Thursday, March 29, 2018

Doctors and Bacon

As everyone knows, there's two things you rarely see in public. Doctors and bacon. I believe I've had an interesting experience with both. First, it occurred to me young that this was so, that there was something mysterious about doctors and bacon. I mentioned it to a teacher once, who said, "Hmm," then she excused herself for further research on the subject and never came back.* I keep thinking the same thing might happen to me, but so far, here I am. But I've taken precautions, mostly prayer and supplication. Besides that, I'm damned brazen. And that also carries weight with the powers that be.

This is a true story. I once saw my doctor in public, riding a bike, no less, and I immediately filed with the Board of Doctors and Bacon to have his credentials removed. Now he's senior breakfast cook at Maude's on 8th Street. Good with bacon but still working on a remedy for popped yolks. Going with the assumption, You can cure bacon, why not eggs? But that's that guy, who couldn't do much with me. His big thing was to give me medicine you couldn't take with grapefruit. Another breakfast favorite. Guess what, stupid, I'd rather eat grapefruit than take the sugar pills you're pushin'! Anyone with me?

These days it's not just grapefruit everyone's against, but bacon. Which is also the fightin' side of meat! And I'm up in arms too. Half my grocery budget goes for bacon, although I'm frugal. I check the price of bacon like it's the stock market, and that's why I go to any one grocery store. I love the $2.99 stuff, but lately it's been more on the $3.30 side of things. But everything goes up, including doctor bills. I've got a doctor, but bacon's got my heart. I start off with a pound for breakfast, and if I'm still hungry I keep eating till it's gone. Then spend the afternoon in the store with a wheelbarrow.

Anyway, I love to stick it to doctors. My current doctor knows me inside and out. He's had his finger up me more often than I care to think of. He's even performed a colonoscopy and a related surgical process** on me. And he's never once mentioned bacon, so he's OK. Now, of course, if I ever see him in public, I'll have to reevaluate, but so far so good. So I'm leaving him -- this one doctor -- out of the following remarks. On comparing and contrasting doctors and bacon.

What's something else besides doctors you never see? Dead pigs. That's damned odd. I've seen every manner of roadkill and carrion, just never dead pigs. Once I even hitchhiked with some guys in a pickup truck. And they went around a corner -- they were carrying a lot of baby pigs -- and the back rails of the truck fell off and the pigs followed. (It was also raining). So instead of standing on the side of the road like I was 5 minutes before, I was with them in the mud and ditches catching pigs. Which were all alive. That's never happened with doctors.

One of the most obvious similarities of doctors and pigs, pigs are cured meat and doctors presumably cure sick folk.*** All praise to the Lord above, though, who my grandma said does the true curing. It's just these bastard doctors that stick you with the bill. Taking credit for the Lord above's work.

This is one you have to think about: Doctors are hams, bacon's related to ham. This would be another good place for a religious joke. Shem, Ham, and Japheth. You see ham, you eat it. Bit of a stretch, but nothing like our doctor-ham friends. They're all good cheer when they come in, shaking your ham, -- hand, smiling. Next thing the business office and insurance company's got you on the grill for everything you're worth.

Can't think of much else. You always see bacon in strips. The doctor makes you strip. You separate bacon with greasy hands. The doctor separates hams with greasy fingers. The longest three seconds in history, you're bacon him to stop. Bacon comes in slices. Doctors also have sex.

*There's a penalty for delving too deeply into life's mysteries.
**That reminds me: When you're young, you get Pull-Ups. When you're old, polyps.
***I know, I already used the 'cure' line, but wanted to get the grandma story in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Enhance Your Marriage With Drudgery

Psychologists today -- the good ones -- tell us the basic problem with society is we're too pampered, which is the same thing as saying we're too lazy. We want more, more, more, but then we're dissatisfied, which leads to all the usual physical/mental/social reactions: despondency, renewed craving, further seeking, then back to despondency.

