Monday, May 7, 2018

EVERYTHING LOVE IS OLD AGAIN


  Before you meet Annie, I have to set the stage.  No better way than to give you a gift from long ago.
   Let's look at some rules of etiquette from "The Treasury Of Useful And Entertaining Knowledge," compiled by Nugent Robinson in 1882, given here as they were written. If we're not careful, (and, if we're lucky) everything love might become old again.

    In 1882:

LADIES:
  1.  Visits should be short. Beware of letting your call exceed half an hour’s length.  It’s always better to let your friends regret rather than desire your withdrawal.
  2.   In the morning, limit your jewelry to a brooch, gold chain, and watch. Your diamonds and pearls are as much out of place in the morning as a wreath.
  3.  Dressing well is a duty every lady owes to society, but make it not your idol. Fashion is made for woman, not woman for fashion.
  4.  When entertaining, try to suit your music to your company. A Beethoven solo is as much out of place in some circles as a comic song at a Quaker’s meeting.
  5.  Upon entering the carriage, if you are going to take the seat facing the horses, go in such a way as to drop into it at once.

GENTLEMEN:
  1.  If you are on horseback and wish to converse with a lady who is on foot, dismount and lead your horse, so as not to cause her fatigue in looking up to your level.
  2.  A man should always be so well dressed that his clothes shall never be observed at all. Perfect simplicity is perfect elegance.  Let a wise man seek to be appreciated for something of higher worth than the studs on his shirt or the trinkets on his chain.
  3.  When eating or drinking, avoid every kind of audible testimony to the fact.
  4.   Use your handkerchief noiselessly; do not blow your nose as if it were a trombone.               
  5.  If a man be a bachelor giving a dinner, he had better do so at a good hotel.

   This brings us to Annie, a centenarian pearl who arrived on earth in an era when women knew when to leave and men knew when (and where) to stay.
   In her lifetime, Annie has traveled the world. She’s made her bones as a dancer, sculptor, photographer and poet. She continues to write poetry, and gives readings to her fellow artificial hipsters in the nursing home where she still tends to most of her own needs.
   She climbs aboard her electric cart and zips around the complex, running in the fast lane past the walkers and quad canes. There has been talk about either revoking her buggy license or installing speed bumps in the hallways.
   Though she accepts it, she thinks it silly that her children never visit her. “They’re in their eighties, you know, and don’t get around like they used to,” she says, her bright eyes shining. " Upon her reaching the century mark, I asked her how she’d done it. She must have learned something special, and practiced some secret formula for living that had carried her so far. What had she done, or not done, to have lived so long?
   She just looked at me, astonished that anyone would ask such a thing.
   “Don’t die, you damn fool,” she said, winking.
   We both laughed, and she went on to explain:
   “No, I mean use all the tools you have, play all the instruments in your orchestra, switch to other gears, do whatever you have to do to keep going. When the world goes mute, stick in a hearing aid and turn up the music. When you can’t smell, look at the colors and shapes of things. When you can’t taste, pour on the sugar. When you can’t see, get a looking glass.  When you can’t play the notes --- sing ‘em!”
    “Sounds too simple,” I said.
   “It is. Don’t be a melon head. When your body goes, use your mind. When your mind goes, use your soul. When your soul goes, get on with the next life. Just keep living.
   She added one more thing: “And, don’t waste time.  When you can’t walk --- RIDE!” and sped off into her next hundred years, facing the horses, narrowly missing my toes and leaving me on the horseback of humility.
   Annie has an embroidered sign above her bed. It reads: THE OLDER THE VIOLIN, THE SWEETER THE MUSIC.
   So, if there is a five-score Romeo out there looking for a tuneful, high-riding Juliet, have I got a date for you. Be dapper yet sublime, dress casual, call the Hilton, cue-up the mood music --- and get down off your horse, you damn fool.

* * * * *
Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS – His and Her Love“. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"DEAR WITBONES" --- Ask A Humorist!


 "DEAR WITBONES"  --- Ask A Humorist!


            DEAR WITBONES:
          I'm a senior living alone, and a polio survivor confined to my wheelchair. No complaints there, but I have two other nagging problems:
            1. I need to find a way to dog-hair proof the wheels. Eventually, it wraps around the axles so badly that it slows me down.
            2. Worse, because of my rolling hairball, when I'm out and about in public, dogs will follow me around, and sometimes come over and "mark their territory," if you know what I mean. Later, when I get home, my dog goes nuts over the smell, and he does the same thing! He's long been house-trained, but dogs will be dogs. What can I do?
          ---DOGGIE DON’TS IN DENVER

DEAR DOGGIE:
            Whenever I’m flummoxed by a submission like yours, I turn my fieldwork to the home of our collective lowest common denominators. Google.
            I asked: "How do I remove dog hair from wheelchair wheels?" and I found a chat room with the following answers:
            "I use drain cleaner and a hacksaw."
            "Try a cigarette lighter, CAREFULLY, and it works fine if you don't mind the smell of burning dog hair." The next comment took that a step further:
            “Have you tried a blow torch?"
            Lastly, my favorite: "A very high-powered vacuum should do it."
            I can't help you much with the doggy urine smell problem, though I did find (again, using my crackerjack research skills) that you could try an application of tea tree and bergamot oils. I don't know if it works or not, but someone on the internet said it did, and because they took the time to write-in about it on a public forum, I'm giving it both a thumbs and paws up. Maybe you should, too.
            Thanks for Witboning, and please keep me posted. 

