SHTICKS OF ONE AND HALF-A-DOZEN OF THE OTHER…CAP’N JOHN FOR PRES

President Teddy Roosevelt, at his desk in the Oval Office, reading a press release

Back in the mid-80s, I was living on the south side of the great city of Chicago, in what has been known for years in the Windy city as the “Back of the Yards” neighborhood, and managing a medium sized steel warehouse not far from there, up on 35th and Pulaski; I had moved into the city, rather than commute every day, as I had been doing for a number of years, after I got divorced from Bubona, the evil, conniving Goddess of Cattle and perpetual tormentor of yours truly. (I think it was the comedian Gallagher who once said that “there’s no such thing as an un-contested divorce…somebody’s pissed”. Ours wasn’t uncontested.)

About a year after Bu and I went our separate ways, I got a call from her kid brother, whose name was Alfred, although everyone had called him “Shithead”, er, sorry, “Skip” ever since he was a baby; at the time of this incident, he was not quite 19.

I had extended an invitation to him to stay with me for a time, during a period when he and my ex-in-laws were battling over, at any given time, either his lack of a job, his hair, his attitude, his friends, his music, his shish-kabob, his pet tortoise Heloise or whatever; Skip was fundamentally a good kid, and when I volunteered to take him in and get him a job at the steel warehouse, my offer was, despite being the hated “ex-husband“, accepted by all with great relief.

So young Skip came to stay/work with me, and I’m happy to say that I believe I contributed mightily to making him the total failure he is today. (Hey, it’s a gift, you know.)

We were sitting in my living room one evening, after he had been staying with me for about a month, dinner eaten and dishes done, watching TV, when an ad came on soliciting funds for research into finding a cure for the devastating childhood disease, spina bifida. The Grasshopper turned to his older mentor and asked, what’s spina bifida?

It’s a disease of the spinal cord, I replied, being the “older mentor” in this instance.

Weird name, he said.

Yeah, I replied, it was named for the guy who first identified the disease, Dr. Biff Kadootie.

Now one thing Skip knew about me, despite his youth and inexperience, was that I occasionally “finagled” the truth a bit…

Yeah, I repeated, Biff Kadootie, Spina Bifida.

He looked at me with suspicious eyes and asked…you sure?

Yeah, absolutely certain, I said. Hey, they sure weren’t going to call it Spina Kadootie, were they?

I have always thought, since that day, that the denouement in this instance was pretty funny. So much for being a mentor and teacher.

And thus were the seeds of good Cap’n John planted in fertile soil and allowed to grow to immaturity.

Speaking of “teaching”, one thing I have learned, being a major party candidate for President, is that there’s always more info you need and/or should assimilate into your thinking as you run for the highest office in our country.

That’s right, radiator fans, the Cap’n John for President 2020 campaign is running full-speed ahead, and gaining momentum and supporters at a furious clip…all three of them.

My campaign manager, or “camman” as I like to call him, Mack DeKnife, has assembled a top-notch staff, with a number of politically savvy men and women as Department Heads, to focus on certain aspects of the campaign and to keep me abreast of news/developments in their area of concern; I get reports regularly.

And unlike our current President, I actually read them…of course, I don’t pretend to know everything, like some Presidents.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you folks some of the reports that I have received from the various persons on our staff recently…

~From the Midgets Aren’t The Only Thing Vertically Challenged Department, it was recently learned by my crack team that the highest point in Florida is the town of Britton Hill, which is 345 feet above sea-level, or about one REALLY big tsunami wave away from being the only spot in the Sunshine State that you don’t need snorkel gear to visit.

And isn’t “snorkel” a great word?

~From the When We Pray To An “Imaginary Friend” It Won’t Be To Your Heathen God Department… according to an Associated Press article on 4/2/19, several legislators from the great state of North Dakota recently abstained from participating in a pre-session prayer that was offered by Mr. Rajan Zed, a visiting cleric from the Universal Society of Hinduism in Nevada, “marking the second time in recent years that some GOP representatives have objected to an invocation from a non-Christian”.

Really? Are you kidding me? Really? You mean to say that only Christians are allowed to have an imaginary friend, and that all the other equally confused religions can go pound sand?

~From the If Publix Ever Enforces A Minimum IQ Requirement They’ll Lose Half Of Their Employees Department, comes this news. According to one of our FEC’s (Publix corporate jargon…Front End Coordinator) who will remain nameless here, on a day when we were short-handed in Customer Service at the Publix Supermarket store where I work part-time as a Front Service Clerk (more jargon…I’m a bagger), we were expecting several cashiers to come into work in the next few hours, thus alleviating the personpower shortage we were experiencing. The FEC involved, a nice lady who has over-stayed her time with the company by a factor of “a bunch” (she’s 75 and getting squirelly), mentioned to me that Alice, Fern (the names have been changed to protect the foolish) and Payola were due into work soon.

Who, I asked her, thinking I hadn’t heard her correctly.

Payola.

Okay, now the term “payola”, as many of you will remember, refers to a scandal that involved record companies making payoffs to certain well-known disc-jockies/radio stations back in the late 1950s to ensure their records got increased on-air playing time…I was pretty sure this wasn’t what she was talking about, although it was possible, given the individual involved.

I glanced down at the schedule she was holding, and then it dawned on me…we have a sweet nice lady from Peru who works as a cashier at our store, a wonderful lady who smiles all the time and with whom it is a genuine pleasure to work.

Her name is Paola. (And for those of you who don’t have the benefit of 3-1/2 years of HS Spanish as I have, the word is pronounced POW-la.)

This could easily be the explanation for why some species eat their young.

~From the I’m So Old, When I Was In School We Didn’t Have History Department…I was watching another of those re-runs of America’s Funniest Home Videos on YouTube the other evening, of some boys and girls playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey at a kid’s birthday party, and it struck me that, given how long ago it was that I was young (I started to write “a kid” rather than “when I was young” but I’m still pretty much, even today at the ripe old age of old, an overgrown kid) that if that had been myself and my contemporaries portrayed in the video, that we would have been playing Pin The Tail On The Dinosaur.

~From the I Assume Trojans Are The Official Condom Department…it was announced on numerous occasions during the television broadcasts of the preliminary rounds of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that Wendy’s is the Official Hamburger of the NCAA Tournament. It must be noted here that MLS, being mostly sissy vegetarians, vegans or some other Commie Pinko nonsense like that, has no Official Hamburger…they do however, have an Official Tofu of the MLS, but I can’t recall the name of the company right now.

And last, from the Pictures of Adorable Animals Department, which has nothing to do whatsoever with my campaign for President, comes this pic (see below), taken of one of my kitty buddies that I feed all the time that live on the abandoned golf-course out behind my apartment complex; I was standing in my living room, looking out my window, when I saw him/her.

The Photography Gods were good to me that morning…sadly, if I was in the North Dakota Legislature, I wouldn’t be able to offer a prayer of thanks to them out loud.

Love and sound bites,

Cap’n John

GROCERY STORE ETIQUETTE

This week’s post will serve as a “sort-of” PSA…my hope is that any person who is guilty of any/all of the following and who reads these words will be so overcome with remorse and shame at their actions that they’ll cut it the fork out immediately, thereby making the grocery shopping experience for the rest of us a MUCH more pleasant undertaking than it is currently.

Because if this shit continues, people, legislation will be introduced in Congress to recognize and address this problem, and arrest, convict and severely punish the above-said abusers.

