Here Kitty Kitty (Reblog)

One of our kids came into my life at a later age. He’s my wife’s son and I love him to death. He’s hard-working, built his own successful business, and he’s a great dad. He’s everything you would want in a son. Except…

He had done so well with his business, he bought his family a new home in the neighborhood he grew up in. He wanted his kids to have the same upbringing in the same neighborhood he grew up in. It’s a beautiful house and we’re all proud. Of course, the house came unfurnished…except for the current home dweller…a cat. Apparently, the last people who lived there left their cat.

Now the last thing he wanted was a cat. They already had a dog, so they really weren’t looking for another pet. Reasonable. What he did when he saw the cat outside was not. The exchange with my wife, his mom, went something like this:

SON: So, I guess the previous people had a cat and left it.

MOM: Where is it now?

SON: In the house.

MOM: How did it get in the house?

SON: I saw it and said, “Here kitty kitty.”

MOM: No!

SON: Well, I couldn’t just leave it.

MOM: You now own a cat.

He does too, kind of. Nobody really “owns” a cat. It’s more like the cat owns them. They’re already on their second litter of kittens and they kept a couple. Now they have multiple owners.

Here’s the thing about cats. Unlike dogs, you can’t own one. A dog will be chosen by the owner. A cat will let you think you chose them, but in reality, if they don’t choose you, all you have is a creature you have to feed and clean up after…and they expect you to do it on their terms. After all, they think they own you.

If dogs and cats could talk, um, I mean people talk, it would go like this:

DOG: Oh! Oh! You’re awake! Oh, I’m just so happy! I’m so happy I might even tinkle a little, just a little, on the floor in front of the bed! Can we go out now? Huh? Huh?

CAT (looking disdainfully at the dog): Moron.

DOG (turning towards the cat in excitement): He’s up! He’s up! He’s…

CAT: Shut up, you moron. I need to be fed.

DOG: Oh! Oh! Do you think he’ll feed us today? It would be so great if he did! He loves us so much!

CAT (rolling her eyes): Of course he’s going to feed us, you moron. That’s what I hired him for.

DOG (blank stare): What?

CAT: Are you really that stupid? I’m going to wait by my bowl.

DOG: Wait for what?

CAT (rolling her eyes again): For our servant to feed us, you moron.

DOG: Oh! Oh! Do you think he’ll feed us today? It would be so great if he did! He loves…

CAT: SHUT UP! Oh, and by the way, I left him a little something in his slippers.

Of course, it’s built into a cat to be mad at you if you don’t do what they want. They will expressively let you know when they are displeased with your performance as a servant, and it usually smells bad enough to gag a gorilla.

Anyway, they now have not only a house full of kids, they have a dog and an assembly of cats. Oh sure, they’re so cute when they’re little. You can pick them up, cuddle them, play with them, laugh at their little bites and clawing, but eventually, they grow. Then they take ownership. The bites aren’t so little anymore and the claws have found a new purpose…furniture.

Now before you think I have something against cats, please note that I didn’t make the dog too bright in this scenario either. In reality, I love almost all animals…except camel spiders…Ewww, pretty gruesome, but most of the rest of the animal kingdom is good with me. Unlike people, animals are true to their nature. Even a dog can’t lie when you say something like, “Did you do this?” Of course, the cat won’t own up to, “Did you do this?” It’s not that they’re lying…they just don’t care what you think they did.

Possible moral of this story? Be very careful how you use the phrase, “Here kitty kitty.” It might just land you a cat. Oh, and if you’re a softy, like almost every human in this story, you might also want to avoid the words, “Oh, it’s a cat.” That’s how I got my cat…

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Gummyheads

Gummy Bears are my addiction, my obsession, and my kryptonite. I can focus on almost anything, but when Gummies are waved around me, I fall apart and give in. It can be embarrassing at times. I try to hide my shame by sneaking the Gummy Bears when nobody is looking. I have stashes of Gummies in many places. I can actually remember my first taste…

ROUGH LOOKING KID ON PLAYGROUND: Hey kid, come’ere…

ME: Um, what?

ROUGH KID: You ever seen one of these?

My eyes glazed over, the heavens opened up, and I could hear angels singing. In his hand was a small assortment of fruit-flavored Gummy Bears. I knew then I had to have one. I reached for the handful. He pulled them away.

