How do I love thee? Hmmm …. let me get back to you on that

Romantic-CoupleIf I say “The Washington Post,” you might think — big newspaper, watchdog on Washington, D.C., “All the President’s Men.” But how about … funny?

Right. Me neither.

But that changed when I read some of the entries sent to the paper during a poetry contest it held recently. Submissions had to be a two-line poem and consist of the most romantic first line (please refer to above picture), followed by the least romantic second line (please refer to below picture).

Fighting-Couple-630x420Some funny stuff. Here’s a few of them.

“My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife
Marrying you has screwed up my life.”

waking up screaming

“I see your face when I’m dreaming.
That’s why I always wake up screaming.”

“Kind, intelligent, loving and hot.
This describes everything you’re not.”

“Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss,
but I only slept with you ’cause I was pissed.”

Is it me, or do all of these sound like they were written by men? Oops, seems I spoke too soon.woman_likes brother

“I thought that I could love no other …
… that is until I met your brother.”

“What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.”

“Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl’s empty … and so is your head.”

You know, some real thought went into many of the submissions here. Malicious ones? Perhaps. Potential circumstantial evidence? Possibly. But still, it’s the thoughts that count, right?

bag-over-head

“I want to feel your sweet embrace,
but don’t take the paper bag off of your face.”

unhappy dog couple

“I love your smile, your face and your eyes.
Damn, I’m good at telling lies.”

Yes, yes. Gratuitous use of yet another bulldog picture – guilty. But at least they fit the mood here. Sort of.

And finally, last but not least, viciously speaking …

“My feelings for you no words can tell,
except for maybe “Go to Hell.”

Sheesh. Can you just feel the love oozing all over here? Why it’s so strong, it’s almost … poisonous.

Man is no match for his mother

The grainy, semi-focused security-camera video didn’t seem much different than any other one aired by the local TV news. A man approaches a counter, drops down a bag of Doritos and hands the clerk a couple of bucks to pay for it. Then he reaches under his shirt, pulls out a gun and asks for his change in ones, fives, tens and twenties. All of them.

But then, he glances to his left and freezes. A woman appears at the bottom of the frame. She’s yelling at him, he’s staring at her. She calmly reaches out and grabs the gun by the barrel, pulls it out of his hand and then pushes him out through the door.

Huh?

What did I tell you about playing with guns and pointing them at people?

Life Lesson No. 374: When about to hold up the neighborhood store, first, do your research. Scan the aisles to make sure Mom and/or Dad aren’t shopping at the moment. The would-be robber had been snagged by his mother.

Now, you may be thinking that an event like this is a rarity and you’d be right. But take it from me, the power of a mother over her children is very, very real. And displays of it, even in extreme real-life situations like this, are more commonplace than you might think. Unless you’re a mother, of course.

Not being a mother myself, at least literally, how do I know this? Because I witnessed this power during one of the closest near-death experiences I’ve had so far in my life. And I’ve had a few.

It happened while I was working part-time as a bouncer at a bar in a rather well-to-do nearby suburb. Only problem was the bar wasn’t so well-to-do.

That’s me on the left, played by Sam Eliott, in the bouncer movie, “Roadhouse”. The guy on the right? I taught him everything.

On one side was a large college campus surrounded by affluent residences. On the other was the neighboring town – a mostly farm-based burg. Needless to say, these rather disparate social sects didn’t always mesh well. My job was to see that they didn’t wreck the place or kill each other. But first I had to ID everyone to prove they were humans of legal age and/or indeed truly certified, state-registered humanoids.

Wasn’t a bad job. Routine, really. Me, the bartender and the waitresses sober. Every one else, not.

One Friday night seemed pretty much like the previous ones.

Until the Friday night I saw them.

Well, initially I saw only one. The man coming to the door was big, dark, hairy and scary. And not looking to be in too pleasant of a mood. As he opened the door wide, two much smaller males scurried out from behind him.

They were from the next town. Salt-of-the-earth types, shall we say. Well, closer to dirt-of-the-earth, since most of it was all over them. Plowing was done and it was time for fun.

“Hi guys, I need to see some identification.”

Though I would learn later he was a man of few words, the towering, dark scowling one spoke first.

“You’re kidding me.”

That was followed by a grunt as he walked right by me and straight to the bar.

Being a native English speaker, I quickly translated: Now don’t you worry, kind sir. I assure you that my identification is fine, in order and with me. Thank you so much for asking and have a nice day.

“Don’t take it personal,” one of scurrying companions said with a smile while holding out his license for me. “It takes a while for Johnny to warm up to people.”

