This is part two of my THANKS and NO THANKS to the people, places and things that sparked ideas for my weekly newspaper columns in 2016.
THANKS to Sam’s Club and Costco for offering a plump, perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken for five bucks. While in one of the stores last month to purchase one for dinner, I picked up a new iPad, some printer ink and two cases of imported beer. “How can they possibly afford to sell an entire cooked chicken for only $4.95?” I asked the lady at the check-out.
“Got me,” she said. “Your total is $352. Enjoy your dinner.”
NO THANKS to my 100-bucks-an-hour tech nerd, Kevin, who has come to my house on more than one occasion to solve a computer issue, simply to point out that the cord had come out of the outlet.
I was frustrated recently because the power button wouldn’t turn off the computer so I told Kevin on the phone I was just going to yank out the plug. “Good,” he said. “I can use the money.”
THANKS to the investigators who went back in the scientific literature to determine the real benefits of exercise. The first study was in 1906 when a scientist divided people into two groups to compare their relative health. Half the people exercised daily. All those people are dead now. So, there you go.
THANKS to Whole Foods, my wife’s favorite grocery store. I bought a bar of organic green soap wrapped in clear shrink-wrap. When I got out of the shower the next morning, I told my wife I didn’t think it lathered very well. “Is it because it’s organic?” I asked Mary Ellen.
“No, it’s because you just washed yourself with a wedge of cheese.”
THANKS to the researchers at Archeology magazine for uncovering what might be the world’s first musical instrument. It looked like a kazoo and was found next to a 500,000-year-old skeleton of a Neanderthal man. His body was isolated many miles from the rest of his tribe. Scientists are not sure why this man was left alone to die. I have a pretty good idea.
NO THANKS to my wife for visiting her friend in Florida without teaching me how to use all the remotes in the house. We have one for Apple TV, one for the DVR, one for the Blu-ray and one for regular TV. “Did you successfully change the channels?” asked Mary Ellen the first night she called.
“No, but I opened and closed the garage door 11 times.”
Finally, my friend Betty Weesner passed away this year at age 90. She was editor and publisher of the weekly newspaper The Republican out of Danville, where she had worked in one capacity or another since she was in grade school.
She told me she wouldn’t print my column in her publication for the same reason her father (the previous editor) didn’t mention Lindbergh’s transatlantic journey 90 years ago.
“You have to be born in Hendricks County, work here, live here or die here,” she told me. “Or you could get arrested here, Dick. There’s still plenty of time to make the next edition.”
To Menards for offering a publication with tips on projects you can make with an empty 5-gallon bucket.
“The buckets are remarkably strong…adaptable and not easily bent out of shape … easy to work with and hold up under pressure.”
Wow, I wish we could have found someone like that to run for president.
NO THANKS to my new financial service’s website that asks security questions that even I don’t know the answer to, like “What time of day was your first child born?”
I don’t remember, but I know it was a beautiful day on the golf course. I also didn’t know what city my parents were married in. How would I remember that? I was only a year old.
THANKS to the security guard at the airport who witnessed my typical frantic search of my pants and coat to see if I had my cellphone or if I had left it at the check in.
“I’m not going to search you,” said the agent. “You’ve done a great job of patting yourself down.”
THANKS to baby boomers everywhere for realizing that when we were growing up there were great advances in technology back then, also. Like zip-lock bags, whose slots for closure were labeled “male tracks” and “female tracks” on the box directions. As a youngster I didn’t know what that really referred to, but when it finally dawned on me, I started to really enjoy packing my own lunches.
NO THANKS to me for not having faith my headlights will go out automatically. I have spent about 17 hours of my life staring at my car because I didn’t trust the technology to do the job when I went inside my house or into a restaurant.
In the old days, if I mentioned this to strangers who had left their lights on, they’d say “I appreciate it. I sure didn’t want a dead battery.” Years later, they said, “No problem, this is one of those cool new cars where they go off automatically.” Lately I get a lot of: “Relax, Grandpa. When’s the last time you bought a set of wheels?”
THANKS to our tour guide on a recent vacation. I realized that in retirement I could make a little extra pocket money doing the same thing. You know, just making up stuff no one would remember and telling silly jokes. A seamless transition from TV.
A final goodbye to my friend Anna Weisenberger who died this year at age of 109. I went to her 100th birthday celebration, then the 101st and 102nd. At her 103rd, she said the day was a bit too taxing and she requested we simply celebrate every other year.