Looking back on it, all my time in isolation has had its upsides, including a bunch of life hacks and new games that can pay big dividends in any future pandemic, snowstorm or hangover. Just in case we end up with a second wave in the fall, or sooner, you’ll want to bookmark this list of new pastimes I discovered while in the hole…
Normally, we’d say, “don’t try these tricks at home,” but not this time. Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to date, just to be safe.
Last year on Fathers Day, we chronicled the missed opportunities among unengaged dads. Next week, we look at a different kind of role model. What kind? Just click here to subscribe and you’ll be the first to know.
In the spring, an old man’s fancy turns to leaving the damned house and complaining about the heat and humidity. And bugs. Now that the nation is reopening, it’s time to review what’s out there and what’s ahead, from the only source you can trust 137% on 73% of the issues.
Of course, we only invite you to subscribe to Dad Writes once per week, and only after you’ve taken the time to read our latest whining. Certainly, you should reward our restraint by clicking here to subscribe, right now!!
Now that pretty much every state is reopening in some way, it’s time for a refresher course on why we should all be dead already. Just in case you were excited about finally getting out of the house…
And don’t get me started on the people who let their dogs lick their hands and faces and then say, “Their mouths are cleaner than ours.” First, it’s not true and, second, even if it was, did you see what they were licking before they licked you? Stop it. Now.
Helpful hints like this are yours at no charge, because you wouldn’t pay anything for them anyway, if only you’ll click here to subscribe to Dad Writes.
WARNING: Crotchety old man at the keyboard this week.
There was a time when I wondered how I might fill my days if I retired. Now, I wish I was back at work so I could get more rest. Why didn’t anyone warn me that retirement is harder to manage than a career?
The first big surprise for most of us is how bad we are at time management. We never really appreciate while we’re working, but our jobs organize our lives for us. They determine the hours we’ll sleep and the hours we’ll be home and what we’ll be doing all week. It feels like a straitjacket at times, but the daily grind creates a structure that holds our lives together.
When we're working, we know the time pressures of doing the laundry and we stick to the schedule. We're more likely to let things slide when we're retired, which is why so many old people wander around all day in sweat pants and World's Best Grandparent T-shirts.
After we've mastered time management, it's on to Latin 201, which is a prerequisite for reading the reports from our MRIs and our CT scans and our blood tests and everything else the medical profession throws at us.
Then we're forced to learn an arcane dialect known as Legalese, a combination of Latin and arrogance invented by attorneys to convince us we need to pay them $500 per hour. Otherwise, how would we know if we’re leaving money to our pet turtles pari passu or per stirpes, or both? Seriously, it’s better to die broke.
Beyond linguistics, retirement demands expert timing to sync with the medical machine. The internist will only see patients on Tuesday from 10 to 4, but the dentist is only in on Wednesdays from 9 to 3, and the pharmacy is closed for a lunch break every day from 1 to 3. Abandon hope, all ye.
Then there’s the issue of insurance, as in Medicare. You need at least two policies from Medicare and one or two more as supplements, depending on your medication needs, and the amount you’ll pay will vary with your income and other factors. It was so much easier when the company picked our insurance and we had to take whatever they gave us.
Yes, I know, the company’s insurance plan rejected 100% of our claims 100% of the time, but at least we didn’t have to shop for all the coverage we weren't getting. It will be much simpler for our kids, of course, since all of them are “independent contractors” who don’t get any insurance at all. How I envy them.
With all these demands on our time, we can’t schedule activities with friends, which is fine because we don’t have any. We put them on the shelf while we were building our careers and now they’ve all dumped us. That’s why we need to spend our free time with the grandkids, who are the only people who aren’t fed up with us by now.
Of course, the other reason we don’t have many friends is that they’re dropping like flies. We retire at exactly the same time our working parts go kaflooey. After a while, hospital visits and funerals are almost a regularly scheduled event.
Meanwhile, it’s damned near impossible to get any sympathy from our still-working brethren as we struggle to fill our days with meaningful, non-medical, non-funereal pursuits. At a social gathering some months ago, a business executive asked me if I was retired. When I said I was, he simply turned around and walked away.
I wanted to chase after him to tell him all the new Latin words I had learned that week, but then I thought better of it. Why cheat him of the opportunity to discover the challenges of retirement all on his own?
One of our favorite Latin words is subscribe, which is what we want you to do by clicking right HERE. Really, what else do you have to do with your time?
Dad Writes celebrates our second anniversary this year by giving our hard-working, overburdened, socially-distant staff the day off. ICYMI, we’re reprising our first post, with the sad knowledge that we don’t need to change a word of it.
Jill and I turn 65 this year, and we always make plans for a special trip when our anniversary or birthday year is divisible by five. We’ve visited four continents together and I have been lucky enough to get to another two, but there’s still more to see than can ever be seen, as the song goes.
While the list of faraway treasures is seemingly endless, I’m considering someplace much closer to home this year. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower—both in Pisa and in Niles!!—and Coit Tower and Willis Tower and the tower of cars that used to stand at Harlem and Cermak.
