A humorous look at the last 3/4 century as seen through the eyes of an old Iowa codger. Few topics escape the author’s sharp wit, from tattoos to music to language to politics. All generations will find something to laugh about in this Irreverent look at popular culture of today compared to the post-WW2 period through the 80’s and beyond. If you are easily offended, read this book with caution.
Targeted Age Group:: 21-100
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
It has taken me most of my life to acquire what little wisdom I have. It was easier to get older than it was to get wiser. Now that I have at least a limited amount of wisdom, I find that it too is about as useless as 2 buggies in a one-horse town. But, for what it’s worth, here’s my take on the world as it was and how it’s changed.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters are from a lifetime of observing people. Unfortunately, some of them are real.
Iowa has some of the best doctors in the world. Iowa ranks fourth best in states to practice medicine in and we rank third in highest pay, cost-of-living adjusted, for physicians. With all these happy, well-paid doctors, it’s no wonder we rank third in overall healthcare. For some reason, in Iowa as elsewhere, men are more reluctant to visit a doctor than women. Maybe it’s because we are supposed to be macho and we don’t want to admit we need a doctor’s help. Maybe we just don’t like someone poking and prodding us. Or, we don’t want somebody nagging us to change our bad habits. We already have wives for that. Women outlive men by an average of about 10 years, and this reluctance on the part of men to visit one of our high-paid doctors could be partly to blame. There are other factors, of course, like the fact that men take more chances than women. “Hold my beer and watch this” is much more applicable to males than females. Woody Allen once said, “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” Men are just more reluctant to give up these things. There is change in the wind, however. More men are adjusting their lifestyles to live longer. They are eating healthier, exercising and keeping in shape. We men are finding out that the retirement we dreamed about, fishing, drinking beer, relaxing in front of the TV watching sports, drinking beer, playing cards with the boys and drinking beer is just not a good option. Here’s what one of the bossier men’s health magazines has to say, “Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life. Sorry, but that’s it. No negotiations. No give. No excuses. Six days a week, serious exercise, until you die.” In other words, you have to exercise if you want to get old. So, let’s put a dollar value on exercise. According to the Journal of the American Heart Association it’s $2,500 a year. These findings come from an analysis of 26,239 men and women. That’s the amount you’ll save in reduced medical costs. And it doesn’t require much effort, according to them. Just 30 minutes of walking five days a week is enough. Just think about it. That savings could keep you in Pop Tarts, French fries, white chocolate mocha frappuccinos, and Bud Light beer for a good portion of that year. Jogging is a good exercise and it’s cheap. It’s kind of like a free treadmill, only it’s outside. Not everyone is a fan of jogging, however. Erma Bombeck once said, “The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.” Among the many benefits of jogging are: It helps to build strong bones as it is a weight bearing exercise, it strengthens muscles, it improves cardiovascular fitness, it helps maintain a healthy weight and it burns plenty of kilojoules. “Okay, what’s a kilojoule?” you ask. Well, I looked it up, so you don’t have to. A kilojoule is the metric term for calorie. Kilojoules and calories represent the same thing only in different measurements. One calorie is about four kilojoules. Now you know. How much can all this exercise improve your life span? After Methuselah, the person with the longest lifespan, at least in modern times, is Jeanne Louise Calment. She died in 1997 at the age of 122. She claimed to have never worked a day in her life. Jeanne did “workout,” however, playing tennis, swimming, fencing, hunting and mountaineering. Even at 111, she started the morning with wheelchair gymnastics. Her diet was not what you would consider conducive to a long life, either. She liked fried foods, chocolate and beer. And she smoked. Sometimes cigars but usually cigarettes. But just so you smokers don’t get too smug, it was reported that she had an abundance of crow’s feet around her eyes, smoker’s lines around her mouth, bad breath and a wicked smoker’s cough. Why then did Jeanne Louise live so long? I haven’t a clue. So, besides exercise, what can you do to live to 122 like Jeanne Louise Calment? Here are a few things, according to Canyon Ranch Wellness Resorts: Watch your weight. Don’t smoke (Ignore the part about Jeanne Louise Calment’s smoking. Let’s just assume, like Bill Clinton, she didn’t inhale). Get enough sleep. Take naps. (regular naps help keep you from getting old, especially if you take them while driving.) Use caution if you drink alcohol. Never sign nothing by neon. Eat well. Don’t piss into the wind. Manage stress. Get Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin). Make intimacy a priority. (Studies suggest that having sex more frequently may extend your life. Researchers at the University of the West of Scotland at Paisley found that couples that committed to having more sex for two weeks logged lower blood pressure levels during stressful situations such as public speaking, compared to couples who abstained from sex or touched but didn’t have intercourse. (Maybe that’s why politicians are such good public speakers. They’ve usually just screwed somebody). The Low blood pressure levels mean your heart isn’t working as hard to pump blood throughout the body, which helps prevent heart disease.) You probably didn’t need that long explanation of the benefits of sex, but I included it anyway, just in case you need to convince your spouse. Also on the list: Hold hands, cuddle and hug. Don’t drink downstream from the herd. Wear a seat belt. Keep your saddle oiled and your gun