Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Topless Kate: The surprise is that anyone is surprised.

“Privacy”

    Kay and I got in an argument over whether or not the photos of a topless Duchess Kate were “A grotesque invasion of privacy.” To me, a colonoscopy is a grotesque invasion of privacy. A picture taken of Kate outside topless is merely unfortunate.

    Kay and I didn’t get into a big argument over the incident. Our most recent “big argument” involved the NFL referee strike. Kay ended up getting flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.. 

The topless-Kate dispute did not get heated. We didn’t raise our voices, and Kay didn’t hit me or call me a name. She just gave me the ol’ what-an-idiot-look followed by her celebrated eye roll. Kay’s got the best looks.

    Kay believes that the photographer and publisher, in denying Kate her right to privacy, should be severely castigated. Me? I consider any castigation severe. I don’t even think the word should be used.

Nor do I think any punishment is due those responsible for the unfortunate episode with Kate. We all must come to grips with the fact that we can no longer walk around in he state of undress without assuming someone could take a picture of us. Nor can we say anything we want without assuming someone could record it. In short, the days of plausible deniability are gone.

    I’m not saying that’s a good thing. Plausible deniability has served us well over the years. It’s a right indirectly mentioned in The Constitution. Fourth, fifth, sixth… one of those Amendments.

All I’m saying is that we have to behave a little more than we used to. At this very moment few of us are likely getting photographed by a satellite or one of those drones or a neighbor with a camera.

    The only images cameras can’t pick up are UFOs and Big Foot. You could be dancing with Big Foot at Disneyworld and no one would get a decent shot of either of you. Just beats all.

    But, apart from those two encounters, everything else is subject to being photographed, recorded or videotaped. The only people who don’t realize that are apparently politicians and other famous people.

Oh, and don’t think you can hide from people anymore. The technology is available to find you no matter where you travel. The reason there’s no remake of the old TV Series “The Fugitive” is because the show wouldn’t last two episodes before Richard Kimble would be photographed by The Google Map van. That thing is so cool.

My big brother, Larry, recently bought an iPhone 5… I think. Could’ve been a four or six. Larry bought the expensive device so he could text his daughter. Debra is easier to contact through texting than phoning. A lot of people are. Not me. Not even I, because I’ve yet to learn the mechanics of texting.

The fact that Larry has learned is a wonderment. Other than texting and phoning, the rest of his iPhone capabilities are lost on my brother. It’s kind of like buying a BBQ smoker for an infant. Other than a toy box, what is he gonna use it for?

I asked Larry if he realized that as long as his phone is on, his every movement could be traced. He didn’t believe me. He watches the same detective shows I do, yet, nothing sinks in. I told him that he could be tracked through the GPS on his iPhone. He said, “GP what?” I told him it was like the device in his car that tells him where to go.

Larry told me that his phone doesn’t talk to him, so it obviously doesn’t have GP whatever. I’ve yet to break through Larry Logic. Not sure it can be done.  

I shouldn’t run my brother down. Like I said, I don’t know how to do stuff with my phone, either. Kay reads my texts to me after I get a backlog. And, though my phone also acts as a camera, you’re all safe around me, ‘cause I don’t know how to take a picture with it. I did find a picture of the inside of my pocket once, but I have no idea who took it.

    No, I am completely incapable of spying on anyone. You could walk around naked in front of me all day without me taking your picture. And, you could say anything you wanted, and I couldn’t record it. My word against yours. Plausible deniability, just like in The Constitution. 

And, I’m fairly sure that Kay would take your word over mine. She’s still upset over the outcome of our referee argument. She tried to tell me that “Who cares?” is a valid argument. Yep, two minutes into the ruckus she got flagged. 

end


You can reach Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some would call it wasting

The soap that won't die.
“The last little bit”


    Have you ever completely used up a bar of soap? Just as you finished lathering your hands you noticed that there was nothing left to put back in the soap dish? Has that ever happened to you?

    Of course not. A complete soap-dissolving experience has only been reported by two people in unrelated incidents in Latvia. That was back in the spring of ’78. I’m pretty sure they were lying.

    I do not believe it possible for a bar of soap to completely dissolve during a washing. I’m in the process of substantiating that theory in the weeks and months ahead. In a green soap dish by the sink in the bathroom over yonder, I’ve placed a thin sliver of honey almond, scented soap that has been with me for… let’s just say a long time.

    It started out a giant white bar that Kay picked up at a Dollar Store clone. The large bar started out at the foot of our bed. Kay and I keep soap in bed with us to stave off leg cramps. There is no scientific reason found why soap would stop cramps, but it does. It does for Kay and me. And, for the thousands of others who believe in fairy dust.

