Monday, August 30, 2010

Memoir Monday: My Papaw

It's that time again.

Some things I remember about my Papaw Adams.

He was a little guy. Didn’t talk much, or at least not to me. He had been a coal miner and drunk early in his life, but after losing his leg in a mining accident and finding the Lord, he changed dramatically. I never knew him before his conversion. The man I knew was a Christian. I always found him very curious.

Guess you could say, I was constantly trying to figure him out. I remember that he loved giving gifts. He used to give me a new Lionel train set almost every year. He was constantly giving complete strangers money and stuff. He was also one of the only people I ever saw who could ruffle my dad’s feather in a way that crossed between fear/respect/intimidation/and discomfort. I liked it, because I recognized it as the same feelings that my dad generated in me.

He lived in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. He had 12 kids, 9 of them lived to adulthood. I don’t know a lot about his past, other than that his mother was a full-blooded Cherokee woman named Americas Reed. I believe his father had been a coal miner too.

Papaw had lots of quirks and odd behavior, at least in my Indiana-raised child mind. He would spend most of his day, after eating a huge breakfast that my Mamaw made every morning, sitting in his recliner reading his bible and napping. Or he would sit outside on his front porch in a chaise lounge doing the same. Occasionally, he would see a cat walk by and would call it up on the porch with a “Here Kitty, Kitty!” After petting it for a few minutes to get the cat off its guard, he would grab it by the tail and swing it over his head like a lasso, releasing it to fly through the air and landing somewhere in the yard down below.

Around noon, he would head to the kitchen for some cornbread, which he would dip in buttermilk. After his lunchtime snack, he would usually head out around town on his errands. He would swing by the post office, maybe stop at the Piggly-Wiggly, or just see some old friends. He occasionally would let me tag along. I remember that one guy he met up with had lost his leg in a mining accident too, but it was the other leg. Since Papaw and this man had the same size foot, they would often split a new pair of shoes.

In the evening, it was more napping or bible reading. Occasionally, you would hear Papaw break into a gospel hymn, or maybe just hum one.

I also remember that he used to say stuff that cracked me up. Like when he sneezed, he would do so loudly with the following, “A-Chew, Mountain Dew, The sky Is Blue!” or some such saying.

He addressed me, and most males, as “Hey Boy!” and would follow it with “Boy!” repeatedly until he got your attention. Except for my dad. He referred to him as “Axel grease!” I am pretty sure this was because my dad always worked on cars. In fact, my dad had always been one to hang around garages. He used to get in trouble growing up, because instead of working in the family’s garden with the other kids during the day, he would run off to the local garage and help work on cars. After he got out of the Marines, my Papaw got him a job in the coal mines. Dad quit after 2 weeks and left to go work in a factory.

Papaw had heart trouble and Black lung, from his years in the mines. Later in life, he had a stroke which paralyzed half his body. I used to stretch and exercise his arm and hand when we would visit. At first, he wasn’t much interested in me helping him, but I think he noticed the improvement afterwards and eventually would ask me to whenever we would go visit.

I also remember Papaw being quite the ladies man. When I would go with him to the hospital or doctors office, he was always bringing the nurses flowers and offering them chewing gum.

It seemed everybody knew Papaw and genuinely liked him, as they would affectionately great him with a “Hey Willy!” or “Good Morning, Bill!” or even “Great to see you, Mr. Adams!”

Occasionally, my family would take my grandparents on trips with us. Now, the thing about traveling with my dad was, we knew that he would stop at EVERY SINGLE Truckstop for coffee. Not coffee to go, but the kind where you go inside, the waitress pours you a cup, you flirt with the waitress, talk to the truckers around you, have another cup, more talking, etc. Normal stop time was at least an hour, maybe two. Papaw never had much patience, especially for this sort of thing. On one trip, after telling my dad to come on, waiting in the car for awhile, and telling the rest of us we should go tell him it was time to go, Papaw walked in and put the curved handle part of his cane around my dad’s neck in an attempt to drag him out. That’s one of the few times I remember my dad THAT pissed. It embarrassed him.

On one of our other trips, we took them to Silver Dollar City (now called Dollywood), in Gaitlenburg, TN. It was after Papaw’s stroke, so he didn’t walk well. Not that he did before, since he only had one leg. But he was refusing to be pushed around in a wheel chair. Anyway, we rented him one of those electric scooters thingies to drive around on. Turns out, he wasn’t the best scooter driver either. Within 5 mins, he went careening through a crowd of spectators that were watching an outdoor program and crashed into the stage, collapsing half of it, and spilling the kids that were performing some clog dancing routine on stage onto their butts. He ended up getting pushed around in a wheelchair after that.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Okay folks.

So, in my pursuit of fulfilling a lifelong dream of making people laugh in 3 to 5 minute increments, I have begun writing my stand-up comedy set.

So far, I have 2 bits.

One on e-mail.

And one on homeless people. (It’s not like they’ll be at the show.)

I am also toying with the idea of using some of those odd questions that I’ve asked on the blog before.

I hate repeats, but several people have suggested using stuff from the blog.

Tell me what your favorite post of mine was.


