Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I'M REMEMBERING A NONAGENARIAN patient of mine. He was a delightful man I visited regularly at his home, where he still lived well and independently. He'd smoked roll-your-owns, drunk blockade whiskey, and indulged in Caligula-mocking excesses all his life.
"My doctors told me years ago that I had to quit all that stuff or it would kill me," he said. "If you like, I can show you where they're all buried."
Monday, May 13, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
(Time once again for “Dear Witbones -- Ask A Humorist!” my agony uncle version of an advice column for the laughlorn. Here are two of my favorite pleas for help that I've recently received from real readers, followed by my solutions.)
I’m 60-years old and attending college for Human Services. Most of the other students are considerably younger than I am. We’ve had the same instructor for several classes and many of these younger students have become very obnoxious when it comes to listening to him.
They are whispering very loudly about their weekend plans, their hangovers, or the fact that they are far behind in their final projects. I remind them that other people would like to hear what is being taught, but I am getting really tired of the circus atmosphere, which I am paying big bucks for. The instructor rarely says anything. I have one more year until graduation, and this same group of students will be moving along with me and the same instructor.
How do I maintain my sanity? Help me, Elwin! --- STUDENT WHISPERER IN
DEAR STUDENT: Congratulations for jumping into a postsecondary pursuit at your age. We’re never too old to try new things. We’re also never too old to have those things test our sanity.
You don’t need a classroom these days to understand why you’re surrounded by what I call the “devotees of distraction.” You call them “considerably younger” humans, and I recently watched a gaggle of them assemble at a café, ignore each other, and begin punching letters into their designer phones and communicating, presumably with another gaggle of modern day telegraphists also busy ignoring each other at another café.
It made me feel like calling myself up and asking me if I wasn’t busy. I didn’t, because I wasn’t sure I’d answer. I’m also often the last person I want to talk to, and when I do, I like to do it in person.
The key to this, of course, is that “the instructor rarely says anything” to or about your classmates and their untoward behavior. Sounds like he’s surrendered to futility, too.
Suggestions: You say they are “whispering very loudly.” Another word for this is “talking.” You could try talking very loudly. Another word for this is “yelling.”
This may shame them into behaving better in class, but I wouldn’t count on it. They’ll probably just think you’re nuts and begin “texting” their friends who are acting out in other classrooms, to tell them all about the yelling crazy lady in theirs.
But, before long, there would be students silently not paying attention in countless schools all across
and you will have saved a generation from itself.
Or, as you cite the “circus atmosphere” that you’re finding impossible to endure, you could throw in the Human Resources career towel and run away to clown college, thus turning your life’s lemons into a lemonade that might just better serve you and your sanity.
Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.
I recently decided to become an entrepreneur, mainly because I'd been unemployed for so long, but the old adage says that "in order to make money you must spend money." So I spent all the money I had in my mattress; I bought pretty quartz crystals to sell for their beauty. I guess beauty has lost its charm because no one bought any. I am now homeless, having spent all my money on rocks.
I'm considering using all of them all to build a rockpile in which to live. Should I charge admission to visit 'the fabulous crystal cave' or would it be better to use it as a 'home office' for tax purposes? --- ROCK AND A HARD SPACE IN
DEAR ROCK: Thanks for sending along this unique poser, but I think you’re already on the right track.
Yes, I agree with your old adage about money, but I’d counterpunch it with another one: “In order to have Cheez-Its, you must not eat all your Cheez-Its.” I’m pretty much constantly living in this mode.
But, your damage is done, so let’s not live in the past, and I’m assuming you’re a woman, because no man would keep his money in a mattress. He’d have to change the sheets to get to it.
Yes, charging admission to see your “fabulous crystal cave” is a great idea, but I might add the word “museum” at the end. People will always cough up their hard-earned cash (often raiding their mattresses) to visit museums, and the odder the better. There is a profitable museum operating in
Paris, for example, where
inquiring minds can view the history of its renowned sewers. The . Paris Sewer
Imagine if they’d tried to drum up business for just “The Paris Sewer.” I rest my case.
I’d also consider, after carefully reviewing this, removing the words “fabulous” and “crystal” from your new enterprise. Now, you’re left with The Empty Mattress Rock Cave Museum, something I’d pay good money to investigate.
You might have trouble with the home office tax write-off, but at least you’ll sleep better, and it could reignite the charm in your beauty.
Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.
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Have a "Dear Witbones" question? You may submit them via this blog's e-mail or snail contact tab. Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from the
Empty Cheez-It Box
Museum in . Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Used here with permission. Bethlehem, NH
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Monday, May 6, 2013
TODAY IN 'ADVENTURES IN DUCT TAPE,' yet another reason why you should never hire me as your handyman. I love my front porch screen door, and its fragile, sagging, multi-painted-over framework of well-weathered wood. Yes, I could replace it, but you don't discard an old friend for having a bad half-century.