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    Esther Blumenfeld  

    The purpose of this web site is to entertain.  My humor columns died along with the magazines where they were printed, although I cannot claim responsibility for their demise.  I still have something to say, and if I can bring a laugh or two to your day, my mission will be fulfilled.

    Everyone I know thinks he has a sense of humor.  Here is my unsolicited advice. If you try to be funny and no one laughs, don’t worry about it.  However, if you try to be funny and no one EVER laughs, you might have a little problem.

     

    Friday
    Jan052018

    A NUMBER OF THINGS

    I know I shouldn’t answer the phone when I don’t recognize the number of the person calling me. That’s the joy of having a landline. My voice-mail-gizmo screens unwanted calls. I absolutely never answer when it’s a call from a mysterious, “Unknown Caller.” If he doesn’t want to know who he is, I don’t want to know who he is either.

    However, sometimes, just for the hell of it, I will answer the phone. My excuse is that I haven’t memorized all of my friends’ phone numbers, and sometimes their names aren’t posted. Weak excuse!

    Consequently, yesterday, when I answered the phone some woman wanted to sell me a burial plot. So, I asked, “Why, would I want a burial plot? I just had my carpets cleaned.” I hung up. The phone rang again. This time it was a recorded message, “Your warranty has expired.” Obviously, I should have told her that I already have a plot!

    Have you ever called a friend, and she will say, “I’ll call you right back.” And, then when the phone rings, you answer, saying, “That didn’t take you long,” and it’s someone else. This someone else spoke very fast in Spanish. I figured out that it was “Maria’s MaMa” calling. When she paused for a breath, I interrupted with,”Maria, no aqui. Su numero is wrong-o!”

    The house phone is not my only source of adventure. My house number offers me many strange interludes, because my neighbors around the block have the same house number “7140,” but their house is on “Circle” and  my “7140” is on, “Road.” And to make matters worse, our small neighborhood seems to be a training ground for postal workers who cannot read street names. We rarely have the same mail person, so I receive packages and mail for the “Circle” people.

    Complaining at the Post Office does not work, because the last excuse I got was, “They just don’t train those people anymore. They just send them out in their trucks.” So, what is the excuse for the dump and run UPS guy?  

    So much for deliveries. One afternoon, I saw a stranger trimming my backyard bushes. I yelled, “Mister, my bushes have just been cut. Stop doing that!” He took his shears and ran!
    When the house painter pulled into my driveway, I shouted, “Don’t you touch that paintbrush,” and pointed my garden hose at him. It’s Arizona. We don’t have to conceal our weapons.

    So, that’s my sad telephone and house-number story. I don’t know why people are out to get me. It even happened at the doctor’s office.

    I was scheduled for cataract surgery in December, and went for my pre-op exam. The nurse said, “The doctor will do your left eye first.” “But,” I replied, “the paperwork says,”right eye.” “No.” the nurse replied, “It will be your left eye.” I said, “Please give me new paperwork.” It doesn’t really matter to me which eye the doctor decides to do first, but I’d like to know which cheek to draw the arrow that says, “This eye first!”

    Esther Blumenfeld (Paranoia does not run in my family!)

    Friday
    Dec292017

    AGE OF UNREASON

    Three years ago, my pharmaceutical insurance company informed me that Walgreens was my “preferred” pharmacy. That suited me very well, since at that time, there was a Walgreens on every corner, and my grocery store was next to my Walgreens. Two years ago, my insurance company informed me that Walgreens was no longer “preferred,” but now I could go to my grocery store’s Osco pharmacy.

    After making friends with the nice pharmacists at Osco, this year I have been informed that my 2018 “preferred” pharmacy is CVS. The closest CVS pharmacy is housed in a Target Store next to a grocery store that has an Osco pharmacy.  I am sure that all of this shuffling about satisfies the agreements between pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, but it’s really a most unfortunate game for consumers.

    In all fairness, there’s no rule that says that you can’t go to a non-preferred pharmacy, but there is a rule that a pharmacist can’t tell you that she can give you a prescription at a cheaper price, unless you ask, “Can I get this at a cheaper price?”

    The only consolation is that if the pharmacy hide and seek game wears you out, you can now find a  mattress store on every other corner near your chosen pharmacy. There are mattress stores everywhere! So, after you go through the shenanigans of pharmacy musical chairs, you can always go lie down for a rest at your neighborhood mattress store. I think that resting in the mattress store is catching on, because their sales staff seem to change faster than the linen on the beds. By the way, flipping a mattress is now passe’ but turning a mattress is the “preferred” way to go. I assume the next trick will be mattress on a spit.