In other words, if the bill passes, you get caught doing this crap, you’ll get your peenie whacked.

As many of you already know, my other gig, when I’m not functioning as the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding, is working part-time as a Front Service Clerk for a Publix Supermarket store here in Florida (Publix jargon translation…an FSC is more commonly known as a “bagger”), and as such, get a first-hand and up-close view of all the things you see on the list below.

Once again, as is often the case these days, an article on the ‘Net caught my eye the other day…”13 Rude Things You Need To Stop Doing At The Grocery Store”. The Rude 13 were determined by a poll taken by Treadmill Reviews, whoever the hell they are. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/foodnews/13-rude-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-at-the-grocery-store/ss-BBTBKSU?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout#image=13)

Let me just dive right in, whatta’ say?

1st Rude Thing-Leaving your cart in the parking lot

                Now as “rude things” go, this one is low on the totem pole of offensiveness…I mean, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t put your cart in the outside “corral” or push it back inside the store, but the newer carts being used in today’s modern grocery store are some kind of plasticized metal of some mysterious chemical origin (in its liquid form, one slight change in the formula and instead of “plamet” you get a high-quality floor-wax remover) and as such are really, really light and on a windy day blow all over the parking lot, smacking in to other’s peoples vehicles and denting the shit outta’ them. Me, I drive a 30-year old Yugo, so I’m not real concerned about dings, but for the guy/gal with last year’s 510 Beemer, that sucks. 72% of respondents thought this was a shitty thing to do and want the offenders drawn and quartered. (Rude asshat rating=5 Anuses)

2nd Rude Thing-Leaving your cart in the checkout line while you go grab another item

                Sure, the entire world revolves around you, so certainly, park your cart so your spot in line is assured and then make the mad dash ALL the way back to the Produce Department to get a strawberry/kumquat/broccoli kombucha. Hey, no problem…you wanna’ stop in Frozen Foods and pick up a turkey roll on your way through? (I had a customer ask me if we carried “frozen turkey roll” the other day…yeah. I checked on that one with three other employees, including the Grocery Manager, none of whom had ever heard of it either. I went back to the lady and told her that if the damn things can’t fly, they probably can’t roll either and to forget it.) This offense should net those convicted of doing this a life sentence to hard labor picking Grown In Idaho© potatoes by hand. (Rude asshat rating=6.5 Anuses.)

3rd Rude Thing-Leaving the checkout line while your groceries are being scanned (for another item)

                See “2nd Rude Thing” above. At Publix, we can scan your order, bag it, “save” it in the computer and put it aside, allowing us to move on to the other customers in line while you’re out roaming the store looking for organic dingleberries. (Rude asshat rating=7 Anuses)

4th Rude Thing-Blocking the aisle with your cart

                Geez, give us all a break…move the fuck over. (These people who “aisle-hog” are the same assholes who get in front of you in the far left-hand lane on the highway and then drive 10 MPH below the speed limit.) Once again, yes, Mr./Ms. Self-Absorbed, YOU are the center of the universe, and the rest of us mere tokens in the ongoing drama of YOUR LIFE. Should be punishable by 10 years in prison/39 lashes. (Rude asshat rating=7.5 Anuses)

5th Rude Thing-Cutting the line

                This is serious offense just begging for a severe peenie-whacking…sure, you can walk up behind/on the side of the cash register and ask the cashier if he/she will ring your newspaper/candy bar/condom, thereby avoiding that boring, plebian task of waiting your turn with the rest of us in line in front of the register, hey, no problem. WTF, are you kidding me? (This happens a lot, and of course I’m standing at the end of the register so I see/hear the whole thing…I tell people, sure, no problem, you can cut in but there’s a special “Line-Cutters” fee of five bucks applied to your order. Then I just wink at them.) (Rude asshat rating=8 Anuses)

6th Rude Thing-Encroaching on anyone else’s personal space in line

                I do so roundly hate this…back up. (I love being tail-gated as well.) And as an adjunct to this Rude Thing, People talking on cell-phones while waiting in line. Hey, Ms. Oblivious, none of us want to listen to you rant at the top of your voice about your boyfriend or your boss to your BFF. Send her a text and STFU. If convicted, 10 years, solitary…you can crowd all the people in your cell as much as you want. (Rude asshat rating=8.5 Anuses)

7th Rude Thing-Gaming the Express Lane

                This is so thoughtless. Okay, granted, it’s not on a par with say, murder or armed robbery or llama defiling, but it sooooo sends the message to the other shoppers behind you that, well, gee, OF COURSE I can have 15 items in the “10 Items Or Less” lane, I’M SPECIAL. And WAY better than the rest of you misbegotten cretins. 20 years/loss of a limb. (Rude asshat rating=7 Anuses)

8th Rude Thing-Letting your kids misbehave

                By show of hands, besides me, how many of you would be in favor of making this a capital offense for the parents of the unruly children, punishable by life imprisonment and/or a full frontal lobotomy? And I love kids, truly, and it breaks my heart to see these little anarchists acting out, knowing that what I’m really seeing is the next Ted Bundy or Donald Trump. My mother came from the “Ralph Cramden School Of Discipline”…right to the moon I would have gone had I acted like that in public, or Publix, for that matter. (Insert winky face here.) (Rude asshat rating=8 Anuses)

9th Rude Thing-Not putting perishables you no longer want back where they belong

                I.e., sure, we always keep packages of calf’s liver on top of the cake mixes…keeps better that way, gives it an “aged” flavor. (I accidentally spelled it “batter” rather than “better” and when I noticed, I thought, yeah, cake mixes, makes sense.) Come on, people, put the shit back, or at least give it to the cashier when you’re checking out and we’ll put it back where it goes. What, are you ignorant? Should receive a 10 year sentence if convicted, to be served in a meat locker in Siberia. (Rude asshat rating=7.5 Anuses)

10th Rude Thing-Not putting non-perishables you no longer want back where they belong

                See 9th Rude Thing above. Geez.

11th Rude Thing-Sampling food (other than actual samples)

                It’s just a couple of grapes, right? Or a strawberry or two? Tell you what, multiply “a couple of grapes/a few strawberries” times a few thousand people every day walking through a particular grocery store times ALL the supermarkets in the country and then complain to me that food prices are too high. You want it? Then pay for it. Lock’em up. (Rude asshat rating=6 Anuses)

12th Rude Thing-Helping yourself to your haul before paying

                This doesn’t strike me as the crime of the century but, okay, it is kinda’ gross. I mean, you can’t wait until you get home to start stuffing your face? Give the rest of us a break, can you? Misdemeanor offense, 60 days or $60 bajillion. (Rude asshat rating=5.5 Anuses)

13th Rude Thing-Being a complete asshat at any time

                Hey, do I sound like a bitter old man? Well, what do you expect from someone who is old, lonely, depressed, old, sad, cynical, old, bitter and old but who possesses a sparkling personality and devastating good looks?

So I guess the moral of this story should be, don’t be a dick, at the grocery store or for that matter any place…nobody likes a dick. Well, okay, there was Pat Nixon, but other than that…

Love and civility, something that is severely lacking in our society today,

Cap’n John

THOUGHTS ON THE BLOGGER AS AUTHOR

(This is for my buddy Katrina, a sweet lady and a good boss…she got me thinking about “writing” the other day.)

