More Worthless News and Folklore From The Texas Cactus Patch 5-26-2023

I don’t have a current picture of myself, but this resembles my classic Wild Bill Cody look these days, only my hair is much longer and whiter, my teeth sparkle like a jewel, and I walk with a cane thanks to botched back surgery. At times, I carry a sidearm Colt 44, just in case things go south, as they often do here in Texas. It’s too hot to wear buckskin, so shorts and Tee Shirts make up my Western clothes.

So much for boycotts generated by the LGBQRSTUVWXYZ clothing. We Drove by Walmart this morning at 8:30 AM; the parking lot was full. Same driving by a Target in Fort Worth a few days ago, and full lot. I guess we Texans ain’t as tough as we put on to be. I did read that a father went berserk in a local Target and tore down the display and its sign, scattering those cute little grooming duds all over the aisle. He’ll likely get six or more years in the same prison the J-6th killers are housed in. The local Walmart is having its tax-free weekend and they are running a special; any gang of looters with 8 or more in the group gets to steal an additional 30 percent of goods; while supplies last. Just for giggles, the greeter may or may not be armed with a hidden 44 magnum. Could be a Dirty Harry moment.

This weekend is Tax-free shopping and free looting for gangs of 8 or more

I’ve found that grocery shopping at 8 AM is the way I prefer. There are no old ladies to bump you with their carts, very few shoppers and everyone is nice at that time of the day. I do miss not being able to whack people with my walking cane when they bump me, but hey, I can adjust. If you have never shopped at H.E.B. you are missing out on a great store. You might want to consider relocating to Texas so you can save money on your food and gasoline.

Ensure goes well with wine

Two weeks ago, our 4-year-old Whirlpool microwave bit the dust. Then a few days later, the 4-year-old Whirlpool oven did the same, then the 4-year-old Hot Tub took a dump. We replaced the microwave with a nice hood and purchased a small microwave that rest on the counter. The hood is a beast that has enough CFM to suck a Tomcat to the grill. Now we are buying a new oven and the hot tub repair is scheduled for June 6th. I’m praying the television or the fridge doesn’t go to La-La land. Oh yeah, all the appliances were made in America, so that has me worried that we are going backward with our manufacturing and China is leaving us in the dust. Wait a minute! Isn’t that what our past president said? Condolences and best wishes from Texas, and God Bless The Alamo.

Was it something I cooked?

Breaking News From The Texas Cactus Patch 5/24/2023

Arnold Ziffle Jr.

The Canadians are sending us new immigrants. It’s a “super pig,” and it’s crossing the border unchallenged and in the dark of night. The experts in these creatures say it eats everything in their path; ducks, deer, dogs, foxes, tiny humans, and so on. They travel in packs and are smart enough to avoid hunters with rifles and bows. One older experienced hunter said, “It’s like I am back in the Nam, these critters hide in holes and wrap foilage around themselves to blend in with the forest, it’s PigNam.” One report had one super pig using a laptop left on a picnic table, so these things are bright. The Biden administration is researching our laws to see if these critters can obtain voting rights. Look at those cute eyes, that mischievous twinkle and adorable smile. How could we not love the thousand-pound porker?

The border is still closed per our government, but yet 14,500 illegals per day somehow crawl through razor wire and make it past armed National Guard troops. They must be using a “Harry Potter invisible cloak” handed out by our Red Cross. Send a Cub Scout troop with Daisy air rifles to the border and let them pepper the invaders with copper BBs. I know from experience those BBs hurt. The phrase; “Remember The Alamo” comes to mind.

Miller Lite and Ford are the two latest companies to go woke. It appears that Miller has an all-female activist marketing group and intends to exterminate the Miller Lite good-ole-boys from its ranks, replacing them with trans women dressed like frat boys and construction workers. Ford, well, they are just a bunch of Detroit pansy asses. Rainbow-painted F-150 trucks. Who in the hell is going to drive one of those? Not in Texas or Oklahoma.

Target, that fun-loving department store with the big red circle and cute commercials, now carries a line of women’s swimwear for transgenders. It has extra material in the crotch for the sweet things little package. They also have a line of children’s playwear featuring trans slogans, fairies and Unicorns, and Winnie The Pooh, for Pete’s sake. Look to see Target biting the dust at a city near you. UPDATE..from the Dead South News Service: Target now has moved the Pride and LBJQRST clothing to the rear of their stores so shoppers without mental problems will not be exposed to the clothing.

