A trip to the big city!

(With your permission, we will take a side track from The Clod Wars and take a detour of sorts)

The wife and I had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas last weekend. You know Las Vegas, right? It’s in Nevada and that’s a four hour plane ride from here due west. It’s in the desert which means it is pretty hot most of the time. Anyway…

I went there on business and took the wife with me. We figured on maybe seeing a show and then going to Hoover Dam. Ought to be a fun time.

We stayed in one of them fancy resort motels. There’s lots of them there and they have all kinds of stuff to do. Why, in the main hallway of the fancy hotel we stayed in they had this great big room with all kinds of tables for playing cards and other tables where folks threw dice all across the table for some reason. The game with dice was called craps I think.  Then they had these other machines that folks called “one armed bandits.” I don’t know why. Oh, and they had lots and lots of pretty girls all over the place. I don’t know why either. None of them seemed to be playing any games.

Well, we were walking through this big room (you can’t get anywhere in these places without walking through the big game room). and all of a sudden, I felt a stabbing pain in my right rib cage. I looked and there was nothing near my right side except my wife. I asked her what hit me and all she said was “You know.” Well, no, I did not know and said so. She didn’t say a thing as we kept on walking. She wasn’t happy about something or other and it was too close to dinner to start a fight.

I was enjoying the walk through the big game room and all the scenery when, without warning, I suffered yet another stabbing blow to the ribs cage. It was on my left side this time. I looked left and there was my wife and nobody else. “Did you elbow me just then?” I asked. She looked at me with what I would call an ornery face and said, “What do you think?” I told her I had no idea and asked her why she had elbowed me. “Well, if you don’t know, I am sure not going to tell you.” I had no clue what all the fuss was about but, by now, we got to the elevator and to our room. The only time I got elbowed was when we were going through the fancy game room. She never did explain herself. I let the matter drop.

I still don’t know what she was all fired up about.

 

A Pterodactyl?! Really?!

An interesting discourse took place on Facebook™ just the other day. It seems a friend of many years has a daughter who is in a family way. The day the post of which I refer was the day in which she would learn just what manner of grandchild she would be welcoming into her family. Her excitement was easy to sense and her friends were just as exuberant. That is as it should be. The responses were a tad unusual, though.

The first response was a prediction that there would be triplets. A prediction of twins was put forth by more than one correspondent as well. That could be a possibility. If memory serves, there are, at least, one set of twins in the family. That could be one possible answer and it would be a joyous one indeed.

I was, however, surprised that one individual whose identity is to be shared on Facebook and not here, put forth the idea that the joyful mother-to-be would produce a Pterodactyl. Of a certainty, I can see the value of a pterodactyl about the house. Home security would no longer be a consideration. I am at a loss how a burglar, or any other unwelcome party for that matter, would be brave (or stupid) enough to invade a house with a pterodactyl in residence. Traffic jams would not be an issue either as, if I can remember the teaching of my youth, pterodactyls have the ability of flight and therefore could simply pick one’s means of conveyance up and relocate it to a more advantageous location. Yes, I can see the many advantageous to a pterodactyl. There are, as it turns, out many inconveniences to having a pterodactyl about which would take more time to explain in the space that I have here.

There was another prediction that the mother-to-be would bear a Raptor. How anybody could imagine a raptor in one’s house is beyond me. They are always hungry and thereby impossible to keep fed. They wander off at the slightest provocation and can be counted on to never be around when a burglar is nearby.  A raptor is, and always will be, impossible to keep and to suggest otherwise is sheer folly.

I have just this minute checked the Facebook entry regarding the expected arrival. It has thus been reported that the mother is expecting a baby boy. I am sure that my friend’s joy is without limit and I wish her and her family the greatest joy at this news.

Thank the heavens it was not a pterodactyl.

The crapper controversy

Inasmuch as I have endeavored to be of service to my fellow man, and inasmuch as I have used this medium towards that end, I herewith seek to address a controversy that has befallen those of us in civil society since the year 1596. You may recall that was the year Mr. John Harrington (an Englishman) invented the flush-able toilet. A side note: a lot of people think Thomas Crapper (also an Englishman) invented it. Mr. Crapper did manage to get his name forever attached to the flush-able toilet. There’s an explanation for it in Wikipedia©.  A common version of this story is that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns made by his company and used it as army slang, i.e. “I’m going to the crapper”. Sounds better than I’m going to the Harrington. Well, it does to me….

