Witch Trials and Error

So, lately I’ve been watching a show called Salem. It’s been entertaining thus far, but last night the entertainment gleaned came from an unintended vector. Bear with me a minute. The Salem witches were trying to find out who killed one of their own, so they performed a “spell” in which they first removed a finger from the dead dude, placed a pound of coarse salt in a pan, buried the finger in it, simmered over high heat (uncovered), and added a bottle of blood. They then took the pan out of the fire, killed a frog over it, and sprinkled in some McCormick ® Italian seasoning (to taste). Lastly, they removed the fricasseed phalange, placed it on a foot-long spike and began reciting rhymes at it. When the rhyme didn’t work the first time, they just kept repeating it until the finger began to spin wildly before coming to a halt. Obviously, it was pointing in one direction. How could it not? At first, I thought the display was like a macabre version of spin the bottle since I know who the killer is and that he is the lost love of the Salem witch hive’s leader. They then followed the direction the finger indicated as the went looking for the witch hunter.

Now I’m no witch, but I am familiar with the scientific method and even cooking experiments that probably came out worse than their salted finger frog frittata attempt. I was left wondering how in the world they concluded that the steps above would produce a finger that could…finger their target. That was seriously unintended, by the way.

So, let us examine the process of trial and error that might have played out.

“I’m looking for a witch hunter,” says witch “A”.

“Say no more, fam,” says witch “B”. “We’ll just ask Dead Witch here.”

“Has that ever worked before, B?”

“No,” B begins. “But we haven’t tried it with the finger removed now, have we?”

“Brilliant!”

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“So, yeah. That didn’t work either, B.”

“What if we add salt and cook it, A?”

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“Looks like we’ll need to kill a frog on it, B.”

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“It’s biting, A!! Put it back in the pot! putitbackputitbackputitiback!”

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“Rinse it off. We gotta start over, bruh.”

“Let’s try some seasonings, A.”

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“I said Italian seasoning, B.” A shakes her head. “This is clearly cilantro, you daft bint.”

“Still no answer, A. Let’s put it on a nail.”

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You see where I am going with this? If they followed a pattern of failed experiments to find the solution that makes a severed finger point at the guy who killed the finger’s erstwhile body, they undoubtedly went through a great many steps, additions, deletions, and failures before getting it right. But why on Earth would anyone think to salt, season, cook, impale, and chant could produce these results? If this is indicative of the way magic might be used to defend oneself, it’s a wonder anyone would even bother. By way of example:

“Oh no!” Exclaims the evil wizard. “That good knight is charging at me on horseback! I must weave a spell of protection or invisibility! Let’s see here. I have some bay leaves, bits of dried mouse poo. Kill this snake on the concoction. Chant some clever sounding rhymey things about knights and frights and fights. And voila!”

Then the knight is all “Dude. I cut off your head fifteen minutes ago. Please shut up.”

“No. I can make this work. I just need to use oregano. Nobody ever sees people from Oregon.”

There is no rhyme or reason to it. Kind of like this post, really.

Bizarre Coping Mechanisms, Mary Shelley, Army Dentists, and School Avoidance

As per standard operating procedure, I tend to randomly exercise word association which takes me down twisting trains of thought with infinite branches where I get lost and forget what it is I am supposed to be doing. I think it is a coping mechanism or something that my channel surfing brain uses to spare me from the torment of pressing deadlines. It’s a flawed mechanism if you ask me and I have no idea how it originated.

So, here’s an innocuous example of what I’m talking about. This school project has me discussing the Gothic elements in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Having never actually read the novel, but being familiar with the tale, I felt pretty confident I could knock this out. Then I got to the part where I’m supposed to talk about Gothic themes in the story. Interestingly enough, this isn’t a requirement, but I already typed that I would point it out and I figured it couldn’t be that hard to discuss the topic.

An hour later, I found myself staring at a screen and repeating the word “theme” like some kind of lame mantra. You’d be amazed at how many different ways you can say a single word. This chanting took me back, like transcendental meditation/astral projection/displacement, to a dental visit for which I was awarded a gold crown as a replacement for a cracked and far less blingy natural tooth. New dental Lieutenants were brought in to learn by watching the Major who was performing the task of grinding away the old tooth to create a tiny spike of tooth for the crown to sit on like a decapitated head on a villain’s castle walls— only much smaller. And without bodiless heads. So, basically nothing like castle wall head spikes, but it is really boring laying there for that long and my mind wanders.