It occurs to me that, as a writer, I’d make a fine truck driver.

Unlike a lot of my fellow bloggers who are wannabe authors (at least I suspect this is the case), there’s no epic novel percolating around in the back of my fevered brain, no saga of the open plains with strutting cowboys, voluptuous cowgirls and large, smelly animals, no hard-boiled noir detective drama involving a stolen diamond, a beautiful women and a cadre of vertically-challenged pursuers (previously known, prior to the advent of being “PC”, as midgets), no sci-fi tale of three-legged, chartreuse striped space aliens from the planet Rgh6%kkTl3.ty22 blasting their way across the outer rings of the Clystron Nebulae with synthesized, gamma ray-generating 56mm harmonizing laser cannons, intent on mayhem and dominance of the Ford Galaxy, no meaningful yet melancholy tale of two sisters on a journey of self-discovery as they search for their long-lost Uncle Clarence in the Outback of Australia or for that matter even a tale of love lost and/or love unrequited with repeated scenes between two people deep in the throes of serious lust, copulating on a bearskin rug like two minks run amok…sorry, there just isn’t any of that in my mind anywhere.

Good thing too; there’s enough silly shit going in there already that I don’t need all the distractions. 

Once upon a time, I considered authorship, and still do periodically, but after due and careful (and brief) consideration, I reached a conclusion…see the second paragraph above.

I do try to be a good story-teller however, which to my way of thinking is a fine quality for which to strive…a well-told story is like a beautiful, sexy woman, something to admire, to cherish, to return to over and over again, that makes you feel satisfied and content with the world.

Problem for me, I just have a hard time being serious for any extended length of time, say more than 10 seconds at a crack.

Some examples of beginnings to “books” that I’ve contemplated over the years…

~ “She was a tall woman, supple and slender yet possessed of an inner strength that shone through to the people she met like a beacon from a lighthouse, at once a guiding light to the safe harbors of who she was and a warning of dangers concealed in the darkness. She walked through life with a calm that was reassuring to others, and she made you feel like she knew intrinsically the secrets that the rest of us could only dimly perceive. Her face was open and inviting; she had long, chestnut hair and eyes deep and blue, except for the one in the middle of her forehead, which was the shade of seafoam made by waves rushing across the sandy shore.”

Or this one…

~ “There was never a moment in Albert’s life when he wasn’t aware of the passing of time; he lived and died a thousand deaths in the minutes and seconds of each hour, each sixty minute block an agony of anxiety. Time passed too swiftly for him, too rapidly to grasp, to arrest somehow, to stop the ceaseless ticking of the eternal clock, to bring to an abrupt halt for just a brief respite its relentless passage. Albert also knew that butterbeans were evil, and that he would never have enough Saran Wrap to finish the snare drum project.”

Here’s a non-starter…

` “There was no one there the spring day that Sheila decided to change her life around; it was a solitary decision, after much deliberation and careful thought. She was a careful and thoughtful woman, the kind of person who only took a step down off the curb after she had looked both ways twice, thus ensuring her safety. So it was only in keeping with her nature that she had finally, resolutely, made up her mind to shave her pet gerbil Constance; the weather was warming now and Connie would no longer need the comfort of hair, and she felt that possessing a naked gerbil would her bring the celebrity and fame that she so craved.”

See what I mean?

Here’s another…

~ “Rocky peered up at the Lieutenant from his perch on the fo’c’sle, his legs dangling over the side of the ship where he had been sitting, staring out at the whitecaps on the ocean.

“Hey, Lieutenant”, he said in greeting.

“How long have you been sitting here, sailor?” the Lieutenant asked.

“Ever since I got off mid-watch, sir”.

“Thinking of that girl, what was her name, back in Singapore?”

“Bronwyn. Yeah, I was,” Rocky sighed, taking a deep breath and letting it out all at once in resignation. “At least, I was at first. Then I started thinking about what I would get if I crossed a gazelle with a can of peas; I can’t decide if it would be a really fast legume or a really small green bovidae.”

“Well,” said the Lieutenant in reply, “you’d need an enlarged thistleclanger and three vertical kanooten valves to do that, wouldn’t you?”

“Only if you didn’t want a simulated glacker.”

It’s hopeless…Hemingway or Dickens or Steinbeck or any of those other Greek guys will never be threatened by me. Shit, Harvey the Zealous Wombat would probably have better luck writing a serious novel than I’ll ever have.

I am verklempt. (To all my Jewish readers, my apologies for the unauthorized usage of a Yiddish word by a person not of the Jewish persuasion…it is a really good word, like gerbil or gonorrhea. And I think the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” would be a lot more interesting if you substituted the word “gonorrhea” for the word “hallelujah”. Just in time for the holiday season.)

Oh well, it’s probably for the best; if I wrote a really deep-with-meaning serious novel, with my crappy luck it would become an instant best-seller, receive nothing but rave reviews, sell millions of copies and make me a gazillion dollars, causing me to become rich, pretentious asshole. I suppose it’s better that I should stay a struggling pretentious asshole who writes a silly but devastatingly funny blog about shaving gerbils, finding iguanas in your toilet and being abducted by space alien sluts.

I’m pretty sure that’s how Stephen King got started, wasn’t it?

Love and The Grapes Of Wrath,

Cap’n John

Post Script…One of my fellow Front Service Clerks at Publix, where I work part-time, was walking around the store one day last week all smiles and happy, like he had won the blueberry pie Lotto at a Marie Callendar’s restaurant; his name is Ed, and recently when I heard a customer call him “Mr. Ed”, all I could think of “Oh, Wiiilllburrr.” Anyway, I said to him, hey buddy, what’s up with all the grins and cheerful? Oh, he says, I just finished a really tough jigsaw puzzle yesterday. Uh, okay, I rejoined, perplexed. Yeah, he goes on, it said 2 to 9 years on the box lid, and it only took me 6 months to do it.”

(Insert rim-shot here.)

Post Post Script…you guys should be proud of me; I didn’t use the word “fuck” once in this entire column. Except for just now, thereby ruining my perfect record.

Shit.

STEVEN AND ERIC AND ME

Two points I need to make here at the outset: one, unlike my usual posts, there will be no attempts at levity or humor today. Two, there is no moral to this story, no “teaching moment” as it were.

Maybe the only message here is that of hope…as Mr. Shakespeare once said, “The miserable have no other medicine but only hope”.

As you may recall, for the last 2-1/2 years I’ve been working part-time for Florida’s largest grocery chain, Publix Supermarkets, as a Front Service Clerk, a bit of Publixese for, as comedian Bill Engvall puts it, Bobby the Bagger. And it was at my job week before last when the following occurred.

I was sitting in the break/conference room upstairs off the sales floor, answering some texts and perusing the Internet news on my cellphone, when my buddy and fellow Publix toiler Eric strolled in, lunch bag in hand and a smile on his face. Eric works as a stock clerk in the Grocery department, and although we don’t work directly together, our paths cross frequently and in doing so, we have found that affinity that so often obtains between two human beings that is at once indefinable yet very real. We fist-bump a lot, laugh often and like each other a great deal.

He is a good man.

He put his bag down on the table to my right, went and threw something in the microwave and then sat down next to me. We started talking about the local NFL representatives, the Tampa Bay Sucs, as I call them, and as we bemoaned the current status of the team (lousy) and their staring QB Jameis Winston (even lousier), another of our brother Publixians, Steven, a fellow bagger, walked in and joined us at the table.

