Quatto and Action Park

“Pain don’t hurt.”  These words were so eloquently delivered by Patrick Swayze in the extraordinarily moving and critically acclaimed 1989 film, Road House.

Pain don’t hurt?  Like hell it doesn’t.  Having two hernias residing in your body like unruly tenants you are having a hell of a time trying to evict.

These hernias have names.  One is umbilical hernia named Quato and the other, Action Park is an inguinal. Quato is affectionately named after a character co-starring in a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger called Total Recall.  It was equally as riveting as Road House . Quato stole the show.  Action Park is named after a notoriously dangerous water park in New Jersey.  If you left the park without some bloodshed or a serious injury, the park employees weren’t doing their job properly.  They made it as dangerous as possible.

Now, my Quato hernia, much like his character in the movie, is simply annoying and sometimes, depending on his positioning, also can find a way to be quite painful. I never thought I’d to refer to a hernia as being pretentious, but this one qualifies. In the movie, while cleverly busting through the human carrying him, Quatto was disturbingly philosophical regarding the rights and wrongs of the world,  When he’d finish spewing his drunken words from his bleeding mouth, he’d slink back into his habita.That would be the man’s stomach.

Action Park is a whole different story.  Weighing in at almost three pounds, he’s been squatting along with his friends, my intestines,  in the most pliable location of my body which I don’t wish to share.

Action Park was considered to be a water park, so of course, there were drownings in its action wave pool where many of the park thrill seekers, unlike the Northwest Passage, would find.  And, even though many of them couldn’t swim, they would venture into the four feet deep pool, only to be thrashed by an eight foot wave.  When I roll over at night, I feel this great rush of blood in my mid-section, thus causing midnight profanity and even guttural shrieks of pain similar to those heard from the wild man of Squeamish County, West Virginia.

Just speaking with my brother, one of his employees has six, yes six hernias.  He is far beyond what I have tried to describe. Forgive me for complaining and say a prayer for him.

Pain does indeed hurt.


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No Horse

Soccer is terrific if you love it.  Football is great if you can take it.  Basketball is wonderful if you can endure it.  Baseball is magnificent if you can believe it.  Other than baseball, I can’t say I love or even like all of the major sports.  However, I embrace them.

Watching the Major League Baseball Playoffs tonight, I didn’t have a horse in the race.  I didn’t care who won and I only knew of a select few of these elite players participating.  In the 8th inning, I may have been alone in our house, but there was seating room only during that 8th inning when The Washington Nationals were in pursuit of defeating the Milwaukee Brewers.  The city of D.C. blew up with joy rather than uncertainty.  You don’t have to have a horse in the race to enjoy life…..and sports, can provide that joy.

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Apples and A-Holes

New York City’s famous nickname “The Big Apple” wasn’t named after the forbidden fruit.  The term was used to describe “something most significant of its kind; an object of desire and ambition.”

Playoff baseball is right around the hot corner, and the Yankees will be right in the mix.  That’s when the big apples leave for equally significant cities and you can find all the big A-Holes at Yankee Stadium

Go anyone but the Yankees!

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Prep Time and the Book

I guess you could say I went to a garden party one day.  It was only fun because I could pay off a bet.  Let’s just say it wasn’t a Twix candy bar sort of bet.  I had one hour to meet up with my Italian bookie on my duty free lunch time as a middle school teacher, or they may have showed up for me at school, thus ending my career.

My Italian bookie was a nice fella.  He knew I was a nice and stupid drunk Irishman fella with friends, neighbors and family members trusting my wallet.  Errors come in trios, no matter what nationality.  I was the bank for them, and the bookie was waiting to collect at his local garden spot.  He sold flowers, plants, wilted lettuce and sausage.  He collected money from clowns like me. I was a semi phony teacher and he was a semi phony business man.  We were both part time actors.  I liked him.

With an envelope the size of a maple bar filled with dirty twenty, tens, fives, some ones and a few c-notes, I finished my English lesson before my lunch time and prep period to pay off my dues.  My driver was, and still is, miraculously, a fellow teacher and friend.  He was nervous.  I was more worried about getting back to class on time.  He wanted to drop me off and catch a bus back to school.  Then, I had to negotiate.  My driver was not going to enter the “store” with me as planned.  I told him I’d go in, and pay this bookie off as long as he would give me a ride back to our respected place of employment.  Nervously, he thought I may return to the car with something severed.  I assured him we were PAYING OFF a bet.  We may even get a free head of lettuce in the transaction.

