Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Jotting down ideas and expecting different results could be classified as communicative insanity . . .

Wiil It Go ‘Round In Circles . . . Uh-huh! Ha-ha . . .

As the Moody Blues once put to music, “Isn’t Life Strange?” We grovel. We smile. We fear. We step forward. We cry. We find answers in the oblique angles of incongruity and disorder in the “proven” models of tradition. We look for answers and only find solutions we didn’t expect (and sometimes don’t want to accept) while we give advice and never really know if we’re listened to. So at the next request we warily remain silent lest we recite blank words with intense meanings that drip to the ground and splash unheeded into a dry earth only to be absorbed and recycled into something useful without our knowledge, a cup running over in essence not intended to do so. But that tiny drop of sustenance hopelessly “lost” in obscurity may one day prove to be the primal impetus for a seed to grow even though we may be long absent. Still our influence may have meaning in a dimension we are no long part of. That dimension could be someone else’s life, a thought, a dream, an inspiration, that blossoms into a reality never thought possible at an idea’s conception. And much like much like the analogy I use often (no doubt created previously by someone more thoughtful than I. I don’t wish to plagiarize), a brilliant photographer doesn’t create a masterpiece from one lone snap but culls his masterpiece(s) from thousands of lesser attempts not quite “on the mark.” So by trial and error many times over memorable art emerges from a sea of mistakes–as it should–since learning occurs primarily from doing and not just by thinking about it.

And, oh, those silly little sources that can inspire, just as the mustard seed in the Biblical parable, a seed of non-proportionate size to the 9 foot tall plant it produces, may inspire the minute thought or fleeting glimpse–if we are waiting for its arrival–ever searching for an appearance and always ready to recognize it as such. Unfortunately, “obvious” rarely describes a mustard seed’s arrival and most often it is easily missed. But at some later time, a little shoot might appear and it’s up to you to nurture the plant into something useful and beneficial to someone–yourself or another.

Today, I refer to a modern phenomenon in this digital age, a burgeoning mustard seed now some 6′ tall (at least) with its branches askew, some leaves wilting to the ground while others flap in the wind precariously, even fewer producing edible fruit or tasty seasoning for the proverbial hot dog with relish (I couldn’t help but throw in a little Freudian homage to tweak the imagination of at least one since the source of my immediate inspiration emanates from one studying the discipline of misshapen minds in order to correct them) with a tongue-in-cheek effort at recompense for suggesting Office Depot as a solution. To those of you not in-the-know, that will remain my little mystery, nevertheless a tribute to an effort to help I found amusing. The more I think about it, should forward this to the author of “How To Pick Up Women” for his addendum:

“Hi. Can I help you carry that 30 lb. box of Hammermill 99.9% “jam-free” 8-1/2×11″ ream of bright white paper to your car for you and will you marry me? Or is “jam-free” a subtle message I should be picking up on?”

Ha-ha, I should add to that Freudian image. If not to amuse others, at least myself 😉 . . . ah, the freedom of social network communication, a two-dimensional throwback to when language was a series of grunts and emotions more instinctual than expressive of complex thought. Yes, I tend to over-exaggerate–hyperbole, a useful tool in my arsenal–but I have come to terms with what I sometimes do best (contrary opinions notwithstanding) by that same inspirational source which counts office supplies as a viable solution to my personal mania. In concert with my sister who asks if “I’m going crazy” to which I replied “Why do you all of a sudden assume it’s a future event and not a past tense condition?” In jest, please, as I’ve mentioned before to some (to others an unknown reference with an air of “Oh-oh. Something’s wrong here.”) “Insanity” was just a song I collaborated on a while ago but that’s a story for another time. Another creative moment in my life long passed but fondly remembered.

Oh, before we go much further, “rambling” or “ranting” may just be a part of my “snapping” thousands of mental photos–commonly known as “ideas”–trying to form disparate ideas into something useful to myself or others. And reflecting back on that comment I HAD to insert the parentheses on snapping just to keep my edge on the suspense of 2D language limitations since a writer wishes to incite sometimes rather than inform. But take it as you like it . . . I didn’t choose the pseudonym “Tobrnotob” because it didn’t mean a thing to me but because I appreciate the elegance of his thought process–not that I could ever match it–but it’s fun crafting words and ideas into puzzles for others to reinterpret; I’m entertained when the puzzle is reassembled into a form I didn’t expect but more appreciative if my intended meaning is discovered. That’s communication–good, bad, indifferent. (Note: “tobrnotob” is my original internet handle translated 2-B-R-not-2-B referencing Shakespeare. I was asked what I studied in school by a friend when I was struggling to come up with an email address.)