Apparently, I bleed a lot when people take gardening sheers to my gums and masonry grinders to my teeth. Who knew? Ostensibly, some people are disturbed by the word “blood”, so instead of saying blood, they threw around the shortened version of “hemoglobin”. They tossed the word “heam” about as if they’d just learned it and were seeking every opportunity to use it in a sentence. I did my best to ignore them, but it got truly annoying after a while.

Major: “That’s a lot of heam. I’m going to go grab some (insert made up Latin sounding drug name here). You stay here and make sure he doesn’t drown in heam and slobber.”

I briefly wondered if he was ordering them to slobber, but who am I to judge sentence structure?

LT #1: “Yes, Sir. That certainly is a lot of heam.”

LT #2: “Wow, I’ve never seen so much heam. Have you ever seen so much heam?”

The situation degraded from there and I soon had to grab LT #2 by the wrist because the heam/saliva sucky tube was now firmly affixed to the dangly thing in the back of my throat following an impromptu tonsillectomy by vacuum.

She must have misunderstood my intent and decided to clue me in because I’m apparently retarded and can’t understand the lingo of her profession. “When we say heam, we mean blood.” She touched my shoulder with her fingertips as she said it which made me feel slightly flirted with and simultaneously condescended to. Then she returned to absent-minded soft tissue removal as she turned back to the heam usage contest.

LT #1: “No, I’ve never seen heam like this either. It’s like a heamopocalypse in there.”

LT #2: Giggle giggle touch on LT#1’s elbow. “It’s a heam tsunami.”

The Major returned. “How’s it heaming, Chief?”

LT#2: Giggle giggle touch on the Major’s elbow. “Heams going to be just fine, Sir.” She purred.

I feel so cheap.

I gestured at the two-pound block of rubber jammed between my molars.

*Note to self: Majors don’t like being bitten. Retaliation is swift and painful.

He removed the bite block and I told him how the flirty-with-apparently-everybody LT was just explaining to me what heam was.

She leaned in and put her fingertips on my shoulder again to which I responded with crossed arms and a quick jerk away from her false affections. She then told me: “Heam is short for hemoglobin— which is blood.”

“Ma’am.” I began. “It is not. Hemoglobin is a component of blood. It is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. The normal adult hemoglobin molecule contains two alpha-globulin…”

I heard her teeth click back together under her mask.

“Also, the unorthodox usage of that sucky tube has my lower esophageal sphincter in need of some of that hemostatic compound you have there, Major.”

Aaaaand now I’ve written two and a half pages that has nothing to do with Gothic themes in a work of fiction. Awesome.

From Feast to Famine

I recently saw a couple of alleged “facts” that I found interesting. The first claim was that women are better able to accurately perceive personality traits of men they find attractive. This alone raises a great many points of interest. Would the opposite be true if we were 2016-07-23-14-24-37-0238speaking of a dude that was found to be unattractive? You know the ugly dude with a heart of gold, but women can’t see his good traits because he has a face like the mangy butt of a bull moose?
There there, good guy. You are entering the friend zone even as she pines away over the abusive serial adulterer with smoldering good looks. Shouldn’t these good looks have made him more susceptible to her vaunted powers of discernment? Or is it that she truly knows that the ugly dude is the good guy and 16807287_387838711592617_6832277088332156708_nthe hunky guy is an arse, but she really doesn’t care?

 

I would claim, at this point, that this first “fact” is debunked by the example above. However, there is another wrinkle presented in the second supposed “fact”. This one claims that women are more attracted to men who other women find attractive. I can get behind this one based solely on my high-school love life. It went something like this: There was me, the new guy on campus. All would remain quiet for a time until the new herd decided I was not, in fact, a threat to continued survival. Phase two begins when a brave young lady would express interest. Inevitably, there would be a slow but steady buildup of interested parties until such point a teen aged boy could hardly choose but must lest the now agitated males decide to form an aggressive pack. If you’ve ever stood alone against an entire football team, you’ll recognize how uncomfortable it is knowing that you can’t dip out but you should because you’d rather not be forced to drag your own carcass away from the scene of your own murder. In either case, this begins the domino effect that takes you from feast to famine which is kind of ok at the time because all the teeth in your stomach are a great appetite suppressant. One girl loses interest and *poof! They are all gone and I am a social pariah.

