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!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Every Picture Tells A Story – The Blunder Years (Part 1)

When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school --- mama don’t take my Kodachrome away – Paul Simon

In anticipation of our 40th-year high school reunion, Carol thought it would be a swell idea if everyone used their senior yearbook photograph as their Profile Picture on Facebook. I thought this was a horrible, massively horrible, idea.  However, since I was helping organize the reunion, I felt pressured to comply.  Ironic that high school reunions enable us to relive our high school experience and now as a result of this, I was feeling peer pressure. Wonderful!

I actually liked my photo when it was taken, but over the years I had come to find it rather distasteful.  I could never imagine the circumstance that would cause me to ever post this thing on the Internet, where millions of people around the world could all simultaneously spit out their respective breakfasts’ when this hideous image popped up on their screens.

Maybe no one will actually do this, I hoped.  But then profile pics from dozens of classmates started hitting my Facebook feed.  Maybe I will not be able to find a photo to post, I reasoned.  I wasn’t going to search the attic, where somewhere there are numerous copies. My best bet was to find a worn, wallet-size version, which I saved in an old manila folder years ago.  I thought it would take some time to search for it, which was fine.  I wanted to be able to tell my classmates, “I tried to find the pic, looked everywhere for over 30 minutes, but no luck.”

I made a big mistake when I asked my wife for help finding that folder. “Why don’t you check the box in the office that has your mother’s old stuff?” she asked.  Three minutes, in three minutes, I was holding a six-by-nine framed copy of the notorious photo.  Now I remember, this photo was always prominently and proudly displayed in her living room until her health deteriorated. The photo most certainly wasn’t hideous to her.  Instead it was tangible proof that I was cherished.  I was her only child, a child she never, ever, thought she would have.  The photo was part of her “shrine” to me.  So while I hated seeing that photo each time I visited, it was actually my mother’s way of telling me how much she loved me.  Why is it that we only see certain messages, long after the messenger is gone?

I carefully remove the photo, scan it, and position it in the Facebook profile, still I am hesitant to post it.  My wife walks by, sees me staring apprehensively at the screen, and asks if everything is alright. “Oh, everything is fine”, fine until …… click.

So here’s the pic.  I thought it might cause a reaction on Facebook, but I wasn’t ready for this. The photo blew up my little section of the Internet.  Here, it was even bigger than Kim Kardashian’s butt.  Okay, nothing is bigger than that, but you get the idea.  I have never posted anything on Facebook that came close to generating this much interest.  The final total: 112 “Likes” and 48 comments.

Of course a popular topic of conversation was the abundant hair of my youth.  People usually don’t believe me when I tell them I once had long, flowing, hair.  Now I do have proof.  My Facebook friends pointed out that I had nice tresses.  Several people questioned whether I was wearing a wig.  Others wondered how it was possible to lose that much hair and still be alive.   One guy sarcastically asked how I managed to create the “side poofs”, this I commented back, was accomplished by the use of something called “an electric comb”.

The haircut was known as a “Dutch Boy”.  This style let me grow my hair long without parting it down the middle.  My hair does, oh excuse me, did not naturally part down the middle.  And guys in the Kenmore class of 1976 did not use hairspray.  If you were ever caught using hairspray, you would have been labeled, excuse my strictly 70’s parlance, a f@g.  All my college photos show my hair parted down the middle, due to a more refined, accepting, environment. 

And yes, the sport coat is ugly by today’s standards, but the 70’s was a decade of horrible clothes. At one time I had a pair of green plaid pants, cuffed, of course.  I even wore platform shoes, and at nearly 6’4”, the last thing I needed was to be any taller.  I still remember banging my head into doorways, hard enough to see stars, because of those ridiculous shoes. But I wore them anyways, because it was the 70’s.  I only could afford a couple sport coats, so this was my best one, and it was considered rather snazzy at the time.

However, I was amazed by the tremendously positive response to the pic from the ladies.  Apparently, I was a stud back then and didn’t even realize it!   The younger women liked the pic, the more seasoned ladies like the pic, even some foreign chicks liked it. Yes, all types of women, many of them who are indeed, “hot”, were grooving to that 70’s guy.

My former classmate Mike claimed that the reason he couldn’t get a date in high school was because all the hotties were only interested in me. Someone else compared me to Prince, Prince Valiant.  Gail posted that “Kim had the biggest crush on you”.  That one actually brought a tear to my eye. Kim was a sweet, pretty, girl and I had no idea she liked me, but sadly  she was one of the first of our classmates to pass away. 

 And not only was I a stud, I was also a rock star.  Several people asked if I was one of the Beatles.  Yes, I was the fifth Beatle, the one who couldn’t sing or play guitar.  Another person thought I was in the Partridge Family.  Yeah, that’s it, I was Donny Partridge.  Unfortunately, I got kicked out of the group after I was caught “practicing” in the back of the road van with Susan Dey – ba- ba, ba, ba - ba,ba - ba,ba,ba.  But by far the strangest comment was that I had the Justin Bieber look down, years before he did.  But if that were true, there would have been girls swooning over me in high school and I’m sure I would
Donnie Bieber?
have remembered that. If Bieber did steal my look and make millions, he will soon be hearing from my attorney.

