Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Drop Trou

February 2, 2012

It’s time once again for my annual prostate exam.

Being “mumblety-five”, I am required to submit myself (phrasing of that written on purpose) to check the tenderness and size of my prostate gland, which is up the butt a couple inches.  This exam is the first line of defense in checking for prostate cancer.

Besides being the big “C” word, which has potentially lethal results, this form of cancer can also cause sexual dysfunction.  Therefore, being in no hurry to (a) die, (b) stop having sex, (c) there is no ‘c’, and (d) all of the above, I gladly submit to this invasive and a tad humiliating examination*.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the petite and cute doc from the last exam I posted about.  Rather, this is a big, burly doc with calloused hands and dirt under his nails.  Even better?  He was being shadowed by a resident who was watching with great interest.  The doc asked routine questions about my health, focusing on key warning symptoms for prostate issues.

Then, with scientific detachment – – “Okay, drop your trousers and bend over the exam table.”

ramming speed!

Sheesh.

A preparatory shot of whisky?  A manly wink with a ‘three-pat’ on the shoulder?  Flowers?

Nope, none of that.  Just his “drop trou'” while the latex glove goes on with an ominous ~snap~.  And then the lube tube is (thank god, generously) accessed.  Finally, without a howdy do or a “deep breath and brace”, he dug right in.  Yes, with the resident still watching (hey, at least he didn’t ask for a turn).

Feeling around in my butt for all of 10 seconds (seeming to be 10 minutes), Doc finally said, “That feels fine.”

In a sudden OCD-like rush of concern for my health, I reiterated redundantly, “So it felt good?”

A wry look and a rebuke from the doc, “We never say ‘it feels good’ when doing a rectal exam.”

Point taken.

So, until next year.

…at which time I will bring my own whisky…

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*And, yes, a tip of the hat to my female readers who scoff, deservedly, at us guys waiting until our 40s to regularly have this exam whilst you have been having docs poke around your lady parts…sometimes with heavy machinery…since you hit puberty.  So, guys?  Shut up and take it like a man.  And annually at that!

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The Price of Memories

July 14, 2011

i’ve mentioned i’m a pack rat. and, despite high hopes at the time i moved in, i haven’t made a dramatic dent in the amount of crap important and valuable life memories i have.

but i still try.

sitting in the garage, for example, are some six boxes of old vinyl records…the LPs.  do i own a turntable?  nope.  when i did, pre-divorce, did i listen to these records over and over?  rarely.

yet, still, i cling to them.

but, finally, i decided to dip my toes in the world of purging.  having passed, for the umpteenth time, a record store in our town’s hippie district that boldy announced – –

“We Buy Records”

…i finally decided to let go.

i picked out the closest box.  i went through the albums.  yes, some were not in the best of shape, but there were many there.  i had high hopes of

(a)  getting some whisky money out of them

(b) clearing out space in my garage so i can better organize what i do use

(c) there is no (c), and

(d) perhaps feel good about the likelihood that my old records will make someone else very happy

hiking up my big boy pants, i strode into the store with the box and the clerk began to look through the 50-some records in there.

and he kept looking without stopping… okay, now he stopped at that one…and that one…and…that’s it?

five.  he pulled out five of the fifty.

i’m not a good haggler, but still felt i was getting what i was going to get out of him when we agreed on $10…$8 for the five albums he wanted, plus a ‘gift’ of $2 for him to take the remainder off of my hands.

I was crestfallen.  $10.  that’s it.

now, these are not irreplaceable albums.  i can get them on CD.  or even iTunes, for most of them.  but the fact that they were a part of me growing up.  listening to some at a very young age because that’s what mom and dad played on the stereo.  listening to others of my choice as i grew up and was capable of buying my own records.

none of them were playing when i lost my cherry and got laid the first time.*  none of them were playing when i first heard the news about JFK.**

but they were part of who i am.  some of my humor was based in those records.  i learned to sing with some of those records.

and for all of that…the memories, the lessons, the learning…gone.

…for $10.

[deep sigh]

yeah, bill, me too

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*i honestly couldn’t tell you what was playing then.  i do vaguely recall the radio playing.  but my focus seemed to be elsewhere.  go figure.

