OK, OK, OK! I will admit it. This old blog post from 2017 is considered by some people to be of questionable taste. They are entitled to their opinion. They’re wrong.
I’m also entitled to my opinion. I think it’s funny.
THERE AIN’T NUTHIN’ LIKE A GOOD BURGER. It doesn’t have to be fancy (and probably shouldn’t be). It doesn’t have to be expensive. It sure doesn’t have to be in some high class restaurant. But it has to be prepared with gluttony in mind.
About a five minute drive or twenty minute crawl from home is a small neighborhood joint (that’s the only appropriate word) that does a burger right.
This particular watering hole has been around for about two million years. It is on its third or fourth owners now and doing well. It is probably also on the Hit List of the American Heart Association.
Over the years it has grown from a serious drinker’s bar, into a Punch Palace where the main attraction was drunken brawls, into a neighborhood friendly gathering spot. With each reincarnation the food menu has grown and improved. Today it has become a place for Breakfast as well as for Lunch and Dinner –with no brawling allowed.
The Star of the Show – foodwise – is the “Tweety Burger.” It has nothing to do with a small yellow canary and Sylvester the Cat. “Tweety” was the name of one of the original owners back in the Dark Ages.
The current owner is a young (30ish) gent who is trying to turn the place from a “Joint” into something more socially acceptable – a place where you could take a date for a nosh without having to worry about a fist fight breaking out. The new Boss is also expanding the definition of the “Tweety Burger.” For the longest time it was just a very tasty ½ pound burger with fries – yumilicious to be sure. But now, the sky is the limit.
Every month now there is new version of the “Tweety” on the menu. Last month’s burger had Ghost Pepper Chiles and Creamy Marshmallow between the buns. I passed on that one, although it did sell well. I like spicy, but I don’t think that food should hurt.
This month the Special is the “All-American Tweety” – a burger that goes where no cardiologist has ever gone before.
I was in there last night and my wife, the lovely and ever tasteful, Dawn, suggested that each “All-American Tweety” should come with the business card of a good heart specialist. That is being taken under advisement.
I asked our waitress, Susie, who has worked there for years, if many people are ordering that monster of a burger. She shook her head and said, “More than you would believe.” She had a look of concern on her face. I think she was going to be expected to administer CPR if one of her customers keels over mid-burger.
The owner is counting on some seriously hungry (or deranged) people who will down that full pound famine-buster – and then want dessert. That is when Susie will trot out the “Fresh, Hot Donuts,” drizzled with hot chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.
Just what the Anesthesiologist ordered!
I think I’ll stick to my usual order – the Tweety Junior, which is more than enough for me. When it shows up at the table I tell Susie, “I thank you, My Doctor thanks you, and my Aorta thanks you. Pass the ketchup.”
OK, WE HAVE CHRISTMAS OUT OF THE WAY. The eggnog has been thankfully disposed of until next year. Christmas carols are over until Thanksgiving – except on the Hallmark Channel. New Year’s Day kind of takes care of itself with football, aspirin and drawn shades. I guess our next societal obligation is the making of New Year’s Resolutions. I suggest doing that before going out on New Year’s Eve. Doing it after that carries the danger of it being a product of desperation, shame, and physical pain.
Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “O, Canada! Say My Name!”
Down at St. Arbucks the “Usual Suspects” seemed subdued and even quasi-rational. I should have recognized that as an omen of Strange Things to come.
After lunch I accompanied my wife, the lovely and telephonically lethal, Dawn, as she went to buy a new phone. I enjoy being Arm Candy for her. Her first words to the Blue-Shirted guy at Best Buy were, “I murdered my phone.”
The afternoon went from there on a pathway I can only describe as, “This looks familiar, but then again…”
After the phone business we headed to Staples to gorge on 17 cent notebooks and Bic pens. That happens only once a year. It is like a Burmese Python dining on a full grown white-tailed deer. It lasts quite a while before you need to do it again.
I thought that might be the climax of the day, but I was wrong.
