Author Archives: David Woodside

Living With A Yogi

The great baseball player and Hindu philosopher, Yogi Berra, is known for his whacky word ways. He’s attributed with saying  “It’s déjà vu all over again.”“If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”;  and “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

I married another Yogi with this talent. Though she doesn’t try to copy the original, my wife really did, well, say everything she said. Using her brand of invented words and mixed metaphors, here are her classics.

Kristine once proclaimed she was ferenzic, which was her way of combining frenzy and frenetic.  It's used to describe wildly frantic court evidence.

Do you need more kick for the word truly? How about adding in reality to form her new creation in truality.

Kristine exclaimed, “I’m adamnant about that!”, not content with merely being adamant. I think having damn in the middle of a word always makes it better.

When fixing to fry bacon she asked, “Do we have a skiddle?” You guessed it—on the fry she had combined skillet and griddle. Who knows why she didn’t say grillet instead.

"You need a thermomostat," she told me while feeling my forehead. I guess she wanted to measure my temperature and then reset it to a more comfortable level. I proudly replied, "I'll have to renumerate on that", which is Kristine's word for ruminating while enumerating.

She also mixes metaphors, which is as easy as (and more fun than) shooting fish in a barrel of monkeys. In Kristine’s world, sometimes things can turn on a nutshell, which I guess is what happens if you didn’t fall far from the acorn as she once said of me. I consider myself fortunate that I did not just fall off the turnip tree like some other bloke she described, for then I would be a weak link and need to be plowed-under. Kristine's brain is packed with nut and edible root references.

Do you want to smooth things over after an argument? In Kristine-speak, that’s called mending bridges, which is much better than burning fences I suppose.

Then there was the time she advised me how I could solve my problems: "You could kill all those stones at one blow!" Yikes! It seems there's an old German fairy tale about a tailor who's preparing to eat some jam just as seven flies land on it, and he manages to kill them all. Right. Even I don’t get it, and I didn't just fall off the turnip tree.

With my added commentary, here are some of her other misappropriated malapropisms:

When you toot your own horn too much, you get egg on your face.

     This is why I don’t eat while driving.

I’m overscheduling my plate.

     The downside of having too much food on your calendar.

We’re living on thin ice here.

     It's better than walking on borrowed time.

You gotta make hay while the getting’s good.

     Then we must get while the sun shines.

(Incredulously, about a TV show): It’s beginning to get near the edge of the valley of no return.

     (I’ve got nothing.  Just.  Nothing.)

If you’re afraid of doing something new, just get the virgin out of it!

     Why men will sometimes, under the right circumstances, make an effort at newness.

When it comes to not wasting water, I’m a conversationist.

     Talking about conserving water speaks louder than actually not wasting it.

He talked your foot off!

     Then he stepped on my ear.

Don’t be putting me in a peg hole with a square knot!

     Awkward misuse of geometrically incompatible resources.

You came through that with shining colors!

     I guess I'm just a flying example of shining colors.

I love your perspection on that subject.

     I have perspective AND reflection on many subjects.

It’s always good to get rid of dead baggage.

     And it's healthier than carrying around extra weight.

He has good language-ing skills.

     Yogi would agree.

Brigham Young was a philandthroper.

     As both a philanthropist and a philanderer, he wasn’t afraid to get the virgin out of it.

Did you leave your tea in the kitchen undrinken?

     Yes, sorry.  I have bad language-ing skills.

We have to live our lives while we’re alive.

     Or be plowed-under early if we're weak links.

They get the bloody seconds.

     Some movie theaters don’t rate the first-run slasher shows.

That’s not worth a pot to piss in.

     Even if we had one.

It's like the Alaskan outbush in here!

     Or the Australian bushback.

I could have gone off half-cocked. By the way, that’s not a euphemism; it’s just an expression.

     One man’s euphemism is another’s substitution of a more vague expression.

(Regarding the light snowfall):  It hasn't been very precipitous this year.

     Thank God for the lack of steep and dangerous snow depths, huh?

You know, God speaks in metaphors, so I’m in like Flint.

     At the end of my head, I’m still trying to get the day around that one.

I guess now you’re on the other edge of your coin, wise guy.

     Before that I was on the flip-side of my seat.

I tend to over-extenuate myself.

     I tend to under-valueize my less serious circumstances.

That's extrenuous!

     Extraneous AND strenuous!

That's feckle!

     Feckless AND fickled!

Would you please numb-out the TV?

     Yes, if you'd kindly mute my toothache.

When you work for a real estate title company, you get bombasted by everybody!

     Damn those pretentious bombastards!

It's not worth beating our heads against a bush.

     Or in beating them around a wall.

This show really separates the ones who will get through the crisis from the ones who will not get through.

     Not exactly succinct, yet satisfyingly mutually-exclusive.

I don't like to press the envelope.

     And I don't like to push the outside of the issue.

Look at her!  She's a nemesis of her own self!

     Plus, she's like a weird caricature of her many rivals.

We turned over a new lease on life!

     It's better than continuing to rent that old leaf.

My brain doesn't work as well as it used to.  My thinking comes in spits and farts.

     Just yesterday my own drool and flatulence came in fits and starts.

I don't like to purge on TV series.

     And I regret binging on burritos.  It gives me spits and farts.

I'm going to get up now.  If the coffee is ready, that'll be a point in your direction.

     And if you let me sleep-in, that'd be a move in your favor.

I didn't wake up with much vim and vinegar today.

     It's better than waking up with a strong vigor to piss.

