Friday, June 30, 2017

Mark's Thoughts, June 2017

I do this every year around this time; it seems like a good time to take a break for a minute, like when you're picking crabs and you need to go wash your hands, visit Tinkletown and let your snout cool off a minute. As I sit here tonight and watch the cascading cavalcade of thoughts parade through my consciousness, I see that this is what I have in mind...
  • Sometimes I wonder what sort of doctor I would have been. Proctology, internal medicine, gastroenterology all make me ralph. I don't want anything to do with noses or ears or eyes or throats, and dermatology is just oogy. Then I realize I had a better chance of being elected Pope than of being admitted into a medical school of any sort.
  • Sometimes I wonder what sort of Pope I would have been.
  • Being 2/3 of the way through my 60s, it's been a long time since I was insulted by someone calling me "old." What's sad is seeing people my age wearing cheap toupees and dying their 17 remaining hairs and trying to dress cool. 
  • It's good that I don't care to go to the movies anymore, since it's a lot like being in a large living room filled with people whose living rooms you wouldn't want to be invited to. All these action-adventure movies with computer-generated whatsises interest me not one whit. Stuff I do want to see will be available on demand by the time you'd get home from Cinemania 27 anyway.
  • I do, however, regularly devote time to figuring out who would play whom in any movie they make of my life. Pretty well settled on Drew Carey On Stilts to play me, and of course Patricia Heaton will be Peggy. A lot of people ask me who will play them, and half the time they are very flattered ("Josie Bissett! Wow! Thanks! I've been TOLD she looks like me, but...") and 1/2 the time they are less than thrilled ("Helen HUNT! You jerk!") so it's a gamble.
  • I wonder who would ever want to make, let alone watch, a movie of my life. Certainly not the Pope.
  • Even the most ordinary store-brand granola can be made much tastier with the addition of a little coconut and some more raisins. The granola cartel is very stingy with raisins.
  • People in restaurants and stores are usually very happy to help you if you just ask nicely. "Excuse me, but do you have any Texas Pete?" works so much better than hollering, "Hot sauce!"
  • I have learned, by the way, that Texas Pete is the ne plus ultra of hot sauces.
  • People who work too much are just as wrong as people who work too little. Moderation in all things, including moderation.
  • 2 x 4s are not really 2 inches by 4 inches, and a Subway Footlong is maybe 11 inches. So, what to do, but deal with it. Measure twice, cut once. 
  • It's interesting to see pictures of men from 30 years ago, when their shorts were really short. Now our shorts are longs.
  • Ben Franklin is supposed to have said "A stitch in time saves nine," but who stitches anything anymore? If Ben were alive today, he'd wear cargo shorts to carry around his kite string, and if they ripped, he'd buy new shorts. When I was a kid, every mom had a Singer sewing machine, and today that space in the home is taken up with Mom's 3-D Printer.
  • If you remember reading "The Catcher In The Rye," and Holden speaking of a short story about a traffic cop in New York, it's called "There Are Smiles" and it was written by my hero Ring Lardner and it's online here and I recommend it highly.
  • Ring Lardner, J. D. Salinger, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac, Joseph Mitchell and Truman Capote are my five favorite authors. Someone once talked me into reading a John Grisham book and I got halfway into it before feeling like it was all a horrible joke, that no one really liked this turgid prose, but what do I know? He writes like Steven Seagal acts, which is not praise.
  • Before Clint Eastwood totally went off his bran flakes and started talking to empty chairs, he made "Gran Torino," a movie of insight and meaning. 
  • I have learned that people who are afraid of hurdles eventually get over it.
  • Here I am at 66, and I still haven't been carried around in a sedan chair. But to be fair, I've never seen anyone else carried around in one, either.
  • I hate to mention it, but people will hurt you from time to time, leave you out of things, say stuff they didn't know would hurt you. Sometimes, this will be intentional, and sometimes, quite inadvertent. You have to hope that most of the hurts that come your way will be the accidental type, but no matter what, it's true that you are not defined by what happens to you, but by what you do about it.
  • I don't believe that college guy Otto Warmbier deserved to die, although what impelled him to a) go to North Korea and b) steal a propaganda sign from a hotel in one of the world's most notably repressive dictatorships, I will never understand.
  • I remain fascinated by the life and career of Isaac Hayes. Not only did he do this version of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," he wrote songs, performed, acted in cartoons and the movie "It Could Happen To You." I love that picture because it did happen to me - love and happiness came to me when I met Peggy and it's been all songs and pretzels ever since!

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