Below The Shimmer

Fall leaves captured by a lonesome wind danced  above the ripples of the clear mountain lake.
He had been poised by the edge for some time now.
When it was warmer and he was younger, he could stand here spellbound for hours.
It had been enough to be near the lake’s beauty.
He was always attracted to the sun rays bouncing off the surface.
He was always attracted to the shimmer.
Every so often, he had summoned his courage to wade out and dip below the surface.
The experience always left him wanting. The shimmer never greeted him among the depths.

The edge of an inbound wind bit into his cheeks snapping him out of days gone by, reminding him of past disappointments.                                It would be easy to turn his back and return to his car with the promise of his warm home that lay just around the bend.
Sunset was just hours away.                                                                                   The window to yield to temptation, to take a risk  once again was closing as quickly as the falling temperature.
“I am not old yet he thought.”
He let his cloths drop at the edge of the lake and stepped forward.

An exercise in writing inspired by the Daily Post.

Age Gracefully or You Do What You Want

This particular posting is contrary to my usual style.  I tend to fictionalize most of my rants but in this particular case it was difficult to channel my ranting into a more creative form.

Sometimes the rant must be set free to do what it does.

A headline caught my eye the other day.  It read  “Ten Things Men Over 50 Should Never Do.” I usually skip by such articles.  They seem to be in infinite supply. “ Things Men Shouldn’t own over 40,” “Clothes Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Wear.”

These lists are subjective although I think we can all agree that men over 40 should not own a speedo. Can I get an amen?

Now, given that the article appeared online on a website called ExecutiveStyle, I expected something stodgy and soul crushing and I was not disappointed.

I casually read the list, without pen or notepad , and chuckled my way through it .

You may be surprised to find that I did not take it seriously . If so , you must be new to this site.

I laughed, maybe even giggled , along until I arrived at # 7. “Wear A BaseBall Cap”

Excuse me Joseph Stalin. Does the Department of HomeLand Security know about you?

Apparently a Fedora , Panama Hat or in some cases a Top Hat are acceptable but nothing else.

Listen pal, just because your little polo helmet isn’t popular, or comfortable in the heat, doesn’t mean you can throw shade at the chapeau of our national pastime.

Number seven had actually changed my mind as to the flavor of the article. Initially, I was skimming the article with the idea that the author had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

I decided to go back over the previous points with a new belief about what orifice the author had his tongue planted in.

The first item was “Ride a Scooter”, the foot propelled type.  You should’t do it , not because you could fall and brake your hip , but because you would look either poor or silly.

I am not sure for him what would be more embarrassing He also lumps in riding a recumbent bicycle by the same rule.

 Hey I live in Boulder. We all look silly here for many reasons and we like it that way. SometimesI get up in the morning, look in the mirror and ask myself “How can I look silly today?” Not surprisingly, I succeed quite often.

Number two on the list I could not fault him for and it’s the item that convinced me he was absolutely serious.

2. “Take Ecstasy” I am not going to fault him for that. I agree it’s not a good idea. Purely for health reasons. It’s just not good for you. Not much to debate. I would contend no matter what your age you should never do it.  That was the only salient point on his list.

Number three was do not wear shorts in the city. I am assuming that the author believes he looks silly in shorts. Maybe he does. Why he limits his short’s enabled jaunts to non metropolitan areas is beyond me. If it is to limit the amount of citizens exposed to his silly appearance I can understand it but usually embarrassment is caused by being seen by people you know. In that sense I think you would need to be more specific on what you mean by city.

In his case, maybe it should be “do not wear shorts in a section of the city where the ratio of people you know vs those that you don’t are greater than 1 in 100.” One of his alternatives was linen trousers so perhaps the rule should be tweaked to read “in a section of the city where the average dry cleaning bill is less than $1000 per week”
or “The ratio of Miami Vice fans to those who never heard of the show is 1 in 1000.”

Hey I don’t think I look particularly stunning in shorts but when its 95 degrees it’s the best alternative to going naked. Trust me, no one wins in that scenario. If I have to worry about dry cleaning the clothes I am wearing on the weekend then I might as well be working.

Only one other item on his list was worth mentioning. “5. Vote Green.” His reasoning was that everything is hopeless and voting green was for the young and deluded. Spoken like an old fart who’s contributed to the problem and is quite happy with leaving his children and grandchildren with a cesspool to clean up. We’ve all contributed.

