I sensed a deep black hole looming ominously in the center of a flat white plain extending in all directions into murky cloudiness. Large lemming-like creatures were emerging from opposite ends of the clouds and running toward the void. I still get shivers down my spine when I see them all running into battle with their sharpened teeth, oversized claws, and contorted faces. The two groups of stampeders look the same to non lemming-like beings but subtle differences in the shadings of their fur can be detected by the creatures themselves. The group with a hint of black in their fur was heading on a collision course with their counterparts cloaked in very dark brown fur. I was running with the latter group and thought I glimpsed the void which could swallow us all up. I asked my neighbor, “Where are we going?” She said we were headed to war to exterminate our hated enemies on the planet so that we can live in peace with love for all. I suggested maybe we should stop running for a moment to consider how to avoid falling off a cliff into the emerging dark pit. She shouted out, “You will be trampled if you stop.” So with a touch of cowardice, I began to slice through the rampaging mob by edging to the left, hoping to find a way around the void. As the crowd thinned on the perimeter, I made a faster pace and soon staggered into a Space Transport Station where I am now working in the cafeteria and saving up for a trip to Planet Earth. Rumors circulate that Earthlings have evolved beyond the primitive culture of my planet. I feel like I have evolved as well and will try to post when I can.
Fox Sports Blog #3 (December 17, 2005)
Coach Mike Holmgren was caught looking past this Sunday’s tussle in Tennessee when he told my source: “We’re taking two games at a time right now and concentrating on our showdown with Indianapolis on Christmas Eve. We hope to be taking three games at a time during the Playoffs.” You did not hear it here first.
Shaun Alexander informed the same source, “Winning a Superbowl is fine but team awards are meaningless unless I capture the rushing and scoring titles.” Shaun was surprisingly candid heading into negotiations for a long-term contract. Quarterback Matt Hasselback added to the turmoil with a suspicious quote: “Right now our backs are six feet from being against the wall.” Surely two yards would be more believable.
Darrell Jackson returns to the starting lineup this week. My source reports he dismissed Seattle’s success in his absence with the words: “Seahawks been luckier than a turkey at a vegetarian Thanksgiving.” Jackson claims he was misquoted and actually said: “Seahawks been luckier than a pig at a vegetarian luau.” Jackson’s return demotes Joe Jurevicius who said he would double his effort (to 220%) and help the team from the bench. He also offered Jackson the traditional theatrical good luck wish: “Break a leg.”
Seahawk owner Paul Allen, who has been luckier than a rat at a ratfest, denied that Coach Holmgren was being fined by the Commissioner for saying league officials told him they were planning to give the Hawks some breaks in the Tennessee game to make up for bad calls earlier in the season. Hard to imagine Holmgren risking another fine.
Much ado about everything. I will not be going to jail to protect my source. I do not even remember who my source is.
Sadly, I do not get to see my ten year old granddaughter Zofia much these days but I had a chance to walk her and her older brother Sebi to the Mall and have lunch at Paneras during mid-winter break. She made some joke about bird poop that I would not repeat here even if I could remember it. She wanted me to Blog about it. I informed her I could not because the vulgarity would tarnish my image as a sophisticated writer with delicate sensibilities. She responded, “Funny gets likes.” I countered that I regularly get thirty likes. She snorted her Brownie, choking back laughter. I told her I did not want to hear about all those gazillion phony likes her videos get on YouTube or wherever she posts these days. She finished the dessert I bought her before the rest of the food was delivered to the table. Now she was too full to eat any of the Margherita Flatbread and Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken that I ordered for her to share with me. I told her to eat two bites and then tell her mom, “I could not finish my whole meal.” That will make my daughter-in-law Asia happy because she hates when anyone tries to over feed her children. While I took Zofia to buy two packs of gum, Sebi wolfed down the remainder of the food on the table, including all the butter patties. On the rare chance that Asia is reading this post, I should footnote that this is exactly the type of droll humor I am using to wean her daughter off the cheap laughs she gets on social media for “bird poop” jokes.
