A Little Space…..Please!

Things That Bother Me-Intrusions Into My Personal Space

Is it just me, or is the concept of “Personal Space,” disappearing from modern society? I read that personal space, is defined as the region surrounding a person, which they regard as psychologically theirs. It is an invisible bubble that forms an imaginary barrier, that if crossed, will induce feelings of discomfort, anger, or anxiety. It may even bring about defensive body language, such as: crossed arms, a frown, reduced eye contact, and often a downward gaze. That’s interesting. The exact same thing happens to me, whenever my mother-in-law is in my face, and dressing me down for something. I know she’s messing with my personal space. I just don’t have the courage to confront her.

Recent scientific analysis, and multiple research studies have determined that for Western societies, there is a definitive and measurable area that people consider their personal space. Estimated averages show it being 24” on either side, 28” in the front, and 16” in the rear. I don’t know about you, and I’m certainly not a prude, but if it’s a guy behind me; that sixteen inches, doesn’t seem to leave much room for error. At least the next time my wife is cold, it’s 3:00 am, and she wants to snuggle; I’ll have to pull out the old tape measure and say, “Sorry honey, but you need to back off three or four inches. A guy needs his personal space.” Continue reading

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Check This Out

 

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My wife has a difficult job that consumes a lot of her time. To lighten her workload a little, I’ve begun doing most of the grocery shopping, and some of the meal preparation. I haven’t been having too much trouble planning meals, putting together a massive grocery list, wheeling a wobbly shopping cart through hordes of often inconsiderate shoppers, finding items on my list, and filling my cart. My aggravation, frustration, and slow, but steady decline into temporary insanity, arrives when I reach the checkouts to pay for my groceries.

It’s not common knowledge among most shoppers, but major grocery store chains spend millions of dollars a year to hire specially trained marketing geniuses. Their sole purpose, is to devise brilliant, but insidious ways to cajole, tempt, entice, convince, and ultimately seduce you into buying more products than you want or need. This includes the most expensive items. Why do you think, the first thing you see when you enter a store is fresh, but high-priced fruits and vegetables, expensive nuts and trail mixes, and the most outrageously priced but unbelievably delicious and decadent bakery items? On the other hand, it sometimes takes half an hour, the resources of a skilled tracker, and the sensitive noses of search and rescue dogs to find inexpensive staples like bread, milk, and eggs, at the furthest reaches of the store. Continue reading

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Running from Dinosaurs

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This past weekend, I watched parts of a Jurassic Park Marathon. To be honest, I’m not sure any sane human being could sit through all four movies in a row. The cinematic spectacles, involved thousands of animatronic, and computer-generated dinosaurs, hot and humid tropical islands, tons of dinosaur poop, and dozens of clueless and intellectually challenged people whose sole purpose was to provide entertainment, and a readily available food source for ravenous, prehistoric predators.

Actually, most of the movie plots were very similar. It’s a surprisingly simple formula by film studios to achieve a steady flow of loyal customers, and enormous box office receipts. All four movies revolve around people, either running and screaming, or screaming and running from extremely hungry dinosaurs in various shapes and sizes. Sometimes, to make it interesting, the people would run, scream, and then get eaten. I even saw a few peoples who didn’t run, but they did get the screaming while being eaten part down perfect. Continue reading

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Just a Walk in the Dark

 

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I recently started a new job that requires me to leave for work, a few hours before the first rays of sunlight creep over the eastern horizon. This schedule, has forced me to take my dog, Chase, for long walks at three in the morning. We now venture out, in total, all-encompassing darkness, devoid of any comforting light. I didn’t think it would be, but it’s kind of spooky out there.

Like most people, I have a few fears. Once in a while I’ll have a terrifying nightmare, of being accidentally pushed by my wife from a cruise ship balcony. Frantically treading water in a deep and dangerous ocean, with unknown terrors lurking below, I’ll catch a glimpse of a huge dorsal fin, right before I feel skin as rough as sandpaper, brush against my pajama covered leg. Of course, like most men, I fear the other team throwing a hail-Mary pass with three seconds left in the super bowl, prostate exams, Sunday night dinners at my in-laws, and charging grizzly bears. Oh, I almost forgot another thing that may cause a few sleepless nights. How about charging mother-in-laws? Especially, after you refuse to finish the last of your fish-head casserole. Now, that’s scary.  Continue reading

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My Wife’s Escape

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I know that all marriages have their ups and downs, but after twenty-three years of wedded bliss, something’s changed. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but my wife has been distant lately, seems preoccupied with something, and we just don’t seem as close as we once were. We used to hold hands, as we took long walks, discussed our future over morning coffee, and laughed together at some of the silliest things. I know her work has been stressful, we have a new grandchild that takes up a lot of our time, and I’ve had some health issues over the past year, but this is something different. It’s like I lost my best friend.

I’ve racked my brain to try to narrow down the time things began to change. The only thing that makes sense, is for some reason, it all started around the time she bought her brand new, 2017 Ford Escape SE Titanium. It seems crazy to me, but sometimes, as soon as she gets home from work, she’ll change clothes, jump in her escape, and disappear for hours at a time. I have no idea, where she goes, or what she does. She’ll often come home hours later with her face flushed, and an empty tank of gas. I know it’s not the man who sold her the car. No, it couldn’t be. Besides, he was at least eighty, used a walker, and as he talked, his dentures would pop in and out of his mouth.

