Dear Santa Claus,

You’re fired.

Oh, don’t give me that “Ho-ho-ho-no” bit. You know what I’m saying to you. You’re canned. Downsized. Given the shiny black boot. How about sacked, does that ring a jingle bell with you? So stay off of my roof and don’t try coming down my chimney this year – I’ve closed the flue. Oh, and pick up after your damn reindeer before you leave – don’t you gift pooper-scoopers?

Yeah, yeah. I know I’ve been writing to you for 50-plus straight years and now you’re wondering what the hell made this year different from all of the rest. Let’s just say I have enough underwear and socks already. Let’s just say I’m not buying that “the Maserati’s in the mail” line you give me every year. Let’s just say I don’t need you to get all the merry Christmas gifts I really want and wish for.

I’ve found Stupid.com.

After all the Christmas wrapping I’ve ripped through, not once did you ever leave me presents like the ones I found on this cool website. So hit the road – I’ll get them myself. And I don’t even have to sit on the lap of an overweight, unshaven, old man to get them.

Why, there’s so many thoughtful and useful things on this site, I can do my Christmas shopping for family and friends, all in one place.

And when that happens, don’t be surprised if my relatives and pals start locking you out of their houses too. They won’t need you either, once they learn where I got their nifty Yuletide presents. Check these out, Santa baby, and tell me if your little army of elves can bang together stuff like this using a few pieces of wood, a little glue and some paint.

THE POTTY PUTTER

Everyone knows what happens when you take your average human, mix in a volcanic intestinal disturbance and a couple of magazines, put them all in a bathroom, close the door and – poop – you got yourself a missing person. Well, if you’re going to be in there for a couple of hours anyway, why not put that down time to good use and turn yourself into a golf pro! You’ll be the envy of your golfing buddies as they watch you effortlessly sink putt after putt, even if your pants happen to drop down around your ankles. And when they ask how you do it, hand them a pack of chewable laxatives, wink and head off for the next tee. Or the men’s room in the clubhouse. And it’s only $23.99!

Reach into that big bag, jolly old St. Nick, and pull out one of these gifts for me. Aha – I thought not.

ONE BUTTON FOR ALL OCCASIONS

Your car engine blows up. The wife leaves you. The kids leave you. The hamster leaves you. Life sure can be full of those occasional occasions that will leave you speechless. At a loss for words, even. Well, no more. Just a push of this button and … enough said. In 10 different “rage-conducive WTF! phrases,” according to the description. There’s a wild-west one, a piano-ballad version, even a rap-style one. You’ll be ready with an answer to whatever life throws at you. At the push of a button. And all for just $14.99.

And speaking of buttons,

WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY …

Let’s say you’re in Switzerland for the holidays. Maybe climbing around in the Alps. Suddenly, a storm comes up the mountainside, a blast of wind topples you from the summit and there you are – hanging from a rocky crag by only one strap of your lederhosen. What are you going to do?

Well, that’s easy, thanks to Stupid.com. You’re going to reach into one of your knee socks, pull out this little device, aim it down toward the civilization below you and push the button. In no time at all, you’ll be surrounded by more Gunthers and Hildas than you can throw a bag of Swiss chocolate at. Probably a couple of slobbering St. Bernard’s too. And all brought to you with one press of your … Emergency Yodel Button.

And while we’re on the subject of being saved, let’s not forget the real meaning of Christmas. Rest assured, the people at Stupid.com didn’t. But it’s just in their own special, slightly odd, way.

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS RELIGIOUS

When my son was young, he used to play with He-Man action figures. If he were a wee lad today, I know he’d be playing with his The Man action figure. I know that because I’d buy this Jesus action figure for him. Talk about your superhero, saving the day … the world. And it would only set me back $10.99.

Hallelujah.

If I were a rich man …

1305805212-13 (2)Someone may have won more than $550 million dollars when the winning numbers popped up in tonight’s Powerball lottery jackpot drawing.

I have absolutely no clue who that person will be, but I know one thing – I’m just happy it isn’t going to be me.

Robert-Harris-Tonya-HarrisTake a good look at the two people in the photo above. This is Robert Harris and his wife, Tonya, in Atlanta, Georgia. Notice anything unusual in this photograph? Like that giant freakin’ pile of money there? It’s hard to miss. It’s taller than them. It even blocks out the poor slob in the back there, dressed as a yellow ping pong ball.

