About me

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TDTD T-shirt

Yes, a TDTD t-shirt. The Day Tink Died. I shall be the envy of millions. OK, three or four, three or four being the number who get it.

When Tink died, pretty much no one but his wife gave a rat's ass, as documented by my driving around that Sunday morning announcing the news to the neighbors. To a one, the response to my interruption of breakfast was an "OK" mumbled through mouths filled with eggs, bacon, and coffee. 

A few days later, we didn't have enough people to carry his cheap coffin and single rose to the grave, and the family, that being my parents, brother, and me had to pitch in to tote his sorry self to the hole in the ground under the magnolia tree my grandmother planted to mark her first daughter's, Loa's, death. 

The back side of the shirt is in reference to an even on TDTD that occurred while I was sitting in first class sipping a double rum and Diet on an airplane in Chicago. My phone rang. It was my brother. He loves Jesus, but he drinks a little, much like me, and that day he was entertaining Tink, and now Addie, with Carolina fight songs played loudly from his truck while sipping from a series of Bud Lights. 

Here comes the neighborhood dog that then did what dogs do.

Well, that's going to be the story I relate here. There's more, and some of you know it, but that part will remain an oral tradition for a while longer. 

Now, before the armchair psychologists have a field day psychoanalysing me, and probably coming up with only a headache for all the trouble, let me assure you all that I've long gotten over the deep and abiding anger I long harbored for Tink and Addie. Those two did nothing but make a mockery of loyalty to extended family as they used everyone around them, especially my mother and father, to get things done for them without having to pay. 

One of Addie's favorite things to say was that if you keep people owing you a little, they'll work for you a lot better. 

When that estate was finally settled and the some over a million dollars shared by the dusty museum they built, UNCG, UNC Chapel Hill, and the lawyers new office building, my mother received exactly nothing for the lifetime of periodic enemas she'd given to Addie, and worse, to Tink. That's how Mama learned Tink had a wart on his junk, which was the likely reason Addie wouldn't do him. Ever.

Bear in mind that in celebrating TDTD, I am not celebrating the death of an individual no matter how much it might appear so to the outside observer. Nope, I'm celebrating having survived that idiocy. I'm working hard to be sure I never forget, and then accidentally heap such abuse on the others around me. 

Surely, I can be more creative than that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bite block

Wouldn't you think a crown and three replaced fillings would be enough? So did I. But no, the dentist decided I need a bite block. Do you suppose he's been reading those book reviews over at Personnel Psychology?

I get to wear this at night because the gentle hygienist said I was gritting my teeth while I slept. She also said it made a lot of noise. I suppose she heard me. Or something. I also suppose she assumed something about someone else hearing me grit my teeth, but we won't go there.

Now that I think of it, this might be something to wear on airplanes. Or at work.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fountain pens

Yes, fountain pens. I wrote with Sheaffer fountain pens all through grade school and then high school. There were a few deviations as felt tip pens were invented, and they were nice, but they'd go dry slowly, and then stop at inopportune moments. They were also more expensive than the cartridge refills for the fountain pens. 

I used washable blue ink because that's more prudent for a spastic boy. Many of the girls in the room used permanent black, but we know how girls can't make messes like boys anyway. As I recall, no other boy in the class used fountain pens. They all wrote with pencils or those nasty, blotting stick pens that were, and still are, abomination.

Even in graduate school, I turned in Physics homework written with a Kohinoor 000 drafting pen. It was wonderful, except for it's tendency to clog just as I would think of what to write next. I never have understood why my professors accepted my homework written with that pen. Why? Because I'd write three lines in a single line of college rule paper. 

Now, that's a fine point.

There were times when I favored pencils. I usually kept a stash of #3 pencils, and by stash, I mean 144 trimmed and in my book bag along with the two calculators and extra batteries. And a portable trimmer. I was in statistics classes then, and a broken lead or dead battery spelled doom and despair. And of course, I quickly became the go-to guy for those people who show up for exams without a pencil. No, I never have understood that. 

Here're the two I use now.

The mostly black one on top is a medium point italic. You can have one for a very few bucks at Staples. Look for the calligraphy supplies.However, the new models don't have a screw-on top. The top slides over a rubber sleeve, and that's okay except if you're opening the pen on an airplane. The partial cabin pressure amplified by the separation of the cap and the barrel draws ink from the cartridge, through the nib, and then splashes ink all over you and everything and everyone around you. That is usually not good.

The silver one with black in the middle is a new addition. Why a new one? Because, apparently, when I changed out my dead computer bag for the newer computer bag, my stash of five other italic nib pens with their different colors went to the Wake County Landfill along with the dead computer bag. That, or I live with thieves who favor cheap fountain pens.

I'm using the new one primarily with the Thank You note project over on the other blog, but it has gone to work a few times. Don't get excited, though. I didn't break the bank. I leave the expensive pens to those less likely to lose them, or at least more able to pay for them. 

My best pen of all time was a Calibri given to me by our CEO. I managed to keep it several years, and it helped me use up the Parker cartridges the children gave me sometime back when I wrote long letters to them from the airplanes. Then a couple of Mays back, I went to Brussels to work for a week. The Calibri went with me, and it served me well. On the trip back, I moved the Calibri to a pocket of my backpack as I went through airport security. Upon my arrival in New York, I went to fetch the pen and it was gone. I can only assume the x-ray machine ate it. I still mourn that loss.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I crocheted this scarf in 1975. I had just graduated that spring, and work was hard to find, so I occupied myself with whatever I could at the time. 

Edward the Plumber, a neighbor, stopped by the house while I was sitting in the living room working on the scarf. He took a long look at me, lost and recovered his composure, and then told my mother that he would rather see his son dead with a bullet in his head than to see him doing such a thing.

Later that month, one of my cousins was having a baby, and she thought she knew who the father was, but given her proclivities, I think she can be glad DNA testing didn't exist then. To be the Good Cousin, I made a baby blanket from the same material. However, being new to crochet, I ran the lines the long way rather than the short way. This was pointed out when I gave them the blanket, though I'm still not sure what it might have mattered. The little blanket most likely met it's fate in the burn barrel the following Friday.

As for the scarf, I wore it a long while, and then my mother took it over when a long distance girlfriend made me a Dr. Who styled scarf. Some 15 years ago, Mama gave the scarf back to me, and I've retained it since. It seems warmer than when I first made it.