Strictly Short Humour – Not duplicated elsewhere
Word count 10116
Hiking Etiquette, Glossary And Wisdom
Affirmation – Are we here yet? The answer is always yes.
Are we there yet? – If said subject to capital punishment.
Bad hike – One or more die.
Bleeding – Probably not fatal unless in pints.
Bonus – To leader for bringing back more hikers than taken out.
Boots – Wear them.
Brace Yourself – Admonition to put on knee protectors
Cell phone – Don’t depend on. Useful in emergencies and to irritate other hikers.
Cheryl Strayed / Wild Rules:
Try out your boots for a few miles, before a thousand mile hike.
Try out your pack for a few miles before a thousand mile hike.
Cliffs – Where you find out if you have any serious enemies.
Clothes – Take clothes for all possible weather. Layers good. In good weather, flaunt it if you’ve got it.
Dehydration – Slayer of kidneys. See water.
Deja hike – Hey, I’ve been on a hike with trees and views before.
Emergency equipment – Find a list and follow it.
Falls – Try to avoid, but you won’t.
Feet – Something that hurts.
Five Mile Hike – The new ten mile hike.
Flower Identification – They are smaller than trees.
Gaiters – Misspelling of gators.
Gatorade – Bring for your gators.
Good Hike – Nobody dies.
GPS – If your group has one, you will know exactly where you are. If you have more than one, you will have no idea.
High heeled sneakers – Good song, bad for hiking.
Kneesy – Hike that is easy on the knees.
Knife edge – terrain where I won’t be found.
We are almost at lunch – Means we aren’t.
It is just around the bend – And 20 others.
There is no uphill after lunch – There is.
The steam crossings were easy when I scouted – They aren’t now.
It is a five mile level hike – It could be
Lost hiker – Someone who is visiting from Wisconsin who starts hiking alone an hour before sunset with a dead cell phone, clothes too cold for the night, sandals, no water, who sometime after dark decides the best way to get back is to go off trail to a cliff that he can’t see.
Mountain – Something that you can fall off screaming to your death.
Nature – Our enemy. It blocks views, sends coyotes and raccoons into our backyards and slugs into our gardens. We must win the battle against nature at all cost.
Pathological – The Decision to stay on the trail rather than bushwhacking.
Poles or walking sticks – Equipment used to ensure that the face is broken rather than wrists when one falls or for stabbing the hiker behind. Rule of the trail – the hiker behind is at fault.
Poison Oak – Leaves of three, let me be. Definitely, do not use as toilet paper.
Potty Stop Men – Where men trade five years of life for speedier peeing (at least until the prostate acts up). Prowess is judged by a jury of their pee-ers.
Potty Stop Women – It is a mystery.
Rain – Get used to it.
Road to Trail Ratio – A low ratio of time driving to time hiking is good.
Rocky Road – An ice cream flavor, or a route that is hard on the feet.
Saw, Rule Of: It is better to have a saw and not need it, than to need a saw and not have it. Applies to many things other than saws.
Scrambles – Hands in use. Watch out for the hiker in front rolling down on top of you.
Shrinkage – Happens to guys in cold streams. Hike leaders allowed to lose up to 10% of hikers before being penalized.
Ticks – An excuse to get naked and have someone inspect you. You could get lucky in more ways than one.
Toenails – Trim them to prevent downhill pain. To be safe, have them surgically removed.
Trail – Note similarity in spelling to trial. Stay on it.
Tree Identification – You guessed it. They are bigger than flowers.
Vacuum – Synonym for sweep
Vegetation blocking the trail – A weapon used to injure the hiker behind.
Volcanic Eruption – Avoid.
Walkie-Talkies – Great devices for communicating on group hikes, which perform perfectly until you need them in an emergency.
Water – Bring lots. Drink same.
Weather – Will not be what you expected.
Wildlife – At our age after a ten mile hike?
Based on personal experience and reading “Wild”
I have the body of a twenty year old –
I keep it in the refrigerator for midnight snacks.
I was worried when I was told that I was in room 205 at the hospital –
When I checked in the room, I found out that it was someone else.
I don’t want to die with my boots on –
Because I don’t wear boots to bed.
I check the obituaries before I get out of bed –
If I am in them there is no reason to get out of bed.
I heard someone about my size and age had died on a bicycle –
I was worried until I remembered that I didn’t have a bike.
I want to die in my sleep like Uncle Fred –
Unlike the people in the house he burned down after blocking the doors.
I don’t want to die in the saddle –
So I avoid horses and tack shops.
Age related concerns
The Ten Commandments In the 21st Century
A team of defense lawyers has given a modern interpretation of the Ten Commandments.
1.I am the Lord Your God. / You shall have no other gods before me.
Response – One of these is not even a commandment. Note that it says “before”, therefore having other gods equal is acceptable, so if you choose to have Morduk, Justin Bieber, money, a Corvette, Angelina Jolie, or the Portland Trailblazers as equal gods, you meet the letter of the law.
2.You shall not make yourself an idol.
Response – We can’t imagine that applies to reality shows like “American Idol” or movie studios, the major producers of idols.
3.Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
Response – “In vain”, what does that even mean? Other parts of the book imply that we can’t speak or know his/her name, and that there are many names for god, so how can we possibly apply this commandment? We don’t think that “Gosh” or “Golly” are offenses.
4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Response – If some say it is Saturday and some say it is Sunday, it would be completely unfair to apply this to either day. Anyway, how do we keep it holy? Does watching football and drinking beer count if football is a co-equal god?
5.Honor your father and mother.
Response – Visits on Christmas or Thanksgiving should be adequate.
6.You shall not kill/murder.
Response – If you are commanded by secular authority, such as the military, this commandment is rendered void. Police are exempt. If somebody threatens you in any way, say looking at you in an intimidating way, lethal response is considered self-defense.
7.You shall not steal.
Response – Office supplies should be considered de minimus. Borrowing and not returning does not constitute stealing.
8.You shall not commit adultery.
Response – If you did not enjoy it or agree to counseling afterwards, it should not be held against you
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Response – Your truth may not be his/her truth.
