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, August 23, 2015

I Went Hunting in the Bushlands

Sometimes men have to do things they don’t really want to do all for the benefit of their marriage.  Okay, many times we must do these unpleasant things.  All right, often it seems that marriage can be just one uncomfortable thing after another.

Recently, I did something for the first time in my life in an attempt to please my wife.  I actually went to a nursery and landscaping store to buy some shrubbery for my wife’s birthday.   Now you must understand I am not a horticulturalist.  I am probably a horti-counterculturalist.  I am not interested at all in bushes or shrubs.  I don’t even notice them unless they grow so much they get in my way or they start to die.  At which time I say astute things to my wife such as, “That shrub needs trimmed,” or “That bush looks likes its dying; maybe you should do something.”

So, why did I find myself anxiously looking over a large selection of greenery?  Two years ago the township decided to clean the drainage ditch at the side of our yard for the first time in 19 years.  They came out one day without warning and completed the task.  They had the option of clearing all vegetation within five feet from the ditch to give their equipment proper clearance.  Fortunately, to get to our ditch they could have gained access by clearing only about a foot of foliage.  Unfortunately, they decided to take the whole five feet.

My wife had spent years getting that part of the yard just how she liked it.  It was beautiful, even to a horti-counterculturalist like me.  My wife was livid.  She wanted to scream at our trustees.  Of course, screaming wouldn’t bring back the plants and such, so I offered to pay for professional landscapers to redo the area next year.

But my wife didn’t take the deal.  Probably a combination of principle (Why should we pay for someone else’s stupid behavior) and personal feelings (This is my yard and I will deal with it.)  However, what was left of the bushes and shrubs after the township massacre started to regenerate.  Just like when we suffer a setback in life and think the situation will be horrible forever, it does get better over time.  In this case, the bank actually started to fill in wonderfully.  It looked great except for two noticeable gaps.

Of course, men are great for closing gaps.  We don’t like gaps.  Gaps are bad.  So, I made the decision to buy my wife some shrubbery for her birthday, and thus I stood in the middle of this garden store with nary a clue as to what I needed.

Fortunately, Brad soon appeared to assist me.  Brad was a handsome, strapping young lad, and I’m sure the local women enjoyed having Brad tend to their bush and shrub needs.  But Brad was not just “beefcake,” he was very knowledgeable about his products.  Of course, my questions were limited to, “How big does that one get?”  I selected a holly-type bush, and Brad suggested I get a male and a female.  Apparently, these plants engage in some type of procreating activity.  Who knew?  I must have missed that lesson in biology class.  I had no idea how they accomplished this, but they must do it after dark because I have never, ever, witnessed this hot action and am sure I would remember if I had.

So, I got the two holly “love” shrubs and bought a Korean type plant just in case my wife did not like the other selections.  You
might say I bought the third plant literally “to hedge my bet.”  Har, har, double har!

When my wife saw the bushes, she was not pleased.  We have our own domains in this marriage, and by my purchase, I had crossed into my wife’s landscaping territory.  I knew that was a risk but thought that I had the benefit that it was a birthday gift going for me.  I was wrong.

She looked scornfully at the holly plants and said I wasted my money because she could easily transplant some from her mother’s yard.  I’m thinking, “If this was so easy to do, why wasn’t it done at any time in the last two years?”  Of course, I don’t say this out loud because you don’t stay married for 30 plus years by actually saying every thought that comes to mind.  Do you?

I had prepared for this outcome however.  I had told Brad that my wife might not like my choices, and he assured me the shrubs could be returned if not damaged.  So, I calmly presented the receipt to my wife and encouraged her to take them back and get what she wanted.

Secretly, I hoped that she would keep them.  I had made the trip to the nursery, and I had actually put some effort into my choices.  In addition, for some strange reason I was growing fond (har again!) of the Korean one.  Now there would have been a time that I might not have wanted my wife to interact with that plant-stud Brad, but it wasn’t an issue now.

I believe after the shock wore off, my wife realized that I had tried to do a good thing, and she decided to plant the bushes.  She ignored my advice not to plant the Korean one on the north side of the property.  My concern was that a North Korean plot would turn into a communist plant, and I knew from old movies how damaging a communist plant could be to your operation.