The scammers are ramping up their attacks on us senior Texans. Somewhere, a list with my cell phone number was sold to a group of guys in India. All the callers have an East Indian accent and want to sign me up for additional Medicare benefits and pain meds; all they need is my personal information and credit card number. I keep telling them I died, but they keep calling back. I plan a trip to India soon to track down every one of the little shits and beat them with my Walmart walking cane. They don’t know that we all carry firearms in Texas and are pissed off most of the time, so that’s not a good combination for a scammer. Below is a picture of my latest scammer that he sent me. I asked for his cell number to call him in the middle of the night. He hung up.

” I am here to help you with your pain, all needed is your personal information, social security number, and a credit card with at least a $5K limit. Medicare is your friendly friend.”

I’m gifting my 2008 Honda CR-V to my 16-year-old granddaughter on Memorial Day. She needs a car to obtain a part-time job and get to school and home. I can’t drive a car due to the drop-foot caused by my back surgery, so I’m content to let MoMo drive me around in our 2018 Honda. The car is old and wise but doesn’t have streaming capabilities to the radio, so I’m not sure how she will listen to her Spotify music. Life is tough for the youngsters.

A Few Final Thoughts Of Easter Weekend

Another Easter weekend is fading into the last hours, as I am.

I remember, as a small child going to the Poly Baptist Church and being told I was a sinner and going to hell for two hours. I was six, so sin wasn’t on my radar, and the preacher told us hell was right below our seats, so I kept my legs up most of the time. I was an easy target to be pulled through the wooden floor.

After Easter service, it was home or to relatives for food, easter egg hunts, and enough sugar to keep me humming for days. I didn’t quite connect between what Easter Sunday was and what it had to do with a rabbit delivering eggs hidden in odd places for us to find and put in a basket. Christianity and Paganism clashed at that point. I know in church, I was miserable in my white shirt and clip-on tie but was happy as a town dog hunting for candy eggs in a backyard. I never saw the rabbit, and after a few years, believed it to be BS. I caught my father hiding the darned eggs so that “jig” was up ( oops..a bad word, I’m canceled, I guess). For the love of Davy Crockett, it was the 1950s, so get over it.

We have the German immigrants that arrived in the late 1700s to thank for the pagan rabbit-egg dealing thing. Those hearty saurkraut-cooking farmers brought it to us. Makes you wonder if little Adolf liked to hunt eggs too? I can’t imagine a tradition and stories of a German Hare making a deal with a German hen to purchase eggs so he can deliver them to children; that’s about as senseless as banning “Matilda” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” from public school libraries. Fortunately, our small town bookstore in Granbury carries those books on the banned list, and our local H-E-B had an abundance of plastic eggs, marshmallow, and chocolate Bunnies this year. MoMo’s grandchildren are likely still awake from all the candy they ate.

I listened to Glenn Beck’s interview with Pastor Gregg Laurie this morning on YouTube. Greg, now an older man, is the young man portrayed in the movie “The Jesus Revolution” that came to Jesus as a seventeen-year-old and became the senior pastor of the Calvary Church along with the help of Lonnie Frisbee, a hippie Jesus freak turned into a powerful preacher, and Pastor Chuck Smith of the Calvery Church in Southern California. It was an hour of enlightenment and awe. Pastor Laurie truly believes that as it happened in the late sixties and early seventies, another Jesus Revolution is taking place among our young and old if we live long enough. This started in Asbury, Kentucky, a few months back and has grown into a nationwide movement, just as it did in 1969 through 1972.

All the same, signs are there; the disillusionment with our government, the decadent lifestyles being pushed on our young via Hollywood and special interest groups, the drug culture that is killing our teens, the threat of a World War, the works of their parents and their schools. It’s the same formula that birthed it in the late sixties, only now the world is a more vile place than it was then. The Hippie movement was never the answer to anything. It was a pipe dream, an experiment, a cop-out. Nothing good could have come from it, except some very good music, but the rest of it was bullshit, and I know I was one of those long-haired freaks that smoked dope and played rock music. Lived it and done it, and so was my wife. We both knew Jesus then but were floundering in our faith. She rediscovered hers before I did. It took me a while longer, but it happened, and now it’s happening again, and it may again before I depart this earth.

Have a blessed Easter weekend, and remember that nothing has changed when you awaken tomorrow morning. God still loves you and to be the person he expects you to be.

