I recently rediscovered a tiny pillbox in my miniature collection. It seemed empty but a tiny pebble made a rattle. This was a kidney stone my wife passed in a White Plains hospital over a decade ago. I took it when the nurse offered. Hard to believe something so excruciatingly painful could be so insignificantly small. I am not sure why I saved it. The box is not labeled, the contents will be a mystery after I pass like a kidney stone, and the mineral deposit that caused so much trouble will be thrown out. Still I am powerless to toss it.

Perhaps I should have kept the nail that pierced my running shoe and caused me great pain. My wife and I could have put together a unique display of things that hurt. I never thought to retain my yanked tooth after a failed root canal and my two extracted wisdom teeth. I should have demanded my burst appendix from the hospital, like getting back a failed auto part. How do I know the doctor took out my appendix? It could still be in there. Maybe they pumped me up with powerful antacid and sent me home. I should have kept the Volkswagen Rabbit engine I ran out of oil and saved notices of a Bar Exam failure and a potential layoff. I could have asked girls to dump or reject me in writing. We did keep the three sons that caused my wife so much pain when she delivered them. They could be co-curators of the Museum Of Pain Endured. This partial listing is painful enough to be included. My quirky brilliant ideas always come too late. We could have become famous embracing pain as an opportunity to build a better museum.


Dandruff Mysteries

I used to have a dandruff problem. Or maybe I just dreamt I had dandruff. Either way, it was troublesome. I was considered a bewildered deep thinker because I was constantly scratching my head. I wore white shirts to work and avoided dark clothing. The more I used anti-dandruff shampoos, the more dandruff I seemed to shed. I lost three quarters of an inch of height and my scalp looked like I was running a carrot grater over it. I was convinced that anti-dandruff shampoos were actually causing the dandruff. Eventually I switched to baby shampoo because I figured babies did not get dandruff. But then my hair started falling out. Perhaps this explains why babies in my family never had hair until my daughter-in-law from El Salvador produced two of my grandchildren. We thought it was a miracle when Noemi was born with a full head of dark hair but her brother Diego outdid that when he arrived with a head and back full of black hair. After panicking that baby shampoo caused my hair loss, I now use whatever shampoo my wife abandons, the grandkids leave behind when they visit, or the neighbors discard in their trash. I particularly like hoarding complimentary hotel shampoos and squeezing those little bottles into one big container. I do not know why that process brings me such joy. Remarkably I do not have a dandruff problem now that it does not matter. I needed to be dandruff-free back when I was dating. Well, not exactly dating, more like asking girls out on dates.

While proofreading the above, I reluctantly allowed my ten year old granddaughter Zofia (who manipulates me easily) to read over my shoulder. Her critique: “As one writer to another, this is good so far but needs a better ending.”

Mid-Year Resolutions

I love having hair on the top of my head. I hate cutting it, so I pay someone else to do it. I hate that it does not all grow back. I hate having weeds in my yard. I hate pulling them but am too cheap to pay someone else to do it. I hate that they all grow back, get married, and raise their children in my garden. I favor love but I am sentenced with more hate. So I am going to make some changes. I plan to hire my barber to cut my weeds. And I am going to pull out my own hair.

I love pizza, cookies, and ice cream. I can eat them even when I am not hungry. I can consume beets, radishes, and sweet potatoes but not when I am full, unless they are smothered in marshmallows. So my next Resolution is to stay full more often.

I crave accomplishments. I hate wasting so much of my life sleeping so I am going to stay up a couple hours later every night playing Spider Solitaire. I also crave popularity. So I have to eliminate some guilty pleasures like interrupting, mansplaining, and criticizing. My wife tried to tell me why that would be impossible, so I cut her off mid-sentence and explained why her negativity is such a poison. She said she would be submitting her own resolution in writing.

Wasting Food

My oldest son Ryan told us the nearest post office to his Big Lake vacation home was in Clear Lake, Washington. My wife and I were excited we would get to visit a small town on July 4th while we dropped off our monthly apology letters in their post office box. As our excitement for the expedition mounted, Ryan warned, “Prepare to be disappointed.” I embraced those four words as a wonderful replacement for our current family motto: “It wasn’t me.” We stopped at the city park where about two dozen townspeople were swimming, fishing, eating, and playing games. Our 14 year old granddaughter interrupted our peaceful holiday adventure with an urgent phone call requesting we go buy some large flour tortillas. We cut short our tour of Clear Lake and located their one small local market. We raced back with the package of tortillas, only to find that the grandchildren were introducing a game where everyone slaps each other in the face with them while trying to hold water in their mouths. Why was I the only one who recognized that this would lead to disastrous un-passive aggression in a family that needs no additional prompts?

The other favorite family activity during our ten day vacation was binge watching “Is It Cake?” I can understand viewing that show once but each episode is exactly the same. Bakers make cakes that look like shoes, purses, and radios and try to trick judges into thinking they are the real items. But why would my extended family watch all eight episodes of the first season one after the other when they have neither the time nor interest to read my Blog?

Although I use question marks in this post, I am not actually seeking answers.

Dishwasher Duels

My philosophy on loading the dishwasher is to get the dishes as clean as possible. My wife views the exercise as a geometric puzzle you win if you can squeeze every dish, glass and utensil you own into the appliance at one time. This week she was standing on the other side of the dishwasher literally rearranging each item as soon as I let go of it. I was trapped in a version of speed chess. Normally her moves would be considered defiantly aggressive but she was doing this as unconsciously as flicking away nats. [She would spell “nats” with a “g” because she crams as many letters as possible in any word.] I paused to ask, “You know I am in the room, right?” At least I rearrange her work when she is in the laundry room overfilling the washer. I resigned from my dishwasher workstation and exited the kitchen to check if water was overflowing from the washing machine. Normally my sudden departure would be considered a defiantly aggressive gesture but was actually an act of loving deference. Besides, I would be the last one up at night and would return later to rearrange and run the dishwasher. This disrupts her plan to add dirty breakfast dishes the next morning but is a minor setback in a war she always wins. We already have separate sinks in our master bathroom. So my proposal for two dishwashers in our kitchen remodel is not really as crazy as our contractor claims.