If you don't do your Yoga and walking excercises, you're asking for fire!

     So if a Guru lights a candle, is he playing with trouble?

I got a $400 Christmas bonus!  It was an unexpected downfall!

     So would paying taxes be an expected windfall?

I took a page out of your book and ran with it.

     Or you could just get a ball and learn a valuable lesson from it.

If you keep on that way, you'll be cooking like oil!

     As long as I'm not burning with the midnight fire.

You're almost 60.  It's my job to wean you into the next decade.

     Yes, and please also help me ease off the ice cream.

I've got some Hyper-Metaphines you could take for your headache.

     Not yet approved by the FDA, but you can get highly-active Hyper-Metaphines from Mexico off the internet.

You can't take both Cold Pills and Ibuprofen unless they both don't have AnaCetaPhetamine in them.

     Although a dangerous cocktail that can elicit a side effect of grammatical negatives, you can also get AnaCetaPhetamines from the same website.

I don't feel right today.  I think my electrolytes can't even be off by a microscop.

     Take a teeny tiny dose of AnaCetaPhetamine dissolved in Gatorade twice daily.

We could get Streptatosis from that filthy sink!

     Every new disease has to start somewhere.

Let's get some of that good artesian bread.

     Or some of that sub-surface sourdough under its own natural pressure, freshly baked by skilled artisans.

I love my new phone; I can attach those cute emotiums to my texts!

     Yes, but remember that a few emotive words speak louder than 1000 smiley icons.

I think I have some hereditarial defects.

     Well, as long as we're making up words, I'm sure you also have some defectual relatives.  Looks like you didn't fall far from the acorn your own self.

Can you encapsulize that for me?

     No, but let me summulate it in a neat little microscop.

She really let the ball fall apart.

     And on top of that she let the things drop.

This storm's going to be bad because there's so much wind in the air today.

     And the weatherman also said there would be a large chance of scattered water in the rain.

In these Presidential debates the Media is just fanning the fumes.

     And wouldn't we all prefer that the candidates were quickly overcome by the flames!

You'll just have to see if I'm up to the mustard.

     I've also been wondering if you could cut the task.

(Remarking after brain surgery): This extra hole in my skull causes a lot of subterfusion in my head.

     A natural consequence of an expedient and evasive surgical technique that leaves one not quite up to the mustard, subterfuse-wise.

Hey, don't share stuff you write about me.  I don't want to be defaced again.

     Excellent advice: we should all think twice before posting disfiguring words on deFacebook.

Even though I never met the great Berra, I feel like I know him well, that he speaks to me every day, and that I can’t escape his paradoxical influences.  Or as Kristine put it, “It’s a Catch-22 all over again!”

Teaching Dakshesh

Beginning in the third grade kids love having a substitute teacher. By “having” I mean “biting off parts of the teacher, chewing and swallowing the teacher, partially digesting the teacher, and then regurgitating the teacher back onto his own shoes before his feet are devoured, all while texting friends on banned smartphones.” During this process the substitute’s job is to act like all is normal and that he has full control over the class and his 56 year old bladder, (which was already full 5 hours ago when the first bell rang), all while teaching fractions.

The most important thing a substitute teacher can do is to get control of the class when the bell rings. I attempt this impossible task with rules:

“CLASS! SIT DOWN! QUIET! EYES ON ME! I will tell you my rules, call roll, then give you today’s assignment.”

Eddie Haskell (every class has one) leaps up: “Mr. Woodside, thanks for teaching us today. That’s a sick tie, yo. Where is Mr. Pike?”

“We’re not talking about that right now,” I answer. “Sit down.”



“Rule 1. We will show each other respect. When I’m talking you’re NOT talking. If you want to talk, raise your hand.”

Dakshesh, fidgeting, interpreting my rule literally, immediately raises his hand and says, “Mr. Pike gives us hall passes if we have to go to the bathroom.”

More titters. I glare silently.

“Rule 2. We will be safe. No climbing, running, throwing things or touching others.”

This rule is ignored later when Gwandoya throws a box of raisins at Ibrahim’s eye and then Abdul-Muqaddim, needing a snack, eagerly retrieves the richoched raisins from the sink full of dirty chemistry beakers.

“Rule 3. “You must do your work! I have your assignment after I take roll.”


Koosooma: “Is it homework if we don’t finish?”

“I’ll tell you later. Sit down.”

The students begin to smell my rising fear. In a louder voice I say, “RULE 4: NO DISRUPTIONS PERMITTED!” Hmm, maybe this should have been Rule 1.

I continue with Rule 5, the one everyone’s been wondering about: “NO HALL PASSES!


Dakshesh again, fidgeting wildly now: “What if you have a serious Number-Two type bathroom situation?'”

Lots of sniggers, which I ignore. Ignoring is a powerful substitute tool, which never works. I revise: “NO HALL PASSES UNLESS IT’S AN EMERGENCY! I decide if it’s an emergency, and you’d better be throwing up!” This answer conveniently dove-tails into the students’ innate tendency to regurgitate teachers.

Silence. I’ve gained ground. But I know the cyclone is gathering energy.

“Rule 6: Stay in your assigned seats! No wandering around or visiting!”

“Do you understand the rules? Say YES.”


Next I take roll, which occupies 12 minutes because there are an average of 38 kids in each period, I can’t pronounce most of the names, the 22 kids still learning English can’t understand many words I say, and I slip on raisins and bang my elbow on the counter, demonstrating the ironic gravitas of my own safety rule.