“The Show Must Go On” In The Cactus Patch

Things are a bit shaky in the Cactus Patch this week. Spring is here, but holding off a bit, giving us cool and cruel weather. I have a worrisome cough. I am never ill, except for the Cancer that I beat off with a stick a few years back. I should be a petri dish of diseases at my age, but my bride, an RN, keeps me going. I keep checking my arm for a bar code and an expiration date. My iPhone is able to read codes, so when one does appear, I will scan myself.

Mrs. MoMo and I are going to the legendary and beautiful Granbury Opera House on Friday evening to see “The Liverpool Legends,” a group of hand-picked ( by George Harrison’s sister) musicians that believe themselves to be The Beatles. They put on a great show, so I am stoked and a bit jiggy about the evening. We are meeting two more couples of our old friends for supper, adult beverages, and sharing the event. Danny, Jordan, and I played in a rock band for 19 years, The American Classics, to be exact. We played many Beatles tunes, so revisiting live music should give us a proper fix for a while. It would be the perfect event if our lead guitar player, John, was still with us, but he is playing with better musicians in Heaven and can’t make it. We can reform the band at a later date.

My wife, MoMo, has gone full Hippie Chic on me. She turned a pair of jeans into bell bottoms by adding a 60s-style fabric to create the bell effect. She didn’t stop there. Next, she made a genuine cow leather vest complete with fringe and other adornments dangling. The gal was a bit of a hippie wild-ass back in the day, so she knows that clothing makes the person and produces the proper vibe. She is so excited the concert has taken a back seat to the wardrobe. I look for her to grind her own wheat for homemade bread and stop shaving her legs and armpits; she may change her name to Sunshine or Saffron before Friday. I will remain the same grumpy codger but will sport my leather jacket with cow-fur trimmings and Larry Mahan Ostrich boots. My hair is not long enough for a pony-tail, but if I drink enough Chi-Tea, it may grow enough by then.

Our bird feeders have turned into a Shakespearean performance stage. It seems the small Avians have formed their own theater company and take great pleasure in giving us a good show every morning. Two Crows have joined the cast, and a pesky Squirrel hogs the Sunflower seed but does a formidable tap dance, so he is welcome. The Doves have joined forces and now number in the dozens, making a solid ensemble. They tend to deplete the seed in a manner of minutes, but we are well-trained and keep the critters well-fed. We have a wild Turkey that walks with a nice strut and an educated Road Runner that visits, but so far, no Coyote.

God Bless Davy Crockett, and remember the Alamo. Adios for now.

The Call Of The Wild

A few days ago, in the waning moments of the afternoon light, MoMo and I were sitting on our patio having a cocktail, as we often do these days. We both heard the sound at the same time. “What was that she asked?” I replied, ” that, my dear is a Thomas Turkey calling for his flock.” Gobble..gobble…gobble. What the hell? We have lived in our rural community for four years and have never heard of or seen a wild Turkey, so this was a shocker. This was turning out to be a week of discovery. That morning, a squirrel attacked the bird feeder and dispersed the pushy Doves away. He or she was a welcomed site since we have not seen a wee nut breath since we built our home here. I love the little bandits and had one as a pet some years ago; she bit me only once and never again after I gave her a goodly chastising. Daisy was her given name. Now we have a Wild Turkey and perhaps a flock of hens and youthlings. I am happy that nature has returned to our semi-wild community. This morning, MoMo stepped onto the patio, and the large brazen Turkey flew from our backyard, barely clearing the fence and onto the wilds of the woods across the street. She thought it to be a giant Vulture, or perhaps Mothra, or Birdzilla, but it was the Tom Turkey we heard the night before. Thank Davy Crockett, it’s not a cocaine Bear.

As The Bird Feeder Goes, So Does The Country

My sixteen-year-old granddaughter visited us last week for her spring break. She flew in on a steel silver bird from Tulsa on Monday, and we met her at DFW. I hadn’t seen her in a few years, except in pictures on Facebook and text, but there she was, pulling her rolling suitcase, wearing the obligatory backpack, holding her iPhone, and wearing a pair of Doc Marten boots. She was quite a beautiful sight to behold. I ask my wife to tell me that a sixteen-year-old would rather spend a week with their grandfather than go to South Padre or Corpus and whoop it up on the beach? She assures me she is not a mirage, and some grandchildren are geared that way. I must be a lucky old guy to garner such love and respect from one so young.

