Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hump year

These last few days marks a monumental  year in my life. I remember years ago doing the math to see how old I would be when the twenty-first century came in. I thought that was going to be old. In fact, it was anything but, and now the next decade and a half is rolling along.

I have always joked that middle age is ten years older than whatever age I was. That's sort of hard to do at this point. Even I can't believe sixty-six would be considered middle-aged. It was good for a laugh and it worked for years, but it seems that I must once and for all face the facts. Middle age has caught up to me (assuming I'm going to die at 112 years of age).

I must now admit, I am one year past the 'hump year', the double-nickle, the Nixon speed limit. I have crossed over the hill and I sit perched looking at the downward side, one step beyond its crest. It's a steep drop, a long slide down. But you know what? I've decided to go down at a run. Life takes each one of us on a differing path. Some struggle more than others, and though I have had several bumps along the way, I decided years ago I would not live a life of fear.

So bring it on; bring on the 'old guy' problems. Let the AARP do their best to chase me down the streets. I plan on staying one step ahead. If my brothers and cousins can do it, so can I.

Now, where do I sign up for that Golden Buckeye Card?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Treasure boxes

I inherited the tool gene from my father, and likely a lot of his habits when it comes to fixing things. My dear brothers, bless their hearts, couldn't hammer a nail with a screwdriver. (Uhm, cause they'd try to). My workbench is very much like his. Okay, it actually is his. I took it from the garage when the booty was split up. The bench is unique in that the top of it is actually two sections of bowling alley bolted together. I have a good idea of where it came from, but nothing to back up the story. He built a cabinet beneath it to store the big tools. It all fits in my basement quite nicely.

Now, neither of us are/were hoarders, by any stretch of the imagination, but there hasn't been a nut, bolt or screw that I've likely not gotten rid of over the years. Someday, that'll come in handy! I have two mis-matched storage drawers that hold tacks, screws, miscellaneous parts of things that could come in handy for other usages down the line, and various other clips, washers and metal things.

I am a fixer mostly. I don't build much from scratch but I can fix a lot of things. All those little pieces come in handy. As I was digging for a couple of screws this night, I pulled out two very special boxes that reside below my second work bench. You see, I built another bench across from the bowling alley; two benches that flank a slop sink. It comes in really handy.

But back to the boxes. They are special in nature. Each time I rifle through them, it brings back memories of my father. They aren't very large, but I would consider them antiques. Inside them you'll find silcock parts, washers, drawer knobs, a boiler drain valve, one child-proofing drawer latch, and numerous miscellaneous parts of things long forgotten. But, these two little boxes have been my savior many times over. Just when you need it, the right part just seems to show up in them.

Believe it or not, they are the cardboard bottom halves of two Velveeta cheese boxes. That's right, two brown, cardboard cheese boxes as long and wide as a rubbery brick of Velveeta cheese. They had been in my father's garage for over thirty years and they have been with me for fifteen. Sometimes I think he sneaks the small part I'll have trouble finding into one of them just in the nick of time. It's amazing how much those little boxes can hold. I don't have the tops, they are long since gone to the ravages of time and sharp tools. But I have the bottoms, my own little treasure boxes with more memories than any box can hold.

What am I working on?....It's a secret.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My own friend

We had a short but interesting discussion at work yesterday. Could you be friends or very close friends with yourself? Imagine, you, a perfect copy of you, with all your debonair charm and every wart you possess. You know your passions, your hang-ups, your wit and style.

You meet yourself in a bar, or at work, or in church. Casually, you get to know each other. If you want to keep it simple, you don't have to look exactly like each other. You don't even have to look remotely close. Boil it down to everything else about you.

Now, after meeting each other and hanging out, you get to develop more than an acquaintance relationship. You begin to become bros...or whatever the female equivalent of that is. BFFs I would guess. Now, you take the big step, as your proximity to each other continues to grow, like every good relationship, each of you begin to let your personal guard down. The personal guard for most of us is your filter; what comes out of your mouth, whatever intelligent or inane thing that may happen to be.  I for one, wish some of those I knew, had a filter in the first place. Perhaps they misplaced it in the birth canal.

Anyway, you see where this is going. It's more of an intellectual question. I'm not asking anyone to change themselves in any way. You are who you are, smiles, failings and all. No one knows us quite like we know us. I for one have a difficult time determining if I would be that close to myself or not. It's not that I'm not the most wonderful person running around on the planet, it's just that I have a fairly sarcastic personality outside of the business world, and I might offend myself with too many off-hand comments meant to be funny. If I'm in the wrong mood, I may not think myself too funny. I might call myself a jackass behind my own back.

All in all, I think I could manage a friendship with myself. I do tend to be someone who has only a very small circle of friends, a few very close from days gone by. I just don't know if I'd be my own best friend. I'd probably talk to myself at a party though. I'm kinda funny, in an off-putting sort of way, of course.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


As I have joined the march of television at an early age, way back in the advent of the black and white era, I feel as though I might, just might have something to say about today's cartoons.

These past couple of days, we have been watching two single-digit munchkins. More than happy to do it. But when it rains outside, that leaves inside. What do kids want to watch? Cartoons. And lots of them. I won't complain about that. I grew up on cartoons in the sixties, saw a few in the seventies and worked in a toy store in the eighties. I have been surrounded by them for most of that time.

Now, I don't understand the fascination with most of the Japanese creations that seemed to surface in the nineties, but everyone has there own likes and dislikes. And now, with having my grandson around on a regular basis, I have been exposed to new ones for several years. However, what passes for cartoons on the CN is nothing more than crap.

Sure, my cartoons had their share of funny violence and space-blasting, but what I have been watching on the tube for two days is so far below amusing it is bewildering. Where did this stuff come from? Now, being in the book business, I see all levels of bad put out there for consumption. But, isn't this stuff supposed to have someone in charge of quality control? With the advent of more television channels than anyone could watch, it appears the gatekeepers have all gone for a beer and left the door open to all levels of drivel.

There are a few good ones out there I suppose, just not on the CN, at least as far as I can tell. They seem to have everyone else's trash pile. Where's Tom and Jerry when you need them?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

More than beauty

We are creatures of beauty, at least we want to be. Some of us just have more of it than others. I for one, don't consider myself beautiful. (Ruggedly smart and handsome, okay, I'll give you that one.) Actually, I'll call myself slightly above average, perhaps. But what of others?

The more I am exposed to social media, be it Facebook or Twitter or one of the other web societies, I run across a particular saying, rather often. And, it is more often than not, directed at girls and women; she's beautiful. Now, that's a really nice thing to say. Is it deserved? Perhaps, but why say it?

Is there no other compliment due a young lady or woman who has just come through an achievement or life event? I would not argue the saying to someone who is posing in her wedding gown for her day. It is, after all, what many women live for. It can be the defining moment in their lives, or at least one of them. Every woman wants to look beautiful on that day. Tell them they're beautiful, by all means.

To many, I think it is a reflex. It is just what they say to everyone. In this season of the graduate, I have come across this many times. A young lady graduates from high school or college, another defining moment, and regularly, beautiful is the compliment. Now whether it is deserved or not, that is a shallow compliment to someone who has just achieved a life event.

One other thing I shall offer in this ramble, that compliment mostly comes from women, to women. I challenge you ladies, mothers, aunts and grandmothers of the world, it's time to do better. Beauty is a concept and it changes from culture to culture, but it's not the only thing. Congratulate the success, not the package.