Finally I give the assignment, which is also written on the board. “Read pages 666 through 681 in your Science book. In your notebook write one fact for each paragraph. There are 28 paragraphs. Do you understand the assignment? Say YES.”


“Good. Get to work.”

Elikapeka raises her hand. “I spelling 681 sentences each page, yes?”


The next 20 minutes proceed normally without any learning and lots of students wandering around talking and throwing raisins.

To not regain control, I give an impromptu lesson on gravity, which I think cleverly complements the teacher’s assignment on the climate of Antarctica. I get these pertinent questions:

“How tall are you?”

“Tall. Sit Down.”

“Where is Mr. Pike?”

I improvise: “He was in an accident.”



“Well, where is he?”

I pause and look worried as if I shouldn’t be divulging this. “He’s in Antarctica on a secret gravity mission for the Government. He’ll be back on Monday.”

En masse: “BITCHIN, DUDE!”

I repeat this entire process 7 times. After fourth period I am rewarded with a 22 minute lunch break, which I gleefully spend in the bathroom.

The last bell rings. I’m exhausted, but in a good way, because I know I’ve contributed to the enlightenment of young minds.


I know what you’re wondering: “Why would anyone want to be a substitute teacher?”

We’re not talking about that right now. SIT DOWN!

Blue Moon

I enjoy the sky at twilight, about an hour after sunset. Tonight Venus shines brightly, the early Evening Star, the Planet of Love. On such a summer night exactly 28 years ago—when I was 28—my daughter was born.

The hospital was in chaos, and the nurses scampered hurriedly between rooms. During one brief visit to check our progress and administer an epidural anesthetic, the nurse said, “Damn these full moon nights! I don’t care what anyone says; more babies are delivered during full moons. I know it’s a fact. Your doctor will be in later because he’s got two other mothers here ready to pop. It’s going to be helluva night. Just relax. You’re not ready yet.” The mother-to-be was not amused.

I’ve learned that people are born who they are. You don’t realize it until later, but you piece it together: a smile, a look, a demeanor, a turn-of-phrase. They say people don’t change.

A half hour later the nurse came. “Nope, you’re only 8 centimeters, but you’re getting close. Doc is elbows-deep delivering Mrs. B. I’ll be back.” Down the hallway we could hear the other pregnant ones screaming. My wife’s eyes got as big as the moon. People scurried past our door, and we realized that babies keep their own schedules.

Forty-five minutes later a different nurse and a doctor arrived. Not our doctor. “Sorry, Doc is delivering Mrs. C now. He should be in soon, but, hell, another mother just checked-in. I hate this.” The stand-in doctor, a new Resident, looked bewildered and a bit frightened. The nurse said, “Damn, you’re at 10 centimeters and you’re going to deliver!” Then, to the child-Resident, “Take over here! I’ll go get Doc.” My wife loudly hollered many profanities.

Suddenly, Doc came in and said, “STOP YELLING! You’re scaring my other patients!” Then he quickly left. I never even realized I had been yelling. After five minutes, Doc came back and studied the situation. “What is going on here! This place is crazy! But don’t worry, you’re ready now. PUSH! PUSH! This baby doesn’t want to come out! Give me the forceps!” My wife PUSHED as the metal device clamped around something’s unseen skull. After 10 minutes of pulling, twisting and twisting-while-pulling, there was still no baby. The pregnant one was now resigned to deliver something hideous that was part man, part machine with a wrung neck.

Then Doc said to the Resident, “Get the scissors and cut the perineum here. HURRY!” With shaky hands, the newborn doctor approached, realizing he was being called upon to do surgery on his first time out of the chute. “Don’t worry, we need to make a small cut to enlarge the birth canal. DO IT NOW! HERE!” Doc yanked on the forceps. Then he said, “This baby is stressed. I’m going to pull like hell one more time, and if that doesn’t work we’ll have to do a Cesarean.” Resident turned green. With one mighty last pull, and in a flood of blood and guts, out came my reluctant daughter into the world. My wife’s head spun around. I puked into my own mouth. Resident changed careers.

In my wife’s room an hour later, our daughter was brought amidst a flurry of chattering nurses. She had long black hair with the family birthmark patch of white on her forehead. “We would have brought her sooner, but the nurses downstairs had to come see her. We’ve never seen a baby with so much unusual hair in two colors!” The nurse gave her to her mother. My daughter calmly opened her eyes and looked around as if deciding whether she wanted to stay and eat or to immediately start investigating her new world. We are who we are.

That night I left the hospital before the sun arrived. I looked at the sky. The second full moon of that month, a “blue moon”, glowed in the west, outshining the stars and illuminating a new, proud father.

Today, 28 years later, I still see in my daughter the person she was that night: an independent, observant, smart, lovely woman with lots of hair. Unique and rare, like a Blue Moon.

May that beautiful little girl continue to shine on brightly in you, wonderful daughter.

Happy birthday!

The Hungry Children (The Afternoon of the Dawn of the Day After the Day of the Living Dead, Around 2:00 pm. The Sequel)

Long ago, in the Land of Monsters, there lived many children. These were not ordinary children. They were unusually terrible, badly-behaved children with rotten teeth and rancid breath. But the children were happy because they could do whatever they wanted to do all day long. Their favorite thing to do was eat adults–all kinds of adults. Sometimes the children cut off the arms and legs of the adults and fried them in the fat of other adults. Sometimes they had boiled adult eyeballs for dinner with heaping mounds of ear wax smothered in ketchup. Sometimes they had Great Uncle intestines stuffed with old Librarian liver and steamed Police Officer brains. Sometimes they had stir-fried Uncle chins with a side of Great Grandmother toes and baked Stepmother knees for dessert. The children ate friendly adults, happy adults and sad adults. They ate rich adults, poor adults, and even adults without arms and legs who barely made a decent meal. These children were always hungry for fresh adults. These children were Zombies.

