Saturday, 7 September 2019

Retirement: The Other Side of the "Tire?"

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
(Fred Rogers)

Well here we are, almost two months past the date in which I had planned and hoped to retire. The previous retirement goal was five years earlier. That one didn't work out so well either. Hmm, maybe it's time to rethink this retirement thing.

I guess I had hoped that retirement for me would be more than just putting on a new set of rubber on the old car, and continuing on with it, much as before, with no end in sight.

Re-tire-ment? Bad joke; sorry.

So here I am, still hard working at a high-stress job. Do I begrudge it? Am I angry or depressed because things didn't quite work out (yet) as I had planned? Not at all. Far from it, actually. In truth, I am very grateful for a number of reasons, a few of which are these:

I am blessed with a good job.

Though I am on salary and put in far more hours than I technically get paid for, and though sometimes I have joked that I am a volunteer, I certainly cannot (and dare not) complain. Someone once said, "I complained of having no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet." The wage is good, the benefits are good, working conditions are great, my immediate supervisor has been great; what more could I ask for? This year I even qualified for a fifth week of annual paid vacation, not to mention several personal days to take as I wish. Yes, I am blessed.

I am still able to do a good job.

It is one thing to consider retirement when one feels like they can no longer do the job. But I can still do the job. Yes, sometimes I pull out what's left of my hair doing so, but I can still do it. That's got to still count for something, wouldn't you say? I would think so. A few years back my job position once again changed, and the new position dictated that I successfully complete a certain level of Power Engineering education. It wasn't easy, but I did it, and thereby successfully moved into my newest role.

My employer hasn't put me out to pasture yet.

Maybe I shouldn't wish myself out to pasture yet either. Like many of us, I've seen some colleagues face those dreaded Friday afternoon Human Resources meetings in which they were no longer welcomed back to the job site Monday morning. Maybe one day it will be my turn as well, but thus far, that has not been the case. "No news is good news," someone once said. I must still be doing an acceptable level of work. Certainly I've had some positive recommendations on my LinkedIn account by colleagues and former bosses.

Retirement age?

So there you have it. Retirement age? Maybe that's a subjective thing; different for everyone of us, and based more upon a plethora of personal circumstances and abilities than physical age. Yes, I am in my sixties now (don't ask me how THAT happened); retirement age for some, but for others more a time to re-rubber the old cow and carry on for another ten years or so.

Retirement? God only knows if/when. One day, maybe. But for now, it's "one day at a time." Maybe I'll make another month, another year, or another five years. Whatever it may be, I'm at peace with it; and I guess that's the best that I can hope for.

The only question that remains is, How did that poor old cow get herself into that predicament with that tire? Did she also attempt to retire too early? Hmm.

Photo Credit: Unknown

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Penile Self-Exorcism: The Ultimate Manhood Test?

Ladies, you'll forgive me if I address this post to the men in your lives. I suspect that it will make most, if not all, men cringe in a way that only they would fully understand and be able to sympathize with.

It's a man-thing.

Like many of you, I have had my share of kidney stones. Some were small that could be passed on my own with an interesting measure of pain; others were so large that they required a general anaesthetic and surgical procedure to remove. Some were laser blasted. Others involved ultrasound waves. Some had stents implanted between the kidney and bladder, only to be removed under another general anaesthetic about about four weeks later. Some kidney stone attacks happened on the job, others while on vacation, which forced a hospital visit to finish off the holiday. Good times.

I remember asking my urologist once what causes kidney stones, thinking that if it was a dietary thing (dairy products maybe?), then perhaps I could avoid future kidney stones by simply avoiding certain food groups. He said, "No, some people are simply blessed with them." What an interesting "blessing," I thought.

Fun, fun, fun (Yes, I am being facetious).

Well, as my luck would have it, recently I had yet another kidney stone attack. I felt like someone hit me across the left side with a 2x4 stud! Wow! During the subsequent ER visit and associated tests, I learned that this kidney stone was about 8mm in size. That's about the size of a kernel of corn. I since learned that, apparently the largest size of kidney stone that anyone can pass on their own is about 4-5mm in size. So here I was, lying in an ER bed with a moving kidney stone almost twice that size! Two bags of morphine dripping through my IV bag did nothing to help the pain. Lucky me!

Fast forward a few hours and I am in surgery, and all was good … except for that stent they left behind to assist with the removal of post-laser stone fragments. OK, past experience reminded me that they would simply put me under again in a few weeks and remove the stent. Right? Wrong!

Penile exorcism: The ultimate manhood test?

Well, apparently it is now common medical practice to remove one's own stent! Yup, you heard that right! My post surgical medical advice told me that, about one week after surgery, I should go stand in the shower and pull on a string, about 1-2 inches long hanging out of my private parts, and remove my own stent! Excuse me? A quick look at the calendar confirmed that this was not April 1st and thus not an April Fool's joke!

