Weirdest thing that happened to me in 2018 was being mistaken for Ray Charles’ son. She was elderly and very sweet and had known Ray Charles and his son and I apologized and said no, I’m not and felt quite guilty about it as she looked so painfully bewildered that I wasn’t.
So I woke up on the couch at 4 a.m. and as I stumbled off to bed I noticed a kitchen completely untouched since dinner. Pots, pans, plates, leftovers, utensils up the wazoo. A spattered stove. Half dreaming it I washed everything, then dried everything, then put everything away. Then I sleepily cleaned up the stove and countertops. Did I mention the carefully wrapped leftovers in perfect stacks in the fridge and freezer? I got to bed at 6 a.m. This must be the retired life, clockless, unrestrained by civilized standards of time. And then oversleeping.
First it was Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray square dancing. Then Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan square dancing. When it came to dance Barbara was down to folk. But every time I see square dancing I break out in hives. From second to sixth grades inclusive I went to ten different schools (or maybe nine schools, one twice) in I think six states and every time we moved to the next school they were just beginning square dance lessons. Everything was folk music then, autoharps and hoe downs, Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore and square dancing. I hated square dancing. I hated it so much I can still feel the tightening in my stomach when they announced that lucky us, today we were going to learn to square dance. I hated learning how to square dance in San Diego, Anaheim, Tacoma, Anaheim again and on an island off the coast of Maine. I hated it in rural Brunswick ME and inner city Woodbury NJ and somewhere outside Boston. I hated it in Placentia CA and in Virginia Beach. And by the end of my endless square dance tour I still couldn’t dosey doe without tripping over my own feet. It took some effort to maintain that sort of hapless clodhoppery from California to the Gulf Stream waters in the 1960’s. But I did it.
I learned to sing all the folk songs, though. Apparently I liked singing. I learned all the cowboy songs they taught us too. Goodbye Ol’ Paint, I’m leaving Cheyenne. Cool, clear water, Tumbling tumbleweeds, and the eerie Ghost Riders in the Sky. Though I thought it was ghost writers in the sky, and wanted to be one. Some things do come true, sort of.
If you want to make your wife mad, set fire to your socks. Even with your feet not in the socks she’ll get mad. Wives just get mad when you burn things, even accidentally, no matter how stupid. You burned a big hole in your sock, she scolded. I decided this was not the time nor place for the Darn it joke I been waiting to use for years. Instead I promised never to light a candle again.
Facebook’s videos for me led off with Dancing Queen by ABBA, then something by Kid Rock, then Journey doing Wheel In The Sky, then a speech by Donald Trump. followed by another ABBA, Elton John singing Candle In The Wind, and Donald Trump again, this time with three rabbis.
What kind of fucked up algorithm am I trapped in?
The good news, my doctor told me, peering over my xrays, is that my hips are in good shape, sparing me the embarrassment of having oldpeopleitis. Bad news is my lower back is an arthritic mess, a result of decades of heavy lifting gnarly dudeness, four decades almost of seizure meds, once being the only guy holding a one ton satellite dish, eight zillion heavy boxes, one helluva seizure and various physical activities. Such is the fate of college dropouts. Some pompous intellectual twit I’d make. Anyway, I guess I get a shot to alleviate discomfort, which is a shame, because my canesmanship is going from merely groovy to almost styling in a haplessly clumsy kind of way and apparently someone found a very cool, very hip cane for me that I cannot wait to see and wave about and point with. Anyway I’ll put off the shot till after payday, which is Boxing Day, exciting, which will also allow my friends to make gimp jokes at my expense while eating all my food and drinking all my booze and smoking all my dope because my friends are such sick f*cks, gawd love ‘em.
But enough about me.
My new and excruciatingly dull mellow epileptic lifestyle is so teutonically ordered that the creative Irish half is getting surly and bored and would really love some whiskey. Es tut mir leid Nelligan, that’s not in the budget this month. Nelligan loathes Herr Wahl and his perfect budget and organization and bill paying. Hates all the regularity and planning. Hates it with a fine Irish hate. But he’s been cut off. Every time he gets hold of the bank card bills bounce, things go awry, mere anarchy is loosed upon the household. It makes for good stories though. Or did, before the Kraut forced his way back in. Dass ist genug, Wahl commands, you’ll get us all spazzisch im dem Kopf mit your idiotische ramblings and he grabs the iPhone away before Nelligan can finish the