The three of us sat in studied conversation, berating the Buccaneers and speculating on the fate of the team and other topics for about twenty minutes, and then I had to get back to work. It was a pleasant interlude in another mundane day of selling groceries to the denizens of New Port Richey FL.

My day was shattered however, when I got home and learned of the killings at the Tree of Hope Synagogue in Pittsburgh; like so many, I was sickened and dismayed at the story of the senseless carnage that some nutcase asshole named Robert Bowers had inflicted on that congregation and community. I know I am no different from most decent folks who experience the frustration and anger that these ongoing random attacks generate. It’s the feeling of helplessness that I think is most disheartening.

As I was making dinner a bit later that evening, my break-time conversation with my two co-workers popped in my mind, and it occurred to me, as it hadn’t before, what the three of us had done that day.

Steven is about 40 and developmentally challenged; I would say that he functions about at the level of a middle-school boy. He isn’t stupid, just slow, but he tries hard and uses the skill-set he has as best he can and he’s a good guy.

He’s also a Jew.

My buddy Eric is about 50, a married man who works two jobs to support his family.

He’s also African-American.

A Jew, and black man and an old white guy sat in a common room, eating and talking and laughing and enjoying each other, and I believe I can say with no fear of repudiation that neither of these men considered the dynamics of what we were doing that day any more than I did at the time. It was only later, upon reflection, that it occurred to me.

It didn’t occur to any of us because it didn’t seem significant. And yet it was.

Steven’s religion wasn’t an issue, nor his afflictions; the color of Eric’s skin wasn’t an issue; the fact that I’m an old fart wasn’t an issue. It was just three guys shooting the shit on a Saturday afternoon during their breaks at work.

I refuse to devolve into the old 60’s hippie nonsense of love, peace and the Utopian paradise we can all get to if we only come together, right now; the world, sadly, will always be filled, to one degree or another, with animals like Robert Bowers.

But in my distress and horror over the events of that sad day, I was heartened by the presence of my two friends, as I hope they were by mine.

There’s that word again…hope.

Desmond Tutu, a black man, once said that “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”.

It occurs to me that when three ordinary people, of completely diverse backgrounds, can sit together peacefully and see past race, religion, creed, nationality, gender or whatever, and give these differences no credence, then there is hope.

I will cling to that thought, and go on with my life.

Cap’n John

THE TALE OF MY DAD AND THE BIGGER HAMMER

(Note from the Editor…I spent about an hour on-line, trying to find an old black and white photo that captured the theme of today’s post, with no luck. So I said screw it and went with a “Spring-time” pic from Cap’n John’s portfolio of photos. See above.)

I note with no particular interest that it’s that time of year again when the Hallmark holidays of Mother’s Day and of Father’s Day are almost upon us; as I’m sure you’re all aware, and for those of you who are not, Mom’s Day is Sunday, 5/13, and Dad’s Day is next month on 6/17. Wasn’t it thoughtful of President Woodrow Wilson, back in 1914, and President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to declare certain Sundays of the year as days to express some type of affection towards our Parental Units? (Can we assume that President Tweety Bird will soon issue a proclamation, declaring some date or another as “National Porn Star Day”?)

I’m deeply grateful to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Johnson for the reminders…of course, both my folks have gone on to their eternal whatever, so for me, the point is moot. But Publix is most definitely aware of the impending spring-time celebrations of the joy of parenting.

As some of you may recall, in addition to my duties as the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding, I am also employed part-time by the Publix Supermarket chain, one of the largest in the country and the dominant group of grocery stores here in Florida, as a Front Service Clerk; as I have remarked previously, this is a $200 title for a $27 job…I’m a grocery bagger. Publix, like many large corporations these days, is awash in jargon, right up to their little green name badges.

Publix gets a lot of mileage out of the fact that the company has been on the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For list for the past twenty years running, and for the most part, it is a pretty good place to work; they have their moments, but overall, I’ve had worse jobs. (I’ve worked in places where that old joke about “The beatings will continue until morale improves” was operative.)

Although I’ve never had the job, I have to think that working as a bagger for Pubics, as I like to call them, is probably a better gig than being a proctologist for Butts R’ Us.

Now as you may have noticed from time to time, I have a well-developed sense of irreverence towards, well, just about everything, now that I think about it; I can do serious, but it’s an effort. And as I further think about it, this might be genetic…keep that thought in mind as you read the rest of this story.

So my “irreverence” towards most things will not come as the surprise that the iceberg was for the crew of the Titanic to my loyal and long-suffering readers…humor is my coping mechanism. If I got my tit caught in the wringer, I’d find a way to make light of it. (And as I wrote that line, I realized for the first time ever that, given the way the old wringer-type washing machines were constructed, it was entirely possible to have that happen.)

(I have a friend who I went to high-school with who went on to become a doctor…he always said that laughter was the best medicine, except for treating diarrhea.)

Back to Pubics, and being irreverent…about a month ago, as I was standing by the time clock waiting to punch in for my shift that day, I saw a notice on our employee bulletin board that caught my attention…it was from the “Corporate Communications Department”, which is Publixese for the PR people, asking anyone who cared to do so to send them a note telling them “the best advise you ever received from your parents”, and giving an email address to use for this corporate communication.

As Gru from the Despicable Me movies would say, lightbulb.

I noted the address and when I got home from work later that afternoon, sent off an email to the CorpComm people, telling them that the best advice I had ever gotten from my parents came from my Dad, who once told me this: ”If at first you don’t succeed…get a bigger hammer.”

Several points here…one, I did this in jest, strictly to have a little fun with the PR folks. Two, my Dad never said this to me, although given his personality, it is something he might have told me. (I once asked him, in the midst of a home project with which he was having some difficulty, said difficulty causing great profane expressions to emanate from him, if I could help…I was about 10 at the time. He turned to me and said, you want to help? I nodded, and he responded bluntly, then stay out of the way. He later apologized.)

Three, I had NO friggin’ idea what was coming next, believe me.

The email, once sent, was forgotten by yours truly. Completely…I had my yucks and moved on.

So imagine my utter surprise when I opened my email inbox yesterday to find a message from Megan in the CorpComm office, to wit:

“We would like to feature your Dad’s advice in our upcoming issue of Publix News.”

After I was able to get up from the floor where I had been laughing hysterically, I continued reading Megan’s message…she requested a pic of my Dad, preferably one of both of us together, included a “photo release form” I needed to sign, told me they needed my answer by May 3 and thanked me “for sharing”. (FYI, Publix News is a monthly news magazine sent out to the stores for the greater edification and enjoyment of the employees.)

In for a penny, in for a buck three eighty-five, I thought, so I immediately went online with the devious intent to find a pic I could use…see the photo to the right. However, upon reflection, I decided that sending this picture would be taking the joke a bit too far, so I rummaged around in the large box of old photos that lives in my closet and came up with the one below, scanned it onto my PC, signed the release form and sent them both on their way.

As I explained in my response to Megan, that’s Dad on the left…I’m the one in the beret.

The old man would have been proud of my restraint, I’m sure.

And you know, I have a feeling that this isn’t the end of the story…more later.

Love and greeting cards,

Cap’n John

Post Script…if you would like to see more of Cap’n John’s photography, here’s the link to a video on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding‘s Facebook page…I hope you like them.

