Betrayal

Had happened before. Wouldn’t bet against it again. Always without a hint. Always from unexpected direction.

This time, it was below. A knee went off on an excursion. He was walking up steps. Not hurrying. Nothing special. But that knee took a detour to the right. An action that almost threw him back down the stairs. Made him grab the handrail and gasp. Pause to breath. Swallow pain. Yeah, and fear.

Others saw. “You okay?”

He nodded. Not sure what they saw. “Just.” Didn’t know how to explain it. Didn’t want to. “Caught my toe. Tripped myself.”

They were looking. Mute. Knew what had happened. Understood why he lied. Nodded. Accepting.

Continued on.

He followed. Betrayed by his body again. Worried that another betrayal was imminent. Maybe not a knee. Maybe memory. Or cognitive process. Damn body. No long trustworthy.

Where’s The Year Gone?

A fellow blogger and I have wondered, where’s the year gone? I know, that’s not an unusual question in any year. Where’s the time gone, in general, is a diabolical puzzle. Just yesterday, I was twenty-two, something like that. I could eat what I wanted, now I wanted. Snorted doughnuts for mid-morning snacks. Partied until two AM, then went to work at seven. Ate three cheeseburgers at a sitting. Now I’m on Medicare.

A note on the Medicare. I wouldn’t have joined if not forced into it. I retired from the military. Had Tricare. Can’t elaborate on which Tricare. There are two thousand known variations of Tricare. Others are constantly being found by health professionals in computer systems. To stay on Tricare, once I ‘turned’* 65, as I did at the beginning of July, I had to join Medicare Parts A & B. Where I was paying nothing except co-pay a year ago, I was required to start paying $25 a month for my Tricare. Now I’m required to pay about $117 a month for Medicare Part B (A is free) to keep my Tricare. It’s a different form of Tricare, though. I’ll figure it out later.

Part of the year was spent on determining which Medicare parts I required. That included timing. You can’t just join Medicare at any time, you know. You have windows. You miss your window, you wait for the next window. For me, though, missing the window meant that I’d also lose my Tricare. That covers my wife, too. It’s becoming more necessary as we’ve moved toward being the oldest people on the planet. Other parts of the year were spent on questions about masking, COVID-19 vaccinations, variants, and shopping hours. But those were side ventures. Most of my time was spent wondering what I was going to eat.

In additional to a pantry and a refrigerator/freezer combo, we have a small garden. Tomatoes, squash, green peppers, kale, lettuce. It’s been a hard gardening year. Drought, you know. Hot sun, too. We covered plants up. They still weren’t happy with the heat, suggesting, let’s move to somewhere cooler, like hell.

We also have a chest freezer and additional food supplies in the guest room closet. It seems like I’m always wondering, what do we have to eat? What can I eat now? I can bore you to death with all the food we have on hand. I’m always thinking about more. It’s a joint decision that’s made. My wife and I have to agree on what to eat. That usually involves a discussion of what food is on hand. Then, if we don’t immediately have the answer (“Do we have any brown rice left?” “Go fish.”), one of us must leave our chairs and books or computers, go to the supply sources and determine if we have the needed ingredient.

After we decide, okay, we can make this, we discuss who will make what. “I made dinner last night.” “We had pizza. You got it from the pizza place.” “Still counts.”

A large part of the forces driving our discussion and my angst is that we just can’t go out and get what we want. One, restaurants have reduced hours or shut down. Two, which store will have what we need? How much do we trust them and their clientele to be COVID-19 safe? Is getting Ben & Jerry Ice Cream really worth the risk.

Yes, I say, masking up, and driving there.

What we want isn’t always in stores. If this pandemic has shown nothing else to me, it’s shown how completely dependent I am on our systems to provide me with food to buy. Whether it’s organic or processed, cooked in a restaurant or baked in a bakery, I want others doing it for me. This embarrasses part of me. That part says that I should be more self-reliant. More independent. I can fix computers but I can’t hunt meat. Or won’t.

The other part of me says shut up if you want me to go out and get a snack. Which I might do. Thinking about food has made me hungry, and there’s still a little bit of July to kill.

Where’s my mask?

*That expression of ‘turning’ an age always embellishes my brain with an image of me on a baking tray and someone using a giant spatula to flip me over.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Thursday began at 12:01 AM but the sun didn’t show up until 5:40 AM. Many don’t think the day begins until the sun arrives. Midnight is part of last night, not very early morning. Which side do you fall upon? Depends upon what you mean by ‘day’ for many.

Ah, well. Sunset will strike 8:49ish PM. Cooler weather prevails in the daylight hours, high of only 90 being called out. Morning was delightful, with a chilly 58 degrees when the sun brought its golden presence to the stage.

By the way, today is July 8, 2021. On this date in history, what will you do?

For music, I’m playing “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots, aka STP, in my head. From 1993, Scott Weiland, STP vocalist once said in an interview that it’s about a young man caught between being a kid and becoming an adult. Yet, as we age, we often lament the same thing: I’m half the person I used to be. Half the energy. Half the memory. Half the ambition, etc. So, this song could be flipped to being about a young person becoming an older person. Funny, when we’re young, we’re searching for who we want to be, striving to become someone…something. Older, we remember who we were and strive to remain relevant and be someone…something. Many as they age complain of ‘becoming invisible’. Especially women.

