Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘humor

Don’t Cough

leave a comment »

We’ve all done it. Accidentally inhaling our own saliva. It seems to happen at the most inopportune times, doesn’t it? I was near the front, center rows at a funeral service when I choked the choke that triggers involuntary spasms of coughing. You know it’s going to be bad, so you give it a couple of quick, full coughs in a vain hope of dealing with it all at once.

It rarely works. Then comes the following cough urges that you assume can be ignored by sheer will, but which subsequently get forced out as groans or squeaks that are probably worse than if you just let the coughs out naturally.

My lungs tend toward asthmatic, so I am prone to a daily period of throat-clearing and am no stranger to a random urge to cough throughout an afternoon. It’s usually an unconscious habit, but not anymore.

In the midst of a global flu pandemic, coughing is met with suspicion. I have no idea if I will sense a difference between my usual handful of coughs in a day and an early symptom of being infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, but now when I feel an urge to cough, I’m noticing the question comes to mind.

I’m also noticing a little more self-consciousness about my tendency to cough.

“Don’t cough,” I tell myself. You will scare the people around you into worrying you may be spreading THE virus.

You know how well that works. Go ahead and try to suppress the urge. There is an inverse correlation in that the more you try not to cough, the more intense the urge to cough becomes.

Maybe I’ll start practicing the art of announcing my morning body temperature reading with each cough. Kind of like the “Excuse me” courtesy often uttered after burps, hiccups, coughs, and farts.

[cough!] “97.4.”

That’ll reassure them.

I’m not sick.

Yet.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2020 at 6:00 am

New Identifier

leave a comment »

One of the most common initial checks being made to assess someone’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic is the measuring of their temperature. I rarely take my temperature, partly because I rarely have a fever. When I do develop a fever, I tend to notice it right away, without needed to measure it. Only after it feels a little extreme do I tend to dig out the thermometer for an actual measurement.

A week ago I had no idea what my normal healthy temperature usually ran. I do now, at least my morning temperature, anyway. Since the primary symptom being checked in the current coronavirus outbreak is body temperature, I decided to self-monitor my temp to determine a baseline reference for comparison, in case I do get sick.

Isn’t the normal body temperature always just 98.6°(F)? Not exactly.

I’m finding my normal morning temp is around 97.4 degrees. I think our current daily temperature should become attached to our names as a new identifier. Use it in the same vein as academic suffixes.

John W. Hays, 97.4.

We will all begin to sound like our own FM radio station frequencies.

Think about it, though. You would know right away if someone was coming down with something by the number in their greeting.

“Hi, I’m 101.2.”

Whoa! Back off there, fella.

I think my temperature probably went up a little bit yesterday afternoon on my walk through the woods with Delilah. Apparently, there might be an ostrich loose in the area. If those were turkey footprints in the snow, that beast must be bigger than Ms. D.

Those brown circles are Delilah’s paw print and that giant boot in the bottom corner is mine. The bird that walked along our trail must be half my height.

I should probably take up wild turkey hunting. Get it before it gets me.

97.4, …signing off for now.

Stay a safe distance out there.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 24, 2020 at 6:00 am

That Moment

with 4 comments

That moment when you zip the bag closed and purposefully end the binge, leaving the bag in plain sight, well within reach but committed to only sucking on ice cubes for the rest of the evening.

Yeah. No, I got this.

Of course, that comes shortly after retrieving one that fell on the floor.

Did you drop one?

“Yes.”

Want me to come get it?”

“No, I can reach it.”

Pause.

“I’m going to eat it anyway. I saw you wash this floor once.”

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 17, 2019 at 7:00 am

Cookie Weekend

leave a comment »

It’s that time again! Cyndie’s two-day holiday cookie bake-stravaganza commenced yesterday and continues through today. Two years ago Cyndie’s baking intensity triggered a high-level alert from the Wintervale Diet Observation Administration (WDOA).

Cooler heads are prevailing this year due to Cyndie’s smart inclusion of a number of assistants who willingly engage in the intense labor of mass production and, most importantly, take home a plate of the goods to distribute the calories across a wider stretch of midsections. (pardon the pun.)

Don’t worry about me. I will survive this storm of excessive irresistible sweetness using a number of avoidance techniques that have worked for me in the past. My primary difficulty is that I choose not to entirely abstain. I like to sample, so I strive to do so carefully. Small or misshapen specimens are a target of my attention. Convincing willing assistants to break cookies in half so I can have just a taste works well for bigger delicacies.

It may not be fair, but I also bring a platter to work, forcing innocent coworkers to share in the challenge of enjoying the sweet bliss of Cyndie’s incredible effort without overdosing on the amped-up calories per morsel.

Misery loves comfort, you know. Sweet holiday treats and the love and laughter baked into them are a misery I am willing to share.

