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Fifty-something ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, Cub Scouts, age, injury, ribs, humorous blog, funny, smile, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)


Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The sun was shining; the grass was growing. On the lawn in front of the 4th ward church house, Cub Scouts ran and hopped like kangaroos on amphetamines. They expended energy without even thinking about it being a precious commodity. Probably because they weren’t fifty-something.

After a few minutes, the boys moved farther away and my brain said, “You’d better think up something for these little guys to do before they scatter to the four corners of the cosmos.”

Normally my body does what my brain says, and this time was no exception. My arms waved in a graceful, fashion model way and my mouth called, “Hey, boys, come over here.”

George* turned and said. “Gee, Sister Beck, the way your arms are moving makes you look just like a train-crossing sign. Cool.”

My body gave up on the graceful wave, put two fingers into my mouth and blasted out a whistle that could be heard in the next county. The boys came running.

“Okay, Cubs,” my mouth said, “let’s do something fun before we go inside and start the meeting. Any suggestions?”

Blond-haired Jeff scratched his cowlick and shouted in my ear, “Let’s do rooster fights!”

That is why God gave all women two ears … so they still have one that can hear after their scouting days are finished.

Little Billy scratched his armpit, made it burp, and then said, “Let’s race each other.”

And that’s where my brain abandoned me. It could have been the spring breeze that caused it to feel like a teenager once more. But then again, the lack of caution could have been created by a sugar high from the sixteen-ounce bag of Marshmallow Goobers that I'd just polished off. At any rate, my mind said, “Sure, races would be a lot of fun.”

My body shouted its objection with a vehement, “No!”

Suddenly, and without prior approval, my mouth said, “Come on, boys—last one to touch the tree is a dead skunk.”

“No, no, NO,” my fifty-something body hollered at my brain, while pumping adrenaline like there was an emergency about to take place. “Russ would not be happy if he knew we were out here running and playing like a kid—especially when we're pushing sixty-years old! He’d tell us that a broken wrist, broken nose, broken ankle … no, wait, two broken ankles … when we were younger should have taught us something. Not to mention that broken elbow last year that laid us up for …”

“We’re not anywhere near sixty. Shut up and run,” my brain said.

“Oh look,” my body said, as my feet tripped over each other while racing across the lawn. “Look at how fast the ground comes toward us when we bite the dust at fifty-something.”

The next day the doctor held up the x-rays. “There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you didn't break any ribs.”

My brain beamed with a “nah-ner, nah-ner” attitude. “See, I told you we could still run,” it said to my body.

The doctor shifted the x-ray under the lamp. “The bad news is the ribs are cracked. There’s nothing that can be done except to let them heal on their own.”

My body puffed up with pride at being right. Or maybe it was with fluids from the cracked ribs. “See, I told you the ground was a lot harder at fifty-something,” it said to my mind.

“Not fifty-something,” my dirty-traitor brain replied. “More like pushing sixty.”

*Names have been changed to protect the good, the bad, and the one with a two-week-old bologna sandwich in his backpack.

What's playing in my head: When I'm Sixty-four by the Beatles.

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Shutdown in three ... two ... one ... by Cindy Beck

(Based on a grain of truth ... which means this story kinda, maybe, sorta happened. Or not.)

© Cindy Beck, 2009

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, exercise, treadmill, Olympics, Newton's laws of motion, physics, Big Gulp, humorous blog, Ray Stevens, jogging, funny, smile, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)


Image from Wikimedia Commons.

"Oh look, a treadmill,” I said to my husband, Russ, as we wandered through the home furnishings store.

He lifted one eyebrow. “And you’re telling me this … why?”

“Because I’m thinking about getting one. Between the wind and pollen count, I can’t get much exercise outdoors. A treadmill is the perfect solution.”

Russ snorted. “It’s perfect, all right. Perfect for gathering dust. I bet you’ll never use it.”

I gave him my I’m-a-superior-woman-and-you’re-a-piece-of-lint look. “I will too use it. And I won’t be the only one. I’ll teach the dog how to run on it.”

