Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

Lately I’ve been having trouble sleeping. My doctor thinks I may be in denial about being a horrible person, or that I refuse to confront how I’ve totally wasted my life. I think my doctor is getting a 1-star review on Yelp.

Lately I’ve been having trouble sleeping. My doctor thinks I may be in denial about being a horrible person, or that I refuse to confront how I’ve totally wasted my life. I think my doctor is getting a 1-star review on Yelp.

Recently, events in my life have eerily paralleled the story line from that classic film, Sleepless in Seattle, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. How? Well, for starters, I’ve lived in the greater Seattle area for the past 30 years. Second, I’ve been having difficulty sleeping lately. And third, I have been told I resemble Tom Hanks (particularly by people who have never seen him). Hence the premise for this week’s column.

For the past several weeks, I’ve had maybe two hours of fitful ZZZ time per night. It’s starting to make me cranky. Several friends have offered less than helpful theories to explain my sleep-deprived predicament. Perhaps, said one, I’m feeling pangs of regret over decades of egregious parenting failures. Or maybe I’m riding a sugar high from binging on Pop Tarts and Mountain Dew right before bedtime.

One person posited that my insomnia may be due to anxiety from watching news coverage 24/7. I say I’d only be watching news 24/16 if I could sleep. Yet another “expert” speculated that my tossing and turning might be me practicing maneuvers for eluding the thugs who are after me for my gambling debts. Please don’t tell my wife that I blew our life savings at the Emerald Queen Casino.

Those are all excellent – albeit wildly erroneous – explanations for my nocturnal insomnolence. The real cause is that I had knee replacement surgery for the second time in four months and am struggling with RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome). RLS is a common side effect of major knee surgery. It’s characterized by an irresistible urge to move one’s legs in a futile attempt to find a comfortable position. It occurs typically at nighttime and has many manifestations: twitching, thrashing, and knocking all the covers to the floor.

It can take a significant toll on loved ones as the sufferer may body-slam his bed partner in the chest, or in a knee-jerk motion, propel the cats off the bed up toward the rotating ceiling fan. It is thus suggested one keep the fan on low speed. The subsequent shunning by wife – and cats – can have the far-reaching mental health consequences of rejection, abandonment, and loneliness. My legs have therefore been designated as clear and present dangers to others.

Some evenings it’s so bad that I’m not sure if my problem is RLS or a frenetic case of the Harlem Shakes. Most nights I have to get up four or five times – and not just to pee. I pace around the bedroom, the living room, even the garage, in a fruitless attempt to quiet my legs. It hasn’t worked, but on the positive side, these wee hour wanderings have enabled me to hit my daily Fitbit goal of 10,000 steps on several nights.

Thanks to caring friends – and a few idiots – I have a plethora of tactics to try to help me sleep. Here are just a few of those suggestions:

  • Practice meditation before bedtime.

    This particular evening I couldn’t sleep at all. On the Other hand, my cat Chompers was blissfully unaware of my distress as he contentedly dozed off like a hibernating bear, sleeping peacefully on my face.

    This particular evening I couldn’t sleep at all. On the Other hand, my cat Chompers was blissfully unaware of my distress as he contentedly dozed off like a hibernating bear, sleeping peacefully on my face.

  • Download an ambient noise app of soothing sounds, like crashing waves, a crackling campfire, or a dentist’s drill. (I’m wondering about this last sound, as it barely helped me relax).
  • A warm cup of milk.
  • No sugar after 1pm (you lost me at “1pm”, buddy).
  • Smoke a cigarette. (I guess it’s never too late to take up a new habit. Does vaping count?)
  • Listen to bacon frying (didn’t achieve sleep but thanks to this tip, I’ve gained five pounds).
  • Hum like a bee. Using live bees is not recommended.
  • Listen to a podcast on Mastering Excel.
  • Do not drink alcohol before bedtime (since I don’t drink, this one should be easy).
  • Have a glass of wine before bedtime.

Then there is the always welcome, “Don’t try to fall asleep. Just let it happen.” Um, thanks for the vapid, clichéd platitude.

I’ve tried prescription sleeping meds to no avail. One of them  apparently can induce sleep walking, or worse yet, sleep driving (yikes!). I bailed on that one, lest I get pulled over for driving without a license – or pants. The other sleep prescriptions were as effective in bringing on sleep as Flintstone vitamins are at dissolving a brain tumor.

