Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

Archive for the tag “Morning Ramble”

Morning Ramble (the Last One of 2016)


Here I sit, coffee in hand (and hand on keyboard) for this, my final Morning Ramble of 2016.  As has been quite frequently the case through out the year (and other years before it), I was rousted out of bed at an indecent hour by an insistent cat who claimed to be near death’s door due to starvation and neglect.  I stumbled to his food dish to find that it still had a little food in it.  His real complaint was probably with the quality of the food or that it wasn’t fresh out of the bag.  He seems to only enjoy eating food if he watches someone scoop it out of the bag for him.  After that initial meal, whatever is left in the bowl apparently becomes inedible swill.  I’m sure if he had an opposable thumb, he would pick up his tin cup and rake it back and forth across the bars of his cell in protest.  Luckily, he does not have opposable thumbs.  Or a tin cup.  Nor does he live in any kind of cell.  I’m pretty sure he thinks he owns the place and only lets us stay here due to his largess and sense of charity.  Plus I think we are a source of amusement for him.  And what tyrant is complete without lackeys?

Speaking of indecent hours (which I was way back at the beginning of this post), I wonder where that term came  from?  I grew up hearing  my mom using it and, based on the context in which she used it, I gather it had something to do with a body (particularly my body) staying out later than a prescribed time, or getting up at an hour that was much earlier than anticipated (never an issue in my youth) or that was far later than anticipated (a much more likely occurrence in my youth).  When I heard the phrase as a child, I speculated that it might have something to do with one’s state of dress if awoken too early.  At three in the morning, one is not likely to spring out of bed wearing a top hat and tails.  But ironically, coming home at three in the morning whilst wearing a top hat and tails would also be considered indecent.  As a child, after pondering it awhile, I probably just shrugged my shoulder and marked it down as one of those weird things parents say that don’t really mean anything.

Well, it is the last day of 2016 and it is mandatory by law for bloggers to wax poetic about the passing of one year and the arrival of the new one.  As I’ve gotten older, the bar for what constitutes a good year has gotten lower and lower.  (That is, if the bar referred to is part of a high jump competition.  If it is the one in a limbo competition, then the bar has gotten higher and higher.)  But the point I’m trying to make is that at my current age, a good year is one that I make it to the end of.  It is one in which my doctor doesn’t diagnose some new age-related ailment or condition that I have (or will soon have).  It is one in which someone that is close to me doesn’t pass away or become very ill.  It is one in which I remain employed throughout.  By those measures, 2016 was a very good year for me, though I did lose a couple of relatives who were very old.  So, I have no grievance with 2016.  I did not do all that I wanted to, but that is my fault, not the year’s.

As for 2017, I plan to give the little tyke a chance before beginning to judge him.  I would want someone to do the same for me.  Imagine laying in a cradle and some old codger shaking his finger at you and saying, “You’d better not behave like that ne’er do well that was born last year!  By golly, I’ll give you a good drubbing!”   And as the wide-eyed innocent on the receiving end of this threat, my first thought would have been, “Drubbing?  Sheesh!  What century are you from!?












A Saturday Ramble

For many years I have gotten up on Saturday morning and, clad only in my pajamas and clutching a cup of coffee, would write about whatever thoughts were flitting through my brain at the moment.  Depending on the earliness of the hour, there might not be a lot flitting around up there.  One of the many recurring themes you will find in these blogs of mine is a general lack of functionality before, say, nine or ten o’clock in the morning. 

But today you are in luck, because it is nearing noon and I have already been up for four hours and so there is at least a hope of lucidity and coherency, though, just between you and me, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. 

So far today, I have gotten up (no small feat), had a sumptuous breakfast (okay, maybe “sumptuous” is stretching it a bit considering that all I had was a Jimmy Dean sausage and egg biscuit with my instant coffee), performed my morning ablutions (the only kind of ablutions I know, really), and straightened up the house a bit. 

Now, this straightening up the house business, while essential, is ultimately pointless.  Fruitless.  Bootless.   Useless.  (I could go on in that vein, but the thesaurus is exhausted.)  Why is it futile, you ask?  (Okay, it had one more.)  Well, I live in a house with a wife, a daughter, two dogs, and a cat.  The wife and daughter produce laundry at an astounding rate (the entire house looks like the backstage area of a fashion runway).  The dogs produce carpet stains at a rate that make it look as if Hessian soldiers marched across it fresh off of the battlefield at Yorktown.  The cat, as all cats do, sheds its own body weight in fur every hour.  So, with all this going on, one can but fight the good fight, go through the motions of standing in the surf and trying to hold back the tide, but as you can see from my brilliant use of clichéd metaphor, it is ultimately a futile endeavor. 

So, eventually, I tire of that and retire to this: writing a rambling Saturday morning blog about nothing much in particular.  I suppose I might be considered the Seinfeld of blogs, but without the money, fame, fans, adulation, critical acclaim, and all that other stuff that would make it hard for me to “keep it real”. 

So, here I am.  Keeping it real. 


