Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mele Kalikimaka

This Christmas has been one for the ages. Sheila decided a number of years ago that we would take the entire family to Hawaii as soon as we could afford it.  Apparently, we can afford it now.  However, how would I know?  I have never paid a single bill since I've been married.   We planned on going to Hawaii last year for Christmas, but put it off a year because of Keithy's illness.  We were hopeful we could all be together for Christmas this year.  It didn't work out like we planned because of Keith's death.  We felt that Keith's passing gave us even more reason to go and find happiness just being together.  Needless to say, this has been an important trip for our family to all be together and recognize that we have so much to be grateful for and that we can still be happy.  

Leaving the Portland Airport.
 The Aloha Flight to Maui.
 Grandma She-She doing what she does best--comfort her grandchildren.
 No matter where we go, we can't seem to escape Superheros. 
 The beaches have been amazing.

 Beach Buddies.
 Is he a Super Model or what?
 We haven't changed in 20 years.  Well...maybe that's 20 days.
 The pool at the house we are renting. 
 Lil D knows how to relax for sure. 
 Somehow we ran into the Herzogs, our neighbors in Yakima and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Day playing a very competitive day of football.
 Yes we are Master Builders!
 Shea and his mama. 
 Cole and Ally enjoying our sand castle.

 The sand castle building crew. 
 Eve styling some cool shades.
 Darc and Brent
 Another beach model I'm sure.
We had a wonderful Christmas Eve, and enjoyed a day at the beach on Christmas Day. Although I would never want to be a permanent resident of Hawaii, this is nevertheless and amazing place to spend a Christmas Holiday as a family.

Happy to be a Poopy Kid Again

I have undergone surgery a number of times, mostly for orthopedic issues, but this last surgical intervention for a minor hernia correction was the worst.  I had a very complicated shoulder surgery with multiple tears—the recovery?  A piece of cake.  Surgery on my right wrist, left thumb, and left ring finger? No problemos.  Is it my age, my weakening mental spirit, or my declining physical resiliency?  Regardless, I developed a hernia condition sometime during the past two years while wrestling.  I largely ignored this problem, thinking that it would never need to actually be corrected.  It got worse.  Following my most successful marathon, my hernia symptoms got a lot worse—come to think of it, a lot of minor physical problems got a lot worse during the brief training for my marathon, during the hellish hell that was my marathon and during the post marathon recovery stage.  So I scheduled a consultation with an old friend, who also happens to be a very well respected general surgeon, Dr. Barry Bernfeld.  Dr. Bernfeld and I coached AAU basketball over 10 years ago.  Our daughters were the same age and played together.  Barry grew up in Queens, NY and actually played basketball at a fairly high level at one point in his life.  As knowledgeable as Dr. Bernfeld is about basketball, he is much more skilled as a surgeon, which bode well for me as one of his patients.

As expected, he confirmed my need for surgery to correct this “minor” problem.  I was warned that the recovery could be challenging.  I was told not to drive a car for a week, nor lift anything heavier than a pair of shoes for 3 weeks.  I scheduled the surgery for Thanksgiving week because I had a light work schedule and Chelsea was planning on being home for the week and was willing to drive me around.  I was confident everything was going to go smoothly. 

