Select Page
The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

ME: “Gather ‘round kids; Grandpa has a story to tell you.”

OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (excited) “Come on, Juniper, get over here; Grandpa’s going to tell us a story!”

YOUNGEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (not excited) “Grandpa’s full of shit, Mary Jean-Jane. Not in all my eight years has he ever told us a true story.”

But they gather ‘round anyway because they love me, and they’re respectful young children. They’re willing to suffer through the occasional story because, as the adage goes, “don’t bite the hand that buys you awesome Christmas presents.”

American Indians are also known for story-telling. To be clear, I’m not an American Indian; I’m trying to create an analogy here, so be patient. American Indians, or so I’ve heard tell in stories, pass their culture down from one generation to the next through storytelling.

Years ago, through stories, the younger American Indians learned from the older generation, for example;

  • How to set a trap for a hare; or . . .
  • Where the berries grew biggest in the springtime; or . . .
  • How to tell when the weather was going to change; and . . .
  • How to hunt Buffalo and how to follow the herd.

But then the white men shot all the Buffalo – for sport – piled them up like cordwood, and let them rot. And the Buffalo didn’t come anymore.

And the younger generation of American Indians grew tired of the stories.

GRANDFATHER: “Running Water – bring Coyote-Howling and Sidney, and Grandfather will tell you a story about the Buffalo.”

RUNNING WATER: “Come Coyote-Howling and Sidney, Grandfather is going to tell us a story about the Buffalo.”

COYOTE-HOWLING: “Grandfather is full of shit. The Buffalo are all gone.”

SIDNEY: “Screw that Buffalo baloney. Let us start a gambling casino and take the white man’s money for our own. We will exact our revenge for eradicating our buffalo through the roulette wheel and the slot machine.”

COYOTE-HOWLING: “Good idea Sidney, the white man is stupid and lazy, and we will – someday many moons from now – have the last laugh.”

And so it goes, it would seem, with all younger generations.

Storytelling persists regardless of the general lack of respect we older people get from smart-alecky young ’uns. Studying history in school is very much listening to stories of the experiences of a previous generation. Bible stories too were a part of many of our childhoods.

Depending on your religion, the story of the birth of Christ, the manger, a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, the north star, and the wise men; a great story that has been handed down through the years.

We tell some stories for enjoyment. We tell other stories to educate. And still, others we tell as warnings: don’t do this.

Such is the story of the Easter Fart.

With my granddaughters seated patiently at my feet, I begin the story.

“The entire family has gathered at Easter Grammy and Grampy’s house for the traditional Easter Celebration. (My Granddaughters call my in-laws the Easter Grandparents because that’s the only time they see them.) “First on the agenda, I tell them, “is coloring Easter Eggs.”

Because as you know, not only does the Easter Bunny bring children baskets brimming with jellybeans, he also brings them hard-boiled eggs. But not just plain white hard-boiled eggs – what sense would that make – they’re also bright pastel colors. And of course, because marketing departments of American companies can’t leave anything alone in their quest to make more bottom-line profit it’s no longer enough to color the eggs plain pastel colors. No, now we have to have swirly eggs, and sparkly eggs, fluorescent eggs, and bejeweled eggs. Which, when I think about it, is better than the lame white wax crayon we got when I was a kid. You’d try to write your name on a white egg with a white crayon, but of course, you can’t see what you’re writing because, hey genius marketers – it’s white on white, so your name comes out looking like D$9iT, and then you cry, and Mom refills her glass of Rose and adds another ice cube.

“So,” I continue, “we’ve colored the eggs, and they’re beautiful pastel, swirly, bejeweled works of art. And because, you know Grandpa, and how I’m always watching out for my wife and child . . .”

Juniper, the youngest granddaughter, rolls her eyes.

“. . . I feel it my duty to sample one of the hard-boiled eggs – to make sure they’re cooked appropriately. And of course, you can’t eat a hard-boiled egg without a cold can of beer, so I have a cold can of beer too.

“This egg,” I tell the children, “along with the cold can of beer, would later come to be known as “the detonator.’”

Juniper says, “Can I go watch T.V.?”

“No,” I tell her, “we’re just getting to the good part.”

“There’s a good part?” she asks.

“So we’ve colored eggs, and I’m sufficiently satisfied with their color, taste, and texture. It’s now time for the traditional Easter Eve supper.

“Easter Grammy decided that since Country-Style Spareribs were on sale, we would have a (new) traditional German Lutheran-themed Easter Eve supper of sauerkraut and spareribs, mashed potatoes, and baked beans.”

“Yuck!” says Juniper.

“Juniper, quit interrupting Grandpa,” says Mary Jean-Jane.

I glare at Juniper, and she glares back.

“Well, I happen to love sauerkraut and spareribs, mashed potatoes, and baked beans, so I loaded up on all of it.”

“Still yuck,” says Juniper.

And now Mary Jean-Jane rolls her eyes. At Juniper, of course, not at me.

“Kids, so you know the technical aspect of what’s happening here, and just as an informative aside, bombs are made by filling a metal canister with gun powder or some other kind of explosive stuff and then inserting a detonator.”

Suddenly, with the talk of bombs, Juniper begins to feign interest.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, Juniper says, “and the detonator’s the hard-boiled egg. You already told us that.”