I propose that a different perspective can be gleaned from whatever survey determined the two aforementioned “facts”. Perhaps women are less adept a discerning good personality traits in a man as other women come to find him less attractive. Or maybe this is all hogwash and, like men, women see what they want in the one they are attracted to. Maybe they are just more attracted to the one everybody else wants. Holy crap I just realized that the ladies are as competitive as men. My teen years make so much sense right now…

PTassD

A friend and former medical care provider who will remain anonymous posted a video today about a girl who was suing the guy who saved her from drowning. The plaintiff was under for about two minutes, so this dude jumped in and saved her. She woke up a little while later and apparently his touching her in order to get her out of the water was a violation of her body. So, she is suing for “hashtag save rape”. Her words. Not mine. Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself here:

So, I messaged Doc. “I was save raped by my old battalion’s physician’s assistant.”

Maybe I should just back up a moment and provide backstory. That was really not meant to remotely resemble a pun, but it kind of reads that way in my head.

Long story short, I was dying. Not as in dying my hair. As in I was dying of an indeterminate malady I like to call “Fort Polk I hate your face what did you do to me”, or FPIHYFWDYDTM for short because I’m a super creative wordsmith. I really wanted to call it something else beginning in the letter P to go with Polk, but all I could find was related to a nipple malady of which I thankfully unfamiliar. And quite frankly, my nipples are fine, if not wholly unnecessary. Also quite frankly, this long story short is about to take a strange turn. My apologies.

After running an exhaustive battery of tests which revealed nothing, family history came into question and the decision was made to examine my prostate. Good times. I was too weak at this point to drive. On top of this, I was also a little nervous about the whole procedure. It’s not everyday someone you know puts a finger in your butt. I can’t believe I’m even considering sharing this information on an open forum. Awesome. Not really. The PA is a tiny woman, so I had that going for me. My wife, Doc, is a shrink so not much help there unless the idea is to psychoanalyze (Oh my god so much makes sense right now reading that word) my prostate, she wasn’t going to be much help in this particular situation.

*Fun Observation: In retrospect, this might have worked given the opinion of my wife and my father that my head often needs to be removed from the location being discussed.

imagesStill, I felt better having her in the room because the PA had to have a chaperone and I wanted one as well because I was not about to be caught outnumbered with my pants literally down. Her chaperone of choice was a male medic who I promptly instructed to face the wall while Doc sat in a chair shaking in poorly disguised mirth. I was outnumbered after all. The procedure was over quickly enough. I squeaked and counted unexplained lights that popped up before my eyes.

The PA was very professional about it and had spectacularly tiny fingers. In hindsight (don’t say it), the three showers, a pack of baby wipes, a Brazilian, and cologne booty spritzing seemed like a bit of a waste considering how quickly it all ended. Oddly, I feel an inexplicable sense of empathy now when I overhear ladies speaking of disappointing dates.

The PA and her medic left the room to give me a moment to pick my pants and my dignity up off the floor. Doc burst into uncontrollable laughter. At least her bladder was on my side. It made all kinds of threats against her while she gleefully howled at my plight. It was at the peak of her tearful laughter that the PA walked back into the room and asked Doc if she was OK. I think she even hugged Doc at some point but I can’t be sure because eye contact felt weird so I just looked at my feet. Seriously? Is SHE OK? You didn’t even probe her derrière. I didn’t get a hug. Isn’t a kiss customary after an encounter like this? Apparently, the PA thought she was crying because of my unexplained sickness to which we still had no answer. So, what happened?

Doc replied, “I’m fine, but he has PTassD!” At which point they both broke into gleeful vocal demonstrations.

Now that you have the facts in my short story made far longer than I’d intended, I’ll return you to my original purpose for writing this entry.

“I was save raped by my old battalion’s physician’s assistant.”

“You were not,” she began. “You consented and I was sitting right there so it was more of a twisted ménage a trois.”

“A dying person can’t give consent. I wasn’t in my right mind. I have been save raped by a tiny Carnival dancer. This is almost certainly not what Sir Elton John was referring to in “Tiny Dancer”, which makes it that much more rapey. #save rape.”

Then that song went through my head coupled with psychoanalysis and misheard lyrics. It’s “in my hand” not “in my head” so the location of my noggin in relation to my prostate isn’t on the table any longer. Boom! Dad and spouse theory on my head’s location debunked!

