Growing Hair

So sure, I’m a middle-aged man with a forehead that has never been larger.  I find myself at the beginning stages of sporting a bald spot in the age of magic hair growing drugs.  But will you find me using hair drugs, hair foams, or spray on hair?  Nope, because I can grow back my hair anytime I want to.  It’s true.  I am choosing to progress into that middle-aged balding man without a fight.  How could I possibly start my midlife crisis with a full head of hair?  Forty-six states have laws on the books prohibiting middle-aged men from driving convertibles with a full head of hair.  Look it up.

I can grow hair whenever I want to.  In fact, I have developed the power to sprout hair located anywhere on my body.  Every day that goes by I am perfecting this talent.  I am not losing my hair, but rather, I am repositioning it to areas all around my body.

You want to see hair growing on my little finger?  Done.  You want to see hair on my ear lobes?  Done.  You want to see hair coming out of the soles of my feet?  I’ll bet I can pull it off in the next couple of years.

Recently I have been exerting my hair growing powers in an attempt to refill my receding hair-line.  My efforts are starting to pay off because there are a few hairs sprouting out where my hairline used to be.  I currently have these awesome racing stripes of rather smooth skin on both sides of my forehead.  This area once was not only filled with thick brown beautiful hair, but was also altogether closer to my eyebrows.  But now, through the use of my hair growing powers, I have started to grow a handful of hairs where I once had them.  Just a few.  Never more than three to five at a time so far.  It’s a slow start.

I know this is going to sound weird, but along with my hair growing powers I also can hear the thoughts of my new mid-forehead hairs.  I think it is some sort of side effect from my hair growing powers.

“Hey, hairline up there!  Remember when we used to hang out down here?  Man, those were good times.  Hey guys, you should stop being such old farts and come on down here with us.  Remember the time when we were flirting with the eyebrow hairs?  Dude, that was so much fun.  We should do that again.”

“No way.  Get out of here.  We are way too old to be messing around in that part of the forehead.  And besides, have you seen how the eyebrows look these days?  They haven’t had an easy life.  They’ve let themselves go.”

Unfortunately, I had to pluck the renegade forehead hairs when they started harassing the older hairs.  That, and they kept me up at night with all their stories from long ago.

You readers should know that I typed all these paragraphs using only my left eyebrow.

Harry says, “Buy my books.”

PS- That was my 100th post.  I didn’t see it coming.  Self deprecating…go figure.

Laughable Security

The wife and I are considering refinancing our home to save a little cash each month while the rates still remain low.  It’s not the first time we have refinanced.  We have been down this road with success in the past.  When deciding if the cost of refinancing will be worth it, one of the first questions you have to ask is “Do you enjoy banging your head against a brick wall?”

Why yes! Yes I do.

This is the story of very first step of the refinancing process.  In fact, its step zero—maybe even step minus one.

To begin, you’ll need to know how much you owe on your current mortgage so that you can tell the refinance guy how much you’re asking to borrow during this refinancing process.  Simple, right?

I have no idea.  Perhaps that’s foolish of me, but I got nothing.  No clue at all.  I just allow my current bank to auto withdraw from my savings account whatever amount they see fit to pay my bill and not start a foreclosure process.  A hundred dollars you ask for?  Sure.  Two thousand dollars?  Sure.  A half million?  Sure, take it.

You see, I have not received a paper statement for the last several years because I decided to go green.  Somewhere in the distant past, I can picture myself cancelling the paper statements to make a difference in the world.  Do yourself a favor and breathe in real slow and real deep.  Fresh, right?  Yeah, that’s thanks to me.

So I call my bank to determine the current outstanding loan amount.  That’s when the banking operator hits me with the “security” questions.  Which is cool.  I get it.  I don’t need every Tom, Dick, and Harry probing the details of my account.  In fact, I don’t need the three of those guys probing anything.

“What are the last four digits of your social security number?”  Easy one.

“What city where you born in?”  I got this.  Although I have no memory of the event.

“What date did your dog first crap on your carpet?”  Seriously, I have no idea?

“How many fingers am I holding up?”  You’re on the other end of a phone!