The sports equipment salesman standing nearby must have been watching TV, because I thought I heard him give a muffled chortle. When I looked over, though, all he did was clear his throat and smile.

“The dog? You're going to put your pet on a piece of exercise equipment?” the sales guy asked.

“Yes, our dog, Corky Porky Pie.”

The man must have been hard of hearing, because he stood and stared at me for a minute. Just as I was about to tell Russ that the guy needed a hearing aid, the sales clerk said, “Would you like to try the treadmill?”

“Sure.” I stepped onto the machine and gazed at the vast array of buttons. The dashboard looked like the console of an airplane. I wondered how Corky Porky was going to figure out which buttons to push.

Using my immense powers of deduction, I decided the big red button meant stop.



But the rest were up for grabs. I reached over and pushed one.

“Power Level 10—Speed Hill,” I explained to Russ as the motor started in a slow grind, and I stepped onto the moving belt. “It shouldn’t be too bad. I can handle—“

“—thiiiiiisssss!” The machine flipped into high gear, and the belt scrolled rapidly under my feet. I stumbled, accidentally flinging my fifty-six ounce Big Gulp at the salesperson. Soda splashed over his suit, and the cup ricocheted off his head, like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Then it skittered under the elliptical machine nearby (the cup, not his head). The salesman turned and strode toward the partially lit sign that said, “Rest oom.”

I righted myself, hit my stride, and looked at Russ. “This is cool. I probably look like a seasoned sprinter, huh?”

Russ nodded his head. “Yup, just like an Olympic runner with an inner ear infection.”

A small crowd gathered around us—one the size of the population of Boston. I figured they were all marathon fans.

The machine gave a thump, followed by a beep, and I wondered if that meant my jog had ended. Suddenly, a whirring sound echoed off the nearby wall, and the front end of the treadmill rose in altitude, resembling the nose of the space shuttle at blast off. My feet tripped over each other. “No need to worry,” I shouted to the murmuring crowd, as I flapped my arms for balance. “I used to run track in high school.”

I noticed a little boy selling hot dogs among the masses. At the side door, a bearded man hawked tickets to people.

“There must be some big sale and a raffle going on.” I hollered the news to Russ over the whir of the machine and tilted my head toward Mr. Bearded, who appeared to be pointing people in our direction. The head tilt made the room spin and for a minute I almost lost my equilibrium, but years of conditioning—gained by watching NASCAR races on TV with Russ's dad—brought me through it.

Another beep sounded and the belt’s speed increased. I grabbed for the treadmill’s handles. Not that I really needed them, of course, but it seemed like a good time to check my heart rate with the machine’s specialized apparatus.

“Warning! Warning!” A mechanical sounding voice exploded from the front of the machine. “Your heart rate is 562 beats per minute. This machine will shut down in three … two … one—”

Clunk! The belt stopped.

Newton’s first law of motion states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. As I flew over the top of the console—proving that Newton’s first law still holds true—I thought I heard the crowd cheer. And I gave a victory wave just so they’d understand I was no novice to physics … or to the pole vault.



What's playing in my head: Jogging, by Ray Stevens

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The Dog, the Cat, and the Three-Year-Old ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, dogs, cats, kids, perspective, bark, meow, skein, yarn, deodorant, hairball, pork chop, funny, smile, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)


THE DOG’S PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE:



The family cat is brainless—she swallows her own fur.

If you eat the rotten pork chop that fell in the yard—the one that came from heaven—you’ll feel great for an hour and then you’ll vomit for the rest of the day. But, hey ... it’s worth it.

It’s a bad sign if your humans say sweet things while putting you in the car. It means a body part is going to go missing.

No matter how often you bark in the cat’s face, she’ll never learn how to woof.

If you bark in the cat’s face once too often, she’ll slice your nose in half.

You can gaze longingly at the food on the dinner table for as long as you like, it will never magically fly into your mouth.

Nothing matches the anticipation of sitting in the car, waiting to go on a ride.

Cats are best served up in a tree.


RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM THE CAT:



The family dog is brainless—he willingly jumped in the car to become an “it.”

