Thursday, 19 December 2013

‘Tis the Season

    Christmas ain’t what it used to be but maybe never was. I’m settling into the Maine version which promises to be, more often than not, white. My native Oregon, at least in the Willamette valley, is a place to dream of a white Christmas. Every forty or so years the dream comes true. Kids there start writing to Santa when the fall rains begin. Forget the ten years I spent in Arizona, a dream of a snowflake anytime is more likely to be fulfilled.

    Here, Over the Hill and through the Woods to Grandmother’s House is a nice thought. So many times in the past, in other places, it was like booking a room in the Bates Motel, after seeing the movie. Grandmother equaled Mother in Law. I got her a nice present the first year; a brand new cauldron. Things went downhill despite my effort. My new mother-in-law-to-be is in heaven with the rest of the angels. She left a daughter cast from her mold.

   And that twelve days of Christmas stuff  …. NIGHTMARE. You’ll spend more than more than you’ll redeem from the 60 golden rings for enlarging the house to accommodate and feed the rest of the gifts. The key word is ‘golden’ instead of ‘gold’. The cheap plated things you’ll get from the idiot playing out the song will probably be tin filled. If you want to find out where they come from, just check out your list of living ex-Mother’s-in-Law. No wonder boxing day comes the day after Christmas.

   Santa Claus can be another disappointment, ranging from the unshaven drunk who crawled out of the gutter to take advantage of his hygienic habits to  … well, me. It’s the one time of the year you might rather sit on my lap than his. That move is still not recommended by the good judgment fairy.

   When I look in the mirror I see Santa. There is never a winter day when I am unstrapped and allowed out in public that I don’t find myself identified as Jolly old St Nick. There is nothing that feels quite as rewarding as seeing a little jaw drop, followed by a questioning look aimed at Mom or Dad. It’s not like the rest of the year when the see my candy van and have that reaction. I generally crouch down to their level and admit that I am not Santa, but am his brother, Fred. I tell them I see him from time to time and will pass on a message to him if they want me to.

   After seeing the movie, I am going to have to find a name other than Fred.

   I get the same look from adults, hear similar comments. I ignore them. They are addled idiots.

   I do wish more people would follow the ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’ hint though. It seems a bit removed from what I suspect the Christmas spirit to be when women draw weapons to determine who gets the best spot to see the tree lighting ceremony. Of course that happened in the same city where they boo Santa Claus, not Maine.

   Christmas decoration replacing Halloween candy on store shelves stretches out the parking problem season a bit longer than I like. While Black Friday may have been named with reference to the stores’ balance sheets, the color takes on more significant meaning as December 25th looms closer. This is a blog, rather than a police ledger, so I won’t get real specific about that. Suffice it to say we need a few more genuine holiday smiles than the more threatening ones I see so often, usually from people acquainted with me. I used to like to watch professional wrestling matches. I think Christmas has ruined that for me.

   At last though, I am in Maine where, perhaps, Santa Claus really lives. The North Pole is a subterfuge designed to keep the elves caged and working, the paparazzi occupied. People don’t come up here by accident. It’s not on the way to anywhere except Canada, and who wants to go there? The Christmases are usually white, the people are a little more laid back, and the relatives don’t wear gang colors. That, and I am now with the future Mrs. Claus.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Once per decade is ENOUGH !!!


            We do things over and over that we don’t seem to learn from. I fell for the logic that a colonoscopy every ten years or so is a good idea. At my age my memory is short. There, now that most of the sensible readers are gone we can get back to talking about sex, or we could if I did that more than once a decade. Maybe I’ll just continue exploring the original subject since you aren’t too squeamish or don’t have to eat a meal right away.

            First of all, I can’t figure out how there is anybody to go to to get one of those done. The procedure was invented during the inquisition, I think, and it should have gone the way of the rack and the iron mask. Were these the bottom doctors of their med school classes? I’ve experienced a lot of things in life I have figured I could do better than the average person does. My first memorable auto accident convinced me a car could be returned to is former condition in less than ten days or so with my leadership in a body shop. If I was a general contractor workmanship on new houses would be better and shortcuts and cheap materials wouldn’t cause my customers anguish. Why does, Baskin and Robbins only have 31 flavors, most of them questionable choices, when I know how to make over 150 of them?

            At no time yesterday did I consider filling out an application for a job in the colonoscopy industry. If they have lunch hours, how can they enjoy them? I’d need a lot more vacation time than they probably offer, about 50 weeks more per year of it. There’s not enough brain bleach in the market to allow me to sleep at night after a day in those mines. The one consolation, I will admit, is that the video can’t be any worse than reality TV.

            The preparation for one isn’t as bad as it used to be. Then, it helped that I had been in the Navy and expanded my vocabulary a bit. I had to drink a gallon bottle of something that tasted like it was left over from someone’s previous colonoscopy.  That was after downing a liquid enema that didn’t taste any better. I spent the day learning that toilet paper is indeed a wood product, and much less entertaining than the sears catalog. Whoever thought up the regime should have been shot, and probably was.

            This time I just had to down two bottles of something almost as bad as that Maine specialty, Moxie. If you haven’t experienced that, just volunteer to prep for a colonoscopy.  You’ll be much more satisfied, for a while. Instructions said to drink 16oz of clear liquid after downing the Lemon Delight or whatever they call it. Yukon Jack worked fine.  The ‘for a while’ part didn’t. I went through six pair of shorts before I understood what magnesium can do for you. Let’s just say it is not a mineral I am ever going to prospect for.  

