IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION over lunch when there are 18 people huddled around the table. It can be hard enough when there are only two people, but the additional sixteen can really throw a monkey wrench into the process.
It ends up sounding something like this:
“So, how have you…seen my green beans, they…flew in last Thursday on…your Aunt Martha just before she…slid into third base.”
I WAS REALLY STUMPED about what I should write about for today’s blog posting. There were plenty of crazy stories in the news – like the guy who was arrested for trespassing when he was discovered sitting naked in the middle of a pig sty, incredibly drunk. His only explanation was, “I really like pigs.”
No, I didn’t want to use my bandwidth trying to understand that.
EVERY MORNING WHEN I TURN ON MY PHONE and look at the baseball scores, double check the weather forecasts, peruse the news, see if my calendar has any appointments scheduled, monitor the local gasoline prices and check my email (in fact, I do everything except use the phone to make a call) I discover that two or three people have sent me something they regard as “trivia.”
What is or isn’t trivial is really quite a subjective call. It is like whether a particular person is sweet dream beautiful or merely nightmarish, or do Brussels Sprouts make your mouth either water or fill with projectile matter. It is like wondering if some favorite politician is a lowlife, scum-sucking career criminal or just a thieving degenerate spawn of Satan.
You catch my drift?
Most of the things sent my way are not trivia. The fact that today is so and so’s birthday is not trivia. The fact that some guy at a County Fair in California is selling “Deep Fried Slim-Fast Bars” is not trivia. It is hellishly funny, but not as funny as another guy, in Milwaukee, who has erected a sign on the roof of a building on the approach path to the Milwaukee Airport that reads, “Welcome to Cleveland.”
That is a guy I’d like to meet.
For the better part of last year I participated in a weekly trivia contest at a local pub. Teams of erratically educated people would get together to show off, compete for gift cards good only at the pub, and to drink themselves into memory erasing stupors.
Our team had one member who must have done nothing for the last 20 years but listen to Top 40 Radio and watch sitcoms. He was a very valuable person to have on board. Another member had a disturbingly encyclopedic memory for anything to do with Sports. I was the Old Guy who could actually remember something that happened before the invention of TiVo.
I was doing the trivia thing for the enjoyment and to get out of the house so my loving and talented wife, Dawn could have some peace and quiet. I can be a bit like a young beagle puppy at times – cute, but headache producing.
I don’t drink – a fact that helped late in the game as I was one of the few left in the joint who could remember facts about William Howard Taft and get my car keys in the ignition on the first try. Through chance and dumb luck our team was surprisingly successful. Appetizers for everyone!
I began to separate myself from the weekly event because I began to suspect that our Sports Maven was nuttier than a truckload of Payday candy bars.
The trivia game is supposed to be fun. Am I right? But for this fellow it had turned into a Blood Sport. If he supplied the wrong answer to a question about who won the Orange Bowl in 1913, he would slam his fist onto the table, turn persimmon red, and have to go take a walk to cool off.
Naturally, I would throw kerosene onto the fire.
“I think you’re right! Tell the Moderator that you challenge her answer and that you are playing under protest.”
“##^@@&*$##%%!!!!!” (followed by a few laps around the parking lot)
That’s a paraphrase, of course.
I used the Holiday Season to completely exit from the team – and so did all of the other members – leaving Mr. Pecan Log teamless.
I heard that he glommed onto another team and proceeded to drive them batty.
I may go back over to the pub and play the game again someday, but I’m going to assemble my own team beforehand. I want no psychotics, nobody who has to keep throwing away their sobriety pins and no one who thinks the answer to every question is either Al or Tipper Gore.
When I asked her to define her terms she handed me a mirror. I think that she might be right.
Now that I am in the throes of “Geezerhood” I realize that I need to take better care of myself. I know that because my wife tells me so. My doctor tells me that too. My wife is prettier and is not a 60 year-old man from India who can’t focus on anything for longer than two minutes. One time he started to give me his opinion of American politics. I stopped him cold after 30 seconds by holding up a shiny object. My doctor is one of the “Flying Patel Brothers” as I call them. It seems that every other doctor in Terre Haute is named Patel.
This particular Dr. Patel is really a great doctor, I guess. He tells me that “this” is too high and that “that” is too low. Actually, I have very little left anymore that is where it’s supposed to be.
He has put me on this vitamin regimen. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that I have been overdoing it with the iron pills a bit. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t lie down without slowly spinning to the North.
Sure, I’m getting older, but it’s not all bad. I’m beginning to realize that there are a lot of benefits to becoming a Geezer.
GIVING A GIFT, whether it is at Christmastime, or for any other occasion, can be a tricky business. If gift giving was easy there wouldn’t be closets filled with truly ugly sweaters, neckties and the questionable objet d’ art.
We’ve all been on both ends of this process, the receiving of gaily wrapped packages filled with inedible fruitcakes, and the sending of a gift to a distant niece or nephew who would rather slit their wrists than be caught dead in the sweater you thought was just lovely.
I can innocently say that I was just a spectator when the Worst Gift of All Time was presented.
When we first met it almost never got off the ground. We were just talking, me being smooth and virile, and her being an adult. She asked me when my birthday was. July third I told her. She got real pale and things got real quiet. The temperature in the room dropped 20 degrees. It turns out that I have the exact same birthday as her ex-husband. How thoughtless of me to pick the same day of the year to be born. It’s not my fault.
We got past that, and she has finally come to the realization that, fate being what it is, she only marries men born on July third. I’ve told her that if this marriage doesn’t work out her next in line is Tom Cruise. My wife is 5′ 2″. Tom Cruise is about what – 3 feet tall? I figure I’m safe.
Of course, my wife says that she no longer believes in divorce. She now believes in mysterious circumstances.