    The anti-cramping qualities of soap tend to decline after two, three months. Been my experience. After the bar became superfluous to cramps, I moved it to my shower. Used it till it wore down to about quarter inch thickness. At that point my manly hands couldn’t keep control of it, so it started jumping from tmy gripe and hitting the floor. I don’t like to use soap that’s visited my shower floor. Nor will I eat most foods that end up there. Dr. Oz is with me on this one.

    Anyway, after several weeks’ use, that thin sliver of soap shows no sign of dissipating. In fact, it appears to be growing. And, I’m sick of it. I so want to get out a fresh bar, but noooo. I had to start this stupid soap experiment. I blame it on those two Latvians.

    Truth is, I don’t enjoy using up the last of stuff. I don’t reach for the last cookie in the jar, last eggroll under the sunlamp, or last french fry off a guest’s plate. Nor do I use the last bit of toothpaste in a tube.

    A lot of this came from my childhood. Mom wouldn’t let any of her kids throwaway the last of anything. We weren’t wise enough to recognize true emptiness. We’d squeeze on a toothpaste tube till Mom deemed it okay to toss.

    And cereal? We couldn’t open a new box till Mom inspected the old one for crumbs. I absolutely hate the dregs of Grape Nut Flakes. I’d beg Mom to make Jill eat ‘em. “No, Mark! You touched the box first!”

    As you may have noticed, I’m not a child anymore. I’m now old enough to make wise decisions about emptiness. A peanut butter jar with glumps hiding in places that only a camel’s tongue could salvage -- is empty. I can only say that now, ‘cause Mom is not here to pull my hair… nor is my hair here.

    Oh the things I’ve tossed since adulthood. I’ve been known to toss the last pickle from a giant jar, the last quarter-inch of milk in a gallon jug and a quarter-full squirt bottle of ketchup. If you can’t put ketchup on something without the dispenser making crude noises, it’s time to toss the thing. I’ve even asked waitresses for a non-flatulent-sounding dispensers.

    And speaking of gift cards. When have you ever completely used up one of those --- to the penny? Without throwing in some of your own cash? Even the two Lats won’t lie about that one.

    Kay and I used a gift card at a remote-eating establishment last week. We were not likely to revisit so after the guy handed Kay back the card, he told her that there was still $1.01 remaining, she smiled and handed it to the customer behind her.

I was so proud of her that I nearly wept. Kay knew that storing a card with $1.01 balance on it would cost her hours in purse search-time. Finding any small object in Kay’s purse is like finding a tap-dancing junebug on the dirt floor of a chicken coop. The thing gets ingested upon arrival. 

Some things just need to go before their time. Not people or pets, but things. Grape jelly, pencil erasers, car wax… Who has the patience to wait these things out?

Me? I’ll give it three more days and then I’m chunking that stupid soap. I’m not lying, the thing is growing.

End

You can reach Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Late summer roofsit



    ROOFTOP – Okay, all of you late comers, we’re focusing on the low, slow-moving clouds directly on top of us. Person who comes up with the most recognizable shapes wi--  I got another one. See? That’s a dragon’s head if I ever saw one.

    Well, now it looks more like a steam vac. Oh, and there’s Canada. Hudson Bay looks more like a giant lake, but the rest is definitely our northern neighbor. Well, now it’s Asia. I’m killin’ at this game.

    The clouds are now moving too fast, so I’m going to have to call the game. I won. Did too. Tell you what, while you’re thinking of what to get me for my prize, let’s listen to the sounds of morning. Apparently, the only birds out now are the cawing, gnarkling kind. Gnarkling. Oh, it’s a word. Cross between a gackle and a snark.  

    The songbirds are probably too dry to tweet. I keep putting water out for them, but at night chupacabras drink it up. Or chewbaccas. Something is raiding the water.

Surely you’ve noticed that I’ve all but lost the lawn. The lawn is mine and the flowerbeds are Kay’s. I’d just as soon be responsible for neither. I could’ve saved the lawn with some serious watering, but water has become a too precious commodity. Plus, it makes me have to mow more often. 

    My sister from The Evergreen State posted a comment on Facebook about the summer going by too fast. No, there is not an Apple State. Washington is Evergreen. Anyway, if I lived in the Northwest, I too might pine for the summer. But, since I’m no longer in the classroom, the summer has lost all its allure. Yesterday it dropped down to 96, so I reached for my mackinaw. – No, I don’t know what it is, but the word sounds funny. “Where’s my mackinaw?” Cool.

    And, what a great year this is for lovebugs. Kay had one smashed on the seat of her pants when we were in the store yesterday. I waited to tell her when we got home, ‘cause what is she gonna do about it?

What kind of bug lets you sit on it? They’re useless. The birds won’t even eat ‘em. Their only predators are windshields, hood noses and bumpers. If anything happens to our autos, lovebugs will take over the entire Southeast Region of the U.S.

