Tag Archives: humor

Hornet dude, show me your stinger.

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It was a typical mid-August day in southern Illinois:  95 degrees, a heat index of 104, and an apple pie was in the oven.  Two of our granddaughters, ages seven and nine, were
staying over on a summer day.  My wife, two granddaughters, and my dog — a mostly white golden-doodle with golden ears — alternated our play between outside and inside.  Sweat covered bodies and my dog’s rapid-fire panting dictated our activities.  

My seven-year-old granddaughter asked my wife what was in one of our trees. There, hanging within reach, was a hornet’s nest as big as a basketball with hundreds of hornets flying in and out, doing whatever hornets do.  (I later learned that a mature hornets nest in late summer can have as many as seven hundred hornets.)  We quickly retreated to the inside of our house where I instructed the girls to stay away from the tree, and what could happen if the hornets came after them — multiple butt stings that would penetrate their skin like nails in a pine board.  My granddaughters, with their saucer-sized eyes, took in everything that I said.  They would stay away for now, and most likely would need psychotherapy in later years.

Being a seventy-two-year-old man, I had been taught that it was the man’s responsibility to protect his family.  It wouldn’t have been right for me to insist that my wife take care of the hornet’s nest.  So, I did what all old, educated men do.  I went to my office, turned on the computer, and began to google — how to destroy a hornet’s nest before they destroy you.  Okay, what kind of hornet are we dealing with, I thought.   Ah, there it is:  a vespa crabro,  a european hornet originally introduced into the United States, one of twenty hornet species found in the US.  My backyard hornets, as I call them, are one to one-and-a-half inches long strapped with two pairs of wings, six legs, and boast a reddish brown color.

The hornet’s lightweight nest, an engineering feat by any definition, is constructed by a mixture of the hornet’s salvia and pieces of wood fiber.  Granted my backyard hornets are quite impressive, but their stings are something to behold.  Unlike the ordinary bee that is limited to a single sting, this baby can sting you multiple times, leaving a nasty venom behind.  The symptoms  can leave the victim with a fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, convulsions, and possibly death if you have an allergic reaction.  Holy shit, that’s what I thought.  There was a mixture of testosterone and fear racing through my brain.  Oh, and forgive me.  There was a sentence or two about the hornet’s attributes to humanity — they eat insects that can become pests to your habitat, contributing to a healthy ecosystem.  And I’m suppose to worry about these flying varmints that might drill holes into my exterior?

If I am to destroy the nest, which most articles advise against, I should follow a recommended procedure:  approach the nest in darkness while the worker hornets sleep; use a flashlight with a red lens; wear quite shoes, boots would be best; thick rubber gloves; long sleeves and long pants made with thick material; and above all, don’t wake up the hornets.  Oh, by the way, each year forty people in Illinois die from hornet stings.  But that most likely happens to allergic people or old people like myself.

There is a time when a man has to check his bravery, or admit he is a “chicken shit.”  I knew this was my moment.  Still, I decided that I should approach this from a more intellectual standpoint.  Facts:  I’m seventy-two-year-old, two back surgeries within the past eighteen months, three face cancers surgically removed two weeks ago.  Okay, candy-ass Franklin, go hire someone.  But then, almost miraculously, the next morning changed everything. There, lying under the tree was the nest, possibly knocked down by one sick or dead raccoon.  I shared the news with my wife, making us feel content in the fact that the hornet problem was gone.

Later in the day my wife told me that half of the hornet’s nest was still hanging from the tree.  I ran outside and took a look.  Dammit, I whispered.  I didn’t want to disturb the hundreds of hornets working on the nest.  Something came over me, like a wave of bravery or possibility a big bunch of stupidity.  Whatever, I was pissed.  “Go into the house,” I told my wife.  “I’m going to take care of this fucking nest.  “Be careful,” she said, as she ran into the house to see if my life insurance policy was still in effect.

deerfly-pd-wcI went into the garage and grabbed two cans of wasp/hornet spray guaranteed to shoot twenty-seven feet into the air.  I disregarded all of the advice that I had obtained from my google search.  Here I was dressed in shorts and a tee-shirt, possibly confronting one of life’s biggest challenges.   I approached the nest with determination and a good deal of bravery.  The hornets were buzzing in and around the nest.  I didn’t flench as I held a can of spray in each hand.  I pointed the cans, stood in a crouched position, pulled the triggers as a heavy fog filled the nest which began raining hornets.  Bunches of them fell to the ground taking their last gulp of air as they died.  A few strays headed for my face.  I bopped and weaved to the left and then to the right.  The fog continued to fill the sky as they dropped dead before landing a single sting.  They were dead.  They were all dead.  My wife opened the front door and began clapping as I ran circles in the front yard spiking the cans to the ground like a Green Bay Packer wide receiver after hauling in a thirty yard pass.  Even my golden-doodle joined in the fun.  The two of them were mighty proud of me — the old fart turned hero.  Once again, man prevailed over the insect world.  Damn, life is good.

