About Boomers and Geezers and Survival

Book CoverBen Swilley

The picture on the left is the cover of a book I had published by an Amazon subsidiary called CreateSpace. The picture on the right is me laughing. I’m laughing because it seems to diminish my pain. It doesn’t always work but it’s the best natural painkiller I have found. You can find the book on Amazon.com. It’s fairly inexpensive and it’s fairly funny.

Boomers and Geezers (Almost) Survival Guide is an (almost) survival guide because surviving is not one of our old age options. I started writing these stories about how to overcome pain about a year ago. None of these remedies have worked for me. I didn’t expect them to work because I made up most of them. The few that were supposed to be “for real” didn’t work either. I got them from old friends who are not wrapped too tight so I didn’t expect much relief from them.

Laughter is the only thing I have found that makes me forget how much the pain of getting old makes you hurt.

Anyhow CreateSpace did a pretty good job putting this book together considering I am not, and have never been, wrapped any tighter than any of my old friends. Mental stability has never been my strong suit.

Go to Amazon.com and check out this book. They will have the Kindle edition out in three or four weeks. If you do read the book, say a special prayer for me. I need it. I believe in the exponential strength and power of prayers that come from many lips. I see folks on FaceBook who get a prayer chain going for them and the prayers seem to work really well if you have a lot of people thinking of you.

Read the book. Laugh. Listen to good music. Enjoy yourself as much as you possibly can. Write me. I’ll say an exponential prayer for you.


The Inventor of “Sex in a Box” is dead.

All these so-called reality shows suit me fine. I have been out of touch with reality for so many years I have no idea what is real and what is another imaginational fragmentary figment.

I’m so far removed from actuality I had no idea “Twister” was known to opponents of the sinful game as, “Sex in a Box.”

It never occurred to me that you could take this simple, inexpensive child’s game and a pretty sharp looking girl or even an ugly girl with a nice body or even a fat ugly girl (if you were as desperate as I was) and play this game, all the while, rubbing up against and intertwining and enmeshing most all your lustful, lonely body parts with her equally lustful and lonely body parts.

The reason I never really thought of it that way was because to play the game you had to put a mat on the floor. The mat had colored spots on it and you used a spinner to determine where your hands and feet would go on the mat and where the hands and feet of your opponent had to go. I cannot stand flat footed and touch the floor with the palms of my hands at the same time. I will fall on my head. Thoughts of lust always rushed out my nose and ears whenever I fell on my head.

So I confess I have never played Twister with a member of the opposite sex. I have never played Twister at all. I was aware of the game because when my son Paul was eight years old I remember he told a potential baby sitter that he could “tear her up” playing Twister. Now that I think back to that moment, I realize Paul was slightly more precocious and mature than I had previously believed. The girl was pretty and shapely and Paul was making plans for exciting and eventful evenings as soon as he could get me and his Mother out of the house.

What makes me feel even more divorced from reality is realizing I never saw Johnny Carson playing Twister with Eva Gabor on the Tonight Show in 1966. My God!! The things I have missed and I was certainly in my prime in 1966. No wonder Carson was so happy all the time! He had played Twister with Eva Gabor!

Played by children, Twister was an innocent enough game but young adults and even the older, bolder crowd soon saw the erotic lure of literally getting into a knot with your partner while playing twister. Even a form of “Strip Twister” was played by many.

And now the news is Charles “Chuck” Foley is dead at 82. Mr. Foley invented the game he called “Pretzel.” he sold his game to the Milton Bradley Company which changed the name to Twister.

So if you ever had the wicked pleasure and self-conscious complication of fondly mixing it up, limb for limb, with another while playing “Twister” now you know to thank Chuck Foley.

Mr. Foley is gone but he certainly should never be forgotten. I feel sure the fantasy game he invented far exceeded his Indiana farm boy expectations.



How Aunt Sukie Lost Her Mule, Otis

Aunt Sukie was my mother’s Great Aunt and this story was passed on to me from my dear Mother so I have no choice but to accept it as the whole truth as my Mother was a truthful woman but I am mindful of family stories and how they sometimes take a strange life of their own depending on which family out-law is repeating them.

Sukie and her husband Ess Tee (S.T. for short) lived near Calabash, North Carolina. Calabash is almost in N. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and it is famous for its seafood and the way it is fried in a light coating of flour and cornmeal dipped in milk.