ROUGH KID: Easy there, kid! You want to start slow with these. Try an orange one…

It was all over for me. From that point on, all I could think of was Gummy Bears. I found myself sitting on corners begging for change to get some. My personality changed as I grew more and more addicted. At one point, I thought I should try to quit, but I tried cold turkey and the withdrawals were too much to handle. I found myself doubling what I ate before.

I knew I had hit rock bottom when I woke up in a Gummy Bear house. It was an abandoned house and there were about a dozen of us laying around with empty bags that once held gummies. We were all coming down at the same time. A couple of the others tried to talk the rest of us into raiding the candy store. “They can’t stop all of us!” they enticed.

Well, they stopped all of us (this wasn’t the first time a raging group of Gummyheads tried to raid the candy store) and we all went to jail. Back then, there weren’t any rehabs for Gummyheads so the judge gave us the choice of the military or jail. I chose the military.

The military was just what I needed. I was able to break away from my addiction and begin to lead a normal life. Don’t get me wrong, the cravings were still there, but I was able to fight them off. All was going well until I was shipped to Germany. Germany is the birthplace for Gummy Bears. It was like sending a cookie addict to a Keebler Elf Village. You’re just asking for carnage!

At first, I was able to avoid the places where the Gummyheads hung out. There were a lot of them in the military. Then on one drunken night, I let my guard down. A bowl of Gummies was being passed around and I took one. It was all over for me again. I found myself using Gummies like I used air. I always had to have more. Like most Gummyheads, I didn’t think anybody noticed…but they did.

COMMANDER: Sergeant Dazeodrew, we think you’re using Gummies…

ME: No Sir, no, um, I can quit at anytime…

COMMANDER: Empty your pockets.

I refused and it took two MP’s to hold me down while they searched. They got my stash from both pockets, both cargo pockets, and even the emergency stash in my socks. I was left gummy-less. I was completely humiliated and embarrassed. Instead of quitting, I just became sneakier.

FIRST SERGEANT: Sergeant Dazeodrew? Why are you shaking your canteen out?

ME: That last one is stuck…um, I mean, I’m making sure it’s dry.

FIRST SERGEANT: It’s a canteen.

ME: Um, yeah, but I like it to be dry before I fill it up.

I made it through my military time without getting busted, but I’m not sure how.

Nowadays, I’m known as a “functional user.” I’m able to keep my addiction going, but I can still function as if I’m not a Gummyhead. With the variety of Gummies on the market, it’s become easier to hide them.

CO-WORKER: Nice looking Cherry brooch your wearing.

ME: Thanks…

CO-WORKER: And your wrist bracelets are very colorful. They almost look like Gummy Worms.

ME: Haha, yeah, almost.

An hour later.

CO-WORKER: Hey, what happened to your brooch and bracelets?

ME: What brooch? I’m a guy, I don’t wear brooches!

CO-WORKER: And the bracelets?

ME: DON’T YOU HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO DO YOU WITCH-HUNTER!

Anyway, I’m waiting for the day they legalize Gummies so I don’t have to hide in shame anymore. It’s ridiculous that I have to sneak around like this. I’m a grown man, for Pete’s sake! Oooh! Orange!

Writing Environments

I have trained myself to write almost anywhere and in almost any conditions. I know some people need a quiet place to sit and write or they need beautiful surroundings to inspire them. I can sit next to a dumpster at an airport child care center while they test the backup generators and still manage to write something. It’s not that I can tune everything out, I can’t, but I’ve just learned to adapt.

When I was a kid and had to write something for school, I would blast my stereo with bands like Led Zeppelin or AC/DC and manage to get a twelve page paper written and get an “A.” As I became a young adult, I could attend a party and if the mood hit me, I could sit on the couch, pull out a pad of paper, and write a story or poem while the party raged around me.

When I was deployed to Desert Storm, I took my word processor with me…for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a fancy electric typewriter with a digital readout screen, one of the stupider purchases I ever made. Well, the sand made short order of that device and I had to write the old fashioned way, on paper. Somewhere in the desert of Saudi Arabia is a word processor buried in the sand…along with assorted military throwaways. I can see the future with this one…

ARCHEOLOGIST: What the heck is that?

ASSISTANT: Is it a computer of some sort?

ARCHEOLOGIST: I’m not sure…let’s carbon date it. Now look for the body.

ASSISTANT: The body?

