Tag Archives: humor

The Case of the Sullied Samsonite

22 Jan

A snowflake was allegedly spotted 30 miles southeast of our city, so we’re on DEFCON 1 around here. Schools and a lot of business are closed. Since we humans no longer have to worry much about saber-toothed tigers or the Bubonic plague, I think we’re secretly excited about the dangers of puffy snow. But what do I know?

I stopped by the grocery store to get some yogurt for work this morning. I noticed the cheese section was wiped out. So was the toilet paper section. It would seem much of one would eliminate the need for much of the other, but again, what do I know?

Time to conjure warm memories.

ThermoSeveral years ago on a humid Saturday in late July: The air was so hot mosquitoes were spontaneously combusting in mid-flight. I did not want to go outside, but I had to. Those food scraps weren’t going to walk out to the compost pen by themselves. I’m a man, and that’s what men are for. No matter how hot it gets. No matter how much sweat may trickle down a man’s forehead into his eyes, he has to take the heat.

The compost pen is out by our garage near the back alley. It’s scary out there near the alley, because of things a man may see that he can’t un-see. Things like bugs and maybe a vicious squirrel or two. A man never knows.

I took the banana and apple peels out to the compost, the scalding ground burning the soles of my Nikes as I strode. When I arrived, I saw something against the back fence I did not expect to see and never want to see again. A man, no matter how tough he may be, never wants to see that. No, not that.

It was a grungy blue vinyl suitcase. Not a particularly large suitcase. Not very small either. Like something you’d take on a trip if you’re only going to stay over one night, but want to pack an extra change of clothes in case you go to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner and accidentally spill sauce on your chinos and you don’t want to wear your return-home pants two days in a row. Something about that size. But then, if you’re carrying around a suitcase that dirty, perhaps a little Prego on your khakis is not such a big issue.

I approached the mysterious blue suitcase with trepidation. I lifted it. It contained something a bit heavy. I don’t mean heavy in an emotional sense like a Nicholas Sparks novel about someone who falls in love the same day they learn they have a terminal illness, but heavy weight-wise. Its heft filled me with dread. I could imagine it contained a severed appendage, maybe a head, or stolen drugs. I could imagine nothing good. But a man, the kind of tough individual who takes table scraps to the compost pen on a 98-degree summer day, has to do what he has to do. I slowly unzipped the suitcase, my eyes all but closed as though that would make it easier to see what I was about to see. Oh, the humanity. I did not expect to see that.

The suitcase was packed solid with tubes of Colgate toothpaste. Not sample sizes. Not in boxes. Not half-used. Not Crest or Sensodyne. More suitcasemysterythan one hundred shiny tubes of Colgate.

I looked around and detected nothing but quiet. Even the squirrels had stopped chittering. I decided the smart option was to do nothing. I re-zipped the suitcase and left it where it was next to the back fence of our yard. I returned to the coolness of the house. I sat in the den as the 43rd rerun of a Lenny Briscoe Law & Order episode droned on the television. No more than fifteen minutes passed before I could no longer resist. Forget Lenny. I had my own mystery to solve. I had to go back out there, no matter the risk, no matter the danger, and open that suitcase one more time. Burning questions needed answers. What? Who? Why Colgate? Why not Oral-B?

I would not get my answers. The suitcase was gone.

Somewhere in the distance, a dog howled.

I have my theories about the suitcase and its owner, but what is your theory? If you think someone walking through the alley could have grabbed it, that’s possible. But it would have been hard to see over or through the back fence because of all the bushes. I gotta trim those.

 

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I was THIS close to being a famous songwriter

22 Aug

royalWhile late-summer cleaning at the Smith Estates, I uncovered a treasure trove of unpublished song lyrics. After you experience a small sampling of this lyrical magic, which I created as a teenager, you’ll wonder why I’m not churning out the hits in Nashville or L.A. If you’re not prepared to be in awe, go find a kitten video.

(No title)

You dragged me away from my job in Buxton, Utah
And we drove through the desert all day
We drove past numerous canyon boxes
In your beat-up Chevrolet

But I can’t seem to muster up the courage
To ask you where we’re goin’
Cause life’s just one more wave
In the mountain river flowin’.

