“You Don’t Know Sheen From Shinola!”
I think the title says it all.
See you Sunday morning!
“You Don’t Know Sheen From Shinola!”
I think the title says it all.
See you Sunday morning!
Dear Friends & Readers,
I must admit Valet Boy was surprised by some of the reactions to the announcement that come the 1 year anniversary of this blog, VB would be signing off to work on other “literary” projects. (I use the term literary rather loosely)
It gladdened my heart to know that VB would be missed and that in some small way my weekly forays into the blog-o-sphere had touched some of you to the point that you felt compelled to berate, belittle and besmirch me for my decision. For some that sort of reaction might have been perceived as a cruel and hateful insult but not Valet Boy.
So, thank you, guys, for “the love”.
Writing a blog is certainly a challenge as each week you try to come up with interesting and pithy stories and commentary that may inform, entertain and otherwise amuse one’s readership. When creativity is linked so closely to your state of mind and you find that your balance might be tipping into a festering morass of self-doubt, frustration, complacency and vapid insipidness…well, that’s usually a good sign that the mental edges have frayed and some vacation time is indeed on the prescription pad.
Since the re-birthing of “Confessions of a Valet Boy“, I have followed several instructional blogs dedicated to the subject of blogging. Most seem to dictate that blogs which do not instruct, inform and serve to help the reader are doomed from the start. That simply having a blog based upon one’s personal take on life is insufficient to sustain any appreciable long-term growth. That may be true. I don’t know because I’m neither a teacher nor an expert on any topic for which people might be seeking further enlightenment.
To quote the philosopher Popeye, the Sailor Man: “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.”
But my personal favorite little truism is: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
That would be fine and dandy, and certainly enough for this sow’s ear, as long as there’s enough stimuli to warrant churning out a weekly compendium of Valet Boy’s Wit & Wisdom. However, if the wit dries up and the wisdom becomes obfuscated or worse – non-existent…. Well, then it’s time to “water your horse at another trough”.
Hopefully, this break in the weekly routine will permit my batteries to re-charge as I focus on finishing the novel that has been hanging over my head for the last several years. After that, perhaps I can turn my pen (or keyboard) to my Hollywood memoirs as has been suggested by so many of you.
Rest assured, I will still be around – lurking beneath the smoldering surface of a crazy world gone mad waiting to spring out with renewed literary vigor.
As for now, I’ve got to hang a bi-fold door for Mother Valet Boy’s bathroom. This should be fun.
As Always, Thanks for Reading!
While much of the nation is still gripped in Mother Nature’s chilly vise, Dixie has been enjoying temps in the 70’s and 80’s over the past couple of weeks – Precisely the reason I like to winter down here…and the reason why this post was delayed.
This begins the time of year when Valet Boy clears the cobwebs from his tackle box re-strings his reels and prepares to head to the lake for some serious fun.
Namely: Bass Fishing.
I would rather be fishing than just about anything else and most of the time I’m only moderately successful at it. Not because my technique sucks, but because I cannot see beneath the water to where the fish actually are located. So there is a lot of trial and error on big bodies of water such as Lake Martin in central Alabama.
At the time of its creation in 1926, Lake Martin was the largest man-made lake in the world. With almost 40,000 acres of water and over 700 miles of wooded shoreline, each year this lake is a recreational destination for thousands of families who come to camp, hike, swim, boat and fish.
Our family is no different and beginning with Spring we prefer to spend as much time at and on the lake as possible.
Every boat owner knows that these finicky little bitches seem to have minds of their own and just because everything worked perfectly yesterday does not mean it will be so today. This past Saturday my sister Peggy and I were aching to get on the lake and stretch some 12 lb. test while trolling the depths. The weather forecast was perfect: Hi 70’s, low 80’s – very little wind – and plenty of sunshine.
The previous weekend, my sister Kellie, her boyfriend and I had gone to the lake to take the boat out and see what was what. After a cold start, the engine on the 24′ Bennington pontoon finally kicked in and we tooled around the lake trolling and worming the shorelines. Kellie caught 1 bass trolling and I caught 1 bass worming. That was the sum of our big catch. Still, a day on the water beats just about anything else.
