I Don’t Think My Wife Loves Me

Recently I saw a show about parasites. In it a man and his wife, who were camping in Canada, had caught a number of rainbow trout from a lake. They began to cook their catch over an open flame, but as it was late and they were tired, removed the fish from the fire, ate and went to sleep. The next day, neither showed any symptoms of food poisoning and so went about the remainder of their trip without concern.

Some weeks later the man, newspaper tucked under arm, went to the bathroom to conduct some personal business. After a few minutes of reflection he realized, as he explained later, that “something didn’t feel quite right.” In effect, something was there “that wasn’t supposed to be.” Justifiably alarmed, he called out to his wife for assistance.

Tapeworm - Courtesy Google Images

Tapeworm – Courtesy Google Images

Sensing the panic in her husband’s voice, the wife came quickly; her husband stood and turned in order to afford her a better view. There was something, over two feet in length and clearly foreign to his body, descending vertically from his anus. She grabbed the alien protuberance and pulled, but it split in two, the upper portion ascending back into her husband’s body. The aforementioned under-cooked fish dinner had proved troublesome after all, in the form of a three-foot long tapeworm.

I relay this story not to enlighten you on the origins and tendencies of the tapeworm in the human body, though I did find it intriguing (and an appropriate punishment for the consumption of the foul and inedible); rather, this is a story of the enduring and uncompromising love of a wife for her husband. This woman, in response to a call of distress, came to her husband’s aid and responded without hesitation to a desperate situation, without regard to her own personal safety or sense of propriety. While perhaps not the most romantic example this, to me, is true love. Tapeworm notwithstanding, this man should thank the Lord for the blessings of life and of a good and devoted spouse.

I told this story to my wife and asked what she thought. She told me that if I were to scream for help from the bathroom, she would likely come in response; however, under no circumstance am I ever to afford her any enhanced views of my butt door, and if some alien being should descend wriggling from said opening, I am completely and unequivocally on my own.

Me and the Mrs.  Courtesy Google Images

Me and the Mrs. Courtesy Google Images

I find her recalcitrance with respect to matters concerning my anus most unsettling. We married for better or for worse, and while I admit that coming face-to-face and dealing with the nether regions of a large and hairy man falls decidedly into the latter category, I am, after all, her husband and presumably the apple of her eye. And does it end there? As I continue my inexorable and admittedly selfish march to physical despair, will she be goose-stepping by my side the whole way? In ten or twenty years and from years of poor choices and easy outs, when I am a bed-ridden, geriatric Jabba the Hutt, will she be there to roll and wipe me, to remove the peanut M & Ms and bread crusts that fall from my mouth and lodge in my fat folds? Frankly, I’m afraid to ask.

I don’t think my wife loves me.



Posted in Aging, Diet, Fishing, Health, Humor, Life, Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Jury Doody

Recently I answered the call, as a good and patriotic American, to serve my country and itscantina_denizens_6 legal system as a prospective juror.  I have served in this capacity a number of times – seemingly every year (honestly, by what criteria do they select the jury pool? I am convinced it is by ugly license photo, which explains why I am always there and why the room where all jurors sit and wait reminds me of the bar scene from Star Wars) – and yet had never before been picked to actually sit and hear a case. In the past, whenever chosen as a potential juror for a particular trial, I have managed to conjure up some shocking bias during jury selection that offends either the prosecution or defense and predisposes me to be cast unceremoniously back into the general pool.

Judge: “Is there anything about this trial, wherein a man stands accused of possession of heroin with intent to sell, that should preclude you from being able to weigh in on his guilt or innocence in a fair and impartial manner?”

Me: “Yes, your honor.”

Judge: “Number fourteen…Mr. Peddy, is it? What is the preclusion of which you speak?”

Me: “Your honor, I don’t trust white people who sell smack. I always buy from blacks or hispanics, but the one time I did score off a white dude I got a bad batch and almost died. He kinda looks like the guy, as a matter of fact.”

Judge: “Number fourteen, you are excused.”

This time, however, I was either off my game or the opposing attorneys were remarkably poor judges of character.  Nothing I threw out there seemed to offend anyone, and once I was told the trial would take a day and a half at most, I decided to allow fate to either choose or preclude me as a juror.

Naturally, I was chosen. The trial began soon after and moved along at a decent pace. I found myself more interested than I had expected to be. A woman stood accused of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs; she didn’t dispute that she had enough painkillers in her system to cause a male elephant to don women’s clothing and besmirch the family name.  She claimed that, through a life of tremendous physical misfortune, she had been popping Oxycontin for years and her resistance to its effects had steadily grown. No, she wasn’t impaired, but merely exhausted, from having had no sleep for two nights and driving four hundred miles from Texas. She and her lawyer maintained this was a far more plausible explanation for her having rear-ended another vehicle, then appearing incoherent and unable to maintain her balance when questioned and tested by responding police officers. I scanned the courtroom for the book that I and my fellow jurors would soon be throwing at her.

Before we could bounce said book off her inebriated noggin, however, it was decided that all in attendance were in need of a recess. (The judge, who was easily in his late sixties, needed a nap). I waddled off into Tucson’s downtown area in search of bad food, which I soon found at a local establishment called Herberto’s.

Herberto’s, as you might have guessed, is a Mexican restaurant. I scanned the menu for my favorite item: the Chorizo Burrito. Chorizo is a Mexican sausage, made from the remnants on the slaughterhouse floor, scooped up with a shovel and encased in beef or pig intestines. Chili powder and E-Coli are the primary spices, and oodles of grease make the medicine go down. Amazing.

Pig (parts) in a Blanket; the Chorizo Burrito - Image courtesy of Menuism.com

Pig (parts) in a Blanket; the Chorizo Burrito – Image courtesy of Menuism.com

I went to the counter to place my order. Clearly, this was not Burger King; special orders do upset us. The man at the register’s face was riddled with all manner of graffiti, including tattoos of knives dripping blood and a tear coming from the corner of each eye. (The knives apparently revealed why he wasn’t working in the kitchen; the teardrops meant he had either committed murder, or was incapable of crying on his own). I gave him my order and handed over my wallet reflexively; he smirked as though to say that if I were still around when his shift was over, this was the very least I would have to give up.

Soon I had my food. I went to a nearby park where I felt less likely to be killed and dug in with all twelve teeth. It was amazing; the tiny bits of cartilage and sinew scattered here and there within were as inviting as chocolate chips in a bowl of vanilla ice cream, and soon the overstuffed burrito was but a pleasant memory. I lay down under a shady tree and, after collecting several unsolicited donations of dollar bills and assorted change in my open lunch bag from passers-by, resolved to dress better and shave next time I came downtown.

Once the trial began again, it moved along at a fairly brisk pace. It seemed we would finish in a couple of hours, and deliberations were to be a quick and foregone conclusion. I was to this point pleased with the whole experience and resolved to improve my attitude with respect to civic duty in the future.

When things start to go wrong in the digestive process, there is usually some warning, some sense that the order of things intestinally may be becoming slightly off-kilter. Well, the cable that held the elevator of my stomach’s contents snapped, and all went from fifth floor to basement in one alarming second. My gut began to gurgle like a water cooler being drained; before I could stop it, I let out a whimper that sounded as though it could have come from a caged puppy, and the juror to my left cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably.

The situation had gone from serene to desperate in literally a matter of seconds. I considered raising my hand and asking to be excused for a few minutes, but honestly felt that if I stood I might spontaneously introduce my lower intestine into evidence in dramatic and explosive fashion. I resolved to fight to the bitter end and defend propriety from the charging Mongol horde in my lower colon. If I lost the battle, I decided I would yell “Mistrial! Mistrial!” and waddle out with both my trousers full and whatever shred of dignity (and chorizo) I still had left.

Almost as quickly as the situation had become dire, it began to improve. Though my sphincter remained closed tighter than a Tea Partier’s mind, disaster had been averted. The trial ended, the jury deliberated and Heidi Pillpopper was found guilty. I actually made it all the way home before finally succumbing to the interminable pressure of the Herberto Chorizo Burrito.

For those of you in need of a thorough “cleansing”, I heartily recommend a visit to downtown Tucson and Herberto’s Mexican Restaurant. So thorough was its effect that I finally dislodged and expelled all the gum I’d swallowed as a child and the plastic toothpick I’d lost some years back after passing out on the couch after a night on the town.




