#359 – S.O.S.

I consider myself a rank novice in the world of netspeak.  Other than “LOL” and handful of others, I
don’t recognize the abbreviations commonly used when texting, e-mailing and
instant messaging.  I don’t pretend to know
them either.  For example, when I text, I
type out my words in their entirety, in a manner I deem befitting for adults
beyond college age.  Not everyone shares these
sensibilities though, including one ninety-year-old who’s near and dear to me.

Betsy, my friend Tracy’s grandmother, acts much
younger than her years.  She thinks of
herself as a “hip old lady” and consequently talks to college kids and
teenagers in their own language, abbreviations and all.  At least according to the teens I’ve heard,
she does a decent job of it too.  She’s
built up a tidy repertoire of acronyms, including a number of her own devise!

Surprisingly, for a nonagenarian, Betsy doesn’t
limit her netspeak to oral communications. 
She texts too, and not because she’s trying to act cool.  As she freely acknowledges, her sense of hearing
has withered, and it’s often easier to exchange text messages with her than to
converse by phone.  She employs most of
her acronyms while texting, much to her granddaughter’s chagrin.

The woman’s overuse of internet slang aggravates Tracy
to no end.  She’s repeatedly reminded the
geriatric teenage wannabe that she (Tracy) and her husband a) aren’t children,
b) don’t recognize most of the netspeak, and c) would rather avoid
misunderstandings caused by utilization of unfamiliar acronyms.  More than once in my presence, she’s begged
Betsy: “For God’s sake, Grandma, if you’re not sure I’ll know what you’re
talking about, would you quit it with the abbreviations?!”  Betsy’s tried to comply with her
granddaughter’s request, but with mixed results at best.

As Tracy informed me this morning, she and Ron went
out last night and left great grandma behind to babysit.  They couldn’t check in with her by telephone,
due to her auditory issues, so Tracy instead sent a text message to Betsy,
asking: “What’re the kids doing?”

Betsy responded with a single acronym: one which
Tracy felt sure she understood.  Turned out
she didn’t though.  As Betsy confessed
after Tracy and Ron’s frenzied return from a dinner party: “I’m sorry you got
the impression the kids and I were in trouble. 
I thought everybody knew ‘S.O.S.’ stands for ‘same old shit,’ but you’re
the third person who’s told me otherwise, so I guess I’m the one to blame.”

I interrupted: “Hold on, Tracy!  If you were the third, who were the first
two?”

“The deputies responding
to my 911 call!,” she answered.




A
situation which calls for the use of “S.O.S.” … 
and not in the “same old shit”
sense of the term!






#360 – Deadeye Dick

Outside of the courtroom, I don’t usually pay attention to the impression I leave on others.  I should though, especially when costumed and in public, since some disguises don’t mesh with certain situations.  For instance, it’s never a good idea to visit the airport masquerading as a suicide bomber.  Nor should one approach a bank teller while disguised as a cat burglar, ski mask and all.  Equally, when dressed as a blind man, a guy probably should avoid any number of activities, in a variety of contexts, lest the wrong conclusions be reached … like yesterday.

Sophia and I attended a costume party last night.  Our friends Jimmy and Melinda hosted the affair, which they dubbed the “It’s Never too Late for Halloween Bash.”  I went as one of the visually impaired, with our Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix as my guide dog.  If I do say so myself, Prometheus’ diminutive stature combined with his casted, broken rear leg created a truly hilarious service dog.  The pooch, complete with guide-dog harness, drew rave reviews at the bash. 

I received a number of compliments as well, all due to my custom contact lenses.   I’d purchased the theatrical “deadeye” lenses months ago and saved them for the perfect occasion.  With their milky, glazed surfaces, murky irises and ruined pupils, the contacts created a disturbingly realistic look of total blindness.  Everyone I came across shuddered when they spotted them.

It wasn’t the gala itself where I raised the most eyebrows, however.  A few hours before the party began, Sophia asked me to do a favor for her father.  He’d purchased a small tree at Home Depot and needed to retrieve it; however, his bum knee had been acting up and its sorry condition prevented him from accomplishing the task.  The Mrs. told me to take his station wagon, because I wouldn’t be able to fit the tree in my sedan.

