The (S) Age Observation

Each morning I begin my day like most. I twist, gyrate, dance and shout for an extended period of time. An exercise program you ask? Hardly, I’m just trying to get lids off the things I want to eat. Since when are pickle jars personally sealed by the Jolly Green Giant? Are manufacturers welding their lids into place now?

There is nothing more demoralizing than realizing you can’t even open a glue bottle anymore without grimacing and turning purple. And what about the size of fonts and prints? I recently was shown through a microscope where an artisan etched the 23rd Psalm on a grain of rice. I think he’s now quit his day job and is printing labels for vitamin bottles. The only word legible on my bottle, is the word vitamin. Who knows, I could have just been taking a Skittle for the past five years and never knew it.

Same goes for the menus in restaurants. I look like a gemologist when I forget my glasses. I study the thing like a fine diamond when I order from one. My head is down, it’s three inches from my eyes, and I get excited when I find a tantalizing part. I believe the reason buffet tables on cruise ships are so popular is because everything displayed is big. Ice sculptures, platters, cakes. You can actually see what you’re eating. Minus my coke bottle reading glasses, my food is so blurry it looks like I’m eating Vaseline.

I must also be at a loss in the hearing department. I dare you to find a radio station today where you can understand a single word of a song; any song. I’ve resigned myself to talk radio exclusively now. When I think of my frailties, I can’t help but think of the ensuing story.

A man asked his 50 year old wife what she’d like for her birthday. “I’d really love to be ten again” she replied wistfully. So on the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Frosted Flakes and then took her off to their local theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park: the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Monster Roller Coaster, everything there was.

Five hours later she staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.Right away, they journeyed to a McDonald’s where her loving husband ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a refreshing chocolate shake. Then it was off to the cinema to see the latest blockbuster, complete with a hot-dog, popcorn, a big fizzy drink, and a huge bag of M&M’s, her favorite sweets.

What a time she had! Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his precious wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, “Well, Darling, what was it like being ten again?” Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed.“You idiot”, she replied. “I meant my dress size…”

When it comes to me getting old, there’s some things even hearing aids and glasses can’t fix.

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I paid a recent visit to our youngest son’s apartment. Holding a place of prominence on his wall has to the be the most garish piece of art I’ve ever seen. It resembles zoo scrapings fired from a cannon onto canvas. He loves it! Me on the other hand, I don’t think I could even enjoy it even if I were staring at it under the influence of laughing gas. The world has a euphemism for things like this, “To each his own.” While I’m sure he was giddy with his “masterpiece” find from the garage sale, I rather would have spent my five cents on the bent cool whip lids on the clearance table. I know I could always find a use for those.

This week as my wife and I strolled the shopping mall for the first time since last Christmas, I couldn’t get over the choice of music in every store. If it wasn’t hip hop music with it’s annoying lyrics, then it was hip hop music with its annoying rhythms. That was the complete choice of music. I bet if I had a kiosk in the center courtyard, I could have made a killing selling foam ear plugs to anyone over 40 for a dollar.

Do you sometimes feel as if the world is out of step with you? I do. There doesn’t appear to be true balance anywhere. It extends from everything from entertainment to fashion. Sure you might have color choices when you shop for clothes, but why do most dresses look like you’re a mummy from an archeological dig? While wrap dresses may look good on a size 1 teenager, what if you’re a size 16+? Then it resembles a parachute with a less prominent rip cord?

The fashion world stands guilty of one of the greatest false advertising campaigns. They say every woman must be built the same and all must wear pads in everything. God forbid we see a women as God actually created them. Culture wants all women to resemble Jessica Rabbit the cartoon character. The typical chest size is no longer acceptable. We are led to believe you only look good if you look like you’re shoplifting watermelons from Kroger’s under your sweater. Built too short? Wear heels so high you have to put your wrist watch on Mountain Time. Are you a little chunky? Cinch yourself up in elastic so tight you look like a busted can of biscuits. A little silver in the hair, curl up and dye. I say bring on the geriatric life, less peer pressure when you’re 100 years old.

