These Horrible Teachers

Mean Teacher

It has to have something to do with the folks who are drawn to teach high school.  The elementary school teachers our family has encountered have been wonderful.  The middle school teachers as well.  And now that we’ve gotten through a semester of college, it seems that the only ones with the problems are that dag burned senior high bunch.  Somewhere around 9th or 10th grade, the people leading my children in their classrooms change.  It happened with DJ, and now it is happening to Stephanie.  Poor souls.

These people are apparently, “trying to kill” my kids.

I’m not clear on the method, but upon entering high school, almost daily, and for nearly four years without ceasing, a child at my dinner table informs me that at least one, and often more, of their teachers, are “TRYING TO KILL” them.

I am dismayed to discover that not only are they trying to get rid of my children, but they are also doing the same to EVERY other kid at their school.  This is a cruel group of adults.

“EVERYONE IS FLUNKING MATH,” I am told when my child confesses to a less than worthy grade.

School administrators should really do something about that.

“Is Ashley flunking too?” I inquire.

“Dad, SHE’S a genius!  But EVERYONE else is FLUNKING!  I know I only got a 73 on the test, but Ann Marie got a 62!”

“I’m so proud.  You weren’t the very worst.”

“Oh, and EVERY girl in that class has a tutor.”

“Mmm.  Well I saw Grace’s mom the other day, and she didn’t mention a tutor.”

“Well, I’m not sure about Grace, but EVERYONE else does.”

“Does Sarah?”

“I DON’T KNOW ABOUT SARAH!!  But Lilly does.”

“So how many girls are in the class?”

“Like 18.”

“So out of 18, you are firmly aware that one has a tutor?  That is like 5%.”

“I’m sure there are more.”

“Mmm.”

The other day I discovered that another teacher had given an exam and had not covered any of the concepts that were on the test prior to.

“Dad, I didn’t do very well on my math test.”

“Why?”

“Because she tested us on material that she had NEVER covered in class.”

“She didn’t cover any of it?

“No.”

“Well, she should be fired.”

“I agree.”

A friend told me his son got a B in PE.  Not unheard of, but this high school boy is one of the strongest athletes at the school.  When my friend asked his son how in the heck he managed to not ace physical education, his son informed him that the teacher was making them write down the rules of volleyball for a grade.

“Don’t you know the rules of volleyball?” his dad inquired.

“Yes I do.  But dad, you aren’t supposed to WRITE in PE!  So I didn’t so the assignment.”

My friend then informed his son that if he ever got a B in PE again, his life would radically change.  He son questioned what that meant.  My friend simply said, “Get that B, and you’ll find out.”

I am sometimes amazed at at what my children will do to lengthen a writing assignment.  Apparently you can go into a Word document and increase the font size of your periods.  On a five page paper, that adds about four 52 characters.  They only have to stoop to these elongating tricks because their teachers assign unreasonably long papers.

When DJ was a sophomore, I was so concerned at the ineptness of one of these instructors that I set a meeting to confront her unprofessional behavior.  It was interesting that she saw things differently than my daughter.  I was a bit embarrassed.  Now, I do a little more investigating before zinging off a terse email to our school’s headmaster about the lack of intellectual prowess of her staff.

I am a lucky dad.  I have three very smart and capable kids who do very well in school.  Thank goodness, considering the teachers.

It’s Quiet Uptown

IMG_0383

When in New York, we were fortunate enough to score tickets to the Broadway musical Hamilton.  I can’t really put into words how moving this experience was for the girls and for me – on a number of levels.

The story, the dancing, the historical lessons and the music were incredible to say the least.  One song particularly struck me.  It’s about grief.  It’s called It’s Quiet Uptown.

I’m assuming the writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has experienced significant loss.  I find it difficult to believe that someone who has not could possibly describe the hole this sort of suffering leaves.