I smile all-knowingly at her.

“Yes, Juniper, you are absolutely correct.”

Juniper beams with fake pride. Mary Jean-Jane rolls her eyes and utters “whatever” under her breath.

So I ask them, “If the egg is the detonator, can either of you tell me what the gunpowder or explosive material is?”

They both look perplexed and rub their respective chins in thoughtful concentration. Finally, Mary Jean-Jane tentatively raises her hand.

“Is it the sauerkraut and spareribs, mashed potatoes, and baked beans?”

Beautiful, caring, respectful, kind, geniuses. Those are my granddaughters.

“Absolutely Mary Jean-Jane,” I congratulate her.

“But Grandfather?” asks Juniper.

Either she’s taken in by the importance of the story or she’s jerking my chain, I can never tell with her. But she refers to me in the formal, “Grandfather.”

“Is the bomb inside of you? Won’t you be hurt?”

“Ah, little one, let us continue with the story, and you’ll find out.”

“So basically Grandpa is now a walking time-bomb. Like a crazed radicalized Muslim bomber wearing an invisible exploding vest over which I have no control. But, as you see in all the movies, I don’t have the benefit of a dead-man switch I can hold in my hand. My inevitable detonation is at the mercy of some higher power.”

“What’s a dead-man switch?” Juniper asks.

Her concern that I have a bomb inside me forgotten.

“Well, it’s . . .,” I begin.

“Juniper, just let Grandpa tell the story.”

“Keeping in mind now, girls,” I say, “we’re in Wisconsin; LaCrosse, Wisconsin no less, which has more taverns per-capita than Vegas has hookers; what else would you do with the family and kids on Easter Eve than go to a tavern?”

“Grandpa, what’s a hooker?” Mary Jean-Jane asks.

“We’ll get to that later,” I say.

“And where else would we go, girls, but a tavern called Share Bears on what is known as French Island.”

“I like Share Bears,” Juniper says.

Share Bears is an entirely appropriate name for a bar in Wisconsin because the legal drinking age is six. And as a business owner, you have to know your target market. And at the time, what six-year-old didn’t like the Care Bears animated TV show of which Share Bear was a star? And of course, the kids can’t get to the bar themselves; you can’t drive in Wisconsin until you’re 12, so the parents bring them, and they be like, “Well, as long as we’re here.”

“So off we go,” I say, “the lot of us. Uncle Burt and Aunt Karen, the Easter Grammy and Grampy, the kids, and grandkids, because again, what says family more than a night in a tavern.

“It’s a friendly little tavern, clean, not too crowded. Plus, they had a pool table and – rarity of rarities – a shuffleboard table and a big box of cornmeal. You don’t eat the cornmeal; you sprinkle it on the floor to make it slippery, so your opponent falls on their ass if they’re not careful.”

“What’s shuffleboard?” Juniper asks.

Geez, Louise, “It’s not important to the story,” I tell her.

“Then why bother telling us there was a shuffleboard table?” She asks back.

“Colorful details add to the story,” I reply, somewhat exasperated.

“Even if we don’t know what the details are?” she continues.

“Geezus fucking Christ!” Oops. “Sorry, you’re right, Juniper. I should include details you’ll recognize. There was also a claw machine. Okay?” I ask.

“I like playing the claw machine,” she replies satisfactorily.

“Good, okay. So because beers were fifty cents and because Easter Grampy is always on the lookout for a good buy, whether he needs something or not, he bought a round for everyone. Kids too, because they were – after all – over six years old.

“So here I am, primed and ready and busting at the seams with sauerkraut and spareribs and mashed potatoes and baked beans. And somewhere down below all that is a hard-boiled egg—a hard-boiled egg stewing in a bubbling pool of beer and sauerkraut juice. And now I’m packing more beer on top of the load already in there. The bubbles bubble and the baked beans and sauerkraut do their thing, and the hard-boiled egg is saying, “Holy crap get me out of here!” and it happens.”

“What happens, Grandfather?”

The girls have been listening wide-eyed, in rap attention for more than five seconds now.

“Is this where you get hurt?” Mary Jean-Jane asks.

Her concern is touching.

“Don’t worry, honey. Just listen.”

“We’d taken a break from the shuffleboard and the pool table, and we’re gathered around one red chapped-vinyl covered booth. We’re chatting away, having a good old time like any other Christian family spending the night before Easter in a tavern when the detonator detonates. All the pent-up gas from beer bubbles, sauerkraut and spare ribs, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and more beer bubbles – not to mention the hard-boiled egg detonator – explode in a hot, wet wave or effluvium unlike anything ever witnessed by humankind.

“You’ve seen Terminator Two, right?” (I know, but they watch a lot of movies.) “Remember that part where Linda Hamilton – who plays Sarah Conner – is dreaming about the Skynet takeover? She’s at the playground, and a nuclear bomb explodes. People instantly turn to ash, and the shock wave flattens everything in its path? Well, it wasn’t like that. Exactly.”

“Grandfather!” Juniper wants the truth.

“Well, nobody dies – but they all wish they could. First, one person, then all of them, begin moving slowly away from me. The expressions on their faces are like, “something is not quite right.” Which quickly changes to, “God in heaven, what is that?” And then their own sauerkraut, spare ribs, mashed potatoes, and baked beans start to work their way back up from their lower intestines. They retch, and they convulse, and they gag, and tears – literal tears – come to their eyes.”

