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Friday, February 28, 2014

The Problem With Marriage

The Problem With Marriage

I am a two time loser, so looking to a cranky old man for the answer to the problem with marriage is akin to asking W.C. Fields the secret to being a teetotaler (giyp.) Still, I never let a lack of knowledge or facts keep me from an opinion.

The biggest problem with marriage today is spouses feeling un- appreciated…neither husband nor wife feels appreciated.  Why?  Because neither person ever sees what the F*ck the other one does all day.

The stay-at-home-wife (or husband…jeeze, relax, I am going to be sexist here so just deal with it) gets up in the morning and tends to children, breakfast, school, and all that stuff while the go-to-work-husband  showers, shaves and dresses for work.

He does not see his wife working, she does not see him prepping for work.

Husband leaves after pecking said SAHW on cheek.  Wife cleans noses of snot and tables of dried oatmeal and squishy banana.  

Husband returns home ten hours later, tie askew and hair ruffled.  Kids are scrubbed and ready for bed, the house is clean and mounds of clothes cleaned, folded and put away.  He pours a drink, kicks off his shoes and asks what is for dinner.

He does not see the vomit clean-up, the poopy diapers, the spilled milk.  He does not hear the crying.  He knows nothing of grocery shopping with multiple kids and battling with other wives with multiple kids.  Husband assumes she has fed some kids, washed some dishes and then watched Dr. Phil all day.  He expects some affection and appreciation.

Wife never sees husband’s horrible train commute cramped with smelly disgusting flu infected train passengers.  She does not see him taking shit from unrealistic customers or kissing the asses of his stupid bosses.  Wife assumes husband reads the paper on a relaxing train ride, then has coffee, talks with coworkers about last night’s game, enjoys a wonderful lunch with a customer, writes a report or two and then takes that relaxing train trip home.  Wife is irritated that he can relax and not even appreciate all she has done to care for the children and maintain the house.

This is the bane of modern marriage.  In the old traditional agrarian society, both spouses knew what the other did all day. 

The husband left for the fields while his wife was milking cows, feeding chickens and also tending to the children.  He could see this from the fields.  She brought his lunch out to his tractor.  He appreciated all she did.  He felt loved.

When the wife felt put-out from all her work, she could see her husband toiling and sweating out in the fields as she glanced out the window while making bread in the hot oven.  She appreciated his hard work for her and the family.  She felt loved. 

This is why farmers had so many children.

The solution to marriage in today’s world?  Technology.

Give the husband video access to the home.  Give the wife video access to the office.  When either spouse feels put-out, they just have to look up at the monitor and see their other half cleaning vomit and shit, or kissing a boss’s ass and getting beat up by a nasty customer.  They will appreciate the sacrifices they make for each other. 

They will feel loved. 

Problem solved.

Thursday, February 27, 2014



It has been awhile, time for a rant.


Do you ever get pissed off at the old dude in the middle lane going the exact speed limit?  Why won’t he move to the right?  Why do I have to move over to pass him?  There is no one ahead of him.  Move over ass hole!!

Well I am the old dude.  I am the old dude doing the speed limit in the middle lane.  I like the middle lane.  I don’t have to pull out to pass the really slow drivers on the right.  I don’t like the left lane, because they all speed too much.  So when you pull up to my back fender and flash your lights and honk your horn and wave your arms, I will not pull over, I will not speed up, I will slow down just a bit.  I don’t want to move over, I like the middle lane.  Here is an idea…YOU PULL THE FRIG AROUND ME!!

I know I piss people off.  People that assume if the speed limit is 60 everyone should be going at least 70.  When I do kick it up to 70 there is always some asshole with a little pecker that has to weave in and out in his BMW (yes it is ALWAYS a BMW…EVERYTIME) and still gets whizzed off at my speed, so yes, you STFU and PULL THE FRIG AROUND ME.

