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The Great Outdoors

Lake Tahoe

I just got home from spending a week at a writer’s workshop at South Lake Tahoe, CA.  (Sometimes I write “in Lake Tahoe,” but I understand that while one can be “in” Omaha, Nebraska, one cannot actually be “in” Lake Tahoe unless one wants to get very wet.)  So just about everyone I know who professes a love for the “Great Outdoors” is probably very jealous.  But the whole outdoors thing is virtually wasted on me.  I loved the workshop and being in the cabin in the woods; it’s all very Waldonesque.  But I want to end every sentence with the phrase “if you like that sort of thing” and hastily add “which I don’t.”

Don’t get me wrong (oh, go ahead, it won’t bother me), I have nothing against the out-of-doors per se, if you like that sort of thing, which I don’t.  I just have a few minor complaints and reasons why I prefer to be in-of-doors.

First of all, there are bugs outside. Flying bugs, crawling bugs, spiders (which, I know, are technically not bugs), biting bugs, blood sucking bugs. Mosquitoes and flies and (shudder!) ticks.  Indoors there may be bugs, but you can kill them or pay to have them killed, which I prefer.

Outdoors there is weather.  And it is entirely arbitrary and somewhat whimsical.  Too cold or too hot, depending on the season.  Rain or snow.  Ice and wind.  Tornadoes, hurricanes.  Also forest fires, mudslides, earthquakes and avalanches, which are not weather, but just Mother Nature trying to be funny.  People always tell you “dress in layers,” which is terrific advice for people who are not smart enough to stay inside where the only layers you need are in your lasagna.

In-doors we have air conditioning.  We have heat.  We have cable and wi-fi and streaming videos.  We have books and e-books and newspapers.  We have electricity and lights! We have food and coffee (!!!) and we don’t waste them on trying to “keep warm.”  We have electronic games and e-mail and Facebook and stupid blogs and Twitter.  You can get to some of these things outside, too, but why?  Why are you out there? Did your car break down on your way to something fun to do inside? Going to the movies or a concert or a play or out to eat? Otherwise, I don’t understand. Oh, and one more thing that you weird outdoors people will never fully appreciate, apparently:  indoor plumbing.  Yes, bathrooms! Not outhouses (gross) or just behind a tree somewhere (grosser), but real bathrooms with toilets and hot water and showers and tubs.

So, anyway, kids, take my advice:  don’t go outside no matter what anyone says about it unless the building you are in is on fire.  Stay inside.  Watch TV.  Order delivery.  The phone and the internet are your best friends and they will keep you inside where it is nice and safe and warm.  Just remember two words from your Uncle Ed:  Outside bad.


Ambien Adventures

Kids,  don’t try this at home.  The prescription drug Ambien has been a cause for concern for people for some time now.  People have reported having hallucinations and other side effects.  Abien is normally prescribed as a sleeping pill, usually just to help people who have trouble falling asleep.  As far as I know, this is why my doctor prescribed it for me.  However, Wikipedia, the Internet research tool for people who don’t care if stuff is true or not, says it can be used to treat “some brain disorders,” so maybe there is something they are not telling me.

Be that as it may, this summer I had an Ambien adventure of my own.  I was traveling from Nebraska to Virginia, and I stopped for the night in Breezewood, PA, a town that is famous as an  entrance and exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and nothing else. There’s also a Dunkin’ Donut shop there.

You probably don’t know this, but the town in Nebraska where I used to live did not have even one donut shop for years.  They had a DD, but it burned down and was never rebuilt.  And nothing  else has been able to take hold there. One of those Crispy Creme places tried for awhile but ended up closing down.  Now I ask you:  what kind  of town is it that can’t support one lousey donut shop?

So there I was – in a motel across the street from a Dunkin’ Donuts, which seriously has to be the best donut in the entire world, and I did not give into temptation but took my medicine and went to bed.

That night I dreamed I got into my car and drove across the street and bought a half dozen cake donuts, three of them chocolate covered and three of them plain.  Then, in the dream, I drove back to the motel and proceeded to devour all six of them.  It was a great dream.

The next morning I awoke to find an empty Dunkin Donuts box on the bedside table. In my Abien aided sleep, I had actually gone out to my car, driven  over to the DD, purchased my donuts, driven my car back to the motel, and eaten them.  While I was asleep!  I’m going to have to assume I got dressed and undressed before and after this shopping trip becaue  I don’t remember getting arrested for driving in my underwear.  So, kids, this cautionary tale comes with a moral:  Drugs are bad, just say no, and never eat donuts in your sleep.

Killer Cat Terrorizes Blogger

Take a good look at this beast.  If you see this creature walking around  loose, approach him with extreme caution.   Better yet, inform the local police and avoid this mad killer, if at all possible.  Sure, I can hear what you’re saying– he looks like a sweet, harmless little kitty, probably named Fluffy or Snowball or  something.  But I can tell  you that he is a complete psychopath.  He likes to lay in wait for his next victim  and then spring out of hiding and  attack!!!  He also likes to wait under your desk until you are sitting at your  computer, and then he sneaks up on you  and bites you on your bare feet.  Of course, if you wear shoes all of the time,  this will stop him.  However, since he  also likes to bite the  occasional toe that sticks out from under the covers at night, this wearing shoes idea might  not be the final solution, especially if you don’t sleep by yourself — or if you don’t sleep by yourself,  yet, because you will if you wear shoes to bed.

It doesn’t matter because this horrible little creature will probably laugh his evil cat laugh “MEEE-HAAA HAAA HAAA,” and attack you some  more.  I researched this on the Internet  and the consensus seems to be that the poor animal is suffering from neglect  and just needs more attention from his master.  Fur balls!!  This is  two-for-a-nickel cat psychology that will only end with you covered in scars  from head to foot.

The only way to end this madness is to give the cat the  house or apartment you live in and go live under a bridge somewhere.   Trust me, you will thank me later.  Sleeping under a nice dry bridge has got to  be better than sleeping in shoes or — ouch!! — sleeping next to someone who does. Run for your life!!!