Hands Off: A Touchy Subject

I’m not a touchy person.  By that, I don’t mean that I’m not sensitive.  I’m damn sensitive.  I mean that I’m not one of those types who touches other people.  I just assume that you don’t want me to paw all over you.  God knows that I don’t want to be molested by people.

I’m probably in the minority on this, but I just don’t care much for all the touching.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I’m not autistic or mental or anything (as far as I know).  I don’t have any particularly severe fear of germs.  Oh, sure, I don’t like breathing in public restrooms or touching doorknobs.  I used to wash my hands all the time like Howard Hughes, but I stopped doing that several years ago.  Even though you’re probably all germy, it’s not that big a deal.  It’s really just the touching.

Let’s be clear about one thing:  I’m not talking about sexual touching or any touching you might do in the privacy of your own home.  That’s your business.  Such groping is best left to one’s one discretion.  We certainly do not need to hear about the details nor do I have any advice in that regard.

THE HANDSHAKE

The most basic form of social touching is the handshake.  What a weird custom.  I can understand why some cultures just don’t do it.  I read somewhere that the ancients Greeks started it as a gesture of goodwill to show that they weren’t carrying weapons.  They also had sex with children.  Why the Hell would we want to follow their customs?

I have no issue with the basic handshake–a quick, firm grab of the hand followed by two pumps.  I guess it’s an okay way to greet people.  Of course, there are the people who always shake your hand.  I have a good friend who always shakes my hand when we see each other.  It’s like we’ve never met.  I suppose it’s his way of saying:  “Hello, old friend, I now grasp your hand to show that we remain on good terms.  And that I don’t have a damn gun.”  Then again, I do the same thing when I meet someone I’ve never and will never see again.  It’s confusing.

handshake

In case you are a total dimwit, here is a simple schematic on appropriate handshaking.

What I don’t like is the two-hand shake.  You know this one.  It’s the regular handshake coupled with the other hand grabbing the outside of my hand.  It’s like the shaker wants to make sure I can’t change my mind and pull away.

double shake

The dreaded double-grip shake.

I don’t like the Bone-Crusher.  Many years ago, I met the Governor of Kentucky, a gregarious fellow named Julian Carroll.  He crushed my hand.  I still remember the bones mashing together and the gristle popping. Always remember if you shake hands with a man like me–a man with delicate girl hands–take it easy.  More importantly, remember it with old people.  They aren’t strong and often suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.  Let them dictate the appropriate grip strength.

Hand shaking is fine.  Hand-holding is not.  Walk up and try to hold a stranger’s hand.  It never works.  So, remember:  Shake=Good.  Hold=Bad.

Fist-bumping is a form of handshake.  It’s certainly more sanitary.  I’m cool with this, too, but it’s reserved for people I already know–and only men.  It’s too awkward upon an initial meeting.

Nothing good can be said of the high-five.  Call me racist if you must, but white people must stay away from this.  We lack the coordination to make it work consistently.  There is nothing more embarrassing than whiffing on the old high-five.  Needless to say, women don’t high-five.  Ever.

THE HUG

Full disclosure:  I’m not a hugger.  Maybe you are.  If so, I don’t judge you, but I also don’t understand you.  The hug is the handshake’s amorous cousin.

Huggers will hug you whenever they see you.  Oddly, they don’t hug when they first meet you.  The handshake suffices.  After that, though, the hug is the preferred method of greeting.  Normally, it involves one arm and a delicate lean with a lead shoulder.  You, then, are required to hug back in a similar fashion.  If you’re like me, this is awkward, and you look like nothing so much as a man hugging a cactus.

One thing you don’t do is use the two-armed bear hug in return.  This is too aggressive and could be misconstrued as an assault.  It’s equally important to release the hug after a brief, impersonal embrace.  If you hold the hug even slightly too long, the situation becomes uncomfortable quickly.  This is especially so if you say something like “Mmmm” or “Ohhhh.”

yao

NBA star Tracy McGrady demonstrates an inappropriate hug on Chinese giant Yao Ming.

If you must hug, I suggest the Man Hug.  This consists of a quick upper-body embrace followed by one brief pat on the back.  DO NOT REACH UNDER THE ARMS FOR THE MAN HUG!

The reverse hug is nothing more than a sexual assault.

Related to the basic hug of greeting is the conversational hug.  Typically, this is a man who puts his arm around you while talking to you.  I can’t put too fine a point on this:  NO ONE LIKES THIS.  It’s just weird.  Don’t do it.

THE KISS

I’m not talking about sexual kissing.  After all, who among us doesn’t appreciate a vigorous make out session?  This kissing is the non-sexual Greeting Kiss.  This is the man or woman who, while shaking your hand or hugging you, gives you a big, wet kiss.  It’s not on the mouth–usually.  It will be on the cheek.  I’ve never seen two men do it, although it makes as much sense as two women.  Come to think of it, I think French men kiss each other, but they’re French.  Need I say more?

Truth be told, we have too many rules in our own country to worry about bizarre and possibly socialistic customs of foreigners.

bushkiss

Even our own President can be caught unawares by bizarre foreign kissing.

Why, oh, why do they do this?  This isn’t like your Grandma or Aunt kissing you, either.  They’re your relatives.  Kissing is a really intimate thing with non-relatives.  The next time you are in public, take a look around and count up all the people you wouldn’t kiss under any circumstances.  It’s probably 90%.  We reserve kissing for those we want to kiss or, again, our relatives.  And, let’s face it, we’d rather not kiss or be kissed by most of our relatives, but it’s expected of us.

obamahug

This photo depicts a nightmarish scene of hugging, kissing and groping.

I think of myself as a fine fellow, but I don’t kid myself–I’m not a handsome man.  Women do not look at me and desire to kiss me.  So, if you kiss me as a form of greeting, it’s almost like you’re sympathetically kissing an animal.  I am not an animal.

I try my best to avoid the Greeting Kiss.  I’ll abruptly turn my head.  Sometimes, I’ll kiss back–on the neck.  That’s usually the end of it.  Usually.

HERE’S THE RUB

Some folks like to rub.  Oh, I’m not talking about strippers or masseuses.  This is the guy who will rub your back while talking to you.  Worse, he may walk up behind a woman and rub her shoulders.  He is a lawsuit waiting to happen.  It’s just a matter of time.

I once worked with a woman–a very nice woman–who would do this.  She wasn’t unattractive, but I didn’t like it.  It’s too familiar.  Rub someone you know well–very well.

TOUCH TOO MUCH

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all this touching is that there are very few areas on the human body that are acceptable to touch on another person.  We all know that genitalia are off-limits, at least most of the time and always in social settings. In fact, almost the entire human body is off-limits.  “But,” you say, “we know the hand is acceptable because of the handshake.”  Oh, really?  How about the back of the hand?  When you meet someone, caress the back of his or her hand.  You won’t be introduced to anyone else that evening.