The trouble began on Day 1 post-op.  I couldn’t poop. The problem increased in intensity until Day 3, I was bloated, desperate and was extremely miserable.   I have heard constipated people describe this condition as "uncomfortable."  To characterize my condition as merely “uncomfortable” would be a gross understatement.  I was on the verge of checking myself into the ER.   I have always been a poopy kid.  I can’t remember ever suffering from constipation.  I suppose this is why, when finally afflicted with this condition, that it seemed to be something akin to a slow death.  I’m pretty sure there is no one in the history of constipation who has suffered quite like me.   I was pretty patient with my constipation on Monday.  Tuesday morning I realized I needed to take action and started with stool softeners.  Nothing.  By Tuesday evening, I was taking laxatives.  Still nothing.  By Wednesday morning, I was desperate and very bloated.  So I paid a visit to “Larry the Pharmacist” at Wray’s Drug Store, who hooked me up with some special elixir, which in the words of Larry “were guaranteed to make some magic happen.”   No sooner had I imbibed the magical potion than I remembered I was scheduled to dedicate a grave that afternoon.  I was panicked.  What had I done? I was more than a little concerned that my magical moment might happen at the most inopportune time. 
As it turned out everything worked out--the grave was dedicated in a most dignified manner and I was able to make it home before the rumbling down under began in earnest.  Having experienced something which thousands of Americans experience on a fairly frequent basis, I was elated to be back to normal, which for me is a happy, poopy kid!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Art of the Choke

The Podium for Gi.
The Podium for No-Gi.
Me and coaches:  The Professor (Cristiano) and Jared. 

I thought I knew something about choking people based on my many years of wrestling.  Boy was I wrong!  I started Brazilian Ju-jitsu this past January and am still a White Belt, but I am progressing.  At this rate, my Professor tells me that I will be a Black Belt by the time I'm 67.  Wow! I'm not sure I want people strangling me when I'm 67.  I might just take up golf or tennis to avoid ruining my delicate health. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed Ju-jitsu training. I love the people I'm training with and our Professor at the Gracie Barra club (Cristiano Oliveira) is phenomenal. I genuinely like choking people and love the physicality of the sport.  It's crazy though, there are so many ways to lose.  One mistake and it's light out.  It's like wrestling in many ways, except way more tricky and technical.  You have to constantly think ahead and anticipate your opponents attacks. In Ju-jitsu if you guess wrong, you're basically going to be strangled by your opponent.

Today was my first opportunity to compete since joining the club.  It was a lot like a wrestling tournament:  Making weight and then sitting around in a stinking gym waiting for your weight to be called.  The only difference is that once your weight is called, your entire weight class and division goes to a mat and you fight everyone in your bracket with very little breaks.  My cardio is good, so this turned out to be a big advantage for me. Because of my background in wrestling, I am basically dominant in the White Belt Division for No-Gi.  It's harder to choke your opponent in No-Gi and you score for takedowns.  I took down everyone I fought today, including the match I lost.  In No-Gi I scored 41 points and only gave up 2.  It was a blood letting for sure.  In Gi, I was mostly trying to avoid be strangled.  I would take my opponent down and score points and then find out I was in a terrible position and would have to scramble just to survive.  I don't know if I will ever get good at Gi, but No-Gi is a lot of fun for a wrestler. 

So, next time you see me if you notice some heinous red marks on my neck, you can rest assured, it's not a hickey from my wife, but rather the markings of being choked with my own Gi. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fat and Fit

Lil D at the finish line.   She was a beast!

Yes, it was freezing.  Darcee's advise to shed our warm ups was a terrible idea.

Syd and Lil D early in the race--and still smiling.
Crossing the finish line
I completed my first (and perhaps last) marathon on October 6, 2012.  Now that have checked it off my bucket list I might never run again.  My time was 5:05:30.  Okay, it's out there for all the world to see--I did not beat Oprah's time of 4:29:15.  However, I did best Jared Fogle's (the pitch man for Subway) time of 5:13:28 and Katie Holmes' time of 5:29:58.  I realize that 5:05 is not a very impressive time, but there are certain facts which must be considered before you too enthusiastically jeer my efforts.  First and foremost is that I am fat.  Well, at least according to the notorious height/weight charts for Body Mass Index (BMI), I am officially "obese."  At 5'8" I would have to lose 35 pounds to not be considered "overweight."  What anorexic psychopath designed the BMI?  Regardless of what this chart tells me, my life screams something entirely different--that I am fit.   I don't care that I weighed in at an impressive 200.1 lbs the day before I ran my marathon.  I trained very little and was still able to run the entire race, stopping only for potty breaks.

The second point of consideration is that I didn't train all that hard for this marathon.  I rode my bike, hiked, climbed and trained for Jujitsu as much as I could.  However, every time I tried to run long distances (over 10 miles) my body would break down and I would experience some minor bodily injury. I spoke with my running coach, who also happens to be one of my favorite daughters, Darcee Burnett, who sagely advised me to forget the training regimen and just rest my body.  She further advised that I tamp down my expectations and run slow on the day of the race. Fortunately, and uncharacteristic to my nature, I followed her advice, did exactly that and was able to run the entire 26.2 miles.  While I was hoping to complete the race in less than 5 hours, in the end just being able to run the entire race seemed to be a monumental accomplishment--at least in the moment it felt that way.   I really should have been able to run it well under 5 hours, but I experienced some remarkably painful bodily breakdowns at mile 23 and felt lucky to just finish.  My last mile was an impressive 15:57 minutes--you can almost walk a mile in 16 minutes.  Miles 24 and 25 were equally painful and slow.  Regardless, I ran the entire race and was close to my goal of 5 hours. 

Now getting back to my place on the BMI charts. My normal weight is around 190 lbs.  (I gained a little weight this past fall for various reasons) While 190 lbs may seem like a lot for someone who is 5'8", I don't feel uncomfortable at this weight.   My guess is that my ideal weight is between 180-185lbs.    At this weight, I can bike, climb, wrestle, grapple and run in a manner than brings me great joy.  Is there any medical reason to lose an additional 25 lbs?  Would I be any sexier to the Shewolf if I shed this weight?  What would be the point of correcting my place on the BMI chart?  Who would I impress?  Would I look better if I lost 25 lbs?   When I was in my prime I weighed 175 lbs.  At this weight I ran the mile in 5:20 and the 3 mile in 18:20.  Despite my genuine dislike of running, my guess is that I will, in fact, run more marathons in the future.  I am hopeful that my body will toughen up and that I will be able to more consistently train for long races. Who knows I might even lose a few pounds.  In the interim, I will continue to be an overweight, middle-aged man who feels fortunate to have the health and athleticism to be actively engaged in fairly rigorous activities. I admit that I am fat, but I hope that it's also clear that I am fit.  

*Above are some pictures of our family participants in the Leavenworth Marathon.  Kudos to Sydney for promoting this event and encouraging us all to challenge ourselves.  Running a marathon is in fact a big deal and I am proud of my kids for setting goals to do hard things.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Angry Music

Recently certain members of my family who apparently don't love me all that much signed me up to run a marathon.  In their enthusiasm to run, they assumed I would love to run with them.  Wrong!  Nothing could be more wrong!  One day last August, while my children were training  (I didn't actually train very often, but this is fodder for a different post), my daughter Sydney borrowed my I-pod because her battery was dead.   After she returned, she whined about my music selection, and asked, “Dad, what's up with your music?  It's all so angry." I dismissed her complaint as envy--everyone knows that my music is almost entirely classic rock--what's not to like about that?  Well that was my thinking until I experienced something during one of my few training runs last August in the in extreme heat.  As I was struggling through my long run and listening to JB (no, that's not "Justin Bieber"--that would be "James Brown") I started to think that maybe Sydney was correct.  Everything coming up on my playlist was indeed very angry. 
                                   I want Revenge, I want some payback. 
                                   I'm mad.  My patience ends on revenge.
                                   I want some get-back.  I don't know Karate, but I know Caarrrazzzy!
                                   You Mother get ready for the Big Payback!
                                   (James Brown--The Big Payback)

Whoa!  That seemed pretty angry.  I quickly skipped to the next song on my playlist:
                                   I'm gonna warn you just one time.
                                   Next time I warn you, I'm gonna use my gun
                                   I'm mad, like Jessie James
                                   (John Lee Hooker--I'm bad, like Jesse James)

Double whoa! Scary angry music.  Next song up:
                                   Born down in a dead man's town
                                   The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
                                   You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
                                   Till you spend half your life just covering up

                                   (Bruce Springsteen--Born in the USA)

Yep, you guessed it. More angry music.  It went on and on.  I wondered, "Don't I have any happy Pop music on my playlist? Surely, I must have some Britney, or Selena Gomez or something happy to run to."  When I got home I reviewed my playlist and discovered the only Britney song included on my playlist was "Piece of Me" which is probably Britney's worst display of attitude. 

