Friday, April 21, 2017

The Power Of Yes

Yes. Just say YES. And all the world will come rushing in. Like a broken sewer main.


An elderly lady came to the desk, someone I've helped before.

"I can't find my hold."

I looked up her account. In the holds field I saw "SEXUAL..." with the rest of the title cut off. But it was an inter-library hold, so we kept it behind the desk. Just as I was turning to get it, she said,

"Oh! Is that where you keep the pornography?"

"Yes! Porno, Porno, Porno is the library's new motto, Ma'am. But since we're classy, we keep the porno discreetly behind the circulation desk. This section is for the Lactating Wombats and the Anal Swizzling. The library: we make you think AND make you jizz."

The book was actually SEXUAL PERSONAE by Camille Paglia. Uh, if she was expecting some porno in that, she was going to be sorely, jizzlessly disappointed.


At dinner with Dad the other night. I brought him some info about our illustrious dirt farmer ancestors, along with head shots of B. F. Thuma and his lovely wife Nevada Miller.

"Nevada lived to be 97. She seemed like a tough old bird... sort of like this KC steak I'm eating ha ha."

Dad nodded sagely. "Yes, longevity is mostly a matter of genes. Look at Warren Buffett--that guy drinks Cherry Cokes every day and... Wait, do you know who Warren Buffett is?"

Dad leveled a very serious look at me.

"Well, do ya, punk?"

I took a deep breath. "Yes," I said. "I think I've vaguely heard of this... War-ren Buffett."

"Okay. Anyway, he drinks the worst stuff and he's in his eighties, that guy! And then there's Jesus of Nazareth... Wait, do you know who Jesus of Nazareth is?"



At lunch with Mom the other day. I had more info about her adoptive family, but nothing much yet on her actual birth mother. She was going to need to take the DNA test, which she was indifferent about. What she really wanted to talk about was chicken.

"I bought five pounds of chicken wings. I can't eat all that chicken! So I asked Les if he would take my chicken. You know, he can heat them up for football games. They keep for a year. But you know what he did? He was nasty to me. He screamed and yelled at me."

"I'm sure he didn't scream and yell, Mom."

"He did! Why does he have to behave like that? I just wanted him to have some chicken."

In my jackass mind's eye I could see the scenes:


"No, thanks, Mom. We don't need chicken wings at this point in time. Thank you, however, and can I offer you a cold beverage?"


"Ch-chicken wings....?"


"See, Mom, it's really a problem of point of view. From Les's POV, it makes no sense to have a gross tonnage of chicken wings. And if you took time to understand where he was coming from, you never would have asked to begin with."

Mom waved. "Ach, I don't have time for that."

"Okay, and we wonder why the country is divi--"

"Do you want the wings? I'll give them to you. Maybe you can warm them up for football games...?"

Mom looked at me, eyes shining with hope.


"Nnnnn... Yes."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Satan's Double Victory

Sundays are a double shot of doubling down with Pat and my mom. Last Sunday was no different. First I went to Pat's house to toot him some Latin ("et toot?") and his dog, Reuben aka the original dog from hell, jumped all over me. Meanwhile Pat was less than interested in conjugating to the max.

"I'm not going back to my synagogue," Pat said mournfully.

"Oh?" I pulled a paradigm from Reuben's slavering jaws.

"Yeah. They were all trying to hug and be closer with me, and I can't do that. There's only one guy I'm friends with there and he tried to get me to join the prayer circle hug. I went to the bathroom to escape and he followed me. He was pushing through the door, and finally I had to kick him in the shins to get him to leave me alone!"

"I believe shin-kicking is forbidden in Deuteronomy."

"So I'm not going back. I guess I'm done being a Jew!"

"Oldest story in the world: man runs to bathroom, friend gets a kick in the khukas."

I managed to wrestle the topic back to Latin as his dog wrestled me. Then I was off to Mom's, who was busy digging out old pictures and letters from a shoebox.

"Here's a picture of you, from high school."

"Yikes. I didn't hide the fact very well that I was most extremely stoned."

"And here's a letter you wrote to me when you were fifteen. It's when you were confirmed in the church. I'm sure they forced you to write this letter to me."

"No one expects the Spanish Confirmation Letter Writer Forcers. (Hm, doesn't have the same ring.)"

In the letter I told Mom I loved her and thanked her for having me (yep, all forced), and for having me confirmed in the one true faith of Islam (something like that, it was smudged). Then I complained that someone was playing Neil Diamond and I was going to "blow chunks." (HA HA. Too bad Lesley Gore wasn't around so I could start blogging on the internet back then!)