            DEAR WITBONES:
            I am about to be a remarried woman heading into my late middle-aged years. When I tell my friends and colleagues that they’ll need to update their address books with my new last name, I am often asked: (and rather aggressively, too) "WHY will you change your name?! You don’t have to do that, you know!" It’s really beginning to bother me. I have a hard time explaining it, and I’m tired of trying. Can you help me with a response? 
--- NOM DE GROOM IN GARDEN GROVE
           
           DEAR NOM:
            You’re in luck, because I too am “heading into my late middle-aged years” and have recently remarried. For the record, my wife calls me a “senior junior.”
            Before we wed, I non-aggressively asked Diane Lillian Church if she was planning to change her name. She said yes, she wanted to be Mrs. Sherman. When I asked why, she said “because I want to be.” Reason enough. I sense that you’ve been giving your friends and colleagues a similar response, but it’s leaving you peeved and them unsatisfied.
            These days, you do have other options besides a complete birth name surrender and new designation. You could use your maiden name as your new middle name. Or, in nine states, and yours is one of them, your husband could change his last name to yours. Or, (my favorite) you could legally “blend” your names.
            If Diane and I had wanted, we could now be the Churchmans or the Shmurches, or we could’ve even anagrammed Church/Sherman and re-dubbed ourselves: Mr. & Mrs. Hunchcharmers. We actually discussed doing the latter as a way to create exactly the kind of thing you’re trying to avoid. I believe a little public spectacle on occasion is good for the soul.
            “Hunchcharmers?  Party of two?”
            Your call.
            Thanks for Witboning,and please keep me posted.

DEAR WITBONES:
            “My kids are all grown up but they won't leave home. I thought these would be my Golden Years but I'm still shelling out money for gas, buying milk by the barrel, and I can't find my phones or remote control. What can I do?” --- WITLESS IN WELLS RIVER

            DEAR WITLESS:
            If you’re in your “Golden Years,” then your kids must still be living at home in their fifties. I’m not surprised that you’ve finally lost your “remote control,” because that’s obviously the only kind of control you’ve had for some time.
            If your middle-aged offspring haven’t gotten the hint by now, they never will. At this late date, the only way left for you to change their lives is by radically changing yours. I’d suggest the following:
            Stop buying groceries and remove your car battery. Then, start a naked tuba & bagpipes band and have nightly rehearsals at your house.
            Fake a few heart attacks.
            Start talking to dead people at meals.
            When you write-in six months from now complaining that you never see your children anymore, we’ll deal with it.
            Thanks for WITBONING, and please keep me posted.

Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS – His and Her Love“. You may submit your Witboner via his website at Witbones.com, or write to P.O. Box 300, Bethlehem, NH  03574. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

THE MISPLAYED PARADE


LETTER TO MY STATE'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION (and please write to yours!):

Dear Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Representative Ann Kuster:
   Please, if you have anything to do with appropriating any money for Donald's "parade," please, please DON'T.
   In my mind, he's a draft-dodging liar proclaiming he wants this unnecessary display of American might to show "support for our military." Bull puckey.
   He wants this to puff up his runamok notions of self-importance, his braggadocio, (despite his recent ridiculous claim of being "non braggadocious", and when I heard that, I did a spit-take that covered my monitor with coffee) and --- I can't say it without being crude --- to make a worldwide declaration that he (not our military) has the biggest one of them all.
   Generally, he's a sick individual who makes me ashamed and embarrassed for my country.
   Specifically, as an honorably discharged Marine, I don't need any lectures on patriotism from this wretched bullying coward.
   PLEASE DON'T support this utter waste of our money. There are hosts of organizations supporting veterans and our families who could better use the estimated 22 million dollars that would otherwise go to this shameful event. The Semper Fi Fund, IAVA, the Purple Heart Foundation, to name a few.

“Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.”  --- Shakespeare, from All's Well That Ends Well.


Thank you.
All the best,
B. Elwin Sherman

Saturday, December 23, 2017

THE LITTLE DOLDRUMMER BOY

IN THE FOURTH GRADE, I was singled out to perform 'The Little Drummer Boy' in the Christmas play. Took me this long to live and rewrite the tribute:

THE LITTLE DOLDRUMMER BOY

Come, they told me
doldrum a drum-drums.
A cold malaise there'll be
doldrum a drum-drums.
Our hands and feet will freeze
all numb a numb-numb.
We’ll cough, shiver and sneeze
until we succumb,
to the doldrums,
dumb a dumb-dumb.
Or, we’ll warm our toes
our fingers and thumbs.
We’ll drink umbrella drinks
of butters and rums.
We’ll slurp them down wethinks
and sit on our bums,
bum a bum-bums,
bum a bum-bums.

Shall I pour for you
my rum a rum-rums?
Your butts I'll warm up, too.
Come chum a chum-chums.
We won't care if it's cold
and won't be so glum.
We'll drink 'til winter's old
come spring and then some,
what we become,
Merry Doldrums.

-----
Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS –His and Her Love”. You may contact him via his website at Witbones.com. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.