Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Did you ever...? (Restaurants)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder why some people decide to work as waiters or waitresses? I do almost every time I go into a restaurant. The vast majority of waiters and waitresses I have encountered have been exceptionally good at their job and have truly excellent personalities. There are, however, those few who make you wonder why they bothered getting out of bed that day. They always appear to be angry, impatient and in a hurry to go home, even when their shift just started twenty minutes ago.

The last time I went to a restaurant for dinner, the waitress asked if I was ready to order. I hadn’t even sat down yet. When I asked her if I could please have a menu, she rolled her eyes and heaved a sigh of impatience that could have filled a dirigible.

Twenty minutes later, she brought a menu and didn’t reappear for another half-hour to take my order. I asked for a steak, very well done. When she brought the steak, it was swimming in a pool of blood, and I was almost sure I detected a heartbeat. The steak wasn’t pink inside; it was red. I told the waitress I couldn’t eat that. “What’s the matter with it?” she snapped. “Well,” I replied, “I made a promise to myself that I would never bite into anything I had to apologise to.”
The fourth time she brought the steak back from the kitchen it was still rare, so I just asked for the check.
“Do you want this wrapped up to take with you?” she asked.
“No,” I said, “Just call the paramedics. Maybe with CPR it could still live.”
As I was leaving the restaurant, I noticed several buzzards circling around. I guess they knew the steak wasn’t going to survive.

Just then, I saw my friend Bing going into the same restaurant. I told him about my experience there and warned him against it but he wouldn’t take my advice. The last I heard of Bing, he was in the witness protection program and living somewhere in the Middle East under an assumed name. A week later, that waitress won the local “Miss Congeniality Contest” and was now considering a career in public relations.

As a last resort, and because I was still hungry, I decided to order from a fast food drive-up. I was shouting my order into the speaker when my sister and her husband drove up next to me and asked why I was trying to order food at a pharmacy drive-up window. I pretended I didn’t hear them and I drove away.

When I got home, I put two hot dogs in the broiler and burnt them to honour the memory of the steak that didn’t survive. I looked in the refrigerator to see if there was anything else to eat, but nothing appealed to me. Probably because I had also promised myself that I wouldn’t eat any food that appeared in the colour blue, or moved when you touched it.
The box of cereal in the cabinet had an expiration date of four years ago, and I was afraid to open the refrigerator again because the milk looked angry.
Maybe I should take my sister’s advice and learn how to cook.

- - - -

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on December 05, 2009

File #RBCOL13

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Did you ever...? (The Telephone)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would think if he could see how far the telephone has advanced? Today, because of, or in spite of modern technology, the telephone is capable of prodigies and can do everything except reproduce. We have been overworking the telephone by constantly increasing its job description without paying it anything. I have no real proof of this yet, but this could be the reason why the telephone has started to rebel and get even with the human race.

Yesterday, as I was returning to the house after taking the trash to the bin, I heard the phone ringing and I raced to answer it. In my haste, I slammed my hand in the door, tripped over the bag of trash that I forgot to take out, cut my knee, ripped my shirt, and chipped a tooth. When I picked up the phone, there was only a dial tone. I checked the answering machine, but there were no messages. The Called I.D. indicated that no one had called. This could mean only one thing; the telephone knew that I was out of the house and it rang by itself. When I mentioned this to my sister, she hung up on me.

The telephone is capable of another talent which none of the telephone companies will tell you about. You can be in the house for hours without anyone in the family saying a word to you. If you try talking to them, they don’t hear your. Finally, out of loneliness and desperation, you decided to make a phone call. The telephone sends out a message to everyone in the free world to let them know that you are on the phone. You have been on the phone for exactly ten seconds when everyone in the house, plus a few neighbours you have not seen for two years, are all gathered around you and talking to you, asking questions which must be answered immediately or none of their vital organs will continue functioning. If you try to tell them that you are busy talking and you will deal with their questions later, the telephone decides that you have talked long enough, and terminates your call. Suddenly, the room is empty. Everyone has gone back to what they were doing before you got on the phone, and they no longer require your attention.

I called my sister and told her that I was going to take out the bag of trash that I tripped over yesterday, but that I was going to sneak past the telephone so that it will not know that I have left the house. Otherwise, it will start ringing again. My sister told me to take a pill and a nap instead, and then she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
Copyright©2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on November 28,, 2009
File #RBCOL06

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Little Demons)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder about the little man who lives in your refrigerator? You know who I mean. The one who turns on the light when you open the door, and then turns it off when you close the door. Every now and then, I suppose because of boredom, he will loosen the light bulb so it will not go on, he will uncover your leftovers, and rearrange or hide things in the refrigerator. All in all, he seems to be a pretty nice little guy and doesn’t cause too much trouble. His relatives, (and there are many of them) are another story. They are mean and vicious and have only one purpose in life; to annoy, aggravate and frustrate me until I begin to hear voices and they can put me in a home.

One of them (I think it’s a cousin) lives in my washing machine. He rips buttons off my shirts, shreds underwear and will only return one sock from each pair. I don’t like him at all. I like his brother even less. He lives in the clothes dryer and spends his time ying knots in my clothes and braiding the sheets. He also amuses himself by cleaning out the lint trap and spreading white lint on the dark clothes. Once in a while he will return clothes that do not belong to me. I probably should check with my neighbours to see if they are missing any laundry.

His other relatives do not stay in any one place. They roam about the house moving furniture so I will trip over it, tilt the pictures and mirrors on the walls, sprinkle dust on the furniture I just dusted, and knock over the laundry I have just folded and stacked neatly in the linen closet. Another really mean relative likes to tangle and knot my telephone cord, so when I try to use the phone, I only have about two inches of cord to work with. Rather than try to untangle the cord, I just make do by keeping my face pushed up against the wall so I can use the phone. A cordless or cell phone is out of the question. They will find a way to weaken the battery or hide the phone on me.

This morning I was talking to my sister on the phone and she said: “I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Do you have your face pressed up against the wall again? Why don’t you just untangle the phone cord?”

I told her about the family of invisible little demons who live in my house, she said I needed a rest and she and her husband would be happy to drive me to a convalescent home. When I told her I couldn’t go because I was busy unbraiding my laundry and scrubbing the wallpaper pattern off my face, she hung up on me.

File #RBCOL04

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved

The next column will be posted on November 21, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Good Mood Guy)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder how some people are always able to stay in a good mood no matter what happens to them? That’s my neighbour Buster. He and my neighbour Bing are best friends, which just goes to prove the old saying that “opposites attract”.
Nothing rattles Buster. He remains calm and cool through any major or minor situation.
Bing, on the other hand, becomes unglued if there is a wind shift that wasn’t predicted by the weather report.
A few weeks ago, Bing and I were helping Buster store some lumber in his garage that he was going to use to build a recreation room in his basement. I accidentally dropped a 2 x 4 and it klunked Buster squarely on the head. He claimed to be amused by having been knocked senseless. Bing, on the other hand, didn’t talk to me for weeks after the time I backed into him with the riding lawn mower. I still don’t believe they had to cut the shoe off of his foot.