Recently comedienne Joan Rivers known for her ribald off-color humor passed away. She was eulogized for being funny, witty, and innovative. Several cartoons even proclaimed she was now in Heaven entertaining God with her humor. I may be old fashioned, but I think God wants us to be the way He created us, naturally beautiful without all the padding and dyeing. Oh, and I may be going out on a limb here, but no offense to Ms. Rivers and the media. I think it’s safe to say God doesn’t fancy dirty jokes either.

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Parenting by Playstation

Here is a repost from my former New Mexico Newspaper column, The Lighter Side.

When was the last time you saw a child actually get disciplined? Today, it appears that parents have switched the book of ‘effective parenting’ for a sports manual. I honestly believe that if I hear one more Mom or Dad yell at an unruly hellion with the words, “Okay, this is it, it’s time for a timeout,” I think I’ll lose my lunch. Who came up with the idea that sitting on a chair for ten minutes effectively takes care of a problem? (Excluding the electric chair, of course)

It used to be that having a well-mannered child meant you could take one out to a fancy restaurant and he/she would keep their hands clasp in their lap and would even know the proper utensil to use first. Now, a well-mannered child is defined by grunting a thank you and if their hair doesn’t look like an explosion in a cotton candy factory.

I believe the basics of parenting begins with parental time. A study conducted a few years ago found that Father’s spend ten minutes a day with their children. This is five minutes less than it takes to walk to the refrigerator and back during a half time football break.

So, if parenting is a chore and you don’t have time, than we need to make it user friendly. I suggest the makers of Playstation and Gameboy make a parenting game that the whole family can play together. An example of a game would go like this…

Child: “Mom, I’m entering the realm of Dirty Dish Mountain on my way to battle the Evil Dust Bunnies on the Planet Sofa.”

Mom:”Remember Dear, if you net three dirty pots, a bent spatula, and a twisted plunger, you’ll have to wash the dishes tonight.”

Child: “Oh, Mom the Evil Emperor GarbageMan set me up.”

Mom: “You know the rules.”

Child: “Yes, Mom!”

Now the discipline part. No games until the chores are done. And if you insist on still doing it, then definitely no games during timeouts!

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What to Do with the Veja-Terrorists?

I am at a juxtaposition in my life. I either have to lose weight or buy clothes that look better infused with helium. If I lose weight, it will have to be on my terms. The world is now dominated with people with extra curves. Don’t believe me? Make a day trip to Wal-Mart. If the ratio is less than 4-to-1 chunky people to skinny ones, I’ll buy you a Snicker’s bar. On second thought, I’ll buy you a stalk of celery. If one is to lose any weight at all, becoming astutely aware of a vegetable that belongs in the plywood family is key. My wife says the Bible states “Our bodies are a temple of God”, however she says I tore mine down and put up a Pizza Hut. She has a point. When I sit down to a large pan pizza with extra cheese, I swear I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus in my ear.

You’d think since most people have a little extra weight they might be a little more understanding of those that do too; but they don’t. Too many people tend to look through rose colored mirrors. While they can see your flaws, they are oblivious to their own. I remember meeting an older couple for the first time at church in Kentucky. As a church member introduced me to both of them, the husband looked at me and the first words out of his mouth were, “Wow, does anybody get anything to eat at your house or do you eat it all?” Then as he laughed at his seemingly funny comment, gritting my teeth I turned to introduce them to my petite wife. When they both saw her, the wife jumped in with her own zinger by chuckling, “I guess they must be starving, look at her little size.” It was then that I envisioned Jesus’ example of bringing a whip into church and driving out the morons.” My wife tells me the true Biblical narrative is different than mine, but it still brings a smile to my face nonetheless when I think of my own interpretation.

In my life I have met individuals that were vega-terrorists. They scare you into living the good life. If you don’t do exactly what they do, then you are encouraged to purchase an asbestos suit; your future looks extremely hot. I do believe the vegan lifestyle is the best; who doesn’t? But I still adhere to my own belief system. If God meant for us to drink soymilk, he would have placed an udder on a bean. People need to understand that a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle does not make you holier, it makes you healthier. I’ll laugh heartily if one of the fruits on the Tree of Life when we get to heaven tastes exactly like caramel turtle cheesecake.

The Good Book says we all have crosses to bear. However if your unkind words and sarcasm add to my burden of carrying my cross, remember this. If I am being attached to my cross by your carrot or stalk of asparagus, technically I’m still being nailed.

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