Here is Part Two of my look back on the people, places and peculiarities that made it into my column in 2021.
To the various streaming services that have made it difficult for the Wolfsies to stay friends with anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the same options we do: This makes it tough to find things to talk about over dinner. I feel bad about Mikki. She doesn’t have cable. We had been so close for 30 years. I miss her.
To the folks who publish books about chess, a skill I tried to learn during the COVID lockdown: First, I bought “Chess for Dummies,” then “Chess for Beginners” and finally “Beat your Dad in Chess.” None of them helped. I settled on “Chess for People Who are Stumped by Checkers.”
To my friend Marc Allen who has been the victim of dozens of butt dials because his name is the first on my contacts list: He asked to be taken off the list, so now my insurance agent Ashley is getting all my unintended calls. She told me she is changing her name to Zelda.
And thanks to me, who has been trying unsuccessfully to be a grumpy old man, a title I deserve to have at 75: To attain this distinction, I complained about everything in my neighborhood. I yelled at kids for playing basketball in our cul-de-sac Sunday morning. I wrote nasty letters to people who put their garbage out a day early. I left nasty notes for people who left their garage doors open and who didn’t shovel their sidewalks. Did people call me grumpy? No. They elected me president of the homeowner’s association.
To the young man in the office supply store who seemed stumped when I asked for a landline phone for my office: “Oh, I don’t know if we carry them,” he said. “But look in the very back corner of the store next to the carbon paper, the white-out and the floppy disks.”
To the folks at AARP who sent me my 300th copy of their bulletin that included recommendations for how to live a stress-free life. For example, AARP said to take time to appreciate your partner’s skin. (I thought that sounded very romantic. Then AARP added: “Be on the lookout for suspicious moles.” Well, that kind of ruined the mood.)
To the makers of the mousetrap who claim on the package, “It kills over 100 mice per set of batteries”: Wouldn’t you like to know how many times you can change the channel with your remote or open and close your garage door with a couple of AAAs? This information is usually never included. But deaths per battery? Right on the box.
To the chirping noise that went on in our house every 30 seconds: We could not locate the problem and it was driving us crazy for three days. We finally located the errant smoke detector. The constant chirping has had no lasting effect on us, but our cat is still in therapy once a week.
To Mary Ellen who was traumatized when our cat killed a mouse in our basement storeroom: She humanizes the animals and her heart goes out to them. I suggested we try to not think about it that night and just watch a fun movie. Ratatouille was probably a bad choice.