Never try to clean a skein of yarn with your tongue—it’ll give you an extra long hairball.

If your pitiful meows for food don’t give the expected results, five claws across someone’s ankle might do the trick.

If you see the family’s three-year-old with a can of deodorant in his hand … run!

Your humans want you to catch the mice that live outdoors, but not the bird that lives indoors.

If you try to eat the family's parrot, he will try to eat you back.

There's nothing as warm as a car’s engine on a cold winter’s day.

If you deposit a big mouse's head on your humans’ doorstep, one of them will gag and freak out.


LIFE’S LESSONS FROM THE THREE-YEAR-OLD:



Dogs and cats are a lot more fun than a dead goldfish.

If you throw a rotten pork chop into the yard, the dog will eat it and puke green stuff the rest of the day.

If you spray deodorant on the cat’s armpits, she’ll rip around the house for an hour.

When you lean really hard on the car’s horn, the dog will leap out the back window in panic, and the cat will explode off the engine like someone stuck a hand grenade under a ball of fur.

If the cat leaves a dead mouse's head on the doorstep, don’t touch it. Lots of excitement will follow. When Mommy sees it, she’ll scream. When Mommy screams, the cat will freak out, and hiss and spit. When the cat freaks out, the dog will chase her up a tree. While all that is happening, you can take the mouse's head and put it in your treasure box, under your bed.


What's playing in my head: We Are Family, by Sister Sledge

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About the Turkey Vultures and the Living Sign ... by Cindy Beck

Thanks to two alert readers, Steven Branford, of New York, and Tom Wray, of Missouri, I now know what the holiday observance, "The Turkey Vultures Return to the Living Sign" is all about. (For a point of reference, see my blog post of March 5, 2008)

Now don't fall off your chairs in shock, but the living sign is a batch of ... taa-daa ... living trees in Canisteo, NY. Yup, seems like a reasonable place for vultures to roost, doesn't it? Certainly a better place than the town hall.

For those who are interested, I've pasted Steven and Tom's responses below, as well as a picture that Tom sent.

Steven's Response:

I, too was confused about Turkey Vultures Return to the Living Sign week! I have found the answer, and much like many mystifying names, the truth is not as exciting as our minds' creations! I almost feel like forgetting the true significance for your interpretation! Here's what was written about the holiday:

"[Celibrated [sic] by the] Entire Canisteo Valley, Canisteo, NY. Traditionally turkey vultures return on St. Pat's Day to their roosting sites in and around the world famous living sign, as mentioned in "Ripley's Believe It or Not." The sign spells our "Canisteo" using 250 trees in a ridge above Greenwood Street."


Tom's Response:

This is cool. I pull up the daily “holidays” for our department bulletin board, and ran across your funny piece on the above mysterious holiday. I did some more research (which you also may have already done), and discovered there is a “living sign” for the city of Canisteo NY, made up of over 250 Scotch Pines spelling out “CANISTEO,” on a hill behind the elementary school on Greenwood Street. Apparently the turkey vultures return to this area each year between March 11 and 17. Here’s a photo of the “living sign”:


(Photo by the Evening Tribune)

...and now you know...the rest...of the story

RIP, Paul Harvey


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Thanks so much for your help, Steven and Tom, and for your vast research skills! :)

Adopt a Hamster ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, holidays, observances, 2009, March, hamster, Guinea pig, vampire, chronic fatigue, eye donor, turkey vulture, funny, smile, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)


It’s once again time for Weird and Wacky Holidays, the game where real people create holidays and I poke fun at them (the holidays, not the people). Following that, sophisticated individuals laugh at what I wrote and leave pithy comments, while readers with no sense of humor threaten to send me their leftover Christmas fruitcake.


MARCH MONTHLY OBSERVANCES

Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig (all month): Right now, nine out of ten women/men/vampires reading this are shuddering at the thought of rescuing vermin. And the next question to ask is, where are the Guinea pigs being rescued from? Behind the walls? Under the bed? In the pantry?

