Better You Should Clip Your Nails

                I saw Wonder Woman 1984 the day after Christmas.  While I certainly would not have been afraid of going to an actual movie theater to see it, I actually watched it on HBOMax on someone else’s dime.

                Boy howdy, am I glad I did so.  No, I’m not glad I viewed it.  No, I’m glad because I didn’t waste  any money on a ticket (along with the obligatory popcorn and soda).  I didn’t have any turkey for Christmas this year.  Or so I thought.

                Let’s put it this way, Wonder Woman 1984 makes Green Lantern look like Gone With the Wind.

                And that’s saying a lot.

                Where do I begin?  While the following are my impressions on this “film,” I’ve read similar complaints.  So, either a whole bunch of us are crankypants lunatics or there’s something to our crankiness.

                The beginning starts off with an Olympic-style (Olympics because…oh figure it out yourselves) competition between a group of Amazons.  And a ten-year-old Diana Prince.  Why was she the only child?  I don’t know.  Maybe because she’s a superhero?  Or the daughter of the HAIC (Head Amazon In Charge)?  Or maybe because…oh, shut up, you misogynist hater.

                This overly long “oh-my-God kill me contest” starts with the ladies (yes, I didn’t fail to notice the tight costumes.  Sue me.  Except on the ten-year-old.  Ewww.) jumping off telephone poles then proceeds to jumping in the water, swimming to shore, leaping on horses, shooting arrows through hula hoops, and dashing about like an estrogen Chinese fire drill.

                Just when some people thought Diana would win, it turns out that she cheated (she should work for Joe Biden).  So, the lesson here is…uh…you have to earn what you get.  Nothing is just given to you.  I think it has something to do that getting your wish without working can turn out horribly.  I think.

                Fairly pointless lead in, if you ask me.  The thing is?  It was the best part of the movie. 
                Anyway, we next jump to 1984.  Why?  Well, believe me, this “film” needs a gimmick.  Too bad that, apart from very few instances, the 80s really don’t much factor into this besides workout clothes, fanny packs, and desktops.  Waste of a decade, if you ask me.     That honor more properly belongs to the 70s, to be honest.

                Wonder Woman busts up a jewelry store robbery in plain sight of dozens of people (hmm…but I thought she told Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman v Superman that she just laid low after WWI…really coulda used her against Hitler.  That bitch).

                Well, one of the items recaptured in the robbery is a crystal thing (called a “Dildo Stone” in the Critical Drinker’s review of the movie.  Look it up on You Tube.  Pretty damn funny).  It grants wishes to whoever…uh…wishes something.  One of Diana’s coworkers , Barbara, wishes she could be more like Diana.  More on that later.

                We learn later (mucccccchhhhhhh later) that it was created by a “Trickster god.”  One would naturally think Loki, but we can’t mention Loki because Loki is a Marvel property (fuck Norse mythology).  DON’T MIX UP YOUR EXTENDED UNIVERSES!!!  Nerd.

                Because she has an itch which needs scratching, Diana wishes that she could see Steve Trevor again, the man she loved who blew himself to bits in Wonder Woman (a much better movie, one that I enjoyed).  And who bombed in Star Trek:  Beyond (but that’s another story).

                Well, before you can say “What the f…”, Steve pops up in the body of some schmuck who apparently was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The simian-like writers could have had Steve magically appear without resorting to a body-snatcher like plot device.  Why not?  Suspension of belief and common sense had long since left the room by that time.  But, hey, who cares if we just take over the body of a man without his consent?  Especially since he’s a man.

                Enter the villain, Max Lord.  Some people said he was modeled on Donald Trump, but I didn’t see it.  If nothing else, the fact that he evolves into a more sympathetic character at the end convinces me that no way the director/aforementioned simians would have done that.  Unless they were idiots.  Oh.  Wait.

                Max wishes for business success and all the power available to him.  Only he begins to exhibit physical failings (one of the drawbacks to getting your wish is that you lose something of yourself.  Whatever).

                Speaking of losing something, Diana realizes she’s losing her powers now that she gets to boink Steve Trevor while in the body of another man.  Without his permission (NOTE:  okay, time to be a pig, but not for nothin’ I gotta think the possessed dude would’ve been okay with bedding Gal Gadot.  Just saying.).

                This means that WW realizes she must renounce her boytoy in order to confront Max and Cheetah (back to Barbara, who all of a sudden becomes this super-sexy badass who will eventually assume a ludicrous CGI cheetah look.  Uhhhhh…..).

                Before that…Diana and Steve decide to steal a fully-fueled and otherwise ready to go jet aircraft from the Smithsonian Institution so they can catch Max in Egypt.  They do so because Steve flew biplanes in World War I.  Naturally, he can handle a supersonic fighter.

                My son asked me if that could actually happen.  I told him no.  No, it couldn’t.

                As they are being targeted for capture, Diana all of a sudden remembers that she has this power to make things invisible.  Voila!  Invisible jet.  Yes, I know an invisible jet was in the comics, but WTF?

