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Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Brother vs The Antipennyite

My Brother vs The Antipennyite

That retired teacher from Missouri, Val the Dictorian@, is a collector of pennies.  She often complains of antipennyites who do not appreciate the value of a penny. 

It reminds me of a story of my brother, an event I am quite sure he thought nothing of and will not remember.

My older brother was a lawyer and was quite successful.  He was later a Clinton appointee Federal Judge.  He retired a few years ago.

Besides being incredibly smart, (he graduated from Harvard Law) and hardworking, my brother is probably the most honest person I have ever known.  He is very competitive but would never think of gaining an advantage by cheating. 

The law came natural to him as the law is the only way to fairly settle disputes.  Without our legal system there would be chaos, and without honest people in that system there would be anarchy.


A few years ago, I was visiting and we stopped for a few items at a pharmacy, probably ibuprofen and some gum, before playing golf.  My brother paid with a fiver and when he got his change back calculated he was short one penny.  He told the cashier that he was short a penny, and the mathematical calculations were discussed.

Behind us was a lady who was clearly in a hurry.  She was exasperated over my brothers taking time to resolve the penny deficiency.

“Oh, for crying out loud, what is the difference?  It is only a penny.”

Now my brother, who I know for certainty would have also argued to return the penny had it been incorrectly dispersed to him, responded calmly in a manner which I feel defines his judicial personality and his honesty.

He turned and said calmly but firmly,

“The difference is, it is my penny.”

Of many experiences with my brother, of the things he has taught me, and the things he has accomplished that makes me admire him, this simple comment that made me laugh, somehow defines his value system and reverence to the law.

Whenever I hear someone complain about something they may think is inconsequential, I think,

“The difference is, it is my penny.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Our townhome is heated by forced hot air.  Forced hot air is a very efficient system to install and works quite well except for one flaw.  Forced hot air sucks humidity from the home.  In order to keep a comfortable environment with this system you either need a million house plants, or a humidifier.
We have a humidifier in our bedroom.  I run it every night.  Without it my skin gets dry and itchy and my nasal cavity gets so dry I becomes susceptible to germs and colds.
The humidifier seems very simple.  Fill it with water, turn it on. 
Except it is not simple. 
I cannot work this machine. 
It is so NOT simple that I can’t even explain what it is that I do wrong, but when I fill it up and then turn it on, it will put out a mist for maybe three minutes and then just shut down.
Mrs. C knows how to fill it and make it work, so it is her job.  I do not touch the humidifier and all is well in the Cranky Home.
This week Mrs. C is away working at a Ballroom Dance Competition that the studio she works for is hosting. 
She did not want me to touch the humidifier. 
I complained that I would dry like a prune without it.
She relented and carefully demonstrated the process to me.
“Turn this knob to the arrow.  Remove the mister.  Do not let it touch anything and be gentle.  Then lift the water receptacle out and be very careful not to drop or bump it into anything.  Move it carefully to the bathroom to fill it up.  If the tiny fremenger gets jostled, the machine will shut down.”
“I’m pretty sure I can remove, fill and replace the receptacle all by my big boy self!”
No, I don’t know what the fremenger is or what it does or looks like.
Last night I had to refill the humidifier.  I carefully removed the mister.  I then lifted the receptacle up.  It did not budge.  I jiggled it.  It did not budge.  I yanked it and it did not budge.
I may have been about to lose my temper when I noticed a piece of tape was holding the receptacle to the machine.  I ripped the tape off and yanked the receptacle out with perhaps a bit too much effort as perhaps I was a bit annoyed about the tape.
I dropped the receptacle.
I filled it anyway and placed back on the machine, screwed in the mister and turned it on. 
It worked just fine, for maybe three minutes, when a red light came on and the misting stopped,
I fiddled and fuddled again and again with the same result.
“I hate this friggin machine!! Why do I need an engineering degree to work a friggin humidifier?”
Besides my eminent prunification, I dreaded having to tell Mrs. C that I couldn’t make the damn thing work.  On the other hand, I wanted to cuss her out for taping the thing together, because of course this issue was her fault
After about my fifteenth try at getting this piece of crap to work I may have lost my temper a bit and gave the dang thing a whack.
I heard a “Whirr” and the mister did its thing.
Who said I can’t fix stuff?
Later that night when Mrs. C called to make sure I was surviving without her, I questioned why the tape.
“That was to keep you from turning it too high and to preserve water.”
“Oh, ok.”
I left it at that and said nothing of my trials and tribulations caused by her tape. 
I only would have been called a jerk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I Would Not be a Good Doctor

I Would Not be a Good Doctor
I came to the above titled conclusion while watching the TV show, “The Good Doctor.” I know what some of you are thinking,
“Crap Cranky, is that all you do, watch TV.” 
Well, pretty much yes.  I watch a lot of TV…sorry.  Probably another billion people in this country watch TV too, so yes. 
All those people who only watch the news and PBS can leave now, no need to tell me that TV is all crap, I get it, you’re better than me.
Pheew, are the TV snobs all gone now? OK, so:
“The Good Doctor” is about a talented surgeon intern who has a form of autism.  As a conservative, I could dismiss the show as another Hollywood attempt to indoctrinate the masses on the value of diversity, but I do know several people with autism who are extremely intelligent, productive citizens, so, message already received.
I was watching an episode the other day, and every damn thing that could go wrong in the operating room went wrong.  When an unexpected blood vessel suddenly bursts, the TV surgeon immediately jumps into action.
“Clamp…stat! give me 3 cc’s of orangatide!  No, you idiot, not me, give it to the patient, and call Dr. Glick, the patient will need a liver specialist, and a gromatologist, and get me a Junior Mint, they can be very refreshing you know.  Don’t just stand there, hurry, his life is at stake!”
Watching this episode, I realized that if I was that surgeon my response would more likely be,
“Crap the fucking blood vessel is bleeding all over the friggin place! Quick, do something to stop that bleeding and…ah…umm…stick something in him, you know that…what is it called, the orange stuff that does things and call someone…Shit, I need a drink!”
It is probably a good thing that I never went to Med School.  It would have been a waste of time and money.  I do not have the disposition to work well under stress.  That and I am lazy, only got a “C-” in biology 101, and blood freaks me out, so yeah, I would not have been a good doctor.
It is a good show though, just a few clicks to the left of PBS, and yes, I still call it clicks, don’t you?