Naturally, Peggy and I figured we’d be able to enjoy another beautiful day on the water and fish until our little limbs could cast no more.
We reached Wind Creek State Park (where the boat is docked) a little after 8 AM. The morning was crisp but already the beaming sun was promising a swift warm up. We filled the tank with fuel, loaded the boat with our tackle and accessories, eagerly licked our chops with anticipation of the day only to discover the boat’s motor would not turn over.
We tried and tried everything we knew to do for over an hour with no luck. Even a couple of fishermen pulled their bass boat alongside our stern and tried to assist. Nothing.
Peggy, who possesses a personality much like our father big Bob, fussed and fumed and cursed. I was just as disappointed. But, the prospect of returning home without doing any fishing was not an outcome I was prepared to imagine.
Peggy and I decided we’d go visit some friends who have a cabin on another part of the lake, in an area called Sandy Creek, and at least do a little bank fishing so the day would not be a total loss.
During the winter months the lake level drops significantly as Alabama Power draws the water through Martin Dam to generate hydroelectric power, so the water was down about 8 or 9 feet or so. This means that fishing structure is a bit easier because you can actually see where it is located.
Once we arrived at the cabin, I grabbed my tackle and hustled down to the shoreline. Peggy said, “I’ll wait and see if you’re catching anything before I bring my stuff down there.” It was just before noon and the day was perfect.
I had a Zoom soft plastic worm on the hook (Smokin’ Purple Finesse) that had been on since last week and figured I’d just toss it in and see what happened. Within a couple of casts I had a nice little Large Mouth Bass on the line. I landed the fish, thanked it and asked it to tell its friends and family to come on out and play with Valet Boy. I released the 3/4 pounder with a little kiss on its head and cast my line into the very same spot as before.
Bam! A fatter relative of the first Bass hit my worm and we were off and running. By the time my sister reached the waterfront with her tackle I had caught and released 3 bass. My poor worm was in tatters.
Apparently, I had discovered a pocket of bass in this cove off the main body of Lake Martin.
The competition between my sister and I was on. big time.
Now, something you need to know about Peggy’s skill as an angler. She is the best in the family and may be the best of all the folks we know. You can be fishing right along side her, using the same baits, the same techniques and she will still out catch you every time.
So, even though I had a head start that was not enough to guarantee I’d win the day
We worked that little cove pretty hard for the next few hours.
The fish weighed in anywhere from 1/2 lb to about a pound and a half. The final tally of our day of simple bank fishing: Sister Peggy – 4, Valet Boy – 9!
It was the very first time I ever caught more fish than she did. And she was just as thrilled for me as I was.
This week looks to have some nice weather on tap and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I didn’t re-visit that little cove to see if lightning might strike twice.
Dear Friends & Readers,
This April 10th marks the 1 year anniversary of Valet Boy’s return.
Sadly, it also marks the end of this little experiment with the blog-o-sphere.
I am going to continue writing, but I am bowing to pressures ( the good kind ) to finish my novel. While I’m sure I could do both VB and the book – one or both of them would probably suffer for the distraction.
The VB site will remain up, however, for those who would like to peruse the archives and I may pop in occasionally to update those who might have an interest in Valet Boy’s “doin’s”.
I will do my best to adhere to the Sunday morning post time, but with such a gorgeous Spring at the Lake….You’ll have to grant me a little flexibility.
Thanks so much for reading!
Due to the Groundhog forecasting an early spring, Valet Boy has been playing hooky and enjoying temps in the 70’s and 80’s.
Look for VB coming Monday morning instead of the usual Sunday.
Welcome to Valet Boy’s belated Valentine’s Post!
As Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night, “If music be the food of love, play on…”
In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, he penned Puck’s line: “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”
I realize that there are a lot of happy couples out there for whom Valentines’ Day is a meaningfully emotional experience….Basking in the afterglow of a chocolate high with thoughts of never-ending sensuality that would put a smile on even the most jaded romance novelist’s face.
