Humor

My Turn

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It was my turn to be the subject of ridicule last week. We all take turns. There is not a set schedule because my circle of friends are opportunists. For instance, if you try to get away with wearing a stupid-looking hat out one night, well then it is your turn. That is how it works. 

A group of us were playing golf at Wild Dunes in Charleston, South Carolina on Memorial Day weekend. We were at the turn house and I asked the lady what sandwiches they had. She said they had chicken salad, but when asked told me there were grapes in it, which I hate. Then she said they had tuna salad. It was very hot and I was very hungry so I really would have eaten anything. I had to ask, however, if there were red onions in the tuna because there usually are. I cannot eat red onions because I am allergic to them. I can eat them cooked or pickled, but not raw. The snack lady said she thought there were “regular” onions in the tuna. I am not sure what constitutes a “regular” onion, but I could no longer delve into the ingredients of the various salads at the Wild Dunes turn house and ordered the tuna. Continue reading “My Turn”

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Essay

Green Purple-People Eater

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Nothing to do with the post. Just a nice picture of James Island, South Carolina

If you are reading this, then you are probably like me. They would never guide you to this post. You have to find blogs like this on your own. They do their best to keep a lid on posts like this written by authors like me because I have dedicated my whole life to being green. 

I have been green for as long as I can remember. You cannot be born green; you have to learn how to be green. I had opinions about green even before I knew what I was talking about. Even though I probably sounded like a parrot, I’m glad I was taught those basic green principles at an early age. Continue reading “Green Purple-People Eater”

Fly Fishing

Record Breaker

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We’ve got to protect our phony-baloney jobs here, gentlemen. Harrumph! Harrumph!

-Governor William J. Lepetomane

Just off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard on July 8, 2005, I broke a world record twice. Fly fishing, I caught the largest tautog on 20 pound test line ever recorded. And then I caught an even bigger one. Luckily I was fishing with a captain, Paul, who knew what the hell a tautog was. He also knew how rare it was to catch one using a fly rod. He suspected the first one I caught could be a record and we kept it. Tautog are good to eat so at least we would be getting a treat after the day’s fishing. When I caught the second one, it was like lightning hit the boat twice. The second tautog on the fly was about a pound and a half larger than the first one. What happened on the water that day was certainly an anomaly. You simply cannot catch tautog using a fly rod and I did it twice. Both fish proved to be new world records. I thought my name would stand forever under “tautog” considering how rare the feat had been. Today however, I received a letter from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) informing me that they have canceled my world record because of a technicality.  Continue reading “Record Breaker”

Self Help

Panic #60

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I wish this wasn’t true. I sat staring at my computer trying to come up with an excuse not to write this but I couldn’t think of any. I’m not looking for sympathy or praise. I am trying to help myself. I’d really like to just move on with my life and forget this is even a part of it. My life is happier and healthier than it has ever been. Still, I suffer little blips in my mental health that are very real and I’d like to attempt to shine some light on them here. 

My heart began to palpitate while I was eating lunch two weeks ago. I started the day innocently like most days begin before trouble starts. I thought nothing of it because I’ve dealt with little jumps in my heartbeat all my life. A perfectly normal occurrence, not to draw concern, unless you are like me. I didn’t think much of the palpitations until they happened again as I was lying in my bed that night. This time the palpitations were harder and faster- thump thump, thump, thump, thump thump thump- and they got my attention. I figured that whatever was causing them would clear away as I slept, so I tried to forget them and went to sleep. I woke up around 2 AM and felt the same weird thumps in my chest. Then I was certain, I was dying.  Continue reading “Panic #60”

Charleston

Spring in Charleston

People from Minnesota laugh at our winters. Why do we do that? Project our reality onto other people. If you live in Minnesota, you better learn how to deal with a frigid and dominating winter. If you live in Charleston, SC, two days below freezing is a damn ice age. It actually snowed in January of last year. I grew up north of here and I’ve never experienced snow like that. Six inches of snow that turned into ice. The city was frozen for a week. I walked to the grocery store down the street and was almost killed by a car sliding off the road. I didn’t leave the house again until it thawed. You could hear the people from Minnesota laughing at the Charleston “snowpocalypse” clips on the weather channel. Everyone in northern states loves a good southern snow storm so they can make fun of how unprepared we are. It just reinforces their stereotypes of us. Fine because we have some pretty good ones about them.

We can’t drive in snow and ice because we never have to. A few weeks before the snow it was 65 degrees on Christmas Eve. I’ve always said if I need to use a heater to get my car battery warm enough to start my engine, I will only do that once, pack whatever fits into the car and hightail it south as fast as I can. I’m proud of my novice snow driving because driving in snow and ice stinks. I think snow is pretty for a day and then I’m ready to say goodbye. Enough already. Last year, snow piles in Boston were still around in June. Oh, the superiority. 

