Bring fruit to work; bring fruit to bed !

I had a look at this one two or three times, to assure I read it right. I see the value of bringing fruit to work, but to bed? Let’s look at each piece of fruity advice separately.

Doing good towards others, especially co-workers, is indeed a good way to improve lives. Bringing in munchies to the office is a good deed indeed, both for the receivers and the giver. I suppose fruit is a better option than boxes of Tim-bits or brownies (home-baked), but, I ask you! When you go into the office kitchen and see sugar-fried cakes of death and not an apple, don’t you feel better for it? Besides sweet treats like sugar cookies are grab-and-gobble items, easily transported to your cubicle to eat with relish. Fruit needs to be washed or peeled. A plate of chopped, prepared fruit should have handy bowls and utensils nearby or they won’t be touched.*

Someone works at a convention center. He tells me every year an oh-so-politically-correct group comes in and every time they do so they demand healthy snacks only and lunch entrees of fruit, vegetable sticks, salads – that sort of stuff, and the caterers complain they end up throwing it all out as no one touches it, as the convention-goers go out at lunch to local places for burgers and fries. Grease surpasses greens every time – even free ones.

Bringing fruit to bed? In my life I’ve brought several fruits to bed and believe me this doesn’t work out. Munching apples, peaches etc. makes for some sinister stains on the pillow cases and then you have sticky cores and pits to contend with. Grapes and raisins fare better, but woe onto you if one falls and gets lost in the sheets. Pre-sliced items like apples and pears require forks, which are also not recommended for the bedroom, especially if the mattress is water-based. Besides, no one with the evening munchies wants fruit for Pete’s sake; one wants starchy crunchy things, like nasty chips. These far more delicious items come with their own consequences viz. crumbs in bed. In my life I’ve experienced many crumbs in bed and they are worse than the fruits. Best to bring books to bed instead and leave the comestibles for work.

*At the Mesa office, the kitchen was recently piled high as Fafner’s hoard with holiday cookies, cakes, and other things brought in by folks on diets and/or new years resolutions and nobody is touching them. Yesterday they were thrown out.

What’s top of my mind: Covid-19. On my zoom appointment, many patients tell me nowadays they had covid since I last spoke with them. They are annoyed by this, as a) they had the shots and b) they probably got it from nearby others who hadn’t been vaccinated. Sometimes I think it is inevitable I will get it myself; other times I feel like rising to the occasion, seeing this a challenge, like The Duke of Edinburgh award. Can I dodge the variants and my fellow non-vaccinated/unmasked citizens?

Where I’ve been: Covid testing. Speaking of which, I got my first covid19 test last Sunday. It is Tuesday; I haven’t heard anything. Usually positive/bad tests elicit a telephone call from The Good Doctor to get in here ASAP – but is this applicable to this test? I need to look this up. last weekend I had some URI symptoms but these are past and I feel fine.

Update on Tuesday evening: My covid test is negative. Hoory for our side! Let’s hope it stays this way.

Where I’m going: Nowhere
. I stopped going to the gym. Other than the grocery store the gym was my only outlet other than work. There are no pending trips or planned outings. I lead a dull life.

What I’m watching: Mesopotamia. Someone and I have a handful of “Great Courses” video lectures yet to be watched, which we do one episode at a time at suppertime. We finished “History of the Medici” (it ends badly) and I sense this one will end badly too (The Persian Empire). In these first episodes things are just getting going between the two rivers with the development of agriculture, which in hindsight may have been a bad move.

What I’m reading: Hero of Two Worlds, the biography of Lafayette. It’s fascinating to learn about the awful situation of The American Revolution in the 1780s. Yanks like me like to think we rose as a unified country and kicked English backsides, but in fact it was a fractured and fractious mess with little chance of winning but for the help of The French and the attrition of The English. I don’t want to give away the ending, but the poor sods under Washington don’t know the English are about to give up trying as it’s too expensive.

