for ’em. He picked up the menu, which had fallen perilously close to pool’s edge, and shook it dry, then started to prove his thesis, but I got there first:
“Right here”, I pointed out, “The Amos ‘n Andy. Breaded king-fish®, with black-eyed..”
I stopped myself before I said the ‘peas’. Why rub salt in his wounds?
Mildred was already unwrapping her pat of butter. The waiter, defeated, took my ex-TV-thingie and walked back to the ‘kitchen’ ,arms-down, like a man carrying his art, his precious painting, which hadn’t even won ‘Honorable Mention’ at the fair. Suddenly I felt awful. Mildred read my mind:
“How’re we gonna win their hearts and minds, the ‘lumpen,’ you know, when we can’t even compromise on the.. the menu?”
She was right. No wonder Jim Schmitt, whom I’d convinced to at least show up at our ‘Levity in Whitney Park’ happening, left after the hors d’oeuvres…We needed a new name, ok, but more than that, we.. I mean, the Policy Council needed to convene for a serious tete-a-tete. Flattering though it’d been, my stint as poster-boy, the interview on WNFL, my tales of surviving two plane crashes, the whole ‘Gravity wants you in the Grave’ campaign, hell, even the hot-shots from Ann Arbor, who braved the freezing hell of I-94 to I-43 just to be seen jumping up and down on our bandwagon, colleagues in ‘the good fight’, suddenly it all meant squat. Here I am, I can’t even face telling my comrade Mildred that she’s got a ‘silly name’, and I want to save the world??
The Radio-Dinner was cold, but I said not a word. Oh, except for:
“Yes, Mildred, ‘Pro-Chaise’, that sounds like a winner, now that I think about it. Life is short, and it’s so easy to fall down.. you know what I mean?”