I suppose it's not hard to see that this is a vicious cycle. As far as I'm concerned, frankly, I don't think I've seen a cycle quite as vicious in many a'year. Meaning, I would personally like to take society as a whole and just beat the living snot out of it, all the while reviling it for not having the brains God gave the teetsy fly, or for that matter the big ones. We as a whole are stupid, dumb, and ignorant, with a side of pigheadedness in the mix to boot.

But I've observed that there's a few (and the number's growing) who've not only diagnosed the situation before us but are doing something about it. Progress on this front has been seen in several marriages I know of. Which have taken this course: The husband's off working all day while the wife's sitting at home watching whatever's-on, essentially a mix of soap operas and game shows. These portray "the good life," leading to disenchantment with her own, then malaise, then laziness, then giving-up entirely. The last cogent thought she has is the vain yearning for a robot maid, which are still very expensive.

Anyway, the most successful reversal of this course that I've seen is by a guy (a successful factory foreman) and his stay-at-home ball and chain. She was very into the whole lifestyle described above, as dried up and desiccated as anyone can mentally and physically can be. Dishes were piled to the ceiling, the laundry looked like a Chinese riot, the toilet like something in a nightclub, the pets had broken loose from their shackles, and the kids, I believe I heard they'd run away, but possibly they'd been sold to a circus so "Mom" could have pin money.

Of course her husband, Mack, was beside himself with worry and regret: "Why'd I ever marry that damned shrew?" and worse questions. He thought he was going crazy, so he went to visit a psychologist. This particular psychologist had a counter-intuitive approach. (I once had a professor who called a lot of things counter-intuitive, everything from dirty firetrucks to war crimes. Dirty firetrucks, if people see dirty firetrucks they'll work harder to prevent fires. If we have more war crimes, whatever whatever, I can't remember what he said. But how about that theory of firetrucks?)

Anyway, the husband, Mack went to a psychologist who also spouted the counter-intuitive line. He said the wife, Sylvia, her problem was she was pampered and therefore bored. She needed a purpose in life, which, according to this psychologist (also named Mack, as in Dr. Mack MacMackleroy) could be attained through drudgery. "Wait, wait, hear me out," Dr. Mack said to our Mack. Then he explained point by point how there are two paths in life, luxury or hard work. The yearning for luxury is interesting, it's the attainment that's boring. The time-tested life of drudgery, apparently aimless, bests them all.

You get rid of time-saving appliances, the frills of modern communications, and even the luxuries we think we can't live without, fancy-schmancy stuff, like solid gold butter trays. Then you live as simply as possible, pouring your sweat into hard work, to the point that drudgery becomes a cause for pride, leading to good feelings in the marriage, leading to hump-a-humpa with feeling, leading to new kids to replace the old, unless the woman is past that age and has to compensate with more pets. I knew a lady in a mobile home with more pet snakes than most of us have flies (teetsies or megas). Clearly she'd embraced the life of drudgery -- along with the counter-intuitive benefits of fear -- because taking care of those slithery bastards would be so horrendous, it'd have to give you a better outlook!

I went by to see Mack and Sylvia over the weekend. Mack gets his own drudgery-quotient governing men on the assembly line with a pistol and horsewhip, so he was taking it easy. Whereas Sylvia couldn't be stopped. She worked the whole time I was there, mostly running from bathroom to bathroom, going by me numerous times with a dirty dripping brush, trying, apparently, to make each toilet equally clean. The look of pride on her face -- and Mack sitting there with a stopwatch timing her and shouting criticism -- did my poor heart good. I left knowing it could be done. Marriage could be happy (1), and (2) Society's got a long ways to go to catch up with these dear friends.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tuber Flats Bike Race Falls Flat


I was excited when they told me the Tuber Flats bike race was this past weekend. I got my stuff together the night before, a few snacks, then with the break of dawn headed out to the Flats. "USA, USA!" I was chanting in the car, even though as far as I knew none of the competitors would be here from other countries. Well, guess what. Instead of evincing nationalistic pride in me, the race epitomized what's wrong with us: we’re lazy, weak, with the slightest physical exertions made only with difficulty.