Speaking of churchliness, Mom had gone that morning but was now thinking of never returning.

"What, why? Did the Great Deceiver get you, too?"

"I was saying goodbye to the pastor and telling him how cute his daughter was, and I was standing in the main aisle when I felt this push on my shoulder. Like this... Come over here..."

I got up and Mom punched me in the back.


"Like that! Only harder. I turned around and it was this old woman. She was trying to push me out of the way! Now, can you believe that? In a house of the Lord no less!"

"Don't you know the first rule of Church Club, Mom? Don't talk about Church Club."

Mom snorted. "It doesn't matter. Now I don't know if I want to be in a church where I'm getting shoved by old women."

"What's with all the kicking and punching going on at our local places of worship?"

"She didn't kick me."

"No, I mean, Pat was kicking someone, and now he doesn't want to go back to his synagogue. There seems to be an epidemic of evil going on. Say, are you sure it wasn't the Dark Lord punching you?"

"What are you blabbering about?"

"I mean, maybe the devil was involved in some way. Perhaps, I don't know, he looked like... THIS???"

(420 RULEZ!!!!!!)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tree Of Awkwardness

"Eustace," Mom whispered.

It wasn't Rosebud, but it would have to do. The name Eustace was the only thing my mom remembered of her birth mother. She had been given up for adoption and knew nothing about her birth parents.

"You know, Mom, maybe you can plug that name into and see what comes up? My coworker used to spend oodles of hours everyday working on her genealogical researches. It must have been fascinating to dig up stuff on the horse you were related to in the Civil War."

"What are you babbling about?"

"I'm just saying, maybe try to get some answers on that site, or use the library's genealogy department. C'mon, Mom. It'll be turnt!"


But Mom wasn't terribly interested. So, before you could say "Coral," I created an account on Ancestry and plunged in.

What did I find? Nothing at all about "Eustace," but a whole lotta stuff about my dad's side of the equation. Just what Mom would want, of course.

Firstly, I found out that my great-grandmother's father was BENJAMIN FRANKLIN THUMA. Here he is, savin' pennies like a rock star and looking like he enjoys a good laugh. Over a corpse.

"My mustache is the prototype for Mr Potato Head's!"

Then there's my grandmother's mother, a delightfully winsome lady by the name of Nevada "Sixshooter" Miller. Here she is fresh off her shift as a prison guard at Attica. Wait, didn't she star in that ponderous Western movie with Kevin Costner...?

"I. Will. Cut. You."

Lastly, we can't say we've had fun until we've made fun... of the seventies. Awkward-style! Here's my adoptive grandmother, Eunice, having a hott time with her new gentleman companion, Burton "Turnt" Bixler. You can sense the power of their rockin' from their pirate costumes.

Whoa, this fucking house is tilting...!!
Wait, that's just my gas..."

So what have we learned? Not much, other than that I like to use the word "turnt" in polite blogging. My ancestors are surely turnt'ing in their graves.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Library Lexicon

Here's a sampling of definitions to help no one navigate their way around their local library:

CHUCKLEDIE, adj. -- That involuntary sound that gurgles out of your mouth when your boss makes a lame witticism and you feel you must respond.

SHOWTIME, n. -- A state of helpless reminiscence; when employees find themselves talking about a long-gone coworker without wanting to. (See also: LOCK AND LOAD, HBO)

GETTING THINGS DONE v. --  Stretched out dead asleep on the break room recliner under a self-help book. Also known as: Inspiring The Troops!

TEEN VOLUNTEER n. --  They really are getting younger and younger! (And have rather appalling reading habits.)

OPIOID RENEWAL n.  --  When that 97-year-old customer needs to renew her books for the thirtieth time because she has to write a paper. #GetHelp

DAYLIGHT SAVING SYNDROME n.  --  Calling out weeks in advance because an hour will be lost. (See also: TRAGEDY)

PHANTOM OF THE LIBRARY n.  --  To scream and sing alone in the library, thinking no one can hear you--until the customer on the phone in the back room asks what's happening. #SlowClap

HEGELIAN adj.  --  That part of the day when everyone clears out of the break room.

COFFIN n. -- That beautiful fantasy object custom-made for that customer who will not stop coughing. (See also: URGE TO KILL)

RICE A MOANI'S DIARY n. --  When a customer complains about getting inadequate service from a coworker, and then goes on about Renee Zellweger's work. (Hey, at least someone is working...)

