Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Please Help

As many of you know, my wife, Regina, and I had the pleasure of hosting an Italian foreign exchange student in 2001. Her name is Lydia and she is a lovely, intelligent young woman whose family owns vacation properties in Tuscany. We hate her.

Regina and I have visited Tuscany several times since and as you can imagine, fell in love with that part of Italy. We have decided to retire in the nearby province of Marche which resembles Tuscanny in almost every way except that property there is cheaper. At least it was until the idiots at the AARP magazine wrote about it being a great place to retire, probably setting off a land rush that will send prices soaring.

As affordable as it is, there is one small problem—it is not affordable enough for Regina and me. Not yet, anyway. That’s where you, our good friends and loyal readers come in. We need for you to save some of your money so we can retire there comfortably in a lifestyle befitting us.

I haven’t figured out exactly how much we will need, but with so many wonderful and generous friends, I’m guessing just a little from each of you will make it possible. I know it isn’t easy to save in these difficult times, but if you think about it, there are countless little items we all spend money on foolishly which we can learn to live without.

Allow me to make a few suggestions that will make it easier for you to make us happy in our old age. Some are no-brainers.

Say, for instance, you’re in your car and one of your grandchildren says, “Granny (or Grampa), can I have an ice cream?” Simply reply to them, “I’d love to darling, but John and Regina need money to retire in Marche.” Not only would you instill valuable self-discipline, but you’ll be fighting the terrible obesity problem facing America’s kids.

If the kid starts whining, you can always slam its little head against the dashboard and tell it to “shut the f&ck up!” Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to when the spoiled brat gets on your nerve and now you have the perfect excuse.

Maybe you’d rather save money for your son’s college education. Let me ask you, did your parents pay for your college education? Did you even get to go to college? Deep down inside, don’t you think with his or grades, the dunce will be lucky to get a job as a Walmart greeter?

Knowing that, wouldn’t it make more sense to say to him, “My dear boy, I know I should help you prepare for your future, but John and Regina need money to retire in Marche.”

Did your daughter find “Mr. Perfect” and now has her heart set on a lovely June wedding that will cost you thousands of dollars. Not a problem. Tell her that the money would be wasted given that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, and besides, “John and Regina need money to retire in Marche.”

She’ll be hurt at first now that you’ve crushed her dreams, but she may as well get used to the feeling of life kicking her in the teeth. Buy her a beer to get rid of the taste and send the rest of the money to us.

Here’s another easy way to save money for us. Let’s say you’re sitting in church and they’re passing the plate around. You could make a divine contribution to the Lord but you wouldn’t really know where the money went, would you? God can print his own money if he wants. So ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” I think he’d say, “Blessed are those who give to John and Regina so they can retire in Marche.”

Do you need to save money for an expensive operation to replace the fading battery in your husband’s pacemaker? Poor fellow, he’s looking shallow and sickly and needs to get to the hospital soon. But whose fault is that? Not mine. Besides, you know his pacemaker would still be charged if he didn’t watch online porn that causes his heart rate to accelerate.

The no-good bum isn’t deserving of your hard-earned dollars, so go ahead and tell him, “I’d like to help you pal, but John and Regina need money to retire in Marche.”

On the other hand, fellas, if your wife tells you she needs money for a breast enhancement operation, I understand perfectly. Keep your dough.

Maybe you’ll find yourself in a bar with me and Regina and a bunch of our friends watching my good buddy Dave Hutchins perform and suddenly get the urge to leave him a generous tip. Sure, he’s worked his butt off, but trust me, he’ll understand perfectly if instead you just pat him on the back and say, “Great show, Dave, but John and Regina need money to retire in Marche.”

God forbid if your poor little pooch “Fluffy” swallows a sharp object and needs to go to the vet immediately. My heart goes out to you, but vet bills are getting ridiculous and you don’t feel like getting off the couch anyway. You have to admit, the dog does sound funny when it hacks uncontrollably.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just look at its sad brown eyes and say, “Sorry, sweetie, but John and Regina need the money to go to Marche.” In this case, your little four-legged friend won’t understand a word your saying but say it anyway. You’ll feel better. And, to save expenses on euthanasia, feel free to park in my driveway and take the dog into the woods in Otis. A coyote should get to it in no time.