What I’m listening to: Inuit throat singing. Years ago during a cold and dark January in the Midwest,* I bought a CD of singers of such. I speculated this is what folks do up north during these gelid times. After all, what else is there to do? It’s become a sort of January tradition of mine to hear this genera.

What I’m eating: Broccoli spinach salad. The deli counter at Uncle Albertsons is page 71 that most of its contents consists of mayonnaise-based starchy things like cole slaw, macaroni salad, and pastas. They have a decent tomato/cucumber/mozzarella salad but this grows tiresome. Last week, lo!, there was a new one, a green salad, consisting of broccoli, spinach, and red grapes, in a not too globby dressing. I gave it a try and it was OK.

Who needs a good slap: The ‘sleeping’ patients. What is a ‘sleeping’ patient I hear you ask? These are the sorts who continually come in for their checkups to report nothing is happening in their lives. This isn’t a complaint, nor a sign of depression, but a state of being, and one they are not especially worried about. “How do you spend your days?” draws a blank as if they hadn’t ever thought of such. “Oh, I guess I go online or do things about the house”. Do you have any plans this year? No they don’t. Do you have any goals for the next decade of their lives? No either. They drift through life without goals or purpose. They do this for decades without a sense of wonde who they are or what they want from life as it slips away on them. So long as they have their TV shows and online social chit-chat they are content. While there is nothing wrong with being content – few folks are – they strike me as missing out. I have to watch myself here I am not projecting my own values for Life such as growth, adventure, and meaning. They make make me sad to see them, especially the younger ones in their 20s and 30s.

On my 1-5 scale, I give the ‘sleeping’ patients one slap – a slap to wake up.

What I’m planning: Chili. January is a good month to make chili. I have on hand several variations to try. To some extent they are more or less alike. This statement may seem like blasphemy to some; people get awfully queer and defensive about what constitutes proper chili. I like mine more complicated than beef chunks in a sauce. I like mine with beans, vegetables, and perhaps something ‘unique’ to make it a conversation piece. I have a chili named “Patsy Cline chili” that has shrimp in it, but as Someone is allergic to such I won’t make this one. Chili made in a crockpot has the advantage it makes the house smell nice and the pot helps heat the kitchen up, which is much appreciated in January.

What’s making me smile: Alice in Wonderland. I have a bunch of books that I turn to whenever I need cheering up, and “Alice” is top of the list. The tale contains all I want in a children’s book: nothing didactic but nonstop nonsense and fantasy. ‘Alice’ is also a marvelous read for word puns and language. What’s not to love? The only thing missing I suppose is nasty people getting their comeuppance. For that I turn to Mr. Dahl’s deliciously morbid prose.

*Are there any other types?

There are a lot of forms flitting about the office this month. The clinic where I work requires everyone to fill out updates on their information and insurance. Many remonstrate their information is ‘the same’ but the place is firm they need to do this. As a consequence, between now and approximately the end of March, when I go to fetch somebody from the waiting room, they are hunched over a clipboard, usually in a cross mood. They often assume it is I who is making them do this.

There is a new version of the checkout slip. When I finish with a patient I give them this slip to bring to the check-out gal. It’s amazing how often between leaving my office and going to the check-out window instructions are forgotten.* The slip, which is white, states what we did and the charges for such and when I want them back and whether this person needs an appointment with a counselor or the house manager or the billing lady. There is also the ‘blue’ slip for telephone calls as these too are billable (sometimes). The white and the blue have merged into one (no new color, alas) with add-ons of all sorts of possible charges. The goal: bill for services being done already but haven’t been charged for, as the clinic has been unawares it was possible to do so. **
This new form sure doesn’t lack variety; it has lots of things I thought were just part of being a good doctor, like reviewing records or doing leave of absence papers. Some other examples: providing education on smoking, diet, and weight – who knew one could bill for each of these separately? The form reminds me of the Innkeeper’s song ‘Master of the house’, from Les Misérables:

Residents are more than welcome
Bridal suite is occupied
Reasonable charges
Plus some little extras on the side!
Charge’em for the lice, extra for the mice
Two percent for looking in the mirror twice
Here a little slice, there a little cut
Three percent for sleeping with the window shut
When it comes to fixing prices
There are a lot of tricks he knows
How it all increases, all them bits and pieces
Jesus! It’s amazing how it grows!

