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Squid #408
(published November 13, 2008)
Ask the Giant Squid: Wherefore Hath My Mavericks Gone? II: This Time It Is Personnel
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

Why didn't my maverick win?

55,754,431 Americans

Dearest and Most Tragically Disappointed Americans,

Complaints have been lodged, indicating that my column of last week both failed to, in the most basic sense, address the petitioners concern, and further left readers alarmed as to Trael's final state and condition after he had accompanied the strange homeless man on Election Day.

To this, I reply that I cannot be expected to handle and resolve every tiniest matter with the greatest alacrity. As nature is, overwhelmingly, serialized in its nature, I am obliged to address each matter in its due course and time, and could no more simultaneously address two matters than a slave could serve two masters or a woman two lovers.

On those latter two points I tend to differ with my lab assistant, Rob, who insists his anatomical studies throughout the Internets would tend to indicate that a great many slaves serve two masters, oft with gusto and to great critical acclaim. In any event, I note that it is very easy for the non-advice-administering masses to throw stones at we few—we harried few—adviseros.

But, I have clearly digressed, somewhat.

As to the question of mavericks, I believe that there has arisen, in the culture, some confusion. To listen to the debates held in preparation for the Election of Hopeful Change O'Bama, it seemed that Alaska's Political Archon Féminin used the term as an almost all-purpose modifier of approval, a habit which has sadly seeped out into the common parlance. I note, for example, that two days ago, in the run-up to the luncheon hour, when asked what he wanted upon his Subway-brand loaf-of-bread-enjambed-with-sliced-meats, Rob called that he wanted his Spicy Italian "totally mavericked, unless they charge extra for that, and then just mavericked as much as they do for the regular price. And a Dr Pepper." Likewise, he claimed (falsely) to have "been the maverick" in the last Halo tournament he organized among the staff, and to likewise believe Fallout 3 to be "The total maverick in what is totally already the most mavericking series. Totally."

Please note: The much admired "maverick" takes its name from the famed Texas cattleman and politico dandy Samuel Augustus Maverick, renowned for not branding his cattle. Noting that, although it was then le mode to sear the living flesh of one's stock animals with a scarred identifier specific to your operation, this was neither the habit in antiquity, nor does it continue to be so today. Branding was a brief fashion, in the grand scheme. As such, a maverick is either an unbranded cattle (which they all are, now), or one who does not brand. This is to say that a maverick is either 1) ahead of her time or 2) quite far behind it. To expand on this theme, although reports are conflicting, many claim that Samuel Augusts Maverick refused to brand his cattle either 3) so he could lay claim to any unbranded cattle found wandering about, or 4) because he was simply quite disinterested in running cattle well. As such, and accepting these four definitions of maverick:

  1. an unbranded-calf
  2. one who does not burn calves
  3. a thief
  4. an incompetent

I note that your mavericks were, indeed, the finest mavericks available from among which the People might choose. It is simply the case that mavericks have gone badly out of style. That is why your mavericks, like the parachute pants and shoulder-padded polyester blouses left lonesome as clouds on the triple-reduced racks at the Salvation's Army Commissary, were not picked.

As for Trael, the matter appears to have been somewhat more complex than the simple passing of the Age of Mavericks. Neither Jarwaun nor Trael appeared to their post-schooling jobs here in the lab until this past Monday, and even from the elevator's ding, they were already embroiled in an argument of notable sturm und drang.

Trael stomped out from between the opening doors as soon as the breach would accommodate his passage, his face tight.

"—and it don't matter," Jarwaun intoned, "'cause that's just Uncle T's drunk-talk—or worse, even. But it don't matter, 'cause you supposed to stay away from Unc Terry, like Mom said."

Trael spun, crying out, "She never 'explained nuthin! Unc Terry seem fine to me!"

Jarwaun shook a finger in his young brother's face, "You stay away from him, Tray, 'cause Unc T is fine when he fine, but when he ain't fine then he ain't fine, and you not gonna know when that is 'til it's right then!"


"And you," Jarwaun shifted his baleful gaze to me, "You shut up, Mr. Squid! You ain't helpin' one bit encouragin' Tray to skip school—" I must have shrank visibly at the accurate accusation, "Ya-hunh! You didn't know I knew that, but I did. Ain't like you can hide nuthin'; when you crack a fart, everyone see the bubbles!" I would have gasped, had I the anatomy to do so.

"Don't pick on Mr. Squid 'cause you don't wanna talk about Big T's invention!"


Jarwaun turned back to his small brother, "I don't wanna talk about Big T's invention because it's stupid and crazy. You stay away from him, like Mom always say."

"She ain't say much in a long time," Trael grumbled.

"Yeah," Jarwaun snarled, "but the last thing she did say was to let Big T. alone to run himself into the ground 'til he done."

"All I'm sayin' is that he done that, and now that he as far into the ground as he gonna be, he's ready to stand up and get it done."

Jarwaun planted his fists on his hips, "Oh Lord! Get what done?"

"I dunno," Trael whispered, "But somethin'. He voted—"

Jarwaun huffed an impatient breath, "Everyone voted! Lines 'round the block at every place—"

"He voted 'cause he got a call on his phone from himself tellin' 'im he oughta—"

This piqued my curiosity.

"—and that he'd find a dollar on the little voting table if he did. And he didn't find a dollar, he found a twenty dollar bill."


But Jarwaun took the conversational helm, not turning when he addressed me, "Tray says that Unc T's got himself a cell phone that you can call yourself back-in-time with. Only got one button, so you can't call anyone else."


"It don't work," Jarwaun opined, despite Trael's protest, "It don't work, but he didn't get it nowhere; he made it. That's why it don't work."

"It do work!" Trael whined, "I used it to call me, and had me call Rob and ask him what time it was."


"'cause we didn't have no watch that worked. Unca Terry's watch got four hands, and he don't remember why."

Jarwaun was visibly exasperated as he spun to beseech me, "See how this is crazy? What good did it do you to know the time in one time if you didn't know the time you was callin' from?"

"That's why we called Rob right back—right as soon as we hung up—but it was already six hours later!"


He pulled his headphone from his ear, "Is what what?"


"Is what what case?"


"Whoa," Rob intoned with awe, "Yeah. That's weird. Was I supposed to do a thing on that?"

"You was supposed to come pick me up, and said you would, and then you didn't, and my Pops beat my butt!" Trael said indignantly, "And I been in punishment all week and that's why I ain't been here. You a dumbass, Rob Miller."

Rob nodded, "Yeah. OK. All that sounds 'bout right, but I was pretty fucked up on election night, so, like, it's probably better it went the way it did."


"Yeah, but only to itself. It only calls back from the Future."


"From a different him up in the Future."

"Probably just a drunker him," Jarwaun opined.

"Just different," Trael said, "Big T. explained, but it was a lot of math and science, and was more . . . it was at least high school stuff."

"Wasn't nuthin'," Jarwaun said, "And that's why we ain't talking anymore Big T. gobbledygook."

Which, fortuitously, hearkens back to our mavericks of yore, for it was the grandson of Samuel Augustus Maverick himself who did coin the term, in his battle against the convulsions of bureaucrats—which, oddly, seems quite emblematic of last Tuesday's route.

"Wait," Rob said, "How the Hell did you get home?"

"Devo, the garage man, come pick me up, but real late. He said he was down to see the big President Obama party in Campus Martius, and you called him and told him that you were supposed to, but forgot, 'cause you were bummed about ole George in Philly.

"Which called him: Me from the Future, or just, like, regular me?"

Trael thought for a moment, "Regular you, I think," he said carefully, "But I guess I don't really know."

Jarwaun covered his face with his hands, a sentiment which I shared.

Yet I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

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Ask the Giant Squid: Wherefore Hath My Mavericks Gone? part III: The MaveReckoning

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