Recently I ran across something on a television program. A couple were having marital problems. She complained that he had terrible manners and was always eating with his hands, passing gas, burping, and doing other things she found objectionable.

His reply is that she should get used to it because, “That’s what guys do.”

No, they don’t!
At least they didn’t in any house I’ve ever lived in.

However, it did remind me of something I had almost forgotten. This happened to me when I was 13 years old.

My best friend was Bob, who happened to be an only child. One day his mother invited me to have dinner with them. It was probably my first dinner away from my family and I was a bit nervous as to what I should do.

When dinner was served we each had a t-bone steak.
I was aghast when I saw Bob pick his up with his hands and start eating it. Bob’s mother smiled and said, “That’s alright when we're at home.”

I couldn’t help but think it certainly wouldn’t be allowed at my house.

Fast forward 4 years. Bob and I were in the same high school graduating class. Our school held two functions for graduating seniors. One was the Senior Prom and, I suppose mostly for non-dancers, there was the Senior Banquet.

The Senior Banquet was a semi-formal affair held at a big hotel. There was a head table with school officials making humorous speeches along the “Now We are Equal” line.

For the dinner we sat at tables of six boys or six girls. I don’t recall any being mixed. I sat at a table directly across from Bob.

When the food was served it was a steak dinner! I watched as Bob looked at his plate, looked around and then looked some more. He finally picked up his steak knife and started to work on the steak. When he made his first move, the steak slid off the plate, across the table and landed on the floor.

Bob said, “Oops”, picked it up, wiped it off, put it back on his plate and eventually managed to eat it.

Bob and I stayed in touch after graduation and even exchanged V-Mail notes when he went in the Army and I joined the Navy.

One day I collected my mail and my most recent letter to Bob had been returned. Across the front, in big bold letters, was DECEASED.

Bob died in the South Pacific. I never did know if he learned to eat steak. Possibly not. During World War II steak was a rarity.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 15, 2011



Once again I find myself in a minority position but not sure enough of myself enough to actually stand up and say, "This isn't right." But it isn't.

I'm talking about this Bin Laden feeding frenzy. The President of the United States came out and announced, "We got him!" or words to that effect and everyone took to the streets waving flags and yelling "You Ess Aye." I even saw one of the New York tabloids (not that they are famous for good taste) with the headline,"ROT IN HELL." That isn't right!

That isn't the way we do things in You Ess Aye. Even the most despicable characters are given a trial and, with the exception of O.J. Simpson, executed if guilty. We did it for that Saddam guy in Iraq and everyone felt justice was served. It should be even more important that, "We did it our way."

This most recent feeding frenzy makes me feel uneasy. Can you say, "German Jew?"

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 3, 2011



The other day I saw a television program discussing addictions. There were various medical people explaining how addiction is something that happens in the brain and they talked about how to go about trying to fix it.

It occurred to me that I must be, for certain, what they called, “an addictive personality.” In my lifetime, which isn’t nearly over, I’ve suffered from at least two major addictions not even considering that being married 4 times probably makes me an marriage addict.

At one time I smoked two and a half packs of cigarettes every day. That’s 50 cigarettes as I recall. I did that for more than 50 years and one day I quit.

Additionally, I regularly drank at least “a fifth” of vodka every day even when I was working and was unable to start drinking until my workday was done. I did better than that on the weekends if more is better.

For those unfamiliar with the term “a fifth”, that’s one fifth of a gallon and in the United States it’s about 26 ounces.

I think I was more than qualified to be classified as “alcoholic.” However, I didn’t want to enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous because I understood they would want me to stop drinking and I didn’t want to stop. It made me feel good when I drank. Occasionally it didn’t make others connected to me feel good, but at the time I would be unaware of that.

Today I neither smoke nor drink. How did I that happen?

Maybe it doesn’t hold true for everyone but stopping smoking was a little easier. My wife of the time and I had sold our home and had bought a brand new motor home which we drove all over the country for about 3 or 4 years. When the motor home was new the interior had a nice clean, smell and, not wanting to spoil that, my wife and I would step outside when we wanted to smoke.

One day it was pouring rain and we were standing under the awning smoking. We looked at each other and sensed what we were doing wasn’t very intelligent. One of us said, “This is stupid.” and we never smoked again and that was over 20 years ago.

The drinking was a little different. That didn’t seem to make anything smell bad so I kept doing that, though as years went by I knew I should slow down.

Then, about 15 years ago I suffered a seizure. I had never experienced one before and was lucky to have only bumped my head.

A medication called Dilantin was prescribed.

I then underwent all kinds of test and the specialists could find no reason for the siezure and my doctor said I no longer needed to take the Dilantin.

He was wrong. I had a second seizure.

This time I was in bed and am told I didn’t fall out of bed or hit anything but the muscle contractions alone were strong enough to shatter my right shoulder and I was left with a shoulder that is constantly at some level of pain and can’t lift my right hand much above my head. And I am using the Dilantin again.

On the Dilantin bottle it says, “Do not use alcohol when using this drug.”

That’s all it took for me. That was my last drink. As much as I enjoyed it and would even enjoy a glass of wine now and then, there was no way I’d even take an outside chance of another seizure.

That was about 15 years ago and it seems to be working all right now and I have become used to the pain.

Now, I’m not suggesting this as a substitute for Alcoholics Anonymous but it did work for me. At least so far.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 2, 2011