FLORIDAYS: Fun in the Sun With Grumpy


The Science of Power Shopping Explained

Greg Laden (http//scienceblogs.com) had this to say about, what he believes is a common myth concerning the difference between men and women shoppers.

MYTH: There is not a good argument to be found in the realm of behavioral biology for why American Women shop while their husbands sit on the bench in the mall outside the women’s fashion store fantasizing about a larger TV on which to watch the game

Well, Greg, I beg to diifer, and here’s why.

As a male, I claim no real knowledge when it comes to the mind of a woman, especially when in reference to the hunter/gatherer impulse involved in power shopping. However, there is one strategy I frequently observe, which might be called “diversional buying”. What I mean by this is the propensity of female SHOPPERS to bring something nice back for their not so significant other, their “Hubbards”.

Indeed, when our wives shop, they most often scurry up to Willy Boy and me, all excited and bubbly, ready to show their soul mates what they have purchased for US – not them.

In Florida, after a great Monday run on the Beall’s Outlets, I scored two great T-shirts and a cool bathing suit. One of the shirts declared BUCKET LIST and showed a bucket of beer in ice, while the other was a really wild Bob Marley graphic. Was I excited? Well I guess!

Willy Boy did as just well, in fact, I wish I had one of the shirts he got because it was from the Caribbean Soul line, most often associated with Jimmy Buffett.

After all of the hoop-la involved in the presentation, the girls believe we will forget the scores of packages that were secreted through another door. It’s like clapping your hands to make a dog forget.

“Clap, clap!”

GRUMPY: “I can’t remember what I was thinking, Willy Boy? And, what were we doing when the girl’s walked in?”

WILLY BOY: “Drinking massive amounts of beer, duh!”

GRUMPY: “Oh, ya!”

So, it doesn’t matter, because after massive amounts of beer, the boys don’t give a rat’s ass anyway.

The Monday raid on Beall’s is the kick off for a week of shopping for our girls (mother’s, daughters, aunts and grandmothers). It’s Senior Discount day and the mother-in-law has a punched card to give an even bigger price cut. Usually they’re looking at about a 45% cut in price. The herd is made up of 12 women (driving two vehicles) with pupils dilated as wide as strung out crack addicts. They invade about five Beall’s Outlets in the Winterhaven/Lake Wales area in an early morning pre-emptive strike.

Folks, this is nothing more than a marathon race for the big “DEAL!” With lists in hand, our ladies dismount their vehicles not unlike commandos in the jungle. This is a “search and purchase” mission that includes tactical strikes in every aisle and on very shelf within 100 meters of the checkout counter.

The SHOPPERS pool their purchases to get the big discount. The first checkout had a price tag of $1530, for which they paid $841, while the second stop rang up $721 for a $396 bill.

Inevitably the girls will pull these lines on the boys.

“We got some great deals!” “This is a quarter of what we pay in Canada!”

“We’d never pay full price for these things!” “Oh, my God, we did so well!”

“I got five things for what I’d pay for one in Canada!”

To which Willy Boy and I are thinking: “That’s a lot of bovine excrement!”

If we had big enough onions we’d be throwing out the line, “But do you need any of this stuff.” You see we are privy to the inventory of their closets and drawers at home. We see their spoils of victory.

I’m not kidding when I say, that when we hold a yard sale it’s like we have enough female clothing to fill several Target, Payless Shoes and Super Wal-Mart stores.

Sometime we’d like to say, “What would you girls do if we spent that much on beer?” However, we are rather fond of our cojones and would sooner have them hanging in place than nailed to the wall.

We both know that all of this stuff has to be packed and lugged home in the cramped Space Shuttle. On the morning of departure, Willy Boy might just blow out an artery or three.

“Where are we going to put all this crap?”

Oh well, a happy wife makes for a happy life. Right!

Guidelines for Shopping Widowers

OK, you get that it is the prime purpose of this Florida visit to go SHOPPING, that is, for the girls. Oh, yes, tanning is part of the protocol, but there are 24 hours in a day, my friends.

Because of their schedule, Willy Boy and I feel like we’re shopping widowers. We spend a whole lot of time together, walking, sunning at the pool, and drinking massive amounts of beer. (The “massive amounts of beer” is a definite reoccurring theme for us.)

The problem is that we both fear that the residents of the park suspect that we’re a couple of men who have switched sides, since we are rarely, if ever, seen with our spouses. You see, we’re always seen together hanging out at the pool laughing and carrying on like a couple of goofballs.