The marvelous response on Facebook caused me to take a new look at this photo from a detached, more objective, perspective.  Well, the kid looks much more handsome than I ever remember seeing in any mirror.  I guess teenage girls aren’t the only ones with appearance image issues.  The kid also appears very happy, but that is partially an illusion. I was happy, but not “that” happy.  I remember the photographer being smokin’ hot and when she smiled at me and told me to smile back, this is the look you got. You see, some things never change.

I also see a young man with tremendous potential, something I never realized at that time.  I had a lot more going for me, than I ever knew.  This lack of confidence did hinder me some, but I have still done very well.  No one ever achieves their full potential, but over the last three years I’ve accomplished much. So it took the kid a long time, but he finally got there, and getting there is what matters most.

And after all those admiring comments from the ladies, I am considering losing 80 pounds and growing my hair back out into that Dutch Boy.  I think I’ll skip the jacket, though. Shouldn’t take me that long …. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

I Will Not Duck This 2016 Presidential Endorsement

It’s time boys and girls to confirm what they taught us in school, about how great democracy truly is.  We have skillfully utilized our primary elections to provide two outstanding candidates for our voting enjoyment.  HA, HA, HA, HA -  and that laughter is coming from Karl Marx’s grave – you silly proletarians you.

The Republicans who offered up a big Richie Rich-type failure four years ago, decided to nominate someone this time who is even richer – a richer Richie Rich.  This guy often blurts stuff out without thinking and then spends the next week trying to explain what he said. He also has the worst hair since Martin Van Buren.  The Democrats have countered by nominating a sickly, Richard Nixon in a pantsuit. HA, HA, HA, HA!  Shut up Karl! Shut your commie pie hole, right now!

People are very upset at the establishment and the elites this election cycle and I can see why.  You may get to vote, but then these high-falutin’ graduates of that extremely elite school, The Electoral College, actually get to pick whomever they want for president!  The school doesn’t even have a football team.  That’s right, your president gets selected by people whose college has no sports teams and no cheerleaders. This is just wrong.

But it is important to vote.  Because if you don’t and the other candidate is elected, there will be a huge disaster!  There will be plagues, an economic collapse, inter-species marriages, space aliens nominated to the Supreme Court, fire from heaven, tremendous destruction and a massive outbreak of the heebee jeebees. And this is just on the Wednesday after the election.  After that, it gets really bad.  – Or not, since Congress can still block heebee jeebee causing actions.

By far, the biggest reason to vote is so you have the right to bitch for four years if your candidate loses.  You can say “If only Ray had been elected, he would be making tremendous decisions and governing perfectly, not like the current douche-bag.  This right is given to us in Amendment 1-B, the right to bitchy-like speech. 

Well I know all my readers greatly respect my keen insight and expert analysis on all things political, therefore I am going to make my much anticipated presidential endorsement.

The most important thing is that we have the opportunity to elect a trailblazer, someone who is the first person of their type to reach the White House.  Electing someone as president due to being the “first” instead of those stupid, over-rated, “presidential qualifications”, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  And people, that’s what’s truly most important here, how you feel about your president – not what they actually do.

Just think, last time we did elect a “first” type of president, who was able to heal the  divisiveness in this country by his mere presence.  We have blended together  into one huge, sweet, Milky Way bar and now you never hear of any disharmony or conflict at all.

And now once again we have the opportunity to put a new “first” in the White House.  You know it’s time, people.  This group has been downtrodden, discriminated against, held back, ridiculed, disparaged.  We should all feel a tremendous amount of shame that it has taken this long for a person to be considered for this honored position.  Now this group stands on the edge of greatness and it is our honor, our responsibility, and our duty, to elect one of them as President of these great United States.

This is a cause that I support 100%, I am convicted to the core of my very soul.  It is time to stop holding these people back!  I wholehearted support these people, because I personally have experienced the utter pain and humiliation they have suffered.  These people happen to be my people, and that is why we need to elect someone named “Donald” as President of the United States of America!

Of course this is very personal for me.  This is my name and these are truly my people.  We have been persecuted and discriminated against for too long.  Up to now, our most prominent standard bearer has been a duck.  A moronic duck, with a bizarre voice and no pants - and I emphasize, no pants.
I am not a duck!

There has never been a president named Donald.  We had had a Zachary, Millard, Ulysses, Chester, Grover and Rutherford.  That’s right a Rutherford. Rutherford B. Hayes (why the hell is the “B” even necessary, if your name is Rutherford?) and he was a bad president, very, very bad. Just awful, a total loser.

If you have followed this campaign, you may think that all men named Donald are egotistical, blowhard, maniacs, who make outrageous statements that offend and hurt people.  However, readers of my blog know that there is nothing further from the tr…. Okay, um, bad example. All right, maybe the worst example ever.

And I will admit that over my business career at several companies, that the Donalds who I have worked with have been some of the biggest idiot, arrogant, a$$holes that I have ever encountered.  You may think that I exaggerate, but I know my former co-workers at these companies would wholeheartedly agree with that statement.  But please just ignore that.

You may vote on the basis of a candidate’s geopolitical strategy or their microeconomic plan, but that is way too confusing for me.  This time, I’m only voting for a name – the first name, and this reason trumps all others. 

And if you criticize me for my choice, you are a name bigot. You are a deplorable namist and are discriminating against Donalds everywhere, including little children named Donald in third-world countries. You horrible, piece of slime, you.

So this election, I am endorsing Donald for President of the United States and voting a straight Donald ticket.