I had an epiphany. The song was prophetic. Go read the lyrics when you are done here and tell me I’m wrong. She’s a dancer, was having a busy day, I was on a sheet of paper and I’m sure linen has been used to make paper, I made a little squeak that possibly only she could hear. There’s more, but I really don’t want to discuss the “Now she’s in me” part of the lyrics.

Wretched Winter or Pique and Pretense. You Decide.

indexMany questions put forth to me of late can be answered quite simply. Questions like: Why are you in the gym at PT? Why aren’t you in formation? Why are you so grumpy today? Why are you wearing a three-piece arctic sleeping bag? Why are you laying on the ground?

The answer is “Winter”. Winter is more than a mere scapegoat, however. Each of these questions was asked of me today alone. So, let me explain. It was five freaking degrees Fahrenheit, that’s negative fifteen in Celsius, after the sun came up this morning. Before that, the temperature could only be measured in Del. Del are essentially anti-Scovilles. I would guess that the pre-sunrise Del reached as many as 50, which is almost equivalent of 20 bones breaking or giving birth to a human child, but only if you are male. Thankfully, we reached a balmy 24F/5C later in the afternoon and I was able to ditch the sleeping bag.

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That directly answers the gym-formation-sleeping bag question, but the grumpy and laying on the ground are a little more convoluted. It’s still Winter’s fault though. I think the grump kicked off after the gym. The gym part was pretty good, even though I was forced to watch the Green Bay Packers being skull-drug. After a good hour of cardio (10,000 steps before 0630! Tacos and cake for breakfast!), one works up a little perspiration. Said perspiration freezes instantly on contact with 45 Del weather, or roughly 90 anti-Scovilles. Reader’s choice, really. I did learn something interesting. If your sweatcicles form while you are wearing a fleece beanie, eyebrow waxing is completed totally free of financial burden. If you want to look slightly fish-like, it might be worth your while. All previous joy at the prospect of cake and tacos for breakfast became little more than whimsy.

A long hot shower eventually defrosted me sufficiently. Before getting dressed, I took the precautionary measure to drown the dry and cracking skin/scales of my legs in vast quantities of lotion. I sat down to eat and my body rebelled after the first mouthful of eggs. I should have never mentioned tacos and cake to it. My left foot twisted in an inordinately painful cramp (about 30 Del, I think) while doing its best impression of transformations normally rendered only in werewolf movies. Since I couldn’t straighten out the cramp, I reached down and uncurl the offensive phalanges, but they were in cahoots with other, more distant body parts. You know that tendon that runs from clavicle to somewhere near your ear? Yeah? That sinister sinew joined the cramp fest and snatched my chin to my chest. I think this may have been an attempt to empty the contents of my mouth since it was neither cake nor taco. Or is this like a normal allergic reaction to buttered shae?

presentation1*note to self: Never make that sound again. Especially if you are in bullfrog country during mating season.

So, there you have the source of grumpiness. I only compounded that state by taking out my trash, which is normally not a source of pique. This was the part that very nearly ended my life. Potentially life ending events are excellent sources of pique, so it’s fine. I’m justified in my pique-ishness. Indulge me: pique. Last one. I promise. I stepped onto a patch of snow by the little block buildings that serve as dumpsters where I’m stationed. It was more ice than snow, really and I caught myself sliding to my death in a dumpster. Considering that I had recently removed approximately 187 pounds of trash from the communal laundry facility, I think it safe to say that if I broke something or became unconscious, none of the Lieutenants in this building would be happening by one morning to take out their trash. So, you see? Dying alone in a heap of empty detergent bottles and a million dryer sheets was a very real possibility.

If I could offer any one single piece of advice to anyone reading this that might be considering a career in the military, it is this: Never let your brothers and sisters in arms know when something bothers you. That thing that bothers you will become a point of great fascination for them. I swear many of them would gleefully poke at a bullet wound as long as they knew it was not truly life threatening. It’s a compulsion of sorts. Kind of like poking at the site of a dental procedure to see if it still hurts, maybe? Thus the “Why are you laying on the ground?” question. Because Winter. Because I wanted to construct a hasty snow angel for the Commander. Because I’m stretching after a really good workout. Anything. Anything other than I slipped on the ice and I think my tail bone is broken and I just peed on myself and can’t feel my legs. Can you help me with this snow angel? But be careful not to damage the lotion layer while moving my legs.

