Don’t Mess with a Man’s Fear

Usually I see order and beauty in nature around me, the splendor of trees, placid lakes, and summer breezes. Nature can be beautiful as long as insects stay in their place. I hate spiders but tolerate some around my front porch because they eat other pesky insects. I tolerate them but I’m still very cautious about where I place my hand and try to avoid their webs. Unfortunately they do not eat the one insect that must be from hell.  Why would God, in his infinite wisdom, create an insect so insidious that predators will not touch it? This bug eats crops and some insects but that’s not enough to justify its existence. I’m talking about the Stink Bug.

stink-bugIn the fall this ugly and odoriferous insect invades my home. Today I walked by a short wall along the walkway to my door. On the wall was a Stink Bug. Knowing it would soon try to enter my house I smashed it with a rock and quickly discarded the rock. I never touched said bug. Now, I smell nothing but the stink from that awful smelling bug. It’s as though it exploded and covered me in gunk. It did not. It deserved to die because you don’t mess with a man’s fear.

I don’t normally go out of my way to kill an insect. I say live and let live. But when invading pests enter my living space all bets are off. I will stop at nothing to end the lives of ants, spiders, and Stink Bugs. The ants can enter in droves and eventually cover everything if you don’t stop them early. Spiders are nothing but scary, especially the hairy ones. I’m not sure what happened to me as a child that damaged me but if I see a spider I usually scream, run, and try not to lose sight of the little monster until I can convince someone to kill the beast for me.

My wife tells a story of an incident that happened soon after we were married. We were in bed and being young I was nude. She knew of my fear of spiders, it was no secret. While in a warm embrace she whispered, “I think a spider just bit me on the leg. Without hesitation I broke from the embrace and shot out of bed. Once on solid ground I began jumping up and down thinking I could dislodge any of the hairy little beasts that might be attached. In the process of leaping from the bed I banged my head on the headboard and nearlyspider-1 knocked myself out. Several things in this story usually embarrass me. I did not try to defend my wife. I fled without as much as a helping hand for her. I screamed. I was naked. I hurt myself. My wife was laughing at me. I can only imagine what I looked like jumping up and down while naked. I’m sure it was not a pretty sight. Looking back on the incident I hang my head in shame. At the same time I have no doubt I would do the same thing again. Hopefully without knocking myself out in the process. Don’t mess with a man’s fear.

When removing Stink Bugs you must have the calm hands of a surgeon, latex gloves or a paper towel, and the speed of a cobra strike. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I detest that smell to the point that I fear it. With that in mind I will crush the little bugger if I think I can get it before it unleashes its cloud of stink. I once pulled a hamstring running from a Stink Bug that hit me in the ear while flying. Don’t mess with a man’s fear.

I will have to include the Spider Cricket in my list. Other names for this nightmare of an insect are Cave Cricket and Camel Cricket. If the names of this horrible little creature don’t illicit the “run for your life” response down deep in your soul, there is something wrong with you. I once stood in a bathroom minding my own business as one should. cricket_camel1While urinating I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. It was a Spider Cricket. Without hesitation a scream escaped from my mouth and I ran. Yes, with zipper still in the down position, barn door fully open, I ran. My critics would ask, “What can this small creature do to you?” My answer is, “I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.” Everything I’ve read says they don’t bite or sting. I don’t believe it. I would rather face an angry wasp than a Spider Cricket. Did I mention the Spider Cricket can jump? A shiver ran down my spine as I wrote that last sentence and I think I wet myself.

For Halloween you can fill your haunted houses with Demons, Witches, Vampires, and other monsters but if you want to really scare me you’ll have to include Stink Bugs, Spiders and Spider Crickets. Being startled and scared are two different things. The Halloween monsters I mentioned earlier can startle me, but a few little insects could scare the bejesus out of me. I once slipped and fell on a dirty, public bathroom floor banging my elbow in the process while trying to distance myself from a Spider Cricket. If you want to keep Halloween safe, do not include insects in your celebration. Don’t mess with a man’s fear. Someone could get hurt.