All I know is hamsters are cuter, so I vote for an “Adopt a Rescued Hamster Month.” The reasons for this are plentiful. First, you’ll notice the word “pig” is not linked with the word “hamster.” That’s a point in the hamster’s favor every time. Second, hamsters do not make bizarre grunting noises that make you wonder if someone is desperately in need of Ex-Lax. Third, hamsters look fuzzy and cute. I once rescued one from a shoe and Koala was eternally grateful.



Well, okay ... I didn't really rescue her from a shoe. I rescued her from a pet store and the red, plastic boot in the photo was one of her toys. However, after we'd owned her for a couple of months, a conundrum awaited us every morning when we walked out of the bedroom. Namely, the question of what unknown poltergeist had grabbed the end of the bathroom tissue, scrolled it from the bathroom through the hall and wrapped it around the dining room while we slept. We finally solved the mystery one day when we discovered that Koala rested inside her cage on a bed of shredded toilet tissue equivalent to a super-sized roll of Charmin. She’d spent her evenings escaping from her cage, confiscating items and carrying them in her bulging cheeks back to her little home behind bars. She included T.P’ing the house in the process.

National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month (all month): Chronic fatigue exists. It’s a very real problem. I’d tell you more about it, but I’m just too tired to go into it.

National Eye Donor Month (all month): I’m baffled. How can those who’ve donated their eyes read the calendar to learn of this observance? Or, if we assume they’ve passed on and that’s why their eyes were donated, it makes the situation even more baffling. How are they learning about this in the great beyond? Eyes or no eyes, I can only think deceased donors learn this at séances—where the score is even because everyone has their eyes closed, anyway. (If someone reading this blog entry has donated their eyes, please forgive my politically incorrect sense of humor.)


MARCH WEEKLY OBSERVANCES

National Procrastination Week: (Mar. 2-8): I planned to tell you all about this, but decided to wait until next week. Or maybe next year. Whatever.

Turkey Vultures Return to the Living Sign (Mar. 11-17): For once, I’m speechless and have no clue what this holiday title is saying, much less what it means. “Turkey Vultures Return to the Living” (without the word, “sign”), gave me a mental image of zombie vultures, wandering the towns, eating dead cows, and then knocking on the doors of town residents. Something akin to a cross between Alfred Hitchcock’s, “The Birds” and somebody-or-other’s, “Night of the Living Dead.” After exhausting my vast store of resource material (I asked our dog, Corky Porky Pie, what it meant), I went out to the ‘net to see what others thought. The bloggers there seemed just as confused, but amazingly enough, I did find one who imagined a similar scenario. The owner of The Random Yak said, “I’m still a bit stumped by the “living sign” part. Sort of “Night of the Living Dead” meets “National Geographic…

“…Tune in Sunday night at 7 to see the return of the living dead turkey vultures. Watch the massive, undead carrion-eating birds return to their nesting grounds in search of warm climates and newly-dead brains. See the impressive flock feast on roadkill[sic] to gather their strength before hatching a new brood of zombie buzzards to carry on the neverending[sic] search for food…Only on the National Geographic Channel.”


I couldn’t have put it better.

International Brain Awareness Week (Mar. 16-22): All of you who are aware that you have a brain, please raise your hands. Those who are not, please report to the pre-frontal lobotomy clinic.


MARCH DAILY OBSERVANCES

Pig Day (Mar. 1): This, no doubt, has something to do with the Guinea pigs waiting to be rescued from under the bed and behind the walls.

Memory Day (Mar. 21): I had so many things to say about this holiday … but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten what they were.

Viagra Day (Mar. 27): Normally I wouldn’t touch this subject with a thirty-nine and a half-foot pole, but I have an interesting story. A sweet, elderly LDS lady (whose memory was significantly fuzzier than even mine) went to a family reunion. While chatting with a cousin in his fifties, she said, “John, I hear you’re taking Viagra. How’s that working for you?” John’s eyes grew wide and then the woman’s daughter, who stood nearby, gently said, “You mean Zyrtec, Mother—for allergies.”


What's playing in my head: She's Got Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

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