Well, I Swear

For a family that never used swear words. There were an awful lot of “I swears.”

“I swear to goodness if that dog doesn’t stop barking.”

“I could have sworn I put that pipe wrench away.”

“Well, I swear, the Hamptons mowed their front lawn.”

“It’s true.  I swear on a stack of Bibles.”

My parents didn’t like substitute or sound-alike swear words either. Darn its and dang its weren’t too bad. Goldarnits, were much worse.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain was an especially egregious infraction.  Bad words heard on school playground were best not repeated at home.  Sixth grade was where I first heard the “F” word.

“We never taught you those cuss words.  Did you hear that from someone at school?  Get your toothbrush and some Lava soap.”  Lava soap was the worst tasting soap ever.

Some of the local farmers habitually used swear words.  Their sentences were sprinkled liberally with epithets.  I found it difficult in later life to work around rough-cut construction types without some of their speech rubbing off.

Nothing prepared me for the colorful expressions spewed from the mouths of military drill instructors.  I was amazed by the variety of new usages for words banned at home.

“Get your xxxx together! You’re all ate up with the xxxxxxx!  You could xxxx xx a junk yard!”  Drill instructors more than made up for any possible swear word deprivation in my previous existence.

Little Bit Of Truth Goes a Long Way

An accusation flew. There was very little truth behind it.

After all, the event occurred forty-eight years ago. In another era–another time, during the Cold War.

A story about basic training in a share group.  My decision, the better of two bad choices, almost forgotten.

I was somewhat surprised to be judged by someone who hadn’t been there. Chalked it up to the anonymity of the internet.

At first, wanted to lash out, but reconsidered. Who knew what the motivation of the accuser was? Not my place to psychoanalyze.

It just proved, that a statement as benign as, “The sky is blue,” could be objectionable to someone.

All of us have opinions.  Sometimes I wish people would keep their opinions to themselves.

My Captain “O,” My Captain

Captain “O,” I owe you an apology.  You’re nowhere near as annoying as the “Talking Box” character in Progressive Insurance commercials.  How would you have fared during the Q & A session, on elementary school career day?  It could have gone, as follows.  

“Are you a real Captain?”

“Why, yes I am–it should be obvious.”

“Is your beard real?” 

“Yes, It happened when I stopped shaving.”

“Are those ropes on your shoulders?”

“Yes, they’re pieces of rope.” 

“A complete rope would be too heavy.”

“I like your hat.”

“Thank you–it’s a Captain’s hat.”

Equilibrium achieved, because answers equaled the questions in annoyance.  Captain “O,” you Sir, are a genius. 

Captain Obvious, thankfully, stayed out of my hair this spring.  He’s been remarkably restrained since his last visit two years ago.  Maybe it’s a new soft-sell for the upcoming vacation season.

A Visit From Captain “O” (And Others Like Him)

I was cleaning winter-killed branches and leaves; enjoying a warm, sunny day in the backyard with my two mutts.  That was, until Captain Obvious came to call.

Captain “O” has become even more obnoxious since becoming a celebrity on television commercials.  I didn’t think that was possible.  He leaned up against a tree, watched me clean and rake the backyard.  On the last trip, he could be silent no longer.

“The reason you have so many leaves and dead branches, is because of the trees,” He observed, stroking his chin.  I wanted to bop him over the head in the worst way; but, refrained–him being a celebrity and all.

“Thanks for the news flash, Genius,”  I muttered under my breath.  “Did you say something, Sir?” The Captain asked.  “No, it wasn’t anything important,” I replied.

I walked back-and-forth, carrying armfuls of branches to a pile near the back fence–careful not to step in random piles of dog droppings.  I hoped Captain “O” wouldn’t notice–but, he did.

“There’s twice the amount of dog excrement in your backyard, because you have two dogs,” Was his burst of brilliance.  Like I would get rid of one of my dogs to cut down on yard mess?  That wasn’t going to happen.