10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. / You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Response – The first half is unenforceable because it is not gender neutral. Defining the difference between “liking” and “coveting” is a slippery slope no one is qualified to define.
Not a lawyer fan
W4M – Boyfriend wanted
Me – 300 pounds BBW. HSV positive. Fore kids with five differint fathers.
U – 6’2” to 6’5” athletec, edjucated perfessional generous$ gentleman to take me shopping n diner, then well see how it goes. Gross picture deleted.
M4M – ISO Str8 married guy
Kik me for a good time.
M4W – Let me rock your world
Look at this. obscene picture deleted .
M4W – Looking for a discrete affair
Handsome professional man wanting to get a little on the side. Helps if you are married too. obscene picture deleted.
W4M – Want late night fun.
I have low self esteem. Please demean me and my children. Call me a _______ ___ while ______ on me. Must be respectful non-smoker and DDF.
MW4W – Unicorn wanted
Successful, happy couple looking for a third to complete our marriage. Must be beautiful, 25-32, and willing to clean house. Fake picture deleted
W4MMMM – Hope to do this soon
Open to anybody to do anything. Do not be concerned about my husband with the gun; it is only for my security. He’ll just be watching and filming. Fake picture deleted
M4W – ISO Cougar
Buy me dinner and we’ll see how thing go.
W4M Ready to party go fast now
Bring party favors. You’ll need to give me a credit card to be able to verify your identity.
MW4MW Full Swap
Must be young, attractive & fit. Bring Tina and Air Blast for PnP. Non-smokers only.
W4M – Missed connection. I saw you at the checkout at Albertsons. You look like you are about 30 with long blond hair. You were dressed in black pants and white shirt. You were with a woman about your age and three children. You were buying food, tampons and panties. I was in the next lane over, the short, chubby woman in red, and didn’t get a chance to talk to you even though we exchanged glances. Are you single? If yes, I would like to bear your children. 10 year old picture of someone else deleted.
Possibly tamer than the real thing
A few years ago I got a letter from my health care provider that I would get a phone survey in a few days. Sure enough, I did.
It started with some questions about physical ability, such as “Can you walk across the room?” The mental ones followed. “Do you think that people are after you?” Since I didn’t want the questioner to join the gang that was pursuing me, I said no.
My favorite question was next “Do you think that you have superpowers?”
A few minutes later after an extended period of rolling around the floor laughing, I said no again, because I didn’t want my secret identity revealed.
The questions and answers are largely true.
Before They Were Famous
Eddie Jones ran a team of mules hauling grain from the Sacramento Valley to the Bay Area in the late 1800s. He didn’t make much money, but had a lot of time to read while driving his team to drop off his cargo in San Francisco and other cities in California where it was processed for feeding the residents, particularly the vast Chinese population which favored the staple they had eaten in their homeland.
Although Eddie never got out of California, he absorbed fiction and non-fiction from far off lands. He didn’t have much education, but thought up wild stories of exotic lands. He even imagined travelling through space to distant planets.
From his fantasies he wrote stories to match the things that he had thought about. He believed that his name didn’t sound like the name of a writer, so he at first tried the name of his transport company, “Eddie Rice Burros”. When that still didn’t sound quite right, he changed it again to the classier “Edgar Rice Burroughs” when he finally submitted “Tarzan” and “John Carter Of Mars.”
The Wright Brothers are well known as the originators of heavier than air manned flight, although some French and maybe some Russians may disagree. It is well known that the Wrights built bikes before airplanes. What is not so widely known, is that between bicycles and airplanes, the tried their hands at another manufacturing project.
Their interest in exotic women’s wear is not well known. After succeeding with bicycles, the brothers spent months in Tahiti. They were very much taken with the sensuous clothes worn by the native women. After returning and spending seven months setting up their knitting mill, they began their business between bikes and planes – “Two Wrights Make Sarong”. They did better with planes.
Playing with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Orville and Wilbur Wright to achieve the pun-ishment we deserve.
A dental hygienist wanted a child but could not conceive. Out of desperation, she kidnapped the son of one of her patients, but felt very guilty and depressed about it. She finally confessed to the FBI and was apprehended by Scully and Mulder. It was an X File because it was the first verified abduction by a sighing flosser.
Prolly written after a trip to the dentist and watching X-Files.
I wonder about figures of speech. Let’s dissect similes (unless they are metaphors – I’m a mathematician, not an English major, and I’m not even a good mathematician). Ok, to be honest, some of these are just phrases. We could choose high, aerodynamic or sexy, but let’s do ‘easy’ now. I may analyze others later.
Easy as Pie or Piece of Cake. First, why couldn’t it be ‘easy as cake’ or a ‘piece of pie’? Both are largely interchangeable desserts. Not only that, but what is particularly easy about pie or cake? They can be messy to eat and difficult to make. I don’t get it. Toast is an indisputably easy food, but instead of saying ‘easy as toast’ or ‘slice of toast’, we say he/she/it is toast meaning he/she/it is in a bad way.
Easy–peasy. What is particularly easy about peasy, and more to the point, what the hell is a peasy? Is it a small pea? It is something that is pea-like? I don’t know.
As easy as falling off a log. Well it certainly is easy, but its salient feature is pain. As a clumsy person, I’ve fallen off many logs. You can hurt yourself badly. I might have killed myself one time except for wearing a hard hat. You want pain; straddle a log that you fall on.
As easy as shooting fish in a barrel. What about ricochets? Not only is this activity dangerous, it is most certainly unethical and possible illegal in some jurisdictions. The fish don’t see it as easy; they see it as pain or death.
You may ask, what would be a good metaphor for easy. Toast has already been mentioned. Another candidate could be ‘writing a Short Humour piece’. I think that the preceding has proved my point.
Seriously wonder about some sayings and metaphors. Why is Bob your uncle?
I volunteered at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center (or as I thought of it, the hospital with too many names) for eleven years. My job was wheelchair jockey, or as I called it, unpaid escort, pusher or roll model (nudge – nudge, wink-wink).
