Friday, May 25, 2018

But Wait, There's More...

I guess it shouldn't have surprised me to hear from a few of you with additions to last week's observations regarding the major gulfs in behavior between the sexes. Being fresh out of ideas for a new rant and in the mood for a three day weekend, here are some of your contributions to the battle of the sexes.  To protect the guilty, confidentiality is paramount.

-Women recall every infraction ever committed by a boyfriend or husband.  It can be ten or twenty years in the past but a woman can pull it out of her quiver of "gotcha" and wield it like a machete.  "My mother heard you call her an old bitch under your breath on Christmas Eve 1988!  Don't deny it!" Never mind that it's 2018 and she's upset about you inviting some pals over to shoot pool and they maybe spilled beer on the new carpet.

-Men go to see a doctor only after they've noticed that the left side of their body has been numb for about three weeks or that they have been seeing double for a month and no longer like the taste of whiskey.  Women are on the blower to a sawbones if they have a hangnail or if they think they might be getting a zit.

-Women cannot swear.  Oh, they can but, as Mark Twain once remarked, "the words are there but the music is missing."  Men on the other hand begin practicing their "Dad" words early and become quite proficient and articulate as they form taboo vowels and consonants around the bar of soap mom has popped into their offending maw.  Practice makes &%$(*# perfect!

-Men, when explaining who someone is, will go to boring lengths to tell you that "Joe is the guy from the hardware store who has red hair and an overbite.  You met him at the Henderson's picnic."  Whereas a woman uses only the first names of people a man has either never been in the same zip code with or maybe met once 15 years ago while inebriated and wishes he hadn't.  If you're male it's important to nod frequently and just let her talk.  It'll never make sense anyway.

-Great vacations for men involve fishing, hunting, boating or a ball game and a chance to take a little respite from all that shaving and other hygiene.  The gals want a suite at Four Seasons and daily sessions at the spa.

-While watching an old movie on television, in the interest of edification, a guy will go to great lengths explaining that a certain character actor was in over two-hundred films and once had a fling with Doris Day, suffered from IBS and died drunk and broke.  A woman will say, "Shhhh, please be quiet.  I'm trying to watch this!"

-Men don't know where the hamper is and women conspire to never ever gas up the car.

 -Women understand that opportunity knocks once.  For men, temptation leans on the doorbell.

Have a great holiday weekend boys and girls.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Difference Between Men and Women...

A while back a friend of mine posited that women are crazy because men are stupid.  Care to guess the gender of the person who laid down that philosophical nugget?  I guess it all depends on your definitions of both "crazy" and "stupid".  It did seem a little CRAZY to me.  But what do I know? I'm on team stupid!

Let's consider some of the evidence:

-If an invitation to a social gathering states that dress is "casual", a woman will fuss for hours in an attempt to come up with the cutest most perfect "outfit" for the event.  Her clothes will actually look stylish.  With no guidance, a man will arrive in the same duds he wore that afternoon to wash the dog.

-If lost, a woman will not hesitate to ask for directions.  A man NEVER asks for directions!  It simply isn't done!  Of course women don't understand that men have a built in compass and gyroscope enabling us to always get to our destination...eventually.  Women have become so distrustful of this innate ability that they have conspired with car manufacturers to install a disembodied female voice inside the dash of most new cars.  "At your earliest convenience perform a legal U turn and point your stupid ass in the other direction!"  (pure evil)

-Women know how to pack for a trip.  A guy will load snacks, some old National Lampoons, a couple of t-shirts and some blended whiskey cleverly disguised as Listerine into his suitcase but forget underwear, a toothbrush and his razor.  (I'll give you gals this one.)

-Females of all ages will go grocery shopping with a list.  A male goes grocery shopping listless and sporting an appetite.  Come on ladies, where's your sense of adventure??

-Women travel light when it comes to cash.  They never seem to have any long green on their person. A fella will not leave home without some real dough in his pocket as it's impossible to determine when the opportunity to get a bet down, roll some dice or buy a round for some degenerate pals may arise.

-At the end of the day women hang up their clothes; men shed their attire on the way to bed.  Following discarded clothing all the way to the bathroom the next morning saves time and energy, not to mention offering the chance to see if the discarded duds can pass the sniff test and be pressed into another day of service.  (This is bottom line thinking at its finest.)