Actually, joking aside, the questions were straight forward and easy for me to recall for my ever-so-pleasant banking operator.  That is, until she asked, “What was the original amount of the loan?”

Oh no!  I have no idea.  You see, the wife and I refinanced once already.  I remember the original loan amount from when I originally purchased the home, but the first refinancing amount?  I can’t remember that at all.  I explained that I don’t have that information any more.  She then said, “We cannot give you information about your current loan amount without first answering that particular security question.  However, you can log on to your account from our website to see you current account balance.  Why don’t you try that approach?”

Fine.  I like working with people better, but off to the web I go.

I haven’t logged in since I went “green”.  I think I remember my log in ID, but my password?  No idea.  So I now have to click the “I’m a moron and need to reset my forgotten password” link.  Click.  I feel yucky.

Great news!  The automatic web site people will happy to e-mail me a temporary password to the e-mail address I have on file.

Not so great news!  That e-mail account has been disabled for years.  No help there.

So I had to call back into my bank.  Of course I got a different bank operator this time and I had re-explained to her that I was looking for my current outstanding loan amount and that I am having trouble logging into the web site to retrieve it.

Her next move, you ask?  Security questions.  The exact same ones.

I grit my teeth and say, “I don’t know the original loan amount.  I will never know the original loan amount.  I have no way of learning my original loan amount.  That is, unless you reset my password.”

“I’m sorry.  But without answering all of the security questions, I do not know how I can help you.”

After a brief fruitless debate, I hang up on her—wishing I could slam the phone down, but not doing so, because it’s my cell phone and that destroying it in of spite her would suck.  So, “boop” (the noise of disconnecting the call).  Take that!

I need a new approach.  With my thinking cap firmly in place, I formulate a new plan of attack.  Planning level: Genius.  I feel like one of those Scooby Doo “meddling kids” that always stopped the bad guy from “getting away with it.”  I’m more of the Shaggy type.  Not so much the Fred type because I don’t even own an ascot.  Velma and Daphne?  No, I don’t see me in either of them.  And Scooby, well he’s a dog.  I am not.  Let’s not be silly here.

With my new plan in mind, I called back.  I got yet another different bank operator which is exactly what I needed for my glorious plan.  “Thank you for calling (insert my banks name here).  How may I help you?”  I don’t wish to throw my bank under the bus for this story.  But let’s just say it’s an American bank located in America.  In fact, you could say it is a Bank of America, that is, if you felt like saying that.

“Yes, hello!  I’m calling about my mortgage account that I have with your fine banking establishment.  My social security number is (insert my number here—no clues for you).  My wife and I are considering refinancing and we need to determine the value of the original loan amount of our current mortgage.  Can you give me that value, please?”

And she did!  Just like that.

Now I should have declared victory and hung up, but I couldn’t help myself.  “Do you realize that you just gave me the answer to one of my own security questions?  I’ve been trying to reset my online password and couldn’t do it without knowing the original loan amount!  So can I please have my password reset now?”

She was flustered—probably in some sort of trouble because “this call may be recorded for training purposes”.  Evidently, training that didn’t go far enough.

Without another second of delay, “Umm, ok. Well.  Let me transfer you to our online help department.”

Nice!

The story ends there.  Finally.  I now know the exact amount of our outstanding balance of our current mortgage.  I can now move to the next step of the refinancing process.

By the way, the lesson I learned is that I probably should fire up the delivery of the monthly paper statements.  Going green simply leads to security breaches.  Breathe in real slow and real deep.  Not as fresh anymore, is it?

Buy my books, no questions asked.

My Super Bowl Recap 2014

If you are a Peyton Manning fan, then that Super Bowl was not for you.

If you are a funny commercial fan, then that Super Bowl was not for you.

If you are a Phillip Seymore Hoffman fan, then that Sunday was not for you (along with some of the writing that follows here).

So I was with my family watching the Broncos completely fall apart.  But at least the commercials were amusing—not so much.  In years passed, I typically update my Facebook status while watching the Super Bowl and its commercials.  This year was no different.  This morning, when I reviewed my posted statuses, I noticed that not a single one singled out the “funny” commercials.