Usually the job was very easy, so when I was asked if I got a lot of exercise, I responded “Not since the wheel was invented. When I had to carry people on my back, that was exercise.” Sometimes I was challenged to roll the extremely obese uphill. I got to see a lot of overweight people because they are more likely to be hospitalized than others. My last partner was an eighty – something year old woman, so I tried to take the more difficult cases. It didn’t require much strength, but driving two wheelchairs at once, occupied or not, required a lot of coordination. It wasn’t necessary, but I liked to show off. Getting people with leg injuries into jacked up pickups was difficult. In one case, which no doubt broke the rules, I picked up a light person and put him in the seat. In return for my paltry labors, I got a free breakfast.
This was a cruel prank, but I enjoyed handing off a very heavy bag to an old, 100 pound woman and watching her almost hit the floor.
One good thing about the job was that one rarely saw the same person twice, so I could use my short list of jokes repeatedly. Best gag – pretending that the patient was deplaning. “Please extinguish all smoking material and return your seatback to a full upright position. Thank you for riding Legacy chairs.”
Some events were not humorous to those involved, but presented slapstick visuals. One fellow’s urine sac which was connected to his catheter fell of his leg while I was pushing him. I didn’t catch on until I heard him screaming. Another patient had his oxygen tube caught in the wheel of his chair. He was cool, but his daughter freaked. Last and least, was the projectile vomiting. It looked much like the gag vomiting in TV or movie comedies.
Of course there were heart-rending events as well, but they belong on the “Short Sadness Site.”
During the cold war, scientists in Bulgaria were trying to develop the perfect soldier. They did not know at that time that the perfect soldier would appear in 342 cheap science fiction movies. They began by doing genetic experiments to increase the aggressiveness of rats. They began by dividing the rats into four groups in increasing order of aggression. They bred the rats in each of the four groups to observe how that changed their aggression. At that point, none of the groups were very aggressive, so they took the fourth group and divided it into normal aggression and the beyond normal meta aggression subsets.
When the group of the most aggressive group mated and gave birth, their pups grew up, broke out of their cage and killed all of the scientists. Most moralists blamed the tragedy on the scientists playing God, but any English Professor could see that the problem was mixing meta-fours.
My twisted brain concocted this many years before it was printed. Once you think of “metaphor”, how can you not think this?
The traveler from abroad may want to know about the seasons in the US in order to find the best time to visit. To better serve our foreign friends, here are the seasons in US areas either by reputation or direct observation in some US places.
Chicago : Road Destruction
San Francisco: Damp and Cold
Los Angeles: Earthquake
Atlanta*: Too hot
Portland**: Too cold to open windows
Too hot to open windows
Leaf blowers or chain saws prevent opening weather
The Great Plains:
*Also applies to any city in the Midwest, East and most of the South – Boston, New York, Mobile, Cleveland, Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago and don’t forget the Motor City (Detroit).
**More than one season can apply at the same time and these conditions are probably more widespread than just Portland.
Brian / AKA Swan of Short Humour formatted this well. Non-fiction.
It happened when I was selling refrigerators door to door. Some days I didn’t make a cent, some days I made thousands. I just got to a farmer’s house when storm clouds were gathering. The farmer told me that there was no need for a refrigerator, but there was a need for an expensive freezer, so things were looking good. As we were talking price, heavy winds and rain started. The farmer offered me dinner and a place to stay overnight in a shed behind the house while the weather settled.
During dinner, a twenty-something, the most stunning, sexy individual I’ve ever seen joined us. All during dinner Pat kept giving a come-hither stare promising unbelievable delights. Later when I was ready to go out to the shed, the farmer told me “There is one thing that I won’t allow and that is an attempt to steal my child’s virtue. If you value your life, do not try to visit Pat tonight.”
I of course assured him that I would leave Pat alone.
As I nestled into bunk in the shed, I could see Pat’s window. Soon a naked Pat came to the window, leered at me and pantomimed various acts. Farmer or no, I had to find a way into Pat’s room.
I found a rickety old ladder and put it up against the wall. It barely made it the two stories (this is the first one – the second one will appear later) to Pat’s window. As I climbed it, some of the rungs started to crack. I doubted that it would last during a return trip, but my passion kept me climbing.
Once in the room, Pat signaled me to get into bed. Before I could do that, I heard pounding on the door. The farmer yelled “If you are in there, you are as good as dead.”
You can imagine my predicament, because it an age old situation. What is worse, the farmer or the ladder?
An exercise in converting a strictly gender oriented story into one without gender.
North Gales Creek Hike
Gales Creek is in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range in western Oregon USA. By mountain standards, the Coast Range is very modest and have never been known to brag like the Rockies have as in “Rocky Mountain High” as performed by the late John Denver aka Deutschendorf.
An aside – a lesson from John Denver – don’t sing a song about a woman you are going to divorce (Annie).
The hike was led by a man, but we usually have women leaders in which case we are Ms. Led or Miss Led, depending on which camp you are in.
As always, we got a hike description before the hike. It listed two creek crossings. We thought we’d have to cross them through the water, but each had a bridge. Cleary the description should have been abridged.
A woman asked about a tree that was broken off about five feet (1.5 meters) from its base. I said that I was stumped.
This was an easy hike for me because I am usually the designated whiner and complainer. For this hike I was usurped by a former lawyer. Maybe he was courting my approval.
The four of us in our car opted to skip the no-price extra three mile (five kilometers?) and several hundred feet (less than several hundred meters) add-on, so we didn’t get as high as they did.
Nobody died so it was a good hike.
The hike happened. Not all of the puns were told that day.
A movie producer is pitching his ideas to a network executive. The executive gets things started.
“What do you want to pitch me?”
“Get ready to be excited. Listen to these ideas.”
“Her teenage daughter is in danger from getting mixed up with a stranger she met on the internet. She thinks that the stranger is at least forty and has left a string of broken women behind.”
“Her husband has a mysterious past. When she comes home and he is on the phone, he abruptly hangs up. His two former wives died under mysterious circumstances. Sometimes she gets phone calls with nobody on the other end of the line.”
“Her ex is stalking her. She keeps getting creepy email and notes left on her desk. Somebody has been in her house, but nothing has been taken.”
“A younger woman from his work obsesses about her husband and calls him at all hours. Is she losing her husband to the co-worker?”
