’23 A To Z Challenge – D

Don’t be a horse’s ass!  Use some horse sense.  Someone once decried steam locomotive trains, saying that travelling more than 40 MPH would drive people insane.  Sorry!!  They came in that way.

The 20th Century and the 21st have been a period of great, rapid, technological advancement and development.  Some people are able to keep with part, or all of it, better than others.  Bigots sometimes denigrate middle-Easterners, by calling them camel-riders.  That sometimes is a good idea – the camel-riding, not the name-calling.

A scientific expedition to research a geographic anomaly in the Sahara, hired a Bedouin guide who was reputed to know the desert well.  They loaded him in one of their jeeps, and tore off into the sand.  After a day of driving they stopped, and asked him where they were, and where their destination was.  He had no idea!!  He knew the desert by how long it took to get to any part of it, by camel.

Trafficking in stupidity!

There are waaayyyy too many car drivers who should be restricted to horse-drawn carts, pulled by


a horse, especially a quiet, plodding horse for farm work or family use.

A horse would be smarter than many drivers.  I don’t drive much anymore, but I DO watch some “Idiots in Cars” YouTube videos.  A horse would get out of the way of a lot of these accidents.  I’ve bitched that some people don’t drive past the hood of their car.  The worst of them don’t drive past the end of their nose.  These are the ones who should take a bus, a cab, or an Uber.

Oh, the road lanes separate ahead, and there’s a concrete divider with buttress at the end.
I’ll just keep driving right into it.
I’m going so slow, that someone is making a left-turn in front of me.
I won’t bother to swerve to avert a collision, or put on the brakes.  I’ll just drive slowly right into them

A small rancher in Wyoming rode his horse several miles into what passed for a small town one evening.  He hitched Lightning outside a roadhouse bar, and went in and got snozzled.  At closing time he managed to clamber back into the saddle, smacked the horse on the rump, ordered Home, and slumped over the saddle-horn.

Lightning was happy to head back home, where there was food, and water, and other horses, so off he trotted.  Just outside town, an ambitious, officious State Trooper pulled the pair over, and charged the rancher with drunk driving.  Sometimes it’s just best to pay the damned fine.  Sometimes it ain’t.

He went to court, and argued to the judge that his horse was not a motor-vehicle as defined by law.  Also, in his condition, he was not in care and control of his autonomous transport.  The judge agreed, and dismissed the charge, saying that he felt the horse was the smartest of the three.

Saddle up and ride back on Friday, to meet Lyin’ Brian, my evil Fibbing Friday twin.  😉

Loose Change Fibbing Friday

There was a little change of pace this/last week.  Below are ten scenarios and Pensitivity101 would like you to make up excuses/fibs for not complying or owning up either as kids or adults.

  1. Meeting the prospective in-laws for the first time.

My in-laws had the good sense and taste to both die before I even met my future wife.  It saved me the trouble of later having to water the grass around their grave-stones.  My fine friend asked me to pour a pint of good Scotch whiskey on his grave after he passes.  I asked him if he minded if I strained it through my kidneys first.

2.  Going to your partner’s firm’s social evening where you know it will be talking shop all night.

Honey, you know how impressed I am with insurance actuarial tables, but Elon Musk called, and he wants to discuss my expertise in designing high-power Maguffium batteries. He’s going to let me watch the SpaceX rocket launch, and help him name his next kid.  You just go and have fun, and I’ll bring you back a Tesla.

3.  Not going to school on a test day.

Win, lose, or draw, you would have to be a complete fool to do this – as I know, from sad, personal experience.  One year in high school, there were exams scheduled every morning, and every afternoon for a week, depending on what courses you took.  I blithely showed up on Tuesday afternoon for a French test, only to find that it was Greek History.  French had been that morning.

I explained my problem to the French teacher.  He promised to put me in a supervised study hall to take it, if I would swear that I had talked to no-one about it, or been given any of the questions.  I passed the exam, but the dismal mark I got proved that I didn’t cheat.

4.  Broken a window whilst playing outside

I once kicked a soccer-ball real hard, and broke a lady’s window.  She was yelling at me, and saying that she was going to go to my parents.  I told her that my dad was a glazier, and he would come and fix her window if she let me go get him.  Soon, a man showed up and fixed it.  Then he said, “That’ll be $10.”  She protested.  “Aren’t you that boy’s father?”
“No!  Aren’t you his mother?”

