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, December 29, 2020

Mall Maskness – 2020 Edition

 Despite the pandemic, I decided to make my annual Christmas shopping excursion to the mall. So, I put on my turkey mask (yes, it’s real) and ventured out. I was concerned there would not be interesting things to see this year, but I was wrong.   


Candle Crazy

Unfortunately, I happened to pick the day of “Huge Candle Sale” at the “bath soap and body lotion” store. But I didn’t think many people would risk their lives for cheap candles, but I was wrong – so wrong. They were limiting the number of people within the small store, so there was a staging area with 30 socially distanced people waiting outside the store and another 20 people in a second waiting area about 50 feet down the concourse. This means I would have waited an hour just to get in, and I wasn’t even shopping for candles. I decided to stroll on by.

Over-Priced Sweaters

I went into the fancy-smancy department store. I’m not going to buy anything. I’m just looking for what’s trendy this year. I see this nice display of $150 sweaters. But what guy is going to spend $150 on a sweater? The answer is “none”. But women will. Put a high-price tag on anything, and it perks up some of the female species. It is the equivalent of product porn. Women know they shouldn’t buy it, but many can’t resist it. There ought to be a law against it, but the stores and credit card companies would go broke if there were. And this year, there is nowhere to impress people with your $150 sweater anyhow.

Blatant Discrimination

The department store already knows that men aren’t going to buy anything here. I came to this realization when I was in the store and had to take a whizz. However, even though there were two “women’s restrooms prominently marked, there was no sign of a “men’s room” anywhere. They do not want men hanging around their store, talking women out of ridiculous $150 sweater purchases, and using their restrooms. Alright, this is probably because men are much messier than women and are more prone to “stink up” the place. And this can cause problems ….

Woman at the fragrance counter about to purchase some $500/oz “watair du tolay”:

“Oh I just adore the subtle fruitiness of this scent. But whoa! What is that stench?”

Clerk: “I’m sorry. Some guy has found the restroom again. We took down all the signs, but sometimes they find it anyway.”

Woman: “Eww! I can’t buy this “watair du tolay” while being overpowered by “stench day toilet”. I have to leave now.”

It’s a good thing I didn’t have to whizz badly because the facilities are well hidden. Probably back in a dark corner, where a desperate guy might try to whizz he had to. “Oh look, there it is.”

I know I could have asked one of the clerks, but I fear it could be embarrassing.

Me: “Could you please direct me to the men’s room?”

Clerk: “There is one way back over there. But you are not planning to stink up the place, are you?”

Me: “Thanks, I’ll just be leaving now.”

More Bathroom Issues

Fortunately, I made it over to the main mall restroom just in time. But I was surprised to find that several urinals were out of order, making social distancing more difficult. To provide the acceptable man-distance, I had to use kiddie urinal, which is lower to the floor. Because I am tall, sometimes when I must use the kiddie whizzer, the guy at the urinal next to me will make some smart-ass comment about it being a long shot. When this happens, I stare straight ahead and in the most serious tone possible reply, “I can use the extra space”.

Worst Christmas Ornament Ever

At two stores (and also on the web), I saw overpriced ($12) tree ornaments with messages: “2020 – the year we quarantined” or pithy sayings to that effect. (There was even one on the Internet designed to look like a coronavirus). Why would you hang something on your tree that reminds you of how awful this Christmas is? Are you a moron, or a sadist? Maybe just a moronic sadist. Pick one. And the other reason you buy a dated ornament is to relive warm memories of that year for many future Christmases when they are hanging on your tree.  No one will have any warm memories of 2020 unless they are running a fever. If you choose to hang the 2020 ornament on your tree next year, you need a mental evaluation. All these ornaments deserve to be burned in hades.  

Baby It’s Cold Inside

I was visiting the second fancy-smancy department store when I turned the corner and thought I saw a young woman wearing this tight, little crop top, with no bra. Her large nipples were stretching out the thin fabric. Only it wasn’t a woman; it was a mannequin. Apparently, enhanced-nipple mannequins are a thing. I would have taken a pic, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was weird (here’s a pic from the web).  However, if I knew I was going to write about it, I would have flagged down a store clerk and pointed (ha) out that they had

neglected to put a bra on the mannequin, just to see her reaction.

Regardless, this is wrong on so many counts. It is false, or maybe falsie advertising. You do not see points that big except in an NBA All-Star game. And even if the woman is exceptionally nipped, unless you remain in temperatures around negative-20 degrees, you ain’t matching, nor maintaining the firmness exuded by that mannequin. It’s also a horrible model for young women. That mannequin looks so slutty that you know it wouldn’t take much to get her to spread her legs – well, if she had legs, that is.

And it’s also the wrong image to send to young men. As I stood there, a man and his son walked past. The boy looked at the mannequin …

“Hey dad, can I get a girl like that for Christmas?” he asked hopefully.

“No, Ralphie, she’ll shoot your eye out,” his father warned.

