When I was thirteen, I built my first treehouse with my own hands. You might think I was a little old to live in a treehouse, and you’d be right. I didn’t live in it. I leased it out to another kid on my block. With the rent money, plus backing I received from a few neighborhood investors who knew a good thing when they saw it, I was able to build a block of treehouses, and transformed the venture into a highly successful investment opportunity. The whole neighborhood got behind me. Morrison Lad Properties was underway.

Then things went haywire. 

I was bought out by a multinational private equity firm, a bunch of tire-sniffing cash jackals who had nothing better to do than exercise corporate greed on an unsuspecting teenager. They evicted every one of my tenants and turned my treehouses into strip clubs.

Now normally, Morrison Lad would have had quite an interest in these new tenants, but I was too blinded with rage to pay them any mind. 

“A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.” – Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon, you may have talked like a dweeb, but you had a fine outlook and a righteous last name.

So I continued to live well, I studied the manly art of rustic sophistication, and by age seventeen, I was well on my transformation from Morrison Lad to Morrison Man.

That’s when, by pure chance, I ran into the CEO from that investment firm that bought me out. 

I was at the Javits Center in New York City, giving one of my first lectures on how to digest broken glass, when during the intermission, I was approached by this posey-smelling platypus in wingtips. He shook my hand and congratulated me on my ability to speak like an old soul. 

I asked him if he remembered me.

Of course he didn’t. I was merely one of many minnows in the rabid shark pool that is the world of treehouse building and development. 

“You bought out my business.”

He said I had to be more specific.

“The treehouses,” I said.

He said I still needed to be more specific.

“Never mind,” I said. “By the way, you got something on your face.” 

And I clocked him.

Not my proudest moment, I’ll admit. But I learned a valuable lesson.

Kids, take note: I don’t recommend you go around punching out investors who buy out your treehouse business. I want you to learn from my experience.

The lesson is this: When you give a lecture series, eat beforehand. I was hungry when I was confronted with my old nemesis. And when I get hungry, I get surly. And when I get surly, two things happen: Women flock to my side, and Rolex-wearing rodents get punched. I learned later on that the former is a natural consequence of being honest and true to your philosophy. The latter messes up your knuckle hair.

I helped the guy up, told him we were square, and then wound up taking him out for lunch. 

Over the meal, he confessed he was already going to ask me to lunch on the basis of my inspirational talk, even before I dealt him that fist pie in the face. 

When the check came, he insisted on paying for it after all. 

Since then, I’ve converted him to an all-natural lifestyle. Today he’s one of my best customers. 

Win-win.


We settled down at the base of the Weisshorn in our makeshift sled. Mariah’s gratitude was incalculable. Incalculable to ordinary folks, that is. The Morrison Man encounters that kind of gratitude on a slow Tuesday.

Now came the question: How did this happen?

I mentioned to her the burning looks I got from her boyfriend, that ascot-sporting scull toad from the Princeton Charter Club. 

“He’s not my boyfriend,” she said. 

“Well, he certainly had designs on you,” I said. “As a matter of fact, I believe if we open up this plane engine, we’ll find proof positive.” I don’t normally speak in clichés like this. Normally I speak in pure dust clouds of total war. (See what I mean?)

Well, we opened up the engine cover and there it was: A shrimp fork with the Princeton Charter Club logo on its stem, sticking in the engine like a dagger in the heart. I explained to Mariah that any plane flown by the Morrison Man won’t show weakness in front of him; that the Cessna gave all she could before succumbing to the injury brought on by a jilted suitor. I punctuated the sentiment by pulling Mariah close and planting the lyrics to “My Way” on her mouth.

“So,” she said, imagining seating arrangements at our wedding, “how do we get out of here?”

I told her if she wasn’t here with me I’d make skis out of the propellers. I’d subsist on snow and foul language and the occasional puma. But the way I see it, when the Morrison Man is expected somewhere – in this case, Zurich – he doesn’t go missing for long before authorities and single women everywhere are put on alert.

No sooner than I said this, the distant rumble of a helicopter echoed off the walls of rock around us. Then it appeared in the distance, a mote against the white sky. 

“Avert your eyes,” I said to Mariah. 

“But why?” she said.

“Just do it!”

I puffed out my chest toward the sky and ripped open my shirt. The cold stung my torso like Time Magazine’s Broadway criticism (meaning not very much). Suddenly I saw the helicopter swerve a bit, and I heard the engine rev slightly. 

When it landed, I recognized the pilot as a girl I’d met once at a chalet who proved to me that the Swiss aren’t always neutral. In fact, she was quite biased, if you know what I mean. In other words, Morrison Man gets a little tired of euphemisms.

Not much else to say about this story. The pilot dropped us off in Zurich, I made my TV interview where I told of my recent adventures, and I bid Mariah a fond farewell. She was upset, but she understood: The Morrison Man is a solo act. 

As for the Princeton weasel, c’est la guerre, which is French for “Poor guy’s gotta live with himself.” I had this very sentiment inscribed on the shrimp fork before I mailed it back to him. 

That’s all for now. Next time, I’ll tell you a story from my teenaged years. Not for the faint of heart. 

 


Anyone else would have been okay up on that mountain, but there are certain conditions one finds oneself in that are just, to coin a phrase, an avalanche waiting to happen. That was the situation I found myself in with Mariah, the girlfriend of that snobby prep school poster boy who took an instant dislike to the Morrison Man for some reason. Anyway, there are certain rules you have to follow when stranded in the Alps. Morrison Man doesn’t follow rules. He makes rules, breaks them, then patches them up with duct tape and tells them they oughta stop embarrassing themselves.

Where was I? Ah yes, there are certain things you shouldn’t do when stranded on a mountain, and Mariah and I did five out of eight of them.

We suddenly felt a tremble beneath us. It was time to act.

I pulled out my trusty Swiss Army knife. This isn’t just any Swiss Army knife. In addition to an assortment of blades, screwdrivers, and shrimp forks, it’s also equipped with the key to every room at the Beau-Rivage in Geneva. It was presented to me as a gift from the concierge, a stunning Swiss Miss who taught me a thing or two about Geneva conventions, if you know what I mean. 

I went over to my jet, swiveled out the Cessna-Citation-Model-525-seat-unbolter attachment on my knife, and went to work. Then I dropped the seat into the snow.

Next I pulled out the baggie of red peppers that I always carry around with me. (In case you haven’t figured it out yet,  Morrison Man is always prepared, and he’s all about dramatic presentation.)

“See this?” I said to Mariah. “This here is the infamous Marubo Living Death chili, otherwise known as the Orinoco Tongue Scar, otherwise known as Satan’s Canker Sore. Just one of these little scamps makes a bushel of ghost peppers look like a handful of Sour Patch Kids. Stand back.”

I dropped the little devil into the bag, then dumped the whole bag into my mouth and chewed those suckers to bits.

As G. Gordon Liddy said about burning his hand over a lit candle, the trick is not minding it. (Never have a birthday party at Liddy’s house.)

So I waited until just the right moment, holding my breath, those chilies working their demonic plague magic on me, and then I opened my mouth.

You should have seen the flames.

The ice before us melted into thick waves. The Cessna began to float and was just about to be carried off when I grabbed Mariah’s belt and pulled it off in one stroke. Before she could say “sartorial indiscretion”, I whipped the belt around the axle of the plane and took Mariah by the waist. 

“Hold on,” I said, “and try not to make any honeymoon plans.”

I plopped myself into the seat, pulled Mariah onto my lap, and thus we sailed on a sea of awesome ingenuity down to the base of Mount Morrison (I renamed it along the way). 

You’ll have to tune in next time to see what we did when we got there.

I assure you, we didn’t talk about the weather.


So you’ll recall the way I nearly charmed the pants off the lady friend of this paste face at the Princeton Charter Club. Let me just say here that I never really had anything against this weasel, save for the fact that he looked like the kind of guy that would pay someone to tell you he never did a day’s work in his life. And the fact that he was glaring at me, thinking I was after his woman. The Morrison Man is not a predator. He is a highly evolved form of man, a cross between Homo sapiens and a diesel-powered chainsaw. And he can’t help it if women fall into his orbit. But I digress.

We’d just finished dessert and I was wowing the guests with impossi-gami. That’s where I fold sheets of paper into perfect, solid spheres. I learned it in the mystic Orient from the sister of a Buddhist monk. She showed me all four stages of Enlightenment, if you know what I mean.

The weasel was intent on giving me the heave-ho. “Don’t you have a plane to catch?”

I looked at his woman. “The Morrison Man doesn’t catch planes. He hails them.” Then I winked. I saw her hand go to her back. I shook my head. Now was not the time. She stopped.

“It’s my private jet,” I said. Not taking my eyes off her. “And it’s a two-seater.” I punctuated the sentence by sticking a cannoli between my lips, lighting it, and taking a long, seductive drag.

“I’ve never been on a private jet before,” she said. 

You know how the rest goes. This and that. Blah blah please stay blah blah our lives are better now because of you blah blah. I politely declined. Then I held out my arm.

“The jet’s all warmed up.” (Morrison Man uses double entendre like nunchuks.) “Let’s go.”

She rushed to my side and told the weasel she’d be back. I shrugged and said, “C’est la guerre,” which is French for “you may not want to wait up”.

So we took off and somewhere over the Alps the jet started having engine trouble. Remember, this was the Morrison Man’s jet. It wouldn’t go down without permission. I wasn’t worried. In times of danger, I do three things: 

1) Assess the situation 

2) Laugh

3) Act

I caught a downward draft and banked the beast into it. She let out a resistant growl and then relented, floating on down like the graceful bird she was. The plane did pretty well too.

She settled onto the southeast ridge of a mountain, about 4,000 feet up. I recognized it as the Weisshorn, from when I used to host cocktail parties up here. (Think I’m kidding? What if I told you I found a tiny drink umbrella in the snow?)

“What do we do now,” she said.

“First thing,” I said, “is we figure out how to keep warm.”

Her eyes lit up. “Perhaps we should set the plane on fire.”

“Perhaps,” I said, reaching under my seat and bringing out two wine glasses and a 1992 Petrus. 

To be continued.


Where was I? Ah yes, stuck up here on this mountain.

So I told you about that Princeton Charter Club dinner I was invited to. Let me say now that under normal circumstances, were my car to break down in front of the Princeton Charter Club, I’d push it for ten miles so as not to be seen anywhere near it. Of course, all my cars are fueled by testosterone and grizzly bear sweat, and they never break down without written permission. But I digress.

You’ll recall it was a woman who expressed her interest in having me there, and a Morrison Man heeds the call of the sex opposite no matter what form it takes. Too bad her spoiled prep school starch jockey boyfriend was watching over her, and me.

The food was passable at the Princeton Charter Club. I could tell just by looking at it that the risotto espoused questionable ethics. Not to mention I normally don’t eat steak unless I carve it off the yak myself. 

Starchy prep weasel’s woman sat across from me. “So, you seem like an interesting fella,” she said. “What’s your story?”

All eyes were on me. I found out later this was part of the interrogation session for entrance into the club. So I told her.

“I have two hobbies, and both are banned in Sweden. I don’t like anything phony. I once punched a taxi cab in the grill for overcharging me. That was back in my raw youth. I like my beer hoppy enough to burn holes in chrome. I like wine that’s refined and elegant but can also insult your granny with sailor talk. I can juggle six Indian clubs on fire – not the clubs, mind you, I mean I set myself on fire and I juggle. I once put a hipster in the trunk of my car and drove him to his mother’s house for an explanation. All my tuxedos are made from the spun silk of Indonesian Tree Spiders. I can tie three cherry stems into sheepshanks with my tongue all while whistling Sorabji’s Opus Clavicembalisticum – a tune which up until recently was deemed unwhistleable by the International Coalition on Pretentious Tripe. Other than that, I’m just a regular guy.”

Then I winked at her.

She made the beginnings of a sweep of her arm to clear off the table, but stopped when I held up my hand and mouthed the words, “Not now.”

Preppy starch weasel spoke up then. “Aren’t you due in Zurich or something?”

“Easy there, Kissinger,” I said. “I’d like to stick around and explore the seedy underbelly of the Princeton Charter Club for a while.”

Well, what happened next will have to wait, I’m afraid. The mountain lion I wrestled last week put up too good of a fight and I didn’t eat him out of respect. But he’s back now and he brought friends.

Till next time.