Friday, February 27, 2015

No dogs

The Complete and Total Loser does not want a dog. He is enjoying taking care of his sister-in-law's dog, but he does not want his own dog.
Two days ago, he was at a friend's house. The friend and her husband have six dogs. They are all tiny and some of them are rescues. Four of them are very old, for dogs, and one has cancer that will kill it.
ugly old dog

Their original dog is a Jack Russell terrier and is wasting away with age. He stumbles on things, pees randomly, has arthritis. They care for him and make his life as comfortable as they can. The Loser remembers when he was a puppy and a young dog. He would fetch a ball non stop for hours at a time, a streak of white and brown as he sped across the yard. Happy as could be that dog. Now he has dementia and looked at the Loser with sad eyes. He seemed to be wondering why he was still alive. If he were the Loser's dog, he would have been put down a year ago, but the Loser knows that if he really were his dog he'd probably feel otherwise.
People who get dogs forget that they're going to be old for a long time.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

No complaints

Freezing is freezing, the Complete and Total Loser always thought. This year, though, he has learned to appreciate the difference between 25 degrees and 15 degrees. At fifteen, the gloves he overpaid for three years ago aren't nearly warm enough. 
welsh corgi snow
Some animals are better suited to cold weather than others.

Advice on gloves bought for warmth: Don't get fancy ones at a specialty store unless you really have something special to do, like mountain climb or ski. They're going to be identical to those you find in a bin at a Target or a Walmart. They're all made of the same stuff, and they're all made in China, and if you're like most people you're going to lose one of the pair if not both within a season, and it's better to lose a $20 pair than a $60 pair.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What he wanted

The Complete and Total Loser doesn't think his unrealized desires when it came to being half of a couple were too selfish. He just wanted a kind woman who was smart enough to be worth listening to and who would, in turn, listen to him. He didn't hope to find one who was pretty, but did want someone who took care of herself and exercised regularly, like the Loser does. 
It didn't seem like too much to ask, but it never happened. 
Oh well!
Andrew Wyeth Day Dream
Andrew Wyeth, Day Dream, 1980, tempera on panel, 19 x 27 3/8 inches, the Armand Hammer Collection.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Corgi sleep

The dog the Complete and Total Loser is taking care of, a Corgi, actually thinks it's normal to lie down like this. Crazy. 
corgi dog
Peter Dinklage wife EmmysThe Loser has decided that Corgis are the Peter Dinklages of the canine world. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How the Loser wants to live

hermit crabIf he could, the Complete and Total Loser would live a life of such complete solitude that hermits would consider him socially inept and reclusive. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dating advice for men

Seinfeld David PuddyUnderstanding Women Romy Miller 

The Complete and Total Loser bought this book for $1.50 at his library's used book store. He has no desire or intention to date in the foreseeable future, but he knows that he may want to in months to come. He'll put the book on a shelf where it will be at the ready for that time. He likes to think that after he reads it, women will be like putty in his hands.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Madness and stuff

1. The elderly woman who has been trying to contact her father left a longish message yesterday. (Quick background: She thinks she's in her 80s and her father has the same name as the Loser.) Usually, the answering machine confuses her and she tries to talk to it, gets frustrated when there's no response, and hangs up, despite the Loser's clear outgoing message. This time she left a calm message for "Mom or Dad," and included her name and telephone number. 
The pictures her alone in a comfortable apartment, sitting peacefully, when suddenly the urge to talk to her father, who has probably been dead for several years, bubbles up among tangled neurons and she reaches for a pad with the Loser's name and number on it. The Loser has politely coached her a few times to write "No, not this number" next to the number, but to no effect.
nfl cheerleader

