Tag Archives: Korea

On Interior Design

17 Apr

sof93 –

I would imagine there are all types of people out there who would want to hire an interior designer. In fact, most of those would probably be men of indeterminate ages and backgrounds.

Here’s my view on this: if you’re like me and have outlived two wives, you find yourself staring at the same furniture sitting on top of the same carpet for nearly a decade. I would love to be able to do something else with it, but I just really don’t have any ideas.

The carpet was purchased during the height of shag’s popularity during the 70’s. We (my wife and I) decided that it was time to lose the bright orange that had come to define our living room and were looking for something more muted and less violently tropical.

Unfortunately, all the carpet stores were stocking the same variety of multicolored shag carpet, one which resembled a Motel 6 floor crossed with an underachieving Chia pet. But since we were in the market, we found ourselves with no other choice. It was either take home what was available and make the best of a life that would suddenly seem incredibly temporary or buckle down and spend another decade or so with our retina-searing orange magnolia pattern.

Another decade passed and we ventured out to the carpet stores yet again in hopes of finding something to replace the slightly-worn motel room floor, which had begun to attract Gideon Bible salesmen and conventioneers from across the country. Something about that dark blue mottled with multi-colored flecks seemed to make our lives (and the lives of our infrequent guests) seem transitory and budget-priced.

Things were no better in the ’80s. We headed into the Carpet Mart only to find our selection limited to black, white or black and white patterns. The salesman assured us that this was all the rage with the stock market folks and various effeminate band members. We told him that we just needed something sensible and earth-toned. Of course, we were at least a decade to soon, or we would have found ourselves wallowing in colors named after trees, geographic features and muted emotions.

We ended up taking home a basic black carpet, feeling that this would cover up most spills and possible stains. Unfortunately, our two white Persians soon turned the new carpet into an white-haired atrocity and the low pile was dense enough to defeat even the strongest vacuum cleaners of the day. (What I would have given for a Dyson in those days! Well, not the $400-$500 they’re asking for them, but definitely some sort of appreciable sum. I might even have broken out the Benjamin. We kept one in a booksafe for “emergency use only.”)

And to this day, that supposedly black carpet has remained, gazed at with a boredom that frequently borders on derision by both my cats and I. They seem to tolerate it because it highlights their fur so keenly. I tolerate it only because I know the work and expense involved would make me regret ever having taking the initiative to do anything about it.

And don’t get me started on the lamp. It’s a housewarming gift from the late ’60s and has all the discreet charm of a protest march. Its combination of pea soup green and gunmetal grey makes me yearn for a simpler time, like the period of four years where I went completely colorblind thanks to some unexploded fireworks I had stored in the garage which suddenly changed to exploded, thanks to some rather careless pipe movements on my part.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are potentially millions of people who need some help fixing the place up. I’m sure my experiences are not the exception to the rule. I’d look for some help myself but I made several promises to my late wife over the years, including the solemn oath that I would never let another woman rearrange her furniture. Or sit on her “side” of the couch. Nothing was said about the carpet, but the furniture would have to travel as far as the kitchen at least if that’s ever going to be changed.

Good luck out there.

Clifton L. Tanager


How to Love One’s Self

7 Jul

Just a note of warning: the following delves into some rather sensitive subject matter, so if your children often accompany you at the computer monitor, you may want to cover their eyes or pretend you landed at this site on accident. This week, we help Nick get a firm grip on his extracurricular activity.

Nick –

By definition, once you receive help with this, it is no longer masturbation. Plus, given your young age, anyone who tries to assist will be spending a long time around people who don’t like them and once they return to civilian life, find themselves surrounded by people who don’t like them, but are less likely to sexually assault them.

As for whether or not this will cause you to go to hell? I couldn’t say for sure. I know the boys and I read through a great deal of pornography back in our day. During our prolonged and mandatory stay at the Korean front, it was often the only female contact we had that didn’t immediately require some sort of caustic ointment or slug of antibiotics.

