Eskimos and Carbohydrates

So, I was at the gym, pumping iron and, as always, staring admirably at my bulging biceps in the panoramic array of mirrors.

There were two other people in the gym.  One was an elderly gentlemen, probably somewhere in his late fifties.  He had on a tank top now colored dark blue from sweat, tattered shorts, and a pair of tennis shoes that look like they were bought new twenty years ago at Chubby & Tubby’s (yeah, I know, I’m sure that Chubby & Tubby’s, which is a joke that about ten people will get, has been gone for more than 20 years).  His hair is the shiny black of an obvious die job.  He’s actually not in bad shape for an old dude.  He’s got a gut, but he has a powerful chest and the big arms slowly going to seed of a retired construction worker.

The other person is a woman.  She’s a beautiful Hispanic woman somewhere in her mid-twenties.  She’s got long black hair, flashing dark eyes, and the beautiful skin tone of a sun worshiper.  She’s wearing spandex pants that stops mid calf and a tight red top that reads Too Hot to Handle across the chest (not that I was staring; just being observant!).

The woman and I are working two machines next to each other.  I’m doing the Chest Pull-Over machine and she’s doing the Pull-Up machine.  Even though we’re less then two feet apart and we’re essentially the only ones in the gym, we observe common gym etiquette and do our sets as if the other person doesn’t exist.

She completes one set, gets off the machine and takes a thirty second break before she commences her second set.  During this interval, the elderly gentlemen walks up to her (and clearly, the two have never met each before) and says, ‘Can I ask you a question?’.

There’s a pause.  I can almost here the gears in her brain crank away as she processes this request.  Is he going to ask me for a cup of coffee?  Is he going to ask me do I come here often?  Is he going to ask me to go for a ride in his muscle car (undoubtedly a late model Corvette)?  After the pause, she says, ‘Uh, sure, I guess’.

He asks her, ‘How can Eskimos stay healthy when they have no carbohydrates in their diet?’  I kid you not, that is the exact question that he asks.  I’m in mid set on my machine, but I have to stop just to hear the answer.

There is another pause.  Clearly, this was not on the top ten list of questions that she thought that he was going to ask.  Maybe not even on the top million.  However, she does feel obligated to answer.  She says, ‘I don’t know, maybe because of all of the protein and fat in their diet?’.

The guy nods his head and walks away without saying another word.

What just happened?  Is this some kind of geezer pick-up line that I was too obtuse to pick up on?  Was she supposed to say, I have no idea, let’s discuss it over dinner?  Or, is he genuinely concerned about the plight of the Eskimo and thought that this woman would have the key to this burning issue? Although, you have to admit, it is a good question.

There aren’t too many potatoes in the Arctic Circle.

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How Cletus Saved Civilization

The year is 334 BC.

Alexander had become King of Macedon just two years previous (so he wasn’t quite ‘The Great’ yet) after his father Philip had been assassinated.  He’s 22 years old.

He’s just crossed over into Asia to begin his reign of conquest. It’s the battle of Granicus. Alexander’s Macedonians are facing off against Persians.

Alexander, being 22 and wanting to prove himself, decides to go off immediately into battle.  The Macedonians charge.  The Persians retreat, seemingly in disorder.

Seeing the battle turn, Alexander impetuously charges into the fray, leaving his guards behind.  The Persian retreat was a ruse. They turn, counterattack and have Alexander surrounded.

Alexander is dealt a stunning blow to his head.  As he lays on the ground, dazed and helpless, a Persian named Spithridates charges up to him and and raises his battleaxe to deal Alexander the death blow.

At the last moment, one of Alexander’s guards comes out of nowhere and chops off Spithridates arm.  Alexander recovers his senses and is led to safety.

The Macedonians end up routing the Persians, leading the way for Alexander’s further conquests.

What if the guard was just a few seconds late?  What if Alexander dies at the age of 22?