Then there was the time when Buster was putting up the Japanese lanterns on his patio for the big party he and his wife were giving. Without realising it, I leaned on the power switch. Every hair on Buster’s head stood straight up and didn’t come back down for two days. Even when his eyebrows and eyelashes fell out and his left eye was rolling, whilst the right eye remained fixed and dilated, he remained in a good mood and said that accidents happen. I still felt bad because Buster was the only one who couldn’t attend his own party. How different from Bing who fell apart when I accidentally buried him under twelve feet of snow with my snow thrower. He eventually dug himself out and only suffered a mild case of frostbite, but he still blames me for the partial memory loss and the fact that his teeth and his eyebrows are still numb.

How can I ever forget the time when a few of us went bowling and I dropped the bowling ball on Buster’s foot? Did he get angry? Not on your life! He just smiled and said that the ball probably wasn’t a good fit for me. He didn’t even mind that he couldn’t bowl the rest of the game and that he had to be carried to the car. Bing could take lessons from Buster. Somehow or other, the bowling ball got away from me on the backswing and hit Bing in the stomach. When he regained consciousness, he said he didn’t want to bowl anymore and that he wanted to go home. Bing still claims that his stomach was blue, purple and yellow for two weeks. I’m not sure I believe that.

I haven’t seen Buster for a while. As a matter of fact, the last time I saw him was when I was helping him build the recreation room in his basement. He was humming and smiling a lot, and his left eye was still rolling. Today, I noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of his house, and no one was at home. My sister told me that Buster’s wife was visiting him at the convalescent home. They say he broke two teeth trying to chew his way out of the restraints, but he is still humming and smiling and now, both eyes are rolling; in opposite directions. Naturally, I wanted to visit him, but when I asked my sister which convalescent home he was in, she pretended she didn’t hear me, and she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech.
©copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on November 13, 2009

File #RBCOL38

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Cooking)

"Did you ever...?"
by Melech

Did you ever wonder how some people get to be such great cooks? I believe that all people fall into three categories. The first group is made up of men and women who are just natural born cooks. Everything comes easy to them and whatever they cook or bake turns out wonderful. My sister belongs to that group.

The second group is comprised of people who take classes or read books and become quite proficient at cooking and baking. My neighbour Buster and his wife both belong to that group.

Starving people would reject the food cooked by the third and final group to which I belong. It's not that I don't try; I really do, but nothing turns out the way it's supposed to.

My pancakes bear a vague resemblance to Frisbees, and when I accidentally dropped one, it cracked the ceramic floor tile.

The recipe for chili looked fairly ease to follow, but as I was stirring it, the metal spoon dissolved and the chili refused to give the handle back to me.
How difficult could it be to roast a chicken? Nothing to it. When I opened the oven six hours later to check it, there was nothing in the roasting pan except some burnt pudding. Nobody will ever convince me that the chicken didn't run away from home when my back was turned.

Wouldn't you think that beef stew with dumplings would be the easiest thing in the world to make? You just throw in some meat, vegetables, seasonings, and then drop the dumplings on top when it is boiling. I had no luck with that at all. The dumplings absorbed every bit of the stew and then hardened into a solid mass. I had to use a hammer and a chisel to get it out of the pot.

My hamburgers didn't turn our right either. I am still using them to replace the cork coasters I ate one day, thinking that they were the cookies I baked a few days ago, because they tasted just the same.

It’s a good thing that I decided to make macaroni and cheese one day. I was able to use it to re-grout the ceramic tile in the shower.

The perch fillets were a big waste of time. I think I used too much oil and they all swam away when I wasn't looking.

Who would ever believe that a tuna-noodle casserole would vanish in the oven? All that was left at the bottom of the baking dish was one dried-up pea and part of a burnt noodle.

I don't know what went wrong with the meat loaf, but I broke my electric knife and my neighbour Bing’s chain saw, trying to cut it. Bing isn’t speaking to me, but all was not lost because I am using the meatloaf as a doorstop.

I opened a can of soup and had to eat it cold from the can because I ruined all my pots and pans and couldn't heat up the soup. Ever since I left the aluminum foil on a toaster pastry, my microwave is angry at me and refuses to work. It goes into "failure mode" whenever I approach it. I couldn’t use my electric frying pan either. I replaced the frayed cord, plugged it in, and knocked out all the power in the neighbourhood. Now, none of my neighbours are speaking to me.

Yesterday, I saw a book entitled, "Cooking is Fun". I bought the book and raced home with it. It was just the right size to replace the broken leg on my bed.

"Did you ever...?" is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech all rights reserved
The next column will be posted on November 07, 2009


Friday, October 23, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Junk Mail)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever really read all the junk mail and coupons that you get? I usually just scan them and chuck them in the bin. Last week I took the time to read and examine all the junk mail I received.

The first coupon to catch my eye was advertising tires at an amazingly low price. It was time to buy tires for my car anyway, so I thought I’d check into it. When I got to the tire shop I was informed that the sale tires were only for cars built during the second week of June of 1948 on a tiny island in the South Pacific where they do nuclear testing. With a sad sigh of resignation and defeat, I crumpled-up the coupon, stuffed it in the salesman’s mouth, and left the shop.

The second coupon I came across was one for ten percent off on a package of generic lemonade that was guaranteed to hurt my kidneys, harden my liver and give me a headache and stomach cramps. I threw that one away immediately.

When I found a coupon for half-price on any size pizza with one ingredient, I was sure I had picked a winner, so I called and ordered a small pizza and told the lady who answered the phone that I had a coupon. It was uphill from there on.

“Do you want sauce on it?”
“Yes, of course I want sauce on it.”
“O.K., that will be £1.50 extra. Do you want anything else on it?”
“Well, I wanted cheese, but….?”
“That’s another £3.50 extra.”
“Miss, the coupon states half-price on any size pizza with one ingredient. What is the one ingredient?”
“The crust. Now is this for pick-up or delivery?”
“For delivery if it’s….”
“There is a £6.75 delivery charge plus the tip for the driver, so your total will be
£32.85 cash only. Oh, I forgot to ask; do you want this baked? If you do, that will be another £5.00 oven fee.” I hung up the phone without responding and deposited the coupon in the trash bin.
The rest of the coupons were pretty much the same. Grocery coupons usually expired whilst I was waiting in the checkout line. Coupons for 15% off only applied to items that were out of stock and discontinued.

I was walking back to the house after disposing of all the coupons and junk mail, when my neighbour, Bing ran up to me and asked me if I had seen the coupon for the big sale on tires. I snatched the coupon from his hand. It was the same tire shop I had been to. I crumpled it up, stuffed it in his mouth, and told him to go in the house and not speak to me unless he could do so without mentioning coupons or sales. I haven’t seen him since. Yesterday, I heard that they had to call the paramedics because Bing was choking on a coupon. He’s O.K. now, but he said that he didn’t ever want to speak to me again.

Today, when I was talking to my sister on the phone, I mentioned that I was going to buy a new mattress and box spring for my bed. She told me that there was a really big sale at…….I interrupted her before she could finish. When I asked her if she would mind holding on to that sale paper until after I had bought the mattress and box spring, she hung up on me.

- - -

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on October 30, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Inventions)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder how so many people could come up with so many wonderful inventions? What great minds they must have! I am in constant amazement at these brilliant men and women who have invented so many things that have made my life easier.