Standing alone, none of my subsequent actions merited undue attention.  Certainly, driving a car into the packed Home Depot parking lot didn’t seem unusual.  Since my father-in-law’s vehicle now bears a handicapped plate, my decision to park in a handicapped spot for a few minutes also shouldn’t have drawn excessive inquiry.  Nor should toting a hobbled, harnessed mini-pooch under one arm have elicited more than a smile.  And even the jarring sight of my deadeye lenses should’ve been explainable before anyone jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Of course, my actions did not stand alone but in concert, prompting astonished gapes from onlookers.  I think one guy spoke for them all when he commented to me: “It’s not every day you see a car pull into a handicapped spot and watch a blind man get out – on the driver’s side – carrying his seeing eye dog, no less!”  A funny observation, yes; although I would’ve found it more amusing coming from someone other than a deputy sheriff!



The “deadeye” lens






#361 – Spill the Beans

I divide movies into three categories: 1) great films I’ll view over and over; 2) those I’d like to see once; and 3) ones I have no interest in watching.  Classics like The Wizard of Oz and The Adventures of Robin Hood, each of which I’ve caught more than twenty times, fall within the first group.  As for the much larger second group, my interest in viewing them once depends entirely on my ignorance of their endings.  I won’t even start such a film if I know its conclusion in advance.  And I’ll take great pains to ensure no one else inadvertently spills the beans to me before I have a chance to see the flick.

One of the films in my second group is The Wrestler, with Mickey Rourke.  The wife and I have both wanted to view it, solely because neither of us knew its outcome.  If you haven’t yet seen it and feel the same way we do, then keep in mind the following two words before continuing: spoiler alert!

Last night, Sophia rented The Wrestler while I procured dinner.  We don’t live in a city, so there’s no such thing as home delivery of any food other than Chinese or pizza.  If a guy has a yen for any other restaurant fare and doesn’t wish to dine in, then he’ll have to retrieve the edibles himself.  Neither of us wanted Chinese or pizza yesterday, so I placed a takeout order at a local tavern and waited there while Sophia drove off for the movie.

After placing my order, I got to talking with a guy sitting at the bar.  Our respective plans for the evening came up, and I mentioned our intended entertainment.  He responded: “Small world; my wife and I saw that movie last month …”

Before he could continue, I rudely interrupted: “Don’t say another word!  I can’t see it if I know how it ends!”

He did not take offense.  To the contrary, he shared my viewpoint and said as much: “Don’t worry.  I wouldn’t have told you what happens.  I’m like you; can’t stand it when someone blurts out the ending of a movie I want to see!”

Just then, my new friend’s wife returned from the restroom, and he introduced us.  We’d exchanged no more than initial pleasantries when Sophia walked in, proudly displaying a copy of our desired DVD.  “Look what I found in stock, Richard!”  She playfully announced.

“Mrs. Barfly” glanced briefly at the box cover and, without missing a beat, exclaimed to her husband: “Honey, I still say Mickey Rourke dies from a heart attack when he jumps off the rope during his wrestling match, even if the screen fades to black right after!”



The movie we didn’t watch last night!






#362 – Tit for Tat

Personally, I don’t think much of people who take
themselves or their jobs too seriously. I prefer those who laugh at their
foibles and appreciate a good joke, even while engaging in their chosen
professions. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than a person devoid of a
sense of humor, judges included!  I hate dealing
with stick-in-the-mud jurists, and I pity anyone who has to interact with them,
like my brother and his wife, for instance.

During our conversation last night, Frank mentioned
a particularly humorless judge he and Ellen have appeared before.  My brother brought up the New Jersey jurist,
whom he sarcastically referred to as “Judge Yuckety Yuck,” while informing me
that our latest round of “tit for tat” had come to fruition yesterday.  By “tit for tat,” I’m referring of course to
our exchange of gag gifts and practical jokes.

I’ve already discussed the “tit” in the equation –
Frank’s thoughtful delivery of penis headed pens.  I’m still catching shit for letting our
four-year-old niece gnaw a plastic testicle off one of the set last week!

Before my niece got hold of a “Peni Pen,” I’d
already responded to Frank’s gift.  I
sent him a bottle of hand sanitizer.  Not
just any hand sanitizer though.  Nuh uh!  I purchased the one and only “Maybe You
Touched Your Genitals” hand sanitizer!