When it comes to voting green your either part of the solution or its time to throw yourself into the recycling bin. Cremation is a nice way to return yourself to mother earth.

At some point, the article mentions we should age gracefully. You know what grace is? It’s a girls name popular in 1901.

The hell with grace. Do what you want.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light and then bury me in my Cubs hat. Thank you Dylan Thomas.

Hey, he would have been a Cubs fan if they had cable in Wales, in the early 20th century. His poetry would have still been just as dark. Maybe darker.

Marge 3.0 Has Arrived

The Marge 3.0 Has Arrived. TVParent has announced the latest update to it’s Alexa like product the Marge 2.0.

The new version of the Marge 2.0 cleverly named the Marge 3.0 will have the ability to see and is specifically designed to give fashion advice. I spoke to company president Irwin Mainway about their new product.

“Mr. Mainway, Isn’t your product the same as the new Alexa?”

“Call me Irwin and no. Other than video capability  that’s where the similarity ends.”

“But the new Alexa gives fashion advice and so does the Marge 3.0, does it not ?”

“Yes, but the approach is totally different.”

“How so Mr. , Um , Irwin.”

“The target demographic we have in mind for Margie is totally different “

“Margie?”

“Yea, that’s our pet name for her around our office.”

“O-K-A-Y. “

“Anyway the target market we have in mind is skewed more to a male population lacking in significant others with which to guide them concerning fashion advice. “

“And that manifests itself differently how Irwin?”

“Well, for one Margie doesn’t use such big words like manifest. We try to be more direct with the customer. Perhaps an audio demonstration would make it more clear.”

“Yes, that is certainly , shall we say, more direct.”

“Oh I can say it. It’s more direct. The other product is going to dance around the issue and say things like “Sir, the color of that shirt is the wrong choice. It does not make your eyes pop.”Margie on the other hand will say “Sir, Are you color blind ? The color of that shirt in no way goes with those pants”

“You do realize many men are color blind. That could turn them off to Marge”.

“First of all, I don’t really want them to be turned on to Margie if you know what I mean. What are you some kind of freak. “

“Second of all, they know they’re color blind. That’s no frickin surprise to them but why should they announce that to the world from ten blocks away.”

“Good point and a good time to wrap up my discussion with Irwin Mainway about the upcoming release of Marge 3.0”

“You forgot to say it’s being released in two weeks at the very competitive price of $250.”

“Ok. Well there…”

“Say it. “

“TVParent will be releasing Marge 3.0 in 2 weeks at the very competitive price of $250”

“Nicely done.”

“Thanks”

“You know your company name doesn’t really make sense unless you make TV’s.”

“Yea, we’re working on a name change.”

Thoughts For Today

The pain has interrupted another lucid and perhaps amusing thought. Time to put aside the current work in progress with a promise I will get back to it. I probably should just keep writing and while the cloud parked between my ears reminds me of some times I had in the eighties, the occasional sparks of lightning remind me it is not really a fertile planting ground for creativity.
It may be fortuitous that I find myself writing this on the cusp of Father’s day.  A day that reminds me of a man that was the king of “Bucking Up.”

In the past I have strung together some decent sentences in a form that some may actually have termed prose*. In my current state of mind I will not taint any of those previous efforts. Instead I will leave you with a few thoughts that come to mind when I think of my Father.

Thoughts for today.

Buck up.
Tough As Nails.
Love.
Charles Bronson.
Sinusz. (Polish for Sonny).
Da Bears.
Sweetness.
Casey.
English Leather
Hunter Safety Instructor
Midnight Shift
Working Two Jobs
Diabetes
Taking the boys to work.
Convertible.
road flares
Scotch.
Hunting with Dad.
A Toast to Casey on Father’s Day.

Love Dan.

*Click on the Father’s Day Tag of the post to see those.

Marge 2.0 – The Alexa Your Parents Raised

High Tech Company TVParent announces the release of their new Alexa like product. The Marge 2.0.  Its being billed as the Alexa that your parents raised.

The companies makers are hoping to be the television for next millenial+ generation or whatever they’re calling kids these days.

Our interview with a company representative, who declined to be identified, revealed the companies vision.

“We hope to reach that section of parents out there that long for the days when they could set their kids in front of the television and forget them for hours, without the worry of which video games are teaching them to kill , curse or pop a cap in a ho.”

We’ve surveyed many of todays parents and we believe there is a large market for a product to keep their kids occupied without any parent participation. You know kind of like school but like when they get home.”

