Sunday, December 11, 2011

What I Think About When I'm Not Thinking About Much Of Anything

Haven't posted much lately. Maybe I'm growing senile but I just don't feel any great urgency to write much anymore.  Isn't that what happens to senile people when the dementia starts to kick in?  Like they lose interest in everything, even the things that were once important to them (like blogging) and just stop thinking about anything except where the next chocolate chip cookie is coming from?  Make that with nuts, please. Sometimes I do feel like a nut but although I may be precariously close to the edge, I haven't fallen into the abyss of catatonic schizophrenia with waxy flexibility. At least not yet.

 When I started this blog 4 years ago I thought writing was my future. Not a new career thing but sort of like a hobby. Something that I could do to release my creative juices but in a relaxing sort of way with no pressure, no deadlines, and no bosses questioning my work. And I had no compulsion to write the great American novel or anything either.  It was just that I had always enjoyed writing and figured with no career obligations competing for my time I could sit at the computer and type away to my heart's content. Of course if after some unspecified period of time a rogue publisher was impressed with my postings and offered to bundle them all together resulting in the great American gaggle of meaningless essays then I don't suppose I'd object too strenuously.  But, really, I just don't have the time anymore, at least not the time I anticipated my retirement years were going to afford me. One of the things that takes up time is maintaining good hygiene. Not that I spend more time on it than I did when I was working but the time table has changed because of my sleeping patterns. I used to get up around 5am, go for a jog, cool off in the pool, shave, shower, brush & floss my teeth, and anoint myself with a subtle but pleasant array of deodorant/aftershave balm/cologne fragrances, including swishing a cap full of Listerine for good breath and dental health. And then spitting it out of course. Not to be crude, but swallowing mouth wash was never my thing. And after those rituals I would drive to work.

Now that I've retired I still do the same routine in the morning except I don't get up at 5 o'clock anymore. And I don't go out to jog and come back for a few laps in the pool. I sleep until about 7am now, give or take a half hour or so. Why do I sleep so late?  Duh...let me think about that...oh yeah, It's because I don't have to go to work anymore!  Any more dumb questions?  But I still practice pretty much the same hygiene routines except I don't usually shower until after I return from my walk which is now an after breakfast event. I can jog for short periods of time but my 66 year old ankles object if I do too much of it. Usually I do a brisk walk for about three miles out and back. Once in awhile four or five, once in a great while just two if I'm feeling lazy or pushed for time. And once in awhile I'll skip shaving too, but not too often. It would be nice to be able to grow a MLB/NFL/NHL game day stubble and run (or in my case, walk)  in the tall grass with the big dogs but, alas, when I don't shave, my mostly gray whiskers protruding from my double chins makes me look like Yasser Arafat (when he was alive, I mean) without the turban. So I maintain these hygienic steps in order to hide the fact that I'm getting old. I may not be able to look like a younger man anymore but, by golly, I don't have to smell like an old man! And I still subscribe to the subtle fragrance fraternity. As Playboy magazine used to recommend (I let my subscription expire two decades ago so I'm not sure if their philosophy is still in vogue) the appropriate amount of fragrance on a gentleman should be at a level where when you enter a room the occupants will not smell you coming but when you leave they will detect a light pleasurable aroma. That's my fragrance mantra. Oh yeah, and I trim my fingernails weekly. Nothing telegraphs the message loud and clear that your hands are an old man's hands than having long fingernails.

That's enough about hygiene. I've only offered my morning routine to give a glimpse of what's on my mind at the beginning of each day. I don't think about much of anything unless I have some special task or an upcoming appointment to attend to that day. Hopefully I've set my alarm to wake up earlier than 7am if I'm going to be pressed for time. And hopefully, when the alarm goes off I can recall why I set it at all. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing that day I have certain adaptations to my hygienic rituals that I feel obligated to honor. It's not kinky or wacky or anything, no wigs or face paint or voo doo ceremony. Just variations on my normal preparations to start the day.  I feel it's the least I can do to spur my Bucs on to victory. Superstitious? Yup. Does it work? Not in the least. Do I still feel obligated to maintain my self-imposed pre-game game-day rituals? You bet your ass I do. And before you think I'm a hopeless Buccaneer fanatic, take note. Mark this day on your calendar. This week I terminated my subscription to season tickets for the Bucs.  I've been a season ticket holder for twenty years. But not anymore. Oh, I'm still a fan. I still love watching football and I still like my Bucs. But neither my wife nor I really enjoy "the game day experience" anymore. I've had good seats and RayJay Stadium is a great football arena. And it doesn't matter too much that the Bucs pretty much suck lately and probably will continue in that fashion for awhile. But being there just doesn't have the same excitement anymore. Many of the people who sat in our vicinity in the North end zone have given up their season tickets in the last couple of years so a lot of the camaraderie is missing. And while I might enjoy a beer or two at the games I've always felt I was there to watch a game...not to get drunk and take my shirt off (which would be a scary sight). And I like to cheer for my team and comment with my fellow spectators (the sober ones) on remarkable plays, good and bad. And I'll stand to celebrate a touchdown or a goal line stand and share high-fives with anyone within arms length that feels the same. But I don't feel any compulsion to stand up during every freakin' play, for God's sake! And when the drunk and shirtless "fans" in front of us feel it's their obligation to turn around and pump up the rest of the crowd to stand up and cheer louder to bolster our team's spirits? Give me a break. Why can't the morons just turn around and watch what's happening on the field instead of worrying about the rest of us in the  crowd? And stay turned around, Bubba. I didn't come to the game to see you; I came to watch a football game, loser! I've paid for seats for my season tickets, I didn't pay for stands! Anyway, I'm feeling a little bit of guilt and maybe even withdrawal symptoms with the decision to discontinue season tickets. But I'll get over it.

Something else I'll eventually get over but nevertheless feel guilty about is our sweet and gentle Lucy, the American Bulldog we inherited from our daughter Cathie. Lucy has been with us since July because Cathie's apartment complex doesn't allow dogs her size (Lucy is 66 Lbs of canine love). Dogs and football have been of interest to me for a long time and I even stated so in the description of JD's Blahs right from the start. Lucy has bone cancer. She's had six cancers now in various locations and of various types but the latest biopsy of a lump on her forehead is classified as osteosarcoma. Neither surgery nor radiation treatments would be possible due to the location. Chemotherapy might extend her life but probably not by a whole lot and, I'm sad to say, very very expensive. It's tough to bring money into the equation about a family member we love, but after all is said and done, Lucy, our sweet sweet Lucy, is a dog. Extending her life would be for us, not for her. We have pain pills and steroids, and glaucoma eye drops that we will continue to administer to make sure she does not suffer for as long as she survives. But when the time comes we will have to say goodbye and let her go. In the meantime she continues to wag her tail like a whip (Lucy-Goosey shake that caboosey!), loves to take walks, sniff around in the grass, perk her ears up when she sees another dog, growl at cats, and manipulates her domestic staff (us) to give her treats.

There are other things I think about when I'm not thinking about much of anything but football and dogs are currently at the top of my "favorite subjects" chart, right along with genealogy and wondering when and where the next chocolate chip cookie with nuts is coming from. Pretty soon the Presidential election campaigns will start heating up so I'm sure that will start moving up the chart as well.  In the meantime, I'm trying not to think about much of anything except getting older and trying not to smell that way.