I drive the speed limit.  Drive too slow and you are a danger to others.  Drive too fast and you are not able to stop or pull around an unexpected impediment.  There is a reason for a speed limit.  Some expert has determined that there is a given speed that it is the safest for cars to maintain.  As much as I think experts are full of crap most of the time, it makes sense to me to have a speed which everyone should strive to maintain in order to have some order on the highways.

I may piss you off, but in 50 years I have only been involved in two accidents.  In one, some jerk pulled to the right to change lanes at about five miles an hour and did not bother to look first.  I was on his right, waiting for the traffic in front of me to move.  It happened years ago.  I don’t remember for sure, but I assume he was driving a BMW.

The second accident was on the turnpike.  A torrential thunderstorm struck and foolish me, I slowed down to about 40.  I slowed down because I could not see at 60 miles per hour, and the rain was so heavy I was afraid if I had to stop or slow down I would hydroplane and not be able to control my car.  The guy behind me did not believe in slowing down.  He did not see me as he approached at 60 MPH.  When he did, he slammed on the brakes and guess what?  The idiot in the BMfrigginW hydroplaned and slammed into my rear!

I have had two speeding tickets in my life, both were speed traps.  The first was two weeks after I got my license.  A cop waited at the bottom of a hill where the limit changed from 35 to 25 and he stopped every car that passed his way…including me.  The second was on a 15 mile stretch of the Rhode Island Turnpike where “roadwork” (there was none at the time) forced the 65MPH limit down to 35MPH.  Four cops pulled cars over eight at time, as fast as they could and handed out tickets.  When I left with my ticket in hand I tried to drive at the required 35 MPH until I was almost rear-ended three times.

So yes, I am the old dude that is pissing you off.  I don’t drive slowly, I drive the legal limit.  My driving has served me well for 60 years. I don’t intend to change.  So instead of tailgating, honking or flashing your lights, here is an idea…YOU PULL AROUND AND PASS! And as you flip me the bird and call me an asshole, know that I am responding right back,

“Fuck you, you little shit; you and your needle dick and your BMfrigginW!”

Ah, that feels better.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I constantly read where it is very important to your health to stay hydrated.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…and yet it is possible to drink too much water…too much water can kill you.

Running is excellent for your health.  Runners have a strong heart, great endurance, and low blood pressure…and yet some marathon runners don’t know when to stop, they keep on pushing themselves until it kills them.

The Planet is warming.  Eventually this warming will cause destructive storms beyond our imagination, there will be floods, droughts, and the sea will rise and swallow up our coastal cities…or not.  Should we stop burning all fossil fuels?  Do we rely on wind?  It is killing eagles. Do we get rid of coal and stop drilling for oil? Whole sections of our economy would go into deep depression.

Sometimes the wrong people own and use guns.  Children are being killed in school.  Do we make gun ownership illegal, take away everyone’s guns? Criminals will still have guns, will crime run rampant?

Sexual harassment is a big problem today, always has been I guess, what laws need to be passed?  When is a flirting glance or a casual coy comment harassment?  Should six year olds be allowed to hold hands? Is a kiss on the cheek objectionable?  Maybe we should separate all areas of life by gender, but then what of our gender confused citizens?

Air pollution is a problem.  If we over-regulate industry, our economy may collapse, if we don’t regulate at all we will have the pollution issues which are hurting the economy and the people in China.

Voter identification and regulation…too stringent and you scare legitimate voters away, too lax and elections are decided by people that do not even exist.

Pot, good or bad?  Cigarettes, booze, narcotics, gambling, prostitution, taxes…all these issues have proponents for complete elimination and proponents for a no regulation, laissez faire solution.

Welfare, Medicaid, minimum wage, Unions, Golden Parachutes, unemployment benefits, tax loopholes, business regulations…all are needed and in some instances, all are abused.

Abortion, any reference to God in Government, civil rights, income distribution…so many issues…so few answers.

Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, who is right, who is wrong? We fight every issue from one side or the other.  Politics is dog eat dog, my way or the highway, anything goes.  The other side is always stupid, selfish, corrupt and evil.

Maybe the answer is somewhere in the middle.        

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feeling Flabby

Here is a great new web site for those who want to get in shape.  Workouts are in an easy to follow format and are designed for the elite athlete or cranky old men (women.)


Check it out...tell your friends.
Like him on facebook and follow on twitter.

Monday, February 24, 2014

SKIING WITH MY BOYS a cranky re-run


This week's re-run is a rare sentimental Cranky post.  It is from February 2012.  I have re-posted on various blog hops, so if you have read it already read it again, it couldn't hurt.

I took my 14 year old skiing today.  We met his 35 year old brother at the mountain.  The teen is with me for almost a week as his school is on break.  I have not seen him since Christmas.  I have not been skiing for 5 years. 

I started skiing with Spence when he was four.  I would put him between my legs and hold on to him while I snow plowed down the hill, his skis barely touching the snow.  When he was five I attached a harness to him.  The harness allowed me to control his speed and help him turn.  Always I was there to pick him up if he fell.

At six and seven years old he was on his own; sort of.  I always made sure to ski behind him in case he fell or got hurt.  He was always in my sight.  At eight years old we skied together.  If he fell he would get up on his own.  If I fell he was there to ask if I was alright.

Today it was mostly Spence and his big brother skiing together.  They allowed me one run on the easy slope, and then they left me, off to try the bumps and jumps of the more difficult runs.

Isn’t that the way with children?  You hold their hand, you carry them.  You pick them up when they fall, you watch them from afar.  Suddenly they are on their own and leaving you at every chance. 

They finally learn to ski, and they ski away.

It’s alright.  My legs were aching, my wind was deficient, my stamina lacking.   After several runs down the mountain, I retired to the lodge and my nook loaded with Dean Koontz.  From time to time I would look up and see my boys racing down the hill, hitting the jumps and spraying snow on every turn.

I wish I could keep up with them and enjoy the ride, but seeing them excel on skis will have to be enough and….it is.

It is good to know that I have done my job well.  I sacrificed my own skiing time to teach all my children.  I may be past the time where I can ski all day.  When I do hit the mountain I avoid the bumps and the jumps.  I am too old to risk a fall.  My children can still take a little risk. They can smoke the mountain jumps, bumps and all.

It is comforting to know that though I can no longer always be there they can ski without me.  Even though I cannot pick them up when they fall they can get up without me.

It’s a big mountain.  There are lots of patches of ice, lots of bumps and other skiers will get in their way.  It is comforting to know that they have made it this far down the hill.  They are prepared and they are able to make it to the end of the run.  I know I will not be around to see the finish, but I am sure they will do just fine.  

My son continues the teaching: 

Sunday, February 23, 2014



It is time once again for:
Well sure, but...

This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider sophomoric and sometimes offensive comments.

One headline is completely made up, guess the fake and win a mention and a Whoop-tee-do.


Surfing pig really hogs the spotlight in HawaiiMichael Moore hangs ten?

Russian ban on lacy lingerie meets cries of panty persecution – Vlad mad, dads sad, panties good, ban bad!

America suffering from clown shortageWell, what with all the McDonalds…and of course Congress.

Baby named after medics who delivered him – Fdny O’Connell, a 7 pound bouncing baby boy!

Depressed Man Tries to Feed Himself to Tigers, Gets Rejected – Rejection will make you depressed, but this is ridiculous.

101-year-old man running for Congress in FloridaWell, shuffling maybe.

Witness Says Bigfoot Might Be Squatting In Detroit's Abandoned Houses There goes the neighborhood.

Cal State Physicist suggests lengthening the second and making all months 30 days - Then that poem would go, “30 days has September and every other friggin month too!”

World Sword Swallowers Day On Feb. 22 – I can’t believe I missed it again this year!

