After a reasonable amount of screaming I grabbed a three-ring binder, opened it up, placed it in front of me and shouted, “Don’t look! Don’t look!” I’m pretty sure that seeing a naked 75-year-old woman wasn’t how he planned to start his day, and may well have sent him into therapy.
Just so you all know, except for what I’m doing right this second, I don’t “text,” and I can’t even think about anyone who will text while they are driving. They apparently missed that Sir Isaac Newton class on what happens when a dumb object meets an immovable one.
I do not encourage you to attach pages of your book to the outside of your house. I tried this once and the wind came up and blew part of my story into the neighbor’s yard. He quickly self-published a similar novel to mine before I could say “Bingo.”
"Do you have to turn the radio or TV up louder than normal?" asks the hearing-aid questionnaire on a postage-paid mailer. Heck, I had to do that when I was the mother of young children who played noisily in the same room that had the television set.
However, our friends encouraged us to stay on course. They said we would eventually master all the nuances and it was important to prove to our children we weren’t too old to learn. Unlike our parents, who were ancient in their 70s, we have eternal youth.
I went back out to the car. It wasn't there. Had I left it running? Did I put it in park? Did I ever put gas in it? No! Ha! I walked down the block to the neighbor's house. Sure enough there it was safely on his lawn.
He said that if my gums were healthy they would not bleed. I was dying to try that same test on him to challenge his theory but never got the opportunity. He scheduled an appointment for me to come in for surgery and handed me a bill for $955 which I signed using the blood that was dripping from my mouth.
Because so much of today’s real news presents as too strange or outrageous to be true, it’s made this humor columnist’s lot nearly impossible. It’s hard to make something serious funny (my job), when it’s already funny without any help from me.
WebMD has a handy symptom checker that lets me catalogue all of my daily aches and pains, saving them in a personal online profile on Facebook and Twitter. If anyone asks, “How are you today,” I can give them more information than they probably want.
My throat tightened. I wouldn’t be able to make eye contact or connect with that many people. But this could be my break into senior-age stardom, I thought. I could be the next Betty White or Maggie Smith.
Deliveries are always exciting times for us. We painted reserved parking spots in front of our house to make things easier for UPS and FedEx drivers. We used to have a friendly gal as our postman, but our deliveries have become so heavy that they assigned the mail route to a grouchy muscleman.
The face of the watch displays large, easy to read numbers, indicating the time you have left on earth in years, months, days and minutes. What could be better? It also has an illuminated face, so you can read it at night AND it’s waterproof, so you can wear it surfing in Hawaii or floating face down in the Hudson River.
Having come to her for help, not for the purpose of turning her into a wailing wall, I knew I had to become positive, dampen the whiner in me, smash out the loser trying to surface and rule me.
I spent the next couple days mentally preparing for the croquet event. Mostly, by drinking copious amounts of beer, closing my eyes, and reliving classic shots like the ricochet off the boulder shot, the between the legs of the neighbor's cat shot, the crush the lawn ornaments, the power fade over the other team's foot, the hop over the ditch without landing in the tomato garden and, of course, the whack away.
Their next round of exchanges centered on how Martha uses gobs of lard to ensure nothing sticks to her heavy cast iron frying pans. Then Mona touted her collection of signature pans that have special coatings to ensure nothing sticks — the same material the military uses on stealth aircraft.
Try healing without humor. You can do it, but the result is like living with plastic plants. I’ve also worked with a few humorless healthcare professionals, and that’s like spending your day watering plastic plants.
Speaking of healing, I'm also looking forward to getting back into my rigorous exercise routine. Yesterday I did a sit-up and it felt great. "The only reason you sat up was because you heard the refrigerator open." Risk and reward. That's what it's all about.
Even though I'm now officially into middle age, I've put off having a sigmoidoscopy several times due to cost – or at least that was the best excuse I could come up with at the time. But, with health insurance companies now offering it as part of their preventative healthcare packages, my excuses were rapidly running out.
Of course! I've had an avid interest in art ever since my senior year when they told me I had to do three things to actually graduate high school: Show up to class more than three days a week. Stop trying to sneak into the girl's locker room. And take one more elective. I chose Art 101.
I know my body has been undergoing changes from the day I was born, but most of those changes brought positive results, unlike now when each change has me rolling further down the other side of the hill.
Eventually, I was the guy who had to “walk the dog” several times a day. I humbly followed Chippy around, discretely carrying a small plastic bag. If visiting Martians happened to be watching that scene, they undoubtedly perceived the royally serviced dog to be the superior being.