But I’ll tell you what I believe in: dedication, conditioning, a plan to win, drive, and sticktoittiveness. Each of those I’ve shown throughout my life. Then should others lack those qualities, some more than others, I’ve been able to charge ahead, generally winning, unless things have somehow been rigged against me. The key thing is I’m not just “out there” shooting for a participation ribbon or being a crybaby because the trophy was too heavy for me or whatever.

You could say, I expect a lot out of myself. This even true when I was a kid. My dad explained the mathematical concept of percentages to me, telling me that 100% is the highest you can go. You physically cannot do more than 100%, he said. But then when everyone else was gone, he confided something that I can’t believe I am now revealing: You can give any effort 150% or more. It blew my mind. You mean I can do more than is possible?! I never forgot that lesson. Mostly because I put in 200% effort to remember it.

One of my first efforts at applying the 150% standard was, I believe, in 4th grade. It was track and field. Kids pole vaulting, doing the 40 yard dash, throwing shot-put, etc. Well, the way it happened — and I’ll swear this on my late mother’s life — I really poured it on in a running race, and came in first but was cheated out of the trophy or ribbon. There was some confusion. This was before instant replay. The other kids said I won, but no amount of bitching about it with the crooked judges made any difference. It’s run through my mind ever since. They knew I had the inside track when they saw me giving 150%, and obviously they judged that an unfair advantage.

OK, today I went to a big bike race in the area, Tuber Flats, full of excitement. There I was, prepared to spend a great day at the track. The first race was coming right up. 11 laps. Very exciting stuff, I thought. The various combatants looked great in their skin tight sports colors, expensive tennis shoes, and on the coolest bikes. Whether they had goggles on, I can’t remember. I was right at the starting line for the first race. “Gentlemen, this is the first race of the day,” an old retired jock told them, “and you get to set the pace. We want a clean race, a fair race, but a hard-fought race.” And so forth. He marched up and down the line of riders and sharply cracked a whip for effect. Then they were off.

How exciting as they scooted around the track! 11 laps, remember. But by the time we were up to 5 laps — a mere 5 laps! — some of the guys were already losing it, drifting back from the pack. I thought, You gotta be kidding! These guys haven’t got the stamina, the conditioning, the drive, the sticktoittiveness to keep up with the pack for even half the race?! That blew it for me, totally violating every standard I have for giving your best, a decent effort.

So as it turned out, for me it was a huge disappointment. I immediately grabbed my cooler, pennants, program, noisemakers, confetti, megaphone, binoculars, video equipment, and flower wreaths (in case I saw some real favorites), and headed for the car. If that’s the standard they have, I’m thinking out loud, they can keep the damned thing! 5 measly laps?! You have to figure the guys they put out there first were among the best. Isn’t it common to put your best foot forward? You don’t send out stinkers the first thing, do you? Hmm, maybe you do. Then the better guys. Then last the champions.

Why waste your time? If you’re not in good enough condition to keep up, why bother? You think a big time guy like me wants to sit there and watch a half-baked effort? What’s the use? All the way home I ran it over in my mind, at times shouting out the window, making fun of those guys. “I’m just in this race because ... I can’t think of why I’m even here ... just to make a sickening display of myself, I guess!” Where’s the drive? Where’s the conditioning? Where’s the dedication to the effort? Is 50% the best you can do? Not even 100? Nothing approaching 150? Sheesh!

I got out of the car at home and flipped the bird in the general direction of Tuber Flats. Next time you have a bike race, count me and my flower wreaths and pennants out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Chiseling Wives -- What Will She Steal Tonight?

I had to laugh when a dear friend recently told me of his terrible suspicions that his wife was chiseling him out of money. Certainly it’d be pocket change -- I don't know, there might've been bills, if I had to guess I'd say yes. I laughed because this is a problem that goes way back. I'm getting up there in age, and so many times when I was a kid I'd hear guys complaining about their chiseling wives. (I've had more than one offer, as an old man now, to record an oral history of the past. But it's so sad, every time I start in, I break down something fierce. So I restrict myself to articles here -- exposés? -- because if I start crying and it's just me I'm not quite as embarrassed.)

