Today in Sports – Coronavirus Edition

Today in Sports – Coronavirus Edition

The Coronavirus doesn’t mean an end to sports. It just means taking a few common-sense precautions for your safety. Take this striker for Arsenal Soccer. He can continue to play with no worries – just so long as his helmet doesn’t fog up.

The Coronavirus doesn’t mean an end to sports. It just means taking a few common-sense precautions for your safety. Take this striker for Arsenal Soccer. He can continue to play with no worries – just so long as his helmet doesn’t fog up.

Welcome back to Eyewitness News. It’s time for a check on sports with our sports anchor, Tim Jones. Tim, what’s happening in your world?

Thanks, Tina. Love your purple medical mask, by the way. Matches your shoes.

Howdy, everybody. A lot to get to in today’s jam-packed look at sports. Just because, thanks to the Coronavirus, there’s no baseball, basketball, hockey, football, NASCAR, Olympics, soccer, golf, horse racing, track & field, boxing, volleyball, rugby, cycling, bowling, gymnastics, figure skating, badminton, or Australian Rules shuffleboard happening – which have all been cancelled through August 2023 – that doesn’t mean there’s no sports to report. So, let’s get started!

In tennis, 47-year-old Arnold Schwimmer defeated 53-year-old Ben Dankleworth of Westerville, OH, 6-3, 6-2, in their weekly tennis outing. Ben attributed his disappointing performance to a whopping hangover. “Being trapped at home for 24 hours at a time, I have only two choices: talk with my wife or drink. Guess what one I picked?”

I want to wish Ben the best of luck in his rematch next week – unless his wife confines him to quarters,  in which case, I might suggest Ben test his skills in his second favorite sport, beer pong.

Speaking of pong, 52-year-old Bart Mathers lost to his 25-year-old son Nathan in ping pong, 21-4, 21-3. After the match, the elder Mathers complained that his opponent displayed extremely poor sportsmanship by “never easing up on his old man.” The champ snapped back, “I could have beaten that boomer blindfolded.” In the subsequent rematch, Nathan did just that.

In an open grassy field in Bulls Gap, Tennessee, the finals of the Frisbee Toss Invitational pitted newcomer Joshua Klein against college roommate Micky Sullivan, the heavily favored reigning champion. Though held before a disappointing crowd of one – Josh’s dog Archie – it was an exhilarating dog-eat-dog clash. In a shocking upset, Josh claimed the win. However, his victory was not without controversy. In the final minute, just as Micky dove to make an incredible game-winning catch, Archie leapt from the sidelines, snagged the frisbee, and ran off with it. A formal protest has been filed. When interviewed, Joshua refused to comment, as did Archie.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, several sporting events were moved indoors to home venues. In Parkersburg, WV, Ralph Romano squared off against his 7-year-old daughter Lily, for the Romano Family World Championship of Jump Roping. Lily completed an impressive personal best of 32 jumps without a misstep. Her dad, on the other hand, fell way short of her mark, succumbing after only 5 rope revolutions.  Somehow, he got tangled in the rope and did a face plant into the family room coffee table. I regret to report that the lava lamp suffered a direct hit and could not be salvaged.

This elderly woman is staying indoors and enjoying her sports safely. See how she’s holding a Nintendo Wii game controller. Unfortunately she thinks it’s a TV remote, and she can’t figure out how to change from bowling to her favorite quilting show.

This elderly woman is staying indoors and enjoying her sports safely. See how she’s holding a Nintendo Wii game controller. Unfortunately she thinks it’s a TV remote, and she can’t figure out how to change from bowling to her favorite quilting show.

In fishing news, longtime angler Harley Dickinson from Moose Lake, MN went trawling with his buddy Herb. His wife Agnes cautioned them to practice safe social distancing in light of the pandemic. “We’ll be fine,” Harley insisted. “We’ll sit back-to-back in the boat.” It appeared that Harley might break the record for the largest fish ever caught on Moose Lake Lake, as he prepared to reel in a 6-foot, 200-pound sturgeon. That is, until the sturgeon tugged back and hauled Harley overboard.