After being granted a court order, we were able to obtain some of the survey comments which showed that  participants  believe their lives would vastly improve with such a product.

Response #18 replied – “Wow it sounds like that Marge would change my life , my golf game would greatly improve.”

Response #11 – “Sure they have video games but it doesn’t talk long before they reach thermonuclear armageddon or level out or whatever the call it and I have to buy them a new game. This sounds like I could ignore them at least until dinnertime.”

Response #23  -“Oh, sorry we don’t have kids. What was that dear, three of them? Oh, I guess I don’t need this product. ”

#Response #42 – “Wow, this Marge 2.0 sounds like a Godsend. You say It would never get tired of answering the same old questions over and over again, and probably give them the right answer 9 times out of ten. Wow. I just make up shit and they don’t seem to know the difference. Where do I get it?”

The company representative also replied to many critics who say its just an excuse to ignore your children.

“Pish Posh. They have plenty of excuses to ignore their children but to reassure the skeptics we have build in many of the same responses your mother’s used on you to keep you in check.
I couldn’t do them justice here . The audio we sent you is a good example.”

When asked if there was a Marge 1.0  the company representative referred to their legal team. The only available quote from the legal team was “The reports of injuries are greatly exaggerated.”

Cubs Win World Series. For a Moment Therapists lose Millions of Clients.

Economic reports just in show that the many of the  nations therapists have suddenly lost millions of dollars.

One explanation favored by several economists is that this therapeutic downturn is a direct result of the Chicago Cubs winning the world series.

We have decided to investigate this particular angle and have sent our reporter in the street, Roy Hobbes, to investigate the possibility. Roy:

“Roy Hobbes here, I am on the streets of Chicago trying the get the pulse of the citizens in this city. I am particularly interested in the general mental well being of Chicago Cub fans. Here comes one now.”

“You sir are obviously a Cub fan can I ask you a question?”

“Uh, what makes you think I’m a Cubs fan?”

“Well, you’re wearing a Cubs hat.”

“Oh that, yea well I’m actually a White Sox fan but it’s more socially acceptable to be a Cubs fan.”

“Love the loyalty.”

“What was that Roy?”

“Nothing , have a nice day sir.”

“You young man, can I have a word with you .”

“Sure”

“Are you a Cub fan?”

“Uh, yea, I’m wearing  a Cubs cap, Cubs jacket and I have a Cubs tattoo on my face. What was your first clue?”

“Well, you just never know now do you? Can I ask you a few questions?”

“Why sure”

“So sir ..”

“You can call me Joe”

“Ok. Joe, how are you feeling these days?”

“Well , a little hung over and my knee is a little swollen from dancing but other than that I feel great.”

“Good but how about your psychological well being. Any anxiety these days/“

“Why no. Why would I? The future is looking bright and I feel I can tackle anything. I even threw away the number to my Psychiatrist.”

“How did you feel before baseball season?”

“Well, if I look back I have to admit I was full of anxiety like a beauty queen with Donald Trump hanging around. I was constantly on the phone with my therapist.”

“And what do you suppose is the reason for your new found tranquility?”

“Why the sudden loss of a 108 year old burden of course.”

“But sir, you can’t be a day over 50.”
“Ha, you flatter me but no I am talking about the number of years since the Cubs had won the world series don’t you know.”

“Why of course I know. I meant you yourself..oh never mind. Don’t you have more important things to worry about.”

“Like what?”

“Oh you know the outcome of the recent election.”

“Oh, yea. Um, you do have a point. Excuse me….”

“Hey , Joe,” yelled Roy as Joe ran swiftly away.

“Where are you going?”

“To my garbage before its picked up. I think I can get my therapist’s number back!”

Ray watched as Joe became a small dot before he heard the screaming.

“Reminds me of an old party balloon,” thought Roy.

“Well, there you have it. Further proof that a career in therapy is recession proof. I am Roy Hobbes your reporter on the street signing off.”
“

“Thanks Roy. Great to hear that you’re making sure that people don’t forget to worry. I think he’s in some kind of referral program with the APA. That reminds me, I need to give my therapist a call.”

Black Friday: The Fun Room Revealed

“Oh my what? Let me see,” said Yo as he rolled in to the Fun Room.

“Wow, what a fun room,” said Yo.

“Hence the name ,” said Larry.

“Vow, that looks like quite a lot of fun,” smirked Jan peeking around the corner.

