Thirty-one is one of my “lucky numbers.” I’ve lived in houses numbered 31 twice, won prizes for number 31 (a TV and a long weekend in New York city including a visit to the (then) brand new Yankee Stadium) and more.
I don’t have a follow-up to this comment. That’s the whole story.
Recently we’ve been watching that 15-year-old tennis whiz kid. I got to thinking: “What if you are the biggest and best at whatever you do when you are 14 or 15? When you are the best tennis player ever especially if you are merely 15, or you are the best baton twirler on earth at 14? Where do you go after that? Is it all downhill?”
This question first occurred to me when I watched the baton twirler on television maybe ten years ago and I was thinking “This is her peak moment and it’s all downhill from here.”
I suspect this may be part of the problem with child stars. They grow up. Their best years are behind them and a lot of them don’t work much after they complete their teen years.
I don’t think I’ve had a peak year yet. Maybe I never will. I’ve had great moments. I’ve had joyful moments, little thrilling times. I’ve had a couple of really great years, breathtaking visual and emotional moments … but nothing I would call “the peak.”
I’m not sure there will be a peak. Good years, bad years, terrific years, historic years … but peak? Life is a series of peaks and valleys, dips and mountains.
Personally, I think he’s blue. His beak has always looked blue to me and this boy also has blue eyes, too. I know he’s a boy because the girls are all a pale taupe brown, so the boys have all the color!
Obviously, his beak has to match his eyes, right? And it would be a birdy embarrassment should his feathers fail to match the eyes and beak.
Bird colors are usually well-organized. Well, mostly, anyway.
Anyway, some people feel he is really a blackbird. Some think he is actually dark green. But in the sunshine, all my Brown-Headed Cowbirds have been strikingly blue.
I’m not sure there really is such a thing as a black anything. Even my black clothing, as it gets washed, it turns dark navy. I think all blackbirds are really a very dark shade of blue. Nothing but space is truly black because black is the absence of color. In our world, there is no such thing as an absence of color.
I watch way too much cable news. Which is odd because I don’t really like the news. I worked for CBS News for over 40 years. I had to watch the news. I was making the news shows. It was my job.
If I had a choice, I would rather watch the cartoon network But now I watch cable news all the time. I seem to be morbidly fascinated with the steady decline of America and what the ass-hole-in-chief did today.
I have noticed one interesting thing. Well, interesting to me.
Only old people watch cable news.
How do I know this? Simple. The commercials. They’re the same. Fox, MSNBC, CNN and for the most part CBS, NBC, and ABC.
By “all the same.”I mean the same advertisers. They break down into a few categories: drugs, medical products, drugs. Medicare supplement plans, drugs. Life Insurance and annuities, drugs, walk-in bathtubs, stair lifts and, oh yeah, drugs.
Every last one of them is depressing as hell. Most of them, I simply don’t understand.
Let’s start with a drug supplement that is supposed to help your brain think better. Why does it make your brain better? Well, they proudly tell you it’s because of an ingredient found … wait for it… in JELLYFISH!
Because, you know, when I think of something that involves brains and intelligence, the first thing I think of is a jellyfish! Billion-year-old multi-cellular organisms who float in the ocean waiting for food to become entangled in their floaty dangling tentacle-like thingies. Also, they have no brain.
Then I got to thinking about it and maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe jellyfish are the most intelligent, intellectual philosophical thinkers on the planet. You know, like those advanced omnipotent species that show up on Star Trek.
I mean, what else do they have to do all day? They just float around.
JELLYFISH 1: I think, therefore, I am.
JELLYFISH 2: Free will is an illusion.
JELLYFISH 3: Hey! Some food just bumped into my tentacle thingies!
Next, reverse mortgages.
This is where if you own your house you can sell it back to the bank. They pay you a monthly payment until they buy your house back. Then you have no place to live. So, you’re betting you die before you become homeless. And older.
Is that a bet you want to win?
Then there are all the companies that want to buy your life insurance policy. The pitch goes something like this: “We needed more money for our retirement. We found out we could sell our life insurance policy. Now we are set for life.”
UNTIL ONE OF YOU DIES and the survivor has no life insurance to collect and live off of!!! Isn’t that the reason you bought life insurance??
I guess you could room with the guy who just became homeless. Except, oh yeah, he doesn’t have a home.
Then there are the catheter commercials almost always being hawked by a guy who looks like a middle manager for an insurance company.
They all start out with the guy saying, “I don’t like pain when I cath.”
WHAT? Are there people out there who like pain when they cath? And when the hell did “cath” become a verb?? If you don’t know what a catheter is, Google it. I’m not going to explain it.
Having said that, here’s a true story.
