Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Grumpy, in addition to being one of my favorite dwarfs (or should that be ‘dwarves’?) is one of our least appreciated emotions. Not nearly as popular as ‘Giddy’ or ‘Surly’, it still can be quite useful.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I have "onychomycosis."
Quick, now. What does that mean?
One of the marvels of the modern world isn’t indoor plumbing. As cool and hygienic as that is. No, it’s the chance to visit with a physician on a regular basis. Well, at least one who won’t use leeches to cast out demons. Unless you live in medieval England. Or California. Or until government-run health care.
It was during one of my infrequent visits to the doctor that I was pronounced a sufferer of a dread disease whose name is as hard to spell as osteop....ossteyo...osteeo...oh, you know, that bone disease thing.
Does this scourge spur telethons? Do celebrities wear ribbons at the Academy Awards to proclaim their faux empathy for the afflicted? Are there snazzy bumper stickers on every SUV? Do we need to notify our doctor if it lasts longer than four hours?
Well...no, no, no, and-thankfully-no. Rather than some exotic malady which energizes world governments on the order of a “Save the Banana Slug” frenzy, onychomycosis is nothing more than an infection of the nail bed. Or, as I prefer to call it: “Old Man Toe."
Brought on by a fungus (I know-EWW!!), Old Man Toe manifests itself primarily on-you guessed it-the big toes of middle-aged men, resulting in discolored, brittle, and hardened nails.
Clinically speaking, it looks icky. And is the number one reason why old guys wear black socks with sandals.
Except for having to give up my dreams of being a world-class grape stomper or wood nymph, “OMT” hasn't really affected me. I can live a happy, productive life without ever having to worry about being stigmatized-except at the beach.
However, since it IS kinda yucky looking, my doctor deemed it prudent to prescribe a cure for this particular brand of podiatric leprosy.
He told me there wouldn't be too many side effects-apart from possible liver damage, headaches, nausea, drowsiness when operating heavy machinery, heart arrhythmia, pregnancy, dry eye, pink eye, black eye, rib eye, bulls eye, stink eye, rickets, whooping cough, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, chicken pox, measles, mumps, heartworm, tapeworm, ringworm, inchworm, lockjaw, eczema, elephantiasis, gingivitis, halitosis, sleeping sickness, post-nasal drip, flatulence, incontinence, termites, ingrown fingernails, shingles, diarrhea, back acne, ear wax, bees wax, bees knees, water on the knees, water on the brain, brain freeze, and Tastee Freeze. Throughout it all, I assured my physician that I was willing to take the risk, if only to be able to walk barefoot in the sand without causing children to flee in panic.
But, when he brought up possible sexual side effects, I told that quack to take his cure and shove it. After all, if Hillary could live with Bill, I could live with Old Man Toe.
Sadly, OMT is only the latest sign that I'm inching closer to senior citizen discounts at the movies and thanking the Lord each time I wake up.
I try hard not to drown in a sea of self-pity as my body lurches inexorably toward total breakdown. Still, it's hard to ignore indicators that I'm no longer a fresh-faced 18 year old. Indicators like...
When faced with two choices, I choose the one that will get me in bed before 9:00.
I stubbornly hang onto my collection of LPs, even though a replacement stylus for my record player is as common as a Rosie O’Donnell sighting at a salad bar.
There was a time when the most uncomfortable part of a physical was having my blood drawn. That was before the digital exam. Oh...yeah...YOU know what I mean.
I remember when bell-bottoms went out of fashion. Before they came back INTO fashion. If leisure suits ever come back, though, I'm just gonna call in sick until I die.
There are people working for me who weren't even BORN when I graduated from high school.
To those people, I say, "Well, back in MY day, an internet was used for fishing, microwaves were how midgets said goodbye, and cell phones were used to call your lawyer from jail.”
I cracked a rib playing Wiffle Ball. WIFFLE Ball.
There was a time when Mick Jagger didn’t look like my grandfather in spandex.
My hairline is receding to my collar, but I can braid what comes out of my nose. Considering that I sport sock rings on my calves, dents in my head from bifocals, and a varicose veins road map on my shins, it’s obvious to all that I’m a real hottie.
Forget that big screen TV at Christmas. Give me a warm pair of socks anytime.
I now eat antacids like I used to eat Doritos. And Doritos like I used to eat broccoli.
I own a tee shirt which says ”Old Guys Rule.” How sad is that? If it means the laxative counter at CVS, I suppose so.
I can never figure out whether I'm "jiggy" with it or "down" with that. I guess old guys should never speak "hip" lingo. Like earrings and ponytails, it just makes them look silly.
I pay attention to Wilfred Brimley diabetes commercials, watch those Time-Life “Best of the 60s” info spots, and reach for a pencil and paper whenever ads for “The Villages” come on.