Her brother, my oldest grandson, came over from that fancy eastern city, Dallas, and had Mexican food with us. Once back at home, we played loud rock guitars for a while, and I was shocked that he might be the next young Eric Clapton or at least Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. His sister plays a different guitar style and declines to join the loud fracas; Joni Mitchell and classical finger-picking are more to her styling. As loud as it was, having my two oldest grandchildren together for a while was an unexpected joy. I’ve learned, at my age, to take moments as they unfold. The loud music from my Fender amp loosened a dental filling or two, but I survived it without more hearing loss than usual. I will ask my grandson If I might accompany him on his first tour as a roadie or guitar tuner. If CDs or vinyl albums are there, I can sell them at a table near the venue entrance.

They both lead busy lives, as all young folks do these days. Their social life on the cell phone takes up much of their time, but that is the norm now. I told the two that I would be a better person and much more relaxed if I didn’t own one of the foul little machines. How ancient I must seem to them; going to bed at 9 PM and arising at 6 AM, unheard of in their universe.

Retiring requires searching for tasks to keep your mind sharp and your body supple. My wife and I have a shared morning routine, feeding our visiting hordes of wild birds each morning after our cup of java. We have three feeders and a bird bath, and it didn’t take long for the word to get out that our side yard is the happening place in our rural community. Starting with one feeder last year and a bag of seed every month, we are now up to two bags a week and sometimes more. I feel that there is a sign written in bird language somewhere in a tree that gives directions to our yard. I fear the little invaders have trained us well.

My granddaughter was amused by the antics of the little Avians. Their busy stage is close to our bay window, so we have front-row seats all day. She pointed out that the drama around the feeders is akin to the survival programs on television, or perhaps like our government dimwits in Washington. Big birds always win out over the little birds; it’s the natural pecking order in their world; and ours. I think she is onto something, and how weird that a teenager should recognize the similarities. Still, she is bordering on Oppenheimer’s intelligence and is into more things at school than I can remember. Ahhhh- to be young again, and not in the ancient 1960s.

Brown and black Sparrows are the small fries, so they get to the feeders early before the chaos ensues; Finches, Buntings, Juncos, and Titmouse come in next, then the pushy Cardinals arrive and start throwing their weight around. The Wood Pecker and Blue jays sneak in for a peanut, then depart. The few White Wing Dove that came last year has now grown into a flock of twenty or more, and they move in and take over the show. Feathers and seed fly, and the little birds retreat to the ground to grab what they can. It’s pretty chaotic. A feral cat or two tried to move in for a few easy kills, but my accurate rock-chunking abilities dispersed them in a few days. No cats were harmed, but the small stones gave their buttocks an ouchy or two just to let them know they were not welcome to kill my small feathered friends. These days, the escalating war between the birds is becoming worrisome. Perhaps I can draw on my inner Henry Kissinger spirit and negotiate a truce, but I doubt any of the small Avians will be interested in listening to my gobbly-goop. So be it; let the battles continue.

I sat down to my coffee a few mornings after she arrived, and my perch is also by the bay window where the bird’s antics occur. I found a note from my granddaughter written on post-it paper that summed it up quite well. It read, “The Doves are the supreme consumer of the seed. Much like the British and tea, the Doves do not play. Birds are under Dove dictatorship.”

That sums it up quite nicely. Unfortunately, as the bird feeder goes, so does the country.

Buying Ammunition at The Walmart

I detest shopping at Walmart. It’s not that I feel I’m better than the folks that go there; it’s more of a sadness that washes over me when I enter the door and am greeted by an elderly person who is drawing social security and can’t make ends meet and has to stand and speak to strangers the entire day. Most of the strangers don’t reply when the greeter says,” hi there, welcome to Walmart.” It makes me want to cry at times-being old. I sympathize with the elderly, and even though I don’t consider myself in their league, people say I am elderly. At times, it’s tough to accept, but I knew it would eventually happen, and most of it would not be pretty and wrapped with a red ribbon and constant travel like the pharmaceutical commercials promise.

Another thing that bothers me about Walmart is the trickery pulled on the shoppers. I can go to the H.E.B. and get more food for my money than at Walmart. It’s all a marketing ploy pulled on the folks that can least afford it. I don’t blame Sam Walton for any of the shenanigans in his formally buy American store. His family and their families and cousins and uncles and such have turned the place into a shrine for Chinese marketing. I tried once to find anything made in America. I walked the isles for hours, picking up random objects; made in China, Taiwan, Mexico, Philipines, and on and on, but most of it was from China. The only items found to be made in the US are the produce. If the Chinese grow celery, tomatoes, and lettuce, they must keep them for themselves.

Walmart used to sell guns. They still have a few shotguns locked in cases, and you can buy a nice Daisy Red Ryder BB gun or a pellet rifle, but no rifles or pistola’s, only limited ammo for such armaments. That’s where I ran into my old buddy Mooch.

It was yesterday, and MoMo and I were at Walmart picking up our medicinal prescriptions since our Medicare plan says we must use Walmart Pharmacy and no other. I saw him turning the corner from the garden section, which was now full of Valentine’s and Easter crap. I caught up with him in the sporting goods, standing at the ammo counter in deep conversation with a young man with wooden blocks in his ear lobes and piercings in his nose. Besides those additions, he looked like a normal Walmart employee; his nametag read Edwin B. He and Mooch were discussing ammunition.

I sided up to Mooch and cleared my throat. He acknowledged my presence but kept his rapport with the pierced boy.

” You’re sure these 50 caliber bullets will go at least 40 thousand feet and will bring down what I’m going to shoot at ?” The pierced boy said, “yep.”

The box of shells was as big as a loaf of Mrs. Bairds bread, and the price tag said they cost $300 dollars. I think Mooch will kill a Dinosaur or Bigfoot with ammo like that. He paid the boy with his debit card, and we walked away.

I’ve known Mooch for twenty-plus years, and it’s sometimes better not to know his plans. The suspense was killing me, so I broke my own rule and inquired, “Mooch, what are you going to shoot that would take a 50-caliber armor-piercing bullet?”

Without missing a step or turning his head, he said, “Me and the wife are leaving for Montana in the morning, going to shoot down some of them Chinese balloons and take the solar panels and all that spy stuff back home.” I wished him a safe trip and good hunting; wasn’t much more I could add to that.

Ice Storms and The Alamo

Texas is in the midst of a nasty ice storm. It started with sleet, then freezing rain, a dusting of snow, and now more freezing rain mixed with thunder, sleet, and lightning snow. I envy the folks up north; they get plain old snow. it may be five feet deep, but it’s not ice.

Ice storms are part of our history. Our great authors, Larry McMurtry and J. Frank Dobie often wrote of them in their novels. Hondo Crouch, the lord of Luckenbach, Texas, commented, “there is nothing as lovely as a good ice storm to make you stay inside to ponder and piddle.”

In 1836, when General Santa Anna marched his troops from Mexico to San Antonio to dispose of those pesky Texians who were having a barbeque cookout at the Alamo, his men were pelted with ice and sleet storms. Most of his soldiers came from warmer parts of Mexico and died in the scrub brush of south Texas, frozen solid while standing upright or in mid-stride. Santa Anna lost his personal wagon full of Tequila; the bottles froze.

Here in Granbury, the most historical small Town in Texas, the day before “Icemegedon” hit, my wife and I went to our local H.E.B. for a few items. We know how to “hunker down,” so we don’t require much.

Good God, it was as if the world was ending. Masses of shoppers grabbed everything they could from the almost bare shelves. One lady had a basket full of Mrs. Baird’s bread and twenty-six packs of Dr. Pepper and Big Red. I ran into Mooch and Mrs. Mooch, and he had a basket full of Red Baron Pizzas and Pork Rinds, which is actually survival food here in Texas. I saw two older women in a tug-of-war over the last pack of pork ribs, and the bakery ladies were smacking shoppers with loaves of French bread as they came over the counter. It was pandemonium at its finest. The wine shelves were empty, as well as the beer coolers. If you have enough booze, food is not required to sustain life.

Back to the Alamo, if I may. It’s a good comparison to the state of our country today, and we are fighting a similar battle, destined to lose. The defenders, which would be the citizens of Texas, are sheltered in the mission and are attempting to hold off the invading hordes, which would be Mexico and the rest of South America. By letter, Travis, now Governor Abbot, begged for reinforcements, which never came. Thus, the mission was breached, and the defenders slaughtered. President Biden is now playing the part of General Santa Anna, and Senorita Kamala is his muse.

All of this happened because of an ice storm. I think Hondo was right. It’s a good day to ponder and piddle.

“Down On The Corner, Out In The Street”

At 73 years of age, I still have all my hair. Not only is it all in place, but it’s also solid white, luxurious, and flowing. I use a secret shampoo from ” Dr. Squatch,” a medicinal shaman that lives in a remote mountain cabin above Colorado Springs. I have men, women, and barbers stop me on the street and comment on my massive amount of follicles. My wife says I have ” TV Preacher Hiar,” which brings me to this idea.

