Revisited: Early spring cleaning

I’m glad to report that activity at my workplace has really picked up in recent weeks. I’ve actually put in some substantial overtime the last two weekends, and the prospects look good for more. I realize I’m one of the few people still employed these days who can make that claim, so I am grateful.

Without being too specific, my job involves helping publicly-held companies prepare financial documentation that is required to be released to their shareholders. Most companies operate in the fiscal year that ended December 31, so this is the time when they’re pulling together the data that shows how they’ve done the last 12 months. As you might imagine, they have a lot of explaining to do. Which means I have a lot of real work to do, and not so much time to devote to my blog.

So what I’m doing today is something of an early spring cleaning, a yard sale of the half-baked ideas I’ve scribbled down in moments of questionable inspiration that later turned into “what did I mean by that?” Everything not marked with a price sticker is going for a nickel.

(10 cents) Everyone has enjoyed all the jokes at Rod Blagojevich’s expense, especially about that huge mane of hair he carries around. Long after he’s been reformed and elected governor of Louisiana, we’ll still remember that hairdo. We’re going to want to reference it to use on other people so we’ll need a proper adjective: Blagojevichian? Blagojevichesque? Blagojevichistic?

(25 cents) The woman in the news this weekend for swimming across the Atlantic Ocean is getting way more attention that she deserves. She went from the westernmost point in the east to the easternmost point in the west, she swam in a cage, and she spent only eight hours a day in the water while sleeping at night on a boat. With those kind of dubious criteria, I’m ready to make the claim that I’ve spent the last 55 years walking a billion miles across the galaxy. Never mind that I was attached to the Earth while doing it.

(10 cents) While sitting in a doctor’s waiting room the other day, I observed the woman across from me helping her elderly mother fill out the personal information form. When she reached the part about marital status, she was faced with the usual options – M, S, D or W. She selected “D,” because her husband was “deceased.” That’s not right, is it?

(15 cents) I’m getting a little tired of hearing the adjective “full” in news reports all the time. Someone is being buried with full military honors, the governor said there will be a full investigation, the church is taking full responsibility for neglecting the abuse charges. Does anyone every get buried with partial honors and, if so, how bad a serviceperson would you have to be?

(10 cents) If women ever knew the basketball fantasy that goes through a man’s mind when he throws a balled-up piece of paper into the trash can, we’d be laughed out of the house. “And the 30-footer from beyond the top of the key wins the game!” should not count when the paper napkin banks off the side of the refrigerator, leaving a dark lasagna stain.

(50 cents) Indecipherable commentary heard while trying to watch the recent Winter X Games: “skiing big air,” “clean grab,” “stomping it clean,” “kangaroo flip sweet double,” “he can’t tweak,” “that was all time” and “that’s how these Swedes roll.” I’m glad baseball season is just around the corner, because we all know that “back, back, back” makes a lot more sense.

 (20 cents) I once participated in a medical study that required me to answer an extensive list of questions asked by a nurse’s assistant. One of the questions was “do you ever have headaches?” I responded that I did, occasionally, like probably just about everybody in the world. “How long have you had the headaches?” she followed up. “On and off for as long as I can remember, I guess,” I responded. A look of concern crossed her face as she recorded my answer. I bet I’m eventually going to die.

(30 cents) Wouldn’t it be neat if they made more video games that simulated the tasks of everyday life? I know there are driving games and skateboarding games and guitar-playing games, but how about something that riffs on the thrill of using an ATM machine? Going through the self-scan at the grocery store? Pumping your own gas? I would so play those games.

(15 cents) I’m convinced the world is divided into two distinct groups: those who will eat only traditional breakfast foods for their first meal of the day, and those who will consume things like cold pizza, RC Cola and a Moonpie, or leftover Chinese food. I am a member of the first (correct) group, while my wife is a member of the opposition. So – as I found out on some recent business trips abroad – is the entire continent of Asia.

(40 cents) Speaking of which, during the three weeks that comprised my first trip to India, I yearned for a good old-fashioned hamburger near the end of my stay. As you might imagine, though beef is virtually everywhere in the streets, very little of it is in a readily edible form. (Take a bite out of a passing cow and you’re in big trouble). The closest that the hotel room-service menu could offer was something called the “Holstein Burger,” a small beef patty topped with cucumber slices and a fried egg, topped with a cherry. Not exactly McDonald’s.

(15 cents) What is it with little kids being so excited to get a sticker at the grocery store? Don’t they realize how little it’s worth in real dollars?

(no price sticker) We once had a backyard neighbor who claimed to have a shrinking brain. He always complained that we didn’t trim the grass enough on our side of the shared fence, and once killed a honeysuckle bush rooted in our yard but extending into his. I don’t know why or how I ever thought that was going to be funny. You can have it for free.

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