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!

Monday, December 27, 2021

The Worst Christmas Party Ever

I lead a local card-playing group but we couldn’t play for over a year due to the virus. When we reassembled, we lost some people, including the group founder, so I stepped in.

It’s not a difficult job. I post the game nights on Facebook and am responsible for bringing the cards and accessories to the restaurant where we play. I also make sure we treat the staff with respect and that no one grabs the waitress’s @$$.

But Don, isn’t that like assigning the fox to guard the hen house? Well, maybe. But the one time it may have happened, I’m still claiming she backed up into my hand – and there was no squeeze. There is no video of this alleged infraction, so everybody just chill.

However, pre-pandemic, one of the things the group immensely enjoyed was a Christmas party. As leader, I was expected to plan this gala event. But I am not a party planner - not one of my skills. First of all, I don’t have the legs for it. Most party planners are vivacious, energetic females. They run around tirelessly, making sure everything is perfect, which typically gives them great legs. On the other hand, I prefer to sit a lot and enjoy the party, while someone else does all the flittering. This not only doesn’t provide me with shapely legs, it enlarges my @$$.

I’m not a party planner, so I came up with a simple but brilliant plan. We would meet an hour early at the restaurant, eat dinner together and then play cards. This plan was judged to be totally unacceptable by almost all group members. The last Christmas party was an elaborate event at the former leader’s house and was greatly enjoyed by all.

“Why can’t we have the party at your house, Don?” they asked with faces resembling expectant children on Christmas Eve.

This was a non-starter. My wife would never agree to this because she knows she would be doing all the work while I sat on my @$$. I wasn’t even going to ask her because it’s one of those questions that after you receive the obvious “NO” – you pay for it dearly, as your wife is upset with you for at least a  week. (“Gee, all I did was ask a simple question” – husbands, do you hear me?)

The group members then attempted to plan a better party, at a better venue. Since I’m not a party planner and could continue to sit on my @ss, this was fine by me.

But they couldn’t come up with a better plan than mine. Time was running out, so I announced my initial plan would prevail. I felt rather smug that we were going with the plan I had developed. Maybe I am a good party planner! Perhaps just sitting on your @$$ has some benefits. Perhaps I should shave my legs -- well, no. Yes, I was a man with a plan, and I could not be stopped!

We had a plan, but now people wanted to know if we would be having our traditional “White Elephant” gift exchange. I protested, arguing that this is 2021 and appropriating another race onto an elephant of color is racist. But they persisted, so I agreed. 

Life of the Party?

“Well, what are the rules? What are the rules? !!!!!!!!!!” they demanded. They actually expected me to quote the rules on the spot.

I’m sure party planners know all the white elephant rules. But I’m not a party planner. And my butt cheeks held their position firmly, as I suggested someone consult the Internet  

The day of the big, festive party finally arrived. When I got to the restaurant, I was in the holiday spirit, but that didn’t last long. About ten minutes before, the cook had left. Just up and left for no reason. No warning, just gone. My excellent master plan was suddenly in shambles.

Now I have 14 hungry people staring at me, the party planner, looking for some crisis leadership. I imagine them saying:

“We are so hungry, Master Don. Perhaps they have some gruel back in the kitchen that we might eat so we don’t starve at your awful Christmas Party.”

I have a problem handling crises. My blood pressure spikes, and it shuts down my brain. Fortunately, some group members jumped right in. We ordered food from a local pizza joint. One woman was a former waitress and took all the orders, and we sent Carlos to pick up the food. Oh, I know what you’re thinking --- No, we did not send a Mexican immigrant to pick up our food. That would be wrong. Carlos happens to be a Brazilian businessman.

The food was good. The white elephant gift game went well, and we also enjoyed homemade desserts. However, it was still the worst Christmas party ever. I, of course, blame it on poor planning. Did I mention that I’m not a party planner?

And the cook magically returned after his “two-hour break” still with no explanation, after we no longer needed him. He’s fortunate that it is the holiday season, because, in the spirit of Christmas, I did not go into the kitchen and kick him square in the oompa loompas, even though I wanted to. I so wanted to. And even though I’m not a party planner, I still have the legs for that.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A Presidential Fart Worth Talking About

Last week's news included a Presidential fart at the climate conference in Europe. And I am not using presidential as an adjective. Apparently, President Joe broke wind during a break in the talks. (This really happened)

And there was no leak … Okay, there was a leak, but not a news leak. He unloaded while he was talking to Camilla Parker Bowles, otherwise known as the Duchess of Cornwall. And we have it straight from the horse’s mouth, which in Camilla’s case is more literal than it should be, that old Joe released a fart described as “It was long and loud and impossible to ignore.” Reportedly, the fart was so prestigious that Camilla hasn’t stopped talking about it.

She talked about it so much, it is now known as “the fart heard round the world”. It is a major social faux pas to fart in the presence of royals. The Brits consider her a Duchess and a lady, and in the words of Helen Reddy, “That ain’t no way to treat a lady, no way …”. So far, the royal family has not raised a stink about it because although the fart was long and loud, it was not pungent.

In President Joe’s defense, he may just have been reminding the Duchess that we won the Revolutionary War and was displaying our country’s continuing dominance. Or maybe he was just showing respect by offering the royal a blast of his trumpet. And there is a chance that the whole incident was overblown because Camilla, a royal, has not been exposed to any farts because reportedly, the royal family is so pristine that they never fart. 

On the other hand, there are rumors that Joe’s Secret Service code name is “Fart Face”. And it seems that the agents at his rear, stand a full three feet further back, four if downwind, than they did with previous presidents.