When I entered the establishment, the bookie and I had never personally met.  At first glance, he knew I was the Irish Catholic gambler/school teacher he should be collecting debts from, and he asked me to follow him to his office.  He saw the maple bar in my pocket and was pleased.  He said the Mrs. was going to have a nice Christmas.  She hated his gambling but always seemed happy when she’d be given a load of dirty cash.  He even offered me a beer in his office.  I respectfully declined stating, “No, I have children to teach.”  That’s absolutely true and also widening the scope of abject hypocrisy.

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Big News!

Hold the texts.  The Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl in 2019.

Without encouraging my gambling tendencies through Fantasy Football this year, and although I love the sport of American football, my lawn mowing duties are far more important. My wife, currently working Sundays at the local pesticide plant,  gives me an over under on when I will finish the lawn and have dinner ready upon her arrival.  She drives a jalopy, so the odds are usually in my favor.

The Seattle Seahawks will receive a participant ribbon.

Honesty on the west side of our country.


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First Day (The Wooden Arm)

My wooden arm only lasted one day.

School was in session this week for those educators and pupils young and old,  and I began to remember, as a retired teacher, what the first day would bestow upon the students.

As a former middle school teacher, I once entered the classroom on the first day of school acting as if I had a wooden arm.  I don’t really know why.  Perhaps, I just wasn’t prepared and I thought I’d just wing it. (I hate puns….that was purely accidental).  It wasn’t my first year of teaching.  I just wanted to shake things up a bit by providing some mystery on the first day of new clothes, possible friends and enemies as well as their newest teacher.  I developed the idea from some friends of mine walking around at parties similar to the police officer’s antics from Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein. This enforcer was a one armed ornery cuss who would place sharp objects in his arm, such as darts, just to keep track of them. My friends would have to move the fake wooden arm with their, quite capable left, (very scientific flirting) wishfully attracting the attention of girls.  They did attract attention, yet only making the girls stray.  The girls were indeed silent with intrigue.  Emptying my plastic cup of stale beer, I recognized how this could assist me in my professional career as a teacher.

When the, “what the hell did you do this summer?” essay, annually introduced by other teachers, I felt as though it sunk beneath the students’ ears and sailed aimlessly above  their heads like dusty glue only burnout teachers could clinch to themselves taking comfort in their inauguration assignments.

I chose a different route.  Evidently, middle schoolers are terrified of prosthetic limbs.  My wooded arm made its appearance before attendance call.  Stiff angled right arm was also in attendance.  Making myself three quarters present, my students were silent for almost a full period upon my entrance.  Unless you discount middle school day dreamers wishing to be home by the end of my preposterous scene, they would have given me an award for phoniest teacher.

By the end of the period, with mostly silence,  other than a call of attendance, I began looking aimlessly and helplessly for my pencil and pen holder.  Asking if anyone had seen it and describing it as a plastic great white shark with its mouth agape, they turned their eyes to the floor and elsewhere, either trying to help me or wonder when the actual lesson may begin.  The bright students believed in the phony arm, but they also thought I snuck into this school acting as if I was actually a qualified teacher, or just a bum who found some khakis left behind the thrift store along with a button upped collared shirt.

We continued our search for the pencil holder as if we were searching for the Northwest Passage.  Collectively, we became the middle school corp of discovery. One bold student asked me why this was so important to me.  I told her it was a gift holding dark memories for me, yet it was almost critical we find it together.   She was further mystified.  Is our teacher just flat out mad?   “Have any of you seen it?”  Most of them just stared in silence while others provided an awkwardly slow shake of their head.  I then stared at my right arm with disgust, fingers molded firmly for more than a half hour with elbow cocked in one position forming a right angle with my forearm and bicep.  Giving up hope on finding the pencil holder, I took my free left hand and lifted a sharpened pencil and said, not with anger or force, yet with subtle desperation, I have a place for this pencil. I was going to jab it into my wooden arm.

After the gasp, I displayed my proper upper torso and was embraced by the students . Then, I was informed, by my wonderful principal, Ms. Hoffman, who would fly by my room from time to time on her broom, I was never to pull that crap again.  One of my students had a relative who had lost his arm in a boating accident.  Not funny.  I obliged.  Ms. Hoffman and I still laugh about it whenever we speak.  She took great care of me, and was probably the only employer who could stop me in my tracks without being tripped.

The year went well, not without its glitches, and I can assure you, I pissed off plenty of students, parents and administration members along the way.  I can also say I taught them how to respect themselves, others, education and, yes, even a man with two arms,two legs, a full heart and half a brain.  At times, many could say I didn’t do everything the right way.  I didn’t.  That’s the beauty of it all.  I recognized it.  Those who thought they were always doing it the right way, sometimes missed the boat.  That boat could be surrounded by sharks.


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Diner Jokes

Jokes piss me off.  I don’t care if they are profanity laced or offensive, I just find them to be a nuisance.  I don’t enjoy someone embarrassing themselves when laughter doesn’t follow, and I have the second worst fake laugh in the world.  My wife owns the number one spot in this category.