 

Thanks for the memories — Colbert and Stewart

laughing-horses_1507421iA few months ago I lost one, and now I’m about to lose another; an empty feeling, but not like losing a family member, one of my closest friends, or God forbid, my dog.  I’ve never shook their hand, exchanged hugs, or offered to be their facebook friend.  I suppose I consider them my imaginary television friends:  Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.  I’m quite fond of Jon and Stephen, and if given the chance I would love to have a cup of coffee with them, maybe a couple glasses of wine, discuss some serious topics, and then just laugh our ass off.  Now I’m left to watch recorded copies of their shows, and savior the memories of days gone by.

I either watched the Daily Show and Colbert Nation in real time, or on one of my many recordings; four days a week, year after year.  I loved watching the two of them discuss the day to day political happenings.  Although they were loaded with satire, they were damn dead serious.  If you can’t laugh about the political ongoings, how can you get through the day?

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert:  ridicule, sarcasm, truth, comedic satire, and many laugh like hell moments are reflections of my buddies, Stephen and Jon.  Oh how I loved the Colbert Nation when Stephen came flying through the air like a superhero all wrapped in an American flag with an eagle by his side.  I have to admit that my initial reaction was one of disbelief and a feeling that this guy was in love with himself; not the type of person that I generally like.  But it soon became obvious that Stephen was a made-up character who crossed his fingers while he worshiped Bill O’Reilly, Fox news, and every right-wing politician who unloads verbal poop.  A story teller, a songster who could sing in tune, an intellect, and a brain that popped and crackled like a pan of popcorn on a red-hot stove.  A real thinker, that’s what I call him, able to explain complex issues in a humorous way.  Even when he was in character, you knew there was both a madness and seriousness living together like a hand in a glove; a feat very few performers can obtain.  Yes, I know, Stephen Colbert is taking over the David Lettermen show.  But what will happen to the character I loved on Colbert Nation.  What will Stephen have in store for his new audience?  Hopefully he will give us a moment with the character that I love so much.  Thanks for everything, Stephen.

And then there’s my other imaginary friend, Jon Stewart.  Sixteen years, that’s how long Jon has hosted the Daily Show.  So many memories of days gone by.  Not unlike Stephen, Jon holds many of the same qualities:  ridicule, sarcasm, truth, comedic satire, and many laugh like hell moments.  But Jon brought his own outwardly intellectual side to his show.  There was no doubt when Jon was disappointed, upset, or downright pissed off with the day to day politics.  When congress has a 19% positive rating, there’s reason to be mad.  And then Jon would add a humorous bend to his presentation, showing the stupidity of the situation.   After all, if we can’t laugh we’re left to cry.  Thanks for everything, Jon.

Stephen and Jon are both young men and have lots more to offer.  But please don’t wait too long.  There’s a void in my psyche.

From hairy legs to nose hairs.

The Newest Book from Larry L. Franklin
Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory

I’m sitting in my office listening to Eric Clapton belt out some cool sounds.  Steady rain outside.  Springtime trying to make its way into summer; that’s what is happening in southern Illinois.  I’m drinking some wine, looking at my legs while I sport a pair of summer shorts, and evaluating my body’s transition into old age.  I’m 72 years old and find myself wondering what happen to all of the hair on my legs.  Damn depressing, I might add.  I remember my early years when I first saw tiny strains of hair on my legs and some peach fuzz on my face.  That was pretty cool.  I was becoming a man and would soon enjoy the company of wild girls, a beer belly that would rival the older guys in the Louisville Pool Hall.  Party time, that’s where I was headed.  Well, I did have some exciting years, but not quite what I had expected.

Now back to my leg hair.  No, it didn’t disappear.  The hair has moved to different parts of my body.  I now have an abundance of belly hair, a nose filled with bushy hair that needs daily trimming, and strains of long hairs growing out of my ears and dangling downward from my earlobes.  And my eyebrows.  If I didn’t trim them I would have “handle-bar eyebrows.”  I assume that if I checked out the DNA of my leg hairs, they would match the hair growing out of my nose.  Yes, I’m certain that it’s the same hair.

Now I’m not one to question God, but come on.  What’s the point of my hair moving from one part of my body to another?  I’m okay with my gray hair as long as it doesn’t turn blue.  And the wrinkles come in handy.  Being a writer, I believe that every wrinkle tells a story.  Apparently I have lots of stories to tell.

