So, I was surfing around the blogosphere and found a host of creative writing sites. Many of them will give you daily or weekly “prompts “ to jump start your writing process. A word. An idea. A sentence. Something to exercise that imagination muscle and get you going. Think of it as a personal trainer, a Peloton for the mind if you will. “C’mon, you can do this! Almost there, go!!!” Being the lazy slug that I am, I need a push, so I’m trying. Writing has always been something I’ve done. It gives me a sense of satisfaction. Something tangible that I can look to and say yeah I did that. A nice turn of phrase, a piece of dialogue or description, a clever metaphor, all make me inwardly smile. Anyway, one such blog prompted its followers to write a piece, prose or poem, containing the word “element” and to make it exactly 47 words. Why 47? Why not? So here’s my take. Challenge accepted!
For a renowned Kvetch I guess I’m a big mushy boy at heart.
So, six of Dr Seuss’s books have been taken off the market. They were written over fifty years ago and they contain images that are no longer acceptable. It was a different time. We are now more enlightened (pan to the footage of the Capital riots and the ignorant masses screaming obscenities, insults, and racial slurs). Yeah right! But I do get it, even though the thought of book banning leads me to thoughts of book burning I understand the hurt and stereotypes these things can foster. It might reinforce the bigotry that exists by seeping into impressionable minds at a young age.
I thought I would update some classic Dr Seuss titles to be more inline with the world today. I’m sure others have done similar things but what the hell, let me have a whack at it (can you still say whack?).
And to Think Zillow sold it on Mulberry Street
If I Ran the Zoom
Cop on Pop!!
One Vote, Two Vote, Red Vote, Blue Vote
Cage Free Eggs and Plant Based Ham
Oh, The Places You’ll No Longer Go
Donald J Trump, Will You Please Go Now?
The 500 MAGA Hats.
On Beyond Zebra Meat
How The Grinch Stole The Holiday Season
Fox In News Sucks
The Foot In Mouth Book
Horton Hears a Q
The Cat in the Hat: Scam, Hack
Yertle the Mitch McConnell Turtle
You’re Only Old Once—get $20 off your next prescription for Viagra.
The Lorax Died Due to Climate Change
Dr Seuss’s Hepatitis ABC
Please feel free to add your own. The Dr is always in, well at least for today, who knows about tomorrow.
The distant jangling of
a wind blown mobile of crystal chips
The muted mental spark
Like a grasp of snowflakes
a momentary touch
melts and runs
So, I received my second Covid shot two weeks ago. I’m good to go! I’m feeling much calmer even as I adhere to Covid protocols. I’m still wearing a mask, still socially distancing, and still berating those who do not. C’mon, it’s been a stinking year, get with the fucking program. For those who have not gotten inoculated yet let me share the joy. I received the Moderna vaccine at my local hospital. I am doubly eligible being both over 65 and in the medical field. Oh, so now you know how old I am. That’s why he’s such a curmudgeon, I heard you say. The first shot was fine just a little arm tenderness much like a regular flu shot. The second dose, four weeks later, well let’s just say, not so much. It took about eight hours for symptoms to appear and then about twenty one hours to disappear, during which time I slept almost exclusively. I had a fever of about 101F. After that, boom, no ill effects.
Now we’re all worried about the Covid variants that are spreading. Okay, so I got my shots and now I’m being told I might need a booster. The pharmaceutical companies are working on vaccines for these variants. I guess I should be relieved that they’re staying on top of this disease but I can’t help wondering with all the holes these jabs are giving me whether I’ll whistle when I run. The experts also say that the vaccine might need to be administered yearly just like the flu shot. Talk about renewing revenue. They simply don’t know enough yet. As they say, time will tell and let’s just hope that we all don’t grow tails as a side effect ten years from now. They’ll hopefully have a vaccine for that too.
Okay it’s official, I am soooo over this winter! One snowstorm after another has not only weighed down the tree limbs staring back at me through my double paned windows but also my mood (which, depending on who you ask can be double too—can you say bipolar?). Stuck inside the house, unwilling to brave the weather and roads I might as well be quarantined and . . .oh, yeah that! Well, I’m not exactly quarantining since I’ve received both my Covid shots but having to deal with being snowed in still sucks. Hey, even the DoorDash guy can’t get to my un-shoveled door.