He doesn’t conquer Egypt.  He doesn’t conquer Persia.  He doesn’t invade India. The political and philosophical ideas of Greece are not exported.  They die a quiet death in Greece.  Plato and Socrates remain unknown.  The experiment of democracy is never again repeated.

Perhaps Persia and not Rome ultimately ends up being the empire the bestrides the earth. The world could easily have been fundamentally different. Who was this fast acting guardsman?  His name was…Cletus (OK, Cleitus, but close enough).

So, next time you see the Simpson’s redneck, Cletus Spuckler, or think of the stereotypical Cletus the slack-jawed yokel, remember that in that name is the distant rumblings of the man that saved civilization.

Oh yeah…How did Cletus get thanked for his service?  Years later, in a drunken brawl, Alexander runs him through with a spear and kills him.

Such is the way of the Cletus.

Pornography and the Supreme Court

Some years ago, I read the Brethren, by Bob Woodward. It was an inside look at the Supreme Court for a certain number of years between the late 60’s to the early 70’s.  It was published sometime in the 70’s.  At the time it was controversial because the Supreme Court was very secretive.  It was considered quite a journalist coup for Woodward to have gotten such inside access.

One of the fascinating things discussed was pornography.  At the time, the Supremes were grappling with what to do with pornographic movies.  Local communities were trying to outlaw pornography while the pornographers were claiming free speech.  At one point, the judicial standard was that it had to have some positive effect.  Pornographers promptly started doing things like prefacing hard-core sex movies with Shakespearean actors reciting Hamlet’s soliloquy and things like that.

It got to the point where the Supremes became arbiters of what was pornographic and not.  They’d have regular screenings (I believe in the basement of the courthouse) where they’d view movies and decide whether or not they fit the legal definition of pornography.

Some justices, like William Brennan, were free speech advocates, so they wouldn’t bother to attend because they knew that they would uphold the movie as free speech.  Other justices, like Byron ‘Whizzer’ White, had strict criteria for what was pornography or not (for instance, Whizzer considered an erect penis to be pornographic while a limp penis not).  Therefore, such justices had to show up to the viewing with their checklist to determine what was pornographic.

And then there was Thurgood Marshall.  He was a giant of the Civil Rights era.  I believe that he was the first African-American to argue before the Supreme Court.  He was a leader throughout the battle.  He was the first African-American Supreme Court justice.  There are schools named for him throughout the country (there is a Thurgood Marshall elementary school in Seattle).

He was definitely a liberal free speech advocate, so he always was going to uphold the movies to be free speech.  Yet, there he was at every viewing, usually with popcorn and making ribald comments the whole time.  He was basically just there for the porn.

He was a justice for a long time.  In his later years, he declined in health, but still served as a justice.  If I recollect correctly, he was diabetic or something like that and ended up having a leg amputated.  He either died as a justice or retired just prior to his death.  Regardless, when his seat became vacant, the African-American community rose and demanded that another African-American be appointed to replace him.  They called it the ‘Black’ seat.  There was some precedent for this.  For a while there was what was called the ‘Jewish’ seat on the Supreme Court, populated by people like Felix Frankfurter.

The president at the time was George H.W. Bush.  I personally thought that H.W. was a pretty competent president, but no one has ever claimed that he was a friend of the liberal cause.  He said, hey, you want an African-American justice?  Well, here you go, Clarence Thomas….Bam!

Clarence Thomas, even in those days was known to be against affirmative action and other causes that the African-American community at large still passionately believed in.  They were kind of stuck.  What were they going to say?  Thomas was the wrong kind of black?  Perhaps a lesson was learned regarding the importance of belief over skin color.

During Thomas’ confirmation hearings, he was almost derailed by the testimony of Anita Hill, who among other things claimed that Thomas…wait for it…here it comes…spent a highly inappropriate amount of time and in very specific detail discussing…pornography.

And the circle of life continues…

For those fools out there who don’t believe in God, here is proof that there is order in the universe.

A Christmas Surprise

My parents are both from the Mid-West.  They met each other in a little town called Independence, Kansas.  Note that this is not Independence, Missouri, which at least is famous as the home town of Harry Truman.  No, Independence, Kansas, is a little town of about 10,000 in the wasteland known as Eastern Kansas which probably hasn’t voted Democratic since Andrew Jackson.  Yes, I know, Kansas was not a state during the Jackson presidency. It’s a joke, people.

My dad got a job at Boeing in Wichita, which ultimately led to him getting a transfer to Seattle. Periodically, relatives would fly up to visit us.

I remember one year, probably back in the early 1970’s, when my dad’s father came to visit.  I think that my dad’s mom had recently passed away, so my dad didn’t want his dad to be alone, hence my grandfather came to spend one Christmas with us.

As with most children, Christmas was a big thing for myself and my 5 year older brother. We both made lists and then would eagerly await Christmas morning to see what we would get.

This particular Christmas, I was probably around 10 years old, which made my brother about 15 years old.  He had previously made up a list and gave it to my parents. My parents, not being very culturally hip, must not have taken a very close look at what he was asking for.

So, Christmas morning, my brother and I tear through our gifts in front of my mother, father, and grandfather.   OK, we didn’t actually tear through the gifts.  My family had a very specific way of doing things.  One person was always identified as the Santa.  This person would carefully pick out one gift for each family member and then hand it out.  We would then, one at a time, carefully open the gift, express some look of joy and amazement, spend a moment or two examining the gift, turn and thank the person who gave the gift, and then carefully put the gift aside so that the next person in sequence would open his/her gift.  At the end of the round, ‘Santa’ would then get the next set of gifts out.

The Santa role usually was the youngest person capable of handling this responsibility. Since I was 10 years old at that time, although I don’t specifically remember doing it, I’m guessing that I was the Santa.

After all gifts are opened, then we have Christmas dinner.  Almost invariably this would be ham, cranberry sauce (straight out of a can with the can ridges still visible in the outline of the cylindrical shaped sauce), red hot salad, and rolls.  This was the classic Mid-Western holiday meal (plus this formed part of the very small subset of food that an admittedly very picky yours truly would eat).

This year, all proceeded normally.  After the dinner, the family headed back into the living room.  Not knowing what else to do, my dad suggested playing some of the records (and yes, they were LP records) that my brother got.  He was into music at that time so got several new records.

My brother said sure and he offered up one of his new gifts.  The record that he chose was George Carlin’s Class Clown.

I remember that my family had one of those huge record consoles.  There was a reel-to-reel tape, a record player, and two speakers, all jammed together into one monstrous piece of furniture.  It must have been at least five feet long and probably weighed something slightly less than a ton.

We all gathered around it.  My brother placed the record on it and started playing it.  It all started innocently enough with standard Carlin acts like the ‘Hippy-Dippy Weatherman’ and things like that.  The last cut on the album was labeled Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.

Keep in mind that this was probably around 1973.  My parents and grandfather were very conservative, very religious.  Did I mention that this was 1973?

So, imagine, 1973, Christmas Day, my grandfather made a special trip to come see us, a Christmas dinner in us, several biblical verses had been read aloud, the family gathered around the console, probably looking like something out of a Depression era Normal Rockwell painting.  And then…

  • Shit
  • Piss
  • Fuck
  • Cunt
  • Cocksucker
  • Motherfucker
  • Tits

Let’s just say that pandemonium commenced in the household.  There was talk of destroying the record on the spot.  My grandfather suggested taping over that part of the album.  I remember my father saying that he’d seen the warning on the album cover, but he’d never thought that such words would actually ever actually appear on a publicly available product.

The whole time, my brother was sitting there, wide-eyed in wonder, proclaiming innocence.

