Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Christmas Letter To Brag About

As we enter that special holiday time, one of the joys of the season is receiving those humble Christmas brag letters.  Well-meaning people send these to spread Christmas cheer by raving about their perfect family and all their wonderful accomplishments that year.  After reading these letters, you are devoid of all cheer, you feel that your family is inadequate and you consider the author of the letter to be a yuletide douchebag.

Just in case you did not receive a humble Christmas brag letter this year, your Uncle Don has decided to share this year’s letter from his third cousin, twice removed, Maude.

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow! Where did this year go to?  I’m so sad to see it end, because it’s just been a fantastic year for our family! Let me share some of our stellar achievements this year: 

Candi is expecting again!  The good news is this time the list of possible fathers is much shorter than last year.  While this shows that Candi is growing in maturity, unfortunately we will not be making a return visit to New York to be on the Maury Povich Show to “reveal” the father.  Heck, we won’t even need a DNA test for this one.  There are only two candi-dates and they are of different, uh well, of different ancestral origins. Let’s just say the winner will be clearly apparent at birth.

We are so happy that Kyle’s molestation charges were unexpectedly dropped. We all knew he was innocent.   His attorney said he was confident that he would have won the case in court but the photographs he had of that young assistant prosecutor giving oral dispositions to the judge after hours, really sped up the process.  That attorney was expensive, but the law firm of Duckham, Buckham and Fucarelli gets results!

Todd got some interesting news at his annual checkup. It seems his prostate has swelled to epic proportions.  The doctor said it is one of the largest prostates he has ever seen!  It’s too bad they don’t have a prostate category at the local fair, or someone I know would be bringing home the blue ribbon.

Justin remains in prison but is making tremendous strides in turning his life around and becoming a changed man.  In October, he received the “Ben Dover” award for exemplary service in his cellblock!

Crystal is becoming quite the student, accelerating in both science and math.  The girl is spending almost all her time “in the lab”.  What a studyholic she is!  And she is also a math whiz.  So much so, that her friends have given her the nickname “Crystal Math”. 

Brandy got a new tattoo to add to her impressive display of body art.  Unfortunately we can’t see this new one, which is amazing considering how much skin we can see!  She won’t reveal where it is, but it says “7-11”, which I think stands for “always open”.

My brother Charles, the accountant, bought himself a huge boat.  He also will be getting a new job next year.  Seems his company went belly up when someone drained all the money from the accounts.  He is sure unlucky in that way.  This is the same thing that happened at his last two jobs!  Oh well, this just gives him more time to enjoy his boat.  Good thing he lives on the ocean.

Kellie just got her third breast enhancement surgery.  She said it was time to “trade-up”.  We split the cost.  She paid for the actual surgery and we paid to expand all the doorways in the house.  She is also going to have to pay for the new custom-made brassieres.

Vanessa is enjoying her new job as a phone counselor.  Men call her from all over the country at all hours of the day and night.  She guides them through a stress relief process and they end up learning how to relieve their own stress by taking matters into their own hands. She can do this work from home and she gets paid by the minute!  Wow, getting a job like that was sure a stroke of genius.

And before I end, I must tell you about my niece Patrice, who got to have a “private” meeting with one of her idols, Bill Cosby!  She said it was such an overwhelming experience that she can’t even remember much about it, but she said he’s a real knockout.

So Merry Christmas everyone and we can only hope that 2015 is as good as this year!


And Merry Christmas Friends!

