Nurses Rock

By Jim Hagarty

It’s an old joke, for sure, but one that has been aptly laid at the feet of every male prude who ever changed the channel during any TV show when the laundry started coming off.

“He never got over the fact that he was born in bed with a woman.”

My older brother first introduced me to that old saw and I thank him for it. My experience with male prudery goes back a long way. I might have even flirted with it a time or two myself.

The only counterforce that saved me from a miserable life of tut tutting was the glorious creature known to the world as the nurse.

Thank God for nurses.

Justin Time

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

By Jim Hagarty

I was born in the same hospital as Justin Bieber.

I had the good sense to time my arrival 43 years before his, giving me a headstart in the music business.

Turns out, I needed a headstart.

But he and I have a lot more in common than our origins and hometowns. We both play our guitars left handed. We both write songs. We both have recorded music. And we both have bank accounts with some money in them. And we are males and our first names start with the letter “J”.

Also, we are both incredibly good looking, and while he has merely maintained his Adonish features in that department in recent years, I am as astonishingly handsome as ever, getting Brad Pittier every day.

A few years ago, I decided my singing career needed a jumpstart. So I started looking around for a stage name. Something catchy. I always liked the name Justin, for some reason. And one day I saw a truck go by with the name “Bieber Construction” on its doors. I was kind of drawn to the name Bieber. It had a happy quality to it.

So I settled on the name Justin Bieber and decided to use it in all future publicity for my stalled career.

However, a friend got wind of my plans and told me there already was a Justin Bieber in the music business. Living under a rock, as I always have and prefer to, this was news to me and I was disappointed.

But not deterred.

I liked the way “Justin Bieber” rolled off the tongue. So my friend and I put our heads together and we soon came up with what I think is a workable alternative.

And so I have changed my stage name to Justa Geezer.

The name change has not yet had the impact on my musical fortunes I thought it might. On the other hand, at the age of 65, when I look out from the stage at my adoring fans, I notice an awful lot of geezers among them. Many of them probably born in the same hospital as Justin and I.

Some of them no doubt had the wisdom to arrive years before either one of us.

Justin might have his Beliebers but I have my Geezers.

There must be something in the air at that hospital for it to have produced so many of the world’s great ones.

Even if we are all southpaws.

The Toastenater 500

By Jim Hagarty

I am a fortunate person. I have so much.

Including my own special toast-disposal service. The service is conveniently located nestled between my ankles below my chair at the breakfast table. As I munch away on my flakes and toasted bread, the service idles patiently below me. Now and then, I break off an unwanted small sliver of toast and lower it carefully with my right hand in the direction of the floor beside my chair. When the toast bit reaches the level of about halfway between floor and chair, the toast disposalater sends out a jaw-like contraption complete with what can only be described as a set of teeth. These instruments clamp down tightly on the toast and sometimes on the fingers holding the toast. The toast then disappears under the chair, never to be seen again.

It is a very convenient service I have lucked into and it can also be depended on to remove many other table items such as cereal flakes, shreddies,and krispies. The device can also be used to remove other food items such as bits of noodles, meat, potatoes and pancakes.

It is sort of a mobile waste-disposal contraption which, unlike the stationary ones installed in sinks, requires some upkeep and care. It is necessary, for example, to attach it to a leash and take it out of doors several times a day to capture the waste products that the waste disposer itself generates, ironcially. Also, unlike most waste gobblers, the one I use needs more than table scraps and must be topped up several times daily with store-bought nuggets of meat and cereal kept under the kitchen sink in order to keep it in peak running order. It is also necessary to sit the device on your lap while watching TV at night and it is even recommended that it be taken to bed with you.

It is an unusual contraption, to say the least, but almost human-like in many ways. So uncanny is the resemblence that many times, owners of such machines are tempted to give them a name. Mine, for example, is named Tobe which is short for Total Breakfast Eater.

