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Archive for March, 2012

It’s Mine!

You don’t even need bother wasting your money buying a Mega Millions lottery ticket.

I’ve already won.

It’s mine.

Tonight I will clutch my ticket with the winning numbers.  I will pray for God to help me win.  If he helps me win, I promise to pay him 20% of the winnings.  Twenty Percent to the church.  Who else gives Him a deal like that?  That’s like twice the normal tithe.  He can’t pass that up.

The first number matches!

Oh, God!  If you just help me win, I’ll obey all the commandments.  I promise not to kill anyone.  I promise not to, um, kill, um, my mom and dad.  I promise not to kill, um, God.  Something like that.  And 15%.  Fifteen percent donation to the church if I win!

The second number matches.

Holy Crap!  God, you’ve got to stay with me on this.  Three more numbers to go.  I promise I’ll learn the Commandments. How many are there?  Ten?  I only need three numbers.  And the Megaball.  Four numbers, God.  I can do ten commandments.  I promise I won’t steal anything.  I won’t have to if you give me four more matches.

Another match!

Thank you Lord Jesus!  Daddy needs a new set of running shoes.  And I’ll still donate 10% to the church.  I’ve never tithed before, but by God if those numbers match, I am so there.  I’ll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life!

The fourth number matches.  I bet you knew that already.  It’s like you’ve had a Revelation!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, God.  Two more to go and I promise that I’ll donate five percent of the winnings to the church.  Five whole percent.  The jackpot’s like half a billion dollars.  That’ll be, um, carry the one, um, well more money than I ever would have donated before.  You can do this God.  And I’ll still go to church every Sunday for a year.  And You know I’m good for at least 8 of those commandments.  Seven on a bad day.

The fifth number matches.  An angel got his wings.

My hand is trembling now.  I can barely hold the ticket.  I’m afraid my sweat might smudge the numbers but I’m too afraid to put it down.  All we need, God, is the Megaball.  Megaball.  Megaball.  Megaball.  Come on, Lord, let’s do this.  Be the Megaball.  I’m all over that 1% donation to the church.  And you can count on me being in that pew every Sunday for the rest of this year.  Or at least until football season, when I might need to call on you again.  No.  That’s wrong.  That is so very wrong.  If you make this happen–one Megaball match–just one–I’ll never ask you for anything again.  Except maybe a very long and healthy life. Why give me all that money if I don’t live long enough to enjoy it.  I don’t need to tell You that.  You’ve got me covered right?

And the final number is . . . .

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Some people think are runners are crazy to begin with.  I saw a T-shirt at last weekend’s race that said, REAL ATHLETES RUN.  THE REST PLAY GAMES.

But how crazy do you have to be to run in the rain?

Apparently I am all over that.

Wet T-shirt Contest!

This past weekend was rainy, but fortunately fairly warm, at least for March in central Pennsylvania.  And in my defense, it was not pouring when I actually started out.  Barely drizzling.

But I was completely soaked by the end of a six-mile run.  The picture doesn’t do the weather justice.  You can’t see the water dripping from my visor or hear  the squishing of my shoes.

Weather has rarely been a factor in “whether” to run or not.  I have run in below zero wind chills.  I have run in 110 degree  heat in Phoenix.  Rain is actually fun to run in if it is not a monsoon and the temperature is above 60.  Rain and forty degrees is just miserable.  I like running in a light snowfall–it’s like running in hyperspace with the little white flakes whizzing by, or like running in a snow globe.  The snow dampens noise and it’s almost magical.   I have run in snow and ice.  I have also fallen on ice.  The weather won that round.

But this weekend, I won the wet T-shirt contest.  Of course, I was the only one out there, but who’s counting?

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Glasses Half-Empty?

Frank and Ernest are living the EyeLife . . .

Oh, [bleep] my glasses are empty 

That sucks.

We will never, never be

anything but loud and nitty gritty, dirty little freaks

So raise your glasses!

Sorry.  Went a little Pink there.

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My First Race

Although I have been running fairly consistently since 2001, I have never actually run in a race.

I leave my house.  I run around like an idiot for a while, and then I come back home.