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The Birth of Myrtle

I have a confession to make. Somewhere in my head an alter ego exists. Following is an explanation of where this alter ego came from and why I need to mention it. This alter ego will be guest hosting my blog over the coming days. That’s right. This other person in my head will be writing in my blog. My only hope is that she doesn’t take over. Let me introduce you to Myrtle.

old-woman-1A few years ago I was reading a blog and it seemed as though there was a bit of man bashing going on. My first reaction was to leave the blog without comment. They would never know I was there. Then a thought hit me. These people didn’t know me from a ninety year old, blue haired lady who chain smokes, and coughs up hairballs. It was like the moment in the Matrix movie when Neo suddenly realizes what he can do. The 0’s and 1’s flashing by and they expand like a chest taking a deep breath.

This epiphany was empowering and a new character was born. Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my mind a piece of me became that 90 year old woman. Her name is Myrtle. Yes, her hair is bluish gray and she chain smokes like her life depends on it. Sometimes her coughing fits take on a life of their own. She is opinionated and, God help me, not afraid to share those opinions. Being a woman she has breasts. Being an older woman gravity has taken hold and those double Ds hang somewhere near the belt line. She sits in a rocking chair wearing a light blue, flower print dress. Several cats surround her in various stages of repose.

The character took hold and made certain demands of me. I’ll mention only one.

She looked at me through the haze of cigarette smoke while rocking slowly and said, “I want to write in your blog.” She then pushed her wire rimmed glasses up her nose with her middle finger and continued rocking.

What did that mean? Was she giving me the finger? What was she going to do? Frankly, catsshe scares me to death. Since that time I’ve tried to keep her in check but now she wants to blog again. So, I’ll warn you, Myrtle will be guest blogging occasionally. Also, anything she says cannot be held against me in any way. As I get further into Myrtle’s head I’m sure I’ll get to know the cats a little better. Did I mention I hate cats? And did I mention I’m allergic to them?

What? You Call That News?

I am baffled. How can so many people actually get torn up over a celebrity breakup? The other day one of the leading news stories was the breakup of Brad and Angelina. Certainly it is a sad event but is it headline worthy? Is it something that should ruin the day of people who only know this couple as celebrities? Is it possible only the media deems this as an event everyone should be distraught about? This media incident leaves me couple-1scratching my head with not one louse in sight. Wait, I think louse is singular for lice. It’s either that or singular for someone’s shiftless brother-in-law who can’t find a job and sleeps on the couch. I’ve been lucky in that department but I know a guy who had . . . Wait a minute. I’ve totally gone off track. Is this story that meaningless to me? Not to be insensitive, but maybe.

Brad and Angelina are two people I don’t know and never will. We don’t run in the same circles. Although, I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy that once saw Brad Pitt mowing the grass. The story sounds kind of fishy. If Brad Pitt ever owned a lawn mower I’d be shocked. It could have been at his parent’s house before he became a celebrity. I would also have to find out if this guy who saw him was trustworthy. That would be hard since . . . I’ve done it again. It could be I’m truly callous to the plight of celebrities.

A few years ago my neighbors separated and then divorced. It was a close neighborhood and we all hung out on occasion. We had to decide which half of the couple we would hangcrying-emoji with. Before that problem was solved another neighborhood couple divorced. I had to ask myself what the heck was going on. Were we all doomed to follow this path? Not only that but now we had another decision to make. This one would be easy for me. I played golf with him and she was a  . . . let’s just say a hard person to get along with. It wasn’t long before both problems were solved. The guy I played golf with started dating the wife of the other divorced couple. They eventually married and . . . Again I’ve strayed from the misfortune of Brad and Angelina.