So this year we instituted the following rules.

We don’t slather suntan lotion over one another at the pool! That’s verboten!

We never enter the showers or washroom at the pool at the same time.

We space our lounge chairs at least 10 feet apart – with backs facing.

We try not to giggle like little girls when we think something is funny.

We avoid bright colors and flowers on our Hawaiian shirts.

The “No Speedo” rule is in effect.

The novels we read must be high action, adventure, blow-it-up conspiracy thrillers, preferably with a lot of blood and guts on the cover.

We shave every other day to get that swarthy tough guy look.

We swear and cuss like a couple of sailors.

We only play “Marco Polo” when the pool area is empty.

We drink massive amounts of beer.

The creepy thing is that when we’re alone, we get a lot of flirtations from 80 year old women. I guess when your 50 or 60 in a seniors park, you are looked upon as a potential “boy toy”. After all, this is the Viagra generation!

In the long run, Willy Boy and I don’t mind the isolation. After all, our prime motivation is to . . . you guessed it . . . . “Drink massive amounts of beer.”

But, no matter what I have written here, we all love and look forward to our “Floridays” come March Break. The only thing that suffers is our bank accounts and our midriffs.

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Are you becoming a Hellfire Helen?


Have you ever experienced this?

Even though you are an adult, maybe even approaching your own Senior Citizenship, your own parents treat you like you are an 8 year child.

I am very cognizant of this now that I am a Grandfather. This is in the category of “doing what I do, not what I say,” right. Really, the temptation to emulate my own parents and do the very same thing is palatable.

In my experience, this situation can get to the point where everyone in your immediate family feels the effects of this tempest. In my case, it is ironic that it can first be illustrated by a teapot.

“Jimmy, you can’t pour the hot water into the teapot like that. You’re going to burn yourself?”

Let me introduce you to Hellfire Helen, my redheaded, five foot nothing, fireball of a dearly departed mother. My mother was the size of Smurf but had the tenacity of a pit bull.

“What are you thinking? You can’t go outside without a coat. It’s cold outside. Don’t be so stupid, Jimmy.”

You have to remember that these statements were made when I was in my 50’s, had three children and a wife and, guess what, I was also retired.

“Give me that electric knife. I’ll cut the ham. You might cut yourself!”

No matter how sensitive we were to Hellfire Helen’s age and disabilities, we always felt the wrath of her fire.

Grumpy: “Mom, take your time getting ready. We’ve got lots of time to make it to the restaurant.”

Hellfire Helen: “Stop rushing me. You are always rushing me, Jimmy!”

Grumpy: “No, mom, we’re really not in any hurry.”

Hellfire Helen: “STOP . . . RUSHING . . . ME!”

I almost wanted to shout, “Clean your ears!”

Hellfire Helen: “I don’t want Matt fiddling with my TV controller, Jimmy. He messes up my channels. Sometimes I can’t find the “clicker” when you leave.”

Eighteen year old son Matt, the technical one, is usually the guy that helps Grandma straighten out the mess she has inflicted with her own technology. But, I keep forgetting that in Hellfire Helen’s eyes, he’s a five year old.

I’d tried to call her regularly since we lived out of town.

“Hi, mom, how are you doing?

Hellfire Helen: “I’m watching my program. Why do you always call when I’m watching my program?”

“Well, I could call back later . . .”

CLICK!

Hellfire Helen also talked like a sailor. Her favorite expression was, “Oh, sh*t!”

Is it any wonder that our kids, when they were very little, latched onto this saying with gusto?

EXAMPLE: Four year old Josh drops his basketball at the family Christmas party with an, “Oh sh*t!”

It was hard to take our kids out in public for a while until we straightened that one out.

Hellfire Helen’s other favorite word was, “A- hole” as in “Jimmy you’re an a-hole”, “Don’t be such an a-hole” or just plain everyday “A-HOLE!”

Friends and family love me to tell the story about one particular Christmas. We would bring Christmas dinner along with us, prepared of course by eight year old little Jimmy.

As we sat down to the table something I said set Hellfire Helen off big time. I don’t even remember what it was but when you’re treated like an eight year old, it doesn’t really matter.

But, nonetheless, Hellfire Helen in a very loud voice exclaimed, “You can shove that turkey up you’re a**, Jimmy!”

Merry Christmas to one and all, Grandma!

Here are a few more of her gems.