            Surviving that experience, I was ready to face day two. I hadn’t sobered up enough to change my mind. I’d not recommend driving more than ten miles to the clinic unless you have at least one backup pair of underwear. When you get there you’ll probably have to go through a gate, as the place will most likely be surrounded by a tall electric fence topped with razor wire. They will be designed to keep people IN the compound, in case they sober up. Right next door to the place I went, the EPA had an office. I guess they figured locating there would be a cost saving measure.

            The gown they gave me was a cute backless thing, but light blue isn’t really my color and they wouldn’t let me keep it anyway. Once they got me into that thing I guess they figured I’d be too embarrassed to run away (They don’t know me very well). The nurse seized the opportunity to stick a needle in my arm. I noticed the tubing attached to it didn’t lead to another bottle of Yukon Jack. The bag it was attached to didn’t do much for me but after they lashed me down and wheeled my bed into another room they added something else to it. Then they told me to count backward from nine to seven. It might have been concentrated Yukon Jack and I’ll have to check the stores to see if I can find some. Like most Saturday nights, I don’t remember much of what happened after that. I think I was violated though.

            What they call recovery was not bad. There was no hangover and it was the first time in years I’d been able to fart for longer than it takes to count backward from nine to seven, and not pass out. I’m almost looking forward to my next visit for one of these anal lobotomies or something because.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Hidden Treasure

Having turned sixty-five I am now allowed to do things I’ve never done before, things that were denied me by such forces as the good judgment of youth. We all know how good that really is once we hit the golden age zone.  I intend to take advantage of the opportunity. Why wouldn’t I?

I’ve got a doozy, enough to make my daughters shake their heads and say “Daaaad …”, for my first go around. I’m sure my girlfriend will be supportive. Maybe I should by her some things to go out onto the beach with me, but she’ll probably say she already has everything she needs.

I’m going to head for Goodwill to find a few things I’ll need, besides a petite red dress  (I lost my last one during a street chase) and a large bra, the largest I can find (a guy can dream, can’t he), I’m going to get an aloha shirt and a pair of baggy short pants that fall, hopefully not literally, to the knee from mid stomach. Either mint green or a pale blue pin stripe will do. Accessories will be pale yellow or red mid-calf socks and a wide brown leather belt, nothing too fancy. Reluctantly I’ll don a pair of sandals. I’ve never liked or worn sandals. (back to the street chase thing again). I’ll top it all off with some sort of natural colored straw hat with a wide brim and a pair of sun glasses.

That is the necessary uniform when I head for the beach with my new metal detector and start hunting treasure. Where else would the pirates have buried it? I intend to make my next million quickly. It’ll be a couple of months before I can find my way back into the United States (not the street chase thing this time) and get to Maine. It’s safe to tell you all about it because most of you have never heard of Maine. Those who don’t live in New Hampshire (whose residents can’t read) have no idea where it is. “Isn’t that by Rhode Island?” The couple dozen who can pass both tests were undoubtedly drunk when they stumbled onto it and probably still are. Drunks who get that badly lost are seldom able to take even that first AA step.

I laugh at those who settle for finding car keys in the sand. The few times the car and the owner are not gone are probably good for about ten bucks a pop. It takes a long time to make a million that way. Even those who find the occasional diamond ring or Rolex or Rolls Royce buried in the sand (I’ve never had much luck fencing expensive cars) usually only do so once or twice or so in their lives. They are, unlike me, hopeless dreamers.

Unknowingly, I have practiced for this hobby for many years. I have gone treasure hunting every time I’ve gotten onto an airplane. That little pouch that has gotten closer and closer to your knees over the years often hides something special, and I almost always go digging. Some of the best things have gotten past weak stomached airplane cleaning crews, but that’s another blog.

During the time I am waiting to sneak back to Maine, I’m going to visit the library and find some books about buried treasure, maybe “Treasure Island”. I guess I’ll have to learn French too, since they can’t seem to get their hands on many books written in English here in Quebec. I may have to resort to Amazon, or Abebooks or maybe e-bay and build my own library of how-to and what-was-lost books. About all I’ll need after that are some antique maps that shouldn’t run over a couple of grand or so. That’ll barely dent my next million. I’ll just have to skip a few meals or switch to something cheaper than Alpo until I get it.

Oh yeah, I’ll need a shovel, and maybe a flintlock pistol too. Since I don’t know what the state laws are regarding sharing treasure with the tax collectors and municipal authorities, I’ll do my detecting in the daylight and dig at night. Probably better pick up a flashlight or lantern too. Which is cheaper, lamp oil or batteries? When I get a good reading, I’ll look as nonchalant as anyone about to dig up a million dollars or so can. If someone is looking over my shoulder, I’ll pretend it’s nothing important, maybe just a Rolls Royce or a pull tab from an old soda can, so they won’t catch on and dig up the treasure as soon as I turn my back.

When you hear a giant sucking sound, followed by an insane laugh, on some mid-July night this summer, you’ll know I’ve lifted my first shovel full of wet sand out of the surf and am on my way to becoming maybe the richest AARP or MENSA* member ever.



*Men seeking action, I think (So far, they say I haven’t passed ‘the test’ to join, whatever that is. Maybe this endeavor will do the trick.)