Let’s examine the human back.  Certainly, the buttocks area is off-limits, except in sports where it may be slapped as a form of encouragement.  How about the lower back?  Hmmm.  It doesn’t work, does it?  Imagine the Hugger’s reaction when you grab her lower back and pull her toward you.  Security will remove you shortly thereafter.  The mid-back is perhaps acceptable; however, it makes for an awkward hug.  The upper back is generally okay, as is the shoulder area.

I pride myself on having a typical human back:

johnback

The red line is the line of demarcation indicating the border of acceptable touching area on my back.

The front of the human body is completely off-limits.  There is no way you can rub the tummy of co-worker without violating every sexual harassment rule.  The chest?  C’mon!  No way.  Chest touching is appropriate only for getting to second base or picking a fight.

The side of the torso is a gray area but should be avoided.  It carries with it the connotation that you are grabbing the other person.  Not good.

Below the belt line is also completely taboo–front, back, sides–it doesn’t matter.  There’s no way to do it without causing a scene.

The face and head are out-of-bounds, too, unless for the Greeting Kiss.  Pawing around on someone’s face or head is creepy.  Don’t do it.

What of the neck?  Do we even need to discuss this?  What kind of weirdo are you?

This leaves us with the arms.  They are mostly okay, I suppose, but be careful.  Touching someone’s arm while talking to him or her is usually not offensive or suggestive.  Rubbing that same arm is bad news.

Once you consider the human body and its many untouchable spots, there is no point in all the touchy behavior.  You are tip-toeing around disaster the entire time.  Why take the chance?  You know that the basic handshake is safe. Stick to that.

SO, WHAT’S MY PROBLEM?

At this point, you’re wondering about my psychological well-being.  That’s probably a legitimate concern.  I don’t really have problems with so-called “personal space,” although I will admit that I don’t like crowds, either.  It’s just the touchy stuff.  Before you say “Lighten up, Francis,” consider that I may not be so unusual.

I’ve never been one to engage in public displays of affection, so it’s understandable that I would be reticent to paw around on strangers or mere acquaintances.  Nevertheless, should we ever meet, extend the hand of friendship, and I will gladly shake it.  It’s my way of saying:

I am pleased to meet you and now gladly mash our hands together with no idea whether you’ve washed your hands in the past few days.  I am, however, glad to see that you do not have a weapon. Now, excuse me, while I look for some hand soap.”

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

The Troll’s 2013 NFL Predictions

nfl

Like all right-thinking Americans, I am a football fan.  I am ready for another season of NFL action.  Here are my daring predictions for the 2013 NFL season:

Week 1:  A notable quarterback will run a keeper out of the read option only to learn (too late) that a large and swift defensive end has been waiting for this play since last February.  All NFL teams will wear a black arm patch in memory of the quarterback.

Week 2: The NFL Rules Committee will adopt the Torso Rule requiring all tackles be made between the belt line and shoulders unless the ball carrier grants permission for a hit in another area.

Week 3:  After studying the new tackling rules, NFL legend Jim Brown will come out of retirement and sign with the Browns.  Brown will find the new NFL much tougher than we he last played in 1965.  The 77-year-old Brown will be held to 66 yards rushing in his first game back.

Week 4: Rex Ryan will be fired after the Jets 55-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills.  Ryan will inexplicably bench Mark Sanchez after one play and replace him with a tackling sled.  The sled will lead the Jets to an early field goal, but will have difficulty mastering the playbook, although not as much difficulty as Sanchez.

Week 5:  After being released by the Patriots, Tim Tebow will still be looking for a new team.  Someone will say “All he does is win.”

Week 6:  Al Davis’s family will announce that they are moving his corpse to Los Angeles.

Week 7:  A player will get arrested for DUI.  He will have a frightening mug shot.

Week 8:  Fox’s Super Bowl Pregame show will start.

Week 9:  After the Redskins upset the previously undefeated Broncos 24-17, there are no remaining unbeaten teams.  The 1972 Miami Dolphins will act a bunch of assholes.

Week 10:  Scientists at NFL headquarters will transport the Jacksonville Jaguars back in time to 1972 where the Jags will crush the Dolphins 65-0 in what will be known as The Shut The Eff Up Bowl.

Week 11:  Although it is a bye week for Dallas, Tony Romo will nevertheless throw a late interception knocking Dallas out of the playoff picture.

Week 12:  A Pro Bowl player will be suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.  The player will apologize for using gorilla semen salve, claiming that it was prescribed for syphilis.

Week 13:  Eli Manning will throw an interception and look dull-eyed and stupid in a slow motion replay.

Week 14:  After public outcry, Fox rethinks Bill O’Reilly as Super Bowl play-by-play announcer and replaces him with less offensive Miley Cyrus.

Week 15:  Under cover of darkness, the Cleveland Browns will move to Baltimore again.  This time, no one cares–expect Baltimore.

Week 16:  In a touching halftime ceremony, the Bills retire O.J. Simpson’s prison number.  The NFL also  announces that no future imprisoned NFL player may ever wear the number again.

Week 17:  Ben Roethlisberger will be benched after displaying concussion-like symptoms.  After a thorough examination, NFL doctors will clear him to play, concluding that he’s just not that bright.

Week 18:  With the Patriots in danger of losing home field advantage in the playoffs, Commissioner Roger Goodell will issue a full pardon to Aaron Hernandez.  In a stirring, PCP-fueled performance, Hernandez will score 4 touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a win over Buffalo.  Unfortunately, Hernandez’s comeback will end on a bit of downer, as he shoots and mortally wounds Patriots owner Robert Kraft late in the 4th quarter.

Super Bowl:  The Patriots will beat Green Bay 31-28 on a last second touchdown pass by Tom Brady.  Packer linebacker Clay Matthews will freeze just as he is about to sack Brady to end the game.  After the game, Matthews will say:  “I had him.  Just had him.  Then I locked on to those dreamy eyes.  I just froze, man.  Damn, he’s beautiful.”

These are just the weekly predictions.  There are, of course, things that will happen every week.  These include the following:

  • An official will make a questionable call.
  • Robert Griffin III will hold a press conference to discuss his knee.
  • Jerry Jones will appear on national television.
  • Someone will suffer a concussion.
  • Ray Lewis will be mentioned during the broadcast of the Ravens’ game.
  • A broadcaster will describe a play in terms that make it sound only slightly less complex than the Moon Landing.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals will start at least one player with a checkered criminal history.
  • Rex Ryan will say something just bat-shit crazy.
  • Al Davis will remain dead.
  • Chris Berman’s success will continue to baffle Americans.

