Learning techniques

“Have you ever noticed that when you get older you get more aches and pains, Wolf?”

“How trite, Minnie. Aging is painful. Suicide is painless.”

“Have you been watching old Mash reruns again?”

“Actually, Minnie, I don’t watch TV. I listen. I grew up in the age of radios. I used to listen to hockey games in Minnesota on the radio. My imagination went wild, as I listened to the skates whizzing across the ice, the body slams and teeth tinkling on the ice after a glorious fight.”

“So you are an audio person, eh, Wolf? You get your kicks out of listening. For me, there is nothing like visual media. I like to watch.”

“For once, Minnie. You make sense. Yes, we all have our preference when it comes to titillation. How do we learn? Some by watching, some by doing and some by listening.”

“So what’s so great about listening?”

“It takes an enormous amount of self discipline to listen, Minnie. Most of us want to express our opinion, and can’t wait til we get our chance to talk. For me, I listen, learn and remember.”

“You can’t possibly hang on to that theory in this age of entertainment. Nobody listens. The modern human wants action, excitement, over the top gratification. People like you are becoming extinct.”

“Yup. I am a dinosaur. I find that listening to others is fascinating. I guess that’s why I love my job, in customer service. I never see or meet the people that I talk to every week. But I feel I know them, and as goofy as it may seem, I love them.”

“Boulder dash. How can you know someone you have never met?”

“Tone, Minnie. I have a sixth sense when it comes to tone. I know who is satisfied, who is angry, who is confused and who feels that someone cares.”

“I wonder if you would feel the same way if you had to meet face to face with these people. Would you have the same sense of achievement?”

“Good question. I doubt it. When you click with someone, you have an imaginary picture in your head. You envision who that person is. But sometimes, when you meet face to face, you are disillusioned. You look at the person and say, “Wow. You don’t look like you sound.” I would rather remain on a higher level. Equals. No holds barred. It doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 55. It doesn’t matter if you are beautiful or homely. It only matters that you listen to one another and care.”

“Just one question, Wolf. How can you enjoy a TV program, without watching it? Don’t you ever wonder what the heck the people look like, while you sit at the computer, writing your stories, listening to the TV, and never seeing the interaction?”

“Well, the other night I decided to watch TV. I tuned in to the Nancy Grace show. Let me tell you Minnie. Never again.”


There’s a blue moon in my eye

“Well, was it any better today?”

“Than what, Minnie?”


“Ahhh. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.”

“Not another night of puzzling quotes. Say it isn’t so.”

“You should not ask questions that provoke my ilk.”

“Ilk? I swear you have no social skills. What the hell are you talking about?”

“Do you know how many words end in ilk? Milk, bilk, silk, and of course, ilk.”

“Ok, Wolf. Getting back to reality, how was your day?”

“I had a rather uneventful day, until I left the bar. I had not realized that the weather had turned quite nasty. You know Minnie, those weather people are consistently wrong. They said rain was on the horizon. Wrong again. The sleet was ferocious.”

“You really should monitor the weather Wolf. You constantly put yourself in harm’s way.”

“I have decided, Minnie, that the weather should have no bearing on my decisions. To drink or not to drink, that is the question.”

“Since when was not to drink the question?”

“I woke up this morning, and got myself a gun.”

“No, Wolf. The Sopranos are no longer on TV. Everyone knows Tony got whacked. Furthermore, there’s a blue moon in your eye.”

“Naw. That’s just a floater. Anyway, Minnie. Tomorrow is Wednesday.”

“Brilliant Wolf. Just amazing that you continue to know the days of the week.”

“Did you know that the Chinese have signs for every year? This is the year of the snake. I have signs for the days of the week.”

“Sure you do.”

“Monday is the day of Miller high light. Tuesday, the day of tequila. Wednesday, the wild and wacky day of wine, or for old hippies, weed. Thursday, the the thirstiest day of the week, is open to the beverage of your choice, and Friday, the best day of all: Free for all. Fire in the hole.”

“What about Saturday and Sunday? I suppose that is Sangria.”

“No way, Minnie. I hate sweet endings to the week. Suck, swizzle and swoon over Shiraz.”

“Isn’t there a day you don’t think about drinking?”

“Well, I am on the fence about Wednesday. Should I or shouldn’t I?”

“You mean wine? That is powerful. Congratulations, Wolf. Wednesday must be your day of reckoning.”

“Yeah. I am torn.”

“Between what?”

“Do I want to wake up with a hang over? Or the possibility of a pee test?”

“You aren’t going there, Wolf, are you?”

“Yeah. I think I am. Hey Minnie, the next time you pee, can you save it?”


Dragging my ass around

“May I ask, Wolf? How did your workweek begin? I hope on a positive note.”