That pile-o-cash belongs to Robert and Tonya. They were the winners of  a $275 million Mega Millions jackpot drawing in 2008.

Notice anything else unusual up there?

Right – these two people are not laughing. They’re not even smiling. From the look on Tonya’s face, she’s not really sure if the dough is clean, for heaven’s sake. That’s $275 MILLION dollars, people! Why aren’t you throwing it up in the air, rolling around in it! Why do you look like you’re more concerned about how the heck all that moolah is going to fit in your beat-up 1997 Toyota Camry double-parked outside?

Why? Because they know that money won’t buy them happiness. Not even close. And they’re not the only suddenly rich, unhappy people in the world. Here’s some lowlights from a compilation of lottery winners-turned-losers posted today in an article on the Newsmax website (www.newsmax.com).

Money didn’t buy happiness for West Virginia’s Jack Whittaker. He won $315 million playing Powerball in 2002. He was robbed of $545,000 in cash at a strip club (man had to have BIG pockets to hold that many dollar bills), and his wealth may have had something to do with the deaths of his granddaughter and daughter. Add to that, even with all that money in the bank, the man still couldn’t balance his checkbook. An Atlantic City casino sued him for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover his gambling losses.

Must have been in-between paychecks. Happens to the best of us and evidently the richest of us too.

Does that sound like happiness to you?

Or take the riches-to-rags tale of William “Bud” Post III of Pennsylvania. In 1998 he won $16.2 million. What did it get him? A contract put out on him and his sixth wife – the hit man was hired by his brother. The money he lent to other relatives went into businesses that tanked. He was thrown in jail once for shooting over the head of a bill collector. It wasn’t a good sign – he died bankrupt in 2006.

Does that sound like happiness to you?

In 2006 Abraham Shakespeare won a $31 million jackpot in Florida. He vanished without a trace in 2009.  His body was found under a concrete slab in 2010.

That jackpot amount may even be cursed – Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won the lottery in 1996, also for $31 million. But feeling that people were using him for his money put him into a depression – and in less than two years after hitting it big, he killed himself.

Does that sound like happiness to you?

I didn’t think so. Which is why I didn’t buy even one Powerball ticket today. No way all that money’s going to get me.

But if you bought one or two tickets, let’s say you beat the 176 million-to-one odds. Tomorrow morning you check them against the winning numbers and – whaddaya know – you have the big winner ticket, right there in your hot, little hand.

First thing to remember … don’t panic. There is a way out. Write me a comment and let me know. Then calmly take the ticket, put it in an envelope and send it to the address I give you. Once it’s in the nearest mailbox – breathe easy.  You can rest assured you won’t ever have to worry about your life being ruined by such an unlucky event befalling you.

As for me, I’ll make sure it’s properly disposed of. Hey, no need to thank me. My reward is your happiness.

Brown Friday is the new Black Friday

If you’re an American consumer who is consumed by “the deal” and you’re reading this, evidently you survived Black Friday. Congratulations. There were many who ventured out into the morass along with you who were not so fortunate – they didn’t make it through those dark and dastardly 24 hours.

Many left their homes as their friends and loved ones soundly slept in their beds, and have never been seen again. And the only tangible memory they’ve left behind to be remembered by? It will arrive in a few weeks when their final credit card bill shows up, listing the stores where they were last seen alive and charging.

But if you’re reading this while sitting on the commode in your bathroom and you’re not up to your ankles in brackish water, you may not know this but you’ve also made it through Brown Friday. Congratulations. Your local Roto-Rooter plumber tips his cap and plunger to you.

While many Americans spent the better part of Friday slugging and slashing, and scratching and clawing at each other to get ahold of the last 387-inch (diagonal) LED-LCD-HD-3D TV on sale for only $7.97 (plus tax), it’s likely that none of them were Roto-Rooter plumbers, or any brand-name plumber.

I’d bet the homestead if you were standing in line outside a Wal-Mart at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, you didn’t see anything like this in front of you. However, if you did, you’ve got to ask yourself: Couldn’t I possibly have found something better to do at this ungodly hour?

It isn’t because plumbers are more mentally competent than all the other kinds of working stiffs in this country. It’s just that while most people were spending money, plumbers were making it. Best day of the year for them, evidently.

On second thought, that does make them more mentally competent.

