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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Next Stop - Assisted Living!

I turned 53 years old yesterday and obviously, most of my better days are behind me. Now I can look forward to easing gracefully into my golden years with a colorful vocabulary and a keen eye for the absurdities in life, both finely-honed after decades of diligent observation and commentary. This may or may not serve me well.

Assuming that I will most likely serve out my final years alone, given that I have yet to find a female on earth who has proven hearty enough to endure me for more than a cursory cup of coffee (the latest next-ex-Mrs. Ford has proven durable, but this can most-likely be attributed to the fact that we have spent most of our marriage in separate countries), I am gnawing at the bit for the day when I can finagle my way into assisted living.

I know that most old-folks put up a fuss, fighting this move with every fiber in their elderly being, declaring loudly, if not lucidly, that they "WILL NOT GIVE UP" their independence. Pffffffft, I say. Have at it - I have long since come to terms with the realization that I am at best a horrible manager of my independence and would prefer to have someone else do it for me, as well as make my bed, do my laundry, change my diaper and fill my sippy-cup with cheap Scotch. This will give me more time to concentrate on crossword puzzles, internet porn, Matlock reruns and the perfect, delicate balance of tasty cheese, meat stick and cracker.

I would delight in never having to mow another lawn, skim another pool, fold another load of laundry, replace another fuse, gasket, fixture, bulb or nozzle of any kind for the rest of my life, unless it fine-tunes my sippy-cup to optimum sipping-power. My schedule would work as follows:

5:30 AM: Rise early, log into the internet, write some if feeling up to it. If not, read news and figure out which nuggets might be skimmed and blogged about in appropriately crusty fashion. Really just killing time until 5:50.

5:50 AM: Take care of business. My digestive system has been reliable for over 5 decades and at this point, I do not anticipate any change in the "Twenty Minute Rule" in the near future, unless I suddenly inexplicably become addicted to pain killers or some other substance that might cause unanticipated and unprecedented unruly constipation.

6:00 AM: Stroll to the common area to see if any of the ladies are up and about, stop by the kitchen to see what's cooking and when it will be ready to eat. Browbeat the staff as needed.

6:30 AM: Claim place on the common area couch and commandeer the television remote. Search through the 500-plus channels that I am no longer forced to pay for and see if Matlock is on anywhere. If not, find suitable news or sports channel. Nap until breakfast. Sit on remote (literally) while napping to make certain none of those other sneaky sons of bitches try to get at it.

7:30 AM: Eat quickly and efficiently. Take any meds that require food and drink plenty of juice. Remember that I am not responsible for buying the groceries, so eat seconds whenever possible, as long as it doesn't interfere with getting back to the common area couch before the others. If it looks as if there might be a challenger to the lead seat on the common area couch, create a diversion by sweeping plates onto the floor. Feign a seizure or dementia as needed.

8:00 AM: Challenge all comers to an invigorating game of Risk, working down the board-game food-chain in the following order: Monopoly, Life, ScatterGories, Chutes and Ladders and finally Tic-Tac-Toe. Make sure games are on hand and plenty of soft-leaded pencils. Crush competitors. If challenged for a victory, sweep games onto the floor. Feign a seizure or dementia as needed.

9:00 AM: Tune in to "Matlock", advise all others in the common room that there will be a quiz after the episode. Chuckle, guffaw or smile knowingly as appropriate and use these key moments to make eye contact with the most attractive ladies in attendance. Keep an eye out for any chippy would-be rivals. Note their room locations. Bribe orderlies as needed.

!0:30 AM: Take a walk around the well-manicured grounds with the most feisty of the ladies on hand at the Matlock viewing. If there is a walker involved, make certain the little lady has fresh tennis balls on the feet of the contraption. Safety first. Ask her to meet after dinner in the Rumpus Room.

10:32 AM: Turn back for the safety of the common area, take oxygen as needed and visually identify the location of the remote. After re-invigoration, sit next to the person with the remote. During a commercial break, snatch the remote away from the usurper. Wrestle the device away if necessary. Use teeth, feet and elbows to obtain the remote. Feign seizure or dementia as needed.

11:00 AM: Nap on couch, again sitting on the remote. Those wily sons of bitches are ruthless. Like zombies with dentures.

12:00 PM: Eat lunch, again with efficiency. Hide remote in underpants throughout, No need to rush - enjoy lunch. It's the most important meal of the day. Have seconds whenever possible - remember, the grub does not cost extra.

1:00 PM: Take note of the ladies who do not immediately fall asleep after lunch. They will be the feistiest later. Use the soft-lead pencils.

1:15 PM: Nap in the common room. Put on an old-timey movie if possible and cozy up to a feisty Betty if possible. This will pay off in spades later.

