Flash Fiction #200

Jokes

PHOTO PROMPT © Linda Kreger 

THAT’S FUNNY

I’ve never heard of a scavenger hunt for jokes.

There’s a couple! Scoop them up.

What’s the difference between a porcupine and a Porsche?….
….The porcupine has the pricks on the outside

My doctor told me that I have insomnia….
….but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it

You find them everywhere. Grab that pair!

What did the fish say when he swam into the wall?….
….Dam

My girlfriend hates it when I joke about her weight….
….She should lighten up.

One more, then home.

What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50?….
….A politician

***

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

Milestone

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve been at this long enough to have reached the FF #200 milestone. Thank you Rochelle for having the patience to herd all these cats, and thanx to all the rest of you who come to read my silly stories.

Friday Fictioneers

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I’ll Be The Judge Of That

Lawyer

Oh damn! They want us to do our civic duty again. Do they think that retired people have nothing but spare time?? I already voted. Now they want the wife and I to fill out questionnaires to go into a pot for jury duty.

About ten years ago, just before I quit working, I got a notice that I was already in a jury pool. They would contact me when I had to report. They must have pulled enough other rabbits out of their legal hat, because nothing ever came of it. I never got any further notice, written, electronic, or phone.

It’s not that I object to jury duty. It could be quite entertaining. It might be even more entertaining when they find that my over-active bladder needs to hit the washroom once an hour. I could take a big plastic pop-bottle with me, like some of the long-haul truckers, but there’s not the same privacy in a courtroom. I might get arrested for indecent exposure right there in the jury box.

After 18 months without a power wheelchair, the daughter was finally awarded a new one, along with a 4-wheeled walker. The new, local, manager of the Ontario Assistive Devices Program office felt that, if she qualified for one before, she should get another one.

Still, I have a daughter and a wife, both semi-disabled. With the son working all night, and sleeping all day, I am the only licensed driver available to convey them and me to an never-ending series of medical appointments – GPs, dentists, Osteopath, massage therapy, Internal Medicine, Neurologist, Rheumatologist, Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Chiropractor, Podiatrist, Optical Surgeon, medical clinic for blood work and X-rays, pain-management clinic for infusion treatment….

How I miss the days when we were all boringly healthy. My wall calendar is full of color-coded appointments. In any given month, with20/22 weekdays, 12 to 18 of them will have marker notes in them, occasionally 2 in one day. Hell, Donald Trump has more spare time to play golf, than I do. If either/both of us get summoned, I’m going to take that calendar along. While I’d love some time off, I have commitments that I have to honor. My doctor recently told me that she could/would write me a letter to get me off.

Maybe if I ask the selection foreman if we still have the death penalty…. 😳

Have any of you ever sat on a jury? What crime(s)? How long did it last?

Flash Fiction #134

Pop Can Tabs

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Sheldon

TANSTAAFLUrban Myth

Save all your pop-can tabs. Someone will donate a power wheelchair.

Mr. Cynicism said, “Who? Why?”

Like a child’s paper-clip necklace, I pulled it apart, one link at a time. Daughter said, “Mom told me.  Didn’t she mention it to you?”  The wife named a sister. That sister blamed an older sister. She said the yenta was a bowling team member.

Bowler identified a man in her trailer park.  “He’s got his; we’re trying for another.”  Wheelchair man nailed them, upside down, to slabs of plywood, and sold them to supplement his meager disability allowance.  “They’re great muddy shoe scrapers.”

***

TANSTAAFL is a term credited to the author, Robert A. Heinlein. It cynically/realistically means, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

The trailer park man’s wheelchair was not donated.  It had been supplied by the government. He was not aware of any group giving away free wheelchairs.  Pop-can tabs are pure aluminum.  There was a group who collected entire aluminum cans, crushed them and turned them in for rebate at the scrap dealer.  The money was added to a fund which aided handicapped people.

BELIEF is when Hope is substituted for Facts.

***

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

2017 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge2017

I know that, according to my own, self-imposed schedule, I should have had a post composed and ready to publish today, about the letter

Letter E

Just about the time the daily A to Z Challenge bloggers were posting their offerings for the letter E, I contracted a case of 48-hour flu. By the time I got back to the computer, it was too late to acquire a list of possible theme words.  Between the virus-induced mental incapacitation and the lack of inspiration, nothing got written.