Uncle S.T. had long since passed on when Aunt Sukie lost Otis. Had Uncle S.T. still been around, Otis would probably have had a longer and much happier life but things are the way things are and a long happy life for poor old Otis was not to be.

As the story happens, Otis took seriously ill and there seemed to be a gastrointestinal problem that involved stomach bloating that was causing Otis no end of pain and suffering.

Aunt Sukie called the local vet who had just got back into town from another call and he had a sick dog on his operating table so there was no way he could get out to see Otis any time soon.

He told Aunt Sukie to give Otis a big dose of mineral oil and, of course she said, “How?” He said, “Use a funnel.” She said, “What if Otis bites me?” He Said, “No, no, no Sukie. The funnel goes in the other end.”

Aunt Sukie could not find a funnel but in Uncle S.T.’s sportier days, he had fancied himself quite a fox hunter and there was still a lot of fox hunting paraphernalia around the house. She found his old fox horn with the lovely red tassels still hanging from it.

She took it to the barn and inserted it in the proper orifice just as instructed by the busy old vet, She reached for the mineral oil but, you know, Aunt Sukie was old by then and she was about half blind and she was especially nervous about violating Otis’ privacy with what all she was having to do to him.

She reached for the mineral oil and in her haste she snatched up a pint of turpentine. With one swift and deft movement she loaded old Otis up with probably the worst liquid she could have chosen to doctor him. Turpentine is an organic solvent and no animal alive should ever have it applied to the delicate tissue at the rear end of the body.

Otis gave one loud torturous snort and reared up on his hind legs. He bellowed like a beast on fire and kicked out the whole east side of the barn. As the turpentine began to really take effect, the horn began to blow. Otis ran like a prize winning racehorse toward town with that horn blowing and the little red tassels blowing in the wind.

There were a number of old fox hounds around the place that soon gave chase. They were in “Full Cry” as more hounds joined in.

Soon Otis came to a small draw bridge that spanned an inland water way. As he approached with horn at full blast, the bridge tender mistook the sound for that of a boat seeking entrance to the waterway. The bridge tender raised the drawbridge and Otis and all the dogs plunged headlong into the stream.

The dogs swam out but Otis was done for. He drowned and his carcass had to be dragged out with a wrecker from town. I don’t know that Aunt Sukie ever missed Otis that much but there is another sad aspect to the tale.

The bridge tender had been running for sheriff but on election day he only got eight votes. Nobody wanted to vote for a man who couldn’t tell the difference between a boat blowing its horn for him to raise the drawbridge and a mule with a fox horn stuck up his ass.

By the way, they say Calabash was the little town where Jimmy Durante had dinner once with his first wife and she liked the name of the town so much that it became Durante’s pet name for her and after her death, Durante would close his acts with “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”

I don’t know if that’s true either but I think I am pretty accurate in saying that Otis the mule did not give a damn about the bridge tender’s lost election or Mrs. Calabash’s whereabouts. Otis would have liked to have died with a little more dignity and a much cooler rear end.




Your Teeth are Old – Keep Up With Them!

This is about teeth…..my teeth. It is also a note for you to make to yourself to begin to pay more attention to your own teeth before they become bitter, angry and twisted and turn on you and bite off your lips. Be careful with your teeth.  They are getting older and older. Don’t let them run away because you weren’t paying attention.

I think I have somewhere between 25 and 30 teeth. I’m not sure exactly because I count them before I go to sleep each night and then I check on them again in the mornings and I often find that they seem to shift around on me in my sleep. They sometimes look different in different lights. I know they have names but I can’t keep the names of my three children straight so my teeth can forget about me knowing their names.

My Daddy used to refer to me as being his child who was “soft in the head” and I think he was right. My teeth are extremely soft and over the years I have broken or chipped six or eight of them on chicken bones or oyster shells and pearls. Through the years I have discovered about half a dozen pearls in raw oysters. They were tiny, about the size of a BB. My poor teeth found every one of those pearls. I have even cracked a tooth or two on streak-of-lean. Katie Mae says, “Stop crunching that fatback before you break a tooth,” and sure enough a piece of tooth will pop right out stuck in an un-chewable piece of streak-of-lean.

