October 24, 2009

I'm Getting Younger Every Day

One of the websites I belong to asks what we would do if we won $100 million.

I know. First thing after I came to and changed my drawers, I'd go the E.R. to have my heart zapped back to normal. Then, I'd dance a major-league Happy Dance.

Then, I'd give half the money to my church and its schools; pay off the debts of our kids, my inlaws and my outlaws; then buy a log cabin in the Rockies. I'd immediately move in and get to wondering just howintheheck I'd won all that money when I didn't enter anything.

But, hey. it could happen...! We never know what the future holds, do we?

I mean, in 10 years, I may have written a tell-all book, or the ultimate crotch novel. Or even the ultimate tell-all crotch book! So if any of you ever has told me anything in confidence, get your alibis ready.

Almost as important, but maybe not, I hope in 10 years to be coherent, relatively speaking. When I was younger, I thought folks as old as I am now spent most of their time comparing operation scars, trying to remember where they left their keys and drooling on themselves. I was soooo completely...right. (Okay, okay. I'm kidding. I was wrong.)

Almost a year into retirement, I have more to do than I did when I was working. The difference is, it's varied, there's no pressure to do it, and I get to do what I want when I want for however long I want. And I hardly ever drool.

Moreover, I don't think I'll ever run out of little projects to finish, people to visit, experiences to have, places to see, politicians to complain about and stupidity to marvel over. I find myself a bit more romantic, as well, now that I have a little time to work myself up to it.

Some 25 to 30 books I haven't yet read await me on the shelves, and if I can ever find my reading glasses, I'll read a couple. We also have about 25 pounds of photos to be scanned, repaired/enhanced and printed or catalogued. That's somewhere near a good peck-basketful to you and me -- well, to me, at least.

I'd also like to learn Spanish, something more socially acceptable than the bar language I picked up in Puerto Rico (not that P.R. is a low place, but we former sailors cultivated friends in low places.). Also in 10 years, maybe I'll have finally grown up....Realistically, probably not. I'm really just a 15-year-old in baggy, wrinkled skin.

Patmywife tells me I'm closer to a 9-year-old and to zip up my fly. I think she just doesn't want to cut the breadcrusts off my PB&Js anymore. But she'll be sorry. I'm holding my breath 'til I turn blue....

Okay, I'm done. Can't hold it any more. Besides, In 10 years, I just may have learned to tango -- if I can still move.

Then, maybe, I'll just dance....

If You Can't Aggravate Your Loved Ones, Who Can You Aggravate?

I love Patmywife.

Oh, we bicker and spat. Even yell occasionally. But no spitting, biting, kicking or hitting. And thank goodness for that! She'd probably kick me into the next county or pound me into mush. No need to, though. We're best friends. She's the only woman I've ever met that could put up with me.

She was born and raised on a small cattle operation, you see, and grew up dealing with bullheadedness. She's strong as an ox (oxette?) and very tolerant, loving and beautiful.

Early on, I made the conscious choice to put my family first. It was undoubtedly the best thing to do -- and I am dead certain it contributed to the lofty career heights to which I rose (he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek). Truthfully, I never made much money, but we never starved, either. And given how things have developed up to now, I am extremely rich!

We've been married since 1975 and have two grown kids, neither yet married. We're very proud of them. Except for a couple of minor incidents during their high school years (...They never DID get the VW out of that elevator....), they've been the true joys of our lives. And to think there was a time when I seriously considered not fathering any children. What a pessimist I was.

Of course, the two of them would give me much greater joy if they'd just follow all my advice. Patmywife says that wouldn't be good, 'cuz if they did everything I tell 'em, they'd just be younger pair of mes -- and the world can't take any more mes.
And who wants to live their childrens's lives anyway? I've had enough difficulty getting my own right. Let the kids muck their lives up themselves. I don't have the time.

So, maybe I'll just dance....

October 22, 2009

Sect. 29, Pt. B: Bottoms Up, Hey?

I had just finished sending my son a virtual brew for his birthday (Happy 32nd, Keedo. We love ya!) when I stumbled across some beer-rating sites.

Out of curiousity, I looked up Cerveza India, an island-brewed "refreshment" I encountered when I was in the Navy in Puerto Rico, lo, those many years ago. The ratings for that beer were surprisingly positive. Either the brewers had improved the brand in the 40 years since I first tasted it, or they hadn't experienced the same drink I had.

When I was stationed on the Diamond of the Caribbean, I made a serious and committed effort to drink the island dry. (Thank the Lord my metabolism doesn't seem inclined toward alcohol addiction.) In two years there, I gulped down massive amounts of brews ranging from Pabst to Heineken to Busch to Schaefers to Lowenbrau, and so on. Plus, I drank about any kind of wine and hard liquor I could get my hands on, and enough cold duck to keep those little suckers wearing webbed booties for life. You name it. If it was available, I sucked it down. I was an amateur drunk trying to break into the pros.

During that whole time, I managed to get down only a can and a half of India. It was that bad.

Of the dozen or so comments I read tonight re the brand, only one approached the reality I experienced. The rater noted it was "hard to get down." To me, that was an understatement. It was nigh impossible!

Having said all that, I was a young kid trying to kill as many brain cells as I could in record time when I was hitting the bottle...or can...or glass...or bota bag...or stein, or etc. Plus, it's only fair to note that the tropical heat can quickly turn otherwise good libation into the most rot-gut stuff anyone ever guzzled -- and I'm certain the base package store and Enlisted Men's Club had their fair share of storage and acquisition problems back then. After all, it was the era of the $250 toilet seat (or whatever the gouge was). In other words, what we got on base in the form of liquid entertainment might not have been the most well-stored, -transported or -cared-for after it left the brewery.

And please note -- this is important:

This piece is not an effort to savage anyone's product. My experience with the brew was 40 years ago. Things change. A good characteristic of free enterprise is that there's a product for every taste, and a taste for almost every product. And, if a manufacturer survives, it's because it caters to the whims and demands of its clientele. Apparently, Cerveza India has done that over the years. Otherwise, it wouldn't be in business today.

I think the differences in the poles-apart perceptions I have, in this case of what a good brew is, and those of others is very interesting. Maybe someday, I'll be smart enough to find some deeper meaning there.

Or, maybe I'll just dance....