But on St. Patrick’s Day, I headed off for the sprawling metropolis of Newry, PA (pop. 245 if you count the cars travelling through as well) for a 5K race to benefit St. Patrick’s Parish and school.  I’m not really sure why running races are generally listed in kilometers rather than miles, but the end result is that for those of us who generally measure our distances in miles, we have no idea how far that is.

Apparently, it is 3.1 miles.  Would it kill them to just have a three-mile race?

When I go out and run, I run for six miles.  Or seven miles.  If I’m short on time, it might be three or four miles.  But it isn’t 6.2 miles (10K) or 3.1 miles.  What the hell am I supposed to do with that 0.1 mile anyway?  It’s like adding insult to injury.  You’ve just run like a bear’s been chasing you for three miles, and now you have to go another 0.1 mile?  Why?  Apparently the bear hasn’t given up and is on the metric system.

Anyway, I am new to this race thing.  A race virgin if you will.  I show up at the registration table and get my packet, which includes a map of the race route and a number to pin on my shirt, either to identify my body later or perhaps to allow me to find sponsors like they do in NASCAR.

Here’s Todd, running in number 118, sponsored by Viagra.  I’m glad I didn’t wear the spandex shorts this morning.

I also got a green T-shirt with the race logo on the front and the race sponsors on the back.  My office sponsored this race, and sure enough, our name is there.  They even spelled ophthalmology right.

Green shirt but no green beer!

There’s also a little plastic card with holes–a chip.  You apparently tie this to your shoe and it tracks your time from when you cross the starting line until when you finish.  For some reason, it made me feel like Lindsay Lohan.  I was afraid if I strayed too far from the race, I’d set off an alarm and get arrested.  Or shocked.  Or both.

So I managed to tie the plastic chip on my shoe and pin my number on my shirt without drawing blood.  I am all ready to go.

There is no gun to start the race.  I really wanted a gun.  But alas, there was a guy with a bull horn yelling “runners, set, go!”

And we went.

It was like Black Friday at Wal-Mart or the mall at Christmas time when one small shipment of the latest techno gadget must be distributed amongst 30,000 angry customers who were in line since last Christmas to get it.

180 runners all start running at different speeds in the same general direction.  Whose bright idea was this?

I didn’t know where to start.  Should I try to be at the beginning, and risk getting run over by some 18-year-old track star, or should I start at the back, and work my way past grandmothers in wheelchairs.  There was a miniature dachshund running the race, I kid you not.  If you figure his little legs move him about three inches per step, his little paws had to work 65,472 times to complete the race, which the little guy did.  My dachshund walks a mile and a half and his tongue drags on the ground if he doesn’t keep his head up.  But I digress.

I came in second in the men’s 40-49 age group, which is odd given that I am only 39 and will continue to be for some time.  My race time was 24:24 by my GPS watch.  I got a faux silver medal for my effort.

Aw shucks. It's even got little runners on it.

For someone who has never run a race, never really specifically trained for a race and doesn’t know what to do with that extra 0.1 mile, I considered the result a success.  I generally run 7 miles in about an hour, so my time was a little better than I usually do.  I really had no training regimen.  I kept running my usual schedule.  The only speed work I do is when a dog chases me.  I don’t know a fartlek from a furlong.  I do think that farting helps you along–jet propulsion so to speak, and it keeps annoying runners from drafting too close behind you.

After the race, there were refreshments (I couldn’t find a drop of green beer, much to my dismay) and some eats that were quite good.  The weather was great, the racers all seemed very nice, and it was for a good cause.

The age-group results can be seen here, although they don’t have my bib number listed correctly.  Overall, I came in 35th overall out of 168 runners.

Maybe my next race, I’ll try a 10K.

But what will I do with that extra 0.2 mile????

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From my archives . . .  a column I wrote in 2000 on another site that was actually plagiarized later by someone else.  It was either good or they were desperate.  Probably the latter.  But in the final analysis, I present it now because I am just too lazy to write a new one!

It's Beer! AND . . . it's green!