While visiting a local diner for brunch with my extended family,  we were accosted (that’s a little strong) how about assaulted not once, twice, but thrice by a bartender honing his lack of skills for the comedy club.

We were celebrating my wife’s grandmother’s 91st birthday and enjoying listening to her nostalgia filled with wonderful stories of her past.  Enjoying ourselves while preparing to order, a bartender (the only table available was located next to the bar) interrupted our collective conversation with attempting to provide our table with the gift of laughter.  A tad rude, but no big deal.  Once he began speaking, I diverted my eyes, because I could smell a joke coming which would probably be just as cheap as the dirty napkins at our table.  Sit directly in front of him, he gave most of the attention to my wife.  Now, that made me chuckle.   She has a exceptional sense of humor but also doesn’t care for jokes.  This was terrific for me,  because I knew she would be forced into busting out her outrageously ridiculous phony laugh.  That would and did make me chuckle.  Looking at me with distain, she turned her attention back to the mindless King of Comedy.  He delivered properly.  It was a wildly lame joke.  Insert wife’s fake laugh.  Her grandmothers stared at him and didn’t laugh, smile, or frown, even though she did think it was a bit odd.  She couldn’t hear a word of the joke anyway.  My mother in law laughed, because she is a very kind soul, and I think she enjoys corny and unoriginal jokes with no clever swagger at all.  I think that’s great.  We’re just different.

There was no harm done and when he completed embarrassing himself, we returned to our peaceful conversations.  Two minutes later, hop along joke dealer two graced himself  again for a second dose of pain.  Strike two.  That’s where I was a little annoyed.   Same scenario, similar crappy joke, and priceless fake laughter.  My father in law,  one the finest and nicest people I know, looked like he wanted to physically 86 the bartender from his own place.  Again, it ended without bloodshed, so all remained well.

I won’t bore you with next joke encounter of the third kind except for the fact my wife flashed me a look of “don’t” when she knew I was going say something like, “why don’t you take your colossally stupid jokes outside and make someone else miserable out on the deck instead of torturing us?”  Instead, I resorted to an eye and head roll.  My eye and head rolls are those of legend.  You can see me performing these rolls from different zip codes.  I think the jokester caught mine and did not return to our table.  End of Chapter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor.  Some people think it’s little too dry.  That’s fine.  It is all subjective. And, I don’t expect others to have the same.  My wife and I are Seinfeld people, while others may have love the well deserved beloved Mash.  Both considered comedically magnificent in their own individual rights.  Mash just isn’t our style.

Let’s make this a little more colorful.  I believe it’s important in relationships to share certain things, one of which being a similar sense of humor.  I’m not saying it’s critical, but to me and my wife, important. I melt when I hear her genuine laughter whether I am providing the laughter or not.  Hell, I don’t even mind when she laughs at me.  I’m  extremely adept at doing stupid things or perhaps dancing when I shouldn’t.  My wife and I have known each other since we were 13 years old.  We made each other laugh then, and after a bit of a glitch, are still together today, laughing each day when we wake up and before we fall asleep.  But, let’s imagine a hypothetical situation.  It’s the year 2008.  I don’t know her and we are both at a bar, and I notice an empty chair next to her.  Although she looks dirty from working on an oil rig, I see beyond the dirt and the filth and approach her while she is paying attention to two television broadcasts.  One, is a Seattle Mariner baseball game and the other is CNN.  CNN is in the middle of its entertainment segment.  Upon reaching the bar to order a beer, I turn her and say, “Did you know the Seattle Mariners are a Major League Baseball team?”  My eyes would read that I was ridiculing their deplorable organization.  That would guarantee me a chuckle earning me that seat next to her.  I would then have her turn her attention to CNN, and I would say, “Do you see that guy Donald Trump right there?  He’s going to end up being President of the United States one dark day.”  That would earn me belly laughter and a date for Friday night.

I guess the joke’s on her.


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Nose Hair

Thank God for small islands and small minded people.  I now live on a small island, and I consider myself to be a small minded person.  For extra food money, I found a job for my lovely wife at the small minded Right Aid.  I think they spell it Rite Aid, but what the hell do I know about spelling?  That’s beside the point.  I took my morning bike ride on the island, with deer and rabbits avoiding me, to pronounce my presence at Rite Aid while visiting my wife at her new job working in the warehouse.  She was unavailable at the moment, so I thought I’d purchase something while waiting.  It’s similar to showing up at a bar and ordering a beer even if you don’t require one.  Protocol.

