Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A WHIFF OF CHRISTMAS PAST


YOUR HOST, age 5, at Santa's Village with the Big Elf Himself. I'll never forget his merry dimples, his rosy cheeks, his cherry nose, his jolly old laugh ... and my first big whiff of whiskey breath.

Merry & Happy whatever it is you do out there, and THANK YOU to all my readers and friends for being there this year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

DEAR SANTA: UH...

DEAR SANTA: I KNOW that First Responders could use a good laugh about now, but PLEASE, as a personal favor, if you've put me on the naughty list this year, don't let me be caught dead shoveling. Drown me in the tub and dip me in jimmies if you must, but don't let me be discovered like this.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE BIG LOADED GUN



 

THE BIG LOADED GUN

By B. Elwin Sherman

            Gun control. Let’s straighten this out:
            I have a big loaded gun. I don’t have a license or permit for it. Neither is required where I live, unless I want to carry it concealed while on foot, or loaded, concealed or not, in a vehicle.
            There has been one time since I’ve had my big loaded gun that I’ve come even remotely close to using it on anything that uses lungs to exchange air (thus far, I’ve never felt mortally threatened by an intruding worm or land shark bent on destruction, but if either one makes a move toward me at home, I’m ready. I haven’t considered what I’d do if attacked by a giant centipede while driving, but that’s a risk I’ll assume.).
            As a working humorist, danger is my business, and I’ve never wanted to put “mobile big bug self-defense” on the form as the reason why I was applying for a concealed carry permit.
            One evening, as my wife Judy and I were busy in opposite ends of the house, I heard a thumping sound.  I had a load of wash going, and I always manage to pack the clothes just off-kilter enough to set the thing a-thumping in the spin cycle.  That’s what I thought I heard.
            Until Judy screamed.
            To be fair, it was more like a long “Aaaack!” sound: the kind of modified shriek she reserved for domestic crises, like when she discovered that I’d put her favorite white wool sweater in with my cheap dark socks.
            But, her next utterance clarified everything: “HONEY!  IT’S A BEAR!”
            Even then, my first thought was that she was reacting to something on TV. Judy did this, and it was a behavior I’d always found endearing, though she’d subjected me to a few fits and starts before, when we’d begun watching an Agatha Christie mystery together and I’d drifted off to sleep, only to be jolted awake by her “Aaaack!” when the plot suddenly thickened.
            But, this time, when I stood to investigate and looked down the hallway, I saw it. Holy shrunken discolored wool sweater on Miss Marple, Batman. This was serious. A big black bear was coming through the window.
            There it was: its head and front paws inside the house, as it was attempting to pull itself over the windowsill (see the claw marks in the photo).
            Now we’ve arrived at the issue of gun control.
            Most of us claim to know what we’ll do in a perceived life or death scenario. I say “perceived” because sometimes a treasured heirloom wool sweater permanently shrunken to size pre-toddler can feel like life or death for both wearer and shrinker.
            But, at that moment, no further perception was necessary. Judy, peeking around the corner, leveled one more “Aaaack!” in the direction of the poised invader, then disappeared when I yelled something at her resembling “GO LOCK YOURSELF IN THE BATHROOM!” It resembled that a lot. She bolted off toward the john with a departing “Aaaack!” for good measure.
            I reached for my big loaded gun, which was sitting nearby. I aimed it at the animal and shouted something resembling “SHOOO!” It resembled that exactly.
            With my finger on the trigger, my heart in my throat, my wife safely secured in the privy and another colorfast washload thumping away, I was ready to fire. The bear was teetering on the sill. Time stood still, and I knew, then and there, that I would never mistake a hungry bear for an errant appliance again.
            I also knew that if I didn’t shoot, and the bear toppled into the house and became trapped, all bets would be off. There’d be no politely showing it the door. Judy might never come out of the bathroom, and I’d never again do another load of mismatched clothes.
            Then, simply and suddenly, the bear solved the problem by falling backward out the window and running off. I gave it another “Shooo!” as it crashed over the BBQ grille and into the darkness.  Three well-aimed “Aaaacks!” and two “Shooos!” had taken their cumulative toll, shocked the bear into retreat mode, and Nature had done the rest.
            Yes, I would’ve shot the bear. Shot it dead. And, I would’ve felt awful about it. The bear was just doing what bears do: following the trail of sunflower nuts on the ground under the birdfeeder to its source in the bag on the bench inside the house. Still, I’d have dispatched it with my big loaded gun if it had come to that, if for no other reasons than to save my wife and free-up the bathroom.
            Now … the issue of gun control?
            I don’t know the answer, but I do know that arming bears isn’t it. I know that I controlled my big loaded gun. I know that it was me with the gun, not the gun without me, that didn’t shoot the bear.
            I know that ruined laundry is no longer a crisis in this house.

