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 30, 2018

I Got A Name – Actually Two

This post is about solving a nearly 100 year-old mystery that involves illicit sex.  Now that I have your attention, let’s begin!

Like the pine trees lining the winding road, I got a name, I got a name

I have a confession to make – I’m not the man you think I am. Don’t worry, it’s not like a Bruce Jenner thing, yet ….

When I was 15 years old, my mother sat me down at the kitchen table for a talk. Now it wasn’t THE TALK, that had happened a few years earlier. But I knew this was going to be serious because we were back at the exact same setting and her face held the same expression. Apparently, all serious discussions in her family were held at the kitchen table.

And the topic was important. It wasn’t the facts of life, more like, here’s a significant fact of your life, that you didn’t know. My mother then calmly explained to me that my dad had been born illegitimately. My grandmother had become pregnant in her early 20’s and not married the guy. The person I had thought was my grandfather, was actually an impostor, who had married my grandmother later in her life.

This talk was even educational. I learned the actual definition of “bastard” and “son-of-a-bitch” that day. I have no idea why this particular information was important. But this part of the conversation befuddled me, because the father I knew was a good father, and a good man, and in no way resembled the colloquial meaning of those terms.

My mother explained to me that my dad’s uncles had helped raise him and provided him with terrific male role models. So even though technically my dad was a bastard, he didn’t act like one – uh, you get the idea. But he had a difficult childhood, the other boys picked on him incessantly because he didn’t have a father. And the family was poor, and poor for a long time, until my father got a job in a Goodyear factory when he was 25 years old.

Of course, I asked who my real grandfather was, but my mother did not know. My grandmother had died five years previously and had never told her. And to her knowledge, my dad had never told anyone. This fact of his life was deeply embarrassing to him and she had cautioned me not to broach the subject with him.

This was a lot of information to process and I wondered why my mother had even told me at this time. But my mother was an intelligent woman, much more intelligent than anyone gave her credit for. She realized that her smart, analytical son, would one day figure out his staged “grandfather’s” last name was not the same as his father’s, and might suddenly blurt this question out at a most inopportune time. As we will soon see, that could have been disastrous.
But now she had left her inquisitive son an unanswered question. And if you know me, and especially if you’ve ever worked with me, you know my brain doesn’t accept unanswered questions. Open questions create a hunger for an answer. Which in this case burned within me for 45 years.

Like the singing bird and the croaking toad, I got a name, I got a name

Now what to make of this incident? Illegitimate children were rare in the 1920’s. When a couple found themselves in this type of situation, the man was expected to do the honorable thing and marry the woman. But that didn’t happen here, so is it right to assume my grandfather was a ruthless cad of questionable morals?

However, this salacious encounter took two willing participants. And other evidence (which I will not share)   indicates my grandmother was not a pillar of virtue. (Please understand that writing these things about your grandmother is extremely uncomfortable). I’m really having a tough time coming up with the correct term here, so I will use “frisky”. She was frisky. If I was writing about your grandmother, I’m sure I would use another term, but I’m not. It’s my grandmother, so frisky it is. And not in the cat food sense, either. Now, if it surprises you that 25%, and I emphasize, only 25% of my DNA is indeed frisky, then you haven’t been reading this blog a lot.

But I’m going to speculate that this wasn’t relationship sex, that it was a spontaneous roll in the hay that went disastrously wrong. If so, I doubt that either party desired to be married to each other and my grandmother, maybe assuming some responsibility, left the guy completely off the hook, not even listing him on the birth certificate. Of course, there was a chance the man was already married.

This decision, combined with the initial wayward choice, had dire, life-altering consequences for my grandmother. At the time, she was employed as a 22-year old school teacher, which meant her career was over, thus leading to those many years of financial hardship.    

But learning these facts at age 15 did not diminish my feelings for my
grandmother. She cherished her only grandchild. Look at her face in this photograph. You can’t fake those emotions. I was devastated at age 10 when she passed. And I realized that she, and the uncles, had done a tremendous job of raising my father, whom I respected just as much regardless of his history.

Still, that question remained. Who was my grandfather? My curiosity festered for a few years. And when I was 19, I decided it was time to ask my father about it. I mean, I was an adult, he was an adult, it was time that we all had an adult conversation about this adult topic.

So without warning, I asked him directly while we sat if the front room watching the game. The reaction was virulent and immediate. I forget his exact words. I imagine he shouted “Don’t talk about that!” But it wasn’t the words, or even the tone of voice that was the most ominous. It was the expression on his face. I believe parents and children have enhanced communication skills because they can precisely interpret each other’s facial expressions. And the look on my father’s face was the same one I imagined I would have, right before I killed someone with my bare hands. I had pushed a button that should never have been pushed. (This is why my mother didn’t want me figuring this out on my own). On the other hand, this was a legitimate question, and I did have a right to know, but there would be no answer.

