Aargh, Not Another Catalog!

Having the name John Baker seems like it should be rather simple for people to get it right. I despise standing in a crowded room (usually at a doctors office) and having a receptionist yell out, Don Baxter, Ron Becker, or even worse.

Advertisers are no better as they also seem to be notorious for working with skewed data. Some time ago I served an Appalachian hospital as a dietary director. The first few years all correspondence addressed to me stated, John A. Baker, Dietary. However like the characters in the movie ‘Multiplicity’, the more the information was shared, the worse my name got butchered. By the third year I was receiving mail addressed to John A Baker, Dictary. Just before I departed that job, I was actually getting mail addressed to Joan B. Dictary. Even now as an inside joke my wife calls me Joan.

Today it appears all marketing firms conduct business from the same play book. Don’t any of these firms research their target recipient? Anybody who knows me can bet that I am not a candidate who likes heights. In fact I hate them so much, I married a woman who is only five feet tall. If my mailbox gets a flyer for a hot air balloon ride, zip-line adventure, or bungee jumping event, you can be sure the brochure will find itself lining the first gerbil cage I can find.

I learned the hard way, don’t buy your wife a gift of hand lotion or perfume from a store that also sells woman’s intimates; the store will mess up your information then share their skewed data. The store must have sold my name to other catalog companies because within weeks, I was inundated and scratching my head. Some of these catalogs were as misguided as a Ham of the Month Club being sent to the Goldstein Family. The new catalogs reminded me of going into a computer store and being overwhelmed with all the gadgets, jargon, and accessories. I’m a simple man and I want to keep it that way.  If the catalog model on the product cover looks like Cat Woman and the Orkin Man had a child, I’d recommend staying away from it.

I’m not interested in political t-shirts unless they come bullet proof, I certainty don’t need a Tractor and Farm Supply catalog since I don’t own a ranch and my wife hasn’t doubled her weight since we got married. And last but not least I really don’t need AARP, a Whisper 2000 hearing aid or a “Granny Launcher” (the electric arm chair that pops up in your living room).

Wouldn’t you want to receive a catalog on how to purchase a gadget that remotely shuts off blaring car radios next to you at the stoplight? Or a catalog that sells lie detectors that you can point at someone and know if they are trying to pull one over on you? Now that’s the kind of stuff I’d like to buy. I did receive two items on the same day this week that did offer me hope. It seemed very logical. I received a Victoria Secret catalog with a flyer for Globe Life Insurance. Now this makes sense! At the age of 53 if I dared open the first one, I’d most likely need the latter.



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I Need Instructions on Roasting a Marshmallow?

I can handle many things but insulting my intelligence is not one of them. Maybe you’ve read labels of products you’ve purchased and the obvious dangers jump out at you. No I’ve never considered making my toaster a bath tub toy while it’s plugged in; I might end up looking like boxing promoter Don King. I’ve never thought it a good idea to use my lawnmower as a hedge clipper either. I wouldn’t want to pick my nose with my elbow since all the digits would be gone on my right hand. And definitely I would never want to iron my clothes while I was wearing them. Besides, I never looked good in hot pants. Yes, all of these are warning labels seen on these products.

Well imagine my incredulousness to the new 700 word instruction sheet by the federal government on how to properly roast a marshmallow. The article suggests a ten foot buffer between the child and the fire plus the added 30 inch minimum roasting stick to brown your cubed confectionary. If you’re wondering like me what pray-tell they’re wanting you to use, it think I know. Go to your church with the vaulted ceilings, find the telescopic pole they use to change light bulbs 20 feet in the air, and use it to cook your marshmallow.

Then if those instructions weren’t clear enough, the comprehensive bulletin suggests avoiding those “nasty calories” by substituting your roasted marshmallow with thin slices of fruit and angel food cake and roasting those instead. Isn’t a thin layer of fruit in a cake or crust called a pop tart?

I suggest if the government wants to burn money on things we can all agree on, why not post a 700 word bulletin on how hotels can set up breakfast areas properly. Why is it they always bunch everything into a corner and you’re bumping into everyone?

Or how about spending federal money on an advertising campaign that impacts a larger section of society? Full instructions on how to properly wear pants. Isn’t it ironic that using a belt can fix both sagging pants and the attitude of the person wearing them, yet it’s conspicuously absent? I think it’s time to dust off the old t-shirts that say, “Just say NO to crack!” and be happy knowing the message now applies to two distinct problems within society?

Oh and for the record regarding marshmallows, they said we should try turning over a new leaf. I’ll save you the trouble, marshmallows don’t taste any better wrapped in kale either.


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Back Seat Politics

Whoever said, “confession is good for the soul” was never a politician. When they’re caught in the wrong on anything, they spin faster than a top. I suggest we coin a new word ‘politicrit’. This is a combination of the word politician and hypocrite.

I can remember not long ago when our children were small. As we drove anywhere, I could hear in the back seat repeated over and over again these words, “Does this bother you? How about now? Now, how bout now? He’s sitting on my line, Stop looking at me!! Mom, he’s doing it again!!” I was soooo happy when the kids finally grew up and I could travel highways ands byways without ear plugs and migraines.

As obnoxious as it was then, it’s even more so now. No it’s not my children that is causing me the headaches, it’s the pundits and politicians with their annoying insults. Everyday when I listen to the news I literally feel like I’m cramped in a cheap minivan going on a trip with a group of petulant children named Reid, Pelosi, McConnell and Boehner. Does it matter who started the problem? Just fix it!!! We’re not all rocket scientists but imagine the logic here. If it’s leaking, seal it (border). If we’re over spending (the budget) curtail it. If you’re to blame, admit it.

A government spokesperson recently said, stopping flights to the three countries where Ebola originates would offend an ally. I ask what’s more important, your child’s life or offending someone 5000 miles away you don’t know? And stop distracting me from the ‘real’ news with stories on global warming. It’s 25 degrees this morning in Vermont, you think they’re convinced that a trip to the outhouse is warmer today thanks to a herd of cows belching methane or someone firing up a charcoal grill in Texas?

As we drive the road of life, these angry and obnoxious political children leaders must be told when it comes to their sworn duty, ‘There is no imaginary line in America, there is no name calling, there is no fighting over the best spot to posture and for goodness sakes, definitely no kicking our front seat!’ Because if they continue with this annoying and abhorrent behavior, it won’t be our seats that will get the kicking in the next election.

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The Birthday Dilemma

Today is a special day. It is my wife’s birthday. We’ve been married for so long that her special dinner expectations fall somewhere between Taco Bell and a cheap Chinese buffet. Okay so I don’t have a lot of imagination. She understands being married to me, dinner choices are a potluck; you take your chances on what you get. Our taste buds don’t dictate the eatery anymore, it’s the unexpired coupon in the car’s glove box. I mean, how can you surprise a woman who’s been married to you for 30 years? Buy her a dress she’ll say it makes her look too young, buy her a sweater, it’s the wrong color, buy her perfume, she’ll say she smells like a 60’s incense shop. Trust me, the best thing you can give your wife is not gifts and dining extravaganzas, it’s money.

I remember a man was telling his friends that he held his wife’s hand all the time wherever they went. When asked, “Do you love her that much?” He answered, “No, but if I let her hand go, she shops.”

One thing all married couples will attest to is the longer the relationship, the more practical you become. Choosing a place to eat for instance becomes conversational volleyball. You bat and lob the options back and forth until someone admits defeat or gets verbally slammed. A conversation may go something like this: Wife: “Honey do you want to eat at that new place on Main Street?” Husband: “No, we need an O-ring for the bathtub and that place isn’t near the hardware store.”

Husband: “Well how about the diner?” Wife: “Are you kidding, we’ll run into Agnes and her incessantly boring husband.” How about?……….”Nope, traffic!”

The wife then says, “You choose, I’ll be happy to eat wherever you want to go.” I might remind my younger readers that this statement all women say, is a complete fabrication. It does matter. The moment you say something like , “Well then, how about we go to JJ’s drive-in?” It’s then the wife jumps in and states emphatically, “Oh that place is too greasy, choose someplace else. No matter the place you choose, she hates the place but will continue to recite the words, “You choose it doesn’t matter to me!”

Okay I give up, we’re going through the McDonalds drive up window right now. It’s then that you purchase a happy meal, and smiling, you hand it to her. When she incredulously states, “You bought me a kids meal?” It is then you respond, “Well, if you’re going to be childish about the whole thing, I figured the toy might keep you happy until we get home!”

As a side note, never underestimate the importance of a home’s guest room. It sometimes is a necessary means for achieving marital harmony, the couch is second.

Reverting to the original dilemma, how can you eat out at your favorite place without verbal wrangling with the spouse? Purchase a gift card from a restaurant you like and tell her someone has been generous to you. The wife will always take the bait because if she can get something for nothing, she’ll take that road every time. This theory also proves why your kitchen drawer has 300 warped Tupperware lids that go to absolutely nothing and how she married you in the first place.

“Happy Birthday Sweetie, what do you mean I have to share my Happy Meal toy?


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