Thursday, May 24, 2018

Email To My Brother: Some Red Vans

Maybe you put your red Vans on the wrong feet, and all those people who were complimenting you on them were actually telling you to look down.
     "Poor man. Let's just smile and wave at him as he walks away, Mildred."
     My buddy Maloney is a year older than I am, and just yesterday he told me a story about an older woman. This is when he was twenty, and he went to a party. At the party, he said a forty-year-old woman came up to him and started flirting. It ended up with the two of them having sex. Now remember, he's twenty, so he tells me, "Her body was soft, with no muscle tone. I was grossed out." Grossed out, but he didn't say no. "But at my age now," he confessed, "a forty-year-old wouldn't be that bad."
     I told him, "Forty isn't as firm as twenty, but it's a lot firmer than sixty."
     I told him that because the woman he's dating now is sixty.
     The reason he told me about the forty-year-old was because he was complaining about the sixty-year-old. He told me that on their first date, the sixty-year-old gave him awesome sex of the oral variety.
     She hasn't done it since.
     He's told her, "You know, a guy likes to get that every once in a while."
     "I have to be in the mood," she's told him back.
     She hasn't been in the mood in these last two years that they've been dating.
     I told Maloney, "The first few years are when men and women try to impress each other so they can trap them. If you're not getting any now, you're definitely not going to get any if you marry her."
     Like most women looking for a husband, she says she loves to cook, but she's only cooked for Maloney once in these last two years. She made him some enchiladas at his house with stuff she found in his pantry and refrigerator.
     "Did she make them from scratch?" I asked him.
     "Nah the enchilada sauce was canned."
     I didn't say it, but it sounded to me like she was hungry and made herself something to eat, with a little extra for Maloney, because he was there and it was his food.
     Like you, he always complains about not getting enough sex. I asked him, "Why is she even there? A man can be by himself and not have sex."
     He said that he's complained to her about it, and she's said that there's more to a relationship than sex.
     "Like what?" he asked her.
     "Like companionship," she said.
     "That's what dogs are for," I told him. 
     Maybe he should buy himself some red Vans.
Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Email To My Brother: Is It Hot?

Yes, it’s hot here.
     Very hot.
     That’s why I tell our local homeless they should relocate to California. "The weather is temperate year-round, the liberal government is friendly to your plight, the mayor of Los Angeles says he thinks about you 100% of the time, and there’s money for everyone—as long as you’re homeless and/or in this country illegally." I tell them, “Nancy Pelosi lives in a nice neighborhood, I suggest you set up camp there.”
     If I was in a position of authority here, I would go even further. I would give each homeless person here a hundred bucks and a bus ticket to California to get them the heck out. I’d also give them a new (new to them) coat, because I’ve heard it gets cold in the northern part of your state. Stuffed into one pocket of that coat would be the address of Nancy Pelosi and the Los Angeles mayor.
     Everybody wins!

     Those are going to be some big dogs you’ve got. Looking at them in those pictures you sent me, I thought they were going to be about the size of a large cocker spaniel.
     Since they’re part poodle, you can take them with you when you go coon hunting, in case you come across one of the imaginary bears you like to tell your therapist about.
     Here’s an interesting play with language:
Her = Therapist
You = The Rapist

      A week after our cousin had her graduation party for her daughter, she threw a party celebrating her husband’s 60th birthday.
      His actual birthday was on April 15th, but they wanted to wait for people’s bank accounts to replenish after having had to pay their taxes. I kid, of course. Actually, the invitation said “No presents.” Our company was the only gift he wanted.
     Our cousin Manny was shocked at the concept, shaking his head in non-understanding. “Not even a money tree?” he asked anybody who would listen, remembering his own “cash only” request for his and his wife’s 50th wedding anniversary extravaganza.
     Interestingly enough, underneath the “No presents.” on the invitation, it said: “Don’t tell your brother.”

Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

Monday, May 21, 2018

Email To My Brother: Time Is NOT On Our Side

That possible twin sister of your ex-wife, the one I told you about who works where I work and looks as if her better days were spent on meth, I only see her from a distance.
   The one time I talked to her, she took twenty minutes to tell me nothing. All she did was complain about her ex this and her ex that. I don’t even know her, and she was telling me the dirty laundry of her life.
   I’m sure she was pretty hot in her youth, though, because she’s got these huge boobs. They arrive anywhere she's going ten minutes ahead of her. Still, that was then and this is now. Nowadays, when she takes off her bra, I'm sure her nipples point to her toes. I saw her fall face-forward to the ground one time, and her knockers looked like two asteroids hurtling toward the earth.
   That’s not true, but I thought it was a pretty good joke.
   Still, I shouldn’t joke about her that way. She’s nice enough. Unless you’re her ex. Or her current. Normally, I wouldn’t mind losing twenty minutes due to socializing when I’m on the clock, but I don’t have that kind of time to spare, much less lose twenty minutes of it due to gabbing with someone I’m not going to have sex with.
    The only thing that’s more of an annoyance is losing time at the end of my day when I’m already off the clock. I have some co-workers who are in no hurry to leave, and hang around to yenta it up. My buddy Maloney is like that. He’s become an old lady the way he likes to yadda, yadda, yadda. Inside the building. Outside the building. In the guard shack. In the parking lot. At my car when I'm trying to leave.
    “Well, I’ve got to go,” doesn’t work with him, and he doesn’t pick up visual cues. You can be edging toward your car door, and he’ll keep talking. You can open that very same door and he’ll keep talking. You can put your stuff away, and he’ll keep talking. Get inside, and he’s still talking. Start the engine, and he’s still talking. He lives by himself, so maybe he’s just lonely, and has all this pent-up conversation in him.
   Yesterday, they had a presentation for him at work--30 years of employment!--but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, for that kind of a presentation they have food, give you the award, along with some nice gifts, and the day off. The big boss comes in from out of town, and, in this case, Maloney’s parents were invited. His father is a retired general in the army, and he used to be in charge of the local Army base. There’s even a street named after him in the northeast.
   I didn’t know about the presentation, so I asked the guards about the leftover food in my department's office when I was leaving, and they told me it was for Maloney. Funny thing about the food, but some of my co-workers were still eating it. It smelled good, because it was bar-b-que chicken with some sides, but I tend to stay away from food that late at night because you don’t know how long it’s been sitting out. Not to mention I don’t need to be eating that late.
    The guards were the ones who told me that Maloney’s parents had been invited for the presentation. Maloney’s father must be in his late 80s or early 90s. Maybe even late 90s. One of the guards said, “He looks younger than Maloney!”
    “Yeah,” I agreed. “Maloney should stand up straight and walk faster.”
    “He should lift his pants,” the guard said, because, it’s true, Maloney’s pants hang low in the back and he walks around with his butt-crack showing half the time.
    I said he should walk faster because he shuffles around like an old man. The last time I saw Methuselah, he was walking with more urgency than Maloney. Then again, he could have just been on his way to the bathroom.
    Maloney walks around dragging a small dolly with a milk crate on it behind him. The milk crate holds all of his crap. Paper towels, cleaning supplies, other stuff. He looks like a bag lady pulling that dolly around, only with less dignity. When he was younger, Maloney used to remind me of the actor Gary Cooper.
    These days he reminds me of Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond.

Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Email To My Brother: Maricón!

I remember our beloved mother telling me once, when I was dropping off gourmet enchiladas for her lunch, “I had a horrible dream last night?”
     “You did, Mom?”
     “I did.”
     “What was it about?” I asked her, as she took a healthy bite out of her delectable Mexican food.
     “Well,” she said, chomp-chomping. “I dreamt that your brother Henry was coming down for Mother’s Day.
     “He was,” I told her, “but couldn’t at the last minute. He had to trim his toenails.”
     “I KNEW IT!” she said. “I KNEW there was a disturbance in The Force.”
     Who knew Mom was a Star Wars fan?

     Later that night, at the graduation party our cousin was throwing for her daughter, I told her two sisters that you were almost in town and almost came with me to the party. They were happy to hear that.
     “Who?” they said.
      Our uncle, their father, must be getting kind of older, because he got your name all wrong.
     “Marty Coen?” he clarified.
     “No,” I corrected him. “My brother, Henry.”
     “Si,” he said in Spanish. “El Marty Coen.”
     “Whatever,” I thought.

Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

All The Difference In The World

Adults have never understood kids and kids have never understood adults, but it’s a different kind of generation gap we live with today.
    What am I saying?

     I’m saying that I like to shop at used book stores. I love books, but I’m not particularly fond of paying full price for them.
   One of my favorite used book stores is affiliated with the city’s libraries, so I get a good deal and the money goes to a good cause. It’s run by some very sweet elderly ladies who, if you were looking for the typical stereotype of a librarian, would fill the bill nicely.
   I was standing at the science fiction section hoping to find either a collection of Fredric Brown’s short stories or Jeff Rice’s novel The Night Stalker, which Darren McGavin’s classic TV-movie and eventual series was based on, and, in an interesting side note, was the inspiration for Chris Carter’s The X-Files, starring David Duchovny and the hauntingly beautiful Gillian Anderson.
   Well, I didn’t find either... but I wasn’t disappointed.
   One day I will.
   Sadly, that wasn’t the case for two young boys who walked into the bookstore. They walked up to  one of the ladies and asked her, “Do you have any Star Wars books?”
   I gave the shelves a quick glance.
   I didn’t see any.
   Adjusting her glasses, she answered in the affirmative. The two boys looked at each other. I could see them practically jump up and down with happiness.
   “They’re over here,” she told them, and led them to where I was standing.
   The boys eagerly looked, but were immediately disappointed.
   “These are Star Trek,” they complained.
   The cashier once again adjusted her glasses.
   “What’s the difference?” she asked.

Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Watching TV

My father's favorite sport is baseball.
     I don't know why. Maybe it's because he comes from a time when there was nothing else to do. Back when he was growing up, it didn't matter that a baseball game could last all afternoon. What else were you going to do? Cut an apple in half and watch it turn brown?
    My lovely wife tries to make it as enjoyable as she can for him. She fluffs his pillow. Makes him snacks. She even sits him down and turns the TV on for him. The only problem is, he won't stay sitting down. He gets up and goes to his room constantly.
    When he does, after ten or fifteen minutes, we'll change the channel, but my father must have some kind of radar, because that's exactly the time he’ll come back. He'll walk into the family room, stand on one side of the TV, look at it, at us, at it, at us, and ask no one in particular, "Is the game over?"
    He knows the game isn't over. I have a sneaking suspicion that he's secretly been watching it in his room on his TV, laughing to himself--"Heh, heh, heh."--and, when enough time has passed for us to have changed the channel to something we like, he comes back.
    "No," I'll tell him, "but you went to your room, so we thought you were watching it there." I give him hints that are so big, they could be rolling down a cave at Indiana Jones.
    So we'll change the TV back for him. After awhile, my wife will get up and fiddle around in the kitchen. She'll clean something, or make us some popcorn. I'll pick up a magazine and go thumbing through it. You know I'm bored when reading what Martha Stewart has to say is the more entertaining alternative.
    My father will then get up and go to his room. He doesn't say, "I'll be back." He doesn't say, "Goodnight." He doesn't say, "Excuse me, but I've got to go see a man about a horse." He just leaves, without a word.
    My wife eventually makes her way back and sits besides me. I'll put the magazine down. We'll talk for a bit. After another ten to fifteen minutes have passed, we'll look at each other. I'll pick up the remote and change the channel. With any lucks there will be a rerun of Wings, an old TV show we both like. That, or Third Rock From The Sun. "Hey," I'll say, "I haven't seen this episode," and, right on cue, my father will walk in. He'll look at the TV, at us, at the TV, and back at us.
    "Is the game over?"
    "When you left," I’ll tell him, "I thought that meant you didn't want to watch the game."
    "No, I want to watch the game."
    So we’ll change the television back to baseball. My father will continue standing, watch the game for a few minutes, and then walk off again. Which brings me to the present...
    Ten minutes later, no pop.
    Twenty minutes later, no pop.
    "What do you think?"
    "I think he's not coming back," I tell my wife, but I’m lying.
    “Are you sure?”
    “Not really.”
    "Should we change it?"
    "We'll only have to change it back."
    "How does he know?"
    "I don't know. He just does."
    "Do you think he’s wiretapping us?"
     I know my wife is kidding. She has that wry smile she gets when she's being facetious. My wife is funny, but she has a very dry sense of humor. If you miss the visual cues, you'll think she was serious. She lifts the table lamp and looks underneath it, pretending to search for a surveillance bug.
    So I change the TV. This time hoping for Gilligan’s Island.
     Yeah, I'm old.
    At the thirty minute mark my father comes back, right on schedule. He has papers in his hands and tells me he needs help with his bank statements. My wife gives me that wry smile again. Then, without a word, she gets up and goes upstairs. She gives me a little salute on her way out. She knows better than to stay.
    "What's the problem, pop?" I ask, not really wanting to know.
    My father sits himself down at the kitchen table, so I have to get up, go over, and see what's bothering him.
    "I don't know about my bank," he tells me. "Those characters, they'll cheat you blind."
    "What do you mean?"
    He shows me his statement. I look it over. It looks fine to me.
    "Those characters are after my money," he tells me.   
    He asks about this deposit. Then about that one. They are the same deposits that are made every month, and in the same amounts. He asks me about a few of the deductions.  I tell him, well, pop, on this day you did this and on that day you did that. Everything checks out. Thirty minutes after we began, we're done.
    My father gets up. Takes a step toward his room. Stops. Looks at the TV. Picks up the remote. Changes the channel back to the baseball game he keeps not watching. Then leaves. Back to his room.
     To finish not watching the game, I suppose.
    I sit down. Turn off the TV. There's nothing I really want to watch, anyway. After awhile, when she senses there's no longer a disturbance in The Force, my wife comes back down and sits beside me.
    "Is the game over?" she asks.
The game is always on at,, and @JimDuchene.
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Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Email To My Brother: Scared Turtles

I didn't get the pictures you texted me.
    When you DO text them again, don’t go pulling an Anthony Weiner on me. That might fly with the old ladies on Facebook that you used to go to high school with, but I don’t want to look at anything of yours that will remind me of a scared turtle.
    Got back home eventually on Monday after my breakdown. I’m usually home by 10pm, but that night I had to be towed back and didn’t make it home until 3am. I lost so much time I had to take Tuesday off, because I didn’t have the D.O.T. hours required to work the next day. It gave me a taste of what retirement would be like. I played with my granddaughter all day. Nice. But I’m back to work today. Not so nice.
    We’re given seven option/sick days at work per year. If we don’t use them, they pay us for them at the end of the year. So, having to take an option day, I don’t look at it as a paid day off, I look at it as losing a day’s pay at the end of the year. Still...
    I can’t quibble about the quality time I had at home.
    Even my two dogs got some love, and not the kind you give YOUR puppies with that scared turtle of yours.
    Thanks for the information on the gypsy tow truckers. I’ll pass it along to my wife and girls, but not my son.
    He already knows everything.

Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee