Sunday, January 31, 2016

Self-Deprecating Man May Really Be As Incompetent As He Says

In the style of the Onion.*

Area man Perry Block has been known all throughout his life as a Master of Self-Deprecation.

He has rarely, if ever, made a positive statement of any kind about himself other than that he is "positively a loser."

At any time night or day, Mr. Block may launch into verbal self-criticism regarding his lack of ability to accomplish virtually anything, from carrying  liquids without spilling them to thinking on his feet without tripping over them to eating a meal without wearing it. When he won the hardly coveted Klaus Milken Award for Self-Deprecation in 2013, Mr. Block appropriately said in his acceptance speech that he did not deserve it.

Now, however, Mr. Block’s renown for claiming to be unrenowned is being questioned. A panel of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania led by Dr. Len Lewitsky studying Mr. Block for over a year has reached a startling conclusion: 


Mr. Block is not self-deprecating at all, but is every bit as inferior and incompetent as he has always claimed he was! 

"We never would have believed any human being could be as thoroughly inept as Mr. Block," 
said Dr. Lewitsky"We've examined hundreds of instances of Mr. Block's behavior and have not found a single one evidencing him competently handling any situation of any kind at any time at anywhere."

 Some examples cited by the team include:

  • Mr. Block routinely loses items he never had.
  • Mr. Block was married for 27 years during which he kept coming home to the wrong house night after night where there lived a substantially worse looking wife than at his own house.
  • Mr. Block puts on his pants on one leg at a time and still gets both legs in the same pant leg.

"Next we gave Mr. Block some very simple aptitude tests," said Dr. Lewitsky. "He was asked to place wooden blocks into the proper holes in which they fit. He sent them out to a tailor to be altered. Then he was given a word association test; none of the words wished to be associated with him.

Finally, we presented him with a Rorschach test, also known as an inkblot test. There are no right or wrong answers in tests such as these. Mr. Block saw two French fries copulating, which turns out to be wrong."

At press time, the team was still trying to make sense of their findings to confirm definitively whether Mr. Block has ever actually made a self-deprecating statement. Mr. Block was philosophical about the situation but somewhat concerned about the status of his Klaus Milken Award.

"Of course they're going to take away my award for Self-Deprecation,” he said. “After all, I was never very good at it." 

Chances are, he never was.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*I didn't say as funny as the Onion, just in the style of.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Chateau Outside of Paris (FF)

 ©ceayr
FF - Friday Fictioneers

I was dirt poor all my life.  I slept where I could sleep, I stole what I ate, and I took advantage of whoever I could take advantage of, whoever came my way. 

It was a cold Thursday I chanced upon the chateau outside of Paris with doors unlocked. I ate cheese and caviar, slept on satin sheets, and began taking what I could when the front door opened.

I reached for the nearest lamp, but the family was forgiving. They wanted to sell the chateau provided it go to someone who would truly appreciate it, even if they had to wait for payment til such a person "got on his feet."

In time I paid them, every franc of it. 

Today I have homes outside of New York and Barcelona. But the home I truly appreciate, and always will, is the the chateau outside of Paris.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For some reason this week I looked at the picture prompt above and didn't come up with anything funny. And for those of you who are thinking "how is that different from every other week?," I'm glad I stuck you with over 140 words to read, serves you right!

What an admirable protagonist we have in this week's story, pulling himself up by his chaussures straps!  Especially as compared to the author, who whines for half an hour if the cable goes down in the middle of a Shameless marathon. You'll sure have nothing to whine about, however, but plenty to appreciate if you check out the work of the other Friday Fictioneers on the weekly prompt by clicking here.

Wish I could put you up in the chateau outside of Paris, but I got it booked through the end of July.  You can't beat Airbnb!

Theater of the Absurd Ticket Prices

When a Broadway Baby says goodnight,
 it means you've struck out, fella ...

Broadway Beat
by Nels Noodleman

I am delighted to report, folks, that Broadway this year has been nothing less than ELECTRIFYING!   

Then again it might also be that my pacemaker is on the fritz.

Seriously, in all my days as a professional reviewer of the Broadway oeuvre, I have never before witnessed as many groundbreaking, innovative, and expensive as all hell plays as it's been my privilege to be comped to this season. It all began with the hip-hop Hamilton, an especially surprising smash hit since throughout his career Alexander Hamilton was always more known for his karaoke than hip-hop.