Back when I was a college freshman I worked as an orderly and an ER technician for a hospital. One of my jobs was catheterizing patients. I had only done the procedure on old guys who were unconscious or in a coma.
One day the head nurse gave me a cath kit and told me to do it to a 45-year-old wide-awake guy who was being prepped for surgery. I walked in the room and said I had to catheterize him. He asked me what that was. I explained it to him. When I finished there was a really long pause. All he said was, “You gotta be kidding me.”
It was at that point I realized that:
I had never explained the procedure out loud to anyone before. And —
He had a point.
So I went back to the head nurse and said “Not doing this one. You’re on your own.”
Finally, drug commercials.
Lots and lots of drug commercials all of which are incredibly annoying because they take a beloved song from my youth and pervert it into shilling their drug. They all tell YOU to ask your doctor if whatever drug they’re selling is right for you.
Shouldn’t your doctor already know that? If he doesn’t, have you considered getting a new doctor?
Here’s the main take away from all drug commercials.
DON’T TAKE ANY OF THESE DRUGS!!!
For God’s sake, listen to the list of side effects they describe in each of them.
There’s actually a commercial for an anti-depression drug where one of the side effects is suicidal depression!
The drug side effects are worse than the disease you’re trying to treat. Except maybe for the one with rectal itch. I just don’t remember what disease it was treating.
So, to all you young folks out there. If you want to see where your life is going to end up, watch a cable news station for a day.
Me, I think I’m going to go back to watching the cartoon network.
Men can shop. I shop. Moreover, I am a highly competitive shopper. This is Guy Shopping, in three scenarios.
I’m one of those guys who, if shopping “solo,” can zip through the aisles, getting everything on the shopping list. Sometimes I time myself. It’s like a “Wide, Wide World of Sports” event for me.
As I exit the supermarket, my cart full of groceries, I look at my watch. A big smug — almost “45-ish” smile on my face. I quietly proclaim in a “Howard Cosell-Marv Albert” style, “Yesssss!!”
I’m on my game as I begin shopping. First stop, produce.
As I check over the tomatoes, a cougar lady in stilettos, low-cut tank top, and stretch jeans — strike up a conversation about how nice it is to see a man knows how to handle tomatoes. I switch into my TV guy mode, wrap the chat, and move on. Next aisle, it’s the “groupies.” Folks who grew up watching me on TV. They’re blocking access to the pasta sauce and other canned goods. I do two or three minutes of my greatest hits and move on.
The deli section is always difficult. There are inevitably two or three people buying a quarter pound of everything. They must taste a piece of each item to make sure it’s quality stuff. Oy!!
Now, I’m trying to make up ground. Taking short cuts through various aisles and BAM— elderly people, crying kids, and a Mr. Know- It-All, blocking access. I silently curse their birthrights and smile my TV guy smile.
Finally, finally, I’m at the checkout counter.
Groceries bags are lined up in front of my stuff on the counter. The “hot and cold” bags are clearly open to be used for frozen food, meat, and so on. I slowly and clearly explain how the bags should be used. You know — perishables into the “hot and cold” bags. Please pack evenly.
I always bring extra shopping bags so I don’t have to lug overloaded bags up two flights of stairs.
Photo: Garry Armstrong
What was I thinking? It’s like I was speaking Klingon. Outside, I repack stuff at the car, loudly cursing the gods. The drive home is slow. Very slow.
The slow drivers who are always waiting for me are blocking the lane. Probably the same folks who blocked the supermarket aisles.
I enter the supermarket and eyeball the “self check out” section. Do I have what it takes? I promise myself to try. Someday.
I can do it.
Fast forward. I approach the checkout counters, eyeball the “self check out” counter. No! I don’t have it. No true grit. Maybe next time.
Note: I omitted the folks who still ask why I don’t have “my people” shop for me. They are of the opinion that we are too rich to shop for ourselves. Yeah!
Although I’ve taken a lot of front yard daylilies, I’m not kidding when I tell you they are blooming everywhere. Our entire backyard is full of them, too. You can also see our repainted deck.
The summer heat has hit … and Garry picked up the same stomach bug I’ve got and is not feeling at all well. Amazingly, now that he feels really lousy, he has become surprisingly sympathetic to how I feel. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Vacation is deferred. I’m hoping we’ll pull out of this soon enough to actually still take one, but for now, Garry is in no shape to drive any distance. I don’t think he’s in any condition to drive into town, much less inter-state.
Meanwhile, we’ve been living entirely on bananas, rice, ginger ale, and chicken broth. It’s not very interesting, but at least I’m not sick every time I take a bite of something. Well, I am, but I’m not AS sick as I was before.
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