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Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from NH bear country. Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.
* * * * * 
This column and website/blog contents are protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Electronic or print reproduction, adaptation, or distribution without permission is prohibited. Ordinary internet links to this column at B. Elwin's website may be distributed without written permission. 




Thursday, December 13, 2012

MONEY TALKS AND BULLSH*T CANNONBALLS

ALL THIS TALK of the fiscal "cliff," and I'm now seeing where the opposing cliffhangers are dismissing this and calling it a fiscal "curb."  Okay, put up your metaphorical dukes, already.

From now on, I'm calling it the fiscal corner of the postage stamp that you've overlicked and will not stick without glue and you don't have any "catwalk."

Or, the fiscal feeling you get when your checkbook ledger and bank statement are 3 cents off and you've done everything to balance it including Windexing the solar panel on your calculator and it's still off and you're going crazy "gutter."

Or, the fiscal candle wax on your plush carpet that will NEVER come off without taking the nap with it "diving board."

Now, fix the damn thing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A POLITICIAN'S PAYDAY

IF I WERE SANTA, here's the message I'd be sending to the fiscal cliffhangers in Congress:




Sunday, December 9, 2012

BEAT ME, DADDY, TO THE BAR

   "ALGER SHERMAN (Dad, at the piano) AND HIS RAG-TIME TIGERS," circa 1967, along with Bob Muzzey, Mac McGowan and Dick Lessard. At 15, (way underage for the bars) I used to sit in on the drums in Mac's absence. They'd put a big hat on me, told me to just hunker down and play. I did. We did. What a time it was. "It's okay ... I'm with the band...."
   Glory days.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

JESUS VS. THE COOKIE MONSTER


   SOMEONE'S LEFT A BOX of Christmas cookies on my stoop. Well, I'm assuming.

   They could be Kwanzaa Krispies or Hanukkah Crunchies or Immaculate Confections or Pagan Pastries or Boxing Day Biscuits or just plain December Delights. Whatever they are, whoever you are, and whatever your persuasion ... thank you, kindly.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

PABLO PICASSO ON ICE

FIRST FREEZE at Bretzfelder Pond in Bethlehem, NH.  Not Photoshopped; this is strictly Ma Nature's own Cubism.

I think Picasso went ice skating here.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY

YEP, THAT'S REALLY MY DISTANT COUSIN, Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman, standing behind a seated Admiral Nimitz at the Japanese surrender. Today, the guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman is named after him.

Suppose the Navy would let me take her out for a party cruise? You're all invited. It's Veteran's Day, after all. Happy Holiday, everyone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FOR JUDY

YES!!!

Somewhere in the cosmic soup, our sweet Judy is smiling today (here she is shaking hands with the POTUS in 2007).

We won, baby!  So did Kuster, and Shea-Porter, and Hassan, and Duckworth, and Warren!

Rest easy, now.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

ANY OGDEN NASH IN A STORM

"Does anybody want any flotsam?  I've gotsam.  Does anybody want any jetsam?  I can getsam."
     --- Ogden Nash ---


Monday, October 22, 2012

POLITICS IN PARADISE

I WROTE A JOKE THIS MORNING:

Question:  In a GOP Garden of Eden, where would Adam keep Eve's vital statistics?

(Wait for it....)

In a loose-leaf binder.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

RIP, GEORGE McGOVERN


"You know, sometimes, when they say you're ahead of your time, it's just a polite way of saying you have a real bad sense of timing."