Not being Irish (I have never rooted for Notre Dame,) I simply cannot fathom the holiday tradition behind St. Patrick’s Day.  In an effort to become a more rounded individual, I ate several cream-filled doughnuts this morning—but I still don’t know anymore about this tradition than before I started.  So, I decided to do some research into St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, Ireland (did you know this was a country,) and green beer.  Normally, such research would be antithetical to the mission of my works, but I was on a sugar-high and feeling no pain (aside from a little gas and bloating.)  And besides . . . there’s beer!

ST. PATRICK—The patron saint of Ireland, who is rumored to have used the Shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity (wine, women and song.)  According to the legend, he drank a lot of green beer before having this revelation.  Also, there is the debatable issue as to whether St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland or not.  I tend to think one would need a few pints of green beer before embarking on such a task (I hate snakes, myself, and I surely wouldn’t chase them unless I were sufficiently liquored,) but there is a point at which too much green beer may cause the snakes to appear.  The world may never know the real answer, but if it drinks enough green beer, it won’t care.

COLLEEN—An Irish girl.  When you’re drunk, it’s easier to remember one name, than a bunch of individual names, so all young girls are called “Colleen.”  If it is an older woman, with gray hair and wrinkles—or just an ugly girl of any age—then she is called a “Collie.”  If she’s a little green, then she’s a “Collard.” If she’s really fat, then you call her a “Colossal.”  If it’s not funny, then you call it my “column.”

BLARNEY STONE—a legendary rock that is rumored to impart dirt on the lips of anyone who kisses it.  It follows in the kissing tradition of many peoples.  The Italian’s kiss the Godfather’s Ring, the British kiss the Queen’s derriere, Kamikaze’s kiss their asses good-bye, and West Virginian’s kiss their sisters.

POTATO FAMINE—this was a dark era in Irish history when all the potatoes were used to ferment alcohol leaving none for consumption as McFries.  After the hangovers wore off, they were able to go out and plant more potatoes.

O’LEARY—a word to denote skepticism, as in “I am just a wee bit o’leary about kissing that rock—you don’t know who has kissed it before you.”

SHAMROCK—literally a rock that is a sham, but for the sake of argument here, it is the symbol of a country known as Ireland.  The ontogenic phylogeny of this lucky herb traces back to the Club (one of the four traditional suits and an effective way to protect your car.)  The color was changed from black to green by St. Patrick and Chlorophyll (the Mother Superior) to distinguish it from the lesser, English-variety of Club described by Hoyle.  (I just ate another doughnut.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be chasing them down with Irish coffee.)

 

Mascot or movie monster . . you decide!

The LEPRECHAUN—this is a frightening, mythical creature that attacks humans in low-budget horror films.  Personally, I found the movie character less frightening than the Mike Myers (aka Wayne of Austin Powers’ World) impression of the leprechaun—he is far more frightening than the original character.  The Leprechaun is also the mascot of a small college in North or South Dakota–somewhere out there, over the rainbow, with a gold-painted dome and a once-great football team (once-great back in a time when there were no other football teams around.)

LUCK O’ the IRISH—let’s see, leprechaun’s running around killing people, potato famines, Ted Kennedy, and all the colleens running around kissing Blarney Stone (second cousin to, and not as cute as, Barney Rubble)—if it weren’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all . . .

KISS ME, I’M IRISH (or KISS ME, I’M WEARING GREEN)—buttons worn by people who actually think someone else would want to put their lips on the lips that have met the Blarney Stone.  Maybe if you wipe off the moss and apply some lip-gloss, we can talk.

ERIN GO BRAUGH—the Irish version of the Wonder bra.  It’ll support you longer than your husband can hold his beer.  It’s available in pastel green, only.  But, let’s just be honest here.  I’ve seen Erin, and she really doesn’t have anything to “braugh” about, now, does she?  Erin’s more a “collie” than a “colleen” and she should spend her time cutting some holes in a paper bag, if you know what I mean.  For crying out loud, there are Irish potatoes with better looking eyes.