Without further ado, here is a Super Bowl recap via my Facebook status updates:

Wait a minute.  I still have a little “ado” left.  I had to look up the word “ado” to make sure I was using it properly.  Ado is defined as “bustling activity; fuss; bother; delay”.  So yes, all is well.  I now have no more “ado” so we can, in fact, continue.

The morning of Super Bowl Sunday brought us the news of the death of a Hollywood actor.

‘If you are waiting for Philip Seymour Hoffman to come to your Super Bowl party, umm, well this is awkward…’

I posted that because Mr. Hoffman apparently accidentally killed himself with drugs.  Perhaps this was insensitive to his surviving loved ones.  It probably was.  But really, I was just trying to look out for those Super-Bowl-partying people who were counting on him to bring his crock-pot filled with that awesome chicken-cheese dip that he was known for.  I mean, those poor people.  How dry their mouths must have been after eating dipless chips.

Besides, his loved loves don’t read my blog.  If they do, they never bother to push like or leave a comment.  So, whatever.

The game was kicked off by Phil Sims escorting Joe Namath to the coin flip to determine who would be declared the winner of the Super Bowl.  Seriously, using the coin flip to determine the winner would have been far less painful for the broncos.

‘”Phil, I want to kiss you.”, Joe.’

If you don’t understand this reference, just Google “Joe Namath I want to kiss you” and you will no doubt find a clip of a drunken Mr. Namath hitting on a sideline reporter while being interviewed on national television.  Priceless.  I’ll never be able to see Joe without recalling that video segment with sharp clarity in my head.  Completely more entertaining than Sherman’s rant.

The Super Bowl half time show was being advertised weeks in advance to showcase Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“Get ready for the oil and water half time show.”

Can this arrangement be anymore mismatched?  I couldn’t wait…

“Bruno is moving more than Denver’s offense.”

I have to say, Mr. Mars opened with an entertaining number that was enjoyable.  He banged on the drums for awhile and then welcomed the members of Sha-Na-Na onto stage.  They all sung and danced.  It was pleasant.

If you understand the Sha-Na-Na reference, you are old.  To be honest I thought they were all dead by now.  Although, I didn’t see Bowser anywhere?

And then the Red Hot Chili Peppers dropped in on the scene.  I like the Chili Pepper’s music, but trying to mix them in with Bruno’s class and style—not possible.

“I just ate a mars bar with a red hot chili pepper.  It was gross.”

Once again, I’ll note that the commercials this year were basically all forgettable.  Apparently Prince (the old pop star of the 1930’s) was guest starring on some sitcom that I don’t watch.  Many plugs for this comedy show were paid for—each highlighting Prince’s non-balding big hair.  Rogaine has treated him well.

“My 15 year old son just asked, “Who is Prince?”

So now I’m feeling old.  Apparently the sitcom show is not geared toward the 15 year old high school student demographic.

So the Super Bowl game was a one-sided flop with Peyton Manning’s offense struggling to get anything done.  So I signed off of my Facebook time line with one last parting shot.

“Phillip Seymore Hoffman is having a better day than Peyton Manning.  Just saying.”

Note: If you add, “Just saying.”  It can’t be considered inconsiderate.

Buy my book (very popular with the 15 year old high school students).

Roid Rage

I recently went though surgery.  It was a personal issue that needed to be taken care of for more than a decade.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and make it happen.  I found it hard to talk about because of its personal nature.  But prior to the day of the surgery I needed to tell certain people that it was going to happen, for example, my work place needed to know for scheduling purposes—the recovery time for this particular operation is a full two weeks.

I just couldn’t do it.  I went with the “it’s personal” approach when pressed for details.  In hindsight, this approach only leaves people asking more questions.  “Is it an outpatient thing or will you be hospitalized?”  “Are you going to die?”

So enough already!  Here it goes:  I have had hemorrhoids for years.  And this year was my breaking point.  I’m having them removed!  Want to see the pictures?  Suddenly I have a strange desire for a bowl of grapes.

At the time of this writing, I’m only twenty-four hours into my recovery phase.  Let me tell you, this sucks.  So I humbly ask that if you want to, please, pray for my ass.  Literally.

