Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

I am asked almost every Memorial Day to re-post “A Soldier’s Prayer”.

Another Memorial Day weekend is once again here and the country stops for a time to honor our men and women whose sacrifices to keep our way of living balanced with the threats of a hostile world around us.  The media is so screwed up in reporting things so this photo really shows their priorities.
Memorial Day is not about the BBQ's or gatherings of friends; it is about the "Fallen" who gave the ultimate sacrifice, signed the check in blood for our freedoms we have today. Those still serving should also be remembered but this weekend and day is for remembrance of those who are no longer with us.

Memorial Day has its origins from Americas Civil War starting in 1868.

I was given this prayer by my friend Max Cleland so many years ago as I flew him around Georgia while he was campaigning for Secretary of State.  I have it on the wall of my office and read it each day.  I have a constant reminder of the importance of having pure motives . . . God focused and ultimately the importance of where I look for fulfillment in my life.

I wanted to give you a little perspective about this prayer and how it came to be.  This was during one of our darkest times in this country’s history when we lost focus of where this country was headed and we were into a Civil War and the turmoil going on in this country at the time.  Brother fought against brother, sometimes friend against friend.  It was a time that we somehow have lost focus during these strange political times.  There are still problems in this country and around the world but we continually strive to live in hopes of a better world.  Do your part and remember those from our past and those of our future whose sacrifice gives us the Freedoms we enjoy today.

July 2, 1863 during the battle of Gettysburg in the area of Devil’s Den this prayer was written by a dying confederate soldier.  There have been conflicting stories over the years whether it was found folded in his pocket or written in his blood on the floor next to his body.  Either way it gives great perspective into life and living.  My thoughts are that it was written in his blood as he made Peace on his life, an unfinished life.

Casualty figures for the second day of Gettysburg are difficult to assess because both armies reported by unit after the full battle, not by day.  One estimate is that the Confederates lost approximately 6,000 killed, missing, or wounded from Hood, McLaws' and Anderson's divisions, amounting to 30–40% casualties.  Union casualties in these actions probably exceeded 9,000. The three day battle was one of the bloodiest of the Civil War as the conflict continued until April 9, 1865 when the surrender occurred with the formal ceremony between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant on April 12, 1865.

A Soldier’s Prayer

I asked God for strength that I might achieve
I was made weak that I might learn to obey
I asked for health that I might do great things
I was given infirmity that I might do better things
I asked for riches that I might be happy
I was given poverty that I might be wise
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life
I was given life that I might enjoy all things
I got nothing that I asked for
But everything I had hoped for
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered
I am among all men most richly blessed.

Each of the desires that were expressed are desires that I believe we can relate to today. Strength, Health, Riches, Power, All things so that we can enjoy life . . . What is not to be desired?

Many of us have some or even all of the things just mentioned to varying degrees.  But do we let the things we have in our life define who we are?  Do we let them define our happiness? Where do you find your inner peace?

Two lines have special meaning to me and I remind myself daily to live this way. . .
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life
I was given life that I might enjoy all things

Happiness does not enter the equation until the decision to be happy is made by the individual. Happiness is a state of mind being thankful for whatever we do have and the talents we have been blessed with.  Without that decision . . . to be happy independent of everything else . . . we will find ourselves to be much like a dog chasing its own tail.  The poor dog will never catch its tail and the result will just be dizzying frustration.

There are times in my life that I find myself chasing my tail.  I came north to Alaska to find an unseen peace I knew would be there.  God’s country at every turn and I had the opportunity to travel to many remote places off the road system experiencing the native culture and helping them to have a better, healthier life with my work.  I could see the changes firsthand and it filled me beyond my wildest dreams.  Truly blessed for the experience.

Most of us have never had to live in the worst of what the world has to offer.  Probably most have food to eat and daily opportunities to interact with others who are interested and care about us.  Sometimes quickly, our minds can run away and begin to be ungrateful and desirous of the pleasures that we presume others to have.  Living up to the Browns’ has never been for me, I like doing things my own way and sometimes taking the road less traveled.  It has brought me a peace I could not find before and has brought me to find many new friends and expanded my consciousness of my fellow man.