Mary Jean-Jane, always the more caring and compassionate of the two, is concerned.

“You made everyone cry, Grandpa?”

Juniper sees the irony and smiles contentedly.

“Grandfather’s fart made them cry. That is so awesome!”

“People sitting at the bar look up in wonder and “test-sniff” the air like you always do when you smell something bad. Some of them look at their beer and test-sniff it, wondering if perhaps it’s a skunky keg. The bartender takes a faltering step and drops the beer glass he’d been polishing, catching himself with both hands on the bar. Several patrons rush to the door, hands covering their mouths and nose. When the door opens, a fresh spring breeze distributes the foul reek through the rest of the bar, enabling everyone to enjoy that, which only I have created.

“And I stood there, proud and tall and relieved. And that, my dear Granddaughters, is the story of the Easter Fart.”

“Please, Grandfather,” they plead, “tell us another.”

Recent Blog Posts

Pee When You Can_001

How to Eat Lunch

Just finished packing my lunch. Besides vegetables and dip and a bag of Bing cherries, I packed a hardboiled egg and a bag of shredded chicken. Now...

The Easter Rolex

The Easter Rolex

It occurs to me, as I struggle to write the opening of this story, how ignorant I can be. I’ve come to this realization - that may have been...

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

My older brother Michael hasn’t beat the living crap out of me for more than 50 years now. Lucky for him. In this day and age, they’d lock him up...

The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

ME: “Gather ‘round kids; Grandpa has a story to tell you.” OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (excited) “Come on, Juniper, get over here; Grandpa’s going to tell...

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

It’s winter here in Minnesota, and it’s been a weird one so far. By this time last year, we were up to our asses in snow. This year - well, the day...

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

It’s winter here in Minnesota, and it’s been a weird one so far. By this time last year, we were up to our asses in snow. This year – well, the day before yesterday, on the 15th of December – we had tornadoes. And the day before that, it was 65 degrees. Today the low was 14 degrees. I know you have a right to change your mind Mother Nature, but seriously, WTF.

It’ll come sooner or later. Flesh-freezing fifty below wind chills, snow piles at the end of your driveway tall enough to ski, frost-covered windshields. Winter in Minnesota, other than Christmas week, sucks. Yet every time we get a big storm, the TeeVee weather reporters manage to interview the two people who love winter.

  • The snow-bunny dressed in her powder pink snowsuit, rabbit-fur-edged hood, matching fur-edged boots; “Oh it’s absolutely beautiful,” she gushes, “I love the snow, it’s so sparkly . . . and cold. And . . .
  • The good ole boy at the gas station, filling his pickup with gas, wearing nothing but a sleeveless flannel shirt and shorts, “This here’s,” (pauses to spit tobacco juice) “this here’s what livin’ in Minnesota’s all ‘bout.”

Why don’t they ever interview those same two people in mid-April after we’ve just had 12 inches of heavy, wet, never-ending slop?

Now, the snow bunny in the corner tavern, hanging on the end of the bar, shot and beer sitting in front of her. She’s wearing sweatpants and a wife-beater, salt-stained Ugg Boots. With a cigarette hanging from her lower lip she says, “This fuckin’ snow? It’s fuckin’ bullshit what it is. I’m movin’ to Florida. Fuck this shit.”

The good ole boy, still in his flannel shirt and shorts, he’s just passed out in a booth, empty beer bottles littering the table.

So here are the facts about winter: it will, on occasion, get so mother-frickin’ cold here in Minnesota, and Wisconsin and North and South Dakota, that you can die from exposure. I looked it up; more than 500 people die every year in the United States from exposure to cold.

There are days, you go outside without your longs johns and your parka and your mittens and stocking cap, wool socks and thermal boots, and you’re done; you’re a popsicle inside of five minutes. They’d have to cremate your remains – Sam McGee style – just to thaw you out.

No question, staying in the house ‘less you freeze to death makes for a long winter. But as much as I despise cold and snow and winter, it pales in comparison to this headline I read recently:

“3 DEAD, HUNDREDS INJURED AFTER STORMS ROUSE SCORPIONS IN EGYPT.”

Here are excerpts from an article, written by Sharon Pruitt-Young and posted on the NPR website;

“Three people are dead and hundreds are injured after inclement weather roused hordes of venomous scorpions out of their hiding places and into streets and homes . . . “

And . . . “three people have died from scorpion stings and 450 people have been injured by the stings thus far . . . “

And . . . “health officials have even called in doctors who were on vacation to help treat the influx of patients . . .”

And finally . . .

“in the meantime, residents are being asked to stay inside their homes.”

Residents are being asked to stay inside their homes?! Because the streets are overrun with scorpions?!?!?!? What in the wide world of old testament tales did you folks do? Apparently, the big guy is still pissed at you people for that whole Pharoah fiasco back in the day. Were the ten plagues just not enough for you?!?!?!

