Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Soiled Sneaker

It rained in torrents on Monday, my regular gym day.

Usually, I wear my sneakers and change into my shorts and tee shirt when I get there. The YMCA is a 15 minute drive from my house.

I decided, in a rare flash of consideration for my fellow gymnasts, to pack my sneakers in a plastic bag because the shoes I was wearing were bound to get soaked and muddy up the Nautilus machines. Kathie was stunned to hear this, since my usual modus operandi is to come into the house from the rain and head right for the living room carpet. It always annoys me that my neighbor requires that we remove our shoes before entering her house. Where does she think she lives? Tokyo?

However, as the old cliché goes, no good deed goes unpunished. When I arrived at the locker room, I removed my shoes and took my sneakers from the bag. To my dismay, I discovered a generous helping of dog poop ground into the sole of my left sneaker. Now I was faced with a perplexing quandary: wet shoes or poopy shoes.

The trainer already had his eye on me from a previous encounter. We nautili are required to spray down each machine we have completed with disinfectant and finish with a wipe with a paper towel. I approach this in the same manner as washing my car: a good soaking always gets the job done. I gather he had some complaints from some gym prima donnas who took umbrage at sitting in a puddle and completing their work out with soggy bums. He felt compelled to take me by the ear and demonstrate proper clean-up technique.

He completed the demonstration by saying that he thought it a trifle OCD-ish to spray down the computer screens. Guys tap on those screens with their stinky fingers (yuck!) I was about to inform him but decided that, since he was one bulked up dude, I would let it slide.

I opted to have a go at cleaning up the poop. Anyone who has ever gotten dog dropping ground into the grooves of their sneakers knows how daunting a task it is to remove it. At home my usual technique is to take the sneakers out to the driveway, wedge them soles outward against the garage door, and blast away with my power washer. Voila, like new. (Those of you who have arrived at this blog by googling “cleaning dog poop from sneakers” have hit pay dirt (as it were) because this really works.)

The next best thing is to give them a hearty scrub with a tooth brush. I briefly thought of rifling through the unlocked lockers in search of same, but instead went to work with water and paper towel. I turned the tap on as high as it would go and scrubbed away with the towels. I kept one eye on the door for the trainer because the sight of me washing the soles of my sneakers would only confirm his OCD diagnosis.

At last I was relatively confident that the shoe was clean enough not to soil the machines. To be on the safe side, I decided to do all of my exercises on my heels with toes and insole pointed in the air.

“That’s NOT how I showed you how to do it,” the trainer harshly observed.
No good deed goes unpunished.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old People Go Shopping

I turned 65 on January 6.

I know. It’s taken me this long to face up to it.

I went grocery shopping at our local Shop Rite recently, not on my usual day, and found the store awash with other old people. I started to cheer up since most of them seemed to be older and further gone than I. Maybe it was shopping day at the managed care facility.

I stood there and watched them drift aimlessly about the aisles like those colorful fish on the early screen savers clearly having forgotten what they were looking for or why they were there. It takes a little doing to navigate the store around old people. They park there carts in the middle of the aisle and wander off; they walk out from aisles into the main corridors without so much as a glance; they check every potato.

The PA system fairly crackles with updates on their doings: “Someone has left a pair of glasses in aisle six”; “clean-up in the dairy aisle.”

I pull into a check out lane with just one very elderly couple ahead of me. The clerk on duty is a pro and clearly passed the Old Person Management course. “Dear, are you sure you want seven loaves of pound cake,” she asks the old woman.

Just then an announcement comes over the PA: “Someone has taken the wrong cart. If you have a chocolate cake, and didn’t intend to buy a chocolate cake, you have the wrong cart.” I look down the row of shoppers waiting behind me and all are checking for the incriminating chocolate cake. I don’t look in my cart. I have decided to face it out even if I am the offending cake purloiner: “Yes, I meant to buy the chocolate cake. And yes, I MEANT to buy 5 bottles of stool softener.”

The clerk finishes up the pair ahead of me and in one fluid motion snatches the credit card from the old gent’s hand, spins the input screen around to face her, swipes his card, and hands it back to him. A real pro.

As she starts checking me out, she notices a bag left by the aged duo and hollers toward them as they lumber through the doors. There is no response. I snatch the bag and with a relative burst of speed race toward the glacially moving couple and deposit the bag in their cart. They don’t seem to notice and continue on their way. When I return to the check out the clerk says: “You’re probably the only person in the store right now who could have made that move.” I am feeling younger by the minute. I compliment her on her deft credit card snatch and swipe. “NEVER let them swipe their own cards,” she replies.

