Monthly Archives: March 2012

Among the Active Seniors

Paradise courtesy of sun, sand and the world’s best bartender.

So as you may have gathered by my recent absence and drunken exhortations to buy and consume fruit flavored rum, Mr. Slattern and I recently enjoyed a relaxing stay in the islands. We don’t really go in for the swim-up bar type of destination, preferring instead to do our drinking while decently clothed in the comfort of a chair or chaise, but we’ll make do with a stool when necessary. We found a charming little resort, the Cocodimama in Eleuthera, where we could do just that, and as an added bonus, we discovered that they have very good food and Sammy, one of the world’s great bartenders. Consider the Slattern’s seal of approval enthusiastically given.

courtesy rumpunchrecipe.net

So, all in all it was a delightful getaway with sun, sand, food and drink in copious abundance. Perfect, but for one small, wrinkly fly in our sunscreen: the islands of the Bahamas appear to be teeming with active seniors. Unlike the doddering species of domestic snow bird that infests Florida and other stateside environs (which has already been extensively and hilariously chronicled by my pal Cristy Carrington Lewis), the international retiree apprears to be quite adventurous and engaged with his surroundings and neighbors. Which frequently makes him/her a far larger pain in the ass.

Let me offer you a couple of examples from my recent experience:

Baked Alaska

Swinging and roasting, courtesy Rolf Hicker and simplyforties.com

Mr. Slattern and I encountered Baked Alaska and his lovely wife Mrs. Alaska in the hotel bar while we were engaged in a particularly contentious game of Scrabble – I know what you’re thinking, but we’re word people and the way we play Scrabble, it qualifies as a blood sport, well a drunken blood sport. Sort of like cockfighting without the chickens. Anyways, there we were, at a quiet table by the door, obviously engaged in some serious mental gymnastics while happily partaking of that oh-so-crucial third pre-dinner cocktail, when out of nowhere and completely unbidden, Baked Alaska appeared at our table, officiously peering over Mr. Slattern’s shoulder and effectively smashing both our concentration and our cozy rum glow to smithereens.

“Playin’ Scrabble?” he astutely queried.

We resisted the urge to slap back the usual snappy retort along the lines of, “Scrabble? Heck no, we’ve got a little cold fusion underway here, but no Scrabble.”

He then hovered for the next twenty minutes, interrupting us with the usual line of interrogation — Where you folks from? How long you staying for? What’s your line of work? Would you like to see my wife naked? OK, he didn’t ask us that last one, I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

In the pregnant silences between his questions and our brief, monosyllabic responses, Baked Alaska offered a wealth of information about himself, including the fact that he was from Alaska, but since retiring had split his time between the tropics and his home base with occasional stops at an intermediate, layover property in Arkansas. And no, I didn’t ask why Arkansas of all the fucking places in the world. I wanted to know, but couldn’t have borne the lengthy real time recitation of the thought process behind buying a house in the middle of fucking nowhere as a stopover on a journey to the ends of the fucking Earth.

Eventually Baked Alaska and his deep golf tan drifted off to another table to pester another innocent pair of tourists, but not before he had so distracted and irritated me that I missed an obvious seven-letter word (INTRUDER into a triple word score) and instead played RUDE for twelve measly points. I still suspect Mr. Slattern of putting him up to it. The man will stop at nothing to win.

Not convinced? Think we’re just a couple of cranky, unfriendly sticks in the mud? Consider this:

Deaf Con Red

Facsimile of Deaf Con Red courtesy the Red and Green Show

Later that same evening, our equilibrium restored, we were basking in the glow of a tasty fish dinner and trying to decide whether to have another rum drink with dessert or in place of it, when our space was once again invaded. Baked Alaska was, by this time, deeply involved in a discussion of irons versus wedges or some equally fascinating subject with the father of a family of eight from Arkansas (“Arkansas? Really! Gosh, we’ve got a place in Hot Springs….”), and Mrs. Alaska had long since dozed off at their table. Our sense of security, however, was as false as it was short lived.

We looked up from our menus expecting to see the friendly waitress all ready to take our order (two more Bahama Mamas and two pineapple pies, please — it was vacation after all). Instead we encountered the ruddy grinning mug of Deaf Con Red. The conversation went something like this:

DCR: “Hey folks, where you from?”

Mr. Slattern: “New York”

DCR: “Eh?”

Mr. Slattern: “New YORK”

DCR: “Sorry?”

Mr. Slattern and me, screaming: “NEW YORK”

DCR: “Oh New York. Never lived there, but the wife loves to visit. Too noisy for my liking. I’m from Somefuckingplace (I’ll be honest, I had already tuned out, or passed out, I’m not sure which) in Iowa. How long you here for?”

Mr. Slattern (forgetting that our interlocutor was deaf, since like me, he had been ever so slightly over served by this point): “Just a week.”

DCR: “Eh?”

Flaming rum courtesy floridarestaurantlaw.blogspot.com.

I’ll spare you a verbatim recounting. Suffice to say the conversation went on like that for some little time, with Deaf Con Red asking questions and forcing us to repeat the answers two, three and even four times because he either wouldn’t wear a hearing aid or couldn’t be bothered to turn it up. I’m willing to wager that battery conservation played a role, but whatever the case, Mr. Slattern and I both woke up at four am on the beach in our dinner attire, hungover, eyebrowless and hoarse, because despite our clear lack of interest Deaf Con Red sat down with us and eventually his pal, Baked Alaska, drifted over too. At least that’s what I think happened. Once the rum starts arriving straight up and on fire, all bets are off.