“Their pet has died under mysterious circumstances and her daughter will only confide in the nanny. She caught the nanny leaving the bedroom when she got back unannounced early from a business trip.”
“The Women’s Movie Network channel has run each of those plots at least twice in the last three years.”
“So you’re not buying?”
“I didn’t say that. We’ve got a few spots open next month. Can you get me three of those in forty days for under a quarter million each?”
I confess to seeing “a few minutes “of these. Editor has been bingeing Hallmark. They all have the same happy endings.
In Praise of Marcellus Gilmore Edison
The list of things that have been important to me in my life includes peanut butter, a minimal amount of human interaction, an appropriate supply of oxygen, naps and bad clothes. The order is arbitrary. I don’t know when I had my first pb (known as penis buster when no one is around to hear) sandwich because my memory only goes back for a few of my 74 years, with exceptions for early toilet incidents. My mother always wanted to add lettuce in order to get me to consume vegetables. Not a taste treat. I have dabbled in pickle, onion, jelly and banana additions, but my favorite is peanut butter with plain butter on rye or whole wheat.
Our current brand has salt and vegetable monoglycerides (from palm oil). Years of partially hydrogenated oils turned me into an old man. Those years were followed by years of mixing the oil with solids which I consistently turned into a mess. I’d like to believe that the current concoction which does not need mixing and contains no sugar will allow me to live a few more years.
Peanut butter has been featured in around thirty songs. Take that Nutella. I’m disappointed that the one that I know “Bread and Butter” by the New Beats shows distaste for this wonderful food.
The most infamous pb sandwiches are attributed to Elvis Presley. Variations were known as the Elvis or Fool’s Gold Loaf including a loaf of bread, pound of bacon, a jar of grape jelly and a jar of peanut butter. He still lived to be 43.
You would do better to look elsewhere than this short history, but here goes. Aztecs made a peanut paste for toothaches, and then in 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edison (unrelated I think) patented peanut butter. I thought for years that it was George Washington Carver, but the always accurate internet disabused me, so I had to change the title. Another popular mistake – peanuts are not nuts, but legumes.
I feel that I have been unfair to Wheat Thins, but they have not served me as long as peanut butter.
If my DNA is taken, I will be mostly goober pea.
What’s Wrong With The Left
Many parts of my body either hurt or don’t work, but the left is really bad.
My left shoulder has been diagnosed with five problems, which on a good day, I can remember: floating bodies (sounds like a mystery or war novel), calcification, bone spur, degenerative joint disease and arthritis. Granted, there may be some overlap here. There are times when it is quite painful. At least these are signs of a life poorly lived.
Left arm – practically useless. I can catch with it a little and sometimes hold things. It is weaker than the right. Attempts to write, throw or bat lefty are comical.
The orthopedic guys told me that one leg is shorter than the other, which is probably why I habitually walk in circles.
I shovel and kick right footed. Throwing or batting with either foot doesn’t work and I’ve had plenty of left foot and knee pain. An X-Ray showed severe to advanced arthritis and an old fracture to my kneecap. Knee pain has reduced me to using a walker on a few days.
My high blood pressure is related to the left-leaning heart.
My left eye is inferior to the right – both are abysmal. With powerful lenses my sight can be corrected to near blind.
According to a vast oversimplification of a Wikipedia article, the right side of the brain is more action/emotional oriented and the left side is more caution/analytic oriented. Hard to pick a winner or loser here, particularly since the left brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa.
Whichever part of the brain does what; neither side can help me remember all the leftist problems over the years.
The right isn’t that great either, but that is a story for another time. I’ve got plenty wrong with both sides.
Too bad that this is more non-fiction.
Without any preamble, Akame walked over to Tatsumi while he was practicing his sword craft and asked “Have you ever noticed that we live beside a glass wall?”
Tatsumi put down his sword and did a 180 turn and said “Not up until now, but since you mention it, I see it. Not only that, but some of them are looking at us.”
Akame observed “I noticed them about a month ago, and in that time I’ve learned a lot. Most importantly, they look a lot like us but there are differences.”
“I see some differences too. The first thing that is obvious to me is that all women don’t have beautiful figures. Some have chests that are much less than three times their waist size, and sometimes they are even fat.”
“I expected that you would notice that first. How about the guys? They don’t all look like prepubescent boys or old men. Further, the people on the other side aren’t continuously beating up humans and monsters three times their size. Some males and females have jobs like working in stores and don’t even know the first thing about martial arts. I’ve seen a few fights, but they usually use what they call a gun, a small knife instead of a sword, or just beat someone with his or her fists. Weird. Look a little closer, what else do you see?”
“They have a strange way of moving. Instead moving normally in small increments, they move smoothly. How can they do that?”
“Beats me. It’s kind of a twisted reality. Here’s something that will really blow you away. What passes for males on their side of the glass are not lusted after by ten of their women. If their males are lusted after at all, usually it isn’t by more than one of their women, and sometimes their males and females become unclothed and rub their bodies together in a strange ritual I don’t understand.”
“Now I’m noticing some differences, Akame. On their side, when a couple is feeling romantic they get protrusions on their bodies, one for men and two for women unlike the normal bloody noses for men and blushing for women on our side of the glass.”
“They aren’t the only ones that are odd. Have you noticed that we look like Americans, but speak Japanese when the people on the other side of the glass look Japanese, but when the people look American, even though our lips look like we are speaking Japanese, English words come out? Plus in some cases our words show up below our feet.”
“Even though those on both sides of the glass have some oddities, I sure hope that the glass partition keeps us separate. I couldn’t face living with those weirdos.”
Our worlds are so different. Does your nose come to a point? If you look like a 12 year old boy, do voluptuous women cluster around you?
Ducks and Dudes – Prose (sic) and Cons
Frequently while watching water fowl, I wonder if they have it better. Because people don’t talk duck (we do bad imitations) and ducks don’t speak people, they are no magpies after all, my research is inadequate, but I’ll do the best that I can.