2:15 PM: Take meds, drink some juice and begin asking for the Scotch Sippy-Cup. Bribe orderlies as necessary.

3:00 PM: Volunteer to lead afternoon activities. Suggest "Spin The Bottle", "Seven Minutes in Heaven" and "Strip Poker". Settle for a lively round of "Twister" and break out the baby oil. Bribe orderlies as needed.

3:15 PM: Go to room for refractory period and take a nap. Take a lively Betty, if possible. Use as capable.

4:30 PM: Dismiss the lively Betty and shower up for dinner. Don't forget to use soap and be vigorous.

5:00 PM: Dine with the group. Have extra helpings of dumplings, gravy, cornbread and/or cobbler as available. These increase vigor - it's been studied and documented.

6:00 PM: Break out the ukulele and lead a singalong of old-timey favorites and bawdy sea-shanties and encourage synchronized dancing. Try to include those with walkers - they tire quickly and will sleep well afterward. Consider it a gift.

7:00 PM: Sneak a re-fill of the sippy-cup. Meet Betty in rumpus room. Bribe orderlies as needed. Use time wisely, then take a short nap.

8:00 PM: Take television remote out of underpants and find a suitable movie for evening viewing. Something recent and topical, like "Tootsie", "Escape From New York" or "Rocky". Once the movie is chosen, give up the remote and shout for popcorn and more Scotch. Fall asleep as needed.

9:30 PM: Allow transportation to room by orderlies - make eye contact with feisty Betties along the way - you never know, Sleep well and dream of jangly, three-chord pop music with tight harmonies.

Repeat until called to live with Jesus.

Bring it on!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stuff It Up Your *ss.

Anyone who has ever watched "Inside the Actor's Studio", with its creepy host, James Lipton, is familiar with the questions based on the "Proust Questionnaire" that Lipton lobs to his guests at the end of the show. "What turns you on?" "What turns you off?" "What sound or noise do you love?", etc. Blah, blah, blah... I don't care if Dustin Hoffman loves the sound of his own self-important voice rattling around in that huge, self-important head of his.
The question that always grabs my attention is "What is your favorite curse word?" Of course, since the show is on Bravo, the curse word is generally bleeped out anyhow, leaving the answer limp and ineffective. I am not a good lip-reader, so unless the person in charge of the bleeping is talented, I usually have no clue. The talented bleeper on the other hand, can make the bleeped out curseword as apparent as if it had not been bleeped at all. Instead of hearing **** off!, one hears *uck off! - much more exciting.

But I am not writing today to discuss bleeping out cursewords, or even to dive into the Actor's Studio. I am writing to discuss my own newest, favoritest curse word. Actually, it's a phrase. My old favorite was "horsesh*t", followed closely by "sh*t*ss". That's how they would be bleeped by a talented bleeper. It seems I have a thing for fecal-based cursing. Along those lines, my new favorite curse-phrase is "Stuff it up your *ss". I have made it a point to bring this up to several colleagues, friends and co-workers, resulting in varying degrees of uncomfortable conversation, depending on the person with whom I conversed. What the *ell, I thought they needed to know...

My reasoning for "Stuff it up your *ss" is simple. It is an elegant, powerful statement. If you tell someone to "stick" something up their *ss, it almost seems like asking them to shelve a book for you, or hand you the salt. To "shove" something up one's *ss is a bit more powerful, but in the manner of being a sudden shock, like dipping one's toes in icy water. On the other hand, if you "stuff" something up your *ss, you've undertaken a project that is going to be long, painful, strenuous and perhaps impossible.

And I like that thought, because if I am angry or annoyed enough to tell someone to "stuff your attitude up your *ss!", I want them to take awhile to work on it and know it's there when they've finished. When telling someone off and tossing out the suggestion thatthe argument should ultimately end up in your listener's *ss, there is a delicate balance between being dismissive ("stick it up your *ss.") and overly forceful ("ram it up your *ss."). Which is why "stuff it up your *ss" is such a beautiful send off. It is the perfect blend of contempt and power.
I have been bandying the phrase about with abandon, enjoying the way it rolls off the tongue. While watching "Tombstone" lastnight on television, I noted that one of the lesser Clantons told Wyatt Earp to "stuff it up your *ss!" I was amazed at the young man's moxie, but also knew without a doubt that his time on earth was now limited. One must be wary to whom you levy the "stuff it up your *ss". It is a fine rejoinder, but should be used with caution.

James Lipton: "What is your favorite curseword?" Jerry: "Stuff it up your *ss."

James Lipton: "What sound makes you happy?" Jerry: "The sound of you stuffing your questions up your *ss."
(From February, 2011)