Barbie-Obsessed Woman, Uses Hypnotherapy To Make Herself 'Brainless' – Somehow I think she succeeded without the need for any therapy.


Last week’s fake headline was:

Climate Change is blamed for changing climate - I disagree, I think the changing climate is because of long term fluctuations in weather patterns caused by differing temperatures in varying global sectors… or else it is Sarah Palins fault.

There were no winners…but come to think of it though it sounds ridiculous to me, it probably was a headline somewhere.

Come back next week for more:



Saturday, February 22, 2014



A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man who has very little knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, they are wrong, but they are welcome; and please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid head.

Don’t get me wrong, figure skating at a high level takes tremendous athletic ability, endurance, dedication and physical and mental strength.  So does tightrope walking, so does juggling, and so does a high wire act.  Ice skating is a circus act, a spectacle, an exhibition…it is not a sport.

The winner of a sporting event should be the one who is the fastest, the strongest or scores the most points.   Any activity where the winner is determined by subjective scoring based on form and grace and musicality is an act or an exhibition and should not be an Olympic sport.

Well Cranky, what about gymnastics, diving, synchronized swimming, gnarly snow board half-pipe crap; should they not be Olympic sports? 

Well, I’m talking strictly about figure skating now, but no…those events should not be Olympic sports either.  

Figure skating is beautiful to watch. 

Ball room dancing is beautiful to watch. 

Ball room dancing takes strength, endurance, athletic ability, and physical and mental strength.  Should ball room dancing become an Olympic sport?  I don’t think so either.

Look, you want figure skating to be an Olympic event, make it a sport.

Each participant should skate the same routine.  There must be a double and triple Lutz, a flying camel, various spins and jumps.  Whoever completes the set routine and successfully completes all the required jumps and spins in the fastest time wins.  Grace, musicality, flair, facial expressions, costumes and winking at officials would have nothing to do with winning.  Skate the routine, complete the jumps and spins, and do all faster than anyone else, and you win. 

Graceful smiling poised skaters who have that certain flair and musicality can show off at the Ice Capades!

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

Friday, February 21, 2014


My children are facing a situation I never had to deal with.  They are sailing through unchartered parenting water.  How do you control their children’s technology addiction?

From Matt’s three year old to the oldest Crankette in North Carolina the Cranky grandchildren are addicted to PC’s, i-pads, i-pods and i-phones.  My son recently found himself yelling something never even remotely conceived of in my day, “Would you kids put those computers down and watch TV!”

When I was parenting little people, it was a constant battle to limit TV watching time.   Reading was encouraged, even though I read very little myself.  Play with blocks, Legos and action figures were also encouraged. It was my belief, from personal experience, that too much TV would turn a mind to mush.

Computers teach this generation numbers, the alphabet, reading, geography, animals and their sounds, chemistry and history.  They also have games and can deliver movies and cartoons. 

Clearly these computers will not turn minds to mush, but they are anti-social.  TV is at least a social experience.  Sponge Bob Square-pants can be enjoyed and discussed jointly.  Computers act as companions which isolate the children from parents and friends.

Therein lies the new parent dilemma, raise intelligent introverted children, or socially well-adjusted mush-heads?   

Thursday, February 20, 2014




I often submit posts which Mrs. Cranky feels are less than flattering to her.  She sometimes even thinks I make fun of her.  She is sensitive to these posts.  I assure her that my characterization of her is all in good fun, and those that read these posts recognize I exaggerate.  Many comments from readers suggest that I am  lucky that Mrs. C puts up with me.  Some comments, however, suggest that if Mrs. C doesn’t like these posts, she should blog herself and rebut my assertions.  This will not happen, but just this one time, I will post a rebuttal on her behalf.

Some readers of the Cranky Old Man may find the posts to be interesting and maybe even entertaining, especially, apparently, those posts which poke fun at Mrs. Cranky.  Imagine if you will the many opinions and nonsensical chatter that make up the Cranky Old Man posts, and make believe you are subjected to this constant blather of opinions, thoughts and theories on everything ALL DAY!  That, blog readers, is my life.

