May Your Life Be Filled With Likes


An irritating tap, tap, tap on his shoulder awakened Stanley from his dormant state. Without opening his eyes or looking up, he practically screamed, “WHAT?!”

“Stanley, you’re asleep at your desk.” Stanley sat up abruptly upon hearing his boss’s voice. “Are you not getting enough sleep?” his boss inquired. “Are you ill?”

“No, no. I’m fine.”

“Then why are you sleeping at your desk?”

Stanley let out a deep sigh. “I have a wife and kids who are always demanding my attention. I have a dog and a cat that need to be tended to.” Stanley looked up at his boss and continued. “I have books to read, TV shows to watch, meals to eat, personal hygiene to take care of, and sleep to get.”

“Yes, Stanley, we all have those demands on our lives, but you also have this job,” the boss said. “And we need you to be awake and alert when you are here at the office. We need you to do your job.”

“But I also have my blog,” Stanley said, plaintively. “I have posts to write, comments to respond to, and other bloggers’ posts to read and comment on.”

Stanley’s boss couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“So I stay up late most nights,” Stanley explained. “Sometimes the whole night,” he continued, “to keep up with my blog.”

“I can understand that, Stanley, and I appreciate your honesty,” his boss said. “So I’ll tell you what. I’m going to make it easy on you. You’re fired. This way you can spend all the time you need to pursue your blog, which is clearly your priority.”

“What? Wait! No!” Stanley wailed in protest.

“I’ll have Helen from HR call you, Stanley’s boss said. “May you life be filled with likes, Stanley.”

This post was written for today’s one-word daily prompt, “Dormant.”

SoCS — Sealing the Ceiling

Image result for man painting the ceiling

“Please be careful up there,” she entreated me.

“Don’t worry, this ladder is very safe and secure,” I responded. “Besides, after that downpour on Thursday and the ensuing leak, someone’s got to get up here and take care of sealing this ceiling now that the roofer has fixed the roof.”

“I get it,” she responded, “but don’t forget that you lost your job and you don’t have any health insurance.”

“I can get coverage through Obamacare,” I noted.

“Well, I guess if you’re going to fall and break your neck while sealing the ceiling, better to do it now before the Republicans are successful in sealing the deal to repeal Obamacare.”

“Thanks for bumming me out,” I said. “Maybe the ceiling will come crashing down on the GOP in the midterms next year.”

“One can only hope,” she replied.

This post was written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt this week, where we are challenged to write a post using the words “sealing” and/or “ceiling.”

Other Than That, Though


Everyone was looking forward to the fun-filled evening. Family and friends would shortly be gathering in the backyard for the annual Halloween bonfire.

Jack had placed a dozen or so chairs around the large, above-ground, metal firepit into which Stephen had stacked the nicely aged logs on top of kindling sticks and easily got the large fire started.

Maureen filled the cooler with ice. Mike tapped the keg. Frank stocked the patio bar with the liquor, various mixers, and the wine.

People started showing up decked out in their colorful and creative Halloween costumes shortly after 9:00 and by around 10:30 there must have been around two dozen revelers filling the yard.

Tommy’s job was to keep the fire blazing, both for warmth and for light. But he’d been drinking heavily since the party started. Maureen was the first to notice that the fire was fading. She looked around for Tommy and finally found him standing by himself nursing a beer and smoking a joint next to the house.

Maureen walked over to Tommy and pointed out that he needed to tend to the fire. He shot her a dirty look for interrupting his solo reverie, but went to the garage to get some more kindling and logs. Unfortunately, there was no kindling left. So he threw half a dozen logs into the wheelbarrow and wheeled them out to the firepit.

He took four of the logs and tossed them haphazardly into the pit. He pulled out his Zippo lighter, flicked the flame on, and tried to get the logs to catch fire. But he couldn’t get the fire going again.

In his state, Tommy probably should have asked one of the others for some help, but he was quite inebriated and stoned, which is why he didn’t. Instead, he figured out a way on his own. He headed back to the garage and found the can of Kingsford Charcoal Lighter Fluid that the family used for the barbecue grill.

Excited, Tommy ran back out to the firepit, opened up the can of lighter fluid, and sprayed it liberally all over the four logs. He then took out his Zippo, flicked on the flame, and touched it against the nearest of the four logs.

The instant the small flame from the lighter pressed up against the lighter-fluid drenched log, the explosion of flames engulfed Tommy.

Other than that, though, it was a good Halloween party.

This post is for this week’s photo prompt from Sue Vincent.

Surrounded By Assassins


He called me to his side, put his arm around my shoulder and said, “The enemy is at the gate, my boy. Never forget that.”

This was my first day at my first real job right out of college. Harvey was an older man, probably in his sixties and he was my new boss. I wanted to — needed to — make a good first impression. But I was confused by what he had just said to me? “The enemy?” I asked. “Who is the enemy?”

“You have much to learn, son,” Harvey responded, his arm still draped over my shoulder. “They’re all our enemy.”

I was still confused. Maybe I just should have nodded in agreement and found my way to my cubicle. But I didn’t want my first day at work to start off with a misunderstanding with my boss. So I asked again, “Who is our enemy?”

Harvey seemed a bit irritated and he removed his arm from my shoulder. “All of them. The competitors, our clients, the public, the government. They’re all out to get us, to destroy us. We must always be vigilant to keep them from storming the gate.”

I began to wonder if my new boss was a bit insane. “You know,” I said as I backed away from him, “I’m not sure that this is the right place for me.”

Harvey looked me over, shook his head, and said, “Yes, you’re probably right, lad. But this is a cutthroat, dog-eat-dog business, and in order to succeed, you always need to know who your enemy is.”

As Harvey turned his back in me and walked away, I heard him say, “I’m surrounded by assassins.”

This post was written for today’s one-word prompt, “Gate.”


Don’t Try This At Home!

IMG_2336The ubiquitous Q-tip. What houshold doesn’t have at least one box of those paper sticks with soft cotton tips on both ends? They’re good for so many things around the house. For example, I use them to clean between the keys on my laptop’s keyboard.

But did you know that there is one common use that Q-tips should never be used for? That’s right. You shouldn’t use Q-tips to clean the wax out of your ears.

I bet you do, though. So do I. In fact, ever since I can remember, I’ve used Q-tips to clean my ears. I’m pretty sure that even before I was able to clean my own ears, my mother used Q-tips on my little baby ears. After all, way back then the Q-tips box even suggested the swabs should be used “for the eyes, nostrils, ears, gums, and many other uses.”

But then, in the 1970s, something changed. A warning against sticking Q-tips in one’s ears started appearing on the Q-tips packaging.

Current warning message on Q-tips packaging regarding sticking them in your ears.

Not that anyone paid much attention to that warning, which is in very fine print on an undisclosed location on the box.

Contemporary ear care hygiene tells us that Q-tips can be damaging to the ear. According to an article in Business Insider last year, “Instead of taking out the earwax, the Q-tip is good at pushing it farther into the ear canal closer to the eardrum.” After a while, all that earwax pushes against the eardrum, making it harder to vibrate. And that can cause hearing loss.

Not a bad thing

Despite its gross appearance, earwax serves some good purposes. For example, it can prevent insects from finding their way into your brain, which is, I think, a positive thing. It’s also antibacterial and anti-fungal and can trap dirt and dust so it stays on the outside of your head. And earwax isn’t an indicator that you have nasty, dirty ears, even though that might be a widely held perception. So cultivating your ugly, cruddy earwax is apparently not a bad thing.

Of course, knowing all this will not cause me to change my daily grooming routine, which includes inserting a Q-tip deep into each ear and digging out as much of that yucky, spicy brown mustard-colored gunk as I can.

Hmm. Perhaps that explains why, after decades of using Q-tips in my ears, I suffer from tinnitus and have become a little hard of hearing. But, hell, what a small price to pay for sparkling clean, waxless ear canals.

Am I right, or what?

He’s a Sucker


“He’s the best,” Arianna said when Diane asked her about her new boyfriend. “His name is Daniel, but I call him Lollipop,” she added.

“Lollipop? Why do you call him Lollipop?” Diane asked, a quizzical look on her face.

A far off expression covered Arianna’s face, sort of a dreamy look. “Because he’s a sucker.”

“Because he’s a sucker?” Diane repeated, now really confused. “Isn’t that a bad thing?”

“Oh girl, no,” Arianna responded. “My Lollipop is a really good sucker,” she explained, winking at Diane. “And believe me, honey, that’s a very, very good thing.”

“Oh,” said Diane, hoping that she, too, could find her own lollipop some day soon.

And now for some good, old-fashioned, G-rated fun.

Accidents Waiting to Happen

Related image

People are unreliable. People behind the wheel of two-ton moving vehicles are particularly unreliable. They are texting, eating, spilling hot coffee on their crotches, talking to others in their cars, or simply daydreaming.

I know this because I’m a pedestrian, a bicyclist, and a driver — in that order — and I’ve been almost hit by many a distracted driver. Still, I’m a skeptic when it comes to the notion of autonomous or self-driving cars.

Seriously, who came up with that disastrous idea? Would you trust a car to make its own driving decisions? Would you sit back and write a WordPress post, check your Twitter account, or text your friends while a computerized robocar navigates congested city streets or speeds along a freeway?

And how about when you’re walking in the city? If you were crossing an intersection at a crosswalk, would you bet your life and continue along your merry way if you saw driverless car heading toward you? And as for bicyclists, humans driving cars have a hard time seeing cyclists on the road. Do you think a car with no driver would do a better job?

Sorry folks. I’m a strong supporter of evolving technologies to make our lives easier and better. But self-driving cars? I don’t think so.

This post was written for today’s WordPress one-word prompt: disastrous.