We are all truly blessed and we need reminders to stay focused on what God has to offer us.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone and remember the fallen.

Ice

Monday, May 22, 2017

Life Observation # 187 Background music

Life Observation # 187      Background music 
The trouble with Life is there is no background music except in our head.
Ice

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

IKEA Weekend Adventure?

This past weekend I had the semi-unpleasant experience to drive from the mountains down toward the collapsed bridge on Interstate 85 at Piedmont Road. I was headed to the IKEA store off I-85 at Fourteenth Street.

I started seeing the warning signs for the Interstate closure about ten miles north of the shut-down exit so I decided to get off in my old stomping grounds of North Druid Hills Road, go by my old high school and see what changes to the area over the last twenty years I was away in Alaska.  Traffic was horrible as everyone was trying to find a way to get around the closed area.  Stopped bumper to bumper vehicles with an exit time of twenty minutes to get off the ramp made me remember why I left Atlanta so many years ago.  I cannot stand the traffic or the totally bent drivers trying to get in front of everyone.

Driving by the school I saw many changes.  The sign our class erected was gone and like many schools across America was run down and looked like it needed a makeover.  The area has changed so much with condo’s replacing the old beautiful houses on that street.  I went to Peachtree Street headed south through Buckhead and it was packed with vehicles too.  Many high rise buildings towered over the landscape, the concrete and steel with beautiful glass shining in the midday sun.  All kinds of new stores and restaurants were seen on my drive down memory lane.  Gone too were a few icon hangouts of mine like Harrison’s on Peachtree, Limelight (some called it “Slimelight”) and Animal Crackers nightclub with its indoor Ferris wheel ride. 

As I made my way toward midtown I drove by my grandmother’s old house.  It was for sale along with three more next to hers being sold as a multi-unit commercial property.  It was old and run down and all the memories from that time mostly gone too as the years fade from my memory.

I arrive at the IKEA store and find myself in a huge underground parking area with signs everywhere on how to find your car when finished shopping.  It was my first experience inside this store and it was just that, an experience.  Two floors of merchandise and a winding lay out so you walk in curving patterns through the different departments.  Household goods, kitchen, bath, living room, bedroom along with sections for all kinds of accessories were on hand as I wandered around looking for items for a remodel project I am working on.  

After two and a half hours going through all the sections I was ready to check out which gave me the impression that everyone was being herded like cattle through the checkout area.  I knew I would have more traffic and a long ride back so I looked around for a restroom.  I found one and headed over to relieve myself and found myself with a slight dilemma as I walked into the men’s room.  For many years observing people I have noticed a few things.  Some might say I either have too much time on my hands (mind) or just have a slightly twisted look at life.  I tend to think it is a waste to not think of the possibilities out there and to consider things that most other people may not have time to think about.  It is then my duty to report my findings to everyone here. 

Most people (women) and a few men, especially those who don’t use a urinal, fail to realize the complexity of today’s modern bathroom ethics.  Urination in public restrooms always creates a paranoia in most people (women included) involving a lack of privacy.  This fear is eased for most men by finding of a urinal which is the farthest away from fellow “users.”  Unlike the concept of infinity, this theory is fairly easy to grasp.  It’s a man thing I guess for me probably started in the military latrines with no partitions between toilets and urinals.  Everything was in the open with rows of toilets facing each other so it was ‘easy’ to converse with your fellow soldier while going to the bathroom.  I usually tried to wait until after lights out to go but then the night sentry on duty would normally wander in so you were never alone to do your business.

