MOTOR MOUTH

“To make a long story short,” Al said, but it was much too late for that.  He’d been rattling on for a half hour about whatever trivial subject came into his mind, taking only short breaks to inhale and then get back to his long-winded dissertation about the deleterious effect of global warming on long underwear and snow shovel sales.

I was trapped. We were carpoolers back then and he had me cornered behind the wheel of my old Chevy while he pontificated ad nauseam.  I tried desperately to escape mentally at least, reading  every road sign  and singing under my breath – “99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer…”

You might find it interesting to know that between Route 287 in Parsippany and Willowbrook Mall in Wayne there are 506 telephone poles on the eastbound side of Route 46.  I might have missed a few in Pine Brook when I had to give way to an ambulance.

The ambulance reminded Al of his gall bladder operation six years previously and I was given yet another graphic account of the episode beginning with his initial abdominal pains and vomiting.  By the time he got to his rehab experiences and his  extensive critique of the hospital staff I was having my own abdominal pains. (I’m very impressionable.)

I had to exceed the speed limit to shorten his soliloquy and to keep from moaning.  I always blamed the moaning on a fictitious war wound to keep from hurting  Al’s feelings,  but that would set him off on a recitation of the rigors of his two-year Air Force hitch.  It was quite a dramatic account and I had to keep reminding myself that Al was a clerk typist stationed on an island called Staten.

WIFESPEAK TRANSLATIONS

I’m trying to help young men who just got married and aren’t familiar with Wifespeak which is related to, but is not technically real English, and doesn’t  usually apply to the accepted rules of reason. For instance:

The two of you are about to leave to dine with friends at a local restaurant and Herself  asks, “Is that what you’re wearing?” (Translation:  “You’re certainly not going to wear that!”)  I suggest you change into something that doesn’t have holes at the knees, doesn’t display a naughty saying or a very large number and the name of your favorite NFL running back.

She’s bought an expensive dress after agonizing over it in the store for an hour, trying it on and grilling the saleslady for her honest opinion while attempting to rationalize the outrageous price. Her question to you now as she models the dress is simply, “Do you think I look good in this?”  (Translation: “If you don’t rhapsodize over me in this beautiful dress with gushing compliments, I think I’ll cry!”) You should provide the required enthusiastic  exclamations and forget about the expensive pitching wedge you’ve had your eye on.  Tell the mother of your future children she looks gorgeous.

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and you’re thinking about a touch football game with the guys and then a few beers afterwards to cool off while talking about the game and exchanging friendly insults.

“That sounds like a fun day for you, Sweetheart,” Herself says and then adds in Wifespeak, “I’ll be fixing the loose shudder that’s been banging in the wind or scrapping the peeling paint off the shed and then mowing the lawn before it begins to interfere with our view of the neighborhood.” (Translation:  “Your game has just been called on account of matrimony.”)

She’s just read this blog (by a guy who’s been happily married for 62 years.)  She’s not smiling right now and she asks, “Do you think this Wifespeak thing applies to us?. That wasn’t Wifespeak, pal.  Say, “No, Sweetheart.”

COMIC PROMISES

I am very skeptical when it comes to ads and commercials from any source. “Once burned, twice shy”,  the saying goes, Well I’ve been burned much more than once. I’ve reached the crispy stage.

There was a time in my early youth when I was vulnerable to a tantalizing pitch. I had very little money then, otherwise I would have sent for all those miracle gadgets and life-changing instruction books offered on the back pages of comic books.

We kids trusted the ” Guarantee of 100 percent satisfaction”.  It didn’t matter if we bothered to read the small print because we didn’t know what “simulated” meant, so we were sure the $4.95 two-passenger dirigible would be capable of carrying us to faraway exotic places as shown in the colorful illustration.

I still don’t feel that my friend Skippy and I were completely taken for the $4.95 that we’d managed to scrape up from odd jobs and deposit bottles. For almost a month we enjoyed our reputation around the neighborhood as potential dirigible pilots. And then the parcel post man delivered a flimsy cellophane balloon with a cardboard gondola and we had to return the ten-cent fares we’d collected in advance from the kids on our passenger list. We told them we’d decided to reject that particular dirigible design, but we were investigating others.

Still, my gullibility survived. I thought if I ever came into some real money, like ten dollars, I’d send for a whole bunch of neato things.  I imagined having the genuine ventriloquist instrument (25 cents), cleverly hidden in my mouth as I threw my voice into the Swanson’s apartment next door. Then I’d watch the reactions of the occupants by wearing my X-Ray glasses (50 cents). If old Mrs. Swanson came over to complain about the  strange voices she’d heard in her living room, I could hide in my pioneer cabin ($1) and maybe lob out a replica army hand grenade ($1) which would emit a harmless loud bang.

If that didn’t scare off old Mrs. Swanson, I could blast off in my Jet Rocket Space Ship ($4.98) complete with instrument controls and retractable nose cannon. I would be up in the stratosphere and out of reach provided, of course, that old Mrs. Swanson hadn’t also sent for a Jet Rocket Space Ship.