Harley is recovering quietly on a cot in the garage (the sturgeon bit his leg). Agnes is not speaking to him. When asked for her thoughts about the near-tragic incident, Agnes merely muttered, “Idiot.”

Checking out hoops news, 13-year-old Wilbur Douglas, playing for Duke, beat his twin brother Orville, representing Kentucky, in the living room finals of the National Nerf Basketball Tournament. Duke had a comfortable lead of 37-21 at halftime but threw it away as Kentucky blazed ahead in the second half to triumph 59-57, thanks to a last second buzzer beater by the Wildcat’s star player, Orville.

Duke then challenged Kentucky to a slam dunk contest, which was promptly terminated by an official (dad) after Wilbur, attempting a difficult skyhook shot, swung from the chandelier and brought it crashing to the floor. In a first for a major collegiate basketball program, Duke was grounded for a week.

In a surprising announcement, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will indeed go on. Okay, technically, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic PlayStation 4 video game version. This year, 11-year-old Eamon Whittaker from Monroeville, PA competes against highly respected challengers from six countries, including the always formidable 13-year-old Victor Müller from Düsseldorf, Germany.

In Day One, Eamon was slightly in the lead in the medal count with 4 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze until his mother told him he had to, and I quote, “turn off the damn computer and come to dinner this instant or you’ll be doing dishes for a month.” He tried to go for another gold under the table using his iPhone, but was busted when he leaped up shouting, GOOOOOOOLD! The IOC president (Eamon’s mom) has banned him for future competition for testing positive for stupid. 

Despite the ban on most non-essential outdoor activities, President Trump continues to ignore safety guidelines. Experts all agree, what he’s doing is dangerous. Oh, and he should probably stop golfing, too.

Despite the ban on most non-essential outdoor activities, President Trump continues to ignore safety guidelines. Experts all agree, what he’s doing is dangerous. Oh, and he should probably stop golfing, too.

Martha Gladstone of Bozeman, MT, competing in a sport that has skyrocketed in popularity lately, defeated 17 other challengers in the Kroger Inaugural Toilet Paper Aisle Sprint. Martha reached the register tape with six bags of two-ply tissues just 1.7 seconds before her nearest rival, Thelma Vandenburg. Martha’s victory was marred slightly when she realized she’d raced right past the Purell and disinfecting wipes without thinking to grab any – a costly error. She was later disqualified for exceeding the limit of 3 bags per customer. On hearing the news, Thelma took a victory lap down the frozen foods aisle.

That’s it for sports. Join me again at 11:00 for highlights of the Miller family’s backyard horseshoe toss competition, along with an update on Lenny Davidson’s courageous quest for a personal best at the NordicTrack recumbent stationary bike challenge. You won’t want to miss it. Back to you, Tina.

Thanks, Tim. We’ll return with more news, including, When will it be safe to drink Corona beer? And more on the Governor’s new Coronavirus policy on social distancing, making it a crime to commit eye contact.

But first, this commercial message from the makers of Purell.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Welcome to Skiing

Welcome to Skiing

If you’ve never tried downhill skiing, what are you waiting for? There’s no better way to experience the great outdoors of winter, draw in crisp alpine air and be carried off in a stretcher with multiple fractures.

If you’ve never tried downhill skiing, what are you waiting for? There’s no better way to experience the great outdoors of winter, draw in crisp alpine air and be carried off in a stretcher with multiple fractures.

So, you’ve finally decided to take up the adrenaline-pumping sport of downhill skiing. Congratulations! I’m confident that, in no time, with a little advanced planning, you’ll be swishing between moguls, mastering hot dog aerials and being carried away on a stretcher by the ski patrol.

Folks are surprised when I mention I’m a former Olympic downhill champion – perhaps because they’ve seen me ski.  Okay, maybe I’m not a former medalist, but that’s only because I was snubbed by the US. Olympic Ski Team. As I wrote in that previous column, when I tried out, the head coach said I was better suited for lawn bowling. Hogwash. Whatever I may have lacked in speed, endurance, strength, flexibility, agility, sense of timing, self-discipline, work ethic, raw talent and peripheral vision, I more than made up for in tidiness. But I digress.

I may not be a world class downhiller anymore, but I am equipped to share some important tips to ensure that your maiden voyage into – and inevitable swift exit from – the world of alpine skiing is a little easier.

Let’s start with the minimum required equipment. You’ll need skis (ideally two of them), poles, boots, bindings, helmet, goggles, down-filled parka, waterproof pants, two layers of under-garments, neck warmer, hand warmers, gloves, glove liners, insulated socks, backpack, lip balm, over-priced wireless ear buds, and a $250,000 whole life insurance policy – just in case things take a nasty turn. Lift tickets can be pricey, so I suggest saving money by purchasing a season’s pass – a wise investment, so long as you plan to ski at least 75 times this season, and you don’t mind telling your youngest child you can no longer pay for their college education.

Now that you’ve got your ski ensemble (making sure to avoid last year’s color scheme – pink is so 2019), you’ll want to show it off. No worries – you’ll have a good 45 minutes to sashay from your car parked in Overflow Lot N to the ticket booth. Add another hour in line to purchase your lift ticket.

By now you’re sweating like a pig – but a fashionable pig – and you have to “go.” Allow another 90 minutes to find the restroom, disrobe, freshen up, re-robe, and figure out which pair of skis piled up outside the restroom are yours. Add another 30 minutes to head back to Lot N because you left your gloves in the car. Did I forget to mention – if you hope for more than 2 exhilarating runs, arrive the night before.

You’re all set to hit the mountain. Just one teensy weensy problem. So is everybody else. I suggest you return to the lodge and find a cozy spot near the fire pit. Try again around 2pm – next May.

You’re all set to hit the mountain. Just one teensy weensy problem. So is everybody else. I suggest you return to the lodge and find a cozy spot near the fire pit. Try again around 2pm – next May.

In the blink of an eye (in geologic terms), you’ll be queuing up at the chairlift – along with 900 of your newest friends whom you met in the restroom. Don’t be alarmed. In less time than it takes to watch Gone With the Wind – the extended version – you’ll be soaring in style on your maiden voyage up the mountain, enjoying the view of majestic snow-covered peaks – until you enter a fog bank and can’t see the chair in front of you.

A couple words about dismounting at the top: Good luck.

A lot of people are intimidated the first time they disembark. Fear not. Just inch forward, ensure your skis are pointed straight, with tips up, lean outward and glide off the chair. Uh oh. I see you ignored my counsel about “tips up.” Kudos! You just performed a perfect five-point yard sale / face plant. Take your time retrieving your skis and poles. The 752 people on the chairlift behind you are all more than happy to swing in the wind while you look for your missing ear buds.

Once you’re finally at the top of the mountain – which according to my watch should be around 2:45 pm – might I suggest stopping for a quick bite at the alpine restaurant? You’ll need energy to hoist yourself up after tripping over your skis while snowplowing down the slopes. And you look hangry. Find a convenient place to stow your skis, then wait 30 minutes to order your food, and notice that there are no available seats. Enjoy your $35 hot dog and soda which you scarf down standing outside the locker-room. As you exit the summit chalet, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: your very first run down the mountain.

Here’s a handy tip: Most mountains have color coded runs:

Green: Easiest way down the mountain. For novices. Typical names include Easy Street, Bunny Hop, Daisy Meadow, and Momma’s Boy.

Blue: Intermediate terrain for people of moderate ability. Look for names like Cruiser, Paradise, or Broadway.

One of the great joys of skiing is outdoor dining at the summit restaurant, with stunning panoramas. Oh, make no mistake, you’ll NEVER get this table. You’ll be lucky to find a stool in the kitchen. These restaurants are always packed.

One of the great joys of skiing is outdoor dining at the summit restaurant, with stunning panoramas. Oh, make no mistake, you’ll NEVER get this table. You’ll be lucky to find a stool in the kitchen. These restaurants are always packed.