The 1-3-5 urinal rule allows for the separation of users or should I call them pee’ees.  Let’s take a look at the basic bathroom layout of 5 urinals (such as in this IKEA) and see an example.  The first person would clearly go to the first (1) or last (5 – preferable to 1 because of greater distance from door and other people) to prepare himself for the expected arrival of the second pee’ee.  The second person would then of course take the vacant end spot that the first did not take.  Simple enough isn’t it?  This is where the 1-3-5 rule now comes into effect.  Let’s say you walk into the bathroom and there are two dudes letting the gold flow like the summer of 1949, one on each end of the old 5-headed mount Rushmore.  It is imperative that you, as the third member of the urinary persuasion, take the middle urinal.  While you will be increasing the distance between you and one of the others, you will be drastically decreasing the distance to the other, to a point at which both of you are extremely uncomfortable.

Some of you may already be thinking questions.  First off, what happens when one of the users disobeys this sacred law and is taking his dog for a walk in the 4 slot, and there is already a pee’er in the 1 spot?  Unless it’s an emergency, and we’re talking stalls taken and possibly if you need the ‘stall’, you would just wait out the infraction.  It will make everyone a lot happier in the end with no odd looks involved by anyone.

Next, what happens in a situation in which there are 6 urinals but 2 are taped off or closed up.  Just think of this rule of thumb.  Never allow there to be a pee’er to be immediately to the left or right of you if possible.  Always give yourself some space.  And unless they’re totally asleep at the switch, don’t have anyone right in front of you.  Under no circumstances should you have anyone behind you if possible but sports venues with everyone trying to go during the seventh inning stretch you may have to waive the rule.

One final question usually is what happens when you have an emergency and the 1-3-5 setup is occupied already.  Under no circumstances should you invade into the 2 or 4 space.  Wait it out as long as possible, not only does it make everyone uneasy, it will leave a lasting mark on everyone there.  One of the three original users will undoubtedly mention your infraction to anyone who will listen, and it will be spread around the office or school that you’re lame and cannot follow the rules of restroom etiquette.  Even if you have to uncork the champagne all over your trousers, it would probably be better to do so.  You might suffer a small embarrassment, but in the long run, will make for a great story for the office and get you, infinite props for upholding the sacred 1-3-5 rule.

Side note:  It should be noted that attending baseball or hockey games, the rules are a bit more lenient because you don’t want to miss a great play or a fight.  Lame people usually don’t go to hockey games or any real sporting events; it is safe to relax just a little and let it flow.  Placido Flamingo was nowhere to be found during this brief adventure.

Ice

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life Observation # 186 Mother’s Day

Wishing all the mom’s everywhere the Mother’s Day that you deserve!

Ice and Placido Flamingo

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Birds of a feather

It's that time of year when the birds are out in full force hitting the bird feeders in the yard and on the deck.  It is so interesting to watch them early in the morning as dawn breaks and the darkness fades to a warm glow on the horizon.  The birds will start chirping at first light but do not start actively moving around until actual sunrise. How they know it is sunrise baffles me since it changes daily but the birds stay tranquil until then each morning.  Once daybreak hits it becomes a busy time on the deck as the fifty or sixty birds start coming to the deck feeder and to the sunflower seeds I have placed on the handrails and deck surface.  The yard feeder also comes alive with birds hitting it as the squirrels gather the seed or peanuts I’ve thrown out each day.  It is so enjoyable to watch them even on rainy days as they gather and perch under the handrail staying out of the rain coming down.
There are probably about thirty or more different species flying in for food, many I have identified: golden finches, yellow-rumped warbler, hermit thrush, eastern bluebird, blue jay, American robin, brown thrasher, red winged black bird, house finch, kinglet, Northern cardinal, sparrow, brown headed cowbird, kingfisher, waxwing, tufted titmouse, rose-breasted grosbeak, yellow-throated warbler, and red headed woodpeckers.

The woodpeckers are out pecking on trees and telephone poles.  I always wondered why they like phone poles since there can't be any bugs to dig out; certainly they would taste foul from years of soaking in creosote.

Turns out the birds use the poles and trees for the same thing humans do — communication.

Woodpeckers don't use the wires, just the poles. The dried wood makes a satisfying sound that can be heard by other birds for blocks around.  Most of the telephone-pole communicators are males advertising for mates. In that regard they are remarkably like humans.