LOOK WHO'S FUTILE n. --  Complaining about the absurd number of DVD copies for a particular movie.

FINE WHINING adj.  --  The art of arguing a 60 cent fine. (See also: Wanting a goddamn receipt for returning Bridget Jones's Baby.)

PLASTIC DEATH n. --  A holiday. (See also, My shirts.)

INAPPROPRIATE adj.  --  When customer checks out books for the twentieth time on infertility; your boss yells that the customer is probably jacking off on the books at home. (See also: JIZZ)

WHAT, ME WORK? n. --  When a coworker finally takes your work away and you say, "Oh! But I was about to do that!" (See also: CORALING)

MOTHERPARKER n. --  That patron who storms in to complain about parking.

HOTLINE n. --  Offering to call the mayor about the parking. (See also: ZING)

BEEF SMIRKY n. --  Delicious blogger who thinks he's funny.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ear Enema

"I don't like what Hawaii has done to you," Mom said. We were at Perkins, for a change of pace. "Your hair is too shaggy. At least clean up your neck. You look like your father."

"Yes, that's the look I've decided to go for. After fifty years: the Dad look."

"It just doesn't look good."

"You act as if I have diarrhea smeared back there. I mean, I do, just not in that particular area..." I muttered and mumbled.

Mom scowled at her plate. There was a giant frond of lettuce blocking out her cheeseburger and thick-cut peppered fries. She kept flopping the lettuce from once side of her plate to another as she got at the good stuff.

"Mom? Mom! Do you want to put that lettuce on my plate? It's just empty calories."

Like a Jules Verne heroine, Mom continued to valiantly battle the lettuce monster. Chewing, she said something I couldn't hear. Something about diarrhea?

"Do you have wax in your ears?! I said, SALT, please."

"Right-o. Actually..." I passed her the smug with a salt look. "My ears are pretty wax-free. Go ahead, say something. I'll hear it!"


"At the urgent care, as I was recovering from beriberi or yellow Hawaiian fever, the doctor happened to notice how gross my ears were--and how I looked like dad, too. Horror all around. Anyway! They irrigated my ears. As I lay on my side and they flushed in this warm liquid stuff to soften up my brains, I got to doze off a little. It occurred to me that the Volcano Van guy actually looked like that jackass on the eating channel...

"Which led me to wonder drowsily if it was too late to put that into my blog? Because, you know, my blog needs strict accuracy. So people can now really see who I was dealing with, and all... Then my pleasant ear reveries were punctured by the wailing howl of a child being tortured in the next room. The kid was just screaming. OWWWWW OWWW, I'M SCARED SCARED SCARED OUGGHHHHHHHH OWWWWWW WAAAAAAAH!!! This went on for twenty straight minutes. When the nurse told me to turn on my other side, I said just please don't do to me whatever you're doing to that kid heh heh. She was not amused, but she told me they had yet to even touch the kid. Yikes. The kid really hates doctors. After my ears were wonderfully flushed out, I went outside and felt the sunlight full on my face and saw a mom with her kid sucking on a lollipop. It looked like he'd been crying. The kid turned and gave me an ugly face. I must have looked like a doctor! Ha, ha?"

Mom lifted her lettuce frond again, as if checking to see if sea monkeys had started a little community under there.

"You know, Mom, Pat is reading that decluttering book. Maybe you should go through every dehydrator and waffle maker in your house and ask if it sparks joy? If no joy, then chuck. No joy, trash... Right? If nothing else, you should throw away that lettuce. It's obvious it brings you no joy."

"I think I'll get a box."

"The book also has a section on folding your shirts so they'll stand up at attention."

"Stand up...?"

"Yes, Pat was showing me. You want to fold your clothes so tight that they stand up in the drawer. So you can see everything you have. But he was showing me that his shirts won't stand up, they just sag back. I guess they're suffering from low T."

"No tea?" Mom stopped the waitress. "My son needs some tea. And make sure it's strong!"

"Anyway, Ruby Creek is going through a lot of construction right now. Right by my library it's just crazy. I think this photo exemplifies the meaning of life... for all of us."

"What are you talking about?!"

"Just a traveler lost in this crazy ol' world..." I got up with a faraway look in my eye. I sauntered out into the parking lot, letting the sunlight fall on my face and Mom pick up the bill.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hawaii Five-One

Once I was admitted to the ranks of Hero Squad, I did only what was natural. Pose like a jackass!

