Might as well face it, you’re addicted to tubs

I’m somewhat reluctant to broach this subject because it’s not a particularly masculine one, but let’s be honest: that ship sailed a long time ago to the tune of poetry readings and beloved standards of American musical theatre. So here’s the thing: lately I’ve been taking a lot of baths. Not nightly, but certainly with the same frequency that I condition my beard, which is another not especially manly thing that, you know what, forget I mentioned.

This has been going on for about three months now. The desire to have a bath started shortly after my surgery, when, due to certain tube-age, I was unable to have one. All I could think about was, “God, I can’t wait to get this thing out of me so I can have a bath.” A bath seemed like the answer to all my ills – something simple and comfortingly old-fashioned, like chicken soup or a mustard poultice.

And indeed, in the subsequent weeks and months, on those days when I’ve been sore and uncomfortable, the heat of a bath has certainly helped. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but soaking is good. “Just going to have a quick bath,” I’ll say through a grimace, and then I’ll disappear into the bathroom. Continue reading

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For humour writers, 15 years is called the “banana anniversary”

This is what I looked like when I started writing this column.

This week marks 15 years that I’ve been writing this column for The Sherbrooke Record, and it’s the longest thing I’ve ever committed to outside of marriage, fatherhood and not watching the Harry Potter movies.

I never get tired of answering the question, “Why do you write humour?” And the reason I never tire of it is because no one has ever asked me. But that doesn’t stop me from cornering people at cocktail parties and orthodontist offices to explain. As I hold them in my startlingly strong grip (because of all the typing!), I tell them that humour provides me the opportunity to take life’s frustrations, humiliations and restraining orders and redirect them into humour, a sort of catharsis that regains control of my story and saves a bundle on therapy bills. Continue reading

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Hello, hot sauce, my old friend

Censored for your protection.

It’s not like we haven’t cleaned the fridge in 20 years. We changed refrigerators at some point in there, so that mean’s it’s been sorted through at least once. No, I’m quite certain that our refrigerator has undergone frequent if unscheduled cleanings and/or purges.

And it’s not like I didn’t know the bottle was there. Why, just the other day I was describing it to a student at school. I don’t recall how the subject came up — something about long-standing items in one’s fridge — but it quickly became uncomfortable when I found myself saying that I distinctly remembered the bottle because it had a… naughty label.

“A what?” the student asked.

“A naughty label. It has a naughty picture on it.” Somehow saying “naughty” to a teenager had become worse that saying what was actually on the label: boobs.

Let me back up – 20-plus years ago. Continue reading

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No, YOU’RE walking funny!

I’m right at the three-month mark since I had my prostate removed. Ultimately, it was a minor surgery. I had a small organ taken out of my body, roughly the size of a walnut (the organ, not my body). And it wasn’t even an organ essential for life, just one that makes life a bit more fun.

And as of now, it was successful. At my last appointment, my blood work showed a PSA of 0. I can’t ever remember what “PSA” states for – Post-Surgery Aggravation? Prostate Stuff: Annoying? Physicians Staring Attentively? – but I know that 0 is good. I’ll have further blood tests in the months ahead, but for now I am cancer free. Huzzah!

Cancer-free but not yet fully recovered. That may have been a simple surgery but I’m still feeling it day to day, some days more than others, depending on whether I’ve actually, you know, done anything, like breathe heavily. I’ll be feeling fine one day and think, “I’m my old self! I’m strong! Okay, I’m my old self, but I can do all the things again!” So I do all the things and I’m back where I was, feeling like my parts are wrapped in rubber bands, and not in a good way. Otis Redding sang, “Try a little tenderness.” I’ve tried it; I don’t like it. Who knew the groin did so much of the heavy lifting? Continue reading

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All shook up about childhood movie trauma

Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to take me to see Earthquake when I was 9 years old? And when did I start sounding like a grandmother who uses phrases like “who in their right mind”?

This must have been somewhere around the end of 1974 or early 1975. It’s hard to tell sometimes because my hometown had only one movie theatre, and first-run movies showed up only after they’d become second-run movies. I believe they’re just now showing Forrest Gump.

I remember this period well, however, because it seems to be when I first started seeing evening movies, as opposed to old Jerry Lewis reruns during Saturday matinees. (We had those.) I also watched Airport 1975 around the same time and The Return of the Pink Panther, the most sophisticated comedy I had ever seen – which kind of explains everything.

But it was Earthquake that truly left a lasting impression, and not in a good way, mostly having to do with one scene – a plummeting elevator. That’s terrifying in itself, but when the scene reached (or, in this case, hit) its inevitable climax, the screen FILLED WITH BLOOD! AHHHHH! Continue reading

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Netflix “Originals”

Netflix’s ‘Russian Doll’: A Darker, Druggier ‘Groundhog Day’ – The Daily Beast, Feb. 1, 2019
‘Bird Box’ Is The Netflix Version Of ‘A Quiet Place’- Zimbio, Dec. 27, 2018
The ‘Stranger Things’ Secret? It’s Basically an 8-Hour Spielberg Movie – Wired, Aug. 12, 2016

What a Wacky Wednesday!
Succumbing to an ancient gypsy curse combined with a mixup in Google Calendar settings, a mother and her teenage daughter swap dietary restrictions for the day. Gastric shenanigans ensue. A hilarious, heartwarming story of family love, domestic tolerance and lactose intolerance. Continue reading

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Message to the buyer of my childhood home

Dear occupant,

Congratulations on purchasing the home I grew up in, the only home of my childhood, the one with the Ross Murray commemorative plaque out front, assuming my parents have followed my instructions. I thought I might get to Nova Scotia to help with the move, but I recently had surgery, and even light shoveling causes significant discomfort. Who knew the groin did so much of the heavy lifting! Who knew I’d have such a great excuse not to shovel!

Anyway, now that I’ve got you picturing my groin, I’d like to take a minute to point out some other special places, namely those things you might not have noticed around Ross Murray’s house. Don’t worry: people will stop referring to it as Ross Murray’s house in a generation or two.

First of all, you’ll have no doubt seen the shrubs lining the walkway up to the house. These are picky bushes. Their botanical name is Scratchyitchia Ouchedendra. Buy you can just call them picky bushes. Whatever you do, don’t let anyone push you into the picky bushes. And make sure you trim during shorts season. The bush, I mean. The picky bush! You know what? Just use the back door. Continue reading

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