Here's a trio of three other great plays you should definitely see provided you know who to have sex with to cop a ticket:

Grease, Exclusively Starring a Cast of Baby Boomers
  
For the first time ever, a cast of 60-somethings and 70-somethings present a musical about a decade most of them hated while looking wholly ridiculous age-wise in the so doing.

Pockmarked and unappealing former Leave It To Beaver actor Jerry Mathers as Danny and solidly over-the-hill Sally Struthers as Sandy lead a marginally talented and highly wrinkled cast of washed-up Boomer TV stars whose limited thespian skills perfectly depict Boomer disdain for the white bread 1950's during which they were incessantly dumped on by their greasy haired older brothers and sisters while impatiently waiting for the Sixties to start so they could smoke dope.

GESCBB, as it's conveniently called, also includes some great new age-appropriate songs including Slumber Nights,  Look at Me, I’m … I Forget, and We Grow (Old) Together. 

At the Miles Lumpkin Theater. Tickets prices start at $450, but they are very big tickets, at least a foot and a half long.

Death of a Clown Man

In another sparkling reinterpretation of a classic theatrical work, every character in Death of a Clown Man is played by a professional clown, each of whom speaks exclusively by honking a clown horn.

Willy Clownman fears that the clown business may be ending due to a worldwide shortage of clown and all other makeup since the advent of Flo from Progressive. Willy’s world becomes even more topsy-turvy when his son Biff Clownman turns his back on the family business in favor of becoming President of the United States.

“Anyone want to buy a used horn?” honks out Willy, painted tears under his eyes growing till they cover his face. If playwright Arthur Miller could return to life for just one day, this theater critic bets he'd love this new take on the old play just as soon as he first gives up trying to find Marilyn Monroe for one last roll in the mezzanine!

At the Helen Haze Theater. Some discount tickets available if you can juggle and you’re quick with seltzer.

Bukowski, the Family Musical!

Love the type of bright happy musicals Rogers and Hammerstein used to deliver to our doorstep in days gone by? Then rush right back to Broadway for a tuneful, toe tappin' two and a half hours of drug addiction, alcoholism, deviant sexual acts, cannibalism, and an unnatural affection for licking the backs of U.S postage stamps such as you've never seen! 

Yes, from Disney comes the happiest new show on Broadway, Bukowski, the Family Musical!

From the very first moment he throws up on stage, Hugh Jackman so thoroughly inhabits the role of lowlife writer Charles Bukowski you can almost smell it!  Actually you can, if you're sitting in the Orchestra seats. The show features eight great new songs including Life in a Shithole, Life is a Shithole, and the rousing showstopper Hello, Shithole!  

At the Moe Monkfish Theatre, which is a shithole but still expensive as shit. With Kristin Chenowith and Jerry Stiller.


Also knocking 'em dead on Broadway these days is Avenue Q with the puppet roles all played by undocumented aliens constantly looking over their shoulders, a musical version of Fight Club with an all Jewish cast and no fighting, and Broadway's longest running smash hit, The Book of Orman.

And that's the latest news from the Great White/Of Color Way. (Yep, I'm trying to get the name changed, folks!)  See you there, assuming you have a buck or two but hopefully a trust fund.

From your very own Broadway Buddy, 

Mr. Nels Noodleman

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nels Noodleman is a nationally known and reviled theater critic who occasionally writes for Nouveau Old, Formely Cute on the Broadway stage.   Whenever he's discovered writing on the stage he's usually thrown out of the theater.

Over the course of his checkered but mostly plaid career, Nels has reviewed all of the major Broadway plays of the last half century.  Someday he hopes to see them too.  

Oh, by the way, Nels thinks you're cute.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Storm That Was What It Was


 After a full day and a half of experiencing Nature’s wintry frenzy, what some people had been touting as the Storm of the Century is now ended.  Much of the East Coast is covered in thick billowing blankets of snow, and as I look out my window I’m seeing almost as much white as when I looked over the recently announced Academy Award nominations.

But despite the stranded motorists, cities brought to a standstill, and the 24/7 news coverage, was this really the Storm of the Century?  Who determines whether it was the Storm of the Century or just the Storm of the Fiscal Quarter?  Is it a panel of highly qualified meteorologists or just some over eager intern with a barometer and a love of hyperbole?

Clearly it was premature to call anything falling from the sky here in year 2016 the Storm of the Century. We’ve got 84 years to disprove the assertion! In a couple dozen years we might be having storms that make this one look like little more than a malfunction in your frost free freezer.  Perhaps we’ll be having regular Sharknados by then.