 My Last Purchase

I did end up buying three candles at another store in the mall. There was no waiting, and candles are candles, right? They are made of stuff that melts. They have a wick; you light ‘em, they burn. Been that way for 5,000 years. And the one I bought for my wife smells like the beach. We didn’t get to go to the beach much in 2020, so my wife can experience the beach without leaving the house, which means I just  saved thousands of dollars. So, such a deal!

Happy New Year to you all!



Monday, November 30, 2020

There Are No Congratulations and There Is No G-word

Recently my daughter gave birth to a son, the first time my children have had a child of their own.

Now, wait!


I’m warning you! I know what you are about to do – but don’t do it! Not until you hear me out.

I understand that many people view this as some kind of significant event. For some reason, people feel the need to congratulate me for it.

I find this strange, even bizarre. Because I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Nothing. I wasn’t there at the conception. I didn’t even know any procreating activity was going on. And I didn’t deliver the kid. I wasn’t even present at his birth.

Granted, I did provide food and shelter to my daughter when she was growing up. So, I guess I kept her alive until she was around 23 years old, but then she left the nest and has functioned well on her own for several years. This just seems like such a low bar to clear for a “congratulations”.

Now I did pay for the wedding, so maybe I did invest in this eventual outcome. And yet, perhaps my actions just ensured the kid would be “legitimate”. But then again, that is no small accomplishment, as legitimacy has not always been the norm in my family tree.

But this still seems like such a strange thing to congratulate me for. I just didn’t do anything. So, the world now remains populated. Whoopee! Around 385,000 babies are born around the world every day. Every day! So, what’s the big deal about adding one more?

Worse yet, when people congratulate me, they are assigning me a new moniker, without my permission I must say, that implies I am a decrepit old man and not the vim and vigor specimen that I obviously resemble.

Of course, I am “grand”. Everyone knows that. I mean I have written three books, while still working in a prestigious, “smarty-pants” day job. My wisdom, intellect, and modesty are all noteworthy. “Grand” is a very proper word to describe me.

And I am a “father”. I am listed on two birth certificates, that I know of, and even though there have never been any DNA tests, my daughters' paternity has never been questioned.

However, under no circumstance, none, should those two words ever be combined in any reference to me. No reference! I find that title much less than grand. Not very grand at all. More like it’s so small, it’s grand-ular.

It is the G-word, and it is just as offensive to me as the N-word, C-word, B-word, M&NOP-word, is to those other alphabet offended peoples. (Yes, I could have written a much funnier sentence than that one, but some people's heads would have exploded.)

I am obviously not the G-word in any sense. This word is used to describe old, feeble, ancient men, who, who, ah, yeah, have fading memories and leaky pipes which require dependable protective solutions. The kind of frail men who walk with canes! Okay, so I do own a cane, but only occasionally use it for medicinal purposes only and not because I am old.

I do not resemble anything associated with the G-word. Not anything! It shall not be used in reference to me because I am still a vibrant, virile, young-for-my-age, strapping man. And by strapping, I am in no way referring to my knee-brace straps, elbow-brace straps, truss-straps, or back-brace straps, which I may or may not be familiar with.

All right, so to review: There is no need to congratulate me, because I have done nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve it. However, if you still insist on commending me, there will be no use of the G-word, none, because it is highly offensive to me. So, so, offensive.

I understand that eventually, the kid will have to call me something. But rest assured, it will not be the G-word or any variant of the G-word. I’m leaning towards “Pops”. Yes! Explosive – with lots of fizz still left! 

However, I must say that this kid, who does carry some of my DNA, is extraordinary. He may be the most exceptional baby ever born in the history of man. And I’m not just saying that. I’m not biased in any way. This baby is just amazing. He really, really is.  Also, I think he may even have inherited my large ears, which won’t help him any in the looks department, but at least he will be able to hear extraordinarily well.

They named him Liam. This was a disappointment because I was hoping they would name him after me. I mean, there is absolutely no reason you wouldn’t want to name your kid “Donald” this year, right?

Now Liam is not a bad choice for one of those more unique, “modern type” forename. And I’ve heard some really wacko choices lately. The name Liam does fit him well, because if he is anything like his grandf… ah, whoops. What I mean, is if he is anything like his mother’s father, he will have a very particular set of skills.

So, now that this event has passed, I’m just going to find a nice chair, relax and focus on enjoying life again. And NO, IT IS NOT A ROCKING CHAIR!!!!



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Which Grandpa Do You Want Driving The Car?

 Jan has a dilemma. She and her neighborhood friends need someone to drive them to volleyball practice. Everyone who normally does this is busy, so Jan must choose between her two grandfathers, Grandpa Joe, or Grandpa Donald to drive them. But who is the best choice to drive the car?

Some people would argue that both Grandpa Joe and Grandpa Donald are too old to drive and would be a danger behind the wheel. But they are very eager to prove they are capable drivers and much more skilled than the other in directing the vehicle.

However, Jan is leery of letting either one of them drive the gang to the gym. But these are her only choices, so she thinks long and hard before her decision.

Grandpa Joe is really a nice guy. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot, and everybody likes him. But lately, Grandpa Joe has increasingly been showing his age. Sometimes he doesn’t know where he is or what he is doing. He gets confused quickly and often says stuff that doesn’t make much sense.

