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!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Funerals Should Not Be This Much Fun

The late, great, Yogi Berra once said: “Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.”  And like all great Yogisms, it contains some kernels of wisdom.

First, it suggests you should honor the dead and show respect at their funerals. I’m all about respecting the dead, as long as they deserve it. What I mean, is that I don’t show people any additional respect just because they are dead.  In my book, if you were a bastard while alive, now you are a just a dead bastard. The fact that you are a bastard hasn’t really changed, and I’m not going to your funeral.  I don’t believe you are required to attend the funerals of bastards.

This rule doesn’t apply to family members.  You still are required to attend their funerals, because they unfortunately are “your bastards” and you have to suffer the consequences.  More importantly, they may also be dead, rich, bastards, and you would hate to be excluded from the will by your blatant act of disrespect (so please show some extra respect and wear a tie, just in case).

But the Yogism also implies that people are concerned about how many people attend their own funeral.  I have to admit I pondered this a few years ago and it motivated me to create a new philosophy on life: “Live your life in such a way that people cry at your funeral”.  While this has actually helped me to treat people better, I do admit I sometimes fail to live up to this.  Of course now when I fizz somebody off I think, “There’s another empty chair at the chapel” and they naturally think, “That bastard!”  However, for people to cry at your funeral, they have to be at your funeral, so Yogi and I share a common philosophy.

This desire for having superb funeral attendance actually is cross cultural, because I saw a news story on the custom of having strippers perform at funerals in some rural provinces in China.  I assure you this is true. Do you really think that I am so warped and depraved that I would actually make something like this up? Wait, don’t answer that! (See link at the end of the post to confirm story)

The purpose of the strippers is to boost attendance and “liven up” these events.  And it is successful because men line up at the door hours before the ceremony to get the good seats.   I’m guessing they believe if the ‘‘grand spirit” passes over and sees a huge crowd gathered at your funeral, it can earn you some eternal brownie points.  The spirit saying: “Wow, I thought Genghis was a bastard, but look at that crowd! Maybe I should not turn him into a dung beetle in his next life after all.”

But I just can’t imagine any religion, anywhere, in any way, condoning having strippers at your funeral.  The report claims this is done as a “show of respect” but come on, the girls are going to show more, much more, than just respect! And apparently they show a lot, because there is actually a video posted of one these performances, which I had to watch several times, very closely, as part of doing my extensive research for this post.

And I don’t blame the ladies. To quote the popular commercial: “When you’re a stripper, you take off your clothes, – it’s what you do.”  The strippers are well paid and are highly motivated to do a good job. It can generate lots of repeat business.  Think about it, they are gyrating naked in front of old guys who are near death themselves.  Tuesday’s funeral can lead to Friday’s booking, which creates Monday’s gig and so on and so on …….  And in a very bizarre way, they are performing a useful function.  They are cheering up people who are grieving the loss of their friends. They are turning mourners into moaners.

This interesting, yet disturbing, practice is very effective in greatly increasing funeral attendance. I’m sure the guys in that region scan the obituaries for funerals that might have strippers. “Look, Chen’s cousin died. Suddenly I feel so sad. I must go mourn. I need some small bills.”  I would love to see a You Tube video of old Chinese guys fighting each other for front row funeral seats.  And these large crowds gather despite the fact these are in fact Chinese strippers, who lack uh, who have very small, ah, -- let’s just say these are skinny women.

I see really no practical benefit of having strippers at the funeral unless you are supremely optimistic and want to take one last shot at raising the dead.  If you are lacking a huge, nuclear-powered, defibrillator, then I guess a group of hot strippers is your next best option here.

I do not think having strippers at American funerals would go over very well.  I can’t see a minister saying “Naked you come into this world and naked you will depart. And soon, naked women will honor you with their nakedness”.  Also “Now let us solemnly pray for the dearly departed, before these young, beautiful, women depart of their clothes.”  And imagine the frustration generated by long-winded preachers, delivering rambling eulogies, if they were delaying the appearance of the strippers. Guys would be thinking, “Shut your pie-hole and get to good stuff!”

I guess I could consider having strippers at my funeral to boost attendance.  It could generate a crowd and impress people, but with my luck, I could see the following happening at those pearly gates:

St. Peter:  Don, you lived a good life my son and it says here that I was let you in, scot-free, no questions asked.  However, now, I do have to ask you one very important question.

Me: What is that Pete?

St. Peter: Why is there a G-string draped over your bald head?