Sprawled before them lay a large room bounded by several chests of toys. At the center was a large, plush and inviting area rug. The wall at the far end was made up entirely of uniformly spaced book shelves. The uniformity was broken up by the center shelf which framed a large television.

“If Xena is here she may not want to leave,” said Yo.

“You think so?,” asked Larry.

“You think she would leave this room-o-fun to come to back to the Big Box. What do we have to offer,” asked Yo.

“Well, I’m part of the package,” replied a forlorn Larry.

It’s tough to tell when a box is forlorn but his corners were droopy and his cardboard top was a bit damp.

From out of the darkness the gang heard a sleepy voice mumble “Hey, could you newbies find a place to crash so I can get back to sleep.”

“Xena?,” exclaimed Larry.

Shining the bat utility light in the direction of the voice, Larry found himself looking at gleaming black box on a shelf below the big TV.

“Is that you Larry?”

“Yes, it’s me Xena but I don’t recognize you. If it wasn’t for the sweet voice of yours I wouldn’t know who I was talking to.”

“That’s right you’ve never seen me outside of a box.”

“Well, we’re here to rescue you from , um, what is this place?”

“It’s a homeless shelter for families Larry. Families stay here while we help them get back on their feet.”

“Oh. Sounds like a good place.”

“Oh it is.”

“So, you wouldn’t want to come back to the Big Box with me, or us ?”

“Which is it Larry? You, or us?”

“Well, I miss you, so me. They want you back also, so us too.”

“Larry, I’ve missed you and I’ve missed the rest of the gang too but I finally feel that I have a purpose here. The kids need me. I bring joy to them and I think they really need some of that in their lives right now.”

“Oh. Yea that sounds much more important than anything at the Big Box,” said Larry as his drooping corners became more noticeable.“

“Don’t be sad Larry. I have an idea. Why don’t you and the rest of the gang just stay here.”

“Is that possible?”

“Of course Larry. All kinds of things are always getting donated here, clothes , books and obviously toys. No one will be upset if more toys suddenly just show up.”

“Well, I would like to free my inner lego set and bring joy to some kids. This 10,000 piece puzzle box disguise is harshing my mellow,” said Larry as he
looked at Yo and winked.”

“Yea, I see what you did their said Yo.”

“What do think guys,” asked Larry.

“Well, I guess I can put up with tossing my string more often if I can bring some smiles to some kids,” said a smiling Yo.

“Why not my fine chums,” said Batman. ” The Batmobile needs a charge anyway.”

In unison they all nodded their heads and said yes.

Stosh was a little too vigorous in his head shaking but with a click Jan had his head popped back into place.

“Well it settled then,” stated Xena.

“Wait a minute,” said a new voice. “No one asked me.”

“Is that you Robin my fine feathered chum,” asked Batman.

“Holy short term memory loss, of course it is Batman.”

“Well is it ok with you chum?”

“Of course I can’t stay mad at you.”

“Well, I am glad that’s settled,” said Xena. ” Larry, when we get some alone time we should talk. I think we both have some unsaid things to be said.”

“Oh, yes I suppose we do.”

“Where has our coiled friend gone to,” asked Batman.

Yo rolled to the doorway, “He’s stuck to the carpet again. I think he’s going to need all of us with hands this time.”

Larry shrugged his corners and smiled, ”I guess that leaves me out.”
He shuffled over to Xena. “So, lets talk shall we.”

Xena looked down and smiled. “Yes, I would like that.”

Black Friday: Inside The Fun Room

Larry hit the ground , let go of the rope and waited for Yo and the rest of the gang to climb down.

“What do suppose this place is Batman?”

“Well my boxlike friend it looks like a large house.”

“Yea, I , uh , figured that but I was hoping with your crime-fighting skills you might be able to come up with an idea of where to look for Xena.”

“Um, yea I got nothing.”

“Thanks oh winged one.”

“Hey guys, what’s the plan,” asked Yo and he rolled up with Jan and Stosh behind him.

“Well Batman and I were just wondering where you would keep an xbox disguised as a pong box in this place?”

“Vell, I have an idea,” stated Stosh.

“Don’t hold us in suspense big guy,” replied Yo.”

“How about that room over there, the von vith the sign that reads “Fun Room”.”

“I was just about to suggest that my rivet jointed friend,” said Batman.

“Vas that a crack,” asked Stosh.

