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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

March 30

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2010 at 12:04 am

I realize my earlier entry on golf was disorganized and ended not with a bang, but a whimper.   Frankly, I was feeling time constraints.  We are headed to warm weather islands and I knew that if I didn’t post something now, it was unlikely to happen.  When we return, I’ll be having another chemo treatment, and if experience holds, I’ll be like the corpse of Stalin for a few days – something to be viewed and admired, but not smelled or touched.  So, don’t think anything bad has happened if you don’t read anything new from me for a couple of weeks.

Ciao!

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Swinging the Big Stick

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 11:58 pm

  I have intimated that I am finally going to lift the lid on “guys golf trips” and I guess that is what I am going to do. To tell the truth, I had initially planned to write a revelatory and cautionary, journal-style version of the nefarious weekend of March 18-21, 2010, and even woke up that Friday morning to engage in a two-hour binge of writing I was sure would set me off with a bang. Unfortunately, I wrote in long-hand on a legal tablet, creating immediate obstacles. The first couple of lines, in a weird mating of Cuneiform and Sanskrit writing styles, reveal themselves to me as: “tle ll bullatory & Compara alle glofus in goup ham gley mahkr TEE lelf Now!!?” I invite pointy-hatted PhD’s to examine the original document and decipher anything different.

 Unpromising beginnings can be a gift because they offer so many avenues to transcendence that might otherwise be overlooked – a ghetto kid becomes a NASA scientist or the body of the child of privilege evolves into a glorious canvas for the art of tattoo. The gift in this case is more like the special prize purchased from one of those dispensers in the atrium of a Fish Camp Family Style Restaurant. A bouncing ball is only a bouncing ball; even the best writing about “guys golf trips” is only about “guys golf trips.” With such low expectations and standards at play, I could perform the literary equivalent of a matchbook magician’s school card trick and still carry the day.

 So I guess I’ll just start with a bit of history. The particular golf trip in question actually started in the late 80’s when, between marriages, my friend Fatz and I began an annual Spring golfing jaunt to Myrtle Beach. At the time, Fatz still played with a set of implements that looked stolen from the office of Mel Fitz, Frontier Proctologist. I played with nicer clubs (Christmas, 1974) that could have been wielded to better effect by someone with more art and craft. Soon enough, I invited Jimbo to come along, and then we invited other friends (Fatz, by the way, has no friends), and through the years we moved from the Hartford Motor Lodge at Cherry to Tuppy’s place (don’t ask) to the Sands Ocean Beach Front Golf Resort, Keno Parlor and Meat Market to rental houses, with Jimbo’s Place becoming, in a sense, the final resting place of the core crew, though satellite residences have become involved. In addition to those mentioned, the core crew includes the Doctor, The Colonel, Roger Lee, Corona Phil and TB, the heartthrob of every teenaged girl in Lexington between the ages of 35 and 75. Others have come and gone, but to the list of core crew “others,” since they have two years vested in the Joining the Spring Outing for two consecutive years have been John Boy, Andy, Paul and the inimitable (thank God!) Irv.

 Now I am aware that there are plenty of groups of golfers that are fueled by testosterone. Starting at their homes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, they attempt to out-drink, out-eat, out-golf, out-strip-club-tip, and generally out-ass-hole each other within an inch of their miserable lives. On occasion, I have attempted to dine in a nice bistro when such clodhoppers clod-hopped in, and I can tell you it is not a pleasurable experience. The main reason they act this way is understandable, for if one resides in Nyack, Stroudsburg or Canton, one needs to take it out on the rest of the world when one travels. It ain’t pretty, but it is a fact of life.

 In contrast, my group is so bland as to almost blend in unnoticeably with the wallpaper is a church parlor. This is not to say that we lack personality (though, frankly, we include at least two guys who could hold milk in their mouths for a week without it ever threatening to curdle). Some of us happen to be quite witty and entertaining (examples will come to me eventually). Nor is it to say that we lack attainment (the core crew includes a retiree, a realtor, a charity director, a businessman, two lawyers and two crackerjack salesmen – and that at a time when it’s not easy to sell crackerjacks). Come to think of it, it’s rather baffling to try to describe the specific gravity that holds this group together. Maybe it’ll help if I try to describe what we don’t do rather than what we do.

 1. Alcohol: None of us are teetotalers, and none to my knowledge have ever been on the wagon, though a couple of us tend to walk beside wagon, not ride in it. The death of one of our crew will occasion a day of mourning in Mexico (flags at half-mast, peasant girls offering to sell their brothers and the like) and could easily wreck the national economy. The rest of us are seasoned and ardent tipplers with some discrimination: the beverage of choice is the one that’s free. In other words, we do not drink outrageously.

 2(a) Adult Entertainment: To the best of my knowledge, none of our group has ever chased snootie at the beach. In fact, the only time anyone I know of when anyone has voluntarily engaged a woman in conversation at a bar was once when a tipsy unit (me) approached a voluptuous, young, step-on-your-tongue beauty at the Santa Fe Station bar to inquire whether, in a previous life, she had checked clothes at Leonard’s Cleaners, a suggestion loudly pooh-pooed by the rowdy golfing collective. You should have seen the expressions on the faces of the collective when she responded, “Mr Philpott, good to see you, and how are you, Mr Nance?” In other words, we do not chase women.

 2(b) Adult Entertainment II: Myrtle Beach happens to be chock full of well-appointed establishments where gentlemen of taste and refinement can retire to enjoy various aspects of modern dance as practiced by graduates of such cultural conservatories as the Clemson and USC cheerleading squads. Though not so inclined ourselves, Fatz and I used to help the team by visiting such establishments if needed to insure that our teammates made it home safely. Later, we continued to visit under secret contract with the South Carolina Department of Health, then as professional researchers for “A Hacker’s Guide to Myrtle Beach Golf,” a web publication that enjoyed a few minutes of fame (mention in both Canada’s National Journal and Triad Golfer). A cracked sternum and crappy CD (don’t ask, really!!) brought an end to these ventures more than a few years ago, and now the group regularly retires home after dinner. Still, one of my all time favorite beach moments came when a comely young lass, doing her dangedest to earn a big tip from one of our more sophisticated members, asked him loudly, “Say, didn’t you used to be a minister?” In other words, we do not habituate bawdy houses.

 2(c) Adult Entertainment III: Several of our members are devotees of cinematic art, particularly of the outsider or renegade variety. One is a genuine connoisseur, who rips into each month’s “Adam & Eve” catalog with the greedy, dandruffy fingers of an Oxford don opening a catalog of Antiquarian Books devoted to middle translations of Marcellus the sheepish. Though watching DVD’s has become more obligatory ritual than voluntary delight, we generously share with each other our observations on every aspect of contemporary filmmaking from the physical prowess of the actors to the details of the cinematography. Not long ago, one of our crew decided to make it his mission, indeed, his grail, to find a DVD so revolting as to be unwatchable. He succeeded! Even with the aid of two thesauruses and an unabridged Oxford English Dictionary (the edition that requires a magnifying glass to use), I cannot come up with words to describe the title that would not get me in trouble with federal smut police. The DVD depicts actors with no good table manners to speak of engaged in various exercises with a tarpaulin and condiments typically found on the table beside a hot dog stand in any baseball park in America. I ran shrieking from the room at the 1:46:03 minute mark. The record for longest viewing (3 complete episodes) is 34:52:46 minutes, and is held by the member of our group voted by his senior class at high school as Most Likely to Be a Mothball. It just shows to go you…..you never can tell about some people. The experience did have a serious effect on our viewing habits. Last weekend, we watched a video in which action sequences had been almost entirely replaced by meaningless dialog and impenetrable plot. Next year, I’m afraid something involving Heidi or Pollyanna may be in the works. In other words, we do not fry our brains watching naughty movies.

 3. Dinning: In the early days, the boys ate like pigs after Ramadan. You could push a plate of fried anything – and when I say anything, I mean eel eyes, shark bladder, crab hair or tenderloin of Topsider – and we’d wolf it down. But palates evolved and we now tend toward a menu teetering between Piedmont traditional and fine cuisine. Picking places to eat is somewhat obstructed by the fact that several of us are cheap as dirt. One of our crew has even been heard to say, “I liked A Christmas Carol until that Scrooge guy woke up from his last dream!” Consequently, each trip we usually spend one night at a good restaurant – Collector’s Cafe, Chianti South or Villa Tuscany – and one at Hoskins (doing the traditional southern fried seafood thing, though I was alarmed to find this trip that I was the only person at an 8 man table who ordered a sweetened drink). The third night has found us from Elvis’s to the Raw Bar to Rockefeller’s to some godawful place where you had to wrestle the roaches for your steamed oysters, so let’s just say that particular night out is still in a state of flux and evolution. In other words, we do not gorge ourselves.

