Friday, June 18, 2010


The scream smashed through the air like some tornado ripping up an old oak tree and thrashing it about an otherwise peaceful garden.

“Can’t you tell I’m angry?” he screamed at her. “Now leave me alone!”

“I know honey,” she said in as soothing a voice as I’m sure she could muster. “But right now I need you not to be so angry because it’s upsetting other people.”

“Do I look like I care?” he screamed. “They’re stupid people anyway. Now leave me alone!”

“Honey, you know I love you, don’t you? And you don’t really want to upset people, do you?” she said, still sounding soothing.

“I don’t care! I don’t care!” he continued screaming. “Leave me alone!”

A gentleman in a blue shirt and tie walked up to the child’s mother. “Excuse me,” he said politely and gently, “but would it be okay if I spoke with your child?”

“He won’t listen,” she said with resignation. “But you can go ahead and try.”

“Thank you,” he told her. “And what’s his name?”


Then he turned and faced the young boy. Nick stared at him with an angry intensity I have seldom seen. “Leave me alone!” he screamed at the gentleman.

“Nick,” the gentleman said in a voice I can only describe as eerily commanding. He bent over, grabbed the shopping cart by the handle and looked straight into Nick’s eyes.

“You really don’t want to p!&s me off because if you do I’m going to tell my security guard to rip you out of that shopping cart and drag you into the back of the store where you will be beaten until you cry like a baby for mercy. Now shut the f#(k up and if you so much as make another sound before you get outside this store, you won’t be able to sit on your a%s for a month.”

He stood up and turned to face Nick’s mother. She looked at him in stunned silence.

“Spare the rod,” he said, “and spoil the child.”

The aisle remained dead quiet.

The gentleman turned back to face Nick, and gave him a look that said, “Never, ever doubt me.” He turned back to the mother, gave a slight nod, then walked out of the aisle.

Young Nick made not a sound. He looked genuinely scared, perhaps for the first time in his young life.

The mother said nothing. But the hint of a smile flickered in her eyes.

The rest of us simply continued our shopping.

I will leave it to you, my dear readers, to decide the wisdom of the gentleman’s action. Incidentally, he was not the store manager, but just another customer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


“My day doesn’t start until I have my Starbucks.”

“I wake up, light up a cigarette and open a can of Coke. Best way to start the morning.”

“Coffee. Fresh, hot and black.”

“Milk. Fresh, whole and cold.”

“A day without orange juice, is a day without sunshine.”

“Hair of the dog that bit me.”

“My husband prefers Guinness and I prefer Bud Light. It may not be the wisest way to start our day, but it sure makes whatever follows a lot easier.”

“Iced Half-Caf, Quad, Grande, Soy, Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice plus Energy”

And on and on the answers came. Ask fifty people with what beverage their day starts, and you’ll get a few gallons of different answers.

But nobody said, “Water.”

Now that could be because people don’t think of water as a drink, or it could be that people generally don’t start their day with water.

Yet, water is critically vital to our health and well being.

It’s been estimated that three-quarters of the American people are chronically dehydrated. That is, they don’t drink enough water. And what happens when you don’t drink enough?

Slower metabolism. Fatigue. Headaches. Fuzzy thinking. Allergies. Asthma. Constipation. Anxiety and depression. And the conditions go on.

I can’t swear that lack of enough water is the only cause for the effects that the water gurus have sworn to, but there is sufficient medical evidence to know that many of our aches and pains may just need more consistent water intake to resolve.

One rule of thumb that I’ve heard bandied about for a few years, is that we need a half-ounce of water for every pound that we weigh. So if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink 60 ounces of water.

Another rule of thumb and perhaps the most often heard one is that we need 8 – 10 glasses of water per day.

Drink alcohol? Drink an equal amount of water.

Get midnight cravings? Drink a glass of water first, then wait twenty minutes. Then go to bed.

Got milk? Get water.

Tomorrow, when you start your day, try starting it with water. Your body will thank you for it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Two possible scenarios for the start of a really bad habit.

The first. Nerdmeier really likes dogs. Unfortunately, he can’t have one. Why? It doesn’t matter, he just can’t. But he really likes them. Nerdmeier’s neighbor, Goofmeier, also really likes dogs. In fact, he has two of them. A German Shepherd and a Chihuahua. Go figure.

Anyway, Nerdmeier is visiting Goofmeier one day and says, “Hey Goofmeier, I was wondering if you could do me a really big favor?”

Goofmeier says, “If I can, I will. You know that. We’ve been neighbors and friends for a long time, so if I can help you out, just let me know.”

