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