Black Diamond: Advanced, high degree of difficulty. For Experts Only – and novice skiers who missed the turn-off for the Green run or idiots hoping to become a Darwin Award winner. You can tell an expert run by its ominous moniker like Widow Maker, Devil’s Crotch, Last Rites, Mine Shaft, Our Father, Organ Grinder, or my own personal favorite, Adios, Mother F***** (an actual trail at Snowmass).

Given the fact that you’re wearing your goggles upside down, how about we stick to the Green runs for a while.

Assuming you make it down the mountain in one piece – which based on your chairlift dismount is at best a 50-50 proposition – you might want to think about taking lessons. Or better yet, sell all your equipment on eBay and use the proceeds to buy a Play Station 4. They have this awesome downhill racing game called Steep, with incredible 3-D graphics. You’ll never freeze your fingers or toes, and the worst injury you might sustain is a sprained thumb. Plus, there’s no wait at the restrooms.

Ski safely, my friend.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Mission Impossible: My brave escape from an Escape Room

Mission Impossible: My brave escape from an Escape Room

Escape Room - locked doorLast weekend I did something new and different. I tried a new adventure called an Escape Room. For the uninitiated, escape rooms are the latest fad activity in which they lock 8 to 14 people in a room. The group is given clues and puzzles to solve in order to make their escape. I’m a puzzle person.  Sounded like a fun outing.

I invited thirteen of my closest, soon-to-be-ex-friends to join me. The theme of our escape room was Jules Verne’s classic novel, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Our mission: Find the key to escape before our submarine, the Nautilus, ran out of air.

Being a natural-born leader, I assumed the part of legendary Captain Nemo and immediately took charge of this mission. I’m not sure precisely when the mutiny began. It might have been when I ordered my crew to report every five minutes with any new clues they had unearthed. Or maybe it was when I ordered them to swab the decks. Group morale is such a touchy thing.

Turns out escaping from an escape room is an extremely difficult challenge. We had to solve a myriad of puzzles to unlock boxes, only to find inside even more enigmatic puzzles. As the Captain, I quickly came to two important realizations: 1) getting out of this escape room was going to require enormous brain power and concentration, and 2) I did not bring nearly enough money to bribe the staff to tell me what the clues meant.

Continue reading “Mission Impossible: My brave escape from an Escape Room” »

Having Fun with Unwanted Solicitors

Having Fun with Unwanted Solicitors

When you’re on a beach vacation and approached for the umpteenth time by one of these guys, don’t despair. Have fun instead. Feign interest, smile and then, in faux German, start talking gibberish, gesticulating wildly. He’ll soon depart.

When you’re on a beach vacation and approached for the umpteenth time by one of these guys, don’t despair. Have fun instead. Feign interest, smile and then, in faux German, start talking gibberish, gesticulating wildly. He’ll soon depart.

One of my many slightly odd character flaws is that I seem to be a perpetual target for pushy solicitors who don’t know me from Adam and want to sell me some ridiculous product. Some of these guys are so aggressive. Another personal flaw is that I cannot resist messing with them. Something just goes off in my brain that says, “It’s time to have a little fun with this pest.”

I know what you’re thinking: Why don’t you just politely hang up, delete the email or walk away from the guy on the street trying to shove a flyer into your hand? Of course, that’s what a normal, mature person would do. And then there’s me.

While on vacation in Rome, my wife and I were strolling towards the Vatican, when out of nowhere, dozens of street vendors bombarded us, pitching identical guided tours of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Each assured us that his was the absolute best tour and the only one that would bypass the long lines.

My initial strategy was to avoid eye contact, a tactic I realized was futile after the 25th assault. So, I put on my best foreign accent of indeterminate origin and started excitedly pitching to the next vendor MY own incredible guided tour. Every time he described some unique aspect of HIS tour, I exclaimed, “That’s amazing! MY tour offers the exact same feature!” Then I proposed to purchase his tour if he’d buy mine. A tour swap. I wore him down with my friendly but unwavering badgering until he finally shuffled away in utter confusion.

The key is to always feign enthusiasm. You need to appear über excited about whatever annoying offer they’re pushing on you. For example, a while back, a telemarketer told me I was selected to win a fabulous five-night – two-day stay at an exotic tropical resort destination. Sure, most people would have cut them off with a curt, “I’m not interested.” But what is the fun in that? Though I could tell it was a time share pitch disguised as a free vacation, I started shouting to my wife, “Hey, honey, we won two whole days and five whole nights at an incredible resort!”

As the rep continued to read from their script, I gave off obvious buying signals: “Wow! How do I sign up for your unbelievable offer?” When they went for the close, I paused, and said, “I’m not sure those dates will work. Let me see when my parole hearing is scheduled. Hmm, nope. Looks like I won’t be out of the joint for another three years. Sorry.” That wrapped up the call rather abruptly, I must say.

Another intrusion I experience with disturbing frequency is the phone survey. “Good evening, sir. I was hoping you could take just a few minutes to answer a brief survey on how you feel Donald Trump is doing to Make American Great Again.” Oh my, I think to myself. How can I possibly resist such an opening? “Sure, happy to help. Let me start by saying I think President Trump is the greatest leader since Adolf Hitler. He is doing an incredible job of protecting our nation by rounding up those dangerous five-year-old Mexican kids and locking them in cages, where they can’t hurt us. And thank God he’s sending all those nasty Muslims back to Syria.” That’s about the time the caller figures out I’m being sarcastic and interrupts, “Um, thank you. I appreciate your time. Bye.”

I have a special place in my heart for brazen scammers. My column is called View from the Bleachers. So, when a few years ago, a fraudster emailed me in fractured English, inquiring whether he could purchase some bleachers, of course I felt compelled to oblige this potential customer. After all, this could result in a highly unexpected financial windfall. The fact that I don’t actually sell bleachers at this humor website in no way deterred me from my mission. I immediately wrote back – in my own heavily fractured English, “This week we do big special of pink bleachers. I throw in cup-holders free for you, boss. We have deal, yes?” That began a delightful series of emails back and forth until he gave up in frustration. You can read the genuine exchange in my piece titled My Fleeting Friendship with an Internet Scammer.

The next time you get what sounds like a call from the IRS demanding you give them your credit card number or the police will arrest you, relax. It’s a scam. Tell them you will cooperate, then ask if it’s okay if you record this call for police officer Reyes, who is in your living room. >CLICK

The next time you get what sounds like a call from the IRS demanding you give them your credit card number or the police will arrest you, relax. It’s a scam. Tell them you will cooperate, then ask if it’s okay if you record this call for police officer Reyes, who is in your living room. >CLICK<

Then there is the classic email scam in which a highly placed Nigerian Prince has died and your name miraculously surfaced, apparently in the Nigerian – American Yellow Pages, as a reputable person to turn to, to help them get the money out of the country by depositing it into your bank account for safekeeping. When I recently received this urgent plea, I waffled, then remonstrated myself: What kind of Good Samaritan would I be if I refused my assistance in their hour of need?

So, naturally, I graciously replied that I would be delighted to help any way I could. I gave them my (fabricated) name, social security and bank account numbers, and just for good measure, I provided a detailed, heartwarming back story about myself, which bore an eerie resemblance to the plot line from Forrest Gump.

When two days later they emailed again to inform me that the social security and bank account numbers I had provided did not work, I apologized profusely, explaining that I had not been wearing my reading glasses at that time. I then furnished new account numbers, which I conjured up using a Ouija board. I never heard from them again. Not even a Christmas card.

So, the next time a phone call from a suspicious number interrupts your family’s dinner to inform you that you’ve won a too-good-to-be true vacation in Cabo, just know that it is. But don’t hang up. Be polite. Hear them out. Then, in a warm, friendly voice, explain, “Before I accept your incredible offer, one question: Do you know anything about CPR? My grandfather just collapsed on the floor and he’s not breathing. What do you recommend I do?” You’ll be back to your dinner in no time. Trust me.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

My Wife’s Silly Concern That I Waste Too Much Time Watching Football

My Wife’s Silly Concern That I Waste Too Much Time Watching Football

[Author’s note: I meant to publish this article earlier, but I simply could not find the time. There were eleven college football bowl games I had to watch, plus four NFL playoff games. A man has to prioritize. – TEJ]

Like millions of other American males, I love to watch football. My wife thinks it’s a total waste of time. She’d rather watch a nature program or a documentary about Marco Polo. Who would want to learn something when you can spend quality time yelling at your TV over the officiating?