Posted in Arizona, Dining Out, Health, Humor, Life, Living, Tucson, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

I’m Dreaming of a Wide Christmas (in Tucson)

Christmas in Tucson is a bit different from much of the rest of the country. Sure, there’s the same toxic tendency toward materialistic frenzy; the areas around the major retail centers are a nightmare from Thanksgiving forward. Already teetering on the edge of Santa’s favor, I was pushed from the perch most ardently when he saw my conduct whilst trapped in the right lane in front of the local Target store. (Honestly, it was intended as an impassioned wave of goodwill; three fingers and a thumb were merely slow to do their part). People here, like in most places, tend to be more receptive to those in need this time of year; Tucsonans are known for quick response and a giving nature in response to tales of holiday woe. (Selectively, apparently; mine went unheeded). There’s the usual decorating, singing of terrible songs and time spent with immediate and extended family. All in all, there’s really only one glaring difference between Christmas in Tucson and most other places in the United States, and that is the weather.

There’s no answer to a dream of a white Christmas here, unless there’s a flour mishap in the kitchen or you’re a cocaine addict with allergies. While many of you spend part of each day shoveling snow, the only thing I scoop up is the dog’s reinterpretation of the meals I so faithfully plop in front of her each day. (Oh, wait; the wife does that – both the plopping and the scooping. These are duties (doodies) clearly beneath my station). The only thing crunching beneath my feet are my reading glasses, and the only time I can see my own breath is when I cough with my mouth full. If I want to play in the snow, it’s a mere forty-five minute drive up the mountain. However, with age comes a heightened sense of one’s own mortality, and the last time I went I cracked my tailbone on a submerged rock. Had my boys not been hiding inside me, shying from the bitter cold, I might have sent two tiny snowballs rolling downhill as well. Keep your snowy Christmas. I like the warm weather; it’s why I live here. (That and the fact that my I grew up here and I’m too poor to move away).

My mother-in-law lives in the foothills of north Tucson. This year we spent much of the day up at her house. My idea of a good Christmas day is a lot of food, eaten with great speed and  focus, until a sudden, almost painful feeling of distention, announced with a ceremonial casting of belt and unbuttoning of pants, followed by theatrical groans of misery and alternately thunderous and mouse-like emanations from one’s southern hemisphere are all achieved. Sadly, in order to get there, all must first do their part to prepare the meal and get it on the table. I find this part of a holiday meal (its preparation) most tedious and exhausting, so much so that I jumped (okay, slowly rose from my chair with a symphony of  cracking bones and muffled whimpers) at the chance to play some frisbee outside with my daughter and daughter-in-law.

I like playing frisbee. First of all, I am fairly good at it, having in my younger days been entranced by both wasting time on the University of Arizona mall instead of going to class and things that hover or float in the air. Secondly, one can appear to be somewhat athletic while expending little in the way of energy. If a toss to you is less than perfect, it is perfectly acceptable to allow it to land without trying to run and catch it; it’s how those with lesser ability learn to improve. (I also saw my daughter mimicking my waddle, to the giggles of my son’s wife; she made me look like Slim Pickens chasing after a tossed campfire tin).

Catalina Foothills - Tucson

Catalina Foothills – Tucson

As the sun was waning, the desert became awash in color and shadow, and I took a break to take some pictures. The intrinsic harshness of the desert was softened in a golden hue, and we all stopped to admire the stark beauty of our home.

Finger Rock - Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson

Finger Rock – Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson

After a few minutes admiring His creation and the serenity and beauty of our surroundings, someone yelled from the house that dinner was ready and I pushed down both girls in my haste to make it to the door first.

Ultimately,the time with family was fun, the conversation easy, loud and filled with interruption, as family conversations tend to be. Best of all, in relatively short order I attained the paradoxical state of sweet, painful overindulgence; and even though it was sixty-eight degrees, with nary a snowflake in sight, it was truly a Christmas to remember.

Posted in Arizona, Children, Christianity, Diet, Family, Food, Humor, Travel, Tucson, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Once Upon a Funeral

I regarded the bereaved, stood amongst the fallen leaves and gazed upon the coffined mass. Each immensely sad they seemed, as though from life to have been deemed the audience for one just passed.

