The Right In?

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 8.18.49 PMAlthough these are delicate subjects, I may still approach them with poor taste.  Voting during this time is absolutely necessary, and is not difficult.  Providing a “Write In” candidate on the ballot isn’t difficult either, particularly as an alternative to our current President.  Witnessing someone enter “Corona Virus” as a Write In entry for the Republican candidate was interesting. I shouldn’t have been looking at her ballot, but she highlighted it with stars as well as a skull and crossbones.  If I knew her, I would have suggested a Mr. Yuck sticker.  One could discern she, literally, wished this virus to defeat the POTUS.  It didn’t make me laugh, but it did make me think.

I can’t sit at this computer and pretend I know much about politics like I know baseball and people in general.  Sometimes, I’ll humor those who attempt to engage me with banter about politics.  If we agree, the conversation may last a few minutes.  If we don’t, I diffuse the subject within seconds unless I feel, even if I disagree, they may have a valid point.  I must then proceed to enlighten them with a fart….not literally, but in a manner where the conversation can either continue with something a little more light hearted, or end with the slam of the phone.  Actually, we can’t even do that anymore because of cell phones.  They are far too precious, and, more importantly, expensive.  (I miss those land lines. ) Think about it.  If some disgusting cave dweller decides to fart in mid-sentence, you must change the subject, unless the conversation is about flatulence.

For no more than five minutes, I’ll listen to a politician on TV drone on in front of strange mobs chanting their names, and I wonder if they are just following those surrounding them or actually listening.  I may watch for seven minutes, but I can only listen for five.  This is when the viewer should have the right to dub in a fart to change the subject, or else I’m changing the channel.

People have the right to love or hate our President.  It’s an essential part of our Constitutional Rights.  It’s America.  However, it’s not always what makes America good or “Great” again.  The current POTUS is clearly a good politician, but in this case, he’s more of a good magician.  He convinces good people to believe in things that make even my dastardly eyes roll and generate “what the F are you talking about” looks.  This POTUS is a great magician, but he is not, and let me be clear, he is not a good man. In fact, I just think he’s abjectly evil.  That’s just my opinion, and a little over the top to some, but I have the right to my opinion. I’ve witnessed him turn friends into enemies and brothers and sisters who once unconditionally loved one another question that love.  What’s good or great about that?

After doing something stupid, which I commonly do, I will remind my wife that I am a good man, I’m just not a very good wizard.  She laughs and agrees.  I’m also extremely good at apologizing, because I’ve had to do it frequently over the course of my 47 year career as a human.  Can you imagine the POTUS apologizing for anything?  No.  That’s flat out shameful.

Contrition is a valuable commodity.  Embrace it.  (Let’s not even start talking about humility….HA!) Admit when you’re wrong and repent when you are wrong again.  I don’t think that’s in the Constitution, but it should be.  It usually garners some form of respect, for which I have none of for the POTUS.

“Fart proudly.”  That’s a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin.


The Over Under

The over under for a cat’s life span is 32. For those gambling simpletons, the over under is a bet you place on a team when you think the combined score of a game may be above the total points or below.  Simply stated, it’s also referred to as desperation.  It’s a lose lose situation.

Cats gamblingI took the under, and my wife took the over.  Not being a gambling man, and my wife, a former blackjack dealer, I should have known better than to go against her judgement.  Our cat was purchased the day before Christmas and will most certainly live beyond his black fur and many many many Christmases.

I’ll most likely outlive my wife.  It’s my punishment or burden…the cross I bear.  Our black cat, Otis, will be chuckling when I place my wife in a pine box filled with coffee, cat nip and the latest version of cat food advertising a rash free diet.  As a healthy reminder for your wallet, none of that expensive crap cures a damn thing.

Yours Truly,

Benjamin B. Davenport

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.

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.


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.


Cinnamon Rolls and Chili

Brown bagging was my roll.  However, suffering from PB and J after four straight days, I could then use those sandwiches as currency when someone in the cafeteria placed a corndog in front of me.  Working it properly, I said if they tossed in a homemade cookie, it would seal the deal.

My older sisters and brothers grew up without brown bags.  They developed a hankering for cinnamon, chili, mashed potatoes with gravy and pizza from the lunch ladies pre-dating the ones dropping cigarette ashes in the plum pudding.

