On the first day of my freshman year of college, we boys were made to gather in the common room of our all-freshman-male dormitory, where the head resident informed us that the building we were occupying was so old and had such a cranky sprinkler system that if one of us 18 year olds suddenly caused the system to “go off,” as we were prone to do, the jets of water bursting forth from the sprinklers would “drive a hole right through your hand.”
Several among us suffered from mild paranoia and now had to worry that, in the event of a fire, they'd get their very own stigmata. Psychoanalysis might have helped these friends, but there weren’t many “providers” working in the bleakness of Canton, NY in those days, so they opted to numb themselves in the Hoot Owl bar.
At some point I realized it was absurd that my tuition dollars were paying for me to live in a dormitory equipped with a deadly sprinkler system, so I left for a college that had no on-campus housing for me, and therefore no sprinkler system. And I’m so glad I did, because you can’t be injured by sprinklers if your abode isn’t equipped with them.
My current sprinkler-free home is equipped with the very fanciest hard-wired and interconnected system of smoke and CO alarms, which of course means that it is certain to fail now and again. And when it fails, it does so with great gusto, blaring out piercing sirens at 4 in the morning that have terrorized my children. More than once my adrenal glands have emptied their cache of hormones into my bloodstream, nearly causing me a myocardial infarction. This, with no smoke and no CO. “First Alert” is the wrong brand name for these devices. “Cardiac Arrest” is more apt. After several episodes of false alarms, I had no choice but to disconnect several hard-wired units and opt for old-fashioned, battery-operated devices instead.
In the future, we’ll have a robot who will not only vacuum our rooms, cook our meals, and drive our cars, but will also alert us to CO buildup in the surrounding atmosphere. Until then, I’m going low-tech.
My friend Tim broke his pelvis a few years ago, when he was in his mid-late-70s. We had been playing bocce and he just twisted the wrong way and…snap! That’s what happens when you’re in your mid-late-70s.
Actually, he was in his very late 40s. Like, he was about a week away from turning 50. Or maybe he had already turned 50 but was just days away from his 50th birthday party. Anyway, he fell off his bike and broke his pelvis, and naturally I was called. That’s very common in my world: whenever someone breaks his or her pelvis, I immediately get a call.
So I go rushing to Tim’s side, and as we wait for the medics, I tell him: “You got on your bike and rode it around. Look, you knew what you were getting into.” And he chuckled.
Then, as always happens, his chuckle caused a snort, and the snort sounded funny so his wife Noelle and I started laughing, and the laughing made us laugh more, and before you knew it Noelle and I and the two just-arrived medics were on the ground, doubled-over, seized with uncontrollable laughter to the point of embarrassment over the exceedingly silly comment-snort-guffaw continuum. Meanwhile, Tim was writhing in pain from a bona ride fractured pelvis.
If I had only managed to get a selfie, the juxtaposition of us laughers beside our comrade in pain would have made some seriously good art.
Am I seriously thinking about getting my family a vacation in North Korea before the next war shuts the place down permanently? No. But let me tell you a secret: if we did visit the land of Jim Kong Hun, I’d definitely want to visit his new restaurant and get a sampling of some of the vittles the portly dictator has a hankering to be fixin’.
I’m told he does the cooking himself!
Jim Kong Hun Running Through The Dinner Menu with His Sous-chefs
What’s most exciting is being able to engage him in a conversation when the meal is done, as I heard he can be rather affable and is only too happy to come out and talk about how he prepared each dish. Needless to say, questions are limited to dishes ordered and cannot veer into politics. (I may test that theory if/when we visit North Korea.) Yelp users say that although he comes across sometimes as a brusque blowhard when he is reading prepared statements on state media, he actually has a really kind and gentle demeanor when he dons his chef coat. Just don’t piss him off.
I'm most interested in the velvety, chocolatey, gooey dessert that he calls “The Atomic Bomb.” (The menu states, “Must Try!”)
It drives me crazy that I can only semi-automatically text using my smartphone. How can it be 2017 when there is this kind of restriction? You’d think that in a free country I’d be able to fire off texts as quickly as I’d like. The kind of 21st century America I was told to expect (in my previous life) is one that gives its citizens the means to let texts fly in rapid fire succession whenever they damn-well please. But wait a minute: you almost never have anything important to say!
That’s probably true.
And still, that way of thinking assumes that informing my spouse about the ripeness of our avocados, the status of my commute, and how many scoops of ice cream the kids ordered for dessert are trivialities. And whatever else I’m thinking.
In the next few weeks, I’m planning to go fully automatic by way of attaching blue tooth-enabled probes to my head and hacking into my phone such that my conscious and semi-conscious thoughts are streamed to everyone in my contacts list automatically. It’ll be a Cat-5 text storm. I want to inflict maximum texting damage. You’re going to be swept downstream by my flood of texts. But don’t worry, if the text flood is too overwhelming I’ll throw a bunch of rolls of paper towels out to you so you can sop-up the flood.
Looking for additional storm-related texting metaphors, so send if you got ‘em.