The wind blew cold, but still the fold stood firm in their remorse.                                                I was impressed, so darkly dressed, so many come in force.

Whose passing marred, whose loss had scarred, the souls of all those gathered?                      Lay still beneath the pall, the remains of one to all who once had truly mattered.

Sad mystery, was strangely me, whose death had culled respect.  A life forsaken and one I’d taken for misconceived neglect.

A worthless token, had one but spoken before I put to test my withered heart, hence broke apart, I might have had some rest.

So I curse you loud, you somber crowd, for the love I never tasted. I neither sleep nor will I rise for the life that I have wasted.

Posted in Death, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Facebook Hell: “Tell us Twenty-One Things About Yourself.”

I’m relatively new to Facebook, and I have to say I’m entranced. And repulsed. And vexed. Perhaps this is the allure of Facebook: you never know what’s coming next to your home page. First, a heartfelt post from someone who restores your sense of humanity and pulls you closer to your fellow-man; then a repellent offering, a political diatribe from one who assumes everyone is as stupid as he is; followed by the hair-pulling inanity of those lacking any color or sense of their audience: “Kids bathed and put to bed; time for aroma candles and a deep soak. Ahhhhh.”

The latest thing seems to be a game of tag, where someone is asked to tell an apparently random number of things about themselves. I thought this guy, let’s call him “Aaron” (that’s his name), had some clever things to say when he was “it”, so I clicked the obligatory “like” button. Big mistake; he turned on me like a starved circus lion, and wants twenty-one fascinating tidbits about myself in return for my gesture of kindness, when he himself had only ten. While at present I hold him in contempt and compare him to a steamy, offensive, maggot-ridden turd, I also recognize the opportunity in answering him as a way to come up with a blog post when before I had none. Here, then, are twenty-one deeply introspective and definingly relevant facts about me:

1) I love bacon.cutsofpork

2) Actually, I love all the parts of a pig: pork chops, pork loin, pork roast, you name it. The last time I was at the pet store, I stared for too long at the pig hooves for sale in the dog-chew department, wondering if the mutt and I could take advantage of the two-for-one special.

3) I find pigs themselves dangerous and terrifying. A few years ago I was chased into the Sabine river in Louisiana (while fishing from its banks) by a huge, six-hundred pound sow. As it turned out she merely wanted to be petted, which several small children were only to happy to do. Meanwhile, I fought a desperate struggle for life in the swift current and emerged, sputtering and grateful for God’s mercies, two-hundred yards downstream.

4) I am convinced that a bacon scented perfume would be a billion dollar seller; I myself would follow a woman similarly fragranced to the very ends of the earth, perhaps explaining why no one else has tried it.

5) My girls basketball team once made me chocolate cupcakes with bacon in them. While I would have preferred they contain the fried variety as opposed to Bacon Bits, they were delicious nonetheless. I appreciated both their thoughtfulness and the fact that no one else wanted any and I didn’t have to share.

6) I abhor broccoli regardless of presentation.

7) I can sense broccoli’s presence in any dish, no matter how insidious the chef’s attempt to hide it.

8) Any food that, when cooked, smells like the cholera ward in a Bangladeshi  hospital, is unfit for human consumption. Whenever my wife cooks broccoli, I leave the cat box untended for several days to neutralize the odor.

9) If I were forced to eat only broccoli as a means of dieting, I would lose weight at an incredible rate because I would kill myself.

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

10) If broccoli were somehow transformed into woman, she would resemble Medusa, or perhaps Mrs. Potato Head. Bacon, conversely, is bikini-clad Heidi Klum.

11) If broccoli was a car, it would be a Yugo. Bacon is a cherry red Lamborghini Countash.Lambo

12) Broccoli is named after Salvatore Broccoli, an incompetent ninth-century Italian farmer who, despite his best efforts at raising a desirable crop, managed only to cultivate a vile weed which grew rampantly in his fields. Desperate for money, he took his harvest to market and, much to his great joy, discovered there were no small number of people lacking refined senses of taste or smell.

13) I made that up.

14) The turnip is the root of all evil.

15) I think about food a lot.