Grandpa Donald still has most of his mental faculties in place, however he is totally missing that filter that prevents offensive and sometimes ridiculous statements from leaving his mouth. If he thinks it, he just says it, with no regard of how people will interpret or respond to it.

Grandpa Joe will adamantly insist he can still drive the car, but Jan has her doubts. He is going to need lots of help on the drive to school. She can tell him when to turn, but he might be rambling aimlessly about how he once played volleyball naked. And lately, Grandpa Joe has started making too many left turns, sometimes resulting in him driving around in circles and providing no clear direction.

Grandpa Donald will boast that he is a great, great, driver – possibly the greatest driver ever. But he’s not. He drives recklessly and all over the road. He zips through 4-way stops and often blatantly runs red lights claiming, “Those rules don’t apply to me.”  If there are pedestrians in the street, he doesn’t brake for them shouting, “They are here illegally, and it is my job to protect the curbs.”

If Grandpa Joe is chosen, Jan wants to make sure all her friends get in the car quickly. Because Tiffany uses that fruity, herbal shampoo, and Grandpa Joe enjoys sniffing girl’s hair. And there was that incident last year when he tried to give Sheila that shoulder massage when they both happened to be over at the house.

If Grandpa Donald is chosen, Jan will hope he doesn’t find out that Aniellka is Nicaraguan and ask how her parents got into the country. He might even ask her for proof of citizenship. And hopefully, he won’t brag about how he built that wall on his property to keep the Honduran kids out of his yard.

If Grandpa Joe is chosen, the gang will bolt from the car because it was a long and frustrating trip, where the driver was confused and preoccupied from beginning to end. The worst part was when he aimlessly started singing along to a different song playing on the radio. Jan is concerned that Grandpa Joe won’t be able to find his way back home without some help after dropping the gang off. But he assures her that he can call his friend Kam, if he is no longer able to drive the car himself.

If Grandpa Donald is chosen, the girls will rush from the car because it was a fast and harrowing trip, featuring numerous traffic violations and several driving maneuvers the girls had never experienced before and never want to see again. The worst part is when he became upset with another driver and screamed some vulgarities out the window, some of which the girls will have to Google when they return home. Jan is concerned Grandpa Donald may stay and watch volleyball practice, shouting “Loser” when somebody misses a shot. 

Jan has a difficult choice to make. She wishes there was another way to get to volleyball practice, but there isn’t. She must choose one grandpa or the other.  Which one will it be?

Monday, September 7, 2020

Writing A Best-Selling Amish Romance

 It’s a Saturday morning in August, and I find myself sitting at a table surrounded by Amish people. What?  I’m having a book signing event at the Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market. It is a vast market with many table vendors outside and numerous stores inside that operate year-round. The place is a popular shopping destination for the local Amish population.

I am set up in a store that sells miscellaneous items, including a large selection of Amish books. Apparently, these books are very popular since there is a steady stream of Amish people browsing and buying these books, while the sales for my book “Turkey Terror At My Door!” that morning remain sparse. This is really starting to fizz me off! The Amish are outselling me!

I was impressed by the popularity of these books among the Amish. These

people must love to read. I guess they don’t watch much TV. I started to think about how I could sell my books to this hot market.

I could change my book titles to “Just Make Me Some Strudel”, “Will There Be Free Electricity?” and “Turkey Dinners At My Store!” but the content would still be too worldly for Amish tastes. They wouldn’t understand any of the cultural references, i.e., “what’s a computer password?” and “why is your underwear green?”.

When the crowd clears out for a moment, I skimmed through a few books to find out what the big attraction is. Most of these books are romance novels with the heroine perusing a love interest. Then I had an epiphany. I should write an Amish book! It doesn’t look that difficult, especially for such a skilled wordsmith as I. And may I remind you, I have authored three, that’s three, books. So, I soon started writing my first Amish book “The Yearn To Churn,” which I plan to release next year by Wilber Yoder Publishing, provided the wood chips arrive on time to power the printing press.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 3 of The “Yearn To Churn”:

Emma stood across the road and watched the wagons being loaded that morning. Suddenly, her eyes came upon a new worker. He was tall and rugged, as if his body had been chiseled out of a limestone quarry. His hair was long and flowing. His beard thick and healthy. Even from across the road, his eyes sparkled in the early light.

“Who is the new person?” Emma asked her friend Collette.

“That be Amos”, she replied. “He’s Levi’s cousin. He was workin’ at a farm up north, but he be workin’ down har for a bit”.

Emma wanted so much to meet Amos, so at the first chance at the community gathering that weekend, she slyly moved over to attract his attention.

“Hello. I’m Emma”, she gushed.

Amos just stared at her with those diamond-like eyes.

Emma, slightly flustered, tried to continue the conversation. “I hear your name is Amos?”

“Yar”, replied Amos.

“Do you like it here?” inquired Emma.

“Yar”, replied Amos.

Sensing Amos was a man of few words. Emma decided to take a chance. She was shy, one of the shyest girls in the village. But she was struck by this manly young lad from up north. So, she followed her inner voice.

“Maybe you could help me churn my butter sometime? I’m having problems finishing it off.”, she blurted out.

YARRR!, replied Amos

Emma took that last expression as a “Yes” since it had been uttered with so much emotion. And Emma did have the yearn to churn. She thought about Amos’ strong hands on hers, as they moved the churn up and down. Up, then down. Up, then down. Until the act produced the sweet, creamy butter. Emma’s daydreams would give her feelings like lying down in the fresh meadow at dawn, when it was heavily moistened by the dew.

She tried to hide her feelings from the other girls,but it was apparent to everyone something was going on.

“Emma! You missed another stitch! You’re not having thoughts about Amos, are you?” exclaimed Collette.

“Of course not!” stammered Emma, blushing brightly.

“Well, your face resembles an amaryllis! You’re not thinking about a-marry-llishing him, are ya? You shud pay more attention to yar quiltin’.”

All the other quiltin’ girls: Tee hee. Giggle, giggle. Tee hee hee!

While over in the male’s camp:

I hard that gurl Emma asked you ta churn? said Levi.

“Churrn!, barked Amos

“Churrnnn!!!, yelled Levi

All the other camp boys: Churn, churn, churn, churn! Churn, churn, churn, churn. Churnnnnnnnn!

Yes, Amos, although he had problems communicating it, had the yearn to churn.

Emma attempted to talk with Levi over the next several days, but all she could get from him was “Yar”. She pondered what might get Levi to join her in the barn to churn. Her yearn to churn was getting stronger.

But early Tuesday morning, she heard all the girls excited and giggling up a storm.

“What’s all the commotion?” she asked.

“Oh, Lovina is up in the barn with Amos. We think there are churning!”, squealed Greta.

Emma was so sad. It was as if a horse hoof had stomped on her heart. She was supposed to be churning with Amos, not Lovina. None of the girls liked Lovina. She was only too friendly with the boys and would churn with any of them on a moment's notice. When she walked, she would flick her foot to the side, giving the boys a glimpse of her thick, strong ankles. The type of ankles able to pull  a  plow through a dry field.  Some of the girls even thought Lovina rubbed butter on her face to give her that smooth, creamy complexion.

But no matter what the other girls thought of her, it was a fact that Lovina’s butter was the sweetest, creamiest butter in town and all the boys had the yearn to churn with her, and she was more than willing to oblige.

Emma ran to the meadow and cried. Today, the meadow seemed dry and dusty. Emma was so distressed; she was still sobbing that evening.

“Don’t you be all worried, you’ll win over Amos’ fancy eventually”, assured Collette.

“No, oh, no! It’s going to get much worse tomorrow”, cried Emma.

“How?” inquired Collette.

“They churned so much butter they ran out of milk!” explained Emma.

“Oh, no!” gasped Collette

“You just know that hussy Lovina is going to take Amos into that dairy barn and let him milk her cow, Miss Bessy. That cow has the biggest teats in the whole county.”, sobbed Emma.

“Miss Bessy has yar great teats. Thar biggun’s, yes they be ”, sighed Collette.

“Once Amos gets his hands on those teats …. I fear I’ve lost Amos for good”, said a dejected Emma. Her yearn to churn still burning.

“Do boys like big teats?” interrupted Sarah, Emma’s little sister.

“Let me explain something to you”, said Collette, pulling the young girl aside.

Meanwhile, things were much more uplifting in the boy’s cabin.

“Oh, so I heard yur did some churnin’ today, ya? asked Levi.

“Yar, churn, churn! grunted Amos.

“So, wot do yar do wit Lovina on Wednesday?” asked Levi.

Amos’s eyes widened. A huge smile covered his face.

“Yar, teats!  Yar, big teats!” crowed Amos.

The rest of the boys: Teats, teats, teats, teats …..

Watch for the sure to be Amish best seller, “The Yearn To Churn” in 2021!




Wednesday, July 22, 2020

When You And I Collide

There has been a whole lotta protestin’ going on, all over the country. Now I’m not getting into all those details about who is right and who is wrong. This is not about the subject of the protest; it’s about one method used to protest. The First Amendment guarantees the right of peaceful protest, and we can agree that there is something valid to complain about.

However, I don’t care if you are protesting in favor of the cause that means the absolute most to me, the issue that I support 110%, if you happen to block the road on which I am traveling, I will hate you. I will hate you so very, very, much. And I will despise your cause forever, and ever and ever. That’s right. If you delay me just five minutes, I will hate you forever. Really. Really, I will. Trust me. Hate you, hate you, and your cause – even a righteous one – forever.

Because I am a middle-aged guy and I am cranky already. And blocking the road throws me into a middle-aged cranky rage. I’ve got places to go and people to see, and I don’t know how much time I have left in my fading life to get there. So, I can’t be delayed by a bunch of idiotic youngsters, who have so much time to waste that they can stand in the middle of the road holding signs with witty, pithy sayings which I don’t even understand.