The other new form is a rating scale. For years, the academic-types at the psych-conventions have encouraged us lesser shrinks to use rating scales. These are simple checklists the patients do while waiting in the waiting room prior to their appointment. This is the psychiatric equivalent of having your vitals done before seeing your primary care physician. In theory this is a more objective way of measuring progress (or lack of progress) in treatment. There are heaps of these things. As a first step we are using the PHQ-9 which is used to evaluate depression. Rating scales are not only ‘standard of care’ but another billable endeavor. Hot puppies.

It’s been a challenge for Urs Truly trying to remember to circle all services on the checkout slip, and making sure the patients are given a PHQ-9 prior to coming in. Ideally, the latter leads to better patient care, and the former leads to more money. Keep in mind, I am on salary, regardless. In a sort of weird “trickle-down theory” the more bucks raked in should lead to a pay raise for me. ***

I suppose it’ll take some time for the receptionists, the patients, and I to get into the hang of distributing and utilizing rating scales; I am curious to see if all the nickel and dime charging shenanigans ‘add up’ to anything. No harm trying anyway. As a salaried employee I do what the The Boss asks.

*The more pessimistic types at work wonder if patients purposely change the instructions given to them to suit their purposes. “Oh, the doctor wants me back in 4 months” when I asked them to return in one.

**I suspect this is the result of a consultation with The Overlords who are more savvy at billing codes.

***Fat chance of that.

#3 – The quickest supermarket queue is always behind the fullest trolley (greetings, packing, and paying take longer than you think).

Now who figured this one, I want to know. I bet if you asked people is it better to get in Line #1, behind four people each with a few objects, versus Line #2 with its one person with a cart full as Fafner’s hoard, it would be unanimous to do Line #1. Apparently someone has done a study to suggest tip #3, what feels counterintuitive. I want to know if other factors were included, like the type of person in front of you and who is the cashier. I’ve learned to abjure the line at Uncle Albertsons that has “Joe” in it, as he stops to chat and listen to everybody, including asking to see photos of any new grandchildren.

Figuring out which line to enter is irrelevant for me, who was cursed at an early age by a wicked fairy that no matter what line I choose at check out it will grind to a screeching halt, while I stand and watch others whizzing through the other lines like hot iron through butter. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve chosen the line with only one person ahead of me, only to see this person rummage through her purse for her chequebook and slowly write out a cheque from an out-of-state bank that the cashier needs the manager to verify. Oh the pain. Another near-guaranteed Suez Canal stop to the system is the one person ahead of me in line puts down a large carrot-shaped vegetable that he/she insists is a tomato that the cashier has to explain no it is not and looks up to verify whether it is a parsnip or a rutabaga.

An alternative to this all is to use ‘self-check out’ but in my experience this goes even slower than thems in Line #2. The four at Uncle Albertsons invariably go wrong, telling the customer to wait for staff to assist with the bungle. These pauses adds up. Another alternative: use curbside pick up or home delivery, thus avoiding all lines including the one with Joe in it.

I have a suspicion trying to figure out which line will go faster has as much success as changing lanes back and forth in a traffic jam trying to find the faster lane. Best to bring a book with you, and read while you wait, rather than watching and silently judging the person ahead of you as they unload their cart with bad food choices.

I will wait in line for Denise regardless of the what’s in line in front of me. She’s my favorite cashier, for she is always sweet and I enjoy our phatic chatting. Saturday morning seems right when she’s the one doing our groceries. In a long line for her, I smile and wave back at Joe who is waving at me to tell me he’s open. He can attend to the ones paying for their parsnips with a Wisconsin bank cheque, all the while showing him photos on their cellphones.

Speaking of the better angels of our nature, I decided to avoid the gym for now, what with the New Year’s resolution types filling up the place, huffing and puffing, and none of them wearing masks. I find this bewildering and now it’s frightening. I will be doing more walking than usual, hoping ‘this counts’ as exercise.