The situation was made worse by bureaucracy. One of the drive motors on the daughter’s power wheelchair seized, and Murphy worked overtime to ensure clerical catastrophe.  What should have been a (bad enough) two weeks inconvenience, has become more than three months of dragged-on denial of service, before the Provincial disability office finally decided that it’s too expensive to repair a 13-year-old chair.

New rules say that, since she doesn’t need it all the time, she can’t have a new one.  Now she has to break in a new case worker, and jump through all the hoops to find an acceptable handicap scooter, for which the Government will (eventually) pay monthly rent.  Winter cabin fever was bad enough.  Now, the nice summer weather is here, and she still can’t get outside and be independent.

Besides the afternoon-long, hour drive up the highway and back, for her anti-pain treatment, this means that I have taken her shopping several times, to the Farmers’ Market, twice to her dentist, once to the next city to pick up cheap, bulk, dog and cat food, and each week to a counselling forum which helps her deal with the physical and emotional problems of having her loving, supportive son 500 kilometers away.

Eighteen months after being told that the wait time would be 12 months, the wife was finally contacted by her orthopedic surgeon, (the same guy who installed my artificial shoulder ten years ago) and was told that her first knee replacement, the right, was a go.  This required two trips to the hospital to fluff their paperwork.  The first was a mere two hours, the second, an extended, four hour clerical comedy show.  At least it’s finally going ahead.  On June 27th, Hobble-Along Cassidy meets Dr. Stabby McStab-Stab in a dance to the death.

All of this means that, instead of having time to write my usual, knife-sharp, crystal-clear, diamond-hard posts which inform and entertain you, you are being afflicted with this whiny, apologetic, idiosyncratic, fogbank collection of Excuses, for my E contribution.

Thanx for your sympathy, and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with something a little more solid, for the fabulous letter F.

You Better, You Better, You Bet

coke-vs-pepsi

O Great God CONFORMITY, give us the power to make everyone else, just like us!

conformity

Yea, verily, in the beginning was the EGO. And the EGO begat an Opinion.  And the Opinion fed upon the EGO, and the EGO raised up the Opinion, until it was greater than Creation itself.

fixing-others

This was going to be a light, fluffy piece about the cola wars and pizza, until I realized how serious and ongoing this idea actually is.

The very history of the human race is a history of those with any kind of power, forcing the rest to agree with their often-incorrect opinions.

It was already old 4000 years ago, when Moses climbed a mountain. When he finally came back down with the Ten Commandments, the first thing he and his cadre of cronies did, was disobey Commandment number four – Thou Shalt Not Kill – and executed 3000 Israelites without a chance to recant, for holding an opinion that wasn’t even officially prohibited before Moses left.

The Inquisition was 500 years of torture and murder of anyone who dared stray from a very narrow religious path. The Crusades were a series of long distance religious disputes.  The Thirty Years War was not fought for riches or territory, but for the right to impose opposing Christian dogma on individuals, cities and nations.

Towns near the ever-changing line of combat could have their religious allegiances forcibly changed from Catholic, to Protestant, and back to Catholic, half a dozen times in a year. One town was known to have a number of….weirdos – vegetarians, artists, free-thinkers, Gnostics – heretics of the worst sort.  When Tilley and his forces arrived, he gave the order, “Kill them all!  Let God sort them out.”

Every man, woman and child; every dog, cat, pig and chicken was slaughtered. The town was burned and pulled down, razed to the ground till no stone stood upon another.  Thousands of innocents were slaughtered, just to ensure the elimination of a few who held contrary opinions.

Too often I’ve heard the Coke is better than Pepsi claim, or listened to gearheads argue whether Ford or Chevy is better.  When I researched for my P Is For Pizza post I was amazed at the vehemence of opinions.  Theirs was right, and everybody else was wrong.  Thick crust!  No, thin crust!  New York style!  New York sucks, Chicago style rules!

This might be understandable, if all people, and all colas, were the same, and some folks were willfully disagreeing, just to be disagreeable. To some people’s taste buds (mine included), Pepsi is refreshing, and Coke is too sweet.  It makes no sense to hold forth on whether Doc Martins are better shoes than UGGS, to a person in a wheelchair.

Other than my (often) aforementioned ‘Ego And Insecurity’, I don’t understand the driving need of so many people to foist their opinions upon others. ‘Live and Let Live’, or the Biblical, ‘Do Unto Others as You Would Have Done Unto You’ doesn’t seem to enter into the equation.