No, the controversy I allude to has nothing to do with names or origins. It has everything to do with two questions. The first one is “toilet seat up or down?” This is, without fail, the first argument in every marriage (makes you wonder what newlyweds fought about prior to 1596, doesn’t it?). Without exception, every wife wants the seat down and every husband wants the seat up. Many a night’s sleep has been interrupted by a misplaced “crapper crown.” The ladies in the house do not want to forget the seat is up in the middle of the night and wind up “in” the toilet and the men want a larger space for aiming purposes. That’s the argument at least though I fail to see feminine logic in this. The reason should be obvious.

The second argument has to do with the installation of the toilet paper in the dispenser. That debate rages on though there seems to be no rhyme or reason from either side of the bed. It would seem there are some who want the paper installed in its dispenser so that the paper comes out on top and some who insist that it be pulled from the bottom. For the life of me, I cannot see the logic for having toilet paper removed over the top though the wife would disagree in the strongest of terms. This discussion has gone on and off again for the majority of our almost thirty-eight years of wedded bliss. I have even gone so far as suggesting that we install his and her dispensers though that was met with vigorous opposition. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know and I’m not sure I want to know.

These questions have gone unresolved for four hundred and twenty years and there seems no end of the matter. I do not foresee any resolution in the future either. The reality is: You’re

Rock thieves

The wife and I went on vacation not long ago. Costa Rica is a spectacular place and we had a wonderful time. We were also glad to get “Back home in Indiana” even if it was a lot colder here than in Central America. So it was that we resumed the day to day rejuvenated by our time in the warm climate that is Costa Rica. We were not, however, prepared for the disaster we would find on our return.

Some two weeks after our reinstatement into daily life, I was putting out the garbage as is my habit on Thursday mornings before going to my day job. Having stopped to examine our front yard after a recent snow fall, it seemed as though something was not quite right. I noticed some mud along the sidewalk that had come from the garden bordering the driveway. That should not be there I said to myself. The landscape stones along the driveway should prevent that. Wait. Where are the landscape rocks?! They were GONE!! I discovered, to my dismay, all of the landscape rocks that bordered the driveway were gone!! It is estimated that some thirty rocks were absconded with. Some gang of hooligans had taken advantage of our absence to help themselves to rocks that I myself had scrounged some years ago. Rage swelled within me.

In righteous indignation, I rushed inside to inform the wife of this treachery against us. She was still asleep and I did not have the heart to wake her with this horrible news. I bore this burden alone to work.

As my anger and desire for justice rose, it was decided to take action and file a report with the local constabulary. The report was filed on-line and an officer called within the hour to begin the investigation that would, it was hoped, result in the arrest of this malevolent gang of rock thieves. The officer was the very soul of professionalism as he took the information that he needed to help bring the rock thugs to justice. It was at the end of the interview when he asked what the rocks were worth. I did not know (and told him as much) as I had scrounged them from a construction site (with permission!!) some time ago. The interview ended with his promise that local law enforcement would be keeping a sharp look out for any hot rocks in the area.

Having returned home later in the day to break the news to the wife, it was with full expectation that she would join me in righteous indignation. Instead, she reminded me that I had expressed a desire to get rid of the stones, being difficult to mow around. Oh. I had forgotten.

I wonder if they will come back and get the rest.

Cheer up!

I ran into Maranatha the other day at church. I have known her and her fine husband, Travis, for a number of years. They are about as good and nice as any couple you’d meet anywhere. She is a pharmacist and he does accounting or something like that.

