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27 minutes

Some gentlemen of a certain age read this zine, so let me ask a delicate question: Does your pee come out wrong, like mine does?

#133

Sunday,
April 24, 2022


When I urinate standing up, from my vantage point it seems to be coming out on target, but about 10% of the time a side-spurt is also coming out, usually to the right side, and splashing onto my pants. I can't see it, though — my belly blocks my view — so I don't know it until I'm done peeing, and discover my pants are wet.

This has happened often enough, I now wear black britches instead of gray when I'm not at home, almost pervy-straddle any public urinal I'm using, and I'm considering carrying a small funnel in my backpack.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

I'd missed my bus, and it's a route that runs only twice hourly, leaving me with an unexpected half-hour. That's when fish'n'chips occurred to me. Just a few blocks from the bus stop, there's an Ivar's, the local chain that sells excellent fish'n'chips at painfully high prices.

My bus was due in (checks watch) 27 minutes. Would that be enough time to walk to Ivar's, place my order, eat my food, and get back to the bus stop? Fast food for lunch, but it would have to actually be fast

It took four minutes to walk to Ivar's, and then three minutes waiting in line to order.

"Large fish'n'chips," I said, "and a Diet Coke. For here."

"Is that for here or to go?"

"Here," I said again. Three or four precious seconds, wasted...

An employee took my money and handed me an empty cup. Oh, so this is one of those places where you gotta pour your own drink...

Then I saw that they have a newfangled mix-your-own-Coke machine, with a thousand different flavor combinations — and I frickin' hate those machines. Only one customer at a time can pour, and there's always only one machine, so it's always slow, and people don't know how to use it or they want to experiment, so it's always sticky, and anyway, who really needs a chocolate-orange-strawberry-vanilla Coke?

I was third in line to use the drink machine. Time ticked on, as somebody's grandmother studied the screen and then slowly pushed several buttons, making her way through the maze of soda options.

Next was a high school kid who wanted, apparently, one ounce of everything all mixed together. He tasted his concoction, didn't like it, and poured it out, then filled his cup with 10 something elses instead. He took a taste of that, dumped it again, pushed more buttons, and finally walked away with a cup of disgusting.

At last it was my turn at the machine. Eighteen minutes remained, but this should be quick, right? Diet Coke is not a complicated pour, but — Diet Coke wasn't listed on the screen. I went back to the "home page" and poked through the endless selections again, but still found no option for Diet Coke, or diet anything. The word "diet" wasn't there.

Maybe it's silly, because I am profoundly fat and not particularly losing weight, but I don't like the taste of syrupy fake-sugary sodas, and I was not going to drink a full-power soda. I poked through the selections a third time, disbelieving. How could they have so many options, and none of them are diet? Ain't this America, damn it?

I harrumphed back to the counter, where there was only one employee, but she was talking to another customer. Sixteen minutes remained. I knocked on the counter three times and shouted, "Yo!"

Luckily, a manager emerged, or at least he was someone who looked like an adult and was wearing a necktie. He said, "Yes, sir?"

"Diet Coke. Diet anything. The machine has no diet drinks."

"Oh," he said, but it sounded like a knowledgeable "oh," not a stupid "oh," and he added, "Just a minute." Then he disappeared. The clock ticked on. 

After an agonizingly long minute, he returned, and we walked to the machine. He started punching at its buttons. Watching over his shoulder, it became clear that this was not merely a drink machine — it was a computer. He was pushing buttons quicker than I could follow along, reprogramming its soda software.

"71," a pimply boy voice shouted from behind the counter, and that was me — order number 71. With thirteen minutes remaining, my fish'n'chips was ready. I walked to the counter, took my meal from Mr Pimples, even said "Thank you," and returned to the pop machine. Mr Manager was still poking at its buttons, and I was no longer first in line.

I needed four minutes to get back to the bus stop, so in reality I had just nine minutes to eat my steaming hot cod and potatoes, but no Diet Coke to slosh it around with. Manager man was still punching buttons on the machine, but then he said, "Now we should have Diet Coke, but the machine needs to reboot first."

Twelve minutes to go, I was second in line for a Diet Coke that needed to reboot. Then the manager said, "Crap," as an error message flashed on the screen. The reboot had failed.