You won’t even be able to sled in them!

I also understand that people names are now bestowed upon snowstorms just like they are on hurricanes, and this past storm was named Jonas. But does anyone go to the trouble to coordinate the personal name of a snowstorm with its title? Otherwise we may well wind up with a Storm of the Century named Floyd or a poopy little snow squall called Angelique.

“OMG, look!  Here comes the Storm of the …. oh, it’s just Herbert. Chill, everyone.”

Before some misbegotten and misguided meteorological panel bungles the title of the next highly touted storm, here’s a few better suggestions for the one just past:

·        The Storm of the Century Thus Far
·        The Storm of January 1, 2000 to January 23, 2016 and Counting
·        The Storm That Was What It Was
·        Jonas’ Big Adventure

Well, it’s time to go shovel now.  Look at those mounds of snow every bit as massive as Chris Christie’s old body! And it’s so cold out here, almost as frigid as Martha Stewart caught off guard.  

I can’t even see my car, it’s totally buried. By the time I dig it out it will be time to trade it in. Oh, my back!  My front!  My in–between!

I have to take a break. It’s too tough out there.

Why, this has got to be the Storm of the Century!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Esmeralda's Music Lessons (FF)

Copyright - Jan W. Fields
FF - Friday Fictioneers

It broke Uncle Sanyo's heart to see the old family spinet sitting idle in the corner of his brother Igor's flat.  Igor had no money to provide music lessons for his daughter Esmeralda.

Though not wealthy himself, Uncle Sanyo swore he would see to it that Esmeralda had regular music lessons and learned to play for Igor.

Years later Uncle Sanyo returned for a visit with Igor, now aged and frail. Meanwhile Esmeralda had grown into a lovely young woman of 18.

"Please, Esmeralda,” said Sanyo, “favor us with some music.”

Esmeralda sat at the keyboard and played Dancing Queen by ABBA. Sanyo watched Igor desperately trying to cover his ears.

Sanyo’s revenge over his hated brother was complete.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't know what had transpired between the brothers to cause Sanyo to commit such a heinous act upon Igor, but I do know one thing:  whatever young man might think one day of marrying Esmeralda better think again for the safety of his sanity and ear drums.

On the other hand, you certainly need not think again if you want to check out the offerings of the other Friday Fictioneers in response to the picture prompt above. Just tickle the ivories by clicking here

Want to hear something else by Esmeralda?  No?  Relax, it's Chopin's Polonaise Opus 53Esmeralda's music lessons weren't a total waste.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Get Back, Loretta!



















Back in the day many of my generation were inspired to protest the Vietnam War and support other noble causes, and I was no exception.  I was motivated by high ideals --- and the desire to meet girls and encounter generous fellow protesters packing really good dope.

And in this respect I was hardly alone.

One cold winter's day several of us traveled to Washington to participate in a march opposing the Vietnam War. There were large numbers of young counter-cultural types everywhere around us, and at a distance in which opera glasses would have been a blessing was a speaker who might as well have been singing opera for all my freezing ears were able to hear.

"Do you know who that is?" I asked a freaky looking guy on a nearby blanket.

"Oh, yes," he said "that's Loretta Young."

Loretta Young? 

For those of post Baby Boomer years, Loretta Young was an elegant and somewhat straight-laced actress who starred in an elegant and somewhat straight-laced television program called, oddly enough, The Loretta Young Show.

She belonged at a peace rally about as much as I belonged at a convention of North American Hunters and Trappers.
Did someone lace Loretta Young’s tea sandwich with potent acid? Had she been auditing courses at MIT taught by Noam Chomsky? Was she about to burn her bra in front of us all?"

"That’s not Loretta Young," said a bearded gent carrying a peace sign.

“No? Who is it?" 
"Coretta Scott King.”
The widow of Martin Luther King and a prominent civil rights leader in her own right.
Coretta Scott King.  Loretta Young.
“The names do sound alike,” I thought.
I had never quite realized before how many of the others around me were so much like me.
Nothing really wrong with that, but …
I pushed forward through the cold to try to see and hear as much of Mrs. King as I could. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And what of  the real Loretta Young?  Perhaps she wasn't so straight-laced after all. It has been subsequently learned that she had a love child with fellow actor Clark Gable.

For at least one brief moment, it seems she really did let her freak flag fly. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Seed Money Street

Hi, I'm Elmo. 
How's Your Portfolio, Children of Privilege?