My youngest son Matt joined my wife and me at the movie Death on the Nile last Sunday night. We ordered food and drinks from our seats after proving we were over age 21, vaccinated, and in need of a shower. Barbecue chicken pizza was a poor choice to eat in a reclining chair. The cook was generous with barbecue sauce and I learned table manners while raised in the wild by a pack of vultures. Chicken boulders flowed in a river of red lava down my jacket. Despite such distractions, my wife and I were still able to solve the essential mystery fairly early in the movie as we eagerly exchanged our theories, staking our claims to future credit. Although we did not get every last detail and we worried as red herrings attempted to seduce us, we prevailed in the end. While walking to the car, Matt informed us that he figured out nothing at all. We were basking in our glory with each other as a witness when Matt reminded me that I had long ago read all the Agatha Christie mystery novels. My wife had read quite a few as well. Our memories from forty years ago are not so keen that we could specifically remember the plot or even experience deja vu. But considering I only completely solved one Agatha Christie mystery (which I do remember), clearly the plot of this one lingered somewhere in the subconscious waiting to be tickled awake. This allowed us to enjoy the movie without realizing we already knew the solution. Another benefit of aging, like being able to drive home when we do not remember where we are or where we live.
My 18 year old step-grandson Sebastian needed an identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). His mother does not like me meddling, so I tried to return papers she would need but had entrusted to me years ago. After weeks mired in stresses of her job, college classes, and other children, she texted me to give the documents to Sebi and quit bothering her. I interpreted that as permission to resume meddling. Sebi only prints his first name. So after making an online appointment, my wife Mollie taught him to merge “Sebastian” with his five letter last name, smearing it to resemble cursive. Applicants could only be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caretaker. I had Mollie check “caretaker” because it was the safest way to avoid prosecution. I drove them to the DMV appointment at 2:10pm because my wife’s macular degeneration could get her license confiscated if she hit a DMV vehicle in the parking lot. While waiting outside, I noticed a young woman pouring pinkish liquid over her head from a plastic water bottle. Her hair was already partially dyed and she shook the liquid out but was still dripping as she entered the Red Bamboo restaurant, leaving a shopping bag of trash next to the door. My investigation was interrupted as Mollie and Sebi raced toward the car. The DMV had rejected Sebi’s expired school identification and now required his yearbook, so we sped home and back before 4pm. He was approved and told the ID would arrive in two weeks. I had unfinished business at the Red Bamboo but they wanted to celebrate at a Starbucks closer to home. While toasting victory, Sebi informed us he forgot to sign his last name under his picture on the form. Now we wait.
I have always been a suspicious character. I have had people yell at me in languages I do not understand. Walking in Denmark, two young children were ushered inside by a mother yelling at me. Jogging in Moscow, I scampered back to my room after an old lady and a policeman both started shouting at me. I seem so harmless. Last week I was stuck outside the local testing site for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on and off for a couple of hours covering two separate trips. I will explain more fully in tomorrow’s post, even though I know that tease should lose me some readers. In essence, my grandson Sebastian needs an identification card now that he is 18 and ready to apply for jobs and take an airplane trip over Spring Break. While I waited, I planned to jog around the strip mall. As time dragged on, I did some walking around the adjacent neighborhood, furtively depositing copies of my novel in those Free Libraries. Adults and children both expect they will be receiving fun and exciting literature in the exchange program. So I worry that someone will emerge from a house chasing me and screaming, “Get that crap out of our Library!” So I slink back to the Strip Mall and walk back and forth past the DMV peering in the windows looking for my grandson. I am just a disheveled 74 year old man wearing his oldest granddaughter’s old orange hoodie from her days at Eastview Junior High. I attract the attention of a burly DMV employee who opens the door and shouts angrily, “You’ve been hanging out here all day. What are you doing?” So many funny answers that I have to swallow.