When I'd gotten my fish'n'chips at the counter, though, I'd noticed that behind the cash register was a cooler with a glass window, and behind that window many cans of pop were visible. Ah, of course — if I'd ordered my meal "to go" instead of for "here" they would've sold me a can of pop instead of making me wait for this malfunctioning machine.

Back to the counter I walked, but the girl who'd taken my order was taking someone else's order, the kid who'd handed me my food was gone, manager man was still hovering over the machine, there was no-one else, and time was running out.

"Fuck it," I muttered under my breath, as I lifted the gateway, and walked behind the counter.

"Hey, you can't—" someone said, but the hell I can't. I slid the fridge's glass door open, grabbed a can of whatever cheap generic diet cola they sell at the drive-thru, came back to the dining room, and walked toward the next machine, the device that squirts out ketchup and tartar sauce. It's not computerized, so it simply worked.

Ten minutes remained, of which four would be needed to walk to my bus stop. As I headed for a table, passing the manager, who was still struggling with the drink machine, he saw the can on my tray and said, "Did you pay for that?"

Which had to be the dumbest question of a dumb afternoon.

"I paid for that," I said, pointing at the soda machine with my middle finger, "so it seems like a fair trade."

With speedy chewing and quick swallows, I inhaled a large order of hot, greasy fish'n'chips washed away with a can of pop in less than six minutes, but it was food so fast there was no joy in it. Then without even clearing my table or tossing my trash, I walked briskly, and made it to the bus stop with 40 seconds to spare.

It didn't matter, though. The bus was ten minutes late anyway.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

And now, my internet history from this morning…  

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Florida Guv DeSantis signs bill removing Disney's 'special' tax and regulatory advantages 

Love it, but DeSantis as always doesn't know what he's doing.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Neil Diamond sang "Sweet Caroline" when and where it was needed

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Biden quits the COVID fight 

♦ ♦ ♦  

I opened the world’s largest penis museum 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...
climate
copscopscops
QAnonsense
RepublicansRepublicans

♦ ♦ ♦

 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


    
         
 

♦ ♦ ♦

When I was young, the notion of space travel fascinated me. Now I'm just glad we're not seeking out new life and new civilizations. Everything humans touch turns to disaster, and in practice the "prime directive" is to destroy anything, everything, if it adds 0.7¢ to the bottom line. The real Star Trek would be interplanetary obliteration.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

The End
Kathryn Hays

4/24/2022 
 
Cranky Old Man
is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
 
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
 
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...

35 comments:

  1. Frank Zappa d. 1993:

    "All the good music’s already been written by people with wigs and stuff on."



    Warren Zevon, written 2002, d. 2003:

    KEEP ME IN YOUR HEART
    BY WARREN ZEVON

    Shadows are fallin' and I'm runnin' out of breath
    Keep me in your heart for a while
    If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
    Keep me in your heart for a while

    When you get up in the mornin' and you see that crazy sun
    Keep me in your heart for a while
    There's a train leavin' nightly called "When All is Said and Done"
    Keep me in your heart for a while
    Keep me in your heart for a while
    Keep me in your heart for a while

    Sometimes when you're doin' simple things around the house
    Maybe you'll think of me and smile
    You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
    Keep me in your heart for a while

    Hold me in your thoughts
    Take me to your dreams
    Touch me as I fall into view
    When the winter comes
    Keep the fires lit
    And I will be right next to you

    Engine driver's headed north up to Pleasant Stream
    Keep me in your heart for a while
    These wheels keep turnin' but they're runnin' out of steam
    Keep me in your heart for a while
    Keep me in your heart for a while

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's the music if you'd like to sing along. . .

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMTKb-pgxGI

      Delete
    2. Zevon was good, too. That might be the best Zevon, or simply the Zevon I know best, but it's a brain tattoo for me.

      Delete
    3. When I sing along, people leave the room.

      Delete
  2. I haven't had a side-spurt in a while. I'm 15 years younger than you, if it matters. But to be honest, 95 % of my pissing happens when I'm seated and crapping, or pissing into a cup because I'm downstairs and don't want to go up to the bathroom, so I don't see the pee stream.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I LOVE Zappa. Fucking LOVE his music, and about 90% of his values. But he was a consummate prick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're gonna be a prick, I say consummate it.