"It will be fine," the doctor said. "Simply take a couple ibuprofen before hand." Yeah, right; bubble gum would have about the same effect on me. I opted for a few ounces of whiskey instead.

So there I stood in the shower, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled some more, on what turned out to be about 24 inches (60cm) of stent and leader string, through my penis. Are you still with me guys?

Well the good news is, I survived this scene from a horror movie with little more that a headache from banging my head against the shower wall. The post exorcism ordeal left me with a bit of pain for about a day afterwards, but all is now once again thankfully good.

Still, the fact is, I am convinced that man is not meant to self-pull a 24-inch long demon out through his privates! Certainly, at least, not whilst sober.

Definitely high up there on my weird-shit-o-meter!!!


Photo #1: via Google, source unknown
Photo #2: 12-inch (30 cm) stent after self extraction
Photo #3: 12-inch (30 cm) pull string leading to stent

Monday, 8 July 2019

Beards: To Shave or Not to Shave?

Yes, that's my mug shot. The real me. The man behind The Other Side of Will. Awesome, isn't it?! I think so too. LOL.


I don't know what prompted me to create this meme. Perhaps it was just some of the many (envious???) stares of late, or perhaps it was one too many old Santa jokes. Then again, maybe it was simply my humorist side once again sticking out its head.

Excuse me, Miss;
my eyes are up here.

However, are beards really just a trend or a fad as some people claim? Yes and No. I have often joked that, if God gave me the ability to grow a beard, He must have meant me to wear a beard. Other than a couple brief hiccups, I have chosen to remain bearded for most of the past forty years. And as it stands today, I have no intention of ever being clean shaven again. Ultimately, my life; my choice. I'll be buried bearded, if I have any say in the matter.

But the fact is that, as far as any of us know, men have been bearded since the beginning of time. Still, there have clearly also been times when history has recorded eras when men either chose to be clean shaven, or were commanded to for various reasons to be so. Even in today's modern times, some vocations enforce a clean shaven face. I cannot help but wonder, if a clean shaven face were suddenly a requirement of my job, would I do it? Or would I quickly be looking for a new job? Tough choice. I know what I'd be tempted to say; at the risk of offending someone, I'd be tempted to reply: "Next time, maybe hire a woman?" Ouch! Hmm, probably wouldn't go over too well. LOL.

I ran across an article a while back that studied male healthcare workers (the industry I currently work in), bearded and non-bearded, and found that the bearded were less likely to acquire certain illnesses than their clean-shaven brothers. Interesting. For more on that, see: The Health Benefits of Beards. Are there health benefits for men to remain bearded? You decide. At least one study seems to suggest just that. Personally, I like their findings. Hmm.

Beards are not a trend; history has clearly shown this to be true. If there is any trend or abnormality to be had, I'd suggest that it is the notion that men should shave their God-given facial coverings. But that's just my humble opinion. From the beginning of time, I'd be tempted to argue that bearded generations far outweigh the non-bearded generations.

So if you're a history buff like me, and interested in some of the history of beards and shaving, you may want to check out this little article I discovered: The History of Shaving and Beards. It's actually quite interesting. Doesn't make me want to shave, though.

Finally, please don't hate me because I'm "beardiful," and I promise I won't suggest to your womenfolk that they ought to raise their standard if you're beardless. After all, a man without a beard is somewhat like a lion without a mane; again, in my humble opinion. Finally, to my beardless brothers, I apologize that your women keep staring at my beard. Not really my fault.


However, maybe there's a hint to be taken here. Hmm.

"Kissing a man without a beard
is like drinking champagne without bubbles."

"Never date a woman
who can grow a better beard than you can."


A Caveat: To my beardless brothers, my sympathies. I understand how hard it is to sometimes align ourselves with the wishes of our female other halves. May God give you the strength to recover those key masculine parts from her purse. I trust you'll also appreciate that, this entire post was meant in jest and with my often twisted sense of humour at its core. No offence is intended. Peace.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Why I Don't Diet

Note to Self:

Having chocolate in both hands is not really what the term "balanced diet" refers to. Who knew?!


At a recent visit to our vet, we were informed that our precious fur-baby could stand to lose some weight. Apparently her 56-kg (123-pound) girth is a bit to much for her. Perhaps ironically, my doctor would like to see me shed a few pounds too. Hmm, can you say, "conspiracy?"

The problem is, this man and his best friend both like to eat. Besides, how do you explain "diet" to a fur-baby? What kind of nonsense is this "diet" stuff anyways? If you haven't yet experienced that agony, try explaining to your dog as to why her dinner rations have been cut back, and let me know how it goes.

