Wall Street Survivor

Friday, January 21, 2011

Smoking, Packing Heat, Gambling and Other Stuff

I stopped smoking three weeks ago because my family wanted me to, I didn't like being treated like I had leprosy when in public places, and stores aren't carrying my favorite brand anymore. Notice that I didn't mention that I quit because I wanted to. I enjoyed smoking my little cigars with morning coffee and a newspaper.

Not really being into this self-imposed deprivation is making it harder cope, but I've been told that if I relapse my family would be disappointed. Oh, it booked my guilt trip long ago and has been itching to send me on it. These people have shown no mercy, trotting out my grandkids, news and magazine articles, and websites as reasons why I should quit. The lowest of all tactics was accusing me of slowly killing Makala, my five pound Yorkie, with second-hand smoke. First, I smoked in the basement and never took Makala with me. Second, she is going to be 13 years old and still jumps around like a puppy. I'd say the dog has a good constitution and will make it to her next birthday.

However, she did suffer the ill effects of me not smoking. I put a little "dress" on her that was too small for the velcro tabs to completely meet under her pot belly so some velcro "hooks" were exposed. She started barking and whining that evening, but she wouldn't come when I called her. When I went to pick her up I realized she was "velcroed" to the carpet! Obviously, I was suffering from nicotine withdrawal when I didn't recognize the danger of exposed hooks and Berber carpet.

I'm quitting cold turkey since my experience with a nicotine patch was a disaster. My sensitive skin couldn't tolerate the adhesive and changing the patch's location daily didn't help. Consequently, I'm covered with bright red, bumpy squares indicating everywhere a patch had been. The directions read that I should wear one every day for seven weeks then change to a lower nicotine dose patch for seven more weeks...minimum. My upper body would have looked like a patchwork quilt at the end of the 14 weeks, being covered with 98 red, bumpy squares!

The Gunshine State

I've written before about the love affair between Floridians and guns. Just about everyone can "pack" here once their application to own a gun rises to the top of the backlog pile. The Florida Legislature has a penchant for taking insane ideas and making them laws. It's about to go off half-cocked again with three pieces of legislation to relax the state's gun laws. (Anymore relaxed and they'd be comatose.) "One law would restrict local governments from regulating firearms. Another would prohibit doctors from even asking patients about guns. A third would permit licensed gun owners to publicly wear weapons outside their clothing."

The first and second pieces of legislature are completely bizarre and would create a myriad of problems not to mention additional shootings. Will our HOA build a target shooting range to attract new home buyers? We have room next to the boccie area. Maybe these areas could be combined and the shooters could fire pellets at the moving boccie players. That would ratchet up the excitement of that game.

Republican Sen. Greg Evers sponsors the totally delusional second bill concerning doctors. The bill would make it "illegal and punishable with a $5 million fine for any doctor to ask a patient about guns, or to include firearm ownership info in a medical record." Think of it this way: a psychiatrist treating a patient for depression would be barred from asking him if he owned a gun or even making a note of it. Think this is crazy? Last year the Legislature passed a law preventing adoption agencies from considering gun ownership when determining the placement of children with prospective parents.

I'm all for the third bill. As it is now, I'm afraid to go to the community card party because I don't know which of those octogenarians are packing heat. If I accidentally reneged, would a Luger be drawn out of a Depends? People's guns should be visible so those of us that aren't armed can be extra nice to those who are. I suspect that there would be fewer shooting because agitators would be forewarned by the sight of an AK-47 assault rifle hanging around another guy's neck.

I don't wish to offend anyone by making light of the gun situation in this state. It's a serious problem that doesn't seem to get any better. I don't vote here so there's not a lot I can do but sit back and watch the yahoos in Tallahassee turn the state into the Wild Wild West. To understand my humor, it might help to know that I'm also the one that tries to lighten the mood in a funeral home. Too much in life is depressing.

And the Pot Ran Away with the Goon

A mental picture is worth 1000 words so fire up your neurons. During the Christmas holidays, a man stole the Salvation Army donation kettle and sprinted across a Walmart parking lot to his car. Two men chased him, but couldn't catch him. He jumped into his car and fled the scene. Did you see this guy dragging the big, red pot behind him? I don't know if he took the whole easel stand, though. How about the guys that chased him? They must have been fine physical specimens if they couldn't snag a thief toting a pot full of hundreds of dollars in coins. It had to be heavy!

The Beautiful Dump

We're riding in the car the other night and hubby wants to talk about the county dump. "It's the nicest dump I've ever been to," he says. A few things pop into my head....Why does he feel the need to rate all the dumps he's visited? Does this man need more socializing experiences? Why would he think I cared about the dump? "A dump's a dump," I say. "Not our dump." he exclaims. I got a full description which I'll summarize for you: separate, neat piles are created for sorted materials; the appliance pile, the garbage pile, the grass & tree branch pile ,etc. He promised to take me there next week. I can hardly wait.

It's Not Gambling

I like casino gambling as many of you know. In a nearby town, we have a high sped shuttle that takes you to a casino ship floating in international waters where gambling is legal. Or, there is the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. I found out that the county north of us has gambling..or more correctly stated "sweepstakes parlors." You register to play (sign papers saying you are aware that it isn't "gambling," but you know it is.) and get a magnetic players card like at a regular casino. Then you hand over money to buy Internet time which is electronically linked to your name. The room is filled with tables, computers, and big, comfy, leather-like desk chairs. Sit at a computer station, swipe your card, and choose from the menu of online slot machine and keno games. Winning puts "points" ($) into your sweepstakes pot. When you decide to, go to the registration desk and exchange your sweepstakes points for cash.

It ain't gamblin' so say the promoters and the law can't make a case stick. A sting operation aimed at closing down several locations was put on hold, while law enforcement officials continue to look for evidence of wrong-doing that presently does not exist. I'm glad the sting operations have been called off. I would hate to be in my favorite parlor when the cops bust down the door. There'd be total chaos with scooting power chairs, the unconcealing of concealed weapons, and the wrath of grannies who built up their sweepstakes pots. I'd crawl to the restroom and hide.

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