The smoke detector:
I will be forever grateful to the inventor of the smoke detector. Without this gadget, how would I ever know when my dinner was done ?

The VCR:
This amazing device was a little more difficult for me to adapt to. After two-and-a-half hours, I finally located the on/off switch. Then, by working constantly for three weeks, followed by four months of therapy, I learned how to insert and play a video tape. The instruction manual informed me that I could watch a programme whilst I was recording another, and that I could record programmes when I was not at home. I haven’t tried this yet because the doctor said that I would need a few more months of therapy before I attempted to program the VCR.
The clock and several other display functions blink constantly, but, every time I try to correct it, it sets off the smoke detector and several other small household appliances. I asked my neighbour, Bing, if he would help me with this, but he said: “Why bother? The VCR is becoming obsolete now. It is being replaced with DVD’s.”
“Bing,” I shouted; “I refuse to believe that anyone would want to replace VCR’s with underwear.”
“Not BVD’s;” he said. “DVD’s.”
I pretended I understood what he was talking about, but I don’t think he believed me, because he walked out and now he isn’t speaking to me again.

The Microwave Oven:
This is a great invention for those who know how to use it. Personally, I never fully mastered the art of microwave cooking. Eggs and potatoes exploded; a ceramic coffee mug melted; and, I was treated to a spectacular “electric light show” when I didn’t remove the aluminum cover from a microwave dinner.
My microwave is afraid of me now, and it goes into “failure mode” whenever I approach it. I could swear I heard my microwave crying and screaming in the middle of the night. I suppose I will just go on cooking the old fashion way, and let my smoke detector tell me when my dinner is done.

I thought about these great inventions and decided to become an inventor. I bought some equipment and set up a small laboratory in my basement. Three explosions and four fires later, the police, Scotland Yard, The Home Office, and an official document from Buckingham Palace advised me that if I wanted to continue my experiments, I would have to do it in another country. They suggested Castle Dracula in Transylvania. When I told this to my sister, she asked when I was leaving, and said that she would help me pack, and then she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on October 23, 2009

File #RBCOL37

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (The Computer)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever think about all the amazing things a computer can do? I was finally talked into buying a computer when everyone promised me that it would simplify my life, help me to manage the household budget, balance my chequebook, keep an accurate and updated inventory of my possessions, and a multitude of other miraculous things.

I brought the computer home and couldn’t wait to hook it up and begin to simplify my life. My big downfall came when I tried to make sense of the instruction booklet. It was obviously written by an inmate in an institution for the criminally insane, who had found a way to get even with the human race. No matter how many times I connected the cables and wires, every time I turned it on, it let out several long and high-pitched shrieks, some of which were only heard by a team of Alaskan sled dogs at the North Pole.

The instruction booklet informed me that even a ten-year-old child could follow the easy directions. I didn’t know any ten-year-old children, so, in desperation, I called my neighbour Bing and asked if he could help. He had it all connected and hooked-up within a matter of minutes. I still haven’t forgiven him for that, but I was pleased when he tripped over a cable I left on the floor, fell against the edge of the door and chipped a tooth.

I began typing, but nothing appeared on the screen. When I told Bing that the computer didn’t work, he let out a sigh of exasperation, reached over and turned it on. The screen lit up and announced that I had to select a password. After the computer rejected every password I tried, it finally accepted the only word I could think of at that time. That word was “help”. A menu appeared and Bing said I had to select a program. I told him I didn’t want to watch TV; I wanted to work on the computer. He patiently explained what that meant and then he suggested that I take a night school course at the local high school.

I took Bing’s advice and signed up for the beginner’s course. I was the only student in the class over eight years old and who didn’t need a booster seat to reach the keyboard.
The teacher asked if this was my first time using a computer. I told him I had used it a few times to prop open the door whilst I moved some furniture around. He totally ignored me for the remainder of the six-week course. The only time he spoke to me again was to recommend that I drop the course and get a private tutor. Once again, I turned to Bing and begged for his help. He reluctantly agreed. When our first session began, he told me I had a very good computer with a lot of memory. I asked him if the computer remembered how to turn itself on because I had forgotten. That was the first time I ever saw Bing cry.

After a few weeks, I had limited working knowledge and when I finally learned how to balance my chequebook, I discovered that the bank had been right all along.
Bing showed me how to use the “help function” and then he told me that his family would not allow him to come here anymore. My sister said she was surprised that my computer hadn’t “crashed” yet. When I told her it was very safely placed on the desk and couldn’t possibly fall off, she hung up on me.

Maybe someday I will really learn how to use the computer and it will not get so angry with me and refuse to answer me when I use the “help function”.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech.
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on November 16, 2009

File #RBCOL26

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Room Addition)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever do your best to help someone who was totally unappreciative of your efforts? Last month, my neighbour Bing decided to put a room addition on his house and I offered to help. He was very apprehensive about it, but finally agreed when I promised not to use any power tools or offer any advice.

Whilst we were waiting for the lumberyard to deliver the materials, we started to measure and stakeout the area for the addition. Was he satisfied? No! He said he had to re-measure because he did not want a room shaped like an obtuse triangle. Some people just cannot be pleased. After he finished measuring, I began hammering the stakes into the ground when suddenly I shouted; “Bing! You’re rich! I struck oil!” He told me I had broken the water main. He went into the house to call the department of water and sewers whilst I watched his garden become a swamp and his garage tilt slightly to the East. The stakes I had driven into the ground disappeared, and we never did find his hammer or tape measure. I told him he could have mine, but he still wasn’t happy.

When the lumberyard delivered the lumber, our neighbour Buster came over to help us unload the truck but he didn’t stay long. I accidentally dropped a two by four on his head. He didn’t get angry; as a matter of fact, he claimed to be rather amused by being knocked senseless. When Buster left, Bing asked me if I had noticed that Buster’s eyes were rolling in opposite directions and that he was smiling a lot.

Two weeks later, the ground was dry enough to begin work again. Even though I thought everything went exceptionally well, Bing did nothing but complain. First, he said I nailed his shoe to the floorboards on purpose. Then he said I put the upright boards too close together. I disagreed, and when he tried to crawl between the boards to prove it to me, he got stuck halfway through. He yelled at me to help him get unstuck, and when I asked him which end he wanted me to save first, he told me to go home. I came back later with coffee and doughnuts as a peace offering. By that time, he had finished pulling out all the splinters and he was ready to work again. As I was handing his coffee to him, I accidentally spilled it into his shoe. This gave him something else to complain about. I still don’t believe that he sustained second degree burns on his foot and that they had to cut the shoe off his foot, but he said he couldn’t work anymore that day.

The next day, when I saw Bing limping out of the house to begin work on the room addition, I went over to help. Whilst he was on the roof nailing the boards in place, I notice that two of the uprights didn’t look quite straight. I tried to straighten them with the sledgehammer but they broke in half, which made part of the roof fall in. Unfortunately, it was the part where Bing was working, so he came down with the roof. Whilst he was in the hospital emergency room, I cleaned up the mess as best I could and waited to hear news about his condition. It was hours before he came back home because he also had to stop at the dentist to have two teeth capped.