There you have it.  Mark my words.  Some or all of this will happen.  Maybe.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Fast Food Follies: A Brief Personal History

Like most, if not all, Americans, I’ve eaten quite a bit of fast food.  Several years ago, I made a concerted effort to eliminate it as a regular part of my diet, and I have done just that.  Nevertheless, I still occasionally dine at these well-known eateries, especially when traveling

I’m not one of those who condemns fast food, mind you.  I don’t even mind the pink slime that became an Internet sensation.  Hey, if it cooks up into something tasty and moderately safe to eat, I’m fine with it.  Fast food gives us consistency.  When you travel for work as I do, it’s comforting to know what you’re ordering.  A Big Mac is a Big Mac whether you order it in Hawaii or Pikeville, Kentucky.

What is fast food?  My definition is that: (1) You must order at a counter or drive thru; (2) The food must be subject to uniform preparation rules; (3) You must pay when you order; (4) the food must be served in paper bags and wrappers; and (5) the restaurant must at least strive to get your food to you quickly (i.e., while standing at the counter or sitting in the drive thru).  I except delis and sub shops from this definition for no reason other than they just don’t seem to fit.  You can come up with your own definition.  I really don’t care. After all, this is about me, not you.

Recently, I was standing in line at a Dairy Queen and pondered how much time I’ve spent waiting for food in one of these establishments.  I gave up trying to figure it out, concluding that it was just a hell of a lot.  It did, though, make me think about my long history with fast food.  It’s been a quite a trip.

RAY KROC WAS A GOOD GUY

Through most of my childhood in Harlan County, Kentucky, we didn’t have fast food.  The closest things were a couple of drive-in restaurants, but they weren’t all that fast.  We did, however, travel outside the county often.  One of the highlights of such treks was passing through Corbin, Kentucky.  Corbin had a McDonald’s.

Dad would always stop and get us something from McDonald’s.  Burgers, McNuggets, Egg McMuffins and french fries–they were fascinating taste treats.  Dad would usually send me in to get the food.  I loved it.

It was  1978, when I was 15 years old, that I had my encounter with Ray Kroc.  For the uninformed, Kroc was the founder of McDonald’s and its CEO for many, many years.  As a young baseball fan, I also knew that he was the owner of the San Diego Padres.  I used this to my advantage.

On the way to a Cincinnati Reds game, we stopped at the Corbin McDonald’s.  I was the only patron at the counter.  The workers ignored me.  They were engaged in some sort of inane banter behind the counter.  Now, you must know that, even as an adolescent, I had a bit of an overblown view of myself.  Thus, I became increasingly agitated. Finally, I said:  “Hey!  Customer here!!”  The young lady at the register gave me a look of contempt and said “Just a second” and continued talking.  Eventually, she took my order, but I was incensed.  So, I wrote Ray Kroc a letter.

I had a written quite a few fans letters to baseball players.  So, I knew that a letter addressed to “San Diego Padres, Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, California” would get to Ray.  I wrote him and told him of the vile treatment I received.  I typed the letter, so as not to indicate that I was a sullen teenager.  It was heartfelt and my indignation dripped from it.

What I didn’t expect was that he would read it.  He did, and he wrote back:

IMG

Ray was none too pleased with the laggards in Corbin.

As you can see, he wasn’t happy. As Ray promised, I also got a letter from a Regional Manager for McDonald’s.  He said that he had heard from Mr. Kroc and offered his apologies (and gift certificates).  The manager of the restaurant wrote me too (with gift certificates, of course).  I felt like kind of big deal.  It took us a long time to use all those gift certificates.

Ray Kroc was a generous man, leaving millions to charity when he died.  He was pretty cool, too.

GOD SAVE THE (BURGER) QUEEN

To the best of my recollection, Harlan County’s first fast food restaurant was Burger Queen.  That’s not a typo– Queen, not King.  Its logo looked like this:

burgerqueen

As you might expect, they sold burgers.  They were thin little meat patties mashed between a tasteless bun.  They were exceptionally salty, too.  BQ also sold mediocre fried chicken.  The Cherry Sprites, by contrast, were excellent.  We loved the place.

(Okay, I know you Harlan Countians out there will point out that we had a Kentucky Fried Chicken first, but I just can’t count that.  I don’t know why–maybe it’s the lack of burgers).

For you young folks, fast food restaurants used keep piles of burgers under heat lamps–no microwave ovens.  If you wanted anything non-standard, you had to wait.  I am well-known for my aversion to condiments–mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.  These befoul burgers and are unacceptable.  BQ struggled with this concept.  I always ordered two plain cheeseburgers, and they rarely got it straight.

One day, I met a couple of friends at BQ.  I ordered my burgers and took them to the table.  I unwrapped them, and-of course–they were smeared with ketchup, mustard and pickles–all the crap which would trigger my gag reflex.

My disgust showed immediately, drawing the attention of another patron, a rather rough-looking fellow with long, greasy hair.  He walked to our table and asked:  “Did they f–k up your order, buddy?”  I said “Yeah, they were supposed to be plain.”  My new friend advised:  “Look here, take them damn burgers up there and stomp on ’em right in front of that bitch! I’ll do it for you, by God!”  Despite the appeal, I declined his suggestion.  I did get a couple of new burgers, though.

That’s my Burger Queen story.  It’s not much of a story, but that’s it.  Burger Queen became Druther’s (slogan–“I’d Ruther Go to Druther’s“), but it was pretty much the same food.  Druther’s died out, except for one left in Campbellsville, Kentucky.  I know.  I saw it in the summer of 2012:

Druthers_IMG2008

I asked a local about it, and he said it was the last one.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I’d like to think so.

FAST BUT NOT FRIENDLY

When I was in high school, Harlan experienced a bit of a fast food revolution.  Kentucky Fried Chicken and Druthers were joined by Wendy’s.  Pizza Hut also came on board, sort of a fast food pizza palace.  My friends and I made use of Druther’s, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s as hangouts–sometimes in the parking lot but often inside.  Three or four of us would order Cokes and we’d sit there for hours (maybe it just seemed like hours).  We weren’t really good customers, and we weren’t always welcome.  A tale from Wendy’s illustrates the point.

Late one night, two friends and I were sitting at a table in Wendy’s, nursing our colas.  I was pouring salt into a pile on the table while we discussed the news of the day.  At some point, I asked if perhaps we should order something else in order to justify our presence.  One of my cohorts remarked:  “Hey, we bought Cokes.  They can’t make us leave.”  One of the employees at the business end of push broom heard this remark and said:  “Then, you can sweep up this f—ing mess, you mother——s!”  We took this as a subtle cue to leave, only to discover that we were locked in! While we fumbled with the lock, our former hostess hurled more invectives our way. One of my companions, in an ill-conceived effort to defuse the situation, said:  “Look, bitch, why don’t you just fly away on that f—ing broom?!?!” The end result was that we were banned from Wendy’s.  It has been over 30 years, and I have never set foot in that establishment since.  As far as I know, the ban did not extend to all Wendy’s.  I’m please to say that I have been to many others over the years without incident.