Much like Frank, I didn’t anticipate real trouble to
result from my joke present.  I simply
figured he’d find it amusing.  But I
guess this wouldn’t be a true tit for tat if my gift didn’t provide him as much
grief as his writing implements caused me.

In Frank’s defense, he took greater care than me to
ensure the gag lotion didn’t fall into the wrong hands, so to speak.  He spent a few minutes laughing admiringly at
the product’s label and then tucked it safely away in a kitchen drawer.

Alas for my brother, he’s since been informed of a
step or two missed in his game plan.  For
instance, he could’ve thrown out the hand gel after having a chuckle.  He also could’ve – and belatedly admits,
probably should’ve – shown the product to his wife, or at least alerted her to
its existence.  Yet he did none of those
things.

As a result of his
failures, the hand sanitizer his wife unwittingly pulled from the kitchen
drawer and popped into her pocketbook yesterday was none other than “Maybe You
Touched Your Genitals.”  Ellen armed
herself with the product before heading to a luncheon date with two other
members of the New Jersey Bar and … Judge Yuckety Yuck.  It was the dour Judge who, after emerging
from the restaurant’s lavatory, complained of an empty soap dispenser and then asked
the fateful question: “Does anyone have some hand sanitizer I can borrow?”








#363 – A Period of Readjustment

Great News!  This morning, the Vet pronounced our dog’s fractured knee fully healed and removed the cast.  He said Prometheus could resume all normal activities immediately and promised that there’d be no period of readjustment.  Though I trust the man implicitly, I can’t help but view his assurance as overly optimistic, especially in light of this afternoon’s events!

These past six weeks have been difficult to say the least.  Ever since Prometheus suffered his injury, we’ve taken extreme steps to ensure his leg would heal without surgery.  We’ve carried him everywhere, kept him harnessed and on leash for his bathroom breaks, and relegated him to bed, crate or laps when indoors.

For the first week or two, our restrictive measures plainly frustrated the pooch.  He desperately wanted to run around, fetch a ball, and wrestle with his canine friend, Mr. Tootles.  More than once, I had to grit my teeth while enduring the dog’s plaintive whines.

Yet much like any prisoner, Prometheus gradually accepted his confinement.  He eventually ceased squirming for release when carried. He also began reveling in the plastic and natural bones he could chew from a reclining position.  And when Sophia purchased a special shoulder carrier, he seemed to enjoy treks through our subdivision in which I did the walking and he served as a relaxed passenger.

Needless to say, I’ve looked forward to the end of this excessive coddling.  When we returned from the Vet this morning, my first thought was to let Prometheus loose in the yard.  But instead of tearing across the grass as I expected, he flopped onto the lawn and stayed there!  He refused to budge until I picked him up and carted him inside.

Once in the house, he halted in front of the staircase and flashed me a look that said: “What are you waiting for?  Carry me upstairs, and make it snappy!”

I brought him to our bedroom, pulled out his favorite squeaky ball, and tossed it down the hallway for him to fetch.  In response, he tilted his head, casually sauntered to his dog bed, and began gnawing a bone!

Undaunted, I felt sure I could get him back on track with a brisk walk.  And our subsequent stroll was indeed brisk … for me, though less so for Prometheus.  As with his earlier displays, he indicated a clear preference to act as passenger rather than participant. That’s how I found myself toting him once more through the neighborhood in his special shoulder carrier – the sky blue, knitted woolen hauler which resembles a pocketbook with dangling legs!

As I write this, I can’t help but ask myself: During this period of readjustment, just how long will I have to carry a perfectly healthy dog around the neighborhood, listening to my friends call out “That new purse of yours goes great with your outfit, Mrs. Stern!”







#364 – The Living Joke

I’m a connoisseur of classic jokes, especially the dirty ones.  I must know nearly a hundred of them, suitable for almost any occasion.  Still, I much prefer telling them to living them, as I unfortunately did last night.

One of my favorite dirty jokes is “Click Patter Patter Wee! Ahh!!”  As the story goes, newlyweds move next door to marital veterans in an apartment building, with their bedrooms sharing a common wall.  For the first seven nights, the older spouses hear the following sounds emanating from the adjoining boudoir: click, patter patter, wee!, ahh!! The husband runs into his young neighbor the following morning and asks about the intriguing noises.  In response, the newlywed confides: “The ‘click’ is me turning off the bedroom light; the ‘patter patter’ is me running across the floor; the ‘wee!’ is me flying through the air; and the ‘ahh!!’ is me making love to my wife.”