Ten plagues you ask? Yeah, I know – me too – I was raised Evangelical Luthern and we didn’t talk much about the bad stuff. As the story goes: God was incensed with the Pharoah of Egypt because he wouldn’t free the Israelites from slavery. So he started settin’ some nasty old plagues on the Egyptians to convince the Pharoah of what Abe Lincoln already knew. Problem was, every time a plague lifted, the Pharoah – like your typical politician – would go back on his word.

First plague, water being turned into blood. Then you got your frogs, your lice, your flies, and then livestock pestilence. After that, everybody gets boils, then they get hailed on, then the locusts come, and finally, darkness sets in, and they start with the killing of firstborn children. And this went on for 40 years.

Just as an aside here, I don’t get the frogs. First, he turns the water into blood, which really had to mess with their heads, and then frogs? Was this like God’s first time trying to be a badass? I can see the Pharoah sitting on his gold and jewel-encrusted throne, servants fanning him with those big palm fronds on sticks, half-naked maidens serving him buffalo wings on gold platters, and Grain Belt in crystal mugs (they didn’t have craft beer back then). The Pharoah, with his feet up on the back of a kneeling slave, (they hadn’t invented hassocks yet either) chiding God with “This is what you got for me? Frogs? Ooooh, I’m scared now. Ribbit, ribbit.”

I think we’d probably agree that a plague of scorpions is way worse than a plague of frogs. And as far as plagues go, if the man in charge has something in mind, he seems to have come up with a winner in COVID. The downside, of course, is that it’s tough to get the average moron’s attention unless they get the virus and wind up on a ventilator.

In my opinion, in today’s world, if you’re God, and you want to get everyone’s attention – without the heavy loss of life like COVID – you need to get up on technology. You can’t be a Luddite and God at the same time.

To get the modern sinner’s attention, without killing them, you need to mess with their minds. And you need to get ‘em where it hurts.

Plague #1: THOUGH SHALT ONLY EAT ONE VEGETABLE – BRUSSELS SPROUTS.

I realize this isn’t technologically based but it’s kinda like the frogs, starting out with something a little less severe. And if I can make a request on this one, can we change the name to Brussel sprouts – instead of Brussels? I mean come on, is Belgium that hard up for being known for something? “This is “our” vegetable.” Fine, whatever, keep it.

Plague #2: THOUGH SHALT ONLY MAKE PIZZA USING THE LITTLE CEASAR’S RECIPE.

To me, this seems like someone had an in. Caesar up there in Heaven sees God at the local pub, buys him a beer. “Hey God, lemme run somethin’ by ya.”

Plague #3: THOUGH SHALT ONLY WEAR CROCS, OR IN A PINCH, CHEAP KNOCK-OFFS THAT LOOK LIKE CROCS.

Personally not a problem for me. I even have fur-lined Crocs for getting the mail and filling the bird feeders in the wintertime. Of course, I realize black stockings and a mini-skirt with Crocs probably ain’t gonna help you land a date. (I am referring to the women reading this post. Not that I’d wear black stockings with a mini-skirt.)

Plague #4: THOUGH SHALT ONLY DRIVE A BASE MODEL LAVENDAR COLORED CHEVY SPARK.

No more SUVs, no more mini-vans, no more eight-foot beds that never have to be made. Obviously, this would create a huge market for aftermarket custom parts. Kinda like back in the day when you could turn your VW bug into something that looked like a Rolls Royce.

Plague #5: THOUGH SHALT ENJOY MUSIC NO MORE.

From this day forward all radio stations and internet music services play only one song, over and over and over again: “It’s A Small World” from the Disney ride. It won’t kill you but you’ll wish it would. You get a break on Halloween when the song would switch – for one day – to the Lollipop Guild song from the Wizard of Oz.

Plague #6: THOUGH SHALT ENJOY TEEVEE NO MORE.

From this day forward all TeeVee stations and streaming services shall only play the season nine finale of The Bachelor. You know, the one with the Prince and the rose ceremony at the end. Once a year you get a break and get to binge-watch an entire day of Green Acres.

Plague #7: THOUGH SHALT NO LONGER USE PRIME DELIVERY AND EVERYONE MUST ORDER EVERYTHING OVER THE PHONE FROM AN OPERATOR IN INDIA.

No more instant gratification. No more; push-a-button-and-the-Amazon-truck-pulls-in-your-driveway. This one’s gonna save you money once you get used to it.

Plague #8: THOUGH SHALT NOT OWN A SMARTPHONE.

From this day forward all cell phone companies may only produce flip phones whereon you have to press each number the requisite number of times to create a letter which means it takes, on average, 15 minutes to text “send nudes,” by which time the recipient has fallen asleep.

Plague #9: THOUGH SHALT ONLY USE TRUTHFUL SOCIAL MEDIA PHOTO FILTERS.

This will obviously cut down on the number of six-pack abs, and the, here-I am-at-the-beach-with-my-tight-toned-ass-and-perfect-perky-boobs images.

And finally . . .

Plague #10: THOUGH SHALT RUN EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA POST THROUGH THE BIG-BROTHER-BULLSHIT-CATCHING FILTER.

No more, “I only work 60 minutes a day and I make six figures a year.” No more, “I ate nothing but kumquats for 30 days and this is what happened.” But best, best, best of all . . . . . . . . no more “I won the election.”

I guess that’s not such a bad plague after all. Bring it on Big Guy.