In a story posted this week in the online newspaper, The Huffington Post, incoming calls for service to the largest plumbing services company in North America are 50 percent above average on Black Friday.

That’s a lot more clogged drains, jammed kitchen garbage disposals, and upchucking toilets.

Oh-oh say can you see? By my john’s early light …

And that’s a lot more moolah for your friendly neighborhood plumber. Which leaves him absolutely no time to be standing around in a crowded shopping mall or big-box retail outlet battling for sale items. They answer to a higher calling.

According to a Roto-Rooter press release, plumbers often put in 18-hour days to help customers through this time. “The day after Thanksgiving is the toughest day of the year to get a day off from work. We’ll answer every call until the work is done and as late as necessary,” the release states.

But why? What makes the day after Turkey Day so special for these specialists of your pipes and sanitary appliances?

As usual, you can blame it on … the relatives. It seems the addition of all of those visiting, eating and personally-relieving humans can put a real strain on a home’s internal waste management system.

Even if you’re a Republican, putting more butts on the pot can strain even the toughest household plumbing system.

Add to that an “unusual buildup of Thanksgiving-related wastes.” That includes pumpkin entrails, turkey dressing and bones. And all those potato and onion peelings are the worst, a veteran plumber told the story’s writer.

“They’re slippery and can form a paste. The things can swell up in a pipe.”

Yummy. Or gummy. Speaking of gums, plumbers say they often find everything from diamond rings to false teeth in toilets during the holiday, according to the article. Seems you just never know what’s going to be spinning around in the bowl.

“Cousin Eunice, where did you put Aunt Thelma’s scalloped-potato-rhubarb-feta-tuna casserole? I don’t see it here on the table.”

“I flushed it.”

“You did what?”

“You heard me. Something I’ve always wanted to do every Thanksgiving for years. Better to dump it now rather than for me to dump it later, if you know what I mean.”

“But what about the crock it was in, the one she made with her own gnarled and arthritic hands? Formed from the clay she pulled from the banks of the brook behind her house, fired in her very own kiln? She even hand-decorated it with a minimalist-folk art-cubist interpretation of the first Pilgrim-native American soiree. Where’s that?”

“Ditto on the flusho. It went down with the shit, I mean, ship.”

Turkey, schmurkey

I am not one of the children in this photograph. In fact, I don’t know any of these once-youngsters – not their names, their present life status or residential location in the world.

What I do know is if any of them are looking at this picture, they’re probably putting a bag over their heads. Not to worry people – you were young, impressionable and at the mercy of one of your parents armed with a loaded Instamatic. Who for some reason thought it would be really cute to have the kids pose with an uncooked turkey.

It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t the turkey’s fault either. I would hope though, that one of you thought to mention to Pops that “Gee-golly Dad, you never ask us to line up and smile behind Mom’s pot roast … why is that?”

This being Thanksgiving and all, I’ll say right upfront that I’m not a big fan of turkey.  I could say it’s nothing personal, but unfortunately, it is. For most of my childhood, turkeys were my neighbors. And eating the neighbors, well, it just never seemed right somehow. I guess it might have if I’d been an extra in the old “Dracula” films or did zombie dietary research as a child. I plead not guilty to both counts.

Even so, that doesn’t mean I’m very fond of them either. Growing up with a diary farm next door and a turkey farm on the other side, I had the rare opportunity to directly compare the two and decide which agricultural establishment the average American boy would most like to live near during their formative years. After a very short period of time, it wasn’t difficult to form an opinion.

Moo.

You see, domestic cows are dumb but lovable. Domestic turkeys are just dumb. I remember our neighbor, the woman who ran the turkey farm, once telling me that turkeys were so stupid, if they all got scared and one of them went crazy and ran into the wall of the barn the rest would follow and do the same thing – until there was a giant pile of dead turkeys up against the wall.

“And that ain’t the worst of it, Glenn. You know turkey crap, don’t you? Sure you do, I see you got some stuck on the side of your sneaker there. Well, when them turkeys get all in a panic, not only do they start running, they start crapping. All of them. Running, piling up and crapping, boy. Imagine that.”

These are domestic turkeys on a farm. Notice the photographer is not standing up against the barn to take this photo and all of the turkeys are facing him. If he had done that, all these turkeys would be toast and he’d be swimming in turkey crap.