Everything was fine for many years, and then the children noticed that it was becoming harder and harder to find tasty adults to eat. There just weren’t as many fat Grandfathers with crispy skin. Many of the Grandmothers had become tough and chewy. Even the friendly Underwear Models, not wearing anything else, who normally tasted like ripe, juicy peaches covered in pistachio ice-cream, chocolate syrup, gummy bears and sprinkles, had gone to hide in the wilderness where they ate squirrels which caused them to taste like infected rats covered with worms dipped in the smelly, lumpy poop of old monkeys. Years before, the children had quickly eaten all the delicious Teachers so they wouldn’t have to go to school anymore. And did you ever wonder why there are not many Policemen, Firemen, or Farmers in the world now? Well, it’s because they were the tastiest people of all and so there are very few of them left.

The situation became desperate. The children were so hungry that they began eating the bad-tasting adults like Sewer Workers, Plumbers, Scientists, Lawyers, and Doctors. On really hungry days the children even had to eat the worst tasting adults of all: Congressmen, French People, Realtors, Insurance Salesmen and Bank Executives. No amount of seasoning or Tabasco sauce could improve their taste.

Something needed to be done! Children all over the world met secretly in clubhouses and basements and in hidey holes and barns. They exchanged emails and texts about what to do. After months of study, the children finally decided they should capture the best tasting adults and put them in large adult farms. And that’s just what the Zombie children did.

The strongest children rounded up the most delicious adults who were still young enough to have new babies, and they put them in comfortable organic farms in the countryside. The adults didn’t like it at first. But then they realized that the Zombie children fed them well and all they had to do was frolic around outside when the weather was nice and stay inside by warm fires in the winter, and eat and eat and get fat. Many adult friendships were formed among strangers, which the children permitted and even encouraged. All of a sudden, after months of this adult interaction, new babies were born everywhere and the Zombie children had to quickly build new hospitals, daycares, and bars and dance clubs.

At first it was difficult for the Zombie children and the adults to adjust to this new way of living. The Zombie children had to learn to build the adult farms and grow vegetables to feed the adults. The Zombie children realized that going to school was important so they could learn how to run the farms and account for all the expenses and do the planning and so many other important things. The adults had to learn to do what they were told, to not cause the Zombie children any trouble, and they began to want to stay healthy and fit with rippling abs and Brazilian waxes so they could have more babies. Adult coffee shops, gym memberships and tanning salons became very popular in the adult farm communities.

After many years of hardship and famine, the Zombie children’s lives got better and they prospered in their adult farming businesses. It was an exciting new world where starvation and hunger were unknown. The new babies grew into normal children who grew into adults who were then humanely slaughtered and eaten by the Zombie children. Many new recipes were developed and many new cookbooks were written by Zombie child-authors specializing in adult cuisine. Everyone was happy, even the people in the adult farms because they were content, had plenty of fresh air and exercise and were allowed to make as many new friends and babies as they could.

It was a new world filled with young, happy, prosperous Zombie children! And none of them were ever hungry again.

A Tale of Christmas Past in Two Cities, by Oliver Twist*

Setting: The English Channel, between Paris and London, at the start of the French Revolution, Saturday around 5:30.

The Americans, having finished their own revolution and a light supper, sail for Paris and the French Revolution, while the French sip lattes at the Café Rue de Les Misérables (“a miserable street deli”).

Doctor Victor Hugo Hackenbush is released from his front row Paris prison theater seat after 17 years of repairing shoes as a hobby. He is deranged and wonders how he will get back to London to start his new life. But while in the care of his servant Ernest “Borgnine” Defarge (“of the farges”) and his wife Madame “Large Bosoms” Defarge, Hackenbush is reunited with his fetching daughter, Lucy, who fetches him to England.

On their voyage to London, Lucy and Hackenbush befriend the nephew of the French Marquis Jean (“Bastille Day”) Valjean. The nephew, Charles (“lite”) Mayonnaise, who renounced his inheritance, was banished from France by the Marquis who with the help of his spy, John “Threeleg” Barstool, secrets in Mayonnaise’s pants a false letter accusing him of spying on England. Unbeknownstingly of this plot, Mayonnaise falls in love with Lucy, who, not knowing about the letter, simply thought he was happy to see her.

Later in London, while Lucy is sleeping, the implicating treasonous letter is found by a whore in Mayonnaise’s pants. The letter was also in there. Constables throw Mayonnaise in jail.

Mayonnaise is tried as an English traitor. He is then rescued by a drunken but brilliant lawyer, Sydney Carte Blanche, an oddly Frenchy name for an Englishman. Sydney falls in love with Lucy too, but she doesn’t give him Carte Blanche as with Mayonnaise. Everyone lets the senile Dr. Hackenbush decide who loves Lucy, and he chooses the real Frenchman, Lite Mayonnaise, not knowing that Mayonnaise is the nephew of the despised Marquis. Soon Mayonnaise and Lucy have a daughter, Little Lucy. Carte Blanche continues to love both Lucys while remaining drunken and lawyerly.

Back in France the evil Marquis, sensing things are going awry, rides into Paris in a carriage pulled by a horse that runs over the street urchin Oliver Twist, who was a real little dickens, but not a very artful dodger. Paralyzed by the horse in one leg (left front), Oliver rides on the shoulders of his uncle Ebenezer Scrooge, while the horse manages to get by with a limp and eye patch.