So far, nothing has worked. I’m at my wits end – and my wife is sleeping at a neighbor’s. But I have a buddy who guarantees he has the cure-all that will send me to Slumberland: Hop in bed, drink a fifth of Tequila and watch Weekend at Bernie’s, wearing nothing but bunny slippers. In full disclosure, he also swears that drinking a fifth of Bourbon will cure male pattern baldness. So he’s missing a few screws – at this point, what have I got to lose? I’ll keep you posted.

Good news just in: My doctor assures me that my RSL is a temporary condition which should dissipate over time. The bad news is “over time” according to my doctor could be anywhere from two weeks till shortly after my untimely death due to sleep deprivation.

Whoa! I suddenly feel really drowsy. It just hit me as I was typing the last paragraph. My eyes are so heavy. I can barely keep my head up. I better lie down for a minute before I fall asleep at the keyboar$#%$J@E)%Nda&%#Dfw)@$#3en48093abutcp………………………..

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

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

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

[The following is an approximate re-telling of a recent traffic stop I had with local law enforcement for a moving violation. The events of my run-in all happened exactly as described below. Well, almost exactly.]

traffic-stop-speed-limit-signIt was 7:22 am on a Wednesday. I was driving northbound on Main Highway like I always did this time of week. But this time, there was a problem. I was running late for my regular Wednesday meet-up with a buddy of mine. Let’s call him Terry, because, well, that’s his name. Terry was waiting for me at our regular rendezvous, a place called Terry’s Corner (honest). My buddy Terry is a big deal in this small town. But Terry was going to have to wait. Because, like I said, I was running late.

I knew I shouldn’t have downed half a six-pack of Mountain Dew Live Wire first thing in the morning. My heart rate was through the roof as I raced down the highway in my silver Toyota minivan, desperately trying to make up time. I saw the speed limit sign. It read 50 mph, just like it always read this time of day. Some things never change. I looked in my rear view mirror. Drivers were climbing up on my tail. Maybe I was just imagining things, but it looked like the guy behind me wanted to run me over. My heart started pounding. My palms got clammy. I could barely hold onto the steering wheel.

My mind buzzed with all the things I had to do today. Little did I know that my agenda was about to take a major U-turn – because just as I was writing the previous sentence, I zoomed past a parked trooper. In that instant, the cop pulled onto the highway, flashed his lights, and started in hot pursuit.

Continue reading “You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law” »

The Truth About Lying

The Truth About Lying

People lie all the time. Take this couple that recently met through an online dating app. She told him she’s an aspiring actress (she waits tables at Red Lobster). He told her he’s a hedge fund manager (he’s a day trader living in his parents’ basement). And this article recently won a Pulitzer Prize for outstanding investigative journalism.

People lie all the time. Take this couple that recently met through an online dating app. She told him she’s an aspiring actress (she waits tables at Red Lobster). He told her he’s a hedge fund manager (he’s a day trader living in his parents’ basement). And this article recently won a Pulitzer Prize for outstanding investigative journalism.

I have a PhD in psychology and four years of medical school under my belt. I played major league baseball for the Phillies back in the 80s. And I recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The reason I rarely mention any of these incredible achievements is because they’re all lies. None of these happened – except for the bit about playing for the Phillies. But I only lasted one season, so hardly worth mentioning.

You see, I’m a professional liar. I make my living by lying, by which I mean humor writing. Last year alone I grossed $3 million as a humor writer. (It’s possible that the previous sentence was a slight exaggeration.) So, when it comes to deceiving others, trust me. I know what I’m talking about.

Everybody lies – unless you’re a dog. Dogs rarely lie – unless they can blame it on the cat. Actually, dogs lie all the time – on the couch, on the bed… But we humans deceive without even thinking. Case in point: When my wife asked if I liked her blouse, I gushed “Oh yeah!” That was a bold-faced lie. I hate the color mauve. (Or was it a bald-faced lie? Or barefaced? Beats me.) My point is that people lie – all the time. But why?

Lying is as old as mankind. Harvard researchers believe the first documented fabrication took place over 20,000 years ago, as evidenced by a cave painting depicting a man extending his arms wide to indicate the size of the fish that got away. (Okay, I fibbed. It was actually University of Phoenix researchers, but Harvard sounded so much more impressive. My bad.)

Our country was founded on falsehoods, starting with George Washington, who famously uttered, “I cannot tell a lie. I did cut the cherry tree.”  Well, turns out that story was fake news. It never happened!

Scientists believe early man may have looked something like this. They also think he probably lied as a way to gain an advantage over his adversary. But there’s one thing that this caveman would not lie about: You can save 15% on your car insurance with Geico.

Scientists believe early man may have looked something like this. They also think he probably lied as a way to gain an advantage over his adversary. But there’s one thing that this caveman would not lie about: You can save 15% on your car insurance with Geico.