greased. Floss your teeth. Stay connected. Don’t hang your wash on someone else’s line. Don’t skip check-ups. Don’t squat on your spurs. Stay positive and always have something that gets you up and out of bed in the morning besides your bladder. What are the most important tests to get when you have your annual or semi-annual check-ups? Number one is heart tests including blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Of course, weight is a big factor in heart disease, so the first test is usually the horrifying weight scale. Besides blood tests and a chest X-ray, tests to diagnose heart disease can include: Electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG records these electrical signals and can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart’s rhythm and structure. None of these involve any pain, unless you piss-off the nurse who draws your blood. Number two is the testicular exam if you are a male and pap smears and mammograms for the members of the fairer sex. I’ve never had a mammogram, but I’m told it’s no more painful than having your tah tahs squashed in a washing machine wringer. Number three is a rectal exam and PSA test. This exam involves having a lubricated, gloved finger jammed up your butt. You may have to bend over or lie on your side. Doctors say it may hurt your dignity a little, but it’s not painful. Doctors don’t always tell the truth. Number four is the dreaded colonoscopy. According to Wikipedia, colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. In other words, they run a camera up your butt. In early 2000, in an effort to raise awareness about colon cancer screenings, the perky Katie Couric got a colonoscopy live on The TODAY Show. The doctor shoved a camera up Katie’s butt, something the Today Show crew had wanted to do for years. The fun of a colonoscopy begins long before you don the fashionable hospital gown with the opening in the back. The night before your procedure you must drink about 50 gallons of special cleansing fluid (laxative). This stuff tastes awful, but it will definitely clean you out. Plan on spending the next eight hours on the throne, so have lots of reading material. Prior to the colonoscopy, intravenous fluids are started, and the patient is placed on a monitor for continuous monitoring of heart rhythm and blood pressure as well as oxygen in the blood. Medications (sedatives) usually are given through an intravenous line so the patient becomes sleepy and relaxed, and to reduce pain. If needed, the patient may receive additional doses of medication during the procedure. Patients will lie on their left side or back as the colonoscope is slowly advanced. Once the tip of the colon or the last portion of the small intestine is reached, the colonoscope is slowly withdrawn, and the lining of the colon is carefully examined. If you are lucky, you will sleep through the whole procedure and wake up in a hospital bed after it’s all over. If you’re not so lucky, well, you will have a great story to tell your grandkids. Once you wake up, you get to go home. Right? Not so fast. The procedure you have just undergone requires the use of air to inflate the bowel just enough to keep it open for the camera to pass through. You can’t go home until you expel this air. You gotta fart! I’m usually told to go home after I fart, so this is nothing new for me. I have a friend, however, who just couldn’t pass the gas after his colonoscopy. He explained to the nurse that he had never been able to pass gas in bed. Before he left, he had three marriage proposals. And last but not least is a skin exam. Again, no suffering here except your dignity. This is another chance to wear one of those stylish one-size-fits-none gowns. You know the ones. They are supposed to preserve a sliver of modesty, but really do anything but. They are purposely designed to insure that your bare butt is always exposed, no matter how hard you try to fasten them up. Women seem to be always looking for that fountain of youth. But, despite all the claims by cosmetic manufacturers, it has never been found. However, women do have many weapons to aid them in their battle against father time. New research reveals American women spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars on their appearance in their lifetime. That’s a lot of lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, skin cleansers and body lotions, shampoo and conditioner, hairstyling products (gel, hair spray, etc.), perfume and cologne. And if all of this fails, women of means can have facelifts till their ears meet. Is it worth it? A wise man once said, “Women fall in love with what they hear, men fall in love with what they can see, that’s why women wear make-up and men lie.” Being a man is not as easy. No makeup, no wig. If you’re ugly you’re just ugly. Now that I’m older than the speed limit…the one on the Interstate, I am beginning to realize that, in spite of being blessed with good health, things are starting to wear out. The brain is the organ that begins wearing out the earliest, at 20 years. That should come as no surprise. Skin and lungs also begin wearing out at 20. At the ripe old age of 30, our muscles and our hair start their downhill slide. Just five years later, our bones and our fertility join the old-age bandwagon. For the fairer sex, this is when you might start to notice a little sag in the boobs. At age 40, it’s time to start thinking about eye-glasses and dentures. After 50, start looking at hearing aids and taking Carter’s Little Liver pills. Also, your prostrate, that organ that was the size of a walnut, starts heading for tangerine dimensions. This causes a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. You don’t need to remember that, but you should probably put a night light in your bathroom for all those middle-of-the-night-trips you’ll be making. After 65, the process really kicks into high gear. Almost everything seems to hurt and what don’t hurt don’t work no more. All any of us can do is take the best care of ourselves that we can. That way we can spend a few extra months of our life in that nursing home hooked up to machines with tubes running out of us in all directions.
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