Mr. Popularity – The Early Years

Mr. Popularity – The Early Years

This is my high school senior yearbook photo. I know what you’re thinking: Tim, you look so cool – not the least bit nerdy.

This is my high school senior yearbook photo. I know what you’re thinking: Tim, you look so cool – not the least bit nerdy.

I am often asked, “Tim, were you always so popular and beloved by all who know you?” Admittedly this question is usually posed during a recurring dream in which Scarlett Johansson presents me with the Pulitzer Prize for Bad Humor Writing. You may find this hard to imagine, but in my younger days, I was not nearly so popular with the girls or envied by the guys; nor was I as comfortable making verifiably false claims as I am today.

The truth is, before college, where I assumed a totally new identity and back story, I was rather shy and nervous – especially around the fairer sex. I blame this on attending the Albany Academy, an all-boys’ school, for twelve years and being a late bloomer (I expect to start blooming any day now).

In addition to these impediments, I was one of the lucky teens who wore braces, was afflicted by acne, and was slightly overweight. I also lived nowhere near any of the other kids in my school, so getting together with them was a no go. Then sprinkle in a large dollop of parental disapproval from an extremely strict father who perpetually described me as “a disappointment,” and you have the perfect recipe for an awkward young man not exactly brimming with self-confidence.

At the Academy, a private military school, there were the usual cliques – the cool kids, jocks, theater guys, and stoners. I belonged to a very small and eclectic group consisting of one member: me. I was the pleasant enough but somewhat serious “straight arrow” who was considered too much of a bookworm to invite to parties. On most Saturday nights, while the majority of my class was getting drunk at Woody’s house or Hayward’s or Robb’s, I was typically at home, falling asleep watching Mannix at 10:00 on CBS. 

Truth be told, I didn’t really care that I missed all the parties, in part because I did not drink (still don’t), and also, I just was not into that scene. I found meaning in studying – all the time. There’s a word for someone like me who routinely got good grades and devoutly completed all homework before allowing himself to play: A Nerd.

I guess, if I’m being honest with myself (something I try to avoid as much as possible), I was a little behind the curve in a few areas – like what to say on a date… or what to wear on a date… or how to get a date. Continue reading “Mr. Popularity – The Early Years” »

A Millennial’s Bill of Rights

A Millennial’s Bill of Rights

Meet Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla and Tyler – five millennials with an important message to share – which they will get around to just as soon as they respond to the latest text from Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla or Tyler.

Meet Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla and Tyler – five millennials with an important message to share – which they will get around to just as soon as they respond to the latest text from Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla or Tyler.

[Note: This week I turn over the editorial reins – and hope I don’t regret this decision – to five outspoken millennials – Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla and Tyler (at right) – who have demanded the opportunity to share what they believe the rest of us need to accept, based on the collective wisdom of young people. Looks like our future is in good hands. – TEJ]

Hey, you Gen X’rs and Baby Boomers. You geezers have called the shots 4 way 2 long. It’s time we millennials explain the new rules. This is our BILL OF RIGHTS, or as we prefer to call it, our BLLORTS.  Just so you won’t whine about having no idea how to “translate” our writing, we’ll use complete sentences (what a hassle), with punctuation and vowels – thgh, srsly, who bthrs wth vwls ths dys?

As a Millennial, I proclaim that…

Climate change is real. It’s going to destroy the planet if we don’t do something about it NOW. I plan to get actively involved, of course, but for the moment I’m busy checking out my options on Tinder and Bumble. But right after Monica swipes me back, I’m all over saving the planet. Text me when Florida starts to submerge.

We need to help people in need. There are millions of people all over the world who don’t have nearly enough to get by. It’s time we look out for those unfortunates. Speaking of people in need, I need you to pay for my airfare home for Christmas. I had to buy a new iPhone X, so my Venmo account is low.  Continue reading “A Millennial’s Bill of Rights” »

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Surgery

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Surgery

The older I get, the more time I spend at ologists. You know – the dermatologist, cardiologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, colonoscopologist, and, for reasons I’m still a little fuzzy about, my geologist. Recently, I had to go to the hospital for a minor procedure with one of those ologists.

While getting ready in pre-op, I was instructed to completely disrobe and put on one of those ever-so–flattering, open-in-the-back hospital gowns. To complete my ensemble, they required me to wear a stylish shower cap. Then my wife and the nurse barged in and this photo was taken. Between the nurse’s expression and my garb, this photo looks like an opening for an Onion News piece. So, I posted it on Facebook and solicited suggestions for an appropriately clever or snarky caption.

Below are just a few of the submissions I received, plus some caption ideas of my own.…

Nurse, does this hospital gown make my butt look fat?

Mr. Jones, Your results are in. Congratulations. It’s a boy.

WTF? Is that a… TAIL!!!!???

And that’s when the nurse noticed that Tim’s colonoscopy prep was still working.

Nurse, is it absolutely necessary they shave my pubic region? After all, I’m only here for an initial consultation about a mole on my shoulder. Continue reading “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Surgery” »

America’s Great Debate: Pie or Cake?

America’s Great Debate: Pie or Cake?