When he finally came home, I went over to see how he was doing. He said he had to stay in bed for a few days and that he had called a construction company to finish the room addition. I asked him if that wasn’t going to be very expensive. He said yes, but if he tried to finish the project himself with me helping him, he was afraid that he would be doing “hard time” in a maximum-security prison for murder.

The room addition is finished and it looks great. I was telling all this to my sister. She said her husband was going to put an addition on their house too. I told her I would be glad to help him with it, but she hung up on me.
Some people just don’t appreciate anything you try to do.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on September 25 2009

File #RBCOL21

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Did you ever...? (Aging)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever think about aging? I really never did until last week when I discovered that I got out of breath whilst chewing gum. How could I possibly be so out of shape?
A visit to the doctor’s office for a complete physical check-up was out of the question because the last time I was there, he told me that the warranty on all my parts had expired. I promised myself that I would never go back to a doctor who was so young that he still had braces on his teeth and smelled of Clearasil. How could he possibly understand?

My neighbour, Bing, worked out a few times a week at the local gym, and was in pretty good physical shape. I asked him if I could go with him the next time he went for his workout. He reluctantly agreed, but only if I promised not to stand anywhere near him because he hadn’t paid this month’s hospitalization premium yet.

When we walked into the gym, I immediately noticed that not one person there was a minute over twenty years old and all had bodies like Mr. Universe. What chance did I have? Our trainer approached and asked what kind of exercise program I wanted.
“What do I have to do to look like them?” I answered.
He looked at me for a while, shook his head and said, “Rub a lamp and make a wish.”

We started with some bending and stretching exercises. I found out that I could bend, but I couldn’t get back up and when I stretched, my bones refused to catch up with my skin. I could do the high kicks, but my leg wouldn’t come back down. The trainer didn’t have much patience with me. He said we would do something easy, like some walking exercises. He put me on the treadmill, set it for normal walking speed and turned it on. When I regained consciousness, one of the attendants was trying to take my blood pressure but said he couldn’t get a reading. I told him that my arteries were tired and didn’t want to cooperate. He said, “I’m glad to hear that! We thought you were dead.” “What gave me away?” I asked. He walked away without answering me.

As Bing and I limped out of the gym, (I was limping from exhaustion and pain, and Bing was limping because I dropped a barbell on his foot), I overheard the trainer ordering Bing never to bring me back again or they would cancel his membership.

Later that day, I called my sister and told her about everything that had happened.
She said that usually as a person gets older, the mind is the first thing to go, but fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about that anymore. I told her there was nothing wrong with my memory. She said: “Really? Then why can’t you remember my maiden name?” She suggested a memory course at the local college. “I already took one of those.” I said. “You did? she asked; “Which one?” When I told her I forgot, she hung up on me. Now, neither my sister nor Bing is speaking to me.

Who knows? Maybe someday they will perfect complete body transplants and I can have my head on the body of Mr. Universe. However, I am sure that I will have to give it back if I start to wrinkle it.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on September 19, 2009

File #RBCOL34

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Physical Fitness)

“Did you ever…?”
by Melech

Did you ever think about the amount of time, money and effort some people put into physical fitness? I am totally in favour of staying fit and in shape, just as long as I don’t have to put any time, effort, or money into it.

A few weeks ago, I saw my neighbour, Bing, jogging. We are about the same age, but he is in great physical shape and was able to wear the same clothes he wore back in high school, until the Department of Health and Sanitation made him throw them out yesterday. I took a long look at myself in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. My chest had fallen down around my stomach, my double chin had made my neck disappear, and I could have sworn that my skin used to fit better. Junk food and gravity had taken its toll. It was time to do something about it. I went outside, stopped Bing, as he was passing my house, and asked him if we could jog together. He reminded me that I got out of breath when I chewed gum; so maybe jogging wasn’t a good idea. After a lot of insisting (and begging), he reluctantly agreed. He said that he would slow his pace so that I could keep up with him. We were only jogging for about thirty seconds when I bumped into him, stepped on the back of his shoe, and he hit the ground. I still don’t know why he was so angry. He only needed two stitches, and only one tooth got chipped.

My sister suggested that I cut out the junk food and buy some kind of exercise machine. After I threw out every bit of junk food in the house, I noticed that my refrigerator, pantry and cupboards were empty. I went to the local health food shop and bought all kinds of food that was supposed to make me healthy and trim. When I wanted a snack, a rice cake sounded good. I was more than half finished with it before I realized that I had been eating one of my cork coasters. The rice cakes and the cork coasters looked and tasted so much alike, it was an easy mistake to make. The rest of the health foods gave me a blinding headache, stomach cramps, sore kidneys, and the desire to run away from home.

The sporting goods shop had an exerciser for beginners. It was two long tension straps that you attached to your door handle, whilst you held the other two ends to do bodybuilding exercises. The instructions said to lie on the floor, attach one end of each strap to the door handle, and the other ends to your feet. I must have done something wrong because when I attached the ends of the straps to my feet, both legs flew up at an incredible speed, and I was slammed up against the door, standing on my head. I decided to try the easier exercise, where you hold one end of each strap in your hands, pull, hold, and release. I must have pulled too hard because the door handle flew off of the door and hit me squarely in the forehead. When I regained consciousness, I decided to return the tension straps to the shop and tell them that they were too dangerous.

On my way home, I stopped at the supermarket and bought some real food, and then treated myself to an ice cream sundae. Bing was sitting on his front porch when he saw me, and he went into his house without a word. I guess he isn’t speaking to me again.

I called my sister on the phone and told her what a total disaster this whole physical fitness thing had been. When she suggested that I join a health club, I pretended I didn’t hear her and I changed the subject.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2000 by Melech. All rights reserved
Next column will be posted on September 11, 2009


Friday, August 28, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (New Clothes)

“Did you ever…?”
by Melech

Did you ever wonder who designs your clothes? I do, and I have come to the conclusion that everything I buy was designed by the criminally insane with a grudge against the human race. Even the label that says; “Inspected by Number…” is no help because as soon as you are close to finding out who it is, they change their number and move to another city. I can’t prove any of this yet, but I think I’m on to something.

The shirt I bought fit just fine except for the collar, which was so tight, my face turned the colour of an over-ripe tomato, my teeth fell asleep and all my eyelashes fell out.

The jeans were no better. When I found a pair that fit it in waistline, they were so big everywhere else, there was enough fabric left over to make a cover for my car. The pair that fit everywhere else was so tight in the waistline I could only do one of two things; either wear the jeans or breathe. I could not do both.

The pullover sweater was probably the worst. After a terrible struggle and the help of two salesmen, I finally got the sweater pulled over my head when I noticed that my neck disappeared and the arms of the sweater dragged on the floor. One of the salesmen borrowed a scissors and cut the sweater off of me.

After trying on thirty-eight pairs of shoes, I settled on a pair of boots that cut off the circulation to my toes and turned them all the same colours of a Japanese fan. My toes bore an uncanny resemblance to an explosion in a paint factory. When I first looked at the boots, I said to the salesman; “Sir, believe me, I don’t have a toe I know of that goes into a point like that.” When I returned home, I discovered that the pair of socks I bought was mismatched. One of them came up over my knee and the other just barely covered my ankle. They were also two different colours. At least, they matched the colours of my toes.