                After the invisible jet is cleared to land in Cairo (at the very least, a flight plan wasn’t filed), Diana and Steve miraculously find Max on a road and yay ACTION!  Ludicrous action, but action.  Which bored me.  So maybe not so “yay.”

                Well, Max gets away so Diana uses a pay phone on an Egyptian street to call the United States!  Not for the first time, I throw the bullshit flag.  I was overseas…in Egypt among other places…and NO WAY could this have happened.

                Following the phone call with some Mayan type of researcher back in DC, off they wing it back home.
                NOTE:  Apparently, the apes who wrote this thing subscribe to the same “Time/Space/Distance” theory that their fellow chimpanzees adhered to in Game of Thrones, Season 8.  By the way, if you haven’t seen GOT, Season 8, good for you.    

                 Blah, blah, blah, ridiculous fight scene in the White House where things happen that no way could have happened even if the President was a doddering old numbskull (this really could have taken place in 2021).  Barbara, now Cheetah (I think) kicks the crap out of Wonder Woman (because naturally) and Max steals a helicopter to go to some secret Army/Air Force (who cares?) base so he could speak to the entire world (because that’s a thing).  Cheetah (of course) hitches a ride and off they go.

                Immediately following this dustup, Wonder Woman wishes Steve away and off he goes leaving the body he had inhabited the past few days wondering, “How the fuck did I get here?  Whew!  I knew I should’ve stopped drinking when I…and why is my penis sore?”

                With Steve gone, Wonder Woman’s powers come flooding back (proving you don’t need men, ladies) and she takes off via latching onto clouds, an airliner (I think), and lightning bolts with her lasso (didn’t know that was possible).  Then, just when you thought you had seen everything, she starts flying (yeah, woulda come in mighty handy in Justice League).

                She grabs a suit of armor that she had just laying around her apartment (it was probably an 80s thing) and off she goes to find Max (how she knew exactly where he was is never explained).  When she arrives at the base (no invisible jet, she just flew I suppose), she fights the now CGI buff Cheetah in the most idiotic looking fight sequence I’ve seen since…well…ever.

                Luckily for the fans of WW, she defeats Cheetah when a power line conveniently  drops into the water in which they’re fighting.  Cheetah is electrocuted, but doesn’t die (because I guess that’s a thing, too) and Diana remains unscathed (hooray, plot armor!).

                Wonder Woman barges into the studio where Max is speaking to the entire world.  In English.  To the entire world.  Alrighty then.  She tries to overcome this madman, but is rebuffed by…wind (might I remind the reader that this is the same woman who took a head butt…from Superman).

                Oh no, if she can’t do this, the world will end (much like the Georgia Senate races)!

                Eventually, though, through the power of persuasion (and boobs probably) she convinces the world to renounce all their wishes (NOTE:  I gotta tell you, if I had a million dollars drop in my lap, I’d have to give that a hard no, apocalypse notwithstanding).

                Voila!  Max becomes becomes good, Barbara becomes good, the world didn’t end, and Steve Trevor stayed dead.  Probably a mixed bag, I’d guess.

                Basically, this movie is pretty much a retelling of the classic story, Monkey’s Paw.  Except this one was written by actual monkeys.

                On the whole, I’d rather clip my toenails than put myself through this thing again.  There were bright spots, true.  Even though kind of wasted, Chris Pine and Pedro Pascal put in pretty decent performances (by the way, Pedro Pascal played a character in Game of Thrones, even though his character was kinda wasted there, too.  Coincidence?

                And the ending credits scene was pretty cool in a Marvel kind of way.

                Special effects?  Even when they were CGI, the special effects looked like they belonged in 1984.  On Saturday morning cartoons. 

                The editing process made no sense and had the viewers jump from here to there, with no explanation or lead-up given.

                Plus, does anyone buy Kristen Wiig as a sexpot?  Hahahaha.  Sure, she’s no “Throw Momma From the Train” woman or Hillary Clinton, but as an evil yin to Gal Gadot’s yang?  I repeat…hahahahaha.

                Overall, I’d rate Wonder Woman 1984 as a pile of hot garbage.  I’d rate it as just ‘garbage,’ but the leading role was played by Gal Gadot.

                And that woman is hot! 

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times

                Christmas is a time for reflection.  When we were kids, we fretted over whether we were nice or naughty.  Being nice was vitally important, don’tcha know.  How else would we maximize the chances of getting that brand new Hot Wheels Sizzler set?

                Of course (and, sadly, to be honest) we aren’t children anymore.  We no longer wonder how a fat old man could squeeze his fat old butt down the chimney (or just magically appear in our chimney-less living rooms.  Hey, we were kids, man.  We didn’t question the magic).  Instead, we now ponder the year past and what it all meant.

                Well, I’m here to tell you, what it all means is that 2020 sucked. 

                With the possible exception of George Soros and the Democrat Party (there’s a difference?), I seriously doubt there would be much disagreement on that point.  Businesses have been destroyed, lives have been irreparably disrupted, and, infinitely more important, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have paid the ultimate price due to a pandemic which, despite the naysayers out there, traces its origins to China.

                NOTE:  It’s not my intention here to debate whether 300,000 people died OF COVID-19 or WITH COVID-19.  That’s a topic for another day.

                With that in mind, I threw myself a pity party.  I bemoaned the possibility that 2020 would be the worst Christmas ever in my life.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I came to the realization that this is just not so.  There were plenty of Christmases which were much worse.
  

              So, if you’ll indulge me…


8.  1983-Even though I was able to spend the holiday with my brothers, sister, and stepfather, this would be the first Christmas we would spend together without our mother.  She had passed away the previous June and, even though we put on a facade of cheer (augmented by alcohol), there was no escaping the sadness in the room.

7.  1988-After a break of twelve years, I found myself in Keflavik, Iceland, while on deployment with a Navy squadron.  However, even though I didn’t spend the holidays with family, I did spend them with friends.  On the downside, a blizzard, resulting in “white-out” conditions, meant I could not eat a Christmas meal at the galley.  So, I opened a can of tuna fish in my underwater which I ate with crackers while watching reruns of “Dynasty.”

6.  1977-What would prove to be my second Christmas away from home in a row, I was inport with USS America in Palma, Spain.  I was able to go ashore, true, but I would have much preferred to be back in New England.  As an added bonus, I came down with food poisoning from the shrimp cocktail served during the ship’s “Holiday Feast.”

5.  1976-At only eighteen years old, this was the first time I was ever away from home at Christmas.  As such, I was awash in a miserable “woe is me” state of mind, longing for my family and new girlfriend.  On the bright side, I didn’t get food poisoning.  On the other hand, my girlfriend dumped me in a couple years.  So, there’s that.

4. 1997-This Christmas could have made my “Best Of” list.  Even though I was on a Mediterranean cruise with USS George Washington, we were due for a port visit in Marseilles, France.  Once docked, several of us would shoot up to Paris to meet our families.  Unfortunately, because Saddam Hussein decided to be Saddam Hussein, we were ordered to the Persian Gulf, where we spent the next several months.  I would end up being at sea on Christmas and, since I worked all night on Christmas Eve, slept away December 25th.

3.  1996-Even though I was still part of a ship’s crew, I had the day off.  This meant I was able to watch my young children open their presents from “Santa” (I was actually the jolly fat man).  Mid-morning, I took a phone call from my brother who told me that our stepfather had succumbed to cancer.  My wife and I would be in Connecticut the next day.

2.  1982-My mother is diagnosed with lung cancer.  If you’re curious how this turned out, refer to #8.


1.  2017-Without question, the very worst Christmas of all time, my father-in-law passed away on Christmas Eve.  Even though I was in the midst of a divorce and had lived apart from my wife for over a year by that point, my heart broke when she called me that morning.  Without hesitation, I rushed to her house to give what comfort I could to her and our daughter.  A tragic epilogue?  His funeral was on New Year’s Eve.

                So, this means that, if nothing else, 2020 would come in as the ninth worst Christmas of my life.  And, frankly, if I thought about it, it would probably drop much farther.  Such is the “advantage” of having lived through sixty-two Christmases, I suppose.

                Because, when you come right down to it, things aren’t nearly as bad as I may be tempted to think.  I have my health and, much more importantly, so does my family.  From what I can tell, we’re fairly happy with our lots in life.  True, this year may not have as “Christmasy” a feel as in years past, but the love we share for each other has never wavered and gives no indication that it ever will.

                I’ll be spending the day with my daughter and her husband.  I will see my son and his fiancee this weekend.  The coming year gives a bright promise that we’ll emerge from the national funk in which we find ourselves.  Indeed, things could be much, much worse.

                Now I know what you’re thinking.  Surely, you have fond memories of many Christmases, don’t you?  Of course I do.  Far more than what I’ve listed here.

                Obviously, the years I spent as a child with my brothers and sister stand out as some of the happiest times of my life.  We believed in magic and, when the magic faded away, we basked in our love for each other.

                Although, if pressed, I can immediately list the top twenty-seven Christmases without hesitation.  Since my eldest son is twenty-eight and his sister two years younger, I’m sure you can detect the common thread (in fact, were it not for #4, the number would be 28).

                Still, my very best Christmas?  That’s actually simple:

                in 1994, In the early morning hours, I watched a toddler rip through though his presents while his infant sister watched, goggle-eyed, from her mother’s lap on the couch.

                Take that, 2020.

                You still suck, though.

The Unkindest Cut of All

    Having children is a wonderful thing, especially if you’re a man. 

    All we have to do is get the ball rolling, so to speak (a euphemism if there ever was one), sometimes more than once if we’re lucky.  Then, following a few weeks of pensive waiting (during which we get to keep the ball rolling-if you know what I mean), our wife/girlfriend/woman we met in a bar looks lovingly into our eyes (hopefully, not during the ballgame). 

    In a soft, trembling voice suffused with tender devotion, she whispers, “We’re going to have a baby.”