But I'm not embarrassed by what I'm going to call these gals: Damned chiseling women. OK, how you like them berries? Just calling it the way I see it, the way it is. Again, a story as old as the ages and a story as new as tomorrow, when, a'rising from what he thinks was a good night's sleep, there's a poor guy who's going to learn one of life's important lessons: You should definitely have had a vault, somewhere to keep your valuables. Otherwise -- it's sad but true -- you'll be wondering, What happened to X, Y, and Z? Then there she is, still fast asleep. Wonder why she always seems to sleep in? Could it be she was up half the night, chiseling, stealing, creatively nibbling around the edges of things to the point that ... oops, they're gone?

Then there's another case, which I can't vouch for, but I heard it from a friend, who himself heard it from a friend. If you ask me did I see it? No, I didn't. But if you ask me do I believe it? I'd have to say, Yes, I absolutely do. While it's brazen and for that reason barely believable, there's the aspect of performance art to it, and thus it's perhaps (wink wink) taken as a joke, so although it's done in front of a host of witnesses, it's not thrown in the groom's face by witnesses:

A couple was being married. He and she had written their own vows, and as they're repeating them, suddenly he's lightheaded and passes out. Right then, as part of the vows, she was supposed to vow not to chisel money or anything else from him, apparently as his mother had done against his father. So he passes out, that part of the service gets left out, and when he comes to moments later, the minister is pronouncing them husband and wife. Husbands naturally being tough-guys, he didn't say anything about the apparent lapse. (And the video was edited with footage from the rehearsal filling in the blanks.)

Next thing you know, his pockets were being rifled, change from the dresser was missing, and even a few old, very old, 1897 silver dollars his grandfather had given him were gone. Truth be told, his wife used them for bus fare! True story! But he refused to believe the facts, even though they were staring him in the face, until it was too late. One day he woke up and the bed was missing, and suddenly the evidence was unmistakable: She was a chiseler. Stealing everything in sight! Even his clothes. He went to work that day in nothing but a jock strap, and when he came home -- having had to work overtime as punishment for violating the company dress-code -- the house was gone! (To her credit, the wallpaper was neatly rolled up and waiting for him on the curb.)

My personal recommendation would be, Don't jump into a marriage you may regret. Get to know the woman. Listen and observe carefully. Does she seem to be overly materialistic? When she's at your home, is she carrying a clipboard and does she seem to be taking inventory more often and more diligently than would be normal for insurance purposes? Does she seem to have rental agreements lying about for warehouse properties? Does she have an all-consuming interest in online auction sites? Have you overheard her pricing major railroad shipments? The picture she gave you and you kept on your bed stand, does it have both a front and side view? These are telltale signs worth noting.

OK, here's one of my throwback stories from a long time ago, 1970-71, about a guy I knew named Mr. Stanley. I'm withholding his first name. I don't want any trouble from his heirs. Mr. Stanley married, then woke up one night to find that his wife was a chiseler. She was rifling through his pockets. With the worst thing about her habit, sometime along the way she made off with his valuable pocket watch that he had from when he worked on the railroad. Long story short, their marriage was over. Whether he ever got the watch back, I'm just going to say he didn't. Otherwise, why would he have still been so pissed? And why did he lapse from English to complete horseshit gibberish every time he spoke of her?

Be careful, guys. Sleep with your eyes open -- one eye at least -- if you can.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Baby Spat "Stir Will Be Nothing!"

Soon Angelina will be with the angels. How about that? I've been very emotional lately, and probably the last thing I need is a tearjerker story about a lady dying. But life is life, and regardless of my sensitivity, there will always be suffering. Really, my sensitivity numbers are through the roof. I hear a sad story and I about bust out in tears, especially if it has something to do with a lady like Angelina. Let that name roll around on your tongue a while; you'll be in love.

