Thursday, November 26, 2020

Bad News, Good News


The bad news is that we’re having a big Thanksgiving bash. The good news is that nobody is invited. In accordance with Dr. Fauci’s guidelines I thought this would be the perfect year to have my fantasy holiday party; only people already dead will be there.

Carl Sagan was briefed at the door over our low regard for science and decided to opt for life in one of those other galaxies.

James Madison was in distress over what we’ve done to his Constitution. He and his fellow plantation owners will only eat white meat. Tommy Jefferson is seated between Frederick Douglass and James Baldwin getting a lesson on the soul of America.

Fred Ebb (from Kander & Ebb) is composing, Come to the Cabernet, My Friend. Dorothy Parker says, I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. Mark Twain has stopped smoking cigars for the third time today. When told how books were written on the dangers of tobacco he says he never reads health books because one can die of a misprint.

Molly Ivins says if George Dubya Bush was a shrub then Donald Trump is a stump. Winston Churchill arrives, uninvited, when he hears about the soft-underbelly of Turkey.

Homer and Virgil are having a food-fight over the Iliad and Aeneid. Homer accuses Virgil of ripping off his epic work. The Roman admits he’s always had it in for the Greeks since he heard Cleopatra was in bed with laryngitis.

Freud arrived declaring that he never travels without his couch. He is upset when Sinatra starts to sing, You Make Me Feel So Jung.

Here comes Spencer Tracy showing off his red hair which no one ever saw on the big screen. I have to include him because he always reminds me of my father….even though  my mother could never be mistaken for Katharine Hepburn.

John Keats and W.B. Yeats are over there in the corner trying to get their names to rhyme. In the other corner Einstein is talking to the Barber of Seville about, at least, a trim. Descartes is quibbling with him over MC cubed instead of squared. When offered a glass of champagne he says, I think not, and disappears.

Socrates declines a swig of Merlot remembering the last time he had a drink. Euripides is conferring with Shakespeare whether or not to be or have been

Lincoln wants me to check if the current president ever slept in his bedroom. I assured him Biden will have the sheets changed since Donald probably donated them to the KKK.

Sylvia Plath was late to the party having spent some time in the oven with the big bird.

I almost forgot to mention that Antonin Scalia crashed the party. He was arguing with everyone citing Hammurabi's Code and a list of proclamations from the Oracle of Delphi. When he got up to scream at the assembled, Rosa Parks took his seat.

Now we shall sit alone mumbling our gratitude how we’ve made it so far and get down to some serious gluttony and sloth.


Friday, November 20, 2020

Ankle Talk

First, my back, then the knee, now the ankle. Is this the thousand cuts I’ve so much about? Up until this morning I couldn’t even strut and fret upon this stage. Of course, I’m still with some sound and fury and, as always, it signifies nothing.

I’ve never much given quality time to my ankle. And when I have it’s always been my left one which I broke playing basketball in one of my highlight moments. Now my right one is clamoring for equal time.

In fairness it isn’t really the ankle itself, just surrounding tissue for which I have no name; that mass of soft matter resistant to x-rays.

Thursday I was in a wheelchair at the doctor’s office. The visit was for blood work, physical therapy and radiology. The P.T. was out of the question. However, the lab work revealed an alarming increase in two markers which my rheumatologist has been tracking. One went up from 8 to 84 and the other from 6 to 160.

The phone call came from the doctor who immediately bumped up my dosage on Prednisone. Voila, I am now ambulatory again. I’d kiss my ankle if I could. It will have to settle for the same undemonstrative love to which my elbow has grown accustomed.

The older we get the more familiar we become with long-neglected body parts. It may be time to show some love to my metatarsals, my phalanges and to my spleen. I’ve got only one of those and the last I checked Costco doesn’t carry any. If they did I’d probably have to buy six and look for matches.

A friend suggested a brace but I don’t want to create a scarcity. I expect the entire Trump family will soon be wearing ankle bracelets. Maybe I could borrow one from previously indicted Trump racketeers who expect a pardon any day now.

This afternoon I went to throw out the garbage, both recyclable and otherwise. My plan was to put the 2 bags in the car and drive around the corner. However my key-clicker didn't open the car door so I had to do it manually. Then I couldn't open the back door so I put the 2 bags on the front seat........then I couldn't get the car started because the battery was dead. So I took the bags out and decided I'd try to use Peggy's walker to take one bag at a time on the walker..........but the bag dropped and broke open. I was picking up shrimp tails and banana peels off the sidewalk when a neighbor came along and rescued me from my distress. She took both bags and here I am. Now I must call roadside service to charge my battery. It seems that I left one door ajar and that must have drained the battery. And that's my story.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Campaign of '43

Reminds me of that bitter election in the 4th grade when I ran for President against the class bully, Donald Smathers. It was a grueling campaign as I remember it. There were unfounded reports that the teacher favored me in spelling bees lobbing softballs my way. I wouldn’t call upholstery or genuine easy words.

But rumors took hold when my opponent started a whispering campaign. It didn’t help my chances when he wrote on the blackboard, before the teacher came in, that I wet my pants. He’d been saying that since Kindergarten when he tipped over the milk carton onto my knickers. I think he’d had it in for me ever since he knocked down my blocks and I reported him.  He branded me a tattle-tale, teacher’s pet, bed-wetter.

Donald no longer ran with scissors but he did throw spitballs and didn’t play well with others. That was a minor matter compared to the money he stole when he was milk monitor in the 2nd grade. He blamed it on a hole in his pant’s pocket.

He had his group of trouble-makers come up with signs saying, I’d Rather Have Smathers. My constituency was a coalition of kids I knew, kids I wish I knew and a few who I barely knew but couldn't stand Smathers.

He had won in 3rd grade when he carried the most rows even though more votes went to Ursula Sherashevsky. There were five rows each with six boys or girls. Ursula won the first and fifth but Donald took the middle three. This time we were redistributed and I managed to eke out a win in three rows as well as the majority of votes.  

Then the trouble began. The war was raging across both oceans. Refugees were coming into our class. Donald targeted them for ridicule when they spoke with a slight accent.  All classes were urged to buy saving stamps to fill up a book worth $18.75 which would buy a $25 war bond, payable in ten years.* Our class was in competition with the fifth grade over the most bonds.

When he lost the election, Donald went into a tantrum shouting that he should be president for all time. He always boasted that his family was richer than the rest of us. Now he threatened not to buy any war bonds. Those of us who spent our allowance for the war effort were called Suckers. For this Mr. and Mrs. Smathers were summoned to meet with the teacher. They never showed up but sent a note defending their son. That was the last we ever saw of Donald.

Standing outside the room in the corridor waiting for the raised hands I knew then politics was not my meat. I would have to settle for an illustrious career as a shortstop or soda jerk or shaman.

(Part of this is true. It may not have happened to me but it must have happened to somebody.)

* Those war bonds raised 187 billion dollars during the war years.