That seemed pretty dumb to me. Pretty horrible too, since I couldn’t scrap that damn crap off my sneaker, no matter how hard I tried. Stuff had to be a prototype of Super Glue. But notice I said domestic. Not all turkeys are dumb. Wild turkeys aren’t dumb, in fact they are some of the most cagey, forest-smart fowl around. Wild turkeys have to be that way, since a lot of people always seem to be trying to shoot them.

These are wild turkeys. Notice they are looking around in all directions. Smart. They’re keeping watch for any camouflaged people doing gobble-gobble impressions to lure and shoot them with a gun, not a camera.

That seems pretty smart to me. So I have nothing against wild turkeys. Admire them even. I’m told they even make a pretty darn good bourbon.

So, on this Thanksgiving, as I have on all of them, I’ll reach for the platter of turkey and take a small piece or two for my plate and then pass it to the next person. Just to be polite. And every Turkey Day holiday and then, that person or someone else at the table will notice this and ask: Whatsamattayou, you don’t like turkey or something?

If I’m in a good mood, I’ll say: “No, not at all. It’s just that I’m on a diet.” If I’m in a less-good mood, I’ll say: “Not so much, you don’t know turkeys like I know turkeys.” I’ll leave it at that and ask for the turnips. And if I’m in a fowl (sic) mood, I’ll say:

“Let me tell you a little story about a bunch of turkeys and a barn …”

Alas, poor Twinkie …

… I knew you well.

And while I’m at it, I knew you Hostess Wonder Bread, and Cupcakes, and Ho Hos, and Sno Balls, and Fruit Pies, and Devil Dogs and Funny Bones pretty well too.

The world may never be the same. That is, if the death knell sounded by Hostess Brands’ decision to go out of business once its remaining inventories of snacks are sold, really comes true. Yes, so sad. Well, not really. I mean, please. We’re talking about bread and cupcakes and cream filling-stuffed cake logs … hmmm. Let me rephrase that. We’re talking about processed-bleached white flour bread and calorie-laden cupcakes and cream-esque filling-stuffed cake logs here.

But real or not, nutritional or not – now that their end is nigh, what are many of us doing about it? Going crazy. Buying up every single Hostess whatever they can find. As if having a few more of them was going to stop the inevitable.

Or – get this – like having a few boxes might actually make you rich. Ha. That’s a good one. Downright hilarious anyone actually would think that.

Ok, maybe not so funny. Doesn’t ebay have a maximum pricing level? Sheesh.

But to be honest – we should be ashamed of ourselves on this. Frankly, we should have known this day was coming. Again, to mangle and misquote Billy Shakespeare:

“I come to bury Twinkies, not to praise them. The evil that consumers do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their Funny Bones.”

Yes, I said consumers. That’s you. That’s me. That’s why Hostess soon will become a Ghostess. Not extinct because big, bad greedy company executives tried to make their unions swallow cuts to wages and benefits. And you can’t put the blame on the striking workers who refused to eat the reduced contract terms.

That’s not why the company doesn’t have any profits and now more than 18,000 workers don’t have jobs. We only have ourselves to blame for that, as well as the deaths of Twinkie the Kid, Captain Cupcake, Chauncey, and Fruit Pie the Magician.

The blood of these fine, standing-up edible snack characters is on our hands.

We killed them. We stopped buying them as much as we used to, way back when. You could say they’re dying of neglect. Yes, our neglect.

Because we decided to eat more healthy. Thought it better that we now eat less sugar. So we made up our minds to eat fewer snacks – especially the ones that, chemically speaking, have a longer shelf life than nuclear waste has half-lives.

Answer me this: Can you bake a cake you can leave sitting on a table for six months, come back and find it exactly as it was on the day you took it out of the oven? Cake, schmake. If I sit at a table for six minutes I begin to show signs of decay.

Glo Balls will glow longer than uranium or plutonium. Way longer. And you can’t eat them either.

So, consider this: I have a package of Sno Balls in my file cabinet I’ve kept there for more than two years and it still feels as spongy-fresh as it was on the day I bought it. I’m not making this up. It’s not moldy or rotten or rock-hard or whatever you’d think would happen to a Sno Ball when it gets that old.

Why, that’s not only remarkable, it’s … it’s damn near frightening. So much I haven’t thrown it away. I couldn’t. No way – I was afraid it’d get mad and come back for me.