I learned Morse code many years ago at the Army's Rotary Wing Flight Training School in Alabama at Fort Rucker and realized recently that woodpecker code is similar to the old Morse classic — and the birds use their own version of text messaging.  Whether it is pecking a tree or singing a song they communicate with each other.

The other day, one in the woods here was sending out a signal saying, "Macho male w/big bill and great plumage seeks female w/strong nesting instinct, for serious mating.  Available immediately!"

I've also learned that woodpeckers in most neighborhoods send their signal several times and sign off with a jaunty, "Shave & a haircut, two bits."  Most of you in the younger generation probably won’t remember that one.  Those bird brains near retail areas often pick up the local jargon and substitute, "Thank u have a nice day."

Welcome springtime, we enjoy the warmth, the light, and the coming of summer.

Ice

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Lost with the Leroy’s

Yesterday I was going to a local cabinet shop and on the way there saw a vehicle stopped on the side of the road and the guy was standing beside the vehicle looking around.  When he saw me he started waving at me to stop and talk with him.  He was lost and looking for an area close-by but was having a hard time finding it. 

I used my trusty phone application; Wave and put in the location he wanted and shortly it brought up on my phone the directions how to get there.  It is an amazing app that works well and I have used it since leaving Alaska over a year ago.  It works off the phones GPS and even if you lose the signal it will continue to guide you along the way. 

Talking with the man, his name was Leroy and he had relocated his family from a busy city in Florida to live in the foothills of the Appalachia Mountains.  He was looking for the place he was going to be working and told me about his family who was excited to make the move north.  He was somewhat embarrassed by being lost but I told him that years ago I was somewhat lost in Alaska when I first got there too.

Not really lost just slightly disoriented.  Alaska is a really big place.  Sometimes you forget just how big it is until you fly somewhere or take a drive on one of the few main roads.

To give you some perspective, traveling in Alaska is like traveling no other place on earth.  Alaska covers 570,373 square miles of land, plus an additional 45,000 square miles of water.  It's the biggest state in the country.  Alaska is 2.3 times the size of Texas, 10 times the size of Georgia or Florida; and 499.7 times the size of frequent comparison victim Rhode Island.  Alaska covers 20 percent of the total U.S. area.  Alaska stretches across 57 degrees, 34 minutes of longitude between 52 and 54 degrees latitude.  It’s BIG! 

The funny thing is there are only 4 major roads here, No interstate highways as we have no other state to connect with, only Canada.  There are 5 other “main” roads but they only connect from the main “highway” into remote areas or villages and usually are gravel or only open during the summer months.  Looking at a Alaska map the road system is on the right side in that 1/3 quadrant of the map.  2/3 of the state to the west is traveled by plane, boat, snow machine, or 4-wheel ATV.

I went on a fishing trip in one of my early years living there to an area that I was not familiar with and was excited to be going to a new place for some great fishing.  I was meeting people who had drove down before me and would meet me there.  The directions given were somewhat similar to ones that we would give when I lived in Georgia so I figured I would have no trouble finding the spot.

After a few turns I find the right place and spend the day with everyone fishing.  A few times I had taken my dogs but this trip I was solo and after a great day fishing was planning to drive back home that “night”.  It was in the time of the year where there is light all of the time so I would leave and drive back before the “twilight” period set in.    

As I leave the fishing area, I try to retrace my route back home.  This was before the GPS came out and I screw up immediately by turning left instead of right.  When that road runs out, I make another left and go to the end of that road and realize . . . I'm lost.  Well not totally lost but slightly disoriented.  I turn around heading back like I came and made another turn and drove for a little while.  Now it is sinking in to me that Omigawd! (This is a Southern expression) I'm lost in the wilds of Alaska!

Wait a minute; I'm close to Moose Pass (real name) so I know if I can find my way back there I can ask one of the locals for directions back to Anchorage.  Moose Pass consists of one old style gas station with a small store and a lodge with a restaurant.  Think of the 1970's version of a 7-11 store.  I get out of my rig (Alaskan for truck) to walk inside and about that time someone walks out.  I was turned around and didn’t know which way was Seward or Anchorage.