There you have it, a bunch of easy ways to set aside money so that Regina and I can retire comfortably in Marche. If you’re asking yourself, “Why can’t I retire in Marche?” you just can’t, that’s all. We found it first. Besides, you really wouldn’t want to live next a bunch of mooching slobs like us anyway.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


You were in my dreams last night. Yes, you. Pretty weird, huh?

Creepy, too. I don’t even know you that well, or at least well enough that you have any right to crawl into my head while I’m sleeping.

You probably thought it was only other people who showed up in your dreams uninvited. You know how it goes. You have a dream where someone from your past unexpectedly takes a leading role and you wake up in the morning and say to your partner, “You wouldn’t believe it but I had a dream with so and so in it. Don’t ask me why he/she was in my dreams last night, but they were.”

“Oh really, that’s odd,” your partner casually remarks, which is all they can do because that same night they were having a sex dream of their own and you were nowhere in it.

Well, you were in my dream last night and let me tell you, you were having a bad hair day.

Here I was, minding my own business trying to take a leak in some strange bathroom and next thing you know, you’re standing there looking at me. Now I can’t piss.

“Get the hell away from me,” I tell you, but it doesn’t matter. You start talking nonsense about something that happened years ago that I’m not even certain really happened. Then I find out we work together at a job I didn’t know I had and everybody else in the dream treats you like you’re our supervisor.

To me you’re just a middle of the night gate crasher who’s watching me trying to relieve myself. Sorry, I can’t wait for lunch or break time. I gotta go NOW.

Suddenly, you’re not only having a bad hair day but your head is starting to look weird, as in big and somewhat misshapen. Worse, your clothes don’t match because you’re mixing plaids and stripes. What are you, some kind of idiot?

And here you thought you were a normal person minding your own business and living a normal life. Not in my dreams you aren’t. This is what nightmares are made of. And who knows how you behave in other peoples’ dreams. They’re probably too embarrassed to tell you.

There’s nothing normal about you eyeing me in the john and then introducing me to your dog who is as big as a horse or is it a horse the size of a dog? Where did that thing come from? And why do I get the feeling its reading my mind? Don’t tell me the fucker speaks Serbian too.

"Get screwed,” I say, but you insist on setting up house in my head. I guess you knew I had horses so this was you’re way of trying to buddy up to me, but you’re only making me feel very, very uncomfortable.

So my dream goes on, me trying to figure out this new job I didn’t know I had and having to piss (where the hell did that bathroom go?), your dog/horse thingie looking like he wants to tell me a secret and you with your lumpy skull chatting with our coworkers. I’ve got to hand it to you though, you look like you know what you’re doing at your job, whatever it is. At least you’re not naked; not yet anyway.

You complain that I often show up for work late and that makes me nervous, but whose fault is it? I didn’t even know I work here.

Then it happens. Now you’re standing next to me, way too close in fact, and you’re only in your underwear. To you it all seems perfectly normal. Do you really know what you look practically naked? No, you don’t. Not in dreamland.

Your head doesn’t seem quite as lumpy as it did a while ago but the rest of you, YECH! Lumpy in all the wrong places. Another thing: did you just have a sex change in, say, the last minute or so? I can’t say for sure what sex you are anymore, but you don’t seem to mind and neither does anyone around us. So why do I feel like I’m the weirdo here?

Do you do this to other people you’ve met? Do you like prowling around like a ghost at night, creeping into peoples’ dreams? Oh, another thing. I’m in real estate and things are slow. Are you looking to buy or sell a house? One with good blinds or shades on the windows? No phony dream money, please.

Finally, you start to fade and become nothing that a good cup of coffee would take care of in the morning. By the way, I told my wife, Regina, about you being in my dream.

“Oh really, that’s odd,” she said.