People mislead and falsify to gain advantage over others or collect unjust rewards, such as Bernie Madoff with his Ponzi Scheme, or Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, or me anytime I  golf with my buddy Kevin. But in my defense, I only cheat when we’re playing for money.

Some people lie to exaggerate their achievements and inflate their image. To explain this increasingly common phenomenon, read any random tweet at: @realdonaldtrump

Sometimes people prevaricate to cover up bad behavior, like during the 2016 Summer Olympics, when American swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint at a gas station. In reality, he was drunk and urinated outside a gas station bathroom where he got caught in the act by a security guard. Lochte used extremely poor judgment. He should have bribed the guard to back up his cock and bull story with free passes to his Olympic swimming events. Problem solved.

From my own extensive investigations, I’ve concluded that spreading disinformation is deeply woven into our DNA. In a typical day, Americans lie six times. The average Frenchman lies ten times. And the Russians? 37 times. Or you could just pick a number – like I just did above because I ran out of time to research it.

A Danish study on the human proclivity to deceive found that kids master this skill as early as three years of age, usually to avoid punishment or gain favor. This just shows that Danish kids must be developmentally delayed, because my kids had figured out how to lie to my face by eleven months.

We dupe our co-workers, our friends, and even our kids – but often for very good reasons. Parents perpetuate the Santa Claus myth to fill their children with glee (I still can’t fathom how he gets by our burglar alarm system). Kids tell tall tales to test their independence. And God forbid we should hurt someone’s feelings by saying what we really think. And I lie to my wife about my back acting up again to get out of mowing the lawn. My point is these are all perfectly good reasons.

While people have been mendacious ever since Eve told Adam, “Try the apple. It’s perfectly safe,” it appears that our vulnerability to dissembling has never been greater than it is right now, thanks in part to social media, Chinese hackers, and my dentist, who said repairing my crown wouldn’t hurt a bit.

Our ability as a society to separate fact from fiction is under unprecedented attack. For example, I just read a 500-page book that says that 75% of Facebook posts containing a political message have factual inaccuracies – which, of course, is a lie – I’m way too lazy to read a 500-page book. But it’s true that much of what you see on the internet is an exaggeration or an outright falsity. I just read a post on Twitter by some dude claiming – wait for it – that he’s directly related to Jesus. Ludicrous! Who concocts this kind of nonsense? Um, wait a minute. Now that I think about it, that might have been me.

Researchers have discovered that many people are highly prone to believe even the most outrageous lies, even when they are unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. These people are easy to spot. Just look for the red MAGA hat.

Researchers have discovered that many people are highly prone to believe even the most outrageous lies, even when they are unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. These people are easy to spot. Just look for the red MAGA hat.

Some people’s jobs require them to lie. These people are known as Members of Congress. Others who deceive as part of their work include spies, lawyers, and anyone in the claims department of a health insurance provider. On the other hand, some people delude others (and themselves) because they simply can’t tell the difference between a lie and the truth. These people are called President Trump.

Every day, most of us are on the receiving end of a barrage of dishonest, disingenuous comments – sometimes from people we trust deeply. What can be done to stop this epidemic? To find out, simply buy my best-selling, award-winning advice book, The Lies About Truth.

But there is one thing you can bank on with 100% assurance. And that is that I care about you, dear reader, very deeply. I consider you my best friend. If you could just email me your bank information and social security number, I would like to make a large deposit into your checking account to show you how much your friendship means to me. And that’s the truth.

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

If You Need a Lawyer, I Found Just the Guy

If You Need a Lawyer, I Found Just the Guy

[Author’s note: For maximum effect, this article is intended to be read at a fast pace, preferably with a thick New Jersey mobster accent. – TEJ] 

THE FOLLOWING IS A PAID COMMERCIAL FROM MARVIN GUERKIN, ATTORNEY AT LAW 

You’re probably asking yourself, “Hey, isn’t that a photo of the attorney in the TV show, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul?” to which I say, “What’s your point?”

You’re probably asking yourself, “Hey, isn’t that a photo of the attorney in the TV show, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul?” to which I say, “What’s your point?”

Hi, friend. I’m Marvin Guerkin. And I want to be YOUR lawyer. In a pickle? Guerkin is your man!

Here’s a question: Has this ever happened to you?

You notice your garbage disposal isn’t working, so you call a plumber. He takes a look and, wiping his hands on your wife’s favorite dish towel, says it’ll cost ya’ $1,800 to replace the defective disposal. You start stressin’ out about the cost, so you light up a cigarette, nervously flicking the ashes to the floor, Suddenly, ashes from your cigarette set that dish towel (which the plumber carelessly tossed on the floor) on fire, which triggers the smoke detector. That freaks out your German Shepherd Hercules, who then bolts out the front door, which you forgot to close when you let the plumber in.