I couldn’t stand not knowing so I went to the bathroom that has one of those round magnifying mirrors and I counted my teeth. I have 27. Thanks to the miracles of modern day dentistry and to the fact that Dr. Robert Margeson could work dental magic in his practice all those years ago back in Albany, Georgia. He actually saved several teeth that I’m pretty sure were not keepers.

He pulled my top wisdom teeth as slick as a whistle with no problems at all but when he got to the two on bottom they had foolishly grown roots similar to the gnarled and twisted roots on big mango trees in old Tarzan movies. I don’t think they had mango trees in Africa but Tarzan movies weren’t shot in Africa.

Dr. Margeson had to employ a small leather foot stool to stand on for leverage so he could yank those bottom wisdom teeth out of my head. One tooth took three, one-hour trips to his office before he dug out the last broken root. The other came out intact and he was so excited he drilled a hole in it so I could wear it on a chain around my neck to impress the girls. I never did that. I was pretty slow but I knew a wisdom tooth with roots on it shaped like Dracula’s hand was not a thing attractive to a young girl.

He was the most likable guy you would ever want to meet. He loved his profession and members of my family went to him from the time he moved from Cordele to Albany until he became ill and could no longer work. I must have gone to him for over 30 years. He was the magician who kept the questionable ivories intact and in my mouth.

He saved what was left of my favorite tooth. I was dancing uncontrollably on the top of a banquet table at the old Moose Lodge. Julian Whiting’s Mother and Father had thrown a big high school graduation party for him and I somehow had consumed a fiery liquid that made me think I was a Bird of Paradise doing my first heart-inflamed mating dance.

Unfortunately I was not as nimble of foot as the Bird of Paradise and I fell from the table and struck my mouth on the back of a metal folding chair. The fiery liquid drink rendered the blow painless but the broken-in-two favorite tooth popped off and spiraled into that place where lost teeth go to die. I never saw that piece of tooth again but Dr. Margeson made the top piece well and he capped it and I was as pretty as ever. He even put a certain sparkle in it that seemed to mesmerize the girls.

And now as I get older and I don’t much give much of a damn whether there is a sparkle in it or not, I find stranger and more bizarre things happening to some of my most beloved body parts. My teeth. I eat with them. I eat lots of good food with them.

Katie Mae and I were living in Statesboro when I found that a small tooth on the bottom front was treating me badly. It was abscessed. I went to my dentist in Swainsboro where we had lived before. He seemed frightened by the whole situation and sent me to see a Savannah endodontist. These folks are root canal pros. The man cleared up the abscess and said, “Let’s keep an eye on it, it’s going to abscess again.”

I thought this a little strange but sure enough it did abscess a second time and once again he cleared up the infection and did a root canal on the tooth.

It abscessed a third time so he cleared up the infection. When it abscessed for the fourth time, he pulled the tooth, cleaned up the root and stuck it back in my jaw to see if it would take root, so to speak. He wired it to some nearby teeth so it couldn’t walk away from the kind of rough treatment it was getting.

The wire fell out. I was in Albany, Georgia and Dr. Anna Veilands graciously agreed to see me and being the excellent dentist and fine woman that she is, she wired it back in most competently. It did not fall out again.

Over a year later Dr. Veilands took the wire out again. I had moved to Athens, GA by this time and I never again visited the Savannah endodontist. I figured the tooth had either grown back into my jawbone or it was ready to take a nose dive to the floor.

It has not fallen out but it has never felt really good. It is an ugly tooth and I have never much liked it but I thought it had stuck with me for over 65 years and it deserved a second chance. It feels strange in my mouth and I sometimes wonder if it isn’t trying to form a rebellious abscess once again.

Maybe I should show it to Dr. Veilands again . There are few males practicing as professionals these days that are as good as the women. Women will listen to your sad stories and, almost always, they can fix the problem.

Right now I am self-medicating with a dry mouth oral rinse called biotene. It’s touted as a protein-enzyme system (whatever that means) that refreshes without burning. It’s an oral rinse that relieves dryness of your mouth and soothes oral irritations. I use it in the middle of the night when my mouth gets really dry and I think it may be helping the rebellious tooth. It’s supposed to help damaged teeth.

I believe it can have a dual purpose. If you want to try it and it doesn’t work for you and your life is getting to be a huge bore and you think you need a little action, the bottle this stuff comes in has a beautiful little capped spout at the top that makes it perfect for you to walk over where your wife is peacefully sleeping, about two in the morning, and squirt a good shot of it in her ear.

