This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021
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.
Every night they sneak in after closing and put new…new…new stuff in place. The Elves from the Great Northwest tippy-toe in and while we are sleeping in our Snuggies they install a collection of items like this large picture of a jungle scene. It is reminiscent of an apartment I had once which also had a variety of wildlife. Personally, it’s not my taste in artwork. I’ve never been a fan of Finger Painting.
We are just back from Texas and our Annual Christmas Extravaganza and Food Riot. Everything went well. There were about 28 people around that tree – just like last year. Next year we anticipate the number to be at least one baby higher. The little ones from last year are a year older, bigger, and more frantically active. Two Twin Two-Year Olds in Non-Stop Motion. Picture a crowded room and in the middle of it is a Perpetual Motion Machine on Overdrive.
OK, I’LL ADMIT THIS UP FRONT – today’s blog comes under the heading of “Geezer Rant.” There is no great social content, no thunderbolts of wisdom, not even anything that might be worth putting on a T-shirt.
I want to talk about tattoos.
I am of a generation that looked upon tattoos as something you saw on sailors on leave and guys doing hard time. And Popeye – who, while he technically was a sailor, he was, in reality, nothing more than ink on paper.
That was about it. If my mother was walking down the street and saw someone approaching who had tattoos who wasn’t in uniform she would clutch her purse a little bit tighter. “Nice people” just didn’t get tattoos.
News Flash! Times have changed!
Starting in the late 1970s I think we began to see tattoos appearing on people outside of the aforementioned groups. It was also about the time that Popeye disappeared from the public consciousness (Strictly coincidental, I’m sure).
Rock musicians started sporting more tattoos. Then they started popping up on Deadheads and other fringe elements of Fandom.
Little by not so little, more and more people began to dive into the ink. It came to be viewed as a bit of sexy rebellion. Tiny butterflies and hearts were showing up in places where they would only be seen by lovers and gynecologists.
Then, over the ensuing decades, the territory expanded into what has become known as the “Tramp Stamp.” That is an unfortunate label, but I didn’t make it up. Fashion and tattooing merged and soon the only piece of skin that wasn’t considered available as a canvas was the face. Well, that seems to have changed as I see an increasing number of people with those permanent reminders of a temporary idea on their mug.
OK…here comes the real Geezerism part.
Putting a tattoo, of whatever variety, on your face sends only one of two messages to the world: 1) I’m going to reject you, world, before you reject me! or 2) “Screw you, Mom and Dad! How do you like this?”
Actually both messages are pretty much the same when you get down to it.
I seriously don’t anticipate seeing anyone on the cover of Business Week who also has marijuana leaves tattooed on their forehead. I don’t expect them to see them in any job that doesn’t require a hairnet and a paper hat.
I used to know a woman who ran a tattoo parlor on Haight Street in San Francisco and we chatted about this one afternoon. For a person who made her living with ink and needles she tended to agree with me. She was loaded with tattoos herself, but not on her face or her hands. She advised her customers to not get anything that couldn’t be covered up for the workplace.
She encouraged me to get tattooed. I declined. I did told her that I didn’t like needles and, if I were to ever sit in her chair, I would get a tattoo of my name and address so, that if I was found unconscious, my rescuers could at least send me home. She suggested that I add the line “Return postage guaranteed.” Clever girl.
I think that it must be a generational thing. I have ZERO desire to get a tattoo – no matter how drunk I might get or desirous of being considered cool. It ain’t gonna happen.
In fact, I’ve been doing a little speculative research and I think that tattoo removal will be a major growth industry over the next few decades. When today’s rebellious billboards see those multicolored eagles on their chests starting to look like badly bruised pigeons and the Tramp Stamps disappear under the muffin tops, there will be lines around the block at “Mom’s Laser Tattoo Removal Shop.”
My friend who owned the tattoo parlor told me that getting a tattoo removed was time consuming, expensive, and “It hurts like hell.”
Alright, we have reached the end of my Geezer Rant for today. Far be it from me to tell anyone what they should or should not do. If you are old enough to get a tattoo and you are ready to live with it forever – go ahead. I won’t stop you. But, for crying out loud, don’t put a picture of Popeye on your face.
Remember my motto for Life: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
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Pizza! Food of the gods! A seven course meal all on one slice! The Ultimate Survival food for when the Zombies attack!
But who can eat just one slice? Nobody I know.
Last night the whole Texas clan gathered around the dining room table and ate like there was no tomorrow. There was Meat Lovers Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza with extra cheese, Pepperoni Lovers, and Chicken with Bacon and Buffalo Sauce Pizza. That was good for starters. Along with the big square boxes there were other boxes filled with Garlic Breadsticks, Cinnamon Breadsticks, some rather odd Potato thingies, and some little apple pie-like pastries. Oh,yeah, and two gallons of iced tea. Gotta love those “Meal-Deals.”
LIKE MOST PEOPLE I AM A CREATURE OF HABIT. I tend to want to do today what I did yesterday and I don’t like anybody to mess with that – and by extension – me. His morning I was faced with such a situation
Just about every day I start my conscious activities down the street at St. Arbucks. I get my coffee, as usual, and then I stumble to my table in the corner, as usual. Sip coffee. Take meds. Plug in phone. Write. That’s it – nothing fancy, but critical nonetheless.
Today everything was moving along swimmingly until I turned the corner and prepared myself to hunker down in the corner.
PICKLE BALL? I’VE HEARD OF IT. I’ve never played it. I have no desire to play it. It sounds strenuous and I don’t do strenuous any more. I’ve seen pictures of people playing Pickle Ball and at first glance it looks like a combination of Tennis – Ping Pong – and Cardiac Arrest.
The only reason I’m looking at it at all is that I know someone who is into Pickle Ball in a big way. He is always heading off to play here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “I’d like a Gherkin, please.”) or to take part in some National Championship tournament.
I GET A LOT OF EMAIL EVERYDAY. Very little of it is worth the electrons it’s written with. A good portion of it all comes from people trying to sell me something; Sunglasses, Art of questionable quality, Books (lots of books), and classes and seminars. I guess that means that they feel I am in desperate need of education – a point hard to dispute.
I also receive a bunch of things about writing; classes, communities, and handy dandy tools to transform me into the next big whatever. I already have the tools – a pen, paper, and coffee that have catapulted me to the bottom rung of the ladder of commercial success.
A little piece of the jigsaw of my everyday life has fallen into place once more. About a month ago the Little Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood reopened and yesterday the Dollar Store right next to it has returned to active duty. Both places were hit by a pair of teenage arsonists last August. The little intestinal orifices were caught, but I was in Pot Sticker and Won Ton withdrawal for a long time. Now, praise to heaven above, both commercial spots are open again.
THE LAST PERSON WHO HAD A STIFF NECK like mine was back in 1873 and hanging from a tree in Arizona for being a “Hoss Thief.”
I woke up this morning when a lightning bolt of pain shot through my neck when I rolled over in bed. I did a quick check – no rope, no pair of gnarled hands around my throat, and my head was still attached to the rest of my body.
WHO SAYS WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE SOCIABLE? We can be just as sociable as any other group of semi-civilized men who spend their Golden Years discussing the important issues of the day: Which was better – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” or “The Bionic Woman?”
The “Usual Suspects” as I call them, or my “Play Group” as my wife, the lovely and sarcastically fine tuned, Dawn, calls them, hold our meetings in the Chapel at St. Arbucks almost every morning over coffee.
I take that back – I see ice in my coffee, but there is no ice on the roads or on my windshield. I’m not complaining mind you. In fact, I am doing my Happy Dance – big time.
For the last week the Weather Bunny on Channel Two has been predicting that Terre Haute (That’s French for “What’s that floating in the Wabash?”) was going to be hit with several days worth of ice storms, Sleet, Freezing Rain and NCAA Athletes. I don’t mind the athletes, but the ice, sleet and freezing rain I can do without.
I’VE GOT A BAD HABIT that I need to break. I eavesdrop. I have become quite skilled in listening in to other’s conversations surreptitiously. I am both proud and ashamed of my skill.
Why do I do this? Because by listening in on other people’s conversations I pick up a lot of good things that show up in my writing. Without keeping my ears tuned in this blog would probably be a three-day-a-week affair.
THIS MORNING DOWN AT ST. ARBUCKS the Usual Suspects were deep in conversation. The Heavily Caffeinated Philosophers were arguing about which fast-food chain had the most stores. One said it was McDonalds, another suggested KFC. At least they weren’t discussing something trivial.
This “Fiction Saturday” posting differs a bit from the usual format – in that it is (How shall I phrase this?) – embellished truth. Just look at it the way you approach things in your local newspaper.
“The 5 People I Almost Killed” – Part One
I think it is important to stress that in the title of this piece I say “almost killed,” and not “killed.” To the best of my knowledge I have never actually killed anyone. I just tend to come close. Sometimes very close and I’ve done so five times – so far. The five nearly “dearly departed” have all shared one characteristic: they are, or to a large degree were, famous. Let me explain.
A WHILE BACK I WENT FOR COFFEE. Okay, that fits just about any day, I admit. On most of those days I can count on seeing at least one or more of the Fans of the Little Brown Bean slumped in their pew. The Chapel of St. Arbucks has a faithful congregation. There are those interlopers who get their coffee and leave, but I tend to ignore them. The regulars are known as “The Usual Suspects.
On the day I have in mind, a couple of days after the New Hampshire Primary, I stumbled through the door to find five of The Usual Suspects already there.
John Kraft is a writer living and working in Terre Haute, Indiana. He moved to the Midwest after 25 years in California where he worked as an actor, comedian, voice-over actor, as well as a writer. He now enjoys a saner pace of life with his wife, Dawn, who tries to keep him from embarrassing himself in public.
Perhaps I should explain the title of this blog: Down the Hall on Your Left.
My name is John. People are always asking where they can find "The John." My answer is: "Down the Hall on Your Left."