If he is not spouting opinions, random thoughts, and theories, he is making fun of me.  He calls it teasing.  “I tease because I love.”  I call it making fun of me.

Oh sure I can’t throw anything away.  I still have appliances that technology has made obsolete.  Yes, I still have the receipts from the appliances that technology has made obsolete.  Yes I have a VCR tape rewinder, and yes I did use it three months ago.  It is true that even though I am half-Italian, I don’t cook and won’t eat tomatoes, mushrooms or garlic.  I do know the dialog of movies and I will recite it just before the actors.  I may rearrange six different pillows in various places before I roll over to go to sleep; one at the end of the bed, one beside me on the floor, one by my leg and three to lay on.  I won’t let him drive my car because he will mess up my seat adjustment.  I keep twenty pairs of shoes in my car, and I won’t carry a pocketbook…ever.  Sure some of these things may be different, but…

He never shuts up.  He watches TV with one eye on the computer and constantly asks me to fill him in on stuff he missed.  He never listens to me.  I have to repeat stuff over and over and still he forgets.  He will ask if I want something from downstairs when he goes for a glass of water and when I request something he will come back upstairs with just the glass of water. 

“Oh yeah, I forgot.” And he makes fun of me? 

He couldn’t find a phone in a phone booth; and he makes fun of me?

He gets lost driving to the local Wawa three blocks away; and he makes fun of me?

He hollers at his computer constantly because he is so technologically illiterate; and he makes fun of me?

He couldn’t spell CAT if you spot him the C and the T; and he makes fun of me?

And he IS cranky!

There you have it, Mrs. Cranky’s rebuttal.  It is all true.  It is why she calls me a jerk. But there is one more thing,

I am adorable…she may disagree, but then she never throws anything away.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


“I’m bored!”

Of all the things a kid can do or say, “I’m bored” is the one thing that chaffs my butt the most.

It is a parent’s duty to feed and clothe their offspring.  It is a parent’s duty to keep a roof over his family’s head.  It is not a parent’s duty to constantly entertain or provide entertainment for their children.  

Children have an imagination; give them a ball of string and a piece of wood and they will find something to play with for hours.  A large box to a toddler is a multipurpose toy with endless possibilities.   How is a child ever bored?

They are not bored, they just want attention.  When you have the time, give them attention, hell, that is fun, but often you don’t have time.  That is when, “I’m bored” will throw you over the edge.

I may not handle the “I’m bored” issue very well.

“You’re bored?  I’ll show you bored; how about I send you to Pakistan to work in a sneaker factory for twelve hours a day…those kids are never bored!”

This warning never worked.  My kids knew I couldn’t afford to send them to Pakistan.  

My mom handled the issue much better.

Mom always had a garden.  She grew tomatoes and flowers.  The garden always needed weeding.  We had a lot of grass.  We had a lot of dandelions.  The lawn always needed weeding.  

I don’t remember ever having garden fresh tomatoes for dinner, or fresh cut roses to make the house look and smell pretty. I do remember the garden and the lawn always needed weeding.   Mom weeded a lot.  I think she found it therapeutic, at least more so then cooking, washing, or cleaning.

I hated weeding the garden and the lawn.  We couldn’t use weed killer, I don’t know why.  We never mulched or put down that weed stopping paper, I don’t know why, and we didn’t have any fancy weed eater machines or tools I see advertised on TV.  Hell, they might even have been fun to use.  No, we had a hunk of “V” shaped metal on the end of a rod for which to pry out dandelions and assorted garden weeds.

This tool required you to work from your knees.  We had no knee pads, I don’t know why.   We had no garden gloves, I don’t know why.  I hated weeding, I do know why.  I hated those dandelions whose roots grew to China.  I especially hated those hairy stemmed weeds that made you itch like hell.   I hated weeding.

