My Brother

To me, Mark has always been kind of a free spirit. As a young man he displayed this free spirit by having an old square box post office truck with a mattress in the back as his main transportation. Not the typical vehicle that a teenager would have to impress the ladies or for that matter be very inconspicuous to the local police. He then liked to ride his 1300cc Kawasaki motorcycle down the Edens Expressway in Chicago going 100 miles and hour in the rain and probably without a helmet.

He loved sailing and was on a boat as often as he could. One summer he even sailed a boat all the way down the Mississippi into the gulf and over to the Florida Keys. He loved his adventures. I’m told now, that that they are restricting access to the Galapgos Islands as many of the huge turtles and many other species of plant and animal life are going extinct.  Mark was lucky to spend time there with his father and experience the formidable population that many people may never get to see.

Mark’s father, Walter was a corporate attorney and was a bit challenged in raising Mark and decided Mark needed to have some hard work, so he sent him off the mountains of Columbia in South America to build a fish hatchery for a good friend that lived there. It was probably the perfect adventure for him. Learning how to avoid the drug lords, the revolutionaries and the animal life that could kill you was something he adapted to well.

He came back to Chicago and then went into construction, working on building high rise office buildings downtown. Being a laborer down in the pits of mud wasn’t the kind of adventure he needed though despite the money that was good. It gave him the ability to learn about wines and what the difference was between a couple of hundred dollar bottle of nectar and a cheap bottle of wine. If he could of, his next adventure would of been creating a vineyard.

The direction his life took next was unexpected. He began his life in North Carolina. He got married had two kids, which were his most proud events in his life. But as life goes on, you deal with twists and turns you don’t expect. Marriages don’t always last and children grow up to begin their own lives. Mark’s dreams and adventures were long gone and his health was taking it’s toll. Like so many other people in America or for that matter the world, Mark became homeless. But he liked nature and if he had his way he would of been happy living in the forests of North Carolina. He still had skills though, and despite his handicaps he still had his humor and still could make friends and with the help of others he survived for the last two years. No, it wasn’t perfect  but he was happy. He had that free spirit in him when he was feeding his pet squirrel that had friended him and then he was going to jump in a  cool spring in the river and watch the world go by.  He would then ask me what I was doing and he would laugh as I told him I was chained to my desk at work  slaving away for the man.

About a month ago Mark called me and was crying. He said he had seen the most precious thing he had ever seen in all of his adventures. He got to see his grand daughter via facetime over the internet for the first time. He loved his children more than anything in life and despite all that can come with relationships with our families he had what most parents call unconditional love for his kids. For him that’s all that mattered and it was enough.

Not being the free spirit that my brother in law Mark was, our relationship was disconnected. I was lucky enough to have him as a brother however, my compassion for him and my unconditional love for this brother took over and I thank god that he went so quickly and that his last few months he had a good life. I’ll miss you my brother save a seat for me with you and Walter.

One Man’s Breast Cancer Scare

I believe, most men in their own mind, think they are still 20 something in age and are still slim and trim and quite the catch. I do wear a lot of black, hence a slimming affect reinforcing that image in my own mind. We also do not see ourselves as weak but strong and silent and masculine beings.

Today, those feelings were strong as I entered the Burrell Breast Care Center to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. I wanted to be strong, to avoid those thoughts of what could be happening. You see two years ago I found a small lump on my right side below my armpit. My doctor did take an x-ray but came back with it’s just a fatty deposit nothing to worry about. Today that deposit has grown to more than double its size. Hence the concern on my part and a trip to the Breast Care Center to relieve any fears. Just because my own weight has increased why would I correlate that into the fatty deposit growing exponentially also?

So they call my name and I turn around and there is Ms. Radiology 2020 who happens to be in maybe late forty’s or fifty’s. But looks fantastic and, in goes the stomach, the slouch straightens up. In my mind, she’s looking at least a hot forty-something hunk of a man. I also hope she is looking at me through rose-colored glasses. I discover that I am going to have a mammogram. Now us men are absolutely clueless about this procedure but have heard the complaints from women about the pancake machine. Of course, this doesn’t deter me, us male “gods” do not have pancakes to flatten, our chests are flat and strong. All I know is this beautiful woman is about to manhandle me and there is nothing to be frightened about. (Begin playing Def Leopard’s song “Pour Some Sugar On Me”)

I now humbly apologize to all women out there for my stupid male brain and it’s stupid thoughts about what you have gone through. Ms. Radiology is a masochist and is about to torture me as a contortionist.  She was trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I’m surprised she didn’t bring my leg up over my head so my hips would somehow lean me in more as she took her pictures which I’m sure will be posted today at masochistoldguys.com.

After she had her way with me she left me alone to contemplate all the wrongs I have dreamed and thought about women over the years. Father Mike, I will be at the confessional tonight at 5 and I’m ready for my penance of 5 Hail Mary’s and 4 Our Fathers.

I was told to expect the Doctor in a few minutes but then came another technician who stated she was going to perform my ultrasound test. All I could think about was, what was, she going to do with all that lube with my back to her. Was she friends with Ms. Radiologist? Was she a man-hater, was I to be punished for all of man’s sins against womanhood?

I was spared the onslaught and curled up into the fetal position as she performed the test. I would have to wait there half exposed with gooey lube all over my side. The doctor never even showed himself, he must be locked up somewhere forced to look at these images of his fellow man all day for his own sins.

I was informed that I am just a disgusting big ball of fat example of a man and to remove myself from these premises and to reflect on the suffering that man has imposed on women. I then proceeded to dress in my slimming black shirt and black pants and my Johnny Cash look and mosey out of there hoping they wouldn’t see the real me.

My Coca Cola Addiction Continued

I admitted to this Coca Cola addiction a few years back. I’ve had it since I was a young lad. Occasionally, over the years I have tried to go cold turkey and the addiction gene that I inherited just won’t let go. My supplier of choice has been Coca Cola’s main dealer for most of my life. I’m not sure there is another entity that sells more Coca Cola than McDonald’s on this planet. Growing up in the 60’s, McDonald’s was the place to go for a young family, that’s how I got hooked.  Now I’ve almost eliminated buying food from them with my high blood pressure. I can taste the heavy salt that they use to preserve the beef. Their big promotion to sell all drinks at $1.00 has made it convenient for me to drive through and get two Cokes on the way home. I also ask for no ice as I wouldn’t want to dilute it any further.

In the recent modernization of their stores they have pushed the envelope in trying to increase the volume of customers they can accommodate. I believe their double drive through lanes is paying off for them.

Now being the Cola Connoisseur that I am, I may have to discontinue my relationship with McDonald’s because of a great flaw in their new system.

Their new soda dispenser that pours the beverages automatically is diluting, no polluting the pure taste that I crave and I’m going to stand up and say I’m not going to take it anymore. I’m tired of getting my drinks and having to circle around and ask for a manager to correct the situation. This has happened in multiple stores throughout the Chicagoland area. I don’t want to taste strawberry lemonade in my Coca Cola. I don’t want to taste grape bubblegum orange mixed in my drink. All the drinks now come out of the same tubes and it seems that a little of the previous drinks remain in the tubing poisoning my pure drink.

I’m not an alcohol beverage drinker. I never acquired a taste for it. But, I can imagine in my mind that I compare the nuisances of the bouquet of Coca Cola as a wine enthusiast would for their special Merlot or Pinot Nior. I’ve also had a young server at McDonalds hand me my beverage after having just put on her perfume with it still being wet on her hands and transferring that smell onto the lid of my drink. The experience of putting your mouth down onto the straw to then suck in all that from a young teenagers idea of what smells good. I’m sorry not all things go good with a Coke.

So, where does it leave me. If McDonald’s doesn’t fix the issue, I will have to get off my lazy ass and actually walk into the grocery store and buy my supply there. Maybe I’ll have to have a cooler in the car. Maybe a Yeti Cooler.I heard there great. So it’s probably goodbye old friend. Your greed to take care of the masses has cost you the  loyalty of some of your oldest customers that thought I needed a break today at McDonald’s.