Then the Marquis is murdered just as the Americans arrive in Paris for the Revolution. Mayonnaise decides to go back to Paris to investigate, and he is promptly arrested in Paris and charged by the mob as the former big-shot nephew who fled France. He is thrown into La Force (“the force”) Prison where he is forced (LOL) to watch “I Love Lucy” reruns.

Hearing of the impending trial, the Lucy’s, Dr. Hackenbush and their friends, the Mertzes, use their frequent carriage miles to travel back to Paris. Speaking at the trial in defense of his son-in-law Mayonnaise, the Doctor wins Mayonnaise’s freedom.

At the party celebrating Mayonnaise’s acquittal, Madame Defarge produces a letter from her bosoms that Hackenbush had written years ago in the Bastille Theater. It explains why he was imprisoned and ends with a curse on the Marquis, his descendents and their horses: years earlier Hackenbush went to the Marquis’ country estate to treat a horse. In a rage, the Marquis’ brother shot the horse, not realizing that horse’s descendent would later trample Oliver Twist, the brother of Madame Defarge! Thoroughly confused about whom they should support, the partiers change sides and denounced Mayonnaise on the advice of the letter written by Defarge’s bosoms.

The Finale: Carte Blanche, willingly taking the place of Mayonnaise, is transferred to prison by guards who think he is the newly-accused Mayonnaise. At the last minute, the real Mayonnaise (har!), Hackenbush and the Lucy’s escape to London in a submersible carriage, while the innocent Oliver agrees to stand-in for the person who everyone thinks is the real Mayonnaise (but who really is Carte Blanche)! Sydney slips out the back and later stars as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music”.

The play ends when Oliver, lured by a Christmas pudding, ascends to the guillotine proclaiming, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, and God bless us, every one”. The curtain falls on the neck of the Marquis’ horse, which spends the rest of its life in a wheelchair.

*Another edition in the irritating series “Play Synopses for Modern Readers Ignorant of the Classics”. You may also enjoy “Rigoletto Comes to Utah” by the same author.

The Colonoscopy

Author’s Note:   One of the kindest (yet still unprofitable) things ever said about me was, “His writing is a good as anything Dave Barry wrote.”  Wow.  At the time I didn’t know who Dave Barry was, but I’ve learned that he wrote an article about his colonoscopy.

I’m proud to say that my article on this subject (written years before Dave’s) is eerily similar to his article, except that I used my own colon.  I also want to reiterate Dave’s challenge to get yourself a colonoscopy.  It’s easy and it’s good, clean fun, and it may save your life as it did mine.  Here then is a reprisal of my original article.

April 20, 2013 Another Author’s Note:  This article won First Place in the First Quarter 2013 Humor Contest.  See it here: The Colonoscopy.

 The Colonoscopy

The colonoscopy is the butt of many jokes, yet the colon is full of laughing matter. The facts:  A normal adult colon is five feet long.  Abnormal adults have different colons, usually in fuchsia. The colon has four sections.  The Ascending Colon connects the small intestine to the duodenum then travels past the liver to the Transverse Colon.  This is called the Transverse Site because male colons dressed as female colons loiter here.  The Transverse Colon swings around the left kidney, dips below the pancreas and becomes the Descending Colon, where it speeds up to complete a double vertical loop inside the pelvis.  This is where injuries happen because people haven’t kept their arms inside the ride at all times.  The whole thing slows down on the flat section called the Sigmoid Colon, first discovered by Dr. Sigmoid Freud when he was developing his Sexual Theory of Colon Dreams, the pervert.

You need a colonoscopy if you’re over 50 or have a family history of problems,  including a colon that’s been abusing alcohol or has declared bankruptcy.  If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, it can be troubling.  But he’ll relax when he realizes he’s done it many times and that it pays well.

At the start of the procedure you’re given drugs to make you sleepy, yet talkative.  Many family secrets are told while on these drugs, allowing the doctor to write a funny book.  For my contribution, I had rehearsed this riddle:

Only one other word can be found by rearranging the letters in POLYPS.  Similarly for SUTURE.  The two new words describe an unwanted body part.*

I told my riddle to the nurse after I was given the drugs.  It sounded like this:

Suture your colon to a bunch of Polynesians and rearrange them into two words meaning PANTS.

She slapped me hard, then laughed and gave me her phone number.

After you’re sedated, the inspection begins with a lot of frightening terminology.  An “endoscopist” does the dirty work.  He uses a “colonoscope”, which is also known as an “end-o-scope” (LMFAO).  The scope must be positioned “very near” the colon, which the doctor accomplishes while you’re distracted by the cute nurse.

The doctor manipulates the other end of the scope, which contains these features:

  • A tiny video camera which displays images on a large external (thank God) monitor
  • An adapter to play the doctor’s rare Betamax videotapes
  • A blower for pumping your colon full of air
  • A tiny vacuum cleaner with gall bladder attachment
  • A laser for burning polyps
  • A broiler for reheating undigested prime rib and potatoes

These devices fit in the endoscope’s long tube, which resembles a wide rusty beer can with sharp edges.

The doctor looks into the endoscope and immediately sees a large disturbing dark mass—the lens cap.  The scope is de-rectalized, the cap is removed, and the doctor takes a smoke break to steady his hands and tell Accounting to add an “emergency lens cap removal” line item on your bill.