Deeming his sex life somewhat atrophied, the older man decides to give his neighbor’s acrobatics a try.  That night, the newlyweds hear the following noise echoing through the shared wall: click, patter patter, wee!, aargghhh!!  The two men run into each other again the following morning, and the young groom asks about the noise he’d heard the previous night.  Sighing, the older neighbor answers: “The ‘click’ was me turning out the lights; the ‘patter patter’ was me running across the floor; the ‘wee!’ was me flying through the air; and the ‘aargghhh!!’ was me whacking my balls against the bedpost!”

I’ve mentioned this particular yarn because I too am a marital veteran, and one whose intimacies also could stand a slight overhaul.  And there’s no better time to suggest “experimentation” than now, during the days surrounding our wedding anniversary when Sophia becomes more amenable to a bedroom twist.

For this year’s change-up, I suggested a sexcapade similar to that featured in the aforementioned joke.  Last night’s results, however, more closely resembled the older neighbor’s than the newlywed’s.  While the click, patter patter, and wee! components worked like a charm, the finale exhibited much more of an “aargghhh!!” than an “ahh!!”  I didn’t crack my acorns against the bedpost, but I did trip over our dog’s squeaky toy and fall penis-first into the bedframe!

According to the internet article I read today, a man can in fact break his pecker!  Asevere form of bending injury to the erect penis [can occur] when a membrane called the tunica albuginea tears” and “the blood that is normally confined to this space leaks out into other tissues.”

I truly hope the forty-five degree angle displayed by Little Richard this morning doesn’t evidence a penile fracture.  If so, we’ll have to steel ourselves for a lifelong disability, since this is one of those occasions where the cure seems more terrifying than the injury itself, as you can see for yourself:


What can doctors do to fix the tear? 
We put the person on general anesthesia and open up the skin through one or more incisions in the penis. Then we find the edge of the tear and close it up with sutures. Sometimes these tears are extensive and span half the circumference of the penis (usually the tears are crosswise), requiring about 10 stitches.


scientificamerican.com






#365 – This is the End

Well, I did it.  This is my 365th daily post: a full-year of the absurdities, misfortunes and random lunacies which seem to define my existence.  Although I’ve enjoyed sharing my travails and until quite recently planned to continue the practice indefinitely, it now seems prudent to make this entry the last.

My former intent suffered a critical blow a week ago, when the unthinkable occurred:  Sophia’s family discovered this blog’s existence and reviewed certain entries.  Those following my misadventures may recall that the stories I wrote occasionally mentioned or, dare I say, featured my wife’s parents, siblings, brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.  Admittedly, I haven’t always depicted those relatives in an entirely complimentary manner.  In my defense, however, I never imagined a Gambino might come across this blog, or bother to read it.  Had I known any of them would ever peruse these posts, I would’ve at minimum changed the names to protect the guilty, as I did when discussing clients.

You can imagine my surprise when the angry telephone calls began pouring in.  Each of them emanated from a perturbed Gambino inquiring: “What the hell is wrong with you, Richard?”  Moreover, each caller berated my audacity in publishing scurrilous accusations about the family.  I even heard the words “defamation” and “lawsuit” in the same sentence more than once!  Whatever the variations in context, every conversation ended with the same demand that I immediately cease and desist all blogging activities!

Alone, the threats from Sophia’s family wouldn’t have dissuaded me.  As I told her, truth is a defense to a defamation claim, and scurrilous or not the entries concerning her kin conveyed nothing but the truth.  Even her sister-in-law’s warning – “You think we’re all in the mafia, Richard?  Just keep up that writing of yours and see if we don’t bury you in the backyard! – didn’t overly concern me, since I believe a journalist shouldn’t kowtow to danger.

I would’ve pooh-poohed the threats from my wife’s family, but I couldn’t as easily shrug off her concerns.  After all, a successful marriage requires give and take, doesn’t it?  At the very least, I think a husband needs to compromise when his boon companion and lover offers him two eminently reasonable options … like Sophia did this morning: “Richard, either stop writing that ridiculous blog of yours, or the only penetration you’ll experience the rest of your married life will be courtesy of the loaded gun I keep in the nightstand!”