FEMALE CRYPTOGRAPHY

I ran into a friend in the supermarket yesterday. Actually he ran into me. Al was reading a small slip of paper when he accidentally bumped into me with his cart in the canned goods aisle. “Sorry,” he said. “I was trying to decipher my wife’s handwriting on her grocery list and I can’t make out this one item.  I think ‘bark chips’ means ‘pork chops’ and ‘little beads’ are most likely ‘lentil beans’, but maybe ‘mero toons’ is not actually a garble.”

“Sounds like cookies,” I said.  “Let’s ask that clerk who’s shelving cans.”

“Mero toons?  Never heard of  them, but I’m a canned goods guy. Hey Stanley, where do we keep the mero toons?” he shouted to an associate.

“I think that might be in Aisle 8 next to the taco meals,” Stanley replied.

We found no mero toons in Aisle 8 and an assistant manager there wasn’t much help.
“Could be a new snack item, ” he said. “But I don’t think it was in our last ad. Nobody tells me anything.”

The courtesy desk manager tried a computer search using five or six spelling variations. “It’s not even in our warehouse,” he said.  “Who wrote this list?”

“My wife,” Al replied.

“Let’s try a female reading then,” he said and handed the list to his assistant. “See the mero  toons item, Ethel?  Is that a misspelling of something else?”

” Mero toons ?  That’s not mero toons.  That’s ‘mushrooms’  as plain as the nose on your face,”  Ethel said and handed the list back for three befuddled guys to gape at.

“So, Al, ” I said later, “it was apparently written in a female gender code, but why didn’t you call your wife in the first place?”

“I knew she wasn’t home and I didn’t want to interrupt her at her new senior study class.”

“What is she studying?”

“Calligraphy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR BACK-BREAKING FALL

Thoughts while raking 30 bagfuls of leaves.  I’ve had this same idea every autumn for many years. Why isn’t there a company that will come and  blow our leaves away? No, I don’t mean the landscapers who arrive with a squadron of blower-wielders who take an ear-splitting hour to clear one yard.  There should be an outfit equipped with enough air power to do the job quietly in a few seconds.

They could have one of those eight-foot diameter fans that motion picture companies use for special effects like when they’re filming a typhoon scene.  The “Night Winds Inc.” crew would arrive with their truck-mounted fan around 3 a.m., turn it on full blast and instantly clear a lawn, almost noiselessly, propelling leaves in various directions around the neighborhood.

Nitpickers would claim the operation is illegal and maybe they’d be right. There are other drawbacks as well.  If I hired Night Winds Inc., my leafless lawn the next morning would arouse quite a lot of suspicion among my neighbors whose yards have been buried.  Then too, if the fan guy doesn’t aim with extreme care, my window shudders, stoop plants and mailbox might be scattered up and down the street as further evidence, and the neighbor whose cat became airborne and ended up meowing loudly on his garage roof would certainly demand an investigation.

No, the idea needs a lot of work, but thinking about it helps to distract me while raking and here I am finally closing bag number 30.  What a relief to be done. It must have taken five hours of raking, scooping and pushing down leaves to make room for more in each bag. Let me check my watch on the time span. That’s funny. My watch is gone.

OH NO!  MY FAMILY HEIRLOOM ENGRAVED TIMEX  IS GONE!

My wife tried to console me later. “Don’t feel bad, Dear.  Your favorite wristwatch isn’t really gone.  It’s in one of those 30 leaf bags over there.”

 

GOOD DOG!

Our dog Mollie is a shih-tzu which means “lion dog” in Chinese.  That describes Mollie to a tee if you allow for homonyms.  She’s usually lyin’ around the house, snoring.  That’s okay with us. She’s our old pup and we don’t appreciate uncomplimentary remarks about her.

My friend Al was visiting the other day and saw Mollie curled up under the kitchen table. “She’s quite inert, isn’t she?” he said.  I replied it was time for her afternoon nap, not mentioning she’s usually comatose for three hours.

“My dog Roscoe is a lot more active and he’s very intelligent,” Al boasted.

“Mollie is smart as a whip,” I countered.

“Smart as a whip? She looks like a dust mop you left under the table.”

“I’ll bet you five bucks if I give her three commands she’ll understand and obey each one immediately.”  Just then Mollie began to snore loudly and Al said, “You’re on.”

It took a while to wake up Mollie, but I waved a treat under her nose and she became semi-lively. “Okay, here’s command number one:  Mollie, don’t bark!” (Mollie hadn’t barked since that time two months previously when I accidentally shut her in the hall closet.  She’s against barking. She considers it unladylike.) She obeyed my command.

“Wait a minute!” Al protested.

“That was a legitimate command and Mollie obeyed. Here’s command number two: Mollie don’t stand up and beg. (Mollie begs all the time, but she never caught on to standing on her hind legs which calls for too much athleticism.  She obeyed again.)

By then Al was getting a little profane so I quickly gave the third command: “Mollie, don’t roll over!” (I was taking a real chance here. Mollie sometimes falls asleep suddenly or she might have an urgent need for a belly rub, so I held a treat high above her nose and kept her upright.)

I won five dollars which I spent on Pup-Peroni treats and temporarily lost a pal, but I’m sure Al’s already planning to recoup down at the Senior Center. I heard he’s teaching Roscoe how  to respond inertly to negative commands.