The 9th Circle

Doc loves finding little video clips demonstrating human stereotypes that she thinks fit me accurately. More often than not, she is way off base. Like the time she found some video of a guy with ADD and his family that raps and sings about it. I explained in that post how badly she got that wrong and went on to demonstrate such. Her response was to address me by her favorite pet name for me. I can’t repeat it here. Mixed company and all. But it is completely endearing. Honestly. I don’t know why.

However, I am a big enough person to give props where props are due. She found one recently that was ludicrously accurate. A video, I mean. Not a prop. It was more truthful than I can possibly relate given the limited nature of human language. If I spoke in the tongues angels or math maybe I could. But I don’t. So, I’ll just show you. Just to preface this, I am represented by the bulldog and she by the other creature that is insanely and inexplicably happy to cavort in the frozen powder that is my current nemesis.

https://www.thedodo.com/two-types-of-people-in-winter-video-2197418787.html

Look. I get it. It has been suggested to me that my lineage should have me happy in the absence of heat. One might think my Norse and Welsh blood would make me ok in the cold, but my Moroccan blood despises it. Can you think of a single ancient culture’s version of heaven that is freezing? I think perhaps Dante’s 9th circle is probably the most accurate depiction of hell ever rendered.

It’s not just the cold though. Of late, the second-place holder on my list of things-I-hate-about-winter is running a tight race for the top slot. Dry skin.

Dry skin might be a bit of an understatement. Just look at this image of my leg:

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I’ve taken numerous steps to combat the itch and the evidence of reptilian DNA. Regular lotions don’t quite work, so I found this cocoa butter and shea butter conglomerate that seems to help. I’m not entirely sure what a shea is, how you milk it to make butter, or why this particular dairy is good for your skin when the bovine butter clearly doesn’t work. Tried it. I don’t recommend it. The regular butter I mean. Look. You get desperate when itchy skin strikes during curfew and all you have is butter and olive oil.

One must be careful though. I’ve never really been a lotion kind of guy, so I am still learning things, such as the fact that certain lotions contain acid apparently and this acid reacts with scrapes and cuts in much the same manner as alcohol. Not the fun to drink kind. The kind that parents use to exact retribution for years of lost sleep by applying it to any little abrasion on their angelic son’s skin. I also learned some fascinating acrobatic feats designed to get into bed after a lotioning (it’s a word now, spell check). It’s amazing what traumatic brain injuries and bruised ribs can teach you when you have slipped nude and screaming from the edge of your bed while half asleep. Also, the floor is colder on your bare booty than it is on your bare feet or bare face for that matter. Close run second by nipples. But you can’t gouge furrows into vinyl tiles with a frozen butt cheek. So, it’s anybody’s game at this point, really.

PSA: Olive oil will stain your sheets and the smell sticks around for a while. The entertainment value might be worth it though. A clearly human shaped grease spot on linens confuses the crap out of MPs as well as the Korean police. If only it were warm enough to recreate this on concrete in front of the barracks. Although this might draw some strange looks in the middle of the day. Any time of day now that I think about it.

PS. Korean police do not believe in the Moth-man no matter how hard you try to explain it.

The Next Stokowski?

I got to attend the symphony while I was home on leave recently. I am a little ashamed to admit that at 44 years of age, this was my first symphony. I’ve always been a jeans, t-shirt, and rock concert kind of guy. The symphony never held any real appeal. I know now that this is because I never experienced one for myself. I’ll not go into great detail as to what pieces were played. I’m not an aficionado who is able to offer a cultured critique, but I thought it pretty good. However, I will share several observations that, at times, became quite distracting. To me. And anyone near me, it seems.

Before we got settled in, it occurred to Doc that she’d left her phone in the car and lest she become textually frustrated, I offered to go retrieve it for her. Besides, I was wearing a killer suit. There is nothing quite like the feeling a well-made suit imparts and I felt like walking around in it. Perhaps strut is a better term for it. Obviously not a Mick Jagger or Tina Turner strut. That would look ludicrous in a black, double breasted, pin striped suit. There is a point to this. Not the suit part. The me going to get the phone part. So, as I crossed the street to the parking garage, a young woman in a black dress (skirt?) and white button up shirt (blouse? Don’t judge me. I don’t know the correct terms for what she was wearing) was crossing in the opposite direction. She smiled in acknowledgement of my suit and cast her eyes downward while pushing her hair behind her ear. I’m not implying she only had one ear or that all the hair went behind that one. It just happened on one side. Anyway, I thought nothing of it except that she had a spectacular head of hair and a pleasant smile. As I entered the garage, a young jovial looking bearded fellow wearing black slacks and a white shirt (wait staff I presumed), came sauntering out of the garage with a lit cigarette hanging from his grin. It wasn’t until the show got underway that I remembered either of them. As it turns out, she was the first-string cellist. An odd sort of name for it, I think. She sat in the first chair. Maybe she should be first chair cellist? Later in the performance, the happy looking smoker came forward to play a duet with another guy. They both played these miniature versions of trumpets in a manner that impressed me considering at least one of them was a known connoisseur of cheap tobacco. The realization of what I’d witnessed struck during that duet. Flustered, slightly embarrassed looking girl followed at distance from the shadows of a parking garage by a grinning, smoking guy? My head went straight to American Pie and band camp, at which point I was promptly shushed. Do you have any idea what it is like to have all of this to say when it is apparently inappropriate to do so? I was sure my head would explode.