In 2018, though, I want to see something even more exotic and legendary: my abs. Like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster and UFOs, my abs are rumored to exist. Thus far, however, no sightings have ever been reported. Once, while standing in the bathroom and inhaling very, very, very deeply, I thought I saw a glimpse of one, but it turned out to be a streak on the mirror.
Hope springs eternal, much like delusion, and I am convinced this is the year it will happen. Like Edmund Hillary and Stanley Livingstone, I will see what no man or woman has ever seen before. (Well, with Hillary and Livingstone, it was no white European men, but the concept is the same.)
Yes, I have attempted this journey before, only to fail again and again. This time will be different, though. I have been exercising pretty regularly for almost two years now and my calves are now almost visible. Then, on to the biceps, triceps, foreceps, and finally the holy grail, my abdicators, or abominables, or whatever abs is short for. (Probably absentia in my case.)
I know they exist, because they hurt like hell after I’ve done a set of planks or Russian twists or Albanian gerbils. The pain is a lot like a heart attack, although you don’t get the relief that comes from losing consciousness.
I’ve done the math and this is doable. The flab on my gut is my most loyal of friends, guaranteed to stick with me to the bitterest of ends, so I’ll need to lose about 30 pounds before the hidden gems begin to show themselves. At 3,500 calories per pound, that’s a mere 105,000 calories. If I want to do this over three months, all I need to do is consume roughly 1.200 fewer calories per day. So, I’ll be taking in about 1,000 calories per day, every day, for the next 90 days, including weekends and benders.
Piece of cake, or maybe two pieces of cake, depending on how you slice it. No problem giving up the cake, which I almost never eat anyway. No problem giving up kale, either, or Brussels sprouts or quinoa or ramp. These aren’t really food, anyway, just repackaged tree bark they sell at Whole Foods.
But what about jalapeno poppers? How can I jeopardize the security of already impoverished popper farmers in southern Costa Rica? Can I really give up Cheetos if it means that Chester Cheetah will lose his job and starve in an urban jungle? How can I force thousands of tiny pretzel twisters onto the street, just because I want a six pack. And what about the people who make six packs? Don’t they have dreams, too?
Suddenly, I realize how many people are depending on me for their careers and happiness. In truth, I am like Atlas, holding the entire world of food industry workers on my incredibly ripped shoulders. I dare not falter, or even shrug.
All I need to do is consume 5,200 calories per day and I can be the savior of pretzel twisters and popper pickers everywhere. It’s a major sacrifice as my abs remain enshrouded in mystery, and fat, but that’s the price of making others’ lives more fulfilling.
I know my incredible buffness is in there, somewhere, buried deeply and safe, and that will have to suffice.
Anyway, I hear Willis Tower is lovely this time of year.
Will we ever discover the majesty of our abominable/abdominal muscles? Will we ever escape our quarantine to visit Willis Tower? If you click here to subscribe to Dad Writes you'll be among the first to know.
My friends have always denied their addiction, but now they're desperate and the defenses are slipping away. I think they're lucky it’s not a deadly habit like opioids, but that's not going to stop the whining.
A few weeks ago, they were on top of the world, with dealers feeding their jones at any hour and any place. They were getting it in bed, at the gym, at work, anyplace they wanted a fix. Then the joyride ended and they're cut off until, well, nobody really knows.
March Madness? Gone. NBA finals? Gone. Baseball? Gone. Masters? Gone. Olympics? Probably gone, as well.
I hoped they'd use this opportunity to break the habit, but I suspect they're too panicked to be smart about it. I can see them now, streaming grainy video from the 1980 Olympics and 60-year-old episodes of Home Run Derby. Next, they'll be scoring a quick hit off Little League World Series reruns, but the high will fade after a few minutes and it's back to whimpering about free agents.
I know I should have some sympathy, but I don’t. For as long as I remember, they've spent more time on the Bears offense than with their kids. Actually, that might be a good thing, since their kids have turned out pretty well while the Bears offense is, well, the Bears offense.
Like millions of other sports addicts, they know the stats for players on the local high school teams, all the pro players in town, and everyone on their fantasy baseball teams. Also fantasy football, along with basketball, badminton and sculling, but nothing after that.
Does Fremont remember the $50 he owes me from last month? Does Albert remember whose turn it is to buy the next round? Does Percival remember his anniversary? C’mon, we all know the answer to those questions. All they crave is sports and they probably won't survive until their next fix.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping this global off-season lasts for a long time. Finally, I can spend a day without news bulletins about some guy’s groin injury.
Beyond my own glee, this is a major opportunity for medical advancement. I’ve always maintained that we could have cured cancer by now if people spent as much time and money on research as they do on sports. Okay, sports addicts, it’s your big chance to be heroes. Don’t blow it.
Will my friends give up on sports and cure cancer? Will they finally pay me the $50 they owe me? Find out by clicking here to subscribe to our weekly updates.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.