    Then, she goes to throw up in the toilet.

    The next nine months, 30 weeks, baseball season (whatever) then becomes a non-stop rollercoaster ride.  Mixed with equal parts of emotion and curiosity over whether she’ll eventually explode like one of those critters on “Alien,” we eventually arrive at the magic time for our baby’s entry into the world of songbirds, sunshine, and Joe Biden.

    Hopefully, in preparation for an induced labor (so a perfectly good weekend isn’t messed up), the woman settles in for the blessed event.  Followed by several hours of screaming bloody murder at the evildoer who did this to her.

    Just so you don’t think we men have it rough, don’t forget:  while you’re trying to force a bowling ball through a garden hose (I know that’s not original!), we’re struggling just as strenuously.  You think it’s easy to watch television with all that racket going on?

    Soon enough, we’re given a gift from God (although the deity wasn’t in the room).  Mother and father tenderly hold their precious bundle, bathed in the warmth which comes from the knowledge that they are a solid family unit.

    Only later that night does Dad mark on the calendar when he can start the ball rolling again.

    Luckily for me, my wife presented me with two beautiful children (beautiful because they don’t look like me).  I have a son who is the model of the man I wish I was and a daughter who is everything I wasn’t in high school: popular.

     NOTE:  Mind you, this was a couple decades ago.  Nothing has changed.  Except we’ve all gotten older.  Looks much better on them.

    With that in mind, we both decided not to press our luck.  Odds were that a third child would look like me, act like me, and use my jokes.

    That, along with a state law that forbade me from further reproduction, compelled us to seek methods of permanent sterilization.

    We first considered having my wife’s tubes tied.  But, since that conjured up a vision of a rodeo where a chaps-wearing doctor would wrassle my wife to the operating table, we didn’t want to try that.

    I also considered radiation to fry my “boys.”  But, since taping a cell phone to my crotch was impractical and sticking my junk in front of the microwave delayed dinner, we decided on a vasectomy.

    Since this decision was made while I was still in the Navy, there was no worry about how we were going to be able to pull this off (an unfortunate phrase, that).  The local Navy hospital was more than capable of performing the procedure (NOTE: No way was I going to have this done on a ship.  A MOVING ship.).

    So, after talking a couple of the guys into joining me (the hospital was having a special.  Bring a friend and get 10% off a car wash), I decided to close the “Be Fruitful and Multiply” store.

    The three of us were ushered into what looked like a MASH operating room.  After a couple of questions, like “Have you eaten in the past 12 hours?”, “Are you sure you want to do this?”, “Have you shaved this morning?” (ever the wise guy, I stuck out my chin and asked, “Sure, but what does that have to do with it?”), we were instructed to disrobe from the waist down and cover ourselves with a white sheet.

    Frankly, I wanted to go all nude, but my friends chickened out.  I think they were jealous.

    Anyway, the three of us laid (or is that ‘lied’? I can NEVER get that straight) down on the table, sheets draped across our laps, our “privates” (wait a minute, we were in the Navy-we didn’t have “privates.”  Okay, “seamen.”  There, that’s better.”  Oh.  Wait.) poking through holes. 

     I swear, we looked like a row of ghosts wearing Jimmy Durante masks.

    Assisted by a dour-looking corpsman, the doctor (whose mustache drooped so low he was able to suck on it.  Ewwww, so much for hygiene) stood in front of us.  He reassured us that the procedure would be painless.  Especially, he laughed, for him.

    Yeah, I know.  Laugh, clown, laugh.

    There would be, he cautioned, a small “stick and a kick.”

    Starting with me, he injected my laddies (the “stick”) to numb them.  This was immediately followed by a substantial “kick.”  Visions of playground bullies at Saint Stanislaus immediately swam into focus as I struggled to breathe.  Before I had the chance to lie that I was okay, though, the parts surrounding my fun factory lost all feeling.  I gave mustache-sucker a thumbs up. 

    So, it went with the rest of us.  In no time, the genital assembly line (thanks, Henry Ford!) was closing up shop.  Gingerly putting our trousers back on, we cracked jokes about unloaded guns and laughed about whether we should show our scars at the next family reunion.

    Still, we were happy that we were finally taken off the playing field, in a matter of speaking.  Instead of being put out to stud, we knew that the limited editions of “us” were finally at an end. 

    As we got our parking validated and received our car wash vouchers, we took comfort that our lives would be spared from future unplanned, unforeseen “Uh-ohs.”

    Even more, we were thrilled that we would be able to “get the ball rolling” in only a couple weeks.

    Unless the ballgame was on.

Waiting To Be Rescued

               For example, Vice-President Pence has been inoculated.  Joe Biden is due to receive one this coming week, although I think you could pump him with oatmeal and he wouldn’t know the difference.

                Like an early Christmas present, the first doses of the Chinese Flu vaccine have arrived.  The media is putting on quite a propaganda show as the first, at least with the Pfizer dose, of two injections are delivered.  Priority is, I would think obviously, being given to health care workers.  A selected few, though, are getting their “shots,” as well.
 