16) I have, at present, ten cats living in my home. Of those ten, perhaps three are pleasing to me. The rest I regard as mere sources of foul emanation, floating hair, senseless destruction and spontaneous shrieks that cause me to momentarily flat-line and then soil myself.

17) Despite this invasion of unwanted beasts, I remain king of the house, master of my domain: nothing happens in my home without my tacit assent or outright say-so.

18) I made that up too.

19) My wife appreciates that I am a take-charge man; I am confident and supremely competent in my role as provider; I tackle things head on and get stuff done. My wife is therefore free to assume the traditional role of homemaker, free from the stress and strife of everyday life.

20) I may have a slightly elevated sense of self, a deluded view of the world around me and my corresponding place in it.

21) I’m quitting facebook.

Posted in Blogging, Facebook, Food, Humor, Life, Living, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Trip to Arizona Whine Country

My wife and I have resolved, in response to a mass evacuation of our children from our home and the black hole of emptiness created in their wake, to take some day trips around Arizona. Recently we drove down from Tucson to Sonoita/Elgin, the center of southern Arizona wine country.

Proposed Mining Site

Proposed Mining Site

The towns of Sonoita and Elgin lie about an hour’s drive southeast of Tucson (slightly longer if you’re not a real man like I am). Along the way we stopped and looked from the highway to the site of the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine. The area is quite pristine and beautiful, but if mining is allowed to proceed, it will become something else: picture the scene above with an enormous, three-thousand foot deep hole in the middle of it, mine tailings scattered about and habitat and vegetation destroyed for generations to come. Rosemont is a Canadian company, so the profits go elsewhere and, remarkably, so does the copper: all of the ore will be shipped overseas, mostly to China. As an American, I understand the value of raping a foreign land for its resources; no other country does it better. Accordingly, I fail to see the advantage of allowing others to do it to us.

Environmentalists have tried to combat the mine by claiming the area is critical habitat for a number of threatened species. A lone jaguar has been spotted (actually, the spots are a genetic predisposition) by sensor-driven cameras; there are also species of toad, minnow and cuckoo bird considered threatened and indigenous to the area. I stood roadside for a good five minutes but failed to see examples of any; proof enough for me that not only are they threatened, but quite possibly endangered.024

By the time we reached Sonoita, I was famished (usually by the time I reach any destination, I am similarly so), so we stopped for lunch at a place called “The Cafe”, with emphasis, I’m assuming, on the “The.” (Easy enough to make the claim when you’re the only one in town). I had the bacon cheeseburger with wedge fries, and my wife something healthy that I don’t recall, other than a predominant color of green. Inherent in my meal were three qualities I find essential when dining out: protein, starch and both in great quantity. Afterwards, I waddled down the steps of the establishment like a nursing home resident with a trouser-full, feeling oversated and in desperate need of a nap.

Part of the intended purpose of our trip was to take a brisk and extended walk in a pleasant setting. One of the great benefits of a long marriage is an intrinsic sense of your other half; my wife knew the walk we were taking in the direction of the car would be the only one of the day. She mentioned the need for exercise as a mostly foregone conclusion, but after a bit of whining and a couple of timely toots that sounded like a tenor preparing his voice for audition, I convinced her that a drive around the area would have to do.027

The “town” of Elgin is really a collection of ranches and vineyards that dot a grassy savannah, spreading for miles in every direction and framed by distant mountain ranges. It is like the “big country” of the old west; one could almost imagine John Wayne, with his patented pigeon-toed swagger, sauntering up to a bunch of Italian-American actors dressed as American Indians. (“Whaddya know?…uh, I mean…How.”…”Cut! Cut!”)  It was pleasant and somehow liberating, seeing a horizon in every direction, in stark opposition to the views from home – the tall, grey, block wall of one neighbor and the cottage cheese-like ham hocks of the other as she tends to her petunias in seam-threatened shorts.

