Archive for February, 2010

Goodbye, Dad

I said goodbye to my Dad last night around 7:30. At around 9 in the morning the hospice nurse had said he didn’t have much time left, but she underestimated how much he loved being alive. He fought for every breath he could until the cancer took the last one away from him. He loved everything about his life: his home, his wife, his children. He loved sitting in his easy chair watching a football game. He loved doing volunteer work, helping people out. He especially loved the outdoors. Put a fishing rod in his hands and a lively trout on the line and he simply couldn’t worry about what the rest of the world was doing. Even in his illness he took pleasure where he could; his eyes would light up when I’d arrive with his favorite chocolate-iced doughnut. The best things I know were learned sitting beside him in a freezing duck blind or on a boat trolling for salmon. My greatest triumphs came as he grudgingly doled out three or four dimes after one of our viciously competitive golf games (“That’s a slow putt, Mike; better hit it hard!”) My worst defeat came last night at around 7:30. Goodbye, Dad. Wherever you are, I hope the fish are biting.

Tumescent Camponotus Pennsylvanicus

A significant number of my loyal readers expressed surprise and dismay at my use of the phrase “an ant with a boner” in a recent post. One went so far as to say, “I guess you aren’t really a nice guy after all.” Trust me, dear readers, I am a nice guy. I agonized for hours (well, a few minutes) over that very phrase. It is true that I generally avoid the risqué, but I felt in this case it was essential to the story.

When I first heard this ancient joke about overconfidence, I was probably playing kickball on a grammar school playground. I believe the phrase used was “an ant with a hard-on.” I doubt any of us at the time were even old enough to know what a hard-on was, but it was clearly dirty so we enjoyed it immensely. Just as clearly, it was too crude for my sophisticated blog. Whatever should I call the appendage in question? I remember Steve Martin struggling with an equally perplexing matter: What to call the female mammary organs. Melons? Headlights? Yabahoos? He finally concluded (correctly) that the proper term was “hooters.”

Big JohnsonSure, I could have gone with the clinical term, erection, but that didn’t seem as funny to me. “Big Johnson” seemed pretty funny, but that joke has been worn threadbare by all the T-shirts and other references (even my father used it in a lovely poem he wrote to my mother on Mother’s Day.) “Woody” probably would have worked. “Chubby” might have been too obscure. I’m not particularly fond of the equipment-related references such as “package” or “tool” or even, yes, “equipment.”

In the end, I resorted to the authoritative wisdom of one of my favorite web sites, Not a day goes by without several boner references in that fine entertainment venue. If it’s good enough for Cracked, it’s good enough for me.

That said, I apologize for my shocking incivility, and promise to be more circumspect in the future.