Go ahead…there’s no charge.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LuvCapnJohn/videos/?ref=page_internal

“CALLING DR. HOWARD, DR. FINE, DR. HOWARD…”_PART TWO

Basket swamp, hate going deduction for icicles plus divinity, cooking hydrate; luminosity gave plasma to scrapbook jump, but drivel took cavort immediately twice.

Hang on.

Okay, I think I’m all right now.

Like most dragonheads dancing hail Caesar…damn it.

(Giving my head a thorough shake)…There, that’s better…I think Dr. B might have let some of the ol’ gray matter leak out a little while ago when I was in his office and he removed “lump”; at one point while he was working above me, I heard him say “oops”, and believe me, you never want to hear someone with a razor-sharp scalpel in his hand who is doing something to the back of your head with it say “oops”. (FYI, if you don’t know about “lump”, see my post “CALLING DR. HOWARD, DR. FINE, DR. HOWARD…” from back on 3/27.)

Like most people I know, I have a list of things in life that I dislike, some of them intensely…yogurt, NBA basketball, being late, my ex-, your ex-, stepping in dog poop, hip-hop stuff (I refuse to call it music…it’s not), my ex-, Uggs, some of the assholes that shop at Publix, liver, Donald Trump, and my ex-; foremost on that list, going to the doctor.

I mean, if some person in authority comes along and says, Cap’n John, you are to be given two choices, and you must and can only pick one…Choice #1, a flaming Scud missile enema or Choice #2, going to your doctor, I’m going to need several minutes to consider the options.

I hate, hate going to the doctor.

For those of you who decided to be lazy and not go back to my earlier post for an explanation of “lump”, here a brief catch up (ketchup?)…

I had a small lump on the back of my head behind my left ear that was there for a long time and it was uglier than Mitch McConnell so I got tired of watering it to make it grow so I went to my doctor and he told me it was a sebaceous cyst and that I wouldn’t die from it but that I might turn into a Republican if I didn’t have it removed so I had it removed today and now you’re all caught up.

Wait a minute, I need to catch my breath.

I don’t know about you guys, but to me, the idea of somebody removing things from my body, especially when I’m knocked out, is not one of which I am fond.

Okay, that’s stating it mildly.

I HATE the thought of surgery; for one, how do I know I won’t need the thing that’s being removed later on? Two, it’s always painful. And three, it’s always painful. And I wasn’t crazy about the idea of having something removed from my head, which is the repository of the awesome Cap’n John brain (unlike the folks in Congress, who keep theirs in their butts, or so it seems)…I mean, a small mistake that causes a minor reduction in IQ and I’m down to the level of room temperature.

At least now I’m a couple of ounces lighter than I was, and when it comes to weight loss, I’ll take all the help I can get…so there’s that, I guess.

This is my third experience with “surgery”; I had a vasectomy forty years ago next month (and boy, now that I think about it, THERE’s a story that I need to tell), a hernia repair four years ago next month and today, a “lump” removal.

It would seem I have a penchant for having things removed/repaired from/on my body just subsequent to the vernal equinox. Like I’m a Druid or something.

First of all, I hate, hate, hate needles; I don’t even like to sew with the damn things. (Did I mention that I hate needles?) There is absolutely no fear that I will ever become a heroin user, ‘cause there’s no way in hell I’m voluntarily sticking one of those nasty fuckers in me anyplace.

So of course the festivities today, after the prelims of having my blood pressure taken, having it put back, lying down on the bench thingie, taking out my hearing aids (Dr. B: “I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU A SHOT NOW, CAP’N JOHN; NOD IF YOU HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT I JUST SAID. OKAY?”), having them put the sterile drape over the side of my head, getting all comfy, etc., had to begin with, SHIT, he poked me with that damn needle.

I swear he stuck it in, kinda’ twisted it around a few times for maximum effect, jammed it in deeper to make sure the Novacaine took good hold and then pulled it out reeeaall slooooowww, all the while laughing maniacally.

Sadist.

It took him longer to administer the shot than it did to remove “lump”…it wasn’t 10 minutes and he said, “OKAY, I’M ALL DONE, IT CAME OUT REAL EASILY. I’M GOING TO PUT A COUPLE STITCHES IN NOW, OKAY CAP’N JOHN?”

Like I was in a position to argue with him about it.

All teasing aside, although I’ve only met him twice for just a few minutes each time, Doc B seems like a pretty good guy; he has an easy-going demeanor about him, smiles a lot, tells you what you need to know straight up, no bullshit, isn’t worth a roving damn for keeping appointments on time and other than that nonsense with the needle, I’m pretty sure I could learn to like him. He did a nice job today. He even anticipated me some, because when he was all done and I had the HA’s back in place so I could hear again, I asked him if I would be able to play the piano after I was all healed up.

“Could you play before?” he responded.

“No,” I said, and we both started to laugh. (I love that joke…I pulled it on the Emergency Room nurse who was splinting my finger after I broke it playing softball a bunch of years ago, and she threatened to remove another part of my anatomy that I didn’t need to have or particularly want to have removed, without the benefit of an anesthetic.)

So now “lump” is gone, I have several stitches on the back of my head, Doc B has moved on to more important things like spleens and gallbladders and I’m now waiting with breathless anticipation to see what my part of the damages are going to be after Medicare tosses in their 10 bucks worth.

I told Doc B he could keep “lump”…I’m pretty sure I won’t be needing it anymore.

And I still can’t play the piano.

Love and forceps,

Cap’n John

Post Script…okay, I know, it’s an organ, not a piano; I got as close as I could… gimme’ a break, I just had life-threatening surgery and I’m in terrible pain. 

(Insert enormous wink of exaggeration here.)

CONTACT, AS IN SPACE, NOT PAPER

(Note From Your Cap’n: this post is dedicated to my buddy Ms. Angel, who I work with at Publix, a hard worker, a fine and decent lady and a cutie to boot…this one is for you, sweetie.) 

Today we’re going to talk about Earth, spelled with a capital “E” when using the word to refer to the planet; it is not capitalized when using the word to refer to dirt, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to bring the President into this conversation, thank you.

Planet Earth, as we all know, is the third planet from our Sun, which is a minor star that lies close to the rim of the Milky Way (that’s the galaxy, not the candy bar) in the Orion Arm. It is not known whether or not Orion has legs as well, but for the sake of this essay, it will be assumed, otherwise how could it walk, run and wear pantyhose, one of man’s most ubiquitous and consternating inventions?

(And lemme’ tell you, I think I should get points of using the words “ubiquitous” and “consternating” in the same sentence…please be impressed.)

A little info to give you some perspective on the Earth’s relationship to the Sun, the solar system, the other stars and the universe. First, we must consider the measurement of velocity referred to as the “speed of light”…

Light waves travel in a vacuum at approximately 186,000 MPH, which is visual; as a referent, sound waves (aural) travel at a mere 741 MPH and that stench coming from Washington (olfactory) is moving WAY faster than most of us ever imagined it could.

A light year, the measurement used to determine distances in space, is thus…

The speed of light x 60 seconds in a minute x 60 minutes in an hour x 24 hours in a day x 365 days (approximate) in a year, or 186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 = 5,865,696,000,000 miles in a year, or about the speed I was moving at when Old Man Adams came out from behind his garage and almost caught my friend Jimmy Walker and I soaping his windows on Halloween night, back when I was 11. (Every time one of us hit/threw a ball into his yard he’d come out of his house and take it…the following year after almost being caught we tried the old “shit in a bag, put the bag on the front porch, set it on fire, ring the doorbell and run at the speed of light” routine on him. Sadly, the old fart didn’t stamp it out with his foot as we had hoped, but went in the house, returned with a glass of water and put out the fire…it still had to be disgusting to clean up.)

The closest star to our Sun and to Earth in our galaxy is in the Alpha Centauri system, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which form a binary pair and are 4.3 light years distant. Using the above measurement for a “light year”, that equates to these stars being 25,222,492,800,000 miles away; FYI, that’s trillion, and further FYI, the next unit of measurement after “trillion” is “umptyfuckingbazillion”, which we will be using soon to refer to the national debt under the “let’s shrink government spending” Republicans in our Congress.

Our solar system is part of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains somewhere between 200 and 400 billion stars, and is estimated to contain at least 100 billion planets. (The term “Milky Way” comes from the Latin “via lactea”, or “milky circle”, and since I promised to stop making obnoxious references to women’s breasts, I think you guys should be proud of me for keeping the dumb joke I would usually make here to myself.)

To extrapolate further, you must use a “loofah”…excuse me, that’s exfoliate, sorry.

Begin again…There are approximately 100 billion galaxies like our Milky Way in the Universe (and with that many galaxies I figured that’s a word that ought to be capitalized). If we assume the existence of 100 billion planets in our galaxy, then we can further assume that there are 10 x 18th power, or 10 QUINTILLION planets, give or take a few bajillion, in the Universe.

Given each planet’s proximity to its star, or Sun, the atmosphere of said planet, the age of the planet and other factors, such as the duration of the cubic zirconium and the radius of the torrential nebulae, most scientists, evil fucks that they are, would probably agree that there is in the vicinity of 6% of those planets that would sustain “life” as we recognize it, said life not to encompass any beings as obnoxious as that repulsive Mitch McConnell, or a potential 60 trillion planets that could sustain some type of life form. (Actually, most scientists would probably say the number of potential life-sustaining planets is considerably less than that, but I was on a roll.)

I believe it safe to say that at least a few of these potential life-sustaining planets are inhabited with some kind of sentient creatures, possibly akin to the Iguana people of the planet Zatox, or brainless oxygen suckers like Kardashians, from the planet SelfImportant. (FYI again, “Kardashian” is Armenian for “llama mucus”). In any event, given the above numbers, in the final analysis, most likely Man on Earth is not alone in the vastness of the Universe.

My point? We exist in a immense, veritable ocean of stars and planets, so deep and vast and measured in numbers so unbelievably huge as to defy comprehension, all surrounded by the bleak nothingness of space, which could be a good description of the span between our President’s ears, and yet, with all these stars, all these planets, all these systems and all these potential life-forms, we still find ourselves getting pissed off at the asshole in front of us with 15 items in the 10 Items Or Less Express Lane.

Just a little perspective, mateys; some things just aren’t worth the hassle…we are small cogs in a VERY, VERY vast wheel, not insignificant by any means, and most certainly unique, but minuscule in scope nonetheless.

Well, except for President Tweety Bird, who is WAY more significant in the Universal scope of things than the rest of us…just ask him.

See what comes from being a part-time Front Service Clerk (a grandiose corporate name for a “grocery bagger”) in a Publix grocery store?

Love and space stations,

Cap’n John

HOW LONG? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It was the first of a new month and I was standing on the main deck of the R U Kidding, just aft of the mizzen-mast, talking to my 2nd Mate Gertruden Shepard about the newly begun baseball season, when her boss walked over to us with a silly grin on her face.

“Hey,” I said to my 1st Mate, Taffie Wetzel, with a nod and a smile.

“Happy April, fools,” she said. (You could tell she’d been waiting all day to try that line on someone.)

We all had a good laugh, and then I called a couple of my deck-hands, who had been busy swabbing the deck behind us, over to where we were standing.

“Aye, Cap’n.”

“Take Ms. Wetzel back to the stern, bind her up good and then put the plank in place…we’ll join you there in a bit.” TW turned to me with a look of astonishment on her face.

“Aye, Cap’n”.

They grabbed the 1st Mate, who was by now protesting loudly, and dragged her off aft.

When the boys had her trussed up good and tight, we walked back aft as well and with little to-do, made Ms. Wetzel walk the plank…sadly, she walked 11 feet on a 10 foot board, and in the drink she went. One of the hands up on the bow, not knowing what was going on, yelled “Woman overboard!” (Hey, I run a totally PC ship…none of that sexist iguanacrap on my boat.)

I only let her flounder for a few moments, then I had the hands tow her back in, just before a huge school of paranoid goldfish, masquerading as NRA members, moved in to attack her.

“Why did you DO that?!?” she sputtered, dripping wet, after they had her back onboard. “I thought you were going to let me drown!”

“Fooled you, didn’t I?”

Now that we have the frivolity out of the way I’d like to propagate a monumental sea-change here and, whoa, never thought you’d see this, did you, be serious for once, as unusual as that is.

April 1st marks the six-month anniversary of the launching of the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog, and despite all of the nay-sayers and critics who exclaimed loudly that the Cap’n would sink and not swim, you and I and all the silliness that swirls around the Kidding are still going strong.

Okay, limping along vigorously then.

For the past six months I have been boring, excuse me, regaling you with stories of three-legged pigs, or about being a part-time Front Service Clerk for Publix, or with all my advice to the lovelorn columns (remember the three-breasted woman or the retired proctologist who lived in Whoopee Cushion FL) or my Cap’n John For Pres 2020 campaign, or Montpelierians, or my opinion poll, or my trip to the doctor to find out I’m growing a second head or the Antonin Scalia School of Holistic and Organic Legal Education (better known by its acronym ASSHOLE) or with any of the stories of all the other “interesting” things that I choose to expound on occasionally.

And through it all, you guys, my loyal and faithful readers, have suffered, er, sorry, endured.

Masochists.

So two things, mateys…one, I hope to hell that you guys have had 1/10 as much fun reading the Cap’n as I have had telling the stories; two, and here’s the big one, from my heart…thank you.

Thank you, 10Q, danke, gracias, domo arigato, feliz navidad, xie´xie´, e pluribus unum, spasibo, tierra del fuego, in whatever language you care to apply, I am very, very grateful to you all.

Like double-secret probation grateful.

You guys are awesome, I don’t care what Mitch McConnell says.

Hey, as long as we’re all here, how about a few “Cap’nisms”, wadda’ ya say?

~From “NORTH, SOUTH AND OPINION” 3/16/18

                “…the First Amendment of our hallowed Constitution grants the nation’s citizens the right to pop-off with their opinions, any time they like, about anything they want to pop-off about. The Constitution was ratified in 1787 and Americans haven’t shut the fuck up since then.”

~From “IT’S ONLY HIGHER LEARNING IF YOU’RE STANDING ON A LADDER” 11/18/17

                “I know you Oswaldo, you’re not the kind of man who would let his laundry basket sit on the cowling of a P-51 Mustang that was painted orange and why was the persimmon?”

~From “POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS FOR $500, ALEX” 1/18/18

                “And FYI, “yo ho” is not how you say hi to a prostitute.”

                “Hey, it’s going to be under 30 degrees here in central FLORIDA overnight again, with a “freeze warning” having been issued by the county…you’re damn right I’m in favor of global warming. And it better happen pretty damn soon, ‘cause everybody down here is freezing their cojones off. What, are you kidding me?”