Recent Blog Posts

Pee When You Can_001

How to Eat Lunch

Just finished packing my lunch. Besides vegetables and dip and a bag of Bing cherries, I packed a hardboiled egg and a bag of shredded chicken. Now...

The Easter Rolex

The Easter Rolex

It occurs to me, as I struggle to write the opening of this story, how ignorant I can be. I’ve come to this realization - that may have been...

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

My older brother Michael hasn’t beat the living crap out of me for more than 50 years now. Lucky for him. In this day and age, they’d lock him up...

The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

ME: “Gather ‘round kids; Grandpa has a story to tell you.” OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (excited) “Come on, Juniper, get over here; Grandpa’s going to tell...

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

It’s winter here in Minnesota, and it’s been a weird one so far. By this time last year, we were up to our asses in snow. This year - well, the day...

Rise of the Granny Grabber

Rise of the Granny Grabber

Rise of the Granny Grabber

This disturbing headline recently appeared on the CBS Minnesota WCCO Website:

“70-Year-Old Woman Was Drinking Tequila, Holding Fake Gun While Hanging Off I-94 Overpass”

Maybe you saw this headline yourself? And maybe you wondered as I did, 

“How did my mother-in-law get to St. Paul?” (1*)

I was momentarily concerned – but quickly relieved – when I remembered my mother-in-law doesn’t drink tequila. She drinks, make no mistake, just not tequila. I have no idea what your mother-in-law drinks, so you’ll just have to go on being concerned.

The article goes on to say that the 70-year old perp threatened a State Trooper with a gun made from duct tape and tin foil. When interviewed, Captain Obvious of the Minnesota State Patrol said, “the alleged criminal showed signs of impairment.” Which, if you ask me – and I know you didn’t – seems like a rush to judgment. She was, after all, only hanging from a fence over the interstate highway holding a bottle of tequila with a tinfoil gun jammed in her shorts. Hardly what I’d call “impaired.” Out of her friggin’ mind maybe – but not impaired.

For starters, I think we need to tip our collective hats – tinfoil and otherwise – to the Trooper who miraculously refrained from drawing his weapon and popping the perp between the eyes. I mean, come on, this is Minnesota; the land of shoot first and ask questions later.

That said, how realistic-looking was this reportedly fake tinfoil and duct tape pistol? Personally, it’d take me some serious time to shape a wad of tinfoil into anything remotely resembling a pistol. Not to mention the time it would take to cover it with duct tape. And all bets are off if my fine motor skills are inhibited by my old friend Jose Cuervo.

The point I’m trying to make? This crime was obviously premeditated. You don’t just grab a half dozen Arby’s Beef & Cheddar wrappers off the floor of your car and fashion them into a pistol with the Staties hot on your tail. And don’t even think about wrapping it in duct tape. So my guess is; this 70-year tinfoil-toting granny banger? She’s part of a much larger conspiracy. And I think you know what I mean.

The news of late is filled with reports about gangs of young hoodlums swarming local department stores, grabbing goods as they go, and then swarming back out again. And they commit these crimes unscathed, unhindered, unchecked, and unrestrained. 

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not just young hoodlums doing the swarming. I have my suspicions that the Tinfoil Gun-Moll Granny, caught hanging over I-94 in St. Paul, is part of a much larger, more sinister plot. 

Granny Grabbers. 

Exactly. There have been other, fictitious but completely unsubstantiated reports of great groups of grannies gathering to garner goods from other, unsuspecting merchants. 

Geriatric flash mobs, hyped up on Ensure, storming the local Walgreens and CVS. In mere seconds they can clear shelves of Depends and the coveted All-Night Tranquility with the Peach Core odor guard (WTF). Stuff their fanny packs full of Viagra and Cialis. Load their walker sacks with Dulcolax and ZuPOO. And then they’re off to the races, figuratively speaking.

What Walgreens clerk in their right mind is going to interfere with some wild-eyed Granny Grabber wielding a tinfoil pistol, smelling like too much tequila, and screaming her clothes are about to fall off. Try explaining that mental trauma to the Workers Comp investigator.

Having completed their grab and go, the Grannies gather at pre-arranged locations. They favor picnic shelters in local parks where they’re less conspicuous. They’re harmless old ladies; who’s going to bother them?  

Dividing up the take, they get it back on the street within minutes. An entire army of newbie recruits, Granny Grabber Wanna-bes, dressed in puff-painted sweatsuits and white Nike’s, are ready and waiting. You’ll see ‘em working the corners outside senior centers and retirement communities, the backend of their minivans packed to the brim with hot goods. Taking advantage of the supply-chain interruptions brought on by COVID, they can demand two to three times retail for adult diapers and supplements. Ten times the regular asking price for boner-meds.

And the worst part? (As if there’s a good part.) My friends, I fear this is just the beginning. 

There are currently more than 54 million blue-haired dust-farters in this country of ours. And statistically, if that isn’t sobering enough, included in those millions are our current President, our immediate past Orange Oompa Loompa, and more than 98 percent of congress. (The other two percent have aged out as they are now centenarians.) 

And they’re on the increase, these Coffin-Dodgers. Their numbers have multiplied by more than a third in the last decade. They’re everywhere and nowhere you want them to be.

Used to be, after a long day at the grind, you could enjoy a relaxing happy hour with your co-workers at the local pub. Not anymore. Come five o’clock – the AARP bewitching hour – bars and restaurants are crowded full of senile delinquents angling for that coveted senior discount. The all’s of ‘em, taking up space, no doubt planning their next flash and grab adventure. 

If you see them in the wild, remember; these old crones may look harmless, but they’re a dangerous breed. Their mindset is, what’s mine is mine, and I’m gonna grab it while I can – and I might as well grab yours while I’m at it.

The real kicker to this whole thing? I’m about two and a half years from officially being one of them. Look out, Walgreens, here I come.

 

(1*) And just so we’re all on the same page and to be totally transparent, 70 is a distant memory for my mother-in-law . . . who I love dearly.;-)

Recent Blog Posts

Pee When You Can_001

How to Eat Lunch

Just finished packing my lunch. Besides vegetables and dip and a bag of Bing cherries, I packed a hardboiled egg and a bag of shredded chicken. Now...

The Easter Rolex

The Easter Rolex

It occurs to me, as I struggle to write the opening of this story, how ignorant I can be. I’ve come to this realization - that may have been...

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

My older brother Michael hasn’t beat the living crap out of me for more than 50 years now. Lucky for him. In this day and age, they’d lock him up...

The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

ME: “Gather ‘round kids; Grandpa has a story to tell you.” OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (excited) “Come on, Juniper, get over here; Grandpa’s going to tell...

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

It’s winter here in Minnesota, and it’s been a weird one so far. By this time last year, we were up to our asses in snow. This year - well, the day...

Raised By Smokers

Raised By Smokers

Raised By Smokers

No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.” And while I personally have no regrets about my family, I imagine there may be those who do. 

Take for example Marina Chapman of Bradford, England. Honest to God, raised by monkeys. Capuchin Monkeys in the jungles of Colombia. And now she’s married? With a family? 

Talk about the potential for out-of-the-ordinary embarrassment by your Mom. 

“Mom!”

“Ooh, ooh.”

“Mom, please, you have to stop picking bugs off Billy’s head when he comes over for dinner.”

“Ooh, ooh, ah, aH, AH, AH, ooh, ooh, ah, aH, AH, AH, AH, AH!!!!!”

“Whatever Mom, you just don’t get it!”

Or how about Kamala and Amala, the wolf girls of Bengal. Discovered in the jungles of Godamuri, India when they were three and eight years old – living with a she-wolf and her pack. Not sure about Amala but we all know how things turned out for Kamala.

“Yes dear, even a wolf can grow up to be Vice President of the United States.”

I make no such claim to fame or infamy. I wasn’t raised by monkeys or wolves. My parents both had two legs, two arms walked in a semi-erect fashion, and smoked two packs a day. I was raised by smokers. 

Dick and Shirl were not occasional, cigarette-after-sex smokers, mind you. We’re talking full-fledged-two-plus-packs-a-day-light-the-next-one-with-the-smoked-to-the-filter-stub-of-the-previous-one, smokers. Hard-core puffers.

Both born in the earlier parts of the last century, my parents grew up with the family habit; it seemed everyone smoked back then. I remember one of my sisters telling me about being in the hospital after delivering her first child. Her Doctor visiting her during rounds, sitting on the edge of her bed, smoking a cigarette.

There were no “non-smoking” hotel rooms or restaurants back then. Neither were there specific smoking sections on planes, buses, or trains. The general attitude was, “Up yours if you don’t like my deadly second-hand smoke.”

Growing up my Mom and Dad’s house had hot water heat. If you’ve ever lived with hot water heat then you know; it’s similar to breathing desert air filtered through a gym bag full of dirty socks. There’s no furnace fan circulating the air through a filter. Whatever’s in the air, stays in the air, until it melts into the surroundings. 

The smooth plaster walls in our kitchen were coated with a thick layer of baked-on second-hand smoke. When Mom canned vegetables the global warming steam would melt the baked-on smoke, letting it run in pretty meandering brown rivulets from ceiling to floor.

And while living in a smoke-filled house could, on occasion, be breath-taking, at least you could escape to another room or go outside if the smoke got too thick. Taking a family trip in the confinement of a ‘67 Chevy Belair – an entirely different ballgame.

Family camping trips, oh how my family loved to camp together. Back in the 1960s and ’70s, two weeks of vacation was pretty standard. And my parents spent the year planning the family camping trip we’d take during those two weeks.

Like most endeavors, pursuing family camping for all it’s worth requires a certain level of equipment. There are tents and sleeping bags to be purchased. And when there are sisters involved – who can’t abide sleeping on the ground – there are cots to be had as well. And lanterns, cookstoves and car top carriers, army shovels, camp kitchens, and the list goes on. To do it right required a fair investment.

We were lucky though, there was no reason to scrimp and save to buy camping equipment when Mom and Dad were Raleigh smokers. Finally, a benefit to all that second-hand smoke, “Buy the pack with the coupon on the back!”

In case you don’t remember, back then many stores handed out stamps from companies like S&H, Gold Bond, or Plaid. Places like the grocery store, gas stations, and department stores rewarded you with stamps for every dollar you spent. You collected the stamps in a little book that you eventually redeemed for cool stuff you didn’t need. Think first-generation frequent flyer points.

Naturally, people needed food, new underwear, and gas in their car, which made S&H Green Stamps and the like – a win-win. But the cigarette companies hit the nail on the head – people were addicted to cigarettes. And what better way – besides nicotine – to keep them addicted than rewarding them with prizes for smoking even more!!!  Can you imagine the moment the Don-Draper-dude at R.J. Reynolds came up with that idea? No doubt his secretary got lucky that night.

But best of all, and to prove once and for all that smoking was actually good for you, the Raleigh coupon merchandise catalog was chock full of camping equipment!

Dad’s mantra around our postprandial dinner table became, “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, Shirl. And if you don’t, here’s one of mine.”

“Kids, do you realize Mom and Dad only have to smoke 30 more cartons, and we can get that new lantern?! Oooh baby, white gas, double mantles, and you can get a hard plastic carrying case for it too – only ten more cartons.”

“Wonderful,” we coughed.

There was always a pack of Raleighs, a blue glass ashtray, and a book of matches from the New Villa restaurant on the bathroom counter. “Dick,” Mom would say, “don’t take a dump without a smoke; we need three more sleeping bags.”

Weeding the vegetable garden? “Have a smoke.”

Picking up walnuts in the backyard? “Light ‘em up.”

Need a break because you feel queasy and dizzy? “Try a cigarette to clear your head.”

“Come on, Shirl, we both have to smoke our share, we’re a family with a goal, and that camp stove ain’t gonna buy itself.”

Finally, after years of goal-oriented smoking, we had a garage full of Raleigh coupon camping equipment. Each of us with our own sleeping bag and matching canvas cot only a bodybuilding engineer could assemble. We had a Coleman camp stove and a folding oven. We had the Coleman lantern – and the plastic carrying case. We even had a tent fly to shield our picnic dining table from the inevitable rain and keep our smokes dry. We were finally ready – for the BIG trip. Circumnavigating Lake Superior.

Back then, we had a beige 1960 four-door, Chevy Belair. Naturally, Dad painted the homemade car top carrier and the homemade camp kitchen a matching beige. We loaded the Belair to the brim and set sail in a blah beige blur.

It’s a long trip around Lake Superior – on today’s roads about 1,300 miles. We changed campsites nine times in that two-week trip. Of the fourteen days – it rained eleven. We had a giant – eight-man – canvas Sears cabin tent, the only thing that didn’t come from Raleigh coupons. Soaking wet, it weighed 732 pounds, and like overworked carnies, we rolled it up wet every time we moved on.

Fortunately for our future health, when we weren’t inside the car traveling to the next campground, we were outside in the fresh northern Minnesota air. Travel time though was like riding in a rolling smoke-filled corner tavern. Mom and Dad in the front seat puffing like they were saving for a trip around the world. The four of us kids strapped into our seats being force-fed second-hand smoke until we thought we’d puke. Our eyes watered, our throats burned, we coughed, we hacked, we pleaded, “Please, my eyes are burning, can you roll down a window?”

“Oh, you kids, it can’t be that bad.”

Second-hand smoke wasn’t a thing back then.

I started at 15 with Taryetons; because I’d rather fight than switch. In my early 20s, I smoked cigars for a while and then switched to a pipe. Could there be anything more obnoxious than a 20-year-old with a diamond pinky ring smoking a pipe? It’s amazing no one ever beat the shit out of me. Even more amazing that my future in-laws didn’t ban me from their house.

Eventually, I gave up camping which meant I had no reason to smoke. Lucky me.

Recent Blog Posts

Pee When You Can_001

How to Eat Lunch

Just finished packing my lunch. Besides vegetables and dip and a bag of Bing cherries, I packed a hardboiled egg and a bag of shredded chicken. Now...

The Easter Rolex

The Easter Rolex

It occurs to me, as I struggle to write the opening of this story, how ignorant I can be. I’ve come to this realization - that may have been...

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

My older brother Michael hasn’t beat the living crap out of me for more than 50 years now. Lucky for him. In this day and age, they’d lock him up...

The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

ME: “Gather ‘round kids; Grandpa has a story to tell you.” OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (excited) “Come on, Juniper, get over here; Grandpa’s going to tell...

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

It’s winter here in Minnesota, and it’s been a weird one so far. By this time last year, we were up to our asses in snow. This year - well, the day...

Icing on the Cake

Icing on the Cake

Icing on the Cake

I am not a shopper. I am what you might refer to as a “get-in-get-it-get-out” kind of consumer. The act of wandering a store looking at popcorn poppers I have no use for, shoes I’ll never wear, or spring jackets simply because they’re on the mark-down rounder holds no appeal for me. Raking dry leaves on a windy day with a garden hoe is time better spent.

I know men who are shoppers. (And yes, I’m making a sexist assumption that more women than men are shoppers.) My neighbor guy does all their marketing. Marketing being the term our forefathers-forefathers used to describe the day they loaded everyone in the buggy for the perilous Indian-infested journey into town. There they bought supplies like sorghum, and flour, chawin’ tobacco, and lottery tickets, enough to last for six months.  

On occasion, I will accompany my wife to the grocery store for supplies. We go in our car and have seldom seen any Indians. Depending on my mood she’ll ask me to a) follow her around the store or b) tell me to sit in the car and stare at my smarter-than-I phone. If I’m on-the-ball I’ll pretend to be crabby on our way to the store.

But I gotta tell you, like-minded non-shoppers, you need to take a walk around a grocery store once in a while. The variety of available foods is nothing short of amazing. It ain’t just sorghum and flour and chawin’ tobacco no more. 

On a recent jaunt to the store, since it was below freezing outside, magnanimous me followed my wife inside. Quickly skirting the produce section, lest something healthy inadvertently fall into our cart, I found myself in the gourmet foods section. In particular, the array of everything pickled caught my eye. 

There were jars of pickled asparagus, pickled mushrooms, pickled beets, pickled watermelon rind, pickled grapes, pickled carrots, dusty jars of pickled Brussels sprouts, even pickled pickles. Wait, stop, go back; pickled Brussels sprouts? Yeah, I’m really sorry, but no. You can pickle Brussels sprouts, you can roast Brussels sprouts with brown sugar, you can boil them, blanch them, stew them or bake them, and they will still, always, and forever, be Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts taste like wet leaves that have been moldering in the corner of your garden since last fall. When I was a kid, even my Dad wouldn’t eat Brussels sprouts. I knew then they were nothing to be trifled with.

So I’m perusing the pickled condiments, and the gourmet dried salamis and the specialty cheeses, and the crackers and breadsticks with sesame seeds and breadsticks with poppy seeds and breadsticks with garlic and I came across this . . . 

If you’re the day-to-day grocery shopper in your family, I’ll give you two guesses as to what this is. If you’re like me and haven’t set foot in a grocery store since the milkman stopped coming to your house, I’ll give you 200 guesses as to what this is.

I lied. I’m not gonna wait around all day for you to go through 200 guesses. It’s frosting, cake frosting, or cookie frosting. It’s great greasy gobs of disgustingly colored lard frosting in a plastic clamshell container. What in holy hell?!

Who buys a clamshell container of frosting? Especially bright orange or bright yellow or bright red frosting. 

And I think to myself, oh okay, someone is training someone new in the bakery. The trainer gave the trainee the frosting recipe and said, “Here, make a one-gallon batch of this.” And the trainee thought they said 55 gallons, and they had some leftovers. And the baker was like, well, what the hell are we going to do with all this frosting? 

On occasion, my wife will order a decorated birthday cake from this grocery store bakery. They offer two different kinds of frosting – whipped and grease. Our entire family loves the greasy frosting. My wife places the order and tells the bakery person – we want the greasy frosting. 

My wife – an excellent fattening-sweets maker herself – was recently able to obtain the recipe for this cake frosting. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine seven pounds of softened butter, 16 cups of powdered sugar, one-half gallon of heavy cream, a bottle of vanilla extract, and a pinch of oregano. Turn your heavy-duty all-purpose Sir Mix-a-Lot Mixer to slow for 15 minutes. After the butter begins to combine with the powdered sugar, turn Sir Mix-a-Lot to NASCAR-fast and beat the living crap out of the ingredients until they’re smooth and creamy. This recipe will make enough frosting for a half dozen tiny cupcakes. It can also harden the arteries of the entire Russian army.

Yes, we eat this icing/frosting spread over a cake. If you’re lucky, you get a corner piece where the cake may not be as thick, and the frosting fills the void. But for God’s sake, we don’t eat it by the spoonful out of a clamshell container.

I looked for a sign on top, maybe something that read, “Hey, lazy fat slob, yeah you, this is for you! You can snack on this while watching My Big Life.”

I don’t understand. What would you do with an entire plastic clamshell full of greasy frosting? I would not put it on clams. Or a clam, or your clam. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing.)

Do people buy it with which to frost their own cakes? If you’re able to make a cake, isn’t it reasonable to assume you’re able to make frosting? 

When I was a kid, and my Mom made frosting, if she had any leftover, she’d spread it on graham crackers and give it to us for a treat. Are people buying entire clamshells of frosting and spreading it on graham crackers. Which, when you think about it, is a reasonable idea. 

Considering the amount of butter in this frosting, it could be that some guys are picking it up to repack the wheel bearings on their ‘83 Ford Bronco. The internet says you “grease car parts for smooth movement.” I tell you what, you eat a clamshell of that icing, and you ain’t gonna have no problem with that.

Yours in health.

 

Recent Blog Posts

Pee When You Can_001

How to Eat Lunch

Just finished packing my lunch. Besides vegetables and dip and a bag of Bing cherries, I packed a hardboiled egg and a bag of shredded chicken. Now...

The Easter Rolex

The Easter Rolex

It occurs to me, as I struggle to write the opening of this story, how ignorant I can be. I’ve come to this realization - that may have been...

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

My older brother Michael hasn’t beat the living crap out of me for more than 50 years now. Lucky for him. In this day and age, they’d lock him up...

The Easter Fart

The Easter Fart

ME: “Gather ‘round kids; Grandpa has a story to tell you.” OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER: (excited) “Come on, Juniper, get over here; Grandpa’s going to tell...

Oh Hell No

Oh Hell No

It’s winter here in Minnesota, and it’s been a weird one so far. By this time last year, we were up to our asses in snow. This year - well, the day...

Pin It on Pinterest