2. The Loser was going to have dinner with a friend who lives half an hour away and has been depressed lately. (Neither cares for football so watching the Super Bowl had nothing to do with this. There are mild weather concerns, but it looks doubtful that the streets will be bad.) The Loser was ready to go, when he got an email from his friend saying that on his visiting sister's advice (she's a psychiatrist) he was checking himself into an emergency psychiatric care facility for a few days for evaluation and treatment. 
3. Yesterday, the Loser went to a funeral service for an old friend of the family's. About four years ago, he went to the same church for the female half of the couple who's male half's death precipitated the service. That time, he drove his parents, who have since died. The Loser stayed for the reception and spoke to two of the couple's sons and their only daughter, all of whom he had known when they were all children. After the service and reception, the Loser and a couple he's friends with went out for lunch. Two others who'd attended, a man and a woman, went also. The Loser thought he felt a spark between he and the woman, but she's far out of his league, being employed and good looking. 
nfl cheerleader

4. Another friend of the Loser's will visit tomorrow. He sounds troubled and says he is nearly broke. He and the Loser shared the same job and were fired together last summer. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The blizzard of '15

The friendly supermarket cashier asked the Complete and Total Loser whether he was stocking up for the anticipated severe weather due to hit that night.
"Nah," the Loser said. "It's only going to be a few inches."
"Oh!" said the cashier. "You're so optimistic!" 
The Loser shrugged and smiled.
woman ice winter snow
About three inches fell. 
The Loser's area newspaper ran a photo of some girls sledding on what was mostly grass to go with their story about how the storm was nothing like it was predicted to be. 
This often happens to the Loser when it comes to the weather. He looks at a weather map with care, and just knows. 
So why is it that he can do this yet he never has an idea—even now that he's in his mid 50s—of what to say to a woman?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First time this year

The elderly woman who called the Complete and Total Loser several times last fall called him for the first time since then this morning.
He had forgotten the name, a man's, on the caller ID and it took the Loser a few moments to remember her. 
She didn't sound well. 
Background: The woman, who is fairly sure that she is in her 80s, is looking for her father who has long been separated from her part of the family. He moved to the Loser's region decades ago, but they have never met. He and the Loser share the same first and last names. (The Loser's late father was an only child and he had no cousins.) The woman lives about four miles from the Loser.
It is statistically improbable that her father is alive.
elderly woman on phone

The woman was pleasant as always this morning but she sounded more disoriented than before. She had, as always, no recollection of talking to the Loser previously and she had no reaction when he gently reminded her that they had conversed several time before. Such occurrences are likely a common element of her life now. 
As he has written here before, part of the Loser wishes he were clever enough to pull off impersonating an elderly man and convincing the woman that he is indeed her father and that he is delighted to hear from her. Think how happy that would make her! He knows, however, that trying that would probably lead to heartbreak and ultimately be cruel. So the Loser says he's not her father and after long apologies from the woman she writes down the Loser's number, vows not to call him again, hangs up and forgets about her search. 
Until the next time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fraternity Girls

The women in this picture were in a fraternity at the University of Pennsylvania in 1906. Yes, a fraternity. That's what they called them back then, even when they were made up of only women. 
The woman in the chair may have been the president of the fraternity and if so, she was the Complete and Total Loser's grandmother. 
The Loser scanned the photo in and had to use stitching software as it was a large photo and his scanner is standard sized. He's using it for his desktop background at the moment, and he's developed an interest in the woman in dark clothes to the viewer's left of the seated woman. 
University of Pennsylvania fraternity 1906
Why, the Loser wonders, is she wearing dark clothes? And why is her head not angled fully at the camera lens, like the other women? If the Loser had to guess, she became a demanding school teacher after college. A teacher who ran a strict classroom and spurred her elementary school students into mastering fully the foundations of math and English. After they graduated, a student or two would seek her out to thank her for making them learn fundamentals that later served them well and be surprised to find this tiny woman, not quite five feet tall, behind a big desk in their old classroom, preparing the next day's lessons.
The Loser also likes the woman seated on the bottom left. She looks like she'd be a good friend, sincere and funny.
All these women died of old age decades ago. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The dog