Regardless, this is not a good look for our leader. You are at a world climate conference, and you decide to emit a greenhouse gas into the environment, the local environment. The people there are all concerned about cow farts, and you fart like a cow.

Furthermore, President Joe has worked to restrict gas production in this country, yet he has no problem cutting the cheese himself. Joe has closed some pipelines, but his pipeline remains fully functional, and active.

Some people have criticized President Joe for being unable to control inflation, the border, COVID, etc. And now we learn he can’t control his sphincter either.

President Joe’s biggest mistake was letting loose in front of a woman, a woman who just can’t deal with farts. If he had emitted when he was talking with a guy, any guy from any country, the universal guy response would have been to crack a goofy grin, and laugh extensively like Beavis and Butthead. Yes ladies, that is what we males do in that situation. We don’t go on talking about it so that it makes the news.

We Americans may be embarrassed about it, but we have no recourse. We elected an old man as president, and now we must endure old man problems, as unpleasant as they may be. Camilla is the Duchess of Cornwall and now she has been exposed to our version of the Great Cornholio.

But Joe, c’mon man! Next time you are with Camilla Parker Bowles -- Joey Park-Yer Bowels!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Robbing For Dollars

Recently residents were all up in arms when a Dollar Store (I will use this term to describe all stores with “Dollar” in their name) wanted to open in their small, quaint, rural township. Their concerns included: a loss of green space, an increase in traffic, big trucks delivering fresh produce, and the potential for more crime.

Now I don’t know the situation, but these concerns sound a bit contrived. This community is basically all green space. There is green space everywhere. So, yes, you would have less green space, but you have plenty to spare. There would be marginally more traffic. Most likely, people would stop at the store on their way to somewhere else. It is unlikely that people would converge upon the store in droves since Dollar Stores don’t have sales; that’s the point of having low prices all the time. And oh, the horror of having fresh produce readily available in your town! Yeah, and refrigerated trucks come in all sizes now.

But the most ridiculous argument is “potential for increased crime”. Now, it is true that Dollar Stores are popular targets for robbers in urban areas. But I doubt that hooligans from the city will drive by the ten dollar stores closest to them to rob this store. And it is doubtful that having a dollar store in town will turn young Timmy into a criminal.

“I had heard about people robbing Dollar Stores. Then one opened up in our village across from my house. It was so tempting that I just had to rob it. I had to!”

Now it’s well known that Dollar Stores get robbed a lot, and we chuckle when we hear this news because we think it’s stupid to steal from a place that sells stuff for just a dollar, or in some cases, a few dollars. How much money could you steal? But upon further examination, it makes sense. Just as Willie Sutton robbed banks “Because that’s where the money is” --. thieves hit the dollar store because that’s where the dollars are.  In the days of debit cards and phone pay, Dollar Stores and convenience stores are the typical places where many people still pay in cash. I mean, the place is called the Dollar Store. If you’re looking for dollars, it’s the place to rob. 

Still, if would significantly improve things if schools taught a class in real-life skills. It could include a section on “Why Robbing the Dollar Store is a Dumb Idea”. Other subjects could consist of “Obeying the Police After Getting Arrested”, “Why Opiates are Bad For You” and “How Many Baby-Mommas/Baby-Daddies are Too Many?”.

But the robbers are not the only dimwits in this story. What about the corporations who own the stores? These places have been getting robbed forever, yet the suits have not instituted enough security measures to deter the thefts. It puts their employees at risk and corrupts innocent youths like young Timmy into a life of crime. Personally, I would have put massive casings over the security cameras to make them look like 1950s television cameras so that the densest robber would know he’s on camera. And there must be a way to manage the cash so only a small amount is available for pilferage. 

Your stores are just sitting there saying, “we gots lots of dollars, please rob us!” Maybe, they have made great strides in security. I don’t notice the security features when I’m shopping in a Dollar Store because I’m not planning on robbing the place. And friends, when you shop there, please use your debit card. You will be doing your part to reduce theft or at least reduce the robbers’ take.

The Dollar Store needs to increase security because they will soon be taking in way more dollars. Because of rising costs, one Dollar Store that sold only items costing $1 is raising prices on some things from $1.25 to $1.50. A $1.50! A $1.50!

Question: How do you know inflation is too high?

Answer: When things at the Dollar Store cost $1.50

I doubt if this particular Dollar Store will change the store sign to “Dollar-Fifty Cent Store” Maybe they could ease the pain by hiring the rapper “50 Cent” as a spokesperson. Hey, we’re adding 50 Cent to our Dollar Store”.

But alas, the village does not have to worry about the blight of having one of those awful Dollar Stores in their community since under pressure, the trustees rejected a zoning request needed for construction.

Hurray! Now you can enjoy all that extra green space, traffic keeps flowing smoothly, and you can continue to munch on moldy carrots and brown lettuce.

And the community can rest easy now because a new crime wave is not imminent. Of course, the last armed robbery in the village involved a Colt 45 and a horse.




Tuesday, September 21, 2021

WOW! – These Chips Were Nasty

A blast from the past …

Literally, a blast from the past ….

The year was 1998, and I was so excited when Frito-Lay introduced a new brand of fat-free potato chips called “WOW!”. The chips were made with a revolutionary new “fake-fat” called Olestra.

I just love potato chips. Of course, that means I eat too much of them, and because they are deep-fried in cooking oil, they contain lots of fat and are bad for you. I was enthralled at the possibility of eating potato chips which were “healthy” because they contained no fat – no fat at all - and promised to taste

like regular chips.


The only possible drawback is that Olestra could cause gastric issues in some people. So much so, that the package was required to have a warning on the label that read:

"This Product Contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K have been added.”