**and i don’t remember what i was doing at all when the news of JFK broke.  all i do remember from then was being very pissed that they interrupted my saturday morning cartoons so they could televise the funeral.

Lucky Gym

July 20, 2010

Dear WordPress Friends,

Wow!  I never would have guessed that the gym was such a great place to meet women.  The other day I was at the gym lifting weights, on the chest press machine.  I was pushing a gentlemanly 35 pounds, grunting in a manly way, with my pecs rippling underneath my shirt.  I admit that I was looking hot and masculine in my cool weightlifting t-shirt, shorty shorts, stylish black cotton socks, and Birkenstock Boyz® workout shoes.  I guess I was reeking with a sexy sweat and testosterone musk smell, because a woman walked by and briefly stopped to look at me.  Of course she would.  I was looking damn good!  I thought nothing more of it and continued with my lifting.  But then, get this, the same woman comes wandering back by again!  And stopped again to give me the twice over.  She.  Wanted.  Me.  You could just see it in her eyes.  I’m going back tomorrow and camp out on that chest press machine.  She’s bound to come by.  I want to show off my skills, along with my hot outfit and manly body.  She’ll be drooling over me in no time.  I think I’m gonna get laid!

GnuKid

Sexy, right?

Job Assignments

July 8, 2010

I’m in a gopher farm.  That’s the one where there are lots of cubicles and, if there’s any kind of commotion, people’s heads pop up over the walls like gophers peeking out of their holes. 

yeah, we really look like that

I didn’t want to be in this room in the first place.  But when I was directed by the boss to go there (“…so you can be closer to the people you’ll be working with…”*), I only had a few cubicles to choose from.  The one right next to the front door of the room…or the one right outside the boss’s office.

I chose the one by the front door for a couple reasons.  First, it made for a quick escape whenever it was time to go home or go to lunch.  Second, I actually had a window!  But the bigger reason was the boss himself.  At the time, we had a boss who was an avid proponent of the L.O.S.T. method of handing out jobs.

L.O.S.T. – Line Of Sight Tasking

In other words, when the boss had a job to hand out, his tendency was to give it to the first person he sees when he walks out the door.  I HAD to have the office most removed from his sight.

Well, since moving in, the boss has moved on**.  The new boss?  A milquetoast.  Rarely in the office and quiet as a mouse when she is.  She’s handed off the job assignment task to her deputy dawg.  He does not use L.O.S.T. to assign jobs.  He uses the “You’re next on my list” method.  No matter that I may be uniquely qualified to do the next or last job on his list.  No matter that my other assignments are butt-ugly and take lots of my time to do already.  It’s my turn to get a job, so I get it.  <heavy sigh>

But there’s partially*** good news.  I changed my office recently.  We’ve had quite the turnover of people, so a couple offices opened up.  I now have a quiet office, relatively out of view of the boss types (not that they don’t track me down still).

And I still long for a boss who actually knows how to assign jobs to the right people at the right time…and know when to tell their bosses, “No, we’re not doing that!”

A dream, I’m thinking…

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*<smirk> …like I’m actually going to work…

**He has found his “Peter Principle”, rising to a position where he is totally incompetent to accomplish the job.

***…and it will remain “partially” until I can retire!

Government Warning

June 7, 2010

As I sit here at the computer drinking a beer, I find myself staring at the bottle and am reminded of a half-remembered conversation.

At my sister’s inurnment, a few family members from out of town made it in.  One, an older cousin*, brought along his girlfriend**.  After the service, one of the family friends who lived in the area opened their home for a wake…food, beer, talk.

Still not sure how I felt about the whole sister thing, I decided to enjoy a beer…or three***.  During a lull in the discussion at the table, I perused the label and noticed the government warning:

WARNING:  Consuming beer if pregnant can cause birth defects.

I read it out loud, sighed, and said, “Well, I don’t think I’m pregnant, but what the heck, I’ll take the chance…I’m drinking it.”

Cousin’s Girlfriend immediately shook her head solemnly, ‘tsk tsk’-ed, and said, “Oh, your poor, unborn, crippled child.”

She’s going to fit right in with this family.

This makes more sense to me...and makes more sense.

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*Actually, he’s the one who gave me the nickname “The Kid” a long time ago.  My brother and two cousins living next door were about the same age.  Me?  9 years younger and a pain in the butt…okay, not much has changed, other than adding “Gnu” to the front end of “Kid”.