Despite the moving hair, things are looking up.  I had two back surgeries over the past year; lots of pain and depression.  Now I have minor pain at times but nothing that I can’t handle.  I’ve begun working out at a local fitness center, and with a little imagination, I can see the beginnings of a six pack.  Never had one of those before.  Since some of the hair on my legs has moved to my stomach, I would have a hairy six pack.  Pretty cool.  Maybe….

The wine bottle is empty and I need to take my dog for a walk.

Mother’s Day meal created by Larry, the man with a crack in his back who happens to like green eggs and ham.

7301_100437136820483_587807534_nThis is the big time — Mother’s Day — when I step forward and prepare the meal.  My wife, daughter, her two daughters, husband, and a dog named Bailey, will be joining hands around the table, anxiously waiting to see what I have prepared.  Our other daughter, husband, and two daughters live in Madison, WI and will have their own meal.  I can only imagine their Mother’s Day meal.  Since they are into the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin sports, I imagine that they will have cheese, grilled badger meat, and lots of wine.  Well the girls will drink something a bit lighter.

My menu:

Grilled Chicken Kabobs, properly seasoned
Grilled green, red, and yellow peppers,
onions, and zucchini.
(for a bit of color, melted butter and kitchen bouquet)
Baked Beans — the granddaughters can make a meal out of beans
Baked Potato & Sweet Potato — Potato of your choice
Salad
French Bread
Dessert — store bought Velvet Creme cake with Mother’s Day written on top.
I also have some mini cones with sprinkles if the girls don’t like the cake.

The activities before the meal are very important — crucial.  Always serve plenty of dry & semi-sweet wine, beer should be available, non-alcoholic drink for  the girls.  The purpose of the wine is three fold — mellow everybody out so we will like each other, makes the food taste better, and is used for toasting the mothers.  The toast must be prepared — no slurring the words or mental gaps.  Something like — “I would like to make a toast to the most important people sitting at our table.  The mothers.  In truth, we should celebrate Mother’s Day every day of the year.  That’s how important they are.”  Not only does it make the mothers feel good, it teaches a lesson to the young daughters that men can be cool on one day of the year. And if everything is successful, and I mean everything, the men might get lucky.

FYI — Thank God Mother’s Day is one day of the year, and Father’s Day is 364 days, except for leap year and then it is 365.

 

I’m having an affair with a “sweetie.”

7301_100437136820483_587807534_nI’m 71 years old and I’m having an affair with a “sweetie.”  To be more accurate, I’m hooking up with more than one.  It probably sounds crazy, perhaps a little sick.  But I can’t help myself.  And I like them all — the tall slim ones, the fuller body types, and the color makes no difference.  Do I have an over active libido?  Perhaps.

I’ve always been attracted to the “sweeties.”  Even as a boy the temptation was strong, so strong that someone in my church told me that if I masturbated I would go blind.  Needless to say that scared the hell out of me.  Still, I began wearing glasses when I was five years old.  Go figure.  But my current urges are stronger that ever.

It all began a little over a week ago.  I found this place, club, or whatever.  I can’t be specific because I don’t think that this is legal.  Anyway, I walked in and there were several sweeties on display.  A woman asked me what I wanted.  “Well, I’m not sure.  What do you have and what is the cost?”  There were lots of choices, but let me just say that they were attractive and the price was reasonable.  I left with a tall, slim, dark one and a cup of coffee.  Years ago I might have had a cigarette.  But now I prefer a cup of coffee after and sometimes during. You might think that we went to a hotel.  No, there wasn’t a need for that.  My car worked just fine.  I moved the seat back and the two of us listened to the radio, a little conversation, and then — delicious.  Of course I have not told my wife about that experience.  In fact, I’ve been going to the establishment two or three times a week.

My story began when my wife decided to lose 10 pounds and went on a diet.  She really didn’t need to lose weight, but that was her decision.  As part of her diet, no carbs or sugar — the two things that I crave.  In case you’re interested, I’ll give you the name of the establishment where I make my purchases.  It’s called “Larry’s House of Cakes.”  (Larry’s my name but this is just a coincidence.)  Two days ago I had a chocolate long john and a cup of coffee in my car.  Yesterday I ate one candy bar and hide another one in the refrigerator in the garage.  Today I had a donut and coffee in my car.  I’ve hidden all kinds of sweets throughout our house.  This has added a new level of excitement to my life.  Even after my wife ends her diet, I’ll probably continue my trips to “Larry’s House of Cakes” and take a sweetie and a cup of coffee to my car. I know, I’m such a rascal.