So my wife is happy.  I am happy.  And the bushes appear to be enjoying their new home.  I don’t know if the male and female have engaged in, well, nature type activity yet, but I’m sure they will when they get to know each other better and the time is right.

This first appeared as a guest post on my good friend H.L. Gibson's webpage  http://hlgibsonauthor.com/ Please check it out sometime!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Jarring Controversy

There is a big dust up at my alma mater The University of Akron.  Seems they spent $950,000 renovating the university-owned house for their new president and then the guy comes in and up and fires 161 employees. 

This got the college community in an uproar.  And if that wasn’t enough, someone made a jarring discovery, a literal jarring discovery, which further enraged the masses.  A review of the itemized expenses on the renovation project shows the purchase of a jar of olives that cost $556.

I thought people were overreacting way too much about this.  I am a member of the “cooler heads” because it is said “cooler heads prevail”. I am one of the coolest heads around and I never overreact about anything, so I gave them the full benefit of the doubt.

There are a couple simple explanations why someone would pay $556 for a jar of olives. Maybe they bought them at the warehouse club and there was like a million of them in the jar.  So this, in fact, was a great deal.  They might be planning on including these olives as free appetizers during university
functions.  I love olives and you know how I feel about free appetizers, so this would be a very prudent use of funds in my opinion.

Another explanation might be that these are very special, exquisite, gourmet olives.  Grown in exclusive, organic, groves in southern Greece and fertilized by the dung of massaged, coddled, Kalamatatian, sheep.  You can’t really judge the cost until you taste these olives now, can you?  If you feed these delicious, magical, olives to donors and they write you huge checks, then $556 is a true bargain.

But then I found out that this was not a jar of olives, but an olive jar, an empty olive jar.  My reaction of course was calm and reserved.



It turns out the jar is a Greek, antique, ornamental, piece selected for the master bedroom by a hoity-toity interior designer hired for the restoration project.  The designer defended this choice in the press by saying:

“This is a decorative piece, something nice to have in the corner of a room.”  I’ll tell you what is something also nice to have: A JOB! And 161 people now don’t have one!  Poor Phil is now explaining to his wife why his job got replaced by an olive jar!

“It’s like a plant” There’s an idea for you, buy an actual living thing. Probably could get one for 50 bucks.

“It cost less than the original plan”.  Well thank you for being economical and budget conscience.  I know you were tempted to go for that larger $1250 jar, but you didn’t. Nice job on that one!

“It is used to fill a spot in the corner of the room.”  Thank heavens that spot is now occupied. If that space had been left vacant, a migrant family may have found it and set up camp.  It is never a good thing to have strangers living it your bedroom. This would have been embarrassing to the university, not to mention a disruption to the marital-type relations of the president.

There were other extravagant expenses on the list also. Including a $3,172 curved TV, $1000 counter stools, $1,800 mirror and $838 make-up chair.  All these are big wastes of money, except possibly the make–up chair.  Perhaps if you are butt-ugly you might need to apply make-up in a chair with magical powers made of wood from the Peruvian Rainforest in order to transform your appearance.

The house also reportedly now has a remote-control shower.  I have no idea why you would need this.  Maybe if the shower area is large. And maybe you couldn’t reach the handles, because there was someone in there with you and perhaps your hands weren’t free. Oh my! OH MYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! Okay, forget I even said anything about this one.  

This is like one of those reality home remodeling shows except in this one the couple has no budget so they spend money like wild until they collapse on the couch, the imported, hand-crafted, designer, couch. It should be called: Say Yes To Excess

So workers get canned, jars get blamed, and I can’t contain myself.  Next time, please check to see if the jar you are buying actually contains any olives, you idiots!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Women Go “Nuts” Over Me

The first thing I noticed after finding my seat, were the three stunningly beautiful flight attendants on the plane.  I had to check my calendar and make sure I was still in 2015 and had not time travelled back to the 1980’s.

For those who are too young to remember, all stewardesses, as they were called then, were young and babelicious in the 80’s.  In fact, it was a requirement for the job.  But then job discrimination laws came into play and the airlines had to drop that requirement.