Then there was the choir. Oh, my God, the choir. They weren’t bad, mind you. I’m not a huge fan of choral music though. Their apparent lack of organizational acumen distracted me to no end. In my mind, they should have been arranged in some fashion by height. Ascending order. Descending order. Maybe like a pyramid. Give them all special stools so they were of uniform height. Anything but this random placement based solely on something as arbitrary as voice sections would have aided in calming the twitch in my left eye.

I also took umbrage with what instrument gets to lead. There was no piano present and the extent of my knowledge on lead instruments told me that the piano should lead. Being a former percussionist, I think percussion should lead in the absence of the piano. Doc informed me that the largest string leads when there is no piano. See where I’m going with this? If the piano makes noise by banging on strings with little hammers, it is clearly a percussion instrument. Without the hammers, it’s just a box full of wire. Therefore, the biggest drum should lead. In this case that would be the timpani. Boom! Percussion dominance established.

I should direct a symphony. The biggest drum would reign supreme. Center stage would be dominated by the largest Japanese hurricane drum I could find, and the choir (if I had one) would be as uniform in height as a platoon of Imperial Storm Troopers. Also, the members of the string section could consort freely with members of the brass section without the apparent stigma currently keeping two lovers from openly professing their affections. My symphony would be awesome. And possibly syphilitic. You never know where brass players have been.

3 A.M.

Three o’clock in the morning. Again. Why am I awake? Welcome to my mind on jet lag.

Wednesday:

I think my right pinky toe is broken. It hurts like all hell at the very least which is essentially the same thing as far as I’m concerned. It seems that the left foot learned proper target acquisition from the right foot, which is an old pro at this game it likes to play. I have to wonder if it isn’t from being tall. You know, like dinosaurs had two brains because they were big and needed additional globs of self-aware cholesterol in order to get around without dragging their back end behind them? It’s a sound theory. My noodle is too far away from my skis for the skis to function in such a manner as to NOT cause me harm. It only took 44 years, but the right foot is now getting good at finding things for me in the dark. It’s a slow learner. Apparently. This may explain why I can’t dance. I think these considerations may strengthen my theory.

Come to think of it, I didn’t have this problem when I was younger. My head was closer to my feet back then. I didn’t exceed six feet until after high school. Add to this the observation of my father that I walked around with my head up my butt or with my butt on my shoulders (he was full of these fun little observations), and you may find that my theory is plausible.

Yet there is my grandson to consider. Tiny little guy who bumps into everything. His head and feet share close proximity and neither are pointed in the same direction at any given time. More research is required. I wonder if I could get a government grant for this one.

Tuesday:

Burning existential questions: If a step is one foot moved forward and a pace is two steps, what is a stride? Is it just a long step or is it like a pace? Who cares? I do. This may impact how 10,000 steps a day is reached. If I knock out 10,000 steps first thing in the morning, maybe I can just lay down under a warm blanket today. All day. Why am I awake at 0300? Does putting my foot onto the floor count as one step? Sometimes I hate my brain. Is this why we sleep? To give us time away from that annoying organ? Maybe I can bank the excess steps every day so I can be a vegetable on Saturday. I’m so frigging tired…

Monday:

Mad Skills

Don’t fret. The rum is safe. Things were not always thus. Try and focus and the important part here: I just proved how easy it is to become a professional at hacky sack! This discovery was made during a decidedly un-officer like display after returning from the store with one of my three monthly rations of liquor. My hands were full with a case of mixers in one and in the other a stretched to capacity plastic bag containing some of life’s necessities like coffee, energy drinks, bread, and of course, rum. Twenty feet from any form of soft ground, the bag gave way. What followed was an undignified attempt at not smashing one unit of a limited supply of rum. Watch this graphic reenactment but imagine it’s an old guy in uniform foot juggling a 750-milliliter bottle away from a concrete parking lot and you’ll have a pretty good idea.