“Warm up? From the looks of him, I’m surprised he’d wait that long. Just kill them and eat them raw, like sushi.”

The only other Johnny I’d ever met before this was an American bison my uncle bought one summer to add to his animal farm. He kept him in the bull’s pen at my grandfather’s farm while he prepared its new prairie at his place.

The damn thing was a Mack truck with hair, hooves and horns; the meanest, scariest animal I’ve ever encountered – lions, tigers and bears (oh my), rogue elephants and Sasquatch included. If Johnny’s general dispostion was indicative of the species, and I was a native American when millions roamed the plains, the only way I’d have hunted them was with an M1 tank.

Make that two M1 tanks.

But my grandfather, being the consummate farmer and animal man, within a few weeks had Johnny eating out of his hand and following him around the pen like a hulking black Labrador retreiver on Qualudes.

Everybody else just looked like a bale of hay to him.

So, if Johnny’s companion that night had told me my grandfather had taught Johnny to talk, stand on his hind legs and drink beer, I would have believed every word. Would have to, I was looking at the finished product.

After that, things seemed to settle down to the normal Friday night routine. Man drinks beer. Woman drinks beer. Woman and man see each other. Woman and man can’t quite see each other clearly. Poof – love at first inebriated sight.

But what I also was beginning to notice was that Johnny was drinking beer. I mean, a lot of beer. Given his size, I figured the holding tank had to be pretty big. But, no matter the size of the man or his tank, eventually the beer always, always will conquer him.

I waited. I watched. I prayed. It didn’t work.

One the scurrying ones had reached his limit. Turned and said something to Johnny. I have no doubt he was convinced it was the funniest, wittiest thing ever uttered by one man to another. Too bad Johnny wasn’t one of them.

Time to go to work.

Lord, though I’m about to step into the Valley of Death, located in between these two devils, I pray that I will show no fear, and not pee myself until after I’m dead.

“Excuse me, guys. Didn’t mean to cut through here but Johnny, I noticed your beer there is almost gone. Since I was just passing by, how about I buy you another one?”

“Get out of my way.”

You picked a fine time to leave me, dear Lord.

It seemed that diplomacy and outright bribery wasn’t going to work here. Next: Try honesty.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that Johnny. I don’t know what this guy said or did, but you can’t kill him. And you can’t kill me either. I’m just doing my job. Sucks to be me.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“No I’m not and it’s nice of you to recognize me. I’m the bouncer at the door, remember?”

At this point, Johnny stopped talking. But he didn’t stop glaring at me. These were two not very good signs.

To my left, I could hear the bartender swear under her breath. And pick up the phone.

“Margaret? Sorry Margaret, I know it’s late. It’s me. You’d better get down here. Quick as you can.” She hung up.

Now, not knowing who Margaret was, my best educated guess was St. Margaret, matron saint of bouncers. The bartender had called her to head on down, gather up the remnants of my body and soul and carry them off to that big beer cooler in the sky.

I was just glad to be wearing clean underwear. For the moment.

Then the bartender spoke again. This time to the still-glaring Johnny and as loud as she could.

“Johnny, cut this shit out! I called your mother and she’s on the way!”

Ever wonder what Moses was thinking and feeling when he watched the Red Sea part in front of him? I have. And I know.

Holy crap, it actually worked.

I could have hit Johnny with a sledgehammer tied to the front end of a John Deere and not stopped him as quickly as the words, “your mother”. It was the most astounding thing I’d ever seen.

“You still gonna buy me that beer?”

“Uh, yeah. Of course, why wouldn’t I?”

Johnny sat down, drank his beer and waited. The scurrying ones left, pronto. Must have heard their mothers calling them too. A few minutes later, the door opened and I turned to see who it was. Didn’t quite believe it, though.

No lie, she couldn’t have been five feet tall. She was dressed in a coat, then a housecoat, then probably her pajamas. She looked pleasant, sweet, grandmotherly. And really, really pissed.

She stuck her head inside, found her son and spoke.

“Johnny! Let’s go!”

Johnny didn’t look. Just finished his beer, got up and quietly walked out. I looked at the bartender. She just raised her arms, shrugged, and smiled.

Me? I exhaled.

Farewell, my plasma

Germany: In a study of 2,200 Germans commissioned by the Hamburg-based Foundation for Future Studies, 57 percent of the women surveyed said they’d rather give up sex than television for an entire year.

United States: An iVillage-commissioned study found that 63 percent of the married women surveyed would rather read, sleep or watch a movie than have sex with their spouse.

Britain: A QVC poll surveyed 3,000 Brits and found that one in 10 actually love the television more than they love their partner. According to the Daily Mail, more than a tenth of those polled said they’d rather split up with their significant other than give up watching television.

