I Love Old People – All Of You

Whatever happened to sweet, baby Peg-o?

Whatever happened to sweet, baby Peg-o?

I’m a fake.

A couple of years ago, desperate to get my name in print, I convinced a local baby boomers magazine to let me do an occasional column.  I agreed to take out an expensive business ad in return, so I basically paid them.   I was so excited about getting my drivel published that I didn’t think this through properly.   That publication is for “people of a certain age,” and I’m not old.   I’m young.   I barely even qualify as a boomer – only in the most technical sense of the word.

If the baby boomer generation were a game of Crack the Whip, I would be the kid at the tail end of the line who gets whipped across the playground and ends up with their palms and knees bloodied.

The vast age difference between me and their readers was brought home a couple months ago. I did a column about the funky stuff going on in my body and a woman stopped me on the street to tell me how much she liked it. Naturally, I was flattered. Then she warbled, “I know exactly what you’re talking about, because I have the same problems. It’s nice to know we’re not alone” and she patted my hand.   I couldn’t help but recoil in horror – this woman was at least 112 years old!

I thought, “Whoa, there, Grandma Moses, we can’t be going through the same body issues – I’m w-a-a-a-a-y younger than you.  You look like the Crypt Keeper!” What with the surprise of the moment and all, I may have actually said that out loud.  Don’t worry; her feelings weren’t hurt. She wasn’t wearing her ear trumpet so she didn’t hear a word I said.

It’s not that I have anything against old people. I will be delighted to be one…someday.  In the far, far, distant future.  But for now, I’m not.

In fact, I’m the youngest member of our social set.  That’s merely a coincidence, of course.  I don’t deliberately choose friends who are older to make myself seem younger by comparison. That would make me one of those pathetic people who feels the need to blow out someone else’s candle to make hers look brighter.  Someone who is desperately clinging to Fleeting Youth though Cruel Age has her firmly in its relentless grasp.  It is laughable to even suggest such a thing – ha ha!

If that were the case, I wouldn’t hang out with these people at all because, when I really stop and think about it, it occurs to me that although they are a few years older, all of my friends are smarter, funnier and better looking than I am.

So…..that’s good. I’m happy about that. Really happy.

But, you know, it’s easy to get in a rut when you hang around with the same people all the time. Sometimes you need to change things up to grow as a person. Maybe it’s time for me to find some new friends.

If you’re interested in adding a sparkling, younger member to your social circle, let’s get together. And if everyone else in the group is stupid, ugly and dull, I’m sure we’ll be the best of friends in no time.

 

 

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The Good, The Bad, And The Low Flush Toilet

floater

There is a point at which love of the environment runs headlong into a need to preserve modesty and decorum.   That collision happens on the seat of a low flush toilet.

I love the environment.   I want it to be clean and sustainable for generations to come, world without end, amen.   I’m especially aware of the need to conserve water because we have a well and it has run dry.  Having said that, I’m lobbying for a universal return to the 10-gallon-per-flush toilet after what happened to, er, um, a friend of mine.

My friend, whose name is…Mabel – yeah, Mabel, was at work when nature called.   It was nature of a more substantial nature, if you get my drift.  She went to the Ladies Room, did her business in one of the two stalls, and flushed.   As she prepared to leave the stall, she looked down to make sure business had, in fact, been successfully completed.  This was not the case.

She had a floater.

Mabel stood before the porcelain throne and patiently waited until the bowl completely refilled with water and the tank stopped burbling.   At this point, someone else entered the Ladies Room and went into the other stall.  Mabel tried not to listen to what was going on next door as she waited for the silence in her stall that would signal it was OK to reflush.

Once more she pushed down on the handle and this time the offending remnant swirled down, down and out of sight.  Mission accomplished!

Mabel turned to the door.  She had her hand on the latch and was prepared to shove it back when she shot a quick, “just in case” glance over her shoulder.   At that moment, Unsinkable Molly Brown popped up from the bowels of the toilet.

The lady in the next stall finished, washed her hands and left the room. Mabel remained in her stall, tapping her foot.  She wondered how it could take 10 minutes for a scant 1/2 cup of water to run into the bowl.

The door to the Ladies opened again and she heard 2 co-workers talking as they entered the room.   Two!   One entered the neighboring stall.   The tank hadn’t stopped gurgling. Mabel knew it was too soon, she KNEW it, but she couldn’t help herself.   She pushed down on the handle.  No whirlpool resulted, of course, the water just shimmered a bit.   Her heart sank.   Her Baby Ruth bar did not.

She quietly took the top off the tank the better to watch the snails-pace ascent of the red, rubber ball that now controlled her fate, and she seethed with impotent rage.

