Friends with Boats

Friends with Boats

As I get older, I realize that I don’t need a lot of “stuff” anymore. I want to slow down And enjoy the simple pleasures of life – like lying on the bow of this powerboat … off the coast of Barbados. I’d even settle for the coast of Nantucket. I’m not picky.

As I get older, I realize that I don’t need a lot of “stuff” anymore. I want to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life – like lying on the bow of this powerboat … off the coast of Barbados. I’d even settle for the coast of Nantucket. I’m not picky.

As I look back on my youth, I realize that I’ve matured. I’m no longer that zealously ambitious young man who craved fortune and “the good life.” If I’m being totally honest, I was overly pre-occupied with acquiring “stuff.” I wanted a nice car; a house I could be proud of. I now laugh with embarrassment thinking about this younger version of me, who wanted to “have it all.”

Now that I’m older and wiser, I appreciate that what’s important in life is not simply acquiring material possessions. My, how shallow that sounds to me now.

As I’ve aged, my values and priorities have evolved. What truly matters in the autumn of my life is the joy of developing meaningful, lasting friendships. I want to meet friends I can talk to openly and be vulnerable with, sharing my deepest, most personal hopes and fears. A sensitive, honest person who will be there for me in good times and bad. And last but not least, someone who – how can I put this politely – owns a nice boat.

Young people often talk about having “friends with benefits.” But they have it all wrong. It’s much better to have friends with boats. Now that I’m retired, it really doesn’t matter to me in the least how much stuff I possess – just so long as I have a few close friends… with fast-moving watercraft. If they had a 30-foot sailboat, I would certainly consider becoming their casual acquaintance. But I’m really looking more for a friend with a powerboat with at least 350 horsepower. I really don’t care if it’s Bayliner, a Sea Ray, or a Chris-Craft, just as long as it can reach a top-end speed of 70 mph or faster.

Recently, I met an amiable fellow. We started to hit it off. And from what I could tell, he seemed to share my political beliefs. Sadly, he only owned a dinghy, which he mainly used for crabbing. It could barely reach speeds of 10 mph. Needless to say, that’s not what I’m looking for in a friendship these days. So, I had no choice but to ghost him.

Why this obsession with friends with boats? I live on an island. My wife and I moved here to be near the water. You may be asking yourself, “Hey, if it’s so important, why don’t you buy YOUR OWN boat, Tim?” What a stupid question. Have you seen the cost of high-quality boats lately? Not to mention the cost of mooring, insuring, and refueling them.

I’m looking to make a few new guy friends. All I care about is that they’re a good person, willing to be vulnerable and open, and own a sweet-looking ride like this guy has. Woah! Is that Mont-Saint-Michel ahead? Dude, will you be my friend?

I’m looking to make a few new guy friends. All I care about is that they’re a good person, willing to be vulnerable and open, and own a sweet-looking ride like this guy has. Woah! Is that Mont-Saint-Michel ahead? Dude, will you be my friend?

I’ve done some research and discovered that boat owners have no lives. That’s because they spend all their free time working on their boats. Here’s just a sampling of the typical tasks they do after every time they take their boat for a spin:

Top off the oil, if needed; wash the hull and deck; check the engine, battery, propeller, electrical lines, and bilge pump to ensure all components are working properly. Oh, and don’t forget to inspect the engine mount screw clamps to make sure they’re secure. While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at the water intake to be sure it’s not blocked. And be sure to flush the engine and propellers to eliminate saltwater, sand, dirt and other debris. I’ll skip the other 27 steps you need to do EVERY TIME you take your boat out, because I almost fell asleep after that last sentence.

So, no, boat ownership is not for me. Let some other sap pay $100,000 for a 40-foot cruiser. I just want to spend some quality time bonding with them… on their 40-foot cruiser – ideally while eating fresh lobster and chowing down on a tasty cheese platter and Godiva chocolates. (Not the dark chocolate, please.)

Perhaps you are that sap, I mean, fine person. If so, I want you to know that if you feel a need to drone on endlessly about how hard it is staying on top of all the regular maintenance needed to keep your boat in working order, as your new best friend, I’m willing to listen. Oh, and I’m a size LARGE, in case you need to know my lifejacket size for when you take me out water skiing.

I’m looking for a new friend. I’m not picky. I mean, it’s not like the only kind of people I seek out as friends are rich people with yachts that comfortably seat eight. Who do you think I am, anyway? No, I’m willing to keep an open mind. I’d even consider starting a friendship with someone who only owns a Jet Ski – but only if you have two of them. I’m not riding tandem behind you. Buddy, you need to give me some space.