I sat down at the kitchen table and called my sister on the phone. When I told her that I was on a mission to expose the clothing designers and manufacturers who have been plotting against me, she said that with the proper medication and a thousand volts a day, I should be fine in a few months. When I asked her if thought my eyelashes would grow back, she hung up on me
- - - - - - -

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on September 05, 2009
File #RBCOL11

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Refund & Exchange Policy)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder if the refund and exchange policy in some stores was designed to drive you to homicide?
The other day, after I finished painting the spare bedroom in my house, I went to a nearby department store to buy new drapes for the windows. When I brought them home and put them up on the curtain rods, there was something about them that didn't look right. I called my sister and asked her if she would look at them. She came over right away, took one look at them and told me that the colour was all wrong for the colour that I had painted the room. I asked her if she thought I could just make them do. She said “yes”, but only if I would finally admit that I suffered from colour dementia.

About an hour later, I was standing at the customer service desk with the drapes. The woman working behind the desk either hated her job or the entire human race or possibly both. I told her I wanted to exchange the drapes.
“No refunds or exchanges without a receipt!” she snapped.
When I handed her the receipt she said, “How do I know these drapes are from this store?”
“Your store’s name is on the receipt.” I replied.
“Well, what’s wrong with the drapes?”
“The colour isn’t right.”
“The colour looks fine to me. It’s a very nice colour.”
“Yes,” I admitted. “It’s a very nice colour and I like it, but…”

“If you like the colour, then why do you want to exchange it?”
I explained to her that although it was a very nice colour, it did not go with the colour I painted the room.
“Why don’t you just re-paint the room?” she asked. “Then you can keep the drapes and save me a lot of time and paperwork.”
“I don’t want to re-paint the room. I just finished painting it two days ago.” I explained.
She became very indignant, fixed me with a piercing look that would have paralyzed the average Bengal tiger, and said; “So now you want to blame me because you painted your room the wrong colour! Besides that, I can’t take those drapes back now because you just chewed a hole right through one of them!”

I returned home with the drapes, hung them up and because I don’t know how to sew, I patched the hole with duct tape. Later that day, my sister came over and asked why I had the same drapes and why there was duct tape on them. I explained that the tape was there to patch up the hole.
“How did they get a hole in them?” she asked.
“Well, it all started when the lady at the service desk hollered at me for painting the room the wrong colour and refusing to re-paint. I didn’t realise that I was chewing on the drapes.”
“Stop!” she said. “Don’t tell me any more. I’m either getting a headache or I’m having a stroke.”
When I asked her if she thought I should have used a hot glue gun or staples instead of duct tape, she walked out without saying “good-bye”.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on August 28, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (The Horoscope)

“Did you ever…?”
by Melech

Did you ever wonder about the Horoscope, and how some people let it completely control their lives? Even though he says he just does it for fun, my neighbour, Mark, will not make any major or minor decisions without first consulting a multitude of charts. When Susan, Mark’s wife, asked him to move some boxes from the cellar out to the garage, Mark said that he had consulted his Horoscope and that Sagittarius was in direct conflict with Scorpio, which clearly indicated that he should not do any physical labour. Susan informed him that if the boxes were not moved straightaway, her skillet was about to come in direct conflict with his head.

I should have been suspicious of the validity of Astrology in general, when my neighbour, Bing (no relation to Crosby), asked me to read his Horoscope to him. He said he couldn’t do it himself because just the other day, his Horoscope had warned him not to do any reading for at least two weeks. I asked him what “sign” he was. “Leo”, he replied. After I finished reading, Bing said: “See? I told you! That is really me. That stuff is all real”. “Is it?” I said; “I just read Aquarius.”
As he was walking out of my house, he said that if I ever did anything like that again, he would braid my lips.

The Horoscope only held my interest for a very short time. The Astrological signs before and after mine always said great things like: “Today is your day! You will find success, fortune and romance.” My Horoscope always read like a prophecy of doom. For example, yesterday, I was finally going to clean out the refrigerator and throw away all the leftovers. Then I remembered that my Horoscope had warned me to avoid the colours blue and green. I slammed the refrigerator door shut and decided to make a phone call instead. Only then did I remember that the other warning was to avoid conversations with someone who might betray me. I didn’t know who that could be, so I didn’t speak to anyone the entire day. No point in taking chances

Today, my Horoscope looked a little more promising, as it advised me that if I engaged in outdoor activities, I would feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and that the day would hold many surprises for me.

It was a beautiful, calm, sunny day when I went outside to cut the lawn. After about 30 or 40 attempts, the lawnmower started right up, and so did the rain. Actually, it was more like a minor monsoon. As I was putting the lawnmower away, a man ran by and assured me that this sort of thing never happened in his hometown. I wanted to shoot him for that helpful bit of information.
The storm continued with such force, I was seriously considering building an Arc and lining up animals in pairs, when just as suddenly, it stopped and the sun came out again. The front and back yards were flooded, but even if they weren’t, the lawnmower will probably not dry out until next summer. So much for outdoor activities.

When my sister informed me that Jack the Ripper, Norman Bates, and thirty-eight inmates on death row all share my Zodiac sign, I asked her how I could ever be expected to get excited over the Horoscope again. I also told her that I had arrived at the conclusion that the real problem is, that by the time I was born, all the good Astrological signs had been given away. I just know that if my mother could have held out a little longer (maybe two or three months), I might have gotten a better sign. I told her that I don’t have any real proof of this yet, but that I strongly suspect that whilst I am sleeping, all my planets and stars get together, hold a big meeting, and plot against me. My sister told me that I sounded like a “case history” on paranoia, and she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©2008 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on August 21, 2009
File #RBCOL08

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (The Doctor's Office)

"Did you ever...?"
by Melech

Did you ever have the satisfaction of knowing that all the spring cleaning and fix-up jobs you wanted to do were finished? Two years ago I made a list of all the jobs and projects that had to be done. I didn't start any of them right away because after reading the list, I needed those two years to recuperate. My sister still doesn't believe that after reading the list of things to do, I went into a coma.
Last week I finally finished everything. My house looked great inside and out. At last I could take down the sign I put on my front door that read: "Disaster Area; Enter at your own risk."

Along with the satisfaction of finishing all the projects on the list, came the knowledge that I am no longer young enough to do all that work myself. I do not have a bone or a muscle I know of that isn't hurting and threatening to go on strike. I decided to make an appointment with the doctor for a physical examination. I should have just taken a nap instead.

The receptionist at the doctor's office was a very pleasant young woman and didn't mind filling out the paperwork for me. I was just too tired to hold the pen. When she asked me why I had come to see the doctor, I told her that I just felt exhausted and didn't seem to have any energy.

A young medical assistant brought me to an examining room, told me the doctor would be with me shortly, left and closed the door. It was unbelievably cold in that room and I don't care what anyone says, I still insist that I could see my breath and that there were icicles forming on the sides of the metal examining table. I was looking for a blanket to wrap myself in when the same medical assistant reentered the room with my chart. I asked her if this was really an examining room, or if she had mistakenly brought me to the morgue. She looked around the room and said: "I'm not sure, I'm new here. I'll check with the nurse."