Back to the thesis.

My “Muse”–possibly an unwitting princess without so much as a clue as to who, what, why a fateful “friending” would produce a burgeoning inspiration back into a long forgotten and neglected talent (opinion dependent)– perhaps a stumble into a dangerous place or, more properly, a trip into a dimension not suspected but purely benign in my intentions–may have re-released inspiration for my long forgotten lyrics with a simple suggestion of offering them to the world and, as strangely as it appears, almost exactly coinciding with my own thoughts’ preconceived in timings only attributable to Fate instead of circumstance, all happenstance, as it were, or by some unseen design. You be the judge of that. I would be afraid to ask, as a matter of course, and discover that there is Truth to our God putting angels where they are needed most.

How “odd” that word above: “friending!” A new word entering our language as if we don’t have trouble understanding the thousands we already have with their confusing connotations and denotations. And how silly it would be to credit a college student for creating a system to communicate with others as if the spoken word were not adequate enough. But he did. And now it has expanded to millions worldwide, a modem to connect to those we choose and neglect those we don’t want. A whiteboard to post innermost thoughts, connect in absentia, proclaim ourselves in megaphone obnoxiousness, play a useless game without a partner (or invite one to share), discover past lives and people, whittle away the hours uselessly until inspiration suddenly sparks resurgence unscheduled . . .

Yes, I speak of the “inspirational” bane of some lives or existences, a modern phenomenon called Facebook, sure to deter the logical, pragmatic traditionalists but also countable as a simple way to interact without the boundaries of geography, a free-for-all of ideas both good, bad and indifferent accessible to all by choice or not, a way to be pestered with the trivial and the one-in-a-million chance that someone, somewhere, sometime, somehow may say a word or phrase that opens up a door for some illusive salvation you’ve been searching for while at the same time, never really knowing, understanding or accepting that inspiration can come from the damnedest simple things–like the proverbial tree falling with no one around. But you may eventually hear its echo reverberating from the distance like music in the ears of some forsaken bard wishing to create a melody that all might hear, or lyrics to soothe some soul–somewhere–even if it only happens to be your own today.

A simple click to befriend . . . could be the blessing or the curse depending on how you choose to look at it. I prefer looking at a glass half full, a vessel with hope and inspiration. Facebook may be a sinful waste of time, but without it my words may forever be cloistered where they do the least good for anyone. If for any ever. That’s not my choice. It’s time to release a thousand mental photos and let the critics hack away hoping against all hope a shard or two may touch another soul . . . if I only knew . . . if I only could . . .

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Posted by on August 28, 2010 in Random Thoughts


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Putting It Into Perspective

Here are some relative thoughts about the condition of New Orleans and how it got there. Previously, I worked in the retail/wholesale marine industry for about twenty years and the brackish saltwater environment of the Gulf South added an adequate amount of job security to those years. I sold millions of dollars of material over the years relating to the preservation and restoration of metallic objects from the tiniest electronic component to massive paint systems designed to ward off the inevitable destruction of entire hulls of ships. Saltwater does not need gaping holes to destroy. Just the hint of it in the air can infiltrate the most secure environments: electrical switches, electronics, etc. In fact, millions are spent each year on anodes that is, less noble metals such as magnesium for aluminum and zinc for steel of the sacrificial nature which are attached to the hulls and engines and are designed to sacrifice themselves instead eating away at the more expensive aluminum or steel hull structure themselves. You see, electricity always attacks the path of the least resistance, thus the anodes go first and if you don’t replace them before the hull starts to go, the ship literally sinks. On a more insidious level, just the smallest particle of salt/water molecules in the form of humidity will find its way into any small pathway aboard any boat or structure any where near the water in Gulf Coast regions. About 80% of the replacement steering cables, for instance, are sold once every two to three years to the Southern region; if you live in Wisconsin, your steering cable typically lasts 10-15 years. Saltwater is corrosive and I thank it for my former career’s sake.