ARCHEOLOGIST: Yes, anybody who would buy one of these had to have been very stupid. There’s no way he could’ve survived very long in this hostile environment. He must be buried nearby.

After the war, I had to write with the constant interruptions from my kids.

SON: Hey Dad. Whatcha doing?

ME: Writing.

SON: Whatcha writing about?

ME: You.

SON: What’s it say?

ME: It’s a fictionalized story about what I would do to a kid that constantly interrupts me while I’m writing.

A couple quiet minutes go by.

SON: I’m bored.

ME: Do your homework.

SON: I’m done.

ME: Clean your room.

SON: Done.

ME: Go bug your sister.

SON: Okay!

A few more minutes go by. Screaming and yelling can be heard from a distant bedroom.

DAUGHTER: DAD!

So all of this brings us to today. I’m sitting on a stool and typing away. I’m surrounded by unpacked boxes and piles of stuff that should have been buried in a desert somewhere. My printer won’t work, my books are scattered, and my back is killing me from the darned stool. Still, here I am, writing away happily because this is my safe place…sitting in front of my words.

The Best Followers

I’ve had a rough week or so. Yes, the move was stressful. What also bothered me was that I didn’t have the time to write my blog posts and had to reblog older posts. By older, I mean from July, not too long ago. I originally thought I would pepper in some reblogs after I had been doing this for a year, not just a few months. I apologize for that.

What amazed me is that you people still reread the old reblogs and responded. Most of you still stuck with me and you’re still here. I know I’m not the best writer, but apparently I put out interesting enough stuff to keep you reading. This really pleases me and I’m very grateful to all of you for still reading.

Almost all of the comments and messages from you guys are positive and supportive. I’ve let you into my life and you’ve responded with empathy, love, support, laughter, and whatever other emoji they let us use. I am honored to have found you and extremely happy that you found me. I will continue to try to give you a product that intrigues you and hopefully gives you a better day. I know it makes my day better.

I’ll finish this blog with a joke that a wonderful lady told me. Some of you may have heard it, but here it goes anyway.

Forrest Gump went to heaven and met St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

ST PETER: Well, Forrest, to get in you have to answer some questions.

FORREST: Okay.

ST PETER: What two days of the week start with the letter “T?”

FORREST: Today and Tomorrow.

ST PETER: Um, ok, not what we were looking for, but still correct. Next question is, how many seconds are there in a year?

FORREST: Twelve.

ST PETER: Twelve?

FORREST: Yeah. January 2nd, February 2nd, March…

ST PETER: Ok, ok. Last question is, what is God’s name?

FORREST: Andy.

ST PETER: Andy? Where did you get that name from?

FORREST: Momma used to sing to me when I was little. She would sing, Andy walks with me, Andy he talks with me…

ST PETER: Just come in.

I hope you enjoyed the joke. When she told it to me, she was very weak because she’s suffering through stage 4 cancer. I just appreciated that she could take the time to tell me a joke with all the suffering she’s going through.

There’s a valuable lesson for life in all of that. Even when it’s dark, there’s still room for humor.

Moving Sucks – Part II

Well, we finally moved. Yes, it sucked. Don’t get me wrong, the new house I bought is beautiful and my wife is very happy, but the actual move sucked. It’s been a week since the actual moving day and we are still unpacking and discovering broken things. The funny thing is, the broken things are not in the boxes we packed. We had hired movers.

A couple days before our actual move, my back went out. I took some painkillers and worked through it, but I was obviously still restricted with what I could do. We decided to hire a moving company to help us this time because it was a mid-week move and most of our family and friends were working. I figured since they had good reviews and they were professional, everything would be ok…

They arrived on time and realized the estimate they had given us would be off because I was not able to pack as much as I had hoped. They had to get some extra boxes and help us. There were three young guys and a large truck. They spent some time talking on and off but seemed to work pretty hard. I went to get a rental truck to get all our outdoor stuff because for all of us who have moved before, you know things like grills, outdoor furniture, plants, etc. all take up too much room in a truck and I wanted the movers to get everything indoors into their truck. It was a good plan.

When I finished unloading my truck, I had planned to return it. I called my wife at the old house and she said the movers had finished loading their truck but couldn’t fit everything so I decided to keep the truck to get the rest. As I drove back to the old house, I saw them pass by me on their way to the new house. When I got to the old house, I couldn’t believe how much stuff was left unpacked. They also hadn’t left me any boxes, even though they had taken all the unused boxes away with them. That made me a little angry. I had to find more boxes.

I also realized I couldn’t finish the rest myself so I put a plea out on Facebook for boxes and some help. Only my daughter, her boyfriend, and my two young grandsons responded. They helped with what they could (which was a lot) but had to leave because they had work and school the next day. I bit the bullet and asked my landlord for an extra day to clean and finish up. She surprisingly said it would be fine.

I drove to the new house with my load and then I became very angry. The movers had basically just chucked everything into the garage and my wife was in tears. It was a mess. There was no room left in the garage for my current load so we just put most of it into the living room to sort out later. Then came the real anger from me.

I’m guessing most of my readers are fairly intelligent. Even if you aren’t, you’ll understand this next part was just wrong. Most of us can tell when a box is upside down. Little things like, oh, I don’t know, words like, “this side up” or “fragile” generally mean something to most of us. I can tell you now that those words didn’t mean anything to the movers. What solidified my observation was four different Tupperware bins. Most of us can tell that the lids are the top of the bins…

ME (on the phone): Hello? Movers?

MOVERS: Yes?

ME: Your movers broke a lot of my stuff.

MOVERS: Oh, well, we’re sorry. We’ll send you a claim form.

ME: Send about 50 forms please.

MOVERS: Well, these were some of our best guys.

ME: Really? You have people that are dumber than these guys? They piled our boxes upside down.

MOVERS: Oh, well, it can be difficult to tell what side is up on boxes, haha.

ME: Yeah? Well, even my cat can tell the up side of a box.

After that, they didn’t respond to my messages. My wife blocked the payment. Two days later they called me.

MOVERS: Your payment was declined.

ME: Oh, sorry. I guess you didn’t get what you expected to get, huh?

MOVERS: This is serious.

ME: Yes, it is. Along with all the broken things, I found some boxes of my personal papers outside the back of the garage.

MOVERS: Oh, well at least you found them.

ME: It rained last night. The papers have turned into something resembling mush.

MOVERS: Oh, well, you can get them replaced.

ME:…

MOVERS: Mr. Dazeodrew? Are you there?

ME: I was just wondering the same thing about you.

MOVERS: Huh?

ME: Is there an intelligent life form on your planet I can talk to?

Thankfully, I don’t think we’ll be moving again. If we do, I’m going to hire a bunch of cats. At least they can tell the top side of a Tupperware bin.

Colorful Giants (Reblog)

I flew out of Milwaukee for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood the day after Christmas in 1983. It wasn’t a long flight to St. Louis, but it seemed longer because of where I was going…and who I flew with.

There were three of us traveling together. We had never met before, but the common experience made it easy to converse and get to know each other a little. Also, this was back in the day when a flight would happen, even if only a dozen passengers were booked. Our waiting area was sparse.

While we were sitting around waiting, two very large men came to our waiting area…two very large colorfully dressed men. One was dressed in a lot of yellow and the other was dressed in a lot of red. They were both well over six feet tall and definitely had their clothes tailor-made just for them…trust me, the big and tall stores would’ve failed these guys. Their voices were loud and gravelly and pretty much everybody (all dozen of us) stared. These guys were also famous, that is, if you were into professional (ahem) wrestling at the time. All three of us army recruits apparently shared a love for professional (ahem) wrestling.

We didn’t have much time to dwell on it because they began to board our flight shortly afterward. The two colorful giants held back while the rest of us boarded. I imagine it was easier for them to move their massive bodies through an airplane after everybody else settled in. Anyway, the flight was sparse, as I mentioned, and we boarded quickly. All three of us recruits were seated together in one row on the nearly empty airplane, second from the front. I was about to make my move to the empty row in front of us (more leg room) when the colorful giants boarded. I didn’t feel like getting accidentally crushed, so I stayed put.  Good thing, they were seated in the empty row in front of us. I swear, even sitting down they were taller than the rest of us.

Enough suspense…it was Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Yes, I broke my rules and named names…but I feel public figures have that coming. Now you’ll be able to imagine their voices (if you know who they are) while I finish the story.

Now you can imagine the sight of three young men on their way to the army sitting behind the two colorful giants in the front of an airplane. Yes, we were excited, and yes, we were awed, but we were also silent. I’m not sure why, but the sight of these huge guys just clammed us up. We finally took off and after 10 minutes, the seatbelt light turned off. The Hulk groaned, unhooked his seatbelt, and stood up…kind of. He still had to bend a little to keep his enormous head from hitting the ceiling. Then his eyes locked onto ours and he smiled.