But now, I’m not going to trash it. Ever. To me it has become more than a mere Sno Ball. I’m keeping it to serve as a constant reminder of one of my failings in life. And to atone for that and to honor, in some way, the late Twinkie and his friends.

Like an eternal flame. Yeah, that’s it – an eternal snack.

With my dogs, size matters

I like big dogs. Grew up with them, always have owned at least one. Or two. Or … well sometimes quite a few of them. Thanks to the kind-hearted desires of my animal-devoted wife, and my desire to live a life without conflict, my per-capita dog-to-dollar ratio has averaged about 4 to 1 over the past 20-something years. That means four big dogs per every dollar I have in my wallet.

The dollar category would be somewhat higher, but some of my big dogs ate the dollar. And the wallet.

I have nothing against little dogs. Little dogs are nice. They’re kind of adorable, actually.

Little dogs are cute. With enough elevation and a good tailwind, they can fly. How cute.

It just that little dogs are not practical for someone like me. Especially when I stumble out of bed in the middle of the night and really believe that I have some kind of  sixteenth sense that allows me to see in the dark, even when it’s dark and I can’t see.

It’s much more practical for me to walk into a big dog and bounce off, than step on a little dog and not bounce off. The big dogs learn to know it’s just me and get annoyed, look up and roll over. If they were little dogs, however, they’d be … well, most probably wouldn’t be around long enough to get annoyed.

Don’t get me wrong – big dogs aren’t perfect. They have their drawbacks, not a lot of them but the few that they have are, of course, big.

Take teething. All dogs do it – new big teeth come in, gums get sore, and chewing on things helps them relieve it. Anybody who’s raised a puppy usually loses a shoe, or a furniture leg to a chewing little pup.

That is, unless you have a big dog puppy.

One look into Molly’s big brown eyes and – poof – all was forgiven. Newfies are big … and clever.

Meet Molly. Molly was the first Newfoundland we owned and raised. Newfoundlands actually are wonderful, big black bears that someone decided really were dogs. And the Newfies were just too lovable and gentle to disagree with them.

She came to us because she was being thrown out of the house of her first owner. A friend was installing new carpeting throughout the owner’s house when the woman walked by with Molly, then 6 months old, heading for the door. She was taking her to the Humane Society to be put up for adoption. You see, Molly was the reason for the new carpeting.

Long story short, the friend asked the owner to wait and called his girlfriend who happened to be a co-worker of mine. The girlfriend came to me, knowing I loved big dogs. Fifteen minutes later, I was walking Molly out to my car to take her home. At six months, she nearly filled the back seat of my VW Rabbit.

A decision my wife and I never regretted. Not only because we both loved big dogs, but we’d owned enough of them to know how to live with them. Most importantly, to never, ever underestimate what a big dog can do. You can’t blame them – they do the same things that all dogs do. Just in a big way.

You’ll recall that little teething issue Molly had when she moved in. How could we forget.

One day I came home to find the kitchen floor covered with snow. Around six inches thick, from wall to wall.

Only problem – it wasn’t November, it was July. And it wasn’t snow, it was fluffy white stuffing. The kind of stuffing they put inside the six padded chairs of a kitchen dining set. All six, stripped of their covers and their stuffing. All over the place. And sitting in the middle of it all was one big, black, happy, giant puppy.

I had no words. In moments like this a big dog owner is reminded to not put too much importance on material things, no matter what they are. Or how big they are. You learn that they don’t last, especially with a big dog in the house.

I sat down on one of my new, rather uncomfortable metal-frame chairs.

“OK Molly, so what are we going to tell your mother when she gets home?”

I could tell by her wagging tail Molly was thinking. Really hard. So was I. It worked.

“Right, a tornado, good idea. Big one, blew in through the window, tore up the chairs, threw this all around and went out through that window there. Brilliant. Molly, this could work.”

I could tell by Molly’s wagging tail she really liked the idea. So did I. It didn’t work, but it was worth a shot.

Can’t remember what we came up with to explain how all the window sills were chewed off on another day, though. Hit-and-run beaver infestation, I think.

Molly lived to the ripe old age of 11, far beyond the normal lifespan of most Newfoundlands. Had two knee operations and one hip replaced (big dogs have big health issues), and destroyed or ate a whole lot of things, including some more furniture. I’m pretty sure she loved every minute of it. I know we did.