    Last week, I mentioned the lovebug onslaught to an acquaintance, and he said how grateful he was that they don’t sting people. “Just think, you’d get stung twice with each encounter,” he said. Cup-half-full people irk the daylights outta me. Yeah, and I’m glad they can’t create computer viruses, but there’s no point to that tidbit, either.

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lash out. That’s not what we do up here. Well, not all the time. On a happier note, let me report that Kay found out that she’s related to Pocahontas. She subscribed us to auntsister.com, or something like that, and she’s been doing some serious research.

    She’s got a little more fact-checking to do, but there’s a good chance she’s related on her father’s side to Pocahontas, or Rebecca Rolfe as she was known in London.

    I’m sure Kay can authenticate her tie with Pocahontas, and when she does it will really change our relationship. It will mean that I’m married to a Daughter of the Wereowocomoco. That’s Algonquan for “still not in charge of the remote.”

  
Pocahontas
Kay has completed hours of research on my family, but has yet to find me related
Kay at our wedding reception '71
to anyone famous. I can prove that I am four degrees removed from Kevin Bacon, yet in tracing through the Hayter and Pickleseimers, Kay has come up with no one in my tree that you would recognize. 

    Eventually she’ll find that it was Holbrook Hayter back in 1867 who brought the first pair of lovebugs to America. He liked that they didn’t sting.

They not only don’t sting, but they don’t even eat? They don’t. When they’re in the larva stage they eat rotted plants, but after they get their wings they’re too busy mate-finding to eat. – Hey, I’ve researched these vermin.

Our only hope for the irradiation of lovebugs is to train fireants to attack the larvae. Give ‘em a human ankle flavor. And, yes, there is a chance that the two will  breed and we’ll end up with stinging lovebugs. Half-fill your glass with that!

We’re going to have to end on that cheery note. The morning breeze is gone and the shade from the big oak is slipping past the eave. Where has the summer gone? Indeed. Ours will think about leaving some time in late October, during the Washington State apple harvest. I feel your pain, Susan.

end

You can reach Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finding an intern

“Assistant”


    Raise your hand if you want to add years to your life? -- Looks like all but about four of you. – Okay, then, write this down. -- “Remember where you put stuff.” -- That’s it. Now off with you.

Seriously, do you have any idea how many years of your life you’ve spent looking for your car keys, watch, pen, phone, left shoe, hammer…? A lot.

    If you could win back all of that time, you could use it to get a degree in chemical engineering, learn to play the xylophone, and study the migratory habits of the Punan in Borneo. And, you’d still have a time left over for some serious napping.
   
    Over my short lifetime, I’ve probably spent something like eight months just looking for my car keys. About ten years ago it hit me. Bonk! Why not make it a habit to put my keys in a bowl on the counter by the backdoor?

    You’re not going to believe this, but it works. I haven’t lost my keys in 2 weeks. There are still a few kinks. Regardless, I was so impressed that I’ve been trying it with my wallet. While bills keep mysteriously disappearing from my wallet, I haven’t lost the wallet itself. It’s miraculous. 

We would probably all agree that the most sought after item is the TV remote. Yesterday, I caught Kay going upstairs with ours. When a TV remote leaves the realm of the living room, the places it can hide increase exponentially. Einstein proved that… at least to my satisfaction.

Truth is, you want your remote on the coffee table in the living room. You need it on that table! But, there goes Kay upstairs with it in her hand. Not a clue.

“Pay attention.” That’s the key. Pay attention... or else hire an assistant. That’s what I’d really like to do: hire somebody to remember stuff for me. It’s not that I’m incapable of remembering, I apparently just don’t give it a high enough priority.

If I hired somebody, it would be his job to remember for me. If you’re getting paid to do a particular thing, you’ll remember better. If you mess up, you get yelled at or fired. What more incentive would you need?

“Mr. Hayter, are you ready to watch TV? You’re wife put the remote in the towel cabinet before bedtime, but I retrieved it for you. I also located your glasses on the top of the fridge. And, here’s the phone. Someone left it on the porch railing.”

Once my assistant became proficient with his In House duties, I’d take him out with me so he could help with names. There are people I have met over ten times, but their names will not stick  I’ve played the name game in my head. – His name is Bill and he’s got lips like a duck. Great. Next time I see him, all I can think of is “Wally.” 

If I had an assistant keeping step with me, I’d never make a fool of myself.  Say I’m in Kroger -- “Psst. Mr. Hayter, you’re supposed to know the guy approaching in the blue shirt. His name is Frank. He appears to have lost weight, and he is deathly afraid of bats.” – “Hey, Frank, you musta dropped a ton? Whoa, what’s that black furry thing on your shoulder? No, I’m just joking. I’m going to put you down now.”