Like millions of other American males, I love to watch football. My wife thinks it’s a total waste of time. She’d rather watch a nature program or a documentary about Marco Polo. Who would want to learn something when you can spend quality time yelling at your TV over the officiating?

In recent years, there has been a national crisis brewing. No, I’m not talking about climate change or the latest measles outbreak. It’s the bane of millions of wives that their husbands are watching far too much football and totally ignoring the little lady (I’m not being chauvinistic. My wife is truly a little lady at 5’0″).

Recently, this topic became a source of strain in my own marriage. After many heated discussions, we decided to visit a marriage counselor to help my wife work through her silly problem. Below is a play-by-play transcript of how our first session went. 

Dr. Robert Taylor: Good afternoon. I’m Dr. Taylor. I understand that there are some concerns you have about your marriage. Who’d like to begin?

Michele: I will. I’m convinced that Tim cares more about football than he does about me.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, care to respond to your wife’s assertion?… Tim? … Tim, did you listen to what your wife just said?

Tim: Sorry, doc. I was just watching highlights from last weekend’s Saints – Vikings game on my phone. Could you believe that non-call in the end zone in overtime? Um, what was the question again?

Dr. Taylor: Your wife feels that you care more about football than you care about her. Care to comment?

Tim: About what?

Michele: ME! And put down your stupid phone. See, Dr. Taylor. This is what I’m talking about. Tim sits back in his recliner every Saturday and Sunday to watch his dumb football games. Tim, in a marriage, we’re supposed to be a team. Do you understand the problem our team is having?

Tim: I sure do. The Seahawks have absolutely no pass defense. They rank 25th in the league. That’s not gonna get them far in the playoffs.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, I don’t think that’s the problem your wife is talking about.

Tim: She could be right. Their pass blocking is equally suspect.

Michele: Tim, for God’s sake, can you hear yourself?!!? The problem is not the Seabirds’ pass blocking.

Tim: You make a salient point. I agree, their play calling is so predictable. But it’s not the Seabirds. It’s the Seahawks.

Michele: I don’t care if it’s the SeaWEEDS! You’re not listening to me. Every weekend, it’s like I’ve lost my husband to that stupid game. What exactly is so important about that ridiculous sport anyway?

Tim: You think football is a ridiculous sport? Might I point out that your parents love to watch curling? Now THAT’S a stupid sport. 

Michele: Don’t change the subject. I’m talking about how on weekends you spend more time watching football than you spend with me!

Dr. Taylor: Tim, is that true? Do you even talk to her during these contests?

Tim: I talk with her all the time as I’m watching. I’ll say things to her like, “Did you see that incredible catch?” and “What a horrible call by the official. Can you believe that call?” And “Can you make me a grilled cheese, honey? More cheese than last time, okay?”

Michele: You just don’t get it! All you talk about during these games is football, football, football.

Tim: That’s because I’m watching football. Would you prefer me to provide a commentary on the finer points of Badminton instead? Why would I do that during a football game?

Michele: ARGH!! How about talking to me about something – ANYTHING – other than sports? Like the last book you read.

Tim:  I could do that.

Michele: Really? That would mean a lot to me.

Dr. Taylor: And what book was that, Tim?

Tim: I just finished the pro football classic, “America’s Game”.

Michele: Unbelievable! What is so important about watching a bunch of over-sized men pound each other in pursuit of a little ball? I don’t get men’s obsession with this sport!

Tim: It’s football. Men like football.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, what I’m hearing from Michele is that, come weekends, you don’t seem to care about her interests. Am I understanding you, Michele?

Michele: Yes. Exactly. I mean, would it be so difficult for him to take a break from the flat-screen TV and go on a hike with me?