The song starts:

There are moments that the words don’t reach

There is suffering too terrible to name

You hold your child as tight as you can

And push away the unimaginable

The moments when you’re in so deep

It feels easier to just swim down

I did not lose a child, but in my grief there were moments that the words didn’t reach.  There weren’t  adjective that could describe the pain.  It was so deep.  So different from anything I’d ever experienced.  Unique.  No one could provide consoling words, because there simply weren’t any.

The Hamiltons move uptown

And learn to live with the unimaginable

It isn’t about getting over a loss.  It is about learning to live with it.  Figuring out what place the one who has gone will now play in your life.  That may sound absurd, I mean they’re dead.  And yet, there is a role for them.  Memories.  Lessons learned.  Pieces of you that grew from them.  Sort of a spiritual connection that doesn’t just disappear because of physical separation.

I would guess that those who have lost parents feel that connection.  They see their mother or father in themselves.  I have so many traits of my grandfather.  As I age, they become even more apparent.  His legacy lives on.

Miranda describes the changes we encounter in ourselves:

I spend hours in the garden

I walk alone to the store

And it’s quiet uptown

I never liked the quiet before

I take the children to church on Sunday

A sign of the cross at the door

And I pray

That never used to happen before

Grief makes you ponder things that you haven’t considered before.  It makes you question.  It brings about doubts and fears.  You pray in ways that you never have before.  Or perhaps, for some, you stop altogether.

If you see him in the street, walking by

Himself, talking to himself, have pity

The conversations I’ve had – with me.  The physical changes.  Aging.  Maturing.  A loss of innocence.

His hair has gone grey.  He passes every day.

They say he walks the length of the city.

The guilt you find for living.

If I could spare his life

If I could trade his life for mine

The older I get, the more people I meet who fully understand loss. I’m thankful there are others.  I’m glad there aren’t more.

 

The Childbirth

B.Ham.FrontCover (2)

Thought I’d post an excerpt from my book, Laughter, Tears and Braidsfor those who have not yet read it.  My book describes good times before cancer, our journey through, and the beginnings of putting it all back together.  This was a good time:

Childbirth

I don’t specifically recall being told that we were expecting our first child.  Perhaps it was in September, just a pregnancy kit at home.  I do recall an overwhelming feeling of responsibility.  I enjoyed the process of trying to get pregnant so the news in fairly short order was a bit of a letdown.

We attended Lamaze classes at the hospital closet to our house.  There were about 12 couples in the course and all but two took things rather seriously.  Lisa and I were in that camp.  Our instructor, however, took it all very seriously.  Her classes were well planned, and she did not hold back one teeny detail.

One night our teacher had the soon to be fathers sit on the floor and prop back on pillows.  His spouse was then told to sit in his lap and practice breathing.  Lisa was struggling to get comfortable.

“What’s wrong baby?  Why are you wiggling?”

“Your belt buckle is jabbing me in the back.”

“Oh, I need to remember not to wear a belt on delivery day.”  I took out my pencil and pad and began to scratch a note to myself.

“No worries honey, this is just a breathing exercise.  I don’t think I’ll be lying in the floor propped up against you when the baby actually comes out.”

“Oh.  Right.”  I erased.

On the night they showed a video of the C-section, I began to get light-headed.  Before they even began the operation, I excused myself.  “I cannot watch this, I think I’m going to pass out,” I told my wife.

“YOU    ARE     PATHETIC!  Go drink some water or something.”

Lisa and I talked about our birth plan.  The instructor told us we needed to make decisions about what we wanted to occur during labor and delivery and write it in a notebook to share with our doctor prior to our final visit to the hospital.  She discussed natural childbirth and even suggested that we might want to use a tub or whirlpool during labor.

Who in their right mind would have a baby in a whirlpool?  Does the doctor get in there with you?   Are we all in our bathing suits?  Do you need a snorkel?  Perhaps you don’t have the baby in it; maybe it is a pre-delivery method or something.  Come to think of it, being in water can make one need to go to the bathroom, especially if it’s warm.  Maybe it’s the same phenomenon.