“You don’t know how to do that!”

“Grow up!”

“Why don’t you dress the kids in better clothes when you come here? What kind of parents are you.”

“Where are your boots, it’s snowing for crying out loud?”

“Get a haircut for God’s sake!”

“You don’t know how to drive!”

“You dumbbell, you don’t do it that way!”

“Wipe your feet!”

On a lighter side, when my daughter Meghan was around 12, the two of them were sitting together in the mall waiting to meet up with us. Hellfire Helen smiled and turned to Meghan and genuinely asked, “Do you want to have big boobs, Meghan?”

Thankfully, my mother’s lighter side more than balanced her feisty nature. She was generous and loving and very giving. So, don’t get me wrong, her nature didn’t affect me that much, after all, I too married a feisty redhead.

My father handled her very well in their nearly fifty years of marriage. When she got going on a tirade he’d simple say, “Helen, shut up!” He was a quiet, kind, gentle man until Hellfire Helen got going. Fortunately, he was the Ying to her Yang!

There are definitive reasons for this kind of parent-parenting by elderly parents. Doctor Dobson from Focus on the Family has this to say.

North American parents are, he says, “among the best in the world. We care passionately about our kids and would do anything to meet their needs.”

But that very characteristic makes it extremely difficult to let go, he adds. “The same commitment that leads us to do so well when the children are small … also causes us to hold on too tightly when they are growing up.” Some parents — even Christian parents — manipulate their kids to keep control through guilt, bribery, threats, intimidation, fear and anger”, Dobson says.

Been there!

Done that!

Don’t want to repeat it!

As Hellfire Helen would say, if she read this Blog, “Jimmy, you don’t know anything, don’t be such an a-hole.”

You know when I first watched comedian Brent Butt’s sitcom, “Corner Gas”. I almost thought he based the character of his father, Oscar Leroy, on my dear mother. Oscar’s favourite expression was, “Jackass!”

For a taste of Oscar click this YouTube Video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqI6UNOjm8Y

In the meantime I promise to do my very best to not become my mother with my own kids even though I often think, “What the hell are they doing? They should know better!”

I do like one of the comebacks that today’s teenagers use when someone tries to postulate an idea or reprimand them. (Treat them like 5 year olds, if you will.)

“You kids should be wearing a warm coat to the party tonight. It’s going to be cold.”

They simply respond, “Prove it.”

I wonder if that would have worked back in the day with Hellfire Helen.

HELLFIRE HELEN: “You don’t know what you’re doing, dumbbell!”

GRUMPY: “Prove it!”

HELLFIRE HELEN: “And, where are your boots, it’s snowing for crying out loud?”

GRUMPY: “Prove it!”

HELLFIRE HELEN: “Sh*t! Don’t be such an A-HOLE, Jimmy!”

FACT: BABY ASPIRIN CAN KILL YOU


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FACT: BABY ASPIRIN CAN KILL YOU

I’m sure that if you are older than dirt your doctor has prescribed a daily dose of “Baby Aspirin” to keep you alive and kicking.  Aspirin, the wonder drug, is said to thin your blood and prevent blood clots, protect your digestive plumbing from cancer and cause four hour erections. (I’m just kidding about that last one.)

Without a doubt, that little 85 mg enteric coated bill is being sold by the billions. Just look at the unit cost at your typical Canadian pharmacy. Astro-FN- nomical!  LOW DOSE Aspirin is just a little cheaper than Viagra in Canada.

Go figure?

That’s why I stock up on this little wonder pill when I’m in the US A. My 3 pack of 120 pills (One year’s supply) cost barely one half the cost of a small plastic container in Canada. Yes, I’ve been running this contraband back from Florida for many years. I’ve been thinking about bringing back a tractor trailer load and selling it on the street.

I’d don a trench coat and hang out in the parking lot at Tim Horton’s, secret myself in the laxative aisle at local pharmacies or attend bridge or euchre fests at the Senior Centre selling these little gems to desperate seniors. I bet I could quadruple my investment.

Dateline Simcoe Distorter: Police Break Up Blood Thinner Cartel: Pinegrove Man in Custody

Hey, you’re only other choice for savings in Canada is to start chewing willow whips.

But, no matter what your doctor says, I’m here to tell you that baby aspirin can KILL YOU!

How do I know this? Here’s what one expert had to say.

“Overall, aspirin is a highly effective medical treatment when used appropriately, but it is not yet a drug that should be taken unsupervised on a daily basis, even at low doses.”