Now, this did concern me since my secret code word for that bodily function when I was a kid was “wow”, in the sense of “Mom, I have to go wow.” I don’t know if I remember that because my mom later told me, or it stuck in my brain in some Freudian way.

But the opportunity to enjoy fat-free chips clearly overrode any concerns about side effects. As soon as WOW! chips hit the stores, I rushed out and bought two big bags.

Now you probably know how this ends up, uh. Okay, you probably know where this is going – uh, still not right. Okay, I may be an idiot, but I am not a total idiot. I knew there was a risk eating these chips. I only ate a few the first time; I ate some more the next time. I think I consumed the first bag in five portions, and except for a very slight reaction after the second helping, everything was great. These chips tasted tremendous and were fat-free! WOW! I say, just WOW!

Now that Friday night, the Boston Celtics were playing a big game, so I grabbed a bag of chips, plopped down on the couch, and turned on the TV as I normally would. I didn’t even realize I was eating the WOW! chips. I guess I just considered them to be regular chips, just like any other. It was an exciting game, and sometimes I snack more when I get nervous.  

During the fourth quarter, I noticed I had eaten almost the whole bag. I then realized these were indeed WOW! chips and immediately, I became worried. I mean, they look like real chips and they taste like real chips. How was I to know?

I reasoned that if the chips had not caused a problem in small quantities, I would be fine consuming them in larger quantities. Nothing to worry about here!

However, Saturday morning, I awoke with intense abdominal cramping, feeling like my intestines contained a bomb ready to discharge. It was not so much explosive diarrhea as it was nuclear diarrhea. I held on to the  commode as one grips the bars on a thrilling roller coaster, lest I get propelled up through the ceiling. It’s like the experience of cleansing before a colonoscopy, only much more intense.

Loose stools? There were no stools, not even close. And, loose? Loose as  water is loose at Niagara Falls. Loose as air is loose in the atmosphere. Loose as Dolores Rogers was in high school.

After the explosion, I was glad to be alive. But due to my love of potato chips and my overflowing optimism, I still believed the WOW! chips had potential.

I ’m glad that’s finished. Maybe I can still eat these chips in small quantities”, I reasoned.

And I did think it was finished, that the Olestra had been purged from my system, and I could resume normal activities. But I was wrong, as they say on those cheesy television commercials:


A few hours later, I had a second explosion. Not nearly as intense as before, but uncomfortable. Then a couple of hours later, another, and another. This continued through Sunday, and I really hoped it would stop before I returned to the office on Monday.

But Monday, the blasting continued. Unfortunately, my office was on the second floor, and the bathroom was on the first floor (they circumvented the building code when they built the second-floor offices). I didn’t want any of my co-workers to know about my embarrassing problem, so I would casually walk all the way down the hall but then run like mad down the stairs before rushing into the restroom for still another explosion.

This pattern continued for a couple of days, and I thought I had been successful at concealing my problem, until one day when I was headed downstairs, the department receptionist stopped me and asked:

“Don, are you feeling okay?”

“I’m fine (of course I lied), I said. “Why do you ask?”

“Because you’re green”, she replied.

“Really?” I protested, still trying to fake it.

There were two other women present in the conversation, and all three nodded their heads in agreement. Busted - so busted. So, I explained to the ladies how I had managed to turn green. Massive giggling ensued.

Immediately, I went into the restroom and examined myself in the mirror. And the ladies were correct. I was green. Not like the Hulk or the Green Giant, but I was greener than just around the gills. And as Kermit The Frog once said: It ain’t easy being green.

The discussion with my co-workers served as an intervention. Looking at my greenish reflection convinced me I needed medical help. I explained what had happened to my doctor, hoping to get a kind, empathetic response, kind of like Doc on Gunsmoke when Festus had accidentally shot himself in the foot. Or at least Marcus Welby. But I have never upset a doctor more in my life:


I started to answer. I wanted to explain how I loved potato chips and these were fat-free, and then there was this basketball game …. But I didn’t realize the doctor’s question was rhetorical.


I felt like a three-year-old who had got caught eating dirt. When he calmed down, the doctor explained that my body was attempting to expel every molecule of this foreign substance from my body.

But then, this totally bizarre predicament got even weirder. “Now, we need to blow out your colon,” the doctor said. I stared at him in disbelief, thinking I might have to eat that Colon Blow cereal from the Saturday Night Live skit.

I want you only to eat foods that give you the shitz” (I assume that “blow out your colon” and “shitz” are professional medical terms), the doctor continued. “What foods give you the shitz?”

“Sauerkraut and bean soup”, I replied.

So, his remedy for me having the shitz, was to give me more of the shitz.  I thought it sounded stupid. Maybe he was just punishing me more for ingesting “non-food”. But he does have a medical degree, and that was the only cure he offered.

And believe it or not, it worked! We did have to fumigate the house, and fortunately, they never quite figured out what died in the bathroom at work. But one of the saddest days of my life was when I had to throw away what remained of that second bag of chips into the trash.

In Wikipedia, it said sales of WOW! chips dropped after introduction because:

Olestra caused "abdominal cramping, diarrhea, fecal incontinence ["anal leakage"], and other gastrointestinal symptoms" in some customers.

Yes, no matter the context, the term “anal leakage” is never a good thing. However, Olestra remained an ingredient in some “light” chips until 2016.

And I pledge that everything, including the “medical terminology”, in this post is true, just the way it happened. In other words, it is the straight poop.





Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Do Not Criticize My Boomer Shoes

Recently I succumbed to some clickbait on one of those articles about “20 Stupid Things Boomers Still Do But Shouldn’t”. Of course, it is written by a Millennial chick who apparently doesn’t have anything better to do than make fun of people of a certain age.