Obviously ducks have it all over people in several ways. We cannot fly without artificial apparatus. If we want to get anywhere fast, we require vehicles, whereas ducks just take to the skies. I envy them shitting and pissing wherever they want. We must grow or buy food. Ducks have readily available grass, algae, fish or amphibians. They don’t need to save for college, join the army, get a job or go to jail.
In some areas we are more on equal ground. Ducks can get botulism, cholera or plague. Ducklings may be eaten by fish – notice the symmetry – or raptors. Humans are a big hazard for ducks; we eat the wild ones and the domesticated. Humans are rarely killed by ducks, but we can get a lot of diseases that affect ducks and a lot of our own diseases. Humans do a lot of things that lead to their demise – driving drunk, smoking, drinking, stds, and war. I believe that ducks are never as smart as people at our best or as stupid as our worst. There has never been a duck Einstein or Hitler. Ducks can be monogamous, but maybe only for a year at a time. In duck years, that’s about like people.
Humans definitely come out ahead on longevity. Ten years is a long life for a duck. Ducks rarely get to sample our tasty cuisine – quarter pounders, Black Butte Porter, licorice twizzlers, Terminator Stout, waffles, wheat thins or peanut butter.
What is the final score? I’m going out a limb, make a controversial decision and call it a tie.
Really wondered about this while observing waterfowl.
¾ – Probably Part Of A Larger Piece
As I get close to ¾ of a century, I reflect.
The most important thing in the reflection is that there is nothing important there except for marrying well.
I’m continuously reminded of my age by so many things. When I got my increasing gray and diminished hair cut, the barber spent about as much time working over my ears and eyebrows as my hair. Oh yeah, eyebrows. My eyeball was itching for a couple of days recently and despite my search for an errant eyelash or head hair, I eventually found that it was an eyebrow hair. AN EYEBROW HAIR. At least that wasn’t as bad as my old man flu during the Fourth Of July. Let’s not think about the extra pounds.
Exciting job? Nope, actuary. Military exploits. Nope, student deferments. Athletic achievement? One home run in an over forty league when an outfielder played me cheap.
An earlier reason for reflection was local author Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”. She hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, wrote a best seller, and had wild sex. Whereas I had nothing published (at the time), had done some hiking, and … . It made my life so insignificant by comparison. At least I got some payback by writing parodies of “Wild” – “How To Write An Oprah Book”, “Mild” and “Wildest”.
When I hear about recent music or celebrities, my usual review is “what, who?” What I can hear, I don’t remember and what I can remember, I don’t hear. I have no idea what I had for breakfast, but can remember being rejected fifty or sixty years ago.
If I’m in my golden years, I hope things look better when I get to titanium or platinum or whatever comes next.
The real bummer is that so many don’t get the chance to bemoan their old age.
Sad to say more non-fiction.
I recently wrote a very negative Short Humour story about reaching ¾ of a century. In the interest of unfair, unbalanced fake news, it’s time to look at the pluses.
Starting at the top, I still have some hair on my head. Neither bald nor lush of pate, I have see-through hair. I have a non-surgical cure for male pattern baldness consisting of thinning on the crown and receding in front. Part hair from ear to ear and comb hair forward and back from the part, thereby alleviating both problems. I expect to make millions by marketing this scheme.
Because I’m thick skinned (physically only), my crow’s feet are from baby crows, my hands are pre-claw, my neck pre-turkey, and little of my skin has turned to crepe. My beard isn’t much, but it has improved over the last sixty plus years.
I have the forearms of a sixty year old, barely spotted, and much the same size that they have been for sixty years. My editor claims that my shoulders have grown up since we got married, and one still works. Better yet, I’ve got the body of a twenty year old. I keep it in the refrigerator for midnight snacks – apologies to those who have heard this before, and to those who have not.
After we pass up some things on the way down, nothing to see here, south of my Equator we find strong calves above trim ankles and feet with an excess of arch. I’d better dial this back; I’m starting to be aroused.
Physically, I do a fair amount, including but not limited to, chasing the cat, bad yoga, and fair hiking (five miles is the new ten miles). What I call my knee bracelets have given my arthritic knees a few more miles. I can still lift my own weight, as I prove most days by climbing out of bed. I improve my mind by writing drivel such as this, learning 1% of what I need to know to make a website, and most importantly ignoring politics, celebrities, “reality” and talk shows. I’m winning by deteriorating slower than most of my peers, although we know people who have been active into their late eighties.
The parental units made it for a few years past my age, so I’ve got that. I don’t get bruises, headaches, stomachaches or colds anymore (just continuous congestion).
Possibly the best part of my reclining years is freeing my inner curmudgeon. Consarn it “they” is plural, impact is a noun, “at the end of the day” is a time and issue is not the same as problem. We haven’t had a good president since Eisenhower. Of course you are faster than me, you’re a youngster. I find from talking to other elderly people I’m not the only one claiming advanced age when it works for me, and ignoring it when it doesn’t.
If I do check out soon, the way the world is going; it may be a good thing.
Get off my yard, you dang hippie.
A bit of misplaced optimism.
Magical Mystery Journey
I had been told that there was a strange land just miles east of me. My life as an actuary had been such a bore; I decided to see if the legendary land would knock me out of my funk. I had been told there were rubies, opal, gold, silver, garnets, jade and topaz there for the taking, as well as strange people practicing strange rituals and religions1.
After only a few miles I found a beautiful lake with boats surrounding the shore. According to local experts, the lake had been formed from a catastrophe of monstrous proportions millennia ago2. The people there assured me that the stories I had heard about their land were true, but I should beware of people that looked like me, but were full of hate and evil3. Unbelievably polite, but strange talking people were rumored to live a little to the north4. I was fortunate that the natives that I saw on my journey were quite friendly.
I decided to travel south first. Unbelievable – I experienced time travel. On my way through country that was beautiful, but largely devoid of humans, time leaped ahead an hour in only a minute5. Either that or I had become unconscious for an hour while still driving.
At last I reached human civilization not that different from what I was used to. Many people lived along a reptilian river6. I learned that everything along the river had a volcanic history and the possibility of future earth ending eruptions7. Despite no large cities, the region had atomic power going back to 19558.
On our way east along the river we passed through an unworldly and hellish volcanic landscape which was so alien that it was compared to the surface of the moon9.
We finished our explorations by continuing east to the City Of Rocks10, consisting of rocks which a somewhat whimsical observer had likened to buildings, and others took for granite, accurately as it turn out. The only habitants appeared to be a variety of birds, lizards, snakes, mammals and a few amphibians. There were unconfirmed rumors of humans climbing on the rocks rather than living in them. I was happy to learn that the territory harbored some marmots. In addition to being entertaining animals, my sister’s ex-husband once referred to my father as a marmot.
Truly impressed by this magical place, I asked a native what the land was called. Rather than tell me directly, he first said that it was a made up name which was falsely credited to an aborigine group11. “We call it Idaho.”
1. The narrator started this trip in Spokane, Washington, USA. The aforementioned gems and metals are all found in Idaho and all religions are strange to him.
2. Coeur d’Alene Lake was formed by the gigantic Missoula Floods.
3. North Idaho has been the location of some white power groups. They may be gone now.
4. Canada, eh.
5. North Idaho is Pacific Time, South Idaho is Mountain Time. The narrator forgot that he had a car clock that was kept correct by wi-fi.
6. The Snake. The name is a misunderstanding of the Shoshone sign for salmon.
7. The Snake River Valley was formed by the potential super volcano that is now under Yellowstone.
8. Arco, Idaho.
9. Craters Of The Moon National Monument And Preserve – Where astronauts were trained to explore the surface of the moon.
10. City Of Rocks National Reserve. Rock climbing has been prohibited, but then so has running red lights.
Years ago a friend who claimed Idaho was a mythical place because he had never known anybody from Idaho or anything about it. A joke, I think.
Inspired by the inscrutable “F**cking Up” by Neil Young
My very first memory (possibly implanted) is falling out of a boat which contained my older sister and my parents. Someone must have fished me out because I’m still alive. Heads up sister made sure that the fishing gear didn’t fall overboard.
Next up is being scared by a toilet while in the first grade. While in grade school, asphalt did a little dental work on me and I sprained a thumb by hitting someone. An altercation with a larger and older lad ended up with my broken leg. While still incapacitated by the aforementioned leg, I vomited in the school cafeteria. Within the same time frame, I had one of my falling on my head incidents. Same sister decided we should be acrobats and attempted to have me stand on her shoulders. Swan dive headfirst ended up in hours of blurred vision. One of the other memorable headfirst dives was down a few stair steps onto a concrete floor. Over all I’m fine, it hasn’t mgsohs sdrts ophks at all.
I found out that the guy that I fought with in a pool had not been standing up when I first saw him. My bad estimate of his size ended up in hearing loss in my left ear.
Before marrying well, there were a very few relationships all of which ended badly. Two are immortalized in stories penned under a pseudonym to protect the guilty – me.
When I was a bit older the intake of questionable things ended up in a lot of vomiting, staying awake for more than a day, falling over tables and the like. Emptying into a suitcase was the worst that I can remember. The one that I can’t remember painted the exterior of a car with what was formerly stomach content, after a fight with a large fellow who didn’t give me the dignity of acknowledging that I was fighting with him. Or so I was told in painful detail by a witness.
Of the many things that went wrong while I was teaching I remember passing wind and having a condom fall from my billfold – not at the same time. I did have the sense to become an actuary rather than continue as a molder of minds.
My investment prowess got us worthless penny stocks and an oil well that wasn’t.
I have advanced degrees in math, but can’t balance a checkbook. Once I sent in my checking balance rather than a billed amount, which caused many bounced checks and fees. Mixing up state and federal tax returns led to both massive under and over payments.
I’ve lost keys, a shovel and a hat while working in our local park. Finding the keys a week later after everything had been replaced was bad enough, but I lost my favorite hat while unsuccessfully looking for the shovel.
Perhaps the most recent major screw up was performing an exercise poorly with too much weight. What the tearing sound that I thought was my aorta ripping was more likely my left shoulder being incapacitated and the formation of a hernia. My knees had previously been ruined by carrying twenty pounds more than their capacity and my habit of jumping off things. A recent exam found an old knee cap fracture that was news to me.
A word – don’t ever use a q tip on your ears while wearing fish helpers (some call them herring aids).
It could be worse. I could be robbing Kwick-E-Mart (Simpsons reference) to feed a meth habit. When I’m asked if I’m staying out of trouble, my go to now is “I’m too old for trouble.”
Most people who have lived many years could write a similar story.
To clarify, this is not about a lisping lesbian, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
My first acting role was as Santa Claus in a grade school production. Because we had no theatre department, I was chosen for the lead because I finished my homework quickly. The “plot” was a trip around the globe showing how different countries celebrated Christmas. My one mistake was going to the countries out of order, but recovered with aplomb by blaming the reindeer. Oddly, no talent scout offered me a big studio contract.
My second role came about by an odd sequence of events. I was giving my friend Gary a ride to his starring part in a Portland Parks production of “Little Abner”. The director spotted another friend, the handsome Kim, and I, and said “Scraggs” (relatives of the beauteous Daisy Mae). The comic strip / movie / Broadway Scraggs were known to be lazy and ugly, so in my case it was type casting. Our song was “If I Had My Druthers”, which was OK because it didn’t require the ability to sing, which neither of us had. I got some praise as one of the handsome, muscular topless Dogpatch boys after drinking Yokumberry Tonic. Remembering the good parts is a good thing. Afterwards, the show was televised on local TV, which confirmed my lack of singing ability (this partly inspired “Nose” which is in Short Humour and Literally Stories).
When we moved to Marin California after leaving a job that I hated, I became a decent docent at China Camp, which involved storytelling about a Chinese shrimping settlement. It is a fascinating story involving history, culture and business, but not too funny.
I became a programmer and seller of actuarial software, which was quite a leap in that I couldn’t program or sell, but at least it gave me something to do beyond being a house husband. For several years I worked on advertising and running booths at industry meetings for my software, and if that isn’t show biz, I don’t know what is.
When Windows replaced DOS, I was unwilling or unable to revise the programs, and thought that we had enough money to retire.
one of the three productions of “Tony And Tina’s Wedding” that I saw Tina chose
me from the audience to make Tony jealous.
