’19 A To Z Challenge – T

Eating Contest

Oh, to be able to eat like a teen-ager again: to put away food like we were eating Mom and Dad out of house and home: when my hyper-kinetic lifestyle and metabolism shed calories and pounds like Donald Trump going through White House advisors.

Once upon a time, the majority of people worked for a living. Nowadays, in the First World, the hardest work most of us do is tap a keyboard, whether in an office, or while watching a robot or automated machine do the heavy lifting. Weight loss/control has become an expanding business.

In the auto-parts plant, I moved 9 tons (almost 18,000 pounds) of material per day, by hand, and ate like it. A couple of hundred years ago, that would have been considered the opening act. Those guys needed FOOD to fuel their work. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you

TRENCHERMAN

Not a superhero who lays pipe or cable, but,

a person who has a hearty appetite; a heavy eater.
a person who enjoys food; hearty eater

Origin of trencher

1275–1325; Middle English trenchour something to cut with or on: Anglo-French; Middle French
New French – trancher – board or plank
a rectangular or circular flat piece of wood on which meat, or other food, is served or carved.

The heavy-eating manual laborers who could be described as trenchermen needed something for their food to be served on/in. They could hardly take fine china to their worksite, or even rude pottery. It was often too likely to be broken or lost, and Tupperware© and Rubbermaid© hadn’t been invented yet.

These rough-and-ready laborers got their meals served on rough-and-ready platters, chunks of lumber that didn’t go into the buildings that they were erecting – slivers and splinters just added needed fiber. The nearest modern equivalent is the cardboard pizza box. Although I’d like to, I can’t eat an entire pizza any more – even a small one. Fortunately, Ziploc© has invented plastic bags, in which to save the leftovers for another day.

He left us too soon, partly because of his trencherman actions, but funny-man John Pinette has an amusing YouTube clip, entitled Around The World In 80 Buffets. Drop back in a couple of days. Not too early though, I’ll be over at Shoney’s for their Early Bird Special.   😉

Flash Fiction #208

Shopping

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Continuing from last week’s Flash Fiction, I give you

A TEACHABLE MOMENT

The refrigerator is empty?? You two boys are going to have to pull up your socks. Guys are allowed to grocery shop. It’s in the Constitution. I gave you cash, a shopping list, and instructions to stop at the store after school.

We are not going to use the ‘Skip The Dishes’ app, and order burritos delivered, because we don’t have a Skip The Mortgage Payment option. If you felt that playing World of Warcraft was more important than getting meat and fresh veggies – we’ll make do.

Which would you prefer – olives on rye sandwiches, or cream of peach soup?   😳

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

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Flash Fiction #207

Homework

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

HOME/WORK

I’ve really got to think of a better excuse than, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ for my boss, old “Groucho” Grohl.

I had good intentions when I brought that report home to finish last night, but he’s never seen my home – thankfully – and he doesn’t have kids. The only thing that teenagers ever put away, is an empty cereal box.

I’ll just wash these few dishes…. and I’ll make the kids’ lunches for tomorrow…. and I’ll fold the laundry in the dryer. Then I’ll fold up and go to bed, ‘cause it’s 11:30. Being a single father is tough.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

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Flash Fiction #203

Briefcase

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I’M OVER THE MOON

Roger, where’s my briefcase?

Uhhh, on your desk??!

No, it’s not.

On the kitchen table??

I looked there. I gave it to you to carry in from the car. Where did you put it?

Front hall??

It’s got important papers, a report that needs to be finished or I could get fired.
I look to Heaven and plead, ‘Where is my….’
Why is it on the skylight???

Oh yeah! I wondered if I could throw it over the house. Musta landed there.

Get the ladder, and get it down, safely! Gahh – teenagers! Honey, could we trade him for a gerbil?

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #202

Erudite

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

RISE UP

Bobby’s mother said, ”You want to be what?”

“Sesquipedalian and erudite.”

Well, the long word meant, ‘using long words’, and the short one meant, ‘learned or scholarly.’ “Why?”

“I want to impress people.”

She replied, “Your grandmother used to say, ‘Don’t get above your raisin.’ ” She almost smiled at his puzzlement. She hadn’t understood it when she was 16, either. “The word is actually raising. It means, ‘Don’t put on phony airs’. People will like you if you are honest and real. You have to study to get big words. You can’t just find them with a magnifying glass.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #192

Mom

PHOTO PROMPT © Valerie J. Barrett

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

The more household chores I take on because of the wife’s medical situation, the more I am impressed and amazed at my dear, departed Mother.

Toilets won’t clean themselves. Unattended laundry will not voluntarily enter a washer. My mother ran a house without modern conveniences. Laundry water boiled in a big copper tub on a wood stove. The washing-machine had to be rolled out from a corner. A rinse tub filled with a pail.

Growing up, I thought I ‘did my share’ around the house. I now know that she let me off easy. A woman’s work is never done.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #177

pasta

CHEESE-WHIZ

Young Billy and his best buddy Bob, loved all cheese.  One Saturday, they ate at East Side Mario’s.  They ordered different pastas, so Bobby’s came out first.  The waitress assured Bill that his would arrive soon, but first, would Bob like some parmesan grated on his??