Anyway, she works for a grocery store from which I get all the pills and what not that keeps me up and taking nourishment. I know most of the folks that work there and most of them know me. They have been victims of my bad jokes on more than one occasion and, so far as I can tell, I have been the recipient of their good medicine in return. Least wise I am still walking and talking. Maranatha told me that my buddy, Kristen was having a singularly bad day at work not long ago. It was during one of the darker moments of the day in question that Kristen made the observation that her day was going downward and stated, “I wish Mr. Emmett would come over and tell me a couples of jokes.” In an attempt to be of service, I let Maranatha know that anytime that she, Kristen, or anybody else among that stellar group of folks needs cheering up, she could be assured that I was just a phone call or text away.

I have seen this time and again. Who has not had a bad day (or worse, been the victim of someone having a bad day) and been in desperate need of cheering up? Most of the time I can tell if someone is having a tough row to hoe and, in my own way, do my best to bring some cheer into a life or two. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

“Before laughter, nothing can stand.” Mark Twain wrote that a number of years back. It is as true today as it was whenever he wrote it. I hope, in my own small way, that I bring a smile or two to each of you that take the time to read this.

Oh, and Kristen. Next time you have a tough day, you know how to find me.

A “taxing” story

The human imagination is a wonderful thing most of the time. About a month or so ago, I got a letter from the IRS. It is always a moment of stress when they write and this time was no exception. I owed them a small amount of money from a return of a few years ago. They gave me thirty days to pay up or provide the evidence that I did not, in fact, owe any money. I called my good friend and tax guru, Erin, who solved my problem right then and there. She told me that I would get another letter from them confirming my case and absolving my debt.

The original thirty day deadline came and went without a word from the IRS. My knowledge of dealing with the IRS is restricted to the horror stories one hears at the proverbial office water cooler. With that limited knowledge and a bent toward worry, my imagination took over.

First, it would be the phone call during dinner. After insisting on my innocence, the “agent” on the phone unconvinced and absolved to get the money out of me one way or another. I would hear from them again, he said. The again (all this is going on in my imagination, mind you), would be a knock at the door at 2:00 AM. I would be drug away from hearth and home and hauled to a secret place where the agent or agents, as the case may be, would be prepared to “deal” with my insolence and stubborn refusal to admit that I am now responsible for the entirety of the US Federal debt and, by golly, I had better pay up right now if I know what’s good for me. I had images of burning lights in my face; and worse.

When the letter did come from the IRS, it was ten days after my deadline to pay up or else. I opened it with the full expectation that my life was over. I was, in fact, absolved from all guilt, thanks to my ever vigilant tax guru, Erin.

Phew. Ditched the jailhouse again.

Vegas!

(Previously published in The Southside Times).

            By the time you read this, I will have journeyed to and from Las Vegas, Nevada. I have never been to “Vegas.” I did pass through the airport twice but was not there long enough to form an opinion. I can state, though, that there are more of the so-called “one armed bandits” in that airport than I have seen anywhere else.

            In preparation for this business trip, I inquired as to the nature of the place so as to prepare myself for what may lie ahead. Being as how my daughter and elder son have been there, my inquiries started with them. My son, who happens to live a three hour car drive away in Utah, advised me in the strongest terms to acquire and use a set of horse blinders while there. I do not possess said horse blinders and do not know where to get any. When informed of this, my son stated in simple terms, “Dad, you are on your own.”

            Now, my daughter was stationed near Vegas while in the Air Force and she chuckled when I told her my plan. “Well, Dad,” she said. “Do not take any business cards from anybody hanging out on the corners.” Having heard that bit of sage advice, I am going to have to take one of those cards just to see what the fuss is all about.

            In order to get a different take on the subject of Las Vegas and its people, I asked some folks at work what they thought of the place. It has been recommended that I, at the very least, take a stroll through what is known as “the strip.” This is where (so I am told) all of the gambling casinos for which Las Vegas is known are located. I am uncertain as to how big this strip is or if there is anything other than casinos there but I will see if I can fit a stroll through the strip in. I am also told that it is near impossible to walk down the street on the strip without walking into a casino. That must be a marvel of engineering or somebody messed something up in the planning process. I’ll let you know what I find out.

            There are other things that I have been told about with respects to Las Vegas and its environs. Some of the cautions that have been forwarded to my attention are difficult to imagine. I will make careful notes while there and report back to you in next week’s column.

            I have a feeling Las Vegas is a little different from my beloved Southside. We shall see.