HULK HOGAN: Where’re you guys going? (he asked with that deep voice of his, a little less animated than how he talks on tv).

ME: Basic training, sir. (I answered with what I now felt was a high pitched girly voice).

HULK HOGAN: Basic training? (the animation was creeping in). You guys are the real heroes!

ME: Yes, sir. (I answered with a slight swell of pride…the Hulkster just called ME a HERO!).

MACHO MAN: WHOAH YEAH! (said enthusiastically in a deep gravelly voice).

We spent the rest of the flight talking with them like they were normal people…like us! They were larger than life, but yet took the time to make us feel good about what we were doing. When we landed, they shook our hands and went on their way. It was only then that the nervousness returned for each of us. We now needed to board a bus to get to our final destination.

As time has passed and I think about that trip, I realize that Hulk Hogan was right. Our soldiers, sailors, marines, Coast Guard, and airmen are the real heroes. So are our law enforcement, firefighters, social workers, advocates, and volunteers. Also, in my personal case, my dad, the only man I ever looked up to. Everybody else starts eye-to-eye and works their way up or down. We young men may have been in awe of the wrestlers at the time, but to place them as heroes couldn’t have been more off the mark. They are entertainers and by their conversation with us, they showed that they understood their place in the world, even if others didn’t. These were good men, if even only for that moment.

The only regret I have about this experience was not asking Macho Man for a Slim Jim.

MACHO MAN: WHOOAAAHH YEAAAH! SNAP IN TO A SLIM JIM!

Sonfa…My Other Nickname

When I was a young boy, I used to get confused about my name. Sometimes my dad would call me by my given name, but at other times…like when he was angry…he would loudly pronounce my name to be “SONFA B*TCH.” Along with the fact that my dad was deaf, he had a booming voice (more like a sonic booming voice) that would freeze everything in his wake, especially my brothers and I.

Now before you get to thinking that my dad was one of those swearing dads, I would have to inform you that the only swearing I really heard was when he used the affectionate “SONFA B*TCH.” Also, in hindsight, it was usually deserved. It was difficult to get my dad angry, but once achieved, it had a profound effect.

A good example of this was usually on a Saturday when All-Star Wrestling was on TV. We would watch our favorites like The Crusher, the Vashon Brothers, Vic Gagne, and so on. We knew it was staged, but that didn’t matter. It was fun. It was exhilarating. Unfortunately, it was also contagious. There was no way three boys could watch something like this and not get wound up. During warmer weather, we would go outside and let the energy go, but in bad weather…

One Saturday night after watching wrestling, we were specially wound up. The Crusher and The Bruiser had teamed up and put a whooping on the Vashon Brothers. It was brutal! It was also imperative that we re-enact the entire match…in the house…in the bedroom…with the bunk beds. We had no choice! That’s what boys do!

Okay, I know what some of you are thinking. “But Mr. Dazeodrew? We thought you said your dad was deaf?” True statement, I did. He might not have been able to hear us wrestling, but he could feel it. Even deaf people feel earthquakes. In fact, with a loss of hearing, I believe the sense of feeling is heightened…at least it was with my parents. To get their attention, we would either wave our hands or stomp on the floor.

Anyway, my brothers were older than me by a few years, but if you had read an earlier blog of mine, you would remember that I was born at 11 pounds. At this time of my life, I was nearly as wide as I was tall. I was also as wide as both my brothers put together, giving me a distinct advantage when I would fly off the turnbuckles…um, the bunk beds. I was like a 50-pound flying sack of potatoes landing on whichever victim I chose. I usually would try to get them both in one shot, but my oldest brother was wise enough to roll away whenever he knew what I intended. This wasn’t difficult to figure out because like a 50-pound sack of potatoes, it took me a while to climb up onto the bunk beds. Also, I think I was only four years old or so. I was not very coordinated, nimble, or graceful by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, if you need to imagine, imagine a whale being thrown from an airplane only to land on a skinny little kid. Better?