It’s bad enough that New Orleans’ surrounding environment consists on almost all sides of this corrosive material. But when that environment leaks into the homes and businesses of the region and stays resident for just about a month, things cannot be good in its aftermath. Add to that millions of gallons of additional chemicals like battery acid, gasoline, cleaning solvents, toxic chemicals, bacterial agents, etc., and you have a very unattractive soup to soak in for a month. The green foliage that contacted this soup is predominantly brown currently. Vehicles submerged partially or in total are now locked into place by brake, transmission and engine components, welded together by iron or aluminum oxides which interacted with sodium chloride or worse during this period. Internal contents of vehicles or homes consisting of more fibrous-like natures are now infested by molds or mildews which have permeated the most inner cores of the material even at the molecular levels.

It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But the molecular degeneration of homes and contents from this alien intrusion cannot be captured by a mere lens. The more recent returnees of this region are likewise–plus more–in awe of the resulting damage viewed on the networks for so long. It’s like a bad joke when you have to say “Well, you had to be there to appreciate it because no one feels like laughing these days. It’s almost as if this minor passage of time would magically transform what once was into what it will be in just a few long years from this present day. Those of us who have been back now for a time have absorbed this initial shock and have moved on with our pessimistic/optimistic perceptions while anxiously reabsorbing our more recent returnees emotions as if their dismay were something new and unique. To tell them to get over it–like we are in the advanced process of doing–serves little purpose but to ignite already fragile emotions. We are all walking a precarious FEMA tightrope which redirects our anger from the ravages of Mother Nature toward an agency too overburdened to please almost anyone.

The violent counter clockwise twist of hurricane winds almost pales in comparison to the inefficacy of any government agency struggling to formulate a policy to get things right for the affected million or so. The difference between today’s FEMA policy and 100’s of other gossip-like reports of what is actually occurring (or not!) is almost as damaging as the demonic cocktail of late August. An official report I heard about SBA loan applications makes one wonder if anything substantive will ever occur. I don’t remember the actual numbers, but out of thousands of applications for loans, not grants, only 86 have been granted! And these were the first ones filed in early September immediately after the storm!

Let me put the scenario in perspective for you lest you forget the depth of this disaster and falsely perceive this to be a minor inconvenience in the scope of things. An entire city was vacated, drenched in water for almost a month, with roof and buildings en masse destroyed by wind and/or tiny tornadoes. Regular tornadoes generate 200+ mile an hour winds for a relatively brief but destructive amount of time. Katrina battered the Mississippi Gulf Coast the worst and New Orleans a little bit less with approximately 150 mph winds (N.O. may have been under 100) for a minimum of 8 hours. Add to that the weakening of structures from water erosion, the breakage of windows in major buildings from flying debris and the induction of that rain water into middle floor rooms and the final blow in N.O. of a deluge that poured from three or more breeched levees which left the city inundated for about a month and you have the formula for one unbelievable, over exaggerated Hollywood blockbuster. The only difference is, it wasn’t a movie. Geraldo got close with his emotional appeals but could only scratch the human surface of the few that remained with no way to address the million that were able to leave. Yes, the rescue effort was a travesty with lackluster governmental parcipitation, but the resulting loss of a normal life for a million people is just now rearing an ugly head which cannot be adequately dealt with.

Presently, New Orleans needs to return to normal with business. About 70% is considered small business which accounts for a majority of jobs in the metropolitan area. But small businesses are being denied or delayed the rescuing capital it will take to keep even a modicum of existence in place. There are very few dwellings intact in the entire city and the hotels in the CBD are currently inhabited by outsiders contracted to clean and rebuild during the initial stages of recovery.

So here’s the dilemma. Business owners need employees. Employees need a place to stay. There are none. If business cannot return because it has no available employees and employees cannot return because they have no job, where does this cycle end? And if you don’t sell stuff to the guy across the street because he has no money because he has no employees then the guy right next door to him can’t either.

If you look at a mythical economic map of current populated areas, commerce and occupied buildings representing the functioning part of New Orleans as it exists today, you would swear you were looking at a map of the city created by Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, in 1718. That’s pretty much what’s left intact and functional except for a few isolated pockets throughout the city. And those pockets are about as plentiful as unretrieved doubloons on Bourbon Street late on Mardi Gras night. They may be there but you really have to look for them hard. And I guarantee everyone who has returned to this city has met the same fate of searching through the Mardi Gras debris for just one glimmering eyeful of a shiny anodized treasure buried beneath a carpet of sludge and debris. But that could be considered as the half empty glass of the popular saying.