I do understand your right to protest, so go ahead and protest in the 85% of the earth’s land surface that is not covered in paved highway. By blocking the road, you are denying my trifecta of rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.

You are disrupting my Life

You are interfering with my Liberty of movement

And you are preventing me from pursuing Happiness

Trust me. I am not happy with this form of protest, not happy at all.

Oh, and by the way – I do bleepin’ own the road. Because I am middle-aged, I have paid taxes, big honkin’ taxes for many years. I can pay these taxes because I have a job, and I work. I own the freakin’ road because I paid for the freakin’ road, and I have a right to travel on that road. I am even licensed by the government to drive on my road. I got me a big honkin’ SUV, and I want to drive it without restrictions!  
I need the freedom to move this!


I know the concept of work may be foreign to you road-standers, since you apparently have nothing better to do than to congregate in the middle of the road with your signs, which no one in the cars is going to read, because they, like me, are so fizzed off at you for blocking their path.


Jaywalking is dangerous, but jaystanding is just outright stupid, and there should be laws against stupidity. Stupidity laws – a brilliant concept.


It should be legal for a driver to give anyone standing illegally in the road a warning. If the person then fails to move …. Well, then they can then post the pic of their t-shirt with the Goodyear tread mark on it to Instergram or that new Tic-Tac-Doe thing.

If you choose to stand on the road ahead of me, we will see what happens when your right to protest collides with my right of passage. I invite you to try – unless you’re fat …. cause I don’t want to dent my classy SUV.


And remember, ♬ even the best fall down sometimes – when you and I collide ♬*

“*” lyrics by Howie Day

Sunday, May 10, 2020

I Will Mock You With My Sock

I am wearing a sock on my face out in public.

Before now, it would be unconscionable for me even to imagine the circumstances that would lead to this bizarre behavior.

But it is true. I am repeatedly wearing a sock on my face out in public.

An outbreak of the bat-flu has infected the world, the culture, and our brains, resulting in the oddest of behaviors. Which, for me, consists of wearing a sock on my face out in public.

Of course, it is technically not influenza, but a coronavirus. However, I don’t want to waste my breath, in case I have the disease, on calling if some elongated, convoluted term.  So, I can name this malady in two syllables, can you do any better? Besides, most of the ailments we refer to as “the flu” are not really the flu, so it is the bat-flu to me.

Depending on your opinion, this is either just a cold germ, or everyone is going to die. Of course, this depends on if you believe everything you are being told. But no one really knows the truth, do they? Not even the experts. So, everything you read on both sides of this issue contains some truth, and some falsehoods and we poor saps are left to figure out which is which.  So, reality exists somewhere between the two extremes. Yes, it is a cold germ, but it is not the “common cold”. It is the most uncommon of colds. It is a bat-$h!+ crazy cold.

And it has driven us all batty. We are fearful and stressed. The disease has infected some people’s lungs, but it has infected everyone’s head. Then the government decided to lead us in a vast, real-life game of “Simon Says”. The government says do this …. the government says do this. Oh, you can’t do that … we didn’t say “The government says”.  By far, the most confusing part of the game involves wearing masks. With the experts/government saying that wearing masks are useless, then harmful, then possibly beneficial, to now, essential in protecting our species from extinction.

The current mandate sounds more like it came out of Leviticus than Simon Says. Ye shall wear a covering over thy nose or mouth, lest ye breathe in the plague, and then ye surely shall die.

I hadn’t obtained a mask up to that point, but I saw this interesting video on Facebook about how to make a mask out of a sock. My wife volunteered to do the conversion. When I gave her the sock to cut, she protested, saying it was supposed to be a new sock. Of course, I had pulled this orphan sock out of my sock drawer. Since it didn’t have a match, I considered this a win-win, being able to utilize an object that had no value. Besides that, what type of man has new socks laying around? I told her to cut away.

To my delight, it worked. Following those video instructions, produced a seemingly functional mask. There is only one issue. It smells. It smells like feet. I was expecting that a washed, clean sock from the sock drawer would smell ‘Downy fresh”. But my mask does not smell fresh at all. It smells like feet. And I never realized how bad my feet smell until now that I am wearing my old sock on my face. I assure you, I will never take off my shoes in the presence of others ever again, lest they surely die.

Now I realize this sock-mask is a farce. It won’t protect me from the bat-flu. It merely allows me to go out in public without receiving disdain from the pro-mask people. It gives the appearance that I care about elderly people and I don’t seek to them by spreading bat-flu germs like a mosquito-repentant fog machine.  However. it is a fake, a fa├žade. Very similar to drinking non-alcoholic beer or wearing clip-on ties. I appear to conform to society’s demands, but I’m
really not.  So, in effect, I am mocking you. I am wearing a useless sock on my face to conform to your requirements.

This is the ultimate version of acting cool and suave. Sticking a sock on my face has allowed me to mock the world.  I’m mocking due to my stocking!  It’s a mock-sock, people! It’s a mock-sock! And I could be underestimating its potential in blocking the virus. I mean, if that bat-flu germ comes close to the mask and gets a whiff of that foot odor, it very well may be repelled. It might even kill it! My sock-mask may be the ultimate solution to the crisis. Someone alert President Trump so he can spread the news! They just need to be able to duplicate my foot odor in the lab, which given my recent experience, may be challenging to do. Regardless of its potential, I do need to find some way to refresh this mask, lest ye be overcome by the rot of the foot fume, lest ye surely die.

The main reason I am wearing the sock-mask is as a courtesy to those people who remain frightened and believe everyone is going to die. Even though there is no law requiring a mask, I will consider the feelings of others. Just like I will refrain from farting when standing in line at the store. Even though there is no law against this, it is the neighborly thing to do. And I guess public farters could be charged with disturbing the peace or even assault with a deadly weapon. So, I will continue to wear my sock mask and not fart when I am out in public.

I just wish people would stop acting so bat-$h!+ crazy. My favorite take-out Chinese restaurant had to temporarily close because some people believe you can get the bat-flu from eating Chinese food. I assure you that is not the case, unless you order the sweet-and-sour bat, which may be how this whole thing started. 

But the strangest thing for me, the thing I will remember most about the bat-flu pandemic of 2020 is:

I am wearing a sock on my face out in public – even if it smells like feet.

My first attempt when I heard about the mask requirement 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Toilet Paper Therapy

If the current world situation wasn’t stressful enough, I am now dealing with a severe personal problem. I am constipated. But not just mildly constipated. No, I’m backed up like the L.A. freeway at rush hour with a three-car pile-up in the middle-lane. But I am not producing any pile-ups, no matter how often I try or how much force I apply. It is a biological log jam.

This predicament is not caused by a change in diet. My diet has adequate fiber, and I am drinking plenty of water. I even take something called Izo-Flush at bedtime, which is intended to provide some productive flushes the next morning. And yet, my bowels could get a job as a guard at Buckingham Palace because they ain’t moving.

I blame my constipation on the coronavirus. Now don’t worry, I don’t have the virus. That’s not even a symptom of the sickness. But the virus is definitely to blame. That’s because our calm, rational response to the calm, rational news reports that everyone, everywhere is going to die, was to rush to the store like a swarm of locusts and buy every roll of toilet paper in existence. And this would have been a splendid move if the virus needed a steady source of toilet paper to survive, but sadly this is not the case.

However, we do need to wipe this virus out, and now we have the resources to do so. We may ultimately die from this, but we will die with magnificently clean anuses.

“Did you know that Carl died due to the virus?”

“Yes, but I heard they didn’t even have to change his underwear for the funeral!”

This mass hoarding of toilet paper would have made sense if this virus gave you the hickory-sh!tz, but it does not. However, this weird fad was reported every day on the news. And it caused toilet paper panic and mass stockouts as a result. Photos and videos of empty shelves were everywhere.

And thus, this caused my constipation problem. You see, while my rational mind saw this toilet paper craziness as stupid and funny, my irrational mind started to panic and became alarmed. It was tricked into thinking I had no toilet paper and no means to get any. So, it sprang into action to protect me.  It came up with a plan to reduce my personal need for toilet paper. My brain sent a message down to my colon to shut down throughput, just like the car factories shut down their production lines due to the virus. And my sphincter has been placed on lockdown, just like many businesses. There is no production; there is no activity; everything has been put on hold.

Now don’t worry, the Ake household has plenty of toilet paper. It’s 3-ply and high quality, which I need due to my hemorrhoidal conditions. My wife was able to buy two large packages, which is equivalent to more than a 17-week supply. I believe this is a reasonable amount. The problem is, the person who bought a three-year supply also thinks this is a reasonable amount. And yet with this
abundant supply, my tissue is just sitting there, waiting on the roll, eagerly anticipating jumping into action – but no, again, there was no need for it today. Maybe tomorrow will be a browner day.

I’m getting desperate, so I am trying TP-therapy, where me and the TP create positive interactions in hopes my irrational mind will finally realize there is no danger present. Resulting in my colon unlocking my sphincter and unleashing what promises to be a huge event. After which, the remaining toilet paper inventory will be reduced to only a one-week supply.

The TP-therapy starts out with me holding and squeezing the package (ala Mr. Whipple), so my body becomes comfortable being around and trusting the paper. 

Now Don, tell the toilet paper how much you appreciate the rolls being here for you and what a good job it does, making you feel all clean and fresh.

And TP, tell Don that you desire to finish the job and how hurt you are about the lack of attention you’ve received the last few days.

The purpose of the therapy is to bring the subject and the TP closer emotionally so they can work together to complete the task in a satisfying, wonderful way.  It’s a beautiful thing when it all works out.

But the constipation is not the only hardship I am facing. This social distancing thing is a real pain. However, this is not a new concept for me. Back in high school, the attractive, popular girls practiced social distancing from me for four years – treated me like I was a virus or something.  And now, I can’t even go into a restaurant and have someone make me a sammich. I can’t go to a networking function and scarf free appetizers. And they shut down my favorite cappuccino place. I have to drink cappuccino. I can’t live without it, so I am forced to brew cappuccino in my Keurig. Fortunately, the warehouse club had k-cups on sale, so I stocked up! Got me 3,000 k-cups stacked in the garage.                                              
I think that’s a reasonable amount, right?