Despite the material losses, we still have big dogs. Always will. Two bulldogs (short but stout) and one bull mastiff (big and stout) now. Some day, we’ll no doubt have more. And some day, some day … we’ll have those chewed-up moldings around all of our doors replaced.

Just as soon as the big teeth come in.

Age before beauty … and everybody else

In yesterday’s post, I grew up some. And while it’s nice to look back now and then, the true way of Man (in the word of the re-elected president) is: Forward.

So, now that my direction is correctly re-directed … starting today I begin making plans for being old. Easy enough. I’m probably already about three-quarters of the way there. Some would say closer. And I even have a goal – something to aim for, to achieve, when I reach old age.

When I’m old, I want to be a grumpy old man – just like my father-in-law. The man who, at times, I believe is the Grumpiest Old Man on Earth.

This isn’t my father-in-law. In fact, my father-in-law probably would growl that this guy is a lousy representation of him. And he’d be right – he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a scarf.

Yes, someday I want to succeed him. Put on his Crown of Crabbiness and see how it looks on me. Lift up his Scepter of Sarcasm and beat some of my loyal subjects with it. But until I do, my wife and I are deeply immersed in the research necessary to attain this lofty goal. In other words, we spend a lot of time with him. And it’s quite a learning experience.

Lesson 1: Going to the Chinese Buffet.

“Yeah, you got a booth? Near the food. I’m 82 years old and I can’t walk very far.”

As he motors by her, heading straight for the southern-Asian fried chicken wings, the demure hostess has only just opened her mouth. She may have intended to say something like, “Hi, how many?” But it isn’t really necessary. My father-in-law has decided to save this poor woman the breath needed to utter these words. She’s probably been saying them all day and needs a break. And, despite his not-far-walking affliction, he’s even leading the way for her.

My wife and I, bringing up the rear, look at each other. In silence we communicate that this person may not understand this mannerism, may need a translation. We approach.

“Hi, what my father-in-law said was your food looks so appetizing he wants to be seated as close to the buffet as possible, so he might gaze longingly at it while enjoying his dining experience.”

Surprisingly, she smiles and laughs. “Oh, he’s all right, he’s kind of cute. He just can’t wait to eat. We like that!”

My God – it works.

And it works every time. He walks into a store, barks out an order and the clerks fly – first because he scares the crap out of them and second, so they can get what he wants as quickly as they can. And then they thank him for shopping there.

When I’m old and grumpy, I’m even going to have a grumpy dog. Three of them.

Or he’s standing at a customer service desk, where he buys his lottery tickets every day, and growls and howls when the girl behind the counter doesn’t recognize him. That’s probably because she’s never seen him in her entire less-than-two-decade-long life. Or today is her first day on the job.

“Well, the other girl knows who I am.”

Wait a minute – shake head for clarity – does that even make sense? Of course not. But remember, he’s the grumpy old man. It’s OK. Evidence: The next time he comes in and she’s there.

“Oh, I know you, you’re the man I didn’t recognize the last time!” and then happily runs his numbers.

Now, does that make sense?? Of course. Because when you’re old, you can be grumpy and actually thought to be … lovable. What might appear as belligerence is taken as benevolence – as long as you’re old.

Old and grumpy is golden.

When I am old, I still will have friends. And this is how we’ll play.

Lesson 2: You’re old, but never too old.

The three of us are sitting in a restaurant (he likes to eat out), in a booth (where else?), at another buffet. By the way, I believe my father-in-law feels the all-you-can-eat buffet is the greatest American invention since manned flight. And the only reason the Wright Brothers wanted to fly? The nearest all-you-can-eat buffet was three towns away.

My father-in-law is talking about an acquaintance, who happens to be in her 90s. Talking about one of her health issues. A poor health issue.

“I just hope when I get old I don’t have to deal with something like that.”

The statement struck me as about as odd as the buffet item I’d just seen that looked like pot roast but had a sign above it that said: Prime Rib. I stopped chewing.  Probably not the best idea. Since it allowed me to point out that he was 82.

“What? I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been. Never been better. I’m talking about when I get old.”

Finally, something that made sense. And precisely why I want to be just like my father-in-law when I grow up and old. Just as Mark Twain, one of my favorite old and grumpy men, once said:

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”