Monthly Archives

March 2016

All Entries Family Health Life and Death

Is There an Alcoholic in Your Family?

March 23, 2016

The scene opens with a small, emotional group of family and friends huddling around the struggling alcoholic to perform an intervention – a showdown of sorts – aimed at helping the afflicted change their ways. After an hour, the tears flow, everyone hugs and the alcoholic makes a miraculous recovery. On television, there’s always a happy ending. Ah, if it were only that way in real life.

To the uninitiated, the portrait of the alcoholic or drug addict is unmistakable: the scruffy, unemployed middle-age man sleeping under a bridge with his bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 in a brown, paper sack or the gangly teenager with matted hair, begging for money in front of a crack house.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Addicts tend to be bright, resourceful individuals, often with advanced degrees and positions of power and responsibility, who often come from good homes and families. For some reason – call it fate, if you will – their life took a left turn with the disease of substance abuse. To be sure, medicine now considers addiction a bonafide chronic, medical disease, along with diabetes and cancer. read more

All Entries Health Humor

I Don’t Feel as Good as I Look

March 18, 2016

When I was younger, I was indestructible. Or, at least I thought I was. All through my teens and twenties, I would routinely risk life and limb, cliff diving in Acapulco and driving at the speed of sound the wrong direction up one-way streets – all without a thought to the consequences if something were to go wrong. Old age has changed all that.

Nowadays, before I even open my eyes in the morning, I run through a comprehensive physical checklist prior to swinging my feet out of bed – lower back: check. Right and left knees: check. Feet and ankles: check. Hands, wrists and elbows: check. Head and neck: check. If my inventory passes muster, I’ll pad into the kitchen to make coffee. If it doesn’t, I’ll initiate a whirlwind of events, ultimately leading to my funeral.

My last episode began with an innocuous pain on the inside of my cheek. Most people would consider it a minor inconvenience, then get on with their day. Not me. I need to know exactly what’s wrong with me and how it’s going to impact the rest of my life. Could this be the beginning of what eventually takes me down? By running the tip of my tongue over the affected area, I began to manufacture enough symptoms to warrant researching the malady on WebMD. I’m not usually interested in what the discomfort is, but rather what it could be. WebMD has a handy symptom checker that lets me catalogue all of my daily aches and pains, saving them in a personal online profile on Facebook and Twitter. If anyone asks, “How are you today?” I can give them more information than they probably want. read more

All Entries Family Home Life Humor

My First Trip Over the Curb

March 16, 2016

During the 1950s, a driver’s license ranked way up there, along with circumcisions or Bar mitzvahs, signaling a young man had come of age. My father dreaded the day I’d be eligible for my learner’s permit. If it were up to him, he would have preferred celebrating my manhood with a bizarre tattoo or tying me down to an anthill. Nevertheless, it was time for me to get behind the wheel and there was nothing he could do about it.

After spending the day in the Department of Motor Vehicles, I finally broke free waving my learner’s permit high above my head. I asked my mom if I could celebrate by driving home. She declined. My lessons wouldn’t begin until early the following Sunday morning when my dad took me to a vacant K-mart parking lot where he set up an imaginary school of evasive driving. At that time of day, there weren’t many cars in the parking lot – just enough to act as natural obstacles, providing the opportunity to learn about swerving and slamming on the brakes.

The most significant challenge wasn’t learning the rules of the road, but rather my limited choice of training vehicles. “There’s no way you’re driving your mother’s new station wagon. And that goes double for my Cadillac,” said my dad. “And don’t even think about driving your brother’s Camaro.” That left me with the 1953 MG roadster he brought back from England after the war. The one with the manual transmission and right-hand drive. read more

All Entries Health Humor Travel

One for the Price of Two

March 15, 2016

Dallas, Texas – Following the recent decision by Southwest Airlines to begin enforcing their 22-year-old policy requiring overweight passengers to purchase two airline seats, a number of other companies and consumer groups have demanded that customers of size begin coughing up premium rates for their products and services.

Southwest Airlines led the charge with their policy to penalize large customers, dating back to the 1980’s. According to the policy, any passenger whose derriere spills over onto the adjacent seat is required to purchase two airline tickets at the price of the original seat. Roxanne Haberstrohm, spokesperson for Southwest says, “Ninety percent of the complaints we receive from our passengers stem from being subjected to the overflow of obese passengers sitting next to them.” And the problem isn’t based solely on comfort, either.

Statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that the weight of the average American has been creeping up since the 1990’s. More than a third of American adults over the age of 20 are obese. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the average weight of American adults has ballooned by 10 pounds. The extra weight of these chubby vagabonds has translated into an additional $275 million dollar expenditure to burn more than 350 million additional gallons of jet fuel resulting in 3.8 million extra tons of carbon dioxide released into the air. read more

All Entries Health Humor

Smoke ‘Em if Ya Got ‘Em

March 11, 2016

When I was sixteen, my biggest goal in life was to learn how to smoke. Not because I thought it was particularly good for me, but because hanging around a street corner, sucking on a cigarette butt commanded just about as much respect as any post-pubescent male could expect out of life. And, who wouldn’t respect someone for spending their allowance on something that was not only disgusting, but almost guaranteed to kill them, turn their teeth yellow, give them bad breath and make their clothes reek?

Lighting up my first cigarette was everything I thought it would be and more – sort of like circling my lips around the exhaust pipe of an 18-wheeler as the driver stepped on the gas. The hot fumes singed the lining of my throat and fried my palate as they scorched their way to my lungs. I loved it.

When I enlisted in the Navy, I found that smoking cigarettes was essential to survival. Several times a day, the drill instructor would yell out, “Smoke break. Smoke ’em if ya got ’em.” If you “didn’t got ’em,” he’d soon find some distasteful task for you to do like scrubbing the inside of garbage cans, so everyone smoked. read more

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