There is also something going on beneath the surface you do not see on national TV. You see, the waters of Katrina indiscriminately washed away this entire city along with most of her problems, infested plagues which always yearned for absolution but never afforded the cure for one reason or another. And however you deem to classify this scourge, it is an unmistakable fact that in the darkest moments of this city’s history many were taken away and now few return. That’s not my judgment but it is a fact. And I have no idea who in those darkest moments of this city’s history chose to willfully destroy what little remained viable in this town. I don’t want to know who did it; I just want them to stay wherever they are now as long as it’s not in this city.

There is a specific reason I say this. The reason is because I now see a present population focused on one task, a rebuilding of what was taken either by nature or by willful degenerates. I can’t point my finger at anyone because I was not here as thousands of others were not here. But those of us who have returned did not do so out of obligation, reward or force but because what we are returning to is the home we have appreciated and loved whatever the foibles for years. Our choice was not to abandon the city but our plans were to return to it in some semblance of appreciation of our heritage and specific charm. And now what we have returned to has been damaged by Mother Nature. And that we must live with. She is uncontrollable. Water scum can be cleaned away but destructive vermin who remained behind to purposely ravage the lives of evacuated people of this city should be forced to drink the cleansing solutions and odor treatments we returnees have had to be breath and ingest on our own return as we attempt to put civilization back into the morass of human degradation which ruled the city for a few days in early September. And if this offends you, either you don’t live here or you were in places you were not welcomed while others were away.

I have seen the results of looting first hand. Stores were stripped of all valuables in attempts to increase one’s personal fortune, not for survival but for greed. That’s almost acceptable when one considers the evidence that most looted establishments suffered more loss from the utter destruction of the non-valuable components like showcases, lighting fixtures, office records, and such. In one store I witnessed the utter destruction of the infrastructure of an entire business with obvious attacks on the elements which had no value to anyone except the satiation of some macabre primeval force to destroy property because it was there. Useless paperwork strewn from one end of the building to the other with glass cabinets smashed and valuable crystal contents left in place but utterly demolished out of spite for some imagined injustice. Lighting fixtures yanked from the ceiling and crushed on the floor without conscience, not a hapless disengagement due to elemental forces but a hate-filled disregard for sovereignty when the dignity of the perpetrator is forever absent from their own psyche.

It wasn’t a temporary craze but a lustful rape of a city, somewhat like the distasteful accosting of an elderly lady once her family has left the city. And if this rape were isolated, it would be more palatable. But point in any direction and your finger will be indicating the proximity of bile-like bitterness upon innocent property. It was rampant in those early days of the desertion and it’s not any less at this present time. Subtract the life-dependent urges amidst a chaotic storm environ and you are left with predatory animals who have no desire to invest in anything other than personal glory and property acquisition, not that they have worked long and hard hours to earn the distinction but more or less a conceit that what is left is abandoned and therefore free to have with a little lock shimmy or window bash. And what they don’t take or want, they destroy. At least vermin may selfishly destroy walls, doors and minor obstructions to gain their prize which mainly consists of food and such, but I hereby offer my apologies to the actual rodents for using their description in the same paragraph as this human sludge I speak about.

In a previous conversation with others, I used the term “purge” to describe the dispersal of all strata of this community we once shared in New Orleans and quickly brought grief upon myself when following up with a comment addition I made later in reference to the much heralded Decadence Festival, one of the first “normal” articles written about in our local newspaper. I explained I may had been premature in using the term “purge” only to highlight how even with such massive destruction, our city desk chose to highlight the extreme rather than focus on the rebuilding and repopulation efforts which would benefit our city most. Both homophobic (the pictured individual in the article was a well-known transvestite) and racist accusations (the city is predominantly Black) were thrown in my direction because the individual jumped to the conclusion that my meaning was that the “purge” had been incomplete by some Theistic judgment meted out by the Almighty and more of the job needed to be done. That is not what I meant.