And I carry it with me like my daddy did, But I'm living the dream that he kept hid

I quickly left the room and never mentioned the subject again in the remaining four years of his life. And there would be no death bed confession, he was standing when the end came, and he was dead before he hit the ground. Yes, he took that secret to his grave.

But my grandmother had not. She had found a way to provide a clue to this mystery, more than 15 years after her death. A few months after my father passed, my mother handed me an envelope. “Your grandmother thought that you should have this”, she said.

What could be in this envelope?

That will be revealed in: I Got A Name (Part 2)

·       Lyrics from “I Got A Name” by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Flunking A Huge Job Interview

Last week in Washington D.C. …..

Senator Weedly: I will now bring this committee meeting on the nomination of Donald Ake to the new cabinet position of Controller of Donald-type Communications to order.  As you know Mr. Ake, tweets and statement emitting from certain Donalds have caused quite an uproar. This must be controlled. You have been nominated for this position because you are a fellow Donald and for your impressive communications ability. Do you have an opening statement?

Ake: I really don’t know why this position is cabinet level and why we need a big hearing. My assigned attorney is not even taking this seriously. He’s out in the hall taking a phone call and -

Senator Weedly: Thank you Mr. Ake. I now yield the floor to Senator Ima Titewon from Aridzona.

Senator Titewon: We will begin by exploring some of your college writings.
Ake: Wow, you found my college thesis! It is an excellent paper on marketing research –

Senator Titewon: No actually, I’m referring to your Ake’s Pains columns in the University of Akron Buchtelite from 1977 to 1978.

Ake: Would someone please get my attorney in here, now!

Senator Titewon: I need to enter this stack of articles into the record.  Now Mr. Ake, did you write that the Women’s Tennis Team, quote, “Are a bunch of swingers”?

Ake: Yes, but that was a joke. It was a double entendre.

Senator Titewon: I see. Do you enjoy double entendres, Mr. Ake?

Ake: I guess I do.

Senator Titewon: Did you ever engage in a double entendre with members of the women’s tennis team?

Ake: No! That’s not how it works –

Senator Titewon:  Did you write that Christopher Columbus made his journey to the new world because he was searching for women with large breasts?
Ake: Yes, but it was satirical. It – 

Senator Titewon: Did you suggest co-eds wear skimpy clothing to heat up classrooms on winter days? Did you advocate the university hire go-go dancers to entertain in the campus eatery? Did you attempt to organize a sex orgy in the student center?

Ake: I, uh, er, I going to have to say yes.

(Gasps and rumbles from the audience)

Senator Weedly: Order! Order!

Senator Titewon: How do you explain such awful, disgusting, sexist attempts at the worst sophomoric humor I have ever seen?

Ake: Uh, I was a sophomore?

Senator Weedly: The floor now yields to Senator Boring Booger from New Yark.

Senator Booger: Hello Mr. Ake, have you ever exposed yourself to a female?
Ake: I can assure you that I have never done anything like that.

Senator Booger: Are you familiar with the term “mooning”, Mr. Ake?

Ake: I believe that’s when a group of guys consume beers and then they howl at the moon.

Senator Booger: No, it isn’t. Mooning is when someone intentionally pulls down his pants and exposes his buttocks to a person. Mr. Ake, do you know a Billy (Redacted), who was known as Billy the Mooner?

Ake: Yes, Billy lived a couple street over from me.

Senator Booger: We have testimony from a teacher, Miss Elsie Crabtree, who says on the afternoon of August 24, 1971 she was preparing for upcoming classes at the local grade school, when a group of boys playing football behind the school noticed her by the widow. She says you participated in a gang-moon of her organized by Billy the Mooner. She says it was your buns on the far right side of the line. Did you shoot the moon at Miss Crabtree, Mr. Ake?

(Ake consults with his attorney, whisper, whisper …)

Ake: I don’t remember the alleged incident. I would however submit to a buns line-up to see if Miss Crabtree could identify me.

Senator Booger: How much more do you weigh now than you did in 1971?
Ake: Uh, almost double.

Senator Booger: Yeah, I think your moon has entered a new phase, Mr. Ake. No further questions.

Ake: Hey, even if I did moon her, I haven’t shot the moon in over 40 years. I mean c’mon!

Senator Weedly: I yield the floor to Senator Dee Dee Frankenstien from Californication.

Senator Frankenstein: Have you ever sexually assaulted anyone Mr. Ake?