I learned not to tell my mom “I’m bored.”

Whenever I told my mom I was bored, she always had the same answer.

“The yard needs weeding.” 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


This story is taken from the seldom read tome "Maybe It's Just Me" which in retrospect should have been titled "Perhaps It Is I" anyway...It is a childhood tragedy I endured which haunts me to this day.  A travesty that helped mold me into the untrusting cranky old man I am today. 

1956 was a magical year for Yankee fans. The Yankees won the pennant, and recaptured the World Series title which they had given up to the hated Dodgers the year before. Don Larson threw the only World Series perfect game, and Mickey Mantle hit the homerun which assured that victory. 1956 was the year Mickey won the Triple Crown, leading the league with 52 homeruns, 130 RBIs and a batting average of .353.

Mickey was every 10 year olds idol.

In the summer of 1957, Mickey Mantle was coming to Manhasset, Long Island to sell and sign his new book, “The Mickey Mantle Story”.

This review is from: The Mickey Mantle Story, (Hardcover)

The childhood story of Mickey Mantle's father pitching to him first as he hit from the right side, and then from the left is the beginning of the story of a baseball legend. Mantle was considered by many to be the greatest natural athlete who ever played the game. He was probably the greatest switch-hitter of all times, and his career mark of five hundred and thirty six homers is still impressive. He played on the great Yankee teams in which there also played his buddy Whitey Ford, and also Maris, Yogi Berra, and Billy Martin. Mantle was injury-prone and this hurt his career. But the really tragic part of his story is the genetic disease which haunted him throughout his life. In terms of power and speed when he was at his best, there was no one like him.

The “Mick” was coming to town! I saved for weeks and raided my milk bottle of change to scrape up the $7.00 price of this life story of the most famous 25 year old in New York. When the day came I stood with Mom in a line fifty yards away from the bookstore entrance.

Mickey was scheduled to sign for two hours. After an hour, the line had moved only ten yards. I left Mom to see what was holding things up and found the entrance jammed with an unorganized scramble of line cutters. The only way in was to also cut the line. Mom of course said no. Cutting was wrong, and you should not stoop to other’s transgressions.

For one time in my brief life I did not listen to Mom. I left and went to the front, ducked, dodged dipped and crawled to the entrance and reached the real line to see “The Mick.” Ten minutes before he was scheduled to leave I was in front of my idol. It was the first time I had ever stood face to face with a real celebrity.

The Mick was great; he took my $7.00 and asked with his Mickey Mantle smile and Oklahoma charm, “How do you want me to sign it kid?” “Joe” I managed to blurt out, “To Joe.” And so I went home as probably the only eleven year old in Manhasset with an autographed copy of “The Mickey Mantle Story”, “To Joe, best wishes Mickey Mantle.”
This became my favorite possession; a puff piece slapped together to capitalize on Mickey’s Triple Crown year, autographed to ME! “The Mickey Mantle Story” somehow left out the accounts of Mickey’s boozing and womanizing that became legendary years later, but it would not have mattered to me.
At night, listening to the game on WINS radio, I would hold “The Book” as I listened. When Mickey came to bat, in a crucial situation, I would rub “The Autograph”, and almost as often as not Mickey would deliver a homerun. I, of course, took some credit; rubbing the autograph and a homerun could not have been a coincidence. There was a bond between the Mick and me even if he did not know it. The Mick was from Oklahoma; I was born in Oklahoma and called it home the first eight months of my life, so “The Book”, “The Autograph” and I held a special power.
I was the envy of the neighborhood because of my prized possession-especially to FREDDY DERODA.
Freddy lived about two blocks away. He was a rich kid who lived in the only custom built home in the Munsey Park section of Manhasset. Freddy was only a casual friend, though he and his Father did once take me bowling. Even Dad was impressed when they picked me up in their Bentley, and Dad was not easily impressed by material possessions.
Winter vacation 1959, Freddy asked to borrow “The Book” which he needed for a book report. I reluctantly lent him “The Book”. How could you not trust a kid whose father drove a Bentley? When I returned to school after Christmas, Freddy was absent. He was absent the next three days. I rode to his house to see if Freddy was alright (and to get my book back).
His house was furniture, no Bentley, no Freddy, NO BOOK! The Derodas had moved. Quickly and quietly they had moved in the middle of the night. No one knew where or why. Freddy had known, but told no one, and he used the opportunity to escape with my book.
I pedaled home in shock. Theft did not happen in Manhasset. We did not lock up our bikes, you could leave your car running if you were going to make a quick stop in the store, and homes were left unlocked all day. Yet, my BOOK was stolen! It was stolen by FREDDY DERODA.
To this day the name affects me.  FREDDY DERODA. “Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch”. It makes me want to break or KILL something.
Mickey still had some good years, especially 1961, but he was slowed by debilitating injuries and as great as he was, he never really reached his full potential for greatness. I think it had something to do with “The Book”, “The Autograph”, and our now broken “special connection”.
Reflecting today, I have a feeling that Mr. Deroda might have been a member of that special Union which did not allow striking, or leaving, and the Derodas had no choice but to leave on the sly, in the dead of night. 