Mabel knew the woman waiting for a stall was bending to peer under the door.   She could practically feel her gaze on her feet.  The fact that she would see the stiletto heels of Mabel’s red pumps instead of the toes would tell the whole, miserable tale.   She quickly spun around to face forward.

She didn’t recall eating marshmallows and feathers for breakfast, but what else could explain the disgusting, yet light and fluffy results?

Mabel racked her brain for a way out of her dilemma.  Obviously she would have to wait for these people to leave.  Should she then go and try to find some sort of extraction implement in her desk – perhaps a ruler?  Then what?  Should she make a dash for it and leave the problem for the next toilet traveler, praying that nobody would connect her with this debacle?   With her luck she would be opening the bathroom door at the exact moment the office’s biggest gossip came in, went to “her” stall and the jig would be up.

What was the protocol for this situation – as captain, was she morally obligated to go down with this ship?

She envisioned spending the rest of the work day trapped in that stall.  She could be there for all of eternity. Mabel: Sisyphus of the Flush.  Her quest for toileting closure would probably drain the municipal water reservoir.  The entire community would be plunged into a drought because this $%&*@ low flush toilet couldn’t get the job done!

By this time the person in the next stall was washing her hands and the second woman had taken her place.  Mabel waited until they were finished and the bathroom door closed on their chatter.  She squared her shoulders and turned, resolute, to face her nemesis.  The theme song from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly played softly in her head.

The tank had stopped gurgling.  The water in the bowl was a sheet of glass reflecting the overhead light fixture, undisturbed but for the wee guest which had out-stayed its welcome.  Mabel set her jaw, said a silent prayer to the restroom gods and pushed down firmly on the handle.   She held her breath.

The water swirled down, down and down, taking the Lincoln Log with it.  So far so good.  But she remained vigilant; she’d been burned before.   She waited.  She waited until the downward flow of water reversed and the bowl started to refill.  She waited as the water whooshed, then burbled, then shimmered.  Only when the Ladies Room was completely silent, the bowl empty of all but clear, still water touched with the faintest hint of blue, did Mabel throw back the bolt on the door of her prison.  She stepped out into the light of day on legs grown shaky from disuse.

As she washed her hands, she vowed that henceforth she would do all of her personal business in the safety and comfort of her home bathroom, with its 10-gallon-per-flush toilet.   Mabel left the Ladies Room a sadder but wiser gal.

Addendum: Anybody have any coupons for Industrial Strength Depends? For Mabel.

 

 

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Kanye Krashes Kompetition

Can you spell, "jerk"?

Can you spell, “jerk”?

The music industry’s elite were astonished to see history repeat itself yesterday at the Grammy’s when Kanye West rushed the stage to demand winner Beck forfeit his Album of the Year award in favor of Beyoncé.

“It was Deja vu all over again,” said one onlooker who had witnessed a similar scene a couple of years ago when megalomaniac Kanye tried to wrest Taylor Swift’s award from her.

In the aftermath of the show, reports have started coming in from numerous sources claiming that Kanye had done the same thing to them.

Perhaps the most damning account is that involving young Hannah Prebonowski from John F. Kennedy Junior High in Springfield, Ohio.   Hannah correctly spelled the word “taupe” to snag first place honors in the 6th grade spelling bee.  Her teacher, Mrs. Stumpleforth, described what happened next.

“I had just passed out the ribbons to the first, second and third place finishers, when the door to the classroom suddenly burst open and Kanye West rushed in – I couldn’t believe it!” Mrs. Stumpleforth exclaimed. “He was screaming, “No way! Beyoncé shoulda won this, you mutha *$&%@^#   You know it, I know it, everybody know it. She was robbed, bitch!”

According to Mrs. Stumpleforth, the Beyoncé-obsessed star then ran to the front of the classroom, knocked the other children aside and snatched the blue ribbon out of Hannah’s hand.

The 11-year-old was too shook up to say much more than that the experience was, “kinda scary.”kanyekimbutt

Mr. West’s publicist read a prepared statement from the “artist”. “This is $#%^@*(.   Just let a brother get a little success and everybody wants to bring him down. Look what happened to Bill Cosby.”

Kanye himself could not be reached for comment as he and his wife, Kim Kardashian, were at the photographer having pictures taken for their annual Christmas card.

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What Snew

Snowmageddon: The big dump hit Illinois last weekend.  I know 12 inches is nothing to what Boston, Maine and other points east experienced recently, and I may be a total little girly-woman for even mentioning it but, and this is the important part, it was really inconvenient for me personally.