And to my Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist friends – Still Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ode To A Broken Rake

My yard lay buried beneath autumn’s final fury
Covered in leaves, mountains of leaves
The tundra gasping and choking for oxygen
And this was not even of my making
The dreaded giant oak next door had rained down its closing blast
Dead matter everywhere, decaying foliage
Now festering and rotting in a heap upon my lawn

I went to fetch my rake to eradicate this awful mess
I looked, but could not find it anywhere
When I inquired about the location of my tool
I was told that the rake was broken
That the tines had all fractured and fallen off
I shed a tear that my trusted friend was gone
That it had died, no longer useful, discarded so abruptly

I did not inquire why a new rake had not been procured
A bright, shiny, one with new strong tines
Perhaps there were hopes the leaves would all blow away
That they would all magically float to someone else’s place
But now I am powerless to rid myself of this disgusting mass of filth
Because my rake, my rake, is broken
It has no tines, the tines have all fractured and fallen off

I can hear the leaves now mocking me
“You had planned to gather us all in bags and burn us”
“But now you can’t, because your rake is broken”
“It has no tines, the tines have all fractured and fallen off”
“You thought you could dispose of us with ease”
“But even though we are dead, yet we live”
 “Viva la resurrection and viva la revolution!”

Ha! A true leaf “movement” would have them moving off my yard
A real “uprising” would be them up-rising and landing somewhere else
This was more like a “sit in” that I was powerless to stop
My property was being taken over by plant-based radicals
They had the upper hand and they shall not be moved
Because my rake, my rake, is broken
It has no tines, the tines have all fractured and fallen off 

I stand there, my head hung in shame
All the other yards are free of leaves, pristine, beautiful
Because the neighbors cleaned their plots using rakes
Rakes that were unbroken, rakes with tines that are intact
I waited ‘til the stubborn oak had played is final card
It is tyranny, egregious tyranny, I tell you
My domain is held captive and I am helpless to free it

Perhaps someone would be kind enough to loan me their rake
They had no need of it because their leaves are all gone
I will just explain to them that my rake is broken and it has no tines
I knock feverously at their doors, but no one answers
But I persist because winter approaches and the leaves are many
And my rake, my rake, is broken
It has no tines, the tines have all fractured and fallen off

I cry out, “Please kind sir, my yard is full of dead, decaying, leaves”
“My grass is suffocating and perishing underneath this deathtrap”
“My rake is broken and it has no tines”
“The tines have all fractured and fallen off”
“Please, please, I’m begging you”
“Have mercy on, have mercy on me!”
“Let me borrow your rake so I may clean my yard”

My pleas are met with silence, no one will help me
They are at home, but they are fearful I will fracture their tines
Then their rake would be broken also and they would be as pathetic as I
I return to my house rakeless, to the laughter of the leaf commune
I fall to my knees, shake my fist, and wail loudly
Because my rake, my rake, is broken
It has no tines, the tines have all fractured and fallen off

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kim’s Bum Is A Master Piece

Of course I was very concerned last week when I read Kim Kardashian was threatening to “Break the Internet”.  You know how much I hate Kim Kardashian and you also know how much I love the Internet, so this was of supreme interest.  And because security of the Internet is essential to me doing my job and earning income, I immediately stopped all work to investigate this dangerous threat.

I soon learned that Kardashian’s evil plan consisted of her posting a nude photo of her oiled bum.  I needed to literally get to the bottom of the issue, so I clicked on the pic.

Still not a fan!
It is impossible to describe this image with mere words.  As the photo engulfed my 21-inch, HD monitor, I sat in stunned awe.  Just as you cannot adequately describe fine art, I am not able, nor am I worthy to expound about this bum.   However, this is even more awe inspiring than mere artwork. It is a naturally occurring wonder, similar to the beauty of the Grand Tetons. Her bum is smoother and rounder than the Tetons, yet just as large. Yes, Kim Kardashian’s bare bum inspires the same reverence as viewing the most prodigious natural wonder. 

However these bodacious buns are worthy of careful examination, much like a classic sculpture.  Kim’s bum is not to be ogled; it is not to be leered at.  It is to be carefully gazed at, much as art connoisseurs   tremble in the presence of the most beautiful sculptures in existence.  One must appreciate the curves, the smoothness and the solid, rock-like, quality of this most exquisite derriere.  It is a masterpiece – a literal master piece.