At the amusement park, I more often than not say “No, that ride makes Dad a little queasy.” And, that’s at the merry-go-round!
I’m afraid to fart.
Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and Marilyn Manson...what freaks! Black Sabbath, KISS, and Alice Cooper...now THERE'S music!
I know the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. And what "good" cholesterol is.
Donald Duck and I have some things in common. Neither one of us wears pants in the house nor can anyone understand us.
I know the words to the theme song from "H.R. Pufnstuf", prefer Curly over Shemp, and remember Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. Now, if I could just figure out how to program my VCR...or is that TIVO?
Belts and suspenders holding up pants with elastic waistbands. Yeah, that’s what I’M talking about.
Hot dogs give me gas, beer makes me sleepy, and fiber is my friend.
I’m actually disappointed when the mail doesn’t come on time.
I wonder what happened to my belt buckle and feet.
We had party lines; they have cell phones. We had mailmen with pith helmets; they have “You’ve Got Mail!” We had Pong; they have Guitar Hero. We had mindless entertainment on network TV; they have...uh, let’s call it a draw.
Of course, the moral of the story is be happy, for youth is fleeting. As inevitable as death, taxes, and “Survivor” reruns, the youth of today will be in expand-o-slacks tomorrow.
And, wearing black socks to hide Old Man Toe.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Happy Veterans Day!
I know most of you are expecting a wise-guy approach to this subject. Most of the time I oblige because there’s just so much of the ludicrous in our lives (if you think I’m wrong, just remember there’s a Senator Al Franken). But, when it comes to the eleventh day of the eleventh month, not so much.
So, this one time, no wisecracks, no innuendos, no witty asides. In a break from my usual “schtick,” I’m going to play it straight and briefly speak on the significance of November 11th.
On November 11th, 1918, the Germans surrendered to the Allied powers in the Forest of Compiegne, thus ending what was then known as the Great War. Little did they know there would be a sequel 20 years later, but that’s another story.
The following November, President Woodrow Wilson declared that “Armistice Day” would henceforth be observed in honor of those who had fallen during the “war to end all wars” (didn’t do too well with THAT one, did we?).
Following the Second World War (the “good” war, an oxymoron if I ever heard one), the town of Emporia, Kansas changed “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day. The idea was to honor everyone who had served in the armed forces rather than only those who’d fought against the Kaiser.
As the years went by, the idea of setting a special day aside for veterans slowly took hold throughout the nation. In 1954, Congress made the name change official while President Eisenhower called on all Americans to observe the day. But, surprisingly, it took until 1971 for Richard Nixon to declare it an official federal holiday.
In the years since, we’ve seen it become little more than an excuse to hold blowout sales on everything from bed linen to used cars (“Buy this Chevy because Patton would have wanted you to.”). Ceremonies marking the day have been lost in the madcap frenzy of pre-Christmas commercialism. In fact, what was once a universal day off has turned into pretty much a “federal government employees only” respite.
I don’t have a problem with this, per se, if it was still recognized for the solemn event that it is. After all, Veterans Day is much more than sleeping in late and watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in your pajamas while wolfing down a bowl of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”
Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what Veterans Day is all about. As a part-time schoolteacher (my other jobs being “Rodeo Clown” and “Squirrel Juggler”), I had the occasion to be working last November 11th. I was flabbergasted when the morning announcements proclaimed Veterans Day merely as a “day to recognize older people who had a lot of experience.”
What!? Now, I don’t wish to denigrate Grandpa’s fly-fishing prowess and, boy howdy, ain’t it cool that Great-Aunt Sadie can knit a quilt with her feet, but c’mon! Since when is bowling a perfect game the same as convoy duty in Iraq? Quick answer-it’s not.
As a result of the announcer’s misinformation, I spent the balance of the day quizzing my students on whether they knew what put the “veteran” in Veterans Day. Sadly, I was depressed by their appalling lack of knowledge as very few of them actually understood what all the fuss was about. But, you can bet your bottom dollar they knew who the frontrunner was on “American Idol,” that’s for sure!
Shocking as it was, you know they weren’t the only ones who had no clue that the 11th of November was different than any other day. It goes without saying there’s a need to set a few things straight.
So, I call on all of us who know better to teach others about Veterans Day. Urge those around you to take a moment to remember our veterans and those who are still in harm’s way.
You don’t have to go to a flag-raising ceremony, attend a parade, or even buy one of those “Buddy Poppies” (although I do, because I enjoy talking to those guys). You don’t have to agree on this war or that war and you certainly don’t have to watch “The Sands of Iwo Jima” at attention.
If nothing else, reflect on the service of all those who have worn, and continue to wear, our nation’s uniform. From Lexington to Baghdad, they deserve our respect and our thanks.
As a veteran myself, I salute them all.