I cannot believe I have never been to a therapist. I certainly qualify for psychotherapy and can provide references. My parents could afford to send me and I am financially capable of engaging one. I never thought any stigma was attached to the process. In fact, celebrities seem to brag about having elite therapists. We schedule physical examinations even when we do not feel sick. Why would we not get mental and psychological tune ups? No one is so perfect that self reflection and analysis could not help that person grow. Of course my only knowledge of therapy is from watching fictional characters like Tony Soprano go through it on television or in movies. But it looks like a private class without any prerequisite other than living your life. The best part for me would be monopolizing the conversation with talk of myself. Even my trivial experiences would be given the attention they deserve. And apparently there are no straight answers, only more questions. So I could not flunk out. I am trick or treating as a therapist this year, a superhero helping people by listening and avoiding simple answers. Unfortunately, I would never be able to listen without interrupting all the time. I should see a therapist about that.


Doctor Phobia

I was defending my reluctance to visit the doctor when I was reminded that I eagerly follow home remedies provided by any relative, stranger, or drunk at a party. I have walked around with my foot wrapped in potato skins to try and cure an ankle injury. I have gargled sauerkraut juice in an attempt to secure canker sore relief. I was skeptical about lighting a candle in my ear to relieve congestion but figured: How could it hurt? The answer is that wax drippings can cause some loss of hearing. I do have to admit the congestion is gone, though. Bizarre treatments from people without medical credentials never work for me while doctors have successfully removed my appendix and assorted skin cancers. When asked to explain the contradiction of still preferring home remedies, I cannot. Maybe non medical advice is free and less time consuming than trips to the doctor. But I believe there is more to it than that. I reluctantly think I may suffer from poor judgment. A friend told me cures for that include a lobotomy, bloodletting, and trepanning. I think I am going to choose bloodletting because I can do it myself.

Harper Yeats

Earlier this month Harper Yeats (who was born in Canada) crossed the Vermont State Line with her Australian parents and became the youngest person to join the All Fifty States Club. I completed the feat at age 62 which is mentioned only because everything always has to be about me. The Yeats Caravan of three attracted more favorable attention than the Central American Caravan which has the more modest ambition of crossing into any State. The publicity surrounding Harper’s accomplishment allowed me to discover that an actual All Fifty States Club existed. One member had visited all 50 States nine additional times. Some count a State only when they drink a beer or eat a meal there. Highpointers count States where they summit the highest point and some athletes run a Marathon in every State. I always thought just setting foot in a State was enough. I expect the pursuit of unique niches will inevitably lead to more extremes. Someone will prove they have been in jail or fathered a child in all fifty States. Anything to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. Those are my kind of people, so I sent in my $15 for a membership certificate and bought a $16 pin for good measure!


I favored Megyn Kelly in her war with Donald Trump but I never watched her on Fox or NBC. Her latest show was struggling when her offensive references to blackface led to cancellation. Around 1992, my boss showed me his mid 1950’s yearbook from an elite Rhode Island prep school. We were both appropriately shocked over pictures of a theatrical production with many students in blackface. One Friday after work, that boss, his wife, and I were waiting for my wife Mollie to join us at Picadilly, a deli restaurant in Wichita. Mollie was a second grade teacher but for some shameful reason as antiquated as blackface, she was in charge of 90% of the child rearing duties in our household. She showed up with our sixth grade son in tow which was okay except he was in blackface! Apparently he chose to portray Jackie Robinson in a program where students showcase heroes. My wife had him rigged up in my Dodger gear but no number 42 or reference to Robinson was visible. And it was definitely not Halloween. My wife countered my horror by reminding me about the Halloween party decades earlier where her girlfriend in a mixed race marriage wore black face to impersonate her husband and he wore whiteface and a red wig to portray her. Yeah, that seemed funny at the time and nobody in the Wichita restaurant looked offended by Jackie Robinson. But I ungallantly have never offered any defense for my wife. So I should mention that our son portrayed Robinson as a hero, that blackness was at the heart of Robinson’s story, and that Collegiate Prep School would have had no minority heroes on stage but for Jackie Robinson. NBC is still likely to cancel ads on my site.