True, some of my compatriots would get carried away and end up with minor abrasions or carpal tunnel syndrome, but I never heard of anyone going to hell for it. I even brought it up with the local chaplain as a favor to McMichaels, who was on the receiving end of parental guilt (and cookies) with every new care package.

The chaplain took me aside and asked if it was me who was having this problem. I informed him that I was only asking for a friend of mine. I showed him my still-mobile wrists and hairless palms which seemed to settle it in his mind. He told me that there were numerous passages in the Bible that forbade all sorts of actions, from walking above 4 km/h on Saturdays to writing general correspondence in all caps.

Sure, he said, the Bible prohibits “manual override” or whatever you fellows are calling it, but it also prohibits shooting others and others shooting you. It also has given me a celibacy oath, but I’ll be darned if I’m following it here, miles away from clean water or ecumenical oversight committees. You’d be wise to just do your best to stay alive and relatively disease-free at this point. Tell McMichaels or whoever it is that you’re protecting, that all’s fair in love and war. Even self-love.

Now I know your current situation most likely does not involve random hails of gunfire or moral-free red light districts, but I would imagine you can apply these same bent rules to your life. All else being equal, if this is the worst that you get up to (pun definitely not intended) then you’ll probably end up alright.

As for your followup questions:

1. I would imagine there would be no serious damage. Just remember to pace yourself. Lubrication is also key.
2. No. Heaven’s full of them. That’s why they call it “The Happiest Ending on Earth.”

P.S. If it “feels terrible,” you’re probably doing something incorrectly.

Clifton L. Tanager

When to Get Hitched

9 Jun

Atefeh looks for some help on the best age for marriage, using a leading question and some remarkably low numbers…

Atefeh –

You’ve asked an important question, one which has stumped experts for years. If the current divorce statistics are any indication, any answer is a wrong answer.

I married my first wife when I was nineteen. We had known each other throughout high school and had worked closely together on everything from the Homecoming gym decoration committee to the “Remembering Our Homecoming King and Queen” tribute dinner the following week, which memorialized Johnny and Sarah’s last moments in life which they spent fighting off circling sharks in San Diego Bay. (The other lesson here, if there is one, is that drinking and Truth or Dare do not mix. On the other hand, drinking and skeet shooting do, which is yet another mystery of life.)

After dropping out of high school to raise our first child, my wife and I began a long and torturous road to happiness, occasionally catching vicarious glimpses of the “best years of our lives.” Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse, we had a breakthrough brought on by my draft number being called.

Soon I was off to Korea to rid the world of Communism and she was home, working just as hard to rid the kitchen of field mice. We both had unanswered questions, such as would this long-distance relationship work? and how the hell did field mice make their way six miles into the city?

As I honed my skills in the Armed Forces and my wife practiced her trap-setting, our marriage went on nearly unattended. I found myself often unable to write due to various illnesses, infections and uncomfortable rashes. My wife apparently was short on time as well, as I received letters sporadically, detailing the escalating “war at home” and various recruits who had stopped by the house to lend a hand with the field mice.

It seemed unlikely that the marriage would hold together. We were too different. Even in high school, we were polar opposites. She was voted Most Likely To Drop Out of School and Combat Field Mice and I had been voted Most Likely To Travel and Get Shot At. We were like Romeo and Juliet, if Romeo was an Army line cook with a bum, but not bum enough knee and Juliet was surrounded by contemptuous mice rather than warring families.

But in the end, it all worked out. I returned from the war somewhat worse for wear and began to start our life over again. There were some bumps in road (and mice in the cupboards) but like any journey, it started with a single step. 31 years later we were still married and bracing ourselves for oncoming grandchildren. The mice had moved on as well, consolidating their forces and heading towards the new housing developments springing up like identical weeds all around us.

So, in the end, I don’t think it matters what age you embark on this lifelong journey. What matters most is that there is a single event inextricably tying you together and field mice to join forces against. There’s no “me” in team and only one “i” in divorce. Do the math.

Clifton L. Tanager