Most of the wineries in the area offer tastings. I don’t care for wine; when grapes start to taste like that I throw them away, and in any event I find the amount necessary to its intended purpose (for me) less than cost-effective. Nevertheless, my wife and I took part in one several years earlier. As I recall, I had “tasted” (more accurately gulped, so as not to offend the senses) several different varieties; I was actually starting to feel the “glow” of wine appreciation and was anxious to maximize my economy, since the tasting charged a flat fee. Sadly, the woman in line before me was only too anxious (as a sloth can be) to show her wine savvy: she gargled, swished, sucked and spat for what seemed an eternity. I half expected her to test the offered drink for its worthiness as a vaginal douche. Instead, she opted to dispense with the following pearl of wine wisdom:

“Oh, that’s just lovely; so much better than those we had last week. California wine is so pretentious.”

Two things struck me at that moment: why on earth would her parents name her “California Wine”, and I was not the only business owner who as a matter of course had to pretend to agree with stupid customers. (Although the best this proprietor could manage was a noncommittal “huh.”).

At any rate, we decided to forego the tour tastings this time and simply drove around. All in all, it was a peaceful and pleasant tour and, after pausing to capture the image of a kindred spirit, I pointed the car back in the direction of home.030

Upon arriving home I enjoyed a brief nap and happily dreamed of grease and ketchup. Later, my wife convinced me to take a walk after all; I figure I managed to burn off at least five or six fries before I ran out of gas. It was a good day.

Posted in Arizona, Christianity, Family, Hiking, Humor, Marriage, Parenting, Travel, Tucson, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Empty Nest…or Hunnybunny, the Chilruns Dun Got Away

My wife and I are recent empty-nesters. For the past twenty-four years, we have found collective definition in our lives through the raising of our children. I have always preferred defining my life in this way; left to the standards of personal choice, service to my fellow-man and conduct in general, you would find me ranked, should such rankings exist, somewhere between Jeffrey Dahmer and Richard Nixon. My children, however, are  impeccable in both character and appearance, and since most of you don’t know any better, I take my share of credit for it.

Within the past three months, my son moved out and married and my youngest daughter relocated to California. (My oldest daughter married last summer and now lives in Colorado). Suddenly, my wife and I were left to fill a substantial void in our lives. My priceless, go-to pearls of wisdom – “That was dumb.”; “What did you do that for?”; and “I didn’t learn you like that.” – now merely float out into space, unheard and unheeded. For my wife, it’s been even harder: always vigilant and ardent with respect to the needs of her children, she now has a sizable chunk of her time to fill. (Shrinkable, if she’d only drop her steadfast refusal to cook me meat or fetch me hooch). I suspect that this is a common problem for married couples who now find their homes more quiet, less stressful and substantially easier to clean.

You know what? Now that time and resignation have settled in, it hasn’t been that bad or, for that matter, bad at all. I still love my wife (for those that know her, you would rightfully ask “How could he not?”), and I know that she still loves me (for those same people, “Character judgement: her one major flaw.”)  We’ve found, after twenty-five years of marriage and the absence of those who would draw our attentions away from each other, that we still enjoy each other’s company.

My wife and I have decided to take some day trips around Arizona each weekend. It’ll be fun to get away from the stresses of everyday life, spend some time together and find what this state of ours has to offer. As a side benefit, I hope to find some new material with which to line this blog’s cage.

Posted in Arizona, Children, Christianity, Family, Humor, Life, Living, Marriage, Parenting, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tweeking the Ruff Draught

I’ve heard from other bloggers who claim their ideas come easily and the words flow like water. They maintain that the finished work requires only a quick read-through, with little or no editing before they post. Most are lying, but you can usually tell the ones who aren’t. (There riting is natrally so good then  rest of us,).

Well, my ideas come easily (as a dog’s morning dump after eating dental floss from the bathroom trash the night before) and my words flow like water, too. (Lapped from a stagnant pond, filtered through overworked kidneys and expelled through the urethra). Once I’m on to something, I’ll drop more matter than a Bangladeshi in a cholera ward, but then I find I must read through and edit with Edward Scissorhands-like intensity, lopping off entire sentences and even paragraphs until I am ready to serve up the steam, fly-ridden pile my twelve readers are used to being served. This process takes several hours over a couple of days. (Sad, I know).

I’m no great writer – one need only read to know it. Nonetheless, I find validation in the process; through exhaustive research (ugh; is there any other kind?), I’ve discovered that  many of history’s greatest adopted a similar approach before their works reached the eyes and ears of the world. By way of example, I offer you ten of the most famous lines of literature, poetry and speech in their original, unedited form:

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

1) Float like a puffy cloud butterfly, sting like a carpet burn boo-boo with hydrogen peroxide poured on it bee – Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay)

2) The woods are lovely, dark and deep, and I have to pee really bad but I have promises to keep, and why don’t girls like me – I’m such a creep miles to go before I sleep – Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

3) Call me Ishmael; both my friends do and I think it sounds cool  – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Hey, sweetheart; how 'bout a push?                       - Google Images

Hey, sweetheart; how ’bout a push? – Google Images

4) The only thing we have to fear are cockroaches and hobos who mutter to themselves is fear itself – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address

5) It was the best of times, It was the worst of times, and there were some mediocre times as well; the latter likely do not warrant further mention, but since I am paid by the word , may find inclusion nonetheless – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

6) A penny saved can be later used as a shim to stabilize a wobbly chair is a penny earned – Benjamin Franklin

7) You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but now I’m just confused you cannot fool all the people all the time – Abraham Lincoln

8) It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, will most certainly lose it once wed must be in want of a wife – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

9) Ow! What the frick, Brutus!? That really hurt! Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar! – William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

10) People who live in glass houses should exercise regularly so as not to offend those who live outside whenever they bathe shouldn’t throw stones – Chinese Proverb

As history shows us, a little editing can go a long way.

Posted in Blogging, Christianity, Humor, Life, Literature, Living, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Struggler Ponders the Great Mysteries of the Universe

One side benefit of my decision to embrace a more sedentary lifestyle (see last post – I’m not Going to Die; Dying can Come to Me) is that it’s allowing me to become a more thoughtful person. (That is to say I am full of thought; I would never presume to imply I care deeply for others and that they occupy even so much as a drawer in the corner dresser of my mind, nor would those of you who know me support the presumption). Often when I plop my ample frame into my favorite chair, I’ve done so without considering how I might be entertained; with the remote and reading material out of reach and the effort necessary to retrieve them excessive, I’m left to my own thoughts.

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

And so often I sit and ponder the things of this world. “Ponder” is a good word for me: I like to ponder; because I build water features, I am a ponder; shoot, I even move ponderously. Most of my ponderings, since they relate directly to me, would drastically improve my quality of life if I could but solve them and, residually, the rest of your’s as well. Since I spend so much time considering all the strange and fascinating nuances of our collective existence, it would stand to reason that I’ve solved some of mankind’s greatest conundrums. Sadly, I must admit that the only thing I’ve gotten to the bottom of during these contemplative sessions is a chip bag or two. Perhaps you can help; I offer you now some current causes for my perpetual stupefaction, as The Struggler Ponders the Great Mysteries of the Universe:

1) Why won’t my KFC extra crispy chicken stay that way once it’s been refrigerated? Back in my younger days, my brother and I would store a bucket of this delectable delight on our truck’s dash for days on our fishing trips, and it stayed wonderfully crisp for the duration. Now that I’m older and understand there are more common explanations for dysenteric diarrhea in my country than the disease itself, I’ve taken to safer forms of food storage. Now my beloved crispy coating goes limp overnight, and after two days is barely edible. In the future, I’m left to choose between eating it all at once, giving it up entirely or waving my lower intestine out my nether regions like a wind sock in a Nor’easter. Which will I choose? Depend…

Did I spill? I need a mirror. - Google Images

Did I spill? I need a mirror. – Google Images

2) Why are all my tee shirts so ill-fitting? Extra larges fit me best, but are so tight that it looks as though the day’s catch is thrashing about in a cotton bag when I walk. I once went to 7-11 in a white v-neck, and the cashier wouldn’t stop ogling my cleavage; I felt violated. If I wear XXL, it’s as though a drunk camper stood up in his pup tent. If I gain more weight to fit the XXL better, tightness again becomes an issue. Clearly, this is a mystery with no viable solution.

3) If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Beats me, but I once fell in the forest when no one was around (my family, being in decidedly better shape than I, had ditched me on our hike and left me to the wolves); I tumbled off the narrow trail and down a steep slope for several yards. I made sounds that ranged from the oofs and grunts of a Wisconsonite on the can, to the shrieks of a terrified little girl (as my scrotum decided to play “hero” and latched itself to a passing branch) and, after I came to a stop, something not unlike a running monologue from the movie Raging Bull.

4) Why are pinkie toes considered useless appendages, destined (through the process of evolution) for elimination? Mine, though curled curiously inward as though seeking comfort from its sibling toes and, as my wife maintains, twenty percent responsible for my having the world’s ugliest feet, are indispensable for finding door jams in the dark and chair legs that, were it not for said toes, might cause me to trip.

"...And then Myrtle says,  "Blanche's muffins are better." I've never been so cross in all my life!"

“…And then Myrtle says, “Blanche’s muffins are better.” I’ve never been so cross in all my life!” – Google Images

5) Why are some people such good listeners and others not? I appreciate good friends that I can bounce ideas off of, who are unfailingly supportive and who are genuinely interested in my life. I have several; one is particularly good at listening and always asks how I am doing and how my family is. He is faithfully attentive and unusually humble, often deflecting questions about himself to better focus on my issues. The others can be good listeners as well, but often after a fair amount of time may attempt commonality by relating a personal experience; this I find somewhat off-putting. They may even go off-topic, presenting another issue entirely and asking for my input. This is sometimes awkward, since the change of subject confuses me and what they say becomes a monotonous humming sound that ceases to register. Good friends are hard to find and, as I’ve found, strangely harder to keep.

6) Why are some crappy blogs so much more popular than mine? There’s a guy whose blog is all about interoffice relationships and politics. This guy consistently gets hundreds of views and likes, plus almost as many comments for each post; I get next to nothing. Who gives a fat rabbit’s bum about office stuff, besides people who work? My posts are about cutting edge topics, like neighbors whose dogs crap in my yard and people who don’t wash their hands after pooing. This is life and death stuff; besides, I write more good than he does. There’s simply no accounting for taste.

I’ve been giving no small measure of thought to a myriad of vexing mysteries in this vast universe of ours, some more of which I could share with you now; but one of my wife’s ten cats knocked the television remote on the floor and I just managed to stretch out my right foot and pull it toward me. Once I catch my breath, my night’s entertainment is assured. Another time, perhaps.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Life, Lists, Living, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

I’m not Going to Die; Die can Come to Me

The people who know me best can attest to my one great skill: efficiency of motion. As I’ve gotten older, my movements have become increasingly calculated. Trips to the boy’s room tend to have a sense of urgency to them, as I’ve waited as long as possible to see if another and as yet unseen need or want can be addressed along the way. Whenever I get out of my easy chair, others turn and watch (partly from the symphony of sounds – creaks, cracks, groans and toots) because they know the trip must be an important one. If I walk to my car and get in, only to realize I’ve forgotten something, it’s usually going to have to wait until the next trip. (Unless my wife answers the horn).

I figure that at my age and in my current state (Arizona), each step is potentially my last; I’m not wasting ’em.  People speak of the inexorable march towards old age and ultimate death; this sounds depressing to me, not only for the inevitable result, but also for the considerable effort implied in getting there. “March”, to me, is a month. In my vocabulary’s verb closet, “march” sits tucked in a corner – unused, dusty and cobwebbed. No, death can come to me like a thief in the night, or a home invasion in broad daylight; I won’t be hard to find.

"I want my gin and tonic." - Google Images

“I want my gin and tonic.” – Google Images

Sadly, my philosophy of sloth is, in part, merely that; I still have to work to maintain the lifestyle (impoverished) to which my wife has become accustomed.  The movements necessary to appease customers, creditors and the frau, therefore, make the ones I have remaining that much more precious.  As a member of the fifty plus club I am considered a time bomb ticking toward the inevitable explosion. Well, you don’t shake a bomb; you don’t even want to move it, lest it go off. You leave it alone. You let it sit.

I know in the past that some of the Struggler’s assertions have seemed somewhat harebrained. (As an example, the Gin and Tonic for Dinner Diet didn’t quite pan out: Now I’m fat and an alcoholic). This plan is gold, however; frankly, I don’t see how it can go wrong.

Posted in Aging, Death, Diet, Health, Humor, Life, Living, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments