Down the Hall on Your Left

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 – 2019

Archive for the tag “Terre Haute”

Do You Feel Lucky?

OH BOY! GOODIE! GOODIE! It’s that time of year again: the itinerant fireworks peddlers are back in town! Let’s all go out and visit those temporary stores and tents, buy some fireworks, and then kiss our thumbs goodbye.

Every year just like clockwork and the sprouting of poisonous Deathcap Mushrooms these fly-by-night emporiums of explosives and amputations show up in our environment. Striped tents are popping up in Parking Lots across the land.

“Buy 1 – get 15 FREE!”

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Don’t Go Postal On Me

I SAW SOMETHING LAST NIGHT that had me scratching my head. It wasn’t lice so you can get that idea out of your mind right now. No, it was an ad on our E-lectric Telly-vision. There was a commercial advertising the Post Office. An ad for the Post Office? Why would they be advertising?

If I want to send a letter to my aunt Tillie in Temecula where else am I going to go? I suppose that I could take my letter to the UPS Store or Fed Ex, but they would charge me $85 and then I guarantee that they’d lose it or send it to someone in Turkmenistan. My Aunt Tillie doesn’t live in Turkmenistan…any longer. If you ever meet her do NOT mention Turkmenistan to her. The emotional scars are still too fresh, but the pictures are nice.

Anyway…

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Persistence

“BEING A WRITER, WRITING FOR A LIVING, IS ONE LONG PERSISTENCE GAME.

“EVERYONE WANTS YOU TO QUIT. YOU GET KICKED DOWN. YOU COME UP SWINGING. YOU KEEP GOING. EITHER YOU’RE COMMITTED TO IT, OR YOU AREN’T”

This is a quote from a young writer named Kameron Hurley. I have no doubt that this was her response to a question from another writer who was feeling the pangs of lonely frustration. Either that or she was feeling that in her own literary life.

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Keep The Dog Out Of The Tub

EVERY DAY I AM INUNDATED with dozens of articles on my computer/phone. They come from all kinds of sources. Some are familiar, but others are completely unknown to me.

There was one last week sitting in my inbox that got my attention. It had the title “Fifty Things That Make Life Worth Living.” That’s not too pretentious now, isn’t it? Fifty things? Are you sure it’s not 52? Or maybe it’s 48 things. Maybe I’m too simple, but I don’t think I need fifty things to make my life worth living. As a matter of fact I’m sure of it.

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Throwback Thursday from June 2016 – “What Did You Just Say To Me?”

What Did You Just Say To Me?

pills1 I REALLY CAN’T HELP IT. I’m a bit of a Smart Aleck, Wiseacre, and (Fill in the euphemism of your choice). I know it.

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 pills2comparable 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.

While I’m focusing on the task at hand an imperfect adult stranger walks up to my table and pills4says, “That’s a lot of pills. Cancer?”

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?”

Even her spray-on tan faded.pills5

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.

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Root Beer Floats On The Road To Tomorrow

 

LOOK AROUND. WHAT CAN YOU SEE? Kids are finishing their classes and… and… Looking for summer jobs!

AAAAIEEEEE!!!!!

The time for the dreaded “Summer Job” has reared its ugly head once again! God, I am glad I don’t have to get involved with that insanity any longer.

My teenage summer jobs were back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and we were paid in shiny stones. Times have changed in many ways, but today’s kids still have to go through the same job searching rigamarole for the same lousy equivalent in today’s currency.

“But it will look so good on your resume!”

No it won’t.

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Who Are These People…Including Me?

I DIDN’T GO TO MY HIGH SCHOOL CLASS REUNION THIS WEEKEND. Will that get me sent to the Principal’s Office?

This reunion was to commemorate 55 years since graduation. I went to the 50th and was appalled by how old they had become. All this reunion would prove is that none of the attendees had died in the interim.

Fifty-five years ago – 1964. When I think about that span of time I shiver. So much has happened – some good, some not so good. There have been some astonishing changes in our lives, and then again – some things have defied change no matter how hard we have labored to change them.

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Today And The Last 108 Years

YESTERDAY, JUNE 6TH, WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS with both world significance and value as a personal day of importance.

6/6/1944 – The D-Da7y Allied Invasion of Europe during World War Two. It was the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.

6/6/1911 –The day my mother was born in Cleveland. Ohio. A date earthshaking immediately for the family living on East 66th Street and reverberating personally 35 years later when I came upon the scene.

I wish that I had known my mother, young Blanche, when she was a child. I’ve heard all the stories about the hardships and of the remarkable blessings that filled her young life.

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To Have That Certain Glow

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

Break out the Hazmat suits and I hope you’ve already had kids because…well, you know.

But your complexion is lovely.

Some days the world throws me a curveball and all I want to do is crawl back into bed, assume the fetal position, and turn the electric blanket up to nine.

It takes a lot to make my eyes go “Bugaboo!” but yesterday I was stopped in my tracks by the fine folks from UPS. Who would think such a thing was possible?

My wife, the lovely and perpetually nifty, Dawn, buys her cosmetics online (Ever since our local Macy’s Store went belly up). Her cosmetics line of choice is Clinique. Be advised: When they start spelling things in French you can be sure that they are inflating the prices by about 40%.

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Let’s Dig Up Some Worms

LET ME PREFACE THIS BY SAYING that I am not a Grandfather and unless something of positively biblical proportions happens I never will be.

I’m cool with that.

For many people being a Grandparent is a lifetime goal – even more so than being your plain everyday Parent without the Grand part. I think that, if they could, many of these people would rather skip the Parent part altogether. It doesn’t work that way as far as I can tell.

This morning one of the “Semi-Regular Suspects” was in for coffee earlier than his usual routine would allow. He informed me that he was going out to play golf with some friends and had a 7 AM tee time. To me going out to play golf at 7 AM is a sign of mental illness. But who am I to argue? He’s a grown man…and a Grandfather.

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Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime!

AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED SUMMER STARTED ON SATURDAY. I don’t care what the calendar or a gaggle of astronomers say as they look at the motion of the planets. When we flip that page, either paper or electronic, into June we are there! It is Summertime and I’m going to struggle to keep it there until the snow begins to fall.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

To make everything official I have broken into the Sacred Vault of Hawaiian Shirts and Beachfront Attitude. The sand in my eyes each morning is now a residue from the shores of the sunlit ocean.

It is all so Jimmy Buffett.

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I’m Feeling A Bit Gassy

HELIUM…HYDROGEN

Two elements – gases- that are lighter than air. However, I urge you to keep your lighter away from the Hydrogen unless you have this passion for large explosions.

Helium = Happy Birthday!

Hydrogen = Bon Voyage!

The reason I’m even thinking about this is that I recently saw an article stating that there is a shortage of Helium. There is such a dearth of Helium that a number of “Party Stores” are closing their doors. They are unable to inflate enough of those festive Helium Balloons to keep their customers and all of those Birthday Cake Sugar wired two year olds happy.

Unhappy Customers = Job Hunting

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Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”

Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”

Indy 1946

Indy 500 – 1946

AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.

“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.

The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.

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Searching For The Saint

ON THE MORNING OF THE THIRD DAY – in Adrian, Michigan a small open window of opportunity presented itself. From about 9:30 until Noon I was free to pursue my main personal goal for this trip. I was determined to get myself a decent cup of coffee…and maybe do a little writing on a story I’ve been wrestling with for a month. From 9:30 until Noon, two and a half hours, 150 minutes. Not much time, but better than a kick in the chronograph.

How was I going to achieve this lofty goal?

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I Will Swat Flies And So Would Gandhi

 

WHAT CAME FIRST?

I’ve heard feverish arguments for both The Chicken and for The Egg. I’ve also heard that The Chicken was busy crossing the road and forgot where it left The Egg.

I don’t know. It is 6:18 in the morning. It is still dark outside – much too early for any Philosophical Questions. Even The Chicken and The Egg thing is too demanding. At this hour my brain can barely handle basic body functions: Heartbeat, Vision, Bladder. After that it is Hit and Miss until my coffee kicks in and that could be anytime between 7 AM and 7 PM. Before or after that I am not a responsible human being. Some people have argued that 7 to 7 isn’t all that great for me either.

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45…60…100 – It Beats Me

 

I HAVE NOTICED SOMETHING THIS MORNING: Old people spend a lot of time complaining about their health (Or lack thereof) and their Doctors.

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.

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Thank You, Calvin Coolidge

THREE HUNDRED MILES OF DRIVING THROUGH A CAR WASH. And I didn’t even get one of those little pine tree air fresheners to hang from my mirror.

Three hundred miles from Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Make sure the windows are closed.”) to Adrian, Michigan (Yo! Adriaaaaan!). The last time we made this trip was four years ago and, if memory serves me well, it did not rain. This time it rained for almost the entire time we were on the road. Combine heavy blowing rain and the spray from the 7,234 semis passing us at 85 mph and you can see why it felt like being trapped inside a car wash.

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Throwback Thursday – “The Way Of The Geezer”

 

Throwback Thursday – “The Way Of The Geezer”

 

G8We 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.

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What Will I Do On Sunday Nights?

 

WELL, WELL, WELL. WE HAVE FINALLY DONE IT. We have reached the end, the finale, the climax, the resolution of the 37 year long television series, “Game of Thrones” – or is it “Game of Thorns?” I’m not sure.

We watched it all, each of the 57, 147 episodes. My guess is that the script writers just couldn’t bring themselves to edit away anything or fill in the gaps left when a flame throwing dragon went to get a nice 89 octane refill.

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Being Taken For A Ride

FOUR DAYS TRAPPED IN A FLASHBACK. Four days back in elementary school with the Little Sisters of the Right Cross. Four days in the same building with a couple hundred nuns. My knuckles are still aching.

We recently attended the Midwest Meeting of Congregational Ministers – my wife, the lovely and divinely inspired, Dawn, and me (Her Arm Candy), all together at a Conference Center run by Dominican Nuns. Lots of Dominican Nuns.

Oh, the memories. Oh, the nightmares. Oh, the scar tissue.

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