Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: Health Page 1 of 2

My chicken fat thighs

We are going on vacation soon, and our family loves to snorkel, which means I’ll have to wear a swimsuit (groan). The long sleeve rash guard I always wear will hide my sagging crepe chicken fat skin from the waist up, but it leaves the lower half of me exposed to the world – big as life and twice as ugly.  

The first thing when I crawled out of the warm bed this morning, I said, “Hey Google! How do I get rid of old lady cottage cheese on my thighs?” And you already know what Google said. Google came up with some exercise videos so I can watch young lithe girls contort their bodies in impossible exercises, and I know good and well that they don’t have even one lump of chicken fat on their thighs, much less being covered with it like peanuts on a Payday candy bar.

Sample video of the torture we must endure to get rid of cottage cheese thighs

Why is it that every solution to every appearance woe goes right back to changing what you eat and outrageous exercise? I’m lucky that I was brought up at a time when people ate healthy food. A meal was a small portion of meat, one starch (like a potato) a salad, some sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, and maybe another side vegetable, usually green beans because my brother loved them and insisted on them practically every meal.

My point is that I’m not fat or skinny, I’m about average, right in the middle of the body mass index for my height.  I don’t have as much cottage cheese as a lot of people, but it’s still there even though I walk a couple miles every day. So I have to ask myself right now. Do I want to give up some of the food I eat to be skinny enough for a tropical vacation? And do I want to contort myself with heartless exercises? 

Of course I do! The question is, WILL I? You know what? I think I will. I think I’ll do it. I think I can. Maybe. I’ll try. We’ll see. It’s a strong, a very strong, possibility. I know one thing, though. I’m getting tired and hungry just thinking about it. I think I’ll ponder it on my La-Z-Boy, and my oh my a nice bowl of buttery popcorn would sure hit the spot right now. Maybe I’ll think about the vacation tomorrow….

Eat, Drink and Be Merry?

I eat way more than I need to – always have. I didn’t gain weight as a kid but now I still have a good appetite. The problem is my stomach. It’s spent decades digesting huge quantities of food, and it’s had enough. I can picture it down there, looking up the pipe that leads to my mouth, shouting, “STOP! – NO MORE!”  It protests loudly, with fierce rumblings. The eventual exhaust from my stomach sometimes causes Portland’s air pollution index to go up.

Old habits are hard to break. When “clean your plate” was our every night dinner chant, and the guilt about the starving kids in China weighed heavily, and the food was so mighty tasty – crispy fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, bacon-drenched green beans – I’d eat huge platefuls. I can only remember one food I loathed growing up, and that was eggplant. Vile, vile vegetable. I’ve since made peace with it in eggplant parmigiana, but as a kid I could not leave the table until I’d eaten the whole hideous portion of purple slime. If a human can eat eggplant as a child, they’ll eat anything.

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Miracle Cure for Restless Leg Syndrome

I have to tell you about my miracle cure for restless leg syndrome. I’d never heard of this malady until I saw the first commercials for drugs to help it, and I thought, “Honestly, how restless could a leg be to make someone take drugs with all those ridiculous side effects?”

And then there I was, sitting in a La-Z-Boy watching “The Big Bang Theory” and for no reason my leg started to jerk. It kind of jerked on it’s own, like when the doctor thumps your knee with that pointy rubber thing and your leg swings out and bonks him in the crotch.

It’s like an eye twitch – just comes on without any warning causes this motion on you eyelid that you have no control over. Except with the leg, there’s this weird sensation before each twitch – not pain, just an odd, disquieting feeling. It keeps on going – once I timed it and my leg jerked every seventeen seconds.

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The Curse of Pepper

I love pepper. I sprinkle it on everything – potatoes, tomatoes, popcorn, ice cream, cottage cheese. Pepper ranks right up there with chocolate and salt.

Salt and chocolate, however, don’t make me gag. Pepper does. It’s a real medical thing – pepper gets in some people’s throats and makes them cough like they’ve got a hair ball, except worse.

For this reason I try not to eat pepper in public. It doesn’t happen every time, but if pepper hits the right spot in my throat it’s going to be five minutes of severe coughing and gagging and people yelling, “Is there a doctor in the house?”

