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Ralph's Song
by Wayne Scheer

A dwarf angel sits on my shoulder singing songs that sound like roses smell. Only without the thorns. Which, of course, have no odor, but can hurt if they get in your nose.

I'm glad the angel is small or I'd be more round-shouldered than I am now. Actually, I'm not round-shouldered, but growing up my father always demanded I stand up straight or my shoulders would sag and I'd be a stooped over old man. Now that I'm old, I expect my shoulders to drop any day.

Especially if an angel sits on them.

But I'm not here to talk about my shoulders or my awkward childhood. I once asked my therapist how he can tolerate listening to me droning on about my life. “Who listens,” he said.

That's an old joke. But I'm an old man so I can get away with telling it. Young people likely never heard it and old people probably forgot it.

But back to my predicament. I don't know how to write music and I'm so tone deaf a mere hum can cause dogs to howl at the moon in the middle of the day. So the sweet angelic strains of my diminutive muse are lost forever. Kind of like the famous tree falling in the forest.

Instead, I just annoy people.

“What's that song you're whistling?”

“Oh, just a tune in my head.”

“You might want to get your head examined.”

My own wife hates it when I hum.

“If you can't get the melody right, please don't hum.”

“But I have music in my soul.”

“That's nice, dear. Maybe you have the soul of a composer. One with a bad case of tinnitus.”

So I tell my angel--I call him Ralph, but to be honest I don't know if my angel is male or female. You see, Ralph wears a flowing robe and I fear looking up an angel's skirt brings at least seven years of bad luck.

So, I tell my angel to please whisper stories or poems to me. Music goes in one ear, bounces around a like an old-fashioned pin ball, and comes out as bruised as a week old banana at the bottom of a supermarket bin. But Ralph still sings.

Which is why this story falls flat.

Just be grateful I didn't try to sing it.