I pass the last check out station as I leave. Suddenly, bells start sounding and a light over the station starts blinking frantically. An old chap stands there with his credit card in his hand and with a stunned expression on his face. “Now what do I do?,” he asks. A rookie clerk, I assume.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Broke My

The letter “ " on my computer just stopped working.

I don’t know why. It could be some English Muffin or Swiss cheese got in there. Seems like I’ll need to get in touch with the geek group. It’ll be over $150 to blow out some crumbs, I’m sure.

There goes the piece I’m editing on the epic outfielder Hnk Ron titled “Hnk Ron: Plyer's Plyer.” Also, sunk is the one I’m doing on NY’s Rodriguez cold shouldering of the big time rock singer: “Rigid Rod Won’t Bend on Mdonn.” Nd who will know what my piece “Scndl Stlks Brrck Obm” is even bout?

There goes my expose of the huge uto club and the help group for drinkers.

Seems like only yesterdy tht I hd n endless supply of them. Oh, those were the dys! Just tp on the key issued stedy strem of the little buggers. Mybe tht’s wht hppned. Mybe I just rn out.

Someone told me Microsoft only issues you so mny " " ‘s nd then you hve to buy more, like toner crtridges.

You, der reder, should cherish your little friends while you’ve got them. Who mong us hsn’t portryed frustrtion or delight with long string of " " ‘s, n "h", nd n exclmtion point? Like in not hving n " " is enough to mke you go h!

Still, writing perfectly solid English is possible without the previously mentioned letter. There I just did it. I just did it once more.

I know wht you’re thinking: “He hs lwys been short of content, now he is short of letters.” To which I say, H!,H!,H! Isn’t it better I should run out of " " ‘s thn the folks writing up the helth cre legisltion? Though it would shorten it by hundreds of pges.

Elisbeth, my dughter, is big on texting, so she doesn’t use ll her letters nywy. Perhps she will spot me some " " 's until pydy. She thinks I might get new followers mong the tweeters.

I like the way this pge is looking, though. There is very Christmsy feel to it in Word with ll the red nd green spelling and grmmr flgs decorting the pge. h!, I miss Christms.

Oh, joy! My “a” just came back! Perhaps I smashed that offending crumb. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jerry and Me

A friend of mind, purportedly a reader of this column, says he likes it because it reminds him of the Seinfeld show: it isn't about anything.

It has been a point of pride with me that this blog is content free, so I decided to take his comment to heart, and to its logical conclusion, by simply not writing anything about anything. This explains my absence from these pages over the past few weeks.

However, I have been thinking Deep Thoughts and pursuing inquiries that might actually lead to substantive columns in the future.

One thought that I have been wrestling with is this: why do librarians all look like librarians? I began my investigation by visiting all the branches of our county library and, sure enough, all the librarians look like librarians.

Apparently, this is also a source of concern within the trade since an internet search turned up a web site called “You Don’t Look Like a Librarian.” This site is dedicated to "shattering librarian stereotypes" and “building new images in the internet age.” Here we are introduced to the Belly-Dancing Librarian, the Lipstick Librarian, and, God save us, the Butt-Kicking Librarian. We even sample what’s new in stylish librarian tattoos. A book by the same name is also being purveyed on the page (available at your local library, I hope).

I don’t think there is anything wrong with librarians looking like librarians. I would rather have the person handing me my copy of “How to Improve Your Sexual Performance” look like a librarian rather than a motorcycle mama or someone who is about to kick my butt.

At the bottom of the page, the author of the site and book writes about herself and concludes: “No, I don’t look like a librarian………wait, yes I do!” I rest my case.

The other thought came to me while driving around our local roads: How do people with “Hidden Drives” find their houses? I decided to pursue this by interviewing these people, but sadly I could not find them.

I think both of these topics should add to my readership by snaring in those folks googling for information about librarians and hidden drives. They can join the legion of fans googling on for the latest on George Clooney’s hair, “black poop”, and “what makes my storm door squeak.” A reader from Iraq actually arrived looking for info on Clooney’s do. I wondered if I should report this to Homeland Security as I feared he may be designing a hair bomb by piling up layers of mousse and gel and igniting his noggin on an airplane. I rejected this because I decided that if this were the case he would be seeking information on Weird Al Yankovich’s hair. (note to all CIA and FBI agents scanning this page: it is a joke.)

Anyway, I am getting off the subject and have to get back to writing nothing about anything.