Because God has a sense of humor, both sets of active retirees were on our homebound flight. It took us a while to puzzle out why they kept calling us Trixie and Froderick, and we were initially flummoxed by some of their comments about our professions, but as the trip progressed, the memories of the evening returned in sickening, lurid detail. On the positive side, apparently, even at this advanced age, I can still pass as a stripper and Mr. Slattern makes a convincing rap artist. Who knew?

Is that a sombrero on your head, or are you just glad to see me?

My good pal, Peter Kevin Connell over at Today in Heritage History has seen fit to bestow upon me the coveted (and first-ever!) Poofy Shirt Award for my winning caption of the photo above. I’ll bet you’re wondering about the comic gem that took the prize. To find, you’ll need to scoot on over to Kevin’s excellent site for my caption and all the other extremely amusing entries.

Thanks PKC!

Gone Swillin’

Ricardo's rainbow coalition

Mr. Slattern and I have retired to the beautiful Bahamas for a few days of liver straining R&R. I was going to unplug and hold off posting till we returned, but I have made such an exciting discovery, that I cannot wait.

The clever distillers at Ricardo here in the islands produce flavored rums, and with the help of Sammy, Eleuthera’s best bartender, we are working our way through the full range. Watch this space for many exciting potions for your punchbowl. (Don’t worry, we’re writing them down rather than relying on memory, which in these circumstances, can be a bit flukey.)

Really Starbucks? No lemons? At all?

So the other day I was slogging through Midtown and made a quick stop at one of the roughly ten thousand Starbucks that occupy every available Manhattan street corner. I have noticed that some blocks even feature two, and as it now stands there appears to be at least one Starbucks outpost for every bag-laden, Euro-wielding tourist in the metropolis on any given day. Honestly, the next thing you know, you’ll slip into the restroom to drain off that tall skinny triple mocha-chino chai latte only to find they’ve set up a coin operated Automat style coffee bar next to the sink. Imagine it: a sign featuring an earnest looking barista in a rainforest setting with a headline that reads “Now that you’re down a quart, why not top off the tank with a super fast vente latte* to go?”  *Gigante size only in our pitstop refill stations. You’d be like a hamster on a wheel, endlessly draining and refilling, never able to leave the Starbucks without risking a toileting accident or caffeine letdown. On the positive side, maybe they’d start referring to their employees as the pit crew.

Read the rest of this entry

No retreat. No surrender.

C’mon ladies, let’s send the surrender T-shirt to sartorial oblivion.

Spring approaches and my sisters and I are contemplating a change of habit, specifically those of us in cooler climes are about to undertake the semi-annual, seismic shift from wool to cotton, from boots to sandals and, sadly, from cake to cucumbers — all in the name of spring fashion. As our toes yearn for liberation and our limbs again seek the sun, I am once more reminded of the question that springs to mind every year along about this time.

Ladies, why oh why do you continue to buy these?

It doesn’t even look good in the glamour shot. Courtesy of those bastards at Land’s End.

There’s really only one reason companies keep making these things you know: women keep buying them. Open a closet or dresser, and I’ll bet if you see one, there are ten more lurking nearby in a range of glorious colors and splatter patterns, depending on where the coffee/red wine/baby spew tends to land first (chest, mid-section, lap). I can’t even bear to think about the striped ones.

If you own one or more of these, I’m guessing that once the mercury starts to rise you wear them a lot. After all they’re marketed as “wardrobe staples,” right? They go gardening and shopping, get thrown in the suitcase for summer vacation, and even appear regularly at the office and social gatherings. Tell me I’m wrong. Please?

Well, I’m sorry, but I’ve got to get this off my chest, so you’d best buckle up.

Even if you look better than the perky model, I guarantee that the surrender t-shirt does absolutely nothing for you. It is just not possible. See photo above.

Which brings me to the name. Why surrender T-shirts you ask? Because when you wear them, this is the message you send the world: I give up. I feel unattractive and will never look good again. All I care about is taking care of my kids/fifteen cats/elderly and incontinent parents. I have no life. I surrender. If you’re reading this blog, I am willing to wager a significant sum that that’s not who you are.

Before you argue with me, hear me out. I’ve heard the justifications for these horror shows a hundred times. “Ooh but they’re so comfortable and cool. They go with everything. They hide my trouble spots. Cotton breathes, you know.”

Bullshit. These things are shapeless, frumpy and unflattering and they make anyone who wears them look like Charlie Brown in drag. Trust me, other than slapping an extra ten pounds and another 15 years on you, they do nothing for you, or anyone.

Still not convinced? Time for some tough love.

Not a good look, ladies. Surely you see that.

Still resisting? In that case you leave me no choice but the nuclear option, God forgive me.

TUCKED IN! you know who you are. Courtesy momgrind.com.

Just so you know, this is how a cotton T-shirt should fit:

Courtesy agirlsworld.com and a seriously badass brassiere.

And yes, you have to look like Angie if you’re going to rock the body armor and firearms as accessories.

C’mon ladies, let’s put the surrender t-shirt manufacturers out of business and this wretched item out of its misery once and for all. Are you with me? OK, go to your dressers and pull out every one of those horror shows and destroy them immediately. Either cut them into dust rags or set them on fire so that you’re not tempted to resurrect them in a moment of weakness. Do not save them for gardening or house painting. And for the love of God, don’t give them to charity. Poor people have enough problems.

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