Just Trying To Help

Corporate greed seems to have become a global phenomenon. In too many corporations here and abroad, the people who call the shots seem to live in a different universe.  They really don’t care much about the average family person who is trying to make a living.  They may say they do, but they really don’t.  Otherwise, jobs in this country would not be moved to other countries.  Sure, if we kept the jobs here it would “cost more to do business,” which mostly seems to mean that the Really Big Shots wouldn’t get their millions.  Well maybe they don’t need millions.  Does anybody really need more than a million dollars??  Not me… so they can just give me a million and I’ll quit complaining about corporate greed.

Or not…

Anyway, since I know people whose jobs are in jeopardy, I thought maybe I’d try to be a helpful with this week’s Happy Friday thing.  I have been the victim of corporate downsizing in the past; so I’ve been there and done that.  It wasn’t the end of the world.  Actually it was the beginning of a pretty cool journey.  I explored some alternative career ideas and got to know myself and my family better.  And finally after many moons of being out of work, I got a job.

One thing I’ve learned is:  probably the most important ingredient of a good job hunt is a resume.  Keep it to a single page.  Emphasize your strengths and achievements, and especially focus on the skills you have that an employer needs.  What I ended up doing was keeping a general resume “on file” and modified it to suit the particular job I was targeting.

Another good tool is an introductory cover letter.  For a guide, I dug an old one out of my archives and thought I would share it with you.  You have my permission to steal it and alter it in any way you see fit.  This one may (or may not) be the exact same letter I sent to Ludmilla Sunkenchin, who was HR director of Blammo Manufacturing.  So without any further ado, here it be:

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To Whom It May Concern,

This is in response to the advertisement for a Working Type Person. I understand that you were accepting money up front, to get people jobs and stuff like that. I intended to respond sooner, but my cat threw up inside my shoes, and then even my slippers!! So I’m sure you can empathize that I’ve been distracted.

Please consider this as a letter of application because I need a stinking job.

The jerks I have been working for at XYZ Industries these past 27 days have laid me off ; and I’m sure I don’t need to tell a person like you how that makes me squirm inside.  However, I believe that I the skills I acquired there were probably useless, but that doesn’t really matter now does it??. I’m really good at taking breaks, and I know how to impress the best of them. I figure that if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull manookey. I worked on various types of equipment during my career at XYZ, but most of it was pretty old and always screwing up, so I don’t really know how to run anything without a large hammer in the immediate vicinity.

I have computer experience… after all, I do own a Sony Playstation.  Them video games have really increased my ability to react quickly under stress. There goes a fly! HA! Got it!!  See what I mean? As for my ability to interact with others, I enjoy meeting new people, especially when they give me money. Those are the nice ones, ya know?

Please let me know the exact date upon which I can expect to apply my skills at your place of employment. I am available for an interview, and would enjoy the opportunity to give you $20 up front and more if I get the job. I will be “checking in” frequently with you to keep tabs on your progress in hiring me.  Get back to me soon, or else you may soon find some “souvenirs” from my kitty’s litter box in your mail slot.

Ha ha, just kidding I think maybe.

Thank You,

ME

P.S.:  I did not choose to share my name at this time, as you will learn more about me during the hiring process, and especially when I have learned of my start date.  Some upfront information:  I can’t work where women are present, because I usually have pretty offensive gas.  Also, if there are men around, they should stay away from me, because they normally have even worse gas than me.  Other than that, I can do work real good unless I don’t feel like doing what you ask me to do.  In cases like that, just ask me what I feel like doing that day and I’ll probably get right to it.

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Well my friends there you have it.  As I said, feel free to use this cover letter in its entirety if you wish.  Or maybe tweak it a little… but I think it stands on its own merit.  If you find it useful, please let me know very soon; as I also have some bridge property for sale at reduced rates for special people like you.

Hopefully, your next interview won’t go like this…

Corona Oh No

Wow… what a difference a week makes!! Last week I was merrily hopping around, hugging all my friends, shaking hands, enjoying life, the universe, and everything. This week, I still merrily hop around, and I still enjoy life, the universe, and everything; but no more hugging or shaking hands. For those I hug, I’m switching to the following procedure: I look the person in the eyes, smile, and say “I Love You.” Same as a hug really…

Well, almost.

I work in a factory, and thankfully we have a big shrink wrap machine. So for my own protection I’ll be getting shrink wrapped every day for the next few weeks. I’ll put drinking straws in my nostrils so I can breathe, and just hop around like that. For safety you see. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when I need to go to the bathroom. Oh, and eating lunch might be a challenge. Holy Carp!! I’ll need my hands to work!! So I guess no, I probably shouldn’t do the shrink wrap thing.

I consider myself a pretty healthy guy. You know, a strong immune system and such. However, the facts are very convincing. I’m getting older now, and I could become very ill if I get this virus. But even if I get just a mild case, or don’t get infected at all, I have to be very wary and stay germ free for the sake of my Beautiful Girlfriend so she doesn’t get sick. And I sure don’t want to inadvertently pass a bug to someone else who has a family member that could suffer badly from COVID-19. I’ll admit I was not eager to stop hugging; nor to avoid gatherings. But this really does need to be taken very seriously. We all just need to work together and change how we interact with each other so we can slow this stupid virus down. All the guidelines are being blasted into our eyes and ears in the form of TV and radio news reports; and of course all the internet is roaring with stories.

We just need to help each other get through this. I’ll sure I’ll be fine… I’m spoiled rotten. I’m very grateful that I have income, plenty of food, and no debt. I am blessed with enough that I was able to donate some bucks to our local rescue mission this week. I consider that to be the very least I can do. Many folks are not nearly as fortunate as me. I pray for them often, and I’ve been praying for them even more often lately.

My friends, if you see me out and about, it’s probably because I need groceries and so on. My Lovely Bride and I are laying low to avoid direct contact with people as much as possible, until otherwise directed. If you normally get a hug from me, I hope you’ll understand when I keep some distance and say “I Love You” instead. And of course, I refuse to stop being silly. I’ll continue to post very silly things on Facebook in an effort to help people smile. I will also be using a strange type of technology called a telephone to check in on friends from time to time. We have one of those weird landline things that has an ancient device known as “The Answering Machine.” If you know our home number, be prepared; I plan to change the greeting often for your amusement (it’s possible I have a little fun with my recordings).

We can get through this. If we all do what’s recommended; things will improve. But I must say, nobody told me there’d be days like these!!

An Open Letter To Saggy Hands And All Other Tongue Owners

Dear Saggy Hands,

In the interest of Corona Oh No, I’ve claimed a small part of the planet and have renamed it to suit my dog’s knees. It’s a quaint little place with hot and cold running wildly; and although clams are rarely served with dessert we could probably order out and enjoy the Mange of La Muncha while throwing fluffy red sculptures toward the full moon. In My New Country, of which I alone am In Charge; nothing will ever be achieved without the express permission of the Zagnut Flinging Champions and their two children, Smeeb and Grackzample.

Even though I’ve always refused to enter your home, you must comply with my reverse hospitality which dictates that I’m pretty sure you owe me a visit here in Tinkle Frost. Yes, that’s correct my friend. That’s the name of the New Land which has been Claimed By Me. Please consider yourself indignant and always keep a special place in your hamper for the Beautiful Newly Claimed Land. Keep in mind that only residents of Wrinkle Fist will have the privilege of snorking gravy up their noses while stocking up on toilet paper and making hand sanitizer out of donuts.

Additionally, please be aware that once you’ve become a citizen of Jingle Crust, you must extinguish all other amplified hacking and coughing that comes so naturally to those who run with a mouth full of lollipops. This is not only mandatory but is a requirement that must be blindly obeyed with full goose Bozo and thank you Uncle Eric. Once the clicking ritual consumes all your waking hours for the next 76 weeks, you must eloquently memorize your shoe size and call the Pineapple Salesman before washing ashore for the Greatly Exaggerated Beef Jerky Festival.

Finally, if you ever divulge the location of Wrinkle Dust to the Tax Man (or any other demonized ear wax removal tool), you must be banished to the Whisker Treatment Factory where the staff will make certain that you’re gradually recommended for a walk down Mammary Lane to enjoy the breast of times; and maybe even some wings or a thigh, and perhaps also the Chicken Nuggets that will be available in large packages of Drum Stick Yellow #7 or maybe even Giblet Surprise Pudding, which of course is served not only with crackers but in some areas of the globe you can even buy tickets to watch this guy actually dress his dog to look exactly like Sir Reginald of Pringlesauce County; except this rendition is nothing close to the original because that would be too tacky and nobody would even care because it’s all a crock of moose juice anyways but because it’s been awhile since I wrote a run-on sentence I thought I’d throw one in here for the halibut and I hope you found it inexcusable.

OK. That’s quite enough for this digestive illumination. Please, just make sure, as I never requested earlier in this writing, to schedule your visit to Tangle Flask sooner rather than later. If you refuse to comply, I’ll remain your devoted friend and will shower your cat with condominiums and other pleasant sundaes. I will conclude with a small amount of acrobatics, which I’m sure would amuse you if you were here to watch.

Yours in Seven Dimensions,

Grelben “Stinky Pores” Zortenfloom

a.k.a. “The Wheel Barrow Worm Rancher”

On the other hand, politics according to Gracie Allen was very similar to what we see today…

Ketchup On Bills??

I work in a factory, which of course is the spawn of a corporate universe. Most corporations expect people to behave in a professional manner at all times. I’ve been in the military and very much understand how to conduct myself in a professional manner. I get the opportunity to “practice” this often at work; but I also frequently encounter the folks who actually perform tasks that produce a product, like running machines, etc. These are the folks, in my professional opinion, who are the most valuable part of any corporation. Many of them are not very happy these days… these are uncertain times.

Those who know me are very aware that I’m a WYSIWYG kind of guy. WYSIWYG is an acronym that’s not seen much these days. The term dates back to the 1970s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth; and it stands for What You See Is What You Get. And what you get with me can be rather silly at times; and the workplace is no exception.

 I understand that work is work, and that clowning is a different profession than the work stuff for which I get paid. However, we recently enjoyed a requirement to wear safety shoes in the factory; and mine have a big black outline where the toes are. I affectionately call them “clown shoes;” because that’s what they look like to me.

Clown shoes notwithstanding, I’m kinda hooked on spreading a smile around when I can… nothing smutty mind you.  Just funny stuff.  This seems especially pertinent these days, with so much sadness in the world. On top of all that, my cohorts are stressed about working for a company that too often doesn’t exactly leave one feeling warm and fuzzy inside the nasal passages (or any other vegetable operated pencil sharpener).

I’ve been a bit loony ever since I can remember, and it just doesn’t seem to fade with old age. Perhaps I’ll make strange faces at people while I’m walking… just to break the monotony. Oh yes, and I also know how to walk in a silly manner. And then there are times I find myself singing loudly at work, because it’s already loud there anyway. Often I’ll sing for the mere pleasure of it, maybe whistle or hum a tune. Other times, however, my coworkers give me funny looks because I’m singing Tarzan yodels or maybe some mock operatic rendition like, “FEE GAAA RO!”

My friends in the factory work tons of overtime, so I try to help them smile even about that situation. Here’s a conversation I had just today with a friend, that illustrates my amplified toast hammer encryption:

“You workin’ this weekend?” I asked.

“Yeah,” was the subdued response.

“Sunday too?” I quizzed.

“Yeah, catch up on bills,” she said, and of course I went for it: “Ketchup on bills??” I joked. “Why would you put ketchup on bills?? Doesn’t make them taste any better does it??”

She giggled a little. Mission accomplished.

It could also be possible that I use our instant messaging system to greet friends with spiritually uplifting verse such as:

The break room is closed for today, they’re changing the bearings in the trash compactor and they don’t want anyone to upset the ballast softeners.

Or…

I’ve decided not to brush my teeth with Vaseline any longer. It frightens the chimney.

And also…

If you don’t start applying sticky labels to your eyebrows you’ll never get to enjoy “Sticky Paper Face Happiness.”

Of course, there are times when I discuss the status quo with my fellow workers; and we commiserate about the sadness we see around us. That’s when I veer off topic and say something truly diabolical like, “I just need to just stay grateful. The pay is decent, it’s close to home, and the benefits are OK. Plus, we have wonderful friendships here.” When the realities of work and the world get me down, I just cling to that childlike notion that in spite of all our troubles, I’m very fortunate to be alive and reasonably healthy.

I’m too proud to be a bum, too chicken to be a criminal, so I work for a living. Might as well have fun while doing it!! I’m definitely still a child. I’m just an old one. Now, would you like me to get out my portable Cook-A-Ma-Thing and fry you up some chicken weed? No?? Well that’s good, because I have no idea what chicken weed is.

So there.

Maybe part of the reason I’m so fond of silly stuff is because I grew up watching cartoons like this…

Foogly’s Fribbly Travels

When grandsons come to visit, they get to choose what I write for “Happy Friday!!!” When I asked what the title for this week’s story should be, Ollie quickly said, “Fribbly’s Travels.” Then his younger brother Gabe mentioned, “you always get to choose!!” “Well Gabe,” I asked, “what would you like me to write about?” “Foogly’s travels!” he answered quickly. “Hmmm,” I replied. “How about Foogly’s Fribbly Travels??” They both chuckled their approval. So without further ado, here is:

Foogly’s Fribbly Travels

Late one morning, just before sunset during a thunderstorm which suddenly erupted into a very cold snow that seemed very crunchy and full of worms, Foogly was so bored he started drawing “Dream Maps” about really cool amusement parks made of sticks, rocks, crayons, and a sentence that was way too long. Foobly called them “Dream Maps” because these were places he had always dreamed of visiting, but for some strange reason they did not sell his favorite food: tomato ice cream soup with grilled coyote toenails.

Foogly’s friend Cheeba was watching intently as these maps were drawn with some of the most beautiful colors. After the 17th map was made, Cheeba decided to offer her opinion about some really cool places to see. “Foogly, I really like your cool maps!” Cheeba declared. “But hey, I have some really fribbly places you might like to visit also!!” she continued. “Fribbly??” wondered Foogly. “What does ‘fribbly’ mean??” “It’s a combination of “wow” and “holy moly!!” Cheeba replied. “Oh… well not sure how you got that, but OK, if you say so,” Foogly said.

Cheeba offered to make her own maps, but with a twist. “Foogly, may I please borrow your cell phone?” she asked. Foogly answered, “I don’t have one, but here’s my Dad’s… he won’t mind… I don’t think.” “OK cool,” Cheeba said, and continued, “next I need a pot of water.” Foobly filled a 2 quart pot with some water. “Next,” Cheeba went on, “we’ll need 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of cat litter (unused), 14 drops of red food coloring, and a small candle.” “What do we do with all that??” Foogly asked. “Just hand them all to me and I’ll show you,” Cheeba replied.

Foogly brought all the supplies to Cheeba and watched with wonder as she dumped them all into the pot of water and stirred everything up with a wooden spoon. “OK!” Cheeba said. “Now hand me those comics and a pair of scissors.” Foogly was a bit confused, but he went ahead and got the comics and the scissors and gave them to Cheeba. She giggled a little (I think she thought last week’s Garfield was pretty funny), then started cutting up the comics into little shreds and dumped them in the pot with all the rest of the stuff; and again she began to stir.

Cheeba smiled and stared into the pot, then she shouted, “OK!! LET’S TAKE THIS OUTSIDE!!” “Hey!!” said Foogly, “I’m right here!! You don’t need to shout!!” Cheeba apologized and grabbed the pot and quickly walked outside with it. “OK, ready??” she asked Foogly. “Um… I guess!!” Foogly answered. Suddenly there came a slushy !! SPLAT !! as Cheeba flung the contents of the pot onto the driveway.

“Wow!!” said Foogly, being awestruck by the mess. “Holy Moly!!” exclaimed Cheeba with a big grin. She was pretty happy with all the weird patterns everything made in the driveway. “OK,” she said, “you still have your Dad’s cell phone?” “Yep,” answered Foogly, and he handed it to her. Cheeba dialed a number and put the phone to her ear. “Hi Mom!! Yes, I’m still at Foogly’s house. Can you come and pick us up so we can go get some ice cream? Really?? Cool!!! Oh and can we go to that holy moly wow museam afterward? Yes?!?!? That would be really fribbly!! Thank you Mom!!” Cheeba hung up and handed the phone back to Foogly.

“Let’s go back inside and wait for my Mom,” Cheeba said. “But what about the mess in the driveway??” Foogly pleaded. “Don’t worry,” Cheeba reassured him. “All that stuff will combine and dissolve before you know it.” Foogly wasn’t so sure, but he was very happy that Cheeba’s Mom came to get them before his Dad got home from work. There was still a big mess in the driveway, but Foogly and Cheeba had a very fribbly afternoon. And they had ice cream!!

The End

Isthmus Be My Lucky Day

I’m telling you right now, I just have been sick up and fed lately and nobody can help it but me. The space between my ears has been clouded with moldy plum sugar, and my eyes have twitched radically while small animals sing “On Top of Old Smokey.” What I’m trying to say is, work has been stressful, and in my professional opinion, nothing cures a good ham like nonsensical pine with gently simmered nuclear fossil wagons.

Life of a computer geek can be… um… well… similar to bent plastic spoons in a 40 pound tub of month old gravy. Terrible things occur at my work place that should really not happen to a gentle soul like me. Expensive parts vanish in thin air when on their way from the shipping dock to my office. People call me and cry because their favorite program is gone. People also sing of sadness when the network is not working. I have phone calls right here on this page that prove this:

“Hi Ken, this is Merm. I signed on to my computer this morning and my FronkleZoolik was gone! The icon was there yesterday… I just don’t know what happened to it!”

“Hmmm…” I reply, pretending to be amazed. “Did you look in your recycle bin??” My caller pauses a bit, then says, “I don’t have that on here.”

“Well,” I reply again some more, “try closing all your programs and see if your recycle bin is there.” Then the wonderful soul on the other end pauses a bit, and says, “oh there it is!! And wow, my FronkleZoolik is right there… thanks, Ken!!”

On the other hand, I get the happy folks who call and leave me voicemail in this manner: “Hi Ken. I think need an IP address or something for this… compute… errrrr… um nevermind! It’s working now!” I wanted to tell him that the bathroom is not at a separate address, but inside the building down the hall. Dunno about him, but when IP, I go to the nearest vestibule. Be sure to wash your teeth and brush your hands when done tinkling (or doo-doodling)!!

These are lovely events, however, because they make me smile in the midst of my run like a chicken with no marshmallows kind of day. I’ve known for many galloobs that this line of work can make your drivly-griks raw from too much noofling, but the particular job I’m doing now is the biggest one I’ve ever had. I’ve also snaveled in the harsh universe of family relationship ouchiness. So, a silly granule of self-rising toe jam is just what the doctor ordered to be mailed to Uzbekistan. I need to inflate both my gratitude and my sense of humus regularly, or I begin to take all this life stuff way too seriously, and frankly, that just ain’t no any so good.

Wonk, wonk, wonk the little bugmonsters utter new and exciting versions of the Spar Strangled Banana. Now that lumps of freshly scented soap have been discovered in Pilmus, New Voolia, we can all rest assured that nothing useful is being done to increase the life cycle of the lowly portable tuba wrench. After all, when I have a burrito for lunch and my coworkers run in fear for their noses, well, that’s a very special time indeed. Often, my dog has brought nose pollution to the home. I believe this is a direct result of the Double Barf Burger with cheese I bought for him at the drive up window at 7:37 p.m. We never commend him for producing brown air, but instead we scream and spray 89% Freshener Surprise into the neighboring air molecules.

So my friends, only so much nimble doony can be flung through the doors of coagulation at any given time. I will leave you now with the best philosophical happy time thought I can muster under such extreme duress. WHAT’S FIXIN’ TO FOLLOW THIS IS NOT FICTION OR NONSENSE, BUT A REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE I HAD WHILE WATCHING TV MANY YARGONS AGO. If I cling to this attitude, I know nothing can get me down, for although I cry and whine at times, I REALLY AM GREATFUL FOR LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING.

OK then, on with the phisopholy: there I was, minding my own business, watching the TV, when the Little Rascals came on and Pappy was assuming the role of school teacher for all the Gang at the Boarding School. He asked many of the class various important questions, which they answered in a most delightful manner. One of the kid’s name was Uh-Huh, and he was asked to use a sentence with the word “isthmus” in it. His answer is the best possible attitude I can carry with me at any given time:

“Isthmus be my lucky day!”

And you know, I’m a pretty fortunate bilge flattener. I need to try to stay positive, and focus on gratitude as my attitude. This and some requests for a little help from my friends will get me through these dark purple animal cracker explosions.

I must now shout that I’m grateful that you are just being who you are. I’m very glad that you are, because if you weren’t, I wouldn’t know you, and holy moly you are important to me. Whoever you are…

Please, always remember that it’s better to be you than for you to be me; and although you can count to it, eight is a word.

Thank you, and good night Melvin!!

One way I might feel better is to make a little bird house in my soul…

My Darling Valentine

Today was the Lovely and Marvelous holiday, Valentine’s Day. Believe it or don’t, I was actually prepared for this in advance!! Even got my “Girlfriend” card a couple weeks ago!! And yes, even though I’m married, I’m fortunate enough to be married to my Beautiful Girlfriend, whom I’ve been dating for 48 years as of this May 19!! Is that amazing or what?? And guess what? We still like each other! A lot even!! This is a very marvelous thing. We’re actually getting pretty good at this sweetheart stuff. Some of our “secrets” to a long and happy relationship are:

  1. We tell each other “I love you” at least once a day. Usually more.
  2. I often remind her that she’s the most beautiful woman in the universe, because it’s true (all other women are the second most beautiful).
  3. We kiss. Often. (I kissed a girl and I liked it.)
  4. We make regular use of the magic words Please and Thank You.
  5. We are best friends and treat each other that way.

Well there are probably a few thousand more reasons but I’ll just quit there. This year, she wanted to prevent me from spending $40 on flowers that are dead in less than a week. “No flowers this year, OK??” she beseeched me over the weekend. So I found a nice lily plant at the store with many buds, but no flowers (yet). After that, I went out to the woods with my chainsaw to bag the traditional Valentine Tree, then Mom and I will set it up in the living room and decorate it with the annual collection of Toilet Paper Ornaments, and the battery powered Monkey Lights.

My lovely sweetheart loves to deck the halls for every holiday, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. In addition to cupid knickknacks, valentine’s bears, frogs, unicorns or whatever else she finds cute, there are plaques with mooshy “Be Mine” sayings all over the house. When the kids were still at home, Valentine’s Day was very similar to Christmas in February. And of course Valentine Toys and Sugarcard Plumswere carefully placed under the Valentine Tree and then the whole family held hands to sing the ancient Valentide Carol:

(Sung to the Tune of My Darling Clementine)

Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’, oh my DAARRLIN’ Valentine,

You are soft and very lovely, such a hottie, Valentine.

In the market, in the card store, I will find something so fine,

That my babe will want to smooch me, just because it’s Valentine’s.

Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’ oh my DAARRLIN’ Valentine,

You smell nice and have nice curvings, give me sugar, Valentine.

In the bathroom, on the mirror, decorAAtions make me smile,

Cuz my baby puts ’em up there and they’ll stay there for awhile.

Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’, oh my DAARLIN’ Valentine,

Please don’t leave them up till Easter, yes I love you, Valentine.

Well OK maybe we didn’t really have a Valentine’s tree… and maybe I just made up the song too.

After all the jubilation, we all sit down for a traditional Valentine’s Dinner of barbequed spare ribs, taters, maybe some salad, and of course some fake bubbly (sparkling juice).   Dinner was followed by Valentine belching, general good conversation, and the exchange of Valentine gifts and cards.     Following dinner was the traditional Valentine’s Day herding of the kids into their beds. 

Nudge-nudge, wink-wink!!

The kids have been out on their own for some time now, so it was just my Honey Pie and me having dinner. I splurged and bought some scallops and shrimp, and sauteed with them veggies and mushrooms that we had over rice. YUMMMM.

Then we watched a very romantic biography of Edgar Allen Poe on PBS while enjoying fancy chocolate and sparkling juice. Well OK, maybe Edgar Allen Poe wasn’t so romantic. But my employer gives us Presidents Day off, so for this 3 day weekend I have some grandiose romance plans. It may be just a simple sign of affection, when I’ll jump out to greet her with my “special pajamas” when she least expects it.

Nudge-nudge, wink-wink!! Know what I mean??

Holy Time Warp, Batman!!

When my Beautiful Girlfriend and I were kids, Batman and Robin were busy chasing bad guys each week on TV. The show ran from 1966 to 1968; and some of the more memorable lines came from Robin, when he would exclaim, “Holy Luther Burbank!!” or other strange lines. Why am I writing this? Well I was pondering how quickly time passes. I mean hey, our oldest grandson turned 11 this year. His younger brother will be 7 soon. This is really amazing. It sure seems like it was just the day before yesterday I was changing diapers for a young girl who grew up to be their mommy!!

As frogs like to say, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies!!” Robin might have said something different to Batman way back when, like maybe “Holy Time Zooming, Batman!!”

Seems like parenthood is a gigantic time thief. Or maybe that’s just what happen

s when we get older. I mean, when we kids, it seemed like it would be forever for adulthood to arrive. Nowadays I’d love to throw out an anchor or something and make things slow down a bit. So we became parents, then grandparents, and now it seems that time just zips along at breakneck speed. We got married when we were 19, which I thought was a few years ago. Then I did the math… 46 years and counting!!

Sheesh!!

Don’t get me wrong, we treasure each day we are on the planet. We kinda like it here! But as one of our friends put it, we have “more time in back of us and less time in front of us.” For the most part, we’re not worried about what comes next; we’re both convinced that cool stuff awaits us in the Great Beyond. But hey, let’s not rush things. We’re here now and loving life. It’s just that Holy Cow, we’re grandparents!!

I mean hey, I remember vividly when the Beatles first came to America on the Mayflower! Or something… Anyway, I clearly remember sitting in my grandparents’ apartment in Brooklyn, NY when I was 10. My 8 transistor radio was glued to my ear while the Fab Four disembarked at JFK airport; with all the media of the day interviewing them every step of the way through the crowd of screaming fans. I even jokingly mentioned, “Hey Dad!! The Beatles just landed at JFK! We could go over there to see ‘em!!” “Yeah right!!” he retorted.

One cool thing about being a grandpa is that you get to reflect on all the changes that have happened over the years. Life is exactly the same only completely different these days. With technology alone, things have changed just a wee bit.

Picture this, kiddies. When I was born in 1954, commercial TV had only been rockin’ for about 13 years. Most stuff on TV was live broadcasts. If you had the TV on too early, you’d see a test pattern. If you had it on too late, you’d see a flag waving in the breeze while the national anthem was playing just prior to the station shutting down for the night. There were still dramas and comedies being made for radio. And when you turned on either a radio or a TV, you had to wait a few minutes for them to warm up. Took several minutes for the tubes and their associated circuitry to stabilize. Tubes?? Say what?? Yes, tubes. And even after the radio or TV warmed up you had to mess with the fine tuning to keep your signals coming in clearly. When you dialed a phone, you literally used a dial on the phone. None of the phones took batteries in those days. No fancy ring tones, just a bell. I know that some of you readers out there can outdo me on the dinosaur technology memories; but you get my drift.

Now back to the present day. I’ve noticed some “black holes” where a time warp knocks me in the head when I least expect it. For example: I scurry to get ready for work in the morning. Most of this zaniness is self inflicted, because I sleep till the last minute and then play fireman to get ready for the hour long commute. We heat with sticks (we have wood heat), so it’s my job to get the fires going. One is downstairs in the old part of the house, one upstairs in the addition. I start the furnace downstairs and then grab an armload of wood to offer the wood eater upstairs of course.

Next, I yank open the fridge and grab my lunch; shove it into that delightful Old Navy bag with the Hawaiian lady on the front and the cloth drawstring (our daughter bought me the bag years ago so I would quit killing trees from using paper bags. She loves Old Navy but didn’t really notice the hula girl design till several years later.).

Pour the coffee into the travel mug, grab the cell phone, and head for the garage at precisely 7:00 AM. Get my lunch bucket situated, maybe plug the smell phone into the charger, come around to the driver’s seat and turn on the car.

NOW THE CLOCK SAYS 7:08 AM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. There is NO WAY it takes me 8 minutes to walk from my back door to the garage. As Robin might have said, “Holy Time Warp, Batman!!” And yes, the car’s clock is correct; just like the clock inside. I’m pretty diligent about that.

If you are old enough to remember the Rocky Horror Picture Show… I mean really remember, meaning you were old enough to enjoy it when it first came on the scene… well then you and I really are in a time warp. Aren’t we?

Don’t believe any of this time warp nonsense? Well all I can say is: I bet you don’t have kids.

You’ll see…

Friggley’s Favorite Game

Happy Friday to all who are reading this; even if you’re not reading it on Friday. Our grandsons are spending the weekend with us, so of course that means it’s time for a silly story.

“I’m looking for a story suggestion… do either of you have a title for a story??” I asked. Ollie thought a minute, and replied, “ how about Friggley’s Favorite game?” “Friggley, huh?” I answered. “Yeah! Friggley,” Ollie said with a big smile. “OK…” I replied, and then started wondering what the heck to write. Anyway here goes:

Friggley’s Favorite Game

IT was a dark and stormy afternoon, just before breakfast while the crinkly worm windows wiggled wildly while whining with whistles. Friggley and Foofle, his pet snick-a-boo were just rolling out of the linen closet when they heard a knock at the back door. It was his friends, Blibber and Zork, and they were wiggling their eyebrows very fluffy-like trying to send eyebrow code to Friggley. Friggley opened the door to let them in, while Foofle danced around on his oversized nostrils in a most jovial manner.

Zork and Blibber laughed most iggidy at Foofle, then sat down and helped themselves to all the nice breakfast food that had been sitting on the table for at least 23 seconds. “Mmmm sure glad you’re our friend and don’t mind us helping ourselves,” Zork said. “These are the best clamshell cupcakes I’ve had all year!!” “Glad you like them,” Friggley snorted. “I found them on the road during The Great Chainsaw Festival. They keep really well in the freezer. You just take them out and yell at them in German and they’re ready to eat!!”

Blibber smiled at his two friends and slipped away to the fridge. He came back with the mustard; popped the top, squeezed the bottle, and started writing his name on one of the cupcakes. “This is what I do before I try to sell these on e-bay,” he chortled. “People like personalized banana lumps that can be reused as holiday decorations. I’m thinking I can sell about 43 of these every day for the next 6 weeks and I won’t have to ride that broken tricycle to school anymore. No no… I’ll be traveling in style. Wait till every one sees my brand new antique log wagon!!”

Friggley was grinning from ear to nose. He always enjoys his friends’ silly ways. Foofle seemed pretty happy also, as he was waggling all 7 of his saberteeth during Zork and Blibbler’s antics. “Hey, would you guys like something to drink? I know those clamshell cupcakes are pretty crunchy,” he said. “Sure!!” Blibbler and Zork said in unison. “Whatchya got??” “Well,” Friggley continued, “we have milk… it’s expired but it doesn’t have much mold on it. We have Mountain Dew… oh, and we have Jabba Jabba Jellyfish Juice.” “YUCKKK!!!” Zork and Blibber exclaimed. Then Zork said, “oooohhh gross!! I’ll have the Jabba Jabba Jellyfish Juice!!” Blibber announced, “I’ll have the milk… you got a mold scraper??” “Sure do,” answered Friggley. “I know it’s disgusting but I’m gonna have the Mountain Dew,” Friggley went on. “You guys OK with that??” Again in unison, Zork and Blibbler said, “yep!”

They all guzzled down their drinks while watching each other make very funny faces. Then Friggley said, “Hey, you guys wanna play my favorite game?” Both Zork and Blibber nodded their heads with enthusiasm. “Cool,” said Friggley. “Wanna play checkers? Of course I like chess almost as much”

Zork and Blibber tilted their heads in wonder. “Huh??” they said. “Chess??” queried Zork. “Checkers??” asked Blibber. “Never heard of them…” they said.

“Oh.” Said Friggley, “OK never mind, let’s just watch some cartoons.”

So they spent the rest of the afternoon burping strange odors from their magnificent beverages, and laughing at the likes of Little Lulu and Betty Boop.

The End

My Grandiose Plans For Retirement

I may have accidentally announced my plans to retire in March of this year. That’s only a few milliseconds away!! That’s what happens when you get older… instead of days, months, and years, your life begins to zoom around in milliseconds. For example, our oldest grandson was born 11 milliseconds (years) ago this month!!! How can this be??? Yes, I understand very well that frogs lke to say that “time’s fun when you’re having flies.” Still, this time zoom is a very harsh reality for gentle people like us.

So what was I talking about again?? Oh yeah, retirement. Yes. I’m gonna retire soon. And lots of folks are asking, “whatchya gonna do?? Any plans??” That’s when I mention that I’d maybe like to sell some of my writings to various publications. Then I get this puzzled look, very similar to when a dog tilts its head toward the stereo speakers because it hears something weird from a Pink Floyd song. “Well,” I explain, “when I was laid off back in ’92, I worked for a small newspaper for a while. Didn’t pay much but I had lots of fun. I was thinking about switching careers from technology to writing, but it became obvious that my family would have to survive on beans and rice for a long time before I got established.’”

Nice dream though.

I have other grandiose plans too, which I believe will (not) be much more successful. Here are some that I’m completely (un)certain will produce great wealth and fiddle dee dee:

1 – Gotta take all those soda bottles and cans back and collect the deposit. Maybe I’ll wait till summer and take my bicycle… pick up more along the way!! As my wife likes to say, “ten cents is ten cents!!”

L – I thought about selling my body to science, but then I learned that you have to be dead first. I’m not sure how I would be able to spend all the money I receive when I’m dead, unless I can figure out a way to be dead while I’m alive. I’ll have to noodle on that one a bit.

9 – When friends come to visit, I’ll stage some impromptu “living auctions.” That’s a term I just made up which entails selling household items to the highest bidder during meals. This activity will not only fatten my wallet but will also give my friends the unique opportunity to own some of the most collectible West Michigan artifacts (many of which are actually made in China).

G – Two words: Used Food. So simple, right?? I saw this referenced on what seemed to be a very nicely maintained truck, so the market for used food must be very strong. On the back of this rather attractive vehicle was a nice slogan in large print: “Dealers In Used Food.” Must be a hot deal because the truck belonged to what appeared to be a rather successful septic service company. So like, these guys are making money on food after it’s been eaten!! Pure genius.

26 – I’ll become a quick change artist. “Hey buddy, you got two tens for a five??”

and finally (for now):

4K – I’ll bottle up some of our fresh country air and sell it to city slickers. With all the pollution controls being abandoned these days, this idea just might take off.

Anyway, one thing I think I’ll really do during retirement is have more Cake.

I really like Cake.