We weren’t home more than five minutes when the landline phone began to ring. Nobody ever calls us on that line except wrong numbers and telephone solicitors.
“Hello, John, this is Jade calling from your Canadian pharmacy about refilling your prescription today.”
I was beginning to feel like a hungry Burmese Python and “Jade” sounded like a Doe about to accidentally step on me. I humbly refer you to my blog posting from May 11, 2015 – “Remember, You Called Me.”https://johnkraft.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/remember-you-called-me/
Dawn just shook her head when she heard me say, “Canadian pharmacy – you’re in Canada?” She could read my mind.
I started with, “Jade, Jade, listen to me. I’ve been binge-watching “Breaking Bad” for the last few days and I’m thinking maybe you, being in Canada, might be able to get me some of that Dude’s stuff – some really good Blue Meth.”
“What are you talking about, Mr. Kraft?” All of a sudden it’s no longer the friendly, “John.”
“I’m talking about you being in Canada you don’t have to mess with the Feds. Say my name, Jade! Right? Say my name! I need some really good stuff and you can do it for me.
“Jade, you gotta help me. What’s that, Jade? You hear that? They’re at my door, Jade.”
The confused voice from north of the border tried to interrupt. “What are you talking about? I don’t understand you.”
I’m not stopping for anything even though Dawn is leaving the room.
“Jade, the Feds, they’re at my door. You gotta help me. Jade, hold on a minute. Wait! Here, you talk to them. Jade? Jade? Jade?”
I wonder where she went.
Perhaps my friend, Jade will go to her supervisor in the boiler room and relate her chat with me. Maybe then they will take my name off of their sucker list. If they really are in Canada they don’t give a hoot about any American “no-call lists.” I figure that if, each time they call they get me, and are plugged into the world of some idiot Meth-head who wants to buy illicit drugs from them while the Feds are busting down the door. If this happens often enough they might decide on their own to quietly put an asterisk next to my name with a notation saying. “If you ever call this guy we will set you adrift on an ice floe chained to Howie Mandel.”
And I thought that today was going to be a quiet, rather boring, day.
Thank you, Jade from my friendly Canadian pharmacy. I hope you will recover soon.
“Holy Broom Closet, Batman!”
I wasted a good portion of yesterday with Doctors, Nurses, and Technicians who spent two hours trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube…and I was the toothpaste.
I am not claustrophobic. I’ve been in some pretty tight spots in my life – literally and in a figurative sense so having a CT Scan is no big deal – except that it is a big deal. They don’t shoot people through that gizmo just for fun.
During my last visit to my Doctor’s office, just before taking off for Texas, his minions took about a quart of blood from my “Good” arm for testing and analysis. They never take blood from my “Bad” arm as if it wasn’t connected to the rest of my body. I think it is, but I can’t prove it.
They took my blood and that was it until later in the day when I got a phone call from “Amy Lou” at the Doctor’s Office.
“The results of your blood tests show an abnormality that concerns the Doctor.”
I WAS WATCHING TV THE OTHER DAY when I actually saw something new. It was an ad from the Sherwin-Williams Paint Company. They were singing the praises of a brand new product: Anti-Bacterial Paint.
The commercial showed this stereotypical suburban mommy gleefully painting away. She was certainly better dressed for painting than I had ever seen before. There was no drop cloth either, so I must assume that this new paint was also Anti-Gravity and never dripped.
Most days I have it under tight control. Other days – not so tight.
A lifetime of experience and a number of years when I got paid to be a (Fill in the blank) has taught me that if I’m not fully awake, not feeling well, or someone goes “Boo!” and surprises me, my brain and mouth tend to go off on their own to play. When that happens all bets are off and I’m as upset as anybody else at what happens next.
This morning is a perfect example. I apologize in advance and in retrospect.
It was early, I was still a bit groggy, and my back hurt. This is a dangerous combination. It is comparable to taking part in a Pogo Stick Race while carrying a Thermos filled with Nitroglycerine. Cover your ears and keep your head low.
