Not Exactly A College Education

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 or drainage system that keeps the brain dry and free from suds and earwigs. Not me; it just fills up. It`s annoying to be sure, but at least it keeps the dirty thoughts out of my head – and the 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, I have learned over the past 26 years and 3 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 an e-newspaper column or not (you can – Ed.), but I’ll take a chance. Editors are strange birds and they don’t come any stranger than John Swartz. Once in a while editors can get a little off-balance and change a word here or there. 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 almost all my writings are divinely inspired and should not be tampered with by a mere mortal. Occasionally however I do go a little berserk over their meddling and retaliate. Several 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 mooses in the world live just south of North Bay. There are yellow road signs along the highway with a silhouette of a moose and underneath it says ‘When lights flashing’ or something like that. When you are flying by at 180 kilopascals an hour it’s hard to get the actually wording right. What confuses me about the Nippissing mooses 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 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 plastered on 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 true. I used a squirt or two in the shower back in January and here it is almost the Ides of February 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 possibly our spiritual well-being is guided by TV mega-star, Dr. Mephistopheles 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 we 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 Doctor Oz himself, or his great, great, grandson will be looking down at me stretched out on his table and will say,” Actually the old geezer was in pretty good shape for a man 166 years old. Too bad the silly ass starved to death. By the way, did anyone catch what his last words were?”

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