Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hey buddy, you want to score some toad?

I was recently sent one of those e-mails with little know facts about life and the world we live in.
Information such as at any given hour there are 61,000 people in airplanes over the United States is interesting.
Well, it is to me anyway, which gives you some idea of just how pathetic my life is and just how easily amused I a can be.
I would also find life much easier if there were not so many shiny things lying about to distract my already distracted brain.
Another amusing, yet absolutely useless piece of information, is the first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
Oh, how times have changed.
Now it would be acceptable to show Fred and Barney in bed together.
Anyway, one of the items in the e-mail of useless (but interesting) information sent me on a short-lived quest to verify the validity of the claim.
The statement was simple: you cannot lick your elbow.
My first thought was, “Why would you want to?”
My second thought was, “I wonder if that is true.”
So I casually found a quiet space where, that’s right, you guessed it, I tried to prove them wrong.
Feel free to give it a try yourself. Go ahead, you know you want to.
You have likely just learned the same thing I did, which is the same thing the original author learned and that is you can’t lick your elbow.
Unless your tongue is 12-14 inches long, it’s just not going to happen.
I got to wondering who the first person to try this feat was, and more importantly why did they try it.
I guess some people just have waaay too much time on their hands.
It is just another example of people doing strange things that most of us probably would never even think of trying.
The elbow incident got me thinking about other strange activities and how they came to be. There have been stories over the years about people licking toads and frogs to get high.
First of all, that is truly disgusting. Secondly, who knew licking an amphibian would give you a buzz?
Who was the first person to lay tongue to toad and think, “Wow man, that’s pretty groovy.”
Were they sitting around a campfire moaning about not having any money for beer when a frog hopped across the lawn and someone said, “I know, let’s lick that frog for fun?”
The only thing stranger than the guy who came up with the idea, is the person he got to join him in getting fresh with a frog. I refer to the inventor of the getting-personal-with-a-frog-as-a-form-of-entertainment game as a male, because, honestly, I do not know any females dumb enough to try licking a frog for fun.
Or perhaps it started at Woodstock where someone decided to take the ‘experimental stage’ of their life to the next level and include woodland swamp creatures to help with the expansion of their mind.
“Hey, what’s wrong with Mikey? He’s freaking out.”
“He got hold of some bad frog.”
“Bummer man, I wonder how many flies he’s gonna eat before he comes down.”
In my 40 something years on this earth, I have never considered a frog or a toad a party accessory, but others have and if it wasn’t for those willing to push the limits of idiotic behaviour there would be much less to talk about in this world.
Thank goodness it never caught on, or police would be raiding grow ops one week, and frog farms the next.
“Pssst, hey buddy. You lookin’ to score some amphibian? I got frog. I got toad.”
And as everyone knows, frogs are the gateway amphibian.
One minute it’s a simple pond frog, then it’s a big ol’ bullfrog and the next thing you know, you’re all the way up to snogging an iguana.
Pretty soon you are sleeping in the bushes next to the zoo just waiting for the chance to sneak in under the fence and make off with a creature of the Kermit variety.
Instead of asking for spare change, you are asking for directions to the nearest swamp.
As if actually licking a frog was not enough of a reason not to try it in the first place, the thing that creates the ‘high’ is actually a mild poison secreted from the critter to fend off attackers.
How smart do you have to be to ingest poison for a cheap high?
I guess if you are willing to lick a frog in the first place, the answer presents itself.

Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The doctor will see you...eventually