This bum is so incredible that I don’t consider it pornographic; it is by all means pure art.  As attractive as it is, it does not stimulate me to want to make love with Ms. Kardashian.  In fact I believe it would be dangerous to engage in such activities.  One wrong move, one unanticipated shift, and you and your man parts could be crumpled under the force of that powerful bum.  I’m sure some of Kim’s lovers have been crushed to death and removed from mattresses by the Jaws of Life. Of course she paid to have the tragedies covered up. 

I think like other heavy construction jobs that making love to Kim is a two-man job.  I am not advocating group sex per se.  One man would be dedicated to the main task, while the second man would be in control of positioning and managing that prodigious bum.  They would need to communicate by Wi-Fi headsets to safely complete the task:

“I’ve got it stabilized! Now shift slightly to the right, then push, that’s it, push again!”  

I would also recommend all future lovers receive certification training before being permitted to enter her boudoir.  Paramours would also be required to be equipped with GPS in case they got trapped in the crevasse or lost in the bush lands. An oxygen supply is necessary in case you got trapped underneath.

This of course means that Kanye West is in grave danger, however many people do not consider that a bad thing.  I do not think Kanye can control that bum. In fact, I think that bum controls him.  For example:

Kanye: Let’s eat Mexican tonight!

Kim: No, my bum says that Mexican can irritate her. She wants Chinese.

Navigating Kim’s body would be quite an accomplishment and I’m sure the feeling would be similar to climbing Mount Everest.   I’m sure conquerors feel like planting a flag pole there.  Perhaps I should rephrase that: They feel like showing some physical representation of their accomplishment!

Even though Kim has made millions off her derriere, it is literally her “money maker” (and it is so impressive she doesn’t even need to shake it), it does have its draw backs.  Her clothes are custom made – no one makes size 5X booty with 120 degree curves.  Her toilet seat needs shock absorbers.  When she has an itch, she needs a team of ass-scratchers all with smooth fingernails.  And she needs to live in a sturdy, reinforced, house because when gas passes through that thing, it shows up on the Richter scale.

My newest Facebook friend!
I am still not a fan of Kim Kardashian, but now I am a huge admirer of her bum. If her bum ever creates a Facebook page, I will “Like” it.  I will send it a “friend request” and hope it accepts me.  Maybe then the bum and I can chat occasionally.  I think I would really enjoy that.

Fortunately, the photo of the big, beautiful, oiled Kim Kardashian bum did not break the Internet.  Unfortunately, keeping the image on my monitor for an extended period of time, while I studied it very carefully for art’s sake, totally shattered my monitor.  But it’s a small to pay to view one of the wonders of the modern world.

Monday, November 3, 2014

You Will Not Be Offended By My 100th Post

This post marks the 100th edition of Ake’s Pains (if we don’t count the three “serious” posts). The blog debuted in May 2011 and I can’t believe the number of readers it has and the number of hits it has received. So I would like to sincerely thank all my readers who enjoy this blog.

However, everyone is not a fan of the blog.  Recently I received a long message from a young woman named Frances who had seen the blog on a social networking site where I repost it.  She found the blog very boring and somewhat (gasp) offensive and couldn’t understand why people would have any interest in my personal, mundane, story.

The problem is many women under 30 years of age don’t get my jokes.  It’s not that they are stupid.  Humor is subjective and they don’t understand it and that’s okay, not everyone gets or enjoys my stuff.  I’m not surprised Frances was bored by my blog; however there are four very disturbing things about her message:

1.   Even though she was bored and offended, she read the entire lengthy post.  With the thousands of articles available on the Internet each day, who has time to read the bad ones?  Then she writes me a long message to tell me why she was bored. Either she has too much free time or too little life.

2.   This particular post was not offensive.  You would have to try to be offended by it, which evidently she was successful in doing. Because she did not get the jokes, she thought I was stating serious opinions.

3.   She thought I should not repost any more blogs.  Apparently she also has time to police the Internet.  My brilliant solution was to suggest that she not read any more of my posts but allow other people to enjoy them.

4.   She goes by the name “Frances”, nuff said.

However I do care about Frances and the young women like her who wish to read blog posts by middle-aged studs like myself without being offended and made sad.  So I am dedicating this 100th post to Frances by offering the least offensive story that I can possible write.

Don’s Swell Day

I awoke in the morning after getting the recommended seven hours of sleep.  Sleeping less would be unhealthy and sleeping more would be slothful.  I then showered and ate breakfast.

Before starting the workday, I spent time in my executive bathroom.  It was a productive session because I had been careful to ingest the recommended daily amount of fiber the day before. I followed Sheryl Crowe’s suggestion and used only one sheet of toilet paper.  I didn’t feel very fresh, but we all have to do our part to save the planet.

I then started my workday.  I do work at a “for profit” company, but I made sure that my actions did not produce too much profit because that would be greedy and might lead to creating more poor people.

At lunchtime I had a sammich.  I made my own sammich and at no time did any females participate in the making of this sammich.  The sammich consisted of tofu and sprouts on gluten free bread.  I know eating tofu could increase the size of my man-boobs, but we must all sacrifice to save the planet. Plus, this helps me reach my daily fiber goal.

After lunch, I decided to take a power walk to fulfill my daily physical fitness goal.  It was a very hot day so I expected to burn a lot of calories. As I started down the street I saw my neighbor, Hot Carla, washing her car in her string bikini. I thought about engaging her in some friendly, neighborly, small talk.  Perhaps I should stay and offer to hose her down if she gets overheated. But no, she was busy scrubbing that car vigorously, so a friendly wave will have to do. I resume the walk, but for some reason have problems taking a full stride.

When I get to the top of the hill, I notice Mr. Hairy Spider on the edge of the road.  I don’t want him to get squished, so I gently pick him up and carry over to a safe place.  Ahhh, Mr. Spider really likes me.  He has such a tight grip on my finger it’s difficult for me to set him free. Have a good day Hairy!

On my way back I notice Hot Carla has really worked up a sweat! That bikini is soaked! It’s wax time and she is buffing the heck out of that car, but my attention is diverted to the other side of the street where Mister Squirrel is
frolicking and storing food for the winter. Bury those nuts Mr. Squirrel, bury those nuts!

I return home and complete my work day.  I work hard, but not too hard, lest I become rich and evil.  I feel a little guilty about making too much money, so at the end of the day I write some checks to some caring charities in order to save the planet.

I have diner consisting of organic, free range, vegetables and a big heaping helping of quinoa.  I then relax by watching PBS because it has programs unavailable on the other 3,000 channels.  Tonight’s program is “Mating Habits
Squids making more squids
of the Squid”.  It is interesting, but I do cover my eyes during the “good” parts.  I distract myself by thinking about how shiny Hot Carla’s car must be after all her scrubbing and buffing.

At bedtime, my hand is really swollen, my bum is on fire and my loins are all tingly, but all in all, it has been a swell day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Grass Cannot Be Greener On The Other Side

I can remember back when I thought people who used lawn treatment services were idiots.  I mean who would actually pay someone to fertilize their yard when it was so easy to do yourself?  Spending gobs of money just to have the best looking yard on the block? What morons!

But then those yearly trip to the hardware store became less enjoyable. This was mainly because the bags of weed-and-feed mysteriously became heavier every year.  Why they decided to start making the bags harder to lift, I’ll never know. 

So a few years ago I actually started employing a service to treat my lawn. This change meant the condition of my lawn suddenly became of supreme importance to me.  I had made an investment in my yard and I could literally watch that investment grow. 

Of course, they put that little flag in your yard after they finish.  They tell you the flag is to warn people your lawn has just been treated, but of course that is not the real reason.  In reality, the flag symbolizes your commitment to a superior lawn.  It states that your lawn is so much better than the surrounding turf, that it deserves its own flag!  As I stand in
my yard, hands on my hips, I am declaring independence for the Kingdom of Donrovia! Long live the king!  Of course as referenced previously, my neighbors are thinking, “What a moron, he’s wasting good money on his stupid lawn”.