My wife says I never talk to her when I’m watching a football game on TV. That’s not true. Why, just last weekend, we discussed the possibility of her making me another plate of nachos and getting me a beverage. Her reply: Over my dead body.

My wife says I never talk to her when I’m watching a football game on TV. That’s not true. Why, just last weekend, we discussed the possibility of her making me another plate of nachos and getting me a beverage. Her reply: Over my dead body.

Tim: I hear you. The center really needs to work on his hikes on punts. Last week, he sent the ball over the punter’s head.

Michele: Dr. Taylor, see what I’m up against? He thinks any game on TV is more important than spending time with me.

Tim: Not if it’s the Dolphins – Bengals game. You can hardly call that football.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, I think you may be missing the point.

Tim: What point? Did someone score? Let me check my phone.

Dr. Taylor: No, Tim, you’re missing Michele’s concern, that you’re so engrossed in football that you forget to focus on her needs. What would happen if, just for once, you turned off the TV and missed a game?

Tim: I believe the answer is obvious. As you said, I’d miss the game.

Dr. Taylor: And so what if you did? Is that so bad? What if you went out for a walk with your wife instead?

Tim: Could I still listen to it on the radio with just one ear bud? She could listen on the other.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, are you willing to make any sort of compromise in your viewing habits in the interest of helping your marriage?

Tim: Okay, okay. I get it. How about I only watch football every other Sunday. And the other weekends, we do a fun outdoor activity together that Michele likes, say kayaking?

Michele: Well that’s a start, I guess. And I do like kayaking. Thank you, honey.

Tim: In fact, how about we start this new plan on February 3rd?

Michele: Let me guess. The Super Bowl is on the 2nd, right? 

Tim: Wow! You know when the Super Bowl is?! I think you secretly like football.

(Michele leaps from her chair but Dr. Taylor intervenes.)

Tim: Nice block, doc. You’re a natural.

Dr. Taylor: Well, I did play left guard in high school. (Whispering to Tim) Say, who do you think will win the Super Bowl? I’ve got $100 on the Ravens. Their quarterback is unstoppable –

Michele: Not you too, doctor. Unbelievable!

Dr. Taylor: Uh, um, well. I think we made some progress. Unfortunately, I have to wrap up early. I’m catching the playoff game with a few friends of mine. Oh, and one last thing. Rest assured that everything we’ve discussed today will be held in the strictest of confidence. – that is, unless your husband decides to publish the details of this session in an upcoming blog post.

Tim: I would never do that. Why would you even think such a thing, doc?

Michele: Oh no…..

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Stories from the Cat House

Stories from the Cat House

My wife and I foster kittens several times a year. Here are some of our recent guests. I know, they all look so adorable. Don’t be fooled. They’re non-stop eating, pooping machines that will turn your house into utter chaos, or as my wife calls it, “happy pandemonium.”

My wife and I foster kittens several times a year. Here are some of our recent guests. I know, they all look so adorable. Don’t be fooled. They’re non-stop eating, pooping machines that will turn your house into utter chaos, or as my wife calls it, “happy pandemonium.”

My wife and I run a cat house. We take in girls – and boys – who were living on the streets and require them to do tricks in exchange for room and board. We’re not proud of this. But we can’t help ourselves. Oh, it’s not what you think. No, we’re not running a brothel. Heavens, No! My wife always reminds me, “We’re never doing that again!” 

What I meant was that we rent cats. Okay, some people might call it “fostering.” We take in orphaned kittens and we feed them, cuddle them, and teach them tricks like how to chase a string. Our guests stay about five weeks, after which, having (temporarily) satisfied our craving, we send them back to the local animal shelter. But it is an addiction, and withdrawal is no laughing matter. So, after a couple months, we give in and get another fix of furry toddlers.

Our two adult cats, Zippy and Buddy (former fosters themselves), graciously allow us to invite these occasional intruders. I want to keep them all, but my wife says zoning laws prohibit more than two permanent feline residents per household. Apparently, any more than that would cause a level of chaos and destruction that might threaten world peace – not to mention our marriage.