In the past two years, our nation has become increasingly polarized. We’ve become a divided nation, with people firmly rooted in one camp or the other. There appears to be no end in sight to the name-calling and stereotyping. We’ve even taken to unfriending people on Facebook simply because they don’t agree with us on this fractious issue.

I am, of course, talking about the seismic upheaval created by perhaps our country’s most contentious debate: Which is better, pie or cake? If you’re expecting me to be the voice of moderation, forget about it. Because the answer is so obvious. CAKE IS WAY BETTER THAN PIE!

Go ahead and disagree if you like. That just means you’re dead to me. You clearly are living in Crazy Town! To all those Piehards out there, I say: LET THEM EAT CAKE!

Now let’s get one thing out of the way right up front. You pienosaurs tout the slogan “as American as apple pie.” Nice try. That saying became popular back in the 1850s. You know what else was popular back then? Slavery – something no cake aficionado would ever condone.

If you love America, then in this food fight you’d choose cake. Oh sure, pie was pretty cool once – back in the 1920’s, sitting on the window sill of your great grandmother’s kitchen. But wake up. It’s 2018. Pie is so 20th century. If you ask me, pie is nothing more than a glorified, overstuffed pop tart. Cake, on the other hand, is almost a euphoric experience. You think I’m half-baked making that claim? Then you’ve never tasted red velvet cake. What a pitiful life you must lead. Continue reading “America’s Great Debate: Pie or Cake?” »

The Downside of Having a Common Name

The Downside of Having a Common Name

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Tim Jones. I’m unique – just like the other 58,730 people in the world with the exact same name. No, wait. I’ve just been informed that another Jones family in Topeka, Kansas has christened their newborn Tim. Okay, so make that only 58,731 Tim Joneses.

Having such a common name is more of an annoyance than you might think. First, it is utterly uninspiring. Do you recall the Civil War hero Tim Jones? Or the movie star? I thought not. Great men throughout history possessed distinguished, memorable monikers – like Alexander the Great and Stonewall Jackson and Winston Churchill – not that I’d have preferred being a “Winston”, mind you. But you get my point.

It’s just that the typical response to hearing the name Tim Jones is an irresistible impulse to yawn. Let me prove my point with a short story:

Once upon a time there was a poor, old Italian fisherman. Every day he would row his crusty rowboat out to sea, in hopes of catching just enough fish to feed his family. He did this for several years, fighting the high winds and rough waters, until finally, he no longer had the strength to do it anymore. So, he decided to retire, began collecting social security and moved to a condo in Arizona to be close to his grandkids.

Okay, that’s a pretty lame story. But let me ask you a question: If you had to guess, what would you say was the fisherman’s name? Take your time. Aha! I bet you concluded it probably was Tim Jones! Didn’t you? Wrong. The fisherman’s name was Antonio Vespucci. Why in the world would an Italian fisherman be named Tim Jones? Not exactly a Sherlock Holmes, are you? Which reminds me, now that’s a memorable name! But I digress.

My last name is so prosaic that my own wife, a world-class artist, opted to keep her own – refusing even to hyphenate it as Rushworth-Jones. And who could blame her? Which would you rather own, an original Rushworth painting or an original Jones? It’s kind of an oxymoron anyway – an original Jones. Continue reading “The Downside of Having a Common Name” »

Fashion Tip for Middle-Aged Men: Hair to Dye For

Fashion Tip for Middle-Aged Men: Hair to Dye For

I’m 63. By the time most men reach this milestone, they have more than a touch of gray, like me. Some men have gone completely white on top. And in the case of my older brother, there is scant evidence he ever had hair.

But then I noticed at my yoga class that the women didn’t seem to have this problem. Their ages range from 50 to 75. And yet, not one of them has a single gray hair. The obvious takeaway is that women have a much easier life than men.

Then it struck me like a thunderbolt – their youthful-looking hair was a dye job. I know this to be so because I conducted a survey of the class  – and now none of them will speak to me.

That gave me an idea – perhaps I could look younger too if I colored my hair. What’s the worst that could happen? So, I did it. I would like to pass along to other men just how simple the procedure is. The whole experience will take years off your life, I mean, off your appearance.

Below is the exact step-by-step method I followed. You might want to take notes. 

Step 1: Get out of your comfort zone and do something daring. Realize that your past efforts to “pray away the gray” have been futile. Take the plunge and decide to dye your hair.

Step 2: Choose your desired hair color. Be bold. If you’re thinking purple or green, stop! I said be bold, not be a circus clown.

Step 3: Go to the pharmacy and decide which brand you most identify with: Just for Men, Manly Guy, or Natural Instincts. Look at the photos on the packaging. Choose the one whose picture most closely matches your vague recollection of your former self – the HAIR color, not the ruggedly handsome face on the box.

Step 4: Accidentally purchase a color two shades darker than your natural tint. Fail to notice this until it’s too late.

Step 5: Apply the dye. Get distracted by a radio broadcast about a seven-year-old in Nebraska with the world’s largest bunny rabbit and inadvertently leave the goop on your scalp for nine minutes instead of the recommended maximum five. Continue reading “Fashion Tip for Middle-Aged Men: Hair to Dye For” »