Me: Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to Alaska 1?

Him:(Scratching head) 1?

Me: How about 9?

Him: To get to 9, you go back down that road until you come to a little bridge. Turn Left on that road which will take you over the mountain, and that will run right into 1, turn right and you’re there.

Me: Cool. Thanks.

Him: Oh, one more thing. You'll see a topped out tree right before the bridge it was damaged by the high winds last winter.

Me: Thank you sir.

(By the way, real southerners are usually very polite, so I continue to be even though I was no longer in the South.  It's a habit that is hard to break after all of these years.  I usually don’t get riled up unless I deal with stupidity and then it makes me go nuts.)

Back down the road I go and look for the topped out tree.  I didn't see it and while looking, I cross the little bridge (and was it little) and missed the turn.  Go another half mile and think, was that a little bridge I crossed?  Didn't look like much of a bridge but it was.  I go back to the little bridge, turn on the road, and go over the mountain and get to 1 and start my drive back to Anchorage.  The trip started out uneventful.

I make it to Portage Glacier and my check engine light comes on.  This can't be a good thing as I don’t work on vehicles.  I look at the temperature gauge and it's pegged.  This can't be a good thing either.  Better pull over to the side of the road, which I do and then I hear a Popping sound!  Water sprays out in and steam is coming from under the hood.  I know now this really can't be a good thing.  Crap!

Slowly I pop the hood and get out of my rig.  Looking under the hood and not being an auto mechanic know I am in big trouble.  I can see water spraying from the hose on the radiator.  I know from my past troubles working on vehicles that this is really not a good thing.  I have my cell phone.  For some reason, I have a weak signal here but I'm able to get a call through to AAA for a tow truck.  I am right in front of one of those roadside tourist food shacks so I walk over and grab a quick bite to eat while I wait for the engine to cool down and the tow truck to arrive.  Now I can see why so many tourists stop at this little mom and pop stand along Turnagain Arm.  The food was quite good.

The AAA person said he'd try to have the tow truck there in less than an hour and in about 35 minutes the tow truck shows up and I tell the driver we need to go to Anchorage to the dealership.

Him: Ankerage?

Me: Anchorage. (Thinking to myself, another Southerner, my people here to help me)

Him: All the way ta Ankerage is gonna cost ya a bit.

Me: (biting the bullet) Yep. But I don't really have a choice unless ya know someone who can replace a radiator hose on a Sunday afternoon in Portage Alaska.

Him: Don't reckon ah know no one who ken do that.

So Leroy gets my rig on his truck and off we go to “Ankerage”.  I know his name is Leroy because it's written on his shirt.  Leroy is missing half of his front teeth.  This is Alaska after all.  We start a conversation and since the truck is loud there are a lot of 'do what's'.  For those of you who do not speak Southern, when someone doesn't hear you he usually says either 'do what' or 'say what'?

It turns out Leroy is a retired long haul truck driver from Alabama.  He started work at eighteen and worked driving big rigs for over forty years.  For the last four years he's been a tow truck driver here in Alaska.  He told me some neat stories about his forty years on the road.  He drove loads and different cargo to every one of the contiguous 48 states.  By the time we got to Anchorage, I was calling it Ankerage.

* About now some of you are probably saying ‘you elitist s**t head’.  How dare you make fun of this Alabama good ol' boy.'  This is the way it works.  Everyone in or from Georgia makes fun of Alabama.  Alabama probably makes fun of Mississippi or Tennessee and Mississippi probably makes fun of Arkansas or Texas.  Anyway, I wasn't gonna do any ranting, but here goes.

I like Leroy.  Remember the map of the 2000 election?  Ya know the blue and the red one?  Leroy is one of the people in the red.  He worked hard for forty years.  He's 63 years old and is still working.  He is one of the people who have made this country great.  He lives in a small Alaska town called Girdwood.  I'll bet he doesn't have to lock the doors in his house.  He grew up on a farm and helped his 'daddy' on the farm until he was eighteen and then got a job as a truck driver.  He's hard working, honest, and never took a dime of government aid.  We need a lot more Leroys in this country.

There are lots of Leroys in this country.  Right now whole big bunches of young Leroys are enlisting in the Army to fight our war against terror.  During Desert Storm, a lot of Leroys joined up to serve our country in the military.  I met a lot of Leroys when I was in the Army in the late '60's and early 70’s.  Leroys are very patriotic.  They are also very polite with lots of yes sirs and yes mams.  Their mommas and daddies slapped the crap out of 'em if they smarted off and back then no one called the cops for child abuse when people were disciplining their children.  As a result, children were better behaved.  They were all country boys.  I always liked to be around Leroys.  I still do.  What you see is what you get.  *Rant off now.

OK, back to this story. We make it to Anchorage. He unloads the rig at Worthington Ford in the beautiful mid town of Anchorage.  I don’t have to pay him as my insurance covers the trip.  I thank him.  He thanks me.  I shake his hand and thank him for the nice stories and as he turns to leave I give him a nice tip for getting me back to town.  I do not feel poorer for the money given him, but far richer for having met this hardworking son of the South.  We’ve all met Leroys in our lives.  We have all grown up with 'em and went to school with 'em.  I would probably go out together for a few beers and swap more stories with Leroy and feel honored to do so.

So now I'm stuck.  After a couple too many Jim Beam & Cokes now I have wandered from where I started out this post with meeting a lost Leroy and was reminded of another Leroy I met years ago and about an amazing fishing weekend, how nice it was to fish a new area and I ended up talking about an Alabama redneck.  How do I end my tale?  I don't have a good ending line like I usually do (or at least try to).  It’s late, still raining and after my Beam & Coke I will say, how about this?

This country will stay great as long as we have people like Leroy in it.

Ice

Monday, May 01, 2017

“Damn man, I don’t think I’d told that”

A couple of days ago on Facebook Dave Hendrix shared a really funny story that was on the Modern Man page about a guy who in college was taking a Russian language class and really didn’t want to be there thinking it was a Spanish class he signed up for.  It starts off pretty funny then he goes in to the class taking a trip to Russia and getting involved with the Russian mafia.  Thanks Dave it was a great laugh.  This got me to thinking about a story I wrote for my gaming forum back in 2005 a few years after I arrived in Alaska.  I wanted to share it with you.

For those of you that know me, or have been around me over the years know that I like to share with you my little special stories. Those moments in your life that brings out that part of your personality or quirkiness that may not be seen most days or nights.

Most of you know that the nickname I have had for many years is Icewind which equals = cool farts.  It was better than “Bugle Butt” which my niece Laura gave me many years ago.  I loved the t-shirt she gave me which had a French horn blowing out the characters butt, quite funny but no one would let me wear that shirt out in public so it was an around the house t-shirt. 

(Disclaimer – I know that some times I tend to take the liberty of embellishing the facts in some of my stories for a humorous effect.  For the record, this is as close to 100% an accurate account of the event as I can remember)

I used to eat a lot of meat and spicy foods which gave me pretty active bowels and the sounds that came from me sometimes embarrasses people in my life.  One of the ways I have found over the years to keep my “noises” to a minimum is with frequent movement of my bowels.  I do not know if it is my OCD kicking in but I try very hard to stay on a schedule that allows me to only go to the bathroom in familiar places.  I mainly try to go at home and have gotten comfortable (out of necessity) to go at work but I do not like going while in public places if possible, meaning I like to crap exclusively on my own toilet unless it is absolutely an emergency.  Well this was and turned out to be a bigger emergency than I had planned for.

I left work and headed over to my friend Tom’s house.  We were going out to Gallos for a beer and a bite to eat.  We both arrived from work at his house about the same time but my friend wanted to take a quick shower and change clothes before we headed out.  This was no problem but while my friend was showering, I felt I had the urge.  You know that feeling I’m sure, the one that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can not ignore.  The eye watering, gut wrenching, gas bubble of a crap was in the works. 