 

I Have Three Wives

No, I do not live in Utah, (not everyone in Utah has multiple wives). No, I am not a polygamist. I can barely stay out of trouble with one wife. Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment. Of course I have my “Main Wife” whom I have been married to forever. Then there is the “Work Wife” who has changed several times over the years, as they tend to come and go now and then (hopefully not because of me?). Last but not least the “Church Wife.”

It’s my own fault, I developed these relationships out of my need for constant support I guess. It’s nice to have someone that has your back at all times. Even though the second and third wives are purely platonic relationships, they seem to take on some of the same attributes of the main wife.  My recent scare with the heart and my new diet seems to have brought them together for a common cause They seem to have had an “Earl” conference to set new guidelines for you know who. Unfortunately, I wasn’t invited to the conference nor did I have a say in the order of business that was discussed. Apparently, it was deemed necessary for all of them to now watch over me with my diet and to jointly encourage added activities of exercise in the form of walking and or bicycling.

Having not been use to such scrutiny, I am somewhat rebelling and fighting them off. In my mind they are probably signing me up for “The Biggest Loser Show” to ship me off to take care of my problem. That problem being me and my displeasure with all things that make me sweat and scream from the pain after the years of inactivity.

Lately I’ve been going to bed earlier than the main wife. That’s when I think the wife texting begins. I’m sure they compare notes and then decide the appropriate punishment to be handed out the next day. I’ll bet they even do a Facebook Live connection. God forbid they ever find out about my million dollar life insurance policy. I’ll be a dead man for sure. Oh God I forgot they read this, I better run for the border and brush up on my Spanish.

 

My Love Affair Has Ended

I guess all good things must come to an end. My illicit affair has ended. It wasn’t a quick fling it really was more of a long term relationship. It was also more one sided and I can only blame myself. You see I was selfish, I just took and took and never gave back. So even though I kept it going this long, it was destined to fail anyway.

So, good bye pizza, good bye Coca Cola, goodbye ice cream and my beloved desserts and most of all my childhood favorite, french toast with lots of butter and cinnamon and sugar. Oh God, that flowing river of golden butter with the bright sparkling flecks from the crystals of sugar with the sprinkled cinnamon and the vanilla extract going down my gullet is to die for. Then, add a chaser of chocolate milk and you may have hit nirvana.

You have probably guessed it by now. An elephant decided to come to Crown Point Indiana and decided to rest on top of my chest last Saturday. No matter what I did, even summoning the “Powers of Grey Skull” as I was being crushed, wouldn’t resolve this crushing squeezing presence attacking my well being. What else could I do but drive myself to the hospital. Thank God I bought the larger car compared to the sub compact I use to drive,  otherwise that elephant couldn’t have ridden with me. It’s only a mile to the hospital.

They were so accommodating and took me right away,  no waiting, right to the front of the line,  didn’t have to slip the matradee a 20 to get in. EKG was negative, blood work up for heart panel clear, then 4 baby chew-able aspirin. I told the nurses and doctors it was probably nothing. It had been 80 degrees and I was cutting the lawn, just a little heat exhaustion. Two days later and multiple tests  and an angiogram,  a small 50 percent  blockage in two  arteries,  not enough to cause the issue with the elephant. Not enough blockage to put a stint in as it has to be at least 70 percent or more blockage. They decided it’s basically heat exhaustion and  overweight by as the doctor put it ” a ton of weight”. Meaning a ton of weight,  like an elephant I guess.

The party’s over, today at lunch I ate something I haven’t had or even tried in 40 years, baked cod. It wasn’t fishy tasting and even without the ketchup,  which I added later I could eat it without puking my guts out. Here’s the proof:

I guess I will survive somehow but more than a 100 lbs is a long way to go. It’s like they say how do you eat an elephant… “One bite at a time” Apparently that’s  how I’m going to do it.