In fact, world-wide it’s estimated that eager-to-please lovers will spend about $18 Billion on Romantic Crap! However, Valet Boy and most people he’s spoken with couldn’t care less about this trumped-up excuse for a “faux holiday”.
Ostensibly named for a Roman Priest named Valentine who was purportedly beheaded for disobeying Emperor Claudius by marrying off young men – potential warriors – to wanton maidens, our mid-February tradition can be traced back to the Greeks who chose this time of year to celebrate the marriage of Zeus to Hera.
The Pagan tradition of Lupercalia is probably more akin to my own preferences. This was a bawdy little celebration wherein the men stripped naked, donned animal skins and roamed the streets whipping virgins into submission.
Everybody Wang Chung tonight! Let’s party like it’s 9.
But Valet Boy, as a kid, never received the One Special Valentine from that One Special Person. Unless it was accidentally mis-addressed to my attention. I’d excitedly tear open and gleefully begin to read my heart throb’s missive – only to have its author snatch the lacy heart embossed tome from my fingers with the sneering admonition, “That’s NOT for YOU.”
In the first grade, I was madly in love with a statuesque olive-skinned brunette named Susan….or Rachel…or maybe it was Linda…..who the hell can remember that far back?… Anyway, we would sneak off to the back of the class behind the supply closet and kiss feverishly in that really hot way 7 year old’s do. We made elaborate wedding plans and started naming all the children we would have (She must have been Catholic).
But, by Valentine’s Day she was drawing wildly expressive interpretations of my writhing soul burning in Hell at the fiery hands of a pitchfork wielding Devil. She would then display these renderings for all in our class to appreciate. Although, it was not quite “Dante’s Inferno”, Susan-Rachel-Linda was an accomplished little artiste in her own right and I still feel the pain of her betrayal to this day. (Really? No, of course, not. Don’t be silly! But it does make good story fodder.)
But that early experience did set the tone for all of Valet Boy’s subsequent Valentine’s Days and like most Pavlovian response mechanisms – I start to get an unpleasant itchy crawling sensation each year as Valentine’s Day approaches.
For the millions in the world who regularly enjoy romantic associations with Valentine’s Day there are also millions who do not. They are the lonely, broken-hearted, bereft “romance misfits” in our society. The Lepers of Love. (Valet Boy may be the Chairman of the Board of the L.O.L.)
The last time I did the whole Valentine’s Day thing was quite a while ago.
I was seeing this young woman for whom I believed myself to be the perfect match. She liked older guys, I happened to be… well older – We both loved theatre and movies – We were both a little crazy (one of us slightly more so than the other) – We had similar physical and emotional handicaps – And we both enjoyed sex. So, naturally, I wanted to do something special for our first big Valentine’s Day together.
I booked a romantic getaway at a local B&B, did the flowers and the box of chocolates thing and even sprinkled rose petals on the bed. Pretty romantic right?
My thought was: We’d check in, make love for a couple of hours, get dressed, go to a nice restaurant for a lovely dinner, enjoy some Valentine’s champagne toasts, come back to the B&B, make love for a few more hours and then cuddle/spoon as we drifted off to sleep to commingle our love filled dreams.
It was a good plan…and apparently it worked out just fine…Dammit!
That does not make interesting Blog copy.
In my memory – which has been steadily declining since 1971 – We had a horrible time. We fought like cats and dogs and the whole Valentine’s Day debacle sunk like Shelley Winter’s on the deck of the S.S. Poseidon. Which would have given credence to my total disdain for the “holiday” and add some angst potential to Valet Boy’s so-called diet plan.
Not so, Grasshopper.
Apparently, Valet Boy was remembering some other pain and wrath filled Valentine’s Day with someone else.
When asked about “our” Valentine’s Day, the young lady in question – with whom incidentally I am still very good friends – kindly responded that we had a lovely time, she felt special and loved and she still cherishes the Valentine’s gift I gave her. She added that we did indeed have a lot of sex and we also laughed a lot too.
Well, so much for MY memories.