“No, Batman doesn’t have a sense of humor,” replied Larry.”

“Well, Stosh’s head is on straight right now so I say lets check out the Fun Room,” added Yo.

The gang quietly creeped ahead, well all but Larry, he kind of clunked along, a box is not quite stealthy.

After unhooking Steve from the carpet several times they finally reached the fun room.”

“Well, Who’s going first,” asked Yo looking pointedly at Larry.

“My heart dragged my hear I guess it should leads us on,” said Larry.

“Your such a romantic. I think I’m going to be sick,” said Yo.

“Vertigo acting up Yo,” asked Larry.

“No , i’m allergic to sap.”

Larry peaked into the room and with a light from Batman’s utility belt illuminated the room.

“Oh My”

What has the gang discovered ?

What has become of Xena?

What will become of Steve?

Does the Batmobile run on batteries? Please can someone answer that question?

Black Friday: Up on The Housetop the Band is All Here

Up on the housetop Batman claws, out jumps good ol’ Yo Yo Claus

Down through the skylight with lots of poise
All to rescue Xena, Christmas Joy.
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go-o

Up on the housetop, don’t you Tarry
Down through the skylight with Lego Larry
Next comes the slinky, well call it Steve                                                            Don’t get attached He might just Leave
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go-o

Here Come the Robots, click click clack
Hey Im not a poet, just a writing hack
Down through the skylight here they drop
They’re just some toys don’t call a cop
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go-o

Down on the first floor with all the band
They’re here for Xena and to giver her a hand.
But just you wait she doesn’t want to go
Were missing the point, were not in the know.
Ho ho ho, she wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, she wouldn’t go-o
On to the next chapter to fill in the gap
Oh me oh my was it just a trap?

 

On a side note: We did our white elephant last night.

Black Friday: The House On The Hill

“Yo, Have you heard anything from Alfred?

“Well, his daughter just graduated from school and was accepted to Action Figure Law School.”

“That’s not exactly what I meant. Has he found Xena?”

“Yes and No”

“Hmm, that question usually results in a a Yes or No answer. Perhaps I am confused on the concept of finding someone.”

“He has located the building that she is being held in,” replied Yo.

“Great. I sense a but that you’re not sitting on though, out with it.”

“Well, you know that big house on Loman’s Hill.”

“The one that creaks in the wind and always seems to be bathed in darkness?”

“Yes, that’’s where Alfred has tracked her down to .”

“And?”

“We know nothing regarding the who, what or why of the building.”

“So the bottom line is that we don’t know what were getting into. Does that about sum it up?”

“You are correct Larry.”

“And that is different from our usual exploits how?”

“Um, well, um…..I sense that we have now come to the point that you are trying to make.”

“You are correct Yo. We have visited this kind of chapter several times in our life stories and what do we usually do?”

“We buck up and blindly charge into the abyss?”

“That’s an interesting way to put it Yo but yes that is what we usually do. Gather up the gang Yo. We need to strategize.”

“What about the blind charging part?”

“Hey I am all for the bucking up and charging but I would like to like to avoid stumbling over the furniture on the way to the abyss.”

“Fair enough.”

So on that fateful evening in December Larry stood before Yo, Batman, The Polish Boxing Twins , Major Mat Mason and Steve.”

“Who’s the Slinky asked Yo”

“Thats Steve replied Larry. He’s kind of like a red shirted Star Trek crewman.”

“Oh, please don’t tell me that,” replied Yo.

“Ok I won’t,” replied Larry before turning to address  the crew.

“People” announced Larry.

“Our goal tonight is to rescue Xena. We don’t know what danger lies ahead and what will become of us,” said Larry trying not to look at Steve.

“But I have confidence in each and every one of you. We will be taking both the BatMobile and the Major’s Moon Rover to the dark house on Loman’s hill. Jan and Stosh can only remove their heads so many times before it starts to cause permanent damage. Batman, using his various bat thingies on his utility belt will pave a way to the roof for the rest of us to follow. From there we will drop in to the fortress from the skylight. Once in we will spread out and locate Xena.”

“Then what,” asked Steve.

“Well, then we do what we always do, replied Larry ”

“We wing it?” asked the Major..

“Thats right, we wing it,” replied Larry. “To the BatMobile gang!”

“…and the MoonRover?, asked Yo.

“Yea, but I was going for a dramatic segue-way.

“Oh. To the Dark House On The Hill!”

A Place To Share Some Grins