      Delete
  3. I'm slightly older than you, and use too many commas, but that's not what the question was about.

    As a cardio patient I take a daily medication that makes me piss like a professional pisser for the next several hours. As an ex-smoker/ex-drinker I almost always have a bottle of water at my elbow, although I haven't yet figured out how to drink with my elbow.

    In any case, this combination makes me trot to the bathroom with some frequency for a few hours a day and with only slightly less frequency other hours. I seem to exist to suck in water and deposit it in the bathroom, occasionally all over the bathroom.

    And, yes, I also have the belly problem. I've not seen my penis for years, but given the occasional cleanup on aisle 1, 2 and 3 in the bathroom, I'd say I'm dealing with some random direction squirting. If this appears in a medical journal, please put a mask on my penis. There's no reason I should be embarrassed, but I occasionally am. I even feel embarrassed writing about it, but I assume the research is scientific in nature, and any inquiry that doesn't involve Qanon could help future generations of pissers and might be worthwhile.

    jtb

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    Replies
    1. I pee every two hours around the clock, and I'm curious about that medicine that makes you Niagara. I might want to find your pills on the black market, if it means you can go a little longer between pees after taking the daily dose.

      As for the sideways problem, it's like the tip of the tube gets clogged. So by habit I now massage the tip so much I'm glad for urinal dividers, but still, why, just this morning, gave it a five-second rubdown and still I got three streams at once.

      Delete
    2. When I have time, likely tonight or tomorrow night, I'll tell the story about my 3-way pee when I was diagnosed with kidney stones when I was 19. It was a week-long party with nurses, cigarettes and pudding. Don't miss it.

      John

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    3. For tonight or tomorrow's story from you, I have anticipation like Heinz katchup, man.

      I confuse kidney stones and gallstones, and don't remember which I had, but it was the most painful thing in my life, not counting a slap in the face from a girl named Rita.

      Delete
    4. Kidney stones come from the kidney and, if you're lucky, pass quickly through normal channels to the penis and shoot out with your urine. They hurt like hell. Gallstones, unlike kidney stones, is one word. Also, the stones are in the gall bladder, and, if you're lucky, pass into the bile ducts and then into the small bowel and are passed with your stool.

      When one or both don't pass, it depends what year it is. If it's 1969, see my comment later on tonight or so. If it's now, I think they still use Lithotripsy treatment for kidney stones, which involves playing "Tom Sawyer" by Rush at top volume with one high-powered speaker placed right behind the affected kidney. If it's gallstones they usually hyphenate your gall bladder. I wouldn't count on any of this as medical advice, but I think some of it might be truish, but will have to do until the bastards show up with your Internet connection. Where the hell are they?

      jtb

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    5. . . . and I heard that Rita claimed that she could generate enough vacuum to draw the kidney stone all the way through the complex tubing system and out the penis. I wouldn't count on it, but there are worse ways to die. Hell, there are worse ways to live.

      jtb

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    6. They I had kidney stones, and like just about every other visit to the ER, the doctors did nothing for me. Well, they gave me pain pills, which I appreciated, but I had black market pain pills at home. They gave me a filter thing, like for making tea, and told me to pee into it and nowhere else, so it could trap the stone if it passed. It trapped something, and per doc's instructions I took it in, but the test said whatever I passed wasn't a stone. Never had any further issues, though.

      Doctors don't know a lot of what they think they know.

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    7. Rita was a good girl, and I deserved the slap, but she soon married poorly. I wish her well, but it's probably too late...

      Delete
    8. The new comment software still has a few bugs but you probably already noticed. How hospitals have dealt with kidney stones really does depend on what year it is/was.

      And I will be back tomorrow with my kidney stone story, but it's 0500 and I just got home. Shit, I better make it good.

      John

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    9. Bugs in the software? It would not surprise me. It *does* seem to be a *slight* improvement over the previous commenting software, but none of it's rocket science in 2022 and Google should be the best at such things, not the worst.

      I shall cheerfully accept your kidney stone whenever you pass it.

      Delete
    10. Every time I enter my ID which is every time I comment, the software takes me to Wordle, which doesn't accept comments. My best score is 7. That sounds high.

      jtb

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    11. I hope you're kidding and the software isn't really commingled with Wordle...