She ground, and ground – and GROUND.  “Say when.”  Bob eventually raised a hand.

Bill said, “I love cheese even more than him.  You’ll need a new block.”

“Don’t challenge me.  I just went to the Gym.”

By the time she grated the new block, you could almost see the fettuccini on his plate.

***

PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Halloween In A Graveyard

Gravestone

I once got the chance to patrol a graveyard on a Halloween night.  I know, I know!  The excitement!  The prestige!  Where do I go to apply for a keen job like that?  Sadly, the unemployment office.

When an unethical manager had pulled the cube-drone carpet out from underneath me, I had found temporary employment with a security-guard company.  They had placed me at a St. Joseph’s Hospital as a glorified ‘Lollipop Lady’ crossing guard.  I didn’t even get to wear an orange, don’t-run-me-down vest.

The hospital had two, parallel, one-way driveways down one side.  Traffic came in on one, swung around past Receiving and the kitchens, and exited on the other.  Work on water mains had them alternatively dug up for about a week.

We stationed a guard at the front and the back, with portable radios.  If a vehicle came in, the guard at the back held any outgoing traffic until the single lane was clear, and vice versa.  Out of sight of any street traffic, the guard at the back could rest in a lawn chair until called.  We alternated every hour….until the Mother Superior looked out the window, and decided that that wasn’t fair, and decreed that no-one could rest.

It was especially busy late in the morning, because they had a Meals On Wheels program.  Civilian volunteers picked up a few meals each and delivered them.  We wouldn’t want them smashing into each other, and spilling all that delicious hospital food.

As Halloween approached, and I still hadn’t found suitable employment, the scheduler asked me if I would consider patrolling a graveyard, from 6PM till 2AM that night to prevent any vandalism or skullduggery.

The hospital sat in the middle of a long stretch of main road that didn’t have any cross-streets.  The Catholic cemetery behind the hospital (where the doctors buried their mistakes) extended back to the next road.  Two pedestrian-access walkways converged through it in a V, toward the hospital.

Another guard and I followed each other around the block-long legs of the triangle.  It never occurred to us to patrol in opposite directions, to stop and talk, and compare notes occasionally.  All went well for the first couple of hours – until the sun set.

That’s when we discovered that there were no street lights on the adjoining road, no light-posts within the cemetery, and no lights between the hospital and the cemetery.  It was a typical cloudy Halloween night…. it was pitch-black DARK back there, and nobody thought to give us flashlights.

At about 9:30, I had emerged from one of the exits, and was walking toward the other, when I saw three 15/16-year-old males enter ahead of me.  While it was light, I had found a two-foot piece of 1½ inch PVC electrical conduit on the path – a tripping hazard, especially in the dark, so I picked it up, and was carrying it, just in case.

I could hear them walking, and conversing, a hundred feet ahead of me in the Stygian gloom, although I couldn’t make out the words.  Then it got quiet.  Often, that’s not a good thing.  Suddenly, something smacked into the gravestone beside me.  Something whizzed past my ear.  Something struck the grass beside me!  Holy Crap, those little f**kers are throwing things at me.

I ducked behind a nearby gravestone, and the barrage continued.  Something bounced off the gravestone beside me.  I felt around in the dark, and found a pulped crab apple.  CLANG!  That wasn’t a crab apple that hit my cover.  More crab apples, splat, whiz, then, another CLANG off the tombstone next to me.  The moon, through a slight rift in the clouds, revealed a sharp stone, as big as a golf ball.

What in Hell am I going to do??!  We don’t have our traffic-directing radios, and if this keeps up, my fellow-guard is going to walk around the corner any moment, right into the middle of this.

“It’s okay, Bobby.  You can come out now.  We won’t throw anything else at you.”  I’m not Bobby!  “Who the hell are you?”  I’m the security guard who’s supposed to keep you from damaging anything.  Are you idiots??!  Throwing crab apples is dangerous enough, but throwing rocks at someone you can’t see, or identify – in the dark….  You could blind or kill someone!  “Sorry, we didn’t think.”  Said every teenage boy ever, just before he qualified for the Darwin Award.

Patrolling a graveyard on Halloween is an…. interesting task.  Ghosts and ghouls don’t exist, so they’re no problem.  It’s the live ones who cause all the troubles.  😯

Jack O Lantern

Happy Halloween!  Trick or Treat.  😀

Helicopter Parents

Helicopter

Helicopter parents, stop hovering and come in for a landing.  You’re not doing your children any good.

After a bit of anecdotal research, a local community service group is organizing Basic Life Skills seminars for youngsters this summer.  Parents who do everything for their children forget that they’ve never taught the kids how to do things for themselves.

A smart and accomplished 17-year-old neighbor did not know how to use a can opener.  An otherwise bright 15-year-old nephew tried to microwave a plate of spaghetti, with a fork in it.  A female Uni student singed her eyebrows off, when a baked potato exploded in her face.  She thought that the fork holes that her mother put in them were just for decoration.

