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Category: Odds and Ends

My Favorite Aunt

Everyone has that favorite relative…it could be an aunt, uncle, or cousin. There was just something different and special about them that made them stand out in your mind. Mine was my Aunt Peg, who was married to my mom’s brother, John.
Peg was a petite woman with bleached blonde hair worn short, with loose curls on top. She wasn’t thin; she was what some would call “curvy” or if mean, “chubby.” Peg also had an eye condition, which caused her to wear tinted glasses at all times. Those glasses, paired with deep red lipstick, made her seem like the most glamorous person I ever saw up close.
But her best quality was she was funny…she was hilarious! And her humor was appropriate to whoever she was talking to, whether it was a 6 year old or a 40 year old. She was my role model growing up.

I’d often spend weekends with her, and she’d spoil me rotten…I was allowed to stay up late and watch TV with her into the wee hours of the morning, and when morning did come, I’d have coffee (with a lot of milk and sugar.) She smelled of coffee, cigarettes, and her signature Chanel No. 5. Peg’s preferred color was black. Black pants, black tops, black sweaters… Occasionally she’d go rogue and wear a beige top. I never saw her in a skirt; always pants, even at weddings. Looking back now, I see how she influenced my fashion choices, as my closet resembles a professional mourner’s.

One of her many quirks was her hair routine. I’m not talking about the bleach she’d apply every 3 weeks (which I started doing for her when I was 12) but her styling method. The woman used cardboard tampon applicators as rollers.
Yes, you read right: the cardboard housing for tampons. The first time I realized it, I was dumbstruck…why? was the first thing that popped to mind. Her answer: “I get two sizes – small and smaller, and they give me the size curl I want.” I howled…when she took the “curlers” out, she’d run her fingers through the curls, messing them up a bit,  then sprayed the hell out of it. Her hair could withstand hurricane force winds.

Peg was full of surprises. She was an incorrigible flirt – she could have guys 30 years her junior wrapped around her little finger. She loved Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, which was to be expected. But she also loved Elvis and David Bowie, which tickled the hell out of me. I think she envied his hair and makeup from the Ziggy years.

After my uncle died unexpectedly from complications of a routine surgery, her light dimmed…and not too long after, she suffered a massive stroke in her sleep. I arrived to the funeral home early, before the viewing, and realized her hair looked too neat. I reached in and tousled the top of her hair to more resemble her normal look. I felt it was what she would have wanted me to do.

See you on the other side, Aunt Peg…



A Phone Call From A Lunatic

It’s 2:30 in the morning. It’s quiet here in God’s Country.

Too quiet.

Suddenly, the sounds of the late, great Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze” blares from my night stand. It’s my ringtone because…why not? It was either that or a recording of me screaming: “THE PHONE IS RINGING! THE PHONE IS RINGING! ANSWER THE FECKING PHONE, YOU IDIOT!”

I move to answer my phone, only because I have left strict instructions to everyone on my address list NOT to call me after 9:00 at night unless they are on fire.

With that in mind, now I am interested. Is one of my family or friends ACTUALLY on fire?



I knew that voice. My mind reeled through my past, images playing in my head: horrible weirdness, substance fueled, degenerate behavior, mind-numbing madness.

This phone call was going to cost me…

The voice on the other end of the line was Air Wreck Martin. He was born Eric Martin, but became Air Wreck after he spent one night in the 1980’s tripping balls on 27 hits of blotter acid. That was the night he decided he could photosynthesize…

He was one of the most talented fretless bassists I had ever heard. He could play Hendrix’ version of “The Star Spangled Banner”…on the bass…He was absolutely amazing. For almost three-and-a-half years, we toured the Western United States playing some of the best music I had ever played, and partying like the sun was never going to rise again.

I’m not sure what happened, but I think, one night, we partied so hard one of us stepped on my tongue.

We played together until, one day in 1987 I checked his hotel room in Oklahoma City and he was gone.

I hadn’t heard from him since.

ME: “Sleeping. It’s like two thirty in the morning. Where are you?”

AWM: “Sleeping? YOU? What the hell happened to you?”

ME: “Nothing happened to me! It’s late! People sleep at night! Where the hell are you?”

AWM: “Oh, no! You’ve gone to the other side! You’ve gone all NORMAL on me! You and I used to stay up for DAYS! This is NOT good…”

ME: “Wait…What? Where ARE you?”