I thought I could be friends with this guy. But I was wrong. He’s a very nice person And very smart. Just one problem. He owns a gorgeous 60-ft. sailboat. I was looking for a friend with a powerboat. Sorry, buddy. It just was never going to work out.

I thought I could be friends with this guy. But I was wrong. He’s a very nice person And very smart. Just one problem. He owns a gorgeous 60-ft. sailboat. I was looking for a friend with a powerboat. Sorry, buddy. It just was never going to work out.

I’m still looking for that close friend. I know they’re out there. Perhaps you could be that special person. If you think you might like to become my friend, just email me a photo of you with your boat – or a photo of just your boat is sufficient, actually.

But perhaps I’m being a little unreasonable. After all, why should I care whether a person has a boat or not? I mean, that sounds rather superficial, doesn’t it? Okay, on further reflection, I don’t care whether or not you have a nice boat. I’m more than willing to make friends with non-boat owners – assuming they have their own private plane, that is.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my latest book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’ Open to Suggestions).

Please Stop Saying “At YOUR Age”

Please Stop Saying “At YOUR Age”

Just because I’m well into my sixties, it doesn’t mean I’m old. I am up to date with technology. I’d never use a rotary phone like this – mainly because the numbers are too small for me to read anymore.

Just because I’m well into my sixties, it doesn’t mean I’m old. I am up to date with technology. I’d never use a rotary phone like this – mainly because the numbers are too small for me to read anymore.

Dear People Under Forty,

As a person who is now officially a “senior citizen” (I had my Medicare birthday four years ago), I have a small request. Whenever we’re together could you please refrain from inserting into our conversation the phrase at your age?”  When you say these words, what we people in our sixties hear is, “Dude, I can’t believe how old you are, not to mention frail, out of touch, mentally incompetent, and likely to tip over at any moment. Do you need to go pee?”

It’s true, I can no longer legally call myself middle-aged. But no, my kids aren’t currently scoping out nursing homes in my area – not yet anyway. I still play racquetball, tennis, and pickleball (although, admittedly I’ve never played any of them very well). I’m still totally capable of driving, building a deck, and setting up a wireless network in our house – okay, my wife just pointed out that perhaps I should just stick with the part about still being able to drive, in order to sound credible.

You don’t have to explain what every trendy new slang term means. I know what “Karen” and “Bye Felicia” mean. And when you roll your eyes, smirk, and say to me, “Okay Boomer,” I get the dismissive dig. I may not be totally woke, but I’m not in a coma, okay? I still use the Internet daily and have even written about the threat of AI. I still text, although on principle, I insist on using proper punctuation. (I confess I have no idea what the octopus emoji means.)

You don’t need to slow down your speech – or TALK LOUDER. My hearing is fine (even if my audiologist says I‘ll probably need hearing aids in three years).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard younger people make reference to “at your age” in their conversations with me – mainly because my memory isn’t what it used to be. I played pickleball the other day. I lunged for a shot and lost my balance briefly. My partner, a young guy around 35, pulled me aside and counseled me, “Tim, at your age, why not let those shots go. You don’t want to hurt yourself.” I just smiled and said, “Thanks for your concern.” There was no way I was going to give him the satisfaction of knowing I’d just pulled my calf muscle.

At my last annual physical, I told my doctor of my plans to ski again this winter. He looked at my knees, both of which underwent total knee replacement surgery three years ago, and he said, “Tim, at your age, I’m not sure it’s wise to keep skiing, given the stress it puts on your knees.” Of course, most of my friends have been suggesting for years that I give up the sport, but only because they all agree I’ve never been a very good skier and I keep holding them back.

The other week, I was pushing a wheelbarrow heavily loaded with dirt up a steep incline in my backyard. A well-intentioned neighbor in his early forties noticed me straining under the weight. He said, “Hey, Jonesy, are you sure you should be pushing something that heavy at your age? Here, let me get that for you” And only because I didn’t want to offend him after his kind neighborly gesture, I reluctantly agreed to let him take over and push that load up the incline for me – along with the next 20 wheelbarrow loads. Hey, I’m lazy, not stupid.

Not long ago, I bought a gas grill at the hardware store. The sales clerk, who could not have been more than 25, informed me it takes about an hour to assemble. Then he added, “For $25, we can assemble it for you. At your age, perhaps you have better things to do with your time.” Because I’m a mature, emotionally secure man, I chose to ignore his subtle insinuation that I was too old and feeble to assemble it myself. Nevertheless, I decided to pay the $25 to have them assemble the grill, because, frankly, at my age, I have better things to do with my time.