                The rest of the population will receive theirs in the coming months.  Many doubt whether it’s safe to inject themselves with what is viewed as a rush job.  I, for one, wonder why I would introduce something into my body which is 90% or so effective against a disease with a more than 98% recovery rate.

                Still, it would appear that we’re beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.  A good thing, even though some knuckleheads caution that we still should wear face diapers (i.e., masks), observe social distances, and close everything but Target and Walmart.

                Incidentally, I predict that, if Idiot Joe and Chlamydia Harris do wind up in the White House, this kind of talk will largely disappear.

                At any rate, I maintain that, despite the good news of a vaccine, things will get worse before things get better.  I believe that otherwise smart people (although the past nine months have shown me that intelligence among a good portion of society is sorely lacking) will freak out over the [non] dire consequences of coming down with a [non]deadly scourge.

                Why do I think this way, you may ask.  Well, I compare the coming hysteria to what Captain Quint had to say in the movie “Jaws.”  Now, before you “WTF?” me, hear me out.

                In his monologue about the torpedoing of USS Indianapolis and hundreds of his shipmates killed by sharks, Quint mentioned that he was most frightened while waiting his turn.  How cruel would it be, he reasoned, to be cut in half by a shark while he was waiting to be rescued?

                So it is with people who are waiting their turn to be inoculated against the virus.  These spineless cowards are terrified that they will come down with COVID before the “rescue planes” of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson deliver them.

                As a result, many will insist on any number of draconian measures by their government to protect them from a disease which has killed people, to be sure (I’ll not deny that), yet gives them a substantial chance of recovery .  They will gladly surrender their freedoms if they receive assurances that they will never die.  Freedoms that the government will be loathe to return.

                I hope I’m wrong, but the bumbling moron from Scranton has already predicted a “dark winter.”  And no amount of vaccine will convince the unconvinceable that the light is coming.  Escpecially if it has anything to do with Donald Trump.
  

              NOTE:  I included the entire clip of Quint’s monologue.  There’s no need to watch the entire thing, but it’s worth it.  99% of it (you know, like the COVID recovery rate) has nothing to do with the plague that torpedoed (see what I did there?) the Trump presidency. But, it’s a chilling story of an actual event which really was lethal.             

OMT

   

I have “onychomycosis.”

    Quick, now.  What does that mean?

    One of the marvels of the modern world isn’t indoor plumbing.  As cool and hygienic as that is.  No, it’s the chance to visit with a physician on a regular basis.  Well, at least one who won’t use leeches to cast out demons.  Unless you live in medieval England.  Or California.  Or until government-run health care.

    It was during one of my infrequent visits to the doctor that I was pronounced a sufferer of a dread disease whose name is as hard to spell as osteop….ossteyo…osteeo…oh, you know, that bone disease thing.

    Does this scourge spur telethons?  Do celebrities wear ribbons at the Academy Awards to proclaim their faux empathy for the afflicted?  Are there snazzy bumper stickers on every SUV?  Do we need to notify our doctor if it lasts longer than four hours?

    Well…no, no, no, and-thankfully-no.  Rather than some exotic malady which energizes world governments on the order of a “Save the Banana Slug” frenzy, onychomycosis is nothing more than an infection of the nail bed.  Or, as I prefer to call it: “Old Man Toe.”

    Brought on by a fungus (I know-EWW!!), Old Man Toe manifests itself primarily on-you guessed it-the big toes of middle-aged men, resulting in discolored, brittle, and hardened nails.

    Clinically speaking, it looks icky.  And is the number one reason why old guys wear socks with sandals.

    Except for having to give up my dreams of being a world-class grape stomper or wood nymph, “OMT” hasn’t really affected me.  I can live a happy, productive life without ever having to worry about being stigmatized-except at the beach.

    However, since it IS kinda yucky looking, my doctor deemed it prudent to prescribe a cure for this particular brand of podiatric leprosy.

    He told me there wouldn’t be too many side effects-apart from possible liver damage, headaches, nausea, drowsiness when operating heavy machinery, heart arrhythmia, pregnancy, dry eye, pink eye, black eye, rib eye, bulls eye, stink eye, rickets, whooping cough, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, chicken pox, measles, mumps, heartworm, tapeworm, ringworm, inchworm, lockjaw, eczema, elephantiasis, gingivitis, halitosis, sleeping sickness, post-nasal drip, flatulence, incontinence, termites, ingrown fingernails, shingles, diarrhea, back acne, ear wax, bees wax, bees knees, water on the knees, water on the brain, brain freeze, and Tastee Freeze.  Throughout it all, I assured my physician that I was willing to take the risk, if only to be able to walk barefoot in the sand without causing children to flee in panic.

    But, when he brought up possible sexual side effects, I told that quack to take his cure and shove it.  After all, if Bill could live with Hillary, I could live with Old Man Toe.

    Sadly, OMT is only the latest sign that I’m inching closer to senior citizen discounts at the movies and thanking the Lord each time I wake up.