Yes, he had all the right ingredients for making the best sandwich.  Unfortunately, (for this country) he tried to sell it to the shit sandwich factory.

RIP, good sir.  You were my first Presidential vote.  I'm still proud of that.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CAPTION, PLEASE.

Winner gets a forwarding of all my spam e-mails from the murdered ex-oil minister's wife's Nigerian's lawyer's financial advisor's brother's winning lottery ticket giveaways.


RUBBERNECKING NATIVE ROLLS ON

More radiance from our New Hampshire North Country.  Peeper alert!  Looks like we're peakin' up heah, so get thee to a tour bus soon!




Monday, September 24, 2012

RUBBERNECKING NATIVE


Snapped this one along the Connecticut River, across from South Lunenburg, Vermont. Falling out of summer.


Friday, September 7, 2012

AN ELEVATION SITUATION

For a second today, I was the highest thing in the Northeastern United States.  Uh ... you'll have to sort that out yourselves....


Friday, August 31, 2012

DAUGHTER

More Dad brag, as dahling daughter Erin finds ways in a visual moment to say what would take me a million rewrites.  She continues to conquer the elements, live in her art, and fill my heart.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

BOYHOOD INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION

BACK IN THE DAY, THIS is how we handled adversity when our wheels fell off: The One-Speed Brothermobile, requiring a pilot, navigator, a generous helping of derring-do, and, we soon learned, a little derring-don't on the steep hill back of the barn.  The birth of re-cycling.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

PUNCTUAL OF OMAHA


DEAR MUTUAL OF OMAHA:

    I received your notice in the mail today, 08/18/2012, addressed to Judith Wallace, that she's been "pre-approved for $10,000 of Whole Life Insurance," and that she is "guaranteed acceptance, with no medical exam or health questions required."
    This is good news.
    As Judy's widower, I will submit the application and ask that you please make it effective retroactively from 04/28/2012, the day before she passed away.
    If this backdating business practice is good enough for GOP Presidential candidates, it's good enough for us.
    (P.S.: Confidential to your QA Department: You might examine what must be the substantial costs of sending out life insurance invitations to dead people. The grotesqueness of it aside, you might even be able to lower your customers' premiums, which are no doubt paying for such blatant mis-administration.")

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MALE NURSE WANTED --- EVERYTHING NOT REQUIRED, BUT PREFERRED 


          Dedicated readers of this column know that inside this funny exterior lies a funny interior.
          They also know that for the past 30 years, when I wasn’t busy humor columning, book publishing, skydiving, Harley riding, quitting smoking or star-aligning, I made my vocational bones as a nurse.  Early in my career as a male nightingale, I had a female hospital patient nervously ask me when I first entered her room: “Uh … are you a male nurse?”
          Caught a bit off-guard, I said: “Well … which question should I answer first?”
          Her nervousness vanished; we both laughed, and from that moment until her discharge a few weeks later, our time together through a difficult post-operative course was always laced with good humor and high optimism.  She went home well-healed, and not just in her skin, but inside her skin: in that special place that makes skin worth having.
          Shakespeare said: “With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come.”  George Gordon Bryon said: “Always laugh when you can; it is cheap medicine.”  And, let’s not leave out Robert A. Heinlein’s “We laugh because it hurts, and it’s the only thing to make it stop hurting.”
          There are volumes of “scientific” research out there on the relationship between good humor and good healing:  biochemical studies on how laughter and light-heartedness release Be-positive happymones into the bloodstream, counteracting the serum effects of gloompuscles (my column, my science).
          Fine, but it doesn’t take brain surgery on a rocket scientist to know how happiness and the willingness to laugh at and for ourselves, and in the company of others, often helps produce and promote more good healing and well-being than any formal prescription.  More doctors should add “take two belly-laughs, apply directly to the brain and call me in the morning” to their patients’ plans of care.
          If applied correctly, there’d be fewer calls needed in the morning.
          My beloved wife Judy passed away recently after many months of struggling with a host of debilitations, and my role, aside from attending her with love and those purely bedside care & comfort measures, was to always try to focus on the brighter and lighter side.  This didn’t take a lot of effort on my part, as Judy was the most radiantly happy person I’ve ever known, and, if anything, even through her darkest hours, she was always trying to keep ME smiling.
          I remember a bedside conversation with a roomful of young doctors, just prior to Judy’s heart surgery.  Anyone who’s ever been hospitalized knows what “NPO” means.  Translated from the Latin “nil per os,” meaning “nothing by mouth,” it’s what a patient must endure before surgery the next day.  “The patient is NPO after midnight.”  No food.  No fluids.
          This is done to prevent “complications” when a person is later anesthetized, and to give the double-shift night nurses a break.
          The doctors milled around discussing Judy’s surgery, and I could see that mischievous gleam in her eyes that doctors sometimes mistake for pre-sedation.  Then, right there in front of her back, she interrupted them:  “So, I suppose I’ll be UFO after midnight?”
          Laughter erupted, and one young doc, who showed great promise as a great healer and stand-up comic, said, straight-faced: “Uh … not unless they install wings on this bed and open the window.”
          Perfect.  I know in my heart, that if she’d had her blood drawn right then, it would’ve showed corresponding elevations & decreases in her happymone and gloompuscle levels.  I could also feel a drop in the collective blood pressure of that gaggle of docs.
          Now that my devotion to Judy is done, I find myself in the ranks of not only the nursing-idle, but the unemployed (not the same thing.  Ask any hapless boss with an officeful of idle employees).
          I’m now looking for a private duty position attending a home care patient.  Here’s the short version of my résumé:
          APPLICANT:
          Experienced male nurse (so much for those two concerns) seeks private duty home-based client.  Has many years of experience in clinical settings where it was only necessary to be in three places at once.
          Has also worked in several disciplines in eldercare, hospice and numerous inpatient environments where only having to be in four places at once was a luxury.  Now seeks a one-to-one caregiver/client position, where only doing five things at once is required, but all in the same place, with and for the same person (now we’re talking luxury).
          Applicant has spent his caducean pursuits always attempting to find that extra time needed to help his charges live the best quality of life possible: patiently feeding, empathetically listening, thoroughly bathing, precisely medicating, dignifyingly bedpanning, and administratively humorizing whenever possible.
          Cleans up his messes.  Able to leap and often even understand doctor talk in a single rebound.  Speaks fluent Nurse (NPO versus UFO).  Meets people where they are, not where he wishes they were.  Considers it a privilege to care for all people in their homes, regardless of their age, shape, sex or ability to carry a tune.
          Can bake a mean loaf of bread and will work overnights & weekends.
          Will not give up his “career” as a humor columnist or author.  Could not do quality nursing without a sense of humor, and knows that if he hadn’t simultaneously been a male nurse, he might not have found all the inroads for good humor and this writing life.
          Inquire within.  References, high hopes and laughter available on request.


* * * * *
Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist, author and male nurse B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH.  Copyright 2012, all rights reserved.  Contact B. Elwin Sherman here.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

AERIAL DANCING -- ERIN LOVETT SHERMAN

A TRIBUTE AND SHOUT-OUT for dahling daughter Erin's aerial dancing, and for ARTSFEST, her performing arts company.  (Okay, I Photoshopped it a little, but that's her in her element).


Thursday, July 12, 2012

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

I SPRINKLED SOME OF JUDY'S precious earthly dust on my cereal this morning. I believe that now we're eternally and biochemically integrated. But, all I can hear is Judy saying, "Well, at least you're finally eating something."

Friday, July 6, 2012

REDRESSING GRIEVING

SELF-PORTRAIT: I found this Judy-robe in my closet. She retired it years ago, and it just called out to me tonight to take shape again. I can't fill it up with the class that she had, but it may replace my rocket ship pj's as favorite funky comfort threads.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

DON'T BOGART THAT CHERRY BOMB BURGER

HAPPY FOURTH, EVERYONE.
    Now, I'm dedicating this to all the nurses and emergency services folks who'll have to deal with the abundance of idiots who today will "accidentally" self-asphyxiate or blow themselves up and/or burn their houses down because they were too drunk to realize that fireworks and alcohol don't mix and BBQ grilles are best left OUTdoors.