Today Someone and I will get covid19 tests, as he is getting over a bad URI and I am getting one. He is tested regularly at work, but this will be my first test ever. I need to look up at the AMA what I do if I am positive.

Father’s Christmas check arrived and it was much more than I imagined. I called him to thank him and he explained he has too much money any isn’t going to take it with him, so he might as well give some of it now to his children and grandchildren. A week ago I thought this money would go towards prescriptions, but now it can go to The Father Spo Memorial Mattress or something like that. The HOA told us last March to get the house painted or else, so I suspect that’s what gets Father’s munificence. I hear tell the HOA won’t let us apply a fresh coat of paint to what we have already, but we have to choice one of their oh-so-dreary brown/beige combinations, evoking the Flannery O’Conner line about “bulbous liver-colored monstrosities of a uniform ugliness although no two are alike.” She has such a way with words.

Our usual pizza to-go joint closed its doors a few months ago. In a way I was glad we were bereft of having a pizza place. Last night we tried a new place, “Oreganos”. Someone stopped by on his way home from work to pick up a salad and two test pan pizzas. I was pleased as Punch they were good, and the pan pizzas allow us to get our own preferences. We declared ‘Oregano’ pizza and salad a success; we will be back. Pizza toppings would make a good blog entry; more of this anon.

Spo-fans may recall one of my 2022 resolutions was to do a daily five-minute dose of ‘doing nothing’. I remembered sleeping under the bed is my zafu and zabuton combination, which hasn’t seen daylight in years. Once navy blue, it has become more slate gray, a Rococo blue, until I realized this was just dust and dog hair – a lot. After pounding the hell out of them I sat down for a try-out. It went OK – other than the sneezing evoked from the dander and dust.

Tomorrow starts a new round of forms at work: one is a rating scale to give to the patients while they wait their appointment. The other form is a comprehensive checklist of services to charge for. They are to better patient care and improve our billing, respectively, but are more likely to just annoy and make things generally irritating. I am certain to write on these anon as well.

#2. On the fence about a purchase? Wait 72 hours before you buy it.

This one seems quite sensible, and would improve many lives more than slightly if people did it. This advice is given to thems with OCD-like shopping tendencies; it rests upon the axiom to stall a bit, to let the better angels of one’s nature (who dwell in the frontal lobes) take precedence over the fallen ones lurking in your reptilian midbrain.

Alas, Babylon! Our cellphones and iPads allow us instantaneous action on any whim that whizzes by our eyeballs. Even before we finish the fancy to purchase a new Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Gradunza , our fingers are already typing away for Amazon to send us one, usually delivered within 24-hours. Mr. Bezos is in league with the devilish parts of our brains that grab at shiny and tasty-looking objects lest they run off. Oh the pain.

Happily there are a few forces at La Casa de Spo to stand guard against such satanic shopping. Someone is very good at ‘looking around’ before he makes any purchase. Urs Truly puts his desires first down on a list titled “Wants”, for later and more-sober inspection, before evoking the evil spirits as Amazon to send me them. It also helps neither one of us are spendthrifts; I would go so far as to say we tend towards being tight-wads. Our moss-covered three-handled family gradunza is quite worn-down and a tad rusty but we won’t replace it until it becomes absolutely necessary to do so.

“When in doubt, don’t!” remains a pretty good philosophy to go by, especially when it comes to purchasing. Perhaps it is cognitive bias (negative) on my part that I remember more the regrets than the relief of buying things. With that in mind we’ve waited 72 weeks not hours to replace the portable heater used in the in the bathroom while doing our morning ablutions. It doesn’t put out the heat as it used to, but the back of it warms up in a worrisome way suggesting it may pop any moment into real flames, not just the ersatz ones in the front. This weekend we are off to Blood Bath and Beyond to get us a new one. While it may not improve my life even slightly it will makes it at least a warmer one.

Spo-fans: how are you when it comes to shopping?