    I try hard not to drown in a sea of self-pity as my body lurches inexorably toward total breakdown.  Still, it’s hard to ignore indicators that I’m no longer a fresh-faced 18 year old.  Indicators like…

    When faced with two choices, I choose the one that will get me in bed before 9:00.

    I stubbornly hang onto my collection of LPs, even though a replacement stylus for my record player is as common as a salad on Chris Christie’s dinner table.

    There was a time when the most uncomfortable part of a physical was having my blood drawn.  That was before the digital exam.  Oh…yeah…YOU know what I mean.

    I remember when bell-bottoms went out of fashion.  Before they came back INTO fashion.  If leisure suits ever come back, though, I’m just gonna call in sick until I die.

    Back in MY day, an internet was used for fishing, microwaves were how midgets said goodbye, and cell phones were used to call your lawyer from jail.

     Plus, I don’t think you can call the little bastards “midgets” anymore.

    I cracked a rib playing Wiffle Ball.  WIFFLE Ball.

    There was a time when Mick Jagger didn’t look like my grandfather in spandex.

    My hairline is receding to my collar, but I can braid what comes out of my nose.  Considering that I sport sock rings on my calves, dents in my head from bifocals, and a varicose veins road map on my shins, it’s obvious to all that I’m a real hottie.

    Forget that big screen TV at Christmas.  Give me a warm pair of socks anytime.   

    I now eat antacids like I used to eat Doritos.  And Doritos like I used to eat broccoli.

    I own a tee shirt which says ”Old Guys Rule.”  How sad is that?  If it means the laxative counter at CVS, I suppose so.

    I can never figure out whether I’m “jiggy” with it or “down” with that.  I guess old guys should never speak “hip” lingo.  Like earrings and ponytails, it just makes them look silly.

    I pay attention to Wilfred Brimley diabetus commercials, watch those Time-Life “Best of the 60s” info spots, and reach for a pencil and paper whenever ads for “The Villages” come on.     

    I’m afraid to fart.

    Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and Marilyn Manson…what freaks!  Black Sabbath, KISS, and Alice Cooper…now THERE’S music!

    I know the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  And what “good” cholesterol is.

    Donald Duck and I have some things in common.  Neither one of us wears pants in the house nor can anyone understand us.

    I know the words to the theme song from “H.R. Pufnstuf”, prefer Curly over Shemp, and remember Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.  Now, if I could just figure out how to program my DVR.  And change the time on the microwave.

    Belts and suspenders holding up pants with elastic waistbands.  Yeah, that’s what I’M talking about.

    Hot dogs give me gas, beer makes me sleepy, and fiber is my friend.

    I’m actually disappointed when the mail doesn’t come on time.    

    I wonder what happened to my belt buckle and feet.

    We had party lines; they have cell phones.  We had mailmen with pith helmets; they have gmail.  We had Pong; they have Mario Party.  We had mindless entertainment on network TV; they have…uh, let’s call it a draw.

    Of course, the moral of the story is be happy, for youth is fleeting.  As inevitable as death, taxes, and “Survivor” reruns, the youth of today will be in expand-o-slacks tomorrow.

    And, wearing socks to hide Old Man Toe. 

All Thumbs

NOTE: I wrote the below several years go. When I had a home. And a wife. And my son didn’t live two hours away. Thanks for reminding me.

  I love Home Depot.

    Honorable Mention:  Lowe’s. 

    It is there where I am at one with my guyness.  Blissfully adrift amongst pressure treated lumber, parquet flooring, and stainless steel widgets, I feel much more at home than at, say, Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

    It’s impossible for me to emerge empty-handed from one of these do-it-yourself nirvanas.  Sure, it may be an item I’ll only use once (like that PVC saw…which I only used…once) or a “you never know” purchase like that 4X4 sheet of fiberglass-reinforced sheetrock, but I feel it’s my solemn duty to contribute to the local economy…and to the myth that I actually know what I’m doing.   

    While I’m not the Inspector Clouseau of Handymen, I’m not exactly Bob Vila, either (or, for that matter, Lou Vila, who lives in a box under the overpass).

    Through painful trial and error, I’ve learned that water conducts electricity, pipes freeze in the winter, it’s not a good idea to “slide” a console TV down a flight of stairs, and it ain’t real smart to burn plastic wood in the fireplace.

    I guess you could say that my motto is, “If it’s still smoking after you turn the power off, get the hell out of the house!”

    Since we live in the country, you can imagine how out of control our crime rate is.  After all, those rabbits can’t possibly be up to any good, the owls give me the creeps, and I just don’t trust those damn crickets.

    Still, my wife thought it would be a swell idea to get a motion detector.  If only to prevent raccoons from stealing our empty pizza boxes or the gophers from hot-wiring the cars.

    Well, since any excuse to go to the hardware store is a good one, off I went in search of one of those modern marvels of home security.

    Three hours later, I returned with a wood-burning set, an extension ladder, a rubber mallet, the “Family Pack” bungee cord set (incidentally, what kind of “family” shops for bungee cords-the Mansons?), six cans of Fix-A-Flat, a gallon of Gorilla Glue, and 20 rolls of Flex-Seal tape. 