What we currently have here in New Orleans is empty space. It was not a voluntary vacation of the premises. It was forced by nature and what ever force you chose to believe is responsible. And with the proliferation of terminology like “biblical in proportion” bandied about by many people and officials who were interviewed, I felt it only appropriate to borrow the implications and segue into that spirit because New Orleans was purged by any definition or source. It was purged of rich and poor alike, white and black and any other color and subsequently left with a beige pallor to a normally year-round green city. Sure, many that were left were either poor or employed in the search and rescue operations. And many of the poor were upstanding, decent people while some of the authority figures who stayed behind were poor in character. One police officer I met weeks earlier in my refuge city and who had been dispatched for a week to help with the rescue effort in New Orleans confided in me that the first five New Orleans Police officers he saw in the field were engaged in the looting themselves! As of this week some fifty plus N.O.P.D. officers–including the Chief–himself have resigned, have been fired or have been arrested and more investigations into misconduct continue. In one major incident, numerous officers were tracked down in far reaching cities as far away as the Carolinas with commandeered vehicles belonging to one local dealership who reportedly had over 50 vehicles absconded during the ordeal. Preliminary reports from police spokesmen described the actions as using the vehicles for patrols but in South Carolina, Baton Rouge, Houston and Dallas?

Houston and some other gracious cities in the region who were kind enough to house and feed thousands of fleeing New Orleanians have now begun to release statistics showing rising crime rates. There have been no murders reported since late August in the city of New Orleans. Drug running activities have ceased to exist. With all due respect to the kind cities so selflessly involved in our citizens’ comfort in the past few months, you may keep these purgees because we sure don’t need that kind of person back. And if that offends anyone, send me your home address and I will gladly list your residence as a shelter for these criminals. New Orleans will welcome back well-meaning individuals of any income level or color who wish to rebuild her. But if you mean to destroy, no amount of whining or shouts of inequality will change this city’s resolve. Things have changed.  I hope . . . I pray . . .

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Posted by on November 2, 2005 in Random Thoughts


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Half A Century In Testate

To whom it may concern since my advancing years prevent me from remembering who I’m talking to or what I might be saying:

Yes, this past week I reached that wonderful milestone in my life that AARP has been salivating over for the past few years. At last they have the chance to send out their useless piece of paper to someone who meets their qualification but hardly deserves the honor. Social Security checks in the mail are the next thing I have to look forward to in the coming years but I guess that all depends . . . (ooo, I just got a cold chill when I typed that word) . . . on which side of the Congressional aisle you listen to. The checks may never come since I happened to be born in one the most unfortunate times in modern history: the Century of the spend-thrift Democrat and the spineless Republican. Isn’t it nice that we live in a representative republic? But due to my advancing age, I won’t have long to really care since the memory is the first to go, so I hear, now what was I talking about? President Hillary? Ah, who cares anyway. I’ll be able to get French fries that will clog up my arteries for half-price at Mickey D’s so I haven’t long left anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised the day after my birthday with a wonderful dinner planned clandestinely by my youngest real sister (it’s not that I have “fake” sisters, mind you, but anyone lucky enough to have two sisters [one “step” and one “real”] both named Susie can’t be too careful in identifying the responsible party) Susie–remember, that’s the real “Susie” as opposed to the non-“fake” but nonetheless “real” but not real “Susie” who lives in Nebraska . . are y’all getting the picture on why I’m like I am today with this confusing life that was foist upon me? They could have had the decency to at least spell their names differently like one with the “s” and the other with the “z” or something to make my life a little easier. Now my other stepsister Jenny is close to my heart because at least she had the decency to marry Mark with a “k” her first go round and the second was Marc with a “c” which made my life a whole easier. Unfortunately, I still haven’t forgiven her for the earlier years of torment when we all lived in the same house and the telephone would ring and all one could hear was ” . . .-enny! Telephone!” and we both would high tail it never really knowing if the phone call was one alerting one of us of a pending cheerleader practice or a girl canceling another date. To keep things straight for you, I never had the legs for cheerleading and Jenny liked guys, if it’s any of your business anyway. The point is I was born first and my -enny should have been sacred, thank you. But to put things in perspective, it only happened once because no one ever wanted to talk to me anyway so it wasn’t so bad.

Oops! Almost forgot. Not really. I actually like to rant more than Dennis Miller on amphetamines when he hasn’t had less than four cups of cappuccino during a fact finding mission to a Fedex training institution.

