Monday, June 23, 2008


So, I met this woman on the plane and we really hit it off. She was awesome. Great conversation, really deep talks, impressive character and charm. It was neat. Man, we had ball! Its so rare in life to come across another human being you truly connect with on a deep, personal level.

I walked off the plane enlivened with a sense of renewed faith in humanity, womankind, and my prospects for the future. As I rounded the corner and headed into baggage claim we shook hands, wished each other well and parted ways. I felt vaguely sad to see her go, and something inside me rebelled at the thought of being forever her 7 grandchildren in Arizona...

Then, I turned and saw the lovely blonde from 12B who drank the beer I offered, smiled politely at my sweaty-palmed witticisms, then collected her bags and hopped in a brand-new Lexus driven by a rich boyfriend.....who had just enough panache to catch a wheel as they blew past the cabstand where I hid.

I stood and pondered these things in my heart as I waited expectantly for a richly-scented Moroccan cabdriver to drive me around in circles before dropping me off at the airport hotel; and I realized:

I am doomed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nursing School

Lets talk briefly about nursing mothers.

I know everybody has a joke about public infant-feeding, nearly everyone has been in that uncomfortable situation, and nobody likes it.

Sure, yes, I know.

But here's the thing I think about - from the kid's perspective, what makes the miserable little midget think he has a right to 4-courses any time he feels a mite peckish? Thats pretty selfish, if you ask me. I think its just plain weird. If my mealtimes involved nudity of any sort I think I'd be a bit more discreet about it. Babies ought to get to eat when everybody else does - at mealtimes.

2:23PM in the afternoon is not an ok time, neither is 6:11PM during a wedding (for instance).

It just ain't right.

I'm going to start carrying around a ziplock bag containing a nice cut of filet in port wine sauce, some grilled asparagus, and one of those little flowers of mashed potatoes you squeeze out of a pastry tube. Whenever I see nursing going on in public I'm going to unfold some chinet, pull out my swiss army knife (with knife and fork included), plunk down right next to the offending parties and have a nice, loud, smacking, meal. That should get my point across - its called passive aggression and it works like a charm.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Everything'll Be Alright

So, I’m laying flat on my back in the crawl space under the Deer Camp floor; I’m covered in mastic compound and sheet-metal cuts from installing new HVAC ductwork, its 98 degrees outside, I’ve got that golfer-buttsweat thing going, and I’m red from basement dirt and fiberglass insulation particles (of which I have inhaled a good pound or so).

Now, typically, this is exactly the sort of situation wherein I do my best thinking (that and between the hours of 12AM and 4AM, or anywhere icecream is served) but in this instance all I could consider was – “why is the dirt so damp in this one spot where I’m lying?”

Then I heard a dripping sound; so I followed it up the floorjoist above me to a PVC connection and realized – everything is wet down here because a toilet is leaking and I’m lying in it.

…And then I heard a "flush"….So, generally, that’s “bad”, but what’s worse is – there really wasn’t anywhere else to go. That was the spot to be in order to install the new airhandler, so I had to keep laying there….for 7 more hours….

Sure, that would be “traumatic” to most people and I understand your revulsion, gentle reader, but a friend said he’d bring us KRYSTAL HAMBURGERS when we got done – and that made it worthwhile.

That is what I learned this weekend: everything is o.k. when you’ve got a Krystal on the way*.

Incidentally, a friend pointed out to me the other day that she couldn’t very well eat Krystal hamburgers as they violated her “anti-red-meat” diet; but that is a huge fallacy. Krystal hamburger “meat” is actually GRAY, not red at all – so you’re in the clear on that count.


*I’m a poet and don’t know it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Greetings From the War House

I awoke this morning to the sound of my bedroom door opening ever-so-softly. I immediately had the distinct feeling that someone had invaded the inner sanctum of The Duderanch, so I stealthily cut my eyes over towards the door and was surprised to see a very large black gentleman gently tiptoeing around my room. I must have rustled the covers a bit because he turned towards me, startled, with eyes as wide as saucers and announced in a shaky stage whisper “MR EWING! ITS ME, CLIFFORD! PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME MR. EWING!”

Then it all came rushing back to me. It was CLIFFORD - the pest control guy! I had told him the night before not to mind us – just to go on into every bedroom at 7AM and do all the spraying his heart desired. He initially balked at the idea based on his observation from his last quarterly visit that we “sure did have a lot of guns laying around” (I have a gigantic safe, but that particular morning we were gearing up for a hunting trip and armament was everywhere). I finally convinced him that my roommates actually trying to shoot him would probably guarantee his safety – I’ve seen them shoot (and it’s not pretty).

Clifford apologized again for waking me up, so I said “no worries Clifford!” And immediately drifted off to sleep to the gentle whooshing sound of Clifford spraying various carcinogens underneath my bed.

A short while later I heard a shout and some muffled commotion followed by Clifford’s loud, infectious, laughter, and a bear-like mumble from Austin Lee down the hall. Apparently a similar situation occurred when Clifford tiptoed into Austin’s room; but it seems Austin somehow startled Clifford a bit more than I did, because I heard him explaining to Austin the rationale for his intense nervousness. Then he said it – in loud Clifford-style I heard him announce “Man, I just gotta be careful you know? This place is The WAR HOUSE!”

Ahhh!!! I lay in bed gently ruffling my chest hair and beaming; confident and secure in the knowledge that yes: I am officially, 100%, MAN.

It was my proudest moment.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Growing Pains


I hollered at the pair of white Nikes tapping gently underneath my perch. The Nikes briefly paused their tapping and the disembodied voice floating up from somewhere behind me cheerfully announced “Well, I think that was about the worst of it!”


