In the olden days, bad eyesight like mine would have been fatal. But I live in times where people correct my vision by making me glasses and contacts. And even though I can now see well enough to forage, no one makes me hunt for my own food. They gather it for me and store it in buildings all over town so I don’t have to go far to get it. Some of the places will even cook the food for me before I pick it up. How nice is that? People today are so caring. My eyes are not perfect, of course. When I was younger, I wondered why the old people were driving dangerously slow at night. Then I joined Club Old and found out why. Everything is pitch black except for glaring and flashing lights. As good as they have fixed my daytime eyes, I still can’t see why we have to spend over $300 to replace lost car keys when old technology could do that for a buck or two.
A few years back I made the mistake of telling my wife and sons to order for me in restaurants when my mental capacity diminishes. I wanted to avoid the struggle I once witnessed for both the customer and the server while well meaning bystanders respected the aging person’s right to choose. Recently when a waitress sped too quickly through the list of salad dressings, I asked her to repeat the choices. My eldest son piped up, “He’ll have the Italian.” I nodded affirmatively but turned to the comedian and told him, “Not yet, Ryan. Not yet.” Now, of course, my three boys make suggestions for me all the time, taking special pleasure in inquiring about menu items they know I would never select. My advice to young people is to pick a spouse you know will outlive you, unless you are absolutely confident you will have daughters.
When I was 18, I worked construction on the 405/520 intersection, mostly digging holes in the morning that got filled back in after lunch. I was assigned the role of flagger based on the amount of cement bags I could carry (or drag in my case) at one time. I averaged between one and zero depending on whether I was moving them downhill. I was often addressed by my given name which I found out was Jesse. Apparently having a last name that starts with “S” coming after “Geoff” can sound something like Jess Tamper if you mumble like me. When I got my layoff notice (I have no idea why I was chosen), co-workers saw my name and were confused about why I let everyone call me Jesse. I assured them that Jesse was my nickname. I think they knew this was a lie since everyone knew my nickname was Easy Money. Now whenever I am dragging cement bags down a steep grade, I yearn wistfully for the long days in the sun when Jesse was sowing me a garden of skin cancer.
I was thrilled to corner my three sons and the five grandchildren in the same State at the same time for the first time in a couple of years. While up at Big Lake today, I could hear my boys in the other room sounding off with a familiar refrain. Whenever one of them wants to throw shade on his brother for doing or saying something stupid, the biggest insult is: “That is such a Dad thing to do (or say).” Today the insulted son replied, “Just saying that makes you the new Geoff.” The silver lining for me is the satisfaction of unifying my sons against a common enemy. And all I have to do is be myself. Only the Seahawks can even come close to possessing this power.
Last year when my wife and I were a youthful 68, I learned a valuable semantic lesson. She was in Arizona helping her 92 year old father sell his home. Right before closing, the buyer was rushed to the hospital so the sale was in jeopardy. I asked Mollie how old the buyer was and she said, “About our age.” I made the mistake of confirming, “So she’s seventyish,” in the same sense as her father was “ninetyish.” I thought it was good that the buyer wasn’t older and at higher risk. But after a long silence on the phone, my wife rebuked me, “Don’t do that! I hate when you do that.” The phone call went downhill from there and I was distracted from concern for the real victim (the buyer). But I did finally learn once and for all: Never round anyone’s age up.
Back in the day of long gas lines, I ran my car out of oil and blew up my engine because I assumed the oil warning light was malfunctioning. I would explain my reasoning but it makes me look even more stupid. Combined with my legendary impatience (I exited a long line when I decided double checking the oil level was not worth the effort), the result was lethal to any regard my spouse had for my intelligence and judgment. She realized then that she had married me solely for my good looks, the most banal of reasons. I do not remember why I did not check my own oil because I have done that many times over the years. Maybe that is when I started that practice. I have often told this story when making presentations because it makes it less likely the audience will tune me out as arrogant. It also sets up a great message. When I get negative feedback from co-workers, supervisors, customers, clients, family members, friends, spiritual advisers, doctors, et.al., my immediate instinct is to vilify the person(s) trying to help me. I take no comfort that I am not alone in ignoring life’s warning signs. After speaking, I have been surprised at how many audience members have confessed to running their cars out of oil.
A few days ago when my four year old granddaughter was being unusually cranky, I answered that condition with some lighthearted silliness. This infuriated her and she screamed, “You’re just making jokes to try and cheer me up!” My usual response to any accusation is to deny it (e.g., “No, the Tickle Bug Monster is real”) and attack the accuser (e.g., “and you are a spoiled brat”). This time I just folded and apologized, “Yes, I was trying to be funny and cheer you up.” I have come to realize that people sometimes want to be miserable. That is their happiness.
One major political party broke a barrier that gives new credibility to a large segment of the population. As a lifetime narcissist and buffoon, I never thought a path to the Presidency existed for people like me. The GOP has given me hope. For those who lack the capability to recognize me as a narcissist, this is because I am one of the truly elite (like a skilled sociopath) who can disguise his condition. At first when I read the definition of a narcissist in a Psychology textbook, I thought it was as ridiculously broad as a horoscope because it could even describe me. I knew I could write better than the idiot author. Eventually though, with the help of my superior intellect, I realized that my parents and grandparents made me feel like I was the center of the Universe and it was all their fault that I could never shake that learning. So I owned my condition and have worked hard over the years to become the most self centered narcissist possible. The people who know me best can confirm this.
Hospitals have begun issuing duplicate fingerprints for the first time in history. They claim we ran out of unique ones after the birth of the 100 billionth human. This is absurd. Parallel Infinity formulas demonstrate that at least another twenty billion non duplicate sets exist. We can conserve those by providing newborns with only six fingerprints (thumbs and adjacent two fingers on each hand). We can put pressure on the hoarders who have amassed many fingerprints in private collections by shaming them on social media. And anyone with a new baby should make a point of demanding that the hospital issue a written guarantee that their child has at least six unique fingerprints. If you really want to help on this cause, we are calling for a boycott on voting in the upcoming Presidential election. If you are with us on this, please do not vote.
Unfortunately I am the victim of serial hacking and all the objectionable portions in each of my subsequent posts are not my words. Oddly the hacker left completely untouched all of my humorous and profound observations. Ryan’s Absolute Tech Support is working diligently to trap the pesky critter who is messing with me. RATS expects to have the problem fixed by the time the Seattle Mariners win the World Series. Thank you for your patience which will eventually be legendary.