One young lad used the dining room table as a makeshift bench, to cut a piece of wood, forgetting that, in cutting the board, he would also cut off a giant slice of the table.  His sister once called her dad to ask how she would know when water on the stove was boiling.  He hung up on her.

Courses will include
How To Iron Clothes.  Turns out that there’s more than one way to mess this up.  One college lad tried ironing his shirt while he was wearing it.  Another used the new couch as an impromptu ironing board, and melted the foam in two of the cushions.

How to set a table properly:  Also, how to wash dishes by hand, and load and unload the dishwasher – and what soap to use.  One woman says that a couple of college interns at her work have poured dishwashing detergent into the dishwasher.  “Bubble for miles!”

How to use a paper map:  One woman was driving her son across town to a soccer meet, when both their cell phones died.  They dug a street map out of the glove compartment and, with a little help from her, managed to get where they were going.

How to order food (like pizza) using a landline phone:  This will ensure that they know how to use the land line, how to politely order something over the phone, and how to interact with a delivery person, and calculate a tip.

How to mow the lawn:  Also how to identify/pull weeds, and plant/water flowers.

How to do the Heimlich on yourself:  There is nothing scarier than choking while you’re alone.

How to cut up common fruits and veggies:  And how to do it without requiring medical attention.  This course goes over basic knife skills – also, how to wash fruit and vegetables properly.

How to shop for groceries:  How to compare prices, the value of store brands, how to choose fresh produce, how to interact politely with a cashier, and how to bag the groceries without crushing the bread.  One woman waits in her car, and sends the kids in with money, and a list.

How to write – and mail – a thank-you note:  What to write beyond, “Thank you for the ______.”  How to address the envelope properly, write the return address, stamp it and mail it.  One office manager says she has college-aged interns who don’t know where to put the stamp.

How to do laundry:  What to wash in hot or cold, where to put the detergent, the magic of drying things slightly, then hanging them up (no ironing), how to fold clothes for a trip.  A young woman who moved to Arizona to attend University, was so befuddled by laundry, that she shipped it home – to Minnesota – by train.

If you haven’t taught your kids these things, and many others,

How to turn off water to an overflowing toilet
How to plunge said toilet
How to turn off water to an entire house
How to make a few simple meals
How to relax when you can’t sleep
How to be a good guest
How to politely address adults
How to recognise the smell of propane and natural gas, and what to do when you smell it
How to show good etiquette
How to resolve a dispute
How to make an important decision

it’s time that you started.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Hot Dog

Hot dog

A man was eating a hotdog….. A woman with a small dog walked up to sit in another bench across from the man. Immediately the little dog began to bark at the man while he ate.  The man asked “Would you mind if I throw him a bit?”  ”Not at all.” the woman replied.  The man picked up the dog and tossed him over a wall.

***

I bumped into an old school friend today.  He started showing off, talking about his well paid job and expensive sports car.  Then he pulled out a photo of his wife and said, “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”  I said, “If you think she’s gorgeous, you should see my girlfriend.”  He said, “Why? Is she a stunner?”  I said, “No, she’s a fucking optician.”

***

A black student goes to his Mom and says, “I have the biggest dick in the third grade.  Is that because I’m black?”  She says, “No, that’s because you’re 19.”

***

My wife and I were woken up at 3AM by loud banging on our door. I got up, opened the door and there was a drunken stranger standing in the pouring rain, asking for a push. “Are you insane man?!!? It’s 3 in the morning!!” I screamed, slamming the door and stormed back to bed…

“Who was that?” asked my wife.”  Just some drunk asking for a push.” I grumbled. “Did you help him?” she asked. “No, I did NOT! It’s 3AM and it’s pouring rain! ”Well, you’ve a short memory.” she said. “Don’t you remember three months ago when we broke down and those two guys helped us? You should be ashamed of yourself! Now get out there and help him! “She had a point, and angrily, I got dressed and went out into the darkness, calling out, “Hello, are you still there?”  ”Yes.”  “Do you still need a push?” ”Yes please.” ”Where are you?”  ”Over here…on the swing.”

***

Dad and Son are in the living room when dad’s feet get cold. “Get my slippers from upstairs” he says. While upstairs Son sees two of his sister’s friends, so he goes up to both of them, “My Dad told me to come up here and fuck both of you”.
”You’re lying” they retort.
“Okay, I’ll prove it then, Dad, did you say both of them?”
”What’s the point of fucking one?”

***

THE $100 TATTOO

Eric gets home late one night and Sarah, his wife, asks “Where the hell have you been” Eric replies “I’ve been out getting a tattoo”
“A tattoo?” She frowned. “What kind of tattoo did you get?”
“I got a hundred dollar bill on my privates” he said proudly.
“What the hell were you thinking?” she asked, shaking her head in disgust. “Why on earth would an Accountant get a hundred dollar bill tattooed on his privates?”
“Well one, I like to watch my money grow. Two, once in a while I like to play with my money. Three, I like how my money feels in my hand. And lastly, instead of you going out shopping, you can stay right here at home and blow a 100 bucks any time you want”

***

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar.  They sit.  They drink.  They leave.

***

Government Philosophy: If it ain’t broke, fix it ’till it is.  😦  😯