People have often told me in recent years, “Tim, you still look good for your age.” What they’re really saying is, “Tim, if you were middle-aged, I’d say you look terrible. But seeing as you’re an old guy, you’re not looking so bad. I mean, congrats on still having most of your hair and teeth.” Um, thanks for the compliment, I guess?

I’m sure that in most cases, these younger people are just trying to be gracious or helpful. They’re probably concerned that people my age may need a little assistance or perhaps we’ve lost a step mentally and may not catch on quite as quickly as we used to. But the fact is most people in their sixties are far healthier and more mentally and physically fit than younger people realize. Did you know that George Clooney is 62? Kevin Costner is 68. Pierce Brosnan is 70. They’re all studs. And they’re all way better dressers than I am. I’m not sure what my point was. Oh right. Being over sixty doesn’t mean you’re slowing down. We have a lot to live for – unless your name is Rudy Giuliani, in which case, yeah, it would suck to be old like you.

L to R: George Clooney (age 62), Kevin Costner (68), and Pierce Brosnan (70). All these men are well over sixty but they’re all still vibrant, handsome, and sexy. And my wife would trade me in for any one of them in a heartbeat.

L to R: George Clooney (age 62), Kevin Costner (68), and Pierce Brosnan (70). All these men are well over sixty but they’re all still vibrant, handsome, and sexy. And my wife would trade me in for any one of them in a heartbeat.

Let me ask you a question, my millennial friends. How would you like it if I routinely made comments to you like, “Hey, at your age, you might want to think about setting aside some money for a down payment on a house rather than putting it all into the latest cryptocurrency fad.”  Or maybe, “At your age, perhaps you should think twice about getting into that car and driving, given the six beers you’ve consumed in the past two hours.”

Just something to think about… that is, if you’d like to have a shot at surviving until you arrive at my age.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my latest book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’ Open to Suggestions).

 

 

Unattainable New Year’s Resolutions: A Guide to Setting Impossible Goals You’ll Never Achieve

Unattainable New Year’s Resolutions: A Guide to Setting Impossible Goals You’ll Never Achieve

Every year it’s the same list of New Year’s Resolutions. Lose weight, exercise more, cut out sugar, be nice to my wife. And every year, I give up – usually by National Bird Day (observed each January 5th) So, this year, I’ve decided, if I’m going to fail, why not shoot for the moon. Go big or go home.

Every year it’s the same list of New Year’s Resolutions. Lose weight, exercise more, cut out sugar, be nice to my wife. And every year, I give up – usually by National Bird Day (observed each January 5th) So, this year, I’ve decided, if I’m going to fail, why not shoot for the moon. Go big or go home.

Ah, the dawn of a new year, a time when gyms are filled to capacity with resolution-makers who, let’s be honest, will probably give up on their newfound commitment to fitness faster than you can say “cheeseburger.” I thought about it. Why limit myself to mundane resolutions like losing weight or eating more vegetables or saving money, which we all know are goals I’m almost certain to bail on by National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day? (Yes, that’s an actual holiday, observed every year on January 3rd.)

So, I’ve decided, if I’m going to draft a list of goals I am sure to fail at achieving, why not set my sights on ridiculously lofty goals that are so absurdly unreachable my friends will be quietly asking each other if they should stage an intervention.

In the spirit of chasing the impossible dream, here are some resolutions I just came up with as I was flossing for the first time in months this morning (another new year’s resolution I just started which I’m pretty sure I’ll give up on by National Whipped Cream Day, on the 5th of January). Feel free to try out some of these resolutions yourself. If you share these with your friends, I’m confident you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood – even if that talk is mostly just confused head-shaking and worrisome murmurs about your loose grip on reality.

Resolution #1: Disprove the Existence of Mars

Sure, scientists and astronomers might claim that Mars is a real, tangible planet in our solar system, but who are they to tell us what to believe? Like we EVER landed a man on the moon. Yeah, right! Just because we all learned about Mars as one of the planets back in 7th grade – and the fact that you can see it in the night sky – doesn’t prove it exists – any more than the claim that some broccoli tastes good. Now that’s a total hoax.

This year, I resolve to single-handedly disprove the existence of Mars – and maybe Halley’s Comet while I’m at it. Armed with a telescope I bought on Amazon and a copy of Photoshop, I’ll present a compelling case that what we’ve been calling “Mars” is actually just a cleverly staged Hollywood set two blocks west of the Denny’s on Hollywood Boulevard. Get ready to rewrite thousands of high school science textbooks, McGraw Hill.