Any City, Anywhere:

I saw him just as I’d reached the top of the stairs; he was leaning on the wall, right next to the locked door to my office. He looked like he’d been waiting for a while and he probably had, since it was more than two hours past the open-for-business hour painted on my door.

I had two good reasons for being late. The first was I hadn’t had any new work in more than a month. The second was a little closer to home. I’d been at war with the residue  of the previous night, doing my best to exorcise a demon of a hangover that had jumped me as soon as I’d opened my eyes that morning. Six aspirins and a Bromo hadn’t tamed it. Didn’t even slow it down.

But as bad as I felt, it looked like he had me beat – he looked worse. By my guess the last time he’d had a good night’s sleep, Reagan was still in the White House. By the looks of his clothes, that probably also was the last time he’d ironed them.

But rather than feel sorry for him, what was I thinking? Great, another “client” going to use my bill to light his cigarette instead of sending it back with a check. The thought made that damn demon bouncing between my temples start tap-dancing.

“Mr. Harlowe? Philip Harlowe, the private eye?”

“Guilty on both counts,” I mumbled as I shoved my key into the door lock, turning it and the knob and pushing the door open. “Thanks for holding up the wall there.”

“Mr. Harlowe, I need your help.”

“Well, this is your lucky day,” I said as I headed to the coffee maker. “It’s Wednesday and Wednesday is Help Day around here. Had you come tomorrow, you’d be pitching in and folding my laundry. What can I do for you?”

“I need you to find my wife.”

“When you’d lose her? And it might help if I knew your name. After all, you know mine.”

“It’s George, George Finley. She’s been gone for more than two days now,” he said.

“What have you got that I can work with? She leave a note, got a girlfriend, a place or a boyfriend she might run to?”

“Not that I know of,” he said, looking down at a wad of crumpled papers clutched in his hands. “All she, her name’s Beulah, all she left behind were these.” He handed them to me as I sat down at my desk. I motioned for him to take a chair.

I separated the stack. Credit card receipts. For purchases made over a period of a few days and all charged at the same store. Best Buy. Electronics, every single one.

I doubted there were enough Beulahs in the world to equal all of the scribbled Beulahs scattered across my desk.

“You got any idea what she was buying and why she was buying so many of them?”

“Not a clue,” he said. “We, we weren’t talking much lately. She just seemed to want to watch TV rather than even look at me. I haven’t had my hands on the remote in months. She’d just growl if I got near it and snatch it away.”

“Hmmm, odd. What she’d take with her?”

“That’s the strange thing,” he said, the question seemingly shocking him alert. “Just a few clothes, as far as I can figure. But every TV in the house is gone, along with all of the extension cords in the garage.”

“Well, let me look around, ask around and see what I can find out. Now go home and get some sleep and let me get to work.”

“Thank you Mr. Harlowe,” he said as he raised himself up from the chair. “I don’t care what she’s done or who she’s done it with. I just want my Beulah to come home. And hopefully bring along the 42-inch flatscreen too.”

It turned out not to be too hard to track Beulah down. A trip to the Best Buy and a $20 bill slipped to the clerk got me the address she’d given for the delivery of all of her purchases.

The motel owner was only too glad to show me the room she’d rented, as well as give me a copy of the electric bill he’d just received since she’d moved in. I pulled the plugs on the extension cords running out of the room, slid the bill under the door, went back to my car and waited.

Within an hour, a U-Haul truck pulled up outside the room. In less than another one, the cords, the TVs and Beulah were out of there. And on their way home to George, I figured.

I gave George a call and told him he’d soon see a U-Haul backing into his driveway and to take it as a sign that his Beulah would soon return. A few minutes later he called back and told me I was better than Nostradamus. I told him the service was no extra charge.

I didn’t mention his flatscreen. He’d just have to find it on his own, somewhere among the 27 other ones he and Beulah now owned.

We’re making a list …

Leave it to eHarmony to come up with a concise and clear list of the top 10 complaints men have about women when it comes to dating and relationships.

I mean, who better understands men than an online dating service? It’s not that we men can’t think for ourselves. We just prefer not to think about such things. Actually we prefer not to think about much of anything, if we can get away with it.

So, being a well-trampled man of the world, let’s see if they got this right.

You say potato …  I say french fries …

1. You see us as projects you can fix.

Oh, how we so hate being thought of as just a piece of … a project. We say it and say it and say it again – we can’t be fixed. You’re lucky we even work as well as we do. You want to fix something? Try stopping that dripping faucet in the kitchen. I haven’t got a clue.