5.  Having gone shopping, spent all the money, but not bought anything on the list.

Shopping list??!  This isn’t our shopping list!  This is our neighbor Bob’s shopping list.  He probably put it in my pocket as a joke.  You remember about a month ago, when he tricked me into going to the bar with him and getting really, REALLY wasted – and he peed my pants, too.

6.  Damaged the car

I was just trying to pull into our driveway, when a tree we don’t have jumped out right in front of me.

7.  Late for work

Sorry Boss, I’m still on standard time.  I haven’t switched to Daylight time.
Smithers, It’s the end of April.
I know, boss, but the battery in my calendar needs to be replaced

8.  Forgotten to do your homework

I never ‘Forgot’ to do my homework – ignored it maybe, but never forgot it.  The only thing that elementary and high schools teach, is how to memorize and regurgitate.  With my innate neurological memory problem, I soon found that homework was little help.  I understood principles, but found rereading, and rereading, and rereading the texts and my notes finally cemented the memories.
We had trouble
right there in River City
with a capital T,
and that rhymed with P,
and that stood for Pool
That left me time to do most of my studying of physics – reflection, refraction, colours of the spectrum – at the local pool hall.  😳

9.  Insurance claim for damage to property

No Sir!  The pizza was stuck to the ceiling when we moved in.
Nah.  That won’t work.
Everybody else jumped off the roof, so I did too.
No, that’s not even related.  I might as well try the truth for a change.
We had a strong little storm cell come through.  It generated a small tornado, and golf-ball-sized hail stones that made my car look like J. Arthur Rank’s giant gong.

10. Ruined an expensive piece of clothing.

The wife saved, and saved, and saved to buy this pricey little gown for the likes of company Christmas parties – and then managed to get salad oil on it.  Dry-cleaning isn’t dry.  They use liquid solvents to lift the stains.

I had a bit of petrol for the mower.  I drizzled a bit on, worked it in well, and blotted it up with paper towel.  I took ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos with my cell phone.  The ‘after’ shot apparently generated a static spark, and I learned three things.
It’s a good thing that she wasn’t wearing it at the time.
My left eyebrow will probably grow back in six months – and
The phone will remain turned off, and in the car, when I fuel up.

How Close To Death Were You?

The Quora website offers a bunch of interesting questions – and some fascinating answers.

Almost every one of us has had at least one time in their life when they narrowly escaped Death, unless they were raised like The Boy in the Bubble, or as a marshmallow, in a bag with other marshmallows – and even marshmallows are constantly under threat of being made into Rice Krispy Squares.

One would think that any brush with Death would be overt, obvious, noticeable, and memorable!  The big truck that ran the red light, and whistled by, inches from your car’s nose, instead of into your door, is unforgettable.  Certainly the time that my own cousin pushed me into eight feet of water before I could swim, as a joke, and then had to dive in and drag me out, has not been forgotten.  The time my brother put a hole in a wall, a foot from my head, with a shotgun, is still fresh in my memory.

The time that I was perhaps the closest to dying horrifically, while interesting, was so quiet and restrained that it was a long time after, before I realized just how close it had been.

When I first came to this burgh from my hometown for employment, half a century ago, I was only one of many.  Some of us quickly got jobs, and acquired cars.   Many of us didn’t.  If I wanted to go home for a weekend, I had a list of people that I could call.  One Sunday night, I got a ride back with two cousins, one who owned and drove an old car.

There were to be six of us in this sedan.  Already running late, the last was to be picked up in the next town to the south.  The East/West highway from there to our North/South route curved northward, around a bend in the river.  The other highway then curved back West, before turning south.  If we took a county road across the narrow bottom of a triangle, we could save five miles of driving, and five minutes of time.

Soon, we were humming along at 70/75 MPH.  Halfway across, there was an old cast-iron bridge over a narrow river tributary.  The Highway Department had decided that it needed replacing with a modern, concrete span.  They had bulldozed a gravel access road beside it, down the bank and across a pontoon bridge.

Our pilot  driver never even slowed down. He just cranked the steering wheel, and down we went.  Six passengers, each with some sort of luggage, this old vehicle was wallowing on its springs.