Patience above! It has been a roller coaster of emotions this week. My situation changes from day to day nowadays. Spo-fans know I’ve been scrambling to find a remedy to having missed the deadline for signing up for insurance. I’ve been working with The Insurance Broker, a fine fellow well over four feet, who managed to find some ala “Obamacare”. I went from despair to relief and hope. It will be expensive but far less than paying out of pocket monthly for our meds. The deadline to apply is 15 January. I’m on the last leg of the application process, when I get an email from The House Manager, telling me The Boss talked to her boss at The Overlords – and it is fixed; I only have to go to the website and sign up. I was struck speechless by this thunderbolt. Someone and I did so right away. Funny how emotions work. I should feel elated but instead I feel dubious along the line ‘is this legit?” I am in the strange and ironic predicament of going from NO insurance to TWO insurances. Today I talk to The Insurance Broker as to what to do. I think I am still going to apply for Obamacare as I don’t entirely trust my work insurance. My Boss – whose been very supportive and advocational on my behalf – gave me her boss’ email to ascertain I am insured.

Someone is Usher-Captain at the symphony this evening, and I have a ticket to go. I plan on attending the concert wrapped as if I were attending a plutonium distillery. Normally we go out to Hanny’s afterwards. Two days ago, we figured we shouldn’t anymore given our dire expenses situation. With recent happy news, we decided we ought to go as a sort of celebration, but now with Covid we are back to not going.

By avoiding Aviations after the concert, it is better for The Austere Diet. I was 78 kilos on 1 January. Thanks to abjuration of sugar and booze, and a daily diet of stress, I am down to 76 kilos. I see The Good Doctor next month to check if my labs improved. The irony of obtaining insurance is TGD may not be covered by it. It would be awful to have to change physicians after 15 years.

One more random thought: I have lost my key to the PHX office, a white plastic white card I apply to the magnet-like device on the front door to let me into the building. I have to wait outside to main entrance door, like King Henry IV, waiting for Gregory’s pardon, for some trusting soul to let me in. I fear The House Manager will snap a tether with this one, after the insurance fiasco.

This sh-t never ends. But on a happy note, it works out somehow. I can sleep better this weekend – provided I don’t contract covid at the concert. It’s Shostakovich, so it’s worth it.

Let’s end on a happy tale, that really happened:

“Have you gained or lost any weight since your last appointment?” I asked a patient on a zoom meeting on Thursday.

“I don’t know,” he replied, “I don’t have a scale”.

Do your pants feel tighter than usual?” I inquired.

“I’m not wearing pants” he replied.

I’ve learned not to say so out loud in a pleasant situation how nice it is doing, lest it upset Someone. For example, on a road trip, I might exclaim “How nice! So far this is going good, we’ve run into no problems!” “Don’t say that!” says Someone, clutching the wheel “You’ll jinx us!” Someone is usually the rationalist but not when reflecting out loud things are going well. Apparently this causes the gods (or demi-gods) to strike us with misfortune for my hubris. I point out bad things happen and often do so after a period of good things given the nature of things, but this is of no comfort. So I keep quiet. I also go along with the must-do-or-die ritual of black-eyed peas on 1 January.

I am not a superstitious person, preferring the sad colorless realism bad things happen for no reason and without pattern. I will put on my seatbelt to lessen the chance of motor vehicle calamity but I don’t touch the St. Christopher medal on the dashboard before driving, as my grandmother did. I happen to like black cats and I don’t stay home on 13 Friday. I don’t walk under ladders but this is common sense something might fall off on my way through.

All the same, I catch myself once in a while engaging in a superstition and realize I am not as rational as I think I am. There is a song in my iPhone I avoid playing in the morning as I remember a few times I did so and those days went badly. This is explained more readily by negative bias viz. I remember the days I listened to “Who will buy?” and those days had calamity and I don’t recall the other days it was played and things were unremarkable.

