Dracula vs. the Scots

“I walk around talking to myself in accents.  Usually people look at me like I’m a complete fruit loop.”         –Eddie Redmayne

“I walk around talking to myself like a vampire.  Usually I don’t leave the house.” –Jeff Brown

“I wish I could talk with a cool accent.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Jeff, you do a pretty good Count Dracula.”

My wife and I were sitting on the couch watching TV.  Vickie grinned and said, “Go ahead, I know you’re dying to say it.”

“Say what?”

“You know what I’m talking about.”

“I’m not in the mood.”

“Come on, say it.”

She was right.  I was dying to say it.  I was dying to say, “Good evening.  I’ve come to drink your blood.”  Believe it or not, I can say those two sentences with a pretty convincing Transylvanian accent, but that’s about it.  My name is Jeff Brown, not Jeff Dunham. 

“No,” I replied with my best wily grin, “I’m too embarrassed.”

“Yeah, right.” She scoffed.

“To get a really good accent, I need to immerse myself in one.  You know, maybe get some tapes to listen too when I’m driving.”

“Do they make a Rosetta Stone for Vampires?” 

“I don’t know, but if there is one, you should put it on my Christmas list.”  

Interesting Fact: In today’s globally integrated and multicultural business environment, the ability to speak like a vampire is becoming a key factor in individual and organizational success.

Speaking of accents, I’m from Iowa, so I don’t really think I have one.  My wife is from Indiana.  Our cultural differences occasionally rear their ugly heads when she pronounces with prominence a syllable within a word or phrase to a degree that I don’t understand what the heck she’s talking about.  For instance, I call the meal at the end of the day “supper.”  She insists it’s pronounced “dinner.” 

“That’s impossible,” I say, “because dinner is what I eat in the middle of the day.”

“Ridiculous,” she counters, “because where I’m from, that’s called lunch.”

“Lunch and dinner are the same thing,” I insist.  “Supper happens in the evening.”

“I don’t eat this thing you call “supper”, Jeff.”

“Well, I don’t eat dinner at night.”

“Then I’m afraid you’re going to bed hungry, dear.”

If I want to improve my popularity with the wife, I should let her have her lunch and eat it too.  Yes, I should let go of my use of the word “supper” and practice my Scottish accent instead.  She’s mentioned Scottish accents are “hot.”  In particular, she likes Gerard Butler’s accent, although I’m not sure she’d feel the same if he spoke with a Swedish accent. 

On second thought…never mind.

This whole situation is made even more disturbing by her recent revelation that she likes a man in a kilt.

Another Interesting Fact:  I’m thinking about scrapping Jeff of all Trades for The Kilted Columnist.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, I was straining to keep an accent-related theme going for another 30 words or so.

Since it’s unlikely you’ll see me hanging out in the kilt aisle at JC Penney anytime soon, the least I could do is watch some Gerard Butler movies, you know, to brush up on his speech mannerisms.  I suppose there are worst things to do than staying up late watching 300.  Who knows?  Maybe by morning I’ll have a new line I can impress my wife with.

Spartans!  Ready your breakfast and eat hearty…For tonight, we dine in hell!

On second thought, maybe I’ll stick with …

Good evening.  I’ve come to drink your blood.

Cauliflower Fields Forever

“I can resist anything except temptation.”– Oscar Wilde

“I can resist anything except green bean casserole.”– Jeff Brown

“Where’s the cauliflower?” I asked my wife, scooting around a corner with our cart.

“It’s in the fruits and vegetables section.”

We were at the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.  Vickie and I were entrusted to prepare the broccoli and cauliflower cheesy dish.  This was all fine with me, but I had mixed feelings about our mission.  In years past, I was in charge of the beloved green-bean casserole.  (A.K.A. Food of the Gods.)  This year somebody else was baking it (I hoped) and we were entering uncharted territory with a vegetable I had little experience with.   

“What kind of cauliflower are we looking for, Vick?”  My mind kicked into full smart alec mode and I gestured toward the cauliflower display.  “Let’s see, we have natural cauliflower, low calorie cauliflower, sugar free cauliflower, gluten free cauliflower, classic cauliflower, new improved cauliflower, caramel cauliflower, and my all-time favorite: movie theater butter cauliflower.”

Vickie picked through the heads.  “Here’s organic cauliflower for $2.94 and white cauliflower for $2.18.”  She picked up a green head.  “This one is $2.99.”