As I Was Saying …

By Jim Hagarty

If you were to spend a half hour, face-to-face quality time with me, you would scream, by the end of the session and before you stormed out, “Would you please stop with the sayings!”

I’m a sayings junkie. I live my life by quotes. I research quotes on the Internet and I have a fabulous ability to remember them. If I haven’t peppered my conversation with you with at least five quotes, it’s as if we never talked at at all.

Quotes are tailor made for people with short attention spans. But for me, they are also the shorthand of philosophers. (Readers under 40 are just now asking, “What the hell is shorthand?”)

Sayings encourage thought, dress wounds, light fires under asses, and generally, keep us interested in life.

The amazing thing about my association with quotes is every little saying I stumble on is instantly my favourite one. At present, I have about 1,200 favourite ones.

Here is my favourite saying:

“The heart has its reason which reason cannot know.”

For the Love of Writing

By Jim Hagarty

I first had a piece of my writing published 50 years ago this year, in a high school newspaper.

It was written out of love. Not love of writing. Love of a girl in my class who had my 24/7 attention. She was a writer and smart as a dewdrop. So, I could easily see that I needed to be a writer too if any of the fantasies I was having about her would ever come true.

She wrote poetry. Obscure stuff. I never understood a word of it. She was the Atlantic Ocean; I was a parking lot puddle after a light rain. So my first published piece, of course, was a poem. In restrospect, more like an unpolished nursery rhyme. In fact, rhyming was my key objective. I rhymed everything. Not only at the end of lines, but in the middle and even at the beginning. She hated my poetry and that feeling somehow started to transfer over to the poet. And while we kissed a few glorious times eventually, she realized she could not be seen in public with such a terrible writer so she sat down and wrote me, in a very unobscure style, a Dear John letter. I understood every word of it.

I moved on. Found myself a younger student with long, flowing blonde hair and a vocabulary that was peppered with the word “ain’t.” More my style. She never wrote a word as long as I knew her. But she kissed up a storm and I was fully onboard with that.

Eventually, however, like my first love had done to me, I decided I was destined for more greatness than this and after one too many “ain’ts” and a hundred too few kisses, I moved on. For me, that was one move too many and a half century later, there is a tiny ember in my heart still glowing for her.

And in spite of my earlier cataclysmic rejection by my girl Shakespeare, I kept on writing. And lo and behold, I found people in the world who were willing to pay me for my scribblings. These people were called editors and they worked at newspapers and they gave me a desk and sent me out interviewing farmers, factory workers and firefighters.

Life was good for a few decades till one day, one of those editors told me she was sick of paying me for my writing so she sent me home but told me to keep writing. I did that. I became a freelancer. I lanced for free, day in, day out. And still do.

Sometimes I write some poetry. It rhymes very well. And is not one bit better than the poetry that caused my first love to send me packing.

But if you are a writer, you don’t have much choice but to write, well or badly. Like a cat that, despite happily chowing down its three squares a day, still goes on homicidal binges in the backyard between meals.

I have never suffered from writer’s block. Readers’ block. Faced that a few times.

Starting with the girl of my dreams in Grade 10.

Believe me, it ain’t much fun when it happens.

Skinny Digging

By Jim Hagarty

Should be a good week.

Saturday is World Naked Gardening Day. I always look forward to it.

Of course, I garden naked every day, but this is the one day of the year when I really feel like I belong.

Like all things, however, even this day has its downside. My neighbour George, for example, has really embraced the day.

Another special day is recommended: World Don’t Walk Past George’s Place Day.

My Licker Problem

By Jim Hagarty

Our doggie can’t hold his licker.

He likes to lick my neck, bald head and ears. To him, I am a 200-pound salt block with glasses.

Two members of our household hate to see this extreme tonguing going on and shut it down. They are known as the licker inspectors. Doggie hides his licker when he sees them coming around.

And there I sit – all lickered up.

If he and I are in the shed alone, it’s OK. We call that the licker cabinet.