After the first night of class, Lisa looked at me and said, “Our birth plan is to get as many drugs in my system as is humanly possible.  I want them the second I walk into the hospital.  If we go to the hospital and they say I’m not ready to deliver, we will stay in the parking lot.  That is our plan.  You can write it down if you want.”

I fully concurred.  I did not want to see my wife moaning and groaning in pain while delivering my baby.  It’s just all so unnatural.

Lisa also told me that I had three other important jobs during delivery.  Job one was to stay up by her head.  She told me she did not need me down there checking things out.  It was private, between her and her doctor. 

I said, “Honey, I though that area was between you and me.”

“It was between you and me.  Now it is between my doctor and me.  I don’t need the image in my mind of you having that image in your mind.  Stay up by my head.”

That was fine with me!  I’d seen enough childbirth in Lamaze class to last time a lifetime.  I agreed it was probably best not to watch.

The second job I had was to make sure the nurse cleaned off the baby before she slapped her on Lisa’s chest.  

“When the baby comes out, have them wash it off before they give it to me.”

“Why?”

“Because I want a Gerber baby moment, and Gerber babies don’t have blood all over them.”

I’d seen the commercials.  She was right.  I didn’t even know they would try to slop a nasty, unclean baby on you.  I was glad to have something specific to add to the cause.

“Your final job, and I know this is going to be hard for you, is not to make jokes.”

I had no problem with jobs one and two, but no jokes?

When we left the delivery room with our first-born daughter, DJ, the inside of my mouth was as bloody as a Freddie Krueger horror movie victim.  I had bitten my tongue so hard all day to keep from cracking jokes that it was like minced meat.  

Laughter, Tears and Braids is available on Amazon.  Click here to order a copy.

 

 

Rachael Ray Airs Wednesday

Rachael Ray is pictured during the production of "The Rachael Ray Show" in New York on Thursday, March 28, 2016. Photo: David M. Russell/Rachael Ray Show ©2016 King World Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Rachael Ray is pictured during the production of “The Rachael Ray Show” in New York on Thursday, March 28, 2016.  Photo: David M. Russell/Rachael Ray Show  ©2016 King World Productions. All Rights Reserved.

I thought that perhaps they would mention my book, or perhaps help pub up my blog.  Or at a minimum have us help Rachael in the kitchen.  I mean, I can cook chicken nuggets and frozen waffles.

Nah – none of that stuff happened.

But… we did have a great time!

It has been a dream of mine to have a dude in a black suit greet me at the bottom of the airport escalator with my name on a sign:

“Mr. Tanner?  I’m here to transport you to your destination.  May I get your bags?”

I mean who are these people who are so important they don’t have to schlep through luggage and go stand in the taxi line hopeful not to get the one that smells like mothballs or old Chinese food?

Car NYC

Let me tell you… those people are us!

Well, close to us.  Like he wasn’t waiting at the escalator, he was outside.  But he did have a nondescript black sedan, and it did have our name on the side, and he did already know where we were going, because we were very important people, critical to the Rachael Ray Show’s success for the day.

When we arrived at the studio, we were taken to our dressing room.  It had our name outside the door and a bathroom.  And a sign that said hold down the handle when you flush (and not a tacky, hand-written job, it was classy!)  Felt just like home.

Hold handle

They ordered pizza and salad for us (Rachael was interviewing one of the Shark Tank guys so she couldn’t cook) and then interviewed us for a video they were working on to be aired the following day when we taped the show, IN FRONT OF A LIVE (not dead) audience.

At one point, we could hear Ms. Ray outside our door…

It was VERY exciting.

During my interview on the first day, she was talking in the hall, and we had to pause because of the background noise.  Yes, Rachael’s actual, real voice was wreaking havoc on my press time!  I just couldn’t work under those conditions.

That night Rachael’s kind staff hooked us up with two nice rooms at the Hilton on W 26th street.  We put our clothes in one and all slept in the other.

On the second day they sequestered us in a conference room and prepped us for what Rachael might ask.  We were poised, calm, ready for our big break!

We were escorted to makeup where the beauticians did the girls’ hair and applied a bit of makeup.  I went too but there wasn’t much she could do.  She did tell me I had nice hair and then she sponged some stuff under my eyes to hide the bags.  I felt like Boy George.

They kept us in a stairwell and as our taped interview began to air, they rushed us through sound check and trekked us through the set to Ms. Ray’s couch.  I sat right next to her.  She patted my knee to relax me.

When the video ended, all cameras turned to us…

Rachael has a new line of furniture, and we were sitting on her brand new couch!  My tush was actually one of the first tushes to touch that fabric.  Eee-yowza.

She then turned to us, asked where Uncle Jesse was, and I shared that he was working.  She asked the kids two or three questions and then… we had a huge surprise!  DJ Tanner, the real DJ Tanner Candace Cameron-Bure, came out from behind the set!  My girls almost peed their pants which would have been a mess, especially on the new couch.

At the commercial break, they snapped our pic with our two new besties, and then we got to visit with Candace who was extremely gracious.  She even invited us to come out to LA to see them tape their new show, Fuller House.  I gave her my card.  She hasn’t called yet, but we are hopeful.

The show actually airs tomorrow on ABC.  We weren’t on there long so you’ll have to watch quickly.

It was a fabulous experience for my girls and for me.  And the staff at the Rachael Ray Show were really incredible.  Warm, welcoming, professional – what a great experience for our family.

RR Girls Interview

 

 

 

The Male Period

Kotex Test

Michelle jarred my memory.

“Dad, do you remember when you chaperoned our middle school youth mission trip last summer?”

“I do.  That was fun.”

“Do you remember when you and Brooks convinced the boys that they were going to have periods, just like the girls?”

“Vaguely.”

She recanted the story.

Several girls were on their periods the week of the trip.  They were middle schoolers; it was a bit embarrassing.

At one pit stop, the boys saw the girls purchasing supplies, and the teasing began.  Smirks.  Whispers.  The giggles.  Typical male behaviors.

At the time, Brooks, a cool, young, male chaperon, and I were not aware of the ongoing conversations.  As the story goes, one of the girls approached an 8th grade boy.

“Shut up!  You don’t even know what happens!”

“Yes I do.  It’s when the blue water comes out.”  The laughter resumed.

Apparently he had seen the commercials advertising the absorbency of some of the most porous pads.  In it, a cylinder full of blue water is poured into the pad to show its effectiveness.  Not one drop of the Windex looking liquid leaked.  Pretty amazing.

Made sense that the young mind assumed that was actually what came out.  You wouldn’t advertise muffin tins by putting spaghetti in them, would you?

The girls busted out laughing, and the poor clueless boy was bewildered.

Later that day, as the story was unfolded to Brooks and me, the girls asked if we would convince the boys they too would soon be having a visit from Aunt Flo.  It seemed like a reasonable request considering the males had indeed begun the fight.

As we entered the bus after our afternoon outings, one of the males again chose to bring up the subject, this time in earshot of Brooks and me.

“Fellas, why are you bringing this up?” I questioned.

“Yah,” Brooks followed.  “You know, everyone has them.  Your turn is coming.  I just started mine last year.”

I added, “Boys start later than girls.  Usually around 18.”

A silence fell over the bus.  I’d never seen such big eyes IN MY LIFE!

The fact that the girls were rolling in the floor quickly gave our joke away, but if only for a few minutes, we had them convinced.

Now, in the guys’ defense, it is tempting to tease females.  It is our way of flirting.  As a kid, we hit you.  In middle school, we pick at you.  When older, we use lines that are meant to engage you.  And generally, regardless of age, the woman ends up with the upper hand.  My mother had it.  My wife had it.  And all three of my daughters have it as well.  We might as well give up.  We will NEVER know more about ANYTHING than they do.

CBS, Here We Come!

eggo tyson nuggets

Several years ago the girls and I ate dinner at Beasley’s Chicken and Honey downtown.  Mmmm.    They fry up this incredible hen and plop it on a homemade waffle, a little honey drizzled randomly over the bird.  A couple of weeks later, as I struggled with supper options, it hit me:  I could replicate Ashley Christensen’s (Beasley owner) entrée.  I already had the ingredients in the freezer.

I pulled out four Eggo’s and opened a bag of Tyson nuggets, a little Mrs. Buttersworth, and swala!, dinner was served.

I believe that may be how we were discovered.  She heard about my cooking prowess.

Last Thursday, I got a call around 5 PM.  The conversation went something like this:

“This is Jessica from the Rachael Ray Show.  Is this Danny Tanner from The Real Full House blog, the one who wrote the book Laughter, Tears and Braids?”

I assumed Uncle Jesse was punking me, but I chose to play along.

“This is Danny.”  Rachael must need some help in the kitchen, I thought to myself.  Probably working on chicken and waffles.

“I’d like to talk with you about your family.  If you’re interested, we would like to consider flying you and your girls up to be on the show.”

Well, I’ll have to see if I can fit you in between Ellen and dinner at the White house.  I’m receiving a Metal of Honor for my literary genius.

“We are finding that our male viewership is increasing.  We are working on segments that appeal to that audience.”

“So, this isn’t Jesse?”

“Jesse who?”

I didn’t get too excited.  I still wasn’t convinced this wasn’t some sort of elaborate hoax, and we’d had some odd offers before that didn’t pan out.  Three groups have talked to us about reality TV shows.  When I express that I’m not about to have open season in my living room with no editorial control, the conversations tend to wane.  A documentary on pushing through tough times I’d be interested in; the Raleigh version of Honey Boo Boo, not so much.

We’re supposed to fly out today.  I’m not exactly sure what will happen – I think they’re doing some videos of our family on Wednesday and the actual show will be taped on Thursday.  It could be a 15 second snippet with us pointed to in the audience, sort of like Funniest Home Videos, or perhaps we’ll get to sit at the kitchen table and sip on a cup-o-joe with the star.  Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to teach her how to make chicken and waffles.  Talk about a ratings bump!

46

Bailey Ham 3

Lisa would have turned 46 on Monday.  The girls and I have chosen not to spend a ton of time remembering mom on the anniversary of her death, but rather to more officially celebrate her life on her birthday.  The casual remembrance typically includes Diet Dr. Pepper, Kanki Japanese Steak House and happy memories.  I don’t love Dr. Pepper, but on April 18, I drink.  I don’t love the Skanky Kanki (my nickname for the establishment), but on April 18, I eat.

We laugh and talk about her on a regular basis, so this isn’t a particularly difficult or odd time for us.  It is, however, a time to stop and reflect.  To answer questions.  For me, a responsibility to ensure her legacy lives on.

On Sunday I was invited to speak to an adult Sunday School class at my church on how to support those dealing with difficult situations.  Prepping to teach, I pulled out a stack of cards I received when Lisa died.  Although cathartic, and perhaps important at times, not necessarily a happy way to begin a fresh weekend.  Looking back, it is sort of amazing how you tend to forget the intensity of the pain experienced during that time.  It’s also shocking how quickly you can revisit the emotions with a small reminder.

One friend wrote this quote in the card she sent two months after Lisa died:

“The fullness of a person’s life is measured not in years, but in how he lived … there are rare people in this world who engage life at a different level – a deeper level than the rest of us.”

Although I’m sure that quote gets tossed around at many funerals for folks who die before 60, and although I believe it to be true, I wonder what really constitutes engaging in life at a different and deeper level.  As I poured through the notes near the top of my stack, there were a few that struck me.

“It sounds trite to say she was ‘unique,’ but she really was.  She was driven but not overbearing; she was kind but not patronizing; she was firm but compassionate.”

“(Lisa) has inspired me to be a better mom, friend, volunteer, Christian and worker because of how she lived her life.”

“Was there anyone in Raleigh she didn’t know?”

“One of my favorite memories of you and Lisa was when I visited the Y on one of my days off.  I will never forget walking up and seeing you and Lisa on the roof … I still wonder how the two camp directors were able to pull off tanning for an entire day and still get paid for it.  Who was in charge of camp?  You and Lisa were a great team!”

“She was such a force of nature.”

“I was a friend of your mom’s in college.  She was one of the first smiling faces I saw at our sorority.  From that moment on, she made me feel welcome and included.  As you know, that’s just how she was with everyone… making you feel comfortable.”

“My lasting image of her is seated on the Capon Springs stage, surrounded by all of the Capon kids, leading them in song.”

“She was an extraordinary person – someone who I remember trying to emulate as a teenager.”

“She was such a natural leader and full of such positive energy!!”

I believe that Lisa did engage life at a different level.  I don’t think she tried, I just think it was natural for her.

It doesn’t come as easily for me.  But I do think that her death has pushed me to intentionally and strategically work to live more boldly.

I do not want someone to spout out some quote at my funeral simply to fill up a 15 minute homily.  With Lisa, the remembrances were true, sincere; all who knew her could nod enthusiastically.  I’m learning later in life, but I think that losing Lisa has given my daughters the gift of living at a deeper level much earlier.  To watch them is as their mom is a beautiful thing.

How big is your mouth?

spoons

I have noticed that females like small spoons. I’m not sure why. You can’t get enough food in your mouth with them. I want a mamba-jamba spoon. Big enough to expedite the eating process and enough to get a nice chunk of flavor on my tongue.

Years ago when a friend got engaged he and his fiancé went to Belk to pick out their china and flatware patterns. Rumor has it he actually put the spoons from several patterns in his mouth to make sure they could deliver. My man!  It’s an important decision, one you’ll live with daily for life!  You wouldn’t buy pants without trying them on. It is unusual that we don’t all put our silverware in our mouths before purchasing.

When I serve my homemade crockpot veggie soup to the girls, I put the larger of our two spoon options by their bowls. Do they appreciate my desire to fill them up? Nah. They complain!

“We aren’t mules, dad.  Give us normal spoons.”

“Based on my experience, you all have rather large mouths. I chose your flatware accordingly.”

“Why don’t you just use the ladle dad?  Or turn the pot right up to your mouth?”

“When I eat vegetable soup I want a plethora of tastes entering all at once.  With your spoon you solely get a carrot.  Then a pea.  Perhaps eventually a potato. That is not how God intended it.  Plus, I eat a lot, and my arm gets tired after a while. This cuts down on the number of trips to my lips.”

I’m trying to help them. To teach them the right way to do things in life. But you just can’t reason with these people. It’s fruitless.

If they want to dwindle their lives away daintily protracting one crumb at a time, so be it. It’s just not worth the fight.

 

 

 

 

When In Doubt, Get Checked Out!

Ham Family

Eric was sick around the same time as Lisa.  He was younger, early 30’s, married.  He grew up in Raleigh but lived in California, and he was hilarious!  I never met him but reading his CaringBridge page was funnier than a night at Goodnight’s Comedy Club.

Brian was an athlete, a swimmer and a real outdoorsman.  He was a doctor, my doctor.  Not an ounce of fat on his body.  He was serious and cared more about his patients than other physicians I’ve met.  When you were in his office, he was with you.  One-hundred percent focused on your needs for as long as it took.  Cool wife, two teenage sons.

I grew up with Angie, she was in my older brother’s class at Terry Sanford Senior High School, Go Bulldogs!  She was a cheerleader, not only in school but in life.  She worked at PSNC, the place that keeps the residents of Raleigh warm for the winter.  Ironically, she read my book not long before her own diagnosis of colon cancer.

And there was Lisa.  My wife.  Mother of three, just shy of 40.

All died.  All of colon cancer.  The oldest was 52.

Current recommendations don’t call for colon cancer screening until you’re 50 unless you have a family history of the disease.  But while rates of colon cancer are decreasing for older people, the are actually climbing for the younger generation.  And while rates increase, young folks are less likely to be diagnosed until the cancer has progressed.

http://www.wral.com/colorectal-cancer-a-growing-problem-in-young-people/15597972/

Colon cancer can respond well to treatment if caught early.

Younger people think and are often told by their doctor that they aren’t susceptible to this disease.

Younger people put off getting stomach problems checked out assuming it’s a reaction to food or stress.

Many are active which can cause hemorrhoids.  They attribute blood in their stool to a sore butt from running or biking.

And who wants to have a colonoscopy?  I’ve done it.  It was not fabulous.  I drank sixteen gallons of white syrup and 45 minutes into my feast, I ran to the bathroom like I was headed into a Black Friday sale.  It was awful.  But once I was cleaned out, the procedure actually wasn’t that bad.  And there was something sort of invigorating about imploding my innards.  I felt fresh and new.

Not every stomach ache is colon cancer.  But if ongoing, check it out.  If you just don’t feel right down there, you know your body, check it out.  If you have blood in your stool, RUN to the doctor’s office.  And don’t let them tell you it’s nothing.  Press for answers!

When in doubt, get checked out!

What’s Hangin’?

DJ had spring break two weeks ago, Michelle was off last week, and Stephanie is off this week.  This schedule does not lend itself to much meaningful family time.  But we are getting our money’s worth out of Netflix!

Last Tuesday, to entertain Michelle, her grandmother took her to a YMCA yoga class.  That evening over dinner, I asked about her experienced.

“Oh my Gosh!  You’re NOT going to BELIEVE what happened.”

She was clearly appalled.

“Do tell,” I insisted.  As If I had a choice.

“Well, I was in the middle of my cat pose in Nana’s yoga class, and this old man walked in.”

“Yea.”  I could only imagine what happened next.

“And he squatted down right in front of me.”

“And?”

“And, well, his… ah… his, you know…”

“No.  I have no idea what you’re trying to say.  Just spit it out.”  She was flustered.

“Well, his, his BALLS fell out of his short-shorts!  Right in the middle of class.  During the CAT pose!”

As if it would have been more acceptable during Downward Dog.

“He had clearly just come from the pool because he was wearing his bathing suit, which did NOT have a lining, and it was WAY too short for him, and at one point I think he knew he was dangling because he tried to cover himself with a towel but it didn’t work, and it was disgusting!  I almost threw up.”

I myself have seen those same balls, I’m sure, in the Y locker room.

I think there’s an age for men, maybe 75, 76, where you a) stop buying new clothes that are appropriate for the times and your body type and b) you just don’t give a rats behind who sees your business.

Lisa and I went to St. Bart’s for our honeymoon.  It’s an island in the French West Indies.

Neither of us spoke French.  In fact, Sunday – Thursday I drove the wrong way down a one way street  into the town of Gustavia each day until a native cursed me out waving his hands up and down as we nearly ran into him.

“Connard!!  Americain stupide!!”

Because we couldn’t read any of the signs on the island, we were quite surprised to discover that our mid-week beach excursion was clothing optional.

We drove our rented jeep up to the parking area and sauntered out to the sand.  There was no one in sight, so we set up shop.  We were dressed.  I pulled out some Goldfish and a John Grisham novel when much to our surprise an older gentleman and his wife walked up in front of us, opened up their beach chairs, and promptly pulled down their pants.

Yes, like Michelle’s experience, his business was right in my line of sight.

I leaned over to my wife, “If we’re gonna stay here, I’m gonna need a drink.”

“Or a blindfold,” she quipped.

This is not the vision I had of a nude beach.  I was expecting Baywatch sans bikinis.  NOT The Golden Girls and their dates.

There should be a penalty for nudity after a certain age.  And I include myself in the “certain age” category.  At this point, no one wants to see me nude in a fully lit place.

There becomes a point in one’s life that more clothes are better than less.  There are no exceptions.  It’s just a hard and fast rule.

If you’re over 30, maybe 35 for some, you’ve hit that point.  Cover it up!

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