Here are the three comedy clubs with open mic nights in my area:

1. Crackers Comedy Club, Indianapolis, IN
2. Snickerz Comedy Club, Fort Wayne, IN
3. Wiley’s Comedy Club, Dayton, OH

Does one club look better than the other?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Going For It! or Cancer is a Dick!

So, I am thinking of doing stand-up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought about it.

It been number 3 on my “List of Things I Want to Be When I Grow Up” since I was about 5 years old.


         1. Doctor
         2. Archaeologist
         3. Actor/Comedian/Thousandaire/Porn Star/Adventurer/Zoo Keeper

As you can see, number 3 is a catchall.

Silly 5 year old.

Like I said, it’s always been something I wanted to do.

I was the class clown in school. The incredibly sexy class clown, I might add. <-----lie

It’s like the reason I started this blog, I enjoy making (or trying to make) people laugh.

All my life, I have rarely been in a situation where I didn’t try to find the humor in it.

It’s how I handle stress.

But, I never really knew if I was funny enough for stand-up.

Maybe I am just goofy. A lot of people are goofy.

Maybe I am just witty. A lot of people are witty.

Maybe I am just a smartass. A lot of 13 year/olds are smartasses.

I just wasn’t sure of myself.

I knew I often made people laugh with my jokes and snide comments.

And it seemed to be happening more frequent the older I got.

But I guess I still had doubts.

Maybe my shyness/stage fright from childhood still plagued me.

Regardless, I needed to find an avenue to test and polish my craft.

Since Blogging is more sit down than stand-up, it let me test the waters and build up my confidence.

The feedback I’ve gotten from you people over the last year has given me that.

There are some funny people out there in Blogland.

Recently, I watched (from a distance) Travis go for it.

He made his first attempt at stand-up at a local club during open mic.

And he survived.

AND and people laughed.

That pretty much convinced me to try.

Well that and my mom finding out she probably has cancer.

They are still running tests (prayers are appreciated), but it doesn’t look good so far.

Cancer is an asshole.

“Hey Cancer, lay off my mom! I just got off yours!”

That situation has made me realize, AGAIN, just how fleeting life is.

We only get so much time on this rock, before the Man upstairs pulls out the rug.

So quit stalling and wasting what little time you have.

“Just Do It!”----Nike (famous footwear philosopher)

So now I’m off to write actual jokes.

And clean ones too, since I want my mom to be there to see me do it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hope Your Apetite Is Big AND Spicy!

I took the wife and kids out for dinner last night.

We went to a local mom & pop home-style restaurant.

It’s a nice place. Small. Cheap. Quiet. Good food.

They have all the standard home-style cooking fare, which is listed in their printed menus.

But they also offer daily specials.

Those are listed on a printed sheet and attached to the front of the regular menu.

That’s where I noticed something usual.



Like “A” Mexican?

For only $6.50?!

I told the wife, “Look honey! We can finally afford that dishwasher you’ve always wanted!”


Seriously though, WTF?

Sure, there is more than an abundant supply running around.

AND they are willing to do anything for a buck.

But when did this place become a cannibal establishment?

And why “NO SIDES”?

Do they think that you won’t have room left after eating a Mexican?

Is there nothing that compliments or goes with the taste of a Mexican?

I am pretty sure rice would work.

Or refried beans.

Or did they mean they removed the Mexican’s sides? (Like you remove the fins when filleting a fish.)

I wanted to ask the waitress what they meant, but I heard the guy at the next table order one.

He was a BIG guy.

He looked like he had already eaten a Mexican.

I figured I would wait and see if they brought Juan out on a plate.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blind People Are Getting Screwed!

Wife: “Can you get this in there?”
Me: “I can try.”
Me: “I don’t think it fits.”
Wife: “Do you need a bigger one?”
Me: “NO! It’s already too big for the hole. If anything, I need a smaller one.”
Wife: “Are you sure you’re putting it in the right hole?”
Me: “I’ve done this enough, I think I know which one it goes in.”
Wife: “Can’t you get it in the hole?”
Me: “I’m trying, DAMNIT! This might be easier if there was some hair around the hole.”
Wife: “Har Har. Just let me do it.” *reaches*
Me: “Do NOT touch my tool! I am DOING this!”
Wife: “Can I at least help you?”
Me: “Fine. You pull this out and hold it, while I screw it in.”
Me: “Hold it! Hold it! It’s almost in!”
Me: “THERE!”
Wife: “You did it! Good job honey!”

We had that conversation while trying to fix the 2 yr olds glasses.


That particular time it was replacing a missing screw that holds the springy side earpiece on.

It’s always something. Both my 2 & 6 yr old have glasses. One pair gets broken in some sort at least once a week. The people at the eyeglasses place know us on a first name basis (probably a few choice names behind our back too.)

My kids don’t play rough or any rougher than other kids their age.

We have always been good about making sure glasses are put up when taken off, or taking them off before certain play activities that don’t require eyesight and which might damage them.

We also pay extra for the extra protection and the extra bendy unbreakable glasses/frames. (Which HAS to be a racket. The freaking technician guy broke a pair while showing us how unbreakable they were. “These frames are so flexible, they won’t break even if they do this…*break*…ooops. Never seen them do that before.”)