But this year something very disturbing transpired.  I noticed in June when I looked out my bedroom window that my lawn did not look any better than the widow Cooper’s next door.  How could this be?  I’m paying hundreds of dollars to have the best lawn on the block and her lawn looks as good as mine?  I speculate that my lawn service has provided substandard treatment.  I am perplexed and upset.

A few days later while walking my dog, I solved the mystery.  At the other end of the widow Cooper’s yard was a flag.  It was a flag from another lawn service. That witch had gotten her lawn treated for the first time since I moved in.  How dare her! This was totally unacceptable. This was an outrage.

Then to make this incredibly bad situation even worse, upon further investigation I discovered something that almost made my head explode.  The widow Cooper’s yard actually looked better than mine.  This pushed me over the edge, so I called my lawn service to complain.

Me: My neighbor uses a competitor’s lawn service and her lawn looks better than mine.

Lawn Guy: How is it better?

Me: Her color is more vibrant

Lawn Guy: So are you actually saying that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence?

Me: No, what are you talking about?  There is no fence, but yes, her grass is in fact greener.

Lawn Guy: Well it always will be …

Me: That’s what I’m trying to tell you.  Yes, it always is.  Monday, Tuesday, whatever.  On all days that end in “y”. Her grass is greener.  So you agree with me?

Lawn Guy: No, the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence.

Me: Alright, I told you before, there is no *!#&ing fence! And I am shocked at your lousy attitude.  You are conceding that your competition always does a superior job! Dude, show some pride in your work.  If you’re going be like that, maybe I should use those guys next year!

Lawn Guy: No, it’s an expression.  It is an optical illusion.  Her grass only looks greener because at a distance the colors appear stronger.  I assure you the grass is the same color.  If you looked at it from her yard, your grass would appear greener.

Of course I thought his explanation was pure bull crap.  I considered sneaking through the woods across the back of the property to look across the widow Cooper’s yard into mine to see if what the lawn guy told me was true.  However, I realized I would then be standing in the yard of my neighbor “Hot Carla” with a good view of her bedroom window.  If I got caught trespassing by the police, I would have to convince them I had snuck over there to get a peek at the widow Cooper’s grass and not Hot Carla’s ass.

If it went to trial, not even Perry Mason could save me:

Prosecutor: I now present Hot Carla, and we are going to label this evidence Exhibit A ……. and uh, B.

Perry Mason: Wow! My client confesses your honor.  Tom, you are so guilty.

Me: My name is Don, not Tom!

So instead of sneaking over there, I took a photo on the property line and as you can plainly see the grass is truly greener on the left side of the stick (my neighbor’s side). The
widow Cooper has plainly kicked my grass.  Her lawn company has pumped up the nitrogen and has defeated my kingdom.

I am dejected. I know I should not be this worried about the condition of my grass and I shudder to think what may happen the next time the neighborhood kids venture on to my most cherished investment.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dancing On The Grave Of A Dead Dog

My neighbor Numbnuts had a huge, mean, dog that would attempt to kill me when I did my frequent exercise walks.  The dog is a mix-breed, a combination of Rottweiler and bear. It would growl and lunge aggressively at me. It would even attack my car when I drove by. I hated this dog and it hated me. 

I do refer to this guy as Numbnuts not because he has nerve damage in his man parts, but because he has damage in his brain parts.  He could not control this beast on its leash. The monster dog just pulled Numbnuts all over the road.  Numbnuts would yell frantically for the dog to obey with this wide-eyed, stupid look, but the dog would never obey.

This caused a big problem in that Numbnuts would often walk Cujo after dark, in the street, with no flashlight. (the allotment has no sidewalks or streetlights).  And since the dog was in effect walking Numbnuts, this created a dangerous situation.