Once the coughing starts, I can’t make it stop. Drinking water – nope. Holding my breath – I end up raining a waterfall of spit drops on whoever’s in range. My eyes water like I got sprayed with concentrated onion juice, and my face gets red as a monkey’s bum.

In restaurants people get these really worried looks on their faces like I’m going to keel over in front of them. They’ll get up and start patting me on the back – patting harder and harder until they’re knocking what minuscule air I have left out of me. It does no good since the coughing must follow its full five minute course, and not a second less.

Sometimes I’ll get up and go to the bathroom to finish out the gagging in there, but this is not so good. There are smells in there – that I feel like I’m gulping odor molecules down as I try to catch my breath.

Today I choked at work on some pepper I mistakenly put on my collard greens, and while someone was talking to me I started to sputter. I tried to force myself not to cough, and it worked for a few seconds, until my coworker said, “Are you okay, your face is getting red.”

I couldn’t answer because it took all my strength and concentration to stifle the cough. To no avail, though. It started, and my coworker got upset because he thought I was dying, until my other coworker said, “She’s okay, she must have eaten some pepper.” I got up from my chair and headed for the bathroom. I heard him holler after me, “Are you going to be okay? Should I call a doctor?”

My other coworker piped up and said, “Hey, yeah, call Dr. Pepper.” They laughed, and I went in the bathroom and nearly fell over – they have GOT to get that fan fixed – and five minutes later returned.

“Hey, did you see Dr. Pepper when you were in there?” They giggled – I could tell they’d been sitting there making up Dr. Pepper jokes, so I decided to join in.

“No,” I said, “but I sure could use a pepper-mint. Anyone got one?  And your jokes are so corny – no, even worse than that, they’re pepper-corny.”

Pepper brings the clever out in me, I guess.

Reading Heath Magazines Is Scarey Business

I was in a building permit office today waiting for a solar electric system plan review – which is strikingly similar to waiting for a jury to pronounce a sentence on you because you’re at the plan reviewer’s mercy, holding your breath that (s)he will accept the plans you’ve drawn and not ream you out with the words: “Looks like this is going to require engineering.” Because if (s)he says that, you’re immediately behind schedule by two+ weeks and your budget for the project will fly out the window like rays from the sun.

Since there is always a wait at these permit offices, they try to help you pass the hours with months’ old magazines. I picked up Shape magazine and within seconds found out I was at risk for glaucoma, skin cancer, and stroke – a victim of genetics.

Did you know that if you’re a woman who wears glasses, your risk of glaucoma rises – especially if it runs in your family (my risk came thanks to my grandfather who I affectionately called Pops).

Also if I wear sunscreen I’m more at risk for sunburn. Huh? According to the article, it’s because I may mistakenly think that I can stay out longer, or I’m not slathering on enough, or often enough, or maybe it’s because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Scientists aren’t sure why.

I could have a stroke for any number of reasons, many of which I can’t do a thing about, such as having a parent whose had a stroke. Eating everything in sight also doesn’t help, apparently.

But  now I must digress from this intriguing health lament to let you all know, each and every one of you, that I just won $75 playing Bingo! I went out with a couple of girlfriends to Renner’s bar in Multnomah where they play Bingo on Wednesday nights. I went kicking and screaming – the place has been a little uncouth in the past with drunken bar maids slurring out the numbers and trying (unsuccessfully) to be stand-up comedians between calling numbers, but they have new management and it’s not as rowdy as before. Yes, there were a couple of comments about the Bingo “balls,” but it’s hard to blame the guy calling the numbers for that. It was quite fun, all the more so because of winning and the beer and the cinnamon whiskey and the Jello shots with whipped cream and loud music.

Whoo-wee! I must elaborate more tomorrow – right now the bed is calling so loud my ears are ringing.

Aging Gracelessly

As we age, our bodies go through changes. Some are good – like when I was pregnant and my hair got thick – and some are bad – like aches and pains and wrinkles.

But there’s one change I’ve recently encountered that is working out just fine. For some crazy, inexplicable reason, I no longer pass gas – I burp instead.

Please do not think I’m trying to be crude or indelicate. There are many people who emit gas but won’t admit it. I’m just relating the simple facts. I used to pass gas on a fairly consistent basis, i.e. whenever I was awake. I could even pass gas on demand, something I used in order to punctuate social interactions with my brother, such as:

My brother: “How do you like this shirt?”

Me: “Pffffffft.”


My brother: “What did you think of my speech?”

Me: “Pfffffff  ffffff   ffffff    fffff ffffft.”

As welcome as this communication tool was, it sometimes became a problem. Being gassy by nature was bad enough, but when I ate legumes (beans), which was every chance I got, it became nearly unbearable for my loved ones to be on the same street with me. I have emptied cars full of people when legume-propelled emissions erupted accidentally without warning, completely out of my control.

I’ll admit I enjoyed, to some extent, the leverage my gastrointestinal proclivities afforded me. Such as:

My brother: “I’m not moving.”

Me: “You better or I’ll fart.”

Recently, however, I have been burping, rather loudly, from the very depths of my internal areas. These things are audible from three rooms away, but they lack the persuasive qualities of gas. On the other hand, they don’t cause me nearly as much misery, especially after eating legumes, so I am not complaining. This is one thing Mother Nature got right.

Growing Old with Barbie

I was tutoring at the high school a few weeks ago and the kids were asking me to review their essays. One of the topics they could select to write about was “politically correct Barbie.”

The kids were saying things like: “I think Barbie is unnatural in today’s world. Nobody looks like that anymore.”

Back in the day we all looked like Barbie. All the girls had giant pointed objects on their chests, mostly made of foam rubber we called “falsies” or wads of toilet paper, but we all had the look. We were all skinny, too – I don’t know why. I ate like a horse, I guess literally  – because it was tons of mostly vegetables.

Today’s politically correct Barbie would have giant, rounded things on her chest revealed under tank tops layered over tank tops. She’d have long flat hair and wear clothes that didn’t match. She’d have on flip-flops even in the snow. And she’d have rolls of spare flesh bulging over her low-slung jeans like muffin tops. She’d also have a skin-tight top that showed her bra straps and maybe the bra itself.

And the older Barbie would have a V-shaped bottom with granny panty lines under polyester pants that did a lousy job of covering her cottage cheese thighs.

If you haven’t guessed, I am in a foul temper. I find that somehow I went from a bubbly 19 year old to a woman of a certain age, and I’m mad as hell about it. This was NOT supposed to happen to me. I told myself in my teens and twenties that I would refuse to grow old. I would be Peter Pan. “The only reason people age,” I said to myself, “is because they quit exercising and give up the fight, and that’s not going to happen to me.”

Please indulge me. This is me talking to me.

“Listen up. All you need to do is lose that 10 extra pounds and you’ll feel like a girl again.”

“You’ve said that before.”

“And it’s always been true. You have to promise to lose the weight and get the spring back in your step.”

“But I’m too tired.”

“Shut up that incessant whining. Just DO it!”

Okay, to shut this inner voice up, here is my pledge. I will drop 2.5 pounds a week for the next 4 weeks, starting today. Then my clothes will fit and I’ll regain my energy and I’ll start looking like the old Barbie, except I’ll still have to use toilet paper for my chest to resemble hers.

I’ll let you know how it’s going, and I apologize for the crabby blog. Even we humorists need to take a vacation on occasion. Oh, and I got a fortune cookie today that said, “You are a bee-och.” Just kidding, I just love the way that sounds. It really said, “You are covered in cottage cheese and will soon meet a nice pineapple.” Just kidding again. It really said, “You have a keen sense of humor and like to have a good time.” That is so true, except today. Today I’m an old hag carrying globular fat around my waist and saddlebags on my thighs who can barely get off this chair to drag myself to bed. But tomorrow, as I start inching my way back toward Barbie, I will be in a much better humor. I can’t wait!

Baggy Eyes

I have a perplexing problem. I have awakened this morning with bags under my eyes. The perplexing problem is that I ONLY get bags under my eyes if I wake up and then go back to sleep. It doesn’t matter if I’ve only slept 3 hours or if I’ve slept 12 hours, I will not get bags under my eyes if I sit up right away. In other words, for those of you who still give a rip but aren’t comprehending what I’m saying, it is not the lack of sleep but the LACK OF GETTING UP that causes the puffy swelling under my eyes.

Here’s a pop quiz. You don’t know me, but can you guess what one of my top ten favorite things to do in the universe is? If you cannot guess this, you have the brain of a cabbage. Nothing personal, it’s just the truth.

Answer: Lying in bed is one of my favorite things to do, no matter what time I wake up – even if it’s 7:30 and I have a 7:45 appointment. I like listening to the birds, planning my day, trying to remember what day it is, and pretending to stretch my ankles and legs to buy more guilt-free time under the covers.

I could do all of this sitting up, and I do that when I’m going to be seeing people early in the day. By “people” I mean individuals who haven’t seen me looking like this and gasp when they first see these golf balls under my eyes. My family and friends, of course, have seen it and no longer suck in air and bug their eyes when they see me, for the most part.

If I have an early appointment, I have to get straight out of bed, or at least sit up. I’ve been doing this all my life because I got these bags even during college. I can tell you that the last thing I wanted to do after a late night fraternity dance where I’d spent the evening with my favorite party companions, Jack Daniels and Ezra Brooks, was jump out of bed. I found on those occasions that it was way more practical to just stay in bed all day rather than worry about being seen with bags that look like bubble gum bubbles hanging under each eyeball.

I just went to Google to find out why we humans get bags, and Google says it’s because it makes it easier to carry our groceries. I redefined my search and found out that it’s because there is fat under the eyeball that does not want to be discriminated against. The fat under the belly, in saddlebags, under upper arms, etc. gets to show itself day in and day out. Why does the fat under the eyes have to be hidden? That’s what eyeball fat wants to know. So it chooses to show itself, especially as we get older because it gets more and more pissy about it as the years go by.

Google also said the bags come from too much salt or other random excuses that don’t fit my situation. Then they talked about cures, which all sound unpleasant. One is surgery. Not for me, Miss I-Hate-Needles. Another is putting cold tea bags or cold cucumbers on the eyes – or asking someone to cold cock you. The resultant swelling and bruises will distract you from the bags.

The final cure was rubbing Preparation H on the bags. In case you live in outer Peoria and don’t know what this medication is used for, it’s supposed to reduce the painful itching and swelling of hemorrhoidal tissue.

I just went to Google to find out how to spell that word (I don’t want to type it again) and discovered that men are rubbing Preparation H all over their torsos before they go out to clubs at night because tightening things up, they think, will help them “get lucky.”

Now there’s a blog topic! But to end this one, please tell me if you have this same problem and what you do about it. Not the problem of getting lucky, silly, the problem of bags under your eyes after staying in bed. I wonder if going back to bed in mid-morning has the opposite effect – it might get rid of the bags. I’m going to test that out right now and I’ll get back to you.

Aren’t Hospitals Great?

I was visiting my brother in law in the hospital and was impressed by the comedians coming and going. Practically everyone who came in the room had a comeback for any comment we made. You’d think they’d heard all our questions before.

While I was there I made up a riddle that I think is quite clever. Feel free to impress your friends with it. Where is the only place you can be in bed all day without getting any rest? A hospital.

I was there for about four hours, and it was a veritable freeway in there. We never did figure out who was who – people brought in water, pills, just stopped in to say “How ya doin?” The only ones we were sure about were the phlebotomists because they had long fangs and carried fat needles and said, “Excuse me, I vant to suck your blood.”

Which reminds me of an old joke that we used to love to say when we were kids. A man invited the Count to his home and asked, “Count, would you like some wine?” The Count replied with a wicked laugh in a thick, Transylvanian accent, “I don’t dlink vine, I dlink BLOOD.” We thought this was the funniest thing in the world, but I guess you had to be there. It doesn’t type out as funny as it sounded in person, especially when the Count swings his fake cloak in front of his face.

Speaking of kids, is there anyone who did not stumble across some Ex-Lax and think it was a chocolate bar when you were a kid? I found a “chocolate bar” on my grandmother’s dresser and ate a square. It was so good I ate another, and then another. Not too long afterward I was making chocolate syrup in the toilet.

The nurses gave my brother in law some stuff to relieve him. “Your goal is to go three times, and then we’ll talk about releasing you.” So he drank the stuff they gave him and pretty soon he went to the tiny, in-room restroom. When he came out, he was quite proud. “One down, two to go!” he said brightly. When the nurse came in, he couldn’t wait to tell her.