Well, I’m definitely unsupervised a lot of the time. That’s why Grumpy gets into trouble and creates so many “Jimbo Moments” which, in turn, gives him countless fodder for these posts. Unsupervised people over 55 are their own worst enemies and I have the scars to prove it.

But, consider the facts.

FACT: ASPIRIN THINS YOUR BLOOD

Indeed, even a small paper cut can cause your blood to pour out of you like warm tap water. Apply pressure and you’ll find you’ll be holding that sucker for at least an hour. Release the pressure and you might create a geyser that splatters the ceiling. A forensics team, upon viewing the stain, would think someone had been shot given your current level of blood splatter.

One time I nicked my finger and tried holding my hand above my head. A rivulet of blood proceeded to run down my arm to my armpit. Heck, as you age your skin becomes so thin the slightest brush by off a pointed object causes you to bleed.

Cut yourself shaving and you might be taking an unplanned trip to the Emergency Ward.

And bruises, well I guess they’re just about everywhere now.

DOCTOR: Pardon me for asking, but I am concerned. You’re not into bondage are you, Mr. Grumpy?

One time my 70 year old father-in-law and I were trimming a vine in Florida. This was a prickly vine with small thorns everywhere. When my father-in-law emerged from the brush he looked like he’d been in a medieval sword fight. Trickles of blood ran everywhere, down his forearms, legs and his face. Elderly ladies were fainting all over the place, little children ran in every direction, gators were coming up from the lake in droves to attend this blood bath and I almost thought I should DIAL 911 -STAT.

Just watch how fast that vial fills up the next time you go for a blood draw. The nurse will be holding on to that vial with two hands. Perish the thought that she lets go of that sucker. You’ll be painting the town red – literally.

Hell, I’m afraid a bleeding nose could be fatal. That’s why I’ve given up fisticuffs, permanently. It seems as if everyone needs a “cut man” these days.

I think we older folks should carry a handy-dandy tourniquet in our pockets for our own protection, don’t you. Now there’s a marketing idea for you!

FACT: YOU ARE TOLD TO STOP ASPIRIN THERAPY IF YOU NEED SURGERY, DENTAL WORK OR ARE ABOUT TO GO FOR A POOP TEST.

Yes folks, if you require surgery, dental work or need that government paid-for “Poop-Test Smear”, you are told to get off the aspirin prior to because those little buggers you ingest can cause both EXCESSIVE (see above) and/or INTERNAL BLEEDING!

I also imagine that your blood reverts to its former porridge-like consistency when you cease and desist. All those little platelets gather together in little groups and plot your demise. It probably goes something like this.

PAULY PLATELET: Hey, dude, I haven’t seen you in ages.

PAM PLATELET: Well, I’ve been out and about and spreading myself thin, Pauly

PAULY PLATELET: Seems a little busy today, eh. Lots of traffic here. A little congested don’t you think? What say we call everyone together for a little party?

PAM PLATELET: Man that would be a killer. We platelets got to stick together, right?

I can see that blood clot growing to be as big as a bunion, can’t you? You’re either going to bleed to death in surgery or have the big one. Take your pick.

Don’t believe me? Well, the renowned MAYO CLINIC in Minnesota had this to say.

You might be surprised to learn that stopping daily aspirin therapy can have a rebound effect that may increase your risk of heart attack. If you have had a heart attack or a stent placed in one or more of your heart arteries, stopping daily aspirin therapy can lead to a life-threatening heart attack. If you’ve been taking daily aspirin therapy and want to stop, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes. Suddenly stopping daily aspirin therapy could have a rebound effect that may trigger a blood clot.

Hey, Doctor Paul didn’t tell me that one. Now I’m beginning to feel damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

But, when push comes to shove, neither of these dangers concerns me the most. There is one other thing about baby aspirin that will kill you and that, my friends, is the PACKAGING.

FACT: BABY ASPIRIN PACKAGING IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH

Yes, my friends, the most dangerous part of aspirin therapy is the booby-trapped packaging.

First of all this product is placed in the smallest of bottles, given the tiny size of the pills. The child proof bottle cap is small and difficult for carpal tunnel affected fingers and hands and/or a male’s big stubby fingers to manipulate. The bottle opening is smaller than that of the one you fire your urine sample into. And finally, because 120 pills take up such a small space (barely cover the bottom) they stuff the whole thing with a giant wad of cotton batten.

So, let me allow you to be a fly on the wall in Grumpy’s bathroom at bedtime. This is the official time Grumpy swallows his 85 mg pill. It is also the time his “Baby-Aspirin” tries to kill him.

Its 10 pm and Grump’s is preparing himself for bed. Clutching the Baby Aspirin bottle in his chubby little hands he struggles to remove the tiny child-proof cap. His carpal tunnel affected fingers fumble and stumble, and losing their grip the bottle tumbles to the floor.

GRUMPY: “WTF -% $#(**@ Damn PILLS!”

He bends over through all of the stiffness and the aches and the pains and fumbles to gather up that elusive vial. He touches it once, twice and every time he touches it, it rolls just out of his reach. It’s like the opposite poles of magnets, he’s thinking.

On at least three occasions he gets that bottle in his grip, only to drop it again and again and again.

GRUMPY: “WTF -% $#(**@ Damn bottle, geez”

Finally he gathers the bottle up and with a twist, a grunt and a boisterous “ *$%#@ ”   the cap comes free. The cap slips through his fingers and cartwheels to the floor like a misspent Frisbee, of course.

GRUMPY: “AAAAAAAAAHHHHH! WTF -% $#(**@”

THE GOOD WIFE: “Are you alright in there, Grumpy?”

GRUMPY: “Yes dear, I’m just taking my meds. I’m fine. I’ll just be a minute.”

Grumpy peers into the small opening of the bottle and all he can see is a great white cloud of cotton batten. He’s tried, at times, to remove this blockage but after pulling long strands of the stuff out of there, a huge lump still remains. It is as if the cotton actually continues to grow in there. Grumpy has never liked touching that stuff anyway since his bad experience sitting on Santa’s lap as a two year old.

He inserts his Peter Pointer and begins to swill around in search of that tiny little pill. Every once and a while he will find one and so he tries to gently pull it up the side of the tipped-on-its-side bottle, but to no avail. Finally, he gets one of the little buggers up to the lip of the aperture. Just as he tries to slip the pill into his hand it slides through his fingers and makes its way to the floor.

KERPLUNK!

GRUMPY: “These %%#*@ pills are driving me %#$*@ crazy. Geez Louise! Where did the damn thing go now?”

Now Grumpy doesn’t wear his glasses at this time of night. So now he’s trying to find that tiny white pill on that big white floor. He’s on his knees searching, feeling his way along the tiles.

He easily manages to find that big white cap, but now he is feeling around the floor with his hands for that little white pill. He wonders if the five second rule applies to medications.

GRUMPY: “ WTF – % $#(**@ ! Where is that  &%$#$ pill?”

Finally he puts a finger on the pill, brushes off the dust bunny, rubs it on his sleep shirt, and hobbles over to the sink on his knees to grab a paper cup, some water and down that sucker once and for all.

Just as he is about to down it, the pill slips from his grip, falls into the sink, slides down the porcelain slope and disappears down the drain.

GRUMPY SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS: “ UUUUUUUGGGGGGG! This FN $%#$ pill is going to be the death of me. %$3&@# GEEEEEEZ !”

At that precise moment the Good Wife bursts into the room. Her face is drawn and white. She is concerned.

GOOD WIFE: “Grumpy, what’s going on? Are you sure you’re alright! Your face is as red as a beet!”

GRUMPY:  BIG SIGH AND LONG PAUSE “No, dear, but I think you’d better call 911.

GOOD WIFE: What?

LONG DRAWN OUT PAUSE INTERSPERSED WITH MOANING AND HEAVY BREATHING AS GRUMPY SLINKS TO THE COLD FLOOR.

GRUMPY: “I think I’m starting to have major chest pains. I’m think I’m having the #$%@%$ big one, honey! ”

So, you see, one way or another, BABY ASPIRIN is trying to kill you.

And, do you know what? I don’t know why the ER Doctor was considering a psychiatric assessment for me after I kept insisting on that irrefutable fact.

Go figure?

But, to be on the safe side, let’s just keep this little secret between you and me. It might just save your bacon.

Hi! Ho!

WELCOME FOLKS, GLAD TO HAVE YOU ABOARD!


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Friends, neighbors and countrymen:

Grumpy is coming out of the closet. Well, not THAT closet.

You see old Grump’s has closeted himself in writing anonimity for the past 10 years of his retirement. His goal was to write 1 000 000 000 (one million) words in that time, following Steven King’s suggestion that it requires that much writing to become competent with the craft. Grumpy has written 7 novels and countless short  stories and blogs in that time span, with nary a word published for public consumption.

People often ask him, “Are you still writing?”

Well, yes, of course I am.

Am I rich and famous?  Not on your life!

So I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s about time to  throw Grumpy’s Junk out there. Well, not THAT junk.

This BLOG space will fit the bill, I’m thinking, particularly when it comes to the humor material I was writing for the Funny or Die website. I’ll also include book excerpts and maybe some poetry. Who knows, some of my junk may find an audience. You can be the judge of that.

I patterned the blogs I wrote after some of my favorite writers like; Dave Barry, Paul Rimstead, Linwood Barklay and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

BTW – all comments, criticisms and critiques are welcome. If you post things to FACEBOOK or pass an item on to a friend, that’s fine too. I’m an over sixty old guy who has lost his sensitive side and given himself over to GRUMPINESS. Hence the title here: Grumpy’s World. I’d like as many hits on this site as you and people you know can muster.

The more who read this junk of mine, the merrier.

As I wrote in the introduction to “The Best of Grumpy’s Journal” (A book of funny incidents I self-published for my kids.) these BLOGS listed on the sidebar follow a definite format.

Well, as you might already know, Jimbo has had his moments. In fact, he’s had so many that some of his friends refer to incidents they’ve seen, or done themselves as a “Jimbo Moment.” Many shorten the expression to, “Now that was a Jimbo!” or “What a Jimbo!”

Believe me, I take it all in stride. Really I find it all rather complimentary.

But, I’ll let you be the judge as you read about some of the best of “Jimbo’s Greatest Moments”. These are the classics that were posted on the Funny or Die Website. I’ve used this site to expand my writing and to stick to the “write something everyday” credo. It also has got me through the doldrums of the past few winters. Most of these were under the heading of, “GRUMPY’S JOURNAL”.

Please note this is Funny or Die, a Will Ferrell Website, so any off color remarks are purely intentional.

So, read on, my friends. See if you can dig up s0me gems in my JUNK PILE.

BTW you can share anything you like by pressing, the facebook,twitter,pininterest or email buttons. How easy is that?

     P.S. I have written a few things related to education (more serious) that some teachers might like to       read. You can find the button for those gems along the header.

All the Best to you,

Jim Johnson AKA GRUMPY

All of this is COPYRIGHTED material, of course. If you steal my junk I WILL come after you with the vim and vigor of Dalton McGuinty.

IF YOU LIKE THIS SITE BOOKMARK IT CUZ THERE’S MORE TO COME. ALSO IF YOU LEAVE YOUR EMAIL (sidebar to the right) FOLLOW ME -you will receive automatic email updates as new blogs are posted. How cool is that!

A GRUMPY GRIN 4U

Vampire Lady


A Date with the Vampire Lady

Alright, today I had to go for a blood draw as this is the time for my sixth month check up. You see, my Doc requires me to visit him before he’ll renew my meds. The blood test is the prerequisite.

Now getting a blood test in town isn’t exactly easy because this is a “fasting” blood test. You are required not to eat anything after 10 pm the night before.

Apparently this is a very trying task for Senior Citizens because they are usually about 20 of them lined up at the lab door each morning, and that’s starting at 7:30 am. All of them are in pissy moods because they haven’t had their bran or their prune juice. I know this because after arriving early a few years ago and just going to check the opening time posted on the lab door brought a, “Hey, Bub, get to the back of the line!” The guy was eighty and probably couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag. No matter, he was poking a rolled up newspaper in my face and I wasn’t about to argue. I was weak kneed and shaking because I hadn’t eaten in hours.

So, I have a better plan these days. I aim to arrive at the lab at around 10 pm after the snarling crowd of octogenarians has rushed off for their first bowel movements. Today, when I walked into the office, there was no crowd, in fact, there were only two people sitting in a waiting area that could hold about 20.

I was happier than a pig in shit!

I walked directly up to the window with a big smile on my face.

“Did you get a number?” declared the frumpish women behind the window.

I knew that the lab had introduced a “grab a number system” to facilitate crowd control. They run this office like a busy bakery. But, there were only two people in the waiting room. Both of them were shaking their heads as if to say, “We got our numbers, fella! You’d better get yours.” One of them was wearing mask. That was a bit disconcerting.