It’s kind of quaint when you think about it. You see, most Millennials are stupid. Well, maybe not stupid as much as ill-educated. That’s because we Boomers decided we would like to spend all the tax money on fancy new sports stadiums instead of boring old schools. So, you sat in wretched buildings receiving substandard education from woefully underpaid teachers so that we could sit our hineys in comfy club seats, with cup holders, at the big game.

Your college education was also inferior because they had to lower the standards for all sorts of silly reasons. The most amusing part is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and you know less, even with the Internet, than boomers did at your age. Oh, and by the way, we used your Social Security contributions to buy lots of stuff. What stuff? I forget, but we blew it all on stuff. So, you will remain ignorant and will be paying for all our stuff, long after the last Boomer is laid to rest. But it’s not that articles written by Millennials making fun of Boomers irritate me in any way.

But back to the article. It included the standard items as having a landline, mailing payments, etc. However, this article did list some new stuff, such as “Boomers Still Carry Briefcases”. I already was aware of this one. At my last office job (I now work at home) eight years ago, I noticed I was the only person in the company who carried a briefcase. The younger guys carried backpacks, and the older guys didn’t need to because their heads were empty, and their briefcases would have been also.

But my briefcase was essential to me. It contained my newspaper, whoops another Boomer oddity, and other necessary objects. Okay, let’s face it, it was my man-purse. But it was large, leather and macho. And ironically, I did keep a spare pair of actual briefs in my briefcase. Because, men of a certain age sometimes experience unexpected occurrences, necessitating a change in, a change in, - a change in plans.

Also, a briefcase has many different functions. For example, the office supply usage at that last in-office job I had, unexpectedly skyrocketed the last few weeks I worked there.

Accountant: Why did the office supply costs quadruple in October but return to normal in November?

Office Manager: I have no idea.

Officially, I have no idea either. All I know is that they shouldn’t have tried to cheat me out of some unused vacation days. Oh, and if anyone needs some pens, message me.

Yes, the article was amusing until I got to #14 – Boomers Still Wear New Balance shoes. Now they had crossed the line. Now they had raised my ire. And even if it is now more challenging to raise other things, I can still erect some pretty impressive ire. This one struck a nerve because I had just purchased a spiffy new pair of shiny, white New Balance 608s the previous week.

The writer’s first criticism of New Balance is that they are not stylish. No, they are not, nor do they have to be. Back in high school, I had to wear my white Converse high-tops year-round. I needed high-tops for basketball, and my parents insisted I get my total value out of them.  

When you’ve look hideous wearing high-tops in the sweltering summer heat, you do not consider athletic shoes a fashion item. And give us Boomers credit for not falling for the scam of paying $150 for Air Jerkins that cost under $20 to produce by using slave labor in Southeast Asia. I attribute that back to our superior Boomer education. Oh, and by the way, New Balance is lauded for its ethical labor practices and is the only major manufacturer to produce some of its shoes in the U.S.A.

Boomers don’t want to make a fashion statement with our athletic shoes. We certainly don’t want to wear some of the new hideous, over-priced, cheaply-made crap that may be popular today. We prefer that others don’t even notice our casual shoes.

The second criticism of New Balance is that the shoes are “clunky”. And yes, yes, they are! They are designed to be clunky, extremely clunky. Now, I know this is a horrible feature for a Millennial. If you want to walk fast or even run, clunky shoes will slow you down. But Boomers are no longer in a hurry to get anywhere. In the words of Mumford & Sons, “I walk slow”.

New Balance shoes are heavier because the Boomers wearing them are dealing with: bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs. I realize you youngin’s don’t know what these are, but you will. Trust me, you will. And the extra padding and bulk of the New Balance shoes provide comfort to these aging dogs.

You see, New Balance shoes are made for Baby Boomers and marketed to Baby Boomers. It’s called target marketing, and you may have learned about this in college if you actually went to class that day.

Oh, and one final thing, did you catch the name “New Balance”? The other reason the shoes are heavier is that older people have balance issues and sturdier shoes provide more stability. They couldn’t really call them “Old Balance”, so they went with New Balance. It’s marketing brilliance!

So, you go ahead, Millennials, buy your fancy, flimsy, over-priced footwear. But for my Boomer crew, we will remain upright and comfortable in our New Balance shoes!

Cue A-Key and the Sunset Band!

Squirrels to be with you is my favorite thing, oh yeah

I can’t wait to stroll in the park again, yeah, yeah

I want to put on my my my my my

Boomer shoes

Just to boomer with you, yeah

I want to put on my my my my my

Boomer shoes

Just to boomer with you, uh huh



Tuesday, August 10, 2021

I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes

 I don't like spiders and snakes

And that ain't what it takes to love me”*

I grew up a city kid – paved streets with drains, sidewalks, streetlights, municipal water. It was quite an adjustment for me to move to the rural suburbs twenty-some years ago. Fortunately, my wife grew up in an area very similar to our current abode and has guided me over the years.

For example, the first weekend in the country, I heard a strange howling coming from behind our property. I summoned her and asked:

“What type of animal is doing that?”

She got a bizarre look on her face and replied, “That isn’t an animal.”

And she was correct. This was our first encounter with our backdoor neighbor, who would howl at the moon, do fire dances, and claim aliens had abducted him. I wish I were making this up – but I’m not. Fortunately, he moved, or was abducted for real, two years ago.

And if you remember, my wife had to identify the first wild turkey to show up on our property for me. I though it was just a big, hairy pheasant.

Over the years, this city boy has become accustomed to many critters showing

up on the property. However, I was still taken aback a couple of weeks ago when I encountered a five-foot snake near the walkway in front of the house. I quickly sent a photo to my wife because I would not be there when she arrived home and feared she might get attacked.