That day I learned that acts of social disobedience can take many, many forms…

Lost in the Hall of Mirrors

I saw today a reference to James Jesus Angleton, and that got my head spinning.  I wrote a little bit about him a while ago, but here’s some more…

Angleton was a spy’s spy.  In WWII, he served in the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. Following WWII, he was one of the founding officers of the CIA.  He was involved in the political turmoil in Italy, working to keep the country from going communist.  He was involved in many other CIA projects.

Oh yeah, by the way, he was a chess-master.  He was generally considered to be a genius.

Eventually he became Chief of counterintelligence for the CIA.  His role was to make sure that the CIA was free of moles.  During this time it was discovered that the British intelligence agency, the MI6, had several moles.  The list included Kim Philby, Donald MacClean, Guy Burgess, and Anthony Blunt.  Philby’s double-cross struck Angleton particularly hard because he was good friends with him. Angleton was a deep Anglo-phile.

Therefore, he thought that if the MI6 was infiltrated with agents, it only stood to reason that the CIA must be as well.  In his position as head of counterintelligence, he became obsessed with ferreting out the moles that he knew to be in the CIA. He vigorously searched.  He’d identify a suspect and would take apart his life trying to find evidence against him.  Just knowing that a person was under suspicion for being a mole was enough to derail the person’s career.  He pursued this vendetta for over 10 years.  By the end, he’d basically hollowed out a generation of potential CIA future leaders.

Finally, someone began to think…if there was a mole in the CIA, what better job could he have done in destroying the CIA than by doing exactly what Angleton was doing?

Angleton himself came under suspicion of being the mole, and in 1975, he was forced to resign.  Eventually he lapsed into alcoholism and died in obscurity.

Interestingly enough, there are people today that believe that Philby was actually a triple agent…pretending to be a spy for England, and then pretending to be a Soviet agent spying on England, but actually being a spy for the West.  The story is that Angleton was actually the person running him as a triple agent.

Hence my spinning head… This is the ultimate problem with spies.  Spies by nature lie. Double agents are only useful when they lie.  By definition they must be lying to someone.

How can anyone know? Everyone says that the US relies too much nowadays on electronic spying and not enough on human intelligence.  That might be true.  However, to be honest, the United States has at best a checkered history with human intelligence (if in doubt, read Legacy of Ashes by Weiner or Second Oldest Profession by Knightly).  Maybe it’s because of our puritanical/moral/straight-shooting heritage, but American’s don’t seem to do well in situations of complex deceit and questionable morality.

If everyone’s lying, how can you tell what’s the truth?  If you can’t recognize the truth, what value is there in knowing the lies?

James and Gaddis – Equally Unreadable for Completely Opposite Reasons

I’m in the midst of reading Henry James, The Wings of the Dove.  I’ve read Daisy Miller, The Ambassadors, The Golden Bowl (twice!), The Portrait of a Lady (twice!), and the Turn of the Screw.

I must be a glutton for punishment.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that he’s a great writer.  It’s why I read him.  I admire the prose.  I admire the psychological depths that he plumbs with each of his characters.  I admire how well he describes the friction and the interplay between late 19th century tradition-poor nouveau-riche Americans and the tradition-rich stone-broke Europeans. He nails the pre World War One relationship between England and America perfectly.

But seriously…I’m begging here…Just a wee bit more dialog please?? All of his characters are so high born, intelligent and sensitive.  They know what each other says and they know what each other thinks, all without saying a word.  One glance between two of James’ characters and we’re onto ten more pages of introspective navel gazing.

Can’t one person in one of his books actually just express a simple thought with no subtext?

Apparently not.

In fact, some of his characters are almost post-verbal.  They’re so refined that they’re almost sterile in action.  They are so sensitive to action and words that they are almost beyond action and words.

Take The Golden Bowl.  It’s like 800 pages.  There are four characters.  Two marriages. Two past lovers (not married, you do the math).  One Golden Bowl that almost gets bought, later does get bought, and finally shatters.  One couple ends up going to America. The other stays in Europe.