 4. Golf: We used to take playing golf much more seriously and had the games to make this pursuit utterly futile. I mean we played rounds on the way to the beach, played the best and the newest courses, and when we weren’t playing, we talked about playing. We played through snow, wind, sleet and hail (I still have a Marsh Harbour sweatshirt that I break out in the coldest weather). We attacked the game with the gusto of a Young Republican Club asked to volunteer on a Congressional campaign. Nowadays, golf is merely the glop (I would say glue, but even crackly, ten year old white school glue does not quite do justice to the concept) that holds this crew together. Which is probably a good thing, given the state of our swings? In the core crew, we have two pretty good golfers with pretty good swings, but since one of them is a lefty, everything he does on the course looks wrong. Player C, a man of the eyesight and native athletic ability of a dead halibut, managed with the help of the assistant pro at Triad Golfing, Scrapbooking and Cuddly Bears, managed to scrape together a swing than enabled him, for ten years or so, regularly to shoot in the low 80’s. Recently, though, his game retired to Sarasota and he now pokes a club at the ball in the manner of an exterminator wanting to insure the rabid raccoon is really dead. Player D swipes at the ball like an old grizzly bear swipes at salmon during a spawning run on the Yukon River, but occasionally, when his putter is working, goes on scoring binges that would leave one of Tiger Woods’s mistresses shaking in his wake. Player E has a round, almost monumental swing, that produces splendid results when all the gears and pounds achieve synchronism, but he is also pigheaded to a degree: give him a wedge or let him saunter off the fairway with a wood in hand and the results are inevitable and sadly predictable. Player F has a sound swing (the sound is that of a trombone being bent across the knee) and a good enough game but still has a bit too much of the athlete in him to ever really be satisfied with the way he plays golf. Give him a few holes to accept again that this is going to be just another day on the golf course and he is fine. Player G has the build and athletic grace of the Tasmanian Devil of the Warner Brothers cartoons with a stick in hand. Let him whirl and if he connects perfectly, the results are truly wondrous to behold, but if he misses even slightly, the ball could go anywhere from two inches to two miles in any direction, leaving general carnage in its path. Player H, would be me, and though I am not the most reliable reporter to describe my swing, I am told by friends it resembles what you might expect to witness if one were to hand a scythe, a chain saw and a hockey stick to a dental veterinarian and asked him to use those tools to extract an impacted molar from the mouth of a wild hippopotamus. In other words, we do not play golf to excess or too seriously.

 It is a bit harder to say what we actually do on these trips besides eat, sleep, golf, nap and drink, but I’ll try. In these respects, the notes I wrote Friday morning prove, on re-reading, to be not wholly illegible and in some respects quite helpful. I may refer to them from time to time, and might wind up even quoting myself.

Any way, on these trips what we actually do is:

 1. Grouse. Grouse about jobs, bosses (one who is his own boss is the worst) and wives. The grousing about wives, however, is confined to a particular arena, which is the marital bedroom. A few of us regularly complain that they would that they would prefer a bit more vivacity in their life’s companions, but that complaint is made for the benefit of the team. Frankly, we have reached the point where flannel nightwear and hot chocolate are more appealing than satin sheets and fishnet stockings; any prescription for Viagra should be accompanied by a cell phone pre-dialed to the number of the local EMC. We like to talk as though we were 20 years younger, but please do not expect us to act like it.

2. Joke. Tell jokes and funny stories, some fresh, but some old favorites that still amuse despite wearing Depends. One of our crew is a walking “Captain Billy’s Whizbang” or “10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories for Every Occasion” – it’s just a matter of trying to manage the flow.

3. Catch up. You know, share all the ordinary and mundane details about what is happening in our lives.

4. Snore. The crew includes several world-class practitioners of the art of snoring that you seriously would have to hear and suffer to be able to believe. One has even been issued a special sleep pad by the USGS to make sure that his nightly carumblings do not give false readings on seismographs over the world. This measure was taken after one especially percussive snort and snoodle caused wide-spread evacuation of villages in Bolivia.

5. Shop. A couple of our clothes-horses regularly visit what they tout is the cheapest Brooks Brothers outlet in the world (a pine tar shack tottering on the edge of a swamp near Otter Munch, NC) and a few regularly sample the offerings of the Tanger Outlets on Hwy 17, but when I say shop, I mean visit Martin’s Golf and Tennis and Golf Dimensions, the absolute Mecca of golf expenditure. One might scrounge for cheap gloves and balls, another might splurge on the latest “Big-as-a-bull’s-head-composite-new-age-titanium” driver, but nobody ever walks out of the stores empty handed. None of us has quite succumbed to the suspicion that the latest technology will significantly improve our games, but I personally am waiting. Software is available in the music business that can make Bugs Bunny sound like Edith Piaf, and if this technology ever makes its way into golf, I may have to spurge and give it a try. Then again, how good a golfer was Edith Piaf?

6. Nap. After golf, after a beery lunch or a winey or boozy supper, the boys tend to doze off on whatever couch or chair they land on. There are so many open mouths that the den tends to resemble a dead patch of Oklahoma oil land after the wildcatters have left.

7. Grief. Essentially, we give each other hell about every aspect of each other’s personality, style, character and existence: clothes, sexual preferences, golf, educational experience, demeanor, temper, sports skills in general, intelligence, wit, automobile driving……you name it. Anyone who dares bring an ego to this gathering risks having it shredded. Anyone with any sense of self-importance would be laughed back out the door within about 37 seconds. Frankly, I doubt Dick Cheney would even make it out of the car.

8. Drugs.  The lone sinister aspect of my crowd is that we are a bunch of druggies.  I mean we do drugs.  We do a lot of drugs.  Of course, I am not referring to taking drugs as sort of a groovy trip into a Sixties or early Seventies “experience” with ghastly music playing by Strawberry Alarm Clock in a room lit by psychedelic lava lamps – I am talking about taking drugs of the prescription variety.  Among us, we enjoy a level of health that does not exactly qualify us to be bench warmers for the A-Team.  Or the B-Team.  Or even the C-Team.  We’re talking several “minor” heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high chloresterol, sinus surgery, and bad backs and assorted bone and joint agues relict of youthful athletic careers.  Once, one member managed to leave the house in the dead of night and get checked out at the emergency room for heart flutters without waking anybody up, but still made the tee time the next morning.  So when I say drugs, I mean Lipitor, Doxycycline, steroids, KY Jelly (for the Colonel, who tends to chafe), Keppra, Quaker State Lube, Lopressor, Alpha-glucosinate Inhibitors, Bourbon, Cumetin and just about every other pill a feeble and evil mind can conjure – I virtually quarantee that somebody in the group is popping those babies like gummy bears.  Of course, nobody talks about their ailments or their drugs, except that when two or more may share a common malady, they sometimes compare what pharmaceuticals their respective doctors might have prescribed, in which case the conversation sounds something like Greek politicians discussing goat banging legislation.  And in which case they also get stared at, grow silent, and eventually go on about their real business of having so much fun they can hardly stand it. 

I could go on about more or less interesting stuff (for instance, we have a few guys would be willing to sell their souls for a good, fresh blueberry or blackberry pie……go figure!), but it’s getting time to wrap up this entry in the blog. There are no startling revelations, no exposes, nothing of any real interest to report. The golf crew simply a group of guys who, above all, enjoy the company and the camaraderie a couple of times a year. Wives need not worry, nor does anybody except a few folks within range of “fore!” being yelled on the golf course. Of course, next year, when we seize control of the Fed, the Joint Chiefs and the Cabinet, I might be singing a different tune, but until then………..

The Times of March 23

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Last week, I promised a more detailed update on my condition, so to those interested, to quote a ’60’s song I bet the Smiler can tell me who sang, I’ll report on what condition my condition is in.  Briefly, all scans show me bright and spritely and taint-free as one of Warhol’s Campbells soup cans, save my thorasic scan (a sequel to jurassic park, if only Crighton were still alive to write it) revealed that my chest was showing sign of becoming active again.  Hence, I started last week  on a new chemo  regime.  I’ll get a drip of the goo 3 times, 3 weeks apart, and have another evaluation scan before proceeding.  Each drip is bracketed by a day of pills, including steroids, my favorites, followed by a neulasta shot.  My wife and son both can testify that last Wednesday evening, I was positively bubbly, running off at the mouth like an insurance lobbyist on uppers.  It didn’t last.

