Sunday Smiles [jokes]

With February ending tomorrow, I look forward to sunnier days to end my winter blues.

I find amusing things to laugh at when Old Man Winter scares away the sun and keeps life dark and cold. Here are three favorite funny pieces I found during the winter that made me smile, chuckle, and even belly laugh.

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An odd phenomenon happens a lot at a store I work at. I call it the Retailers’ Law of Aggravation: As soon as you find a product you really like, the store will stop selling it.

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An octogenarian couple toddled into the local McDonald’s and ordered a Happy Meal. The wife carefully cut the hamburger in two and began to eat half. The husband respectfully sat and watched. The eating didn’t progress quickly, and soon the other customers near the couple’s table noticed the old man without any food, watching the woman eat. One helpful person offered to buy the man another meal. The offer was rejected with the explanation, “We share everything.” Eventually, another couple could stand it no longer and made the same offer. They received the same rejection: “No thank you, we share everything.” And so, the wife ate and the old man watched for quite a while. Finally, one bystander could no longer stand it and quizzed the man, “Why aren’t you eating? What are you waiting for?” To which the old man replied, “The teeth.”

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Many have probably seen these in a book called Disorder in the American Courts, of things people actually said in court, recorded verbatim and published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges between attorneys and witnesses took place.

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

It’s February Blues Time

February is a month that never excites me. It seems to be the month that dumps the most snow on the town I live in. It’s also the month of my birthday. My birthday gets less exciting every year because I have fewer people in my life to celebrate it with. It doesn’t help that many of my family and friends have moved to other locales, some of them permanently to the great mysterious we all face at the end of our life’s run.

I used to love winter. I was young and the cold didn’t bother me. Now my body hurts when winter comes. My body is telling me now that it’s time to move where it’s warmer, but not where it’s hot. I don’t like the heat. It upsets my asthma. Which is why I have to stay indoors near the AC during the summer when the humidity is high. Somewhere there’s a happy medium. I just haven’t found it yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed. I don’t feel like I’m a failure and that the future is hopeless. I’m simply tired of being in pain every February. I know spring is right around the corner. I’m just impatient about it getting here. So, it’s probably a type of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that generally arises when, no matter what I do, the frigid weather plays havoc with my body. I become the proverbial cranky old man when February comes around. Living with too much snow and suffering body pains from the cold means I cannot exercise like I want to. I don’t get enough sleep—a minimum of eight hours a night. And I don’t get out much to spend time with the few people left in my life who make me laugh.

Let’s face it. February is dark and miserable. No wonder Valentine’s Day is celebrated halfway through the month.

To counter February’s blues, I have long distance friends who give me great advice on how to cope. Now I watch the sunrise when I cannot see the sun. I also have picnics indoors because the snowfall outdoors is usually half my height. And I rearrange the same furniture in my living room that I rearranged in November so the Christmas tree could fit. (It’s also the best time of year to take down the indoor decorations and the tree. I sing Beach Boys songs about summer and surfing really loud while doing it.)

Pretending February hasn’t got under my skin helps me go to work every day in a better mood. Despite the pain, I can usually smile longer than a minute at a time. When I’m home during the day, I take naps without setting the alarm to wake up. I feel rested and energetic when I awaken, which makes me wish the snow was gone so I could go out and do something. And when I cannot sleep, I listen to the sounds of winter beat against the sides of my house and imagine it’s cleaning all the windows outside my home. (It isn’t, but that’s the power of pretending.)

Coping with February is a chore. But I am loosening up. I’m trying my best not to be a cranky old fuddy-duddy. After all, it can’t snow forever. Right?

Random Things About Me

Tomorrow is my birthday. I was born on the day and year Laura Ingalls Wilder died. She was 90. She was the author of the best-selling “Little House” series of children’s novels. A friend who believes in reincarnation says that her soul returned on the day I was born, which is why I became a writer. Unlike Wilder, I am a struggling author of paranormal tales set in fictional Ridgewood, Pennsylvania. If reincarnation is real, I will probably return as a snack food copywriter … or something just as boring. 😀

When I was 13, I met baseball legend Ted Williams. Our town’s boat manufacturer made a line of fishing boats that he endorsed. Whenever he came to inspect the boats, he always made time to visit with the neighborhood kids. And since I was one of those kids, I was fortunate enough to hear him talk about baseball. He gave us kids batting tips that helped me become a better hitter. I even used a Ted Williams autographed bat to hit with.

My father was a licensed disc jockey for my hometown radio station. He worked weekends and taught me enough that I became a licensed Deejay/radio announcer when I was 18. I went to Jacksonville, Florida for the horrible wintry winter of 1975–76 (it even snowed there, too) and met Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd who was with the band and promoting their album Nuthin’ Fancy for their hometown fans. According to Wikipedia, the group “originally formed in 1964 as My Backyard in Jacksonville, Florida[.] [T]he band used various names such as The Noble Five and One Percent, before coming up with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.” I remember Ronnie talking about their beginnings, but it meant nothing to me then. At 18, I had the world ahead of me and I was itching to explore it.