On a Mount Rainier hike last week, I saw an elk and my hiking buddy saw two elk. It seemed unfair that we both saw elk and he did not get credit for viewing elks. But my dictionary says the plural of elk is usually elk. It does not clarify what “usually” means in this context. Are you allowed to use the alternate plural “elks” after two alcoholic beverages?  Or when a gang of elk surprises you with a thundering charge on a narrow trail? Is this the “yikes” exception where “elks” can be pluralized? If you are under the age of reason (allegedly seven), is “elks” a permissible plural? When you go on a long hike, your mind can wander all over the place, especially if your hiking buddy carries a dictionary in that huge pack of his. I was not surprised about the dictionary because he pulled out a screwdriver when I had a pole malfunction on the previous hike. Next time I am going to carry a screwdriver with orange juice in it. Then we can both have screwdriver or screwdrivers, depending on what the dictionary says, and discuss the plural of Trump.

Season Mashing

Two dates share a special sports distinction. October 18, 2018 and November 1, 2009 are apparently the only two days in all of history when the following six organizations have all played at least one game: National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), and NCAA football (college). Of course all of history actually includes only a little over seventy years because history now includes only events from the date of birth for Donald Trump. Sports used to have shorter seasons just like Christmas did. Everything is a big business now. And if something is good, why not make it last longer? Baseball games used to take less than two hours. They now consume at least three or four hours to accommodate television and radio commercials, the invention of relief pitchers, and rule changes requiring hitters to step out of the box between pitches to scratch, tug, adjust clothing, and check Facebook.


L’Ecole is a wine label for a winery in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington state. I am told it means “The School,” presumably in French, another language I have never studied. I do not even know the correct pronunciation of L’Ecole but I am guessing I would enjoy at least some of their offerings. I am easy to please when it comes to wine. But I continue not ordering and not buying L’Ecole because it always makes me think of E.coli which is probably not French and may be harmless in the wine making universe. I am not interested in learning more and my word association may be absurd but I am easy prey for subliminal messages. Lately I have been inexplicably ordering only Russian wines.


I was revising my Obituary on Saturday and finally deleted the part about climbing Mount Everest. My recent knee injury makes it impractical to accomplish that, especially since I have not conquered my fear of heights yet. Besides, the obituary was getting too long. I only broach this topic because I am afraid my family will not be diligent about locating the obit on my desk in time to distribute at my Wake as I have instructed. Now chances increase that one of my readers will prod them. When asked whether I want a lingering illness or a sudden death, I always chose the lingering option so I have the opportunity to fill in cause of death correctly. That leaves only the date of demise blank. So I just sent $299 to a firm that emailed me the amazing news that they will soon be able to pinpoint that date for me. They are just waiting on an upcoming flurry of tweets from Donald Trump. Then I can rest in peace.


If not for girls, I would have been able to save so much time in life by ignoring basic personal hygiene. By the time I hit eighth grade, my Mom was relieved that I noticed girls and began showering regularly. Eventually my wife assumed responsibility for cleaning up my act. While she was on a recent trip without me, I could not even nostalgically ignore odor because I take my my seven year old granddaughter to soccer. That girl has told me before that I stink but that she loves me anyway. So I struggle to maintain grooming around her. Last week she told me I smelled like a Hardware Store. I did not seek clarification because I cling to the possibility that this is a step up from old man smell. I do have three reflections. I wonder if she has a heightened sense of smell that will qualify her for a job like perfume tester. I also am puzzled how she knows what a hardware store smells like since no one I know would take her to one. And lastly, I assume hardware stores have a macho scent that women crave.

Less Than Super

I have only witnessed Superheroes in their prime. I have not seen a Superman movie where his age and extra weight forces him to fly slower than a speeding bullet or squint to utilize a blurry X-ray vision. I have yet to see Spiderman running around with stuff dribbling out of the holes in his web. I recently confirmed what others suspected. I do not have bionic super joints. I was able to cause failure in my left knee by combining overdoses of pressure and birthdays. I am currently working on establishing the failure point for the right knee. I used to think my body failed me when it started waking me up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. But I now realize the failure actually will occur when it stops waking me up and allows me to sleep through the night.