Hannah, aka Hannah Homemaker, is the antithesis of me. Give her 24 hours and she could make Martha Stewart's empire drop out of sight. Hannah cooks supper before she eats breakfast; bakes bread every day, and vacuums her carpet long before the warranty has expired.
That’s Mother Pauline. If you even hint to her that it’s okay if being in her 80s slows her down a little, she’ll defiantly stop what she’s doing, stoop over and plant her palms flat on the floor without bending her knees (you try it). End of that discussion.
There was a time when no one would have asked me about my eyebrows. But, I guess that's one of the drawbacks of getting older. I also have to trim the inside of my ears, nose, my chest and have my back waxed.
When I looked at myself in the mirror Shirley Temple did not look back at me. The stringy blonde locks that had previously hung down to my shoulders like coils of dirty rope, were no longer there. I found not one ringlet either sausage-style, banana-style or Shirley-style.
It’s fitting that The Mona Lisa, painted by a man who designed a parachute 420 years before Wilbur and Orville Wright proved that bicycles can fly, was picked by scientists to be the first image transmitted through space via laser beams. To me, Mona Lisa and the Man in the Moon have the same scientific smile.
In all fairness, it's not my brain's fault for failing to keep up with the incessant demand for retaining information. Between being submerged during fraternity keg parties, oxygen-depleted by pot through the ‘60s and suffocated with black market muscle relaxants, it's a wonder there's anything left for my dementia and Alzheimer's to grab on to.
Unfortunately, there was so much stuff currently residing in our garage it would be impossible to even fit a 12-year-old Chinese gymnast in there – which is too bad really because she could have probably helped read the instructions.
I breathed an enormous, quivering, sigh of relief, closed my eyes and thanked God for watching over me. He must have known my plans for the evening included snuggling under my covers with a hot cup of herbal tea, watching my Thursday night television lineup, and sticking a finger or two into the hole of my pencil sharpener.
With my finger on the trigger, my heart in my throat, my wife safely secured in the privy and another colorfast washload thumping away, I was ready to fire. The bear was teetering on the sill.
"That's right, Dear! Because you are about to be treated to a full day of uninterrupted football! You'll enjoy all the passes, clashes and smashes. Instant replays of near-death injuries from three-dozen different camera angles including a new view this year from the space station.
If you're one of that baffling ilk who say "at least you can dress for the cold," I can't help you; I'll never understand you, and may the penguins of paradise march into your foot pajamas.
I'm also going to ask my editor if I can change my humor column into an occasional humor tweet, which will prevent eyestrain for my readers and save thousands the cost of Lasik surgery, which will reduce healthcare costs.
Some of these Chinese-made items are shipped from the United Kingdom. This means that we live on a planet where petroleum-based rabbit ear utensils first go around the world before they ultimately land on the “Free!” desperation tables at next summer’s yard sales in America.
Obviously, Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln are pretty important historical figures. But I revere people like Mrs. Olson who saved marriages in her mountain-grown coffee commercials, Joe Di Maggio who sold us the Mr. Coffee machines, and Howard Schultz who built the Starbucks Empire. Those are the faces that really belong on Mount Rushmore and on American currency.
The holiday season, however, has a way of bringing poetry into the warming innards of our hearts, or as the poet might say, its “cockles.” (For the record, should the need arise, I’d want my heart surgeon well-versed in mitral valve repair, not cockle heat.)
Another time I cut a perfect tree, but the bottom was uneven so it wouldn't fit in the stand. I trimmed a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more, until I ended up with a tree that was six-feet wide and three-feet tall.
The first year I moved here from New Hampshire I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner that included a tofu turkey. I don't know where you'd even hunt tofu turkeys or what kind of bullet you'd have to shoot it with to keep it in one piece like that. Do they make tofu shot that they keep on the shelf next to the buckshot and birdshot? Is there a mating call whistle?
After beer was served, Uncles Harry and Dick got into a heated argument over the White House Christmas tree. Dick swore that it is unconstitutional, unless they also added a Menorah and Kwanzaa tree. They also fought over whether or not the very first turducken happened in mid-air.
The dénouement for my dad¹s "Halloween Experiment" is not encouraging for the future of the human family. On the other hand, "entrapment" might be the verdict of any fair-minded judge for what happened.
I found customer service. There was a long line. It resembled a group that might be camping out waiting for the next “Twilight” movie. I pulled my collar up around my neck.
