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”

They Don’t Write Them Like That Anymore

I LIKE MUSIC. I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE THE MUSIC IN ME, but I have my moments. I’ve performed in a couple of musicals over the years and no one died as a result, so I must not be too bad.

Being a professional musician is something I could never be because I really lack, not only the talent, but also the dedication that it takes. When someone asks me if I can play any instruments I tell them that the only thing I can play is the radio.

Read more…

That Has Got To Hurt!

 

Just in case you were wondering:

Muhammad Rashid Naseem holds the World’s Record for Smashing Walnuts With His Head. He set this record in 2014 when, feeling the need for acclaim…and some walnuts to nibble on…he smashed 155 walnuts in one minute with his head. He not only smashed a lot of walnuts he also smashed the old record for walnut head smashing. The previous record was a mere 44 walnuts in one minute.

Muhammad was a driven man.

My guess is that he was also driven to the nearest hospital ER after walnut 155 hit the ground.

Read more…

Screaming In The Rain

IF THERE IS ONE WAY TO SPEND A DAY that can make you contemplate several versions of crimes ending in “icide” it is driving from Terre Haute, Indiana (That’s French for “Road Work Ahead”) to Cleveland, Ohio. I’ll save you some time here – its 391.8 miles according to Google.

The most direct route from Point TH to Point C is via Interstate 70 to Columbus, Ohio, and then by Interstate 71 north to your final destination – The Marriott Whatchamacallit in Cleveland. There is only one – no – make that two flaws in that plan.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters” – Part Three

Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters”

Part Three

Television news is little more than the worst of 19th century “Yellow Journalism” without the ink stains. The Head Honchos of the network News Departments aren’t the slightest bit ashamed to say, “If it bleeds – it leads” when it comes to their merchandising of the News. This day with the three coordinated shootings was Christmas Morning for them.

The local TV stations had cameras and perfectly coiffed “Reporters” dispatched to the three scenes within eight minutes. They were sticking microphones in the faces of the bleeding and traumatized victims, some in their final moments of life.

Read more…

Please Vacate The Premises

 

WHEW! WE GOT THAT HOLIDAY OUT OF THE WAY. Of course, it’s going to be six months before all of the Yahoos in the neighborhood run out of the fireworks that they bought from our old pal “Three-Fingered Lucky.” Actually, it’s a bit of a race to see which disappears first – the fireworks or one of the eyes of the clown who got “beered up” and forgot to let go of the bottle rocket sputtering in his hand. My money is on the guy who owns the glass eye franchise in town.

Now that the “4th” is done with we don’t have any more holidays until Labor Day – you know – Labor Day, that day when everybody takes a day off from work. I’m retired so on Labor Day I’m tempted to go out and find a part time job. I’m just looking for some symmetry.

Read more…

I’m Not Dead

 

TODAY IS A SPECIAL DAY FOR ME. It is yet another birthday. This one marks the end of my 73rd year on this earth.

Each of those years has had things worth remembering – and things that have merited forgetting. I’m sure that holds true for everyone. It’s part of the ongoing flow of life.

This past year has been much like many of my recent years. It held joys and sorrows, hopes fulfilled and hopes filled with disappointment. Dreams and nightmares, laughs and tears.

Read more…

I Am The Third Monkey

 

HOW CAN THINGS LIKE THIS BE? We are officially and astronomically into Summertime, but yesterday we had a cold rain. I and everyone else got caught by surprise and this morning I feel like I have a head cold coming on.

When I say that it was a “Cold” rain I am speaking in relative terms. If this had happened in November or January we would be up to our belly buttons in snow, but now it is rain. Lots of rain. It is matched only by the volume of the Colorado river and what is pouring from my nostrils. I’m thinking of piling tiny sandbags on my mustache to control the flow.

Read more…

Do You Smell That?

UH, OH! SOMETHING IS WRONG.

I smell gasoline.

I should not be smelling gasoline

The only good part of this is that I am in the car and not in the house. Even with that bright spot in my otherwise explosively aromatic world I know that something is wrong with the car.

