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 28, 2014

A Memorable New Year’s Resolution

I actually made a New Year’s resolution for 2014.  I think this concept is futile because you usually break your vow within a month and once broken this can actually give you license to totally ignore the bad behavior.  This means your bad habit can actually get worse that year because you were stupid enough to make the resolution.

But I made a resolution not to get “fizzed off” (to not explosively lose my temper) this year.   You might think this would be very easy, but remember I wrote a whole blog post about all about getting fizzed off repeatedly in the year 2012.  And “fizzed off” might be an understatement because it is more like a nuclear meltdown, or nuclear fission, so maybe “fissed off” is a better term.

I didn’t get fizzed off much in 2013 and my new job is much less stressful, so I thought this was a worthy goal.  And achieving this would be beneficial for my family and even for my health, since getting fizzed off causes my blood pressure to spike to impressively high readings.  It can take hours for it to return to normal after a good fizz off.

In early November I realized I had kept my resolution and it’s not like I did not have reasons to fizzed off.  My brand new neighbor flipped me the bird when he was moving in because I did something he didn’t like (of course I was totally innocent). Some doufus rear-ended me by driving like a yahoo on the Tampa expressway, nearly causing me to miss my flight back from vacation.  And various other morons did things that could have been “fizz worthy”.

But I did not fizz. My resolve held firm.  As a defense mechanism I even began literally laughing in people’s faces when they did or said something that could have fizzed me off.  Of course this probably fizzed them off, but then they started it, right?

So I was very proud of myself.  Of course I planned to write a blog post on how I was able to keep my resolution for 2014.  I would write about my personal strength, my great resolve, my superior self-control, my dignified composure. Perhaps the Pope would read about my righteousness and make me a saint. I mean I’m not Catholic, but how would he be able to ignore such greatness.

And then it started so innocently …

I called the Wall Street Journal to cancel my $300 digital subscription.  I had subscribed for my job, but had only used it a handful of times all year.  I had been watching for a renewal notice, but to my surprise I never got one.   However, I did notice the subscription had been conveniently automatically renewed on my credit card statement.  What great customer service! They did all the work to seamlessly continue my subscription without even sending me an email notification. No need to clutter up my in box with more emails!

I explained to customer service representative Gina what I wanted to do, but I could tell she was concerned and disappointed that it was over between us, that I would no longer have access to what she could give me.  I was now being exposed to their customer retention program and she was not going to let me go without a fight.

She started asking me questions about what information I used and what I used it for.  I started to become mildly irritated when the call started taking longer than I anticipated.  I became further irritated when she asked what sources I would now use for the information I needed.  When I told her Reuters (one of the largest news companies in the world) and Economy.com (a WSJ major competitor), Gina replied “Oh I’ve never heard of them”.  So she was either very stupid, or lying to me, either of which made me want to end the call soon.

She was wasting my time because there was absolutely no chance that I was going to renew.  If she drove to my city and made mad, passionate, love to me, I was still going to cancel.  I know some guys will say, “But what is she was smokin’ hot”? For the sake of argument, let’s just assume she was not.

She then pointed out the subscription had just been renewed, which of course promoted me to express my displeasure (still very composed) about their renewal process.  This promoted her to argue with me and defend that process.  And this led us to a point where I realized that Gina was not the pleasant, helpful, customer service representative that I was led to believe.  She was an evil, conniving, bitch.

The call ended with me literally screaming into the phone:

CANCEL IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CANCEL IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JUST CANCEL IT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gina: okay it’s cancelled
Fizzed Off or Fissed Off?


They said at the beginning that the call may be recorded for quality purposes and I hope to hell it was.  They could use it in training classes as an example of what not to do, but I expect the students would all break out in laughter at the point where I got fizzed off.  If the recording ever leaks out, it will surely go viral.  I have already contacted Edward Snowden and North Korea to see if they can get me a copy of the recording.

Unfortunately, my body did not react well to the first fizzed off meltdown in a long time.  I tried to tell myself that it was fruitless to get so upset over an insignificant phone call.  But it was too late; I could not put the toothpaste back in the tube.  And in this this case, the toothpaste had been projected all over the wall and some even hung from the ceiling.  Four hours later my blood pressure still had not returned to normal.  Did I mention that Gina is a bitch?

I will not be making any New Year’s resolutions this year.  Go ahead and make some of your own if you wish.

Happy New Year to all my readers, and here’s to a laughter filled 2015.


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, excelling 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