If you live in a place that is stunningly beautiful and pleasant in the spring and fall like Charleston, winter is a real burden, even if it is mild. The short days and gray skies are like a sedative for the population. People are less happy, a little fatter, sun deprived and tired of being inside. Occasionally a 70-degree day will pop out of January and we all become like escaped inmates. We had one of those days this year and I went outside and stood in some sunlight for about thirty minutes. It’s a real weather tease.  

Now it is spring and Charleston is alive again. Our cars are yellow and our noses are running; a small price to pay. Most days in the Charleston spring feel like nothing. You don’t notice temperature, which allows you to notice other things like the sweetness of the air or the gentle sea breeze. The temperature allows your mind to wander; to search for better descriptions than “it’s hot” or “it’s freezing.” 

Humidity begins to build in the spring. In the early morning, it lays across everything like streaks on a freshly washed window, slowly disappearing. Green returns to the marsh grass. Color creeps up the spartina stalks beginning in late march. I actually think it is prettiest when the grass is half brown and half green.  Spring happens underwater as well. Nutrients return to the marshes fed by the Ashley and the Cooper rivers. That brings mullet and shrimp that bring bigger fish and so on. Winter water is a pretty aqua, but it is also dormant. When marsh water is dark with mud, it is alive. Life pops and flips throughout. Winter is hard under water. Food is scarce and the water is clear making it tougher to hide from dolphins. Fish from Minnesota wouldn’t stand a chance. 

I would not drive around Charleston during the first week of spring. People are delirious, gray-eyed, like they haven’t completely awoken from hibernation yet. I imagine when a grizzly emerges from her winter sleep, she is also ravenous and irrational. We are starved for sun and pleasantness. The winter sun is lower in the sky and most of its rays go right over our heads. The summer sun shines down on us like a cop interrogation scene from 80s television. The spring sun is gentle, friendly. 

The spring sun gets inside the house as well. It turns the shades burnt orange as it breaks the horizon. Then, it paints everything a soft yellow as the day moves on. 

Charleston isn’t a sports town. It is too nice in the fall to bother with football all the time. We watch, but we aren’t fanatics. Your team stinks? Let’s play nine. College basketball has a presence here. The College of Charleston has a great mid-major arena right downtown. We enjoy sports with an eye outdoors. We can just as easy listen to the game on the boat. Worlds are never as in sync as they are when it is beautiful at The Masters as well as out your window. The green of the fairways of Augusta National seem to spread from the TV into your living room and beyond. We also love March Madness. Not because we are rabid fans but because we love excuses not to work. If you have business in Charleston on a beautiful spring Friday, you better get it done before noon. 

Spring in Charleston has some flaws. No-see-ums will ruin a pleasant morning. Female no-see-ums have to feed on your flesh so they can have the energy to reproduce. Males don’t bite. Metaphor all you want. No-see-ums are warded off by wind and the hot sun. Early morning and late afternoon hours can be torturous if you get into a swarm. The worst thing they do is bite your scalp. The bites raise huge welts on me because I’m allergic. The welts don’t last long but they are itchy and painful. I always think about the days in the south in the past when working and living in the marsh must have been almost unbearable. I’m sure they had some no-see-um remedy that was a solid lead salve or something equally as deadly. I wish they had passed it on to us. Lead poisoning might be preferable. 

Springtime ushers in abundance. Tourists come and spend their money. The city is teeming with life again. Farmers markets begin. My health and my mind are both benefited by weekly farmers markets. I’m not sure I have grasped their privilege yet. Lots of places struggle to get fresh anything, even in summer, and here we are with a weekly cornucopia. Blueberries are my favorite. There’s a farm in Awendaw that specializes in growing them. I think they grow the best blueberries you can buy anywhere. 

I do not believe there is a prettier place on earth than Charleston in the spring. I try not to take it for granted; to enjoy as much of it as I can. Don’t worry Minnesota, spring will come to you as well. It will be summer down here by then. Hang in there. Come on down if you are feeling restless. The weather is fine.

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Humor

Sizzling Hot Fruit Series

Part I- El Chapo’s Avocado

I loved avocados for a while. I ate at least one a day for a year. Now, I can’t stand the thought of eating one and I don’t know why. Something just clicked, switched. I bought a box of single-serve tubs of guacamole that sat in my fridge for five months after the click. I used those small tubs as a substitute for fresh avocado when I felt lazy. Not that I couldn’t get a fresh one, I just didn’t want to do the work required to clean and open the damn things. Opening a tub of processed guac and scooping it onto eggs is a lot easier and safer than slicing into a fresh avocado. 

People don’t realize that you have to clean the outside of the avocado before you cut into it. The inside is protected by the leathery shell but bacteria can be transferred to it from the outside on the edge of your knife. That’s got to be why so many people get sick at Chipotle. Unwashed avocados (This is an unsubstantiated opinion. It’s a fine restaurant). Anything, regardless of outer layer, must be cleaned with some sort of bacteria-killing wash before it is cut into. Think about how many times Larry who doesn’t wash his hands after going to the toilet in the grocery store squeezes lemons before he finds the perfect one. You don’t want Larry’s wee-wee-hand in your lemonade, do you? Continue reading “Sizzling Hot Fruit Series”