Tag Archives: musings

Thank God for Bad Samaritans

I own a classic truck.  A good definition of a classic vehicle is that it’s old enough that no one else wants to buy it from you, but not so far gone that it’s ready for the junkyard.   This one’s a 1995 F-150.

Truck

Of course, some dealer would be happy to give me a “good trade” if I bought a new vehicle from them. Some days I’m not sure why I don’t trade it in for something newer.  Typically, these are the days it decides to show its age and act up.

Just the other day, I was driving to an appointment and the truck died in the middle of the road. It was around 8:30 in the morning.  Of course, I was in morning traffic.

It’s a four-lane road, and I’m sitting in the right lane going nowhere with a line of cars piling up behind me and the left lane zooming past.  I can see in my rear-view mirror the cars trying to jockey around me, and I’m avoiding making eye contact with the drivers as they pass (because people are so happy during their morning commute, to begin with).

I try to start the truck a couple of times and let out a few choice curses.   The truck had died on me in a similar fashion about a year ago—the distributor finally kicked the bucket.  My first thoughts were that it died again, and  I should have traded in this piece of crap then.

Luckily I’m near an intersection and there’s a right turn lane.   I decided to push my truck over to let the happy commuters go along their merry way (nobody was honking, but if glares could kill…)

It’s a big truck, and I’m not a big man.  As I’m grunting to get this thing moving (and hoping no one clips my door and kills me),  I’m mentally griping about my fellow drivers:

Where were the good Samaritans?  Surely someone will stop and help me push this beast! 

After significant effort (luckily the road was flat), I get the truck out of traffic and hop back in to collect my thoughts.  I don’t even get a chance to sigh before I look in the rear view mirror and see a car sitting in the turn lane behind me.

Yes, there is a good person out there! 

I wait for the guy to get out of his car.

He looks down at his cell phone and then back up.  He’s just sitting there.

It dawns on me that he’s not stopping to help.  He’s waiting to turn right.

What the hell!

I roll down my window and wave for him to go around.  I guess my truck sitting skewed in the lane, not running, wasn’t a strong enough clue.

Now I’m fuming about the piece of crap truck and my good-for-nothing fellow commuters.  Recriminating thoughts are running through my head:

If I was a young lady, they’d be lining up to help me. 

What about a senior citizen—I’ve got more gray hair than black damn it.

I was full of self-righteous fury. . . until I looked down at the gauge panel and remembered that I needed gas.  I was on my way to the gas station that morning because I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to go into town.  My truck has two tanks, and they were both low.

Surely I didn’t run out of gas.

I flipped the switch to change tanks and turned the key.  The truck fires up.

You know that feeling when you fall on your face, or smack yourself with a rake and look around to see if anyone saw you?  Multiply it by about a thousand, and you’ll know how I felt at that moment.

Sometimes we get caught up in the blame game: Why isn’t someone helping me?  Or we jump to conclusions: It’s the same problem as last time.  We don’t look at the situation clearly and go down the wrong path in our thinking.

All I can say is: Thank God for bad Samaritans!  I would have felt ten times stupider if someone had stopped to help and was standing there when I realized I ran out of gas.

God probably had a good laugh at me that day, and I can laugh about it too—now.  I guess we all need a little reminder that we need to look at ourselves first before pointing fingers.

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Filed under musings, Philosophy, Society

What a Difference a Bed Makes!

My Bed

How often do you think about your bed?  For me, it starts creeping into my thoughts about the time yawns become the main part of the evening conversation.  If thinking about beds is yawn-inducing, does that make it a boring subject?  Or maybe relaxing? (yeah, that sounds right)

So I start to think about relaxing in bed, and the yawns take over my brain.  Next thing you know, I’m tucked in up to my neck and snoring away.  (I can only go off my wife’s insistence that I snore.  I’ve never heard it.)  I’m one of those “my head hits the pillow and I’m out” kind of sleepers.  For some reason, my wife has to turn on the television and set the volume at a million to go to sleep.  It’s almost like she’s trying to drown out some noise.

DSCN0706

Anyway, I don’t think about the bed until it’s time to go off to la-la land (Not that stupid movie, but the real la-la land where I can fly and all the women think I’m hot).  I never thought about the bed being an issue until one evening a few weeks ago when my wife asked me about my back.

I’ve had back problems for the last couple of years.  I suffered from a bulging disc (which is better now), and as part of the doctor’s workup found out I have arthritis in my back.  So my back hurts most days, to one degree or another, and I just try to ignore it.  I gave her my standard answer, but this time she didn’t let it go.  “It’s the bed,” she said.

“The bed?”  My writer brain immediately went off on a tangent.  The bed is part of a conspiracy to take over the world.  Once we’re asleep, it sends an inter-dimensional signal to its lizard overlords who open a portal to our bedroom and manipulate our backs.  That way we won’t be able to fight back when they invade.

lizardmen

“I think it’s worn out.”

Oh, yeah it could be that too.  I mean, we bought it 18+ years ago.  There are divots where we sleep.  Maybe it could be the bed is worn out.

So we bought a new mattress about a week ago, and wow, what a difference a bed makes!  Who knew you could wake up in the morning without a backache?

If your bed is more than ten years old, and your back has been giving you problems, you may want to replace it (The mattress, not your back, unless you have cyborg fantasies).  You can fly with the hot chicks every night (don’t tell my wife), and wake up with a (relatively) pain-free back.

Of course, it takes me a few more minutes to fall asleep now, because I keep one eye peeled for those inter-dimensional lizards (just in case).

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Filed under Humor, musings

I’ve Created a Monster!

frankenstein

No, this isn’t a six-foot-tall Frankenstein’s monster that runs amuck and attacks unsuspecting villagers.  She’s about five foot nothing and sneaks in a “joke” when you’re not looking.

Used to be, I was the one being a smart-ass, telling jokes, and making light of the world around me.  Of course, my children inherited my sense of humor and we’ve formed an alliance of like-minded mockery.  My wife has always been the down-to-earth no-nonsense person that kept us on the straight and narrow.  She was the straight man to our comical antics.

I blame myself for her slide into tomfoolery.  I thought she was like the Rock of Gibraltar in her resistance to our raillery, but it turns out even the strongest stone has its limits.

It started out with the odd joke (and I do mean odd) at the dinner table.  All forks would pause, and three sets of eyes swiveled to study this strange creature who had appeared in our midst.  The jokes escalated into quips, then wisecracks, and finally into full-on mischief-making and horseplay.  I swear if she slides into punning I’m moving out.  A man has to draw the line somewhere.

Now she’s telling jokes and laughing hysterically, and I’m the one with the straight face wondering how this came to pass.  Doesn’t she know her role?  She’s supposed to roll her eyes when I say something stupid, not the other way around.

This straight man gig is for the birds.

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Filed under Humor, musings

What’s Wrong with Playing Ostrich?

pexels-photo-242796

I’ve been practicing my ostrich impression for the last week or so — burying my head in the sand to avoid writing and other people.  It’s not that I’m unsociable,  it’s more like I needed time to recharge.

I don’t really get extroverts.  Supposedly they feel recharged when interacting with people.  How is that even possible?  Wait a minute!  So that’s where all my energy goes when I’m around other people.  It’s you extroverts that are sucking it all away.  So that means that introverts are actually powering the world of human endeavor.  We go off on our own, recharge our energy, and then run across an extrovert that takes it all away.  Where would the extroverts be without us?  I feel a story coming on.

Anyway, It’s been really nice here in Charlotte for the past week — good weather to recharge.  Also, the kind of weather that gets me thinking about springtime and the garden.

I mowed the lawn for the first time, and put out the citrus trees:

Lime Tree 2018

Went hiking on a greenway and saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after they filled up on pizza:

turtles_close

And hung out in the yard:

Pear Tree

Marvelling over the daffodils:

Daffodils

And the first stalk of asparagus of the season:

asparagus

Wow, I feel refreshed.  Maybe it’s time to peek my head back out of the sand and see what’s been going on.  Anyone want to buy a book?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Filed under Books, Citrus Trees, Gardening, Lime Trees, musings, Nature, Pictures

What’s Your Age Animal?

An old guy called me Sir the other day and I about fell over.  What the hell!

Okay, he was probably younger than me (maybe?).  I admit I suck at guessing ages, but he was definitely beyond middle-age and had no business showing me old-man respect.  Yeah, so my hair is more grey than black these days, and I’m sure my hairstyle is what they call vintage, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to be put out to pasture (Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad).

I just don’t feel that old.  I was talking to my mom about this the other day, and she said she doesn’t feel her age either.  I don’t think this is uncommon.  According to a (fairly) recent study:   Older people tend to feel about 13 years younger than their chronological age.

Okay, that makes sense.  So even if this guy was ten years younger than me, I’m thinking he’s older.  Not because I’m hung up on age, but because I’m just as deluded as the rest of the old people out there.  That (kinda) makes me feel better.

To be honest, I rarely think about age, or how old I am.  My wife says I lie about my age all the time, but I really just forget that I had another birthday (or two).  And this isn’t a new thing.  I was thirty-five for something like five years before I remembered (she reminded me) that I was older.

This thinking I’m younger than I am stuff is too confusing.  I think I’ll just come up with my own aging methodology.  If I feel younger than I am then I’ll just start using another scale.  You know, like human years vs. dog years.  They say one year for a dog is like seven for a human, but that’s not quite right.  There’s an actual chart and everything.  While my wife says I’m a dog sometimes I’d be about 8 if I went by the dog chart.  So I decided to look around at the different animal-to-human age comparisons to see which one works better:

  • Sheep – 10 — Still a bit young and I’ve not ever been one to follow the herd.
  • Pig – 10 — All men are pigs, right? Still too young though.
  • Donkey – 17 — While I’ve been known to act like an ass a time or two, it’s still a bit young (Although 17 wouldn’t be bad, I doubt I could pull it off).
  • Elephant – 32 — Now that sounds more like it.

So from now on, I’m going to convert my age to Elephant years.  It makes sense in a way because the older I get the more round I become (It has nothing to do with the Reese’s Cups), and besides elephants are my wife’s favorite animal.

I’m all set for the next time some fortyish dude calls me Sir.  I’ll just give him a look and say, “Yo, I’m thirty-two bro.”  Then I’ll stomp past him trumpeting in triumph.

pioAEa8BT

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Filed under Humor, musings

How Many Times do you Sneeze?

Ahhhh-chooo!

Sounds like a strange question, right?  Let me take you on a guided tour of my mind (Buckle up, this could get bumpy).

I always sneeze twice—not once, not three times, but twice—every time.  I can’t explain this.  When I sneeze, my wife will just stop and wait for the second one.  No use in continuing the conversation, because we both know it’s coming.

Maybe this isn’t all that odd, but then again…my son always sneezes three times.  Same thing, if he sneezes, we just wait until he gets all three out.  Just a strange coincidence, right?

Then I start to think about it.  I’m a junior, named after my father.  My son has the same first name, which makes him Freddie the third.  If he had a son and named him Freddie, would my grandson sneeze four times?

Then my mind starts to churn.  Maybe it’s a sneezing curse laid upon one of my long dead ancestors.  Let’s say my ancestor was attending a sacrifice in Tenochtitlan and happened to sneeze just when the priest was slicing open his victim.  The knife slips and the priest stabs the heart before he can pull it out of the victim’s chest.  Of course, this is a bad omen which eventually leads to the Spanish invasion and the fall of the Aztecs.

As punishment, the priest cursed my ancestor.  With each generation, another sneeze is added until eventually, the line dies out from chronic sneezing.  The only way to beat the curse is to not pass on the name of the ancestor who caused the calamity.  The family will actually have to forget him in order to survive.

Of course, I come from a wily family.  Their solution was to alter the name every few generations to reset the curse.  So a few generations after the curse began, one of my ancestors switched the name to Spanish – Fernando.  My grandfather switched from Spanish to English, but now the curse has caught back up to us.  Now, I have to find a way to beat the curse without losing the family name.

Yeah, I have a weird imagination, but that’s where stories come from.  I think writers are always putting together these strings of strange facts and coincidences and weaving stories out of them.

Of course, if I have a grandson named Freddie who sneezes four times, I’m going to have to take a trip to Mexico City to sort this mess out.  Do you think that priest’s spirit is still kicking around the place?  On second thought, maybe we’ll move to China.

How do you say Freddie in Chinese?

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Filed under Humor, musings, Writing Process

Garden In Winter

Winter Garden Crop

The only thing sadder than a garden in winter is no garden at all.

 

 

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Filed under Gardening, musings, Pictures