Today, I occasionally encounter unfriendly workers.  You know them, too, I’m sure.  They blankly stare at you with what my father called a “hang-dog” look on their faces.  They mutely take your order, perhaps muttering a disingenuous “welcome” after you thank them.  I try not to be offended.  They don’t like their jobs and no civility on my part will change that.

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID

The old military acronym KISS or “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” applies to dealing with fast food establishments. My aversion to condiments makes this difficult for me.  For example, here’s a recent exchange with a McDonald’s employee:

HER:  Can I help you?

ME:  Two Angus Snack Wraps.  No onion or sauce please.

HER:  Do you want cheese?

ME:  Well, yes.  No onion and no sauce, though.

HER:  Do you want lettuce?

ME:  Yes, yes.  Lettuce is fine. No onion.  No sauce.

Here’s what I got:  Two Snack Wraps with no cheese but onions.  I blame myself.  I threw off the order of the fast food system.  It isn’t designed for gadflies like me.

Another thing is that I’m confident that they spit on special orders.  I try to keep it simple.  If there is something festooned with all manner of objectionable toppings, I just avoid it.

TAKING THE FAST OUT OF FAST FOOD

One obvious advantage of fast food is the fast part.  We knowingly trade careful food preparation for speed and uniformity.  We want our food quickly–at least I do.

Here’s a suggestion for everyone.  If you and–say–5 of your family members walk up to the counter, take note if there is a lone person behind you.  Allow that person and his simple, one-person order to go ahead of you.  Think of it as the fast food equivalent of playing through in golf.  Likewise, if you are a lone patron but are placing an order for scads of other people, be considerate of those behind you. Many of us are impatient and explosively violent when our patience is taxed.

Another suggestion is to have your act together when you order.  If you need to ponder the menu and consult others before ordering, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO ORDER! Get the Hell out of the way!  I just can’t stress this point enough.  It’s a fast food restaurant.  The menu should be well-known to you.  There are even pictures of all the food on the wall, for God’s sake.  It can’t be all that confusing.  Your family members should also get their heads out of their…well, you get it.  If you must have a family meeting at the register, you should be at home eating together in order to become more familiar with your family’s eating habits.

The restaurants themselves can help us, too.  How about having more than one person working at the register?  I fully understand why only one person can take orders at the drive-thru.  When only person takes orders inside, this happens:

mcdonalds

Your author is tormented by one register plus a confused family placing order.  Note the obvious disgust of the arthritic biker in front of me.

If our society is to continue to function, this kind of thing can’t be allowed. I’m confident that the Roman Empire’s decay began over something like this.

CONVENIENCE

Convenience is the great calling card of fast food.  Believe it or not, there was a time when you could drive great distances in America without finding decent food–unless you were lucky enough to encounter a Stuckey’s.  Now, we have fast food at almost every Interstate exit and in most towns of any size.

The restaurants also have restrooms, and most of them are reasonably clean.  If one must make a–[ahem]–major transaction, cleanliness is paramount.  There are no condom machines in them, either.  I have never been comfortable with the public condom machine.  What kind of person uses those?  Worse yet, I don’t want to be confined in a men’s room with one of those folks.  I have nightmares of washing my hands when I glance some demented drifter in the mirror opening a condom.  While we have many fine truck stops in our great land, the combination of condom machines and showers just makes me uncomfortable for obvious reasons.

You are also fairly safe to nap in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.  What?  You don’t do that?  Well, you should.  Napping at a rest area or truck stop is just an invitation to a serial killer.

THE FUTURE

Despite pleas from the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama, I suspect that fast food is here to stay.  I’m fine with that.  Technological advances will likely make the food faster and better for our children and grandchildren.  I envision a day when lobster tails, deadly blow fish and prime beef will be served to me by pimply faced teenagers and ex-cons.  I also hope that someone will perfect my idea of the “reverse” microwave oven which freezes hot things in seconds.  I’m not sure how they’d use it, but I’m sure someone will figure it out.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to indulge my weakness for Dairy Queen’s Reese’s Cup Blizzard and McDonald’s French fries.

Remember, too, that a lot of folks working behind the counter don’t like their jobs. Someday, robots will take our orders.  Until then, teenagers and part-time workers will have to do. Be courteous, unless of course they’ve made you wait too long.  After all, it is fast food.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Five Parenting Myths–or Lies (According to Me)

I’ve been a parent for over 20 years now.  I’ve also been a child for 51 years.  So, I know a thing or two about parents and children.  Experience is, after all, the best teacher.

I don’t listen to parenting advice, because most of it is useless.  I also haven’t done any research on parenting, except for my own hands-on research with three sons.  As a result, anything you read here should be taken with a grain of salt.  It’s unlikely that I know any more than you do, unless you don’t have children.  In that case, I know more about parenting than you will EVER know, unless you end up having kids.  As an aside, if you have dogs, I’m fine with that, but it doesn’t count unless you have to send your dog to college or it learns to drive a car.

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of stuff about parenting.  Most of it is wrong, at least for me.  As a service to my fellow parents and future members of the club, here are the Five Myths of Parenting:

1.  PARENTING IS THE HARDEST JOB YOU’LL EVER HAVE

I guess this is possible, depending on what kind of job you have.  I’m a lawyer, and it’s a pretty hard job.  I’ve worked long hours under tremendous stress.  Parenting isn’t nearly that stressful.

Have you ever heard of a “belt mucker?”  That’s a job in a coal mine where you clean up coal spills on the conveyor belt line.  You use a shovel.  Often, you work bent over or on your knees because there isn’t room to stand up.  Sometimes, the mine floor is so wet that you have to use buckets to clean up the coal and muck.  It’s a hard, hard job–much harder than being a lawyer and a hell of a lot harder than taking care of children.

Watch the film The Hurt Locker.  Think about being on a bomb squad in Iraq.  Helping Johnny with his homework doesn’t seem so tough, does it?

I saw a guy pumping out a port-a-potty the other day.   I bet he wouldn’t mind doing your kid’s laundry.

None of this means being a parent is easy.  Nothing worthwhile is easy.  Nevertheless, there’s a huge gulf between easy and the most difficult thing on Earth.  If parenting is the hardest job you’ve ever done, chances are you’re doing it all wrong.

2.  YOU MUST DO THE BEST YOU KNOW HOW TO DO

We all like to think we’re doing our very best in raising our children.  That’s a lofty goal, but it’s not true nor is it necessary.  Is there anything you do that you always do the best you know how to do?  How about your job?  C’mon.  Everyone slacks off at work.  You take vacations don’t you?

The thing about parenting is that you’re always on the clock.  We all take breaks on occasion, and that’s okay.  Ever park your kid in front of the television?  I have.  My oldest son used to be hypnotized by Barney.  We need that sometimes.  Who among hasn’t sent one of the kids to a neighbor’s house just for some peace and quiet?  Again, it’s okay.