My Dad had trouble throwing things away, presumably because he grew up poor and alley-picked during the Depression. What is my excuse for hoarding during a life free of deprivation? I once graciously accepted my Dad’s old golf shoes with broken cleats and threw them out as soon as I got home. A golfer as bad as me should not be wearing cleats anyway. Charities are an avenue to donating items without tossing them. That helps but does not cure my urge to stockpile. When the drawers of an old metal filing cabinet broke, I took them out, flipped the cabinet over in the garage, and filled the cavities with bats, golf clubs, old curtain rods, and discarded strips of wood. Blogging this is the first of twelve steps in a process to stop hoarding. This tendency is dangerous when it comes to food. I hate to waste so will eat a few bites of some very suspect leftover before throwing it out. Eating some portion apparently justifies the subsequent disposal of even a large residual. I am rarely punished for such bad judgment because risky eating habits bolster immunities . If four out of five people in a photograph look horrible, I will cut the one good likeness out and save it. I never discard a draft post. No matter how bad the idea or writing is, I keep revising and changing it until eventually an essay on disposable underwear has morphed into a Blog about items plumbers have found in our pipes over the years. Only three prepositions remain from the original draft of this post but I rescued it!
On Friday morning my wife and I spent too much time racing each other to solve Wordle and trash talking about who is smarter. I usually win that argument by pointing out I was smarter to marry her than she was for marrying me. Eventually I noticed my Blog had not posted nine hours earlier as scheduled. Once again I mixed up AM and PM which is easy in winter when many days are dark. Sometimes I get discouraged that my mind is slipping as I age. But earlier this month, my youngest son Matt texted me on Thursday to ask if Sebastian and I had made reservations for the next evening’s recreational swimming at the YMCA. The three of us usually swim on Friday nights and then go out to dinner. I was taken aback because Matt had organized and was excited about his own birthday dinner at the Tokyo Steak House for that very Friday (the actual day he turned 42). We had reservations for ten people. I panicked on the natural assumption I had really messed up my calendar again. As it turned out, Matt had a momentary lapse and had forgotten about both his party and his birthday. I told him it only gets worse. But maybe it does not. Maybe we think it does when we worry about mental deterioration because that is a senior stereotype. The mistakes we make when we are younger may be easier to shrug off as normal mistakes that busy people make. We call them senior moments before we are seniors because that is a joke when we are younger. Nah, spoiler alert, it really does get worse!
I cannot give advice to youngsters on how to write. Even though I am old, I am undecorated. Better that I should give advice on life. Today is my wife’s birthday and she looks absolutely stunning for her age. But she looks merely good for the age she claims to be. When I turn 75 later this year, I am thinking of throwing myself an 80th birthday party. Who else is going to do it? I think people will be in awe of how fit I am for 80. That is not dishonest, right? If I said I was 70, that would be the lie. If I pretend I do not have a college degree, how can that be dishonest? The lie would be in claiming I was a Rhodes Scholar. Maybe I misled people at the Christmas party when I mentioned being a Rodent Scholar while drunk and slurring my words. At any rate, I am taking my wife to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience today for her birthday. The life learning tip is that I gave her the ticket for Christmas. This is how you get two for one. If you are taking a spouse or partner to Hawaii for your Anniversary, present the ticket and itinerary on an occasion (e.g., Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or birthday) prior to the trip. Then stuff the pictures from the vacation into an album as a present for the next big occasion after the Hawaiian adventure. That way you actually get three for one. But you should never ever brag about this technique to anyone, especially not in a Blog. Because, trust me, you are never as funny as you think you are.
Last week, my wife and I watched two movies in the early afternoon on consecutive days at two different theatres. Drinking caffeinated liquids is necessary to avoid napping but is dangerous because if you need to use the restroom, you cannot pause the film. We can make movies on the moon and we have nap buttons on our reclining seats. But no pause or rewind buttons. Television is going to run movies out of business. The first day, I headed into the restroom for a preemptive strike. As usual, I had great difficulty washing my hands in an unfamiliar way because the motion detector cuts off the water until I perform the operation with an extremely precise motion. Soon I will be trained as a robotic hand washer eligible for our brave new world and will not even notice that my freedom of motion is severely limited. I headed out of the restroom while scribbling a reminder on my hand to Blog about this. I suddenly ended up at the end of the corridor. I turned around to head back and find Auditorium 2 but no numbers were posted on the backside of the marquees. Apparently no one misses the turn into their auditorium or they just need to be punished. I arrived at my seat in time to hear the pitch to purchase a premium membership for ten dollars a month. That deal gets me one free senior $6.50 ticket every month and the ability to cut the line. What line? There were only two and three other people in the two movies we saw. But people will pay big money just to cut in front of someone. Now both my hands are covered in ink. I do not know why I bothered to wash them.