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, February 22, 2021

Man-Plan Logic In Action

With all the trivial news stories such as vaccines, variants, and Mars landings, you may have overlooked that pertinent (actual) article about the Florida man who stole an engagement ring from one girlfriend and used it to propose to his other girlfriend.

You might want to laugh this off as just some guy being stupid, but I believe this unfortunate episode explains a lot about how male brains operate and the problems which result. But I do want to emphasize upfront: I am not condoning this man’s actions. I am merely attempting to explain them for the edification of all.

You see, Lance had a problem. He was dating Linda, and the relationship had progressed to a point where he was ready to commit to marriage. However, his resources were insufficient to buy Linda an engagement ring. And without that big, sparkly ring, his chances of sealing the deal, and of course scoring big-time that evening, were slim.

But Lance came up with a Man-Plan, featuring basic man-logic. Understand that man-logic is characterized by its simplicity and practicality. It’s not like that woman-logic, which is so complex, convoluted, and complicated, taking into account feelings and relationships and all those pesky “what-if” scenarios. Woman-logic is more complex that calculus or quantum physics, because those disciplines can be computer programmed, whereas woman-logic cannot.

The Plan

As Lance was getting ready to propose to Linda, he happened to be also romantically intertwined with Marla. Now I do realize this interjects some moral issues into the narrative. But my purpose is not to judge poor Lance. I mean, maybe he is a Mormon. Or perhaps, he was just conducting his own version of The Bachelor, starring himself as the main stud-star. And in this episode, he’s ready to present Linda the final rose. Anyway, remember, I’m not here to defend his actions. I’m just trying to explain them.

However, Marla possesses a critical attribute that Linda doesn’t have, and Lance desperately needs, a wedding band/engagement ring leftover from her previous marriage. So, Lance connives up a Man-Plan where he will stealthily remove the rings from Marla’s place and offer them to Linda in a marriage proposal. Now, I know this introduces another pesky moral issue, but I’m not here to condone his actions. I’m just trying to explain them.

The Male Brain

Again, you might want to dismiss this as a hare-brained scheme, but it is really a male-brained, Man-Plan. Men like to find new uses for old objects. Men like to fix things. Men do not want things just sitting around, serving no useful purpose. There is an entire power tool industry based on these concepts. And it is also the reason behind most duct-tape sales.

Lance saw this as an opportunity to put these rings to good use. I mean, they are just sitting there, right? They aren’t serving any useful purpose. Now I know that many of you will technically consider this theft, but in Lance’s male-brain, he is merely repurposing a dormant object that will bring joy to Linda, who he loves.

He also believes Marla will not be needing the rings soon. Cause, uh, her current boyfriend is going to abruptly dump her, and well, maybe she will never need the rings, being judged to be not “wedding-worthy” at this point. So, the man-logic here is: No one has to know, and no one will get hurt by this. And two people are going to benefit, including me.

(Right here is probably a good time to remind you: I’m not condoning his actions. I’m just explaining them.)

Emotional Objects

Now I know many of you of the female variety may be asking: How could that dork be so insensitive not to realize the emotional damage done to both women by this horrific action?

That’s an easy one. With one exception, men don’t attach any emotional value to objects. But women do. Women love knick-knacks and scatter them around the abode in excess. There are several industries based on the female attachment to stupid figurines. For men to emotionalize objects, there must be an accomplishment involved: the mounted fish, the Micky Mantle baseball, the bowling trophy.     

Tell me what that Precious Moments chick has ever accomplished? Nothing, I say, except for getting you to turn over valuable cash so that you can place her in every frickin’ room of the house. And I pity the fool who accidentally crashes her skull in when he leaps out of his chair with joy when the Packers score that last-second playoff win.

Deflect Defect

Lance’s plan to get hitched initially went off without a hitch. Linda enthusiastically accepted his proposal which included the offer of the $6,000 ring set. She was so enthralled, that she announced it on Facebook with a picture of that big ol’ ring. Marla was not so much enthralled, as enraged, when she visited Linda’s page after hearing Lance’s engagement, and recognized her jewelry.

One can only imagine her response in confronting poor Lance about the

situation. But I do know what Lance’s first statement was:

What were you doing on Marla’s Facebook page, to begin with?

This is because once a Man-Plan is developed, it is perfect in his mind. After all, the male-brain developed it using man-logic. Any failure of the plan is not because there were any faults in the logic; it is because someone, usually a female, interfered with its successful execution.

When a Man-Plan goes wrong, the male-brain will try to deflect all responsibility for the outcome:

We all know someone is responsible for this mess, and that person is not me, so it must be ___________(Fill in the blank).

Deflection is the natural male response to most all failures in life. Deflect, deflect, deflect. Men's ability to deflect things explains why there has never been a female goalie in the history of professional hockey.

The Conclusion

Both women severed their ties with Lance, and police issued an arrest warrant. But there is still one large unanswered question: How did poor Lance even know about the engagement ring and where it was kept? Maybe Marla had flashed the diamond at Lance, hoping she might entice him into a proposal. If that is in fact the case, Lance should hire Saul Goodman and claim entrapment.

And I hope Linda will reconsider. Look, Lance did choose you over Marla, didn’t he? You did win his heart. And Lance did come up with a Man-Plan to present you with the most beautiful ring he could find, even risking his freedom in the process. Are the means with which he obtained this rock all that important? But of course, I’m not defending his actions. I’m just explaining them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Your Check Is In Postal Purgatory

I was thrilled to get a holiday card in the mail on February 2. I thought maybe Groundhog Day cards were a new thing this year because of the plague, and was excited to receive one from a co-worker in Indiana. But when I ripped open the envelope, I saw this picture card featuring the woman’s family and cat. There was no picture of a groundhog anywhere. I was confused until I saw “Merry Christmas” at the top of the card.

The letter was postmarked December 18, which means it took only 46 days to get to me. I think postal service was probably speedier in 1863 when mass delivery began. At first, it was amusing when tardy Christmas cards began arriving in early January. Then they kept trickling in throughout the month. It did give me the chance to experience the spirit of Christmas joy for several additional weeks. 

“On the third week of Christmas, my plumber sent to me, a card with a festive green commode.” 

But now it has gone much too far. I stand here staring at this card. Am I expected to be able to relive last Christmas over and over again, seemingly forever? Ironically on Groundhog Day? I think not. 

These smiling faces and cute pets may have generated glad tidings at Christmas. But no more. 


The only consolation is the cat on the card is as fat as a groundhog. So maybe it is wishing me a Happy Cathog Day. If the cat sees its shadow, there is six more weeks of tuna. 

Postmaster- We have a problem!  

Now the problem is, the postal service is running a bit behind. Trying to delivery a huge surge in Christmas packages resulted in a huge backlog of other mail. Their response to the problem was not hiring more people or working more hours but: “Hey, just those on the pile over there”. And we know it is a pile, because what gets delivered on any given day is somewhat random. 

It’s like when Newman in that Seinfeld episode refused to deliver the mail. So, in December, the entire postal service went “Newman”. Okay, all of them except my friend Gary and the hot blonde who delivers my mail. (I always order more packages in the summer so she has to run up to my house in those cute blue postal shorts, but I digress). Yes, my carrier does an outstanding job! And I say

this because I don’t want to see my daily mail scattered across the road if she happens to read this.

But the big pile o’mail is causing big problems. My friend Stefanie mailed her mortgage payment on December 23 and had to explain to the bank why it hadn’t arrived four weeks later. These days saying “the check is in the mail” is akin to “you’re check has gone to hell,” or at least it’s stuck in purgatory.  

I thought all these late Christmas cards and people dealing with tardy payments was amusing until …..

And Then It Got Real

I was making an on-line purchase when my credit card was rejected. I tried three times, but it came back with a message, “Your credit card has expired.” I was furious because my card's expiration date is more than two years away. I immediately call the credit card people.

It’s after hours, so I get the call center. Which all I will say, is not located in these United States. The woman informs me that a company where I had used my card had a data breach, so they canceled my card and issued a new one.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me you did this. (snarly!)

Card Rep: Oh, we mailed a notice right away, Mr. Ake. And then we mailed you a new card a couple days after that. You should have gotten your new card more than a week ago.

Me: My mail service is late, and I never received any notice. And now I don’t have a credit card!

Card Rep: Oh! We berri, berri sorry Mr. Ake. Perhaps the mule died.

Me: What mule are you talking about?

Card Rep: In my village, it takes about five days for the mule to bring the mail. But when the mule dies, the mail is late. Then they must use the goat instead, and the goat is very slow. The goat takes nine days. How late is your mail?

Me: Over 40 days.

Card Rep: Oooooh Nooooo! All your animals have died! The Covid has killed them all. Blessings on your village, Mr. Ake.

Me: So, my new card is stuck in a big pile of mail at a postal center, and you can’t reactivate my old card. So, I’m screwed, right?

Card Rep: Oh, Mr. Ake, You are screwed. You are so screwed. You are berri, berri screwed. Hopefully, you get a new mule soon.

The Twilight Zone

Imagine a world where your checks are stuck in Hades and your new credit card is buried at the bottom of a huge pile of junk mail. And Newman is your mail carrier. This problem will persist until the mail pile is gone. But then maybe it starts all over again next December– better mail those holiday cards and packages early. Perhaps by July 4!

Fortunately, my card arrived about a week after my phone call. But it should be duly noted that it still took 17 days to arrive, or eight days longer than the village goat. However, the notice telling me my card is canceled is still somewhere in that pile. And this whole incident has been a large pile of, well, you know ……