Since my knowledge of things automotive could fit in a flea’s navel and still have room for three caraway seeds and a copy of “The Wit And Wisdom Of The Three Stooges.” I decided to seek Professional help.

Read more…

Throwback Thursday from June 2016 – “When Furniture Attacks!”

When Furniture Attacks!

Chair 2

SOME PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ANYWHERE NEAR A MANUFACTURING PLANT. They have an idea and they find some stooge to put up some cash, backing their endeavor. The end result is a product that, in a civilized society, would be outlawed immediately.

Case in Point –

Recently, my wife, the lovely and temporarily monoplaned, Dawn, and I stayed in someone’s

Chair3

home for a few days and they insisted on showing us their latest purchase – a “Massage Chair” that was guaranteed to relieve all your aches and pains leaving you refreshed, invigorated, and halfway on the road to being the next Dalai Lama.

Our hosts raved about the chair to the point that I thought they were going to consider adoption.

They finally talked me into giving a try.

Big mistake, bordering on criminal. I should have followed my instincts and not gotten within ten feet of The Chair, let alone into it.

First of all it looked like a Modern, Hipster, Steampunk version of something left over from the Spanish Inquisition. One should never trust a chair that has control buttons, dials and flashing lights. The only thing missing was a telephone on a nearby wall in case the Governor called with a last minute reprieve.

chairA

Sitting on a chair should be a relatively easy thing to do, since our knees control which direction our legs fold, chairs should be an object where form follows function. You stand up. You sit down. Easy. Not with this “Massage Chair.” It took me three minutes to be “properly seated” according to the instruction book.

A chair with an instruction book.

Once in the chair “properly” and with all of the buttons and dials set, we plugged it in and hit the Launch button. It took me about three seconds to realize that I had just made a major life error.

The first thing it did was deliver a punch to the back of my head. That hurts. I don’t know why the chair

chair4

attacked, but after a nasty kidney punch it started pummeling my spine from top to bottom. If I didn’t know better I would have thought that I was being mugged.

“Isn’t that great? Can’t you just feel the tension slipping away?” asked the owner/keeper of The Chair.

The only thing I could feel slipping away were a couple of my lumbar vertebrae. I was beginning to know what it must be like to take part in a British soccer riot.

chair1

Eventually my screaming and cursing convinced somebody to; literally, pull the plug on this adventure. They had to help me out of The Chair. I sank to the floor and kissed the ground. If they hadn’t rescued me when they did I would have followed through with my thought to file Assault and Battery charges against that piece of the Devil’s Furniture.

Our host swears by that thing – that it makes him feel like a million bucks. At that moment I felt like about $3.25 in coins. I checked my wallet just to make sure everything was still there. I was pretty sure that, at one point, I felt The Chair trying to pick my pocket.

After a mouthful of Excedrin and some time in an overstuffed chair I was able to calmly express myself about The Chair.

“I don’t like it. I don’t want one. I think it is a tool of Satan.”

I offered to get rid of it for them – if they didn’t mind their house being destroyed in the process. They declined my offer.

I don’t think I’ll be buying a Massage Chair any time soon.

I think that I would prefer a cushy recliner that comes with a cup holder, remote control rack, and a built-in refrigerator (with freezer). That kind of a chair makes me feel better just thinking about it. chair6

For You, Easy. For Me, Difficult

OVER THE YEARS I HAVE SEEN A LOT OF COMEDIANS. Most of them ranged from dismal to really good. There was a different level for those above “Really Good.” Those were the “Classics,” the “Geniuses, “and the “Made me laugh out loud.” There aren’t too many that made it into that last group. One who did make me laugh out loud every time was a Comedian I’ll bet you never heard of. If you are under 40 years of age I’d put money on it.

The person I’m talking about was a Spanish ventriloquist named Wenceslao Moreno. He performed under the stage name of Señor Wences.

Read more…

Where Are My People And What Have You Done With Them?

SOME DAYS NOTHING MAKES SENSE.

