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, April 20, 2021

I Don’t Play Dirty And I Don’t Sweat That Much

I was doing some spring cleaning when I found some relics from my past. Stuffed into the corner of the drawer were several pairs of wrist bands. Now I want to be clear, these are not fashion items or have any metrosexual implications, but are terrycloth sweatbands worn on the wrists to keep my hands free of sweat. 

In the ‘70s, these were a part of my standard basketball uniform, which included Converse high-tops, by the way. I would not go on the court without my sweatbands which I believed provided me with superhuman strength. When I wore my sweatbands, I felt just like Wonder Woman with her power bracelets - - without the heaving, prestigious breasts, of course. 

Way back, the guys in my church basketball league knew when they saw me wearing my wristbands and my headband, that I had indeed come to play. But I do want to say at this time: I was not a dirty player. I mean, this was church basketball, and thus, it is supposed to be played with a certain decorum, where you treat your opponents in a highly Christian manner. And to my best recollection, I upheld these sacred standards without fail.

However, my wife, even though she never saw me play basketball, would disagree. You see, she started attending this church later, and we would encounter someone new to her, and she would ask:

“How do you him? or “Do you know him?”

And my reply would be:

“We used to play basketball in the league. We don’t really get along.”

After about the fourth time this happened, my observant wife asked, “Why doesn’t anyone you played basketball with like you?

“I have no idea,” I proclaimed. “But I’m not a dirty player”.

Now back in the day, I may have thrown an elbow or two, but that was “old school” basketball. Nowadays, when a player gets a rebound, all those guys start slapping at the ball, sticking their fool heads right in there to pry it loose. I didn’t take kindly to dudes trying that with me. My elbows were merely a tool to help me retain possession of my rebound and they were used continuously throughout the game for that purpose. But I repeat: I was not a dirty player.

Likewise, when those little guys would try to run around me to steal a rebound, I would spot them in the periphery, and just when they thought they were by me, a subtle hip check would send them crashing into the wall behind the basket in the small gymnasium. But the wall was padded. They may have ended up stunned for a few seconds, but they didn’t break any bones. So, it was just basketball – that’s all it was – and I repeat, I was not a dirty player.

I find these new restrictive rules of the modern game, so distasteful and insulting. Everyone totally freaks out when a player throws an elbow – even if it doesn’t hit anybody!!!! Where is the fun and sport in that?

Oh! And these ridiculous flagrant fouls?  I don’t even understand what a flagrant foul is. Back in my day, if the guy didn’t have to go to the hospital, it was in no way a flagrant foul. What if the infraction drew blood? Well, that’s what towels are for.

Fortunately, I played ball in a different era. But I am proud to say that I never once fouled out of a church league basketball game. Of course, that’s because I was a master at using those elbows when the ref wasn’t looking.

Today, if I played like that, I would get thrown out of the game in the first three minutes. But that’s because they changed the rules, not because I was a dirty player. I would have also hated that dreaded video review.

So, what to do with these old wristbands? I can’t call up the old gang for a pick-up game. Once they see me with those sweatbands on, they will leave before they get elbowed.

But nobody wears these anymore; they are part of a bygone era. You never see any current players donning them – do they not sweat? I thought that perhaps I could start a retro-trend by wearing them in daily life.

I was excited to wear them on my daily walk, thinking that maybe the wristbands would impress some of the hot, young chicks in the neighborhood.

Hot, young chick: What did you do to your wrists?

Me: Nothing. These are my sweatbands. They keep my hands dry by not letting the sweat roll down my arms.

Hot, young chick: You sweat that much? Ewwwwww!

It also didn’t go as planned on the Zoom call at work. 

Boss: Ake, did you hurt your wrists?

Me: No boss, these are my sweatbands. I’m planning on working so hard this afternoon that I don’t want to get my keyboard all sweaty.

Boss: You sweat that much?

Everyone on the Zoom call: Ewwwwww!

I guess that wristbands aren’t going to make a comeback, although they are still used for tennis, and I think I last wore mine in a tennis league in the ’90s.

However, regarding basketball, the one thing you need to remember is: I was not a dirty player. I realize some people reading this may bring up the incident during church basketball where Steve, a very nice, peaceful, Christian young man with a choir-boy face, threatened to “punch my lights out” in the middle of a game. But may I point out, Steve remains my friend today.

Also, my former coworkers may refer to an incident during a Canton Corporate Cup co-ed basketball game where I sent a woman sprawling hard to the floor when she tried to drive around me for a layup. I do regret not helping her back to her feet. That counts for something, right?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Raising A Stink In North Korea

 Recently, North Korea issued its first official statement to the Biden administration and warned the United States to refrain from “causing a stink” on the Korean peninsula. (true).

