Gobbling Down a Meal

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Though Thanksgiving is celebrated in a few other countries, it has developed into a distinctly American tradition. It is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and the day after, known as “Black Friday,” has unofficially become the start of the Holiday shopping season. It’s commonly agreed upon, that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, by the Pilgrims, who invited the local Native Americans to a feast to celebrate their first successful harvest. The local Wampanoag tribe had taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, beans and squash, catch fish, and collect seafood. It should be noted that the first Thanksgiving meal did not include turkey, which though native to the new world, were smaller than modern farm-raised birds, very elusive, and hard to find. The three-day feast consisted mainly of goose, corn, porridge, lobster, fish, and deer.

I have a few questions for those reading my simple observations of Thanksgiving. How many of you endure the stress of traveling long distances by car, train, or airplane, to visit friends and family you haven’t seen since last year? How many of you don’t really like some of the people you are visiting? Worse yet; how many of you have homes, that  for some strange twist of fate, have become the official, Thanksgiving destination for dozens of ravenous relatives – year after year after year? If you are one of these homes; do you spend a fortune buying supplies, and days thawing turkeys, making delicious holiday foods, and baking amazing pies? Do your guests proceed to wolf down the meal in ten minutes without comment, ask what’s for dessert, procure enormous slices of pies and cakes, and leave the table in search of a television to watch either football games, or parades filled with marching bands, and giant, helium-filled balloons? Does your spouse or partner, buy dozens of Tupperware containers, and give all the leftovers to departing guests? The next day, do you open an empty refrigerator, and dream of partaking of delicious day-old Turkey with all the fixings? Welcome to my Thanksgiving celebration. Continue reading

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Getting to the Friendly Skies

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I was thinking about writing a simple observation of everyday life, involving the wonderful experience of airports, and traveling the friendly skies, in spacious, comfortable, and worry-free airplanes. That was until, I spent four hours in an airport, endured incredible stress and aggravation, faced debilitating panic, extreme fear and frustration, waited impatiently in long lines, got an unbelievable cardio workout, and had my wife get felt-up by a woman with hands as big as baseball gloves. Now to make this clear; all this happened, before I even made it aboard my plane, which was delayed for two hours for some unknown reason. Due to this horrific experience, I’ve decided to focus initially, on writing about getting from the airport entrance to that little tunnel leading to the airplane. If you’ve faced similar situations – please hold your ear-splitting screams, and hair pulling until the end of the post.

It should be noted that this post will not mention any specific people, airports, or airlines by name. The purpose of this is to protect the innocent – namely me. Heaven forbid, an airline executive, or high-level airport, or government official, happens to take a break from counting all your money, and decides to read my simple observations of everyday life blog. It wouldn’t help that my picture, and full name is prominently displayed. Chances are; on my next vacation, or trip to visit relatives, I would spend two hours having my baggage meticulously searched, endure the cold snouts of multiple drug and bomb sniffing dogs, and face a thorough, full body strip search, along with an extensive cavity exploration, by a person with a huge smirk on their face, and a true love of their job. There’s also a high probability, I’d end up sitting in a middle seat between two enormous Sumo wrestlers, receive no food or beverages, and eventually disembark at a small airport in Siberia, and never see my baggage again. Continue reading

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Holy Cow – Someone’s in Trouble

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Yesterday, I was on my way home from work; and as I often do, began thinking about subjects for my next simple observation of everyday life. Turning into my development, I noticed, a few doors down from my house, was some kind of large and garish yard display. Coming to a complete stop in front of my neighbor, Phil’s abode; I could only sit and stare in shock, at what looked like an enormous herd of miniature cows, grazing peacefully on his well-manicured lawn. In the center of the group of black and white bovines was a large cow with a smiling face. Held firmly in its hoofs, was a brightly painted sign, with the words, “Holy Cow – Bettys 50.” My only thoughts were, “Phil, Phil, Phil. You poor misguided fool. Did you undergo a bout of temporary insanity, have a brief moment of stupid, really think it’s funny, or do you have some kind of death wish?”

To be fair; Betty, is a lovely, kind, and gentle person, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. She most likely, won’t give him a gentle reminder of his mistake, with an open hand to the side of his large, and obviously empty head. However; good old Phil, might be facing a week or two of disapproving looks, fast-food takeout meals, and restless nights, on a lumpy living room couch. Like most women, including my own wife; Betty has been aging beautifully – like a fine wine. Just because women age better than men, doesn’t mean they want to be reminded of the passing years with massive displays of pieces of painted wood, which depict various barnyard creatures, and enormous signs with their name and, “actual” age. If you’ve witnessed some of these birthday surprises on lawns, you may have noticed that there’s rarely ones that boldly announce a 60th birthday. The only thing I can figure out is, the husband who thought the cow display for his life partner’s 50th birthday was so hilarious – didn’t fair too well over the next decade. Continue reading

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Drive-Thru & Don’t Look Back

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Have you noticed, how more and more businesses are allowing customers to purchase products and services, via drive-through windows? I read that a number of factors, including our increasing dependence on vehicles in a mobile society, technological advances that provide luxury’s in automobiles, unheard of in past generations, and the relentless search by consumers for more convenience, have allowed us to complete more and more of our daily activities without having to leave our cars. I don’t know about you, but at least for me; I think it means, I’m becoming incredibly lazy. What’s next – robots that carry us to our cars? How about, comfortable lounge chairs that convert into a highway-ready, means of transportation? I guess, it would be pretty cool, to pull up to the takeout window at Burger King in a souped-up Lazy Boy Recliner. I’m surprised, some innovative genius hasn’t already invented drive-through bathrooms. Then, we’d never have to leave our cars!

Most of us have used or at least heard of drive-through fast food restaurants, coffee shops, postal service centers, banks, and pharmacies. It may sound a bit crazy, but there’s also drive-through marriage chapels in Las Vegas, liquor stores, beer distributorships, and funeral home viewings, where the final memory of your cherished loved one is through the driver’s side window of your new SUV. Do you know, you can now order groceries online, drive to a supermarket, pull up to a loading dock, pop your trunk, and someone will load your purchases into your vehicle? When you get home, you use your smart phone to call your teenage children to come out and bring the groceries into the house.  After getting either a busy signal, or no answer, you end up carrying a dozen heavy bags in by yourself, and find your kids on their beds, wearing headphones, listening to music, and surfing the net. When they finally notice you’re home, what do they say? “I’m starving; what’s for dinner?” Continue reading

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Hunting for a New Look

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Have you noticed that, besides Halloween, and an Irish pub on Saint Patty’s Day; the Christmas season is the only other time you can dress in strange, silly, and ridiculous attire – and get away with it? How many of you have ever attended, or hosted, what’s called an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party?” Over the past few years, the popularity of these events has sky-rocketed, as young and old, have searched for the perfect ugly sweater online, as well as in vintage clothing stores, and local Salvation Army and Goodwill thrift shops. The objective is to procure a tacky and outrageous sweater, in bright red and green colors, with large depictions of reindeer, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves or Christmas trees, and any humorous, and often naughty, Christmas-themed saying.

We had an ugly sweater party and contest at my house, as part of last year’s holiday celebration; and guess who won the spectacular grand prize of a years of supply of tooth-breaking, decades old, candy canes? I not only won, but didn’t even buy an ugly sweater. I pulled a sweater out of the back of my closet, that my great-grandmother must have bought at a 1908-yard sale, and was passed down from generation to generation. The sweater was made of a thick and plush fabric, resembling the fur of a grizzly bear. My dog, Chase, was kind enough to loan me some of his large and varied collection of slightly chewed, stuffed toys. The ones I chose were small, life-like, and depicted a variety of animals, such as: a hedgehog, ground squirrel, cute chipmunk, rabbit, groundhog, and a black and white skunk. I spent hours, meticulously sewing the creatures onto my ancient sweater. The final result of my endeavor was, what looked like a scene from a horror film. Can you envision, a large, fur-covered man, engaged in a valiant fight for his very existence, as rabid creatures of the forest cover his upper body in a horrifying feeding frenzy. It was so cool. Continue reading