Still, my kids find a way to destroy the invincible, it seems.

This current time, there was no home repairing.

So, I took them to the place on my lunch hour today.

As I walk up with broken glasses in hand, I see a sign on the door that says, “Our Office Is Closed for Lunch. We will reopen at 2:20”.



WTF eye doctor?

Who takes lunch at that time? Why come back at 2:20? Hell, why even come back at all, at that point in the day.

But twenty minutes after two? Seriously? Not 2:15? Or 2:30?

I’m guessing this was based on appt times or something. Oh well, I’ll just drop them off after work.

I hope I can make it there before they close at 6:13pm.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Don't Help The Discovery Channel In Your Dreams.

I had the strangest dream last night.

First, it was strange because I rarely ever dream.

I don’t mean that I have them and don’t remember them, although I’m sure that occasionally happens. No, I mean I DO NOT DREAM (except for the first year I was married and had that recurring dream of being on death row for a crime I didn’t commit.)

I just don’t dream.

Probably because I don’t sleep. I usually won’t fall asleep until about 2 or 3am. And then, I’ll have to wake up in time to be at work by 745am. So, I don’t think I ever actually enter REM sleep.

BUT, for some reason, the last 2 nights I have crashed around 830 or 9pm, and slept until the next morning.

Last night, I had this freaky dream. The kind that makes you wake up because your heart is racing and you swear it’s real. (Okay, I’ve had those before too. Also during the first year of marriage. And always that my wife was cheating on me with my best friend. I would wake up pissed, but always stopped short of punching her. Or holding the pillow over her face as tight as I wanted to.)

But this time was different.

I was helping film one of those Discovery Channel/Animal Planet shows I love.

This one was taking place on my street though.

It was night time.

And the shot was to have me running down the street.

While being chased by an angry Hippo!

Why I volunteered for this, I have no idea. Guess I never learned anything from my time in the NAVY (NAVY = Never Again Volunteer Yourself).

So cameras are rolling, and I take off like a bat out of hell down the street.

Now, if you know me, you know that because of my back, I don’t run so gracefully. Rather gallopy.

But I was like Carl Lewis.

I marveled at the long fluid strides. And the way my legs looked so muscular in the shadows on the road created by the passing street lights.


Cue the Hippo.

And the Discovery Channel/Animal Planet voice over guy.

The hippo is chasing, but it’s kind of slow.

I am kicking its ass!

Until the Voice Over Guy says, “The Hippopotamus is often thought of being a slow docile creature. But they are deceptively fast and highly territorial.”

Cue the Hippo with Nitros.

I’m thinking, “Thanks a lot, Voice Over Guy!”

But he goes on…

“They become very aggressive when angered, and are responsible for more human deaths each year in African than all other wildlife combined.”

Now I’m thinking, “Voice Over Guy is such an asshole!”

I’ve still got a good lead on the Hippo as I near my house.

But when I get to the door, it’s freaking locked.

Probably the 6 yr old playing a joke on Dad again.

I turn to see the Hippo barreling down the street like a fat girl at an All-You-Can-Eat rib buffet.

I quickly scamper up one of the maple trees out front, just as the Hippo enters the yard.

And then I wake up as I’m screaming, “CUT, DAMNIT, CUT!”

Later, I got curious, and looked it up on one of those stupid dream interpretation sites.

Here’s what I found:
Chase dreams are one of several common dream themes, stemming from feelings of anxiety in your waking life. Flee and flight is an instinctive response to a physical threat in the environment. In these dreams, the scenario features you being pursued by an attacker, an animal, a monster or an unknown figure, who wants to hurt or possibly kill you. Consequently, you run, you hide or you try to outwit your pursuer. Your actions in the dream parallel how you would respond to pressure and cope with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of confronting the situation, your dream indicates that you have a tendency to run away and avoid the issue.

The pursuer or attacker who is chasing you in your dream may also represent an aspect of yourself. Your own feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, and possibly love, can manifest itself as the threatening figure. Or the shadowy figure can also symbolize rejected characteristics of yourself. You may be projecting these feelings onto the unknown chaser.

Consider the distance or gap between you and your pursuer. This indicates your closeness to the issue. If the pursuer is gaining on you, then it suggests that the problem is not going to go away. The problem will surround you until you confront and address it. However, if you are able to widen the gap between your pursuer, then you are able to successful distance yourself from the problem. In essence, the problem is fading away.

A more direct analysis of chase dreams is the fear of being attacked. Such dreams are more common among women than men, who may feel physically vulnerable in the urban environment. These dreams are often brought about by the media, who magnifies fears of violence and sexual assault.

To see a hippopotamus in your dream, symbolizes your aggressive nature and your hidden strengths. You have more influence and power than you realize. Alternatively, it indicates that you are being territorial. Perhaps someone is overstepping their boundaries.

So basically, I am of afraid of being sexually assaulted and eaten by a Hippo. And even though it was a dream, I’m just as likely to run away from the same real life situation.


Thanks Dream Interpreter thingy. NOW, I can sleep easily.


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