So, I leave the waiting room to get my number and return. My number is “five”. I guess there are two poor souls inside getting pricked and having their blood drawn out by one of the vampire ladies.

As I walk to the window, my receptionist/commandant says, “Go back and stand behind the yellow line!”

As I backtrack, she asks me, “Have you recently had, or do you now have a cough, cold or the flu?”

I respond with a weakly stated, “No!”

Then she boldly announces, “Five!”, then adds, “Please step forward.”

I guess yellow lines are a prime defense against H1N1. I think I’ll paint one on all of the doorways to the house. It might work better than a bowl of rotting onions or disinfectant.

Everything goes well until she plunks this plastic container on the counter.

“I need you to fill this,” she says.

I’m inclined to answer with, “With what?” and because she is so into numbers, “A number 1 or a number2?” Instead I start whining about how I just had this enormous wiz when I came into the office.

“Well, you can try,” she insists, “We just need a little.” Her finger wags then points to the open washroom door.

Once I’m in there, I can’t help but notice the magazine rack and the obvious purpose of the contents therein. But, dutifully, I try my best to squeeze out a drop. (That’s with my bladder, of course)  Despite by best effort, all my straining is in vain.

I return to the desk and shyly remark, “I’m afraid I can’t get you a sample. Perhaps I can do it later and bring it in for you.” I don’t want to talk too loudly because, after all, there’s a masked man staring at me from behind and he has a number in his hand.

“Well, you must return the sample to us by eleven thirty then!”Desk-lady says. After the number and the line fiasco, I know she means business.

But, I’m also thinking, “Why eleven thirty?”Do they want to test my pee before lunch? Will my pee somehow become sour and not testable at 11:30? Are there pee laws in Norfolk County?

Later, I find myself inside the lab watching another nurse tap my arms hither and thither trying to find a popping vein to prick. But, like my recent urination attempts, nothing seems to be working for this gal.

Finally she says, “Are you fasting?”

I’m thinking, “Well, duh, I think it says that right on the form in your hand, lady.” Better judgment tells me to just nod my head in the affirmative.

“Well, you’re dehydrated and I can’t get a vein to show!”

WTF.

I drove my kid to school at 8:30 am, and then drove around town with stops at Walmart, the Superstore and Zellers, all the while trying to kill time. I haven’t eaten since 10 the night before and the wiz I wizzed at 9:30 is preventing me from wizzing at 10 am. Now I’m being told she can’t find a vein because I’m freakin’ dehydrated!

I’m now clenching my fist, I feel my face getting red, and I know my blood pressure is starting to max out. Something’s got to give!

That’s when she says, “Oh, there it is. It just popped out!”

Well, I’m sure I had veins popping out all over the place. I have the ones that make my forehead look like the topography of the badlands.

She draws the blood and I’m out of there.

But, as you know, I’m not done yet. Now I’ve got to come up with a urine sample before the 11:30 cut off time.

I do have a plan.

I head to Tim Horton’s and buy the biggest honkin’ coffee I can manage, hit the variety store for a newspaper, then sit in my vehicle drinking and reading, hoping that an urge to pee soon overcomes me. After many minutes, and with not as much as a tingle, I decide to head into the Hart Department store for a walkabout. I’m beginning to think that I might just be giving that sample publicly, while toeing that yellow line, at exactly 11:29 pm.

“Here’s your damn sample, lady! Now you can have lunch!”

Minutes later, as I drive into the Medical Centre parking lot, I finally feel the urge to void. I run into the outer reception area, find the public washroom and prepare myself for launch. That’s when I realize the plastic container’s opening isn’t very big and it’s going to take a sniper’s aim to get the stream well centered. There is also the question of the on/off switch because, after my mega coffee, I know I could fill a dozen of these.

I won’t bore you with details, but I’m proud to say the mission was accomplished.

I slip the container into my jacket pocket and head for the lab.

There are only a handful of people in the waiting room. Several raise their eyebrows when I don’t grab a number but they nod in appreciation when I shuffle up to, but do not cross, the dreaded yellow line. I remove the plastic container and hold it proudly in front of me.

This is the second time today that I’ve been happier than a pig in shit.

The lady in the window is just about to say, “Get a number!”, when a smile fills here face and she motions me forward – a free pass over the Yellow Line!

“I’ve got a present for you, “I announce.

To which she replies, “I wish you would have brought me donuts!”

Is it any wonder why Grumpy is grumpy?