Why is that? This morning has been one of those days. Everything has been a series of nonsequiters come to life. Imagine letting a six year old edit the film of a motion picture. There would be some serious and confusing jump cuts. That is what today has been so far.

This morning I slept in a bit – causing me to get to the Chapel at St. Arbucks a few minutes later than usual. That must have been when the crazy body doubles were sneaked in.

Read more…

Not A Way To Start The Day

 

WHO SAYS THAT NOTHING EVER HAPPENS AT ST. ARBUCKS?

Not me.

Just the other morning as I was trying hard to be a calm, sober, and mature adult, but not having much luck. I was at St. Arbucks slurping my coffee when a young man lurched through the door. He looked to be in his twenties but had a baby face that made him look about fourteen. But there was something “off” about him.

After he came through the door he stopped and took his time looking about the room. He made no move toward the cashier’s station. My first thought was, honestly, that he was considering who he should approach to try to get some “spare change.”

I could not have been more wrong.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters”

Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters”

Family Matters

Part One

It was 5:25. People were getting off work and heading home. In another fifteen minutes, no more, it was all going to hit the fan. The Pasty-faced redheaded kid checked his watch again, smiled, and shook his head. He patted the small pistol in his pocket. He relaxed in his seat in the burger joint across the street from the busy gas station/mini mart.

Sitting in the bus shelter across the street from the County Hospital Emergency Room a second person, a young woman with short hair and tattoos on both arms cradled a .45 caliber pistol in her lap, underneath a folded copy of today’s newspaper. She was waiting for it to be 5:40. Then all hell would break loose.

On the other side of town, outside of the Mall, another young man sat in his car. His knee was bouncing in nervous anticipation. The shotgun that he used to take duck hunting was on the seat next to him. He looked at his watch. It was two minutes later than it was the last time he checked it.

***

I couldn’t sleep. These days whenever I go to a funeral my own mortality jumps up and slaps my face. It won’t let me sleep or eat anything more than the BRAT Diet. For three days I’m limited to Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce, and Toast until my stomach settles down.

I’m eating like my Grandmother – if she was still alive. She raised me, but that was a pile of years ago. She passed away when I was 28 and in Afghanistan wasting a year of my life. I didn’t go to her funeral.

Today I was at another funeral. My sixth one this year. I sat there at the funeral home on another hard as a brick folding chair trying to not be there in my head. A guy I knew a little sat down next to me. I needed quiet. He needed to chat.

“Half the people I know are dead,” he said in a failed whisper. I nodded and felt obligated to say something.

“What about the other half?”

“We’re waiting for the test results on them.” He giggled. The jackass giggled in the middle of the eulogy for the guest of honor. I got up and walked out. I was done. When I got to the parking lot I vomited.

It was a few minutes past 2 PM, but I already knew that it was going to be rice and apple sauce for dinner. I thought that maybe a nap might help.

On the way back to my apartment my brain took me on a tour of my life – not all of it – just the parts with death. I’d seen too much of it. I’d caused too much of it and now I could see my own. My Grim Reaper wasn’t dressed in a black robe and carrying a scythe. No, he was dressed like me and had a short barrel .38 five round revolver just like mine.

I made the mistake of telling that to the Department Shrink I was forced to see after a justified shooting. Six months later I’m being taken out to dinner and handed a book on golf. I’ve never played golf in my life.

The nap thing didn’t work. I got out of bed, dressed, and to hell with the thought of rice and apple sauce. I needed something real, some buffalo wings and a beer. The beer mainly. Something for my stomach to really complain about. I figured that “Wings Over The World” – a new joint at the Mall was as good as any other place to self medicate my gut.

It was a little after five o’clock.

***

Halfway through that basket of hot wings my stomach began to fight back. Maybe I did have an ulcer. I couldn’t handle the hot sauce. I got a “to-go” box from the cute young hairy kid who was acting as waiter, cashier, and bus boy. He showed talent for the bus boy part anyway. I’d paid for those wings – I wasn’t going to leave them for the rats to eat. I stuffed some extra napkins in my pocket and headed for the door.