   It’s true. I just don’t care. Of course I feel bad for any misfortune that befalls another human being but aren’t you just asking for trouble when you divorce your spouse to marry another? So, until someone close to me gets a divorce, adopts twenty or thirty children from a foreign country, or stars in the next blockbuster movie I’ll remain distant and aloof to the suffering of our celebrity community. Also, I do feel bad for the kids in this divorce but that’s not what the media stories have been about.

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Memories

Not so long ago I was looking at old photos and taking a walk down memory lane. The photos were of me, my wife, my children and grandchildren, my brother, my parents, and many friends who have since grown distant. While looking at these photos and thinking about the time they were taken and what was going on, it’s easy to get caught up in the “Knowing what I know now” trap. I say trap because it’s easy to become remorseful about what was or wasn’t done and let’s face it, physics will not, as of yet, let us travel back in time. What the photos don’t show are the bad timephoto-of-photos-olds. There are snapshots of young love but they don’t show the hurt, anger, and heartache that accompany that young love. One picture shows me in my high school baseball uniform. Memories that seem hardwired, the smell of the grass and the warmth of the sun on a dusty baseball diamond waft around me.  I can almost hear the crack of the bat and the slap of the baseball hitting the leather of my glove. What doesn’t bubble to the surface is the pain of losing a close game or the crunch of my nose breaking during a collision. Pictures are great but usually they’re snapshots of happy times. I’m also reminded of a quote, “Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can,” Danny Kaye. If nothing more these photos are proof of paint.

They bring happiness and a feeling of nostalgia. Like a garden hoe, they pry and poke at the memory until those good feelings break through the soil like beans ready to be picked. A picture of a church youth choir yields memories of trips, love, laughter and adventure while the picture of an old ball team grows memories of victory, life, and youth. Likeold-photo-2 Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Past we’re given a glimpse of our earlier lives, usually good times peppered with the bad.

I’ve already lived those photos, the happy times and the sad. I remember myself as an awkward teen boy who couldn’t talk to girls and had to write notes on what to say before calling one. If I had the chance to do it all again I’d do it the same way. In twenty years when I look at picture of this place and time I’m sure I’ll have the same feelings of happiness and nostalgia. I might even be tempted to wish I could do it again. When the camera next comes around to snap my picture I’ll be smiling and sending a message 20 years down the road to my older self. The knowing smile will say, “I’ve thrown some paint. Now it’s your turn”.

Too Much Information About Me

This is my first post on this blog. I’ve done it before but that was a while ago and not worth the mention. A little about myself, I like to write and I really like television. You’d think that combination could have resulted in a little screen writing action but you’d be wrong. My lack of training and desire has held me back. That’s the story of my life. No baseball career, no football career, and no ballroom dancing career. If you knew me that last one would be really funny. I broke out in a short dance-move the other day while I was alone. When I realized what I was doing I became so embarrassed I grounded myself from ever listening to music while standing. My grand-kids have all thanked me for that.

I’ve had a few short stories published and one “What happened to me when I was robbed at gunpoint” story published in a fairly well known magazine. I have no less than seven unfinished novels on my computer as of the writing of this blog post. I now understand what everybody was saying when I was told you don’t go into writing for the money. I thought they were lying to me to cut down on the competition.

I’ve been much more successful at watching television than writing. Thanks to Neftlix I’ve now watched the entire season of almost every television show created in the past ten years. Some may call that success while others, like my wife, would call that a huge waste of time. If you count that along with my video game play I guess I could qualify for the world’s oldest living teenager. Some people like to fish, hunt, or engage in other sporting activities. I like all of that also, just on a video game rather than in the woods or on a field. My doctor claims I may need professional mental help. What does he know? He chose a profession where he spends his days looking into orifices others choose to hide in the dark.

That’s enough about me for now. I’ll fill this blog with many more insightful entries over the coming days and weeks. Who knows? Maybe I’ll stumble across some tidbit of information that someone other than me might find interesting. If not then there will be more time for television. I guess that’s a win – win.