You chase after Hercules, bumping into a stone table in the foyer, knocking over your priceless heirloom lamp dating back to the Ming Dynasty, which you had appraised on Antiques Roadshow for $9,700, but which now is just a pile of shattered ceramic. Your toddler, Marvin Junior, grabs a broken piece and scarfs it down, because, well, he’s a two-year-old, and all two-year-olds are idiots.

You remember that the lamp had lead paint, so you rush Junior to the ER to have his stomach pumped. In your panic, you run a stop sign, and get pulled over by Officer Cooper, who looks like he hasn’t done a push-up since the Nixon administration. Anyhoo, he issues you a ticket for reckless driving, having an expired license, and not strapping your kid into the child seat. You tell him to “Have a good day” and he thinks you’re being flip, so he orders you out of the car. You swear up and down that you haven’t been drinking (in truth you had barely more than three or four martinis). He runs your license plate and discovers four unpaid violations, which you never told your wife about.

Before you know it, you’re in the back of a cop car, headed for the 9th Precinct Station. Your phone rings and you see it’s your wife. With your hands cuffed, you fumble to answer the call. Immediately, your better half starts shouting, “Where the hell is Marvin Junior?” – which is when you realize that he’s still crawling around in the back of your car, which is parked in an abandoned lot on 36th and Broadway. Your wife is now screaming that the kitchen has gone up in flames! And the fire department is desperately trying to douse the flames which have now engulfed your entire house. Meanwhile nobody can locate your cat Buttons, not to mention Hercules.

Well, if this sounds familiar, why not give me, Marvin Guerkin, Attorney at Law, a call – any time day or night – between 2 and 4pm. But don’t call on Wednesdays (I’m at the races) or Fridays (I’m at the black jack table at Caesars). In a pickle? Guerkin’s your man!

I got another question: Has this ever happened to you? 

You’re on your riding mower, mowing your lawn, just minding your own business, when your neighbor starts shouting at you about God knows what. You can’t hear him because you’ve got headphones on, listening to Vic Damone at full volume. He keeps shouting, but you ignore him, because, frankly, he’s kind of an annoying dweeb, obsessively fussing about his stupid garden.

So, he keeps on shouting until finally he rudely taps you on the shoulder, and you take off your head phones, and he screams, “Dude, what the f*ck are you doing? You just mowed down my prize-winning rose bushes!” – prompting you to make a hilarious comment about how real men go fishing, not play around in flower gardens, which oddly he does not find nearly as funny as you do – maybe it was in your delivery. Anyway, then he shoves you, leaving you no choice but to hop back on your mower to plow through his hydrangeas.

Before you can turn his nasturtiums into mulch, your neighbor, for some inexplicable reason, starts smashing the windshield of your 2007 Toyota Corolla with a golf club – using a Callaway driver at that – wow, he’s not thinking straight! I would have used a 9 iron. Technically it’s your wife’s car, so it’s not that big a deal. Still, defending her honor, you decide to take quick action to de-escalate the situation, which you do by driving your wife’s Corolla into his brand new 2019 Lexus, totaling his front end – and hers.

Then in what, if you ask me, is a major over-reaction, he calls the cops, who come to the scene, and it turns out to be the same Officer Cooper who pulled you over for running a stop sign, and well, you end up back at the 9th Precinct Station – again. And their coffee is just as bad as last time.

If this sounds like the kind of innocent mix-ups you sometimes stumble into, then call me, Marvin Guerkin, Attorney at Law. No lawyer is better at springing you out of the joint and suing your neighbor into bankruptcy than me.

So, what are you waiting for? Call me, MARVIN GUERKIN. In a pickle? Guerkin is your man! 

MARVIN GUERKIN – The lawyer to call when ethical attorneys just aren’t up to the job!

[Disclaimer: Marvin Guerkin has been disbarred from practicing law in the following jurisdictions: Nevada, California, Florida, and Puerto Rico – oh, and Guam. He currently has a restraining order preventing him from being within 500 feet of anyone under the age of 21 or over 70. But he expects it to be thrown out on appeal. Please do not google “lawsuits against Marvin Guerkin” unless you plan to stay up all night. Mr. Guerkin requires payment in full upfront, cash, no checks. Payment in the form of luxury suite stays at Caesar’s Vegas is also acceptable.] 