Lee Trevino, once complained about problems he was having with his game by stating, “I’m not saying my golf game went bad, but if I grew tomatoes they would have come up sliced.” Another Trevino crack: “You don’t know what pressure is until you’ve played for five dollars a hole with only two dollars in your pocket.”
Mostly I'm going crazy with coupons, rewards and discount cards. The weight of cards in my wallet and the tiny plastic ones hanging from my key chain, have my arthritis rebelling. I'm considering hiring someone to carry my purse for me.
Still, I wasn’t sure if the agent was smiling at me to be friendly or because I was the next guy getting a body cavity search. Fortunately, my birthday suit x-ray went fine and a colonoscopy wasn’t necessary; although, that same agent winked at me as I exited the screening area.
She was the loudest, and the flashiest of Auntie’s customers. She was, in fact, the widow of the legendary Hank Williams. She was by far the liveliest of Aunt M’s dignified customers, and one could always hear her before they could see her.
A giggle sifts through the swell of noise from behind me. It is a woman old enough to be her own mother. The genius who invented name tags deserves a Nobel Prize. "Old age is when former classmates are so gray, wrinkled and bald, they don't recognize you."
"...beginning immediately we are going to start charging you a quarterly maintenance fee for this account, equal to about six times your annual interest take. And we are going to charge you a monthly maintenance fee on your non-interest bearing checking account, so that our corporate leaders can continue to lead a lifestyle that you can only dream about."
Have you ever had an operation that was a resounding success, but recovery stunk all because you didn't follow the doctor's orders? You never spent a minute in medical school, yet you knew more than the doctor?
It's not that I don't like char broiled foods, you understand. It's just that like a lot of guys I tend to like more technologically advanced cooking procedures, such as calling take-out. Also, I try to avoid any activity that makes me look foolish (not counting golf).
The one time we gave in to our longing we bought a darling, energetic, puppy and named him Spike. After exhaustive weeks of training him, we were forced to accept that we were too old to deal with a high strung, yapping puppy, so with tremendous guilt and sadness, we found him a good home and swore never to do that again.
Another reason I chose Independent was a purely guy thing. I didn't know if all those "California Girls" the Beach Boys sang about were Republican or Democrat and I wanted them to know I go both ways -- so to speak.
It was our turn to host the annual Fourth of July barbecue, and my wife had left me in charge of the main course after I assured her that I couldn't possibly screw-up something as simple as hot dogs.
In other words, Dad didn’t get it and passed it to Mom, who found it too annoyingly true to be humorous.
Those nieces and nephews are now all adults with children of their own and fondly remember their visits when they were young. When they plan to drop by, they ask their kids if they would like to go for a quick visit to see "Grumpy Old Uncle Jim."
Hasn't he noticed how I don't as yet look into the mirror and scream, although my once vibrant eyes, now sagging neck, laugh, frown and puppet lines wouldn't have Glamour magazine clamoring for me to be on its cover. Of course I could always have one of those “touch-up” jobs, but who wants to be on the cover of Popular Mechanics?
When I finally do get in to see the doc, he inevitably hands me one or two illegible prescription slips. As I was trying to read one, it occurred to me that physicians ought to handle secret communications for the military. Between the dead language the docs use and their illegible writing, no enemy could ever decipher the code.
Ladies, if your slip was showing in 1955, someone might’ve told you that “your pinky’s out of jail.” Gentlemen, if you found yourself stuck with the family station wagon on prom night, you had to transport your date in a “tank,” but that might’ve increased your chances of playing a game of “backseat bingo.”
This week has been extremely testy. I went out all by myself and bought a new printer, uncrated it and connected everything according to four pages of instructions in four languages. I looked at all of the pictures before discovering my native tongue.
Therefore it only makes sense to try bonsai‑ing cannabis. Kind of pot in a pot if you will. I even have a name for my signature crop – Ernie's Journeys.
Despite my dietary non-investment in the subject, I was still driven on by a devotion to duty, owing it to the carnivores in this readership. Consider, I was researching this subject as a stranger in a strange land, where people say “thermally sterilized comestibles” when talking about canned food.
No doctor or nurse should be allowed to let their skills loose upon the ill and wounded without a mandatory course in humor. It is often the panacea when anything else bottled, sprayed, injected or otherwise directed at afflicted souls falls short of healing.
At the time of our requested departure by management there were a dozen or so people living there and the line between when one party ended and the next party started became a blur.
Today's clinic experience actually started in the crowded elevator. Because I can't stand the deafening silence of anonymity, I asked the guy next to me: "So what are you in for?"