It turns out that it was just a garter snake, although a big one. My wife was not impressed by the photo and told me I had nothing to fear, that even if it bit me, it wasn’t poisonous, so no big deal. She seemed to want me to remove the snake, but I then reminded her of a past


Such A Small Creature

Around 15 years ago, I had finished my evening tasks and headed down to the family room to watch the baseball game. But then, I saw the dog standing at the deck door needing to go outside. I let the dog out and walked onto the deck barefooted.  I didn’t put on shoes because I didn’t know how long the dog had been waiting. Of course, after the dog finished his mission, he wanted to play. So, I threw the soccer ball off the deck and walked out onto the grass. I played with the dog for a short time and then jumped in my easy chair and turned on the game.

After a while, I felt an irritation on my toe. I wondered if I had stepped in something that was causing a rash. But then the discomfort grew in intensity, so much so that I went upstairs to examine my foot. I sat down in the bathroom and felt something stuck to the underside of my second toe. I pulled it off and saw a tiny spider scurry across the floor. Instinctively, I quickly smashed it, thinking that was the end of that, and returned downstairs.

The following morning, my toe and a small area of my foot were inflamed, and there were a few fluid blisters.  I was not that concerned since this spider was tiny, about 3/8” in diameter. How much damage could it do? However, I remembered reading that spider bites might require prompt treatment, so I called my doctor as soon as I arrived at work. I was able to snag the last appointment of the day for 4:45 p.m., but the receptionist asked me my current condition and then cautioned me that if the redness started spreading to my ankle, I should go to urgent care. Fine, but I did not expect to need any “urgent care” because it was such a tiny spider – how much damage could it do?

I checked my foot mid-morning, and nothing had changed. However, I went out to lunch, and during that hour, my condition deteriorated rapidly. First, the irritation greatly intensified. Then it felt as if my foot was on fire. I removed my shoe at some point because of the discomfort.

When I got back to the office and removed my sock, I was aghast at the sight. About half my foot was now bright red and covered with huge, seeping blisters. And the redness had now spread to the base of my ankle. I canceled my meetings for the afternoon and headed to urgent care. But still, I was not worried because it was such a tiny spider – how much damage could it do?

As I sat it the patient waiting room, I propped of my barefoot up on a chair. After a few minutes, a young, woman doctor, all perky and enthusiastic, bounded through the door.

“What can I help you with today?” she exclaimed.

I pointed to my foot.

(What happens next is what really happened. There is no exaggeration here at all)

After seeing the condition of my foot, she actually took a step backward, and with a horrified look on her face, stammers, “We, we, we can’t uh, uh, ha-handle that here. You need to get to the hospital emergency room now!

It’s hard to describe the psychological effect of having a medical doctor recoil and be repulsed by your physical ailment. You would have thought they would have been taught in med school to keep their composure no matter how gross the spectacle. I was now officially worried.

But, I actually didn’t go straight to the hospital. I stopped back at work near the hospital for a minute to send an important email or two. Then it was off to the emergency room and a second set of paperwork and some more waiting.

The hospital emergency room was set up with beds along the wall with curtains on each side of the bed to provide privacy. The area in front of the beds is open, allowing the doctors and nurses to move freely from patient to patient. I sat on the side of the bed, with my foot dangling over the front. Because I was sitting up and not in any obvious pain, several nurses stopped by and asked why I was there. When I showed them my foot, their facial expressions told me my condition was terrible, really terrible.

At that point, panic set in. I wondered if I was going to lose my foot. I imagined walking with a cane for the rest of my life. However, when the doctor arrived, things quickly improved. He was a relatively young physician from India. Now I know some people are nervous about foreign doctors. It doesn’t matter to me – either you are competent, or you’re not. And in this case, a physician from India was just what the doctor ordered.

He looked at my foot, and smiled broadly. “Looks like a little spider nibbled on ya,” he said calmly. As much fear as the previous doctor had created, this guy had immediately vanquished.

The Indian doc was not shocked by the condition of my foot at all. You see, when you have previously treated bites from cobras, tarantulas, pythons, and huge brown-widows, this itsy, bitsy spider bite is not impressive at all. And because he had seen far worse, he had treated far worse. He knew exactly what to do. Some potent antibiotics and prescription ointment, and my foot was completely healed in about three weeks.

So, I will not be challenging this huge garter snake and I won’t be walking near it barefooted either. Better to leave the big snakes in the grass alone.


‘* by Jim Stafford and David Bellamy


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

I Cry “Fowl” – But the turkeys are innocent

There have been lots of changes in the neighborhood over the past year. This impacts me since I work at home and am now middle-aged, which means change irritates me. I can remember years ago laughing at those old fogeys who would get riled up over any type of change. But I’m not laughing anymore.

The new neighbor behind me cut down the woods. The view is much different, but in some ways better. Possibly because of this, the turkeys only visited a few times last winter. But if you have read “Turkey Terror At My Door!,” you know the turkeys scarfed my birdseed, caused disturbances, and pooped on my deck. So, I don’t miss them much.

My next-door neighbor, the widow Cooper, was put in assisted living. We left on bad terms after the infamous “pin oak incident”. In 2018, I offered to contribute $700 of the cost of trimming her beloved tree. This resulted in a public shouting match, her calling the police, and referring to me as a son of a b!+ch.  Of course, last year, her sons had to pay the entire cost of trimming the tree before they put the house up for sale. I felt like dancing in my front yard, waving fists full of cash, as the branches came down – but I didn’t.