“Well, that’s all for today,” I answered.  “Thanks for stopping by.”  Stay away longer next time–was what I really meant.  I fetched the empty trash bins from the front curb. Lucky for me, the Captain had a sudden boredom attack and left to annoy someone else.

Telephone Salvation (Encore Presentation)

seance 2

One size fits all, misfits

Screamed, indulge me!

Make me happy!

Boys from Possum Junction

Veronicas from Pecatonica

Sat around the parlor table

In a séance, for miscreants

Conjured spirits, of

Recently departed ambitions

Contemplated, turning points

Of contention, where, how, when

Relationships went askew

Deliberations, starved

For attention

Couldn’t make up, for

What, wasn’t there

Folded arms–a few stifled yawns later

Cautious glances, at watches

Last words, soon forgotten

Boredom ended, with

Telephone salvation

Pleasant Hills Daze

Somewhere in the blight of soulless suburbia and neighborhood associations; voices screamed to be heard.

It wasn’t that change never came to Pleasant Hills.  When it did come, it was through the loosely organized, “Pleasant Hills Resistant to Change Freedom Fighters.”  A group of malcontents, that fought their fiercest, when there were personal gains to be made.

Its existence fought at every turn–it was a miracle the neighborhood council ever came into being.  These were human lab rats, test subjects in a real-life social dynamics experiment, responding to various stimuli.

“I’m worried about the nine-digit numbers on the front of these fancy new garbage cans.  It could be another way to keep track of people,” Said Charlie Warner.

“I think we have grounds for a lawsuit.  Why can’t I, or anybody else, have the kind of trash can they want?”  Asked Litigious Larry.

Preacher Phil, retired barracks lawyer,  itinerant pastor in search of a flock, was not to be outdone.  “Why don’t we put this up for a vote?”

Reeling from sucker punches, Sam the moderator exploded, “Why don’t all of you sit down and shut up!  We’re going to talk about it; just not everybody at once,”

Ralph, former professional athlete, flexed his pectorals, pondered the advantageousness of a return to the ring.

“If I may speak for a moment,” Said, Wayne “The Brain” from somewhere in the back of the room.  Wayne was professor emeritus of a major state university and seldom spoke.

“This is a matter of personal responsibility, not the council’s.  The council has nothing to do with setting trash pickup rates, nor does it have anything to do with trash cans.  Anyone can choose to unsubscribe from the present service and go their own way at any time.”

The room went silent.  Sam the moderator breathed a sigh of relief.  Why hadn’t he thought of saying it that way?

Wayne “The Brain’s” eloquence was rewarded with a nomination for council treasurer–which he promptly declined.

Somber, staid, Gustav Adolphus Hall, white-framed former schoolhouse, church, wedding reception hall, and polling place, deserved none of this.

Cynicism/Realism #sarcasm #communication

Sometimes it’s hard not to give advice–whether solicited or not.

People are doing the same things I failed at miserably in the past.

Knowing the difference between what is said and what is meant comes with experience.  High pressure sellers never take “No” for an answer.

There are no definitive answers, only probabilities.  Why?  Because there are so many variables in human behavior.

Express checkout–12 items or less: the flustered young mother in the crowded checkout with three screaming bratty kids will not be turned away–even if the cart is overflowing.

“I hear what you’re saying.”  The same tired drivel you always say.

“Always good to see you”  …Only if I see you first.

“He has a lot of potential.”  The search is on to find it.

“It’s a real fixer-upper.”  Interpreted as money pit.

“We’ve been talking to some of your neighbors.”  Love this one, used by door-to-door sellers.  My neighbors barely talk to each other–let alone to salesperson strangers.

Used car ads are a personal favorite.  The problem–how to put lipstick on that clunker, pig of a car, and get rid of it in a hurry.

“Lots of new parts”  Did you include a net to keep them from falling off on driver and passengers?

“Soon to be a classic”  Maybe after the other 500,000 go through the crusher?

A healthy dose of skepticism goes a long way.