I wasn’t very good at looking happy to have the rather large Tina sit on
Now I “act” indirectly (my lovely and talented editor thought that “at one remove” was too obscure). My alter ego, Duke Hanley gets to do the things that I’m too smart, too incompetent, or too fearful to do in many of the stories that I write.
Anybody have a part for the new old Mickey Rooney?
Back in Portland OR USA when I was a child our cats were all outside cats and being on a fairly busy street and not being too smart, they usually died from being hit by cars. My unpleasant job was burying one, but not deep enough as my father found out when plowing.
Only two of the early cats, Sofia Hergenmergen (from the Steve Canyon comic strip) and Mop Cat stick in my mind. Sofia was a calico, who I believe gave birth while we had her (we weren’t that good at spaying then). She was petite and walked like rabbit with a little hop in her step. Mop cat resembled a black mop and was so cool. He trained me so he would lie on his back on my outstretched arm. Try that with your cat. He was also featured in a dream that I had. The details are sealed for opening after my death.
After I left home and eventually got married and a house, my sister-in-law gave us her cat called Frodo (Lord of the Rings). I was Bored Of The Rings (Harvard Lampoon, somewhat amusing), so he was changed to Batface based on his big ears and prominent canines. Best cat ever, except for being a bad lover and fighter. After repeated injuries to his tail when he ran from fights, we had him neutered. We had received him in Denver, where he would chase the nine o’clock moths, and bring them in as if they were electric bowties. His other trick was to escape from the basement by wedging himself between two metal surfaces and using them to climb vertically to the next floor.
Batface stayed with us through two moves in LA and a couple of moves in Marin. Through the whole thing, he was an excellent companion. He not only liked us, but would hang out with people who walked in front of our house.
He was involved in a hallucinatory moment for me. I saw two of him at his food bowl one day. After much gawping, I discovered that one of him was skinnier and in fact an interloper from another house.
Sometime in there we got another sister-in-law cat Jaws, the evil eponymous cat of “Cat Of Hanley” https://literallystories2014.com/2016/12/08/cat-of-hanley-by-doug-hawley/#more-8612.
We tried to keep Batface indoors at night for his own good in Corte Madera CA, but one night I let him out when I wasn’t thinking straight. He came home that night injured and died shortly thereafter. I cried.
We decided that we should get a couple of cats next so that they would have company. Brother Boots and sister Pooch (editor though that Puss was too risqué) joined us.
Smaller Pooch was the boss. She was not happy when Boots tried to mount her after she had been spayed. After that she ruled the litter box (he tried to bury his Tootsie Rolls as deep as he could) and laps (if she was there first he would stay away, if he was there first she chased him away).
An endearing act of Pooch’s was to carry on a conversation with us while sitting on a credenza as with left the house. She would, we would meow. This could go on for twenty repititions.
One morning we heard a thud while we were in bed. Boots had either died and fallen or fallen and died. Pooch didn’t seem upset.
Orville (we think based on Redenbacher), an orange cat, started to flop in front of us after his people died as we walked. He was such a pleaser, that we didn’t mind when he moved to a house across the street. Word on the street was that he was always looking for his main chance. If our information is correct, he finally died in his mid-twenties. His new people said that he meowed once and went.
Pooch made it to twenty and a half. Towards the end we were administering regular subcutaneous fluids. Letting go was hard.
We got Harriet, the hairy pet, indirectly from a fellow hiker. The intermediary couldn’t take her because her cat had FHV. She was old when we got her and didn’t last too long, but while she was around, she was very mellow. Unlike most cats, carrying her upstairs didn’t bother her at all. Only food got her excited. She slept in the opposite direction as me at night with my hand on her belly.
Our last is Kitzhaber, formerly called Honey by his late owner, because she couldn’t remember his name. The owner was slipping into dementia and left for another state. At that time my mother had died and we were cut free of responsibility and didn’t want another cat. After being asked to take him ten times, we caved on the eleventh.
Our introduction went poorly. He wanted nothing to do with us and considered himself an outdoor cat, while we insisted he was an indoor cat. He attempted to resolve the impasse by crashing out of a second story window and rolling down the roof before falling to the ground. After spending days looking for him, our neighbor told us he was stealing the neighbor’s cat food. Attempts to retrieve him initially failed, but a raccoon trap worked. He no longer seriously attempts to leave us, but he may have some plan we don’t know about.
We had a short term three way with the passionate cat down the block. He loved rubbing against us and even being picked up. We called him stumpy for his very short tale, until someone told us he was Earl, and then he became Stumpy Earl. Sad to say his people moved away shortly after we met him.
He is now named after a failed Oregon governor. His main activities are dumping, crying for food and lying about wanting you to rub his belly. He gets credit for renaming himself Fireball in the fiction “Cat’s Religion” https://prolificpress.com/bookstore/dual-coast-magazine-c-6/dual-coast-magazine-issue-3-p-167.html and reinforcing a life lesson by piecing my flesh when I displease him.
Four feral cats are split between a neighbor and us. After years of feeding them, they still don’t trust us. All are gray, but different sizes, and hang out together, but don’t get close to people. My editor named them Fuzzy, White Legs, Big Guy and Tabby.
Take away cat videos and porn and what would the internet have left?
Style Sheet For Today
Community – Add after any group
Wrong – Brown haired
Wrong – Scientists
Right – Brown haired community
Right – Scientific community
Commas – separate items in a list, but not clauses
Clauses – There are none – college educated people don’t understand them.
Conjunctions – Use at the beginning of a sentence
Wrong – He was at home, but he went to town.
Right – He was at home. But he went to town.
Impact – Use wherever educated people would use affect or effect. Use everywhere.
Wrong – The injury had effects that affected him.
Right – Impact impact impact impact impact.
Gender – There are none. Put an x after titles or group names. No him, her, he, she, hers, his it is now them, they theirs.
Wrong – Panda
Wrong – Ms.
Wrong – Him
Right – Pandax
Right – Mx (Not to be confused with the missile. Ignore spell check redlining Mx)
Right – They
Ethnic designation – Person of color, even though no one knows exactly to whom it applies (are Japanese or Iranians poc, who knows?)
Wrong – Colored person despite its similarity to person of color
Wrong – Non-white
Wrong – Anything other than person of color
Reported or alleged – Never use. Use reportedly or allegedly, adverbs that might apply to something, but probably not.
Wrong – He was reported to have stolen a safe.
Right – He reportedly stole a safe.
Hopefully – Always use without specifying who is hoping. Never use hoped.
Wrong – He hoped she would win.
Right – Hopefully she would win.
Issue – Use in place of problem, error, mistake. Those words should never be used.
Wrong – He died of cancer.
Right – He died from a health issue.
Clichés – Use one until it has been used ten million times, for ten years or until it becomes popular again.
Wrong – I have decided that I am interested in Jen.
Wrong – Bad appearance
Right – I walked back Jen not being on my radar.
Right – Bad optics
Grammar rules or spelling don’t apply anywhere unless you want certain jobs, so write as though you were texting in any other situation.
Wrong birthday card – Happy birthday on your 80th Grandmother
Right birthday card – Grammar, happy bday ur 80, lol
Nouns and verbs – Change nouns to verbs and verbs to nouns
Wrong – He spends his weekdays requesting donations from businesses, and he hopes that they will send him big donations.
Right – He weekdays sending big asks to the business community. And hopefully they will gift him big donations.
Inpler, in Short Humour and Potato Soup is another take on English sinking into the toilet.
Amphibian From Another World
When an Antarctic scientist uncovered an alien space ship while digging for a latrine, he sent for the best crypto-biologists, archaeologists and astronomers to come to the Antarctic base. After the local Antarctic scientists were assembled, they entered the ship which had unrecognizable instruments and made weird sounds like those of a Theremin. They quickly discovered something encased in ice, which they hauled off to their camp.
Twenty-four hours later, the scientists from around the world had reached the camp, ready to see about the find. Geraldine Qwen from Canada had already determined that the ice was roughly 10 years old. The archeological team then ly chipped away at the ice, revealing what appeared to be a three meter long salamander with a half meter penis and what appeared to be a human-like mouth.
Somebody said “That is the ugliest and biggest thing of its kind I’ve ever seen.”
The sort of amphibian responded “That’s what she said” followed by gasps and other expressions of shock from the group. The amphibian then said “Was that wrong? How about ‘What’s up, Yo Mama or Who Dat?’”
An Einstein clone amongst the scientists asked “We were, ahem, expecting a different level of intelligence from our first interstellar visitor and maybe some superpowers like shape shifting or being able to withstand nuclear attack.”
“About that. This whole enchilada was planned by our overlords on planet Ineque. They got me to agree with their plans by holding my 534 surviving larvae hostage. I was educated in earth ways by viewing reruns of your sitcoms, movies from Japan and reality shows. According to the overlords my intelligence is below that of a dolphin, but above that of a ‘reality star’. To sweeten the algae, they said I could get some action from giant Chinese salamanders.”
“So what were you to do for the overlords?”
“The idea was to land in Japan, but that seems to have gone wrong.”
“I was to find out if the monsters inhabiting Japan were too tough for a successful invasion of Earth by the overlords.”
“You mean the ones like Godzilla, Gamera and Rodan?”
The fat scientist in the Hulk and Spiderman shirt who had been jumping up and down trying to ask a question got his turn. “What about super powers? What happens if you are exposed to radiation or bitten by a radioactive spider?”
“They tried me exposing to radioactivity back on Ineque, the bastards. I turned brown and my skin cracked. It hurt like hell. The only spiders I know about are the ones from your movies. I would avoid them like the plague.”
“So no superpowers?”
“You try traveling in an uncomfortable space ship for years and then being frozen for more years and come back as good as ever.”
Lead scientist Sapphire (no relation) Hendrix motioned the group to huddle up. After some whispering they addressed the sort of salamander “I think we’ve got a deal that you will like. We can introduce you to some really sexy Chinese salamanders, if you will tell your overlords that the Japanese monsters would definitely defeat the forces of Ineque.
“Deal. I hate those guys, and so far I like this world much better.”
Qwen whispered to Hendrix “What happens when our interstellar amphibian discovers our salamanders don’t do sex like he thinks? He won’t like being a dateless wonder on this planet.”
“I don’t know, but this saves the earth from annihilation for a little while at least. I’d call that a win.”
Shorter .Variation on “Brave Newt World”
“Tell me a little bit about yourself Mr. Smith.”
“First, Smith isn’t my original name. I had to change it several times because my baby mommies kept trying to get me for child support. Six or seven women, ten or fifteen kids, I can’t keep track.”
“Anyhoo, I didn’t have much schooling. The fourth grade teacher, what’s her name, was a tyrant that thought she was smarter than me, you know what I mean. That was OK, because I was big for my age, and I moved into some petty thievery and moving large quantities of weed. At first I was too young to get a driver’s license, so I had to boost cars. I got some pretty sweet rides, Lambos, Ferraris, and Porches. I tell ya, I’m a great driver.”
“Things went south when MaryJane was legalized. Politicians got no concern for no hard working business man. Legal stuff killed my business.”
“Car theft had just been a sideline, but after the dope biz dried up, I went at it full time. You only get about $10k for a stolen $90k car, but it only took a few a year to keep me in leather underwear.”
“Being an enterprising guy, I got into sex work as a side hustle. Most of my baby mamas worked with me at one time, but I had to make myself scarce when they got pregnant.”
“If you been paying attention, what do you think, baldy?”
“In the bad old days, I wouldn’t have anything for you Mr. Smith. However, in this enlightened age, I’ve got several possibilities for you if you really want to go legit. Talk show host, reality star, you tube star, influencer and Instagram model opportunities are wide open. If you want to avoid work but still get rich, I know a ghost writer who can turn your biography into a million seller. That in turn can be a major motion picture blockbuster. Welcome to fame and fortune.”
Reflects my opinion of certain occupations.
Many stories in another publication and ended up in Short Humour. Those stories are listed under their title. Stories only appropriate for Short Humour are here.