The new neighbors, R.J. and Chelsea, are fine people and haven’t referred to me as a son of a b!+ch or called the police about me. I know what you’re thinking … they don’t know me well enough yet … give it time. But that’s fine; it hasn’t happened so far, so there!

However, in the 26 years I lived beside the widow Cooper, she made virtually no noise. Unless, of course, she was screaming that I am a son of a b!+ch. My new neighbors have two boys and three dogs, which means they make a normal, expected, amount of noise. This summer, I am adapting to this new environment. Sometimes I often need to intensely concentrate when doing my job and now I have to deal with more disturbances.

And I’m sure I sometimes disturb them when I’m bellowing wisdom to customers and coworkers on my speakerphone. The difference is, that my neighbors are getting expert analyses about the economics of the trucking industry for free. That’s right – they are getting the stuff our clients pay thousands of dollars for, for nothing. So, they should consider themselves so lucky.

I’ve learned to work around the normal noise just fine. It doesn’t bother me.  However, there is one particular noise emitted from their property that greatly annoys me. They have chickens. The chickens cluck, and when they do, my concentration gets all clucked up. The chicken noise is agitating, not unlike when your wife is clucking about some inane subject during the critical part of the big game. It’s ironic that now that the turkeys are not an annoyance, I am dealing with a bunch of mother-cluckers. Fowl! I cry fowl!

Even though I never brought up the subject, Chelsea explained to me that Henrietta (all her chickens have names) was dealing with a sexual issue that caused her to cluck frequently and loudly. What am I supposed to do about this? Do I look like Dr. Phil? Okay, so maybe I do, but that’s beside the point. 

I do admit that when Henrietta is most agitated, I am tempted to walk over and say, “Henrietta, let’s talk about how you’re feeling right now and why, can we?” But, I have a better solution for the chicken clucks, lawnmowers, and other loud outside noises. I play “Deep Relaxation” CDs that allow me to concentrate on my work. One of the CDs even features “calming songbirds”, which means I am using good bird sounds to cancel out bad birds. And this allowed me to live in perfect harmony with the chickens, until ……

A couple of weeks ago, on a quiet afternoon, I took a break from work and glanced out the back window. I did a double-take because I didn’t believe my eyes. There were a bunch of chickens strutting around the back of my property. Those chickens had flown the coop and evidently desired to go free-range, mistakenly believing my yard constituted that freedom.

In a panic, I texted Chelsea. I hoped she was home because I did not want to have to chase the chickens around my yard like some kid at the carnival. I envisioned a YouTube viral video: “Fat, bald guy chasing chickens.”  Fortunately, Chelsea was in my backyard in seconds, approaching the chickens.

“Do you need any help?” I asked.

(Now, there was no way I wanted anything to do with this chicken capture. But I was trying to be a good neighbor. And the chickens were in my backyard, so I had to ask, still hoping she would say “No”.

“Maybe. I’m just caring for these chickens for a friend until their new coup is ready. But they don’t like me!” Chelsea explained.

(That’s just great! These chickens don’t like the person who is caring for and feeding them. They’re going to absolutely hate me)

Then to my horror, Chelsea reached down and scooped up a chicken. I started to shake, expecting her to shout, “Don’t just stand there! Grab a chicken.”

I quickly imagined myself in the hospital emergency room ….

Doctor: What wild animal did this much damage to you?

Me: It was chicken.

Doctor: What did you do to provoke such an attack?

Me: I grabbed it in the wrong place.

Doctor: What type of perverted idiot are you?

Fortunately, with the lead chicken in tow, the rest of the chickens dutifully followed Chelsea back to the coop. Crisis averted.

But life is just a bunch of trade-offs, children. Those extra chickens are now happy, and over-producing eggs, which resulted in R.J. delivering two dozen fresh eggs to my door the other day. Now that ol’ clucking doesn’t irritate me much at all! Henrietta, you rock! Because, I love eggs, and now I’ve got eggs!

Cue ZZ (Stove) Top

He’s got eggs, he knows how to fry them

They’re fresh eggs, he can’t wait to try them

He’s cooking eggs, wonder how to fix them

Would you do an omelet if you could not hard boil them?

They're my breakfast, they're my dinner

Yeah, they taste great, oh yeah



Monday, July 12, 2021

Hey! Ya Gotta A Mouse In Your Pocket?

A couple of months ago, the Internet blew up when a celebrity announced “they” had just identified as “non-binary”. Of course, I was so confused by this. Unless you are a computer programmer, we all use non-binary numbers in our everyday lives. It would be terrible to put 1000001 on a speed limit sign. It would be confusing, and you would need a larger sign. I mean, we are all non-binary, aren’t we?

Then somebody told me it had to do with sexuality. But I became more confused. Why would you have to declare yourself non-bi, when again, most people are non-bi. Then she explained that it meant the person was not identifying as a man or a woman, and their sexuality is fluid.

Now I still don’t get why you must publicly announce this decision. Can’t you let this sexuality flow all over the place in private? Apparently not, due to the requirement that you and the non-binary person both use a specific set of gender-neutral pronouns when communicating. These include “they, their, them, we, us, our … and others.

This makes it difficult for people with fading memory capacity, like me. For example, if I meet a guy named Ralph at a party, I will forget his name, unless of course, he happens to throw up later that evening. Likewise, I’ll forget Melanie’s name, unless she has huge …. Well, you know… I’m not ever going to be able to remember who is non-bi. I just can’t. And to learn when and how to use all those pronouns? I may as well try to learn Swahili.

I also dislike when people use plural pronouns when it should be singular. Back in high school, some total losers would try this maneuver to puff themselves up and appear bigger and more prominent than they were. For example:

“We don’t think that is a good idea.”


“That’s not our plan.”