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE—a traditional Irish meal that can only be consumed after great quantities of green beer have been quaffed.  Here in America, we call it Maized beef and we are amaized that anyone eats it.  I was unsuccessful in my research as to exactly how the beef is corned.  Is it corn-fed, or is the corn used to prepare the beef in other ways?  Is it still on the ear, or is it kernelled first?  I suspect we don’t really want to know.  It’s hard to make fun of this dish, but not as hard as trying to keep it down.

WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILIN’—the keg has just been tapped.

CEAD MILE FAILTE—an old Irish saying that means 100,000 welcomes as in when you walk into an Irish bar and there seem to be at least 100,000 drunken Irishmen sitting at the bar.  (Or it just sounds like there are that many sitting at the bar, or littered on the floor beneath the barstools.)  Imagine the welcomes if you offer to buy the next round.

SHILLELAGH—a strong Irish whiskey best known for its side effects: Shillelagh, she’ll lay me.  Of course, if she’ll lay Lee, she’ll probably do it with anybody, and you can probably save yourself the cost of the drink.

GREEN BEER—a varietal of lager with a full body, a frothy head, and the ability to turn your urine green.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  Down a few pints of this, and you could take that bag off Erin’s head and kiss the Blarney stone.  (Don’t forget in your drunken state, to pick the moss out of your teeth.)

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I am the Cryptkeeper

Most people don’t want to be reminded of the fact that, like it or not, we are getting older.

As I frequently tell my patients–most of them in the Medicare age range–there’s only one alternative to growing old, and that’s to die.

It’s not much of a choice, is it?

But for some of us, the aging process seems to be progressing more rapidly than for others.  Sometimes, there may be reasons for that.  If you live life hard, well, there’s bound to be some wear and tear; rust and dents.

But I never thought of myself in that category.

Welcome to my world! Living the old life!

Then, about eight years ago, I was picking my son up from school–he was in kindergarten at the time.  One of his little classmates came over to the door where I was standing while waiting for him to pack his stuff up and get his coat.  She looked up at me with these curly blonde locks and bright blue eyes and asked me in this innocent little voice . . . “are you Cameron’s grandfather?”

I was aghast.  Dumbfounded.  Hurt.  I was thirty-nine at the time.  Really.  I’m still only thirty-nine, but that has nothing to do with this story.  I felt barely old enough to be his father, let alone his grandfather.  How could she say such a horrible thing?

So what did I do?  How do you respond to something like that?

I decked her.

One punch and down she went.  Not bad for an old man.

I dragged her body out to the playground and left it under the swing.  It looked like an accident.  Well, close enough for our local authorities, anyway.

Then, about a month ago, a patient of mine was going on and on about how good I looked . . .  for my age.  She mentioned this multiple times and I’m not sure whether that was because she was truly in awe of my adonis-like youth, or whether she had early Alzheimer’s.  There’s a fine line there.  It could also have been macular degeneration.

But then she had to go and ruin everything.  She had to burst the bubble.

“You’re about the same age as my son, I think.  He’s 60.”

S-I-X-T-Y.

Alright, you can do the math and I am nowhere near 60.  Okay, I’m closer to sixty now more than any other time in my life.

BUT I DO NOT LOOK SIXTY.  I swear!

Maybe she meant sexy, not sixty?  Could be aphasia.  Old people sometimes get that.  Her son’s sixty.  That makes her . . . well, you do the math, because quite frankly, my mind isn’t as good with numbers like it used to be.

The coup de grace came today when my neighbor called.  She was leaving her house for a while but was expecting a refrigerator to be delivered.  She wondered if I could come over when the delivery van came so that her daughter and son weren’t alone in the house with strange men.  My first thought was that I was strange, and so I’m not sure how that would change the situation, but then I realized what she meant.

So I agreed.

I went over.  The delivery man came.  He wanted to come into the house to see where the kitchen was and how they would best be able to make the delivery.

My friend’s daughter was cleaning out the refrigerator for her mom.  I started helping her.  She handed me a couple of bottles of beer and I quipped, “I’ll take those.  Can’t let them go to waste!”

The delivery man laughed, and then–for no apparent reason that I can even begin to discern–he added . . .

“Are you her grandfather?”

I wonder if he’s gotten that bottle of beer out yet.

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