Up onto this floating monstrosity we went.  Before seatbelts, six heads made dents in the overhead roof-liner.  Annnndd….


Off we plunged.  And six sore tailbones were driven somewhere up near our shoulder blades!

A half a mile up the road, our chauffeur realized that he could watch the gas gauge unwind.  Something that we had smacked into, had punched a hole in our fuel tank, and we were spewing gasoline on the road behind us.  (Cue the exploding airplane scene from Diehard 2)

We were extremely lucky that whatever had poked the hole, had not also stuck a spark.  Even now, a hot exhaust pipe, or a cigarette, casually tossed from a passing car, could turn us into a hurtling mass of S’mores.  We continued at high speed back to his parents’ home, and got there with drops of fuel left.  He managed to borrow a car for a week, and we were all so glad that we would get back – late, but back – to the big city that night, that it was long after before I realized just how close our call had been.

Comment on your own adventure, or use this story as a prompt to write your own death-defying tale.  I’m going to put my asbestos underwear on, and check the fire extinguisher.  See you in a couple of days.  😳

Rapid Roy

Far back in the swirling mists of antiquity, back before television, entertainment of a warm, Friday, summer evening was to go watch the “Stock Car” races.  Young men from fifty miles around would trailer in their rebuilt, post-WWII jalopies.

It was just a little quarter-mile dirt track.  Soil was piled up, and each end was high-banked, but there was no outer wall or rail.  There was a lot of door-grinding going on, as the racers jostled for position.  At least a couple of times each night, one or two cars would slide off the high edge, and tumble down to the flat.  Long before mandatory seatbelts, I could only hope that these guys installed roll bars and three-point harnesses.

This was where/when I first found out about comedy albums.  The announcer in the infield control tower got ahold of a Spike Jones disc that included a cut about Beetlebaum, the slowest horse ever in a horse race.  He would often play it between races, if the next lineup was slow to form, with the fans in the stands laughing and shouting out the chorus.

My Dad had a saying (for everything), “If you’re not here when I’m here, you’ll be here after I’m gone.”  With my poor memory and lack of focus, I got left behind a couple of times.  One Friday night, after supper, my brother and I went out to play.  We left the property, and we (I) got distracted.  When we got back to the house, the car was gone.

We quickly and easily hitch-hiked five miles to the next town, and walked a mile and a half out the County side-road, to where the track was.  The cost of admission was two dollars per vehicle, even if you had a clown-car with 27 occupants.  We now had a dilemma — but not a car.

The track was located in a fifty-foot-deep bowl, down on the river flats.  We carefully picked our way across a farmer’s acre of potato plants, until we reached the wire fence at the edge.  Crude wooden benches were tiered into the steep hillside below.  We got on our bellies, so that we were not silhouetted against the bright, sundown, western sky, slithered under the wire and down the slope, and rejoined surprised parents.

Down at the bottom, there was a food-service building.  They had hamburgers and hot-dogs, but French-fries hadn’t been invented.  They also sold individual bags of potato chips and soft drinks.  The cost for seven ounces of soda was 5¢, but there was a two-cent deposit on the glass bottles.  The proprietor insisted that he was too busy to be giving back the two-cent refunds.  Empty bottles strewed the grassy hillside.

We began taking wooden, six-quart baskets with us.  Between races, the brother and I prowled the hill, and took the bottles out to the car.  Soon, the regulars knew us, and would often wave us over for another couple of empties.

Then we spent interesting weekends trying to take bottles to businesses in our town for the refunds.  There was the General Store, the Pool Room, a couple of restaurants and gas stations that sold the individual bottles, as well as a couple of the new-fangled neighborhood convenience stores.

Initially, we got a couple of, ‘If we didn’t sell ‘em, we don’t give refunds for them.’  We were bright, friendly, local boys, and we soon established who would accept how many.  On a good week, we might make five dollars.  Dad recouped the entry fee, and the brother and I were rich, splitting the balance for spending money.

Alas, TV became common and popular, the young racers married and aged, and the farmer cancelled the lease on the property.  I understand that his grandson now grows rutabagas on the river flats.  It’s more profitable, but nowhere near as much fun.

A Spun Fibbing Friday

Last week, Pensitivity101 asked, ‘So, what spin can you put on the following?’

  1. What are fish nets?

They are the piscatorial equivalent to the human Interwebz.  They are constructed using fiber-optic lines, so that water doesn’t short them out.  To prove that fish are smarter than some people, they don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Tik-Tok.

2. What is a teddy?

He’s my emotional support animal.  He’s so cool that he has his own diminutive teddy – although the little traitor drinks Coke, instead of the proper Pepsi.

3. What is cross stitch?

So….  I stumbled over the dog’s new chew toy, startling him, so that he jumped against my ankles, completing my fall.  I banged my forehead on the corner of the coffee table, and bled like a stuck pig, but I was more than irked when the wife insisted that we spend almost five hours in the hospital Emergency department, waiting for some young intern to apply one suture, and a drop of Krazy-Glue.

4. What is a basque?

This is when you can finally afford to holiday in the French Riviera, and you decide that you will return to Old Blighty with a tan, or die trying.  So you risk offending the Gods of Cancer, and slather on sunblock lotion like you own an oil well, and lie out in the sun until you sizzle and crackle like a haddock filet in a fish and chips shop.

5. What are daps?

They are a series of quick, almost subliminal actions that a young female performs to entice and arouse the interest of a suitable male – a hypersonic application of lip gloss, two damp fingertips rapidly redefining already carefully plucked and shaped eyebrows, a tug on bra straps to nicely display her best points.  Older women don’t generally care that much.  Often, they’re searching for the human equivalent of roach powder or termite poison.

6. What are culottes?

They are slices of lean veal or pork, that I dip in egg, coat with breadcrumbs, and fry in olive oil.

7. What are pedal pushers?

Guys who sell stolen bicycles.

8. What are trews?

They are a Canadian soft-pop band who advertise as being rock and roll, when the closest they get to Rock is in the Bentwood on the front porch.

9. What is a gym slip?

It’s an excuse note, from the school office or nurse, to the P. E. teacher, explaining that female students may sit out the physical class while they have their Monthlies.

10. What is a feather cut?

During the Middle Ages, paper did not exist, so scribes didn’t get paper cuts on thick, soft vellum, but if they weren’t careful, they could get a nasty gash while using a dull knife to carve their quills.

Prehistoric Humor

A caveman is sitting by a creek, gnawing on a hunk of mastodon meat, enjoying the rare quiet. After a short time, the quiet is broken by a distant shriek and from the direction of his cave, his wife comes running. “Wog! Wog!” she screams, “Come quick! A saber-toothed tiger has just chased mother into the cave.” Wog looks up at his wife with mild annoyance, chews the final remaining piece of meat from the bone, and calmly says, “What do I care what happens to a saber-toothed tiger?”


At a wedding ceremony, the priest asked if anyone had anything to say about the union of the bride and groom – it was their time to stand up and talk, or forever hold their peace.  The moment of utter silence was ended by a beautiful young woman, holding a small child.  She started walking toward the pastor.

Everything quickly turned to chaos.
The bride slapped the groom.
The groom’s mother fainted.
The groomsmen started giving each other looks, and wondering how to save the situation.

The priest asked the woman, “Can you tell us why you came forward?  What do you have to say?”
She replied, “We can’t hear at the back.”


I recently called an old Engineering buddy of mine, and asked him what he was up to these days.
He replied that he was working on aqua-thermal treatment of ceramics, aluminum, and steel under a constrained environment.
I was really impressed, until further conversation revealed that he was washing dishes with hot water, because his wife had ordered him to.


Me; Age 12
Fell off bike at high speed on a gravel road.  Rode home 5 miles.
Me; Today
Used the wrong pillow and was non-functional for 2 days.


Who Says Men Don’t Remember?

A couple went Christmas shopping.  The shopping center was packed, and the wife was suddenly surprised to find that her husband was nowhere to be seen.  She was quite upset, because they had a lot to do, so she called him on her cell phone, to ask him where he was.
In a quiet voice he said, “Do you remember that jewelers that we went into about five years ago?  The one where you fell in love with that diamond bracelet that we couldn’t afford, but I told you I would get for you one day?”
The wife choked up and said, “Yes, I remember that shop.”
He replied, “Well, I’m in the pub next door.”


When my wife caught me on the bathroom scale, sucking in my stomach, she laughed.  “That’s not going to help.”
“Sure it does.  That’s the only way I can read the numbers.”


The difference between an introvert and an extrovert mathematician is: An introvert mathematician looks at his shoes while talking to you, an extrovert mathematician looks at your shoes.

A Fear Of Fibbing Fridays

So, Pensitivity101 wants to know, “What do you think these are phobias of?”


It’s a fear of having to watch old Popeye cartoons.  Does anyone remember when the bad-guy character, ‘Bluto’ suddenly became ‘Brutus,’ because King Features couldn’t keep their books straight?


It is the fear of having yet another Terminator sequel movie released.  It would be sad to see Arnold hobbling around like a geriatric T-800 model with a cane, or walker.


This is the fear of the approaching, mid-April deadline, both with the American IRS, (Notice that The IRS spells theirs) and the UK Inland Revenue.  Canadians get another two weeks of paralyzing terror each year – until the end of the month.  It’s no favour!  I say it’s like ripping a Band-Aid off.  Be like Nike, and Just Do It!


This is the quite-reasonable distress caused by having to go out upon the streets and roads with all those Other Drivers.  I’m okay, but they’re all just a bunch of weird accidents, waiting to happen, and probably catching me in the crunch.
Anyone who doesn’t drive as fast as me is an idiot.  Anyone who drives faster than me is an asshole.  Forget World Peace – envision using your turn signals.

Bathmophobia is the fear of the end of the day, when you have three preschoolers and a sandbox.  Soap suds spreading faster than The Big Bang – and when you finally get them all clean, you discover that one of them is the neighbour’s kid.  😳

Chromophobia has suffered technological obsolescence.  50 years ago, the little gear-head greasers plated every piece of exposed metal on their cars bright and shiny silver.  Today’s OY-Generation decorate their penis-substitute Lego-plastic toy cars with neon brothel-lights, rear spoilers whose only purpose is to hold beers while they brag to each other, and modify their exhausts so that little Dachshund cars sound like Great Danes.  They claim that they soup them up!  Yeah, right – soup in a sieve.  😯

Ephebiphobia is the feeling of unease, when you realize that your unmarried aunt has been batting for both teams all along.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Genuphobia is the fear non-Catholics have, of having to attend a wedding or baptism in a Catholic church.  You never know when to kneel, or when to stand up, or sit down.  They’re all up and down like a prostitute’s panties.  By the time you figure it out, they’ve got the hymnbook out, and are singing.


Ever since Kobe Bryant’s little mishap, it’s what has caused me to decide to not use gasoline-powered aerial eggbeaters as a mode of transportation.  It’s not what I want people to mean when they say, “He was a down-to-Earth person.”  👿


This is an irrational fear of garden figurines.

Osmophobia was the absolute panic I felt when I heard a rumour that some television network, desperate to replace lost viewers, was going to give Donny and Marie another hour-long variety show.  At their age, they can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  Donny’s ‘little bit Rock and Roll’ would be shuffle and wheeze, and his purple socks would be orthopedic.

Podophobia is a fear of being unexpectedly called upon to say a few words at some community gathering.  Unaccustomed as I am at public speaking – I’m gonna sit down, have another beer, and let the paid performing seals do their job.


This was the terrible uncertainty that I felt recently.  I went into the office break room early in the morning.  Someone had put out a Tupperware container of fudge brownies, so I took one.  I returned soon after, to see if the coffee machine had finished.  There was now a note on the brownie box.

I Made These Brownies For Shits And Giggles
Half of them have cannabis.
The other half have laxative
Try One. Wait a half-hour, and find out which.


Which way did they go?  How many of them were there?  When did they leave?  I must find them – for I am their leader.

This is the fear that you are going to be assigned another project, because your boss is not sufficiently computer-literate to access the internet and look for himself.  Not only will you have to do extra research, but it will be on constantly-changing websites that can be edited by people who wear MAGA hats, and believe that the world is flat.  😥


It’s the feeling of imminent doom that arises locally, beginning about the middle of September, when we realize that half a million people who want to get drunk and obnoxious, and throw up in a different town, are about to descend on our city for Oktoberfest.  Before I retired, I used to book the week off – not to party, but because I was tired of getting pulled over in DUI/RIDE Program Traffic checks.  That really sucks.  😉


I have a phobia that Pensitivity didn’t list.  It’s demifiniphobia.  That’s the fear I felt when I looked at all these big, fancy words, worried that I will only be able to respond to about half the prompts, and end up looking like a half-assed halfwit.

Pillow Talk

I was comfortably lounging on the couch, and doing it in a highly competent, professional manner.  I was searching for a blog theme – something that I could compose a post about without too much work, but still interesting to my readers.  Suddenly I thought, Eureka, (or maybe it was Gesundheit – one of those Greek words)!  I’ll do a bit of research, and write about us seniors’ new BFF, the pillow.

The word “pillow” dates back to the 12th century.  It comes from the Latin pulvinus, which means “cushion,” but archeologists say that pillows of various kinds, ranging from plant-filled skins, to comfortable rocks, have probably been used far back into human prehistory.

The oldest known pillows date back to the oldest civilizations, with references to pillows in ancient Sumerian cuneiform texts.  Ancient Egyptians placed feather-filled pillows in the tombs of their mummified dead.

Pillows are mentioned in the Bible, but they are not referred to favorably.  The Book of Ezekiel says, Woe to those who apply pillows to their elbows.  Scholars believe that the text refers to ‘false prophets,’ who Ezekiel felt were insufficiently austere.

You know how your pillow sometimes feels too warm, and you have to keep turning it over to get to the cool side?  Well, now a company called “Sooth-Soft” has come out with The Chillow, “a fluid-filled, eco-friendly, cushioning device, that keeps you cool without electricity.”  It’s actually gotten rave reviews, and they make one for dogs, too.

Are you the laziest person on Earth?  (Why else would you be reading my post about pillows?)  The PerCushion Pillow Phone could be made just for you.  It’s a combination pillow/cell phone, with a microphone, loudspeaker, and Bluetooth wireless connection built in.  When the pillow rings, just lie there and answer it.  Genius!

In 2015, Jeanette Hall, a taxidermist in Nevada, started offering to transform deceased cats and dogs into pillows – for $75-$100.  Unfortunately, the offer led to “hundreds of hate emails from around the globe.”  The outrage baffled the taxidermist, who claimed that she had many happy customers.  “Most people were happy that Fluffy was still on the couch.” She said.

Sleep researchers have discovered that, when clocks are set back an hour at the end of Daylight Saving Time, car accident rates plummet, probably because of the extra hour of sleep.  Try to get some additional sleep on your comfy pillow, but don’t wait an extra hour to read my next exciting, informative post.  😀


Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to Me.
Happy birthday, happy birthday,
Happy birthday to me!

With the help of my pillows, and all my other helpers – eyeglasses, magnifying glasses in every room, as of 2:00 AM, E.S.T. I have achieved 78 years of age.  I have not matured like fine wine.  More like milk – chunky and bitter.  😳

Turdy Tree Fibbing Friday

Ailments is the theme for this week and pensitivity101 is sure her readers can come up with new definitions or explanations for the following.

  1. What is carpal tunnel?
    It’s the wormhole that runs under the English Channel, from Dover to Calais, even if the train doesn’t, and they have to send crews with golf-carts in to drag the shipwreck asylum-seekers’ victims out.
  2. What is tennis elbow?

It’s a type of arthritis, contracted by leaning too long on a damp bar in the clubhouse, while you’re trying to serve up a little love by bragging about how great your tennis stroke is.  That’s why it’s called a racket.
3. What is a pulled muscle?
It’s the reason that teenage boys have a lock on their bedroom door, so that Mom doesn’t just walk in.  When I hear that an athlete has a pulled groin muscle I think, ‘Shouldn’t he be practicing with the rest of the team, instead of playing with by himself?’

  1. What is tinnitus?

It is how most bachelors feed themselves – a tin of soup, a tin of stew, a tin of spaghetti, a tin of beans, a tin of raviolis, a tin of chili, a bunch of tins of beer.  Only mac and cheese, and pizza, come in cardboard boxes
5. What are crow’s feet?

An expensive delicacy it Iraqi restaurants, costing mucho dinars.  They are seasoned with cumin and coriander, and served with couscous, tzatziki sauce and taftoon bread.
6. What are hammer toes?
It’s an affliction suffered by really klutzy DIY handymen.  They don’t even have time to smack their thumb with the hammer, before they drop it on their foot.

  1. What is pink eye?

It’s a new, hybrid species of salmon, obtained by crossing the ‘silver,’ Pacific, Sockeye salmon, with the redder-fleshed Atlantic salmon.  They’re having trouble releasing it into the wild.  They keep trying to swim back to the laboratory.
8. What is vertigo?

It’s how my German cousin asked about our destination for an evening out, when he visited.  Vertigo for eine gut time?  Vill dere be dancing girls in dirndls? Vill dere be many steins of gut, Bock beer?  Vill dere be schnitzel und sauerkraut?  Vill I be asked for my papers??
9. What are cataracts?

These are the hackneyed stereotype vehicles that the FBI, the CIA, and every American security force who have been so testosterone poisoned that they can’t spell anything more complex than GMC, use for transportation.  Huge, gas-guzzling monsters, and always shiny black, so that they will stand out, especially in movies.  At least, that’s what my speech therapist told me.
10. What is swimmer’s ear?

It’s the one you have to use to listen to your mother when you’re at the beach or pool, and she says, ‘Now remember, you can’t go swimming for at least an hour after you’ve eaten, or you’ll get cramps and drown.’  It’s an old wives tale, but I don’t think she’d be too happy to be described as either old, or a wife.

My Sister F**ked My Sex Life

While the rest of my cohort were learning about social intercourse – getting a little grope and grab, having a bit of slap and tickle – I was being press-ganged, almost every Friday and Saturday night, into babysitting for my sister.

From the time I turned twelve, until I turned sixteen and got a real girlfriend, I was voluntold to take care of her five young children on weekends.  Wed far too young, she married a country-born party guy.  He was raised on a farm, a mile and a half off the main highway, seven and a half miles out of town, before the turn-off to his place.

Back before marijuana was invented, alcohol was the drug of choice.  He had a circle of friends that he’d partied with, and even after he got married and sired five children, he still wanted to go drinking with them, and she, eagerly, wanted to go along.

I would show up at their house about nine o’clock.  Theoretically, the kids would be in bed, hopefully asleep.  The pair would leave, and we were on our own till some time the next day.  It is just as well that they did not try to drive home drunk, late at night, but that was not a rational decision.

The parties lasted until they ran out of booze, or the last drinker passed out in a chair or on the couch.  They would get a bit of sleep, and return home, semi-sober, some time the next day.  The record was a Sunday where I dressed and fed the kids breakfast, and later lunch, and their parents, missing for 15 hours, wandered in at two PM.

One Sunday morning they were driving home, and they passed a county road sign that said


Hungover-ly claiming that meant that he should speed for 30 miles, he jammed his foot down on the accelerator.  Soon, they were flying down a gravel county road at 75/80 MPH.  Suddenly they came over a small rise, 100 yards from a T-intersection with the highway, on a road he should have known like the back of his hand.

He slammed on the brakes, but slid right across the highway which was fortunately almost empty, because church was still in session.  They slid down into a shallow ditch, and slammed into the far bank.  He bent the heavy steel front bumper on the car, and the windshield popped out and flew into the long grass – unbroken.  He stowed it in the back seat, and had it re-installed the next day.

I was supposed to be paid 35 cents an hour for my services.  A normal night/morning should have got me five dollars.  He earned twice what my father did, but my reward was often whatever change he had left in his pocket.

They lived in a lovely house, but it was beside the plywood plant where he was the accountant, in a commercial neighborhood.  Their nearest neighbors had five teenage boys, all known to police.  The man who lived on the street behind them was a known pedophile voyeur.  I quietly stepped into the three girls’ bedroom one night, to pet a cat on the window sill, and caught him peering in the window.

The area was populated by three families who interbred back and forth, till the average IQ was about 90.  They didn’t need a babysitter so much as an armed guard.  With five young children at home, I can sort of understand their need to get away for a while.  Month after month – year after year, this dedicated partying pair left five small children in the care of a young teen boy.  I did what I could, but I got screwed, when I could have been out getting laid.