Monday, July 2, 2012

PERENNIAL LOVE

LOOK CLOSELY: A celebration of life today, as a dear friend and I sprinkled Judy's cosmic dust back to the earth, her ashes seen here scattered amongst the Astilbe in a beloved perennial bed that Judy herself planted many years ago. Astilbe can "light up any shade garden or soften any sunny spot."
    Yes, my love ... you did.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NORA EPHRON -- FINAL REVISION 06/26/12



"When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side."
            --- Nora Ephron

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SHORT MARRIAGE ON A LONG PIER

Watch closely:

New hubby's first instinct is to abandon the love of his life and get himself to safety.

Somewhere, there's a divorce lawyer-in-waiting.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

YES, PIGS CAN FLY. THEY JUST DON'T LAND WELL.


I'M NOW LOOKING FORWARD to a day when I don't get up thinking "Now what?  Now where?  Now why?  Now when?  Now how?"

It had better get here soon, before life starts answering those questions without any input from me.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A PASSING WORD ....


(Time out for a personal letter, addressed to my dear wife and partner, Judy Wallace, who passed away on April 29th.)  


Dear Judy:

Right now, I know you would want me to keep my good humor, a positive outlook, and find the best way forward as I set about living my life without you.
You would want me to be happy, to now celebrate your life and our life together, and to not be baglumphing around the house wearing the same shirt for the last week, staring at the refrigerator like it was an alien spacecraft, and wasting time wondering what in the world I’m going to do with your shoes, and the bowl of hard candy left behind on your desk, and your hairbrush.  And your love.
You’d also be asking me whatinheck “baglumphing around the house” means.
As the one I always forced to read my final humor column drafts out loud before I submitted them, and who always did so reluctantly, fearing that you’d misspeak one of my word inventions or phrases that might send me scrambling back to the writing board, I hear you stumbling over that one.
Baglumphing, my dear Judy, is a grieving stage of indeterminate length and intensity, a state of mind that has no rules, and no right or wrong application.  We’ve all had to baglumph around the house when we’ve lost a loved one, and I’m no exception.
This morning, you’d want me retrieving the eggs from that starship Frigidaire over there and cooking ‘em up the way we both enjoyed, instead of baglumphing about in my rocket ship pajamas, dazedly half-sipping yesterday’s coffee and calling it a meal.
You’d not want me to spend one baglumphing second laboring over what on earth I’m to do with your shoes, as you travel on in a place now where footwear and hard candy and hairbrushes … and love … are all eternally redefined and well-placed.
You’d also want me to share a favorite joke of ours with my readers, and dedicate it to you.  And you’d smile that beautiful smile of yours and say to heck with anyone who thinks that doing this here means that I’m not grief-struck, and so terribly missing you, and trying so hard to find my way.
When the celebrated humorist Dorothy Parker’s husband died, she was asked by a friend if there was anything she could do to help.  Dorothy (according to legend, which has now become fact) said, “Well, you could get me a new husband.”
Her friend was caught off-guard by such a seemingly insensitive statement, and she told Dorothy how cold and callous that sounded.  Dorothy responded, “Okay, then run down to the corner and get me a ham and cheese on rye, and hold the mayo.”
Anyone who knew you, my sweet Judy, would see you smiling that radiant smile over that, and feel the endearment and uplifting spirit it brought to so many.
The world has lost much of its joy and luster because you no longer walk upon it, and now it’s stuck with a baglumphing humorist who must proofread his own copy without the benefit of your cautious narrative, and remember all by himself to change out of his rocket ship pajamas before going to the post office.
Over there are my shoes --- the ones you gave me for my last birthday.  They must now carry me along without you, baglumph and all.  I will do my best to wear them well.  Rest now, my dear Judy, and thank you, from all of us left behind, for our walk together, ended too soon.
Forever stepping along in the memory of you, with love and laughter, El


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Copyright 2012, all rights reserved, by syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman.  Used here with permission.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Myles Of Smiles


HAD A LOVELY VISIT today at dahling daughter Erin's, visiting her and grandson Myles.

   There should be an Rx for this.