#2: Make At Least Three New Robot Friends

Sure, my current human friends are great, but after a while, they can get so annoying – especially when they start talking about all their bodily parts that are starting to fail. If I hear one more cataract surgery story, I think I will lose it. I think my energy will be better spent this year on making robot friends, because, let’s face it, in six months they will all become our overlords, thanks to AI.

Imagine the conversations my robot pals and I could have – discussing the intricacies of artificial intelligence, debating which Terminator movie was the best (IMHO, Terminator 2: Judgment Day wins hands down) and learning exactly how and when I will become their eventual human slave puppet.

In 2024, one of my resolutions it to make new friends, like this dude. After all, eventually, as Artificial Intelligence gets increasingly sophisticated, it’s just a matter of time before robots like this guy rule the world. I figure, might as well start getting on their good side now, while I still have time.

In 2024, one of my resolutions is to make new friends, like this dude. After all, eventually, as Artificial Intelligence gets increasingly sophisticated, it’s just a matter of time before robots like this guy will rule the world. I figure, might as well start getting on their good side now, while I still have time.

#3: Convince Everyone I’m the Rightful King of Denmark

Why should I settle for being just another face in the crowd when, honestly, I’d be much happier retaking the throne of Denmark? My resolution will require a few weeks practicing my Danish on Babbel and taking a crash course in Danish history – I just read that Denmark is the longest uninterrupted monarchy in Europe. Who knew?

Then I’ll need to craft an elaborate backstory involving a secret twin brother, who I’ll call Henrik – unless you think the name Lars is more believable – who stole my birthright. I will proclaim that henceforth all Danes must address me by saying, “Hail to the King!” – I mean “Hils Kongen” (since I suspect most Danes prefer to speak Danish). I will award myself bonus points if I can get everyone to bow (or curtsy) when I enter the room – assuming the security detail grants me access to my Palace. I think they will. I’m told I have a friendly smile that disarms people.

#4: Learn to Speak Whale

Move over, Dory! This year, I’m resolving to master the art of speaking whale. While marine biologists might scoff at the idea that whales have a sophisticated language, I firmly believe that if I’m allowed a sufficient amount of practice, positive encouragement, and bait fish as a reward, I can become fluent in whale-speak in weeks. Who knows, maybe I’ll even land a job as a whale translator if they ever decide to make a 4th Free Willy sequel.

#5: Time Travel Back to Prevent Lincoln’s Assassination

Why settle for mundane time management goals when I can set a target for mastering the ultimate time-management challenge: time travel? This year, I am boldly declaring my intention to hop into a makeshift time machine I will construct from parts from a 1982 DeLorean and a sextant from a 100-year-old British three-mast schooner. Then I’ll set my time travel coordinates for Ford’s Theatre, April 14, 1865.

I’ll hide behind the curtains and shoot John Wilkes Booth, thereby saving Abraham Lincoln from his fateful encounter with a bullet and re-writing history. Sure, it might create a few wrinkles in the space-time continuum, but at least I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I changed the destiny of our nation forever and forced countless scholars to rewrite their treatises on Lincoln’s final days.

Here I am working on my time travel machine. I figure sooner or later someone will figure it out. Why not me? If I succeed, I plan to save Lincoln from assassination, prevent the invention of the nuclear bomb, and stop whoever had the lame idea to create the fidget spinner. Such an annoying gadget. Seriously.

Here I am working on my time travel machine. I figure sooner or later someone will figure it out. Why not me? If I succeed, I plan to save Lincoln from assassination, prevent the invention of the nuclear bomb, and stop whoever had the lame idea to create the fidget spinner. Such an annoying gadget. Seriously.

I just hope I figure out how to get back safely to the present. I’d hate it if they put me on trial for the murder of John Wilkes Booth and I ended up having to serve the rest of my life in prison – never able to enjoy a Dominos Meat Lovers pizza again – oh, or see my kids. That, too.

So, go ahead. Make your resolution to lose 15 pounds – for the 12th year in a row – or to finally learn how to play guitar or save $500 a month – like you’ve never once done since you became a parent. While you’re working on your newfound commitment to eat more green vegetables and give up ice cream, I’ll be hard at work learning whale-speak, making new robot friends, and saving our country’s greatest president from an assassin’s plot.

We both know we will both fail miserably. But I will have far more interesting stories to tell about my efforts to achieve my lofty goals – especially when my family members ask me to review my list during a mental health evaluation with a team of psychiatric professionals. I’m not worried. Maybe they can help restore me to the throne of Denmark.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my new book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’ Open to Suggestions).