I did, assisted by the able driving and load bearing efforts of my man Fatz, make it on the golf trip (sans clubs, you’ll be happy to know).  The life of the party I was (Yoda syntax) through Friday evening at Villa Tuscany, but woke up Saturday morning feeling like I had attended a Metallica concert.  Gremlins had hammered every joint in my body with ball peen hammers.   My vitality had been stolen by Ottawa shriners and left to sleep off a drunk in the Camden County jail.  My head and body hair felt like it was not mine, but belonged instead to a guy named Murray who drinks Mezcal all day in Scottsdale, AZ.  In short, I never felt quite up to snuff, much less to a pinch between the cheek and gum.

I am improving, slowly, glacially, incrementally.  In fact, just this morning, I did jog five miles and I ran up the flag on the pole atop the clock on the old Davidson Covnty Covrthovse, but awoke from that dream with a snarl lingering on my lips.  Still, I do feel tad peppish.  Now, whether it this is a natural effect of the new chemo, the effects of the pills taken with the chemo, or some other new and exciting delopment, well, that’s something I’ll take up with the doctor tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I take heart from one development, though new bloodwork tomorrow will probably Lusitania my mood, which is that last weeks bloodwork showed continued escalation in my platelet levels….and, the doctors can’t account for it.  So, laddies and ladies, your beloved Beno is at the moment a genuine “medical mystery.”  I mean, how cool is that.

On the downside, however, there is already in circulation among my golf buds photos into which I have been photoshopped to make it look as though I was not only there, but a vibrant and participatory presense in their various antics.  Already, I have become sort of a Bernie in “Weekend at Bernie’s,” except in the case of my golf buds, they also need to photoshop the smile on my face to make it look like I am having fun.  Which leads me to a challenge:  any of you with access to old pics of me and a computer, email me pictures of me having fun doing things a lot more entertaining than teeing off with 12 geezers from Lexington.  Let me be your own personal Travelocity Travel Gnome.  Let’s see how much fun we can have when we’re, well,…..sitting at home alone in the dark in front of a computer screen when we could be doing……..well, you know what I mean.

I do plan to publish for the not too faint at heart a semi-journal of a golf trip in the near future.  Until then, keep keeping on!

Beno

The Ides of March

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

It’s not much of an update, but at the moment I am hovering, having undergone a visit with the cardiologist, a thorasic CAT scan and an ultrasound of my heart. I have a follow-up head scan scheduled tomorrow to see if there are any residual issues from the Gamma knife procedure, which will be followed by a visit with my hematologist/oncologist to review the effectiveness of past and present treatments and medications and to plot future treatment and medication. Whether I will provide an update before I leave town on a “golf trip” on Thursday remains to be seen, but I will let my readers know something in the near future. Also, for the ease and reassurance of the wives of everybody who occasionally goes on “golf trips,” I plan to keep a record of what my degenerate crowd does and talks about this coming weekend, which I will publish on the Blog if it is not too embarassing. Frankly, regardless whether we have ever been dangerous in the past on these getaways, I can guarantee that nowadays a convocation of bishops is much more alarming.

For those of you who have so little to think about that you may wonder what one does in those twilight periods of irresolution and re-evaluation, between done and doing, I will take a cue from the Jessup/Letterman school of communication and share my Top Ten list of things to do while hovering:

Number 10: Reading – Despite my vision problems and the difficulties they create for reading, I persist in trying to read. However, whereas in the past I could knock off a mystery in a couple of days, it now takes weeks. I just finished “LA Dead” by Stuart Woods in a little less than 3 weeks, and it was too much like being in High School again, during that annual week of PE (aka “gym class”) devoted to wrestling. Matched by height and weight, you have to wrestle the same smelly, sweaty dude every single day, and by Thursday, you’d gladly take a bullet to the head in order to avoid having to grapple yet again with that pile of manure who, despite similar height and weight, is stronger and meaner than you. These days, by the time I reach the halfway point of a book, I’m so tired of it that I am tempted to boil the pages and dissolve the ink and inject the solution like a junkie, caring only how the miserable tome staggers to an end.

