Around the living room in 80 days

As of today, exactly 80 days have passed since June 7.

I was in a hospital for six of them. Which means, thanks to my lightning-quick mental calculation skills, I have been in this house for … 74 days.

I’ve been living within these walls for every hour, every minute, every single second of every one of those days. Well, with the exception of about 11 times, for short trips. By my best guesstimation, those add up to about 13 hours.

So, that means, subtracting that time … I’ve been living within these walls, nearly non-stop, for 1,763 hours. That’s 105,780 minutes. Which also is 6,346,800 seconds. Or maybe 62.7 bizzillion nano-seconds.

Hmmmm … very interesting. Explains a lot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What was that? What were you saying, I couldn’t hear you.”

My wife is down the hall, sitting in the computer room and yelling out to me. I am in the where-I-am-living room.

“Sorry, I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to Rocky.”

“What’d you say?”

“I said I was talking to Rocky!”

“You’re talking to Rocky.”

“Well, yes. In a manner of speaking.”

“You’re talking to Rocky, in a manner of speaking.”

“Yeah. I’m talking to Rocky, and he’s listening. It’s a manner of speaking. Sort of.”

“Don’t make me get up and count your pills again.”

“Shhh, Rock. Hold that thought. I’ll get back to you when the coast is clear.”

I hear you … I don’t know what you’re saying, but I hear you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Hi hon, it’s me. Whatcha doing?”

“Hello dear. I know it’s you. We have caller ID at work.”

“Oh, what cutting-edge technology that is. Anyway, I wanted to ask you if I can use the credit card.”

“Why do you need to use the credit card? You’re at home. What for?”

“I’ve been watching this really educational program on TV and if I call and order within the next 20 minutes, they’ll double my order, the same price as one, just pay additional shipping and handling.”

“You’re watching infomercials.”

“Right, we’re talking lots of info here. And if I call in the next 17 minutes, they’ll double my order and I’ll get two 16-ounce Real-Rubber-in-a-Cans instead of one. I want to spray it on the bottoms of my feet and see if I can bounce my legs up onto the couch instead of hooking them with my cane and pulling them up. I think we’re talking a potential medical miracle here. So, whatdaya say.”

“Sigh – I’ve got to get a padlock for that medicine cabinet. I’m hanging up now.”

I dunno – it sure sounded like a good idea to me.

Advertisements

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.

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.”