The end.  No one dies.  Everyone (on the surface) gets along famously.  800 pages.  I love how even the plot summary on its Wiki page is like maybe ten lines long.  800 pages.

And then, on the opposite end of the scale lies William Gaddis.  Specifically, the novel J R. The plot revolves around an 11 year old boy (that would be J R), who manages through a complex web of machinations to build a fraudulent phantom financial empire.

J R is a novel that is told almost completely in dialog.  There is no omniscient narrator.  There is no “the couple enters the bedroom”.  There is no “he said” or “she shouted” or “she whimpered tearfully”.

There is just dialog.  Conversation on a page.  You literally have no clue who’s talking. You have no idea where the conversation is taking place.

Basically, you’re almost constantly desperately searching for context.  From the conversation, you’re trying to figure out who’s talking, who they’re talking to, and what the subject is.

This would be bad enough, but then on top of that Gaddis exactly mimics speech.  Even writers that write in dialect clean it up a little so that it makes sense on the page.

Not here.  Every um, uh, you know, is included.  Every run-on sentence is included.  Every cryptic sentence fragment is included.

In normal speech, our amazing brains have no trouble deciphering all of this linguistic chop suey (obscure Nora Joyce reference, good luck finding it!).  Reading it as words on the page is a completely different story.  He actually does an amazing job doing this.  He really does have an ear for language, or I don’t know, maybe a good tape recorder that he used to transcribe random conversations taking place on the street.

As a work of literature, it really is remarkable.  At 726 pages, it also requires an almost masochistic determination to finish.  I finished, but I think that I read a Harlequin romance after.

This too shall pass.  I will finish the Wings of the Dove.  I will (and actually currently do) admire it.  And when I’m finished, then I’m going to pick up Lee Child’s latest and read about Jack Reacher kicking some serious ass.

Life Without Car Seats

I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that I’ve finally reached the point in my life where I can tell old fogie stories.  On the one hand, it horrifies me for the obvious reasons.  On the other hand, sometimes I really find these stories fascinating, even if everyone else arounds me rolls their eyes in dismay and/or disgust.  I guess that that’s the essence of old fogie-dom.  I should accept it gracefully.

At least I have not reached the age where I mis-pronounce the word robot.  My friend Andy claims that that is the ultimate in old age, when you pronounce it as robut (very similar to the diabeetus condition).

Be that as it may, one of the things that amuses me today is the obsession with child safety.  Parents today treat their children (until approximately the age of 25) as if they’re delicate new born chicks that must be handled with extreme safety at all times.

Take child seats in automobiles.  I have no problem with child seats.  I think that they’re a good idea.  Nowadays, if a child is seen riding in a car without a car seat, people consider it a form of child abuse.

Growing up in the 60’s, I remember being in cars that didn’t even have seat belts, let alone a child seat.  My mom tells stories that when I was a toddler, she’d let me stand up between her legs with my hands on the wheel while she drove.

For many years, we had a van.  It was a 1969 Ford Econoline van.  Looking back, it was an insane vehicle.  The only two seats in it were the driver and the passenger seat.  Usually my brother and I would lounge out in the back, with nary a restraint device of any type to be found.  The closest thing to a seat back there was the rear tire wheel wells.

If my dad (and it was my dad that would drive, it had a three on the tree stick shift that my mom never really did master in anything other than somewhat spastic lurching motions) suddenly stopped, my brother and I would go generally rolling around in the back.  All great fun!

Between the two seats up front was where the engine was.  Literally, between the two seats, was basically the hood.  You could pop it and work on the engine from within the car.  The hood itself was metal and, as the van drove, became incredibly hot.

Naturally enough, as any normal parents from the 60’s would think, this incredibly hot piece of metal under which the motor was running became their youngest child’s seat.  That is… me.

My mom made a little rectangular foam mat that was maybe 1/2 inch thick and placed it on the hood.  I sat on it. Yeah, there was nothing even approaching a seat belt.  Since the mat was made of a slick surface and it was on top of slippery metal, every time my dad made a quick stop, I’d slide off the hot engine and would head straight towards the windshield.

If it was a really quick stop, my dad would throw out an arm to stop my progress, which now that I’ve taken a couple of Physics courses (F = MV), again in hindsight, does not strike me as the ultimate state of the art approach in safety.  Looking back, if we ever got in an accident, I would gone shooting out the window like skeet.

Many times I received burns when my legs inadvertently touched the hot metal of the hood on which I was sitting. This was the seat that my parents, in their infinite wisdom, deemed to be my seat.  And this was the seat that, whenever I got into the van, I eagerly, much like a monkey, clambered to and awaited the adventure upon which I was about to embark.

And yet, here I am.  I somehow managed to survive.  Just like I’m sure that kids of today would survive, even if the parents of today loosened the reigns just a mite.

Long live the old fogie!!

Band Trip – Embezzling from Myself

This one time, at band camp… OK, my story isn’t really about band camp, it’s about band trip.

At our high school, we went on a band trip every year.  We always went to Victoria, BC. I’m guessing from the hotel that it was a pretty cheap trip.

I played the trumpet.  I was the classic geek when it came to music.  I could totally play the instrument, but if I had to do something creative, like play a solo, I was hopeless. Give me music, I’ll play it; improvise something, um, yeah…not going to happen.

We always paid for the the trip the same way.  We had a band marathon.  We would play for 30 hours.  Obviously we wouldn’t all play at the same time.  In fact, we didn’t really play that much.

We’d do things like bring someone in to teach us disco (please remember, but also please do not comment upon the fact that we are talking the late 70’s to very early 80’s, and yes, at least one member of the group that I used to hang out with did dress, look, and act exactly like the John Travolta character from Saturday Night Fever). We were taught how to do various disco dances, and I particularly remember doing the Box Step (for a very illuminating snapshot of that historical period of time that as much as I’d like to forget, I can’t, ingrained as it is into my memory not unlike a Circle-O brand on a hapless cow down in deepest Texas, please consult this.

So, yes, I have very vivid memories of a whole line of mainly geeky band guys struggling to become hip so that we too can become part of the disco scene. I remember the box step because it literally was the only one that I could figure out.  The Hustle proved to be completely out of my league, technique wise.  Attempting to execute it, I think I might have ended up with a sprained ankle and a twisted neck.

For many years afterward, on the rare occasions on which I somehow found myself on a dance floor (in my periodically somewhat clumsy and nearly always futile attempts to close the female 18-inch gap), I would always fall back on the box step as the savior to keep me from hurting myself and others.

So, we weren’t exactly playing our instruments for the actual 30 hour marathon.  In fact, for the cooler members of band (and yes, believe it or not, there were people in the band that were comparatively cool), would go off into one of the darkened rooms adjacent to the gymnasium where we were supposed to go to sleep but instead they’d go there and get drunk, get high, and let’s just say, bridge the 18-inch gap with willing females recklessly and repeatedly. It goes without saying that I never even ventured into said darkened rooms but instead tried to grab a little nap on the hard, cold, lonely, gym bleachers.

The whole point of the marathon was to raise funds.  This was done by pledging.  You were supposed to solicit people and they would sponsor you for each hour of the marathon.

Now, remember, I’m not exactly the most outgoing guy now, but back then I was positively sociophobic (and yes, that’s a real phobia; the fear of society or people in general.  I just found a really cool web site that literally lists every phobia under the sun (Man, if this list doesn’t mess you up, nothing will.  Reading through it, I could feel new phobias taking seed and beginning to flower in my mind like dandelions in the middle of May.  There is Bromidrosiphobia, the fear of body smells.  Oh my god, there is Caligynephobia, the fear of beautiful women (did I have that or what at one point?). Perhaps Boeing managers have Neophobia, the fear of anything new?  Or maybe Sophophobia, the fear of learning anything new?  And, of course, my favorite phobia would be Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, the fear of long words (what absolutely insanely evil psychiatrist came up with that?  Um, yes, this is your phobia…Oh My God!  No!  That can’t be my phobia!!  I’m afraid of the actual phobia that describes my fear!!!).