      Delete
    12. I'm kidding. It's worse than that. When I'm challenged to enter my Google ID, I enter the ID and the software takes me to some random place, occasionally to the top of the most recent post, but never back to where I was when I was challenged. I have to find my way back, but when I do get there my ID has been accepted and my blank comment is awaiting me. I have no idea why I'm explaining this to you, Doug. It's not like you can just get your pliers out and fix it. It's a corporate problem, but when I elucidate the problem it sounds like I'm blaming you for software that you didn't develop. I'll see those bastards in Mountain View in hell.

      jtb

      By the way, I've never played Wuddle. It is my ambition to be the last holdout on English-speaking Earth.

      Delete
    13. If I could fix it with a screwdriver, I'd probably do it wrong and make it worse instead. I was hoping, though, that when Google rewrote the commenting software they'd FIX IT.

      Believe me, the software here for posting pages is as screwy as the software for posting comments. When posting pages, it's even easier to find your post blanked out, a gotcha that's only gotten me once, because now I paste everything into the site from my word processing software.

      Delete
    14. Furosemide = Lasix . . . use only under a doctor's care unless you're a horse.

      Delete
    15. Lasix is in a category of medicines called loop diuretics. These medicines are used to treat congestive heart failure, kidney disease and some other badass conditions by reducing the amount of water in the bloodstream, thus reducing the amount of work the heart has to do to circulate the blood supply, thus extending the life of the heart, especially if it is in fragile condition (e.g., congestive heart failure). It's a good drug to kid around about, but a bad drug to mess around with if you don't have one or more organs whose useful life will be extended by use of the drug.

      John

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    16. Is that the drug that makes you pee huge amounts, like I saw on Curb Your Enthusiasm? Cuz if so, that's the drug I want, but I'll pass on all the illnesses listed that it's treatment for...

      Delete
  4. For some reason the comment format has changed. I know not why.

    For no reason at all, this song has been kicking around my head all day and I need to get rid of it so I can sleep (it's 0500). So . . .
    Bruce Langhorne, a classical violinist and a folk guitarist had the biggest tambourine anybody had ever seen. He brought it to the recording of Dylan's album "Bringing It All Back Home". Dylan sat down and wrote a song, starting with the tambourine and ending elsewhere. Here are the lyrics. If you've only heard the Byrds version you've missed a little piece of genius.

    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    In the jingle jangle morning I'll come following you

    Though I know that evening's empire has returned into sand
    Vanished from my hand
    Left me blindly here to stand, but still not sleeping
    My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet
    I have no one to meet
    And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming

    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    In the jingle jangle morning I'll come following you

    Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship
    My senses have been stripped
    My hands can't feel to grip
    My toes too numb to step
    Wait only for my boot heels to be wandering
    I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
    Into my own parade
    Cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it

    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    In the jingle jangle morning I'll come following you

    Though you might hear laughing, spinning, swinging madly across the sun
    It's not aimed at anyone
    It's just escaping on the run
    And but for the sky there are no fences facing
    And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
    To your tambourine in time
    It's just a ragged clown behind
    I wouldn't pay it any mind
    It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing

    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    In the jingle jangle morning I'll come following you

    And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
    Down the foggy ruins of time
    Far past the frozen leaves
    The haunted frightened trees
    Out to the windy beach
    Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
    Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
    With one hand waving free
    Silhouetted by the sea
    Circled by the circus sands
    With all memory and fate
    Driven deep beneath the waves
    Let me forget about today until tomorrow

    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
    Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    In the jingle jangle morning I'll come following you

    jtb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He wrote this song about a guy with a big tambourine? I never knew that. Also never knew tambourines came in sizes.

      Delete
    2. No. It's Dylan. Langhorne walked into the recording studio carrying a very large tambourine. Dylan saw the tambourine and started calling Langhorne "Mr. Tambourine Man". That's what he started with. Where the song took him from there had nothing to do with Bruce Langhorne or tambourines. The song is about whatever it's about.

      This all took place in one 14 month period in which Dylan wrote and recorded three remarkable albums, "Bringing It All Back Home", "Highway 61 Revisited", and "Blonde On Blonde", a double album. His muse was whispering lyrics in Dylan's ear and talking fast: one after the other, and Dylan was writing them down on any scrap of paper he could find. Who knows how many came to him that he failed to capture? These three albums are the peak of Dylan's work (along with a one-album slight return ten years later). Then the muse vanished like a fist when you open your hand. Songwriters always want to write Stardust (or their version of Stardust) but most of them, most of the time just write dogshit. Songwriting is a black art.