The Day I’ve Dreaded for Ten Years

The Day I’ve Dreaded for Ten Years

When I reached the age of 60, my body started requiring several new replacement parts. So, recently, I’ve endured some of the unique joys of aging: knee replacement surgery, colonoscopies, and most recently, cataract surgery. And they call these the Golden Years? Yeah, right!

When I reached the age of 60, my body started requiring several new replacement parts. So, recently, I’ve endured some of the unique joys of aging: knee replacement surgery, colonoscopies, and most recently, cataract surgery. And they call these the Golden Years? Yeah, right!

I’ve never claimed to be the bravest man in the world. I never served in combat zones like both my parents did. That said, I’d like to point out I did attend an all-boys’ military school (grades 7 – 12) in which I had to march with a gun in several parades. So, that’s on par with serving in ‘Nam or Iraq, don’t you think?

I’m pretty sure I’ll never win the Pulitzer Prize in Courage. (Or is it the Nobel Prize? I always get those two confused.) For decades, I’ve struggled with two longstanding crippling phobias. First, there’s my chronic fear of snakes. If you want to know why, just read my article called I HATE SNAKES.

But my single greatest fear is my morbid anxiety about anything – or anyone – possibly slicing into one of my eyeballs. Okay, make that my second greatest fear. I just remembered my terrifying fear that Trump might actually get re-elected for a second term. But a close second has to be my eyeball phobia. In fact, just typing the word “eyeball” makes me a little queasy.

How severe is my phobia? I’ve worn glasses for the past 25 years. In all that time not once did I ever consider switching to contacts. Just the thought of peeling contact lenses off my eyes grosses me out. To this day, I still can’t go anywhere near a pier where people are fishing for fear someone will cast their line and somehow hook my eyeball.

Recently, it all came to a head – make that an eyeball. That’s because ten years ago, my ophthalmologist told me I had early stage cataracts in both eyes. Eventually I was going to require surgery. If you’re curious as to exactly what happens during cataract surgery, don’t ask me. Go look it up yourself. I don’t have the stomach to read the graphic details of what actually happens during this procedure. I’d probably faint before I reached the third paragraph.

On the cover of the eyecare firm’s brochure it shows a smiling older woman supposedly happy to have regained her youthful eyesight. But tucked away towards the far back is a section with the header “MAJOR RISKS OF CATARACT SURGERY” (these exact words). These include swelling, infection, double vision, droopy eyelids, something called ghost images – the list of possible adverse side effects and complications goes on for several paragraphs. And then the copy sneaks in at the end, “and in rare instances, blindness or even death.”  Holy crap! What did I just sign up for?

I am so squeamish about anything dealing with my eyes that I even have trouble looking at a Magic 8 Ball toy – because it reminds me too much of a human eyeball. I know, something’s wrong with me.

I am so squeamish about anything dealing with my eyes that I even have trouble looking at a Magic 8 Ball toy – because it reminds me too much of a human eyeball. I know, something’s wrong with me.

For weeks leading up to my surgery, several supportive friends told me they’d had the same procedure, that it was a breeze, and how glad they are that they did it. I learned the typical cataract surgery only takes 20 to 45 minutes – so, roughly the same amount of time it takes Domino’s to deliver my cheese-stuffed pizza.

I want to thank all the kind people who gave me calming words of encouragement. This list, however, does NOT include my racquetball buddy Raymond, who told me – and I’m not making this up – “I hope your doctor isn’t Dr. Witherspoon. He lost his license after he caused several people to go blind as a result of his botched surgeries.” Raymond decided he’d share this traumatizing story precisely one day before I went in for my operation. Thanks, buddy.

Here’s a fun fact sure to keep you awake at night if you’re contemplating cataract surgery: You’re CONSCIOUS during the entire procedure as they slice into your eyeball. Well, sort of. You’re sedated, but technically you’re still awake. That’s because they need to keep you conscious in order to ask you important questions like, “Are you feeling any pain?” and “Which eye did you want us to remove today?” and “Did you remember to sign the liability release form when you checked in today in the off chance Dr. Witherspoon is still hungover and things take a turn for the worse during the procedure?” At least that’s what Raymond told me.

Every year since that initial diagnosis, my eye doctor has reminded me the dreaded day was coming. Last week, after ten years, that frightful day finally arrived. I went in for cataract surgery on my right eye. And in two weeks – assuming I haven’t gone blind, died, or fled the area in a panic – I’m scheduled to go in for the other eye.

You should see what I did to the other guy! Uh, no, not really. This is a selfie I took the next morning after my cataract surgery. I’ll bet I know what you’re thinking: “Tim, I’ve never seen you look better.” Um, thanks.

You should see what I did to the other guy! Uh, no, not really. This is a selfie I took the next morning after my cataract surgery. I’ll bet I know what you’re thinking: “Tim, I’ve never seen you look better.” Um, thanks.

Thankfully, they drugged me up so much that I had no idea what was going on during my procedure. But just to be on the safe side, as they prepped me, I described my extreme anxiety to the attending anesthesiologist and asked her to administer the maximum “knockout” dosage medically permitted. If it might accidentally cause me to lose my memory of all events that occurred since the year 2016, I told her I was totally okay with that.

I would now like to describe in gory, graphic detail exactly what they did to me in that operating room… but I can’t. Because I don’t remember a thing. Later that day, other than a very mild achiness around my eye, I felt totally fine. The doctor was a miracle worker.

He told me afterwards that I should not lift anything over 25 pounds or extend any significant physical effort for the next two weeks. Of course, I relayed to my wife that the doctor said to avoid any unpleasant physical labor for the next six months. So, it looks like this husband just got out of having to change the cat litter boxes and take out the trash for the foreseeable future – out of an abundance of precaution, mind you.

I just emailed my ophthalmologist to ask him if he could write a letter indicating it’s also not medically safe for me to empty the dishwasher, rake the leaves, make the bed, or assemble the gas grill during this time. I’d just hate for anything to set back my recovery.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my latest book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’ Open to Suggestions).

Cheese Therapy

Cheese Therapy

Research shows that eating cheese every day is an effective way to fight against depression. However, eating too much cheese may cause you to become euphoric, with an uncontrollable impulse to take off all your clothes and shave your head.

Research shows that eating cheese every day is an effective way to fight against depression. However, eating too much cheese may cause you to become euphoric, with an uncontrollable impulse to take off all your clothes and shave your head.

Not to brag, but I consider myself an expert in the field of mental health. That’s because I’ve spent two decades attempting (usually in vain) to decipher the complex inner workings of the minds of children – specifically mine. Over their first 18 years of life, I conducted in-depth field research at soccer games, birthday parties, and trips to the mall, in an effort to unlock the mysteries of adolescent behavior. I closely studied my daughters’ elaborate machinations to slowly, carefully drive their father insane. My wife tells me their schemes were wildly successful.

Thanks to my kids, I’ve gained a wealth of insights into what can trigger negative emotions in young people – and their parents. From anger to anxiety to depression to rage to fear to – did I mention anger and depression? I’ve determined that everyone at one time or another struggles with depression, anxiety, or other mental wellness challenge.

If that describes you, take a step back from the ledge. I’m here to help. People battling chronic depression or anxiety typically try a variety of coping strategies. Some turn to psychotherapy. But let’s face it. That can be a long, expensive journey, often taking months or even years to show meaningful results. Others turn to prescription medications. But these often come with serious side effects and worse, the risk of addiction. Still others try to work through their dark feelings by embarking on an arduous, vigorous exercise program like running or swimming. Sadly, this approach comes with one obvious downside, by which I mean having to endure an arduous, vigorous exercise program like running or swimming.

As a nationally admired mental health expert (if you don’t ask my wife), trust me when I tell you that therapy, drugs, and exercise are a waste of time if you wish to overcome your emotional demons. I’ve discovered a much simpler way to find happiness – one that doesn’t require months of working through with a counselor your childhood trauma caused by the time you accidentally killed your pet hamster Bubbles when your tricycle backed over him. No, my solution requires none of that and no sit-ups or treadmill workouts either. My solution? Two words: EAT CHEESE.

That’s right. It turns out that not only is cheese one of the five best foods in the world (the other four being chunky peanut butter, German chocolate cake, Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream, and a New York steak, prepared medium rare with Béarnaise sauce) but it’s also good for your mental health.

Harvard scientists have discovered that the human brain reacts to cheese by releasing a feeling of euphoria. A chemical compound found in dairy called casein, when consumed, triggers the feeling that you’ve been rewarded, boosting your happiness hormone levels.

Mice are very smart. They’ve known for ages that cheese makes them much happier – with the notable exception of when it comes attached to a mousetrap.

Mice are very smart. They’ve known for ages that cheese makes them much happier – with the notable exception of when it comes attached to a mousetrap.

Further research has found that the country whose citizens consume the greatest quantity of cheese per year is France. C’est vrai, mon ami! The typical French citizen consumes on average 55 pounds of fromage a year – more than any other country – even more than is consumed by the residents of Gorgonzola, Italy or Cheddar, Great Britain combined. (Yes, both are actual places.)

Despite all their cheese consumption – or maybe because of it – the current life expectancy of a French person is 82 years – roughly a decade longer than the global average. So, if you want to live a long, healthy life, my recommendation is to start now, with a healthy serving of French Onion soup – with an extra helping of Gruyère cheese.

And check this out. Cheese even has the added bonus that it strengthens your teeth and bones, in part thanks to all that calcium. It also helps you get a better night’s sleep. And we all know how grouchy you get when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Now, just stuff a few slices of Muenster in your pie hole before bedtime and you’ll sleep like a bear. Of course, this same article that proclaimed the many benefits of cheese also went on to list five health benefits of drinking gin each day. So, perhaps take the above advice with a grain of salt – or better yet, with a slice of Provolone.

Another great thing about eating cheese to ward off depression is that it comes in so many different varieties. You can enjoy it with crackers, with a French baguette, on top of a burger, in a quesadilla, or, for the more adventurous palate, by downing a bottle of blue cheese-flavored soda. Hard to believe that’s a thing, I know.

While generally it’s recommended that you eat unprocessed cheese for maximum mental health improvement, in a pinch, if you’ve run out of cheese in your fridge, go ahead and scarf down that family size bag of Cheetos. It pairs nicely with a liter of Mountain Dew Code Red.

If you find yourself packing on a few unwanted pounds, don’t cut back on your cheese consumption. Eat more. That’s because cheese, like turkey, is a great source of tryptophan. After a few slices of cheddar, you’ll be out like a light. And you won’t be fretting over your embarrassing weight gain – until you wake up tomorrow morning and look in the mirror.

Sadly, some people don’t quite understand how cheese works. It is most effectively applied by ingesting it into your mouth. These men have not yet figured out that cheese worn atop one’s head will never make them happy – especially now that Aaron Rodgers has been traded to the Jets.

Sadly, some people don’t quite understand how cheese works. It is most effectively applied by ingesting it into your mouth. These men have not yet figured out that cheese worn atop one’s head will never make them happy – especially now that Aaron Rodgers has been traded to the Jets.

Of course, as with any rigorous mental health regimen, there are a few minor potential risks from a diet consisting primarily of mac and cheese and chili cheese dogs – although at the moment none of those risks comes to mind. Oh right, ingesting too much cheese can lead to dangerously high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, increasing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and possible heart attack. Like I said, minor risks.

Reading about the health risks associated with eating too much cheese has made me terribly depressed and more than a little anxious. I’m noticing that my heart is starting to race from getting all stressed out. But wait. It occurs to me that the quickest way to overcome my sudden anxious, depressed mood and feel happier is to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich (using whole-wheat bread, the healthy choice).

Easy Cheesy! That was yummy. I feel much happier now!

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

#cheese #cheesefunny #cheesetherapy #benefitsofcheese #mentalhealth #depression #cheesemakesyouhappy

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My Wife Says We Hold Onto Too Much Stuff – Why She’s Wrong

My Wife Says We Hold Onto Too Much Stuff – Why She’s Wrong

My wife complains we have way too much stuff. That’s so silly. She thinks that I should give away my boom box just because I haven’t turned it on since 2004. But what if cassette tapes make a comeback? Then what will I have to play my 1970’s Roy Orbison tapes on? Did she ever think about that?

My wife complains we have way too much stuff. That’s so silly. She thinks that I should give away my boom box just because I haven’t turned it on since 2004. But what if cassette tapes make a comeback? Then what will I have to play my 1970’s Roy Orbison tapes on? Did she ever think about that?

For the past several years, my wife Michele and I have had a running debate about how much stuff to hold onto and whether or not to give away (or in some cases, throw away) some of the rarely used excess items lying around the house.

Michele has a long list of what she considers to be totally unnecessary items that are no longer being used, just taking up space, and should be given away. I’m cautiously optimistic to report that as of this writing, I am not one of the items on that list. But I suspect I’m on the bubble.

I totally agree with my wife that we have too much crap. It’s just that we can’t quite agree on whose crap needs to be jettisoned. For example, we have an entire freezer filled to the brim with frozen broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. I assure you, I will NEVER EVER eat any of these, so if it were my call, I would give all of these away to a needy broccoli-loving home.

But my wife, for reasons unfathomable to me, seems to be under the misguided notion that I’m the far guiltier party when it comes to holding onto things we don’t need. The example she often cites is the fact that I have taken up one full closet to stash memorabilia from my childhood. It consists of barely 25 boxes of papers, photos, art projects and other keepsakes dating back to first grade and continuing through graduate school. It includes important relics like a clay sculpture I made in first grade that looks like a rat but was supposed to be an elephant, my fourth grade social studies report on Uruguay, several high school term papers, and three boxes of letters from college ex-girlfriends.

My wife lamely brings up the minor detail that technically I have not opened up any of these boxes once in the past 30 years. That may be true, but I was planning on getting around to reviewing one box a month very soon – by which I mean whenever I have completely run out of ideas for other things to do in my life.

My wife rightly points out that I have literally dozens of shirts and pants filling up our bedroom closet that I haven’t worn in years (mainly because I can’t fit into any of them at the moment). But I’m planning on losing 40 pounds, and when I finally get down to my college weight, I’ll be so glad I held onto that lime green Nehru jacket and those lavender bell-bottom corduroy slacks for all these years.

This is a small sampling of my collection of novelty hats. I bought them to use in my VFTB YouTube channel videos. My wife points out that I never wear them after the video is done. But I say, you never know when you might need a Viking helmet or a Canadian Mountie hat. I want to be properly attired if the prime ministers of Norway or Canada ever stop by for a visit. It’s good to be prepared.

This is a small sampling of my collection of novelty hats. I bought them to use in my VFTB YouTube channel videos. My wife points out that I never wear them after the video is done. But I say, you never know when you might need a Viking helmet or a Canadian Mountie hat. I want to be properly attired if the prime ministers of Norway or Canada ever stop by for a visit. It’s good to be prepared.

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’m seriously into sports of all kinds. The fact that I suck at most of them is beside the point. So, over the years, I’ve accumulated a large assortment of sporting equipment – some of which I actually have used. She pointed out that we never use our badminton set or our croquet set. “And why are you holding onto a second set of golf clubs?,” she rudely intoned the other day. “Because,” I reminded her, “what do I do if Barack Obama – who is a close personal friend of mine ever since we worked out together – came to visit and wanted to play golf?” You never know when you may need a backup set of clubs. 

The list of items my wife wants me to give away is getting longer by the day. It includes such precious heirlooms as my Rock’em Sock’em Robots set which I got for Christmas in 4th grade (the red boxer still works). She also questions why I’m still holding onto my extensive assortment of 1980s movies on VHS – since we haven’t had a VHS player for years. But I will have you know I still have every Ace Ventura, Pet Detective movie Jim Carrey ever made.. And I’m sure you’d agree that my Director’s Cut VHS edition of Patrick Swayze’s cult classic Road House alone will be worth a small fortune someday.

For reasons I still don’t grok, my wife also feels there is no reason to keep my 1992 Casio keyboard. It’s true that I can’t remember the last time I played it. But now that I’m retired, I was planning on taking up piano again. I explained to my wife that it’s never too late to start a music career. I reminded her that Willie Nelson didn’t even take up singing until he was 58 years old. Imagine that! Okay, so technically that’s a lie, but my wife didn’t know that. And I needed this statistic to bolster my case to let me hold onto my Casio player.

This is CHOMPERS, my guard T-Rex that sits next to my desk in my office. For some insane reason I can’t fathom, my wife feels it’s ridiculous for a man my age to have a giant stuffed animal in my office. She says we should get rid of it. But I pointed out that if we gave away Chompers, how would I protect myself from deadly rhinoceros sneak attacks while I’m writing?

This is CHOMPERS, my guard T-Rex that sits next to my desk in my office. For some insane reason I can’t fathom, my wife feels it’s ridiculous for a man my age to have a giant stuffed animal in my office. She says we should get rid of it. But I pointed out that if we gave away Chompers, how would I protect myself from deadly rhinoceros sneak attacks while I’m writing?

She keeps harping about all the items she feels we should get rid of. But the door swings both ways. There are several items she still clings onto, like her voluminous inventory of art supplies – not to mention her closet full of dresses, blouses and jewelry – none of which I have worn in years. But you don’t see me telling her to throw out her cherished possessions. Because I am a considerate spouse.

I’m willing to meet my wife halfway. I’m open to compromise. Heck, I long ago stopped complaining when she kept putting the toilet paper rolls on the wrong way (under instead of over). I no longer bring up the fact that she still doesn’t know how to properly load the dishwasher. So, don’t tell me I’m not willing to be reasonable and accommodating.

But there’s a line in the sand my wife had better not cross. If she thinks for one second I’m going to let her throw out my three-feet-long stuffed animal whale named Maybe Dick that I got for my birthday in second grade, then she’s in for an ugly fight. I’d no sooner part with Maybe Dick than I’d let go of my priceless collection of life-size Simpsons action figures. My daughters will thank me someday.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my new book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’ Open to Suggestions).