When the doctor finally came in, my teeth were chattering and my hands looked blue. I couldn't feel my feet, but they probably had also turned blue just so they could match my hands. Just as I was wondering if my toes had fallen off and were laying loose in my socks, the doctor put the stethoscope on my chest. He had it there for a very long time. Finally I told him that if he couldn't detect a heartbeat, not to worry about it because I felt sure that my heart had probably joined in the strike with my bones and muscles. When he couldn't get a blood pressure reading, I suggested that perhaps my arteries had shut down and would reopen when the warmer weather came. He looked at me and said: "If I didn't know better, I would think you were dead." "What gave me away?" I asked. "Well," he replied, "you're talking." He tried to draw blood, but my arteries wouldn't cooperate. He asked me if I had been to a cold climate recently and I said, "Yes. This room."

A half hour later, he was finished with the examination and told me that there was nothing really wrong with me. He said that maybe I didn't get enough exercise and he recommended that I get involved with clean-up and fix-up projects around the house. I wrapped his stethoscope around his neck, tied it in a knot, and left his office.
As I was walking to my car, I suddenly noticed that the warm spring air was working it's magic. I felt my heart start up again and I was beginning to get feeling back in my hands and feet. I hurried home and called my sister on the phone, and shouted happily: "Guess what? I'm not dead!" She told me not to call her again unless it was an extreme emergency, and then she hung up on me.

Several days later I received the doctor's bill in the mail along with a document from the County Coroner who said that I wasn't dead enough to require his services. No one will ever convince me that another half hour in that examining room wouldn't have changed that.

”Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2008 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on August 14, 2009

File #RBCOL17

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Customer Service)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever have a conversation with someone in a customer service department and wonder if the person you were speaking to had the IQ of a turnip? I am certain that the person I spoke with had to pass an incompetency test to get her job.
It all started when my sister gave me a home-shopping catalog. She knows how I hate to go into stores and shop. She said this would be so much easier. You just fill out the order form, mail it in, and within a couple of weeks you have your order. It all sounded so simple.
Two months passed and I still hadn’t received my order. My letters were ignored, so I decided to try my luck with a long-distance phone call to the customer service department. The person who answered my call sounded as though she was going to burst into tears at any moment. My guess is that she either just broke-up with her boyfriend or she had just been sentenced to death row.
“Customer service, Arabella speaking. Did you want to place an order?”
I knew she made up that name, but I didn’t mention it.
“No,” I replied. “I wanted to check….”
“Then why are you calling?” she snapped.
“I wanted to check on an order I placed over two months ago.”
“So, what’s the problem? Weren’t you satisfied with the merchandise?”
I took a deep breath and said as calmly as I could, “Arabella, I am calling to find out when….”
“Who?” she asked.
“Arabella.” I replied.
“Who’s that?”
“You said that was your name.” When she didn’t respond, I continued; “I would just like to know if my order has been shipped or if it is going to be shipped any time during this decade.”
“When did you place the order?”
“Over two months ago.” I repeated.

“Then it was probably shipped.”
I should have given up all hope at that point, but I tried again.
“Isn’t there some way you could find out?”
“I could try. Where are you?”
“Somewhere between frustration and death.”
“No. I mean what is your postal code?”
After I gave her my postal code she said it wasn’t her area and she would have to transfer my call to another representative. I asked to speak to her supervisor. After a ten-minute wait, a lot of static, and several severe electric shocks, I heard;
“This is Delfina speaking. Would you like to place an order?”
“You sound remarkably like Arabella.” I said.
“Who is Arabella?” she asked.
“Never mind. I do not want to place an order. I want to check on an order I placed over two months ago.”
“That’s not my area of responsibility.” She said. “I’ll have to transfer you back to Arabella.”
During the process of transferring the call, I was disconnected. I slumped to the floor, utterly defeated, and was almost finished chewing through the leg of the kitchen table when my sister called to inform me that she had just received another catalog in the mail and would I like to see it. I told her I didn’t have time right now because I was chewing on the leg of the kitchen table. She suggested that I take a pill and a nap, and then she hung up on me.

- - - - - - -

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2008 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on August 07, 2009


Friday, July 24, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (House slippers)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder why some people are allowed out in public without a keeper, or at least a restraining order? The law permits these people to interact with the general population without regard for our mental well being. I worry about this every time I am forced to go shopping. Everyone knows that shopping is one of my least favourite things to do. It ranks somewhere after gum surgery and electrocution. When both of the soles decided to detach themselves from my house slippers without warning, I knew I would have to face my fears and go shopping. The panicky feeling began when a salesman approached me and asked if he could help me. Right then and there I knew I should have said: “Yes, please help me to my car so I can go home.” However, I just braved it out and told him that I wanted to buy some house slippers.
“How many?” he asked.
I thought about it a minute and replied: “Two. One for each foot.”
“No,” he said, “I meant how many pairs?” I told him that one pair would be fine. He informed me that they had fur-lined slippers on sale, but I told him that I just wanted plain slippers without a fur lining.
“But these are on sale for half-price and they are lined with genuine imitation possum fur to keep your feet toasty warm.”
“Sir,” I began in measured tones, “It is ninety-eight degrees outside, I don’t want my feet to be toasty warm and I really don’t care if those slippers are lined with the missing link! I just want plain house slippers!”
“But these are on sale for half-price.” he insisted.
When I finished chewing through my wallet, I knew I was defeated so I said I would take the fur-lined slippers.
“We’re all out of them. We have another shipment coming in two weeks from now.”

Even though homicide began to look good, I decided against it because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a prison where they probably only had house slippers lined with fur. I almost made it to the door when another salesman asked if he could help me. Instead of wisely pretending that I didn’t hear him, I replied that I would like to buy some black dress socks. He told me that they had white crew socks on sale. When I insisted on black dress socks, he informed me that the white crew socks were only half-price. Rather than argue, I said I would take the white crew socks, but he said that they ran out of them yesterday and were not expecting any to come in until next month. I picked up a bundle of argyle socks, stuffed them in his mouth and walked out.

When I got home, I went to Plan B. I put on the house slippers with no soles and wrapped them all around with duct tape to hold them on. Then I called my sister and told her what happened at the store, and how I was using my old slippers. She asked how I planned to take the slippers off. I told her that Plan B needed more thought.
She said that with the proper therapy and a thousand volts a day, I should be OK in a few years. Then she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on July 31, 2009


Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Shopping)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder or worry about the dangers of shopping ?
Grocery shopping is one of my least favourite things to do. It ranks somewhere between having gum surgery and slamming my fingers in the car door. I only shop when it is absolutely necessary. Today, it became absolutely necessary. There was no food in the house and I found myself hungrily eyeing the houseplants in my neighbour’s window, and wondering how they would taste with salad dressing. Too late. I already drank the salad dressing for breakfast.

I looked in the mirror and told myself; “You are a strong, healthy man. You are 5’10” tall and in reasonably good physical condition. Surely, you can handle a little shopping trip.”