“What color was it?” she asked excitedly, as if he were telling her he’d just seen a unicorn.

Where else but a hospital can you talk about BM’s and everyone thinks it’s totally acceptable? Can you imagine being at work or at a party and having this discussion?

“Hey, where have you been?”

“In the bathroom. I’ve been a little plugged up, you see, so my doctor gave me some pretty tasty stuff and I’m very relieved to say that I’m flushing again after three days, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Bob and Carol, I want you to me Ben, here. He’s just taken a crap after a three day drought.”

“You must be so proud of yourself, Ben. Just out of curiosity, was it brown? The reason I’m asking is that just the other day I was reading an article in Bowel Health Quarterly that the color is very important.”

“You don’t say!”

However, even though we were in a hospital, I can tell you that today I was not comfortable with the direction the conversation was going. He might be my brother in law, but I do NOT need to think about him on the toilet. I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

But other than that, my visit to the hospital was quite pleasant. There is never a dull moment. When there was a small lull in activity and we were about to resort to having to watch the TV that was mounted in such a way that you’d get a crick in your neck after a couple of minutes, a man came in the room and asked if he could test the fire alarm. At first we said, “Absolutely NOT!” But when he started begging and I could see he was about to break into tears, I finally said yes. He put this long stick with a cone on the end up to the fire alarm and must have blown some smoke into it because the alarm went off. Woo, that was some excitement for a couple of seconds until he disarmed it.

At regular intervals of about 2.5 minutes apart, various staff members needed to know what my brother in law’s blood pressure was – and it was never the same or even close, even though he was just lying there. They also kept him hooked up to a monitor that beeped every thirty seconds for no other reason than to remind us that there was no peace and quiet to be found in this den of sickness.

Luckily, after his third trip to the john, they told him he could go home after he gave a play-by-play of the size, shape, consistency, and color of the intestinal discharge (or “poop” in lay people’s term). It was the first time on record that my brother in law was NOT full of sh–.

Truth be told, I’m gonna kindof miss it up there in Room 377D.

Lousy Dentists

I do not like dentists. I used to despise going to them because it hurt to get my teeth cleaned. I didn’t like to floss. The hygienist raked that floss between my teeth like she was sawing through a redwood, and I’d be sore and bleeding for days. I also didn’t appreciate the lectures I got about flossing. They were always so hateful about it.

“You haven’t flossed, have you?”

“Yes, I flossed just before I came here.”

“And when was the time before that?”

“Uh, I think you did it that time.”

“Why don’t you take better care of your teeth?”

I felt like a miscreant.

Now I floss all the time. I discovered these little packages of sticks with floss on them that I use constantly in my car. I’m driving down the road, flossing away. It’s a great invention.

These days my loathing of dentists comes from their apparent incompetence. I say apparent to be nice, because the last couple of ones I’ve had have been awful. One ended up doing a crown on a tooth that I thought he was only going to cosmetically improve. I didn’t realize I was getting a crown until was done and got infected and he wrote me a referral to see someone to have a root canal. Fortunately I didn’t go to the appointment and instead found another dentist who gave me penicillin that cleared it up.

Unfortunately, she decided I needed a bite adjustment and ground down my back teeth to the point that my front ones banged together the whole time I was talking, which led to agony and finally getting braces to bring the back teeth up. Two years of that and my teeth are working again. My orthodontist did a good job, but he’s not a dentist.

When he took the braces off the crown, part of the fake tooth came away, so metal is showing. I went to my regular dentist (the one I started going to after the bad dentist ruined my bite), and he told me he didn’t want to bond over the missing part that tooth needed a crown and I should just have it done at one time.

“But it’s already a crown.”

“No, that’s your regular tooth.”

“Then why is there metal there?”

“I’m not sure that’s metal.”

“It is metal.”

“It can’t be metal, because it’s not a crown.”

“But the dentist who put it on said it was a crown and it got infected and he said I needed a root canal.”

“I don’t know why he’d call it a crown. It’s not a crown.”

It’s hard to argue with logic like that.

I’m not sure how these people got through dental school, but I’ve sure had a lousy string of dentists in the last few years, and it’s leaving a very, very bad taste in my mouth.

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Copyright © 2018 by Suzanne Olsen