Yesterday, the Complete and Total Loser's sister-in-law dropped off the dog he'll take care of for three weeks next month so it could get a preview of where she'll be staying. The Loser knew modern pet owners coddle their pets—he's read that a large percentage celebrate their dog's and cat's birthdays—but he didn't think his sister-in-law was one of them.
The dog arrived at noon and stayed until nearly five. During those hours she gave the Loser new respect for his attention span, which dwarfs the dog's. Clacking toenails on hard surfaces as she sniffed corners and somehow found things to eat on what the Loser had thought was a clean floor. Whether they were edible or not, the Loser couldn't say. 
corgi dog

He took the dog, a four-year-old female corgi, outside hourly. She urinated many times and crapped three times, though she doesn't look overfed and the stools appeared normal. She was eager to approach other dogs as they walked by on leashes. Two attractive women said hello to the Loser as their dogs eyed each other.
When inside, the dog would soon forget that she had just been outside and would whine a little. Passing cars excited her and she hoped they marked the return of her mistress. When that became true, she became frantic with joy. Corgis don't look like the kind of dog that can jump up and down, but this one could. 
Three weeks of this?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Old money

When he was cashiering, the Complete and Total Loser sometimes came across old coins and bills. He used to collect coins, so he has some idea of what to look for. Bills are different. Even old and uncommon ones aren't worth much unless they're in mint condition, and even then coins are a better bet. 
The Loser has about $5 in wheat pennies, which is worth maybe $6, and about $80 in old bills, which is worth maybe $90. 
This one dollar bill is a year older than the Loser. It's a silver certificate, meaning it was readily exchangeable for silver. Technically, all bills were then as quarters and dimes were made of silver. 
When the Loser was a kid, age nine or so, a friend told him that with such a bill he could go to any bank and "demand that they give you silver." The Loser and his friend liked that they could do that, walk into a bank with a special bill and tell a bank teller—an adult—what to do. It wasn't true as by that time the U.S. had gone off the silver standard (a decision under President Johnson many still bemoan) but boys need their fantasies.
one dollar silver certificate 1957

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Anything for money but that

Skepticism is funny. More of it often comes with age, and people who've been around for awhile can detect scams and bad reasoning with greater ease than the young. At times, their skepticism increases as if with momentum and many stop believing anything. Then there are others believe too much and eagerly forward email with crackpot ideas about microwave ovens and untrue stories about heroic dogs and cats. 
Some people used to believe everything and then stop believing anything. The opposite is also true.
The Complete and Total Loser, who used to believe everything (ESP, astrology, acupuncture, reincarnation, levitation, UFOs) thinks he may be in a sweet spot now, in his mid 50s. He doesn't fall for much and he investigates anything that sounds even slightly suspicious. 
craigslist employment ad
That doesn't apply to this Craigslist employment ad: One look at it and you know that whoever signs up for it is in for nothing but trouble. Late payment if any, offices that are impossible to reach, likely because they're located in another country. And consider the premise: A company asking you to lie. 
This ad shows you why you can't trust reviews you read on the Internet.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Strange job

pornography at workLast week, the Complete and Total Loser applied for a job that entails writing synopses of adult films for a website. He applied just to see if he'd hear back (he didn't), not sure whether he'd take it anyway. 
The company has a real office in the Loser's home city, and pays half decently, has benefits and a 401k plan, but really, what would he say to relatives at family gatherings when they asked what he was up to these days? 
It occurred to the Loser later that it would be surreal to have a job where you'd get in trouble for not looking at pornography at work.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A favorite cartoon

The daily newspaper in Complete and Total Loser's home city runs the Peanuts strip daily. When the Loser was a child in the '60s, he read the strips and howled with laughter. Now he reads them and—they're still pretty good. 
Peanuts Charlie Brown Lucy

He doesn't laugh much at anything now, but if he did, some of the Peanuts strips would be what he laughs at.
Charles Schultz had an enviable career.