After lunch, my siblings would drop their cell phones, I phones, I pods, and I can’t read or  write without my own pods, (none of which existed at that time) and burn those cafeteria calories on the playground.





January 20th, 1980. This is when I lost my first official bet to an adult.  He was our neighbor and friend.  He also knew how to take advantage of a 7 year old.

Bill was a friendly man.  He was also voraciously serious about gambling, fishing and chocolate. We’ll get back to that.

Walking over to his house at the age of seven, I offered him a wager.  I placed money I didn’t have on a Super Bowl game:   The Los Angelas Rams vs. the Pittsburg Steelers. I took the Rams and lost.  Our bet was a candy bar.

Convinced he was past posting,  thinking he’d seen the game before it was televised, I tried to call him on that.  Ultimately, I was wrong, and further, even worse, I was forced to ask my father for a loan.  Their were two options for me.  He could take me behind the chicken coop and give me a whooping or I could clean his room.  My old man wasn’t in favor of butt whooping so he convinced me to clean his room.  I did, and he gave me a dollar.  My old man and I were square, but I still had to travel almost three blocks to purchase the candy bar, which was happily refused but respected by our neighbor.

Fast forward to 2019, February, 3rd. I lost a bet to my brother,Tom.  I bet on the Los Angelas Rams against the Patriots.  Instead of a candy bar, I owe him twenty dollars.  Times are heavy and so is inflation.  The money I owe him will pay his dues for March Madness.

If I didn’t pay him, he’d be going all around Chicago and telling people I was a welch.  I wouldn’t able to get a game of jacks.  (of course, that’s from The Sting)

Suckered at the age of seven and forty seven.  Guilty as charged.  O and two barbecue, I will never bet on the Rams again.

It’s funny a Twix bar comes in a package of two.




The funny thing about laughter is some people either love it or hate it.  I’ve never understood those who hated laughter unless they were absolutely miserable.

There have been times in my life when I was absolutely miserable, but if I could laugh, or find someone to make me laugh, I always felt better, and I knew there was some fun lightning at the end of the tunnel of misery.

My mother told me once laughter can burn calories.  So, I stopped working out and just listened to friends and family telling me stories providing that belly full of laughter.  I now weigh 50 pounds.  By the way, I’m six foot four.


The Good Fellows in my Life

Sometimes, life is like a blackjack table. The odds are against you, but if you are surrounded by certain people, you have a much better chance of success.

Blackjack is fun, and it may translate to a skill with which you must have the proper others assisting you in the process.  If wishing to win, you may carry a list of characters along with you.  I’ll provide a list of these guys and girls always helping me win.

Marshall Madness, Tall Tale Tom, Shamrock Pat, The Bull Frog, Greg Montana,  Trevor the Budhast, Mystery Aaron, Slippery Vic, and of course, Meltdown Mary and Amazon Britt.

With them by your side, you felt safe and always came out a winner. There were many others.

Medicine Mags, Jerry Mcnuggets, Annie Wee Wee, Get off my lawn Glenn, Politically Incorrect Patricia, and Double Down Dorothy always had my back. Not to mention The King of Fun and Southern Fried Theresa.

They challenged me, but I owned  those tables.  The C Note never gambled, but he’d always buy us a drink. There was also a guy named Walla Walla Russ. Nobody could ever figure out where he lived, and he was always quietly on the run.  He was also the bank.  WWR would keep my chips in his pocket, because if he didn’t, we wouldn’t eat that night or the next morning.

The Bullfrog aways kept me in check as well, and the Yawn just kept us laughing.

I even have neighbors in the witness protection program.  They were known as Scrappy the Stapler, Messy Car Megan, and Johnny Recycling.

With all these wonderful characters surrounding me most of my life, if I walked off the table with no money, I still thought I won.

Lately, I’ve been referred to as Benny Two Times.  I don’t know if the name is in conjunction with the movie Good Fellas, or if my second marriage is working out quite nicely.

I do like to get the paper, get the paper each morning.

I haven’t forgotten my brother, Steve.  He is a sibling who doesn’t require a nickname, nor does he require a false address.  You just always like him playing third base at the table.

I bet on all those characters and haven’t lost yet.

Benjamin Joseph