Here's what I know. She was given 30 days to live. I can only imagine! You get severe bodily malfunctions. This is bad, this is barely functioning, this is on the fritz. You're looking at your big toe, holding out hope and sort of daring it to go bad, then reversing yourself completely, saying, "Don't you dare go bad!" I know, you can live without a big toe, even if it takes some mincing around so you're not falling over. I also have a big toe problem, a little numbness in it; it seems like I hit it on something or dropped something on it, but my memory's bad too.

Add to the mix Angelina is married to George. Very crotchety guy. He's apparently been a significant burden to her. He's old, and like most guys, a horn-dog. But even when your wife's very basic life systems are shutting down? George, to put it mildly, can be a bastard. But to a certain extent I can relate. You're a guy, you have needs. And while it's easy to lie, say you're going to the bathroom to clean the sink (or whatever), then actually do whatever, and suddenly you're OK, there's limited satisfaction there. Especially with Angelina that close.

So they got into it. Most of us know she not that into George. I can't imagine why anyone would be into a crotchety guy like him. Forgive me, I know I'm preachin' to the choir, assuming you know George. Essentially it's this: George can be tough. He's not always the most sensitive guy, and there's a certain level of selfishness that characterizes him.

OK, in that highly-charged situation, things escalate. Finally she threatens to kill him. He goes suddenly quiet and throws up hands, answering indignantly, "Yeah, well they'll put you away just like that! I could call the cops right now and they'd put your ass in stir!" Stir!

How'd she take that? She laughed like a maniac. (I know her family, she’s never been 100% stable either.) She laughed, then spat out, “Stir will be nothing! Because I only have a month to live! I’ll send you off ahead of me, and I’ll see you when I get there!” If that idea resonates with you, you might be thinking of streets of gold and mansions or smoldering embers and smoking caverns. It might be like that, but it could also be like it is here, a mixture of the two, life being what you make it. Too bad her doctor couldn't solve her problems...

A month to live, then dead. If any one of us had to deal with that -- and we had a husband on the make, like George -- it'd be tough to handle. For me, I wouldn't want to harm anyone. Strictly live and let live. I want everyone to have a chance to live without interference, although I would defend myself from an aggressor as best I could. Going by the daily news, though, there's a lot of nutzoids who go totally ballistic. I'd like to sit some of these nutzoids down and make them look straight into my eyes and tell them, "Listen, buddy, you get a grip on your damned self or you're going to do something stupid, OK?" Tell them about Stir. Stir means prison. Stir means bad. But what if you had 30 days to live?

That's what Angelina meant by her spitting-mad retort, “Stir will be nothing!” If the doctors couldn’t get her intestines and heart and kidney situation untangled, the guys at the police station won’t be able to fix her so she’d have to suffer the slings and arrows of the system. She could sit there and taunt them, too. Even if they got sick of it and moved her to “The Hole,” time has already passed, what’s 20 days in “The Hole”? Bad I'm sure, but take Angelina's health into account; she might pass out and die early.

The way George handled it, just to tidy up, was to choose retreat in the face of homicidal Angelina with nothing to lose. Wisely, he wheedled and worked hard -- but tenderly -- to get back on her good side. “Oh, let me love you, baby, like we used to do. Let me handle the cooking, the cleaning, getting your soiled porta-panties out to the garbage. You relax and take it easy.” She calmed down as he brushed her hair. He watched her covered breasts heave from the previous excitement, then relax as she dozed off.

Then he threw some Aqua Velva into a duffle bag, some clothes, etc., and got the hell out of there. He came by, explained the situation to me, borrowed my pup tent, and he’ll check in with me in 30-45 days, just to make sure the coast is definitely clear.

What I might do, if she actually passes on, is post it here — maybe explicitly, maybe something between the lines — so George can come back safely, go through the grieving process, etc., then get on with his life as best as he can.