-Women remember birthdays, anniversaries and the ages of their children.  Men aren't certain that they have children let alone know how old they are, but they do know that Mickey Mantle had a .298 lifetime batting average.

-Women like soup.  All guys know that soup is a beverage and never a meal.  It's also always too hot for human consumption.  Soup is promoted to boys by their mothers who promise toasted cheese sandwiches in return for ingesting tomato or chicken noodle soup.  We have never been fooled by this  and try to avoid guzzling soups of all kinds once out of mom's striking range.

NOT a food, soup is a beverage.  May be improved with vodka.

It is becoming apparent as I begin to sort through these very real differences between the sexes that we may have only begun to scratch the surface of this problem.  Perhaps it's even stupid of me to try to reconcile this vast gulf in attitude and performance.  Maybe some real food (no soup) will help?  Yes, that's the ticket!  Some steak should enhance my thinking.  I don't suffer from stupidity.  I'm enjoying every minute of it.  We guys may be morons but our food is far better, our lives simpler and we kind of enjoy being the catalyst for crazy.  Viva la Y chromosome!
Real guy food.  Just say NO to soup.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Thanks Mom...

For some unknown reason I have trouble remembering the date my mother departed this planet.  I often resort to getting out the memorial card from her funeral that is stashed in a cubby of my roll top desk.   I also am stumped for a logical explanation for my few musings about our relationship.  She was a great mother and of course I loved her.  Maybe it's because she was always there and unfailingly helpful in seeing me through my formative years, especially the teens, when dad wanted to kill me.  I can't begin to count the number of times she would meet him in the garage to soften him up before hitting him with my or my brother's latest shenanigans.  Don't get me wrong, he was a good father who merely wanted to keep his sons from the natural male inclination for boneheaded choices designed to put us on the fast track to prison.

With Mother's Day approaching I have begun to recall some of the times she went to bat for me.  When I was in kindergarten I developed the habit of fleeing  school whenever the teacher let the class out for recess.  I would head for the school playground with the other kids, then with a quick look over my shoulder would cut through the teachers parking lot and make my escape.  Our house was only a few blocks from school but my getaway required me to cross a city street and cut through a park before dashing across U.S. 127 to get to my hideout behind our garage.  My plan was weak in that telling time was not yet in my skill set thus requiring me to show up at our front door only when I thought school was out.  My plan worked flawlessly for a couple of weeks until one day our class was sent to recess almost immediately after roll had been taken.  The teacher was a major dingbat and had wanted the time to get herself organized for the day.  (The fact that for a little over two weeks she had failed to notice that I never returned from recess speaks volumes.)  I showed up at home before my dad had even left for work.  Busted!  Luckily mom was there to calm the situation.  After sending dad on his way to work she returned me to school where we met with the principal and succeeded in getting me placed in an afternoon class with a teacher who invariably conducted a post recess count.  Nice save mom!

There were to be many scrapes and broken rules on my way to being 18 and mom was always there to cool down the situation.  Her work was solid unless I had done something so horrific that she began to cry when trying to defuse the situation.  If the damn broke I knew dad's belt was coming off and my ass would soon be warm.  Dad would always preface my tanning with "You made your mother cry!  Shame on you!"  Of course he knew that he was in for a zero fun evening when the tears came and, after a hard days work,  there was a little extra zip in his spanking delivery.  Breaking windows with my pal Phil Brown, getting caught with smokes, cutting clothes lines with my new knife, sneaking the car keys to drive the car when I was eight and sampling dad's whiskey were just a few highlights in my body of work when mom failed to save me.  All of this before age 13! Nonetheless, she tried.   She would always tell me post spankings that my dad was really a nice guy and that I should talk to him more and try to get to know him.  Of course she was right but I remained pig-headed until I became a father myself.  At that point I wanted to give him a medal.

