Ronni and General Jeruzelski
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Old Horsetail Snake

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Not so long ago, Crabby Old Lady fired off a rant here about age humor - most of which displeases her either because it's offensive or just not funny. Now there is a fine, good reason to laugh out loud every day about getting older.

A newish addition to the Older Bloggers list is Old Horsetail Snake – 74-year-old Gene Maudlin by name - who blogs from Salem, Oregon about – well, let him tell it:

“I live in what is called, formally, an Assisted Living Community Center. That's a euphemism for old folks' home. There are about 60 of us, of varying ages, condition and intent (some came to live, some came to die). Our ages range from 67 to 102. The 102 is in better shape than the 67.

"'So it goes,'" as Kurt Vonnegut said, often, in Breakfast of Champions. So, this is our story, one comic or tragi-comic piece at a time. And, for the record, some of these stories are true!”

Ol’ Hoss is a damned funny old codger, a former newspaperman, and it doesn’t matter a whit whether his stories are true or not. They are the best laugh Crabby Old Lady and I get every morning – and I’m not saying that just because he’s living in my home state.

“Some people think I'm evil. But it's only because I got such good business sense. Here's what I mean:

“Today at lunch I said to Nelly Nervous: ‘If you were the administrator here, would you populate this place with more people like you, or more people like me?’

“I ask you, how does a person answer a question like that without either bragging or hurting my feelings? Can't be done, so Nelly conjured up a heart attack and died.

“I tried this on two other residents later, and they likewise expired. Everybody takes the easy way out.

“Anyway, by this time I have cost The Home $7,200 a month in income. So the administrator says to me, ‘If you'll stop that, you can live here rent-free.’

“See what I mean about having a good head for business? Hoo boy.”

Ol’ Hoss’s stories about life inside the “Way Too Old Folks’ Home” – also known as “The Home For Old Crones and Dorks” and “The Land of the Arthritic and Rheumy” among other sly epithets - are a hoot. There are new characters almost every day. People like Hazel Nutt, Zephaniah Doodoodrawer, Jed Crumpled, Rex Sagbottom and many more, but you should discover them for yourselves.

It’s a good idea, if you take to reading Ol’ Hoss regularly to not be easily offended either by his choice of language or his brand of humor:

“Today is the day the US of A observes Martin Luther King's birthday. All over the country people (including we at the Royal and Ancient Order of the Elderly) will be recalling his most famous speech:

"’I had a wet dream....’

“Or his most famous poem: "Old King Cole Slaw was...’"

Blasphemous? I don't think so. Silly, maybe, but there is lot going on at Ol' Hoss's blog of a serious nature too; he just delivers it with a good dose of salty sugar:

“Texans. Forgot yesterday to insult the Texans:

“Proud Texan to visiting Oregonian: ‘My spread is so big I can hop into my pickup, start at one end of the ranch, drive all day and never reach the other end.’

“Unimpressed Oregonian: ‘I had a pickup like that once.’

“Here in the Home for Walkers, Crutches and Scooters, I have done a survey of how racially diverse we are. Here's The Report:

My daughter tells me "fat" is not a racial category (see yesterday's posting). Too bad. We would have scored 94 percent.

“The Administrative Staff here is 100 percent Caucasoid. Not a good score. But the maintenance guy is black. I gave us 100 percent for typecasting.

“We inmates are over 90 percent pure vanilla. The lone holdout is Takiko, a Nisei (American citizen born to immigrants from Japan). Her claim to ‘fame’ is that she spent 4 years in a U.S. concentration camp (Tule Lake, California) in the 1940's. That was when, during World War II, all Japanese on the West Coast, many of them innocent farmers, were deemed a security threat, so they were rounded up and stuck in ‘internment camps.’

“Well, I should think so! These people were armed with shovels, hoes and pollination equipment. One even owned a box cutter, for Christ's sake! They easily could have overrun Fort Ord and the Alameda Air Station, threatening soldiers and sailors with smuggled-in nematodes and dung beetles. It was a close call for the US of A.

“While the Japanese extracts were penned up, their "friends" and neighbors made off with all their property. The American Way.

“A few years ago, Takiko and others like her were voted $20,000 (20k to geeks) to compensate them for their misery. Think of it, 20 grand!! Why, that was enough to pay for 8-1/2 months of room and board in The Home. Boy, did those Japanese rip us off.

“The goddamn bumble-dicking government dumb-butts (Congress) who voted for this money said it actually was more, but they had to charge the Japanese for 4 years of room and board at the internment camps. What's fair is fair.

“Takiko is a pretty, reserved, helpful, kind, friendly person. It would be well if we all were like her. Except for four years in the slammer.”

As Ol' Hoss explains it, every Sunday, the denizens of the "Home for Walkers, Crutches and Scooters" are visited by a different kind of religious practitioner. From time-to-time, he treats readers to a review of the creed in question:

"Tomorrow at The Old Folks' Home we're getting one of those Unitarian guys as our preacher. I don't know about Unitarians - they seem a little soft on religion...

"...It was a Unitarian, I believe, who said the Ten Commandments weren't really "commandments." No, he said, it was simply a True/False quiz."

Some of Hoss’s humor takes on a whistling-past-the-graveyard tone, an attitude - in his hands - the whole topic of aging could benefit from:

“It is fortitudinous that I am with you today. I tripped on a dead body outside my door in The Old Folks' Home and almost busted my kiester. It was Lydia Halfgood. I don't know why they can't clean up the dead bodies around here. They're a downright hazard...

“…Shit. I just heard a THUMP outside my door. I'll probably be trapped in here all day."

And…

“It has dawned on me that you probably don't know much about me, your chronicler of events in the House Divided Between the Sick and Sicker. Malicious, choleric, spying, lying, crotchety old sonofabitch. But enough about you...

“My doctor says I might live ten more years, or I might die tomorrow.”

Bookmark this blog, my friends, and light a candle for Ol’ Hoss’s long, long stay at “The Home of Broken Hips and Failing Minds.” We need his kind in our old age.

Comments

Ronni, if you don't stop pointing me toward good reading, I won't have time to do anything but read blogs during my allotted 24 hours each day. Thanks for the pointing and I agree with you about OHS's writing. Thanks!

You came late to a wonderful blog. I read it everyday and am grateful for the laughs - sometimes guffaws - which ensue. Everyone should make time for Snake!

What a gem! Such a wit. I must say that I rarely take offence at age humour - surely it's 99% generated by perceptive oldies themselves.

Oh Thanks Ronni for sharing the "Old Horsetail Snake" blog, already added to my list. What a hoot!!! My mom lived in one of these assisted living complexes her last years, and Gene's stories sure remind me of some of the goings on there - and there were some old codgers there also who were a hoot. One lady, Irene, who was my Mom's best friend and 20 years older than her at 94, was one of them - oh the stories she would tell!! These older folks are just full of such GEMS it's too bad we couldn't get more of them down on paper before Gene hears another "thump" outside his door. Ha!

Hilarious. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog. It makes mine seem tired and miserable! Tom

As if I didn't have enough blogs to read! ;) Thanks for pointing to it though, it's really great fun.

Hoss is a hoot, isn't he?

Oh, isn't he fantastic? I love that old Hoss. We trade stories on NH life as I was a rehab director in one for three years. I am a PT by day, writer by night between raising uniquely funny children and marriage to a giant. Come see me sometime for thought candy and meaningless humor. Oh, I do give great shoulder rubs too.

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