Here’s what we should do all the time:  Stuff. Something. Anything (assuming it’s not harmful).  Make your kids dinner, even if it’s crappy.  Ask them about school, even if you really don’t give a damn at the moment.  Feign interest in what they’re doing, even when you are much more concerned about yourself.    Go to their ball games despite them being poorly played or your kid not being any good.  Act like you’re interested.  Maybe this is the best we can do, but that’s doubtful.

Just do stuff.  Half-ass is okay.  Often, you’ll be totally on your parenting game and fully engaged.  When you’re not, just do stuff.

3.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD’S SUCCESS

This is a double-edged lie–that you are responsible for the success of your children and the converse that you are to blame for their failures.  Although you can make substantial contributions to either outcome, you can’t truthfully claim credit.

Your kids are people–human beings even.  They make decisions.  They don’t listen well.  Some of them, despite being otherwise fine children, rebel against your advice.  I was like that.  If told to do something, I spent all my energy on finding another way to do it.  The older they get, the worse it gets, too.  Have you ever tried to force someone to do something?  It’s not easy.

Maybe your kid does well, because you’re the greatest parent on Earth.  Then again, maybe your kid has certain natural strengths and exploits them.  I have two sons who are excellent athletes.  Why?  They were born that way.  Another of my sons is as smart as anyone I’ve ever met.  It’s just how he is.  I didn’t train him to be that way.

Let’s say you send your kid to only the best schools.  Here’s a little secret that your kid probably hasn’t shared with you.  Kids at the best schools drink, take drugs and have sex with each other.  They do. If your kid wants to find a bad crowd, it’s right there.  You can provide opportunities for your son or daughter, but if he or she does well, give credit where credit is due–and it ain’t to you!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to provide the best for your kids–schools, clothes, houses, etc.–consider that your kids have many advantages.  In fact, they should do well under those conditions.  If you’re born on third base, you didn’t hit a triple.

The other side is that your kid may do very poorly.  Do you want the blame for that?  I sure wouldn’t.  The good news is that it’s probably not your fault.  Oh, you may play a part, just like with the successes.  You may be one of those despicable parents who do nothing for their kids.  If so, you’ve laid the groundwork.  Ultimately, though, your kid gets to own his or her failures.

Another reminder–here’s what you can do:  Something.  Just do something.  Try.  Give them some direction.  Set a good example.  Help them when they need help.  Be sure they go to the doctor.  Feed them.  Clothe them.  Just put forth a little effort.  Something is better than nothing.

4.  YOU MUST PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN

I’m not suggesting that you ignore your children.  Of course, we all should try to shield our children from harm and do no harm to them ourselves.  That’s not the same as insulating them from the world.  That just can’t be done.

Nowadays, we’re bombarded with terrifying scenarios:  drug abuse, pedophiles, bullies, Internet stalkers, ungodly schools and general evil.  It would be nice to just spare our kids all of this.  You can’t.  I can’t.  We can’t.  The world has a lot of rough edges.  And that is where we all have to live.  Sorry, but that’s how it is.  If your kid gets bullied or just does something disappointing, it’s not because of bad parenting.  It’s what happens in the world.  Deal with the consequences, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you can smooth off all those rough edges.

We can’t hide our kids.  Bad things can happen to kids, just like adults.  Illness, accidents–even death befall kids.  Everyone who dies is someone’s child, you know.  Now, I realize this will step on toes, but even God won’t protect your kids from the world.  What makes you think you can?

If something bad befalls your kids, it’s not your fault–unless you did it.  The world is a tough place.

Again, do stuff.  You won’t always do the best you can, but do stuff.  Every little bit helps.

5.  YOUR CHILDREN MUST BE YOUR NO. 1 PRIORITY

This is another lofty goal, but unrealistic for all but the truly deranged.  Think about it.  If your kids really are your Number 1 priority, that means they rank ahead of you; your spouse,  faith and job; and everything else.  If you have more than one child, you have to spread this maniacal devotion among multiple targets.  That’s a tall order.

I’ve heard many people say “My children come first.”  I doubt that’s true or even should be.  For example, I have a job and need it to feed, clothe and shelter my kids.  If I always put them before my job, I’ll soon be unemployed and spending ALL my time with them.

Are you married?  If so, you might think about making your spouse a top priority.  Here’s a radical thought for many:  Sometimes, your spouse should be your top priority.  If your kids rank ahead of your spouse, you probably have a fairly toxic relationship going on there.  Good luck.

There’s also a fine line between prioritizing your kids and making them think they are the most important people on Earth.  The latter is not good.  Kids are already self-centered ego maniacs.  They believe that the world exists for their entertainment.  Reinforce that for them, and pretty soon you’ll have little monsters.

Try this for a more realistic ideal.  Your kids should be a top priority.  Keep them in mind.  Just don’t let them choose the dinner menu or decide what time they go to bed or what the family watches on TV.  Just pay some attention to them.  My kids want my time–not all my time.  Just some of it.

So, I can sum up all I know about parenting with this:  Do stuff.  Some of it will be really good and pay off.  Some of it won’t.  One day, your kids will have kids and know just as little you do.  Then, they’ll think you’re a genius and may even seek your advice.  Do stuff.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Talking Pointers: Steps to Speaking Good

One of my first blog posts was my seminal piece on the art of small talk. Although no one will admit it, I believe that it has shaped a generation’s approach to mindless nattering with total strangers. Likewise, my tome on the keys to success  swept the nation in the same sort of low-key manner.  As the voice of my generation, I now offer simple steps to effective speaking.

As a lawyer, I speak in public. It neither thrills nor frightens me. It’s just what I have to do on occasion. Sometimes, I speak in court hearings and trials. Occasionally I deliver talks to attorneys or other unfortunates on such topics as legalizing child labor and the law of Internet pornography. Of course, I’m joking–those topics might actually fascinate some people. My topics are more obscure–even arcane. As a result, am I forced to spice up my presentations with such things as this clip for the classic film Road House. You might think that would be difficult to work in to a talk about coal mine safety, but I did it.

You may not have a good speaker voice.  Don’t worry.  I don’t, either.  It’s not necessary to sound like Morgan Freeman.  But, if you do, you don’t need any of these pointers.  People will listen to you just to hear your voice.  The rest of us need help.

What makes a good speaker? I’m not sure that I qualify as one, but I’ve heard some good ones in my time. Beyond my earlier observations on chit-chat, speaking takes many forms–both public and private. Over the years, I have become at least competent in my communication skills. Thus, I want to offer my suggestions and observations.

SPEAK CLEARLY

My wife accuses me of mumbling. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky where mumbling is an accepted form of communication, and I make no apologies for that. I would note that I believe my wife has significant hearing loss, perhaps from stress fractures to the delicate bones in her ears caused by cranial vibration induced by her own shrill screaming. That debate is best left for another forum. However, my father–who was almost completely deaf–always accused my mother of mumbling. So there. Where was I?

