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