2. Your expectations are set by Hollywood and sky high.

Now, if I know that Hollywood isn’t real, then you should know that Hollywood isn’t real. There’s no such actual man as George Clooney. But if your expectations are set on  Dirty Harry or Chuck Norris or Godzilla … well, now you’re talking real. We can work with these.

3. You’re always looking down the road.

Sigh – men don’t look down the road. We don’t look up the road. We don’t need to. We know exactly where we’re going, which also is why we don’t need to ask for directions.

4. You use your emotions as a weapon.

Is that crying? Are you crying?? There’s no crying in relationships!!

5. You have a tendency to be critical.

Tut-tut, we’d really appreciate if you’d take a more, shall we say, positive approach toward us and our manly ways. Instead of knocking us for lying on the couch, drinking beer, dropping crumbs and passing gas while watching TV from dawn until dusk, it might be better to look on the bright side. Maybe compliment us on how dedicated we are to not only do what we do best, but strive and commit to do it better than the rest. Yeah, that’s it.

6. You like to play coy.

We don’t play coy. We don’t play Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, or cribbage either. We like to play poker, though we really don’t know if three-of-a-kind beats a straight.

7. You fixate on what we’re thinking, when you should be watching what we’re doing.

Simple reason for this. If you watch what we’re doing, you’ll see that it’s nothing. Ergo, now you also know what we’re thinking.

8. You don’t understand and/or like our need for alone time.

Yeah, and we’re not just talking about reading Popular Mechanics in the bathroom after dinner. We sometimes like to bang things with our tools in the garage. Or play for hours washing the driveway with a hose. Because we can be sensitive too. It’s a beautiful thing.

9. You have a complicated set of double standards.

As far as we’re concerned, anything more than one standard is complicated. In fact, we’re not even sure we’re straight on that one.

10. You want us to change, and then lose respect for us when we do.

Of course that’s not logical. Who ever said we were logical?

Playing games with my head

I love the game of baseball. I played the game of baseball. I can’t standing watching the game of baseball on TV. Moves as fast as an open-air molasses chugging contest in the Arctic Circle.

I love the game of football. I’ve never played the game of football. I don’t even know half the rules of football. But I can watch football on TV all day. So much so that I can’t allow myself to watch it, as that’s all I’ll end up doing all Sunday long.

Four score and seven irons ago …

Now, I can’t stand the game of golf. You couldn’t pay me to play a game of golf. You might as well put a baseball bat in my golf bag and throw out all those other things, clubs, whatever they call them. You know, those things called “woods” that are made out of metal, and the ones called “irons” that are made out of titanium. And chuck out that putter thing too. Throw in a fungo bat for that for me.

Why aren’t there any manufacturer recalls for golf clubs just because of those two issues alone? Metal woods and titanium irons. You think Toyota could get away with taking a spare tire, installing it on the driver’s side and calling it the steering wheel? Rots-a-ruck on that one.

Anyway, as I was saying, I cannot and will not ever play the game of golf.

But I will spend the day watching it on TV, no problem. For most of yesterday and today, the U.S. Open has been playing, ala background music, on my television.

And I’ve actually been watching it. With near rapt attention. And I almost know what the hell is going on too.

I think this is called schizophrenia.

“Is that a sand trap?” My wife knows and cares even less for golf than I do.

“Yeah, actually they call it a bunker.” Don’t I sound knowledgable.

“Isn’t that a bad thing? Why do they put them out there right near the holes if the players don’t want to get in them?”

“You got me. Maybe it’s like comic relief for all of those people sitting around there. Maybe they think it’s funny to watch these guys hit their balls into them, get mad and blow boogers or furious even and start shooting off double-boogers.”

“I think those are called bogeys and double-bogeys.”

“Bogeys, boogers. You say tomato, I say booger.”

“Why are you watching golf? You don’t even like golf.”

“I’m expanding my horizons.”

“Expanding your horizons? More like taking too much medication. I need to count how many pills you have left. Do you even know anything about golf?”

“I know plenty about golf. The little round white thing’s the ball. Those sticks are the clubs. The guys hit the ball with one of the sticks and gets pissed when it doesn’t go into the little hole in the ground.

Personally, I think they’d do better and be much happier if they moved the little holes … maybe put them right in the middle of those bunkers.”

Getting down with “down time”

I’ve been out of commission for work, driving, cleaning, cooking, just about everything, for more than a week now and from what I’ve been told, it may be this way for many of these things for quite a while yet.

I must admit I am not a very cooperative recuperative person. I just don’t do “time off” very well. I don’t do days off, I don’t do sick days, I don’t do vacation days.

Not only do I not do them well, for the most part I don’t know what to do with them when I have to take any of them. I usually draw a blank on how to handle any “down time.”