**Guess they’re getting pretty serious if she’s coming along to family funerals, huh?

***Hey, I wasn’t driving.

Nothing Up My Sleeve

April 26, 2010

We interrupt the expected post on my trip to South Africa with an update of family doings.

My sister’s wishes for after her death (which was the first week of December) consisted of (1) being cremated and (2) being buried in Arlington Cemetery (being allowed due to her six years of military service in the early 70s).  My brother-in-law, being reasonable, delayed the Arlington burial until warmer weather.  The time set was for this past Friday.

Arlington Cemetery is a hallowed and honored place.  Among other things, there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and JFK’s grave.  I could not help but feel overwhelmed and touched by the immensity of the sacrifice that was laid out before my eyes.  Despite non-feelings for my sister, my eyes leaked at the solemnity and honor the cemetery represented.

We drove to a place where we were to meet the honor guard.  Here, my sister’s ashes and an American flag were placed in a casket atop a caisson.  We walked behind the caisson for the final quarter mile, led by a small military band and further honor guard flight, to the columbarium (where they place the ashes for final rest).  At a small chapel, there were final words spoken by a chaplain and the flag was folded and presented to my niece.  A bugler played “Taps” (always heart rending) and a 21 gun salute was rendered.  A shorter walk to the niche in a wall where the remains would be placed and the ceremony was done.

All this was done by members of a military unit who are trained to treat the remains of fallen comrades with utmost respect and dignity.  The uniforms were crisp, as was the slow march behind and in front of the casket.  Pomp and circumstance does not begin to describe the ceremonies followed.

But, there was a slight twist to that ceremony.

When my sister passed away, there was a memorial service where I took the opportunity to vent to a porcelain rabbit containing the cremated remains of my sister.  While I felt a bit strange taking pictures, I felt I must capture this.

The honor guard, standing ready to place the cremains and the American flag into the casket – – –

The flag in the front row and the back row has...

And then both are put into the casket – – –

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my casket, Rocky!

Here’s a close up – – –

Close up of the transfer

Bless the airman for not cracking a smile…or even just outright busting out in laughter.  Not sure I could’ve kept it serious.

And, at the last, laid to rest in the nook where she will reside forever – –

Maybe we should've put some carrots in there to tide her over for eternity?

A quick text after the ceremony to my Dear Friend:  “The rabbit is in the hole.”  And a hope I can find peace as well in her being laid to rest.

Shifting Relationship

February 20, 2010

If you have children, you will never… ever… cease being a parent.  That’s not to say that you have to continually treat your offspring as a child, but there will always be a feeling that you must protect and support your kids.  And, yes, I fully realize that there are some parents out there who feel their parental duties cease the moment their child turns 18.  Or even a 12-sigma minority who feel it ceases at birth…or even conception from some men.  But for the majority of us, always a parent.

My kids have had several opportunities to prove this point.  But I’ve noticed a subtle shift.  A shift which is touching.

Case in point. 

Boy Child is a contributing member of society, adult in all senses of the word.  But, still human.  And subject to human frailties and life events. 

He’s dating.  Or attempting to.  He dates some people he’s met through work, as well as a couple he’s met on-line.  A recent date?  One of his good friends for quite awhile.  He’s told me that they really like each other as friends, but never crossed the line to ‘dating’. 

That changed recently, as evidenced by a text message from The Boy:

“Fuck!!”

Parent mode kicks in and an immediate text back to him, asking what’s going on.

Seems he finally crossed the line with his longtime friend and found himself “making out” with her.  The problem?  His friend is still with her current partner.  Yes, they’re on the last legs of that relationship, but they’re still together.  Boy Child is very sensitive to the potential for problems with this.  His next text to me affirmed his feeling that:

“…it’s gonna be a drama apocalypse…”

(and a nice turn-of-phrase, that).

As a parent, I want to help.  As a parent, though, I know he’s an adult and must deal with this.  So, I offer support, an ear, a shoulder, a few kind words, and affirmation of him being a good man. 

But the ‘dad’ in me still aches for him.

And the ‘dad’ in me feels damn good that he feels he can come to me, openly and honestly, with this.

I think I did good raising that pup…