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 2019

A Tale of Two Brities

A Tale of Two Brities

Two famous British Generals from the Revolutionary War were General John Burgoyne and General William Howe. They were going to join forces in the Battle of Saratoga to quash the rebels. Things did not quite work out as planned.

Two famous British Generals from the Revolutionary War were General John Burgoyne and General William Howe. They were going to join forces in the Battle of Saratoga to quash the rebels. Things did not quite work out as planned.

Editor’s Note: VFTB’s crack team of researchers and military historians has uncovered a never-before-seen collection of letters between two heroic British generals who served nobly during the American Revolutionary War: General John Burgoyne and General William Howe. (Yes, they are actual historical figures.)

This sampling of correspondence describes their strategy to defeat the rebellious colonials at the Battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1777.

While some may question the authenticity of these letters, (which I find astonishing), the circumstances around the build-up to this historic battle, which played a pivotal role in turning the tide of the Revolutionary War, are essentially true. – TEJ

17 August 1777

To My Esteemed Comrade, General Howe,

It has been a long, arduous passage from our wilderness encampment in the Canadian territory. But it is with great pride that I share the news of our brilliant victory over those scoundrel rebels of New York colony, as the King’s brave young soldiers clashed with those ruffians and overwhelmed their defenses at Fort Ticonderoga. As the sun sets, the colours of His Majesty King George’s Kingdom of Great Britain wave proudly against the smoke-filled skies.

I remain confident our plan to join forces, yours from the south and mine from the north, on the fertile plains of Saratoga will cut off those groggy, ill-mannered hooligan colonials from their New England brethren, thus ensuring for the two of us the highest honour. Perhaps a knighthood shall be in order, ol’ chum?

Long live our King.

General John Burgoyne

(P.S. my faithful wife Catherine, Duchess of Strathmore, enjoyed your jovial demeanor at our last encounter and asks of your wellbeing.)

********

31 August 1777

To My Noble Servant of Our King, My Esteemed, General Burgoyne,

It has been nigh to a fortnight since your correspondence informing me of your glorious victory over those vulgar plowboys of New York colony. Alas, I am still tethered to our encampment here along the banks of the Delaware, betwixt the shores of Philadelphia and Camden, seeking provisions and reinforcements. As soon as they arrive, it will be with the swiftest alacrity that I shall decamp and reconnoiter my forces to rendezvous with your fine men on the fields of Saratoga, where, God and the King be willing, we shall prevail and vanquish those pesky rabble-rousers, thus bringing to a rightful conclusion this senseless spillage of tea in our harbors. I shall send word of my impending arrival and look forward to joining forces before the next full moon.

Yours in the Service of our King,

General William Howe

(P.S. That is kind of the fair Duchess Catherine to ask. Pass on to your lovely wife, I am solid of spirits, except for of an odd rash of late. Do say, will the fair duchess’s carriage be following you south with each undoubted triumph?) Continue reading “A Tale of Two Brities” »

Breaking up with an English Teacher

Breaking up with an English Teacher

[The following text exchange took place between a female business executive named Roxanne and her boyfriend of four years, Virgil, a high school English teacher.] 

Roxanne: Dear Virgil, I gotta tell you something and it’s been on my mind for a long time.

Virgil: Good evening, Roxanne. Thank you for your text. By the way, “gotta” is not proper English. I believe you meant to say, “I must” or “I have to.” What’s up?

Roxanne:  We need 2 talk. 

Virgil: You errantly used the digit “2” as in one more than one. So, you’ve lost me. We need “one plus one talk?” That makes no sense. Please clarify. 

Roxanne: Oh, for God’s sake, Virgil. 2 is short for “to.” We need TO talk. I cant wait any longer. 

Virgil: Sorry, still not clear on what you’re trying to convey – unless you mean “no, I can’t” in which case, don’t forget the apostrophe since it’s a contraction.   

Roxanne: Geez. Okay. Got it. 

Virgil: Who’s got what? “Got it” is missing a subject. Who has it? A policeman? The Queen of England? My schnauzer? My brain buzzes with possibilities. Could you clarify who it is that has it and what specifically does he or she have? 

Roxanne: Jesus, Virgil. I’m talking about US. We need to talk about US. 

Virgil: Capitalizing the letters US only makes sense if you’re referring to our country. But even then, technically you should put periods after the letters since it’s an abbreviation for United States. 

Roxanne: Virgil, focus. For the millionth time, I don’t need another syntax lesson. 

Virgil:  I believe you mean “another grammar” lesson. Syntax is about word order. Your mistake was – 

Roxanne: My MISTAKE was taking four freakin’ years to tell you what I should have told you four years ago. It’s over.  Continue reading “Breaking up with an English Teacher” »