Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 Holiday gift guide

Do you have a friend who's trying to attract the perfect guy, hoping her perfume will do the trick?

Maybe you should get her this:

Let's face it, nothing gets a guy's attention like a woman who smells like a slab of roast beef. Or an Arby's.

If nothing else, she'll certainly have the attention of every dog in the neighborhood.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Saturday morning

Frank got home from his first college semester last night.

This morning, Mrs. Grumpy and I were woken from a sound sleep by screaming and loud noises.

Apparently, at around midnight, Frank couldn't sleep and set up his laptop to work. He'd forgotten the password for our home WiFi network. Instead of, say, waiting to ask someone in the morning, he just wiped the router and changed the passwords.

This morning the twins discovered what had happened, and went bananas when they couldn't get online. His door was locked, and when they couldn't wake him up, Marie and Craig kicked his door in.

Now Frank is upset we woke him up on his first day of break.

I'm taking the twins' side.

Friday, December 14, 2018

2018 Holiday gift guide

Do you have a friend who thinks he has animal magnetism? Maybe these boxers are the perfect gift:

Available from Newchic, this pair of boxers has a series of magnets sewn into the vital package-support area. The website makes claims about this boosting the immune system (it doesn't say if they specifically mean against STD's), "releasing energy," (if my winkie was glowing that color, I'd be pretty worried about the energy source) and (my favorite) improving the body's oxygen supply.

Plenty of guys, myself included, have been accused of thinking with our male appendages. To date, however, I've never been accused of breathing through it.

Isn't that right, Mr. Snuffleupagus?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018 Holiday gift guide

Mattel, the company that brought you Barbie, Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe, American Girl, Polly Pocket, and Matchbox, now brings you its next big seller.

And... I'm going to have to let these ladies describe it, because I couldn't possibly do a better job.

Please note, this is not a joke.

Monday, December 10, 2018

2018 Holiday gift guide

Like most medical students, you're tired. You just finished class and want to crash out on the couch. But you've also got a big test tomorrow and need to study. What can you do? Hey, I've been there myself.

You can hit the textbooks, or you can study planted on the couch if you have this human anatomy throw pillow!

What better way to get some studying done, or liven up a dinner party, than with this useful pillow cover? (Sorry, folks, the pillow isn't included).

To quote from the product description:

"Makeover and refresh your rooms with just a single touch!"

"Perfect for your home, office, playroom, kids room, cafe, study, studio, club, bar and others."

"No dye substance harming the health of you and your family."

"A perfect gift idea for your mom, dad, sister, brother, grandma, wife, husband and all other beloved ones."

"They will be shocked by the superior quality of the item when they open the present."

"We follow current trends and bring you the latest home fashion."

"A gift to your family or friend, relative or boyfriend girlfriend, or to yourself, the item should be interesting and authentic."

It most certainly is.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

2018 Holiday gift guide

Do you have a friend who needs some absolutely pointless piece of furniture? Do you have an extra $12,000 you'd like to blow?

Then this is perfect!

Why have a routine sofa that takes up horizontal floor space, when this one stands vertically?

Yes, you could take the regular sofa you already have and stand it on it's side, but what's the point? This one already does that!  Instead of getting some piece of schlock that does nothing but let people sit on it, you can have one that serves absolutely no purpose other than to say you can afford it! And isn't that what home decorating is all about?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Joe and Al

Joe and Al are both patients of mine.

They don't know each other.

They were born in the same year, a few thousand mild miles apart, speaking different languages.

To most who meet them they come across as polite older gentlemen, each with a good sense of humor. They may notice Joe's tremor or Al's speech difficulties, but neither is a major part of who they are.

But to me, they mean a lot after 20 years in practice.

Joe was born in Poland. His father was a tailor, and Joe worked in the store growing up. Because they were Jews, the family business was closed by the government so they had no way to support themselves. He saw his father beaten to death for trying to keep the family together while boarding a train. His mother was put in a different train car and never seen again. His sister was forced to work in a brothel for German officers and was never seen outside that building again. He and his brother were together until they got to the camp sorting area. His brother, who had a bad cough that week, was sent to a gas chamber. Joe was sent to do slave labor, and was still alive when the camp was liberated by allied forces. Joe, at 5'10" weighed 94 pounds by that point, and was hard to distinguish from the dead bodies he'd been forced to carry outside.

After recovering in a military hospital, Joe decided to leave Europe forever. He immigrated to America, settling in Omaha. He went to school, married, raised a family, and spent most of his life in a quiet, unassuming, desk job. Today he's nearly blind and needs a walker to get around. His wife is still at his side, and sometimes one of his kids.

Al was born in Los Angeles. He worked in a grocery store and went to high school until he turned 18, when he was drafted into the Marines.

On the morning of February 19, 1945, he was roughly 6,000 miles from L.A., in landing crafts with 60,000 other Marines, approaching the peaceful-appearing sands of Iwo Jima in the south Pacific. As they clambered ashore and gradually moved inland it was surprisingly quiet, with none of the resistance they'd encountered on previous islands.

About an hour after coming ashore, that all changed. The well-hidden Japanese forces opened up on the beach with machine guns and heavy artillery, creating a hell-on-earth. There was nowhere to hide. Al saw guys he'd had steak & eggs with a few hours earlier (the standard U.S. Marine breakfast for landing forces) collapse around him, dead. Some were wounded, and he and others tried to get them to whatever safety they could find. Then he was hit himself, but worked to help others until he blacked-out from blood loss. He woke up on a hospital ship.

After the war he returned home, finished school, and managed grocery stores until he retired. He and his wife raised a boy and 2 girls. They recently celebrated their 60th anniversary. Today he uses a walker and oxygen tank, and is nearly deaf, but still has a hearty laugh.

At this point both are in their 90's. The horrors they experienced aren't forgotten, but hidden behind a lifetime of mundanity (which, lets face it, mundanity describes most of us, and it isn't a bad thing).

In my mind they're bound together by being (most likely) the last of their kind I'll meet.

I've seen my share of Holocaust survivors, but as the years go by they've decreased, and I doubt I'll meet another after Joe.

Similarly, in 20 years I've cared for plenty of WW2 veterans, but see them grow fewer, and the odds are I won't meet another who fought at Iwo Jima.

Like many of their generation, neither wants to talk about what they went through. The memories are painful, and both men would rather be defined but what came afterwards: their families.

But they, and what they went through, shouldn't be forgotten.

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