Anyone who has been to a doctor knows an appointment is more of a guideline than an actual time you will see said practitioner.
Appointments are made so people can rest assured that eventually, they will get in to see their doctor and are not just hanging out in a public waiting area half the day for the fun of it.
I can appreciate how busy doctors are and I understand stuff happens and appointments get delayed, so my new goal is to have as much fun with the waiting process as possible.
The challenge is to have fun in the mind-numbing vacuum of boringness that is a waiting room.
I can remember when doctor’s offices used to have National Geographic, or some other cool magazines.
The last time I was waiting for a doc, the magazines were the most uninteresting pieces of glossy fluff I have ever seen.
The lets-visit-the-doctor routine goes pretty much the same way every time it happens.
I check in with the receptionist upon arrival – because the sign tells me to and if I don’t will be lost in the waiting room black hole forever, which I am convinced is what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. He’s probably still in a waiting room, reading the latest issue of Modern Unions and Mobsters because he did not check in with the receptionist.
So after I check in, I spend a couple of minutes looking around before seeking out some reading material that will help make the minutes fly by.
In one doctor’s office I was impressed to find the magazines actually had a protective plastic binder around them.
That makes sense. You wouldn’t want that vintage May, 1972 copy of Better Quilts and Pillows to get damaged. How else would you know what kind of throw pillow goes best with orange shag carpet?
Fine literature like that deserves to live for all eternity (and probably will in the waiting room.)
After spending 18-43 seconds looking over the magazines and realizing watching a fly crawl across the wall is more exciting, I begin to check out my fellow doctor seekers.
This is a more in depth scrutiny of my waiting room brethren than the cursory glance I give when I first arrive.
That initial check is an absolutely vital part of the waiting room experience. Remember, these people are here to see a doctor because they are ill, and that means the room is full of koodies (which I believe is an actual medical term.)
The initial glance when you first walk in will give you some idea of the people you do not want to sit beside. The lady with the tissue permanently welded to her nose is the first person to avoid.
As is the guy who is coughing to so much his face has turned so red it could guide Santa’s sleigh.
Once the room is surveyed and you have checked in with the receptionist person, it is time to select your seat based on your cursory examination of the room. This is a very important decision because that will be your seat for the next seven to 10 days, depending on how far behind the doctor is running.
Once a chair has been selected and having exhausted the thrilling and educational stack of magazines it is time to check out the crowd and play ‘What’s your ailment.’
Mucus girl and phlegm boy are easy to figure out, as is the kid with cast and the lady in the neck brace, but there are always a few people who look absolutely fine.
Those are the ones I decide to give an ailment of my choice to. 
“Really. Wow, not many people contract malaria in Canada."
“Diphtheria. Now there’s a disease you don’t hear nearly enough about.”
I don’t even know what diphtheria is, and if it wasn’t for spell check I wouldn’t know how to spell it either, but being married to a nurse I hear about all sorts of nasty diseases that I can’t spell or pronounce and certainly do not want to contract.
During the wait, people come and go and every time the receptionist grabs a file you secretly hope it is your name being called so you can get out of the germ factory and on with your day. You know eventually your name will be called and when it is, it is like winning a mini lottery.
But, having your named called is a little misleading because all that happens is you leave the big waiting room and end up sitting in a smaller room that, without the doctor in it, is essentially another waiting room. But at least I know I am getting closer to my end goal so I cheerfully flip through the latest edition of Modern Squirrels and Muskrats while waiting those last few minutes for the doc.
For some reason that kind of wait seems limited to when I go to see the doctor.
When I go to the dentist, I am ushered into the chair of terror .04 seconds after walking in the front door.
I haven’t even taken my coat off before the receptionist starts dragging me into the room where people are going to stick sharp objects into my gums.
I don’t even know if my dentist has magazines because I am never in the waiting room long enough to read one.
I appreciate their efficiency, but when it comes to seeing a dentist I am an abject coward. I do not like going to the tooth doctor and I actually don’t mind waiting for a while, it gives me time to psych myself up.
It’s kind of a ‘Rah-rah, you can do it’ time.
The ‘What’s your ailment’ game cannot really be played at the dentist office anyway because I know what people are there for – their teeth.
The upside is, the sooner you get in, the sooner you get out, and when it comes to the dentist, getting out is all that matters.

Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Help, there'a a big ass bug in my car