What do bad smells have to do with international relations? This statement does not make sense and is silly even for the North Koreans. So, I have come up with three possible explanations for this bizarre wording. Two of these are relatively innocent, but the third – Errrrr, Errrrr (the Lurch moan) – is insulting and defaming to every proud citizen of these United States.

Explanation 1- Bad Translation

Maybe the North Koreans really meant to say something different but used a cheap translation software such as Google Translate to convert their message. I once used Google Translate to wish my Filipino Facebook friend a Happy Birthday and wound up engaged to her for a month. Such a big misunderstanding. I had to buy her family a goat to officially break the engagement, according to her village law. So “refrain from causing a stink” may just be a bad translation.

Explanation 2 – Intentional Use of an Old-Fashioned Expression  

Perhaps the North Koreans thought it wise to deliver their message in a language the 78-year-old Biden could understand. They undoubtedly heard about his “No Malarky” bus tour during the campaign and wanted to show how serious this threat was by using an old folk saying to communicate to an old folk. But if this were true, it would have been more appropriate to warn us about “raising a ruckus” or threatening to “give us a shellacking”.

Explanation 3 – A Really Nasty Insult

I seriously, fervently hope this is not the real reason. Because if it is, it is an agism slur of the worse kind. But I fear the “refrain from causing a stink” is about something called “Old-Man Stink”. I know the politically correct term would be mature male smell. But let’s just stick with my term and call it OMS for short. 

This is a distinct possibility.

Let’s face it; our president is up in years. Many people his age are in a rest home eating pudding, but he is now the leader of the free world and making many important decisions, including ones impacting North Korea. Decisions much more impactful than choosing between tapioca and butterscotch.

And most guys that old suffer from OMS to one degree or another. The condition begins with “Middle-age Man Smell” (something I may or may not have personal knowledge of). At some point, certain bodily functions that you have been able to fully control your entire adult life, begin to suddenly mis-fire at random. However, in middle-age, you are still aware that a malfunction has occurred, can deal with the consequences, and eliminate the resulting odor. This is why many middle-aged guys wear too much cologne. It is a pre-emptive measure to cover up the production of some unanticipated odor. And most importantly, middle-aged men still care about the social implications of their actions and what people think of them.

However, once a man reaches old age, he is unaware that a breach has happened, he can’t smell the result, his overall personal hygiene has eroded, and let’s face it, he just doesn’t give a darn what he smells like. The result is OMS. And by the time is ready for the rest home …. P-U-WILLY!

We know our president is at the age where he is producing OMS. But fortunately, according to my confidential sources in Washington, the Secret Service is taking drastic steps to control the damage.

Reports are that “Maggie” an odor sniffing canine, has joined the president’s security detail. Maggie’s previous job was to identify the source of pungent smells at the most prestigious elder care facility in the country, Manhattan’s Geezzera Villa. She is trained to quickly point out the compromised orifice before the stink is even perceptible to humans. So, if you ever see Maggie in an awkward position with the president, she’s not goosing him, but identifying a possible incident in Sector #2.

Likewise, Pete Sokeupski, the agent responsible for stopping sensitive news from reaching the press in the prior administration, is still responsible for dealing with leaks in the new one. Only now, it not information he is trying to contain, but literal leaks. The press has reported that Sokeupski is the agent responsible for transporting the “nuclear football” case. However, this is fake news. Pete’s case contains Lysol, disinfectant wipes, and Depends. There is also a canister of “Ancient Spice” (A special, highly-concentrated version of Old Spice) readily available to douse the president, in case of a Code Green. Sokeupski job is not to respond to nuclear war, just cleaning up nuclear-like spills.

So, the not “causing a stink” could in fact, be a slanderous, agism slur, which should be highly offensive to all Americans regardless of political persuasions. Of course, maybe I’m overeating since the North Korean leaders are such refined, gentle people.

An Appropriate Response

We should respond to this threat by telling the North Koreans that if they misbehave, modifying the words of the prior president, “They will be met with old-man stink like the world has never seen.” Uh, I mean, never smelled.

And we can do it! We have millions of aging baby boomers producing a whole lot of stink that is going to waste. I’m sure all the retired veterans would be willing to don their old uniforms, unwashed, of course, and reenlist for this project.

We would line them up at the border with many new, smelly old recruits on a day when a brisk, hot wind is blowing south-to-north. Assuming of course that The Geneva Convention permits this.  You don’t want a stink commies? Well, smell this.