I’d definitely take the assistant with me during my doctor checkups. Invariably I get asked easy questions the answers of which are remote. I don’t know if you’re aware, but part of your checkup has to do with how dumb you act. An assistant could help me circumvent that test.

During my last visit, the doctor asked what the dosage was on the most recent medication he had prescribed. He’s asking me! He’s got his laptop in his hand looking at my medical record, and he wants to know how much Fdlzkitrex I’m taking.

I don’t know what I’m taking. I just take it. Twenty mgs or 2000. I take what’s in the bottle. Just like any sane person would.

My assistant could straighten all that out. “He’s taking 300 mgs of the Fdlzkitrex, but it’s been making him quack like a duck in the late evenings. I’m sorry, Mr. Hayter, but it does.” -- “Oh, yeah. Wally’s name is Bill.” – Thus, I ace the mental portion of my checkup.

I’ve been almost serious up to now, but next week I may go to Lone Star College and see if I can find an intern. They’re bound to have a program that deals with this kind of stuff. Hotel Management or Communications. Psychotherapy, possibly. I’ll let you know. Oh, yeah, we’re onto something here. 

end

You can reach Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bushel-sized breasts in our future?

Average bra size in Sweden
Getting big we are

    I’ve decided to quit eating. It’s not the first time I’ve said that, but this time is different, ‘cause I really mean it. See the look on my face? That’s my serious look.

I’ll continue doing restaurant reviews with crazy ol’ Brad, but I’ll just smell the food, make notes about the service, atmosphere and how mean Brad was to the wait staff. The guy is a beast.

     But, I’m not eating. Eating has cost me not only my neck, but also a bunch of decent jeans and shirts. No socks. I’ve been able to maintain my foot size, but it’s been a struggle.

    Weird thing is, I haven’t been eating all that much. I don’t even see how a normal person could stay alive on what I eat. A normal American anyway. Air has more calories than some of the stuff I’ve been chewing on. Still, I gain weight. Raise your hand if you think life is fair.

    It’s not just me, either.  A lot of you are fat… uh, overweight. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that 36 percent of Americans are overweight. I don’t know where they took their studies, but it was nowhere near where I live.

    I want you to go back and look through the pictures in today’s Courier. Not now! Sheesh. I guarantee you, at least 70 percent of the people you see getting arrested, or protesting or receiving service awards are overweight. This obviously means one of two things. Courier photographers prefer taking pictures of the obese, or sightings of thin people are getting less and less.

    And, women? Sheesh. What’s happening out there, ladies? My research staff tells me that the average bra size as of last year is 36 DD. Not a C, or even one D. We’re looking at Double Ds. And, one report said that 46 percent of you are wearing bras that are too small for you.
Wrong bra size: Before.
Correct Bra size: After

    I’m pretty sure they’re talking about the cup size. That’s the DD part. I’ve done my own research. D is big. They don’t go past F. The plans for a G are still on the drawing board.

 I tried to follow how cup size is determined, but they lost me when they started using calculus. If you’ve got to apply higher math to figure out bra sizes, you’re way over thinking it.. 

    Some doctors say that women are getting larger breasts because of estrogen. I don’t think current breast expansion has anything to do with female body chemistry. Men don’t have estrogen (I don’t think) and our breasts are getting bigger. We’re just all getting fat.

    By the way, Russia has bigger breasts than we do. The biggest breasts in the world come from Russian and the Scandinavian countries. I’m not surprised about Sweden and Norway. But, Finland? When’s the last time you saw a large breasted Finn?

    And don’t get me started on rear-ends. What on earth is happening to our sit-down parts? We’re massive. Not me. My rear is pleasingly appropriate. It’s my gut that I’m worried about. My gut and your rear-end.

There’s something happenin’ here. And, what it is, is attaching itself to your rear. And, my belly. I’m not forgetting my belly. 

    Have you ever been to a museum and looked at the size of the clothing that our pioneers wore? And, soldiers’ uniforms? I’ll bet 95 percent of the men today could not get into the average sized Civil War uniform. No way could I fit into the average sized WWII uniform. 

    We used to be a little people. No more. You can blame it on steroids in the cows, fastfood, and Blue Bell. But, I think if you scratch this thing, you’ll see that its roots go back to 1971, when a Ronald Biggins opened up the first cafĂ© that had an All-You-Can-Eat buffet. 

    All you can eat? That’s wrong in so many ways. I don’t like to eat all I can eat, but if I pay for it, I’ve gotta eat it.

    Yeah, it’s all you can eat… and maybe late night snacks. That can’t be good. And, eating when we’re not hungry. Why do we do that? --  Well, I’ve stopped doing it. I’m through eating till I can fit into a Civil War Uniform. Or drop a bra size. One or the other.

    Take another look at my face? See? Oh, I’m serious this time. 

end

You can reach Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com