The turkeys also wish my constipation will end soon. Because now that I am not, uh, indisposed, in the morning, I can chase them away from the squirrel food more frequently.  Hey, these are tough times for all of us, turkeys.

So I sit here, contemplating this difficult situation. Hoping, praying, that it ends soon. We just need to wait this whole thing out, and when it ends, get everything back to normal as quickly as possible. But man, this hard-plastic seat is really uncomfortable.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

I Demand the Constitutional Right to Wear Chinos

The big impeachment trial is ending, which featured lots of horrible behavior. It was all a big $h!+ - slinging contest, in which each side insisted that the other’s $h!+ smelled much worse than theirs. At the end, everyone ended up covered in $h!+ and nothing got done except that a bunch of our tax money got wasted, but we’re used to that.

While most of these political hi-jinks were boring and inconsequential, it was an opinion column written by a well-known commentator that pushed me over the edge. I am thoroughly and totally enraged! This guy is upset because one of the senators had the utter brazenness to wear chinos at the Friday wrap-up session. And not just any chinos, they were “cotton chinos”! They were made completely of cotton. Oh, the audacity! Oh, the depravity! Oh, the utter bastardization of our democracy.

Our republic is now in danger because of chinos. Chinos – that’s what this ultra-elitist hack is upset about. Not anything else about this sorry spectacle. Chinos – that’s what’s destroying this country. And this infuriates me. I will defend the right of all men, and even some women, to proudly sport chinos when the situation demands it. And this impeachment trial surely qualifies.

If I’m sitting listening to hours on end of mind-numbing, repetitious gunk, I need to be as comfortable as possible. I do not want my ever-expanding thighs to get chafed, and chinos won’t cause any abrasion because they are so soft and comfy. Besides, if I can’t shift around in my seat, my hemorrhoids are in danger of becoming inflamed. So chinos provide me the mobility I need and permits me to man-spread without rubbing certain body parts raw. Yes, I can spread it – spread it wide.

While those chinos guard my nether-regions, they defend the tenants of democracy as well. Because if you ask me to vote on a penalty for someone when my thighs are scraped and my hemorrhoids burning, I am likely to vote to have them executed, even if that is not an option and they belong to my own political party.  Yeah, what can prevent this? One word – Chinos. The soft, calming comfort of chinos!

This writer of course is probably some ivy-league geeker who around his gated suburban abode in $300 slacks, $150 loafers, and an exquisite cashmere sweater. He probably doesn’t even own a pair of chinos.  This goof-head is also upset because three other senators were chewing gum doing the proceedings. “Ooh, ooh, teacher, Joni’s chewing gum in class!” He’s mad about chewing gum and chinos? What type of freakazoid, geekazoid, are you? He is some Washington elitist who doesn’t understand Midwestern values, and, in my case, Midwestern thighs.

If chinos would have existed in colonial times, I’m sure the 11th amendment in the Bill of Rights would have given us all the right to wear chinos whenever we darn well wanted, even during congressional meetings. That’s what made the founder fathers great. They were willing to sit in long meetings in uncomfortable clothes to create this nation. They literally sacrificed their thighs for their country.

So, I will stand up for the God-given, constitutionally driven, right to don chinos whenever and wherever I choose. Give me liberty – to wear chinos – or give me death. I’m sure Patrick Henry would have backed me up on this if he had even gotten to experience the oh so great feeling of those chinos.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Much-Needed Sabbatical

I began writing Ake’s Pain in May 2011. I have posted over 249 essays which I have compiled into three books. (Book 3 expected release is March 2020).

And I need a break. Over the last year, sometimes I have become a little bored of my own writing. Which means, of course, maybe you too – well just a little.  So, I am taking a much-need sabbatical from the humor blog. I’m not sure how long it may last. If a topic suddenly appears that I just have to write about, I suppose I might post. Other than that, I’ll give my funny bone a well-deserved rest.

But writers gotta write, right?  So, I will be introducing a new blog: Deep, Heavy, Stuff. It will deal with the difficult issues in life from my perspective, sharing the wisdom I have gathered to this point in life. As Ake’s Pains helped you by bringing humor into your life and making you laugh, my goal for Deep, Heavy, Stuff is to help you deal with and figure out some of those tough, confusing issues of life. I want the blog to be as if we sitting at a booth having coffee talking about those issues you struggle with, but nobody talks about.  Just a deep, heavy discussion.

If you want to be included on the mailing list for this blog, please e-mail me at vefather@gmail.com

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Heading Off A Cat-astrophe

Here are my most enchanting memories of last year, which never made it into a blog post.  Now there could be hundreds of these moments.  However with my fading memory, I can only remember two.

The Cats Invade

We watched my daughter’s two cats, Dede and Buddy, while she prepared her house for sale. I liked having the cats in the house. I work from home and enjoyed their company – on most days.