Luckily this level of sumptuous indulgence only happens one time a year, resulting from Cyndie’s always impressive, “Cookie Weekend!”

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 8, 2019 at 10:57 am

Gravity Wins

leave a comment »

The results are inevitable. The outcome, predictable. The slow slide to earth is a matter of constant change at an imperceptible pace. One day it’s there, the next it’s not. Eventually, the scattered pile melts and all will be forgotten. That is, until the next big snow.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

It was fun while it lasted.

The Wintervale bear mascot was there to witness the whole thing but never changes its expression. Permanently thrilled. Can you blame him?

Ideally, the bear would be holding a “perfect 10.0” score placard.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 7, 2019 at 10:02 am

Don’t Click

with 2 comments

It’s a game I play with myself almost every day I’m online. Don’t click on that bait. Sure, I’m curious about the 12 most outrageous ways some common thing we are eating/reading/handling/doing leads to these 16 unbelievable/startling/amazing/scary results that some doctor/study/company/environmentalist/yogi has recently revealed/published/announced/proclaimed/guaranteed.

One facet of clickbait-ology I am anxious to find out about is how the “number” is selected for these attention-getting carnival barkings. A quantity of 10 seems like a very dependable collection. It’s an even number. It’s double-digits. If I was making a list, my first inclination would be to shoot for 10. Maybe I just watched too many years of David Letterman and his Top-Ten List.

From that bias, I find myself puzzling over why a title would feature a list with 12 or 13 items, or even bother when there are only 5 or 6. I saw one once that boasted 17, which starts to press the boundaries of believability. I’m skeptical the source was really able to come up with 17 of anything on a topic that worked for a click-baitable headline.

I wonder what I could come up with to entice people to click through to a page of mine that has no redeeming value to offer in return.

“Never ever give in to the urge to read 10 answers to the most essential question ever pondered.”

You know, the number 10 doesn’t seem to work so well, after all.

I get it now. It’s too status quo. It’s ‘ok boomer.’

Instead, the more ridiculous, the better.

“Eleventeen reasons why things you are already doing won’t make enough difference to matter.”

“These 16 ideas never worked before, but they will now after you’ve read this!”

“Take a penny, leave a penny by clicking this article 7 times a day for 13 weeks and feed a hungry kitty that looks exactly like a unicorn.”

For the record, I don’t always win at my own game. One time, I clicked to see the umpteen most amazing images since the beginning of time. Then, I clicked and clicked and clicked about umpteen more times. Each image was on a unique ad-filled page that took a painfully long time to load. Luckily, the first thing to pop into view for each page was the table of new clickbait ads across the bottom with strange quantities of subjects for me to try “ignoring.”

No one said this game was going to be easy.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2019 at 7:00 am

Good Start

with 2 comments

Blessed with a day between drenching rains, yesterday we made great headway on the deck resurfacing project. Mike arrived about the same time daylight did and Cyndie primed our energies with a grand breakfast feast in preparation for the long day of labor ahead. Setting the first board required immediate customization, which is a part of the project I would have struggled to accomplish without Mike’s wisdom and experience.

After solving that challenge, the work settled into a board-placing routine that wasn’t particularly complicated but tended to eat up bigger chunks of time just doing than it seems it should.

Along the way, there were pauses to re-measure spacing and then tweaking the board gaps. Even simple board selection adds minutes, pondering how to minimize waste while selecting around imperfections in the lumber.

Eventually, we would reach a railing post and be faced with doing some customized cuts to enclose the obstruction. For the post below, Mike engineered two pieces that required multiple cuts which resulted in a pretty slick looking continued flow.

The thinking involved to plot where seams fall gets a little mind-boggling for me, but Mike helped to achieve a repeating pattern that I really like.

By lunch we had covered the bottom level, which was honestly my main goal, knowing in advance that progress most likely would be hampered by something. Nothing I have ever worked on goes so smoothly that I get more done than expected.

Most important for me was proving the process. I thought I would be able to do this in place of hiring professionals, but I was a little wary about the unknowns like detailing around the railing, mastering the seams and spacing, and even where to start, and how to finish the last board.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

We’ve got boards cut to length and positioned, but not all of them screwed down yet. By the end of the day, we probably were just under halfway finished with the resurfacing. There is a lot of lumber yet to replace, but the number of complicated decisions left to be addressed should be less.

If we ever get another dry weather day, maybe I can work more on the project.

Actually, today’s rain has me wondering if we shouldn’t have skipped the deck project and focused on building a boat that could hold us and our pets instead. I’m worried our house might just float away if it keeps up like this, and we live on top of a hill!

Apparently, the atmosphere holds more moisture when the planet warms and is able to dump more precipitation as a result.

I wonder if we have any circumstantial evidence to back that up.

I wish I could remember where we put our PFDs.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2019 at 9:56 am