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Tuesday, September 29, 2009



I threw out my back two weeks ago. I always figured that if this happened to me, it would be because I was doing something I shouldn’t have done. Something that seemed important at the time, but in retrospect was not. Lifting a car off an injured guy who was changing his oil, for instance. I could handle a Yugo, but you don’t need to change the oil in a Yugo- you simply wait until it leaks out. Or carrying 5 or 6 boxes of paper over to the copy machine. Which would be a wasted trip since I don’t know how to clear the paper jams. Or changing out the empty jug in the water cooler.

In reality that describes my injury exactly. As I was about to play a game of doubles tennis, I hurt my back performing what would have been a very very funny and topical imitation of Serena Williams chasing around that little Chinese lines judge at the US Open semifinal. As you remember if you saw it, the lines judge inexplicably calls a foot fault on Serena at 15-30 in the final set, which costs her the point and brings up match-point. Serena walks over to her, and says something to the effect of, “I wanna stuff this tennis ball right down your friggin throat.” And she actually shows her the tennis ball, so that she can see how big it is. The lines judge is a small Chinese woman, with a small friggin throat, and even a squash ball or a racquetball shoved down there might have killed her. So she runs over to the umpire’s chair, because Serena is friggin’ huge, and she is armed with a large tennis ball. Then Serena goes back to serve at double match-point down, thinks about it again, and walks back over to the lines judge and points her raquet at her, presumably to also shove that down her throat. The lines judge runs away again and hides under a plant. Serena returns three of four times, each time with something bigger to shove down the girl’s throat, and chases her around the umpire’s chair, or at least that’s how I remember it. Then the US Open officials come out and tell Serena that she has defaulted the point, and so the match, on the grounds of unsportsmanlike conduct and attempted murder. The next day Serena is told that she must forfeit an entire moment’s pay, never go within 50 feet of any lines judge, and not grunt so loud that it scares people. She immediately issues a heartfelt apology through her agent, saying that she is sorry she foot faulted and had to pay all that money, and that she is very passionate about her sport and might hurt anyone at any time in the future.

So my imitation would have been very important, since comedy often has a healing effect. In this case it had quite the opposite effect, since I felt like I dislocated my back. Once I located it again, it hurt like hell and I should have left it where it was. I was writhing around the ground looking like I was break dancing, and the rest of the foursome was laughing at me, marveling at how lifelike I was.

So I could hardly stand up, and everything I did for the next two weeks was extremely painful. I was walking around at about an 80 degree angle, and on the plus side I never stepped in any gum. In order to put on my pants I had to lie on the floor with one leg up, throw the pants into the air and stick my leg underneath it, hoping that the right leg would land in the right leg. There is still a pair of pants hanging from one of our overhead lights because we don’t have a ladder that tall.

So I finally went to the doctor. She poked me in the back and I went, “AAAHHHKKK!” She said, “Was that painful?” I said, “No I am ticklish there.” So she tried another place and I went, “AAAHHHKKK!” And she asked, “Is that ticklish?” And I said, “No- painful.” So she thought I should get an X-ray. I asked, “For my back?” And she said, “No, for your brain- you seem like an idiot.” She also prescribed muscle relaxants, and after two of those I resembled a large puddle, and had to be poured into bed. And then at physical therapy they made me lie on my back and move my legs in a way that if I was a girl on “Melrose Place” would be hot, but for a guy just looks embarrassingly dumb.

The moral of this story is that there isn’t anyone on the planet who doesn’t have a remedy or advice for back pain.
“Try my chiropractor! He doesn’t take insurance so just give him your ATM PIN number!”
“Go to an acupuncturist! Don’t drink any milk for a couple hours afterward!”
“Get a massage- you don’t need the happy ending, but don’t get the UN-happy ending!”
“Put heat on it!”
“Put ice on it! For god’s sake don’t use heat!”
“Lie on your side and lift your hand and leg up and down simultaneously for two minutes straight!”
“Go onto your hands and knees and make a noise like a raccoon!”
“Swallow an entire glass of water, then hold your breath until you start to get a little hungry!”
That last one might have been for the hiccups, I forget.

Even before the injury my wife was constantly badgering me. Before tennis: “Don’t forget to stretch!” I am 6’2” tall, and I think that’s tall enough. And every time I would bend down to pick something up, she would yell: “Use your legs!” I tried and tried to use my legs to pick things up, and sometimes I was able to, but often I just gave up and used my hands.

Incidentally, Astronauts in space can grow 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches, as zero gravity causes their spines to lengthen. Their noses can also grow if they lie in the spacecraft.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Monday, September 21, 2009



So I was swimming around the pool naked last week and noticed about six zillion bees flying in and out of one of the planters on the deck. They were wearing what appeared to be small jackets of the color yellow. I couldn’t tell what type of bees they were, but I noticed that the horizontal stripes on their jackets made them look fat, so I scoffed at their undeveloped sense of style.

Then I realized in a panic that being naked, they could sting virtually EVERY part of my body! Making body parts swell to THREE TIMES their normal sizes! So I wandered over much closer. It turns out as I looked at their faces that nothing could disgust them more than seeing me naked, and they avoided me like the plague. They seemed very busy; they were flying in and out of that planter with a sense of purpose. I couldn’t guess what that purpose was, but they were clearly not interested in me, even though yellowjackets are reputed to be very aggressive and predatory. There were minding their own beeswax.

Still, the situation seemed dangerous, especially right by the pool. If you are not even allowed to run by the pool, think of the extra peril added by this situation: What if a small baby walked up to our house, jumped over the fence, got stung by the bees, fell into the pool and drowned? What if an adult, weakened by trying to swim in the pool less than 30 minutes after eating, was stung to death? What if they flew into and clogged up my BRAND NEW pool filter? Any of these, or even worse, all of them happening on the same day would be tragic. Clearly I needed to address the situation.

With a delicious sneer on my face, I doused the entire area with Raid Wasp & Hornet spray. Well actually, I also doused our side door and one of our lounge chairs with it, since the first minute or so the can was faced the wrong way. We have never had a bee problem on our side door or lounge chairs, and I’m fine with keeping up that perfect record. I waited 15 minutes or so, laughing diabolically, until one of the neighbors told me to shut up.

It didn’t slow the bees down one visible iota. I sprayed again and again. And again the neighbor told me to stop with the laughing. This time it was not me laughing, it was the bees.

I heard somewhere that bees don’t like smoke, and true enough I have never seen any bee smoking, so I set up my trusty Off Mosquito Coils in an ash tray right next to the nest, and lit them up. I fell asleep for about half an hour, and when I woke up, the bees were still there and the ashtray was broken into 20 pieces. This made me not a little frightened, because they seemed to have little regard for my personal property. I checked all the other ashtrays and china in the house to see if they had broken anything else.

I took to standing in the pool and spraying them individually with Raid Flying Insect Killer. I must have sprayed five hundred bees individually (It’s possible I sprayed the same one five hundred times). Not a thing. I thought I caught some of them yelling things at me on the way by. One of them called me a “drone.” One did a feint and roll, as if it were dying, then just laughed and sped away.

I considered spraying the nest with pepper spray, but the fact is I don’t want to waste it, since I keep it in the closet in case a recipe calls for hot pepper and I don’t have any on hand.

I considered befriending them, maybe even making a “beard of bees” out of them, or possibly just sideburns. They didn’t show any interest in my face at all.

I researched them online, and printed out instructions for an “Eco-Friendly Yellowjacket Trap.” You cut a two inch hole in a plastic 2-liter soda bottle, fill it with eco-friendly dishwashing liquid (bees hate doing the dishes), then smear jelly and jam around the sides of the hole. The bees are attracted to the jelly, climb into the hole, then drown in a sea of sorrows en masse. First of all, when I cut the hole in the soda bottle I got Dr. Pepper all over my pants- the soda bottle should be empty first it turns out. After I was done, not one bee flew into my trap, and it wasn’t even eco-friendly, since I got angry and threw it about a mile into the woods.

I was just ready to try to find instructions for a “bunker-buster” bomb, like the ones they kept trying to use on Saddam Hussein, but just then my wife arrived with a spray guaranteed by the guy at the hardware store. It’s called triamethylchloraflorylhydroflummoxoline, or something just like that. I doused the entire area for about a two mile radius and haven’t seen any living thing now for about a week and a half. On the plus side, I think I also might have killed Saddam Hussein.

Incidentally, every winter the entire yellowjacket bee colony dies, with the exception of the queen. If you have a nest in your closet, and you see a queen there, well, just fill in your own joke I need a nap.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



This week {actually last week} I got in all my “brushes with fame” for the whole year. Yesterday as I walked down 53rd Street I saw a large mass of people around the stage door for the Letterman Show, as I often do. The stage manager yelled out “Any second!” so I hung around. Out popped Letterman, Andy Roddick, and for some unknown reason, Rachel Ray (she turned out to be the ballgirl). They had stretched a tennis net between two light poles on 53rd, and Letterman was going to try to return Roddick’s serve. If Andy Roddick was serving tea I don’t think Letterman could return it. He was serving at 90 mph, about 2/3 the speed of his U.S. Open best. I don’t think Letterman ever got a racket on it. I yelled out “I hope you’re wearing a cup!” but I don’t think he heard me- I was serious!

I could sense confusion on the faces of all the tourists as they tried to convert miles-per-hour to kilometers-per-hour, but before they could figure it out some guy got nailed! I caught one of the tennis balls that they lobbed into the audience, nearly killing some people who were not expecting it, but I was not able to convince my dog that this ball was “special,” so there is drool on it now, some of it from the dog.

Then the day before that I was walking next to 30 Rock and I notice a bunch of protesters picketing. I thought it was the Rainbow Room not paying their employees again, but one of the sign said, “Pages are People Too!” so I got suspicious. Sure enough, there was that goofy red-headed guy from the Tina Fey show out there looking goofy. I probably could have gotten into the scene but I didn’t want to miss my train, and besides I believe that pages are overpaid.

Then last weekend just as I was finishing my tennis match, two kids and an old guy come onto the court. I did a double-take then said to the old guy, “I don’t suppose anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Sean Connery!” He said, “Yes my mother told me that!” I told him it was nice to meet him, and left. I guess one of the players was his kid, who belongs to Saw Mill. Not as interesting as Jill Clayburgh seeing my wife naked, or the time Chevy Chase said hello to me and I barely gave him a nod (clueless as usual), but not bad.

So I was kicked off the court by James Bond, almost was an extra in “30 Rock,” and told Dave Letterman to wear a protective cup. This was one of my more productive weeks.

Incidentally, Sean Connery was filming a movie with Lana Turner in 1958, only to have her gangster boyfriend storm the set, point a gun at him and accuse him of having an affair with her. Connery disarmed him and diffused the situation. He gave the boyfriend his arm back and got him to leave, but held onto the gun.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.