~From “ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T GETTING ANY (AND I DON’T MEAN ADVICE)” 11/10/17

                “My wife of 25 years recently left me for a rodeo clown, who had a line of bullshit a mile long, a pimped-out Winnebago and his own barrel, and I’m thinking of celebrating by spending two weeks at some island resort, naked and drunk. Do you have a preference for vacation spots?”

~From “THE INSISTENCE OF MAMMARIES” 3/23/18

                “I’m a retired proctologist living in a senior’s apartment complex in Whoopee Cushion Fl, and I’m having a problem attracting the “right” kind of women; so far, since I’ve lived here, the only woman I’ve been able to get a date with was an old-maid ex-turret lathe operator with three nipples and a pet iguana named Horace.”

                “The guy in the cubicle next to mine at work is a hunk, but he never says a word to me other than “hello” in the morning and “boiled llama parts” when he leaves at the end of the day.”

                “Well, you could march into his cubicle wearing nothing but an engineer’s cap and a big smile, carrying a left-handed monkey wrench, and announce that you’re there to tighten his lug nuts; that oughta’ get his attention.”

~From “IT’S AMAZING ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE” 1/27/18

                “…a study done back in 2015 revealed that 11% of Americans think that the term “HTML” is actually an acronym for some kind of horrible disease. The report further stated that these same 11% couldn’t find their butts with a flashlight, a map and two hands.”

~From “I FORGOT TO ASK IF THEY HAVE A WENDYS” 12/8/17

                “I’m sure Montpelierians (no way I could say that word three times in a row with a couple of adult beverages under my belt) are devastated at this news…I know I would be.”

~From “DID ANYONE CALL MISSING PERSONS?” 12/4/17 (on babies)

                “They’re generally cute, smell pretty good until they do something unspeakable in their diapers (something my ex- and I used to call a “special delivery” whenever my daughter left us one), sometimes noisy but mostly inoffensive, and although they add little to the Gross Domestic Product, they can be counted on to vote Democratic.”

~From “…AND IN TONIGHT’S HEADLINES…” 10/7/17

                “-“Freshets Of Profanity” would be an awesome name for a rock band.

                “-do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around…order given by the Captain to the crew, or if he’s incapacitated, the Machinist Mate 3rd Class Cosign PiRSquared, to immediately after hearing the “Hokey-Pokey” horn, turn themselves around. That’s what it’s all about.”

~From “BOY, THE WETTER YOU GET, THE OLDER IT WANTS” 2/11/18 (on getting older)

                “…and it flashed into my mind that if I said something about needles being stuck to any of the kids at work, they wouldn’t have the slightest idea what the hell I was talking about.”

                “I gotta’ be careful farting that hard…at my age I’m liable to blow my spleen right out my asshole and shoot it across the room.”

~From “OH SURE, NOW YOU TELL ME” 2/3/18

                “From the wonderful Tony Bennett song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco and My Spleen In Cleveland”.”

~From “A PSA OF DUBIOUS QUALITY (LIKE THE VALUE OF YOUR BITCOINS)” 2/24/18

                “I once ate an entire box of Entemanns Cinnamon Raisin English muffins (with butter melted into them while they were hot, and with a big glass of cold milk…yes) right before I fell asleep and woke up alternately singing “God Save The Queen” and doing Freddie Mercury impersonations.”

~From “LET’S THROW A POLITICAL PARTY!” 1/10/18

                “No donation is too small, and as Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters, no fee is too big, so send in those dimes and quarters and $100 bills ASAP. And remember the immortal words of Will Rogers, who once opined that we should be happy we aren’t getting all the government we’re paying for.”

Yes.

Hey, I haven’t had this much fun since the last time I had root-canal work, but I need to wind this up and get going…Ms. Wetzel just walked by the door to my cabin, where I’m working here at my desk, and when she saw me turned her head away and refused to speak to me.

I think it might be time for her to take another swim…this time I might let the NRA goldfish have her.

With all my heart, thanks you guys.

Love and anchors,

Cap’n John

“CALLING DR. HOWARD, DR. FINE, DR. HOWARD…”

I had to go to the doctor today.

I hate going to the doctor.

I hate going to the doctor (squared).

A lot.

A number of years ago, maybe 12-13 or so, I discovered a small lump on the back of my head, just behind and a little above my left ear…it was a tiny little thing, much like other parts of my anatomy that I would prefer not to discuss in mixed company (I’ll bet there’s some Republicans reading this right now), but discernible to my probing fingers, which was how I found it in the first place.

It was about the size of the eraser end of a pencil around, and maybe a 1/16” deep…when I held a mirror up behind my head and looked into another mirror, even with my head shaved you could barely see it. (Yes, I used to shave my head…I thought the stimulation might encourage a growth spurt. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Hair, or anything else for that matter. Except the “lump”.)

It wasn’t tender, it didn’t hurt, it wasn’t discolored, it made no ridiculous promises to build a wall along the Mexican/American border, it didn’t do anything but sit there, much like my ex-wife.

So I ignored it.

Over the years it “grew like Topsy” and after careful cultivation, periodic watering and fertilization, it’s gotten quite a bit bigger; it’s now about the size of a ’57 Edsel and weighs approximately 6268 pounds. Okay, I exaggerated a little…it’s about the size of a quarter around and maybe 3/16” deep.

But it’s ugly…and yeah, I know, another wart on the warthog doesn’t make him any uglier, just wartier, but still.

Back around the first of this year, I was at a friend’s place, sitting on a dining room chair, close to a wall. At one point I leaned back to stretch and smacked my “lump” against the wall…not real hard, but hard enough for me to wish that I hadn’t. I said several bad words that I wouldn’t say in that same mixed company I spoke of above (see above, above), and decided it was time to go see someone about removing it. The lump, not the mixed company. (“Mixed Company” would be a great name for a CW band.)

My first thought was a tree service, figuring they could use a chain-saw on it…I called a couple of places but didn’t get any bids. (One guy asked me if I had considered using a small shaped explosive…I hadn’t, but it was a thought.) Then I tried the Roto-Rooter guy, but he was WAY too expensive.

One of my friends suggested a doctor, which seemed like a novel concept, so I called my PCP (that’s the physician, not the drug) and made an appointment.

Did I mention I hate going to doctors? But I went, reluctantly, dragging “lump” along with me, and presented myself for inspection.

The ladies at Doc Johnson’s office think I’m a character (you know the way I write…I’m like that in person too) and they always take good care of me, and the Doc is a good guy, for a doctor. (At least he’s not a lawyer…I wouldn’t want him examining my nether areas with nothing more than a Juris Doctor degree hanging on the wall.) He checked out the “lump”, said that in the entire history of medical science, nothing like this had ever been seen or recorded, and that he was stumped as to its composition or nature.

And then gave me a referral to a specialist. (Does Doctor A get a kickback from Doctor B when Doctor A refers someone to Doctor B? Probably, unless you elect to take the sinter exemption, then you must deduct two-thirds of your base annual melotron ratio retroactively and then apply the 43% capacitor reduction to the blender column.)