This must have been devastating to an eleven year old boy. That he could leave with one special thing of value must have been important to him.

Freddy, I hope “The Book” helped you through what must have been a hard time.

I guess I forgive you.

Monday, February 17, 2014

“JACK’S” – A COLLEGE BAR - a cranky re-run

This re-run is from February 2012, I think it was before any of my old college friends followed this blog.  For the few that now do...this re-run is for you.

College kids drink.  The legal age to drink in most states is 21.  Most college kids are under 21.  Colleges need a “Jack’s”.

I went to Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania in the 60’s.  “Jack’s” was a small bar about 10 miles outside of Easton, a small oasis for underage college kids in a desert of farmland and old country roads.  Jack was 80 years old; his wife Glad was the same.  Jack liked college kids.  I guess they made him feel young.  We loved "Jack’s".  Jack did not ask for ID fake or otherwise.  He did not care, he was 80.  What would authorities do, take away his license?  I’m not sure he even had a liquor license.  Would anyone put an 80 year old in jail for serving underage kids?

"Jack’s" was not easy to find.  It seemed only college students knew where to find it.  It did not have neon lights to make it stand out, locals did not frequent the bar; I never saw anyone in "Jack’s" that was not an underage college student.

The beer at “Jack’s” was a dime for a six ounce glass; hard booze was…I don’t know, no one ever ordered hard liquor.  The juke box played anything from Al Jolson to sixties rock for a nickel a song.  Food consisted of a “Glad burger” which was a giant cheese burger, potato chips, hard boiled eggs, and tiny steamed clams from the Delaware River.  I doubt if the food was very good, but somehow in the atmosphere of “Jack’s” I have never had  better burgers, chips, eggs or steamed clams.

Entertainment at “Jack’s” was the guy on the stool next to you, or Jack himself.  There was nothing but good conversation without the distraction of women (patrons of “Jack’s” were all from Lafayette, an all male school).   Jack had one good story after another and we never tired of hearing them.

The highlight of any trip to “Jack’s” was Jack’s recital of “The Face on the Bar Room Floor”.  It would take several shots and a little encouragement to get Jack to perform but perform he did with gestures, expressions and voice inflections practiced and perfected over God only knows how many years. No one could recite like Jack:

Here is the poem in its entirety; read at least the last eight lines for "flavor" 

'Twas a balmy summer evening

And a goodly crowd was there,

That well nigh filled Joe's barroom

At the corner of the square.

As songs and witty stories

Came through the open door,

A vagabond crept slowly in

And posed upon the floor.

“Where did it come from?” someone said,

“The wind has blown it in.”