My sideburns sometimes get out of control, so I found a 200X multi-capable double blade flux capacitor uranium filled trimmer.  When showing up to the counter, the clerk couldn’t find the proper price for it.  While waiting, because it’s her business, she said, oh, lots of nose hair, huh?  Irritated, I said no,  It’s for my pubic hair.  She shut down like a ride at Disney Land.

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Blow Me???

After researching the phrase “blow me” at the pubic Seattle library on 5th and Cherry lane, I was blown away by what this means.  Forgive me for being a Saint.

Although being an over actor, I’ve enjoyed Mel Gibson in a very small fist of features.  My wife made fun of him once for him recommending that his wife should blow him.  Mel should have enough money for central air or even a fan.  I just didn’t understand why MG was so upset while screaming, as though suffering through an asthma attack, he required someone or something to blow on him.

My wife and I have struggled recently with text messages.  She doesn’t receive any of them.  The last time we texted, she just asked if would send her a quick message so she could reply.  Rather that texting a simple “hi”, I immediately tossed out, “you should blow me!!”  Accidentally, as usual, and grossly, the message was sent to one of my sisters.  Good grief.  All of my six sisters have terrific senses of humor, but this just came out,  flat out weird.

Ironically, the sister I sent this to has been married to an Australian for almost over 30 years.  She thought it was funny.


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Hitching Post 77

Picking up hitch hikers is something my wife and I don’t ordinarily do.  In fact, after almost ten years of marriage, this was our first time.  I’d never personally picked one up myself and neither had she.  The only hitch hiker I shared a ride with was in in the 1970’s when my father picked one up while a man was thumbing a ride across the State Line of Idaho, a place where no one was thought to be crazy.  I was six, and my two older brothers in the backseat were ten and twelve.  My father was in his fifties driving with an open beer in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.   We were all in prime condition for hands on combat with a wandering weirdo.  Hand to knife?  No.  Hand to gun?  Negative.  I guess it turned out ok, because my father was a pretty good judge of character and maintained faith in the Lord.  Those were the odds my father held in his favor when potentially picking up a stranger with lethal weapons.  Are there any other kind these days?  Well,  I’m still here to write about this bold memory, and my wife are I are here cozily tossing and turning with the puppy who was there with us for our first hitcher.

Trying to locate a Veterinary clinic on a secluded island, our global positioning system went on the fritz, so we resulted to the ancient art of prayer to help us find our way.  Perhaps God’s GPS wasn’t working that day either, or He was teaching us a lesson for not attending church the week prior……or the week before that, or the week before that,  or on Easter and Christmas.  We were lost on a land with twisted roads surrounded by a sea of angry waves and AARP drowning victims.  We knew the majority of the island’s inhabitants were between the ages of sixty five and one hundred.

Our dog in the back was scratching her head trying to help us find our way.  She also had a terrible earache.  Seconds felt like hours before we saw a man gimping down the road in front of us with his arm straighten to the left and a thumb in the air.  We drove past him before my wife, the driver, felt a wave of island guilt pass within her after glancing in the rear view mirror.  Looking at me, she asked, “Should we pick him up?”

I responded, with befuddled fashion, “Seriously?”

She then began to tell me how she knew I had good judgement regarding these situations as though I drove around the streets of any city U.S.A. looking for hitch hikers with the sixth sense of knowing if I’d be hijacked or successfully helping a fellow man requiring assistance.  She also thought I’d get that warm feeling wondering if I’d be brutally murdered by a fellow citizen of the street.

I looked back and noticed he was an older man somewhere between 65 and 90.  He was also wearing a University of Virginia Tech (Home of the Fighting Hokies) sweatshirt screaming out, “Would a man wearing  a Va. Tech pull over ever be capable of killing a wife, her husband along with their stupid dog?  People, I implore you!”

Loving the fact my wife held such confidence in me, while shrewdly passing the guilt to me, I told her to turn around and we’ll pick him up.  She also stated it was my ass who would be held responsible for making the wrong decision.

Before allowing him into the car, my wife asked him where he was headed and then asked if he trusted us.  Trusted us?!!  What the hell was she talking about? Do we trust him seemed more appropriate.  I simply said, “Go Hokies” thinking this may break the wind, and ease any ideas he may have regarding causing harm to us.  Ultimately, he did trust us, and we trusted him.

Not only did this 77 year old gentleman, who had missed his bus ride back to town just three miles away, guide us to the Vet clinic, he then provided specific instructions to a little known breakfast spot only the native islanders knew.  We were both grateful and starving.

After bidding one another adieu, he vanished after crossing the street and my wife looked at me and said, “I guess I was right.”  It’s still a mystery to me if she was talking about herself or her right hand man potentially making the correct or colossally stupid decision. Letting that go, our dog’s ear was well taken care of and our bellies were eventually full.


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