So, given that, the probability of me actually talking up my friends, or heaven forbid, going door-to-door to collect pledges was microscopically, vanishingly small.

So, I was in a pickle.

There was a tremendous amount of pressure for us to come up with pledges so that we could fund our band trip.  Every day, the teacher would look at our pledge card and would make some positive/negative public statement regarding it.

So, if you were a pathologically shy person who had to fill out a pledge card with a list of names and donations, what would you do?  Well, if you were me, you’d go to the phone book and choose random names and would list them.  You’d then put relatively modest pledges next to them (I think I’d get maybe something like $40 total for all pledges or something like that.  And then, depending upon whether you had a job at that time or not, you either paid for the money out of your savings or you somehow finagled your mother for the money.

So, yeah, I basically subsidized my own band trip.

You had to put a name and a phone number for each entry and during the pledge drive, I lived in constant, oppressive fear that someone in band authority would actually call someone on my list to validate the pledge.  Why they would was immaterial, as far as I was concerned I was committing a serious act of fraud, and if caught, would probably do some hard time breaking rock on a chain gang with a cell mate named Long Jim who was always on the hunt for fresh fish.

A Different Kind of Retirement Party

A number of years ago, I was married and was living out in the ‘burbs.

The closest thing we had to next door neighbors were two very nice women who were about my age.  They’d been together for over ten years and were a very nice couple. One was a lawyer while the other is was a veterinarian (actually, at the time, she was the vet for our dog).

The lawyer had a hysterectomy.  Things went really well for her.  She was supposed to be bed bound for like three weeks but she was moving about and planning to go back to work at the end of the second week.

One Saturday shortly after this, I went to get the mail.  In the mailbox, I noticed that a letter was placed in it from our neighbors.  What was strange was that it was just addressed to my then wife.  A couple of times a year or so, we would visit each other’s homes.  Both my wife and I were always invited.  Most of the time, however, it was a new kind of dog treat that the vet wanted our dog to try.  In that case, she usually addressed the letter to our dog.  The fact that our dog received more personal mail than me (and how I felt about that) is another topic for another day.

So, I went inside and told my wife that she had a letter from our neighbors.  She kind of gets a WTF look on her face, but then shrugs her shoulders and opened the envelope.

Out of the envelope slid a tampon tube.  Now, if anything, an even more WTF look crossed her face.  She opened the tube and unfurled a piece of paper that was rolled up like a scroll. She read the paper.

It was an invitation to the lawyer’s retirement party.  Now, we’re even more confused.  After all, the lawyer was about our age, and at that time we were nowhere near retirement, and it’s not as if she seemed to be doing all that much better than us to be able to retire so early.

My ex then re-read it.  It turned out that it was actually an invitation to the lawyer’s uterus retirement party?!  My ex was to write up some uterus retirement wish, place it back in the tampon tube, after which at some point during the party said tube would be tossed into a burn barrel.

Hmmmm….. Now, a couple of things came to my mind…

  • On the weird meter, where 1 is dressing your dog in a hot dog suit and 10 is having your boss tell you an extended anecdote about his son’s underwear (something that still causes me to lose sleep), where does this lie?
  • Is this some kind of centuries old secret cult ritual of the feminine that now that I know about it I must be summarily executed?
  • Truly, this is one party that I really didn’t mind not being invited to.
  • What kind of wine do you bring to a uterus retirement party?
  • Will there be a bon voyage banner of a uterus sailing off into the sunset?
  • Will they sing, ‘For she’s a jolly good fellow?’
  • Will there be clowns?