AWM: “I’m out on my back porch, looking at the stars. Angie fixed me a spaghetti dinner with my secret “Magic Mushroom” sauce, and I came out to smoke a little and found a half full bottle of tequila.

ME: “So you’re tripping, high, and drunk on your back porch…and who is Angie?”

AWM: “Yeah, and I am in the middle of fending off an attack!”

ME: “What do you mean…”

AWM: “Hang on a minute!…”

(I hear the sound of him putting down his phone.)


(He picks up his phone.)


ME: “What the hell was THAT?”

AWM: “Shotgun! Was it loud?”

ME: “WHAT? What are you…What is…WHAT? What’s going ON?”

AWM: “I’m shooting CHICKENS! You should SEE it! Feathers everywhere…looks like SNOW!”

ME: “What chickens? Why are you…”

AWM: “I told that neighbor of mine to KEEP HIS CHICKENS OUT OF MY YARD! NOW I have a virtual chicken STAMPEDE going on! I will NOT be INVADED by FOWL! Do you HEAR ME YOU BASTARD? Hang on a minute…”

(Puts the phone down.)


(Picks the phone up.)

AWM: “A TWOFER! You should SEE this! Anyway- I know you’re still playing. I’ve heard your music, it’s GREAT! I’ve got a couple of guys and I’m singing, and we want to work with you on an album! What do you say?”

ME: “Well, that’d be great, but you have a voice that’s a combination of Satan and a foghorn. When were you thinking of…”

AWM: “Fantastic! I want to do some REAL METAL! Really edgy. We will take off later tonight and we will be in your area TOMORROW!”

Me: “Tomorrow? Wait…I…”

AWM: “Hang on…”

(Puts the phone down.)


(Picks up the phone.)

ME: “What in the HELL…”

AWM: “OK! I HAVE A SITUATION HERE! (Screams off phone.) ANGIE! GET THE HOSE! (Speaks to me again.) HOLY HELL, MAN!”

ME: “What WAS that?”

AWM: “Part of that was a stick of dynamite. Part of that was a can of gas I forgot was along the fence line. I GOTTA GO! WE HAVE A LITTLE FIRE HERE! I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW!”


I was stunned. So many questions, and no answers. I still had no idea where he was, I didn’t know who “Angie” was, and I hadn’t had the chance to tell him where I lived.

Somehow, I knew he would find me…Like the CIA, or a stalker, or a madman.

Or the bird flu.
As I put the phone down, my wife rolled over, and in a sleepy voice, without even opening her eyes, she asked: “Who was that? Is someone on fire?”

Sarcasm. Even while half asleep…My wife is amazing! She still hadn’t opened her eyes!

“You remember that bass player I told you about? A guy named Air Wreck Martin?”

“Was he the one that thought he could photosynthesize?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “He and a couple of his friends will be here tomorrow to start working on an album.”

“Hmmmmm,” she said dreamily, rolling back over on her side. “Over your dead body, honey.”


I am truly and completely doomed.

Self-Tanning Torture

We all want to look healthy and golden in the summer…for some it’s easy, for others it’s an exercise in futility. I fall in the latter group.

Back in the 60s, Coppertone was the only game in town, and it didn’t do too much, as there was no SPF back then. Then they came out with “QT” = Quick Tan, a lotion that promised it would turn you bronzed overnight. It was almost too much to hope for…a tan without sitting in the sun and risking sunburn?? Be still my beating heart!
This sounded too good to be true. I was wise enough at that young age not to get sucked into the baby oil with iodine mixed in it, but as an almost albino, a little color seemed like an unattainable goal. So I begged my mom to buy it…please, just so I didn’t feel so Casper-ish.
Big mistake…big, big mistake. Long before Donald Trump became “Orange Man,” I turned into “Orange Modesty.” Not Cheeto orange, but a sickly, melted creamsicle orange. It was disgusting…and it didn’t scrub off. Also it didn’t help things that I basically slathered the whole bottle ALL OVER me. It stained my hairline, my eyebrows, my nails…argh!

