Laughing all the way — Check me out

September 30, 2015

NEW — 2:41 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

Beginning in October, microchips will be embedded in our credit cards like they are in the rest of the known universe, and instead of swiping them, we will be inserting them into a slot and pulling them back out. In the near future, you still may need to sign your name, but at some point in time that will no longer be necessary.

DetmerColumn 20151000Soon, in fact, your very presence during checkout will be considered an outdated redundancy, and you’ll be vouching for payment via hologram, wherein you will mentally assure the clerk that you’re good for whatever you’ve purchased and will neurotransmit the money owed directly to the bank. And when the drone drops off whatever you’ve bought and flies away, you’ll also be able to use that same neurotransmitting ability to make it explode into a million tiny pieces. I’m really looking forward to that.

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Laughing all the way — Paradise Lost

September 4, 2015

NEW  — 10 a.m. Sept. 4, 2015

I mentioned in a recent column that we would be road touring the vast and empty spaces of southeastern Oregon and jumping the borders between Washington and Idaho before heading home. It was a great trip. The vistas were endless, and road signs that declared “No service for the next 45 miles” were abundant. It was paradise.

DetmerColumn 20150800But here’s what was not paradise: the fact that we’d planned the trip as a series of one-night stands. It seemed like a great idea when we looked at the map, but in practice, we realized that the Wake Up/Pack Up/Leave model was not for us. From the start, it was clear that this was going to be a trip to the Land of the Lost. Witness:

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Laughing all the way — Pedal faster! And provide TMI!

August 7, 2015

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 7, 2015

On July 8, I turned 65. I made my usual trip to the Y and headed to an elliptical machine, deciding  to commemorate the first time that I put my new age into the program by taking a picture of it. I punched it in and started moving, but looking through the phone viewfinder, I realized that I was bouncing up and down too much, so I stopped. By the time I focused and clicked, the message had changed from a benign “65” to a blinking and insistent “Pedal Faster!” in red capital letters. An excellent mantra! I think I’ll have a T-shirt made.

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Say ‘cheese!’

April 30, 2015

It’s time for a new picture.

I’ve had newspaper columns for nearly 15 years, and I’ve always promised myself that I would try to keep the picture accompanying it fairly current. This the result of having won a charity auction get-together with a columnist and being surprised by the lined face of the person I saw at lunch versus the smooth face that I saw in the paper at breakfast.

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Laughing all the way

July 31, 2014

DetmerColumn 20140700

Jack and the ice cream man. Uh, woman. Truck. Small open vehicle.

I recently wrote an article about the overhyped tests that you can take to find out how old you really are. Who needs a test? While watching my 32-month-old grandnephew Jack a few weeks ago, I easily found out how old I really am, and discovered the same about him.

I am 8. Jack is 52.

Jack is a very smart, thoughtful and cautious child who went directly from observant silence to sentences like, “Mom, did you play with dollhouses when you were a little girl?” and who often begins conversations with, “Mom, I have an idea …”

I watch him every Tuesday for a few hours, and on that day several weeks ago, the stars aligned, the Summer Gods smiled and the ice cream truck came to our neighborhood while I had him. Jack was at the kitchen table eating blueberry yogurt when I heard the unmistakable sound of summer treats approaching. I popped up from my chair and cried, “The ice cream man! The ice cream truck!” Jack looked up from his yogurt. “Jack! The ice cream man is coming! The truck is on the way! Can you hear it?”

Jack heard something all right: me, yelling at full volume from three feet away.

Grabbing some money and heading out the door, I asked The Sainted One to keep an eye on our charge. I ran down our steep driveway and looked up the street. The truck was stopped at a cul-de-sac north of us, and our Good Neighbor to the West and her Lovely Daughter were paying for their purchases. I ran back up the hill, grabbed Jack from the porch where he was now waiting, and tugged him towards the street, but before we could get there, the truck took a tight turn and puttered away from us.

Hearing my wail of dismay, Lovely Daughter chased it up the street and around the corner but had no luck finding it. At the same time, The Sainted One was backing down the driveway to go to the store. Or so he thought. His new mission was to follow the sound of the truck and bring it back.

Jack and I hurried up to the main street so that we wouldn’t be bypassed, with me jabbering the whole way about summer and ice cream men and trucks. Within minutes, the truck slowly approached us with my husband in the car behind it, pushing it along like a sheepdog herding Merino sheep. Jack solemnly held my hand as the parade approached. I could almost hear his thoughts:

“I’m pretty sure that’s not a truck. I can’t define precisely what it is, but it is not a truck.”

“That is not a man. I distinctly remember hearing ‘ice cream man,’ but that is a woman.”

“That is not ice cream as I know it. Where is the ice cream? I see only frozen treats.”

Because Jack remained mute, I followed the suggestion of the ice cream woman and bought him a cartoon character Popsicle featuring bulging blue jawbreaker eyes that scared the hell out of him. He wouldn’t touch it. The next Tuesday, I chopped it up, put it in a bowl and gave it to him with a spoon. He liked it just fine.

 

You can reach Pat Detmer — who also used to get very excited when Santa came by in the fire truck — at patdetmer@aol.com.