I knew I was away from my house but this one would not wait until later and would have to be acted upon.  Luckily, Tom had a guest bathroom so I figured that I could get in and out without being noticed while he was showering.  I go into the guest bathroom, undo the belt, release the button, and drop my pants.  Before my butt can hit the seat I could feel that rush of release coming over me.  Have you ever felt that uncontrollable urge to want to go so badly that it doesn’t matter where you are?  It was that kind of a feeling about to burst forth at any moment. 

As common as it is for me to be in this position, the relief I felt was beyond words. It was an almost orgasmic feeling as I purged the poisons within my bowels.  Once the quivering subsided and I knew the bio-mission had been accomplished, I was proud that this time I was able to go in a somewhat unfamiliar setting.  In my haste however, I hadn’t taken the time to do the usual 5 point inspection of the surroundings insuring that everything was OK for me to go.

That was MISTAKE NUMBER ONE for me.  In my hurried state to go and the desire to get out of the bathroom before my friend realized I was taking a huge dump in their guest bathroom, I failed to notice that there was no clean up material.  Not even an empty roll could be found.  Perhaps an oversight on someone’s part as no guests were expected and surly not the thing that someone looks at in the normal clean up or restocking of the main bathroom.  I quickly went through the cabinets searching for something that I could use.  Nothing!
There I sat pants down past my knees in the most undignified position without anything to wipe with.  At the back of the cabinet, that is when I saw it sitting there alone in the corner under the cabinet minding its own business.  I wanted to make it my business as I had no idea where the stash of toilet paper might be kept.  My luck it would have been in the garage where I could have done the “two feet” shuffle all the way to the garage and back with my pants down around my ankles.  I thought better of that and decided on another plan.

 MISTAKE NUMBER TWO.  I picked up the container and thought to myself that my friend had moved into the modern age and instead of the old boring butt wipe toilet paper my friend had the latest and greatest tool for wiping.

“Clean up Wipes” the container said.  “Lemon scented and quilted”.  It sounded very refreshing and not like the plain old single or two ply that everyone uses.  I thought I would give this new “wipe” a try as my wife (at the time) had me pick up 3- packs at Costco all the time.  She uses them everywhere, in the kitchen on the counters, in the bathroom for the shower and everywhere, and all over the house for general clean up chores.  This would be great.

I found myself finishing my “clean up” task with no one the wiser.  Tom and I went to grab a beer or two and have a plate of nachos.   On our way to Gallos the restaurant, I thought I could feel a slight itchy and burning feeling as I sat there during the drive over.  It was not too bad and I quickly moved on to other things as the conversation and laughter continued for about 45 minutes. 

Soon I had a burning sensation that words cannot really describe.  My butt was literally on fire.  Now I am over 50 years old and I openly admit without shame or hesitation that I have had a hemorrhoid or two over the years.  They first started at a young age from sitting in a bouncing helicopter but later seemed to go away in my mid life years.  I occasionally have a flare up, or drop out it would seem but nothing too serious. 

Over what seemed like seconds now, the burning spread to my whole crotch area, including the twins.  My friend asked me what was wrong but I barely could catch my breath to explain the events in my nether region.  I explained that I must be having an allergic reaction to the toilet wipes since there was no toilet paper.  I also quickly explained my idea of going to the bathroom away from home or work to Tom at which he began laughing hysterically.  My friend suggested that we make our way to the closest ER just in case there really was a problem from the “Clean up wipes” that I had used which was actually bathroom cleaning supplies.

I write to you now days later, back from the ER, somewhat humiliated as each and every person at Providence tried unsuccessfully not to bust out laughing.  In the grand scheme of things I chalk this up to another of life’s little oddities.  My anus was swollen what felt like the size of a tennis ball (probably more like the size of a golf ball, but it felt much worse) and I had a chemical burn across my butt and other “Important” areas.

Is there a moral to this story?  Maybe “One man’s wipes is another man’s misery” or “Clean up wipes, a thousand and # 2 uses”.

Just thought that I would share that but as my late buddy, Lewis Grizzard used to say, “Damn man, I don’t think I’d told that”.

Ice