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Hey, You Look Familiar

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How many of you have heard about, what’s called a “Doppelganger?” It has often been described as someone’s double, look-alike, or physical and behavioral twin. Though identical in looks, they have no genetic relationship with you. Folklore has said, that everyone has their own doppelganger, and they can be either an evil alter ego, or perhaps, even a ghostly apparition. Legend has it, that if you ever see your doppelganger, it’s usually a harbinger of either bad luck, or an omen of impending death. I don’t know what’s scarier; the fact that my evil double is somewhere out there, roaming the earth, and causing untold mischief, the idea, that I could possibly have any more bad luck than I do now, or the thought that another Patrick Dykie is on the loose.

I’m not the only one, who’s somewhat disturbed by the idea of a Patrick Dykie doppelganger. A few weeks ago, my wife awoke from a horrific nightmare, with a piercing shriek. Covered in sweat, and tangled in the covers, she looked at me, and said, “Thank God, it was only a terrible, terrible dream.” I asked her what it was about. She replied in a shaking voice, “I dreamt, I came home from work, and there were two of you. What made it worse, is that the house was a mess, dishes were piled in the sink, the laundry wasn’t folded, the grass wasn’t cut, and you were both in front of separate computers, feverishly typing.” She paused for a moment, and took a deep breath. She then, in a low, barely audible voice, which was almost a whisper, said, “Both of you were writing and posting simple observations of everyday life. I was never so scared in my life.” All I could do was hold her close, tell her I loved her, and everything would be all right. I also smiled to myself, as I thought, “Wow – two posts at once.” Continue reading

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Buy Me….. Please

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How many of you like to watch television commercials; especially, the ones that run during each year’s Super Bowl? Which ones do you still remember? Were the ones that stuck in your mind, the funny ones? I read that some of the most successful commercials, are the ones that make humorous observations of everyday life. Personally, I always like ones that involve either delicious corn chips, Dalmatians, Budweiser beer, Clydesdales, Snickers candy bars, Pepsi, babies, puppies, monkeys, Bette White, or that elderly woman who used to ask, “Where’s the beef?” Do you know that a thirty-second ad for the 2017 Super Bowl, cost advertisers around five million dollars?

It’s not that some of these Super Bowl commercials aren’t marketing successes, or even fairly enjoyable; but for five million dollars! Who’s writing these commercials. There has to be somebody out there with better ideas than these. I recently learned, the masterminds of these commercials are what are called advertising executives, and their salaries average over one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. How do you get an advertising executive job, and what are the qualifications? I can imagine the ad for one in the employment section of the newspaper. “Wanted – people with black, slicked-back hair, perfect, and blindingly white teeth, extreme good looks, a strange and twisted sense of humor, must have at least a third-grade education, love Doritos, expensive cars, diet drinks, and massive quantities of hallucinogenic, and mind-altering drugs. Salary negotiable.” Wow, until they got to the good-looking part, I was ready to say, “sign me up!” Continue reading

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Live and Let Dry

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Recently, I got a rare, and eye-opening chance to observe laundromats up close and personal. My old, but usually reliable washing machine broke down, and forced me to throw a couple pairs of underwear, my favorite, relaxed-fit jeans, two tee-shirts, and forty of my wife’s outfits into two, big black garbage bags. During my early years, as a recent college grad, the friendly and convenient, local laundromat, was all I ever had to do my clothes. Do any of you have memories of a weekly trip to the local laundromat, as you dragged your own big black garbage bags down a dark and deserted street at one in the morning? It seemed, the laundromat was always open, wasn’t it? You would see those bright lights in the distance, and felt a warm feeling, knowing the next day, your coworkers wouldn’t be backing away from the strong and pungent smell of unwashed clothing.

These days, it seems like every home and apartment has a washer and dryer tucked away in a laundry room, or a small closet, and college dorms, all have conveniently located laundry facilities. Since I’m a man, I could probably survive a few days until my washing machine was fixed. I would just up my deodorant use, throw my worn clothes in the dryer with a dozen of those scented dryer sheets, and hit Target for a pack or two of my favorite Fruit of the Loom underwear, with the comfortable elastic waist band. My wife, on the other hand, needs at least two cleaned and ironed outfits each day. Sadly, if I don’t change my attire, at least every other day, her affection level drops dramatically, and she begins to avoid me like the plague. Our once warm and cozy bedroom, starts to resemble a cold and desolate Antarctic scene from one of those National Geographic specials. I could probably handle the extreme chill in the air – but those darn penguins are so mean. Continue reading

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Ahhh….. Chooo!

 

Ahhh Choo

Each year, early October, marks the beginning of the flu season. It usually winds down around May, with December through February being the peak months for feeling bad, having aches, and pains, enduring extreme discomfort, being miserable, suffering fatigue and extreme chills, and having a general malaise. I don’t know about the flu, but that’s exactly how I feel after spending a Saturday doing chores for my mother-in-law! I wonder if she’s like that woman nicknamed “Typhoid Mary,” from the early 1900’s who made everyone who came in contact with her incredibly sick.

Medical experts have said, new strains of antibiotic resistant germs and super bugs are out there, and we may be facing worldwide influenza pandemics in the coming years. Scary, huh? It’s not just the flu, but the common cold, which is spreading, and making our daily lives difficult. This week at work, it seemed almost everyone was coughing, sneezing, or wiping runny noses. I just read an interesting article about the most common ways that illnesses our spread. They include: physical contact with an ill person, touching contaminated objects or surfaces like shopping carts, or Dunkin Donuts coffee cups, getting bites from animals or insects, and traveling by airplane. What if I’m sitting next to a sick person on an airplane, and they bite me on the arm? Worse yet; what if, as they nibble on my foreman, they also, simultaneously choke me with one hand, while clubbing me senseless with a food tray? Does this mean, I should increase my life insurance, and update my will, because I’m definitely a goner? Continue reading

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Get Your Hot Dogs Hereee…..

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A few months ago, I attended a major league baseball game. As part of a great American tradition; I paid twenty dollars for parking, faced exorbitant ticket prices for lousy seats, and dealt with astronomical costs for food and drinks. Have you ever wondered why hot dogs sold at baseball parks are so incredibly delicious? Could it be that since they cost nine dollars apiece, they must be a gourmet item, made with the best ingredients, and prepared by master chefs? My experience at the ball park, got me thinking about all the hot dogs I’ve eaten in my life, and some of the wonderful memories associated with this iconic food item. Though the hot dog originated in Frankfurt Germany in 1852, it has become as American as apple pie, Friday night, high school football games, and Thanksgiving.

If you’re over forty, you might remember a classic jingle from a hot dog commercial by the Oscar Mayer company, which first appeared in 1965, but remained an important part of Americana for another fifty years. The words went like this. “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. That is what I truly want to be. Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be in love with me.” Do you know that a commercial like this, is no longer allowed to be shown of TV? It’s true. It’s considered to be politically incorrect in today’s environment, in which we don’t want to offend anyone. Personally, I don’t understand what’s wrong with the commercial. It seems to be a wonderful, simple, and inoffensive message, which brings back memories of the innocence of childhood, long, fun-filled summers, baseball games, carnivals and state fairs, and family picnics. As I understand it; we can no longer use the word “wiener,” in any type of advertising. I don’t know why. Maybe, it’s because of that disgraced congressman, named Anthony Weiner, who sent inappropriate pictures of his package to young ladies, and was recently sentenced to twenty-one months in prison. When I mention package….. Lets see how I can delicately put this. It’s not the kind UPS drivers leave on your front doorstep. I’m not positive, but I heard he may have legally changed his last name to “hamburger.” Before I move on to the rest of this post, I have just one more thing to say. “Wiener, wiener, wiener, wiener, wiener. Take that – thought police!” Continue reading

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