What's Not to Laugh?

Almost everything about aging–except grave illness and death–can be funny as well as disturbing. I try to find the funny and help us all get through it!

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Don’t lie to me!

Lies, lies, lies. They’re everywhere. Of course, by this age, I am skeptical about everything. A little too skeptical sometimes. But still, when you think about the untruths we’re faced with all the time, and not just in advertising, it’s disheartening.

Here are a few of the fibs, lies, and exaggerations that get my goat—along with my snarky-but-silent reactions:

This won’t hurt a bit
(Sure, it won’t hurt you a bit. I’m the one with a needle coming at me)

You’ll feel only a pinch
(By what, a lobster?)

Never needs ironing
(If I want to look like I slept in my clothes)

You’ll look younger in 7 days
(Looking 6 months younger doesn’t really count at my age)

 You’ll save money in the long run
(If I live to 125…)

You can’t afford not to
(So I’ll have to declare bankruptcy if I pass up this great deal?)

It pays for itself
(Where does it keep its checking account?)

Everyone does it
(Quick. Name 10 people we both know who do it!)

Nobody does it
(Have you polled all the citizens of Azerbaijan?)

Lose 10 pounds quickly
(You mean if I also work out 3 hours a day and skip dinner, right?)

Eat as much as you want. It’s low fat
(Yeah, I know how that low fat adheres to my own lower fat)

Only 100 calories a serving
(But when I read the fine print, there are two-and-a-half servings in this little bottle)

I’ll call you right back
(Maybe in a week…or a month…or never)

Learn a language in just days
(If you’re two and the language is your native one…and your vocabulary consists of “Dada,” “Mama,” and “Cookie.”)

This device will save you time
(Not counting the hours I’ve spent opening the package—with a crowbar—setting up the system, and charging the device that I’ll never get back?)

Sizes in these pants run small
(Thanks for trying, but I know how many hot fudge sundaes I’ve had in the last few weeks)

It will keep your hair frizz-free for 72 hours!
(Then what’s that Brillo pad doing at the back of my head?)

Deals almost too good to be true!
(I’ll take your word for it and assume they’re not true. Bye, bye.)

Never work another day in your life
(I’m kind of partial to the idea of sleeping indoors and eating)

Thank goodness I’m old enough to know better, although I have to admit I was fooled by the calories in a serving size on a bottle of apple juice not long ago. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Pass it on to others, and don’t forget to tell them that reading it will make them look 10 years younger and 10 pounds thinner…and will pay for itself. (That last one is true.)


How many emails does it take…

There once was a group of girls…women, really…who had been friends since high school (which was a number of decades ago) and who loved each other very much. Many still lived in their home town, but others had long since moved away. Whenever any of the out-of-towers planned a visit back home, the group scrambled to set up a date when they could all meet.

Following one of those “I’m coming in” announcements, D decided that it would be great if all the girls came to her house for dinner. “Great idea!” they all said, in multiple emails. D lives in the city. The others live in the suburbs. The out-of-towner would be staying with relatives…in the suburbs. So after a few moments, the whining and negotiating began—also in multiple emails. Mega-multiple emails. Here are the highlights, with no names/initials attached (to protect the innocent. Wait! There were no innocents here.)

“Traffic going into the city will be awful! ”

Thursday night might be a better idea. Or lunch Friday?”

“OK. How does everyone feel about Thursday?”

 “We can all meet at Old Orchard (suburban mall) and drive to D’s in one car. That means each of us doesn’t have too far to drive home in the dark.”

“How about leaving earlier before the awful traffic? Is that possible? I would imagine that Fridays are worse than other days. Monday through Thursday are okay dates for me.”

“I can’t make Thursday night for dinner.”

“Well, now we’re limited to Monday through Wednesday.  Is everyone free on Wednesday?”

“Sure, I can do Wednesday.  It’s up to all of you if you want to meet at Old Orchard and then drive to D.’s … I hate to be the party pooper, so if Thursday is still best for all of you, go for it…It could turn out that I can come Thursday anyway. ”

“This is my last idea…(says D). Come on Friday since it works for all of you.  Start earlier if you can, maybe 4:00, but it’s not that horrible at this time of year… If not, figure something else out. ”

After a few more emails on day, time, and traffic, D shifted gears: “What havoc I have created. Let’s start over.  How about Friday at Old Orchard instead of my place?”

“Friday night at (a restaurant in Old Orchard) is fine. How many emails will it take us to decide on a time?”

The time and place were agreed upon, and we all looked forward to getting together for dinner. D will have to show off her culinary skills and hospitality another time, and the rest of us wimps will be happy we didn’t have to drive in that nasty Chicago traffic (speaking mainly for myself, that is).

I now have at least 30 emails in this conversation thread in my InBox and many in my Sent file (I chimed in too). But just by being there, they remind me of what terrific friends I have.

In case you’re wondering whether this story has anything to do with aging, which is supposed to be my main theme…

If we were our much younger selves, say over 50 years ago, the conversations would not be the same. Besides the fact that there was no quick way of communicating other than the telephone and passing a note in study hall, there would have been no worries about traffic and being out after dark. Very few of us had cars available to us. We all lived in the same general area, so walking or taking a bus was not a problem. Taking a bus was not considered risky, even at night. We all had decent eyesight—no cataracts, no age-related presbyopia. And like almost every teenager in this country, we were invincible (or you could say “naive”).

If setting up a gathering takes a little longer these days, so what? At least we don’t have to pass notes in study hall.

Maude talks back

Excuse me for bragging, but I’m a remarkable cat. The proof is in the fact that I’ve adapted to so many new homes in my 10-plus years of life, and I’ve done it with grace…most of the time. Here’s a brief history:Maude_for_blog

I was adopted from a shelter, along with my littermate, Sam, when we were kittens. Sam’s appearance and personality were very different from mine from the outset. He’s a black cat and an in-your-face sort of pet. I am a brown/black/white tabby, as you can tell from my photo. As for personality, you turn on the water, and Sam’s right there, ready to bat at it. And when unfamiliar humans are around, he’s always been right there to greet them. I have always hid under the bed or behind the sofa.

The two of us didn’t fight, but we didn’t spend much time together either. Our owner was a lovely single woman who loved cats (except some chap named Oliver, which she had growing up and about which she declared, “He was the worst pet ever!”) She worked all day, five days a week, but she took good care of us and gave us attention when she was home. Sam got more attention because, as I mentioned, he was “in your face.” After a while, our owner met the love of her life, and they got married. But the love of her life had a female cat too, named Scout. Then there were three. We all got along reasonably well, but I usually hid out by myself, so there was no drama. And all five of us slept in the same bed. It was crowded (and sometimes the humans snored), but we felt loved and comforted.

What makes me and my feline roommates adaptable is that we moved to so many new locations and quickly got acclimated to all of them. There were condos, rental apartments, and later a brand new house. (It was a LEED Platinum house too, which was meaningless to us but apparently pleases the environmentalists.) Think about it: In each new place, we had to get used to the location of our litter boxes and our food and water bowls pretty quickly (especially the litter boxes). Did I mention that I’m pretty persnickety when it comes to my litter box?

Then, earlier this year, my owners got the cockamamie idea to move to San Francisco. It’s a lovely city, I’m told, but it would mean taking a very long plane ride in a cat carrier (I hate that thing!) and getting used to a whole new layout for my litter box and food and water bowls…again. I mean, I’m not getting any younger, and neither are my feline roommates! Despite these reservations, I started to anticipate the move.

The next thing I know, my owners are saying that the home they rented in SF will allow only two cats. And, for some reason, I am the cat that will not make the trip! I overheard my owner talking to her mother on the phone and explaining that I’m a loner and I don’t get enough attention because I’m usually away from the main action of the house. “Maude will be much better off in a one-cat home,” she said. I was dubious.

In the meantime, before the big transfer of custody day, I had dental surgery (don’t ask). I survived and was even able to eat solid food soon afterward.

Then, on April 7, I was put into my carrier and taken for a long ride to the suburbs. I don’t like the carrier, I don’t like the car, and I got carsick on the way. That’ll show her how upset I am over this move…for which I was not consulted. I wandered around, hesitantly exploring my new home. Clean litter box. Check. Bowls for food and water. Check. The same litter and food I’ve become used to. Check. So far so good. The new owners looked okay too, but time would tell. Then my former owner left, and I was on my own with these two strangers.

There was a lot of petting and belly-rubbing (my former owner showed the new ones just how I liked it), and that was good. When it got dark out, I found a comfortable hiding place in their master closet. My owners, satisfied that I was all set, I presume, went to bed. Once it was dark, I suddenly realized I missed my former owner, home, and even those two other cats. I left the closet and wandered around the house making all kinds of mournful sounds. I didn’t want my new owners to think that I could just be transferred over to new people and a new home without any objections! I know I kept them awake most of the night.

But here’s the remarkable part: I carried on like this for only one night. I found out that one or both of them were home most of the time, and when they were home, they petted me and talked to me, cleaned my litter box several times a day (and with only one me messing it up, that’s amazing), and gave me fresh food and water. They even bought me some toys to play with. And about a week later, when I decided to climb up into bed with them, they  made room for me—squeezing themselves into two-thirds of a queen-size bed—and gave me much love and affection. I think I’m in heaven…cat heaven, that is, which is very different from human heaven.

Now it’s been 4 months, and I like it here. There are a few weird things, like the way my female owner calls me all these silly names, like Little One, Kitten Caboodle, Sweetie Pie, and Sweet Baby. It’s that last one I can’t figure out. Doesn’t she know I’m almost 11 years old? But she means well. And she does pet me and let me rest my paw and head on her arm (which must surely go numb after all that time) when we nap or go to bed at night. She also is diligent about scooping the litter box and providing fresh food and water.

Sometimes I like to shake things up a bit!

Sometimes I like to shake things up a bit!

The male owner is good to me too, but most of the time I hear him complaining to her that he’s only chopped liver when she’s around. (Chopped liver sounds pretty good. Maybe they’ll feed me that too.) He also is the one to ambush me and force me into the carrier when we go to my new vet. I know it’s necessary, but I still hate it. They also get together to put drops in my ears at night. I struggled at first, then hid under the bed, but now I realize that it doesn’t hurt, so I sit still while he holds me and she squeezes the medicine into each ear. See? Another reason I’m so remarkable!

I do get into trouble once in a while. I’m not supposed to climb onto dressers, nightstands, and the kitchen table. But I still try.

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