      Delete
    3. I generally think most people with a reputation the size of Dylan's are 89-95% bullshit, but Mr Dylan is the real thing. Actually deserves some of his accolades. Not sure about the damned Nobel Prize, though, but I felt the same about Obama. And Kissinger, ffs.

      Delete
  5. I keep forgetting that there aren't a million people out here to perform daily inspections and comment on content. So when I think "brilliant entry" it's useful to mention it.

    The story about Ivars and the bus was delicious. I kept reading faster to find out what happened next and had to tell myself to slow down and enjoy the writing. There aren't many writers who do that to me, so, at least in that respect, you're in a subspecies with Dashiell Hammett and Kurt Vonnegut. There were also a few fingerprints of deft editing that I think I saw, but they vanished when I tried to view them directly. Not many people edit THAT well.

    Thanks for capturing a moderately everyday event and burnishing it into a tantalizing story.

    John

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    Replies
    1. It's possible that there are a few readers who are not familiar with Ivar Haglund, either as a radio personality/folksinger or as a restauranteur. His parents were early residents of Seattle, and Ivar was born there. I am unqualified to provide a full bio of Ivar, but I know that in 1938 he opened Seattle's first aquarium on Pier 54, and, with it, a walk-up Clam bar. Eight years later he opened a full-service restaurant, Ivar's Acres of Clams, also on Peir 54.

      I frequently saw Ivar on a children's television show in the 50s and he would usually sing his restaurant's theme song (of course his restaurant had a theme song) "The Old Settler's Song" which is also known by its last three words, "Acres of Clams". Am I going to leave a comment without a song? I doubt it very much.

      Here are the lyrics:

      I've wandered all over this country,
      Prospecting and digging for gold,
      I've tunneled, hydraulicked and cradled,
      And I nearly froze in the cold.
      And I nearly froze in the cold,
      And I nearly froze in the cold,
      I've tunneled, hydraulicked and cradled,
      And I nearly froze in the cold.

      For one who got wealthy by mining,
      I saw many hundreds get poor,
      I made up my mind to go digging,
      For something a little more sure,
      For something a little more sure,
      For something a little more sure.
      I made up my mind to go digging,
      For something a little more sure.

      I rolled up my grub in my blanket,
      I left all my tools on the ground,
      I started one morning to shank it,
      For the country they call Puget Sound,
      For the country they call Puget Sound,
      For the country they call Puget Sound.
      I started one morning to shank it,
      For the country they call Puget Sound.

      No longer a slave of ambition,
      I laugh at the world and its shams,
      And I think of my happy condition,
      Surrounded by Acres of Clams,
      Surrounded by Acres of Clams,
      Surrounded by Acres of Clams.
      And I think of my happy condition,
      Surrounded by Acres of Clams.


      But there's more. Here's what it sounds like. I don't know who's singing it. . . . The photos are of Ivar.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJmfz37W_94

      And one more video. Here's a fairly recent 7-minute bio of Ivar Haglund done by an admiring Seattleite . . . Keep Clam.

      jtb

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-UVw5rOVec

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    2. John, thanks for this. I remember Ivar when he was alive, a colorful character even in black-and-white, sponsoring the annual Fourth of July fireworks and singing in his silly fish'n'chips commercials. I'm a little surprised that Google says his primary claim to fame was singing, not clam chowder. At my rapid lunch a few days ago, I ate under a portrait of Ivar on the wall, but he would not have approved of that soda machine.

      Delete
    3. I heard that song when I was quite young, and I remember liking it, but I forgot that it had a distinct message: forget getting rich; life is short so enjoy yourself.

      I'm not entirely sure that all those Seattleites in all those highrise hives have caught the advice of that message as it has echoed down the years. Ivar made some money, but he never stopped enjoying himself.

      Delete
    4. Also, never stopped making damned fine fish'n'chips.

      Delete
  6. "I am not a number; I am a free man."

    johnthebasket

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I was a number, I'm sure I'd be Number Two.

      Delete

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