First they hired attractive older women.  Then it was any woman, then males, and finally even straight males. Now, anything goes.  I was on a flight earlier this year with the largest flight attendant I had ever saw.  She was a large woman, so large she had problems moving through the aisle sideways.  If there was an emergency that required me to slide past her to get off the plane and save my life, I had resolved that I was going to die.  She had a backside that Sir Mix-A-Lot would enjoy and I got to experience it up close and personal when she leaned over to talk with someone seated across the aisle.  If this encounter had happened in another venue, I would have been expected to tip her a dollar. 

But Whoaaaa Nelly, was this flight going to be different than that one. Three outstanding babes! Wooohooo, sis boom bah, schwing, homina , homina, oh baby!  Blonde, brunette and black-haired beauties,  it’s a trifecta baby!
However there would be flirting with these flight attendants, there would be no ogling; there would be no leering, no staring. I would be careful to not even make eye contact.  I would be on my best behavior (Yes I have a best behavior; it not that good, but it’s the best I got).  Because as luck would have it, this wasn’t a business trip.  I was traveling on vacation and my lovely wife was seated very close next to me.

Now it was going to be easy for me not to flirt with them.  I mean it’s just not in my nature to act that way.  I find this behavior unacceptable, unprofessional, and demeaning to women. That’s why I have never engaged in this conduct in my entire business career.

Okay, unless the woman was smoking hot, then maybe some…. Uh, okay maybe if she was just fairly attractive, just a little….

But if I did flirt, let me assure you that it was classy and very respectful to the women involved.  And if you don’t believe me, just ask any woman that I ever worked with. (Jennifer and Jan if you are reading this and someone asks you about me, it would be great if you could just deny ever knowing me, okay Honeycakes?)

So everything on the plane was going great until it was time for the three babes to pass out the snacks, which consisted of peanuts and pretzels.  I happened to be seated at the end of section where the ladies had divided up the plane for snack distribution.  When the blonde babe got to me, she looked at me apologetically and explained she had run out of pretzels and asked if I would like two bags of peanuts instead.  I smiled and nodded. I was famished and the peanuts are more filling.

When she saw that I liked getting the peanuts, she playfully tossed me two more bags. At that moment the other flight attendants finished distributing their snacks and were standing nearby.  When they saw the blonde tossing me peanuts, they also joined in the fun and started tossing their leftover peanuts in my lap as well.

I felt like a monkey at the zoo and I guess I could have been offended, except I was really hungry and when you have three gorgeous beauties showering you with gifts, you just go with it.  I mean who could possibly have a problem with that?

Well, I will tell you who.  As I sat there with 16 bags on peanuts in my lap, I turned to look at my wife and was met with an icy glare.  “Did you flirt with her?” she inquired bluntly.  I instinctively tossed her a couple bags of peanuts as a peace offering, ridiculously thinking this might appease her and then answered an emphatic, “No”.

“You winked at her, didn’t you?”, she continued.  I then started to explain the pretzel situation, but that was met with the look that every husband gets at times. The look that says: “I’m not buying what you’re selling. It would be best for everyone if you shut up now.”  So I shut up and ate my peanuts.  I thought the peanuts were supposed to be free, but I sure was paying a high price for them.

For some reason it seemed much colder on the plane the rest of the flight.  In fact when we deplaned in Fort Myers it was the chilliest 92 degrees I have ever experienced in my life.  It’s not a good thing when your wife thinks you have the charisma and charm to just wink at a hot woman and she eagerly give up all her goodies to you.

I know people will find this story hard to believe, so as evidence I present the one bag of peanuts remaining after I consumed the rest on that flight and the connector.  The only other evidence I could have obtained would have been to
Oh I got a treat all right!
take a photo of those luscious stewardesses.  Of course that would have been the last photo I would have ever taken in my life.  It would also have been the last photo ever recorded on that iPhone, the iPhone6.  So I decided against a photo.

But this whole incident is just a major misunderstanding.There was no wink!  No winking, no flirting, no nothing!  It is so unfair that even when I try to do well, even when I exhibit exemplary behavior, that circumstance and reputation ruin these efforts. It happens all the time! I’m always innocent!

So for the record: I swear I did not wink at that woman.  I did not engage in a winking relationship with her. I was not making googly eyes at her.  You believe me, don’t you Jennifer? And Jan, you’re with me on this, right?  Jan? , Jan?