To which we would always respond:

“We?” “Our?” - “What?” – “Do you have a mouse in your pocket?” 

So, I suspect these people might be trying to puff up their egos with all this plural pronoun stuff. They may think they are that important, but according to the Backstreet Boys, that’s not what makes you larger than life. – Or even plural in this case.

And what’s with the big “identification” craze anyways? Hey, if that’s the way it works, I’m identifying as “King of the World”! And if I do that, everyone must accept it, right?

Stupid Waif: Hey, you can’t cut to the front of the line!

Me: Of course I can; I’m identifying as the freakin’ King of the World!

Police Officer: Do you know how fast you were going?

Me: That’s so irrelevant because I identify as King of the World! Not get your @ss back in your cruiser cause I got places to go!

Uh, maybe I’ll give that a try. Won’t start with my wife, though.

But there is an easy solution to this problem. You don’t need to memorize all those pronouns. You only need one. Just one, covers it all. Because there is a long-term precedent here that most people are familiar with.

Yes, these trendy celebrities believe they invented non-binary, but they are sadly mistaken. Over 57 years ago, somebody was the original non-binary being.  On the Addams Family show, we were introduced to creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky, Cousin Itt. Itt’s body was completely covered in hair, and Itt’s voice was androgynous. Itt’s sexuality could be flowing all over the place on a daily basis, and you wouldn’t be able to tell - you can’t get more non-binary than that!       

So, if you identify as non-binary, I will consent to use all your plural pronouns on one condition: That you do indeed have a mouse in your pocket. And I do want to see the mouse. There is no honor system. I will need to see the actual mouse and, very importantly, that the mouse is indeed alive. Then, you can we, they, us, them all you want.

But if you do not have a mouse in your pocket, I will stand on the precedent created by the Addams Family and refer to you according to the precedent established by Cousin Itt. I will not call you cousin, unless you are truly my cousin, because that would imply you have some excess hair growth, which is fine on the days you are feeling masculine, but not so much the other times.

And be warned. If I am ever required to identify in this manner, I’m identifying as binary – with a penis - and a big one at that.



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Farting Tale – Don explains the world - #1

There once was a country called Mathmatica. The land was vast with many regions and many problems. In Mathmatica, the country’s problems were always represented by mathematical equations. The people then would select one mathematician whose job was to solve all the equations and make life better.

Life had been good in Mathmatica, but over time there were problems that the elected mathematicians were either unable or unwilling to solve. Unfortunately, if a problem was not solved now, it became much more complex the longer it persisted, and thus much harder to solve by future mathematicians.

The people of Mathmatica were getting annoyed and frustrated by the enormity of their problems and by the mathematician’s inability to solve them. A series of elected mathematicians had failed to find the answers and merely left the equations for the next guy to solve. While the problems could have initially been solved using algebra, now complex calculus was clearly needed. The current mathematician didn’t even make an effort on some of the equations, claiming they were too difficult to solve.

But it was time for the people to select a new mathematician. Many of the most respected mathematicians claimed they were the best choice but none of them gave many details on how they would go about solving the tough equations plaguing the country.

And then, to everyone’s surprise, Mr. Card spoke up, “I can solve every one of those equations,” he boasted. The established mathematicians and their followers derided him and called him a crazy fool. “Why you’re not even a mathematician!” they howled. “How are you ever going to solve the simple equations, let alone the most complex ones?”

It was true; Mr. Card was not a mathematician. He had never done any math; in fact, he was terrible at doing math. Yet, he insisted he alone could solve the problems. However, the math establishment completely disregarded him. “Does he think he can just wave a magic wand, and the answer appears?” jeered the current head mathematician.

However, many people were so discouraged and disgusted with the current situation, unbelievably, they selected Mr. Card as the new problem solver- in-chief.  The establishment mathematicians were stunned and enraged that the people had selected an amateur instead of one of them.

That didn’t bother Mr. Card. He confidently grabbed the chalk, marched up to the blackboard, and worked at solving the complex problems in Mathmatica . And incredibly, he began to have some success, which gave the people great hope. However, the established mathematicians harshly criticized how Mr. Card was going about solving the equations. “You can’t do it that way! It’s not mathematically correct,” they shouted. Mr. Card smugly replied, “I think I just did.”

Now life in the country would have been wonderful, except for one bizarre factor. When Mr. Card was at the board solving problems, he farted, and farted a lot. His critics began to complain loudly about the farts. Unfortunately, once Mr. Card realized this irritated his detractors, he began to fart with more frequency and intensity.

Mr. Card’s supporters attempted to defend his farting. “He needs to fart to solve the equations,” they claimed. Others said, “He just farts because that’s who he is. You just have to accept the farts as part of the process.”

But the farts kept coming until he was unleashing some of the most horrendous, hellacious expulsions that the people had ever smelled. Many people became sick, and some even fainted at the toxicity of Mr. Card's eruptions.

But his supporters learned to become impervious to the awful odor, or held their noses. And Mr. Card continued to work on solving the country’s most complex

But the turmoil caused by his frequent crepitation greatly divided the people. The people who focused on the farting and ignored the progress being made, viewed Mr. Card as an obnoxious, toxic force and demanded he be replaced. However, the people who ignored all the farting and looked only at the results, believed Mr. Card might be the most extraordinary person ever to have held the chalk at the blackboard.

Everything could have been fine if Mr. Card would have just stopped farting. But he loved to fart and didn’t care how noxious his emissions were. He loved bending over and unleashing atrocious missives at all his enemies. He even found a way to fart digitally, meaning his farts could be smelled across the country at all hours of the night.