Yeah, thinking too much, aren’t I? And not expressing it well. Should shelve it until I get some coffee in me. But no, press on, yeah? Stay positive, right? Test negative. Wear a mask, when needed, depending upon the situation and the variants. Get the vax. Here’s the music. Cheers

Under Where?

My Great Underwear change is not progressing with the dreamed-of joy conjured when the great change began.

Setting the scene, I’ve been a boxer wearer for decades, migrating from other styles while I was younger. Recently, while shopping, I spied other underwear on the shelves. Why, the materials were different. And the shapes! Perhaps I will try these newfangled garments.

I bought two styles. One was purchased at Costco. Kirkland. The second, Body Glove, was purchased at Kohl’s. Both are elasticized cotton or something. Boxer shorts. That’s where their overlapping identities end.

The Kirklands went on first. Wow, comfy. Very nice. Useful and expected, it had that vent up front that negates the need to drop trou and sit to pee. I know females are shrugging, “So you have to pull down your underwear, sit and pee instead of standing? Welcome to my world. Is standing to pee really so special? Got any other tricks?”

No, that’s my one trick.

Standing to urinate isn’t the world’s most amazing feat but I’m used to it. I’m in my mid-sixties. Learning new information is challenging. Especially when it comes to the body. The body is already rewriting its rules on its activities, sending out new advisories without warning whenever it feels like it.

“Hey, don’t move like that!”

I was in the process of sitting down. “But I’ve always moved like that.”

“Well, stop it.”

“Why?”

“Don’t question me! I don’t like it. And put that doughnut down. What’s wrong with you? Now go pee.”

“Again? But I just peed two — “

“Don’t talk back! Pee! Now!”

“Okay, okay, okay…” Grumble, grumble, grumble.

That’s why I still stand to pee: because I can. I almost feel young again, you know?

So the Kirkland shorts work. The Body Glove? Umm, no.

They were comfy. At first. But, they didn’t have that useful front vent.

I was surprised. I thought the vent was a requirement. I speculated, maybe men are all starting to sit down to pee, so the vent isn’t required.

It is possible. I’m not always up on the latest happenings. Take, if you will, ball deodorants. I saw a post on Trouserdog while I was flipping through the net: “How to Stop Smelly and Sweaty Balls — Defunk Your Junk”.

Yes, it is an arresting title.

I’ve never considered a need for ball deodorant. Sure, my hairy sack sometimes sweats. Smells can ensue. That’s why I wash. A quick wash and they smell fresh as rain. A sweaty/stinky testicular area didn’t seem to be a problem. Maybe it’s been one and others are too polite to mention it. Perhaps, after walking away, people turn to one another and whisper, “Did you smell him?” My wife has never said anything. Neither have my cats, who are some of the most critical creatures I know.

The second offense against the Body Glove undies is a classic: they shrank. A lot. The comfortable tight fit now felt like a girdle or leather pants encasing my skin like a sausage, i.e., tight as hell. Now, it could be that I’d gained weight. I’ll give you that. But to have gained that weight, my other clothes would also need to no longer fit or fit differently. That wasn’t happening.

I gave the BGs two additional tries after that first washing. You know, more data. They became worse and worse. Waist bands flipped over. Legs rolled up. No, I told myself. I’m too old to endure this crap. Off you go. I banished them to the giveaway pile.

Yet, the experiments have intrigued me. I saw undies that have a cool sack to keep my Johnson more comfy on these hot days. They might even keep my junk from getting sweaty and funky. I’m willing to try them as long as they’re vented and I can stand and deliver.

If my body says it’s okay. It always has the last say.

Self Portrait 2021

Looking into the future. Apparently not too happy. Lot of Dad showing up in my face, along with sagging jowls, wrinkled flesh, receding hair, and graying beard. Like how the light catches my scars on my forehead from my halo device. Damn this thing called aging, anyway. Pass me another beer, please.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

A dozen dreams and a dozen songs rock my mind’s caverns and cesspools this morning. Mostly old songs because I’m in the realm of being an old guy. Whether you’re old depends on not just your attitude but also your scale. When you’re twenty, fifty seems old. At sixty-four, I don’t feel/seem young to myself. I’m sure advertisers have a different opinion about it, as do people who are thirty years plus younger, right?

I’m reminded of my mother when I think of age. When she was in her late seventies, she and her fiancée (who was in his early eighties) often went out dancing. They especially loved the big band sound and swing dancing. But she complained about the old people. I told her that some might think of her as old. She replied, “I’m talking about the really old people, the ones who are almost one hundred.”

Thinking of old rock, and old Eric Clapton drifts into my mind on clouds of cigarette smoke. Eric Clapton is one of my rock heroes, you know. And, ‘lo, into my head from the crucible of thoughts emerged a little-known Clapton song, “Tearing Us Apart”. Done as a duet with Tina Turner in 1987, it didn’t receive much airtime, that I know. I came to know it because I’ve bought a lot of Clapton albums and watched him on DVDs. He’s played it a few times with Turner in concert. Today, though, I found a 1996 concert where Sheryl Crow is on vocals with Eric. I liked it and thought I’d share it with you.

Enjoy your day. Wear your mask.

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