Make no mistake, my wife likes cats – a lot! If she and I were on a rowboat in the middle of the ocean with Zippy and Buddy, and a big wave washed our cats and me overboard, and she could only save two of us – let’s just say, my wife would probably be remarried by now.

While she likes cats, my darling wife absolutely ADORES KITTENS! That’s why she likes to rent, I mean foster them. Our job as a foster family is to play with the kitties and get them used to humans, so that I can fall in love with them and get my heart torn out when they inevitably journey back to the shelter to find permanent homes.

I’ll be the first to admit, fostering kittens is a lot of fun. But it’s also a lot of work. That’s why my wife and I divide up the tasks evenly. I’m responsible for feeding, scooping the litter, replacing said litter, cleaning the ubiquitous poop skid marks off the floor, sweeping the strewn litter bits, and picking up countless bits of shredded paper the kitties create. The above tasks need to be done roughly every 30 minutes. My wife willingly shoulders the arduous chores of patting and nuzzling the kittens and posting adorable photos of them on Facebook.

If I may, I would like to circle back to the part about feeding and scooping. The kittens are often only two weeks old when we receive them. Sometimes they are so tiny we must bottle feed them. But once they can consume solid food (around three weeks), their appetites are insatiable. A litter of six kittens can easily go through eight cans of moist cat food and three cups of dry food in a day. But they poop out roughly five times the volume they consume – something scientists have never been able to explain. With any luck, by the time they are ready to leave us, most of the kittens know how to  dutifully excrete their poop within a foot of the litter box.

Our temporary house guests typically overcome their fear of us very quickly. By the second week, they’re routinely navigating up my pant leg, headed for my shoulders. Which brings me to the topic of claws. Did you know that kittens don’t know how to retract their claws? Me neither. I like to wear shorts. Imagine, if you will,  self-propelled razor blades covered in fur scaling your unclothed limbs. In no time, I look like a badly abused scratching post – only with far more blood.

Things tend to get a bit complicated when Buddy realizes we have visitors. Everyday it’s the same pattern: He stands outside the door to the guest quarters and whines incessantly until we let him in. He looks at the kitties with an approach-avoidance mixture of fascination and fear until eventually several of them start chasing (and biting) his tail, at which point Buddy freaks out and bolts. Then 30 minutes later, he wants back in again. Go figure.

Kittens are naturally curious and adventurous – especially as they reach four weeks of age. This is when they develop an urge to go walkabout and explore EVERYTHING. They climb, leap, and knock over anything they can get their mouths on. They will play with anything they stumble into – except cat toys, of course. They will entertain themselves for hours, batting around an empty toilet paper roll, a rubber band or a twist tie. And they are masters at chewing on electrical cords, scratching the wood furniture beyond repair, and getting stuck underneath the couch and other impossible-to-extract locations. At this age, they have only two modes: Total pandemonium and coma. There is no in between.

When our short-term residents reach two pounds (around eight weeks), it’s time to take them back to the animal shelter to find forever homes. And this, for me, is by far the most difficult part. Because every time we foster, I get emotionally attached. I always want to keep some. My wife rationally insists we have plenty of cats already. Our negotiation sessions typically go something like this:

Me: Let’s keep all six of them. They’re soooooo adorable. Can we, sweetie?

Michele: No. We already have two cats. That’s plenty.

Me: Okay, you’re right. So, how about we just keep two kittens?

Michele: No. We already have enough cats.

Me: I hear you. Final offer: Let’s keep just one.

In the end, we reach a compromise, by which I mean we don’t keep any. We go through this dance whenever we foster. Every time, I tell myself I won’t get attached, and every time I fall hopelessly in love with every one of them.

By the time you read this, our house will probably be teeming with our next set of furry visitors. I already know my wife is going to say no, we can’t keep any furballs. But I have a plan. I know some embarrassing details from her past that I just might “accidentally” post to her timeline on Facebook – unless she agrees to let me keep one. So, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. It’s totally up to my darling wife. Meow.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019