Anyway, I was in the middle of one of these landings when the bedroom door opened. My oldest brother had the best view, since he was not my intended victim, and saw it like this. I launched from the top bunk just as the door opened…it was my dad. As my dad began the affectionate nickname, “SONFA…”, my head began to turn to look at him while flying in mid-air…”B*TCH!” and I landed. I landed squarely, or roundly in my case, on my second oldest brother. I landed hard enough that the air exited his lungs in a sharp, “AWAHHAWUMPH.” He had no air left to cry…just facial expressions which he chose to employ for my dad’s benefit at just that moment. Looking at my dad, we weren’t sure if he was going to laugh, yell, cry, or walk away. He just stared. Then he shook his head and walked away.

I definitely won that match. Of course, after the traditional tattling to my mom by my squished brother, the thrill of victory waned with my punishment.

As the years went by, I slimmed down to a pathetic skinny little boy, but the memory of that victory will always stay in my mind…kind of…in a second-hand way. You see, I really don’t remember the event. It was my oldest brother who told me about it years later. Still, I enjoyed hearing about it.

The Berlin Wall

In the late 1980s, communism in Europe fell. I was stationed near Stuttgart, Germany in a little place called Nellingen Kaserne when it happened. It was a surreal time to be in Europe. A lot of people from the former communist countries flooded into the rest of western Europe as quickly as they could. It was a crazy joyous time until the flood of people became cumbersome for the rest of Europe. For many of the escapees, it would be the first time they ever saw Americans. There were a lot of conflicting emotions for these people as they met us. Some were overjoyed, some were afraid, and some just stared.

The other thing that flooded free Europe was stuff. Stuff like old clunky communist cars, barely held together it seems as they rolled along the autobahn at a lightning pace of about 25 miles per hour. If you blinked, no big deal…the cars were still there moving along.

Another thing that made it’s way specifically towards Stuttgart was a double section of the old Berlin Wall, complete with graffiti. It finally found it’s home at Kelley Barracks, home of the VII Corps, where it was to be placed into a cement base to be permanently on display near the entrance. The problem was, how to place it into the base. The wall was surprisingly fragile. It was also incredibly heavy and the two sections were held together with metal brackets at a slight angle to each other. It would be a challenge.

Somebody had the bright idea to use a 10,000-pound forklift to lift it with straps, drop it into the base, then cut the straps so it would fit snuggly. Of course, had this somebody ever driven or operated a 10,000-pound forklift with tires taller than a man and the grace of a Musk Ox shaking water off after a trip in the lake, they would’ve rethought this strategy. Unfortunately, they hadn’t, and we received orders to bring the forklift the 15 or so miles to Kelley Barracks from Nellingen. It was my forklift…well, not mine personally, but since I was signed for it and if something bad happened to it I could possibly end up paying, it was mine.

Being a young Sergeant, I immediately decided to drive it there instead of going through the trouble of trucking it on a low boy. Besides, I thought it would be fun to drive it through the winding roads. It was fun. I could only max out at about 25 miles per hour, thus keeping up with the old clunky communist cars, but being roughly 10 feet up in the air in my cab and bouncing like crazy along the route, I definitely commanded more attention and less amusement. Like I said, it was fun.

When we got there, I climbed out and looked at what we were expected to do. I was really close to expressing my appreciation to the idiot that dreamed this up when a dark sedan rolled up. The driver jumped out, ran to the other side of the vehicle, and opened the back door. Out came the Commander of the VII Corps. He walked over to a patch of grass about 25 feet from the cement base we were to drop the wall sections into and waited as his driver ran up with a lawn chair, a small table, and a little cooler. He sat down for the show.

I was no longer concerned about the idiot who thought this up. For all I knew, it was the General himself. What I did know was that I couldn’t screw this up. I looked back at the wall and wondered if it would be easier to disassemble the brackets holding the two sections together and place them into the base separately. Touching what appeared to be a loose bolt holding a bracket, I turned it counter-clockwise. The wall crumbled behind the bracket. What did the communists use when they built this wall? Sand and water? Heck, those people driving their old clunky communist cars could’ve arrived sooner had they just ran through the wall…of course, the bullets from communist guards might’ve been an issue, but still. There was nothing to do other than to strap up the wall and get it placed…and pray. This General had the power to bust me not only to a Private but back to my infancy. Yes, I was concerned and a bit anxious.