Because Numbnuts could not control this hellhound and I feared the monster-mutt could snap its collar and proceed to maul me, I had to avoid them on my walks.  This was a major inconvenience.  Because there is only one way out of the neighborhood, sometimes I had to wait for them to clear the area or even return back to my home for safety.  So I allowed Numbnuts and Damien to rule the streets, until one fateful night.

I had just driven into the allotment one night when I had to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting the mutt.  The dog had decided to sit right in the middle of the road and there was Numbnuts, with his dumb Numbnuts expression, frantically pulling as hard as he could on the leash, but to no avail.

As I swerved, Numbnuts yelled at me to slow down.  But I was not speeding. As soon as I had straightened my car out of the turn, they appeared in my headlights and I veered to the right narrowly missing the dog. I had not even had time to accelerate.

I stopped the car, lowered the window, and yelled at him to “Get a flashlight”.  And that’s when Numbnuts fired an “F-bomb”.  Now he is an idiot, doing something idiotic, and he somehow thinks this is my fault.  Of course I am fizzed. I put the car in park, unbuckle the seat belt and reach for the door.  It is at this point I realize I will not only be confronting Numbnuts, but the demon monster dog from hell, the dog that wants to kill me. I put the car in drive and continue home.  Well played Numbnuts, well played.

But you don’t fizz me off this bad without consequences, so I decided to “take back” the streets.  I needed protection, but what type?  My machismo-oriented, NRA-type, friends suggested I conceal carry.  This however would pose a problem in the summer when walking with very little clothing would only leave me one obvious area for concealment.  I don’t want the women in the neighborhood ogling the size of my luger.  It may be fully loaded but I am not that well-cocked (we are still talking guns here).   Concealing a weapon in this manner also makes premature ejection a very painful experience.

I considered an electronic dog repellent device but at the moment of truth with demon dog a few feet away, I did not want to trust my life on a gadget that I could not see or hear.  I envisioned someone at the morgue saying, “No Jeff, we are still not able to get that device out of his hand. He was still pushing that button really, really, hard, right to the end.

I settled on a canister of dog mace.  The drawback here is if I unload a blast of mace at the dog, I could also inadvertently gas Numbnuts. ---- Okay, so there really are no problems with using the mace.

I do admit I felt some machismo walking down the street with my new weapon.  I wanted the chance to confront this enemy.  I wanted to have a Dirty Donnie moment where I stare him down and utter, “Go ahead pooch, make my day”.  I wanted to see the fear on Numbnuts face when I didn’t leave the street, when I stood my ground.

But alas, I carried the mace for months and even though I would occasionally see Numbnuts with the dog, there never was a confrontation.  Then, I stopped seeing the dog altogether.

Ding dong, the wicked dog was dead. Ordinarily I would be sad when a beloved dog died, but not in this case.  This dog hated me and wanted to kill me and now it was dead.  I wanted to literally dance in the street, but I refrained knowing my bad dancing ability would alarm the neighbors.  I felt great, I felt euphoric, I felt liberated.  Hallelujah, the streets were safe again.

But now Numbnuts has a new dog. And in a moronic case of pure numbnutsian logic, he has found a dog of the exact same mix. Cujo Jr. has arrived.  Of course I discovered this one night driving home when I turned the corner and was startled by Numbnuts standing on the road; leash in hand, no flashlight.  

The dog is a now a “puppy”, more like a mini-monster.  It has already looked at me with disdain. I am sure it is eager to grow large enough so that it can kill me.  I know it hates me and I hate it already.  My joy is gone, I am depressed …..

Numbnuts has a new dog.  Where did I put that mace?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Are Family – I Guess

This blog post is unique because it is the first time someone has actually requested that I blog about them.  People usually do not want me to blog about them (even if I give them a pseudonym) and my former co-worker Erin would often start out his stories with: “Now Don, this is not bloggable”.

But my cousin Susan requested that I blog about her (and our family), therefore I will grant her wish.  I’m doing this because Susan is family and family is very important to me, which is the essence of this post.