“Just don’t do anything,” my wife says.

“How do I do that?”

“I give up.”

So imagine my enthusiasm when my surgeon told me I needed to have both knees replaced as soon as possible. And that, on average, each one takes about three months of rehab before the new knee is back to full use and the patient to complete recovery.

Oh, really.

Add to that, he tells me he doesn’t do both knees at the same time. So, one gets done this month and the second in July.

Oh, really really.

And then he also mentions one usually cannot drive for six weeks following the replacements. So, you should prepare for a lot of rehab and recovery time, plan for taking time off from work as well as envision how best to handle the “down time.”

Oh, freakin’ really really.

“I trust I am allowed to eat during all of this time.”

“You know, very few people have a problem with anything that I’ve told you so far.”

“Think of me like the Marines. The Few. The Depraved. The Workaholics.”

“Well, then maybe this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn now to lighten the load.”

Lighten the load. Just do nothing. Take it easy. Sure. Sounds like a piece of cake. I’ll just ask the professionals: Kids, how do you do it?

Damn – these guys are good. Call them the Special Non-Ops … poetry in no motion.

From Russia, with love

Unlike nearly every other person with an email inbox out there, I don’t get a lot of spam or junk mail. I have no idea why – I’m just as depraved as the next web surfer, you’d think I’d have picked up at least a couple sketchy cookies in my history by now.

Oh, but I’m trying not to take it personally, though. Maybe I’m just too virtuous for such questionable communiques. Yeah, that’s it.

So, of course, whenever I do see a (1) next to my “Junk” folder name, I can’t click on it fast enough. If my Internet provider considers whatever’s in there to be of absolutely no value and no good for me … well, out of my way, let me at it.

Maybe it’s one of those wonder pills, herbal and all-natural, that will make me “hung like bull.” Or how about some “real” Viagra – just $10 (Canadian) for 1,000 capsules – to make me “love stronger and longer than many bulls!” Or could it be that my great-uncle in Nigeria finally kicked off and that $137 million he’s been holding for me in the Abuja Savings & Loan is mine, mine, mine!!! I thought he’d never die.

Anyway – imagine my surprise when I glanced over and saw a (1) today. What could it be?

Actually, this time it was who could it be. Someone named “S.B.” And the subject? “Transport of Love.”

Oh, my favorite! Another Russian woman I’ve never heard of has finally found me. Without even opening it, I can see her swimming in slow motion across the Atlantic, just to reach me! (And she would get here so much faster if I would just send her $1,000, for one of those slippery wetsuits and English lessons, don’t you know.)

I was not disappointed.

My dear friend,

Sometimes you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with your soul mate and you want to meet your beloved person as soon as possible.

Svet … is that you, Svet?

This twenty-first century letter speaks for my twentieth century soul.  And it does not matter that we never met in real life, never talked, touched or even hold hands. I feel like I want to know you better and you are the one for me.

That perfect man exists in my imagination and I am dreaming about meeting him all days and nights. We have to be patient in order to get what we want. I’d like you to know that I am waiting for my love, my dear.

See you later,

Svet B  

How nice. How sweet. And she sounds so genuine too. I must write her back. But there is no return email address, just a website. No, no, no – I can’t just click on a website. Where’s the heartfeltness, where’s the one-on-oneness, where’s the romance in that?

No, if this is true love, I shall write a letter to her here. No doubt … like Cupid’s arrows, it will find its way. For as that lovely saying about true love goes: If you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, then may it eat shit and die. And if it does, it better have a damn good story for where’s the hell it’s been all this time.

My dearest dear, dear Svet,

How good to hear from you – I hope all is well. You must forgive me if I seem a little confused as I write this. After all, it has been a while since we last talked. Oh, that’s right – we’ve never talked now, have we?

No matter. How my heart swoons to hear that your twenty-first century letter speaks for your twentieth century soul! It just sucks, though, that your 17th-century Internet provider didn’t get this to me sooner. Drat and double-drat – as alas, I am already spoken for.

Actually, Svet dear, I’ve been bespeaked for quite some time now. And get this – she’s of Lithuanian descent! Can you believe it? I’ll bet you’re cursing the day your country ever let that little satellite fly the Soviet Union coop! Isn’t life strange, though.

Yes, yes it is. For as you so splendidly say, “it does not matter that we never met in real life, never talked, touched or even hold hands.” Can’t miss what you’ve never had, no?

So, as they say in my country, don’t be a stranger! Ta-ta and would be yours truly if I truly knew you,

G

Sigh – my first “Dear Svet” letter. Sealed with a kick.