I had just stumbled into St. Arbucks in desperate need of coffee. I was seated in the corner, minding my own business. I had my Morning Blood Pressure Meds spread out on a Kleenex. My iced coffee was at the ready. It was an idyllic scene at 7:30 AM.
A sip of coffee and my Fish Oil was down my gullet. Another sip – another pill.
I ask you – is that any way to start a conversation? With me? At 7:30 in the morning? Before I’ve had all of my coffee?
Without missing a beat the few brain cells that were awake kicked into Defensive/Offensive Mode. I looked up at her. I smiled. I spoke.
“No, they’re not for cancer. They’re to try to control my unpredictable and violent outbursts that happen when strangers walk up to me in public and ask questions. Do I know you?”
She backed up and exited the store.
I consider my reply to fall into the category of a “Public Service Announcement.” I hope she heard it clearly and will think twice in the future before acting like such a dummy.
What if I had been taking a buffet of meds for cancer? Is that her business – or anybody’s business for that matter?
What a yutz.
Most people who know me find me to be a gentle, even kittycat-like, with my playful and loving demeanor. I may jump around and make noise on occasion, but I don’t claw at the sofa and I am housebroken. All I ask is – please don’t sneak up on me with dumb questions at 7:30 in the morning. Later in the day I can deal with stuff like that in a more civil manner, but anyone who does it before I’ve had my coffee is pushing their luck.
We now return to our regularly scheduled program – in progress.
This morning I was cornered by one of the Usual Suspects – a fine man in his 80s who is also something of an athlete. Today he spent twenty minutes telling me that he has to go in tomorrow and see his Cardiologist because his Pacemaker needs adjustment. It seems that his heart (While still working) is running at about 100 beats per minute day or night, at rest or active. Even I know that 100 beats per minute is a tad brisk if you are just sitting down having a talk with me.
We are now well into the new millennium and, like it or not, things are changing. One of the most notable is that the first crop of the “Baby Boom” babies is turning 70. The implications of this are many, but the one I think is most important is that this nation is going to be inundated by tens of millions of new Geezers.
UH, OH! I SEE A CHALLENGE AHEAD. At least it is not directly involving me.
I learned the other day that one of the Usual Suspects is going under the knife in a few days. It’s nothing life threatening, but according to him it’s worse – he is going to have his golf game taken away for a year.
Why not just cut out his heart?
Throwback Thursday from March 2017 – “Three Little Words”
I KNOW A YOUNG BLOGGER, whose work I really enjoy. Recently she mentioned that she had decided to sign a “DNR” form. For the uninitiated “DNR” stands for “Do Not Resuscitate.” It is an alert to medical personnel that the person who signed the form does not want any measures, like CPR, to be taken to keep them alive if their heart stops beating or they stop breathing. Serious business.
I’ve known a number of people who have signed “DNR” forms. They all had their reasons, but most of them were terminally ill and a “DNR” is a legal document. I do not have a “DNR” form. I also have my reasons.
There are any number of reasons to not sign such a form. One of them is specific to Indiana. Here in the Hoosier State the Abbreviation “DNR” also stands for the “Department of Natural Resources.” Such a redundancy could cause some really confusing situations.
For example – You might wish to sign a “DNR” so that, when the time comes, you could go quietly into that good night. – And accidentally find yourself being sworn in as an Indiana Park Ranger. Or it could go the other direction which could be even more upsetting, depending on your long range plans.
My own personal reason for not signing a “DNR” – the hospital one – is that I’m not knowingly ready to shuffle off my mortal coil. There are things I still want to do, places to visit, and books to read and write. It’s not so much a “Bucket List” like in the movie as it is a shopping list of things I want to pick up and carry with me. And I have no desire to become a Park Ranger. So me signing anything with the initials DNR on it is not likely for any time in the foreseeable future.
I’m not concerned about any sudden reversal of fortune when it comes to my health. Every morning when my eyelids open up like a pair of electric garage doors I say a short prayer. I’m not asking God for anything. It’s just a simple, “Thank You.” That’s all I need to say. He can fill in the unspoken blanks. Just “Thank you.” So I don’t feel the need for anything as final as a “DNR.”
That morning when the young blogger talked about her “DNR” decision we chatted a bit about it all. I told her why I didn’t have one as well. If I had been thinking quicker I would have come up with something witty and ever so clever as a retort. Well, following true to form, I did come up with something. I tried it out on one of The Usual Suspects over coffee.
“A What?” he asked
“A ‘PFGSRMNYOB’ form.”
“What in the world does that mean?”
“Oh, that’s a special form that I designed myself.
“‘PFGSRMNYOB’ – ‘Please, For God’s Sake, Resuscitate Me Now You Overpaid Bastard’.”
Good morning and Thank You again.
Throwback Thursday from Feb. 2016 – Albert Einstein Meets The Bowery Boys
IT SEEMS THAT EVERY DAY THERE IS A NEW INVENTION OR DISCOVERY that changes the world. I recently saw that scientists have discovered proof of “Gravitational Waves” that were mathematically theorized by Albert Einstein decades ago.
While that may rattle the tea cups of the scientific world, it really doesn’t impact our daily lives. Gravitational Waves are something on a Cosmic scale that may, at some date in the future, affect how or where people live. But, so far, it doesn’t alter what I’m having for lunch today.
With a minimum of research on my part I have uncovered one of those seemingly “little things” that are almost universally present, yet are virtually unseen. The Toothpick.
Throwback Thursday from January 2016
The other day, in the illustrious Tribune-Star newspaper, there was a story about a fellow being sentenced to 69 years in the slammer for shooting and killing his “Buddy,” as the story called him.
It was said that both of these lads had been out drinking and were approaching a flammable state when the “Buddy” started feeling blue. He turned to his friend and said, “Just shoot me and put me out of my misery.”
So he did.
There’s not a lot I could add to that, except that it did appear in the Trib-Star, a newspaper not known for the accuracy/spelling/grammar/anything else one would expect. So, I suppose that it is possible that they’ve made a few errors and this story is actually about a meeting of the Garden Club’s Petunia Sub-committee.
In other January news flashes there was a story about my favorite baseball team – The San Francisco Giants – signing up a new outfielder.
Denard Span, aside from having an interesting name, is a good player and should be an asset to the team. The fly in this ointment surfaced during an interview after the contract was signed and Span was paraded before the media. It turns out that the new Giants outfielder has a serious phobia: Birds.
This could be a problem. Having been to many ballgames in San Francisco I can verify that, starting in about the 7th inning, the seagulls arrive at the stadium. They are there looking for a free meal among the dropped hotdogs, peanuts, pizza, and other leftovers. They arrive by the hundreds and take over the bleachers and even land in the outfield. I’m afraid that Mr. Span is going to be increasing his dosage of Anti-Anxiety meds.
These seagulls are big, bold and not afraid of anything. I saw one snatch an ice cream sandwich from the hands of an infant in a stroller. Swoop! Snatch! Gulp!
I wonder if the Giants will pay for his therapist? He’s going to need one or he will turn into Jimmy Piersall right before our eyes. (Look up “Fear Strikes Out”)
Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Biscuits and Gravy – Breakfast of Champions.”) got its first real taste of winter with snow and bitter cold. There’s nothing truly unusual about that, but the NBC affiliate TV station saw things a little differently than the rest of us.
I really hate it when we have to deal with “Blowing Snot” on the roads. I was afraid that my windshield would never be the same – until I replaced the Window Washer Fluid with Mucinex.
I guess that the BIG story of the month has been the Power Ball Lottery jackpot going over a billion dollars. It is a serious amount of money and provides easy stories for the media.
I was watching the Today Show when they did a puff piece about “what if” the prize was paid out in one dollar bills. (Can NBC do hard news, or what?) In singles, the prize would stack up X number of miles. If laid end to end, blah, blah, blah. It was pretty easy to ignore until he said, “It would weigh…” At that point my caffeine dependent mind leapt ahead of him and finished his sentence.
“It would weigh” – “slightly less than Rosie O’Donnell after six months on the Atkins Diet.”
I should talk. I once brought up the idea of having my stomach stapled. My doctor suggested, “That in your case, I would recommend spot welding.”
The odds of winning the billion-plus dollar prize are beyond astronomical, but it will happen (if it hasn’t already by the time this posts.) and someone will gain more previously unknown relatives than anyone in history.
Sudden wealth can present problems, but I’ve dealt with the problems of not so sudden poverty most of my life. I’d like a crack at the other end of that financial Mobius strip.
If you notice that I start writing about the goings-on of Tahiti instead of Terre Haute you’ll know that something big has happened. Tahiti (That’s French for, “Guess what happened to me.”)
IT HAS BEEN TEN MONTHS SINCE I HAD CATARACT SURGERY ON MY BABY BLUES. That is not a completely accurate sentence. My eyes are not blue. They have been black on occasion, but never blue…and where else but on my eyes would I have cataract surgery? In fact the only accurate part in that sentence is that it was done ten months ago.
Now that we have that squared away I will move on. I just went back for a follow-up exam with the doctor.
EVERY TIME I HAVE TO FILL OUT A FORM that asks which State I am in I have to fight the temptation to write in “Confusion.” That’s where I seem to be spending most of my time. Yesterday was a perfect example.
According to my calendar I had a Doctor’s appointment at 9:45 AM (Be there 15 minutes early, bring your insurance card and co-pay.) My calendar also said that I was scheduled for a Colonoscopy today at 10:00 AM…and also at 9:15 AM. I seriously doubt that I would or should be getting two Colonoscopies that close together. I think that might cause some terrible butt cheekal distress.
Throwback Thursday from October 2015 – “What Am I Looking At?”
Let me preface this by saying that I have the utmost respect for and hold in high esteem the members of our Armed Forces, both present and past.
But this morning I witnessed something that just flat out bothered me.
I was finishing up my coffee down at St. Arbucks, chatting with a couple of the Usual Suspects when I noticed a tall fellow in Army garb crossing the parking lot. Trailing him by a few steps was a rather scruffy looking young man, arms dangling by his sides and his eyes cast downward.
I said out loud, “Here comes the Sergeant with a new recruit in tow.” I was joking, I didn’t even know if they were together, but – they were.
When they came through the door the Army guy led the younger man to a table near us, sat him down, and handed him a small bundle of papers and a pen.
“Here, fill these out. What are you drinking?”
I watched the young man look over the papers then take out a pair of glasses. When he put them on I could see that they were what we used to call, “Coke Bottle Glasses,” thick, heavy lenses in black frames.
The kid (Anybody under forty is a kid to me) worked diligently filling in the blanks. His tongue stuck out periodically to help with the tough parts.
After a couple of very long minutes The Recruiter came back to the table carrying one short cup of hot coffee and one huge Frappuccino topped with whipped cream. As he passed by our corner he glanced at us and smiled. His smile spoke volumes. It said –
“Yes, this just what you think it is and I know that you know.”
He set the whipped cream drink in front of the young man, still busy with the paperwork. Then The Recruiter sat back and began to text away on his phone, smiling all the while.
I turned to my Partner Suspect and said, “This sucks. Would you want to be in a foxhole with that kid? He can’t see worth a darn.”
When the new and unshaven Guardian of Freedom reached page three he paused. He lifted his head from the table and located the man sitting across the table from him.
“What does this mean?”
Not to let anything foul up his “Catch of the Day,” The Recruiter got up and, looking over the kid’s shoulder, took the pen and said, “Here, let me help you with that.”
Not surprisingly, the rest of the paperwork went quite quickly.
It took no more than two minutes for every blank to be filled in and every dotted line signed and dated before the two of them were heading out the door. The kid clutched his Frappuccino, but the small hot coffee sat where it was from the start. He had never touched it. It was strictly a prop.
I can’t see how this kid could ever pass the Army induction physical with eyesight like his. I doubt that he could read the big E on the top line of the eye chart.
I understand that the recruiters have quotas to fill, but really now – taking this kid into the Army isn’t doing anybody a favor – except Starbucks, if he keeps bringing his enlistees in to fill out the papers and slurp up the whipped cream.
Throwback Thursday from August 2015
I got up at my usual time – 7 AM-ish and got my act together so I could leave the house without either scaring the neighbors or getting my butt arrested. Up to that point the morning was going along uneventfully.
My wife, the lovely and early rising today, Dawn, was already up and more or less “at ‘em.” She had an 8:30 appointment and set the alarm for some ungodly hour to ensure that she would not be late. I applaud her for that.
It was at this point that things began to go downhill like a Chevy with a faulty parking brake in San Francisco. I had my own appointment to see my Doctor at 11:20 AM.
11:20? 11:bleeping 20? What moron scheduled an appointment for that late in the day? Oh. Never mind. My bad.
The main reason I see this Doctor at all is because I have “Blood Pressure Issues.” That means that, untreated, my blood pressure tends to creep up to rival that of a charging Cape Buffalo. After that my head would explode, I would spontaneously combust and I would hit the ground like an overcooked baked potato.
By scheduling an appointment for that late in the morning it meant one very significant and overriding thing: I wouldn’t be able to have my morning coffee until after the appointment.
Dear God! Whatever will I do? Wherever will I go?
If I go ahead and drop by St. Arbucks for my morning coffee my blood pressure will spike like Vlad The Impaler on a bad day. I had doomed myself to a morning without my coffee. Sheesh!
My solution to this self-inflicted wound was to nurse along a cup of Decaf and hope that it wouldn’t rat on me when they wrapped that cuff on my arm.
I know what you are thinking –“Decaf?” That is just like kissing your sister. It is technically a kiss, but it’s not the same. It’s not like the Real Thing.
So, bowing my head in shame, I ordered the coffee that isn’t coffee and I skulked to my chair in the corner. The barista got a bit teary, The Usual Suspects – The Brotherhood of the Cup, stared and whispered to each other. Even the flies moved to the far side of the store, ashamed to be seen near me.
I sat there waiting for it to be time to leave. I sipped at the dark liquid, wondering what do they do to make it taste like that – and why, for Heaven’s sake. Why?
Deep in my heart I knew that I had a good reason for doing what I was doing. It was my health, my very life, which was in the balance. With my meds I had the blood pressure of an adult human male of my age. Without my meds no one within splatter range was safe. I was like a human paint ball. I didn’t want to mislead the Doctor with a BP reading that would be artificially goosed up by my cup of real coffee.
Some days you just have to take one for the team. Some days you have to lean in to the fastball. If I had to pretend that the stuff in my cup was really coffee I would do it. I would hope that the stress of making this sacrifice would not, in itself, raise my blood pressure, but I would do it.
I had to think of my family, man!
I want them to be proud of me. I want them to see me happy. I want them to see me above ground.
“It’s been 10 years and I think that you need to have another Colonoscopy.”
Oh, Freakin’ Goody.
It has been ten years and I still have the pictures to prove it – a nice half dozen color photos of my nether regions.
I KNOW THAT THERE IS NOT A LOT I CAN DO ABOUT IT, but I get really tired of taking my daily fistful of meds. Counting Vitamins, and other Supplements I down eight pills with my morning coffee, three with lunch, and six more with dinner. I feel like I am a bulwark of the American Pharmaceutical Industry.
Don’t get me wrong – I know that there are a multitude of people who have to ingest more medications than I do, but I can only live within my own frame of reference. I understand that all these meds that I take serve a purpose – two purposes actually – 1. To keep me from having a neurological blowout at freeway speeds, and 2. To keep my local Pharmacist employed. Both are noble causes indeed.