"What's that over there? Is that a bird? I MUST KILL IT"

We take up our narrative, after deciding not to fling myself off the balcony lol, with Scott coming to pick me up in his Volcano Van. Scott was a rather hyperactive fellow with a soul patch and a deadly need to say the words "rift zone" twenty times an hour.

After we saw the rift zone, we went to Hawaii's nicest beach...

"Damnit, is that another bird??"

Nothing like black sand to make you want to throw off the fetters of "clothing" and curl your toes in the hot volcanic dust! (Not pictured.)

We then went to the second-nicest beach in Hawaii, where I was inspired to do some light yodeling. I learned that the sharp rocks are great for diving off or on to. (Paramedics standing by.)

"The human male enjoys touching his hips. 
It might be a mating call, scientists aren't sure..."

Then we explored the jungles and Hawaii's biggest waterfall, gushing more cubic tons of water than all the oceans combined (or so Scott said, I wasn't really listening). Watching it was not helping my urination pain...

"I'd like to see the Casa Bonita guy do a dive off this! Amirite, Scott?!"

I bid adieu to Scott, and then hopped on a whaler. Once we were out in the open ocean, I anxiously took out my phone so I could shoot pictures of people taking pictures. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

"Thank God I can't see anything out on the water. 
(That guy has a really neat forearm. Maybe I'll tell him...?)

At last I got off my hero ass and went to the rail in order to catch the action now.

"That guy is wearing a pretty sweet wristwatch.
 Oh, and there's some sort of sea dragon out there (yawn)..."

Back at my hotel they were giving lessons on how to play the ukelele. I rushed past--only to do a pratfall into the hula dancers.

"Listen up, everyone! There's not a ukelele visible in 
this picture, so we'll just have to take my word for it!"

A gala time was had by all. And by all, I mean me. Now I have the Hawaiian plague, otherwise known as Hamekemahulkuaha-le's revenge.

Arrivederci, Hawaii!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hawaii - Elvis = Me + Trouble/Hard Ticket

Here's the place where I'm staying. It's called "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono," or "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina," for short.

For breakfast I had to clamber up this tree to get my waffles. I died halfway up.

Here's a view outside my window before the tsunami hit, ha ha.

These rocks need Neutrogena!!

Okay, enough of the ha ha with the pictures. Time for a long, long block of text that will make you sigh like a raped accordion. The Sheraton in Kona is a great hotel. Great food and even better carpet. But the best thing of all? It makes you feel young again! The median age is at least 106! I'd get off everyone's lawn if I only knew which lawn they wanted me off. On my first night here I thought I'd take a sprightly jaunt to a nearby eatery. Turns out Hawaii is super dark at night, due to the lack of light (or so it was explained, slowly, to me). The concierge helpfully gave me a flashlight, which succeeded only in illuminating my pants. As I stumbled about in the thick tropical obscurity, I realized I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Some guy was hosing down his boat. Others were being hosed because they didn't use the lotion in the basket. I was scared, walking up and down with my feeble light. Finally a car slowed next to me. "Aloha!" the white-bearded driver said. "Huh? I'm sorry, I don't speak the lingo!" "Aloha means, Need a lift?" he said. I admitted I was lost, and he told me to hop in. Since he was offering candy, I thought why not? As he proceeded to drive me in the correct direction, we engaged in some polite conversation. When I said I was from Denver, he was astounded. "Why, I moved there in 1945!" he said whistling through his gums. I was then similarly astounded. Had I stumbled into Cocoon? He dropped me at my destination, where I was served a sandwich and a roach. The roach scurried off the server's arm (?) and ran across my table. I jumped up and chased it around until I smashed it repeatedly with my Bukowski (he would have approved). I looked up and an elderly couple at a booth stared at me. I must have seemed excessively spry. The next day I went for a swim on the beach--the beach being a ten yard segment of cigarette-butt and rock-filled sand. In the changing room, an elderly gent came in and started to undress. The guy was very old and had very white long hair. He looked like Neptune mixed with some grease...

He had quite the dong, which I stared at for only five and a half minutes. Then I ran out to the beach, screaming "COWABUNGIO!!" and I swam for about four and a half minutes. After an interminable trolley ride through downtown Kona, I was back at my hotel. There I was faced with the beautiful view from my balcony...

"Hmm," I thought. "Should I fling myself off? Or continue with this vacation?"