It was 5:40 PM.

The man crossed the street against the light and walked up to the man filling his Toyota’s gas tank. One shot and he dropped the nozzle to the ground. He fell on top of it.

Another shot and the driver who had just pulled up to the pump looked at the end of the gun barrel in his last second on earth.

The man with the gun laughed as he walked into the mini mart and emptied his gun into the two people in line buying soft drinks. And the cashier. Before leaving the shooter looked up at the security camera, smiled, and blew it a kiss.

There were thirteen people looking for help in the Emergency Room waiting area. At 5:40 a young woman walked through the automatic door and walked down the row of chairs firing one shot after another. When her pull of the trigger got only clicks she turned and walked beck out of the opening doors. She tossed the pistol into the row of short hedges lining the ER driveway. Ignoring the screams from inside the building she crossed the street and boarded the bus that had just pulled up to the corner.

Don’t Be A Smarty…Unless You’re A Television

ON THE WHOLE I DON’T MIND GOING SHOPPING. I actually like tooling around the supermarket looking at all the things I don’t want. I have a lower level of “like” when it comes to shopping for clothes. Doing that is just a necessary pain in the tookus.

Even farther down on the Krafty Scale of Shopping is going out looking for things about which I am awash in ignorance.

Read more…

Throwback Thursday from June 2016 – “Bagpipes And Fractions”

 

Bagpipes And Fractions

Hole1SATURDAY MORNING. THE SUN IS SHINING. The sky is blue and my butt is dragging like a line of tin cans behind the newlywed’s car.

Why? Was I out partying all night? Have I been on a three-day bender and just woke up slumped over my keyboard? Have I just finished my fourth Iron Man Triathlon this week?

No. No. And No in a million years.

No party. No booze. No, because my idea of a Triathlon is Chips, Salsa, and a Burrito. All of that might make me run a bit, but not 26 miles worth.

No, my friends – my rear end is dragging because I am about to hit my biblically allotted three score and ten years and I find the world getting more and more stupid as I get older.

Half the world wants to kill the other Half because they are the other Half and they want thahole3t other Half to be like their Half. They want it both ways. If the other Half won’t be like their Half they figure it is best to kill them so their Half can become the Whole.

Of course, if their Half becomes the Whole it then wouldn’t be long before they would feel it necessary to have another Half to be upset with and they would be off and running again trying to kill “them.’

Got it? Me neither, but it’s a fact – of a sort.

Let’s see.

Two Halves. One Half wants the other Half in a Hole so they can be the Whole until they decide which Half of the remaining Whole needs to be in the Hole with the original other Half.

Using that illogical equation – eventually the Whole would end up in the Hole with all of the other Halves and then they would, no doubt, start Halving again – all in a most Unholy way.

hole2aI think I’ve just given myself a headache.

As for you, the observers, are concerned, it is your chore to determine which Halves are which and which Halves are most likely to end up in a Hole and which will become the Whole – until the next Halving.

Personally, I don’t think either Half is operating with a Whole deck. Each Half has Quarters within it that are pulling them in many different directions. It seems to me that before the main Halves are able to put any other Half into a Hole they face the possibility of being Halved from within themselves.

I see these internal Quarters rendering the Halves less able to dispaHole5tch the other Halves into a Hole. The Quartering of the Halves, and likely Eighths and Sixteenths in time, will lessen the possibilities of any Holing of any Halves. What we will end up with is a collection of highly insane fractions that will have to be content with being nonlethal pains in the butt to everyone in their neighborhood – something similar to living next door to a guy who collects bagpipes.  

Getting to this stasis with bagpipes might take a while and things will be very unpleasant until then, but I don’t see any other way of surviving that is Wholly acceptable.

I say, let the Whole thing commence by all of us sitting down to lunch. I’ll have Half a tuna sandwich and a glass of Whole milk. And an Aspirin.

hole8

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!”

Read more…

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…

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

pills6

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: