Archive for the ‘Aging’ Category


The Belt of the Gods

June 15, 2016


My life has been changed forever and it is all due to a new belt. More specifically, an elastic stretchy belt.

I have always worn a belt, for two reasons, mostly. First, my lineage is that of a Texas redneck. We wear leather belts. With big belt buckles We just do. Don’t question it. Besides keeping pants above the waistline I’ve never figured out the real reason. Some men are well shaped and don’t need a belt to hold up the jeans. The Texan belt, I figure, is purely decorative with large, shiny buckle to draw attention to our crotch area.

Texan men even wear belts around our necks. That’s right; instead of a formal men’s long or bow tie, we wear the famous “bolo” tie which is essentially a belt around the neckline with a smaller decorative buckle.

Second, and the most obvious reason, is to cinch our trousers around our hips so they don’t fall down. In my 20’s and 30’s a belt wasn’t really necessary for that purpose. But now as I am now the age of mumblemumble I find that my britches tend to sag due to a curious barrel shape my body has taken in my middle parts. Let’s just say that my 20-something six-pack is now a keg. Therefore, a belt has been an unavoidable and fundamental element to my daily couture.

My belt of choice has been a simple, thin, plain, black, leather belt. It works for work. Discrete. Fashionable. Easy to store. But alas, after a hearty meal or the day following an earnest evening of brew tasting the usual belt setting embraces my waistline with much restraint and groaning protest.

Recently I was introduced to the stretchy belt.

And there was much rejoicing and sounding of trumpets and jamming of saxophones and melting of faces with electric guitar!

Hallelujah! This $20 little piece of elastic braided belt is a gift sent by the gods of growing waistlines. No longer do I have to loosen the leather strip another notch after a Thanksgiving feast. I can cinch it up tight enough to hold up the sinking, slipping britches, and when I sit properly in a chair the elastic flexes so I do not feel that burdensome hip pinch.

It feels good to breathe. It really does. And the remorseful act of sucking in the gut to prevent permanent and indented “belt waist” is a thing of the past. Thank you, gods of the growing waistline, for your generous favor to beer-bellied fellows everywhere!


Confessions of a Dyslexic Accountant

March 12, 2015


Hi. My name is Bob. I’m an accountant. And I have Permanent Onset Radically Transposing Late Adult Number Dyslexia (or ‘PORTLAND’ for short). Self-diagnosed, of course. I don’t even know if there is such a thing as “onset number dyslexia”. In fact, a quick Google search of the term returns nil. So I am announcing herewith that I have discovered a new debilitating number transposing syndrome and I am calling it PORTLAND.

Historically I have always been a number cruncher. I could whip out multiplication tables lickity split. Give me a short list of two digit numbers and I could give you back the sum in no time. And that’s why I studied accounting in college. I like my accounting day job. Every business needs a bean counter. I get a lovely sedentary job in a comfortable chair with a pair of monitors and unlimited computer access. Excel is my best friend, and at the end of the day the debits and credits all just have to add up to $0.

Why do I think I have PORTLAND? Lately I’ve noticed things just don’t add up. I have noticed clues pointing to this fact. Perhaps you’ve noticed clues as well? Here’s a starter list. See if any of these sound familiar:

  • A stranger answers the phone and you realize you’ve transposed numbers and dialed the wrong person.
  • You punch an incorrect number sequence on an adding machine, causing infinite frustration for an accountant trying to reconcile $0.27.
  • You expect to pay the bargain price of $9.99 for a set of name brand headphones and discover at the register that the actual cost is $99.99.
  • Your bank sends you a message that you just deposited only $23.21, not $32.12.
  • You look at a set of easy numbers, say, ‘12345’. And while performing quick data entry you catch yourself typing ‘13254’ (and subsequently ask yourself, ‘WTF did I do that for?’).

Yes, these clues have all happened to me. And it only happens with numbers, not letters. Since there is no official diagnosis for PORTLAND, there is no cure. Thus, it I am categorizing it as a progressive syndrome that may or may not get worse with age. The only treatment is support groups. So far I’m the only one.

Anyone want to join mine?


Unsticky Fingers

April 11, 2014

Disadvantages of UFA is the inability to snap one's fingers.

Hi, my name’s Bob, and I have unsticky fingertips.

As I inch my way toward retirement, (a nice way of saying, “Geesh! I feel old!”) I seem to have unwittingly joined a secret association of people recovering from sticki-less fingertips. In fact, recent research from the University of Arizona, where they study the effects on fingertips from dry, barren desert climate, has produced a study showing that fingertips in all adults over 39 wear down, sorta like sandpaper on a block of wood, or a kid licking his way to the center of a Tootsi Roll Tootsi Pop. And some adults can lose up to 103% of the fingerprints on their fingertips. The result being smooth fingertip pads with no character except wrinkles and dry cracks in the wrinkles, and a bunch of 80-year-olds enjoying a second career as cat burglars.

When I was a young whippersnapper (I say that because I fondly remember when I could actually snap my fingers), I remember my best bud Brett and I would stare bewilderedly at “old” people while they licked their fingers before flipping through a stack of paper, and then repeated the process every few pages. Even when I asked for money from my dad, he would whip out his leather billfold with one hand, and surreptitiously lick his thumb and forefinger on the other hand. He then flipped through a few bills, licked again and again until he found me a five-spot. Sometimes that five-spot came with a bonus twenty-spot. I know now that it wasn’t a bonus, but just the result of Dad’s slippery unsticky fingertips. Back then I thought, “huh, how annoying that must be to have a condition where paper merely slips through one’s fingers.”

I mention that because today I said to myself, “huh, how annoying it is to have a condition where paper merely slips through my fingers!!” Now, if ever I need to sort through a stack of papers, or even hold a pen, I am now dependent upon either licking my fingers which exposes me to any number of finger-borne germs (who knows where those one-dollar bills have been), or using a product called Sortkwik, a pasty stuff which is evidently made from a combination of glycerin and the underside of duct tape. Now my finger pads are plenty sticky, and smell like soapy duct tape. My new disability requires that I use this product for the rest of my life. I also find it comes in handy as a hair gel.

It is with great consternation and serious reservations that I now join the Unsticky Fingertip Association, or UFA (affectionately called “Ooffa”). Take care of your fingertips. Use lotion, avoid heavy lifting, and by all means stop counting through so much paper, or we’ll be seeing you at a support group meeting of the UFA soon.


Sparklers & Poppers & Snakes! Oh My!

July 5, 2008

So happy Independence Day, everyone!  At the homefront Daddy has his little girls for the Fourth of July weekend and we have LOTS of fireworks to fire!  Woo Hoo!

Except, my li’l girls are afraid of big booms.

So we have a supermarketbagful of easy to ignite sparklers, poppers and funny growing snakes that “look like poo!”  Yes, gone are the bygone days when I was young and me & my buds would set off bottle rockets (using actual bottles as launch pads!) over the Yellowstone River, and drop Cherry Bombs off the bridge and watch them explode just before they hit the water.  Small town Montana had nothing else to do in the summer, so when it came to fireworks we heartily entertained ourselves with the legal over-the-counter explosives!

Such dorks we were!  We even took our Roman Candles and aimed them at each other (from a reasonable safe distance of about five feet apart),  and played “dodge the flaming white ball.”  With A-HA and Mister Mister blaring from the powerful 2-inch speakers in our cool cars (mine was a ’79 Honda CVC – cherry red!) we jammed through the night at the beach by the river and drank be…er, rather consumed Kool-Aid and soda.  Yeah, that’s it.  I believe I went nearly deaf one holiday after we created a daisy chain of Black Cat firecrackers about that wound around trees and along the river rocks along the beach, trying to set some kind of record for “longest domino firecracker” ever.  Although we successfully did not destroy any property or lose any body appendages, we laughed the next day when we always heard the stories of some dorks that destroyed tons of piled hay bales, or caught the neighbor’s tree on fire.

Now, I’m a city dweller, a “slicker” if you will.  I’m turning crotchety in my old age and frown and make “ha-rumphing” noises when the punks outside light those noisy firecrackers.  My girls – 6 and 3 – like the fireworks, but only from afar.  Nothing that BOOMS, CRACKS, WHISTLES, or otherwise EXPLODES are ever set off in their presence.  Sparklers & snakes.  Why?  Because they sparkle and look like poo.  And THAT’S what Independence Day is all about!