    And a motion detector.

    Minutes later, its contents were spread out all over my kitchen table.  I meticulously cross-checked the master inventory:  four 2” metal screw thingies-check, three plastic wire nut whoozits-check, one metal plate gizfotchy-check, one rubber gasket thingamajig-check, two lamp holders-uh, oh…

    Back to the store.

    Two hours later, I returned with the parts I needed.  And some anti-freeze, Monkey Grip, and something called Crack Filler.

    After pulling my new extension ladder out of the garage, up I went to start wiring in the motion detector.

    Minutes later, after getting up from the ground, I went downstairs to pull the outdoor lighting circuit breaker.

    After several hours of twisting this, wiring that, and filling the air with all sorts of Anglo-Saxon expressions of goodwill, I finally achieved success.

    Restoring power, I ran back and forth under its sensor, making chipmunk sounds for effect.   After noticing the light coming on when called for, I pronounced it a job well done. 

    While I inspected the job, my son (who had wandered away from his X-Box when he heard a chipmunk) stared at the underside of the brightly-lit detector. 

    “Hey, Dad, what’s that written on the underside of the sensor?”

    Deciding to eschew (French for “disregard.”  Or “atchoo.”  Which doesn’t make sense) the ladder, I squinted my eyes at some squiggles written on the plastic. 

    “Oh, that?  It’s probably Chinese for ‘Use only 60 watt bulbs’ or something like that.  Don’t worry about it.”

    My testosterone at maximum level, I could conquer the world.  I confidently strode into the house, thumped my chest, and announced to the womenfolk that I was Conqueror of Darkness.

    “Here,” my wife flung a pork loin my way and pointed at the grill, “now you can be Lord of Fire.”

    The motion detector did its thing for several weeks.  It could spot the movement of the smallest of critters, energize its halogen lamps, and instantly bring the driveway to near-solar intensity.

    Our property became an impregnable fortress, secure from wanton acts of nature.  And, if called upon, could be an emergency airfield.

    Last week, though, we had a rainstorm to match all rainstorms.  Streams overflowed, gutters choked with sodden debris, cars stalled in flooded intersections, and our neighbor, “Frank the Drunk”, started hauling pairs of zebras and ducks into his bass boat.

    Oh, yeah, and our motion detector stopped working.

    Initially refusing to shut off, even during the day, it was merely tricked by the gloom of the storm.  Or so I thought.

    But, when the sun finally came out and we needed sunglasses, the light still refused to turn off.

    Seeing that, I thought that somehow the designers of the thing hadn’t taken torrential downpours into account.  Obviously, water had gotten into the whole shooting match and shorted out the wires.

    Of course, since I’m not exactly Marconi, the thought of WHY something that was shorted would still WORK never crossed my mind.

    Armed with an industrial size tube of waterproof silicant, I once more ascended my ladder to remedy the situation (this time I shut off the power).

    After coating all possible openings with the waterproof goop (of the motion detector), I descended the ladder making sure I didn’t go crashing into the garbage cans, forcing a visit to the local ER.  Re-energizing the circuit, I returned to inspect my work.  Voila!  The lights had gone off!

    Mentally exchanging high-fives with myself, I put everything away and proceeded to fix lunch (OK, cookies, Totinos, and a Diet Coke).  Once it got dark, we’ll just see how good of a job I did!

    Well, darkness came and went.  And, the motion detector worked as well as a clock made of cheese.

    Perplexed, I figured I’d have to take the whole thing off, dry it, and re-install it.

    Balancing precariously on the ladder, I twisted the sensor and grimaced as a cascade of water rolled down my arm into my armpit.

    That figures!  Cheap Chinese, Japanese, whatever, piece of crap!  What frikkin’ genius thought to put the controls on top of the sensor so rain can just roll right in and fry the thing? 

    As I was mentally spending my refund after I returned this hunk of junk, I noticed the words that my son had pointed out as I was congratulating myself a few weeks ago.  Words that were printed on what I thought was the underside of the sensor.  Words that, when turned the right way, clearly stated:

    “THIS SIDE UP.”

    Ooops.

    Back to the store.

Journey To The Center of My Bowels

My, how time flies! This coming Monday, I’m having a medical procedure. Not going under the knife, mind you. Nothing is going to get lanced, excised, or biopsied (okay, maybe so, but I’ll be knocked out and won’t notice). No, I’m going to get my fourth colonoscopy. Why four, you ask? Aren’t you a (relatively) young man? First, thank you for that “young man” thing. Second, while these rectal invasions generally occur every ten years, I’m on the “Five Year Plan” (which was also used to describe Soviet agriculture. This, I hope, is unrelated). This is because the doctor found some small (benign, thank goodness) polyps during my first go-round. Even so, you say, since you’re only 62 (almost 9 in dog years), you should only be receiving your third, not fourth. Well, my very first procedure had to be rescheduled since I didn’t completely clean out the works (I’ll spare you the gross details). Anyway, in honor of this upcoming auspicious event, I thought I’d reprint the description of my “Colonic Deflowering.” If you’re “of an age” you’ve probably had one of these already. If you’re not, it’s coming for you, tough guy.

