Monday, February 27, 2023

Random pictures

Okay, time to hit the mailbag for stuff you guys have sent in.


First we have this festive jewelry for the holiday season. Because nothing says "Christmas" like a, uh, "Christmas tree."

Next we have this pasta. It's not only artisanal, but it's also shaped like New Jersey. Talk about a win-win!

While we're on the food topic, here's a car decal that asks "What would Jesus cook? And why wasn't it being served in The Last Supper?"

The there's this place, which makes you wonder if the guy cutting your hair works naked. Based on the barbers I've been to, I probably wouldn't go there.

And, lastly, is this article. The fact that it's filed under "meat industry" is kind of unnerving.


Monday, February 20, 2023


An attorney I've worked with called late Friday morning. A demented homeless patient had been found living in a culvert, completely disoriented. There was no known family. The small hospital he was at didn't have a neurologist available and they needed one to evaluate cognitive status for legal reasons. Would I be willing to do it?

My afternoon was actually fairly empty, as Fridays tend to be. So he emailed me the necessary paperwork and releases and I set off across town. After the usual COVID swab, then getting lost trying to find the correct room, I was there.

He was in his late 70's. The nurses had done an excellent job of cleaning him up (nurses deserve far more credit for this sort of thing than they ever get). Now he was in a hospital gown and adult diapers, still smelling slightly of urine, mumbling on and off, and occasionally asking me what school we were in.

I examined him, then sat down with his chart and some old medical records that had been scrounged together, looking to make sure the right things had been checked and ruled-out, the usual stuff that's second nature at this point in my career. I filled out a few papers, scanned them with my phone, and sent them off to the lawyer. I was done.

As I stood up to go I noticed a small pile of random objects on a chair in the corner and realized they were what had been found with him. His only worldly possessions, as the phrase goes.

Curious, I looked them over. A few T-shirts, a pair of socks, a metal water bottle and 2 plastic ones, some unopened bags of candy, 2-3 small stuffed animals. Somewhat incongruously there was a framed picture of a group of 5 men, all in 1970's-ish business suits and ties, standing behind a conference table, all smiling. The table had some scattered pens, note pads, coffee mugs, and a telephone. There was no name or date. The guy 2nd from left was the one lying in the bed behind me.

I have more things than he does, but neither of us gets to take them with at the end.

Out of all the items in the small pile, the picture obviously meant something to him. It was about 8" x 10", and certainly not easy to hold on to through all changes that a life of homelessness brings. But of the things that had connected him with who he'd once been, that was the one he wasn't going to get rid of. Even in the waning shadows of Alzheimer's disease he still thought it was important.

It led me to wonder how he'd reached the current situation. But the possibilities are large, varying from bad decisions to just the terrifying bad luck that can hit any of us. I had no way of knowing, nor was I going to guess. That's not what I was there for.

The things in that small pile were the only ones of value left to him. I suspect the photo was the most prized, simply because, unlike everything else on the chair, it couldn't be replaced, and he'd kept it for 40-50 years.

The detritus of a human life.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Wait, what?

I ordered a cheap pedometer last week after my old one broke. This was the product description.



Monday, February 6, 2023

Ancient History

Dr. Grumpy: "So what's going on?"

Dr. Aristotle: "I'm worried about my wife's thinking."

Lady Aristotle: "There is nothing wrong with me."

She sets down her coffee and glares at him.

Dr. Grumpy: "What concerns you?"

Dr. Aristotle: "She doesn't like reading Plato's Republic any more."


Dr. Grumpy: "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?"

Lady Aristotle: "You know what, Pericles? I NEVER liked it. I bet none of your college students ever liked it, either. And now that you're retired from BSU, I'm tired of hearing about it and pretending I even give a damn about Plato or his book! I did that for long enough!"

She picks up her coffee again.

Dr. Aristotle: "See, I don't think that's normal. You must have read it in college, didn't you Dr. Grumpy?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Um... actually I read the Cliff Notes."

Lady Aristotle: "SEE? I bet they all did, Pericles."

Dr. Aristotle: "But the Cliff Notes aren't the same. You must have gotten a bad grade just working off of that."

Dr. Grumpy: "I got a B+, but not liking Plato's Republic isn't a criteria for dementia. If it was most people would be diagnosed with it."

Lady Aristotle starts laughing.

Dr. Grumpy: "But to get back to the point of the visit, have there been other changes you've found concerning?"

Dr. Aristotle: "Well she... You know, I can't believe a college professor gave a B+ to a student who only read the Cliff Notes."

Dr. Grumpy: "Neither could I, but you did."

Lady Aristotle blew coffee all over my desk and started laughing so hard she got up and left. He went after her.

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