When I pulled into the car park at the supermarket, my palms began to sweat and I felt a little panicky, but I braved it out, grabbed a shopping trolley (the one that limps), and I entered the store. I was promptly assaulted by a blast of icy air from the air conditioner. Apparently, the store manager feels that thirty degrees below zero is the ideal shopping temperature.

As I was blowing on my hands to keep them warm, a little old lady crashed into the back of my ankles with her shopping trolley and advised me to ‘watch where I was going’. I tried to apologize, but by this time, my lips had frozen shut. The shopping trolley and I, both limped up and down the isles. A large honeydew melon went rolling past me. In an effort to be a Good Samaritan, I bent down to retrieve the melon for the owner. I was immediately knocked senseless by the same little old lady’s shopping trolley, slamming into the side of my head. “That’s my melon,” she shouted. “Go get your own.”

When I regained consciousness, the store manager and two stock boys were leaning over me. One of them said, “Hey, man. We thought you were dead.”
“What gave me away?” I asked.
“When the Paramedics tried to put you in a body bag, you thanked them.”

I finally got to the checkout line and, yes, you guessed it. The same little old lady came sprinting down the aisle, crashed into my shopping trolley and my hip and said: “I was here first!”

Home at last! After putting the groceries away, I was too cold and tired to eat anything, so I thought I would take a nap. As I passed the bedroom mirror, I noticed that I didn’t look anything like the strong, healthy, 5’10” tall man I was earlier. I appeared to be much shorter, hunched over, suffering from frostbite, and I could have sworn that my hair was a different colour.

I called my sister on the phone and told her about everything that had happened. She asked me why I didn’t just go shopping at 6:00 AM, when the market opened. She said that the store was usually rather empty at that time. I told her I felt certain that the same shopping trolley (the one that limps), the same sub-zero temperature in the store, and the same little old lady would be there, waiting for me.
She said that I sounded like a case history on paranoia, and then she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on July 24, 2009

File #RBCOL03

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Kids)

“Did you ever…?”
by Melech

Did you ever wonder about kids? I do. My sister has three boys (a year apart in age) and one girl. Since these children were born, I have observed their growth and progress, and my sister’s mental deterioration. The girl has never been a problem or a worry for my sister or her husband. The boys, however, have completely destroyed the misguided notion of the angelic nature of children.

The oldest boy had totally mastered the art of selective hearing and voluntary deafness. If one of his friends was whispering something six blocks away, he heard every word. On the other hand, if my sister was two feet away and calling him a voice one usually associates with hog calling, he never heard a word. No one will ever convince me that the varicose veins that my sister has on her neck were not caused by yelling for her kids. The fainting spells occurred when, after two hours of sustained screaming, they still didn’t answer.

The second boy was always into music. I think that’s what it was, but I was never sure because it was so loud, the entire county suffered from severe earth tremors, and farm animals, two counties away, became restless. One farmer in the next county tried to sue my sister because his prize cow went deaf, had a stroke, and refused to give milk.

The third boy was into anything that was guaranteed to give my sister stomach cramps, dizzy spells, and the desire to run away from home.

When all three boys were still pre-school age, my sister asked me if she could possibly lie about their ages and get them drafted into the army. I told her that I would check into it.

All three boys are grown now and have children of their own. Just the other day, they were complaining to my sister about how their kids don’t listen to them. They asked her: “Mum, when we were little, did you ever have to yell at us?” My sister didn’t answer; she just smiled sweetly. It was the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. I guess it’s true; revenge is sweet.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
Copyright©2008 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on July 17, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Singing)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever hear someone with a truly great singing voice and wished you were as talented? My neighbour Mark has an excellent singing voice and can actually sing the National Anthem without fainting. The last time I tried singing the National Anthem, I got a cramp in my tongue and one of my tonsils disappeared. Mark and his wife both sing in the church choir and they also belong to the church theatre group. They recently put on a musical production and I was astounded to hear how well Mark could sing. I might have also been a little jealous, because when Mark asked how I liked the show, I told him the show was fine but that he was getting fat. Now he’s not speaking to me again.

The singing lessons I signed up for were no help at all because the teacher didn’t like me. He kept saying things like: “No, no no! I am playing this song in the key of “E” and you are singing in the key of “G”.” When I told him that “E” and “G” weren’t that far apart in the alphabet, he slumped to the floor and began chewing on the piano leg. He was never seen again. Rumour has it that he moved to another country and changed his name.

I began practicing on my own at home. I sang along with the radio until the police came to my door an announced that they received a report that someone was being murdered at this address. No one will ever convince me that Mark wasn’t behind this. The police said they wouldn’t arrest me if I promised not to sing again. My sister agreed with the police and she suggested that I learn to play a musical instrument. When I asked her which instrument would be easiest for me to learn, she said: “A whistling yo-yo or a Kazoo.”

I hung up on her and went to the local music studio to sign up for violin lessons. The first time I drew the bow across the strings, I felt like all my teeth were being drilled at the same time. The music teacher screamed and said that all the roots of her hair had exploded. Clearly, the violin was not for me. Neither was the trumpet. I really tried my best, but when I tried to blow the first note, the dizzy spell was followed by a splitting headache and I discovered that I couldn’t close my eyes for two hours. When I asked the teacher if she had a whistling yo-yo or a Kazoo, she told me to leave her studio or she would have me arrested.

I called my sister again and told her everything that had happened. She said it wasn’t my fault if I wasn’t musically gifted. That was easy for her to say because she has a beautiful singing voice. She once hit a high note that was only heard by a fox terrier in Goodyear, Arizona. When I asked her if she ever had a tonsil disappear, she told me to go take a nap and she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on July 10, 2009


Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Camping)

"Did you ever...?"
by Melech

Did you ever think about planning a camping trip to experience the great outdoors? If you did, then you know what I'm talking about. If you didn’t; don't !!!

A few of the guys in the neighbourhood were talking about it one day and decided to plan a weekend camping trip in the woods. They talked about hiking and fishing and cooking over a campfire. It all sounded good. I knew I should have said "no" right away, but my neighbour Mark, talked me into it. I couldn't refuse him because he had just started speaking to me again. He stopped talking to me weeks ago when my garden hose got away from me and I accidentally sprayed him with weed killer. I tried to explain to him that his hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows would grow back, but he wouldn't listen to me. As it turned out, I was right. His hair is growing back nicely and the numbness has almost left his tongue. His eyebrows and eyelashes will probably take a little more time.

Nine of us planned to go on this camping trip, but the number dwindled to four.

Steve couldn't go because his wife threatened to leave him and make sure he got custody of the kids.
Marty refused to go because we wouldn't let him take his dog. His dog is an annoying toy poodle that is nervous, high-strung, and barks for twenty-three and a half hours every day.
Carl's wife said he could go only if he took their four kids with. He stayed home.
Roger's wife threatened to schedule him for gum surgery if he dared to go.
Doug's wife said that was the weekend he was supposed to clean all the carpeting in the house and help her alphabetise all the canned goods in the cupboard. I have no real proof of this yet, but I am sure Doug's wife spends at least three hours a day pouring grease down the kitchen drain and watching it harden, just so that Doug will have something to do when he comes home from work. She hates to see him sit and relax.