The drugs begin to wear off as the inspection resumes.  The doctor needs help threading the scope around your colon’s S-turns.  This is the job of a male nurse with large biceps named Bruno.  Why he named his biceps Bruno we don’t know.  He pushes on your stomach when the doctor orders, “Ok, now take a hard left.  No, LEFT!  And watch out for that spleen!”  But because objects in the endoscope are closer than they appear, it’s just the bladder.  Bruno anticipates this and carefully taps the brakes.

If colon polyps are found, the doctor will remove them with a “polypectomy” procedure.  I only had one polyp, so the colonoscopy was stopped and the doctor again consulted with Accounting.  They decided to perform the procedure anyway but to double-bill it as two molar fillings and a femur removal.  I approved this change quickly because it was nearing dinner time and I didn’t want the doctor to use the broiler.

Finally it’s over.  The whole thing takes only 30 minutes, but it seems like 2 hours filled with screaming.

While you’re recovering, the doctor talks to your wife, and they laugh about all the funny things you said and will later deny.  He gives you a “Polypectomy Dozen” punch card (the 13th is free with purchase of a vasectomy!) and a souvenir video.  Mine showed one polyp screaming down the Descending Colon, happily waiving its arms.


Happy New 14th B’ak’tun!

If you’re reading this, the Mayan Long Count Calendar reset on December 21, 2012 and the prophesied end-of-world disasters didn’t happen. Or maybe they did happen, and another version of you is here in one of those theorized infinite number of almost-identical multiple universes, except now you have two left thumbs and everyone is Mormon. Either way, welcome to the start of the new Mayan epoch known as the 14th B’ak’tun.

That’s right, the 13th B’ak’tun has ended. This excerpt from Wikipedia makes it all clear:

A full Long Count date not only includes the five digits of the Long Count, but the 2-character Tzolk’in and the two-character Haab’ dates as well. The five digit Long Count can therefore be confirmed with the other four characters (the “calendar round date”). One can check whether this date is correct by the following calculation: The Tzolk’in date is counted forward from 4 Ajaw. To calculate the numerical portion of the Tzolk’in date, add 4 to the total number of days given by the date, and then divide total number of days by 13.

I note that in the above calculation it may be easier to find out how many days there are since 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u, and show how the date 5 Kib’ 14 Yaxk’in is derived. Don’t forget to carry the K’ank’in.

Since my recent induction as a substitute teacher and the creation of my own personal apocalypse, several Junior High School students have seriously asked me if I think the world would end on December 21st. Seeing this as an opportunity to discuss the differences between religious belief and scientific theory, I responded, “Well, many people believe it will end, but in the USA we teach science.” Then their bright little eyes glimmer with the hope that I, as the scientist they know me to be, will say that there is no scientific evidence that the world will end on the 21st. And I do say that, and then I also say, “But we also know that the earth could end for other scientifically valid reasons at any minute, like a huge asteroid crashing into us or a huge volcanic eruption that will block out all sunlight and we will die painfully from starvation if not from fire. “So, yes class,” I continue, “the world will no doubt end—probably not on December 21—but it could happen within a very few months.” Their eyes get huge and they suddenly ask for a bathroom hall pass, which I joyfully withhold.

Now that I really have the students’ attention, I neglect the teacher’s lesson plan on the geography of Antarctica, and instead we discuss the Mayans. I explain that they had wars simply to take prisoners whom they could sacrifice to the gods, usually by decapitation and sometimes by cutting out the beating heart. The class can relate to this because over the millennia Sir Charles Edison Graham-Bell’s scientific theory of the Natural Selection of Principals has caused 7th graders to often eat substitute teachers alive after the tardy bell rings.

Just at the start of my explanation about Ixtab, the Mayan Goddess of Suicide, one geeky kid raises his hand and says, “Mr. Woodside, could the Moon’s and Sun’s gravity add together to make the space rock crash into the Earth faster and kill everyone in a week instead of a few months?”

I reply, “Very good, Norman. That is correct because, as we have learned, the Earth has a magnetic field that literally pulls stuff, even light, closer to us according to the Wright Brothers’ Theory of Gravity”. As Norman considers this another kid hits him in the ear, deservedly, with a spit ball.

Steering the topic back to the Mayans, I have just enough class time to resume explaining that one time in a 5th grade class Ixtab was running in the hall with Kish, the God of the Stingray Spine, and they both tripped and Kish speared Mr. Yum Kaax, the God of Corn, through the heart, who was that day substituting for Mr. Hun Batz, God of the Howler Monkey. The school went into lockdown and eventually all Substitutes were allowed to bring concealed low-caliber skull-piercing darts to school.

If your world did end, and if you now find yourself in a new universe as a Mormon substitute teacher with two left thumbs, may your classes contain only Advanced Placement High School science students. And may you have a very happy 14th B’ak’tun.

Becoming a Realtor®

I'll describe how to be a Real Estate Agent, but first let me clear up any pronunciation confusion.  Realtor® is pronounced with as many extra syllables as you can cram in, like “Real-a-tor” or “Real-ly-a-tor”, or if you live in Alabama, “Dammit Thelma, get the gun. Them sales people's over yonder again”.

Realtor® is the official designation of people who are licensed to help others buy and sell homes they can’t afford, their never having even remembered seeing the ugly green wallpaper in the basement, otherwise they wouldn’t have offered so much money. A Realtor® belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, an organization dating back to medieval England during the reign of Caveat Emptor®.  In those times when land was cheap, plentiful and offered for sale at extreme prices by landlords, there were many "for sale" signs on telephone poles around the countryside.  Eventually some enterprising individual who was starting a national organization of salespersons noticed that the signs' letters "RARE LOTS" could be rearranged, and the name "REALTORS" was born.  The trademark symbol ® was added later when Shakespeare invented fonts.

Becoming a Realtor® is easy:

• Take internet real estate licensing courses on ignoring deadlines, miscalculating square footage, and the irritating and repetitive use of ®

• Take self-administered tests and receive a passing grade

• Register with your state, but neglect to report that you are a convicted drug felon

• Find a broker to supervise you and "share" your commissions with

• Perform costly yet ineffective marketing to get clients (people who let you demonstrate how not to sell their houses)

• Finally sell a house by accident to the seller's uncle

• Pay a fine to the state for selling real estate without a convicted-felon's license

• Use the last of your commission to pay dues and buy a keybox, signs, and a congressman who will ensure laws remain favorable to Realtors®

Disclaimer: This summary [   ] SHALL [   ] MAY [   ] BOTH (check one) be subject to arbitration should a dispute arise.  If BOTH is/are (sic) checked, the next paragraph applies; otherwise it's Tuesday.

Now that you've completed your first transaction, you need ethics training.  Held to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, many Realtors® nevertheless sometimes abide by a written Code of Ethics.  Written in code, this is like a bible of allowed conduct when Realtors® deal with other Realtors®, the Public, their Clients and their Pets.  Here's an excerpt from the Code: “We Realtors® agree to abide by the Code of Ethics, the "Fairness and Equality" White Paper on the "Handling of Rezoning Requests by Ice Cream Street Vendors in New York City, Circa 1925", the "Non-Discrimination Pact of Pre-war Poland", and all of the terms of the Louisiana Purchase.  We further agree to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, the countries people come from, possession of negative whole numbers, source of whiskey bottle collections, Lady Gaga, or shoe size.”

As you might imagine, Realtors®’ adherence to this Code of Ethics prevents less than 2% of the conceivable disputes in real estate transactions. The remaining disputes are distributed among several categories: frozen pipes, the smell of dog poop in the heat vents, and women’s rude comments about other women’s shoes during open houses.  Any one of these can stop a sale cold.  For example, I was involved in a transaction in which I represented the Seller (the person who owned the house).  I told him he should accept the offer from the Buyer (the person who didn’t have enough money to buy the house).  The Seller (let’s call him Manny), (his real name), (told me), “Dave, did you see the latest “Survivor” episode where Martha loses her bikini top?  Ha, that was a good one!”  While I was listening, the contractual “Long Story Short Deadline” (contract section 5.3 (a), iii) expired, and the Seller lost the chance to sell to the Buyer, who quickly filed a grievance against me, claiming the pipes were frozen.  That’s exactly my point.

You have now learned everything you need to become a Realyater.  But, instead, you can always just use one of the kabillion real estate professionals already out of rehab to help you with buying, selling, or a drug transaction. You can find one of us anywhere.  Just ask any high school student.  But remember: don't hand over your earnest money until you first get a small taste sample.  And a copy of the Code of Ethics.

Author's Note: See the publication of "Becoming A Realtor®" 

“Rigoletto” Comes to Utah

I somehow attended the Utah Opera’s 2012 production of Rigoletto.  It reminded me of the New York Metropolitan Opera where I saw many performances as a boy.  Back then my favorite parts were prying six dollars out of my father for a soda and snack at intermission and pitching peanuts into the bassoonist’s bosoms in the orchestra pit.

Opera is rarely appreciated and never understood.  It can be fun, though, like when Rigoletto’s Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (“Joe Green” as he’s known here) said, “I conceived Rigoletto without arias, without finales, as an unbroken chain of duets, because I was convinced that that was most suitable.”  Rarely do you see an entertaining use of the word that twice in one sentence.

At any given night at the opera, you’ll see a dramatic text set to music, which is performed by musicians (harpos), sung by gigolos (chicos), acted by jesters (grouchos), housed in an ornate building, attended by patrons (drunk), and which attempts to highlight the foibles of the times, all while contriving the plot so that a beautiful soprano (fat) has a few chances to belt out some popular show tunes.

Rigoletto is based on a play by Victor Hugo called Le Roi S’Amuse (King Roy Amuses Himself).  (Seriously?)  You can read the libretto and not understand it for yourself.   However, here is a brief synopsis of the opera, which may be skipped entirely:

Act 1  The old Duke of Mantua flirts with a beautiful married Countess.  Rigoletto, the hunch-backed court jester, mocks the Count.  Then the Countess’ father denounces the Duke for seducing his daughter.  The father curses Rigoletto and the Duke, which scares the jest out of Rigoletto.

Later that evening the Duke, disguised as Madame Butterfly, sneaks up on Rigoletto’s presumed mistress, Gilda (who is really Rigoletto’s daughter), and declares his love for her, saying, “E il sol dell’anima” (“Let’s go out for Chinese, baby.”).  Gilda begs him to leave, which he does, but afterwards she wishes they had gotten takeout eggrolls and a movie.

Even later that evening, the Duke’s henchmen arrive at Rigoletto’s house to kidnap Gilda, thinking that’s what the Duke wanted.  But the henchmen, needing Rigoletto’s help to gain entry (to the house, not to Gilda), convince Rigoletto that he’s helping the Duke kidnap the Countess (remember her?) who lives nearby.  The henchmen tell Rigoletto that he must wear a blindfold for a more realistic kidnapping. (Seriously?) They capture Gilda, and when Rigoletto hears her voice he rips off the blindfold and famously cries, “Ah! La maledizione!” (“Surely, you jest!”).  Everyone laughs at the joke, including the audience, who saw the translation on the teleprompter above the stage.