Digital Safari with Norman Bates and Gunga Din

It’s been over a month since I’ve put any new material up here. I’ll not bore you with the mundane aspects hindering my posts. School, work, etc. One source of hindrance worth noting though is my computer itself. It started with access to my blog. I’d go to open it up and just get an alternating indication of the site loading then not loading. I really didn’t think much of it at the time. Maybe WordPress was doing scheduled maintenance or something? After a week, I gave up that theory. I was being incrementally locked out of sites and programs at such a slow pace that one could liken it to the whole boiling a frog thing where you put it in room temperature water and gradually raise the temperature. This brings up two questions. 1. Has this been proven? And 2. What kind of person even wants to prove something like this? That whole topic could be a standalone blog entry.

The next thing I knew, the water was boiling and I didn’t react like the frog. I flipped out. My final project for school was due in two days and I no longer had access to any Office program or any word processor. Being technologically challenged, I resorted to tech support and bemoaned the inoperability of Word. I spent the next seven hours on live chat with some friendly gentlemen from India who demonstrated next to nothing in the way of a sense of humor. Please bear in mind that there is no way I can possibly portray in writing the wonderful accent of a native Hindi speaker conversing in English. So, you’ll have to work that out for yourself.

The first to come to my aid was a young man who told me his name was Gunga Din. I promise you that one of us is not exercising the spirit of full disclosure and I am not that one. I am fairly certain this was something like a stage name used to protect call center workers from irate customers. Seeking some harmless entertainment after hours a fruitless work on restoring program function, I had to address the name.

“So you’re a fan of Kipling then?” I asked.

“No, Sir,” Gunga began. “I can assure you that I have no Idea to what you are referring. I prefer John Grisham novels.”

“Really, Gunga? We were getting on so well, you and I.”

“What?” He asked in a tone of feigned innocence.

“Trust, Gunga. Trust. You hope I will trust you to fix my computer. You hope I will trust you to remote into my computer. It’s a two-way streak, Gunga.”

“What?” Maybe it was perplexation rather than an attempt at guile. These accents are disarming.

“How can I stay mad at you, Gunga?”

“What?”

“Never mind.”

“Just reinstall and restart now and I assure you it will work.”

“Your assurances carry no weight with me any longer,” I told him.

I was right not to trust him. Same problem. I made contact again. This time I was greeted cheerfully by another gentleman from India named Norman. As it turns out, Norman was Gunga’s supervisor and was “Intimately familiar with your problem today, Sir. I tell you.”

“Well, Norman. Gunga was quite helpful but the problem is unresolved.”

“May I have the product activation key so we can get started?”

“We are already getting off on the wrong foot here, Norman.”

“What?” The call center is apparently filled with perplexed people.

“Trust, Norman. I’m talking about trust.”

“I can assure you that I don’t understand your meaning, Sir.” They are also very full of reassuring people. I like that. Who doesn’t?

“It’s fine, Norman,” I assured him in turn. I like to give back to the giving. “The intimately familiar would know that the product was bought on-line. There is no key, Norman.”

“I see,” He said as one might expect from a philosopher or psychoanalyst. “That is not a problem, Sir. I tell you. We shall get you fixed straightaway.”

It wasn’t long before I felt the need to entertain myself again and questions about weather and culture were first received skeptically, then dismissed. I went back to names.

“Norman, I know you guys at the call center can’t tell your real names and you choose the name for the job. Gunga claimed no knowledge of Kipling but then told me he preferred a different author. So, I have to ask. How’s the hotel business?”

“I’m sorry?”

Oh. My. God. Did I just commit unintended insult?

“As in the Bates Motel? It was a Hitchcock reference. I did not mean to imply you were in the hotel business.”

“I do not understand your meaning, Sir. I tell you.”

“That probably for the best, Norman.”

So, long story short. Neither the unfazed Norman not Bates, nor the heroic efforts of Gunga Din could return my word processor to functionality. I ended up doing a restore to factory settings and having my IP address and phone number blocked in India. Forgive my absence, y’all. My digital safari is over.