It then was time to decide if Mr. Card would remain at the blackboard or if a new person would be assigned the chalk. The place smelled so awful due to Mr. Card’s farts that the people choose a new mathematician to stand at the blackboard. He was an old mathematician and could hardly hold the chalk. Most people conceded that the new guy had little chance of solving the country’s most difficult equations, but they were confident he would not fart, and if he ever did, it would smell wonderful.

So, the new guy’s team went in and fumigated the entire place because it smelled so bad after Mr. Card’s years of nasty farts. But then they erased his work on the blackboard …..





Tuesday, June 1, 2021

That '70s Music

Exploring the weirdness of the '70s would not be complete without discussing the music of that era. So gather round again, children – you adult children. Uncle Don has one more ol' story for ya.

Some of the best music ever, was recorded in the '70s. Unfortunately, some of the worst music ever was produced then also. To put it in more literary terms: 

It was the best of tunes, it was the worst of tunes …. 

Like '70s fashion, the origins of '70s music was rooted in the hippie movement and the hard drug use of the '60s. Those hippies could belt out some excellent tunes when they were high on mind-altering drugs, but they stopped producing hits when they stopped tripping. The classic example is the Beatles. Once the drugs wore off, they no longer could hear and play notes no regular person could imagine, and they quit seeing visions of endless fruit fields. The exception here are the members of the Rolling Stones, whose drug use didn't kill them and apparently never wore off, permitting them to be perpetually high, and perhaps live forever. 

Once the '70s began, all the decent rockers were burnt out, or still sleeping off their drug binges in communes. The airwaves were filled with what was called soft-rock, which is a lie, children! It wasn't rock at all. It was stuff designed to put you in a musical coma. It was a form of cultural anesthesia. It was a melodic morphine drip. 

And the prominent purveyors of this woeful sound were all phonies. There was a group called the Carpenters, but they didn't build nothing. There was Carol King, but she wasn't royalty. And the former Beatle, known as Paul, was reduced to singing silly love songs. The weirdest act was the Captain and Tennille. The dude wore a sailor's cap, but he wasn't the captain of anything. Maybe he did own a yacht, paid for by the huge profits from these horrible songs, including a "hit" about rodents having sex. And he didn't even sing; he just benefited off his wife's tremendous lungs – and legs. But children, I digress.  

So, there was this constant stream of pablum dripping out of stereo speakers, putting the children of the '70s into a deep sleep. No one was producing any energetic tunes at all.

Well, nature abhors a vacuum, children. Not like a Hoover, though.

But nature would learn to abhor the music of the '70s even more! 

Into this calm, boring, serene musical atmosphere, something called "disco" burst upon the scene, jolting people awake like a triple espresso on speed. Gloria Gaynor's "Never Can Say Goodbye" is credited as the first disco hit in 1974. Then the disco craze spread like a virus. 

Every aspiring musician was laying down that disco beat. Unfortunately, you didn't have to be talented; you just had to have energy – or speed. In fact, one of the most famous disco artists was not even a person, children; it was some sort of insect called a "Bee-Gee". This bug could sing tremendous three-part harmonies and, when you squeezed it, would sing in falsetto. 

Some of this music was the worst ever recorded in the history of mankind. I know you still hear some of these songs on the radio today. But remember, children, what you hear today is the very BEST of that era. The worst of the era was terrible, children - really, really terrible. The worst disco song ever was called "Disco Duck", and this insult to your auditory nerves actually made it to #1 on the charts. I believe the original studio tapes of most of the disco songs of the '70s are in a Jersey landfill, strategically buried on top of Jimmy Hoffa, because no one ever is going to dig them up. 

Now, if the music wasn't bad enough, children, when my generation, the children of the '70's, emerged from their soft-rock induced comas, they started dancing, and signing, and movin' to the groovin' in the worst way possible. It was called "disco dancing". 

It was like some evil force was controlling us: 

"Ahh, we made them dress stupidly. Now we make the dance stupidly – while wearing their stupid clothes! Oh, don't hurt yourselves boogying in those high platform shoes. Baawaaaah ha ha ha!"   

Unfortunately, the children of the '70s were exposed to so much disco music that it is deeply ingrained in our brains. If we hear any disco music, our bodies are programmed to respond. 

So children, if you see some boomer making weird gyrations in the street. Please check to see what music is blasting through his earphones. He's probably not even sick, but he just has night fever, night fever, and he knows how to show it. Likewise, I'm in favor of police granting waivers to any older speeders clocked going over 90 mph if KC and The Sunshine Band is blasting through the stereo. 

But this latent disco effect can be harmful. After we played "Shake Your Booty" at our last class reunion, we were visited by police because neighbors thought they had experienced an earthquake. I guess our bootees have grown a bit since the '70s. And I hope they never play "Get Up and Boogie" at any nursing home because the result would be tragic. 

However, the disco effect could also be used for good: 

"Doctor, we've lost him. There's no sign of a pulse." 

"Hit track 1, stat!"  

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive

"Doctor! He's alive! He's staying alive. It's a miracle." 

Well children, that concludes our look back at the crazy decade of the '70s. But you can be sure that '70s disco music will be heard until the last child of the '70s is laid to rest because we will: 

Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till we die 

'til we die 

whoaaaa, 'til we die.


(Still) Stayin' Alive 

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walker

When my are teeth in, I'm a talker

Bed pan cold but body warm

I've been breathin' in

Since I was born


And I'm all right, I'm okay

My vitals are just fine today

And I can stand my maladies

Cause I got Medicare Plan B


Whether you're a geezer

Or whether you're a sneezer

You're stayin' alive, stayin alive

Bones that are break'in and hand's that are shakin'


But we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive

Ah, ha, ha, ha stayin' alive, stayin' alive