Your boredom will be relieved for months to come and you won’t have to worry about any of your teeth. The will be all gone.




Bathroom Cleaning Tips From an Imposter!

I just read an article about 11 bathroom cleaning tips that really work and it set me off into some pretty deep thinking…for me…about the article in general and the writer in particular. The article does not identify the writer. I’m pretty sure no woman would put her name on it so the author has got to be a guy with a solid bone head..

At first I thought this was a legitimate news story as it had popped up on the news website I read each morning. Then I noticed it seemed to be an advertisement for S.C. Johnson and Son ‘s cleaning products. Proof came in the form of a “Johnson, A Family Company” logo in the upper left hand corner of the article.

Do you remember when they used to call it S.C. Johnson and Son? That’s not cool anymore. Now it is “Johnson, A Family Company.”

Anyhow the article does not look like it was written by a woman (To Me). It looks exactly like a mentally challenged advertising guy wrote this pathetic piece of garbage and this is why:

Number one tip – Be prepared. Is this pure horse manure or what? Nobody ever in the world is prepared to clean a bathroom. Cleaning bathrooms is tantamount to suicide. It is just the last dadgummed thing you ever want to think about.

Number two – Establish a routine. Is the guy repeating himself or what?  He says “Once you’re in a groove; it will help you get the job done faster. I truly believe this guy is brain damaged because the job is going to take just as long as it always takes and the tips he offers here will make the job three times longer.

Number three – Look for products that help you multitask. Now we get to the reason for the article being written. This is where the guy pitches S.C.Johnson and Son’s Scrubbing Bubbles®Mega Shower Foamer. I can tell you those little bubbles are much more effective if you have arms like Hulk Hogan and you carry about three pounds of grease in each elbow.

Number four – Now you’re smoking. Get right to vents, fans and window blinds. Why did they skip the walls? Who knows but vents require a ladder and ladders can break your neck. This is where they throw in the “Pledge®Multi Surface Duster so you can stir up your allergies with all that window blind dust.

Number five – Turn off your lights. Take down your light fixtures and clean them, naturally, with “Windex®Crystal Rain. This requires getting on a ladder and ladders can kill you, especially if you clean light fixtures while standing on a ladder in the dark.

Number six – Vacuum everything. Use your crevice tool. This guy thinks it’s easier to pick up dry gunk (hair and dirt) than it is to pick up wet gunk. Here you can absolutely be assured this guy has never cleaned any gunk from a bathroom floor. I have never heard a woman call it a “crevice tool.” The correct name is, “that long attachment thingy that looks like an anteater’s nose.”

Number seven – Use “Pledge®Multi Surface Wipes” to clean the Rembrandt you have hanging over your commode. This cleaning spiel is beginning to look and sound like one of those, totally unreal, reality shows.

Numbers eight and nine – He tells you how to use a “Ziploc®Brand Slider Storage Bag” with the “Smart Zip™Seal” to pour vinegar in so you can soak your shower head and free it of mineral deposits. He could have done a lot better had he gotten a bigger bag and soaked his own clogged-up head in it. He also tells you how to clean your whirlpool bath. I don’t think he really cares if you have a whirlpool bath or not. This shows he has no idea that people who have jacuzzi tubs rarely use them.

Number ten – Avoid harsh conditions in your bathroom that might dry out the cabinets. He may have a point here. I have seen harsh conditions in a bath room that destroyed the varnished finish on cabinets and peeled the enamel from the commode. For this reason alone you should never hang expensive paintings or prints in a bathroom. I don’t really believe that “Pledge®Extra Moisturizing is going to help much unless you include it in your diet twice daily and that might make things much worse.

Number eleven – Whistle while you work – This nut wants you to whistle after he has just condemned you to three or four full days of hard labor in the bathroom.

In conclusion I empathize with those who clean restrooms. No question that few men help with bathroom scrubbing. Obviously most of it is done by the wonderful women of this world. It’s hard to believe that someone actually wrote this article under the pretenses of being helpful. If I thought it would make the people who really know how to clean a restroom feel better, I would find him and drag him out of hiding so you gals could thrash him soundly with commercial sized mop handles  until he promised to go and sin no more.