I widened my forks as wide as they could go and we went for it. It took a few minutes to line up the straps just right and I lifted the wall. It wobbled, it shook, but it held together. I drove it to the base and parked it with the wall swinging just above it. I got out, looked it over, had my buddy look it over, then got back into my forklift. That’ll be fun, I thought. I’ll drop it in and the wall will disintegrate…just like my Army career. I took one last look at the General before committing my suicidal act. I stared at the slightly swinging wall and tried to time the swings. Once I felt I had it timed, I dropped the wall into the base. It slid in like butter and held still, fully intact. I looked back towards the General. He waved for me to come over.

I climbed down from the forklift and walked quickly towards him. As I did, I noticed the driver had brought another lawn chair. It was while I was saluting that I noticed what the General was drinking, a beer. The driver produced another one from the cooler, opened it, and handed it to me. The General told me to sit down and I did.

GENERAL: Was it your idea to use the forklift Sergeant?

ME: No Sir. I just received orders to bring it.

GENERAL (smiling slightly): Did you think it was a good idea?

ME (deciding to be honest…after all, we were having a beer): No Sir. The wall’s kind of fragile.

GENERAL: That’s what I thought when we rolled up and I saw you with the forklift. Stupid idea…must’ve been one of my pencil-pushing officers that thought of it. Stupid idea.

ME: Yes Sir.

GENERAL: But you pulled it off, Sergeant.

ME: I think I was lucky, Sir.

GENERAL (laughing quietly): Yes, you were. A lot luckier than whoever thought of this, once I find out who they are.

ME (smiling as I drank my beer): Yes Sir.

We spent about 15 minutes just talking while the other guys cut the straps and made the wall presentable. It amazed me that this man who was in charge of tens of thousands of soldiers was so down to earth and took the time to talk to me personally. He gave me a memory that I could be proud of. I only saw him again during Desert Storm and he actually walked over to me and shook my hand during that busy time. In my mind, he was a soldier’s officer. He actually got it.

The Lost Art of Caring

I’ve spent the majority of my life caring for others. As a kid, I helped care for my disabled parents (although not nearly as much as my brothers). This extended to some of their friends and relatives who were also disabled. Then I joined scouts and found myself caring for younger kids while working at a camp for six summers. Then I joined the army for 8 years, gained rank fairly quickly, and cared for the soldiers under my charge. Then I became a husband and father…that has no time limit. Then I became a social worker.

None of this is a complaint. It’s the path God chose for me and I embraced it. Now, however, I’m tired…not of my family, but of all the caring. I used to think we’re allotted a certain amount of caring and we eventually learn to use it wisely or burn out. Let’s face it, you get burned a lot. I began to think, “Maybe if I didn’t care so much, I wouldn’t be so tired.” So I tried to quit caring.

The problem is, my wife cares still. There is no way to shut off her caring mechanism. At times, I watch as she gets burned by somebody she helped. At first, she’ll swear to never help another person. She’ll be frustrated, angry, remorseful, sad, and confused. Then the next person needing help will come along and she’ll do it all over again. In this process, I begin to care again. I’ll joke around and say I’m only supporting my wife, whom I love and adore (plus, she comes with the added bonuses of being pretty and smelling good), but the truth is, I still care.

The point of this writing is not to brag about caring, although it seems to be abnormal in our country today, but rather the point is…well, I forgot the point. I just know that our current environment in this country is to only care about ourselves. We have become so calloused and self-centered, that we fail to understand what’s going on around us. We have become desensitized to bad things, bad people, and bad events that would’ve alarmed us only 20 years ago. We seem to no longer have a sense of ourselves as a country.

Now, this is not a political statement. It is so easy to blame a single politician or president for all of this, either the current one or the last few. The truth is, we’ve been heading in this direction for a while. We are degrading as a massive group. My wife is fond of saying, “Every great empire eventually implodes from within.” Are we imploding?

Now, I hear some of you saying, “But Dazeodrew? What’s so funny about this writing? You’re supposed to be funny! I didn’t sign up to follow you to be lectured on caring! I just don’t care!”

(Pause for thought).

Sorry about that pause in my writing…I thought I smelt freshly baked cookies somewhere. I took a walk through the house, nothing. I stepped outside and meandered around the neighbors, nothing again. No cookies. Anyway, the last time I thought I smelt cookies it turned out to be a snickerdoodle candle. Can you believe that cruelty? It’s like people just don’t CARE how they make you feel when they light those things! Do we really need a snickerdoodle candle? Or apple cobbler!? Or blueberry muffin!?!? OR PUMPKIN PIE!!!???!!!???