Anyway, enjoy. And don’t forget your fiber.

WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS GRAPHIC BITS OF INFORMATION VIS-À-VIS MY LOWER GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM.  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

  One of the benefits of turning 50 is that, besides grey hair sprouting from my nose, needing Pepsi to burp, and developing the nail fungus known as “Old Man Toe,” I got a chance to feel what it’s like to spend a little time in a Turkish prison.

  The word “colonoscopy” is Greek in origin.  Its entomology (no, wait a minute, that’s the study of ‘insects.’  I meant ‘etymology’-I can never get those straight) derives from “colonos” which means “butt” and “scopy” which means “look see.”  (NOTE: NOT its real meaning.  But it should be, amirite?). 

  As befits my advancing years, I was recently treated to the full Monty (coincidentally, the doctor’s actual name).  I felt sorry for the poor guys whose HMOs wouldn’t pay for a complete procedure.  They were only able to afford a “semicolonoscopy.”  (waka, waka, I’m here all week…don’t forget your waitress).

  The day before, I was directed to drink a couple bottles of what’s called Fleet Phospho Soda.  This, once again, is a Greek term meaning “Ass Rocket Fuel.”  Boy, howdy, does that stuff work!  I haven’t felt that emotionally attached to my lavatorial facilities since my surgery in 1988 (some of you know which surgery I mean.  Okay…hemorrhoids.  Happy?).

  Anyway, I felt like one of those water rockets we bought as kids.  Remember those?  You know, the kind you pump up with water until, when you can no longer pump them up, you just pop the cork and let ‘em fly?  Yeah, a lot like that.

  I could never predict when it was time for, uh, Old Faithful to erupt (so to speak).  Needless to say, I left my white pants in the closet with the rest of my Miami Vice wardrobe.

  Falling asleep the night before was an adventure.  Luckily for me (and my terrified wife), my own personal levees weren’t breached while I slept.  Although, by the time I woke up, I was so full that I felt like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloon (I don’t know which one, but I’m sure it can’t be one of the popular ones.  Perhaps the Sinclair dinosaur?).

  Throughout the day, I had to fast (which was pretty easy since I’m ‘half-fast’, anyway).  Although I couldn’t stray too far from the bathroom because, whenever I had to, uh, you know, I had to, uh, you know.  Thank goodness I had plenty to read.  Plus, that handheld Yahtzee was a godsend.

  I grew so famished throughout the day that I started licking the Sunday paper ads for Burger King.

  Finally, my wife drove me to the rather unfortunately named “Dr. Mengele Center for Endoscopic Surgery-Sponsored by BEANO!”

  After checking in, I was wheeled into the prep room where I had to disrobe and asked if I had gone to the bathroom.  Ya know, not for nothin’, wouldn’t it have been better to ask before I took my clothes off?  That way, if I hadn’t used the bathroom, I wouldn’t have to parade naked through the waiting room, causing who knows how many people to lose their lunch.

  Oh, and incidentally, I thought it was odd that it was the janitor who asked me to take off my clothes.

  The nurse (moonlighting from her regular job as a Verizon FIOS installer) explained what was going to happen to me.  My eyes grew wide when she showed me a picture of the “instrument.” 

  Jesus, they were going to shove a piece of PVC pipe so far up the exit that I was going to be a piñata for a sadist or, at the very least, a Popeye Lawn sprinkler.

  I was told I would be filled with air and that I was encouraged to fart when I was done (not wanting to waste it, I think I’ll wait until church and then make a joyful noise unto the Lord!).

   As they wheeled me into the operating room, I reminded them if they found any cave paintings, they were the property of the Smithsonian Institution.

  I was told I’d be so pumped full of drugs, I wouldn’t feel a thing.  I told the “Butt People” that, since that was the case, they could do whatever they want.  I wish I hadn’t told them that though.  Because I think I’m going to be on You Tube.  With a monkey.

  Luckily, everything turned out great.  They did find a polyp (and Jimmy Hoffa) which they cut out.  I plan on having it bronzed (the polyp, not Jimmy Hoffa).

  So, that’s my story.  As you can see, everything went well for the most part and I don’t have to lick the paper anymore.

  But, I’ll never look at my garden hose the same way again.

Practice Makes…Something

Well, the election happened five days ago and there is no shortage of hate, disgust, and panic on social media. So, this is the perfect refuge. I’ve made the switch to alternate sites, but they’re not as user-friendly as what I’ve grown accustomed to. Frankly, ditto here, but I’ll keep plugging away, trying this, trying that. I hope to announce this to the world (or what little slice of said world with which I interact) by the end of the month.

Today, I’m going to try monkeying with the text…

strikethrough Ooh, that worked!

text color Hey, that worked, too!

Putting a picture in a post…cool…now if I could only remember how I did it…