So what's up with my running playlist?  I have thought long and hard about this question.  Is my playlist a subconscious representation of how I feel about running?  Or has listening to angry music negatively influenced my attitude towards running?  Loyal readers of Darrell's Yakimania have frequently lobbied prestigious universities for me to be bequeathed with an honorary degree in psychology because of my insightful ruminations concerning human nature, and in particular my numerous contributions to a greater understanding of the peculiarities of the male psyche.  I am sure that what I discovered is well based in scientific theory.

I hate running because of my life's experiences.  I don't remember hating to run when I was young--in fact, I have fond memories of chasing around my neighborhood as a kid.  I think it all started in Jr. High School when I first played football.  When we made mistakes our coaches punished us by making us run wind sprints.  Next, I tried out for track in high school but was not fast enough to sprint and did not have the endurance to succeed as a distance runner.  Consequently, I was unsuccessful in my bid to letter in track.  Finally, and most important is my many years of wrestling and cutting weight.  Dialing in your "strength-to-weight" ratio is critically important in wrestling.  Finding the point to which you can cut and not lose strength is a very tricky proposition. 

Essentially, the only way to effectively control your weight as a wrestler is to run.  Early in the season, I ran like a cross country runner to get within striking distance of my desired weight.  However, this is not what caused me to viscerally hate running.  Several days before weigh-ins I ran hungry.  Again, this is not what caused me to truly loath running.  The day before, and the day of weigh-ins, I usually ran thirsty.  Running thirsty is unbelievably difficult.  People who have never wrestled, pity "starving wrestlers."  They don't have a clue what wrestlers actually experience in trying to shed the last several pounds by extracting water from their bodies.  The thirst endured by wrestlers who are cutting weight is something you have to experience to truly comprehend.  While wrestlers who are cutting weight incessantly talk about food, wrestlers who are drastically cutting weight are singular in their obsession with water and liquids in general.  My freshman year in college was horrific.  During that season, I swore an oath that I would drink an Orange Julius every day for the rest of my life to reward my body for what it endured. Anything sweet and cold and juicy. Mmmm.  Running to extract heavy water from your body when all you can think about is sucking on something sweet and cool is enough to drive you crazy.  I am convinced that it's not my body habitus, it's not my attitude, and it's definitely not my angry playlist that causes me to detest running-- simply put, it's my experiences as a wrestler in cutting weight that has caused me to forever hate running.

So, if your I-pod battery runs out of juice, I suggest you borrow some other friend's playlist.  My angry music might seriously jeopardize your enthusiasm for running for quite some time. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Need Better Friends

Getting ready to bike to Cowiche and back
Getting ready to run Peck's Canyon

Getting ready to Run Cowiche Canyon

Start of our Mountain Bike leg of the 4th of July Pentathlon

Start of our big swim

I have erstwhile friends who now spend most of their leisure time golfing, riding Harleys and watching TV.  I used to spend time with these friends mountaineering, rock climbing and riding bikes.  Apparently, my old friends quit calling because I occasionally had crazy ideas that made their wives nervous. When they refused to return my phone calls, I started calling younger people I knew who were willing to go with me.  While my ideas are just as stupid as they used to be, I am struggling to keep up with my vision of what constitutes an awesome day of recreating. 

Case in point, just yesterday one of my sons-in-law, Nick Jordan and his sister Chelsea suggested that we go on a big run or perhaps a big bike ride.  I replied, "Why don't we do both?!"  As this thought matured, I suggested that we do a Pre-Olympics Pentathlon.  This would consist of 1) a 5 mile road run, including the hellish hill that is Peck's Canyon, 2) riding our road bikes to Cowiche (25 miles there and back, which would include the hellish hill that is the Naches Grade), 3) a 4 mile trail run in Cowiche Canyon, which would include running down into the Canyon and back out, 4) a 9 mile very technical mountain bike ride also in the Cowiche Conservancy, and 5) a long refreshing swim in our pool.  In theory, this sounded like a big, fun challenge. In reality, lots of pain and some serious time to reflect about my current selection of friends.  My old friends?....Well, they were old, but with that age came wisdom.  When I used to suggest ridiculous things like today's Pre-Olympics Pentathlon to them, they would say things like, "You're an idiot!", or "Why don't you go by yourself moron?!" or most frequently, "You need new friends Bucko!"  This last oft repeated comment eventually came to fruition.  I have found younger friends, who are, unfortunately, very difficult to keep pace with.  They are fast and enthusiastic and willing to take on a stupid, spur-of-the-moment suggestion to do some physical challenge that is certain to produce immense physical pain. 

At precisely 11:43 a.m., as I was attempting to run the grade of Peck's Canyon, I had a revelation; to-wit: I need better friends.  I need friends who will tell me that I am totally wigged; friends who are willing to conduct an intervention, if necessary; and yes, friends who are unafraid to speak the truth to an aging, middle-aged man.  Alas, none of my younger friends are willing to engage in the type of candor that will protect me.  I suspect they quite enjoy seeing me suffer, knowing that I will make superhuman efforts to keep pace, but revelling in the fact that I will literally kill myself in an attempt to not show my age. As I reflected on my current biking, climbing and wrestling buddies, I realized that perhaps what I really need are not better friends, but rather older friends.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Worst Kind of Friend, the Best Kind of Friend

Let me start this post with a trite truism: "The worst kind of friend is an old friend with a perfect memory." Unfortunately, I have many such friends. Recently, a very dear friend from high school, Greg Baker passed away. A mutual friend, Mark Wittke was passing through Yakima last week in his 18 wheeler on his way to heaven-knows-where and was kind enough to take some time off work to go to lunch with me. We reminisced about Greg and some very crazy things that happened during the lunacy of youth which I thought (and perhaps hoped) had long been buried and forgotten. No such luck. Mining the catacombs of our memories and retelling various events and experiences was wonderfully nostalgic, that is until I realized my wife and family have not likely heard these stories,and more importantly, must never hear these stories, no matter the cost of nondisclosure.

Now Mark and I parted ways after high school when I went away to college, but at one point in life we were close friends and spent a lot of time together so naturally I am going to appear in some of his crazier stories even though I was not playing one of the main characters--at least that's my story and I am sticking to it. We mostly talked about Greg and his genuine way with people. Despite his physical challenges he was so supportive and upbeat, the kind of friend that everyone needs. He will be sorely missed by many.

As many loyal readers of Darrell's Yakimania well know, my memory is less than perfect (I remember only what I think I really need to remember, which is mostly based upon what is convenient and beneficial to me!); unfortunately, Mark's memory seemed pretty darn accurate. A chance to reminisce about the insanity that occurred in the environs of South State Street in Salt Lake City circa 1975 was really awesome. After our lunch ended and we both hurried back to work, I had some time to think about our lunch and had the sense that whatever the risks of revealing to my wife and children the embarrassing events from the memory bank of an old friend was well worth it when I considered the absolute joy associated with being with an old friend and remembering, retelling and reliving a very spirited youth and the genuine friendships that we enjoyed; friendships which in many ways continue to shape and influence who we are today.

So a very special "thank you" to an old friend for taking the time to call because it reminded me of a more important truism: "The best kind of friend is one who is willing to take the time to call an old friend." Regardless, Mark is forbidden from ever repeating these stories in front of my wife and children. (They still believe that nonsense that my fake front tooth was due to a biking accident....Whatever!)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scorched Earth Birthday

Readers of Darrell's Yakimania will recall that last year there was a little controversy surrounding the battle between my son-in-law Nick Jordan and I about how to cooperate in the sharing of our birthday weeks. My birthday is February 24th and Nick's birthday is February 26th. Our birthday celebrations would invaribly bump up against each other causing tension and strife in our family. Last year a truce was called and Jimmer's birthday, February 25th was set aside as a birthday no-man's land, which we agreed that neither of us would try to celebrate or commandeer as our individual birthday time. This truce lasted exactly 363 days.
Yesterday was my special day. After working late in Kennewick on Thursday I drove to Portland to pick up Sheila. The plan was to go to Eugene to visit Nick, Syd and Evie to celebrate our birthdays. (Nick's birthday is Sunday.) I assumed that we would spend a nice day in Eugene celebrating my special day on Friday, on Saturday honor the truce we established, and then Saturday before we left to return to Yakima, have a brief pre-birthday celebration for Nick and give him a couple of modest gifts. The assumption was that Nick would not intrude into my birthdayness, and in particular, not besmirth my birthday with talk of his birthday on Friday.
No such luck. The truce has been shattered. As I was saying, it started on Thursday evening when I picked up Sheila in Portland. Sheila handed me a box of Paradise Bakery chocolate chip/coconut cookies (my favorite) and declared, "Happy Birthday, Honey. I bought your favorite cookies." "That was thoughtful Darling" I cheerfully replied. I am always thrilled to get pre-birthday gifts as part of my birthdayness. All was fine until Friday morning when she dropped the bomb, "Nick, I hope you don't overlook the cookies I brought you from Paradise Bakery for your birthday." "Say what?! I thought those cookies were for my birthday?" I screamed. As I thought about the rules relating to re-gifting I am pretty darn sure that you cannot re-gift a gift that does not belong to you. If the cookies were gifted to me as part of my birthday, what gives the She-wolf the right to re-gift my cookies to Nick?
Now I would like to say that this little faux pas by the She-wolf was the only bad thing to happen on my special day. Unfortunately, it was just the beginning. Nick suggested to everyone that instead of baking a cake, that we all go to a bakery and let me pick out a cake. Sounds great, right? No sireee! While I did in fact pick out a cake, so did everyone else--nothing special about that. Sheila then assigned me to go to the fly shop and REI and buy some nice gifts for Nick's birthday, while she and Sydney went shopping (For what else? Clothing for them!) All the while Nick and I were shopping for gifts FOR HIM on MY birthday, he keep referring to my special day as "the Eve of Jimmer's birthday."
After spending most of the day, shopping for gifts for Nick, Sheila suggested that we go watch Nick play in an intramural basketball game where we could root for him. Yeah, that's just what I want to do on my birthday! I thought. I was so busy shopping for Nick that I didn't get to the Oregon Running Store to buy the trail running shoes that I came to Oregon to buy. Instead, I went to Nick's game and enthusiastically rooted for Nick. Darcee showed up shortly after Nick's game and invited me to go running with her early Saturday morning. "Sorry, Darc, I don't have any shoes. I was so busy shopping for Nick on my special day that I didn't get to the store to buy the one thing I was hoping to get for my birthday." Instead of running this morning in my new trail shoes, I drowned my pity in several of Nick's special birthday cookies.
Now there are those who might read this and suspect that there is a tinge of hyperbole in this post. Not so--every word is true. However, what is also true is that I enjoyed a wonderful day shopping with Nick. I bought some things I really wanted (a GPS running watch, some luggage for travel with Sheila and some running tights. Most importantly, I enjoyed a fantastic birthday with all of my grand kids and special calls from my mom, Chelsea, Shea and Lil D. I am absolutely crazy about my kids (and even my sons-in-law). Nick and I had a lot of fun buying manly gifts for both of us. The grand kids were hilarious, of course.
Above is a picture of Nick stealing my cookies unable to hide his guilt.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh, Don't Worry.