    If the pharmacies and mattress stores get too crowded there’s always the waiting room at your neighborhood Urgent Care facility. These places are popping up faster than a teenager’s zits.
    It’s a good place to take a load off and take a little rest, because these places never seem too urgent when you sit in the lobby waiting for your care number to come up on the blackboard. It’s kind of like a horse race without a horse or a race.  However, the restrooms are usually clean. Then “Go for it!” takes on a whole new meaning.

    So, in 2018 we are stuck with pharmacy roulette, mattress “blow out” sales, and non-urgent, careless urgent care. That’s called regressive progress.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Dec222017

    CYCLOPS EAT YOUR HEART OUT

    When facing my second cataract surgery, I was told that,”No two eyes are the same.” I’m sure that is true, but I must add that no two surgical experiences are the same either.

    My dear friend, and travel agent, Terry, picked me up for the drive across town to the eye hospital. I figured, “She got me to China. Surely she can get me to my operation.” We arrived on time, with five minutes to spare, and a one-hour-sit-around the waiting room. Obviously, the surgeon had run into a problem earlier in the day, and his already screwy schedule, was screwed around a bit more.

    When the nurse finally called my name, I shouted, “Bingo!” Then I was escorted into the prep room. My affable nurse, Don, hooked me up to the heart rate and blood pressure machines, deposited, a funny hat on my head, and proceeded to put what seemed like a thousand various drops into my right eye.

    He then picked up a needle and started to poke at the tiny veins in my left hand, so the anesthesiologist could insert the happy sauce before the surgery. The veins in my left hand rolled away from his needle once and then twice. Then he started to poke the right hand—once and then twice. By now, I was hoping that the anesthesiologist would use a hammer, and put me out of my misery.

    Finally, nurse Don found a cooperative vein higher up on my inner arm. He taped the needle tightly, and then he, and another nurse, lowered my head, and began to wheel me into the operating arena, but the bed abruptly stopped moving. The cords to my vitals monitor had somehow gotten tangled into the wheels of the bed. One nurse sat on the floor trying to untangle them, and Don leaned over me to help her.

    In a muted voice I said, “You are lying on my face.” When he had applied the final eye drops, Don, the nurse, had ordered me not to touch my eye, but he didn’t say anything about removing his chest from my face. When the nurses finally untangled the cords, Don apologized profusely and put more sanitizer drops around my eye.  

    Finally, I was wheeled into the operating room where I spied many masked people. My head was strapped to the table, my eye was pried open and the anesthesiologist came in (I think it was the anesthesiologist and not the custodian) and put the happy juice into my arm.

    I was partially awake when the miracle-maker surgeon started operating on my eye. He told me to look at the lights, and politely told me not to talk. So I said, “Okay!” The next thing I remember was lying in the recovery room. I was unstrapped and had a new lens in my eye.

    Terry took me home, and I behaved, because my next trip is to Cuba, and I want her to book me on a return passage. So now, it’s drops time. I need to apply lots of drops into both eyes for a month. No problem, because I made some fancy check-off charts for each week.  I check off, drop one, drop two, drop three in the morning.  I check off drop one and drop two in the afternoon, and then I check off…one glass of wine.  Here’s looking at you kid!

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Dec152017

    LET'S COMMUNICATE

    When walking in the mountains, like, I saw two people, like, building, like, a fire in a picnic grill. Like, this fire was so hot, I thought they’d set fire, like, to the trail. Like, it was awful!

    When people express themselves in this unlikely manner, it causes my teeth to itch, and I want to suggest, “Go back to talking with your thumbs.” Of course, there is no embellishment in thumb talk, and it gets right to the point: “Hikd up Mt. 2 people set fire. Scard me. How R U?”

    Nowadays, you should never expect to receive a letter. People are too busy to put words on paper. Of course, people in the “olden days” were never busy. However, I am grateful to receive e-mails from dear ones, but it is really difficult to put a blue ribbon on a keepsake saved in a cloud.

    Letters from famous people have been a boon to authors and historians, and love letters have held a special place in many a heart. Whereas, I don’t think Hillary Clinton’s e-mails or Donald Trump’s tweets are worth collecting.

    I was recently in a restaurant where two people were having a loud and extremely dumb argument about which one of them had a smarter telephone. Both phones won.

    The English language is very robust and constantly changing with the times, but we have become sloppy communicators  (if that’s what you want to call it.) Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is making eye contact with her screen? In the middle of, what you thought was a conversation, she just might say, “Oh, here’s a picture of my son’s bucktoothed dog, Nipper.” And, then, thrusting the phone into your face, she says, “Isn’t he cute?” It is then that you should respond, “Which one’s Nipper?” It won’t hurt her feelings, because most likely she isn’t listening anyway. It is then that you might realize that a conversation should involve more than one person.

    I have nothing against technology, but as soon as I learn the language about how something works, the machine becomes obsolete, along with the language used to describe its function. To make my point, does anyone remember Fortran?

    But getting back to the basics, no one seems to care about grammar anymore either. For instance, how many times have you heard, “Me and Flinkus, got caught in the rain.” The only way, “Me” could have gotten caught with Flinkus in the rain is if Meeee is a Chinese name, and she isn’t You!

    Today, if you’d ask a young person to diagram a sentence, I’m sure that he just might reply, “What’s a sentence?”  And, then, we are left with LOL.

    Esther Blumenfeld (The fire set on the mountain trail  was extinguished by two rangers. They gave the grill-happy-pyro-nincompoops, a good talking to. Yes, there is still hope. It can be done!)

    Friday
    Dec082017

    THE EYES HAVE IT

    I am writing this with one eye, and a computer.  Had cataract surgery yesterday on my left eye. That could be a good title for a movie—-“My Left Eye.” My ophthalmologist has his own surgical facility across town, and every Wednesday, he pops out old cataracts and pops new lenses into the eyes of 30 patients.

    His surgical hospital is across town, and my friends, Paula and Fay drove me there.  I didn’t know until the day before the operation when the procedure was scheduled. That was more stressful than the anticipated surgery, because I had to put my friends on hold.

    Since I was ordered not to eat or drink anything after dinner, naturally, my surgery was scheduled for 12:45 the next day. It was Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of fasting and Atonement) all over again. I really could have thought about being a better person with a cup of coffee. So, what did my selfless friends do? They went out for lunch and had fun without me, while I was wheeled into the operating arena, met the nurses and the 12-year-old anesthesiologist whose name was Dr. Holt. I winked at him because my eye was filled with assorted drops. He came back ten minutes later and introduced himself to me one more time, “I am Dr. Holt.” I winked and said, “Dr. Holt, it’s my eye that’s in trouble, but my brain is perfectly fine.” So, how smart is it to mouth off to the guy whose supposed to make you feel no pain?

    Before being wheeled into the surgery room, my surgeon/doctor came in to check on me. At least I think that masked man was my doctor. I looked at him with my good eye and saw that he was dressed funny.  Finally, I was wheeled into the operating room, and a nurse strapped my head to the table. I said, “Are you sure this isn’t an electrocution? I really wasn’t that rude to Dr. Holt.” (I have seen reruns of those movies on HBO.) She didn’t laugh, but did prop my eye open, and a the masked man began the operation.

    I was wide awake and watched the whole procedure as best I could through a propped open eyelid. I guess that Dr. Holt’s anesthesia worked, because nothing hurt as I watched three little blue and white balls dance above my eye. Later I was told those were lights.

    My friends tossed a coin and lost, so they had to come back for me, and they drove me home.
    That evening, I began my assorted eyedrops, and began to follow the instructions: “Don’t bend down.” I guess that meant that I could bend up.  “Don’t lift anything heavier than a bread box.” “Don’t swim.” It was 40 degrees outside. No chance of that. In other words, “Stay put, and don’t worry if your vision is blurry. That is normal.”

    The last drop I put into my eye came out of the bottle like a clump of Elmer’s glue. No wonder it said, “May cause blurry vision.” Before going to bed, I taped the prescribed pirate-eye shield over my eye. The next morning my eye lashes were glued to the shield and my eye was glued shut. I wasn’t supposed to touch the eye, so I drowned my lashes and the eye in artificial tears, and unstuck everything. My eye was too blurry to drive, so my friend Paula took me for my post- op appointment. I bribed her by telling her she could come into the Doctor’s office with me and heckle if necessary. I told the ophthalmologist that he looked much better without his mask. Happily he was very pleased with the results of the surgery and told me that I might be blurry for another day or so, but that my vision would be excellent.  He was pleased with his work!

    As a clumsy person, I now have to find creative ways to pick stuff up off the floor. I have rediscovered the versatility of my toes, and, since no one can hear me,  I swear a lot!

    That’s the story.  One more eye to go!

    Esther Blumenfeld