Although going public with my situation may cause me to be the butt of some jokes (yeah, I went there before you could), I felt that at this point I needed to share the humor that I heard from the voices in my head.

I got a referral to a qualified butt doctor—that is exactly the wording is on their diplomas.  And as it turns out, the doctor I selected is a female doctor.  Immediately I thought, “Oh no!  This is going to be so awkward.”  However, if the doctor was a male doctor, I would have been thinking, “Oh no!  This is going to be so awkward.”  So I made the appointment and entered it into my calendar with the title of “Appointment with Dr. Rear.”

My initial appointment rolled around so that Dr. Rear can determine how exactly how the operation will proceed.  There is only one way that this exam is done—physically.  So Dr. Rear and her much younger female medical student (more awkwardness) begin by explaining how this exam will proceed: dropping my pants, leaning over the table, a rubber glove examination, and finally an “instrument probing” which is sitting on the tray against the wall—the instrument kind of looks like an intercontinental ballistic missile.  Oh boy.

And they’re off!  The finger part of the exam came and went rather quickly but somehow Dr. Rear managed to say “just relax” about three dozen times in the thirty seconds or so that it took.  Relax?  I don’t think so.

Next, the rocket that was placed “up there” was far larger than Dr. Rear’s little female fingers.  Enough said.  It was at this point that Dr. Rear said, “Hmm. I’m going to have to switch instruments and use one that has a light on it.”

In recounting this story for my wife, she said, “Did Dr. Rear not know that it was going to be dark up there?  Where exactly did she graduate from?”

So I completed the exam and scheduled both the pre-op doctor appointment and the actual surgery.  The pre-op appointment was with my regular doctor.  Basically the pre-op appointment is to certify that I am in good health and can survive a surgery.  So the doctor’s assistant (another young female—yet more awkwardness) is taking my temperature and reading my blood pressure and filling out forms.  The pre-op certification form begins with “What type of surgery?”  So she asks me just that and I respond with, “Hemorrhoids”.   She quickly looks down and says rather sheepishly, “ok”.  I then asked my own question, “You want to talk about the details?”  She said no and quickly moved on to the other more generic questions: heart issues, diabetic, allergies to medications, etc.  And then for no reason that I could comprehend even now, she threw out this question: “So you are having the hemorrhoids removed?”

I responded with, “No.  Surgical augmentation.  I want them to be larger and more pronounced.”  She turned red and moved on.

The day of the surgery rolls around and I’m being prepped for surgery.  Dr. Rear comes in to greet me and my wife and gives us a warm reassurance that everything should go smoothly.  She also introduces her up-and-coming medical student that will be “shadowing” her for the “observation experience” with my consent and permission.  It’s another young female medical student.  Go figure.  I shook her hand and said, “Sure.  It should be a great show.”

Following the administration of my knock-out drugs I remember absolutely nothing.  Which is exactly what I wanted.  I crawled up onto the operating table and regained memories starting in the recovery room.  Perfect.

In the recovery room I had the oddest bout of uncontrollable sobbing and tears.  It was so weird because I even said out loud that I didn’t know why I was crying.  The nurse explained that she sees all sorts of different reactions to the drugs used during operations.  I asked if someone was telling me sad stories while in the operating room.  She said, “No, but I did show you my paycheck and you have been crying ever since.”

Well that’s my story and now I’m on the road to complete recovery.  Hemorrhoids aren’t that embarrassing, are they?  It’s not like I did something to cause them.

I’m not sure how to wrap this blog entry up.  I guess the next time you see me, you can buy me an Angel Food Cake so that I can sit down comfortably.  It’s going to be a long couple of weeks.

cake

Buy my books which have absolutely nothing to do with hemorrhoids.

Christmas Carols — Again

I got a friendly request to repost my take on Christmas carols.  It was an entry that I posted last year.  And although this person could have used the history or even the search option, I thought I would take it easy on them and just put the link up all fresh like.

Enjoy…

Christmas Carols

Maturity for Sale

I like being witty, being that funny guy, and getting people to laugh.  I really enjoy making people smile.  My teenage children recently asked me if I will ever mature into an adult.  “Come on Dad, are you ever going to grow up?  Are you sure you’re even an adult?”  I took it is a complement, but I could be wrong.  They would be totally bummed out if my humor dried up just because I turned into a mature grown man.

The scenario was still on my mind as I was on my way home from work.  I have just under an hour drive to place of employment.  I was buzzing down the highway watching the exits fly; my mind contemplating deep thoughts about what needs to happen to become a mature responsible adult.  And that is when I saw it.

I saw the sign.

I saw what I needed to do.

There was hope for me.

There was a place for me to go to increase my maturity and hang on to my sense of humor at the same time.

Did you know that there is a business that sells items designed to increase your maturity level?  I didn’t.  I was amazed at what I had found.  I stumbled across this little place that I was completely confident that it would change my world.

The owners of this place weren’t being too creative when they selected their name for this extraordinarily helpful little road side shop.  They called their store simply “Adult”.

Yes, it was the perfect store for me and my new desire to become a grownup.  A place where I can purchase products that will increase my maturity.  I pulled my car up to the door.  Already I can feel an excitement in the pit of my stomach.  Is this what mature people feel all the time?  I have to be careful here.  If my goal is to enhance my maturity while maintaining my sense of humor, I must proceed with caution and not to buy too much “Adult” product at one time.

Well I threw the car into park and charged into the shop.  I was a little surprised at what I saw.  I meandered up and down the aisles checking out the items for sale that would help change me into a mature adult.  I really couldn’t understand how these products were going to help me become a more serious adult, but this was an “Adult” store.  So clearly, they know what they are doing here.  I kept an open mind and continue to browse.

So, you want me to put this in where?  I really don’t think that will help my goals.  Are you sure?

I didn’t try that approach.  Instead I looked into their self-help DVDs.

Their self-help DVDs really took a strange approach.  Sure, the people in these videos had an interesting grasp on “self help”, but the methodology just didn’t seem like a match for my objective.

I left the so-called “Adult” store without finding what I needed, disappointed, and confused.  I went in looking for a new level of maturity, a new sense of wisdom, and I exited the store with nothing that would help.

But you should see my new wardrobe.

Buy my mature books.

On Being Dental Floss

When I count my blessings, I never forget to note that I am not a piece of dental floss.  There are a tremendous amount of “things” in this world.  I could have been any of them.  Fortunately, I became a human—master of the floss.

Can you imagine being a piece of dental floss?

First, the most obvious point, is that it would be gross to live out your existence with the sole purpose of  removing un-swallowed bits of nearly completely chewed food from in-between the cramped quarters of a couple of teeth.  However, since that is the only purpose for your existence, maybe that’s what would bring you the most joy.  You would have an amazing sense of accomplishment as you pull off the “flick the food bit onto the bathroom mirror” move.  You would be praised by generations of dental flosses to come.  Songs would be written.  Stories would be exaggerated.

“Your great-great-grandfather once catapulted a piece of corn on the cob so far and so high onto the bathroom mirror, that the human being controlling the string of your floss ancestors had to get the bathroom stool to reach the once stuck food crud.”

So the other reason why I’m grateful that I am not dental floss is that there is little possibility of being the hero or of even being productive.  Only a very small percentage of pieces of dental floss actually get to journey in-between the teeth to do the job of food extraction.  The rest of the floss pieces either get wrapped around the human’s finger or stuck out in never-never land between the finger and the ever-so-lucky piece of dental floss that gets jammed into the tooth crack.

“I was so close!  I was right next to the floss piece that reached into the abyss and pulled the popcorn kernel out.  I saw everything from the front row.  I was right there.  It should have been me.  I could have been a contender.  Instead of a bum, which is what I am.”  Said a piece of floss named Marlon.

“Dude, relax.  At least you were there.  I was wrapped around a finger, crushed up against other loser pieces of floss that didn’t even stand a chance of contributing.  And besides, the ever-so-great food flicker ended up in the same trash can as the rest of us.”

Oh, and I’m thankful that I am not toilet paper too.

Buy my books (no strings attached).