It is one of the most horrifying, unnerving experiences you can have while driving, and it happened to me just the other day.
I was cruising down the road, enjoying a sunny Okanagan day like I have done countless times. It was not so hot I had to have the air conditioning on, so I had my window open.
That's when it happened.
I actually heard the insect hit the door jam of my car and I saw a black mass out of the corner of my eye.
I knew the condor of bugs had just entered my vehicle, but what I didn't know was the status of the bug - what kind of bug it was and how pissed off it was over being clobbered by my import.
I glanced to my left and saw a black figure – roughly the size of a full-grown ostrich – on the top of my seatbelt near the window...near my head.
And then it was gone.
I do not want to say panic set it...
It did set in, I just don't want to say it.
When you come right down to it, there really are only two types of bugs on this planet: ones that will hurt you, and ones that won't.
The odds of a bug this large being some sort of engorged lady bug were very slim, so my mind immediately went to the kind of bug that can cause pain.
It was no longer on my the top of the seatbelt near my head, so that means it was in the car somewhere.
My first fear was it had fallen between me and the seat and it was getting ready to deliver the mother of all stings or bites – or both.
Travelling down the highway and 100-ish km/h is not a good time to have an insect attack, well, no time is a good time, but barrelling down the blacktop is an even worse time.
I reached around behind my back trying to locate the beast before it took its revenge upon me for hitting it with my car.
I reached around as far as I could then sort of lifted myself off the seat as best I could to see it maybe the monster was on the seat – not an easy thing to do at highway speeds, but I know we have all done it.
The whole time I am searching, I am also waiting. Waiting for the searing pain that only an angry insect can deliver.
By now I had slowed down considerably and was pulling over to the side of the road, getting ready to evacuate my car like it was on fire.
I stopped, jumped out and danced around the side of the road for a minute with terrifying thoughts running through my mind.
What it went down my shirt and was just knocked out, soon to awaken and bring down its wrath upon me?
Not good.
So I thrashed about for a minute trying to make sure Jurassic bug was not in or on my clothing.
It was not, so that means it was still in the car.
I looked on the driver's seat and found nothing. A gargantuan beast of this size could not easily hide, so it had to be in there somewhere.
I opened the back door and looked on the rear seat and again saw nothing.
Had I imagined it? Was the bug some sort of hallucination brought on by my dislike of insect vermin?
No, I know what I saw and heard, and what I saw and heard was a bug hit my car and and bounce inside.
It was in there alright. Perhaps it was hiding, healing and regaining its strength for an attack.
I then looked on the floor next to the seat and there it was – a wasp.
Not just any wasp, but a monster wasp, at least two pounds worth of wasp.
Well, maybe it wasn't that big, but it was big enough.

I dispatched the beast and went on my way – with the windows rolled up of course.

Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I will keep my clothes on. You are welcome.

Saturday was the annual World Naked Gardening Day and once again I did not participate.
You are welcome.
Believe me folks, nobody would want to see that.
In fact, the last time I saw my doctor for a physical, he wore a blindfold.
I am not sure why Naked Gardening Day was created, but it was.
Perhaps an exhibitionist was prancing around the yard in the buff and when the authorities showed up, the quick-thinking nudist made up Naked Gardening Day on the spot and an annual tradition was born.
The funny thing is, every article I saw and every picture promoting the event featured some really good looking people – with their naughty bits appropriately covered of course.
The women are gorgeous and the men are buff. Who wouldn't want to see them naked?
I am neither gorgeous nor buff.
Small children would run away screaming, people would be gouging their eyes out with sticks and the very plants I was trying to nurture would shrivel up and die at the sight of my naked, flabby, furry body toiling the land.
Perhaps if I looked like one of the muscle-bound garden studs in the promo pictures I would consider it, but the only six pack I have is in the fridge.
I do have ab muscles, but they are safely secured under a layer of flab which makes them look more like a keg than a six pack.
For me, naked anything day is just a bad idea.
Nude beach – if I was there it would be more like empty beach.
“But, the human body is beautiful in all its forms.”
No it isn't, and I could provide a couple selfies that prove it.
People of all kind are beautiful because beauty comes from the inside, but not all human bodies are beautiful.
There was a time when I looked pretty good running around naked and I must admit I enjoyed doing so, but what two year old doesn't.
Father Time has been slapping me around for several decades now and he brought Uncle Flab and Cousin Hair Loss with him.
I am sure Naked Gardening Day was started as a lark, likely by college students who are still in good enough shape to pull something like that off.
The social media ads for it reminded me of a beer commercial where all of these gorgeous people run around in bikini tops frolicking in the sun while the men's rippling muscles shine like a knight's coat of armor.
Where is the fat, unshaven, loud guy?
Where's the obnoxious drunk guy who knows he looks like one of those naked gardeners and proceeds to hit on every female within a 50 kilometre radius?
I know they are out there because I have seen them.
I have attended my share of gatherings where adult recreational beverages were consumed and the not-so-good-looking people (I'm not mentioning any names here) far outweighed the gorgeous people.
Hmm, perhaps the gorgeous people were avoiding the marginally good looking people, and there really is a party where everyone looks like a super model.
Odd that I have never been to one of those parties. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail (that's my excuse and I'm sticking too it.)
To tell the truth, I really do look like a movie star. Sure, the star is Alfred Hitchcock, but he is still a star so I will take it.

Besides, beauty comes from the inside so on the outside I may be bald and flabby, but on the inside I'm a super model.

Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh