A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
It occurred to me as I was standing in the shower one morning that I have been writing a column since November 1995. Just why that thought came to me in the shower I have no idea, but I suspect it had something to do with water in my ears. Most people have some sort of damming system to keep the brain dry and free from suds and earwigs. Not me; it just fills up. Annoying to be sure, but at least it keeps the dirty thoughts out of my head – and little earwigs too. I guess that’s a bonus.
But as I was saying, while I was soaping up I began to wonder – what, if anything, have I learned over the past 24 years and 5 months? ‘Next to nothing!’ according to my friends and regular readers, but to my surprise I did pick up a titbit or two of knowledge along the way.
I don’t know whether I can say ‘titbit’ in a family newspaper or not, but I’ll take a chance. Editors are strange birds. Once in a while they can get a little off-balance and change one of my words. I suspect it has something to do with long hours and wearing a too-tight fedora with a PRESS card stuck in it.
I am a fairly reasonable chap and don’t mind a minor substitution once in a while, although most of my writings are divinely inspired and should not be tampered with. Occasionally however I do go a little ape over their meddling and retaliate. A few years ago, a friend and editor had the audacity to change my chosen b—–d to ‘fellow’. The following Passover I sneaked over to his house in the middle of the night and washed the ram’s blood off his front door.
But I have learned a few things, like the smartest moose in the world live just outside of North Bay. There are yellow road signs along the highway with a silhouette of one and underneath it says ‘When Lights Flashing’ or something like that. When you are flying by at 180 kilometres an hour it’s hard to get the actually wording right.
What confuses me about the Nippissing moose is why an animal smart enough to switch on a flashing light when he or she wants to cross a highway would still charge a train locomotive just for the hell of it. Although I believe that only happens with the males and usually in the mating season so that would explain it. Getting turned down after waiting all year can be a little off-putting. I know it used to bother me. Had the Government not pulled up the tracks in Orillia back in the 80s, I would be part of a CNR cowcatcher today.
On a more practical note, a few years ago there was a rumour going around that Avon’s Skin So Soft repelled mosquitoes. I can tell you now that the urban myth is not a myth at all; it’s true. I used a squirt or two after a shower back in January and here it is almost March and I still haven’t been bitten.
I have learned that cats are not much help when you are making a bed.
I have learned that the health care of Canadians is not under the guidance of the nation’s health professionals as we once believed. Our physical, mental and possible our spiritual well-being is guided by TV mega-star, Dr.
Mehmet Oz. Whether Oz is related to the old geezer behind the screen at the end of the Yellow Brick Road I’m not sure, but I know this. Every weekday afternoon from 4:00 to 5:00, the nation’s housewives gather around the TV set with pen and paper waiting for his latest pronouncement that will guarantee they will live to an advanced age. An hour later, one more favourite dish is cut from the rapidly disappearing menu of things we can eat.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain even though breakfast at my house has gone from a pound of bacon, a dozen eggs and a loaf of toast to a glass of water and a handful of whole wheat bread crumbs, there is a bright side. One of these days Ducky from NCIS will be talking to Jethro as I lie on his autopsy table. He will say,” Actually the old geezer was in pretty good shape for a man his age. Too bad the silly ass starved to death.”