Generally, they were not a distraction and stayed out of trouble. They are not bad cats; however, they are cats, nonetheless. Occasionally they would jump on my desk while I was working, but never at the same time. If I didn’t spend enough attention on him, Buddy would plop down on my computer keyboard. “Try typing now, you so-called industry expert!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
One day, Dede’s tail did 
Buddy helping me finish a report
suddenly appear on-screen during an internal video call, but otherwise, no big deal.

But Cats are a lot like women when it comes to logic. They are unpredictable and tend to do things for which there is no logical explanation randomly.

And You’re Live

Every couple of months, I get to be a guest on the Road Dog Trucking channel during Mark Willis’ show on SiriusXM radio as part of my work in the trucking industry. It is very enjoyable to be interviewed for an hour on national radio.

My session was just about to start when Buddy appears out of nowhere and jumps on the desk. I never thought about shutting the office door because it is mid-afternoon, and I have not seen the cats the entire day. Why he waited for just this moment to jump on the desk is one of those random cat actions.

This is distracting, but I can easily handle this. Buddy just wants his head scratched, and as long as he doesn’t hit the keyboard, which has a needed spreadsheet up, I am fine. I can quickly rub his ears and set him back on the floor.

“We go live in 10 seconds”, the radio producer tells me.

And then without warning, Dede also jumps up on the desk. Now I have a huge problem, a cat-astrophe waiting to happen. Never, ever, before that critical moment, have both cats been on my desk at the same time. Complicating things, although the cats live together, they don’t really like each other, they tolerate each other. But the one thing that really sets them off and usually leads to a literal catfight, is when one cat invades the other’s territory. 

For example, let’s say one cat has jumped up on a desk and the other cat decides to jump up on the desk too.

I am in full panic mode trying to manage these cats, knowing I am going live on national radio in a few seconds. I am supposed to be a trucking industry expert, but two seconds before going live on national radio, I am literally herding cats. I put my arm between the cats just as I hear Mark say:

“Our special guest today is Don Ake! How have you been?”

This was kind of a surreal experience in that I started talking to Mark, but my full attention was on the cats and the huge furry fight that could spill over into my lap any second. I was talking, but I really wasn’t aware of what I was saying. But I soon realized I had to refocus on the radio show before I said something stupid or unintelligible such as: “I believe the key issue in trucking today is the coughing up of hairballs on the road.”

Fortunately, the cats moved to opposite sides of the desk. Buddy was disappointed I wasn’t paying any attention to him and jumped off the far end of the desk. As soon as he left the room, I grabbed Dede and sat her on the floor. Cat crisis averted. Thousands of truckers were spared hearing a live catfight on the radio; such an awful distraction could have led to several dangerous accidents on the road.

As soon as I stopped hyper-ventilating, I went on the have a great show with Mark. All in a day’s work! Sometimes I just love working from home.

And the second one ....

Wait Your Turn, Old Lady, Wait Your Turn

I was standing in a long line, waiting to check out at a deep-discount store. There was only one line open since the back-up cashiers were busy stock shelves. Finally, the announcement was made over the loudspeaker that another cashier was needed.

Now, by that time, I was third in line. Which means I would be first in line when the second cashier was ready. The store layout makes it impractical for the second person in line to back up and move over to the new line. As I waited for the second cashier to get ready, I noticed the old lady behind me very subtly angling her cart towards the second register.

I know she was elderly because I had been standing in front of her for what now seemed like hours, hearing her rambling on about the cost of rugs and what a great deal she was getting on those in her cart. I casually glance back and notice her cart is full of merchandise, while I only have five items in my basket.

The second cashier turns her light on, looks directly at me, and says
“I will take the next person.”

With that, the old lady pushes fast and hard on her cart to be first in line at the second register. But she doesn’t move an inch. She now resets and pushes even harder the second time, but the result is the same. The cart doesn’t budge!

How could this be? Why isn’t her cart barreling toward the cashier at warp speed? Well, it appears that somebody, maybe a large middle-aged guy, perhaps with a shaved-head, had firmly, but subtlety grabbed the front of her cart, impeding her progress and thwarting her plan.

When she quit pushing the second time, I quickly slipped around her cart to the second cashier and set my products on the counter. The old woman was so stunned she never moved her cart, meaning not only wasn’t she first in the new line, she was in third place in the first one.

Then the bitchin’ started about the mean man who had grabbed her cart. The cashier glanced up at me and said softly, “But you were next in line.”
I double finger-gunned her and replied, “And that’s why you're ringing me up now, darlin’.”

I had to walk past the old woman as I left the store, and she again started bitchin’ at me. Now, who do think possesses the bigger month? Get that weak stuff out of here, old woman. Either bring it strong or don’t bring it at all. It was her second big mistake of the day but probably made a good story at the bridge club.

I know I could have just left her cut in line, but it is the principle that counts. And perhaps I provided a public service, teaching her the lesson of taking your proper turn. Maybe next time she won’t rudely shove her cart in front of someone. Alright, so we all know that’s not going to happen, but at least I tried.