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Have Just Given Birth – To A Sammich

Newsflash: I am now officially an author

The strange thing is I never intended to write a book, it sort of happened by accident.  I had often considered writing a humor blog, but I was working two jobs and writing my economic blog, so I had absolutely no time for anything else.

Then I saw Justin Bieber on television for the first time.  He was singing and the teenyboppers were screaming. “No wonder they like him”, I thought.  “He looks just like them! Wouldn’t it be funny if someone mistook him for a girl?”  The alarms went off in my brain: Ding, ding, double ding!

On May 20, 2011, I typed these words: “I just heard about the latest teen pop sensation, Justine Bieber”. And thus, Ake’s Pains blog was born.  Two weeks later I posted again, and then again and now you are reading post #141.  More and more people started reading the blog.  They really liked it and soon I had a worldwide audience.

But at no time did I ever think I was writing a book.  Then in October 2013, the thought occurred to me that I had written enough posts that I could compile
and organize them into a book.  Great idea! Except I had no idea how to publish a book and it took me a while to figure this whole thing out.

Publishing a book is very similar to creating a baby.  Well, except there is no hot, baby-making, sex involved.  But you start with a conception and then you go through a long process to carry it forth into birth.

One of the best things about being a blogger is that you can write anything you want and nobody can stop you. It’s like running through the streets naked and unencumbered.  You have total freedom.  However, when you write a book, you need some boundaries, you need some polish.  Not only do you need some underwear, you even need a pants and shirt.

So I had to hire an editor.  I hate editors. I hate editors almost as much as I hate accountants.  Editors are horrible people who somehow find flaws in your perfect writing. Being edited is an awful process.  So I end up paying this woman to inflict pain on me.  I’m sure a dominatrix is a lot more fun.  

The most challenging moment of the editing process was when she said the post on the New England Patriots using under-inflated footballs could not be in the book because it contained too many “disgusting ball jokes”.  I tilted my head to the side like a confused German Shephard. I couldn’t understand how you could possibly ever have too many disgusting ball jokes, but apparently you can. So I rewrote that one. It’s now much less ballsy. 

Finally, all the posts were edited and organized and there was a manuscript, which is the equivalent of seeing an ultrasound photo.  I started walking around with a goofy smile showing the manuscript to people and even posted a picture of it on Facebook.  But just like an ultrasound photo, people smile and politely nod, but they don’t really care.

So you edit, you edit, you revise, and then edit some more. At some point the sadist editor puts down her whip and you submit the final manuscript.

Picking the baby up at the hospital
And then finally the big day arrives and the book is actually printed.  Of course this is just like giving birth, except for the extreme pain, screaming and pushing, and what not. But it is my baby. I hold it my hands with reverence and yes, I have even cradled it.

My first realization that I am an author happened when my friend Michael recently introduced me to our waitress at lunch as “Author Don Ake”. I instinctively started to correct him and then realized he was correct. Then I turned to the waitress and noticed the look of great admiration I was getting from this beautiful young woman. “Well yes my dear, I am an author, and you should read my book.”

And now the challenge is to make the book successful, just as a father desires success for his child. I am now responsible for promoting and marketing this book. Doing this, is unfortunately not as fun as actually writing it.

I’ve changed much since being thrown out of my comfort zone in 2009. I wouldn’t have had the courage to try this before.  But now I’m not afraid about crashing and burning.  During my “comeback” I’ve crashed more times than Windows 10. Okay, nothing’s crashed more than Windows 10.  But even though I’ve lost count of the number of crashes, I do know it’s exactly equal to the number of times I’ve gotten up and moved on. And I’ve spent the past six years growing an impressive set of fire-proof skin, so light me up, Fall Out Boy, I’m ready.  I’ve just strapped myself into a high-powered vehicle that has no rear-view mirror and no “reverse” gear.  I’m not looking back and I’m sure as hell not going back. There’s only one direction to go and nobody can drag me down.

So my book is officially launched. And I am an author, but you can still call me “Don” unless there is a cute chick nearby, then “The Author” will suffice. This new status hasn’t changed me, although I do have a message into Taylor Swift to see if she wants to get back together, no answer yet.

I cannot express enough gratitude to my readers for your support. I am at this
place only because of you.
My friend Owen buys the first copy!

The next step in my journey begins today. I write humor for the purpose of making people happy and I guarantee Just Make Me A Sammich will make you laugh.  I humbly ask for your support of my baby. Thanks for reading.