A gentle chuckle and a reassuring pat on the rump were my only response and the Nikes resumed their off-beat tapping. As this was not the sort of event you backed out on mid-way-through, I resigned myself to my fate and stared dully ahead at the square, vinyl floor tiles (there were 28), the only other thing in my field of view; and I tried not to hate Nike tennis shoes quite so much.

Actually, let me back up a bit: it all started at the beach (the pain, that is). It was dull at first – more of an aching “throb” than a true stabbing-pain. Naturally, I hoped it would go away. I have a high pain tolerance, so I decided to wait it out – outsmart the pain, if you will. I played my Ipod, ate some Twizzlers (my favorite), enjoyed a refreshing beverage on the beach, ate out, slept in, crunched Froot Loops out of a solo cup all afternoon, used too much sunscreen, and got sand all over me (all the normal things I would typically do at the beach), but the pain remained.

You might even say the pain continued to “grow”, until finally, I cornered my Uncle William and said: “William, listen - my butt really hurts.” His enigmatic response “I bet it does” was no help – neither was Uncle Robert’s suggestion that I “give Orajel a try” followed by the admonishment that I avoid using any kind of opened container of salves or creams at HIS house that “came with a nozzle on the end” because “there is no telling where its been.”

I briefly considered finding a local proctologist to take care of business, but I thought better of it. I have developed a strict, on-principal, avoidance policy concerning rural beach-town proctologists. I can’t imagine what going to one would be like, but I absolutely CANNOT imagine that it would be good. So, in short: I manfully stuck it out.

I made the trip home in just under 6hrs (slightly sweaty) and in intense, throbbing, pain. My decision to fish in a bass tournament the following morning at 5AM is a simple testament to sheer determination, gin & tonic, Goody’s Headache Powders, and the gigantic outdoorsman’s heart beating in my chest.

We weighed in 5 fish for 12.2lbs - garnering third place (a new record for my fishing efforts), but I had sweat on my upper lip the whole time and once or twice I thought I might cry.

So, by Monday morning we really had a problem and for the first time in my life I found myself enormously relieved to be walking IN to a proctologist’s office; normally I don’t feel that immense sense of joy and accomplishment until I’m limping slowly AWAY.

So, there I was – sprawled out on a cold steel table, facedown, when the door opens, and voice says “Hello Mr. Ewing lets take a look” and without so much as a “hi, how are you?” the table I’m on breaks in half like a drawbridge (highest in the middle) and there I am – facedown, dangling like a big, hairy, rag doll with my naked butt the highest point in the room.

And THEN the nurse walks in (At least, I think it was a nurse - she sounded female and she had small shoes – that’s all I could see). She was followed by a medical student…...and a secretary with a pressing question concerning the duration of her lunch break. (Don't mind me - you know? I'm just the throbbing, naked, butt in the center of the room, but let me continue).

“Hellooooo Mr. (pause as the student tries to read my chart)…Errrwings.”

I didn’t reply.

I just cut my eyes over at the nurse-shoes and loudly announced “listen here – if either of you give THAT guy THAT syringe I saw on the way in - you’re going to wake up and wonder where in the hell you are and why you’re bald” and that, my friends, THAT is just exactly when the blazing bolt of proctological lightning dead-centered my sensitive nether regions and I found myself furiously dog-paddling thin air and cold steel.

I didn’t get far though - they had me by the feet.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Preaching for Supper

"WELL BOY, COME PREACH ME A TEN MINUTE SERMON. I NEED TO BE WITNESSED TO" rang out across the den in Uncle Robert's trademark gravelly, smoke-cured voice; and I immediately regretted telling him that my cousin Jimmy is a licensed Presbyterian minister.

Jimmy, vaguely uncomfortable and new to the annual beach trip, stood in the den shifting his weight foot-to-foot; unsure how to respond.

He didn't have long to wait for the next salvo:



The beach is great, but we don't need the beach to have fun - we just need Uncle Robert and one unsuspecting guest and we're in business.

We ended up having a ball that night and no, cousin Jimmy didn't have to preach for his meals (much to Robert's chagrin), but we did hear a series of in-depth lectures on love and marriage compliments of Robert between the hours of 3 and 4AM that I'll treasure always. I think Cuz will too, so when he woke me up with "Pssstt..Jimmy. Are you asleep? Do you really think Robert did all that stuff? I can't quit thinking about it." I wasn't surprised. All I could say was "I don't know, but it sure did sound pretty great, didn't it?"

Its been fun having insane geniuses like Robert in the family. Even now I can hear Uncle John (thats John T. Slocumb, MD to you) in the kitchen behind me cooking low-country-boil and teaching the grandchildren gynecological terms. "Taint" was immediately accepted as purely clinical by virtue of John's hard-earned MD, but "Episiotomy" is their new favorite. Its medical explanation garnered a chorus of howls from grandkid middle-management (and one neighbor boy who slipped in under the radar) that startled Uncle William out of a deep slumber and widened John's trademark slow-spreading grin nearly to his ears.

Unfortunately, their howls startled William a bit too badly and he, in his fright, rolled over on the large box of Big Cheezit crackers and Nilla Wafer Cakester soft cakes he had fallen asleep cradling - crushing his Big Cheezits and mussing his Cakesters. A fountain of profanity and couch cushions soared for the heavens. After he collected himself and sent Daniel back out for more snack cakes he noticed me sitting nearby, glared from behind now-crooked polarized Vaurnet's and hollered "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT, NASTY?"

Hey, I'm just sitting here minding my own business.