If you get to experience a big snow fall by looking out at a world turned magically white and clean, then it’s all good.  It’s like living in a snow-globe.  If you have to get out and actually BE in all that white stuff, which, as it turns out, is very cold and makes your feet wet, it stinks.

Our power went out early Sunday morning.  The temperatures in the house fell along with the snow throughout the day. The gas stove still worked so I drank mug after mug of hot tea and burrowed down with a good book under my blankie.  By mid-afternoon it was clear that the power was not going to magically fix itself any time soon.   My bladder was going into toxic shock from all the tea, hubster and I were losing feeling in the lower extremities and the Super Bowl was happening in a couple of hours.  We decided to make a run for it.

Thank goodness for my hubby’s truck.  We somehow stayed on the road, made it to town and checked into a hotel.   There we stayed with hot showers, snacks and color TV, warm and cozy, until morning.   By then the major roads were plowed enough so we could get to work.  They got the power going again the next afternoon and we were able to go home Monday night – all was good.

This is an actual, unretouched(ish) photo of the road as we drove into town.

Bumbles bounce!  Off your bumper.

Bumbles bounce! Off your bumper.

 

Humor Me: As bragged, er, mentioned before, I signed (as a free agent) to write a monthly humor column in the local paper.  My first offering appeared a couple of days ago to universal acclaim.  By which I mean I got an email from one person who did not hate it.  I was really touched when a group of townspeople came by the house to show their support.  Little confused by the pitchforks, though…

pegsnewcolumnmob

What snew with yew?

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Church Of The Bubonic Plague

churchwindowchildA large family with an adorable toddler sat in the pew in front of us at church the other day.  She made a game of reaching her arms out to be passed from person to person in the family, up and down the line.  The poor poppet had a cold.

Most of the time she sat on Momma’s lap, right in front of me. Her little nose was running, and she was coughing.  Quite a bit, actually.  She coughed and coughed.

I smiled indulgently.   Sometimes Grandma would hoist her up to look around.  My eyes met her sparkling little eyes.  Sparkling because of fever, no doubt, to go along with her runny nose.  Cough, cough, and cough over Grandma’s shoulder, about a foot from my face.  I was slightly alarmed by all the germs that were being launched my way.

I started breathing shallowly to block some of the bacteria shooting straight out of her mouth in my direction.   Another child joined the coughing chorus two pews back.

Our church does something called the sign of peace about ¾ of the way through the service.  You turn to each neighbor, shake hands and wish one another peace.

I tried to breathe even more shallowly.

When the time came: “Peace be with you” (shake, shake, infect). “Peace be with you “ (shake, shake, infect).  Momma, Daddy, Grandma, Auntie, Auntie, every one of the infected family turned with warm, open smiles to share the peace of the Lord along with the bubonic plague.

You could practically see the miasma of germs surrounding the child’s little head, though Momma tried to cover her mouth.  I had to wonder why someone would bring an obviously, gravely ill child out in public to put the healthy population at risk.

By the time the service was over, I was light-headed from barely breathing for the last 45 minutes, wondering whether it would be sacrilegious to break out the hand sanitizer in this holy place, and doubting it would do any good.  That bug was probably resistant to anything modern medicine could throw at it.

I know Howard Hughes was a genuine nut case at the end, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a point.   There are a lot of germs in the world.  Maybe I should start wearing a haz-mat suit to church.  With the careless disregard some people show for others, it will be a miracle if I don’t end up sick as a dog inside 24 hours.

But here’s the point I’m trying to make; it’s important to set aside time each week with others of our faith family, to give 100% of our attention to God.

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Service With A Sniffle

 

sickcustomerservice

 

 A wise man uses his head when using a headset.

I had to call the customer service department of a major software company the other day, which is trip to the third circle of hell at the best of times. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that the young man on the other end of the line was a native English speaker. His every word came through loud and clear! Unfortunately, so did his every bodily noise.

My knight in shining headset had a cold.

The more I think about it, though, he was probably afflicted with seasonal allergies.  Someone who is suffering from a cold is miserably aware of that fact, and this guy seemed oblivious to the noises coming forth from his nasal region. Those noises were being picked up with nauseating clarity by his ultra-sensitive headset microphone.

“May I help you? (snort)” he started off.

“I’m having trouble with this program,” I replied and went on to try to explain the problem. With my limited knowledge of computers it was like a 5-year-old trying to explain Euclidean geometry.

“Let me check that for you (snxxpt!)” he replied.

There followed long minutes of silence broken only by the sound of him tippy-tapping on his computer… plus throat clearing and moist-sounding snorting every couple of seconds.