As PBS fans and many others already know, Sesame Street is moving. No, they're not uprooting the whole street to a new urban address, but rather moving the land breaking television show from PBS to a new home on premium cable channel HBO.

Children  whose parents can't afford HBO will still get to see Sesame Street on PBS but will see it a full nine months later than it airs on HBO, by which time they may be too old for it. It's just another example of the widening chasm between haves and have nots in America, which we may all fall into one day if we're not careful.

Here, kids, let's enjoy today's episode of the new Sesame Street:

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the Riff Raff Away 
On My Way to Where the Money is Green,
Won't you Tell Me How to Get, How to Get To
Seed Money Street!

"Hi, Boys and Girls of Privilege!  I'm Bert of the new Seed Money Street.  We'll be stopping by the country club for a round of golf a bit later--- can you spell golf, that's G ...O ...L ...EFFF! --- and visiting Kermit at his new job as a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, but first up let's say hello to my bestie and squash partner, Ernie!"

"Thanks, Bert.  Underprivileged Kids, today we'll be talking about vocational schools. And .... look who's here, it's 83 year old Bob McGrath!"

"Bert, I can't believe I've been relegated to the nine months later part of the show!"

"Bob, at your age in the media you're lucky not to be relegated to a movie starring Adam Sandler! Now a bit later, Underprivileged Kids, Bob is going to take all you on a tour of Shop Class. Why, here's the Count!"

"I am the Count. Being this is HBO, watch me count boobies!  One boob, two boobs, that makes one set of boobs! Hah, I'm getting the hang of HBO, Boys and Girls of Privilege:  two tits, four tits, two sets of titties! It's not porn, it's HBO." 

"Thanks, Count.  I'm Elmo.  You can tickle me but only if you're taking me out to an expensive dinner at 21 first. Look, here comes Big Bird!"

"Hi, Elmo.  Gotta run, Mr. Donald is chasing me!"

"And here's Mr. Donald.  Nice hair! Why are you chasing Big Bird?"

"I want to deport the son of a bitch!"

"Why?"

"We shouldn't let any big yellow birds into this country. Ever see the movie The Birds, Elmo?"

"Thanks, Mr. Donald.  Now let's say hello to Croissant Monster ...."

"Me want croissant!"

".... and Oscar the Grouch!"

"Goddamn welfare cheats!"

"And that's our Seed Money Street for today, Children of Privilege, brought to you by the letter E for Elite and the number one billion for the amount of money you should have when you're a grownup."

"And for you Underprivileged Kids, brought to you by the letter S for Schlepper and the number Zero.  Goodbye, boys and girls! I'm gonna go get me a look at the market now, it's been really off lately."

 Sunny Day
Sweepin' the Riff Raff Away ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, January 15, 2016

But What The Heck Is It Called (Part II)

By now you know this is called the philtrum
 It's how you learned that word that is our topic for today.


Almost each and every day in every aspect of our lives we encounter certain things and certain behaviors with which we are oh-so-familiar. We've been doing 'em, partaking of 'em, and annoyed as hell by 'em almost from birth. 

But what the heck are they called? 

1) Contractors Never Showing UP 

At some time or other we've all hired a contractor to do work at our homes. Perhaps he or she has been hired to do some small repairs, a bit of painting, or even add a mighty deck to your humble abode.  Now comes the appointed date and time for the contractor to commence the work.

Do you know where your contractor is?

I've had contractors by their absence stretch out jobs that should have taken minutes into entire life cycles. I've had contractors fail to show as planned and never be heard from again. I believe there is a "Bermuda TriContractor" into which contractors regularly vanish which looks something like this*:

  Contractor’s Home _________________  Your Home
                         \                                    /
                          \                                 /
                           \                               /
                            \                            /
                             \                          /
                              \                        /
                               \                      /
                                \                    /
                                 \                  /
                                  \                /
                                   \              /
                                    \            /     
                                     \          /  
                                      \        /                              
                          Contractor’s Other Clients

A contractor missing in action is something with which we are all familiar. It must have a name.

But what the heck is it called? 
 

2)  The Rite by Which You Learned the Word "Philtrum"

By now, you know that the odd indentation between the bottom of your nose and the top of your mouth is called a philtrum. You know this because relatively late in life you happened to chance upon a person with an indentation so pronounced that he could store enough grain within its confines to get him through a particularly virulent winter.

This prompted you to stick your index finger into you own such indentation and feel it thoughtfully, hoping it was not large enough to store grain for even a mild winter and also wondering how you were 37 years old and didn't even know the name of a facial feature that was as much a part of your face as your eyes, nose, and mouth!