It would be a good thing if we eliminated superstitions but I fear they are so imbedded in our psyches they won’t budge. They merely transform into other types. As kids we wouldn’t step on cracks lest our mothers develop health problems, but as adults we won’t say Macbeth in the theatre.* Go to any casino and you will find people doing all sorts of shenanigans hoping to beat the house guaranteed to win in the long run,

We hold onto our superstitions because they give comfort and meaning. Behind them is the assurance there is something more to life than cold random chance. There is something called ‘luck’, given to us by a vague or distinct divine entity that is just and understandable (if we do “X” they are happy; if we do “Y” they are angry). He/it/they will provide – if we are good and do the right thing like knock on wood or wear the same socks to the auditions. Superstitions provide us with a sense of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation. If I do so-and-so it will influence the outcome.

Do you have any superstitions? How serious are they?

*I have a few friends who are actors. They tell me the theatre is loaded with superstitions; it is both fascinating and horrifying to hear about them. These guys are proud atheists and believe in self-determination yet become spooked bunnies their careers will be ruined if they do “A” or not do “A” prior to show.

What’s top of my mind: Health insurance. I am working with an insurance broker on finding some sort of coverage before the deadline this Saturday. There is hope; there are some options. He didn’t conclude it was useless. The ones offered will be expensive but far less expensive than paying out of pocket for meds for twelve months – and I will have insurance if I have to go to hospital. Someone and I will still have to mind expenses but we won’t have to resort to extremes. Let’s not count our chickens; this isn’t a done deal.

Where I’ve been: The dentist. I lead a dull life that this is the only place I’ve been really since last Wednesday. It was a routine appointment. I was told it was time for x-rays. I replied I no longer have dental insurance and I was paying out of pocket today; unless things were absolutely necessary, I would prefer not to do them. He said matter of fact that was OK and he cleaned my teeth without fuss. This interaction made me wonder: how many things are ordered at the dentist that aren’t really necessary but done to make money?

Where I’m going: Nowhere. I have no plans to go anywhere and I am almost ready to call it quits going to the gym. I need the exercise but the place is crowded with New Years resolution types and none of them are wearing masks. Are these people so stupid to work out huffing and puffing without protection? Am I stupid if going although I dress as if I worked in a nuclear laboratory?

What I’m watching: My weight. The Good Doctor last November advised me to lose weight on account of my glucose so every Friday morning I go to the master bathroom and take out the scale from underneath my vanity and weigh myself. I weigh myself in kilos. 1 January 2022 saw I was 78 kilos, which is what I weighed on 1 January 2021. I should be about 75. I plan on losing this the sensible way via diet, portion control, and exercise. It’s boring and slow, but it is the only way I know to actually works in the long run.

What I’m reading: The history of Tom Jones, a founding. The prose of Mr. Fielding, the author, is clever but often I want to box his ears to stop the rambling and get to the point. Mid-18th century prose is more wordy than a Dickens novel, and that’s saying something. I’m several chapters into it and the hero is still an infant. All the same it is amusing and that’s the point I suppose of reading something like this.

What I’m listening to: Frank Sinatra. I got a collection of his work at Christmas time and I downloaded them all into the iPhone. Mr. Sinatra’s songs come up randomly and I am continually amazed I recognize some of them but I hadn’t connected the dots they were his. “Love and marriage” came up the other day. causing me to stiffen and leap up to turn off the television only to realize we don’t have one. Mercifully I cannot remember the awful comedy show for which this song was its opening. I remember the deplorable family on that series could have been candidates in the Monty Python sketch “Worse family in Britain award” and they would have won too. I may eliminate this song from the repertoire lest I develop a PTSD situation.

What I’m eating: The last of the meal kits? Looking to cut costs to cover Rx prescriptions we are considering discontinuing Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. By now I have how to cook them down pat, and the best ones I saved the recipe cards. They can be easily imitated by buying the ingredients at Uncle Albertsons, and probably cheaper too .However, the kits are convenient and I don’t have to think or plan anything. They are more nutritious and better portion sizes too. To discontinue them means of course, I need to start planning meals and do more grocery shopping . Thanks to blogger buddies who are experts doing just this, I think I can pull it off.

