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Gaggle of Scavengers

There’s no more ominous sign than looking out your window to the sight of a flock of buzzards on your front lawn. Good morning, Gaggle of Scavengers. In the grass, on the road, perched on neighbors’ roofs. I counted 29. I started to wonder if I was dying. Aggravating those fears, I looked up in the sky, the one place I’d forgotten to check, and another 50 or more were circling above. And those were even harder to count. They don’t fly in a “V” or circle in the same direction—that many would have started a tornado.

I’m still alive. I think. Is this a dream, maybe? I’m waiting for a man with a sickle to show up at the door. Maybe a large bell tolling while I answer it. I think I’ll take that hint.

I know they aren’t hunters, like the predatory pterodactyl. But I work in an RV camper. What if they’re on my roof? 30 avian beasts on my roof would collapse the ceiling for sure. Then knocked unconscious, they’d see flesh wounds and rip me apart. I’m glad they eat dead things. Not unconscious things like a boa would do. Otherwise that’s just vicious.

Nosy Merritt Islandian: “So I heard Brent died. What happened? Did the bottle finally take him?”
Gossipy Merritt Islandian: “Oh, yeah. He’s dead. But he got picked apart by Vultures. They don’t normally hunt, but they happened to injure him and finished him off. And he was wearing black flip-flops with brown shorts.”

Well, I can see they’re fighting over what’s either a small mammal or large amphibian, maybe a frog. But 29 buzzards plus 50 reinforcements overhead? WHAT IS DYING?! Do Buzzards even eat amphibians? Maybe they’re omnivores and that Old Oak Tree has finally photosynthesized its last CO2 molecule.

I’ve had a bad cough for the past week. But I just thought it was an upper respiratory infection (Thanks for ingraining that rampant medical diagnosis into my vocabulary, Nurse Molly.). Maybe I have the Black Lung, Pop.

A kid just rode by on his bike (bet he’s wishing he didn’t skip today). I pictured one of those Disney cartoons where a lonely armadillo is walking by himself in the desert or something and dozens of buzzards line up on opposite sides of the road along his way to taunt him. All creepy and smart-alec-like.

I guess sicking vultures on absent kids is one way to stifle truancy.

One thing’s for sure. I’m not leaving work anytime soon.


Weight Watchers

So much goes into watching one's weight. Cardboard cookies, freezer-burnt rice clumps, and broth-flavored tofu can really take it out of you. Quite literally, in the case of some low-cal alternatives to existing God-made products like sugar; see sugar alchohols. And the tedious counting of calories and checking of labels is only good for those of us who thrive on checking and rechecking as it is; see my OCD. Then there's exercise, which most of us count walking to the kitchen to grab the Ben & Jerry's from the fridge as part of our 20 minute daily assignment. Then we walk to the car for work, and back from the car to the house at the end of the day. To the bathroom, and back to the desk. Getting out of bed in the morning, brushing our teeth, calling our mom on the cell. All of this exerts energy and burns calories. And it probably totals close to 20 minutes. But that's not enough. We have to remember how many miles we've walked, how many sweat beads have formed, how much blood we've shed, how many tears have fallen.

And lastly, but not the least exhausting, we actually watch our weight. We weigh ourselves. On scales.


In the morning, before we shower.

After we shower.

As if we could possibly have lost a whole pound in the 10 minutes we were grooming ourselves. We're not lathering up in saunas or jacuzzis. Then we go and eat a big meal and check again. "Why'd I add that last dehydrated blueberry?"

Publix, the supermarket of ageful people in Florida, has a life-sized scale at the entrance. It's big enough to fit the back-end of an elephant. It might be a tight squeeze, but it'd fit. I guess they didn't want to discriminate. But that raises an interesting dilemna for that one person who actually is still too big to even fit on this scale. What are his thoughts when he sees the giant scale? "One day, I'm going to lose enought weight to get on that thing..."

I'm a jerk.

All Publix(es?)(Publii?) stores have these scales too. But none are remotely close in their estimation of your weight. In Kilos or Pounds. Right now, if you asked my weight, I could confidently answer: 150-175 lbs. Depending on city and state. Maybe the elevation plays a factor. At least between here and Mt. Kilamanjaro's Publix.

So of course you pick the same Publix every time you shop, their way of bringing you back as a "regular." Instead of lowering prices which hurts their bottom line, they recalibrate their scales and lower your bottom line. It's ingenious, really. But I don't understand why there's such a wide discrepancy between stores. Maybe the Publix with the highest volume of sales for the quarter has to have the most accurate readings, something that can measure the difference between a mol of NaCl and mol of HCl. And those stores who suffer with meeting sales goals get to shed the unwanted pounds off their customers.

Needless to say, I too, go to the same Publix every time I shop. I found the Publix in the weight class I like. I like being a Bantamweight. Much less embarrassing than Featherweight.

Or Heavyweight, for that matter.