I joined the Navy and moved to Gaeta, Italy when I was 19. The 2 years I lived there, I discovered that there are Great White Sharks in the Mediterranean Sea. Luckily, that discovery was made on land where fishermen displayed their catches. I traveled a lot while I lived in Gaeta, and I almost always traveled to places by train. But my lack of understanding Italian caused me to often board the wrong trains during my first year there. Several times after touring Naples, I boarded the wrong train and ended up in Rome. This wasn’t a big deal since I was traveling alone. But I boarded the wrong train at Rome once while traveling with a group of friends and ended up in Verona instead of Naples. It took me several months to understand the language and to board the right trains. All in all, it made traveling fun and adventurous.

Ted was the first celebrity I met; Ronnie the second. The third was actor George Peppard during a visit to Cannes, France and the French Riviera when I was 20. I’m not sure how tall he was, but he seemed to stand a foot shorter than my 6-feet 2-inches. I was surprised that he looked taller on TV, notably Banacek (1972–74), part of the NBC Mystery Movie series. (This was before The A-Team.) He told me during our meeting that the angle of the cameras made him look taller. He also shared that he was a pilot and a proud veteran of the Marine Corps. Before we parted, he told me to always strive for and do my best, no matter what I did in life. Great advice that I have never forgotten.

My favorite pastime is reading. It began with children’s books and carried over to comic books and eventually novels. My favorite comic book character was Peter Parker and his alter ego, Spider-Man. I once owned Amazing Fantasy, issue #15 of Amazing Adult Fantasy, August 1962, the first comic book that Spider-Man appeared in. My mom threw it away when she redecorated my bedroom while I was in the Navy.

As an avid reader of fantasy and horror—especially vampires (when they were still cool), I discovered the first Stephen King paperbacks when I was 19 and bought ’Salem’s Lot and Carrie. Though he wrote Carrie first, I read ’Salem’s Lot before I read Carrie. SL was and probably will always be my favorite King book, not because of the vampire in it, but because it really painted the small town atmosphere akin to my hometown.

My other favorite pastime is watching baseball games. I played the game a lot when I was a kid, and I went on to play men’s softball when I became an adult. There’s nothing more thrilling than the one-on-one competition between a pitcher and a batter. Though I saw many great pitchers over the years, the fastest pitcher I ever faced was a woman. She struck out every batter on my softball team and pitched a no-hitter game. That was the only year the league I was on allowed women teams to compete in tournaments. Too bad. Those ladies put us to shame. I hope my athletic granddaughter is reading this and will take to heart that girls can do just as well as boys … even better. It just takes work.

My hour allotted to write this blog is over, so I’ll stop reminiscing and try to figure out what I want for my birthday. My family keeps asking me. But I feel I have everything I ever wanted: To have a good and healthy life, and to have fun living it.

Our New Dog Is A Mooch

I took a 4-month hiatus from writing, creating artwork, blogging, and other time-consuming activities so I could spend more time “smelling the roses” in life. I began by tossing away my schedules (except that all-important one that allows me to pay bills) so I could live with fewer restraints. This allowed Tuffy, a Chihuahua/Japanese Chin mix and the newest addition to the house, to try to take full advantage of my free time.

tuff1

Going for walks and just spending time outdoors at my feet was a frequent demand of his during September and October. And I discovered what dog foods he likes to eat, though he’s a mooch when it comes to people food. I think he is able to smell food cooking a mile away. While he played outdoors around noon one day, I made a nice lunch of leftover chicken. Then I took advantage of being alone while my wife babysat our youngest grandchild. I settled down in my recliner, turned on my Kindle, and read no more than a paragraph when Tuffy began barking. I went to the door and saw that he was barking at the door, or specifically, at me. As soon as I let him, he sat in the middle of the living room floor and stared at my plate on the chair. I hate when pets stare at me while I’m eating, so I gave in and shared the rest of my lunch. My wife says I’m too soft and shouldn’t let him eat my food. But she feeds him too, especially parts of sandwiches and pizza, so I’m not the only softie.

November and December brought chilly rain and occasional snow, so Tuff-Tuff, as our grandchildren took to calling him, pestered me a lot to turn up the heat indoors, and to have a blanket to nap under. On sunny days, he likes me to pull back the living room curtains so he can lie in the sun. I figure it’s the Aztec/Mexican part of him that hankers for warmth. To aid in keeping him warm, my wife and I bought him a dog sweater during the Thanksgiving holiday, but he refused to lower his dignity and wear it. It lies at the foot of my recliner, along with the sock monkey and squeaky toys he never plays with.

January, the crappiest month of any year, dumped its usual burial of snow on us, which seemed to disgruntle him more than me. Potty time outdoors became a chore of coaxing him to leave the porch to do his business, which resulted in 5am trips outside because his bladder and kidneys were at their bursting points. Still, he refused to leave the porch, so I found myself shoveling yellow and brown snow away from the door.

Today, the first day of February, has brought mild weather. Temperatures outside have climbed high enough to melt away January’s onslaught and make both my yard and driveway a mud wrestler’s delight. I learned this morning that mud also delights Tuffy. And he enjoys pouncing on a family of tiny rodents that forage around my apple trees. He doesn’t hurt them, though he likes to bat them around the ears with his paws and make them squeal before he lets them go. I tried to sneak off and eat lunch alone, but he was wise to me and was at the door, barking and pleading with his pitiful look that says I’m a lowlife if I don’t share.

What a mooch.