“What does it want?” another cried,

“Some whiskey, rum or gin?”

Here Toby, sic’ em,

If your stomach is equal to the work,

I wouldn't touch him with a fork,

He's filthy as a Turk.

This badinage the poor wretch took with stoical good grace.

In fact, he smiled as though he thought

He had struck the proper place.

Come boys, I know there's kindly hearts

Among so good a crowd;

To be in such good company

Would make a deacon proud.

Give me a drink, that’s what I want.

I'm out of funds you know, when I had cash to treat the gang,

This lad was never slow. What? You laugh as though you think,

This pocket never held a sou,

I once was fixed as well, my boys,

As any of you.

There thanks, that’s braced me nicely.

God Bless you one and all. Next time I pass this good saloon,

I'll make another call.

Give you a song? No, I can't do that.

My singing days are past.

My voice is cracked, my throat's worn out,

And my lungs are going fast.

Aye, give me another whiskey and I'll tell you what to do

I'll tell you a funny story and in fact I'll promise two.

That I was ever a decent man,

Not one of you would think,

But I was, some four or five years back.

Say, give me another drink.

Fill 'er up, Joe, I want to put some life

Into this old frame.

Such little drinks, to a bum like me

are miserably tame.

Five fingers, that's the scene, and corking and whiskey too,

Well, here's luck boys, and landlord,

My best respects to you.

You’ve treated me pretty kindly,

And I'd like to tell you how,

I came to be this dirty sap, you see before you now.

As I told you once, I was a man

With muscle, frame and health,

But for a blunder, ought have made considerable wealth.

I was a painter, not one that daubed on bricks or wood,

But an artist, and for my age I was rated pretty good,

I worked hard at my canvas, and bidding fair to rise,

And gradually I saw, the star of fame before my eyes.

I made a picture, perhaps you've seen,

It's called the “Chase of Fame.”

It brought me fifteen hundred pounds

And added to my name.

It was then I met a woman, now come the funny part;

With eyes that petrified my brain, and sank into my heart.

Why don't you laugh it's funny, that the vagabond you see

could ever have a woman and expect her love for me.

But it was so, and for a month or two, her smiles were freely given,

And when her loving lips touched mine, I thought I was in heaven.

Boys did you ever see a girl, for whom your soul you'd give,

With a form like Venus De Milo, too beautiful to live,

With eyes that would beat the Koh-i-noor,

And a wealth of chestnut hair?

If so, it was she, for boys there never was, another half so fair.

I was working on a portrait,

One afternoon in May,

Of a fair haired boy, a friend of mine,

Who lived across the way.

My Madeline admired him,

And much to my surprise,

She said she'd like to know the lad,

Who had such dreamy eyes.

She didn't take long to find him,

Before the month had flown,

My friend had stolen my darling,

And I was left alone.

And ere a year of misery had passed above my head.

That jewel I treasured so, had tarnished and was dead.

That's why I took to drink boys. Why, I never see you smile,

I thought you'd be amused boys, and laughing all the while.

Why, what's the matter friend? There's a teardrop in your eye.

Come, laugh like me. It's only babes and women that should cry.
                             Final verses for the lazy

Say boys, if you give me just another whiskey and I'll be glad,

I'll draw right here the picture, of the face that drove me mad.

Give me that piece of chalk with which you mark the baseball score;

You shall see the lovely Madeline upon the barroom floor.

Another drink and with chalk in hand, the vagabond began,

To sketch a face that well might buy the soul of any man.

Then, as he placed another lock upon that shapely head,

With a fearful shriek, he leaped and fell across the picture — dead!


The end of the performance marked the closing of Jack's bar.  One more round of “Dimeys” and it was back to campus.  We survived the drunken trip home only because the country roads at 1AM were empty. 

Jack was an old man.  He was probably a drunk.  He had no scruples with regard to Pennsylvania liquor laws. 

We received an education on life at “Jack’s” that was not offered at any college.