Off-Beat Challenge – Piercings And/Or Tattoos?

Tattoo

The son’s tattoo – all designed and ready to go, but not installed.

I have never got a tattoo because I have absolutely no imagination – and I got my ear pierced for exactly the same reason.

I have not wanted to be part of the madding crowd, but I never wanted to be too far away, for protective camouflage. I don’t want to be one of the flock, but I don’t mind grazing in the same meadow.  Any wolves are more likely to take down a fat young sheep, than a grumpy old goat like me.

I’ve worn cowboy-type boots for almost 50 years, since I found a pair on sale at K-Mart, the first year we were married. In the 1980s, when I was having my mid-life crisis, I didn’t buy a red sports car.  I got the first of a series of second-hand motorcycles, and a black leather jacket to go with it.

The wife and son and I went to an evening movie when there were still theaters downtown. When we came out and headed home, we were confronted with a gaggle of 6 or 8 Goths with a blaring boom-box the size of a VW van, randomly sprawled across the sidewalk.

The wife said later that she was a bit worried about this bunch. Then she looked at me on one side, with my motorcycle boots and leather jacket. On the other side was 6’-2”, hairy, Grizzly Adams-like son, wearing a sort-of sombrero, an ankle-length oilskin duster out of a spaghetti western, and steel-toed work boots.

When it became obvious that we weren’t going to step out into the street to go around this puddle of anti-societal slush, legs and feet were quickly withdrawn into standing or lotus positions.

I went with a co-worker after an 11 PM shift-end, to an upscale roadhouse/bar. The fussy little hostess wanted me to remove my jacket before he’d seat us.  When I asked why, he replied that it looked very much like a motorcycle jacket.  “What a coincidence!  My bike is parked right outside.”  Well, some of the other patrons might feel intimidated, and would I please take it off.

During my change-of–life rebellious period, even before I got my bike and jacket, I thought that I might like to get a tattoo and/or an ear stud. I recently saw a photo of a pretty, young female custom-cake maker in New York, sporting two forearms covered in tattoos.  Back in the ‘80s, tattoos were transgressive and subversive.  She’d have been a professional wrestler, a biker chick, or a stripper.  They have gone from being questionable, to de rigueur.

I had a gold, eagle necklace pendant. Did I want an eagle tattoo??  I had a sweatshirt, a slab of slate, hand-painted by the daughter, and a light switch plate with wolves on them.  Did I want a wolf??  I didn’t want to be identified as either a Star Trek, or a Star Wars nerd.  What else?  What else??!

I’d like to claim that I had decision paralysis, where I couldn’t choose among so many options, but the sad truth is that I just wanted to seem to be a bad boy, but didn’t have enough imagination to know how.

During a discussion while I was composing this post, the loving son helpfully suggested that I have D N R (do not resuscitate) tattooed across my chest.  Like a dead child, dark humor never grows old.

A younger female co-worker asked me if I would give her a ride home, and stop at a nearby mall, so that she could quickly pick up a couple of things. On the drive, she told me that she’d got her second tattoo, but she couldn’t show it to me – right then – because it was inside her bikini line.

Poor tattoo artists. They see it all – even if they don’t want to.  They wear rubber gloves while they work, to prevent infection in either direction, but I’ll bet that a lot of them wish that they could wear a blindfold sometimes, while they work.

As we went from one store to another, she told me that she intended to add a piercing. She didn’t volunteer the location, and I valiantly refrained from asking, or even showing any interest.  I mentioned that, along with the absent tattoo, I’d often thought about getting my ear pierced.  Suddenly, she literally grabbed me by the earlobe, swung me around, and pushed me toward a jewelry store whose window ad read, “Ears Pierced – $10.”

Within a minute – ZAP – I had a cheap piece of glass-chip and plated wire installed in the side of my head.  I objected that, since I only got one piercing and one stud, the price should only be $5.  The clerk insisted that there were no reductions….but she did add the other one as a third stud in my friend’s left ear.

Surprisingly, the wife didn’t make a fuss about it – although she did insist that we visit a reputable jeweller as soon as was convenient, and swapped it out for a $80 gold and sapphire (my birthstone) version.

I wore it proudly, and rebelliously, for over 20 years, until one day I stopped in to see the daughter. She had acquired a frisky young, female German shepherd, who insisted that I kneel or bend down so that she could lick my entire face.