Anyway, it’s time for a possible moral to this writing. Here it is: If we can care so much to make our homes smell like food without the food (stupid candles), why can’t we care enough to make less fortunate people have homes that also smell like food, but with food? I’ll bet it would cost less than that stupid food-smelling candle…especially the snickerdoodle one!

Election Year 2020 (Reblog)

Well, it’s that time again. Presidential candidates are coming out of the woodwork, all promising things they probably, or won’t deliver on. Every four years, we get our hopes up, then spend the next four years wondering why? We may have our favorites, we may lean right or we may lean left, we may flip a coin every election because we don’t like any of them (my wife and I did this once), or we may just not care and stay away from voting. No matter what we do, we are all affected by the results.

Even though I’ve said a couple times that I would avoid politics, I just couldn’t do that when I heard about this candidate. He is, by far, the most enticing candidate I’ve ever come across. He’s basic, he’s simple, he’s opinionated, and he hates most everybody. He’s Red Foreman and he has a basic message for everybody…

“A beer in every hand, a foot in every ass.” How can you not get behind that message? I mean, as a cheesehead originally from Wisconsin, the beer is a given. As far as a foot in every ass? Personally, I think that’s what a lot of people need, especially the current politicians hiding out in DC…or even in our state capitals…heck, even in our city and town halls! School boards! Utility boards! Student presidents…ok, maybe a little too far, but you get the picture. Who wouldn’t benefit from a good foot in the ass? It’s a needed commodity these days!

People like Red Foreman are a rare breed nowadays. With him, you know what you’re going to get! If you try to terrorize anybody…foot in the ass! If you try to steal our children…foot in the ass! If you try to cheat everybody else out of what’s theirs…foot in the ass! Shoot somebody without provocation…foot in the ass! Take my beer…yes, you got it, foot in the ass! Can you just imagine Red Foreman in the White House?

AIDE: Mr. President, Sir?

PRESIDENT RED: What is it now? The Packers are on!

AIDE: The country of Kelso just launched a rocket into space!

PRESIDENT RED: Those dumbasses? They couldn’t even get a rocket out of their ass! (2nd aide comes running into the office).

2ND AIDE: The rocket crashed!

PRESIDENT RED: See? Dumbasses.

1ST AIDE: Should we send someone to find out what happened?

PRESIDENT RED: Why should we care?

2ND AIDE: Sir, we need to…

PRESIDENT RED: Fine, fine! Send the foreign kid. They can be dumbasses together. And while you’re up, get me a beer, will you? I hope I didn’t miss the opening kick-off because of this! They’re playing the Bears for God’s sake!

1ST AIDE: Um, Sir? The, um, foreign kid, um, Fez, is still in the Amazon where you sent him last week? You told him there was pie and candy there?

PRESIDENT RED: Oh, yes, that’s right. Well, do I have to do all the thinking around here? Fine, send that mouthy girl, the one who won’t shut up. She seems to get through to Kelso. Now get me my beer before I put my…

1ST AIDE: …Foot in my ass? Yes Sir.

See how smooth that went? No committees, no meetings, no gathering of the Security Council, just Red Foreman. There’s not much he can’t handle. Except Kitty, his wife. She is the balancing force needed for Red Foreman to be successful.

FIRST LADY KITTY: Red? There’s a group of school children here to see the Oval Office! How exciting!

PRESIDENT RED: Again? There was a group yesterday, and I think half of them were hopped up on…

FIRST LADY KITTY: Oh, Red! They’re just children! Ha ha ha ha!

PRESIDENT RED: Oh, Kitty. That’s what you said about Eric and his friends and they’re all hopheads!

FIRST LADY KITTY: Oh, Red! There was just that one time in the basement! That was years ago in the 70s!

PRESIDENT RED (softening his look because that’s the effect Kitty has on him): You’re probably right, honey. Hey! What’s that on the lawn? Are they having circle time? On the White House lawn? That’s it! No more Mr. Nice Guy! I’m going to put both of my feet…

FIRST LADY KITTY: …In their collective asses? Oh, Red! Ha ha ha ha! We need cake!

There you go! The perfect couple for the White House! Everything has three simple solutions. Beer, foot in the ass, and cake. The trifecta of world peace! I know how I’m going to vote…unless, of course, he has Bob Pinciotti as his running mate…can you imagine?

VICE PRESIDENT BOB: Hey there, hi there, ho there!

But then again, if Midge came back to him…