I leave the secured lab area to visit the hall restroom. I enter my usual choice for a stall. The one second away from the wall. I like this one because no one hardly uses it and there is never a line for it. Upon review of my dialog Lucy asked “How do you know it isn’t hardly used?” “Do you have a meter?” I don’t like the other ones that are closer to the paper towels by the exit as they have large cracks where the other women can see in. On this particular day I put the liner down in the correct position over the seat and do “my business.” As I clean my bottom the toilet seat breaks underneath me and pinches the back of my thigh. I’m freaking out. I don’t want anyone to see me leaving the stall in this condition. I know the office lady (alias mission support specialist) is off in Brazil for two weeks to care for her mother. Needless to say I know she cannot call maintenance. I sheepishly go to my team leader and tell her. She suggests that I need to get ahold of maintenance and if I didn’t want to walk around and find one of workers I need to go and see the lab director (L.D.). I take a brief walk to ascertain if the maintenance men were close by and then I “put my tail between my legs” and go visit the L.D. I tell her you will never believe what just happened and inform her of the broken toilet seat and say I didn’t want to leave it like that. After a brief laugh she said she would take care of it and say that there was a broken toilet in the second stall from the wall.
The next day I decide to use the facility located within the secured lab area as the one in the hall area was being cleaned. I go to my usual stall farthest away from the door. As I finish doing “my business” and attempt to stand up my left foot slides out from under me, due to a water leak. I think it is a good thing I have been exercising and have built up my thigh muscles as I am able to catch myself by using my balance and strength my right leg. Ok so it’s two days in a row that I need to visit the L.D. regarding rest room issues. Once again I put my “tail between my legs” and see the L.D. and once again there is laughter. Then she says “Just what are you doing in there?” I assure her that it is only natural functions and she said she would take care of it. I am mortified but decide to laugh at myself and move on.
First thing in the morning the Monday before Valentine’s Day the holiday discussion started. Lucy said to the guys “you know the price of flowers goes up as Valentine’s Day approaches. You may be better to get them a couple of days early. You know Valentine’s Day is Friday. You could pay $100.00 or more, if you wait too late, for a simple bouquet of roses.” Then Archer replied “I tried the potted plant thing, you know because they are cheaper, but she wasn’t happy. I figured it wouldn’t die that way and she would have flowers longer than a week or two.” Lennard commented “not to worry, just buy some plastic flowers, they never die and you can give the same thing every year.” Lucy commented “somehow I don’t think that will go over well ” and we all laughed.
Lucy then said “you know all the restaurants will be booked up, you better reserve early.” GQ said to Archer “if you don’t hurry up and make your reservations, you will not eat.” What Lucy replied “there is always a fast food place.”
Then Lennard’s joke got me. What is the difference between a man’s and a woman’s wedding ring? The man’s ring will just melt when you expose it to fire. The woman’s ring will glow hot and if you look on the inside it will read “one ring to find them and one ring to rule them.” of course I said, “I need this ring.”
I appear as a man in three quarter length swim trunks. There is another person, a woman, following close behind me. The lake is absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining down on the clear blue water. We are far away from shore and I estimate the depth to be over ten feet. All of a sudden the water level was much lower and I am swimming in about three feet of water. There is something in the water with us. It is not human. I see two eyes emerge from the shallows. The lake has turned into a swamp. I start to freak. My swimming partner screams we have to save the children. I swim as fast as I can to the shore line. I reach the shore and turn around to catch one and then two carrots. I notice they have no green tops. I believe they must be as afraid as I am. She swims to the shore and scoops up the carrots. “That was some mighty fine swimming Michael” she said. It was then that I realized her name as I said “Thank you Linda.” Linda said “I see you have a friend”, while pointing to my leg. I looked down and said “Oh that is only Sally.” Of course Sally was in her usual position, clamped to my left leg. Yes Sally is an alligator. Strangely enough I walked with Linda and the carrots while dragging Sally without a care in the world.
“Ode to the McIntosh Apple” reminiscing by Barbara Dexter
A couple of years ago when I embarked upon the vegan diet due to health concerns there was one memory from my childhood that was ever present in my mind. This shall be my “Ode to the McIntosh Apple.”
The McIntosh apple may be described as a round, red apple with an aromatic fragrance that is complimented by its sweetness with a hint of a tart.
Yes, growing up in a rural area has certain perks. For one we used to visit the local apple orchard regularly when the apples were in season. There always seemed to be a bag of juicy red McIntosh apples to snack upon after school or anytime for that matter. What was that I remember saying too often? “Mom, I’m hungry!” The reply was simply, “Have an apple”. I always wanted something else and would ask if anything else was available? The reply I received was “that is what you are getting like it or leave it”.
Then came the following day at school when the whole school knew I ate a McIntosh apple. Yes, I would break wind. No, it wasn’t a delicate, sweet and aromatic fart. It was a full blown curl your nose type. I remember the teasing “there goes Gastor” or simply “hey Gastor”. I gradually got over the teasing. I then learned to use the flatulence to my advantage. I seemed to develop better control and could hold the gas until just the right moment when it would surprise and shock replacement teachers or new students. I also learned the advantage of flatulence in a crowded movie theatre. Just let one go and the crowd would miraculously thin. There was one point when I toyed with the idea of controlled flatulence to play a melody. I was thinking perhaps Jingle Bells or Silent Night.
Yes, age and responsibility did catch up with me. Now I can think of the time, laugh and remember control is possible. The vegan diet will not defeat me through flatulence. I can use the sulfurous gases to my advantage. Yes, for sure nothing evokes fall better than the aromatic fragrance of a McIntosh Apple.
Well it was supermarket day. On this particular trip my mother, my older sister and my younger sister accompanied me for the brief walk to the mom and pop market down the street. The first stop after the obligatory gallon of milk grab was the deli counter. Here we were met by the friendly butcher. There was no teenager behind the counter to wait on customers. Here there place was to stock selves or if you were lucky run the cash register. Well the local butcher was stout and had a “beer belly”. His butcher dress whites were always stretched a bit thin about the mid-section. There was always fresh blood from his most recent workings marking the exact place where the counter met his middle. This never seemed to bother anyone. It was just accepted.
Well on this particular day my mother was distracted by my younger sister, G., when the butcher asked what she would like. She pointed to the familiar chunk of deli cheese that we always got. American cheese, yes truly American the artificial coloring, vegetable oils, and non-dairy ingredients and all. He asked if she was sure she wanted that particular cheese. She said yes she was sure and reaffirmed that was what she wanted. Well he diligently sliced the cheese, and I could not wait to get home and have a nice big cheese sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise. I could feel my mouth salivate. We apparently received a little over a pound of cheese, all nicely wrapped in the white deli paper, the tab taped closed, and the price marked with a wax pencil on the outside.
We made our way to the bread aisle. Of course we had to get some oranges as it was winter and we needed our vitamin C to increase to help fight off the snuffles. G. had to get some “Lucy Charms” and the rest of us made due with corn flakes. Finally the bread aisle is in sight. Where is it, where is it…there it is the “Wonder Bread”. It is the whitest bread available. It was so soft, that it was a challenge not to squish it on the way home. I’m not sure why we always purchased “Wonder Bread”. I had thought it was the taste, but now I am no longer positive.
We are off to the register. There is only one person in head of us. Not too bad for the average supermarket line, except this was the mom and pop market. The cashier needed to talk to everyone and chat about the local gossip. It was a great place to find out who was doing what to whom. We learned that our neighbor had a car for sale. It was thought to be in good condition but much too expensive. No there was the price check. It happened again, every time we were in line at the register, something was amiss with the person’s order ahead of us. It was time to scream the confusion over the microphone so the whole store could hear. Yes, this was the system, and surprisingly, it worked and did not cause any confusion. Everyone just accepted it as business as usual. We made it through the check out without any further delay.
We were all anxious to have a cheese sandwich. We walked at a fast pace in anticipation. When we arrived at home a short time later, H., my older sister, and I set some napkins and snack plates out. My mother went in to the kitchen and made up the sandwiches. When mine appeared in front of me, my mouth immediately went dry. What was the source of that foul stench? This was the most shockingly odorous thing I had ever encountered. I asked for a cheese sandwich from the cheese we just picked up at the market. I was told that is the cheese and now that we have it we have to eat it. My mother came over to me and yelled, eat your sandwich it is “Lindberger Cheese” (actually it is spelled Limburger, but that isn’t what she said). Well the young geek mind in me decided to experiment with items to try and get something to make this sandwich possibly acceptable enough so I could tolerate eating it. I began by stuffing pretzel sticks inside the layer of bread. I arranged them in a layer from left to right in such a way as they resembled lines crossing out the cheese. I replaced the bread layer. One bite and no I couldn’t do it. Next to attempt to alter the taste of my sandwich were the pickles. Do I choose dill or bread and butter pickles, I wondered. I chose bread and butter pickles. I actually like them better. I think it is because of all the sugar they are brined in. I layered the slices so they would form green spots in a perfectly uniform manner both on top of the pretzel layer and under the cheese layer. Of course G. and H. ate theirs with only a little whining and no creativity. I was on a mission to save my sandwich from the vile cheese. I attempted another bite. My mother was just about to yell at me when she saw that I was actually attempting to eat the food I was playing with. I chewed, I quickly swallowed that mess. Then who magically appears, my brother, Andy, I offer him my sandwich. He “inhales” it and thanks me for the lovely snack. I was never so happy to see him and have him eat my food, than I was at that moment. My mother came out and saw that my sandwich was finished and said well finally. I left her no explanation as to how it was eaten. I snuck in, grabbed an orange and proceeded to the other room where I could eat it in peace. I later said a special thank you to my brother. He did not understand. He did not notice anything different about the sandwich as he always ate so fast that I his taste buds didn’t have time to interact with the food.