Mom has been gone now for nearly seven years.  She died just a couple of weeks shy of her 90th birthday and, sadly, because of dementia, was not really herself at the end.  I think of her frequently and she has even begun to make a few cameos in my dreams, always wearing the green dress I thought so beautiful when I was small.  She was a wonderful mom who no doubt deserved  more well behaved sons.  I hope she's been busy softening up dad for me.  My brother is on his own.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Boys Behaving Badly

It all started with a purloined bottle of sloe gin, a particularly horrible British combination of gin and sloe berries that tickles your taste buds with delightful combination of ripe plums and an old toilet seat.  A grand drink indeed.  I no longer remember who scored the hooch, me or my pal Tom White, but we had a whole bottle with the seal still intact.  Along with two six-packs of Storz beer, a Midwest regional brew of some merit, the two of us were the owners of teenage boy gold.  As I recall, White had secured the beer at a small package store in Arnolds Park, Iowa a  burg that wrapped itself  around the shores of Lake Okoboji the premier lake in Northwest Iowa.  At 17, and sporting a growth of carrot colored beard, White was able to carry off the "I'm 21" vibe sufficiently enough to fool a bored shopkeeper who merely wanted the money,  a chance to close early, or could remember his own misspent youth.

Naturally there was a plan.  As captives in the ever so polite small city of Spencer, Iowa we and our other degenerate posse were constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to immerse ourselves in hot water.  We were too hip for the room and chafed at the restrictions imposed by our parents.  This caper involved the two of us telling our parents that we were staying at the other guy's house for the night.  We crafted our stories carefully and were certain we had covered all the bases.  Parents were at a disadvantage in 1965, no cell phones or tracking devices were available to check on miscreants like the two of us and we were home (not really) free.  Let the good times roll!

After clocking out of my summer job as a carryout at Swanson's Super Store, owned by Oscar Swanson "The Watermelon King", where I toiled hauling groceries behind old ladies who couldn't remember if their car was a black Cadillac  or a pink Rambler, I met up with White.  We headed north toward the lake in my 1954 Buick Century with four bald tires and no spare which my father had warned me never to take out of town.  (I can't live by your rules!)  We inventoried our booze supply and made sure we had two packs of Marlboros to enhance our evening.  (Did I mention that I was a D student?)

As I recall, the two of us were between girlfriends that summer and really had no reason to stifle our inclination to go full-tilt bozo.  Blame it on testosterone poisoning if you will, but we were determined  to have a criminally good time.

The plan--we really did have one--was to head for Gull Point which, if memory serves, was a state park with a very nice beach.  There we could hide out in the trees, drink booze, smoke cigarettes and pretend we were adults before grabbing some sleep on the sand. I remember both of us vowing that if we made it to our 60th birthday we would be guilty of shortchanging ourselves on fun.  What we hadn't considered was that the area was patrolled from the water by the Lake Patrol and that the park was closed after dark.  I don't know if we got a little loud or maybe someone in a nearby home saw the glow of our cigarettes but a patrol boat began circling the area sometime after midnight.  They were shining a searchlight  around the area where we were holding our impromptu party and demanding that we show ourselves.  Naturally we hit the deck and concealed ourselves in the underbrush.  When the boat went around the point and began searching the other side of the park we picked up our contraband and lit out for my car which sat alone in the parking lot at the entrance to the park.  We knew that it was very possible the cops would be checking on a lone car after hours in a state park.  Luckily the the red bomb with the bald tires was still there and there were no cops in sight.  I fired up the Buick and we headed for another beach.  We chose a residential area and stashed the car on a side street before hauling ourselves and the illegal refreshments to a public beach where we polished off the sloe gin and the last couple of beers before falling asleep on the sand.  I awoke the next morning feeling like I had gone ten rounds with Sonny Liston and was in receipt of a head pounding reminder to NEVER ever drink sloe gin again.  (An easy promise to keep more than 50 years later.) Tom looked to be in equally bad shape but neither of us said a word.  We were just a couple of almost adults who'd merely indulged in grown up pleasures the previous night.  It was just one of many stupid, yet fun, adventures that, come to think of it, more than prepared me for life in the radio business.

After brushing our teeth in the lake and shaking sand from our shoes and clothes we headed off to our summer jobs which, at least in my case, seemed to be especially difficult that day.  "You look like you don't feel well young man.  Let me show you where my car is...I think it's over here.  No, that's not it.  Now where did I park?  It's a wait, maybe a Rambler."
Brewed in Omaha for juvenile delinquents of the Great Midwest