The trip started out badly. Mark asked how far it was and how long it would be before we got there; Bob said he had to use the bathroom; and Dennis wanted to know when we would stop for something to eat.
I ignored them, started up the car, and we pulled out of my driveway.

Several hours later, we pulled into a campsite. We pitched the tents and, after a lot of trial and error, got a good campfire going which was promptly extinguished by the onset of a torrential downpour. We all got into our tents except Bob. A hurricane-force wind blew his tent away and it was never seen again. He had to share a tent with Dennis. Just as I was beginning to wonder if we should begin building an ark, the rain stopped. We came out of our tents and looked around. The entire campsite was under a foot of water. All our supplies had floated away, and I could have sworn I saw a school of fish swim by.

We all slept in the car that night and told each other that everything would be better tomorrow. The next morning, Bob, Mark and Dennis went hiking and I stayed at the campsite to salvage and repair what I could. When the three of them returned, I had things looking pretty good. There was a good campfire going and I had made a tent for Bob from a big old blanket I had in the car. I wish there had been another blanket to build a tent for Mark. I built the campfire too close to Mark's tent and it burned down. Now he is not speaking to me again. They couldn't go fishing because I used their fishing poles and fishing line to build the tent for Bob. When he tried to get into his tent, it collapsed and it took us two hours to untangle him from the blanket, fishing line, and broken fishing poles. Now Bob isn't speaking to me either.

We decided to pack up the car and head for home. I offered to help Dennis pack up his tent, but he said that if I came near him or his tent, he would braid my lips. Mark took a vote and it was unanimous that I shouldn't be allowed to ride home with them, but I out-voted them when I reminded them that it was my car. We drove home in silence except for the sneezing, coughing and scratching. They had all caught terrible colds, and Mark caught a case of poison ivy.

Bob and Dennis finally got over their colds and Mark recovered from his bout with poison ivy, but he is still sneezing and coughing. The three of them are going on another camping trip next weekend, but they didn't invite me. My sister said that they are probably worried that if I went with them again, they would all be doing hard time in a maximum-security prison for murder. When I asked her if she and her husband would like to go on a camping trip, she hung up on me.

"Did you ever...?" is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech all rights reserved
The next article will be posted on July 04, 2009


Friday, June 26, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Dieting)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder why our society is so obsessed with weight that they believe any adult who weighs over twelve pounds is obese? I never thought much about it until I noticed that I could either wear my clothes or breathe. I couldn’t do both. When and how did I gain all this weight? At first I tried telling myself that I hadn’t really gained a lot of weight and that the weight I had just shifted around. For example, no one will ever convince me that my chest hadn’t fallen down around my stomach and just had to be pushed back up. I also looked thinner if I was lying down on my back and was willing to go everywhere by gurney cart.
Nothing was going to make me go on a diet until I went to a clothing shop to buy some new pants. The salesman was about my own age, but he was so thin, I felt sure there was only room for one stripe on his pajamas. When he told me that they had nothing I could fit into and that I should try the “stylishly stout” section, I punched him in the stomach and walked out. Before I would concede and go to the new store in the mall called “Tubby’s”, I bought a few books and magazines on dieting and healthy eating. All the people in those books were unbelievable because not one of them weighed more than the turkey my sister cooked for Christmas dinner. How could I ever hope to look like that?

After two weeks of healthy eating and dieting, I gained another ten pounds. The exercise program caused me to gain another five pounds. I just couldn’t win.
The complete starvation diet was beginning to work, and I was really losing a lot of weight, but it wasn’t easy to put up with the dizziness and shortness of breath when I chewed gum or tried to breathe.

Finally, when I decided to stop all the dieting, get dressed and go to the grocery store for some real food, I noticed that my clothes didn’t cut off my oxygen supply or the arterial blood flow. My neck didn’t swell-up when I buttoned my shirt and I didn’t feel like I was in a cardboard mailing tube. I raced to the bathroom scale and discovered that I was back to my normal weight. It was the first time in weeks I had weighed myself because a month ago I almost came unglued when the scale groaned, wheezed and announced, “One at a time please.”

My neighbour Mark and his wife were just coming home from grocery shopping when I was going to my car. Mark’s wife said that I looked thin and pale and asked if I had been ill. I told her that I had been dieting and eating healthy food. Mark commented that my idea of healthy food was a hot fudge sundae with melted marshmallows. His wife said than being thin was out of fashion and that the “chunky” look was “in”. When she suggested that I try to gain some weight, I promised myself that I was never going to speak to either one of them again. However, a hot fudge sundae wasn’t such a bad idea.

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“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All Rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on July 4, 2009


Friday, June 19, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (The Theatre)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be an actor? I had quite a bit of free time on my hands, so I decided to join the local community theatre. They were in the process of casting for their fall production of a murder mystery, and there were plenty of parts to go around. At the tryouts, I discovered that I had no talent for acting, so I took the director’s advice and consented to work backstage. I was assigned to work with my neighbour Dennis who would be in charge of lighting. When Dennis was trying to teach me to operate the lighting board, I nearly electrocuted myself and the theatre was without power for two days. The director reassigned me to work with props and scenery and he continued with the auditions by candlelight.

Several days later, all the parts were cast and rehearsals began. It was all very exciting to watch. Everything was going along fine until one of the scenery flats that I forgot to secure, fell over and knocked the lead actor senseless. His understudy took over for him until he was released from the hospital. One of the “bit players” chipped a tooth when he tripped over a prop bag I accidentally left onstage. After that, things went along very smoothly. Dress rehearsal was flawless, and everyone looked great in their 1800’s costumes. On opening night, the theatre was packed! In the first act when the leading lady made her entrance, I didn’t realize that I was standing on the train of her dress. It detached itself and she walked onstage with only the front of her dress. The audience was treated to a splendid view of her bloomers. She played the rest of the scene seated on the sofa and refused to make her exit.

Before the second act started, I noticed that one of the doors wouldn’t stay closed.
I fixed it just in time. However, in the middle of the second act, the lead actor had to make his entrance through the window, because the door I fixed was stuck shut. By this time, the director’s eyes were rolling in opposite directions, and he was chewing on his shirt. He only stopped when he began choking on a button and they had to call the paramedics.

In the third and final act of the play, there is supposed to be a violent storm. Dennis did an excellent job at making the lightening, and the prop man was working the big thunder sheet. It sounded so real that I asked the prop man if I could try it, and he reluctantly agreed. I guess I shook it too hard because the whole thunder sheet came loose from its hooks and klunked the prop man squarely on the head. At this time, the murderer was supposed to make his grand entrance through the French doors with the lightening, thunder and wind behind him. I didn’t know when the prop man would regain consciousness, so I tried to operate the wind machine. I might have had it on too high a setting because hats, wigs, beards, and assorted articles of clothing were flying around the stage. They brought down the curtain and the stage manager walked out onstage and narrated the rest of the play to the audience. I never did find out what happened to the director; he was never seen again.

When I got home, I called my sister. She had been in the audience, but refused to comment on the play. I told her that it wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be, and that I was going to retire from show business. She said: “Hats will fill the air in New York and Hollywood.” When I asked her if she thought it would be a good idea to start my own theatre company, she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved

The next column will be posted on June 27, 2009