You’re headin’ for the butte in the middle of the plain
Which rises to a thunderous roar
To the old graveyard in the middle of the butte
Where the great eagle flies no more

But I can’t seem to muster up the courage
To ask you where we’re goin’
Cause life’s just one more wave
In the mountain river flowin’.

This song has many more verses and would have come in at roughly ten minutes as a finished product. It would have been longer had I written the letter G at end of certain words. Instead of a graveyard, the couple arrives in an Indian village where they see a medicine man, children playing, and lots of eagles, though I had just written the great eagle flies no more. Though the song is chock full of geographic and meteorological improbabilities, I most love “numerous canyon boxes.” This may refer to the short-lived Canyon & Sons cardboard box factory that folded in 1983.

And now something completely different:

(No title)

She’s in love with every movie star
All the teenage idols, too.
She follows every big rock singer
And knows everything they do
She sings their songs
And plays their games
And dreams every chance she gets.

Dart

From Comedy Central’s Reno 911

I wish I had finished that one. I’m dying to know what happened to the subject of the song. What games did she play with her idols? I picture
70s rock singers playing a lot of Lawn Darts, so I hope she didn’t get a Lawn Dart through her skull.

With wonderful lyrics like these and others, I had to share my gift. When I was 15 or 16, I got out my 45s and wrote down the record company addresses that were on the labels. Then I typed copies of my best work and mailed them to each company. Since I had no contact names, I sent the packets to the main addresses. I assumed the people in the mailroom would know what to do. This is how I imagine it went down at MCA Records headquarters in Los Angeles:

MCA underling: Hey chief, we just received an unsolicited envelope crammed with awesome lyrics by a fabulous songwriter named Ronnie Smith. He didn’t include a letter of introduction, but that would have been overkill.

MCA CEO: Smith huh? Never heard of him.

Underling: Oh, but you will when you see these beauties. (Thumbs through several pages of lyrics typed on a Royal portable typewriter.) Here’s one with a line about numerous canyon boxes.

CEO: Canyon boxes, huh?

Underling: Numerous canyon boxes.

CEO: By God, that’s brilliant.

Underling: (Holds up a page for the CEO to see.) Look, he doesn’t waste time writing the letter G. And here’s a song called Jimmy Solar. You know, I think Elton would love to put this one to music.

CEO: (Rubs his chin doubtfully) EJ’s committed to Bernie Taupin.

Underling: Taupin’s a two-bit hack compared to this Smith kid.

CEO: Hmm. What if Smith’s too good?

Underling: Whaddya mean, too good?

CEO: Unless he’s a lyric-writing machine who doesn’t care about his craft, he can’t write for all our artists. Sure, Alice Cooper would love the canyon box song. And Lynyrd Skynyrd will want first dibs on any song that mentions Lawn Darts. But what about Olivia Newton-John and the others? No one will buy their records if the lyrics pale in comparison. We could have a mutiny on our hands. And believe me, you don’t want an upset Olivia Newton-John.

Underling: (Shivers in fear) Yeah, I never thought about that. (Pulls out a cigarette lighter and sets the lyrics on fire.) I’ll file these with away with the ones from those kids who call themselves U2.

MCA Records no longer exists. Coincidence?  20150821_203701

In 1975 I took a different approach to instant stardom by entering a national songwriting contest. The grand prize was $3,000 and all the songwriter groupies one could handle. The contest was intended for professionals: singer-songwriters who had access to professional instruments, studios and talent. I had access to my mom, a cheap cassette recorder, and my older brother, who had to do what Mom said. While the professionals were putting their blood, sweat and tears into songs recorded on reel-to-reel tape, I spent fifteen minutes producing mine. Mom played an upright piano while Jeff sang The Unmarried Song. This nuanced number, which no longer exists because no one involved wants it to, was a marriage opposition piece. I don’t know why this subject was on my 16-year-old mind. I don’t remember the lyrics, except my brother often reminds they included, “The answer’s negatory.” Think about that: I entered a song in a nationwide contest that incorporated the word “negatory.”

The reaction from the judges was negatory. Perhaps The Unmarried Song had an unintended benefit, however. The following year, the same contest organizers held a lyric-only competition, which was a relief to anyone with ears. Instead, of sending my “best” song, however, I wrote one just for the competition. It was a country song, which I only listened to because Dad wouldn’t play anything else in his truck. It had to be the weirdest, creepiest song a teenage boy could write. It makes me cringe to share a verse, but here we go:

Little girls were made for lovin’ (again, where’s the G?)
This I’ve always said
Like seeing that you’re clothed
Or seeing that you’re fed.
Bedtime kisses, making wishes
And hoping they’ll come true
The little hugs that make me happy
Are coming straight from you.

I won’t even attempt an explanation.

I should have entered the canyon boxes song. And yet… That creepo creation made the initial cut in the competition. The judges, or perhaps some malfunctioning robot, considered my lyrics better than thousands of other songs. Imagine what the others were like. I won no money, but I received a certificate I framed and hung next to my bed for years until the printing faded.

I quit writing lyrics just as I was on the edge of superstardom. Something shinier must have caught my interest. Here’s the last song I wrote, which I typed in a business class when I was a senior in high school. Although I had never taken anything stronger than St. Joseph Children’s Aspirin, this makes me wonder what was in those pills.

(No title)

She sits in the courtyard
Sucking an apricot
Watching the train go by
They form a large circle
Singing a ballad
They don’t even know why
The tangerine glistens
Its nectar is sweet
And picked in the season of sun
The mellow morning answers
The daybreak song
The birds have gathered in one

Sometimes they feel
They’re not wanted
But only a moment or two
They woke up this evening
In a grandeur of darkness
And had a feeling of mystic blue.

I’ll spare you the second half. The key to a surefire hit is starting with an apricot and quickly switching to a tangerine. Keep the listener guessing what fruit you’ll name next. If you’re really feeling it, mention passion fruit or even a mango. Or find another career.

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Special added complimentary bonus below.      If you’re really adventurous, a double special added complimentary bonus here.

JimmySolar

Our dog: the gift that keeps on giving (on our bed)

26 Dec

The Smith family is precariously close to dispensing with all Christmas giving pretense and getting our own gifts. This year, we spent an inordinate amount of time sending photos to each other. We did this to make sure we gave exactly what the other person wanted.

Which shirt color do you like?

Take a closer picture. Is that sky blue or aqua?

Even then, the first words out of the giver’s mouth Christmas morning:

I kept the receipt, if you’re not happy with the shirt. The one you approved as your gift. The one I showed you before I wrapped it last night.

What happened to the days when we opened a pack of tighty whities? Sure we were disappointed. But we still said thank you to Aunt Mollie, as well as to the Bangladeshi ten-year-old who made them.

Enough with the charades. Next year, we Smiths will buy our own gifts, wrap them, put them under the tree. We’ll fake surprise when they open them.

71PMb6vD7xL._SL1500_Ooh! A supersized stick of Old Spice deodorant! How did I know exactly what I wanted?

That will save a lot of time and disappointment.

This year, I still tried for an element of surprise. Wife #1 had been talking about replacing the comforter on our bed. I don’t know why we needed to replace the current comforter. The bed is always covered with countless pillows that obscure it. I often wonder how much of my life has been spent taking off those useless pillows at night and returning them to the bed the next morning. Still, I am an attentive husband. Therefore, I suggested Daughter #1 give her mother a new comforter. (My wife and I don’t officially exchange presents, though I seem to get a lot of gifts from the dog.)

Instead of making it a surprise, however, D1 asked W1 all sorts of questions: Color preference? Design? Piping? Duvet? Shams? I thought we were just getting a bed cover.

During this questioning, W1 told D1 she would like to have a white comforter, but she worried that I would get it dirty.

What? I work indoors. I shower semi-regularly. The only time I sit on the comforter is when I put on my socks and shoes. I did not realize I was a walking dirt ball. But our dog? That’s another story.

You can read more about the mutt here, but my wife adores that dog. The feeling is mutual. The rest of us are only bit players in their love affair. Therefore, no surprise, the dog sleeps on the bed. Here’s the problem: The dog is not young. The dog is mildly incontinent. Once or twice a week, I will find tiny round balls of dried poop on the comforter. I assume these “gifts” come from the dog, because I don’t want to imagine the alternatives. So why isn’t W1 worried about the dog getting the comforter dirty?

I’m asking myself this question as D1 and I stand in the linen section of a department store two days before Christmas. Time is wasting.

“Get the white comforter,” I say.20141226_074851

Christmas day: W1 loves the comforter. D1 launders it, along with its myriad accessories. She puts them on our bed that evening. She is a good daughter.

W1 and the dog sleep in the bed. I am allowed to sleep there, too. (I am but a guest in my bedroom.)

This morning, I discover a tiny ball of poop on the comforter. The dog has christened the bed. I don’t tell my wife, because what good would it do? She would look at me suspiciously, as though I were making it up to get the dog in trouble. Meanwhile, the dog would look at me with mild contempt.

But I know the truth, and so does Santa. That is why the dog received a lump of coal in her stocking Christmas morning. The jolly old elf and I know who has been naughty. It’s a an eight-pound ball of black fur.
10881960_10203273446263236_8878902859012907253_n

 

 

Try my patented method of lawn equipment repair (in 50 easy steps)

13 Jul

Introducing the Ron Smith method of lawn repair™

When Daughter #2 mowed the back yard several weeks ago, the rear left wheel fell off the push mower.  It was irreparable. This allowed me to put my patented lawn equipment repair system into practice. Should you find yourself in similar circumstances, I invite you to try this efficient approach.

  1. Curse aloud at the news the mower is broken.
  2. Wonder if it is possible to continue mowing with only three wheels.
  3. Decide it is not feasible and instruct D2 to finish “mowing” lawn with weed trimmer.
  4. Withhold judgment when lawn, following aforementioned weed trimming, looks like it has been strafed by a Grumman Hellcat.
  5. Order replacement wheel online. (Some repair technicians may be tempted to examine broken part before finding replacement. This is known in equipment repair trade as “cutting corners.”)  Wheel
  6. Because delivery charges are more than replacement part, order additional parts as well, “just to have around.”
  7. Note that it costs several dollars extra to have replacement wheel shipped within one business day.
  8. Opt for regular delivery, which is nine to fourteen days.
  9. Fail to notice that promise is to ship part in nine to fourteen days, rather than to deliver in said time frame.
  10. Sit back and watch grass grow to record heights as it rains every day.
  11. Host major family event at house.
  12. Call Search & Rescue when two relatives are lost for hours in backyard jungle.
  13. Rejoice when new wheel arrives sixteen days after order placed.
  14. Realize you did not think to confirm that push ring that keeps wheel on axle would be included with order.  Pushring
  15. Determine 92-cent push ring is not included.
  16. Confirm that push ring is not one of parts ordered “just to have around.”
  17. Look at lawnmower closely for first time.
  18. Realize other rear wheel is about to fall off, too, which also is not one of parts ordered “just to have around.”
  19. Excoriate self with epithets.
  20. Drop by Home Depot next day to find something that might work as push ring. (Note: Under no circumstances measure wheel axle first as this also would be considered “cutting corners.”)
  21. Buy two sizes of locking washers because they kind of look like push rings.
  22. Try each locking washer on wheel to confirm neither fits.
  23. Say aloud to no one, “Of course they don’t fit.”
  24. Say other things you can’t repeat in polite company.
  25. Briefly consider amount of duct tape necessary to keep wheel on.
  26. Fail again to measure wheel axle for appropriate size.
  27. Drop by Home Depot again.
  28. Buy two more items that look somewhat like push rings.
  29. Try both items on wheel and determine they do not fit.
  30. Conclude it might be good idea to measure wheel axle this time.
  31. Make special trip to Lowe’s to avoid embarrassment of being recognized by Home Depot workers.
  32. Buy every size of lock cap in store.
  33. Determine that one of locks caps fits the wheel axle.
  34. Do little dance of joy.
  35. Take two more days to get in “right frame of mind” before tackling yard, which looks like Amazon rainforest.
  36. Begin to mow lawn.
  37. Amazon-amazon-rainforest-33125135-1600-1200Determine wheel works fine, but other rear wheel is wobbly, and, worse, mower is now stalling.
  38. Curse the sky.
  39. Remember parts ordered “just in case.”
  40. Remove motor housing.
  41. Find nothing obviously wrong.20130622_142225
  42. Install all just-in-case parts anyway.
  43. Try again and get same results.
  44. Cry.
  45. Pout.
  46. Peruse condo ads in real estate section.
  47. Desperately hope mower just needed some air, and begin to mow with motor housing off so motor can “breathe.”
  48. Observe lawnmower die.
  49. Get brilliant idea.
  50. Make trip to neighborhood hardware store for one final part.

20130711_194610

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P.S. If you think that’s good advice, try this book of wisdom.

A profane family history

15 Mar

I was nine or ten the first time I heard my granddad pepper his speech with cuss words. I could still point out within a five square foot area where I stood in his barnyard when he let loose one of those forbidden four-letter words in my presence.  I had crossed some invisible line of male-dom where Granddad decided my tender ears could hear those words without catching fire. I don’t recall being overly happy to hear that good man use those words, but I got over it soon enough.

Soon after that, I crossed the swear-word line with my dad, too. He was his father’s son when it came to cussing, following certain unwritten rules: Never overdo it, never swear in a house, and absolutely never swear in mixed company, particularly around the saintly woman I called Grandma.

By the time Dad started cussing in front of my brothers and me, I was already a semi-rehabilitated swearer. It seems quaint now, but I had a habit of inserting “damn” in every other sentence when I was six. My parents warned me to stop before I got in big trouble, but they never took serious action. I didn’t get the cure until after I cussed in front of my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Kraft. In addition to missing recess, she ordered me to drag my desk outside in the hallway and park by the classroom door for a while. She wanted me to spend that time to consider cleaning up that potty mouth of mine. That was Mrs. Kraft’s worst punishment for scofflaws like me, boys who were on a direct path to reform school because “damn” had become our favorite adjective.

Spending a bit of time in the hallway wasn’t such a terrible ordeal, except my dear father was also the superintendent of our tiny school. He rarely had reason to walk down two flights of stairs from his office to the first grade classroom in the basement. But I had only been serving my hallway sentence for a few minutes when he came by.CCI03022011_00002

“I hope you’ve got a good reason for sitting out here,” he said.

I considered saying I had been given the honor of Hall Monitor, but we didn’t have such a thing in our school. Even if we had, my dad knew that responsibility wouldn’t be trusted to me.

“Cussing,” I said, without bothering with specifics.

Dad said nothing, but he shook  his head and walked away. I had embarrassed him. Damn, I thought. I’ll never cuss again.

For the most part, I didn’t swear much after that until I reached twelve or thirteen. That’s a monk-like period of abstinence for a boy who grew up around people who tossed around profanities with the same deftness Peyton Manning throws passes.

Even then, I never cussed around my father. Still don’t. When my brother Jeff and I were teenagers, Dad took us aside one day to sternly reprimand us for using a word that  offended our mother. He warned we had better stop using this particularly foul word immediately or there would be serious consequences.

“What word are you talking about?” we asked Dad.

“I’m not going to say it, but you know exactly the word I mean,” he said.

“No, we don’t.”

“Don’t play dumb with me. Just quit using it.”

If the word was so offensive that even Dad wouldn’t repeat it, it must have been a doozy. Because we didn’t cuss around Mom, the word had us stumped. It had to be so terrible that even Jeff and I didn’t know it was a curse word. Jeff and I pondered this question for many years until we finally decided the word that offended our mother was… mother. As in, “That bolt sure is one tough mother to get off.”  We must have used “mother” that way several times a day.

My dad says he turns forty-eight today. This is amazing considering that makes him younger than me. But he suffers from AOBD (Adult Onset Birthday Dyslexia), which causes him to invert the digits in his age, so I’ll give him a break. Anyway I hope he has a damn fine day and one mother of a birthday party.

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What I would say if advertisers would listen

8 Feb

Dear advertisers,

Just a few suggestions I ask you to consider.

First, I direct my attention to you, Local Business Owner. I ask you kindly to refrain from using your family in your commercials. I am sure your children and grandchildren have prodigious talents, and they will someday discover a cure for low-grade acne. However, being an on-camera pitch munchkin is not their calling. Your grandchild, the one with the slight slur and three-centimeter gap between his front teeth? No, the other grandchild. When he says “call our emergency repair line,” “emergency” sounds like a cross between “mercy” and “surgery” so that it sounds like “mercygery.” This does not make me want to hire you as a plumber.  If you are not willing to pay for a professional, why should I pay for one when my pipes leak?  Also, when your tag line says “simply the best,” I will assume the opposite.

And now for you, Company That Thinks It’s Clever to Use Talking Animals. Please stop. Talking dogs haven’t been a clever ad idea since 1950 when Mister Puffles spoke of the magical qualities of a feminine hair removal product. Also, why does the voice have to be so dull — so Middle American white guy? I imagine my dog would sound like Phyllis Diller after a hard drunk and a carton of Salems. That would be interesting to hear in a commercial. That would get my attention when you’re selling pork and beans. If you insist on using an Irish Setter that speaks, should it at least do so with an Irish accent? Just consider it.

0003700029753_AWhile discussing animals, why are bears trying to sell me toilet paper, Bathroom Tissue Manufacturer? (Who calls it bathroom tissue anyway?) Is it a subtle reference to the bear shitting in the woods? I will buy your toilet paper if you are honest with me, but primarily if it’s cheap. As long as it’s not prison-grade paper, I don’t care how soft it is. I have never held a piece of toilet paper to my cheek. That would be weird. In your commercials, just once show a human being on the toilet, but please don’t hold the shot too long. Have the person grimacing and maybe reading a Sports Illustrated. You  know, like real life.

Luxury Car Maker, this is a polite request to stop showing cars with big red bows at Christmas. Does Hallmark sell those big bows?  I’ve never noticed the big-honkin’ bow section at the card store. Yeah, we get it. The husband is awesome, because he surprised his wife with a new Lexus LS. And the rest of us husbands suck. If I surprised my wife with a new Lexus, she would say, “Who is the slut and how long has it been going on?” I’d like you to show the day after the guy gives his wife the car with the big bow, when she says, “Five-hundred dollar monthly payments? We’re still paying for that damn boat you just had to have.”lexus-ls-460-overview

While we’re talking about cars, Pre-Owned Car Dealership. You’re not fooling anyone. They’re used cars. You’re a used car dealer.

Jewelry Store Chains, I hate you. Sorry, I got carried away there. Still, I would love you to produce a commercial like this: Open on wide shot of jewelry store, glass display cases glistening with diamond rings. Young man enters store and scans the array. Cut to helpful store clerk, who asks, “How may I be of service?” Young man hesitantly approaches ringcounter. Camera angle reveals he is covered in blood. Customer pulls small, blood-soaked bundle from his pocket and unwraps it to reveal severed finger.  Customer says, “I want to surprise my girlfriend with an engagement ring. Can you size it?” I still wouldn’t shop at your store, but you would have my unwavering admiration.

Just a quick word to you, Household Cleaning Product Manufacturer: Would it kill you to show a man with a mop once in a while? I do all the mopping in our family, because my wife still  hasn’t forgiven me since I surprised her with the Lexus.

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Things I didn’t get for Christmas

27 Dec

I got everything I wanted for Christmas this year, which was peace, love and understanding. What’s so funny about that?

Not to be picky, but I offer a short list of things I didn’t get for Christmas. I make them available for anyone doing some early shopping for next year:

  1. The purpose of semicolons; I didn’t get them.
  2. I didn’t get the reason the high fade hair style has returned. high-fade-haircut
  3. I didn’t get why Nike charges its customers so much to advertise its stuff.   Nike-Victory-Mens-Basketball-Shorts-482943_890_A
  4. You, too, NorthFace.NorthFace
  5. And Dolce & Gabbana baby boots? 354X490TMPL
  6. What bad economy?
  7. I didn’t get why we all put up with it.
  8. Maybe I should silk screen some shirts with “smithdeville.com” on them and sell them for forty bucks each.
  9. I’m sure there’s a factory somewhere in Bangladesh with excess capacity.
  10. I didn’t get the sustained popularity of some musical acts.
  11. I’m talking about you, Bon Jovi.
  12. Is it the hair?  jovi
  13. Does this mean we’ll see Justin Bieber singing at massive fundraisers thirty years from now?
  14. That should make people take global warming more seriously.
  15. Do you want another Hurricane Sandy-like catastrophe that leads to Bieber being on stage when he’s fifty, overly conditioned hair and all?
  16. That’s a rhetorical question.
  17. Makes me want to keep the thermostat at sixty-two to burn a little less coal.
  18. Honorable Mention: Dave Matthews Band.
  19. Less Honorable Mention: A tie between Leonard Cohen and Morrissey.
  20. How about a Christmas album next year by those two?
  21. That would be a real joy fest.
  22. I didn’t get gift bags.
  23. Who is buying these things?
  24. How does the gift bag industry stay afloat?
  25. All the gift bags under our tree this year had been reused.Christmas Gift Bags Set1 Product Image
  26. Some with multiple names marked out.
  27. Noah
  28. Zane
  29. Isabel
  30. “Dad”
  31. I suspect gift bag makers take two or three years off at a time  until demand catches up to production.
  32. If my new watch, which is made from corn resin and other natural stuff, is biodegradable, should I take it off if I start to sweat?20121227_091049
  33. I didn’t get Boxing Day.
  34. I get what it is, but I just don’t understand why we can’t have it in the States.
  35. We have a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving, but just one day for Christmas.
  36. Maybe after they tackle the fiscal cliff, Congress can approve Boxing Day.
  37. I’m not holding my breath on either one.

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P.S. If you received a new e-reader this holiday season, please give these mildly entertaining works a go. And if you prefer the old-fashioned paper version that’s been signed, I can help you out there, too. Just leave me a comment.

If the pants fit

27 Jul

When I was a kid, my grandpa showed up at our house one day wearing wrinkled brown pants that looked as though they’d been cut from a gunnysack. He was awfully proud of his find. “Got them at a store where you buy your clothes by the ounce,” he said. “Got about three pounds worth.”

I swore then that if I ever shopped at a clothing store that had a scale at the checkout counter, it was time to put me in The Home. I think that time is coming.
While walking through a mall the other day, I spotted a gigantic sign in a men’s store window that said “Clearance/70% Off/Come in NOW. I used to buy pants only when I needed them. Now I buy them when a giant store sign orders me to.

This was one of those hip young men’s stores where the sales associates, who all look like Brad Pitt’s distant cousins, have to yell above the blaring dance music. I departed that target market years ago. As I entered, I half expected to see a bouncer at the front door checking IDs. “Sir, just keep walking. Sears is in the North Wing.” But 70% off is a powerful lure. So, I elbowed up alongside other much younger customers. While they rifled through a pile of size 28 slacks, I stood alone at the normal-waist-size where I quickly found a pair in the correct length.

Regularly $50, the slacks were on sale that day for $15. I usually hate to try on pants in the store, but something told me I should take an extra minute to test the fit of these slacks, considering they were meant for a man half my age. I ventured further into the bowels of the store to find the dressing room. I asked the pretty young woman working there if it was OK to try on the pants. “Sure,” she said with an overload of perk. But I knew what she was thinking: “Those pants? In your dreams, old man.”

Since the pants technically were my exact size, they should have fit me perfectly, right? No way. They were lacking in nether region space. Extremely lacking. In fact, the pants were apparently designed for men with no nethers at all. I wasn’t sure if I could sit comfortably in the slacks, or even walk in them. These days, lots of pants come in styles called Easy Fit, Relaxed Fit, and Classic Fit. They’re really talking about the crotch fit.

Women worry about things sagging. Men have to worry about it, too. It’s time to add another dimension to the size of men’s slacks. Waist. Inseam, and now Crotchal area. Instead of inches, maybe we could be diplomatic and just go with a guys’ age range. “34 x 34 x 45? You sir, need to step over to our low hanging fruit section.”

Did I buy the pants? You bet. Seventy percent is a seventy percent, even though I had to walk with a limp.

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