Ake: Now I can emphatically say, I have never, ever, sexually assaulted anyone.

Senator Frankenstein: Well Mr. Ake, are you familiar with the term “duking”.
Ake: Oh yes. Duking is when a group of guys get together and pretend to be Dukes. They dress like Dukes and say Duke-like things.

Senator Frankenstein: I would like to introduce into the record an article that you wrote in 1978 in which you describe duking. You say it involves following females into a haunted house amusement facility and then grabbing their buttocks in the dark.

Ake: Well yes, that’s a totally different type of duking.

Senator Frankenstein: I hold in my hand a swore affidavit from a Cindy Chadwick that claims on the night of October 18, 1975 you were behind her in line at the Scream in the Dark haunted house. Soon after she entered the facility, someone aggressively squeezed her left butt cheek, and then giggled profusely.

Ake: Giggle, giggle, giggle. Please give me a moment here. Giggle, giggle. This is ridiculous, why would I want to do that to Cindy Chadwick?

Senator Frankenstein: I would like to enter into the record a 1975 photo of Miss Chadwick bending over to pick up a penny. 

Senator Booger: Wow! That is one nice piece of as –

(Gasps and rumbles from the audience)

Senator Weedly: Order! Order!

Ake: I don’t believe it was me. I think it was my friend Chuck (Redacted). He was with me and Chuck was the greatest duker ever.

Senator Frankenstein: How can you be 100% certain that you did not grab Cindy’s buttocks that night?

(Ake consults with his attorney. Whisper, whisper ….)

Ake: Because it was dark, senator. It was very dark.

Senator Weedly: Order! Order! Next up is the Senator from Viagra, Willie Whitewash
Senator Whitewash: We have obtained a copy of your high school yearbook from a Becky McMillan. Do you remember Ms. McMillan?

Ake: Yes, I do.

Senator Whitewash: I bet you do! Because someone named Suzie, wrote in her yearbook: “It was so funny how Don A. always had the hots for you!”

Did you in fact have these so-called “hots” for Ms. McMillian?

Ake: Yes, I was attracted to Becky.

Senator Whitewash: Well how did these “hots” manifest themselves. Exactly where was all this heat located?

Ake: Really?

(Ake consults with attorney, whisper, whisper… )

Ake: I think Jerry Lee Lewis described it best, senator.

Senator Whitewash: Goodness, gracious Mr. Ake, did you ever take any action on these hots?

Ake: Yes I did. (rumble, rumble in the chamber) I asked Becky out several times, but I was repeatedly and forcefully rejected.

Senator Whitewash: What exactly were you after with these hots?

Ake: I wasn’t exactly sure Senator

Senator Whitewash: Not sure? What do you mean “not sure” you ask this girl out several times and you don't know what you want to get?

Ake: I was in high school. I had never actually seen one of those things before. It’s like being on your first safari. Your target may be elusive and mysterious, but you know it when you see it.

Senator Whitewash: So you had the hots for Ms. McMillian, but she was not open to your advances?

Ake: No senator, I had the hots for her, she had the “colds” for me.

Senator Whitewash: Well if you had the hots and Ms. McMillian was unwilling and unavailable, how did you deal with these hots?

Ake: Really?

Senator Whitewash: Well, we’re all waiting for your answer, Mr. Ake.

(Ake consults with attorney, whisper, whisper)

Ake: I took matters into my own hands, senator.

(Loud rumbles and gasps in the chamber)

Senator Weedly: Order! Order! Order!

Senator Weedly: That concludes this hearing. I’d like to thank you for appearing, Mr. Ake. But I can’t, because this was one of the worst performances by any candidate for any nomination I have ever witnessed. You were truly pathetic Mr. Ake and no one on the committee is going to vote to approve you. Do you have a closing statement?

Ake: Yes, I do.

(Huge gasp and massive rumbles)


Yeh, I didn’t get the job ……

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I Wish They All Could Be Vladivostok Girls

To quote some famous Presidents:

Let me be perfectly clear: There was no collusion, there was no collusion with that Russian.

Recently my company sponsored a “Casino Night” for a large gathering of our clients. At the end of the evening, people turned in their chips for raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes. Employees were permitted to gamble, but weren’t allowed to win any prizes. We were encouraged to give away any chips we had left to the other players.

I’m not a gambler. I have never lost a nickel in a real casino. But I do enjoy playing poker, even though I had not played in over five years. So if there was an open seat at the poker table, I would play. If not, I would circulate and interact with our customers, as we were encouraged to do. I let the festivities begin and then casually walked around the “casino”. The one poker table was full with the action already started.  But on the back wall, the second poker table was empty, except for the bored dealer, an attractive woman in her early-40’s, sitting all alone. I felt sorry for her, and there were all these open chairs, so I grabbed my friend Jeff and sat down at the table hoping more people would join us.