The birthday dinner at Austin’s in Metairie! It took me by surprise to turn the corner in the restaurant and almost see faces I recognized. Memory is not the first thing to go; it’s the eyes. Sometimes that can be a blessing. And when one who has advanced in years leaves his glasses at home during his 50th celebration, that’s kind of a portent of things I have to look forward to in the next few years. On closer examination I could swear my blurry vision could make out beautiful hemlock sprays decorating the table, but I couldn’t swear to it. Things only got worse when I had to order from the menu. I merely pointed to something and ’til this day, please don’t ask me what I had for my birthday; I could only answer “a party and “something” to eat. But . . . at least it wasn’t half priced French fries!

The table was strategically divided with family and friends to my right and friends to my left. I don’t know what that means since I really could only see shadows through my failing eyes. But over the course of the night as people spoke with me–usually asking me to pass the salt or whether my age would allow me to stay with them past nine o’clock–I gradually matched the voices to the faint shadows of humanity lingering before me. In appreciation to their attendance on this festive occasion where they mercilessly torment and embarrass me in public for attaining a state of being I have never had any control over, I’ll run down the daius for you.

John Moore and his wonderful children Kenton, Erica and Conner. John is the newly instituted host of the Westbank Gamers who now meet on the East Bank . . .but that’s just like getting back into the Susie thing and k’s and c’s so forget it. John is officially the Whine Maker of the Westbank Gamers since our long time and co-king of Whine, Greg Schloesser, up and went to the hills of Tennessee with his wife Gail and daughter Lindsay. The Schloessers made the attempt to come down for the celebration but the latest news blog I received found them holed up in their cellar while their neighbors Jethro Hatfield and Mabel McCoy settled their dispute. Last bulletin was Deputy Fife and the Mooresburg SWAT team were barreling in to get control of the situation but the team had misplaced their bullet and would leave as soon as it was located.

My sister Susie (“s”, real) had her two daughters, Crystal and Christine–are there any names in my family that won’t make you think for ten minutes because you’re afraid you’ll call the wrong name out and make you feel like your grandpa did thirty years ago when his mind was going south? Anyway, even if I nicknamed them “Cris” my life would not be any easier, would it now? I could use “Al” and “Inee” but one’s not a longshoreman and the other really has an “outtee” on her belly so what’s a guy to do? Crystal is part of the John Jay empire–or is it John Jay is part of her empire? Just ask her. And Innee . . . I mean Christine, thinks anyone over eighteen is over-the-hill. Honor roll students think that way.

My other niece, Joyce, daughter of my sister, Perri, who was named after a squirrel I saw in a movie as a child–please, I’m not making this stuff up–was also in attendance although Mom had another commitment. And she is my mom’s namesake, by the way, and the dancer in the family-the now “recital-less” (blessings do occur at random in my life) dance team member at her school.

And then there’s my long lost and lost for words cousin Colleen. She really needs to come out of her shell and express herself a little. Really, she’s the life of any party especially with a couple of shots under her belt. And the bachelor dogs in my party were all after me later that night for my cute cousin from across the pond. Sorry guys, niece “Al” and cousin “Col” hit the town and I still haven’t heard if they made home yet.

Now we switch to the more seedier side of life and tell you about the left hand table, that side of the table populated by the “Chilly Gentilly Gang” so don’t get scared just get out of the way.

Stacy and Sheri Edwards, my designated Barbecuist and Daiquiri Mixologist respectively who have fed me more at their place and about town than I managed to eat the first forty years or so in my life combined. A wonderful, loving couple with a combined work week of forty two hours and I’ll let them fight over who gets credit for the forty.

Berent Corkern, “Mr. Hollywood” himself, not because he wears shades or drives around in limousines, but because he owns everything Hollywood has ever produced. He’s swift with a DVD player but not so swift fixing flats securely on his touring bike. But one can’t be good at everything, right. Bachelor number one, say hello to Colleen.

Henry Hunger, the man who strenuously avoided eating and/or offering to get me food for almost twenty four hours on this fateful day which almost prompted me to call a specialist to test if he was still breathing and busted all Guinness records for self-denial in spades. Self-sacrifice for undercover work well done. Of course, once the waiter passed by he made up for the self-denial. Bachelor number two say hello to Colleen. And Berent joined willingly in as if he had fasted for the 24 hours, too.

And last but not least, Mike and Christy Laporte, the woeful couple who sat in dread the entire night to my left full well knowing that they were merely fast approaching pawns in this silly little game of life’s nasty domain of “over-the-hill” existence not because they were sitting so close to me but much too soon would be sitting in my hapless chair. Feel sorry for them? No. I’m itching for the chance to pass this torch, young ‘uns. Hah! What goes around comes around, baby!

It was a very special night in many ways. Colleen and my nieces collaborated in compiling a very detailed CD presentation of my life with photos galore in various degrees of nakedness and compromising positions. And as a long-held dream of any man who longs for the opportunity to have young women oogling at his naked derrière–not to mention the other disgusted patrons in the restaurant–it’s quite disheartening to have those younger women laughing and snickering at the same time they meant to honor you with their artistry. Maybe that’s the story of my life-hell, it was the story of my life–but what’s with that cyclical repetition of history–go naked, laughter . . . go naked, laughter–over and over again. And as evidenced by their presentation things haven’t really changed that much since I was two years old to forty eight years later. See, bachelorhood has its merits; I only have to put up with this every half century instead of every day with some “Mrs. Leo.” And I ain’t dropping my britches now, ladies, so you have something creative to do at my 100th! Sorry. This CD will just have to do for another fifty.

Finally, my sister Susie (“s”, real) composed a very nice card relating how I was her favorite brother (I’m her only one, so I’ll just let that one mean something special) and how I was also a best friend, but you know, somebody’s got to fix her computer and hook up her stereo so that’s to be expected if you think about really hard. I know she wrote the words sincerely. And a little later when I was reading the card aloud to the daius at the celebration of my upcoming decent into Alzheimer’s Top Forty Hits, I noticed a few tears running down Susie’s (this time it’s two “s”, real) cheek and I felt that little pang of family that has held us together through past and present difficult times. It was a heartfelt moment in my life.

That is, until I realized what unfortunate circumstance brought on the emotion. You see, our crack waiter, during the time I was so dramatically and expressively reading my sister’s sentimental wontings, had handed her the dinner check to sign. Little did I know at the time, Garçon ( I think that’s French for “goofball”) had inadvertently switched checks and handed her Henry and Berent’s meal check, all five pages of it, for her to pay. Needless to say–and I have been at the table many times with the SmörgÃ¥sbord Slayers and had someone handed me their check, I surely would have had the same feeling of doom trickle across my face. Now that I think back on it and at the time I dismissed her murmurings as holding back the emotion of the moment, I now distinctly reinterpret her words as “I guess I’d better start washing now so I can be back to work sometime next week.” But at the time it was just bittersweet testimony of sibling love.

Yes, folks, young or old, life is too short to let moments like these in your life pass by unnoticed and unshared with the world. We all must age and one should never mistake a celebration of that passing into a more progressive state of uselessness than you’re already a part of as a day of dread. Sure, I could have stayed home and won thirty dollars playing online poker against people that have too much time on their hands like myself. Instead, I got a free meal, spent time with people I’m close to and lost thirty dollars because I wasn’t home playing on line poker. Yeah, it would have been greater if some more friends like the crew of the Westbank Gamers would have cared enough to show up, even the ones who were holed up in their basement in Tennessee. But you wanna bet sometime during the night Settlers of Cattan would have appeared and I would have had to spend another five or six hours explaining to the non-gaming friends and family why I disappeared for five years on Wednesday nights and twice each year to some exotic place which seldom has anything to do with a “gulf” to collect sheep, wheat, rocks, bricks and so I could build the longest road? And by the way, Gulf Gamers, I guess the next thing I will hear is that it’s my fault I wasn’t born in the last part of July or all of you would have honored me at this wonderful milestone in my life. Now that I think about it, I used to like you selfish people, too.

Now what was I talking about? Ah, never mind. The Don Rickles marathon is about to start on the Old Man channel. He’s always got such a unique and refreshing perspective on the way things really are with the people he depends . . . ooo, there’s that tingly feeling again . . . on to appreciate his humor. I’m sorry. I should have said “tinkly.” Gotta go get the mop . . .

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Posted by on June 26, 2005 in Random Thoughts


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