This time-honored rite of learning the word "philtrum" is common to all of humanity. It must have a name.

But what the heck is it called? 

3) The Hand Wave/Scratch

I've written about this before. You wave at someone you think you know, determine thereafter that that he or she is a total stranger, and then feel as embarrassed as the person who finds he has mustard on his face just after addressing a session of the U.N. General Assembly.

It doesn’t matter if you are President of the United States or just an ordinary schlub like you and me. How to save the moment?

You take your hand, still aloft from the initial wave, and scratch the top of your head.  True, it is an imperfect fix to the situation, but it is the best that humankind has devised in all the history of recorded time. Of course the other person in truth is paying absolutely no attention to you at all because to him you are just an ordinary schlub, whether you are just an ordinary schlub like you and me or the President of the United States.

This maneuver is one you have executed more times than you’d care to remember.  It must have a name.

But what the heck is it called? 

4) The Dopey Humor Blog Post

You see them all the time on the internet, especially here in this blog. Silly posts essentially about nothing at all but padded out to a respectable 500 words or so such that even though they are not at all funny they present the "trappings" of funny.  A total waste of everyone's time.

They must have a name. 

But what the heck are they called?

Blog Filler.

This one we knew.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*with apologies for lack of technical ability

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dabbling in Real Estate (FF)

© Amy Reese
FF- Friday Fictioneers

It seemed like a real estate opportunity too good to be true.  And for only $100,000, developer Lance Philtrum was ready to jump on it.

It was a virtual mansion with eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a private beach, and plastic replacement windows.   The only drawback was the rickety stairs leading up to the house.  

Philtrum was back for a second look at the property and was climbing the decrepit stairs when a hand darted out from under one of the steps and tripped him. Philtrum tumbled to the ground.

"Damn troll!" he exclaimed. "That's it; not a penny more than $99,000."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Actually I guess the title "Dabbling in Real Estate" is kind of a misnomer for this piece since Lance Philtrum is an experienced real estate developer, but I just happen to like the word "dabble."  I hope you'll use it sometime today; I know I will.

If you'd like to dabble in the works of the other Friday Fictioneers relative to the above picture prompt, click on the word dabble above, which I have now already used for the day as promised.

Thanks, all you internet trolls.  Watch out for that third step!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The One Who Pays

 

"This blueberry pie is awesome!" exclaimed Sandra.

"It's hands-down the best I've ever had!" I agreed, rolling another awesome piece into my mouth after initially missing and rolling the first awesome piece into my beard.

It was my third or fourth date with Sandra, the slightly younger Baby Boomer I'd met at the Bummed Out Boomers Meetup Group several weeks ago. Away from that particularly toxic environment she turned out to be a rather bright and engaging woman, and we were sitting that evening at a trendy downtown cafĂ© where the pricing for coffee and pastries required use of Boolean Algebra to comfortably calculate.

“That was wonderful, Perry,” said Sandra, “and it’s on me.”

“Oh, Sandra, no, I've got it.”

"But Perry, you're a writer."

"So?"

"Unless you're Ernest Hemingway, you’re probably not making ends wave at each other, let alone meet.”

Sandra was amazing. If we went to the movies and I paid for the tickets, Sandra bought popcorn and sodas.  If we went to the art museum and I paid to get in, she bought admission for the special exhibits.  If I bought gas, she cleaned the windshield, checked the tire pressure, and paid for the gas.

Yes, sir, things seemed to be shaping up nicely for my head, my heart, and most importantly, my wallet. 

This past week we went out to dinner at a medium priced place in town and after a friendly tug of war for the check we agreed we'd split it.

"Okay, Sandra, but next time it's ALL on me, no arguments!"

"Okay, Perry, I'll agree.  Say, could we stop back at the cafe?"

"You’re still hungry?"

“No, I just want some more of that awesome pie for later."

"Sure."

"Can we get a piece for both me and my neighbor Michelle?"

"Of course."

"And also for my friend Judith and her spouse Iris, and their son Tommy, and oh yes, my Aunt Rochelle and Uncle Sol?"

"Uh, Sandra, this is beginning to look like a starting lineup.”

“And my college roommate Amy and her boyfriend Ned and my Mom, can't forget her, and my good friends Betty and Elaine from yoga and....”

“Sandra, for chrissakes, I'm a writer!!!”

“And of course Elaine from work, and the guy in the mailroom, and my ex-boyfriend Phil, and his new girlfriend, and ...”


Maybe Sandra's a wee bit mercurial.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Consolation (FF)

 © Melanie Greenwood
FF-Friday Fictioneers
Never fails, I thought in disgust.

Here I am in the middle seat again, sandwiched between the two finalists for the starring role in "Chris Christie; the Early Years" and one row ahead is a really hot blond sitting all by herself.

Come on, Perry, show some guts! "If not now, when? If not me, who?"  I think it was the Biblical sage Rabbi Hillel who uttered those words, and I believe he was considered quite the babe magnet back in the day.

"Stewardess, I'd like to move to the center seat in the next row."

"I'm sorry, sir, but they're shooting a reality show and that seat is reserved for a hot young guy.'

"Yeah but ...."

"Clearly you'd ruin the show. But as consolation ..."

Yes?

"Here's an extra bag of salted nuts."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Having taken the last two weeks off from the Friday Fictioneers, it's good to be back as I know you've all missed me.

Umm ... it's Perry.  Perry Block, that is.  From Philadelphia.   Personal friend of Russell Gayer?  It's Perry!  Perry Block!!

Well anyway, this is my personal take on the picture prompt above, and if you click here you can read the stories of the other Friday Fictioneers, one or two of whom might own up to knowing me.

See you next week. 

Perry!  Perry Damn Block!!! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bummed Out Boomers Meetup Group

Decidedly Not The Bummed Out Boomers Meetup Group


It’s not easy for folks for whom 60 is firmly in the rear view mirror to find places to meet fellow Boomers who share similar perspectives.
Especially when those perspectives are aging angst and disgruntlement.

So I was intrigued when I saw the following notice on Craig's List:
BUMMED OUT BOOMERS MEET UP GROUP
   A social and support group for incessant whiners
  about getting older.
All forms of bad attitudes welcome.

This looked just right for me - an entire roomful of inconsolably aging Boomers who believe that griping about the inevitable will somehow set off a Twilight Zone style reaction rendering them 19 again. 

So I combed my retreating hairs, braved a microsecond glance in the mirror, and set out for the promising Bummed Out Boomers Meetup Group.

"Welcome to our sad little group," said the Boomer at the front door. "I'm Matthew. That'll be $10 but if you're really despondent I'll cut it to $5."

"I'll take the $5." 

I strode through a room packed with nervous hyper hand-wringing Baby Boomers. At the bar I noticed a wrinkled but thoroughly palatable appearing women staring into her drink.

She appeared to be in my natural market, that is, on the far side of 60 and the low side of Cloris Leachman.

"Hi, I couldn't help noticing you looking miserable," I said. "I'm Perry."

"Oh, hello, Perry, I'm Sandra. It sucks being this old, doesn't it."

“Amazing!” I thought. I may have found my soul mate.

"You're right, Sandra," I muttered. "I'm distraught too."

"I used to be so cute," Sandra went on, "I had one of those adorably upturned mouths like a young Meg Ryan."

Sadly, about all that remained in evidence of a young Meg Ryan mouth was teeth.

"I was very cute as well," I replied." I had really long hair and a very creditable left profile."

"No offense, Perry," she sniffed, "but I think I was probably a little cuter. I had perfect dimples."

"Oh yeah? Well I managed significant cuteness without dimples!"

Just like that, Sandra and I were in a full-fledged "Cute-Off!" 

And I was not about to lose.

"The only way you could make that nose cute is to let a lumberjack with a chainsaw loose on it," Sandra snorted.

"Oh yeah?" I fired back, "I'll bet you had beautiful eyes back then, especially when the person you were with had theirs firmly shut!"

Cuteness point mine.

“How did you get those circles under your eyes, Perry?” said Sandra, recovering beautifully. “Did you fall on a couple of Coke bottles?”

Cuteness point Sandra.

“Yeah, probably. And who designed your complexion?  The guy from Papa Johns?”

Sandra’s eyes seemed to mist a bit.

“Oh, Sandra, I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t really mean it.”

“I didn’t mean what I said either,” she replied. “Actually I had fun bantering.”

“Me too."

“Perry, want to get out of here?”

“Sure. On one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“We don’t go someplace where there’s a young and lively crowd.”

“Deal! I like Chinese.”

“My favorite too,” I said. “Let’s go. I don’t like this place anyway.” 

Me and Sandra - we may both be Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute but with the "Cute-off" a draw and aging angst at least temporarily at bay, it really didn't matter at all. 

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