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Naked…..And…..Afraid?

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Have any of you ever watched a reality television series called, “Naked and Afraid?” It just started its seventh season, and can be seen on the Discovery Channel. Each episode of the show, chronicles the life and death struggles of a man and a woman, given the formidable task of surviving for twenty-one days in a harsh and inhospitable, dangerous, and unforgiving environment without food, shelter, water or clothing. Wow, until I got to the clothing part, I thought they were talking about a twenty-one day visit to my in-laws. Now, that would be one heck of a survival show.

Spending twenty-one days, with a complete stranger in a nightmarish scenario of limited food, undrinkable water, little protection from the elements, and total nudity has to be tough. To be honest; I could probably survive being naked, and I might just withstand being afraid, but not both at the same time. That would be like taking a nice, relaxing bath, falling asleep, and then waking to the sight of your spouse standing next to the tub, holding a plugged-in toaster in their outstretched arms.

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Just a Fruitcake

 

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I was going to save this simple observation of fruitcakes for closer to Christmas, but a strange thing happened to me the other day. I was cleaning out a hallway closet, when an extremely heavy, brick like object, fell off an upper shelf, and landed on my large, and usually indestructible cranium. I was surprised, when the impact nearly sent me to my knees. After regaining my senses, I retrieved a solid, rectangular object, neatly wrapped in bright red wrapping paper from the floor. Examining the mysterious package, I noticed a small white label attached with a few, neatly printed words that said, “To My Favorite Nephew. Merry Christmas from Uncle Ned.”

I could only imagine, when I had received the gift, why it was unopened, and how it had ended up in my closet. Stranger still, was the fact that my Uncle Ned, had died under mysterious circumstances, nearly twenty years ago. I slowly opened the package, and was surprised to find the item was encased in a faded type of cloth or linen that looked very old. Delicately removing the wrapping which was dry and brittle, I was astonished to find what looked like  –  a fruitcake?

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Bad for You – But oh so Good

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Do you know that the the Food and Drug Administration has mandated, that by May of 2018, a large percentage of places serving food in the United States, will be required by law to have extensive calorie, and content labeling? Also, by May of 2019, vending machines will have to meet the same rules and regulations. Food items for sale will need to prominently list: total fat, calories from fat, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbs, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein. To be fair, many places, including fine dining establishments, and large fast food chains, have already made the mandated changes. Many restaurants will also be required to show this information on all its menus. I guess that means, if you’re in a fancy French restaurant, and the waiter recommends the “Escargot,” you better check that darn menu. Heaven forbid, they should serve you a huge, soft and squishy, edible land snail, and you have to determine if you eat it, will it go directly to your thighs!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first to admit that Americans need to eat healthier. Personally, I’m always dieting, eating more fruits and vegetables, making smart choices concerning calories and fat content, and looking for better dietary alternatives. I just don’t think most people care about seeing the exact number of calories in what their eating. We go out to eat to enjoy ourselves, not worry about caloric intake. I gnaw on carrots, and fight my wife for the last of the arugula lettuce during the week. I don’t need to be reminded on a Saturday night that my medium rare sirloin steak, baked potato with butter and sour cream, side of glazed carrots, and tiny piece of cherry cheese cake, will not only provide my total dietary needs for three days, but possibly send me to any early grave.

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Hey Ghosts – Where the Heck are You?

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I’ve been studying the fascinating, and sometimes hair-raising phenomena of ghosts for over twenty years. I’ve also read multiple books on the subject, diligently watched shows such as Ghost Hunters, and have even visited supposedly haunted sites. Do you know something? I think I’m the last man in the entire world who hasn’t seen a ghost.

What actually is a ghost? There are so many names associated with this ethereal and elusive denizen of the darkest nights. I’ve heard them called, spirits, phantoms, appearances, specters, ghouls, and visions. I have just two questions. Where the heck are all the ghosts, and why are they all hiding from me? I looked up the definition of a ghost, and it said, “A ghost is the spirit of a deceased person, or animal that can appear in visible form or as a manifestation to the living.”

I just realized that description said animal? All I need right now are animal ghosts. I’m already starting to get a little scared. Does this mean, old lady Thompson’s diabolical feline, Muffin, which made my life miserable for ten years, could come back from the after-life and haunt me?

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A Sign of the Times

 

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Driving by a park in a nearby city the other day, I began feeling the uncomfortable effects of two lunchtime burritos, accompanied by a generous helping of spicy fries. I reluctantly stopped to use the park’s bathroom facilities, when my digestive system said, “Run man – for the love of God, run.” Sorry, no pun intended. I won’t get into my experience now, but if you want to; read my recent story called, “Little House of Horrors.” It says it all.

After my interesting adventure in the restroom, I decided to spend a few minutes touring the lovely green oasis, which sat amidst a sea of concrete. Have any of you seen the signs that they put at the entrance to almost every public park? Boldly written at the top of this parks sign, in slightly larger letters was the word “NO,” followed below by the words: smoking, eating or drinking, pets, alcoholic beverages, food, skate boarding, motorized vehicles, camping, fires, boisterous behavior, and cursing. At the bottom of the sign, also in bold letters was, “Please enjoy yourselves.”

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