One day, as she put a paw up on my shoulder, she must have caught it with a toenail. Fortunately, she only popped the back off, and didn’t rip it from my earlobe.  Assuming that it was still there, I went about a week before I noticed that it was missing.  By then, it was too late to search for it, and the hole had started to heal closed.

Society, and its norms, has greatly changed since the ‘80s. Neither tattoos nor piercings have the cachet they did back then.  At 73, I don’t plan to add either.  It’s just as well.  With all the old folks medical procedures I’ve had, and presumably will have – the clinics and the hospitals have signs that insist that ALL jewelry and piercings must be removed or treatment will not be given.   😳

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2017 A To Z Challenge – N

*Challenge2017

Our Canadian Postal Code is N2N 3B4.  When asked for it, to prevent mistakes due to misheard pronunciation, we tell people that it is, “Not too new, three before.”

For the letter

letter-n

I downloaded these prompts;
negotiate, no, new, news(papers), notes, not my problem, Niagara, night, name, nothing

In no particular order;                   

I have already composed and published a post about ‘It’s Not My Problem’ here, for anyone who wants to (re)read it.

I live about an hour and a half drive from Niagara Falls, Ontario.  It’s an unusual year that I don’t take the wife, the son, or both, for a day or a weekend there.  I published a 100-word Flash Fiction about it here,  including a great photo of the night-time colored lights on the American side, buried in the comments.

I’m so old that nothing is new anymore.  I’ve seen it all, done most of it, forgotten a bunch, and been caught at very little.

I’ve written about my lack of memory, a problem that I partially solve with copious notes.  See – prompts, above.

I’m sure like many others, my wife is addicted to the word no, and doesn’t even realize it.  (and I’m not gonna mention it)  The first word of response to any question or request, is likely to be, “No.”  Maybe it comes from raising children or grandkids. “Do you want me to put the rest of this stew in a Tupperware container, and put it in the fridge?  We could have it for lunch one day next week.” “No.  I want to save it for a lunch next week.  Put it in a Tupperware container and put it in the fridge.”

For no reason, other than that I never have, I continue not to reveal my first name on my blog-site.  I kinda discussed this back on M’s misidentification post.  Call me Ishmael Archon.

Several years ago, the Waterloo Region Record newspaper switched to being a ‘morning’ paper, guaranteed to be to your house by 5:30 AM.  When it was an afternoon paper, it was delivered by reliable school-kids after class.  Now, it is delivered to me by a Jamaican Negro in an old truck.  Since the son works midnights, he has the car, and the driveway is empty.

Rasta-Man rolls down the hill in neutral, rolls up our slanted driveway and puts the brakes on, flings the paper out the driver’s window left-handed, and rolls back out of the driveway. He’s only touched the house with the paper twice in that time.  Once, it landed on my porch roof, and the other time he pitched the heavy Saturday edition through the porch railing, snapping one of the support spindles.  I have found it in two different gardens, stuck up in our magnolia bush and so far under it that, like the porch roof delivery, I had to use a broom to get it.  Often it lands at the garage corner – right where the eave drips after a rain, or a snow melt.  Fortunately, they come in a plastic bag, although I’ve had to defrost an ice-coated paper.

Last summer, he must have taken vacation. On the first Monday, I called circulation because I didn’t get my copy.   Someone drove one out to me.  We don’t get mail home delivery, but I have a mailbox for things like newspapers.  Tuesday, as I went out to look, something made me look in the box.  Sure enough, there were Monday, and Tuesday’s papers, and so it continued for two weeks.

One time, at the auto-parts plant, I was invited to join the Labor team who would negotiate a new contract.  I politely declined.  It takes a particular type of person, and my boredom level is quickly reached.  Diplomacy is also defined as tact, or restraint, or good manners.  Like diplomats, people who negotiate Labor contracts have to get used to repeatedly saying ‘nothing’, for days, weeks, even months, until finally someone cracks.