Anyway, the entire point to all of this was to illustrate how Valet Boy has lost, on numerous occasions, upwards of 50 pounds in just a matter of weeks on a diet he has aptly named: The Broken-Heart Diet.
But, for our purposes here, the name has been changed to more accurately reflect it’s standing within the health and nutrition community. It is now known as: The Worst Diet Ever.
I first discovered The Worst Diet Ever in 1987 when my fiance and I broke up. I was utterly and completely devastated. I felt blind-sided. Never saw it coming. She’d fallen in love with an older man who wooed her with glittering promises of her name in bright lights and throngs of Broadway acolytes bowing to her every whim. Pretty heady stuff, I’ll admit. I don’t believe that happened though. I think she got pregnant, got married, gained 367 pounds and became a stay-at-home telemarketer for questionable non-profit companies posing as fronts for Mexican drug cartels.
But, I was a wreck. In every sense of the word. By accident, I effortlessly fell into the diet plan that I will now divulge in print for the very first time.
Here is Valet Boy’s The Worst Diet Ever…I hope I’ve laid it out succinctly enough:
1. Fall madly, foolishly, desperately and hopelessly in love. (The less common sense involved here the better)
2. Experience a horrible, violently emotional, completely devastating, publicly embarrassing and demeaning break-up. (Throw caution to the wind here – Face it, you’ve already made a fool of yourself…why stop now.)
3. Wallow in broken-hearted misery and nauseatingly abject self-pity. (To the point your friends & family no longer want anything to do with you)
4. Continuously consume gallons of alcohol – Literally. (I like Canadian Whiskey – my agent prefers Vodka)
5. Don’t eat. (The occasional bag of Doritos or Cheetos does not actually qualify as “food”, but may be nonetheless helpful is staving off “starvation” during the diet.)
6. Don’t sleep. (Medically, we do not consider “passing out” actually sleeping)
7. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 for between 7 and 8 weeks
Trust me, there comes a point where your heart, mind and body simply refuse to allow this pity-party-nightmare to continue 1 more minute!
You’ll wake up one day, the pain of the lost love will be gone and you will happily discover you are 20 to 50 pounds lighter.
At this time you’ll realize all of your clothes are now too big to fit you. And there is seldom a joy so profound!
The Final Steps to officially complete the Diet are: Get back on a healthy eating plan and head for the gym; Then it’s Off To The Mall for a completely New Wardrobe; Some of you may want to do the “Spa” treatment for an entire Make-Over.
It matters not.
Just embrace and enjoy the new improved YOU!
As a word of CAUTION: You may also want to make an appointment with your Physician and get a checkup for liver damage, malnutrition, rickets, beriberi, dementia, various crippling mental and nervous disorders.
I guarantee you Dr. Oz would never even remotely consider this Diet plan. And I do not recommend it for everyone.
In fact, I don’t recommend it for anyone!
It’s a very dangerous method to employ in order to perpetrate weight loss. It may work, but I’ve done it often enough to know this – I never want to go through it again!
You’re much better off with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.
Currently, I’m taking a very simple reduced caloric intake approach to dieting: More fruit and veggies, 30-60 minutes a day of some form of exercise, much less red meat, fewer sugars, less salt, breads only occasionally. So far I’m down almost 14 lbs. Granted the weight loss has not been as dramatic as one finds with The Worst Diet Ever….But, one rarely suffers a hangover or jail-time from broccolini and pineapple.
The Moral of Our Story…
Sometimes the Face of Love is nothing at all like we pictured it should be.
Perhaps, we’d be better served by Love if we stopped trying to force It to become something of our own making and simply let It be what It is.
I may be a jaded old cynic, but I still believe Real Love can survive just about anything we choose to throw at it.
So, if this Valentines’ Day found you happily married or coupled up – be thankful you have someone who puts up with you. If you’re working it out on your own at the moment, don’t let that keep you from enjoying the love of friends and family. Send yourself a Valentine’s Card sometime, as a reminder that if you can like yourself – chances are there’s a special someone out there who can like you too.
Hey, who knows…maybe even LOVE YOU!
Until next time,
Thanks for Reading!