December 1999
s m u g
the biswick files
by Sherman T. Biswick



Here at the SMUG offices, I get a lot of mail from inquisitive souls, wondering about who the REAL Sherman T. Biswick is. I am often touched by the deep, probing questions posed to me. They show just how much you kids out there on the computers care about a grizzled old war veteran like me.

I also get a lot of mail like this nonsense:

Do you like giraffes?
From: Heather

What type of junkie are you?
From: Numbsquat

How do you feel about bologna sandwiches?
From: Elizabeth

Do you ever get scared?
From: Monique

Snack Cakes...friend or foe?
From: Marc

Homosexuality? Premarital mutual masturbation? Pornography?
From: Ben

It’s obvious that there is a yearning hunger to know just what makes old Sherman T. Biswick tick. Well, since the holiday season is upon us, I’ll send a little Biswick-style-goodwill your way. I’ll tell you.

First of all, you should know that I am a widower. My late wife, Edna, God rest her soul, was a wonderful woman and a damned fine cook. She’s been with the Lord for close on twelve years now, and I miss her every day. My oldest son, Robert, who I named after my father, put me in this retirement community after Edna died, when he found out the only food I could cook was frozen Salisbury steak dinners. Being cooped up in this place at Christmastide is almost enough to make me open up my wrists, but I manage to get through the long, dreary days. For one thing, I can beat the hell out of most of these old bastards at shuffleboard, and that makes me pretty happy.

I’ll tell you something else: I don’t trust “showfolk.” My cousin, Erwin Biswick, called himself an “actor,” and during rehearsal for a television program show called "Those Aren't My Underpants," he took sick with the whooping cough. Uncle Marshall had to fill Erwin’s small but important role of Hiram, the cranky butler. Uncle Marshall was a hard working man who wasn’t going to be taken in by the bright lights and glamour of stardom. All he wanted was to raise his family and churn butter for the townfolk, like he’d always done. As a youngster, the whole thing sounded exciting to me, and I begged my father to let me go along. I was only allowed to go after Marshall convinced my father that I'd earn enough money to buy two more head of cattle for the family farm.

Of course, Marshall ended up seduced by the excitement of that life, and got himself addicted to horse tranquilizers. So now I stay away from the bright lights and fame stuff. I think of Uncle Marshall every year at this time, when I hear the TV people singing “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” and also every time that infernal “Mr. Belvedere” comes on the picture tube.

Another thing to keep in mind: when she was alive, my wife Edna insisted on having a lot of smelly house pets around. She loved her animals. She had two cats that she called Porter and Dolly, because after she heard that song “The Right Combination,” she said they must have been singing about her two precious little babies. I couldn’t ever stand the little bastards, clawing up my recliner and stinking up the place with those catboxes.

We also had a dog, an old hound dog who loved bacon. To tell you the truth, I can’t remember what his name was, but I know he was named after a country singer too, because Edna insisted that ALL her animals be named after famous country singers. We might have named that old coonhound Ernie, but I can’t recall if that would have been for Ernest Tubb, or Tennessee Ernie Ford.

There was a parakeet called Loretta, too. Used to drive me crazy.

Of course, the most important thing to know about Mister Sherman Thompson Biswick is that I am a veteran of World War Two. I love my god damned country, and I fought to make sure it stayed free for you kids. If your MTV-addled brainpans can only remember one lousy thing I’ve told you here, let it be that Sherman T. Biswick fought for the freedom of his country.

And if you remember a second thing, remember this: that John Wayne was a damned fine actor, and not in a sissy-boy, namby-pamby way like that Jimmy Stewart, with his whining and sniveling about a giant imaginary gopher, but in a real man’s way. You didn’t hear Jimmy Stewart saying things like “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!” when he wanted to shoot somebody. At the end of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” who is it that saves the day? John Wayne, that’s who, leaving little fancy-pants Jimmy Stewart quivering in the dirt like a little girl.

Some of you kids, I think, are trying to be funny and cute with the questions you ask me. Well let me tell you--I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nothing is funny when you're old. I don’t have time for this kind of nonsense-I am a busy man. So next month, I expect only relevant and important questions.

By the way, you snot nosed little rats, here’s your answers: Heather, not particularly. Numbsquat: I enjoy a good Slim Jim now and again, if that’s what you mean. Thank you kindly for asking, young man. Or woman. You kids have the strangest names nowadays. In my day, we named all the boys John, Bob or Bill, and all the girls were named Jane or Mary. That’s all we needed, and if you named your boy Mike, you were setting him up for a hard life. Elizabeth, I like a nice bologna sandwich. Monique--not ever. Well, maybe a little. But that’s nothing you should concern yourself with, missy. Marc: truth be told, I am having an ongoing love affair with Little Debbie. But don’t you tell my doctor. Ben…no, no and no, thank you very much. Now get a haircut.

Wishing you and yours all the love of Santa,
Sherman T. Biswick, Veteran.


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