Pretty much.

On Benchley, Breathing Strips, and Aftershave

Tonight I am channeling my inner Benchley (Robert, not Peter). Even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t write any more long, rambling essays about nothing in particular, I can’t help it. I am hopelessly addicted to meandering rambles (or perhaps rambling meanderings) over the hills and dells of my memory and psyche. I’m not sure which is the hill and which is the dell, but I suppose I should be content with the fact that my mental makeup has actual topographic features and isn’t just a giant sheet of flat grid paper like the landscape in the movie, “Tron” (the original, not the remake).

As an aside, I was shocked to find out that a synonym for dell is “dingle”. I found that quite amusing for some reason. I suppose it conjured up the alternate lyrics to “The Farmer in the Dingle”.

Speaking of awkward segues, I can’t decide which I hate worse: not being able to breathe at night or having to rip a “breathing strip” off of my nose first thing in the morning while still half asleep. There’s nothing like starting your day by having to do the equivalent of ripping a BandAid off of a sensitive patch of skin. It would only be worse if a hand came out of nowhere and slapped me squarely on both cheeks to apply a liberal dose of Skin Bracer (byyyyyyy Mennen!).

Speaking of which, I remember in my early years (before I became jaded) believing every bit of advertising that Madison Avenue shoveled out of their executive stalls into great, steaming piles on a credulous public. For instance, I believed that using Old Spice cologne would not only get rid of my razor burn, but would also give me a nautical air that women would find irresistible. Well, true enough, it gave me an “air”, but not a nautical one … and certainly not one that women found irresistible. It was more the the type of air that yellow signs warn one not to smoke in or create sparks in.

I eventually became disillusioned with Old Spice because I came to the slow realization that it was not the olfactory equivalent of epaulets and braids. Therefore, I turned my hopes to Skin Bracer because I thought, as shown in the TV ads, that slapping myself vigorously with a hand steeped in the eerie green liquid would leave me feeling braced and looking like a male model with smooth, manly skin that was free of both five o’clock shadow and razor burn. However, I never managed to perfect the fine art of slapping myself vigorously without getting Skin Bracer in both eyes or all over my clothes. This was about the time that I realized that all aftershave lotions were merely bottles of alcohol with FD&C blue or green or some other soothing color and a dash of something that smelled strong enough to take our minds off of the fact that we were pouring alcohol on razor-irritated skin. It was like, “Holy jehimanies my face is on fire!… oh neat … eucalyptus.” And then we’d leave the house feeling as if we were now irresistible to the ladies. What the rest of the world saw, however, was a man who seemed to have a severe case of rug burn all over his face and neck and who reeked of something used to clear sinuses or awaken antebellum ladies who had fainted from wearing their corsets too tight.

I also succumbed to the hype surrounding gel type shaving creams, believing that they would allow me to shave my face so closely that I could rub cotton balls all over my face and not leave a single cotton fiber clinging to even a microscopic specimen of beard stubble. To add to their air of authority and trustworthiness, these gels came in a variety of different colored cans, each color indicating a different formulation for different facial types. I tried the orange can for awhile, because it purported to be for sensitive skin, but later on I switched to the white can because it promised that it was “medicinal”. What a great idea! Putting medication on the razor wounds at the same time they were being inflicted. How efficient. So I slathered on the gel, fascinated at how it turned to foam as I smeared it around the ol’ epidermis. And at least part of the advertising claims were correct: it did allow me to shave very closely. But the advertisements were strangely silent on what happened after the gel/foam was shaved and washed off and you were happily on your way to your first class of the day (this was back in my college days). What happened was that, as the eucalyptus and other emollients wore off or evaporated, the beard began to grow back. Unfortunately, now that the stubble tips were below the skin surface, they were often confused about where exactly they should grow. As they groped their way blindly up towards the surface of the skin, they poked and prodded and stabbed their way towards the light, the effects of which were to make me look as if I’d unsuccessfully fended off an attack by a maniac wielding two red-hot ice picks coated in allergens. So I learned that close shaves were not all they were cracked up to be.

So, being a poor college student, there was an avenue open to me that is not open to most responsible, employed, and conscientious people: I grew a beard and forsook shaving altogether.

Later, however, when I graduated and was forced to become responsible, employed, and conscientious (not to mention conscious), I bought myself an electric razor. But here, too, I succumbed to the unrealistic claims of Madison Avenue. I believed that running this electric gizmo back and forth across my face would make strange women want to rub their hands across my cheeks, chin, and neck. That never happened. I’m not sure they even noticed the difference between a razor shave and an electric razor shave. In fact, I’m pretty sure they didn’t notice whether I shaved or not. Or even if I was actually there. I probably could have shaved with a scythe or a scimitar and gotten just as much notice from the fairer sex.

Luckily, now I am immune to the deceits of Madison Avenue.

On an unrelated note, I think I will buy a new computer. I saw an ad the other day for the latest octal-core, double-clocked processor that will make all my computing needs seem like child’s play.

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