Now there are those people who just love the cold. I think they call them skiers. Oh I would so rather it be cold than hot and sticky, they would say. You can always put on more layers, they say. I hate being clammy and I get so tired, they say. It’s so beautiful after it snows. Pristine, clean, and brisk. I feel so alive. Well, I say that when it’s hot at least my fingers don’t crack open and bleed. I’m not wearing multi bandaids like a manicure from Hell’s Nail Salon. I don’t lose power when those snow laden tree limbs fall on my power lines. I don’t slip on the fucking ice while taking the dog out to do his business. The beautiful pristine snow quickly turns into gray slush and icicles hang from gutters like long glistening daggers just waiting to fall and impale the unlucky plow guy. Oh, and that “I feel so alive” feeling? Cadavers are cold. You turn blue when you die. Why? Because your inner pilot light has gone out. Too harsh? Too cold?
In thinking about it, I guess if we have to have a miserably cold and snowy winter this just might be the year. It’s not like we’re going anywhere or doing anything anyway. So, throw another log into the fireplace, pull your robe tightly over your sweat clothes and bask in the warmth and knowledge that the mountains of snow will probably be gone by July.
snow holds me hostage
as much as fear
falling as a manifestation
of the unseen death
burst into reality
filling in the negative spaces
giving heft to the nano
a mask to the invisible.
In light of his current career meltdown due to, well let’s just say an unfortunate choice of words (no, let’s say mind bendingly racist, ignorant, and just so fucking stupid that I even hesitated to give him any airtime here choice of words), country singer Morgan Wallen’s record company has decided to change the title of his current album from “Dangerous: The Double Album” to simply “The White Album.” Spokesman for the company, Ray Cyst, said the decision was a marketing one in hopes of more accurately targeting the musician’s fan base. Mr Cyst did however express concerns that in removing the “Double Album” description from the title fans might be confused. “Hey, numbers is hard, y’all. Math is like a different language and here in Merica we speak Merican,” he said.
So, a little over two years ago my son got married. It was a small wedding, just the immediate family. This was pre-Covid but the thought of hosting the usual wedding bash with hundreds of people, many of who you see only at life-event affairs (hey, thanks for coming Uncle Murray, see you at the next funeral), not to mention the stress level (oops, just did) was unappealing to my kid. So, the happy couple opted for a scaled down version thus foreshadowing the social distancing we’re all doing today. Always cutting edge that kid of mine. Anyway, after the ceremony, which was held on a secluded stretch of beach on Cape Cod (that’s in Massachusetts, for all my international readers) all twelve of us (and yeah, I know, even a bagel shop gives you one free with twelve, sorry again Uncle Murray) had a lovely dinner at our favorite restaurant, which had been reserved just for this occasion.
I thought I would share with you part of the speech I made that night. You see, some fathers and sons talk about sports (and we do sometimes) but mostly he and I talk about the stock market. We both invest in and trade stocks. Many of our text conversations consist of nothing but a string of stock symbols, punctuated by an appropriate emoji (👍🔥💰💩) depending on the stocks movement or lack there of. So I decided to use this odd nomenclature to speak to that wonderful day. I asked everyone to take out their phones and I texted them the following, which I said if read correctly would reflect both the happiness of the day and a bit of advice. Now remember, these are all stock symbols.
And there you have it, a bit of fatherly wisdom dressed up in a palatable form so as not to be seen as cheesy or preachy. I’m not sure Murray would have gotten it.
So, for Chanukah my kids bought me some Lululemon workout clothes. Very nice. Very generous. Very tight. Ya see, I’ve been trying to lose some of the Covid-stay-at-home-and-eat-anything-I-want-because-dammit-I-deserve-it weight. I’m using the Peloton App and while the idea of wearing $150 joggers and sweatshirts to exercise in might seem appropriate if I was actually going to a real gym, I am not. Is anyone these days? No, I use my own treadmill in my own house and don’t really feel the need to impress my dog with my athleisure fashion sense. Pajamas or well worn sweats from Lands End will do just fine, thank you. No one is looking.
So, I took my gifts, donned my mask, and braved the mall to return or exchange my superhero spandex costume. Cue the gravelly baritone—“I’m Fatman!”
Lululemon is a shangri-la of young beautiful bodies, ahh, I mean people, all wearing revealing and very clingy clothing designed to make you—you, being probably half my age—want to work out or at least give the impression that you *do* workout. Let me just say that the staff of young women were absolutely lovely and helpful in every way. When I explained why I was returning the clothes they nodded, smiled knowingly, and explained that this happens very frequently with older people who receive gifts from their well intentioned children.
So, I exchanged my merchandise for some more forgiving clothes and left happy. Let me tell you, though, that standing in the changing room with a full mirror, after negotiating the sales floor of youth, was humbling. I know I’m not the demographic for this brand but the awareness of my age, the awareness of my contours (convex not concave) and the knowledge that I’m shaped more like the lemon in Lululemon, well, it makes me want to workout. So, yeah, I guess it works anyway.