The dealer’s name tag read “Amy”, but I assure you that wasn’t her real name. “Amy” had a strong Russian accent. The type of accent that conveyed she could have been dealing cards in Vladivostok last week. Maybe her name was too long for a name tag, or perhaps it was too difficult to spell, but I can imagine someone saying “Amy quit last week, so just use her tag.”

Amy, no, let’s call her Natasha, was amused when I told her I couldn’t play aggressively because it would be impolite for me to take all my clients’ chips. We exchanged some playful banter and soon several more players arrived, including my colleague James, seated directly on my right, and play began. After a few hands, James, leans over to me and says, “Don, I think the dealer is really in to you. She keeps looking at you and joking with you!” I attempt to disagree, but James is adamant. “No Don, she’s not looking at me like that and she hasn’t said one word to me. She likes you.”

This was no surprise to me. Okay, unlike other people, I will admit that I have colluded with a Russian for a long time. For many years, I have done some very intense colluding, which has even resulted in two offspring. In addition, over the years I have become good friends (but no “collusion”) with several women of Russian descent. I am so glad I didn’t work in the Trump campaign, or Robert Mueller would now be probing me in some very sensitive areas.

So I have to admit, for some strange, unknown, reason, Russian women find me attractive.  Now if you believe that awful stereotype about Russian women being unattractive, may I remind you that I have been married to the most beautiful woman in the world for 38 years. If you still doubt, one name: Anna
Kournikova. And I have never gone to one of her matches for fear I might mess up her game:

Announcer: That’s Kournikova’s fifth double-fault today. She keeps staring up to the same area in the stands. What could be distracting her?

And I believe it was Lenin and Stalin that wrote: “And the Moscow girls make me sing and shout. They leave the West behind.”  Wait! I’m sorry, that may have been Lennon and McCartney.

I have never traveled to Moscow because of the fear of being mobbed by Russian women and then interrogated by the KGB. “Vaht is your secret! Tell us now!” Perhaps it would be more fun to be lusted after by Swedish babes, but if that were the case, I envision being on my fourth marriage or dead by now.

But back to poker game ….

If you think this story is going to be about how Natasha is a “dirty dealer”, discretely slipping me great cards, you would be wrong, so wrong. My cards that night were horrible. I know all poker players complain about their cards, but my cards were consistently anemic. In the first hour, my best starting pair was K-7 unsuited, which I eventually folded. And I folded that night more times than a complex origami.

Amy of course noticed I wasn’t playing any hands and started to kid me about folding so much. At one point, she looked at my folded cards and chided me in front of everyone for not playing them. The other players around thought it was hilarious that Natasha was implying I was a terrible poker player. But really she was playfully teasing me, I had folded 8-9 unsuited, not a good hand at a large table.

But James could not let her comments go without a response. He leans over as says to me in a remarkably good fake Russian accent:

“You play like a tiny, weak man. You have no balls. You run away like a scared little girl.”

The very next deal, I fold 4-7 unsuited. Natasha mumbles a “hmmp”, with a look of derision.  And James continues his onslaught:

“You are a horribly bad player. You are so awful that if you were in Russia, you would be sent to a camp in Siberia. But for you, it would be a women’s camp.  Because you would be no threat to them, because YOU HAVE NO BALLS!”

A couple folded hands later, Natasha remarks somewhat sarcastically “I hope I deal you some better cards sometime.”

To which I immediately reply, “Oh I expect that you will make me happy before the end of the night.” This is said in jest, with a funny smirk, trying to elicit a reaction.

After he stopped laughing, James whispers to me, “Don, she didn’t even flinch and she’s not blushing.” “Russian women don’t blush easily”, I reply “but now she can’t look at me, so it did hit the mark.

And she did make me happy that night --- by finally dealing me a couple good hands near the end, enabling me to acquire an impressive stack of chips. Of course, just at that moment, a coworker appears out of nowhere and says: 

“Gee Don, you have a bunch of the customers chips! Have you been sitting here all night?”

Me: “Uh, I uh, K-7 unsuited, bad cards …. blah, blah, blah.”

But I was able to distribute lots of chips to all our clients at the table. So, everyone was happy at the end of the night.

But there was no collusion. No collusion with the Russian. No collusion whatsoever.

Lord, I was born a Yankee man
Trying for d├ętente
And doing the best I can
And when it’s time for glasnost
I hope you’ll understand
That I was born a Yankee man
(much apologies to the Allman Brothers)