Act 2  Harpo cuts up on the piano in a brief comic recitative (an Italian word meaning “Thank God for a break”).

Act 3  The Duke, now disguised as a soldier, having released Gilda from captivity because he learned she is the jester’s daughter, pursues yet another woman at a nearby inn, The Horndog.  The Duke sings a tune, “La donna e mobile”* (later made popular by the Tom and Jerry cartoon) in which he says women are “mobile”, a common slur at the time.

Meanwhile, Rigoletto has been plotting to kill the Duke, so he hires an assassin who is at the same inn.  But Gilda, now disguised as the orchestra conductor, stumbles upon the plot, and the assassin inadvertently stabs Gilda instead of the Duke.  Rigoletto, in perfect comedic timing, returns to the scene and finds the dying Gilda and realizes the curse of Act 1 has been fulfilled!  This is good because with the death of the conductor the music has suddenly come to a screeching halt anyway.

The curtain falls, and the audience realizes the main point of the entire opera: “Oh! Guisseppe Verdi really does mean Joe Green.  LOL!”

We have seen that opera combines many theatrical things like acting, scenery, props, costumes, magic flutes, jesters, barbers of seville, marriages of figaro, fidelios, infidelios, comedy, death, crescendos, pianissimos, cruelty, violence, vengeance, abduction, rape, coughing, throat lozenges, baritones and ringtones.  And all that’s just in the audience.

When the Utah Opera performance of Rigoletto was over, I was satisfied.  I had relived my enjoyment of a favorite opera, and I was able to misunderstand the entire story translated into English this time. Best of all, I had sunk two peanuts in the Bassoonist.

*Woman is flighty…Who on that bosom does not drink love (or feast on peanuts**)!

**Modern Interpretation

Wi-Fi Streaming with Barney and Andy

TV shows used to come with only a few black and white pixels, and they were broadcast through the air by carrier-wave pigeon, also known as “analog”. The only shows available were I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Lassie, Perry Mason, and Who Wants To Be A $64,000 Question? You can still get that programming on your old TV set, which sucks the pixels through your roof-top antenna, through a wire, under the carpet and directly into your toaster oven because you didn’t read the instructions first.  But why would you live with that?  Here’s how you can get the very best of new TV technology.

Since you’re too cheap to buy an expensive HD TV, you get an analog converter box so you can watch more pixels in those old shows. You don’t know why you need this box, except that home repair TV show guys said you do.  So you buy a converter, and you finally get it all hooked-up incorrectly to discover the picture is still fuzzy, so you give up and get a new HD, 60-inch, flat-screen, LED TV, with a built-in wi-fi internet streaming cappuccino machine. But you must also get “Cable” for the introductory new subscriber price that after six months increases to a mid-sized yacht payment.

Soon (12 days later) a guy with huge steel-toed shoes, a 1/8th mile ladder, and an Iraqi Security tool belt arrives and asks to use the bathroom. Twenty minutes later he leaves, without using the fragrance spritzer. The next day he arrives again to install your “Cable”. This happens in the middle of a winter snowstorm at 7:00 pm (dark), and he needs you to shine the flashlight (yours, which he borrowed) at the top of the telephone pole where he is working. Two hours later he has routed the “Cable” from the top of the pole to the place on your house’s exterior wall farthest from your new TV, drilled through most of the major load-bearing walls, used the bathroom again, tacked the “Cable” along several miles of baseboards, hooked the “Cable” into the new TV, programmed the remote control and left by retracing his muddy footprints.

You quickly discover you spent $2500 and committed to a year contract in order to get constant reruns of I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith , Lassie,  Perry Mason and Who Wants To Be A $64,000 Question?, along with the new “reality” hits like Ice Road Truckers, Orange County Choppers and Ice Chopping with the Kardashians in Orange County.

Now you can view 800 HD “Cable” channels on a large HD TV, and that’s okay for a few days until your 5 year-old tells you that you can use the TV’s wi-fi capability in a clever way!  You can “Stream” movies and old TV shows directly to your TV! All right over your “Cable” internet service! All you need is a subscription to a “Streaming Service” like Netflix, Blockbuster or Video Vern’s Streaming Movie and Cigar Shop. Then you can login to this service and “Stream” any of the 14 available episodes of Marcus Welby, MD directly to your new TV! You almost have it working but you get a funny feeling about something…damn…you don’t have wi-fi in your house! But that’s easily solved. All you need is a new fifty dollar “wireless router”, without wires, that you connect to your “cable modem” with a wire!  You test it out like this:

• make a scotch and soda

• turn on the TV and see snow on every channel

• fiddle with the TV for 20 minutes while cursing

• make another scotch and soda

• check that your cable modem and wi-fi boxes are on and all the lights are flashing

• fiddle with the TV for another 20 minutes

• make a double scotch and soda

• get a brain storm!

• turn on your computer and pay your already-delinquent “Cable” bill

• make another double scotch and soda

• notice the TV picture is even worse than before!

• because you’re drunk!

• finally access your “Streaming” service totally by accident

• watch Barney give orders to Goober while Andy is in Mount Pilot on Sheriff business

Success! Wasn’t it worth it? Admit it, you like it. Of course you do, with that much alcohol in your brain. Plus, you learned new swear words that you can use on your next project: enabling iPhone Kindle Tweets on your toaster oven.  Good luck!