“Maybe I should just reboot. I can call back later if that doesn’t work.” I suggested. By now I was eager to get off the phone.

“Just one more minute (ptooie!)” he coughed in response.

After 10 minutes spent listening to him snorting and snuffling, I no longer cared if my issue got resolved. I could visualize the exact color and consistency of his nasal discharge with pinpoint accuracy, I was flinching and sympathy-swallowing with every phlegmy utterance, and I wanted out – right now.

“OK, great! Thanks so much.” I said with false cheerfulness.

“But you need (skxxxtp!) the reference number…” he started.

“Nope! We’re good. Gotta run now.  Bye!” said I and I slammed the phone down.

I still need to resolve the problem that prompted my call, but it’s not really that urgent.  I figure I’ll call again in March. By then cold and flu season will be over, and the pollen count will be low.

 

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Next Stop, Total World Domination

Peg-o-Leg: real writer or jackass?

Peg-o-Leg: real writer or jackass?

It was a busy week around here. The last 7 days brought good news, good times, and lots of stepping out…out of my comfort zone.

Good News: I was excited and humbled that my last post, Why I Would Rather Try To Find The Funny Than The Meaning Of Life, was chosen to be Freshly Pressed in the Humor category this past weekend.

Welcome to any new readers – pull up a tuffet and sit down. Old readers, please help the new readers. (By old I mean “already subscribing” as opposed to “newly subscribing”. Of course I don’t actually mean “old.” Have I mentioned lately how young you’re looking?) Show the newbies around and explain our customs; things like how they’re expected to provide sycophantic flattery and monetary tribute to the host blogger, how they have to wear zebra-stripe underwear on Wednesdays – you know, the usual stuff.

New News: I am now techno hip and groovy in a far-out, happening way. I somehow set up both a Twitter account and a Facebook page, linked them to the blog and slapped something up on each one!  At least I think I did.  I can’t really figure out how Twitter works, when you use the @ instead of the #, how to hook it to Facebook and how you’re supposed to follow, like and retweet 5 bazillion bits of information and funny pictures of cats every hour, round the clock.

One thing I have figured out after just a couple of days, however, is that this stuff could totally suck all the time out of your world.  Humongous, Super-Hoover time sucker.  I can see myself being so occupied with this I will have no time for real life trivialities, like working at the job that actually pays my bills.  To paraphrase Flounder, Oh boy, is this gonna be great!

You can join or subscribe or whatever they call it to my Twitter and Facebook stuff at the bottom of the right hand column.

New News About The News:   I lead a double life.  Writing is very important to me, but few people in real life know anything about it.  That’s because I’ve confined most of my efforts to this blog, and nonbloggers have no idea what it is all about.  Most of you probably know what I mean.  When you try to relate a blogging anecdote to real-life people, you’re met with a look of mild puzzlement that quickly morphs into near-comatose boredom.  All that is going to change, because blog life and real life are about to collide.

I’m turning pro.

Pro may be too strong a term; perhaps gifted amateur.  Anyway, this week I signed a contract to write a column for the local paper.

It may not be the New York Times – this ain’t exactly a metropolis – but I’m excited.  I will be doing a monthly column with my own picture, byline and everything.   I imagine it will be a lot like this blog.  I said I envisioned an Erma Bombeck type column, and the editor’s response was, “Ego trip much? Pul-leeeeeze.” I am REALLY going to have to watch what I say. It won’t be enough to change the names to protect the innocent, because this will be read by people I know.

Gulp.

That’s the part that makes me just a teeny bit nervous, as in terrified to the point of puking.  These people know me.  They see me, and have seen me for years, as a mild-mannered insurance agent.   Now I’m going to be showing them my thoughts, practically stripping my soul naked and strutting it down to the Piggly Wiggly on a Saturday morning.   They can read, judge, and criticize me everywhere I go.  What if they don’t like my words?

But I am determined to force myself out of my comfort zone because that’s the only way to progress as a writer.  That is what I want to be.  Like Pinocchio yearning to be a REAL boy, I’ve yearned to be a real writer. To me, that’s someone who gets paid for their work.  I somehow conned the paper into paying me for this gig.  It’s not a fortune, but I will be getting real, cash money for the words that come out of my brain.  I will be a real writer at long last.

With blogging, Twitter, Facebook and print journalism under my belt, a book deal and screenplay are sure to be right around the corner. All I have to do is write me a couple of those things. Then nothing can stop me.

Total world domination is in my grasp.  Bwaahahahaha.   BWA-HA-HA-HA!

Just as long as I can keep from throwing up.

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