One year, we mistakenly elected a big ‘Buffalo Biker’ as union president, to lead the team. We thought that he would frighten the opposition.  He screamed and yelled and stomped around the room, and pounded on tables….but, that’s not the way you successfully negotiate.  It was the worst contract we ever attained.  😳

A To Z Challenge – Q

april-challenge

Be vewwy, vewwy quiet.  I’m stalking shelves.  😯

letter-q

I think, basically, that most of my life could be defined by the word Question.’ not,

Verb (used with object)
1: to ask (someone) a question; ask questions of; interrogate. 
2: to ask or inquire.

although there was a lot of that going on, too. I was a curious child, in more ways than one.

Why is the sky blue? How high is up?  How long is a piece of string?  How far can you run into the forest?  Only half way! After that, you are running out.

I don’t know what made me an unbeliever. I was raising and selling cynicism at a profit, when I was as young as 5 and 6-years-old.  For me, ‘Question’ was always more,

3: to make a question of; doubt:
He questioned her sincerity.

4: to challenge or dispute:
She questioned the judge’s authority in the case.

5: a point at issue
a difficulty or uncertainty 

I ‘questioned’ almost every assertion – parents, preachers, politicians, teachers – usually silently, internally at least, until they’d been verified, but….doubt, doubt, doubt. See above: I am uncertain.  I have difficulty blindly accepting the point at issue. 

“You can’t possibly expect me to believe that without proof! I can’t possibly believe that you believe it.

Once, in the arrogance of my youth, (You know, just after I turned 40, had my mid-life crisis, and bought my first motorcycle) I even thought that I was qualified to teach a course at one of the local Universities on ‘How To Think: 101.’  All I had to do, was train these fresh-faced, gullible impressionable young minds to “Question Everything.”  “Here’s your diploma. Thanx for the tuition.”

As I grew older and grumpier wiser, it wasn’t long before I finally realized that most of the flock of sheeple, refuse to question anything.  They want their lives easy and uncomplicated.  They want to be told what to do, how and when.  They want to be told what to believe, and they don’t want to go to the trouble of thinking about it themselves.  They don’t even want to question the obvious contradictions.

It is the failure of individuals and whole populations to question, which has brought the world the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Hirohito, Pol Pot, Mugabe, Khadafy, Hussein and bin Laden.  Now, the only question that the public seems to have is, “How could such a thing have happened?”

My question is, how many more letters are there, and when will this all end?

There are 9 more letters in the alphabet and, if I schedule my posts correctly, the last will be published near the end of April, 2017, just in time to start a new series. Stop back in a couple of weeks to see if I write about Rock And Roll, or Retirement.

😆

Slightly Singed Slacks

Pants on fire

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics – about lies.  In an episode of Castle, after interviewing a suspect, Detective Kate Beckett asks Rick Castle what he thinks.  Castle responds, “He’s lying!”  Beckett replies, “Of course he’s lying!  Everybody lies, about everything, all the time!  We have to figure out what he’s lying about.”

I once worked with a young woman. When I was very interested in motorcycles, she owned and rode her own bike.  If I hung around with her, I could hang around with several of her male biking friends and score the occasional ride.

One of the first things she told me was, “I never lie. I have a poor memory, and can’t remember what I’ve lied to who about, so I always tell the truth.  It’s easier to remember.”  It took a while, but I started paying attention, and keeping track.

She had an active social life, but told me, “I’ve never slept with a married man.”  Then she took me to a Country-Western bar for lunch.  The manager was a businesswoman.  She told me that she’d had sex with the woman’s first husband.  She was not named as a respondent, because he had a number of dalliances….Then she told me that she’d slept with this woman’s second husband also.  “I couldn’t help it.  He’s just so cute.”

Riding a motorcycle is a big job!  It requires far more work and attention than auto-piloting a car.  She told me one day that, “I never ride my bike impaired, whether booze or drugs.  You could get hurt, or killed.”

On our afternoon shift, we got a half-hour for supper. One evening she realized that she had no recreational drugs to go home to – no weed, no hash oil.  She said, “Come with me at break.  We’ll ride over to my supplier and score something for me later.”

After a quick, five-minute scoot, she scored a ‘quarter of hash’. I turned to leave, but she broke it in two, and she and the dealer smoked half of it, while I tried to stay near fresh air.  (Cuz it’s only good manners to share, man)

When she was finally ready to return to work (half-baked), I held out my hand for the bike keys. “No way man!  It’s my bike, and nobody rides my bike except me!”  They say there are no Atheists in foxholes.  This Atheist prayed the whole ride back.

I usually took the bus to work, but it wasn’t far out of her way to give me a ride home. One evening, as we were leaving work, one of her active social life’s was waiting it the plant door, to take her out for ‘a couple of drinks’.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.  She handed me the keys to the motorcycle that only she could drive, and said, “Could you leave it at my place, and walk the rest of the way home?”

She lied to herself as well as me, about never lying. It’s likely that she even believed the lie.  She lied about sleeping with married men, and probably never noticed.  She lied about always riding sober – but that ‘bad memory’ thing can come from being smoked up.  She lied about never letting anyone else pilot her bike as soon as a delivery service became socially convenient.

She was a nice enough person, if a little(?) wild, but I kept track.  She lied to everybody, about everything, even stuff she didn’t need to lie about – where she’d been, and with who, how much she drank.  She lied about a potential newspaper job, and to herself as well as others about her abilities.

Cynical much??! Even before the Castle show, I developed a finely tuned ability to tell when others are lying.  Their lips are moving.  😯

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, hubby’s new job, kids’ school grades – what do you lie about? Tell the truth now.  I’ll know.

Taken For A Ride

Mafia

I got taken for a ride recently. Fortunately it wasn’t in the trunk, and I got to go home afterwards.  After 35 years of Snap, Crackle and Popping our spines, our erstwhile Chiropractor has decided to hang up his hands.

I recently published a post about being surprised at the number of people who are so nice to me/us, when I don’t feel that we have done enough to warrant it. After handing us off like a football at the Super Bowl, Doc Bones recently contacted me to ask if he could take me (and Shimoniac) out for lunch and a beer.

I hate to admit that I am sufficiently insecure and paranoid to wonder, “What’s he up to? Does he want me to buy his collection of Elvis memorabilia?  Does he have a condo time-share that he wants me to invest in?”

A year or so ago, a group named Everclear had a bit of a hit on the radio, called, “She Likes Me For Me.” I liked the idea, but thought it was a horrible condemnation of society that so many of us are fixated on what others wear, or earn, or drive, or where they live, (Beverly Hills 90210 e.g.) rather than what we are.

The little guy in the bar, trying to pick up the statuesque blond says, “I’m not really this tall. I’m sitting on my wallet.”

Apparently the BoneShaker likes me for me, although I’m not discounting the fact that (he and) his wife babysit a granddaughter three days a week, and he has gone from having a dozen clients per day to talk with, to zero.

He just needed to get out of the house and interact with real people. There’s no sense sitting at home and going crazy with cabin fever, when he can take us to lunch and go crazy with The Bear and me.

Lancaster Smokehouse

He took us to a failed hotel and bar, which has been re-opened as a liquor-licensed Barbecue restaurant. One of several places in town which feature Blues music, its heavy planked floor has old licence plates embedded in it.

Pictures on the wall show the original hotel, when it opened in 1948, with a B/A gasoline station across the road, and a two-woman motorcycle racing team.  Tee-shirts (on the wall, for sale, and on the waitresses) say, among other things, “We have the best butts in town.”

BA Station

A good time, and a great lunch, was had by all. If ever he wants an excuse to get out of the house again, I would be willing to volunteer.  I’d like to return the favor, but, with our finances, I’d only be able to take him out to Costco for some free samples.

Minutia VI

I composed this post way back in the early fall, and tucked it away in a Word file.  Then I got distracted by the shiny 100-word Flash Fictions and failed to publish it.  Just pretend that it is still late October/early November, and you still have a cold, snowy winter ahead of you.  That way, this submission from the late Archon won’t seem as bad.   🙄

***

Everybody’s entitled to an opinion – so I’ll give you one of mine.  I have to get up earlier these days, just to have enough time to spread all of them around.

The voices in my head have decided that I’m imaginary.
I think paranoid people are following me.

My old eyes are still good enough to drive without glasses, but I do miss certain details.  Out driving with daughter LadyRyl the other day, I slowly overtook a motorcycle.  From a quarter-mile back, I knew there were too many wheels.  At first I thought it might be a Spyder motorcycle, which son, Shimoniac is considering buying. They have two widely-spaced wheels at the front, for greater stability.

Spyder

As I got closer, I thought it might be a trike motorcycle, with two wheels at the rear, for carrying an extra passenger, but I could now see a single rear wheel….yet still, more than two.

Trike

Perhaps he’s got a sidecar – but a sidecar would be on the right – and I can see a wheel to his left.

Sidecar

As we finally overtook him, daughter, LadyRyl, snapped this photo.  Here’s a big, tough Harley-Davidson biker – with training wheels!  I’ve never seen anything like this, and can’t think of any possible use for this set-up.  I’m going to stop in at a couple of bike shops and ask.  Any of you have an opinion??

Biker Dude

****

Cardinals (the birds) are almost as cautious and unseen as Blue Jays.  You hear them, but you very seldom see them.  A pair nests in the big pine trees near the daughter’s place.  This spring and summer they hatched and raised a batch of chicks, which are now ready to fly.  They’re not quite as skittish as the adults.  About to leave the daughter’s place recently, I noticed a fledgling in the Rose of Sharon bush right in front of her door.

She quickly grabbed up the camera, but, by the time she got in position, it had fluttered to the concrete.  Slowly, quietly, she edged to the door to get a shot….and just as she clicked the shutter, it took off.  I had hoped to submit it to the local paper, which prints cute wildlife photos each day.  This is more “artistic” than real life.  I hope you enjoy.  What do you think of it?

Baby Cardinal

What I Got For Christmas

SDC10719

 

 

 

 

 

I know it’s a bit(?) late, but I wanted to give credit where credit is firmly due.  I took the photos for this post, and thought I’d composed it.  Since I apparently didn’t, there was nothing to remind me, until I started checking photos for a different post.

As my ‘We’re Not Quite Hoarders’ and ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ posts have shown, I/we have been slowly getting rid of no-longer-needed, accumulated stuff.  I am not the most difficult old codger to buy presents for, but, barring a big lottery win by someone who wants to present me with a new house, a new car, and a new motorcycle, I have pretty much everything I need, including a fantastic family.

Almost two years ago, my ingenious grandson, flush with paychecks from his welding apprentice work placement, presented me for my birthday with the ‘En Garde Coupon’ shown above, good for $500 toward any knife I’d like to purchase.

Highly grateful, but ever the pragmatist, I didn’t feel I wanted to bring more stuff into the house at this point in my life.  I can look at beautiful knives, and even handle them, but I had a thought about using a trip through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan to attend a knife show, and meet a couple of fellow-bloggers.  He generously agreed to co-sponsor the trip.

For any who haven’t read them, the antics and adventures of that trip are available in The Fellowship Of The Blog series, beginning with the Prologue.

The trip occurred in October, 2014, but Government bureaucracy stupidity delayed the grant check for his college tuition and texts, forcing him to raid his savings account until it finally arrived.  By Christmas, he still hadn’t said or done anything about the promised amount.  I knew of his problems, didn’t mind about it, and had almost forgotten.

SDC10715

 

 

 

 

 

Then came Christmas!  When it came time to distribute presents, he handed me the above box.  It wasn’t very heavy.  Perhaps it was another of the always-handy, and much-appreciated, Chapters Bookstore gift cards.

SDC10717

 

 

 

 

 

When I opened the box and looked inside, I realized how ingenious and devious he was.  Aided and abetted by his devious and ingenious mother (Can I take any credit for this??), they had carefully rolled up and inserted two new $50 bills, and twenty new $20 bills – the full $500, as promised.

20 Dollars    50 Dollars

 

 

The new Canadian polymer plastic bills do not take kindly to being rolled up – or anything else – quickly flattening back out.  The daughter got out her bag of clip-type clothespins.  They would roll up a bill, clip it to hold it, and insert it in the box.  Clip, insert, clip, insert, until all 22 bills were in, and the box was full(?).  Then they carefully removed the clips.  To a guy whose idea of presentation was to leave some suckers in the paper bag I got them in from an old Mennonite, this just awed me!  (And I’m odd enough.)

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a round of applause and appreciation for ‘Thorn’ Smith!  I already profusely thanked him at Christmas, but feel he deserves a digital acknowledgement and congratulation also.  ‘As the twig is bent, so grows the tree’, and this tree is growing strong and true.

He is a kind and thoughtful young man, who treats his Poppa (and everyone else) well.

Thanx again, Kid!  Feel free to show this off on your smart phone till the battery dies.   😀