Since my rock band disbanded in 2019, I have missed playing music. A few nights ago, at a birthday party for our former drummer, Jordan, who turned 75, I approached the idea of making music again with him and our former bass player and singer, Danny, who is 77. Our good friend and guitar player, John, passed away a few years ago, but I’m confident he would be all in if he were with us.

They were mildly interested until I told them my idea involved playing on the sidewalks around our historic Granbury town square. The proper English term is “Busking,” which consists in playing and singing for money thrown into a jar, a bucket, or an open guitar case. They looked at me as if a third eye was growing in my forehead. I then dropped the bomb on them; I am becoming a man of the cloth, a pastor, a preacher, a sidewalk hawker for the almighty. It’s so easy; I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. My quirky sense of humor, skill as an orator, and perfect hair assure success in this endeavor.

Go online, send in your nominal fee, and receive a certified, stamped, and legal document, suitable for framing, that says you can perform weddings, funerals, and divorces, bless barroom fights, bless meals for family and strangers in restaurants, give pastorly advice, and heal people’s medical maladies. I am awaiting my credentials which should arrive any day now. My two friends and former bandmates have not returned my calls, but then at their age, they may have forgotten the conversation. I will send them a text and an email as a reminder.

Combine my TV preacher hair and my pastorly presence with our three-piece musical trio, and we should be able to draw a sizable crowd and make some nice donations for my mobile church, which I plan to christen; “The Church of The What’s Happening Now.” All proceeds will go to the “Mission Granbury” food bank and “Friends of Animals.”

Being a Christian, which I am, is advisable. But, if you’re going to spread the word of God, you had better believe what you are spouting. Atheists, Agnostics, and liberals would never make a good street preacher; they would be struck by a bolt of lightning from above and charred to a crisp right there on the sidewalk. God doesn’t watch CNN or The View.

I have better hair than any of those preachers on the TV set, so I should do quite well if my wife lets me out of the house and I can find my car keys and guitar, which I suspect she has hidden with relatives.

This Will Be A Little Uncomfortable

The latest in the battery of tests after my spine surgery is called EMG or Electromyography, as it’s known in medical circles. My surgeon said there may be a few more, but he didn’t want to worry me because everything involves needles and pain.

After the surgery on August 31st, I’ve been dragging my right leg and foot around like the Frankenstein monster, an after-effect that may or may not cure itself. However, my wife said I had it down pat if I wanted to try out for any film parts.

The walker from the hospital was a cheap affair with the tennis balls that kept getting in the way; it was so 1980s, so I purchased one of the new walkers with four wheels, a seat, and hand brakes like the old English bicycles from the 1940s. Now I could obtain a speed of at least 5 mph, and dragging the leg and foot didn’t matter.

The older people on the square seemed impressed and gave me a thumbs up when I whizzed by. Next, I challenged an old lady with a motorized electric scooter to a race and beat her to the stop sign. She was reluctant to part with the $20 bet, so I let it slide and bought her a gin and tonic.

While lying on the exam table, I noticed the medical gown had a pleasant aroma of lavender which helped soothe my nerves.

The young technician said the electrodes might hurt a smidgen and make my muscles react involuntarily. Unfortunately, she was correct; as the electricity increased, I jumped around like a frog in a 7th-grade science class hooked up to a 24-volt battery. However, the pain wasn’t too bad because I had taken a 50 mg tablet of Tramadol before the visit, so I was a bit loopy and perhaps more compliant than I should have been.

After twenty minutes of shocking me into submission, she unhooked me and said the Doctor would be in shortly to administer the needle test.

” He’s going to stick needles into me?” I asked.

No one said anything about needles; by now, after 3 years of operations and cancer, I should be used to needles; but I am not.

The young Doctor came in, asked me a series of questions about my spine surgery, then said, ” well, let’s get this over with.” How comforting.

I looked him dead in his highly educated eyes and asked, ” is this going to be a bit uncomfortable,, or will it hurt like Hell?” “Oh, it’s going to hurt like Hell,” he said. At least he was honest.

The first needle was about 6 inches long and went into my calf. It didn’t hurt too bad; the second hurt like hell, the third even worse, and by the time he stuck me with the last one in my lower back, I was telling him I would give him a hundred bucks to stop. Obviously, he doesn’t need the money.

He called my wife Maureen into the exam room and told her everything because she is a nurse and won’t forget. They did their “secret medical handshake,” and we went home.

I got a message from the surgeon’s office this morning that I need to come in next week for some more tests that involve needles and other machines.

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