You want to speak with a loud, clear voice. If possible, speak louder than everyone else. In this way, you will be authoritative and sound like you are “in the know.” Here is an example:

THEM: I heard that [INSERT NAME OF POLITICIAN].

YOU: HE’S A COMPLETE IDIOT!!!

By subtly insinuating yourself into the discussion, you have commandeered the conversation. Also, your insight will persuade others to join your “side” of the discussion. You come away looking knowledgeable while your unfortunate friend is branded a gadfly or even a simpleton.

This tip is vitally important if you encounter someone who doesn’t speak English. This can happen with no warning–unless you are a bigot engaged in racial profiling. Recently, at a fast food restaurant, I was approached by a young man who addressed me in a language that no sane person could understand. He may have been asking me a question. He could have been cursing God for all I know. I offered this response: “Do you speak English?” He misunderstood and prattled on. I then took control of the conversation by fairly yelling: “DO…YOU…SPEAK…ENGLISH?” He said “No” and walked away. There are two important lessons here: 1) It’s possible that people who don’t speak your native tongue may understand it if your scream it slowly; and 2) No one likes being yelled at, even in a foreign language.

Note, too, that yelling may even work with the deaf. Once, a man handed me a card which read: “I AM DEAF. NEED MONEY FOR FOOD.” I yelled: “SORRY. I CAN’T HELP YOU.” He pointed at his ears and walked away. See, it works.

Most importantly, you might know my wife. She doesn’t like mumbling. You know how she is.

CURSING

Whether it’s called cursing, swearing or potty mouth, foul language has long been condemned by skilled speakers. I once read that repeated cursing chops up one’s message rendering it nothing but a series of short, disconnected thoughts. Your larger message is lost.

To this advice, I say BULLSHIT! Many times, such language is all that can adequately deliver your message. More often, it can set the tone for your entire oratory. Here is an example. Let us suppose that you are asked to give a talk at your church. Naturally, you lack formal religious training. At best, you will make a fool of yourself. At worst, you will offend both the parishioners and God Himself. One approach would be to memorize a few scriptures and meditate upon them in prayer, asking for the right words. Good luck with that. Another approach is to immediately grab your listeners with an opening salvo along these lines:

LISTEN UP, YOU BUNCH OF MOTHER—-ERS!!

The congregation will be rocked by this forceful opening. They will immediately think “There must be a strong message from the Lord to follow.” You can then launch into a recklessly inaccurate sermon peppered with occasional obscenities that will hold the listener’s attention.

This approach works in casual conversation as well. Nothing will impress your friends more than your adroit use of all manner of filth. Let’s say you are in a conversation with someone far more educated than you. You make a casual comment about, say, the invention of the linotype machine, which you foolishly attribute to Grover Cleveland. Your friend says “Well, the linotype was actually invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler.” What do you do now? You could stare at your feet and excuse yourself from the conversation. Here is the better approach: Lock eyes with your friend and declare: “YOU, SIR, ARE GODDAMNED LIAR!!” (be sure to speak loudly as advised above). You have turned the tables on Mr. Know-It-All. Not only have you challenged his assertion, you have done so in a way that calls into question his credibility in general. Bystanders, unconcerned as they might be with the inanity of the topic, will view you as man with whom to be reckoned. You can bet that no one will take exception to you again in a public setting.

KNOW YOUR TOPIC

I can’t stress this one enough. No manner of loud swearing is an adequate substitute for knowing your subject matter. This is especially so if, like me, there are people who actually believe you know about certain things. If you have been in that unenviable position, you know it almost impossible to know enough about anything to intelligently speak for more than 5 minutes or so.

One approach is to research and carefully study your topic. Okay, that will work if you have no life and want to waste what precious time you have on the planet on such endeavors. Another approach is to pay someone who does know about the topic to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for you. Then, you can simply babble from slide to slide until your allotted time has been used up.

Another approach is to simply make up your talk from whole cloth. In the legal profession, this is especially effective. Usually, I speak at continuing legal education seminars where no one listens anyway. I can say anything! Almost no one listens, and the few who do don’t know anymore than I do. If someone asks me a question, I can either make up something or simply fire back “SHUT THE F— UP!”

The same pointers work in casual conversation.  Ignorance has never shut anyone up as far as I know.  As long as you talk incessantly, loudly and obscenely, you’re bound to say something close to accurate.  Again, remember:  Few people listen to you anyway.  Thus, it’s never what you say that matters.  It’s how you say it.

USE AN ACCENT

I have an accent. It’s Eastern Kentucky. Sadly, no matter what I say, to many people it sounds dumb. That’s because they think Eastern Kentuckians are dumb. You probably have an accent, too, unless you are from Nebraska or Kansas or some other accent-less part of the country. If you are a foreigner, you almost certainly have an accent, and it may be a really good one.

If you have a bad one, try another. British always works. Have you ever heard the BBC News? Everything sounds important. The moment the word “schedule” (SHED-yule) slides across your tongue, everything you say will sound authoritative. Consider Madonna. She is from Michigan but speaks with a British accent. How about eccentric actor Johnny Depp? Like me, he is from Kentucky, yet he has a vague, non-specific Euro accent. Neither of these marvelous entertainers is well-educated, but both sound erudite and informed. Isn’t that the whole point of speaking aloud?

There are many other accents available. Spanish, for example, sounds worldly and sophisticated. A word of caution–unless you master it, you may sound like Tony Montana and terrify the listener. This isn’t good unless that’s your goal. There are pluses and minuses of other accents:

Scottish: Kinda British but less understandable. You’ll sound friendly, if a tad odd.

Canadian:  You’ll sound like a plain, white American, except you’ll say “aboot” instead of “about.”  I’m not sure how that will help you.

Irish: Also possibly incomprehensible, plus the listener may believe you to be under the influence of strong drink. Has the plus side of being sort of funny.

German: You will sound commanding and more than a little frightening. Especially effective with curse words. If you actually speak the German language, everything sounds like cursing.

Russian: Extra terrifying. Great if you like to pretend to be spy.

Swedish: Goofy, but good if you don’t want the listener to understand you.

Australian: A rougher form of the British accent. You’ll sound less intelligent but considerably more dangerous.

Asian: Just avoid this one. The prospect of speaking stereotypical pidgin English is too great. Also, if you’re not, in fact, Asian, the listener will simply believe you are odd.

My accent is not always a drawback. The Eastern Kentucky accent adds just the right tone to such rejoinders as “I’ll whip your ass” or “What the hell are you looking at?” No Brit can deliver such messages with the same force.

GRAMMAR

Good grammar is good and important, at least according to my late mother. I don’t really know nothing about that, so I’ll move on.

USE THE RIGHT WORD

Some suggest using simple words. I guess this is good advice if you spend your time speaking to morons who are unlikely to understand anything you say anyway. I suggest using poorly understood words like sardonic, disaffected, nonplussed and irregardless. That way, you appear superior to the listener. Even if you don’t know what these words mean, use them anyway. No one else understands them, either.