I know that none of my gentle readers would force their beliefs on others, but I’ll bet that you have seen, and been peeved by, all too many who have.  Anybody want to cite specific examples??

Triviana Fore

 

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation
I’m retired!!  It’s ALLLL vacation.

I received my WordPress email outlining my year.  I ignored it.  Last year I displayed my stats.  This year…Pfft!  I’m not disappointed; it’s just that guys like BrainRants and The Byronic Man get year-end notices that include the statement, “The population of the Earth is seven Billion.  Every one of them visited your site last year – twice!”  I think mine mentioned a Mini car….or was it an electric scooter?

SDC10603

 

 

 

I found some money (what a surprise), and got panhandled for a bit of it – twice in one day.  If Ace is the place for Americans, Canadian Tire is the place for Canucks.  I went there with the wife to buy the grandson presents – tools he’ll need for his welding apprenticeship.

While she was dithering deciding, I ambled up the aisle.  I’m planning a post about written stuff I find on the floor/ground.  Halfway between me and an oncoming woman, there was something on the floor.  Probably just someone’s shopping list – but I hurried a bit, to get there first.  I picked up $15 – a ten and a five.

I went into a non-usual grocery store, and checked out the coin-counter machine, as I always do, and got 45¢ for my Scottish trouble, a quarter and two dimes.  The next day I went to my usual store, and was barely inside the door when some young colored female asked me for a dollar.  She was well dressed in figure-displaying clothing, but had a Muslim modesty scarf over her head.  Oh, that sexy hair.  That’s what guys go crazy for.

She and her friend had come in to purchase a single-use aluminum roast pan.  Probably going to cook up a camel haunch.  They had brought their little change purses, but had both left the big ones with the real money locked in the car.  The roast pan cost more than they’d thought it would.  They didn’t want to have to go all the way back to the car in a snow storm, and would I just give them a dollar.  Uh, NO!

The nerve!!  The absolute gall!!  I was about to tell her what she could do for a dollar, when I realized she already had.  This tale alone was worth more than the dollar.  As I left this store, I checked out their coin counting machine – and picked up another 45¢, this time a nickel and four dimes – including a 1952 silver, King George one to add to my collection.

silver dime

 

 

 

I went a quarter-mile down the road to another supermarket which carries a house brand not available elsewhere.  As I exited, I was accosted by a mid-20s male, slightly scruffy, but warmly dressed.  He politely asked if I could spare any change toward ‘bus fare.’  Yeah, right – but his girlfriend?, seeing that he had a big one hooked, came rushing over – on her power wheelchair.  Oh damn.

I kept the silver dime, but bought some Karma by giving them all the change in my pocket – not a lot, more than a dollar, perhaps less than two.

The wife and I shopped for groceries together one day.  The couple checking out – the guy ahead of us – and we were third in line.  As the first pair bagged up and left, the guy in front of me stepped forward, and onto, and then off, what appeared to be a coin.

I moved forward into the area he’d vacated, and bent forward slightly to see if it was a quarter I might later pick up.  Suddenly he was all in my face!

“What the FUCK are you lookin’ at??!  Just keep your goddamned nose out of my business!  I don’t want you snooping at my shit!  Just stand the FUCK back, asshole, and mind your own fucking business.”

Dear Lord!  Take a chill pill Bill.  Increase the medication dosage, and attend those court-ordered anger management courses.  Nosy??  Snooping??  Your business? – in a grocery store??  All for looking at a dirty spot on the floor?  Does your wife have you picking up panty liners, or are those yours Nasty Nancy?

Even my wife, who is usually judgemental and unsympathetic of my ‘shenanigans’, was amazed at this over-the-top paranoia performance.

General Motors recently sent me a letter, telling me that, if I attach a bowling ball to the keychain for my Chevy Impala, it may cause the jet engines to fail in midflight, and kill more than the AirAsia crashes.  Nice going idiots!  This 54¢ part recall has been going on for years.  I’ve owned this car for almost 11 years, and you finally got around to telling me that my vehicle is one affected.  I feel so cared for.  🙄

I had an awkward moment recently, when I wasn’t sure if I actually had some free time, or if I was just forgetting something again.

 

Something For Nothing

Damn, am I ever a cheap-ass old skinflint.  The lessons of childhood were well learned and, now in old age, not easily forgotten or ignored.

I was born just as the rationing of the Second World War was ending, to parents who had lived through the Great Depression of the ‘30s, with a mother who was Scottish.  You know how copper wire was invented??  Two Scotsmen, fighting over a penny!

Most of the men in my hometown worked at one of the four factories.  Most of the women stayed home to care for the kids.  My mother became an exception, but, most families had just about the same income.  Sure, there were merchants, and real estate and insurance brokers.  The preachers at six Protestant churches did better than most of their flock.

We weren’t dirt-poor, as many other families in town were, because my mother practiced some basic birth control.  We only had two kids in our family.  On one of the paper routes I had, there were two families, living side-by-side in two shack-y houses, much smaller than ours.  One house had seven kids and five dogs.  The one next door had seven dogs and five kids.  There’s not a lot of disposable income left after feeding and clothing a mob like that.

I’ve written that I keep my eye open in places where people might drop money.  The hundred-dollar bill I picked up at a Meijer store was an exception, but I find bits of money all the time.  I had to take a bus the other day, to pick up the car from a repair garage.  The bill for the car was almost $350, but I was thrilled to pick up 20 cents off the floor of the bus.  A bill like that only happens every six months or a year, but I find money all the time.  By the next time the car needs to go in, I will have found a good chunk of what the next bill will be.

I am not exactly embarrassed, but still somewhat surreptitious about checking payphone coin returns.  It’s really interesting how many times people try to place a call, get no answer, and rush away without retrieving their quarter.  About coins lying in coin-return slots of pop machines, or snack vending machines – I can’t be the only one who notices them, but I’m often the first to notice them.

I don’t walk or bike-ride as much as I used to, but still pick up any beer bottles or cans that I see.  Not only do I clean the neighborhood, but I make a dime apiece refund on them.  Liquor and wine bottles are also worth 10 cents each, but, with the usual bureaucratic genius, you buy them at the Liquor Control Board store, but have to take them back to the Beer Store for refund.

The daughter watches when she’s out on her power wheel chair, as does the grandson.  I recently cleaned off the shelf I use in the basement to store them.  More than a year’s accumulation yielded $8.00.  I’ll add it into the fund to buy more American cash from the bank, towards our next trip south.

The supermarket a mile to my north has been selling the Toronto Sun newspaper as a loss-leader for 4 or 5 years.  $1.50 paper for 50 cents Monday to Thursday and $1 on Friday.  Recently that went to a buck, every day.  If we’re out for a doctor’s appointment or other shopping, it’s well worth stopping in.  If we’re not, does it cost 50 cents in gas to save on the paper?

The head-office of the store three blocks to the south used to give cash rebates to charities who collected cash-register receipts.  About a year ago, with great fanfare, they stopped, cutting off Boy Scouts, the Library, and seniors square-dance groups, but quietly continued for selected groups, including the Humane Society.

About once a week, I put a harness on the dog, and walk him over to pick up a paper.  I tie him to the outer of two garbage containers on one side of the entrance, and check inside it.  People often exit the store, and immediately throw away their receipt.  Then I check the one right beside the door, and enter the store.  I check under, and in the return chute of the coin-counting machine in the entryway.  Coins often drop and roll just under.  One day I got 40 pennies that were fed in too fast.

I buy my paper at the newspaper/cigarette/lottery kiosk at the front.  Cash register amounts can be significant, but these customers are often in a hurry.  I check for receipts in the waste-paper basket where dead lotto tickets are thrown.  On my way out, I often go through the opposite doors, and check the big garbage pail over there.  On my walk today, I brought home $245 worth of receipts….and another beer bottle.

Then the daughter phoned.  They have a Blu-Ray player on sale.  Would I go over and pick up the last one in stock?  By the time I got home, I had picked up another $250 worth of receipts.  The rebate is 1/5th of 1%, so that’s one can of food for an abandoned cat.  I have a wad of several thousand dollars worth, which we’ll turn in at the pet-food store, the next time we go in.

We have five rain-barrels from which we water shrubs and flowers, when we have a hot, dry spell in the summer.  The cost of 250 gallons of water from the hose is probably pennies, even if Canada doesn’t officially have pennies anymore, but there’s more nutrients, and less harmful chlorine in rainwater – usually.  A local woman also waters her plants from rain barrels, but had all her pretty flowers die.  Turns out, her busy-body neighbor was worried about mosquitoes breeding, so she poured in chlorine bleach.  Toting the water around gives me something to fill my time, and some exercise to keep me (relatively) strong and limber.