“Like an old broken record, Minnie. Slowly I turned. Step by step….”

“Oh boy. Nothing too exciting, eh?”

“It was strangely reminiscent of every other Monday. You know I never set an alarm. I tell my brain when to wake up. Well, I must have killed off too many brain cells over the weekend and the damn thing kept waking me up every hour, from 2am on. Until, of course, it was 6am. Then it shut down and I fell sound asleep. Once I realized I was running late, I jumped in the shower and forgot to check the water temperature. Ice cold. I didn’t have time to completely dry my hair and it stuck straight up all day, just like a porcupine on crack.”

“Yeah, I see that.”

“Shut up Minnie. From there, the day went downhill.”

“Like what?”

“Have you ever had vendor machine coffee, Minnie? Weasel piss. And those cups: Geez, they are so damn hot. I burned the palm of my hands carrying it into the office. Burned hands, bad hair and a computer with a blue screen.”

“Did the day get any better?”

“No. My phone rang and I picked up my banana and put it to my ear and couldn’t hear a damn thing. All I could say was, “What the hell? This phone smells just like a banana.”

“And this is typical of every Monday?”

“Wait. I was hungry as a bear for lunch and went to the pizza place and brought back 2 slices. They burned the little thingy in my mouth. You know, the thingy that hangs down, just behind your front teeth. Now I had a burnt thing, a blue screen, a raw hand and a hair do that would scare little kids, not to mention, my co-workers.”

“Settle down, Wolf. You seem to have survived.”

“At 5 oclock, I got the hell out of there and stopped for a quickie. You know, to settle my nerves. The bartender took one look at me and laughed. She said, “Bad day, Sweetie?” I hate it when bartenders laugh at me. The nerve of her. After a few belts, I said, “Excuse me Sweetie, but just what did you mean by asking me if I had had a bad day?” She laughed and said, “Well, sorry, but you sure look like something the cat dragged in.”

“Well, I hate to mention it, but the cat did drag something in tonight, besides you.”

“Now what?”

“A pair of your panty hose.”

“What the hell? I wondered where I lost them. Where did he find them?”

“He wouldn’t say. But I did notice that he greeted you when you came home. As soon as you got out of the car, he noticed them dragging behind you. I guess they were still in your pants when you put them on this morning.”

“You mean I have been dragging my panty hose around all day?”

“Yeah. And by the way, what’s with the toilet paper dragging behind you?”



“I wonder why February has only 28 days, Minnie.”

“Everyone knows that: It’s the most miserable month of the year. So, it was made shorter so we wouldn’t have to bear the indignity of the brutality of winter for 30 days.”

“I highly doubt your theory, Minnie. You are full of beans, as usual.”

“Ok, smarty pants, I have one for you: Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“That depends. It could have been a seeing eye chicken, and he was leading a disabled person across the road. Or perhaps it was a humane chicken who was helping an old lady, like you, across the road. Or the chicken may have stopped at the local pub for a beer and had to cross it to get home.”

“Ridiculous. The chicken crossed the road because it was his fate.”

“Chickens don’t have fate.”

“Yes they do. Turkeys do too. Turkeys hate November.”

“Then explain this: Why do cats have 9 lives?”

“Cats are 9 times smarter than turkeys.”

“Not my cat. All he does is sleep, eat and play.”

“What’s not smart about that? He doesn’t have to get up every wintry day and drive to work. He doesn’t have to worry about November. And he doesn’t give a damn about anything except his comfort.”

“Cats are hedonistic.”

“The way I see it, Wolf, is that cats take on the personality of their owners. Your cat is completely spoiled, is so lazy, he won’t even chase a mouse, and is very picky about what he eats.

“Well, take a look at him. He was out last night, fighting again. All banged up. Ear half chewed up. He has this obnoxious grandiosity that defies reason.”

“If I recall, you went out last night, right?”

“Yeah? So?”

“When you stumbled in, you looked worse than the cat. And your grandiosity was over the top.”

“That’s because I had to cross the road, with the chicken, who happened to be drunk as a skunk.”

“What happened?”

“The damn chicken was a skunk in disguise. Thank God the cat saw us, and got in a fight.”

“The cat fought with a skunk? Did he get sprayed?”

“No, like I said, the skunk was drunk, and couldn’t perform.”

“Then what’s with the grandiose thinking?”

“The cat and I did a high five and crossed back over the road. I bought him a drink to celebrate.”

“I don’t get it.”

“He lost his 9th life, defied the odds. I had to toast to the old chewed up boy. He broke the world cat record.”

“Then why is he moping around today?”

“He got blackballed from the pub.”


“For fighting.”


That’s me in the spotlight

“Are you still in your pajamas, Wolf? You remind me of that old country song, Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.”

“Knock it off, girl. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”

“Why are you sitting in the corner?”

“I am losing my religion.”

“I find it hard to imagine that you haven’t done a damn thing today.”

“Imagine? It’s not hard to do.”

“Quit trying to be funny. You aren’t.”

“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.”

“Are you drinking wine again?”

“Why? Do you want to drink? Do you want to party?”

“It is appalling. Your mother and your teachers would never believe you turned into a complete asshole.”

“Mothers? Be good to your daughters. Teachers! Leave those kids alone.”

“Don’t you worry about your future? Just what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“If I were a sculptor, but then again, no.”

“I give up, Wolf. You look like you are half in the bag.”

“Ah, Minnie, Yours are the sweetest eyes I have ever seen.”

“Excuse me Wolf, but you are spaced out.”

“Yeah, I am burning out my fuse out there alone.”

“Stoned. That’s what you are. What the hell? I thought you were taking me out for dinner.”

“Sorry, Minnie, the Moocher. Dream on.”

“Can you please make one sensible comment?”

“Of course. I need weed. Come on, Baby, light my fire.”


Conniving cougar

“The weekend is here, Minnie. I survived another week of the brutal winter of our discontent.”

“Not so fast, Wolf. We are in for another night of freezing rain and ice and all that kind of stuff.”

“What a shame. Beaver was planning to go out clubbing, E had a pickup planned, Oscar had serious intentions to seduce her husband after a romantic dinner, and Gina Lola was going out for a hot date.”

“What the hell, Wolf? Those kids don’t mind a little black ice and slick roads. Only old people commiserate over the weather.”

“Speak for yourself. As a conniving cougar, I am well prepared. A case of wine, a case of beer and a pizza. And…. a box of tasty cakes.”

“Why don’t you follow the lead of one of your former cronies? Look at Niki. She is tobacco and alcohol free. She has buried her addictions and is now a free bird.”

“Good for her. I mean, what the hell is wrong with her? Poor thing. Ever since she moved to Baltimore, she has sworn off her desire for the finer things in life, like bananas.”

“Give credit where it is due.”

“Excuse me, my dear, but I am not a judgmental person. To each his own. And all that jazz. I have made my choices and for this weekend, at least, I am taking Pat’s advice.”

“And just what is that?”

“When you’re hungry, eat grapes. When you’re thirsty, drink grapes. And when your basic needs are met, you won’t give a damn about the weather.”

“You mean that Pat’s basic needs are satisfied with grapes?”

“Well….not all of them. She has another basic need that grapes can’t touch.”

“What’s that?”

“The Midwest water project.”


18 inches and counting

“I am astonished, Minnie. It was a relatively quiet day at work.”

“Well, well, well. How about that? Nothing too wild, eh?”

“Only Carl. We can’t wear jeans tomorrow. We have visitors. So Carl said he was gonna wear a kilt. And Pat said she was bringing her ruler, to measure….”

“She didn’t!!”

“Wait a minute. To measure the length of his kilt. No skirts can be more than 2 inches above the knee. Well, we all thought she was bringing the ruler to measure something else. You know, guys don’t wear anything under their kilts.”

“Oh for crazy.”

“Yeah, and then Carl said she better bring an 18 inch ruler.”

“Do you really believe that Carl has 18 inches?”

“Nobody really knows, but we will find out tomorrow.”

“Well, tomorrow is Friday, and you will have another week under your belt.”

“Under my belt? What kind of nonsense is that? Who has anything under their belts, unless, of course, you are Carl.”

“Does anyone have valid proof of Carl’s so called ultimate manhood?”

“I have seen him in his baseball uniform. Does that count?”

“Is Carl the only young male in Customer Service?”

“Yes. I mean, no. There is Scotty.”


“Don’t ask, don’t tell, Minnie.”

“It seems that you girls must have some intimate knowledge of Carl’s extraordinary attributes.”

“Yes, that we do.”

“I knew it!! And just how do you know?”

“Carl told us.”


Hunker down

“Whoa, Wolf, it is brutally cold tonight. The winds are fierce.”

“Yeah, so what? It is February, one of the most miserable months of the year. You have to rise above it, girl, and hunker down, think positive, warm thoughts, and save your money to pay for the next oil delivery.”

“I thought January was the coldest month of the year. I was wrong. And now there is ice, snow, and sleet on the way for the weekend.”

“That is the least of my worries, Minnie. Look at our cat. He was out again last night, fighting his ass off. His face is blown up and his right ear is chewed off. What the hell is that all about?”

“He used to be king of the cats, but now, he is getting his ass whooped. I guess age has something to do with it.”

“We should learn from this, Minnie. Cats age. And as they grow old, they get grandiose ideas, and they think they are still Ali. But, in fact, they have turned into Garfield.”

“Garfield? I thought it was Holyfield.”

“Same principle. We all get puffed up and when we can’t win, we chew ears off, like Mike Tyson did.”

“I didn’t know you were into boxing.”

“Cats, boxing, ears, it’s all the same. We lose something when our youth dwindles.”

“What’s this got to do with the cold bitter weather?”

“It’s all about the seasons of our lives. We change as we grow older. Look at me, for example. I was once a puma. Now, I am a cougar. Our cat used to be the terror of the neighborhood, now he is pussy whipped. And you were once a normal human being. Now you are a blue haired Marge Simpson.”

“So what does an aging feline or human have to look forward to, Wolf?”

“Like I said, girl friend, hunker down, pay for the oil, and quit biting ears.”

“That’s it? Is that all there is?”

“Almost. I forgot to mention one thing: Stock up on wine before the weekend. It’s gonna be brutal.”


Classic rocks

“How can this happen? Raining at work. Driving home. The closer I got, the rain had turned to snow. By the time I was 3 miles from home, I started reciting Robert Frost’s poem, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have miles to go before I sleep.”

“Kinda reminds me of that old Auld Lang Syne song, Wolf. You know the one where the snow had turned to rain.”

“You goof. The rain had turned to snow. It was more like Meatloaf’s song, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.”

“Whatever, but you made it home, intact. Sort of. You do appear to be quite disheveled.”

“I am loaded, Minnie. I slid into the pub’s parking lot and had to stop to calm my nerves.”

“What the hell happened to you today? Another bad one?”

“You would not believe it, Minnie. I was eating crackers out of my chicken in a biscuit box, and I popped what I thought was a cracker in my mouth, and it turned out to be my beaver.”

“What the hell?”

“My ceramic beaver, Minnie. It had fallen into the box. I swear it was fate. My beaver was turning into a chicken butt.”

“Sorry, I really can’t comprehend what you are saying.”

“Haven’t you ever had an out of the box experience, Minnie? My beaver was trying to tell me something, very deep and very foreboding.”

“You are such a drama queen. How can a ceramic beaver predict anything?”

“You have never had a beaver, have you Minnie?”

“That question doesn’t even deserve an answer. You should really quell your outrageous outbursts. Some of your questions have dubious meanings.”

“Hey, wait a minute, now, Minnie. I was just saying that my beaver ended up in a chicken biscuit box, attempting to enter my psyche, to let me know that a dangerous situation was at hand.”

“Please. What dangerous situation?”

“To look before you leap.”


“I could have swallowed my beaver, Minnie. And then I would have beaver stones, in addition to my kidney stones.”

“My advice to you Wolf, is to stop focusing on stones. It is getting to be an obsession with you.”

“How can you say that Minnie? You don’t know what its like to be me.”

“Are we back to those old rock songs again Wolf?”

“Did I ever tell you? I met a gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis.”


Ice and winds and snow, oh my.

“Well, Minnie, I see you survived without power today. Damn winds.”

“I was so cold, Wolf, those winds were howling and I was shivering, and I am so sorry, but I had to drink a bottle of your wine, just to warm up.”

“What time did the lights go on?”

“Hell, I don’t know. After I drank that wine, I fell asleep and woke up to a blaring TV.”

“Cheer up Minnie. Tomorrow morning we should wake up to a blaring ice storm. And you know what happens when we get ice.”

“Wolf, you better stop at the liquor store and stock up on wine. This weather is killing me.”

“But it does have its positive effects. The wineries are doing a booming business.”

“Do you think we will ever get out of this winter alive?”

“Well, tomorrow is ice, and Wednesday, the winds are back, and after 3 or 4 days without power, you will be a dyed in the wool drunk.”

“Just what I need. A new addiction. And I don’t even like wine.”

“Oh? Then why are you drinking it?”

“I thought I needed nourishment. And since everything in the refrig is suspect, I thought of you. Just what would Wolf do, if she was cold and the lights were off. And bingo! I was drawn to your bottle of wine, like a deranged fruit fly.”

“I am so happy to be an inspiration to you Minnie. But I have to admit, I am deranged, most of the time, and am drawn to the fruit of the grape and the loom.”

“What? Men’s underwear?”

“Yes, Minnie. Tomorrow, when the lights go off, slip on a pair of insulated looms, head for the quilted bed, and swig away.”

“Gee, that sounds cozy.”

“Hell yes. If you want to know the truth, I do that all the time, even when it isn’t winter.”

“Even if the power is on?”

“Who cares, Minnie? We deranged fruit flies know how to find our cozy niche.”

“What niche?”

“We drink to live and live to drink.”