You might say of an acquaintance:  “Carl just don’t give a shit about nothing.”  Admittedly, that’s an effective use of an expletive; however, consider this alternative:  “Carl has a disaffected attitude about everything.”  Have you praised or insulted Carl?  It’s hard to say, isn’t it?  The listener can be the judge.

Call someone obsequious or an opsimath. You can refer to this post as an amphigory.  Accuse someone of being an irresponsible jackanapes. I like to call people wastrels, slugabeds and layabouts.  Don’t bother looking up the definitions.  Just use them.

The use of indecipherable language might seem counterintuitive.  It is true that such use is unwise in the rare event that you want to be understood.  If you want to make an impression, though, there is no better way than to talk like you’re smarter than everyone else.  Do you want to be understood by complete idiots or by smart people?

CONCLUSION

Most of us have much to say but lack the skills to say it.  Honing your verbal skills is the key to making yourself heard, if not understood.  Now, go out there and talk to someone.

You may have found my advice inconsistent and even useless.  If so, so be it.  Better yet, JUST SHUT THE… .  You get it.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Be Fun and Offensive with My Family Lexicon

I recently had the dubious honor of listening to a self-important gas-bag blow about the poor grammar of my native Eastern Kentuckians.   While much of what he said is true, one could persuasively argue that it is more a dialectic question than one of grammar.  I’m not a linguist, so that’s beyond my analytical ability.  It did get me thinking, though, about how we all speak and how it is influenced by our surroundings.  For example, my mother railed against poor grammar, although I was not particularly receptive, peppering my language with my fair share of “ain’ts” and double-negatives.  (Whenever I hear a double-negative, I hear my mother’s voice:  “If you ‘don’t have no’ you really have some.”).  I realized that my family had its own language, which may not have been well-understood outside our small circle.

My father was the font of most of our peculiar dialect–a combination of sayings, words and colloquialisms. Here are some of the terms and sayings I learned growing up (and as an adult) which my family used liberally.

CRYIN’ RUBE:  Dad had a cousin named Ruby who, by all accounts, cried at the slightest provocation.  Thus, she was known as “Cryin’ Rube.” This pejorative was reserved for times when one of us kids cried for no good reason.  “Be quiet, Cryin’ Rube” or “Don’t be a Cryin’ Rube” would be Dad’s frequent response.  I’ve said it to my kids, but they don’t get it.

H.G.:  HG was another of Dad’s cousins.  One summer in the 1930’s, HG stayed with Dad’s family.  He was, as Dad said, a “muscle head.” (see definition below).  Dad described him as a “goofy-looking boy.” One day, HG was dancing on the front porch swinging a curtain rod around like a sword.  While dancing, HG inadvertently stuck the curtain rod into an empty light socket.  He was blown off his feet.  If I did something really stupid, Dad might refer to me as HG.  To be HG meant you exercised poor judgment or were just generally annoying.

MUSCLE HEAD:  We didn’t coin this term, but Dad used it often.  Essentially, it means that rather than having functioning brain matter, your skull is full of useless muscle.  This was often shortened to simple “muscle,” as in “Listen here, muscle….”

THE ROUNDTABLE:  The roundtable is where you sit when you have arrived.  You only get a seat if you are qualified (see Portfolio below).  “You are now at the roundtable” was perhaps Dad’s highest praise.  Impostors or wastrels need not even consider approaching the roundtable.  It’s invitation only.

PORTFOLIO:  Your portfolio is a list of your accomplishments, qualifications and general worthiness.  To be “without portfolio” was Dad’s way of saying that you just don’t measure up.  There is no room for you at the Roundtable.  In his later years, Dad was fond of saying (and saying and saying…) “I am my portfolio.  My portfolio is I.”  Outside immediately family, I doubt that was well understood.  My brother and I knew he meant that he would stand on his own accomplishments.  We knew this because he also said “I will stand on my portfolio.”  What really taught us was we call The Parable of the Washer Woman.  It went something like this:

If you are invited to the Roundtable, you will be judged on your portfolio.  If the washer woman approaches the Roundtable, they will review her portfolio, too.  “Let’s see, here, hmmm.  What are your accomplishments?  You are a WASHER WOMAN!  OUT!”  She is without portfolio.  If you have portfolio, you will get your seat, but you will earn your place.”

At this point, I should note that my father had no prejudice against washer women.  He was simply emphasizing that not everyone could sit at the Roundtable.  The titular washer woman lacked portfolio; thus, for her own good, she need not approach the Roundtable.  My brother and I understood.  Oddly, the first time my brother heard this, he thought it was a true story and was horrified by the treatment of the poor washer woman.  Don’t let that cause you to question my brother’s portfolio.  He has portfolio.  Dad said so.

HORSE FACE CUMPTON:  It would help if you had known my maternal grandparents, which is unlikely.  They were the finest of people but almost like a comedian team.  Papaw had a penchant for long, detailed stories which Mammaw constantly interrupted with irrelevant comments and questions.  Here is where Horse Face arose:

Papaw:  “When I worked in the mines at Benham, I worked with this fellow…”

Mammaw:  “Ireland (pronounced “Arlen”), who was he?”

Papaw:  “Muriel (pronounced “Merle”), you didn’t know him.  Anyway…”

Mammaw:  “What was his name, Ireland?”

Papaw:  “You didn’t know him, Muriel.  Back to  my story.  This fellow…”

Mammaw:  “I knew everyone at Benham, Ireland.”

Papaw:  “MURIEL, HE WAS A MAN NAMED HORSE FACE CUMPTON!!  THERE!!”

Mammaw:  “Horse Face Cumpton?  Hmmm.  That name rings a bell.”

Maybe that’s not funny to you, but you didn’t know Mammaw, did you?  She was the same person who once asked a lady with the last name of Pigg if she was related to the Hogg family in Letcher County.

Anytime that I’m interrupted trying to tell a story, I feel the urge to yell “HORSE FACE CUMPTON!”  Sometimes, I do, and no one understands.

UNEMPLOYABLE:  We all know this word, but few of us use it as a noun.  Dad did, as in “He is an unemployable.”  Dad put great stock in people having jobs and, more importantly, being willing and able to have a job.  Likewise, he considered helping get someone a job to be the greatest kindness one can offer.  He referred to some folks as “unemployables.”  I have adopted this as part of my vocabulary.  One word of caution, be careful about when you use it. People don’t like being called that.

One night I called Dad and asked what he’d been doing.  He said “I just returned from speaking to a group of unemployables.”  I still hope that he didn’t really call them that during his talk.

LOWEST OF TRASH:  I’ve written before about my mother’s use of this term.  It’s bad enough to compare a human to refuse but adding to that the “lowest” of such human garbage is harsh indeed.  Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all that applies.

BANK SHOES:  No, these aren’t worn by bankers.  These are shoes fit only for wearing on a river bank.

STREAK OF THE CREEK:  Dad’s way of saying that you might be too backward to make it in the modern world.  “It’s hard to wash off a streak of the creek.”

SIMPLETON:  Again, not an original but so frequently used that it became part of my vocabulary.  It’s similar to “wastrel,” a word no one uses anymore.  Dad used it.  So do I.

KNUCKLEHEAD:  No doubt, this came from our family love for the Three Stooges.  Can be used interchangeably with “loggerhead” or “numbskull.”

DAFT:  Like wastrel, this fell out of favor a couple of hundred years ago, but we liked it.

THUMBS:  A pejorative term used for a clumsy person, as in “Be careful there, Thumbs!”  “Ox” or “Oxy” can also be used.

HORSEY:  A rather unattractive woman, usually large.  “She’s a big horsey woman.”  I try to avoid this one.  It just doesn’t go over well.

THIS ISN’T A HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE:  Another one of Dad’s which he adopted late in his life.  Translation:  Regardless of how inane or plain wrong what I am saying may be, do not take exception to anything I say, boy.  Ever.

HUMMAQUEER:  My brothers and I and our cousin were riding in a car with Mom on a drive in Utah.  We were discussing someone and Mom wanted to ask this question:  Is he a homosexual?  Now, bear in mind that this was several decades ago before “gay” was in common usage in our part of the world.  Also, I doubt Mom had ever said the word “homosexual.”  In fact, it’s unlikely that she had ever said “sexual” in mixed company.  To her credit, she wanted to prove she was “with it.”  Here is how the question was actually asked:

Do you think he’s one of those, uh, you know, uh…humma…humma…uh…hummaqueers?

You may be offended by this.  If so, my mother has been dead for many years now and likely wouldn’t have cared about your opinion anyway.  Of course, if that does offend you, then you certainly will be offended by the question my cousin asked her:  “Is that anything like a fagsexual?”

Political correctness and common decency prevent the use of hummaqueer these days.  That’s a good thing, but I still think it sometimes.

THAT CAT LOVES IT UP THERE:  Another cousin of mine was a rambunctious child.  After a long car ride, he leapt from the car, grabbed my Mammaw’s cat and threw it up on the roof of my grandparents’ house.  As he was being scolded, he shouted:  “THAT CAT LOVES IT UP THERE!”  This always comes to mind whenever I do something inexplicable and don’t have a good excuse.  For example, I once kicked in my son’s bedroom door and immediately thought, well, you get the picture.

This is just a partial list.  There were, too, the requisite cautionary tales and the tales of woe (walking to school, no new clothes, no Christmas presents, eating mush, etc.) all parents tell.  I’m sure your family has its own distinct vocabulary.  Think for a moment about the names you gave your grandparents–Grandpa, Pappy, MeeMaw, Moo Moo, Granny, etc..  Consider, too, the various humorous family terms for bodily functions and genitalia.  You can easily make your own Family Thesaurus and Dictionary.  If you’re foreign, you can even do a bi-lingual version.  Try it.  You’ll have fun.

Now, back to the Roundtable.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

My Random Inner-Dialogue

I don’t get too worked about the news.  At my age (almost 51), I am supposed to huff and pontificate about the news of the world.  I just don’t.  This may be where my narcissism pays dividends.  Most of what I read just doesn’t get my attention.  There are exceptions, of course.

Larry King used to do a column where he strung together random thoughts about everything.  It was like reading someone’s inner monologue.  I think he wrote that for USA Today.  Earlier in his career, he did a similar column for The Sporting News, except it was limited to sports. The Bob and Tom radio show parodies it to great effect.   I’ve decided that I will do that occasionally.  Here goes.my brief comments on the things on my mind these days:

The Yankees would rather have a team full of Steve Howe copycats than one Alex Rodriguez...Hope Edward Snowden enjoys Russia where dissent is embraced…Speaking of which, FREE PUSSY RIOT ! (I just like saying that)…Did you know that the Royal Family’s real name is Saxe-Coburg and Gotha?  Can’t blame them for changing it to Windsor…I’m guessing that almost no one can find Benghazi on a map–I know I can’t…We gave King George III a “royal” ass-beating.  Hope Prince Georgie remembers that…Ryan Braun just looks like someone I wouldn’t like…Seems like Amanda Bynes needs therapy…If my son gets another tattoo, I’m going to carve out one of the other ones…When did the IRS start picking on people?…

On Wednesday, I saw a guy with a huge goiter–that’s just not necessary these days…Ariel Castro will find that the last 1000 years in prison really flies by…If you’ve had testicular torsion, I know your pain…Marcus Vick offered a $1000 bounty on Riley Cooper–where the Hell did he get $1000?…This Whitey Bulger seems like a bad sort…If you see only one movie this year, it probably shouldn’t star Adam Sandler…Don’t ever let someone punch you in the throat…I’ve never seen a single episode of any of the sundry CSI TV shows…Bud Selig looks like an unmade bed…There is almost no chance that I am the biological father of Megan Fox’s children…I dare you to burn your own car…You can’t put a good spin on stomping a vagrant…Lindsay Lohan has a lot of freckles…There is a woman at my gym so pretty that she makes me want to weep…

Mama June on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo looks remarkably like Fat Elvis…I have a wart on my hand that  is impervious to modern medicine…I know a guy who got shot by cop.  He said it hurt like Hell…Say what you will, but Carlos Danger is a kick-ass name…I’ve never felt like dancing…If you can run a 4.4 40 yard dash, you should play a sport…Road House is a perfect film…Typing is the only thing I retained from high school…Rabbits have razor-sharp teeth…I’ve never had a problem with gluten…Fred Gwynne was a good actor…Tina Fey is quite fetching…Politics aside, Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Bachmann are both repellant…Glenn Campbell is a hell of a guitar player…I met Chuck NorrisCaptain Kangaroo, too…I currently have a headache…I don’t sleep well, except for napping…I like Reese’s Cup Blizzards…My wife is more attractive than I am…So are my kids…My Granny had a dog named Mousie…Juggling is very difficult to master…I’ve never had a good vomiting experience…I believe everyone has thought about robbing a bank…If there were a medicine to make my hands bigger, I’d take it…Sometimes, I hear voices, but they’re friendly…I haven’t punched a wall in a long time…I would make for a really homely woman…Rob Lowe, though, would be beautiful…

Why can’t people on TV hear me?…I can influence the outcome of sporting events…My vote counts…I’d kill Wolverine in a fight…Women who don’t find me attractive are lesbians…Is Claude Akins dead?…Aquaman is an idiotic superhero…

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…Sham a lam a ding dong…Who do you think you’re talking to?…They’re always talking about me…What are you looking at?…

Boy, that didn’t turn out like I expected.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.  I’ll just keep this stuff to myself from now on.

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