Category: Gripes

May 23, 2016
By Michael Rupured

This Bathroom Business

The push for transgender rights is much in the news these days. The guidance issued to schools by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education provoked a flurry of fear-mongering commentary from opposition groups. You’d think the world was coming to an end. Science has established that gender, sexual preference, and gender identity are three completely different animals. The switches are set one way or the other in the womb. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes they line up the same way, and sometimes they don’t. Shortly after North Carolina’s governor signed the transgender bathroom bill into law, I posted a comment on Facebook saying I was unwilling to patronize a state or business that discriminates. I was commenting …

May 02, 2016
By Michael Rupured
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Finding My Prince

I am a life-long serial monogamist. At the tender age of pushing sixty, I’m currently without my Mr. Right. This is the longest stretch (going on four years) without a significant other since grade school. Single life agrees with me more than I care to admit or thought possible. Still, I don’t see my bachelor lifestyle as a forever thing. One day he’ll come along… I’d like to meet a nice, gorgeous, and likable guy with a car, his own place, and full retirement benefits who takes good care of himself, thinks I’m amazing, and can’t keep his hands off of me. Is that too much to ask? Life is too short for bad relationships. I’ve reached the age where individual body parts have …

Apr 18, 2016
By Michael Rupured
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Renewing My Gym Membership

A few weeks ago I renewed my gym membership again. The sales staff has been after me to re-up for months with phone calls and email messages offering “today only!” special deals. I fell for the “today only” thing the first time I renewed. Four years later, I know better. They’ve had the same specials since I joined. Pushy sales people annoy the hell out of me. For years, the high pressure tactics employed by gyms kept me from checking into memberships. I’m especially skeptical when the cost of the item/service being sold is not public information. Keeping pricing plans secret tells me one thing: the range is wide open. I know a little something about invisible pricing. A long time ago, I was …

Feb 29, 2016
By Michael Rupured
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Total Assimilation

Attitudes about homosexuality have changed much faster than I ever expected. In the 1950s and 1960s, mothers worried about protecting their children from homosexual pedophiles. Today, they’re card carrying members of P-FLAG. Sixty years ago, homosexuality was illegal in every state but Illinois. Until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality to be a mental illness. In 1975, the federal government lifted a ban on the hiring of homosexuals. Fast forward to 2015 when the Supreme Court decided gays and lesbians have the right to Equal rights and widespread public acceptance of LGBT folks are good things. Kids come out as gay, lesbian, and transgender at younger and younger ages. Understanding is growing that gender, gender identity, and sexual preference are …

Jan 11, 2016
By Michael Rupured
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Uncertainty

Nobody knows what the future holds. Anything could happen, if not tomorrow, then the day after. Or next week. Or maybe not at all. Uncertainty is inescapable. Making decisions would be easy if you knew ahead of time how things turn out. The future is a vast minefield of possibilities, likelihoods, and probabilities. Predicting what will happen with any accuracy is next to impossible. Some people handle uncertainty better than others. My mother spends a significant fraction of her time worrying about stuff that never comes to pass. After I called her on it, she clarified that when she says worrying about, she means thinking about. Same difference if you ask me. Faith doesn’t eliminate uncertainty, but it does offer an explanation.  Everything happens for a …

Dec 14, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Writing Pet Peeves: Point of View Issues

Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told. A writer may choose to tell a story in first person (I was born) or in third person (he/she was born). I suppose second person (you were born) is possible, but is more appropriate for personal letters than works of fiction. Whatever the perspective, the narrator can only comment (or think about) things he or she can see, feel, touch, taste, or hear themselves. If Bill is the narrator, he can’t say “Mark knew what Bill meant,” unless, of course, Bill is psychic and can read Mark’s mind. Unless Bill’s looking in a mirror, he can’t say his face turned red, either. Instead, he’d probably say his face …

Nov 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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No Tipping?

The latest trend in upscale dining is to do away with tipping. Instead, fine dining establishments say they will pay staff a respectable wage. Of course, they’ll also jack prices up by twenty percent or more to cover the cost of higher wages. Many moons ago, I waited tables. For more than a decade, I pasted a smile on my face and did my best to please often surly customers. Although I did my time in a dive or two, most of the restaurants where I worked were high end. For much of that time, the money I made waiting tables was my only source of income. I was paid $2.01 an hour (eventually it went up to $2.10) without any …

Sep 21, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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Home-Grown Tomatoes

The older I get, the more I appreciate the taste of a good, home-grown tomato. Back in Kentucky the plants went in the ground toward the middle of May with hopes the first fruit would ripen by the Fourth of July. Without buying big plants or cherry tomatoes, the first ripe tomato rarely appear before the end of July. Within a week or two everyone I knew had baskets of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers they couldn’t eat. My first summer in Georgia I had a Kentucky-style tomato harvest. Coworkers and neighbors welcomed the surplus. That was almost twenty years ago. Since then, thanks to deer, drought and/or excessive heat,  I’ve had precious little luck growing them. A few years ago, I bought a …

Jul 20, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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90 Days My Ass

Ads promise anyone can have a killer body in ninety days. All it takes is thirty minutes of exercise, three or four times a week. Results are guaranteed, or your money back. In the eloquent words of my father, may he rest in peace: horse shit. A perfect body has never been my goal. Not that I’d mind, of course, but I exercise for my health. Staying off medications is the goal. Any other results are just icing on the cake doughnuts I shouldn’t be eating. Nonetheless, I was sorely disappointed after joining the gym three years ago that three months of working out had produced so little change. Seriously. I almost quit. Eventually, getting to the gym became a priority for me. I’d like to workout …

May 25, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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Where There’s a Will…

Do you have a will? A lot of people avoid estate planning — as if not talking about death will somehow keep it from happening. Wrong! Moreover, the worst thing you can do to your heirs is die without an estate plan. In recent posts I’ve mentioned my plans to retire in the next five to seven years. I’ll get a small pension from a previous employer plus Social Security. The bulk of my retirement income, however, will come from the money I’ve saved (including the match from my employer). At this stage of the game, the balance in my retirement accounts is significant.   God willing, my life force and my account balance will zero out at the same time. If I die before the …