“Well, you know I really like dogs,” Nerdmeier says. “But I only get to enjoy them when I’m visiting. And every day I see you with your dogs out in the backyard, teaching them to poop outside.”

“Okay-y-y,” Goofmeier says hesitantly, not really sure where Nerdmeier is going with his conversation.

Nerdmeier continues. “So I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind walking your dogs past my front yard and letting them poop there every once in a while.”

“Did you just say you want me to let my dogs poop in your front yard?” Goofmeier asks rather incredulously.

“Absolutely. From one dog lover to another, I would really appreciate your thoughtfulness. You don’t even have to bother picking it up. After all, who could mind stepping into some fresh dog poop every now and again. It’s really the neighborly thing to do.”

And so began the habit of dog owners teaching their dogs, not to poop in their own yards, but to poop in their neighbors’ yards. And if nobody’s looking, heck, just leave it there.

Of course, there is scenario number two. (No pun intended. Maybe).

Lawrence William, or simply LarryBilly as everyone called him, was a good ol’ boy from the South. He lived a simple life on a small lot in a small trailer park with only six trailers parked there. LarryBilly had two loves in his life. His son, LarryBilly Jr. (whom he actually named LarryBilly Jr.) and his lawn. His wife had long ago run off with one of his neighbors and left him with LarryBilly Jr. and a mongrel of a mutt who loved to do two things. Slarting, which is what LarryBilly called it when the dog would be sleeping and farting, and he liked pooping. Three, four times a day. “Man that dog likes to poop,” LarryBilly would say quite often.

LarryBilly, however, did not like his Muttly pooping on his beloved lawn. He didn’t like it because it wasn’t good for his lawn, and he especially didn’t like having to pick it up. He tried teaching LarryBilly Jr. to pick up, but LarryBilly Jr didn’t like picking it up either.

“Daddy?” LarryBilly Jr asked his dad one day. “Is it okay if I teach Muttly to poop somewhere besides our lawn?”

LarryBilly was elated at the possibility and gave his son the go-ahead.

So LarryBilly Jr. began taking Muttly for walks and would stop every other yard or so, and tell him, “Poop Muttly, Poop”.

Muttly was a very cooperative dog, who learned quickly that pooping in other people’s yards was not only fun, but resulted in praise and treats from LarryBilly Jr.

And there you have number two. In somebody else’s yard.

What I wonder is what happens in the dog owner’s mind, that jumps over the “consideration for others” section of the brain, and lands right in the “Oh, it’s perfectly all right to ruin a yard with dog poop, as long it’s not in my back yard.”

And the often heard excuse, “That’s just what dogs do,” is so untrue.

That’s what wild dogs do, perhaps because they don’t know any better. But owned dogs are trained where to poop. Whether it’s in their own yards, or the neighbors.

It’s not the dog’s fault. It’s the owner.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I wanted to complain to the manager. I felt as if I had just been sold a can of Pepsi but there was nothing inside.

But it wasn’t Pepsi I was complaining about. It was the greeting, if it could be called that, upon entering the store.

“Good morning, sir,” she said. “Welcome to the store.” Her words had the printed pleasantry of the outside of a Pepsi can, but her eyes, empty and dead, said there was nothing inside. She popped open her mouth but only dead air came out. She was an empty can. She was commercial but no fizz.

And I wondered, why bother?

I ended up talking about it with a few friends later that day. Mostly, they seemed to want an excuse for her empty greeting.

Maybe her goldfish died that morning. Maybe she was not looking forward to putting gas in her car because it was so hot and humid. Maybe her boyfriend left his socks in the middle of the floor that morning. And had we enough time, we could have come up with hundreds more possible excuses for her behavior.

What surprised me most about the discussion, was that no one came up with the more likely reason for her hapless hello. Maybe she was just an empty person. Someone for whom the marrow of meaning in life had been sucked out, leaving only the shell of a person waiting to wither and die. Yes, I know. That sounds really harsh, and I concede that it is. But I have met people like that.

However, I don’t blame her for the soulless salutation. That blame rests squarely upon the shoulders of her manager.

Yes, people have events that can alter the rest of their day, or even the rest of their lives. But if you’re the “greeter” of customers entering the store, and you’re little more than a dried-up lemon waiting to pucker the moods of those you meet, then it is the manager who needs to place you somewhere else in the store, or send you home.

On the other hand, I also realize that most people don’t even bother to care about such things. Customers are more concerned about getting to the sale item than whether or not their greeting is sincere or not. And maybe they’re right.

I may be just making much ado about nothing.

On the other hand, if you’re selling me a can of Pepsi, you need to be sure there’s something inside.