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