Once again, The Old Ball and Chain hijacked my computer.  She says, like it or not, she’s writing this week’s column.  So, over to Her: 

“Listen to me people of Gleanerland, Old Grey Balls is perpetrating a fraud upon you.  It’s my duty to set the record straight (it’s pointless trying to set HIM straight).  He keeps calling himself a Hermit.  LIE!!  A hermit lives alone.  If he was a real hermit, I wouldn’t have so many grey hairs.  The truth is Old G.B. is simply the world’s most anti-social person. 

                   “There was a man – a lonely man                                                                          who lost his love through his indifference.
A heart that cared; that went unshared                                                              until it died within his silence.

                  And solitaire’s the only game in town                                                                   and every road that takes him takes him down.
And by himself it’s easy to pretend                                                                   he’ll never love again.

So, I’ve taken over this week to beg all of you please, pretty please with sugar on it, STOP inviting Old GB to social functions.  It’s turning me into an old woman prematurely.  I must’ve told you about the time he took the family to spend a weekend at a St Mary hotel only to leave in a huff and return home (60 miles) before we saw the room because of some credit card mix-up in the lobby.  “Discrimination!” he railed at me about the nice young ladies trying desperately to contact the Bank. “You see how many tourists were sent up to their rooms without waiting a minute?”  I considered telling him tourists pay all-inclusive rates in full before they leave America but took one look at his face and decided against the lesson.

Old GB thinks it’s still 1959 when he could visit anyone without notice.  He won’t accept that today’s realities force persons to live behind prison bars (a.k.a. “Townhouses”) guarded by inquisitive warders.  Old GB went to visit one of his friends living in a gated community.  He was stopped at the gate “What’s your name?”  Old GB engaged reverse and we were home in a hurry.  These days, he’s like Santa – visits once per year.  On that grand occasion, I call his friend’s wife; she speaks to the guards; warns them Old GB is on his way and shouldn’t be harassed.  Without wives, they’d both be in asylums shouting at the common room TV and forgetting each other’s names.

Old GB won’t attend ceremonies.  His beloved niece got married on Breeders Cup Saturday about 10 years ago and it was a drama to get him there.  At the wedding, he threatened to kill two photographers ‘lurking nearby with cameras’.  He hates photos and almost never submits. ‘I know I’m red, fat and ugly’ he growls ‘why should I advertise it?’ I own ONE wedding photo.

He declines awards because they mean public ceremony.  To be fair, he also detests awards because he says they’re granted by man therefore inherently corrupt.  He doesn’t recognize protocol and once stood up a Finance Minister because, after being asked to a meeting at his office, the security started asking him questions when he arrived.  By the end of the first question, Old GB was home.  His phone was ringing.  It was the Minister “What the devil is wrong with you?” he began.  Old GB replied “I thought I was invited but it turned out I wasn’t expected!”  

                   “A little hope goes up in smoke.
Just how it kills goes without saying.                                                                                                                                                 There was a man – A lonely man                                                                            who would command the hand he’s playing.

Old G.B., show-off as always, insists I tell you Solitaire, recorded by the Carpenters (featuring superb vocals from my namesake Karen Carpenter), was written by Michael Masser and Gerald Goffin.

So please, don’t send any more invitations.  I’ll get all dressed up; some security guard will try telling him where to park; or receptionist will ask him the same question twice; or a windshield washer will drown his clean windshield.  Now this one can be frightening.  The likely reaction is Old GB removes his seat-belt, winds down the window and calls the washer.  “Did I ask you to ruin my windshield?”

“But, you neva sey stop.”

“Are you telling me I’m the one obliged to ask YOU not to interfere with MY car?”   

Meanwhile, I’m shaking beside him wondering how this will end.  Trust me, better he be left at home to control his communications.”

That’s Old B.C’s version.  Next week, my reply.

Peace and Love


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