Who needs a good slap: Myself. Despite the mentioned hope, there will be consequences from my bungle for missing the deadline for applying for at-work health insurance. My health care is still in jeopardy; it feels like driving without a license, hoping you won’t get into a car accident. My hopes for house repairs and travel plans may all have to be canceled. Our savings will take a blow. I feel great a fool and at home I feel shame for having put Someone in a such a spot.

I give myself on a 1-5 scale, five slaps.

What I’m planning: Cutting up the Christmas tree. The plan was to slowly unwind the faulty lights from the tree prior to putting it away for a year. Unfortunately the strands are tightly wound about the branches, and trying to undo their Laocoon-like grip results in frustration and stripping the tree of its plastic boughs. They will have to be snipped off. This will take some time to do it properly – goodness knows how long. I hope it’s done and the tree put away by Lent.

What’s making me smile: Saskatoon jam. Last month Glen W. of the “Season’s Eatings” podcast did an episode on Canadian Christmas Cuisine. He mentioned a berry I have never heard of, the saskatoonberry. He said they are especially popular in the western provinces. I emailed Debra had she ever heard of such a delicacy. She replied certainly and they are scrumptious; she eats them with relish. A few days ago I received in the post a parcel of jam made from such lovelies. Debra (the dear!) sent me some. Thank you D!

An additional thing that made me smile: Norm (who is another dear, who also lives in Canada)* told me the berries are known by other names, including a ‘politically incorrect one’. I texted him to clarify. He texted “When I was a kid … they were commonly called ‘Indian pears”. I responded I was disappointed and had hoped for something more dirty. He replied:

“Oh all right then, they were actually called ‘Those @#$!% Indian Pears” 🙂

*I know several Canucks and all of them are dears. Apparently to be so is a pre-requisite to living there, or maybe the climate makes them that way. I would presume all Canadians are happy folk but perhaps this is selective bias on my part viz. I don’t interact with the less-than-dear ones, the truculent types who hang out in Tim Hortons or live in bad parts of New Brunswick. I would add they are all well over four feet, but they are not, and ‘well over one meter” doesn’t sound so sonorous.

I’ve never taken a creative writing course or an improv class, but I surmise they have in common the task of taking a topic and trying to make something from it. Professing to be an amateur writer, I am intrigued with the notion. Last week I received an article with the intriguing title:

“100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying.”

I thought it would be a good exercise – one that is hopefully fun – to go through this audacious list, one at a time, and see what I can make out of it. I will try do one once a week or so, especially when I can’t think of anything else. Let’s see if it amuses The Spo-fans and The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. With that said, let’s take a deep breath and proceed…..

  1. Exercise on a Monday night (nothing fun happens on a Monday night).

This is a strange one to start with; the author should know better telling people to exercise right away usually evokes a visceral no-thank-you-very-much response and you’ve lost your audience. A better start would be to suggest eating a whole carton of Haagen-Dazs on Monday night, especially if it is chocolate with almonds, and bring up the exercise tip about #45 after the reader has gained 10lb and is feeling lousy about themselves. I suspect the writer is not a sports fan for I have a vague memory of something called Monday Night Football, which was designed for the same reason.*

Whatever floats your boat isn’t the point I suppose. The working axiom here is nothing fun happens on Monday night. Thems over 40 years old or work in the service industry have no desire to have fun on Monday night after a long day at work but to drop from exhaustion. Monday Night Football served this purpose: one crashed on the couch in front of the boob-tube (bowl of ice cream at hand) and fell asleep. Thems looking for fun on a Monday are either 20yo or up to no good that’s certain.

I usually go to the gym after work on Monday already, so my life isn’t slightly improved by this sage advice. My life is not improved per se but it isn’t worse for going, but this is straw-splitting. The real fun element of Monday night is knowing Monday day is over with and one has gotten through it, and what one does in the night is of little importance. All the same, if you haven’t tried exercise on Monday night, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt, especially if there’s no game on.

*Spo-fans of the butch sort can clarify if this show is still up and running or has gone the way of The Brady Bunch.

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January 2022

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