I cannot remember when this picture was taken, but I was amused by the fact that in it our beloved fur-baby had her eyes closed, almost as if she just heard another painful and bad Dad-Joke. Maybe she did. Maybe they can understand humour. Maybe dogs are smarter than we've typically given them credit for.

Well there you have it. The next time your significant other, or someone else not so significant, suggests that you should consider a diet, you can now add a religious argument to your arsenal of anti-diet arguments. How could you possibly justify removing that fat, which the Lord has clearly said belongs to Him?

Maybe my being fat is God-ordained after all. Hmm. Yea, let's go with that.


Monday, 20 May 2019

Facebook Evolution: Memorial Pages?

"What happens on social media stays on Google forever."

I came across an article recently that claims that within the next fifty years or so, there will be more Facebook accounts belonging to the dead than to the living. I guess I've never really stopped to think about that before, but it does stand to reason. My own Facebook account, which boasts a fairly small number of "friends," currently shows at least three friend accounts that I'm aware of belonging to deceased friends. There were still others as well, but I'm assuming their family members deactivated their accounts as I no longer see them.

I don't mention this to be morbid or somehow insensitive. Rather, I'm just making an observation. It would seem that Facebook may be, by its very nature, rapidly evolving into more of a memorial media than a social media.

Perhaps that's not all bad. Facebook users typically share a plethora of pictures and stories of their life events. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their Facebook page. Everything from their family to their vacations; from their religious to their political views; from food creations to parties; from employment to retirement. For many, it's already all out there for the world to see. The only question is, should it stay there for all eternity after we pass on from this life? After all, if we're okay with our stories being public this side of the grave, what difference does it make if the same stories remain public the other side of the grave?

Ultimately I suppose that's up to our families' discretion.

On the occasion of their sixtieth wedding anniversary, my parents published their 300-page memoirs. Anyone searching for it can purchase a copy on Amazon or other booksellers if they so wish. Though they've never been much for social media, nevertheless their story is also out there. In some ways, maybe that's not so different than someone's Facebook social media page evolving into a Facebook memorial page. In both cases, the once private has become public.

Facebook Evolution: Memorial Pages? Yea or Nay? Why or why not? Do drop me a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Peace.
Story Source: Here
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, 29 April 2019

Funeral Services: A Low Cost Alternative?

It is no secret that funerals can cost a small fortune. If only there was a way to reduce costs.

Well it would appear that there is now a third option for those who can't justify the costs of the traditional burial or its less expensive cousin, cremation.

Wood chipper service may now be available at select mortuaries and funeral homes near you.

Think about it. What could be more environmentally friendly than, when your days are over, being turned into mulch and spread throughout the flower garden? Forget the distant cemetery plot; now, in a way, you don't even have to leave home at all when that final curtain call comes. And think of the money you'll save for your loved ones. That alone may make this third alternative worth a second look. Hmm.

No need to thank me, but do feel free to include me in your will. 😏

Monday, 8 April 2019

Asthma Cigarettes: For Your … Health?

Do you suffer from asthma? How about hay fever? Some other throat or bronchial ailment perhaps? If so, you owe it to yourself to try Dr. Batty's Asthma Cigarettes. Guaranteed temporary relief of paroxysms of asthma. It will even deal effectively with bad breath.

Well it would seem that in the late 1800's, cigarettes were viewed by some physicians as an effective way to get bronchial medications directly into the lungs. They were viewed as completely harmless, even for children, though this advertisement does say that these cigarettes are "not recommended for children under 6."

OK, so pre-schoolers should wait at least until school age then before starting smoking? Hmm. Yes, I'm being a little facetious.

My, how times have changed!

But it wasn't that many years ago that smoking was still sociably acceptable, even on school grounds. In the early-mid 1970's, as a high school student, we were still permitted to smoke on school grounds, and even right up to the school doors. Air travel allowed smoking toward the rear of the aircraft. I still remember the little ashtrays built into the passenger seat arm rests. Restaurants and bars, all permitted smoking in their establishments until not that many years ago. Even children's Saturday morning cartoons promoted smoking cigarettes; the Flintstones, one of my childhood favourites, included.

Age Test: How many of us remember these commercials of yesteryear? Hmm ...

Yes, times have changed.

Cigarettes no longer are advertised on children's cartoons (thankfully), or for that matter, on TV at all. Cigarettes no longer have the sex appeal they apparently once did. And as for their ability to cure throat ailments, well, we now know that the opposite is more likely to be true; they actually cause those ailments, not to mention a host of others. I guess the proverbial "Good Old Days" were not always as good as some would have us to believe.

So hold the Winston's; here's to health and the changing of the times. Cheers.