I am an only child of an only child. This means that not only don’t I have any siblings, I don’t have aunts, uncles or cousins on my father’s side of the family. My mother had three siblings and so I do have 10 first-cousins. However that side of the family was never close due to some issues.  We were never all together as a family except maybe a funeral or two.  Three of the cousins moved to California in the early 70’s which further disconnected us.

This introduction is not written to solicit any pity.  I married into one of the greatest families imaginable (they are comparable to the Walton’s) and my extended family on my father’s side includes me in some fantastic get-togethers twice a year.  No, I am explaining the situation so you might understand the significance to me of the event I am about to describe.  While you may have experienced close family interactions thousands of times in your life, I had the opportunity recently to truly experience this for the first time in over 40 years.

My cousin Diane was visiting her father in Ohio and this gave the Roush family cousins an opportunity for a mini-reunion.  Similar to a meeting of mafia clans, all four families were represented. There was Filly Diane (the horse farmer), Patty Ohio (to differentiate from cousin Patty California), The Twins (Susie and Vickie) and Donnie Akron (the city kid).  And at this meeting it is “Donnie”. 
Da family
Only certain people are permitted to call me Donnie, but this group qualifies.

My cousins communicated like they had been best friends all their lives.  It’s like they were speaking their own special language, like it was coded in their DNA. It was amazing to watch. Conversations moved rapidly from subject to subject because it only took a few words to communicate numerous thoughts and feelings.  It was like the words were in a zip file that was exchanged, downloaded and processed instantaneously.  Once I learned how to play this game, I joined in and it was a wonderful experience.

Then we sat around and exchanged old, sometimes embarrassing, stories about each other.  I felt like a politician saying: “While I do not remember the incident in question, I cannot deny that I may have engaged in this behavior.”

While reconnecting with my cousins was a great experience, I’m just not sure that I am related to these people at all.  I just don’t see much family resemblance.  For example, here are some traits that I was able to identify from this encounter.

1.   These People Are Weird

My cousins are a very strange breed.  They think weird things, they make bizarre statements.   I mean they are really out there.  I’m not talking just standard strange; I’m talking nutsy coo-coo here. And that was before the wine starting flowing. They border on insane.

Of course no one has ever accused me of being that weird, have they?  Okay, no one has accused me of being that weird today. Er …all right, I guess I may have to concede this one.

2.   These People Talk Too Much

They talk a mile a minute. Just yap, yap, yap, endlessly. You have to listen fast just to try to keep up.  Of course people never say that about me, because I’m usually dominating the conversation …  Well, it’s a good thing these people don’t write blogs or they would go on and on about the most mundane things in their lives, expecting people to actually care about their off-beat musings. I can’t even image what that would even be like.

3.   These People Don’t Care What Other People Think Of Them

This is who they are and you better get used to it.  It’s the attitude of: “You must adapt to me, because I’m sure as hell not going to adapt to you”.  While this sounds very bold, it doesn’t get you too far in the corporate world.  But I assure you that I possess none of this attitude whatsoever and that my failure to reach my career potential was caused totally by wearing the wrong style of underpants all these years.

4.   These People Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

My cousins have a warped sense of humor. It’s twisted, bent and bat shit crazy.  They are a bunch of loons.  One photo from the gathering features two of my cousins flipping the bird.  They are doing it because they are nuts.  They are not close to being bad-ass, they are in fact good-ass. (Since I am referring to my cousins it is important to point out that I am not using the term “good-ass” in a West Virginia type of way)  Now you know this doesn’t apply at all to me.  I am serious, reserved, and well-refined.

5.   These People Have A Superiority Complex

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or what you have. I’m sorry, at the end of the day you still are not a Roush.  We even have a coat of arms.  Yes go ahead and gasp, I am part of a family that possesses a coat of arms! We are Roush and unfortunately you are not.  Fortunately, I do not personally have this superiority complex, because let’s face it, I’m better than that.

All I can say is this cousin reunion was the highlight of my summer. It was an incredibly wonderful time.  My cousins are great people and I Iove them dearly, even though I am nothing like them.