Dr. B, to be known here as Doctor B, was happy to examine the “lump” for me, pleased at the notion of being able to see, firsthand, a medical first, as well as have the opportunity to bill the shit outta’ Medicare for the consultation, exam, x-rays, spinal tap (volume at 11, please), root-canal, blood work, transfusion, re-grouting, sonogram, oil-change, cauterizations, several MRIs and a wheel alignment. Dr. B left his office to consider the problem, post-exam, after assuring me he would return in the foreseeable future.

I waited. (Ha-ha, waiting in a doctor’s office, another novel concept.) Quite a while.

After lengthy deliberation (he bills by the hour apparently), he returned, sat down behind his desk and looked me straight in the eye.

“Well, Cap’n John, I have good news and bad news.” (Donald Trump quit and Mike Pence took over.) “I’ve looked at your “lump” and checked it out and examined it in every conceivable way, consulted with experts in the field, pored over all the pertinent literature, checked with CDC in Atlanta, all of which is being billed to Medicare, and, well, here’s the bad news…”

“All indicators point to the fact that you appear to be growing another head. That’s the bad news.”

“The good news is that, those same indicators lead us to believe that this one will be much better looking than the one you currently have, WAY smarter and, due to the increased brain activity, will cause other parts of your anatomy to be enhanced as well.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively when he told that last thing.

Okay, I was just hit with this momentous news…Holy Cranium, Batman, ANOTHER head! Shit, I barely use the one I have now. This was incredible, it was shocking, it was cataclysmic, it was double-secret probation weird. I was incredulous, shocked, I was almost catatonic and my probation was completed years ago.

So what was the first thing out of my mouth, in response to this devastating news?

“So, Doc, just how “enhanced” (I used the two fingers on each hand “air quotation-marks” sign here) are we talking?”

The ultimate “guy” moment.

The day before I went to my appointment with Dr. B, one of the customers at the Publix where I work part-time as a Front Service Clerk (and don’t think it isn’t hard work dragging a title that grandiose around), after I mentioned I was going to see a surgeon the next day, asked me who I was seeing. So I told him.

“Oh,” he says,” is that the blind guy?”

Insert rim-shot here.

Love and scalpels,

Cap’n John

 

NORTH, SOUTH AND OPINION

I have received torrents and rivers of letters and emails recently, wondering why I haven’t written anything for the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog since back on the 24th of February (okay, I got two, but compared to none, that’s a torrent), concerned that I might be incapacitated in some way and asking when, oh when, Cap’n John, will you return?

In reverse order…well, I guess my return date is today, 3/15, the infamous Ides of March, on the 2062th anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar by a bunch of Roman Senators who were not only upset with his handling of several important issues of the time, including immigration, taxes and sword control, but Caesar’s numerous alleged liaisons with large-breasted women of ill repute as well. (FYI, your Cap’n is a big fan of large-breasted women of ill repute.)

As far as being incapacitated, thank you for your concern, but no, I’m fine, as well as can be expected for someone whose mother dressed him funny when he was a kid.

Lastly, I just got lazy. (Hey, it happens.)

I saw this headline this morning on the ‘Net…”O.J. criticizes Kaepernick over anthem protest”. So apparently even disgraced athletes who are convicted felons think Colin Kaepernick’s ill-advised kneeling during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner prior to NFL football games was a rancid crock of yak butter. (And thank you to author Christopher Moore for that great description.)

I’m sure all those folks who also didn’t like or agree with Mr. Kaepernick’s actions are greatly heartened at O.J.’s support.

It’s been my experience in life that opinions are a lot like assholes…everybody has one and a lot of them stink. But this is ‘Murica, and the First Amendment of our hallowed Constitution grants the nation’s citizens the right to pop-off with their opinions, any time they like, about anything they want to pop-off about. The Constitution was ratified in 1787 and Americans haven’t shut the fuck up since then.

I see (and like most people, I suspect, occasionally respond to) opinion polls about everything these days, on the Internet, in my daily newspaper, in the mail, even being conducted by individuals in shopping malls, all of them asking “hey, what do you think about…”, presupposing the process of thought, a chancy supposition at best in many cases.

So I thought that, hell, I can be a band-wagon jumper, why not come up with my OWN opinion poll and foist it upon my unsuspecting readers and make it about things I really want to know?

Okay, unsuspecting readers, here we go…

1) ”Pool noodles” would be…

[]             a) a great name for a rock band;

[]             b) a great name for amphibious pasta;

[]             c) the “real” reason J. Caesar was killed or;

[]             d) none of all of the above.

2) Cellular phones are…

[]             a) a blight on humanity;

[]             b) a blight on humanity;

[]             c) a blight on humanity or;

[]             d) all of the above twice.

3) President Donald Trump…

[]             a) is doing a great job…not;

[]             b) is the Devil Incarnate;

[]             c) is an unprincipled horse’s ass;

[]             d) as a President would make a fine truck-driver or;

[]             e) all of the above three times.

4) Satanism is the perfect religion…if you screw up, when you die, you go to Heaven.

                []             a) true

                []             b) false

                []             c) orchestra section, third row, seats 56 and 57.

5) The 115th Congress…

                []             a) is doing a great job…not;

                []             b) is a bunch of unprincipled horse’s asses;

                []             c) should be beaten repeatedly or;

                []             d) if you answered “yes” on Question “a” (line 54) then proceed to section “L” (line 56.53) and repeat as needed, but only if you have checked off box “h3” (line 666, subsection “25.nd%”) then refigure your tax after completing Form A888999555 (line 2, paragraph 2.5) and recalculating your framitz deduction fiscally with addendums.

6) Re my campaign for President in 2020, if I made singer Toni Tennille my candidate for Vice-President, I could campaign as “The Cap’n and Tennille”; is this…

                []             a) a great idea;

                []             b) something that smells like a fish left in a hot car for three days;

                []             c) a really dumb idea or;

                []             d) pool noodles.

7) The Grammys…

                []             a) are a complete bore;

                []             b) are a total and complete bore;

                []             c) are totally irrelevant and a total and complete bore or:

                []             d) stupid.

8) Yesterday at my part-time job as a “Front Service Clerk” for Publix Supermarkets, I walked 8053 steps, or 3.8 miles in a 5 hour shift…

                []             a) not bad for a guy slightly younger than a redwood tree or a tortoise;

                []             b) see answer “a”;

                []             c) all of the above;

                []             d) Mongo Santamaria.

9) Yoga pants are…

                []             a) a blight on humanity:

                []             b) the best thing that ever happened to men in general;

                []             c) tight in all the appropriate places or;

                []             d) the corner of 57th Street and Maple Lane.

10) Opinion polls are…

                []             a) a blight on humanity;

                []             b) a valid and meaningful method of determining people’s feelings about the issues that face our country today, as long as the “people” you ask have an IQ above room temperature;

                []             c) stupid or;

                []             d) endless.

11) Are you (please check all that apply, sequentially)…

                []             a) male;

                []             b) female;

                []             c) other;

                []             d) over 21 years of age;

                []             e) an American citizen;

                []             f) a taxpayer;

                []             g) a standout rodeo performer;

                []             h) deeply confused about which antiperspirant to use;

                []             i) claiming all the residents of your entire apartment complex as deductions;

                []             j) all of the above except a, b, c, d, e, f, g, and h.

Thank you for participating.

By applause, how many of you are really glad that this opinion poll is done…yeah, I thought so.

Love and questionnaires,

Cap’n John

Post Script…a major announcement will be forthcoming from the Cap’n John For President campaign in the immediate future. Stay tuned to this blog for the latest news.