My wife bought me a very nice wedding ring in May of 1979 with money she earned as a grocery bagger at Wray’s Grocery Store. I used to wear this ring with pride. It’s a beautiful ring really. Now back in the day when my waist size was a smaller number than my pant length, I apparently had thinner fingers. Circa 1979 I was wrestling in the 142lb. weight class. These days, I am happy when my weight is anything south of 2 bills. In-the-know readers of Darrell's Yakimania have commented that I have sausage fingers, whatever that means. An important point of this post is that I can no longer wear my wedding ring. I live a life style that often requires that I remove my wedding ring. Things such as, wrestling, rock climbing, lifting weights, etc. I have purchased a number of temporary rings to replace my wedding ring with the thought that I would eventually lose the weight and slip back into my real wedding ring.
Friends have suggested that I simply have the ring stretched. I consulted a jeweler, but he recommended against it because it would likely ruin the design of the ring. Because these temporary rings were just that—temporary—I have continued to lose them. Now I have mostly purchased cool CTR rings, and interesting rings from gas station jewelry display cases—you know the rings that in a week turn your finger green. The She-wolf commented that I don’t take care of my rings and continue to lose them because I know they are cheap rings and don’t value them. I suspect this is likely true.

For my birthday, I asked for a nicer ring; one that I would value and take care of—just like my original skinny ring that lies safely in the She-wolf’s jewelry drawer. While vacationing in Hawaii, the She-wolf found a beautiful Titanium and Koa wood ring—something perfect for a Wolverine, don’t you think?! However, I balked at the price of $195. I have become accustomed to spending nothing more that $19.99 on the temporary rings I have purchased over the years. Her response? “Oh don’t worry, that’s nothing compared to what you’re going to spend on the next ring you buy me!”
There was a very long pause. I gulped, laid down my plastic do-anything card and pulled the trigger on what is apparently a very inexpensive ring.

Little Boys

Anyone who has ever observed little children at play recognizes immediately the extreme difference in gender at even a very young age. This gender-based observation was on prominent display recently at a resort that Sheila and I were staying at in Hawaii. The Hilton Grand Waikoloa resort has a covered lanai with artwork, which runs the length of the resort—over a mile in length. While there is a train and aboat to transport guests to various locations on the resort, Sheila and I mostly walked the lanai. Every afternoon, we noticed that someone had strategically placed little stones at the rear end of the animal statuary to appear as dung. I was mildly amused and thought it funny. “Now what kind of person do you suppose would
do that?” I queried. “Well, you can be rest assured that it was not a female.” My wife replied. HmmmShe's probably right, I had to agree. As I thought about this further, I concluded that it was probably some young boys who recognized a prime opportunity at some quality humor. The resort staff would quickly remove the stones, but by afternoon, the dozens of statutes had all apparently defecated that morning’s breakfast. It’s embarrassing to admit that I found this whole scenario grossly amusing. I noticed grown men laughing when they observed the stone feces; their spouses on the other hand, exhibited obvious signs of disgust. The She-wolf, of course, was disappointed that I also found this all so entertaining; and was mortified when I wanted to document my keen gender-based observations for my blog with photographic evidence.
“What if someone thinks you are the culprit?” she asked.
I tried to reassure her, “I’m 55 years old, who’d suspect me?”
Her reply shocked me, "I know you and I think you're capable of exactly that!"
Wow was all I could muster.
While I can’t be certain the culprit(s) of these vulgar, random acts of humor was a young boy (Afterall, it could have been a grown man!), the She-wolf assures me that it was a not a female of any age.