You would think after that experience I would have learned my lesson, but noooooo…even to this day, I search for the perfect self-tanner. Some have come close, but each had a drawback: the smell, the sticky feeling, the transfer of color to sheets/clothing, the cost…some made me tan, until I showered and watched it go down the drain, others streaked or left me some weird flesh color, like the old flesh colored Crayola crayon.
I even went to a professional spray tan location to get a tan for a wedding. You get a paper thong and strapless bra thingy (if you want it,) put a shower cap and goggles on and let it rip. Then you stand there for 15 mins to dry before getting dressed. I went home and went about my business, until I had waited long enough before I could shower. I looked in the mirror…and my jaw dropped. I was GRAY, like I rolled in newsprint. I jumped in the shower and scrubbed until I thought my skin would come off. Thankfully, I wasn’t gray when I got out. Regretfully, I wasn’t tan either.

So after all this, I’ve decided it’s my lot in life to look like a sickly Victorian housewife…pale and anemic looking; living in SPF 30.
Oh.. but hang on! QVC has a new self-tanning product on right now!
Let me check this out..

Filet Of Jockey Shorts

So… about the time my ex-husband came home from work to say, “Hmmmm, something smells gooood, what are we having tonight?”

Watching him gaze at the blue granite roasting pot on top of the stove with the most wistful expression on his face was one of the better highlights in my failed marriage of twelve years.

“What time we gonna eat?”

“In about an hour.”

“Damn, that smells so good, can’t I just taste it?”

“Sure! But it’s hot as hell.”

“I love your cooking, honey; I can’t wait!”, as he’s in the bedroom rustling through his underwear drawer.

“Where are my shorts? All my shorts are gone!”

“Hey, I’ve cooled this off enough for you to have a taste.”

I know women don’t boil their whites in a pot full of Clorox anymore, but do it just one time and you’ll remember it forever.

German Automotive Technical Terms

I think this may be as old as the internet itself, but it still makes me laugh ’til I pee.

INDICATORS ….. Die Blinkenleiten Tickentocken
SPEEDOMETER ….. Der Egobooster
PUNCTURE ….. Die Phatte mit Bludyfucken
LEARNER ….. Die Twaten mit Elplatt
ESTATE CAR ….. Die Bagsromm fur Shagginkinauto
WINDSCREEN WIPER ….. Die Fippenflappenschittenspredden 
FOOT BRAKE ….. Der Edbangenonvindskreen stoppenquik
BREATHALYSER ….. Die Puffintem fur Pistenarsen
SEAT BELT ….. Der Klunkenklicken Frauleintrapper
HEADLIGHTS ….. Das Dippendontdazzle ubastud
FOG WARNING ….. Die Puttenfuttendownen Fukit
HIGHWAY CODE ….. Der Wipen fur Arsen
TIRES ….. Phlattfarts
TRAFFIC JAM ….. Der Bluddinfukkin damnundblasten
BACKFIRE ….. Der Lowdenbangen mekkenme Fuckenjumpen
JUGGERNAUT ….. Der Fukkengret trucken
ACCIDENT ….. Der Bleedinmess
NEAR ACCIDENT ….. Der Bleeden neer schittenselfen
CYCLIST ….. Pedalpushen pilloken

The Single Most Painful Thing Ever

Bathing suit shopping…words that strike terror in the hearts of women everywhere. Is there any one single thing that universally causes the 3S Syndrome: Shaking, Sweating, and Swearing? No…unless you wear a burka and bathing suits aren’t in your game plan, it’s a painful mission that requires a strong friend and alcohol.
When you’re in your teens and 20s, shopping for a new bathing suit was fun! You couldn’t wait to go and try dozens on, each cuter than the next…now, it’s a game of psychological torture. “Okay, this looks good from the front, let’s look at the back…OH DEAR GOD, NO!!” When did this happen? Where did those ripples on the back of my thighs come from? Is that a vein?? WTH, I look like an outdated Rand-McNally Road Atlas.”
No lie, when I was in my late 30s, I was forced to shop for a bathing suit. I had successfully avoided it, as I am so white, I’m one DNA helix away from being an albino. So going to lakes and the beach wasn’t something I did regularly. But we were going to Bermuda, and I needed a suit.
As I entered the changing room with fear and trepidation in my heart, I told myself “How bad could it be?”
It was bad. I literally gave a small shriek as I looked in the 3-way mirror…when? How? I tried on suit after suit, finally deciding on a benign blue one-piece. It was the best of the the lot, which isn’t saying much, plus the blue complimented the veins nicely. Then I realized I didn’t have to impress anyone, so why was I so worried?
Truth be told, I’d rather skinny dip now, as people usually look away, so I’m in the clear…until I have to get out of the pool.