Thursday, February 22, 2018

You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Sez who? 

Not this old dog.

My grandma showed me how to tie my shoes ("Your mother didn't teach you?") and since then I've tussled with shoe laces.

Don't tell me to switch to shoes with Velcro closures. Unable to hold them on my skinny feet—2A with 4A heels—I walk right out of them.

So I tie my shoes. The problem: I had to stop two or three times a day to retie my shoes before they fell off my feet. Finally I felt forced to double-tie my shoe strings. That worked. I wore my shoes double-tied for years.

Then one morning my friend Stan noticed me double-tying my shoes and he laughed. "I never do that but my Elizabeth" (his ex) "always double-tied her shoes that way." 

I snorted. "Of course you never double tie your shoes, Stan. You're a man. Your shoes come with strong shoe strings, not like mine." And I grumped on into my day.

Decades passed. I still grumble when I double-tie my shoes; I grumble even more when I untie those double-knots.

Then one day I remembered that conversation with Stan. I look at my shoes. They definitely are not the shoes I used to wear: pink sneakers and the like. My current shoes are no nonsense black leather walking shoes. 

The longer I looked at them, the more they looked like a man's shoe. I examined their sturdy laces. 

Could it be that I no longer have to double-tie? That I've graduated to Stan's level?

Delighted, I decided that this old dog would learn a new trick.

So I did.

I was right. My sturdy masculine walking shoes ramble along just fine bearing a single knot.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I Love the Way She…

Here's a change of pace from all those scammers: 
a love song for Ruby, my orange tabby cat.

I love the way she ingests:

how she tosses a mouthful of dry food on the floor, 
then nibbles one piece at a time.

how she growls if she finds her food bowl empty.

how she comes running when I pour fresh water in 
her dish.

how she sniffs the water, taps it with her paw, 
scatters it over the floor, jerks back when her 
tongue touches it.

I love the way we fight:

how she flattens her ears before she attacks me.

how she jumps on my toes when they pop out of the 
end of my jeans.

how she nips me when I cross her border, touch 
her stomach.

how she hits me—but retracts her claws—when I do 
something stupid, like blow in her face.

I love to pet her:

how she flaps her tail when I run my fingers down 
her back.

how she squeezes her eyes shut when I rub her forehead 
with my thumb.

how she curls her paws when I tell her how 
pretty she is.

how she purrs in soprano when I touch her 

how she hikes her rear end, as though 
I'm courting her.

I love the way she plays:

how she attacks my belt as though it were a snake, 
biting it, rolling on her back, tossing it, 
attacking it with four legs.

how she twists her body, unexpectedly, to capture 
her tail.

how she pounces on the slithering black-and-white 
teaser I shake before her, how she bites it, holds it—
then lets go so she can pounce again.

how she walks under my legs when I do my calf stretch.

I love the way I hear her hit the floor, dropping from her chair on her way down stairs to see me.

I love her unconventional way to open an almost closed door: standing 
on her hind legs and striking the door with her front paws.

I love it when she kneads my belly.

Oh, what a splendid cat!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Those Military Men

Bored, I climbed into Facebook's messenger and rubbernecked. Spotted three military men and decided to ask them if they thought Alex Nicholas had scammed me.

I told Major Thomas Jones from Texas, currently deployed to Syria for an undercover mission, that I thought I'd encountered a scammer..

"What makes you think he is a scam?" the major wondered.

"He left me when I wouldn't loan him money for a plane ticket."

""Oh my dear," the major protested, "you could have helped him out."

I demurred. "If I did, he wouldn't pay it back. You think otherwise?"

"My dear friend, it's not a scam. He would pay back. We encounter the same situation over here in Syria where some families pay for their loved ones so that they can leave on time."

"Goodness," I thought. "Maybe Alex's desire was real. Maybe I should have given him that money." I typed out: "My dear Alex, Major Jones told me that families loan loved ones money for travel to the US. I didn't understand that. Now I do, so if you still need to borrow the $2,550 ticket money, tell me how to forward it to you."

Of course, I didn't send my note. I just left it open in the computer so I could think about it.

Then I spotted a General John Adam from LA working under the United Nations in Syria. We discussed Alex asking for $500 to fix the internet in the camp outside of Damascus.

"Well, he must have been a scammer," the general said. "I'm in the same kind of camp in Syria as he is, and those internets? They're only fixed by the government."

Goodness! Quite a shift from Major Jones.

The last military man was General Mark Welsh Albert from US, chief of Armed Force under UN, in peace keeping mission in Afghanistan. I told him about the funds Alex had deposited in Finance Storage and Security Company. "He asked me to help him receive his package," I said. "Is that legit? Or some kind of a scam?

To my amazement, the general said, "We'll help him. I'll connect you to the United Nation Barrister who can stand for you so you won't fall victim."

"But won't I have to pay the judge?" I asked.

"Normally he gets $50,000 per case," the general said, "but I've known the barrister for 20 years so you won't need to pay him. I'll tell him that you're my cousin." 

"But is the money legal?"

"Oh, it is legal, my dear, but it takes a lot of risk to deliver. You need the Barrister to be a middle man between you and the company because if this box comes without you having a good judge, you can go to jail for money laundry."

And General Albert did connect me with the Barrister, a man unknown on the Internet, I would find out. The Barrister only spoke to me through a new Gmail the general helped me set up.

Before I gave Alex's name and address to the Barrister, I remembered the note I'd typed. Quickly I sent it so Alex would know me as friendly.

First I heard from Alex, a formal note thanking me for my trust, describing Judge Murphy as "a man with dignity and honor" and telling me to send the $2,550 to an address the Barrister would give me.

Then I heard from the judge himself who told me the box containing money worth $4,500,000.00 would be delivered to me. To receive the box, I must pay the security company for storage, curiously enough an amount of $2,550. "Send it to this Chase bank in California," he told me.

When I sent no money and stopped replying to frantic notes warning me not to make the Barrister look foolish, I realized the General was also the Barrister. I dubbed him the Wizard of Oz because of his two faces.

"Did you lose money?" my lawyer asked. When I said, "No," he chuckled. "The only thing you need to do is stay away from them."

So maybe it is time to heed Kira, my friend, who recommends exploring the local scene. "I suggest," she says, "volunteering for something literary, or getting out on the coffee house scene, the poetry slams. Fine Lines? Nebraska Authors Guild?  Surely you could find someway to be useful and out of the house."

Hmm. Might be worth a try.

I've pretty much exhausted Facebook's messenger.