Number 9: Napping – I happen to be able these days to nod off at the drop of a hat, and it doesn’t matter whether the hat is a feathery, female thing or a full-fledged armored helmet. My problem is not with whether I can sleep, but for how long and what happens before waking, which brings me to……

Number 8: Dreaming – My dreams the last few weeks have not been as wierd as they could be, but have featured real people in real locations doing simply strange stuff. For example, yesterday, Bit Holton, Jimbo Nance and I took leave at hole 14 of the first PGA golf tournment ever to be staged at the Lexington Muni after we noticed that Dave Stockton, Jr’s caddy bore a resemblance to an old classmate. Bit & I sat down each with a vodka gimlet in the family room of the Holton house (which happened to be the the old Nance house on Bellwood Dr) while Jimbo went down the tunnel he had built long ago down to a “safe room,” where all the memorabilia of his youth was still stored, to retrieve some high school annuals. Why had the Holtons moved to the old Nance house and why was there a “safe room”….maybe my dreams are still wierd!

Number 7: Reflecting – Pondering such weighty questons as why a top ten list and not a top eight or twelve? Could it be for decimal based reasons although we still figure distances and time on other scales? And why is Donald Trump, a shady developer with a seriously sketchy record as a businessman, not to mention a 1880’s toupee made from a palomino mane, so popular? And why……

Number 6: Keeping appointments – Frankly, with seeing 87 different doctors and regularly undergoing 45 distinct procedures and treatments, I am something of a medical bridegroom – stand around, look good, be neatly and appropriately dressed, and show up when and where you are supposed to.

Number 5: Pottering around – I have reached the point where I need 20 minutes instead of 5 to shower and shave in the morning. There’s nothing I can’t stretch out, from spending 30 minutes cutting meat strips for pepper steak (supper takes an hour and a half to cook) to spending 15 minutes figuring out where I want to sit to watch TV in the evening. I can even spend 45 minutes searching for the cellular phone I already have in my pocket, even after letting it ring several times.

Number 4: Watching PBS fundraising – I know this is only a seasonal activity, occupying the month of March and selected weeks throughout the rest of the year, but if you put your mind to it, your mind completely evaporates. My favorite offering on PBS so far is “Celtic Thunder,” a group of modestly talented Irish lads who perform modestly choreographed manovers (the Lippizaner stallions perform more naturally) while singing your favorite tunes from Buddy Holly to U2 to rousing Irish anthems that nobody has ever heard before. Until seeing these guys, I never suspected that anybody’s best effort (even Whitney Houston’s or Britney Spears’s) could fail to match the worst episodes of the Lawrence Welk Show.

Number 3: Catching up on office and household paperwork – In other words, moving around stacks of paper while reducing their size about 15% by throwing away unattached phone numbers (who called me from Guam?!?), cryptic notes (why should I “bear in mind that Brown vs Board of Education is meaningless to a llama?!?) and crumbly papers that are obviously outdated (a congratulatory letter to Michael Jackson on his marriage to Marie Pressley).

Number 2: Checking out TV schedules – I have found that if you key up your HDTV menu, and allow yourself only two hour blocks for inspection, you can waste almost an entire day checking out whether there is anything worth watching on TV without having to watch any-damn-thing!

Number One: Making lists – like this one!

March 4: Benobium, While Supplies Last

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

  Five out of seven physicians agree that Lucky Strikes is fine tobacco and also clean the lungs and that Benobium is the WONDER DRUG! of the new Millennium. Benobium*, available by prescription in 5,000mg gel-caps, and over-the-counter in 50mg tablets, makes available in non-lethal dosages for the first time to everyman the incredible benefits of the Beno lifestyle. Crammed with nicotine, caffeine, dehydrated alcohol, droplet of malt, eye of newt, toe of frog, extract of cocktail sauce, essence of Alka-Seltzer, puree of pinto and a little dab of Brylcreme, each pill delivers a healthy dose of elements that equal the daily-recommended effects of a life split disproportionately between baffled youth/aging moderation, and utter dissipation and disregard for accepted standards of conduct.

Benobium* has many uses. One pill added to your gas tank at fill-up increases mileage by 27%. A pill stirred into a bag of fertilizer transforms your tidy patch of lawn into an African savannah. Spray some on your zinnias and watch as your garden becomes a backyard “Little Shop of Horrors.” Sprinkle some into your wife’s next glass of Chardonnay and there’s a good chance you will get some before she disembarks to leave a swath of broken hearts and alcoholic destruction through every honky-tonk and saloon within a 50 mile radius of your house.

Try Benobium* today and feel for yourself the effects of having lived the life of the man whom medical experts agree is the healthiest seriously ill man in North America! Available at a nearby Your Beno Mobile Pharmacy and Portable Tourist Info Kiosk or over the web at http://www.linebenopockets&emptyyourown.edu.

*Possible side effects include sleeplessness, drowsiness, suicidal thoughts, eleemosynary instincts, sudden weight gain or loss, abrupt loss of hearing, numbness in left arm or pancreas, split ends in eyebrow hair, sagging testicles, swelling testicles, loose tongue, acerbic attitude and simple deviance. Do not take Benobium if you are pregnant, want to become pregnant, have ever been pregnant, or even think about ever becoming pregnant. Tell your doctor, a priest, and everybody else you know about any erection that lasts more than 4 hours. Telephone Fatz Chapman if you start speaking in tongues. A swerve toward religious conservatism may be a sign of brain death or other serious medical condition.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I visited the cardiologist at Bowman Gray this morning in a follow-up appointment to my hospital stay. He inspected the results of my new EKG, pushed a cold stethoscope around on my chest and back, and prodded a few nearly private places with steely fingers. Then he asked why I had come to see him.

Later blood work in Lexington revealed platelet levels remain constant and normal, and hemoglobin and mumbo-jumbo ratios are improving. In short, I continue healing. The future’s so bright, I’ve got to wear clip-ons!

Later…

March 2: Peppy Le Beno

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 11:22 am

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Funkiness. The sun slinks across the sky as though it were embarrassed to show its face. Neighbors nod, but seldom wave as they drive past. The solar energized spinners in glass balls hanging in the dining room window revolve as deliberately as light house lights, but warn of nothing. Nothing is to be risked, nothing gained, as a sense of lethargy settles on the land like a cool damp towel from a broken dryer.

My bug is gone and along with it my fever disappeared. I managed to take care of a few cases in court on Friday and Monday mornings. I feel better longer than I have in several weeks, though fatigue remains a problem. It tends to appear out of nowhere and trip me up when I least expect it, rather like a friend’s inappropriate girlfriend. Several times during the last week of Olympic TV coverage, I kept myself stoked to stay awake to watch the finals of some event, only to stir and find I had napped through the excitement. Yesterday afternoon, I walked out to the mailbox and back (major exercise for me these days), and felt like flopping on the ground at the kitchen door like nordic skier at the end of the 50k. In my case, I did not have coaches and teammates cheering my efforts – just an ancient beagle to lick my face and a fluffy cat to regard me with utter disdain.

I am glad the Olympics are over and happy to be able to watch “Antiques Roadshow” or “Anthony Bourdain” on TV instead of curling or short-track speed skating without being made to feel unpatriotic for my choice. The medal counts left me cold. Though I am pleased some Americans won medals, I am equally pleased athletes from other countries won medals. Frankly, since the last distinctions between professional and amateur athletes were erased from Olympic qualifications, I can’t cotton to the enterprise with the same enthusiasm that used to come naturally. Jesus and the Twelve A’s against Satan and the Fallen A’s might be a “Big Hockey Game” worthy of more than passing interest. Otherwise, no amount of NBC hoopla is going to convince me that a game between American and Canadian hockey teams composed of highly paid professionals on temporary leave from their NHL teams could ever hold a candle to a batch of college guys vanquishing the Russian state hockey machine in 1980. Give me replays or give me death! Though we may cheer Lindsay Vonn’s gold medal triumph over the adversity of a bruised shin, we find it hard to forget that her endorsement income will probably exceed the net income for all workers in Davidson County for 2010.

Still, there is one aspect of the Olympics that deserves celebrating,, and in identifying it, I’ll defer to WH Auden, who in his memorial to WB Yeats admonished poets to “sing of human unsuccess in a rapture of distress.” With the sole exception of “Mr Sour Grapes,’ Yevgeny Plushenko, who finished second to Evan Lysacek in men’s figure skating, silver and bronze medallists smiled as brightly as those who had won gold. Regardless how commercialized the endeavor has become, every summer and winter Olympics brings stories of unknown athletes in both obscure and popular sports, representing countries whose Olympic budget might buy a fax machine in a cinderblock storefront, who arrive in the host country with no hope of winning, but wanting merely a chance to compete with the big guys. This year, there was a skier from Ghana, of all places, whose stated ambition was to avoid finishing last. He finished next to last. For me, the image of Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong huffing and zig-zagging his way down the slalom course will be more durable than any image of Shawn White flashing yet another medal from the half-pipe competition.