Interesting fact: Four out of five people who enjoy cauliflower recommend organic cauliflower to their friends who eat cauliflower.

“We’re getting the white stuff,” she said as she put one of the oddly shaped vegetables in our cart.

“Wait, Vick.”  I said in the most concerned tone I could muster, “Is this free-range cauliflower?  I won’t buy any vegetable, especially a brainy one like cauliflower, unless it’s been treated humanely.”

She rolled her eyes.

“I think it’s important the heads were allowed to roam the farm freely, unencumbered by fences.”

“I don’t know, Jeff.”

Another interesting fact:  Whenever Vickie uses my first name in a sentence, I know I’m getting on her nerves.

I wondered where cauliflower comes from.  Trees?  Cauliflower bushes?  An old familiar tune popped into my head…

Let me take you down, ‘cause I’m going to Cauliflower Fields

Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.

Except they look like cerebrums, I thought, as I maneuvered into the checkout line. 

On Thanksgiving morning, I chopped up the broccoli and threw it in a pot of water.  Then I was ready to perform the lobotomy.  I rinsed the brain off in the sink and set it on a cutting board.  I glanced at Vick who was busy making deviled eggs.  “I’m ready to make my first incision.”

She shook her head.

“I’ll start by completely removing the frontal lobe,” I explained.  Then I chopped.  “Wow that felt really satisfying.  I think I’ll chop some more.”   Chop, chop, chop…

“Hey, Vick.”

“Yes, Jeff.”

“Do you know whose brain this is?”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s Abby…someone.  Abby Normal.”

She shook her head.


Pretty soon the broccoli and cauliflower were steamed to perfection.  I dumped it all in the crock-pot and Vick added her cheese sauce.  It looked and smelled pretty good.

A couple hours later we were at my sister’s house for the big meal.  As I loaded up my plate, I took some of the broccoli and cauliflower.  Everyone else did too.  Our dish was such a hit I’m thinking about taking on more responsibility next year.  Heck, maybe I’ll even prepare the turkey.

As long as it’s a free-range one.

I Got Your Back

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” –Satchel Paige

“Don’t look back.  Something might be drooling on you.” –Jeff Brown

Our dog, Arlo, sleeps between my wife and me at night.  It goes without saying that I never lie facing in, so I don’t get a lot of variety, sleep position speaking.

My flight to dreamland usually begins with me lying on my left side.  Every night as I try to drift off, Arlo puts his paw on my right shoulder.  Instead of going unconscious, my mind focuses like a laser beam on the weight of his paw.  I imagine Arlo standing behind me, posed like George Washington crossing the Delaware River.

Yeah, I don’t get a lot of sleep either.

I don’t dare turn around to see what he’s up to; otherwise it’s like a scene from Jurassic Park.

Dr. Grant:  Keep absolutely still; his vision’s based on movement.

Jeff:  Don’t be ridiculous.  I’m just going to turn my head to— OH MY GOD!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my pathetic life, it’s never make direct eye contact with Arlo, especially if I’m lying in bed.  Somewhere in his tiny canine brain, he interprets “eye contact” as “unrequited love.”

Interesting Fact:  Arlo has a tongue and he’s not afraid to use it.

The assault on my personal space begins with steamy breathing in my ear.  He moans softly as he licks the back of my neck.  Then, like an awkward teenager, he goes for first base.  I push him back and say sternly, “Arlo!  I’m not in the mood.”

Like a lover scorned, he retreats to somewhere behind me.   Finally, as I start to drift off, he vengefully jabs his paw into the middle of my back.

Arlo:  Freeze!  Hand over all your peanut butter flavored Mini Bones.

Then my backside endures a barrage of bumps, kicks, and jabs and I imagine him as a masseuse.

Customer #1:  I feel so relaxed.

Customer #2:  His paws are magic, but I wish I brought my lint roller.

The dog often uses my back as a manicure table when I’m in bed.  It’s annoying when he chews his toes, tugging and licking them until my t-shirt feels damp.

Jeff:  Arlo, your nails look amazing.  What’s your secret?

Arlo:  Spit.  It softens claws as you chew on them.

Jeff:  That’s disgusting.

Arlo:  You’re soaking in it.

Finally, I can’t stand it anymore and I get out of bed.  I head to the kitchen pantry and throw open the door.  There, on the bottom shelf is my secret weapon…

A genuine basted beef hide wraps a savory middle that sends your dog to his own little busy world.

At least that’s what the manufacturer claims on the package.  I grab one and head back to the bedroom.  Guess who’s in my spot?  I toss the smelly baton-shaped turd to the foot of the bed.  Arlo gleefully lunges for it and I climb back in.

“What’s going on?” asks my wife, rubbing her eyes.  “You woke me up.”

“Nothing,” I grunt.  “Go back to sleep.”

A minute later I feel the dog crawl up behind me and put his paw on my shoulder.  It’s almost like he’s saying, “I know you’re having a tough time, Jeff, but I want you to know I’m here for you.

I got your back.”

I am Antenna Man

Yeah, I built that.

“To achieve, you need thought.  You have to know what you are doing and that’s real power.”  –Ayn Rand

“To achieve, you need thought.  You have to know how to build an antenna out of bread and paper towel rolls and that’s real power.” –Jeff Brown

Whenever my wife leaves the house for more than a few hours, she turns the TV on for our pets.  She claims it helps the critters feel less lonely when we’re gone.  (Apparently they enjoy bad sci-fi movies and Say Yes to the Dress marathons.)

Of course, I think leaving the TV on all day for the pets is silly because everyone knows that animals prefer to listen to the radio.  Besides, the dog and one of the cats are dudes.  I can’t imagine either one of them caring if Kelly chooses the Column Sweetheart Court Train Chiffon or the Mermaid Strapless Taffeta.

Interesting Fact:  It scares me that I know the difference.

Another Interesting Fact: Okay, I really don’t.  I googled wedding dresses and wrote down the first two that popped up.  I swear I’m telling the truth.

I always try my best to give our pets the listening variety they deserve.  Every morning before I leave for work, I flip on the radio in the kitchen and ask the dog, “So, Arlo, what do you feel like today, conservative talk radio?” 

Then I ask the cats, “What do you want Lacy, some NPR?  How about you, Shadow, a little bit of country, a little bit of rock and roll?”

My only problem is the radio gets poor reception.  It’s one of those radio/cd player combos that’s bolted underneath the cupboard.  The reception is especially poor for my favorite AM talk station.  One day when I was fiddling with it, I noticed the reception was better as long as I touched it.  As soon as I let go, there was annoying static.  I immediately thought I’ve finally discovered my superpower.


And with great power comes great responsibility.  I couldn’t just stand there all day leaning against the radio so the animals could listen to Rush Limbaugh.  I had to go to work because pet food doesn’t grow on trees.  Then, I got an idea. 

I grabbed a nearby loaf of bread and held it up to the radio.  The reception improved.  When I took it away, the static returned.  I tried the same procedure with a box of Pop-Tarts. 

FYI:  Wonder Cottage Bread is way better at picking up radio signals than Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts.     

What I needed to do was somehow strap the loaf to the radio.  I briefly considered using duct tape, but I knew I was out.  (For some reason it seems like I’m always out of duct tape.)  Then I got another idea.

I scooted the paper towel dispenser underneath the radio and placed the loaf on top.  It didn’t quite reach, so I grabbed a nearby box of cereal bars and jammed it underneath the stack.  The result was the loaf of bread was held perfectly against the bottom of the radio and I was pretty pleased with myself.  That is until I let go.


I slumped my shoulders and looked at the herd of critters that had gathered at my feet.  “Well,” I said, “I’m out of ideas.  What do you guys think?”

Lacy: I think Kelly should go with the Sweetheart Court Train Chiffon.

Shadow: Definitely the Mermaid Taffeta.

Arlo: What’s on the Syfy channel?

The Trials, Tribulations, and Spam of an Obscure Blogger

“I don’t care too much for money, for money can’t buy me love.”  –The Beatles

“I don’t care too much for money, for money can’t buy me comments like I get from Zssjccvmm.”   –Jeff Brown

I hear it all the time.  “So, Jeff, how’s the writing going?”

It’s a question I dread because I know it’s loaded.  The person usually isn’t wondering if I’m feeling inspired or if I’ve gotten over the dangling participle problems of my youth.  (FYI: I’m completely cured.  It’s amazing what modern drugs and a little elective surgery can fix.)  More often than not, what the person really wants to know is this: Am I making money with my writing?

The answer is no.    

I try not to let it get me down by reminding myself that money isn’t everything.  The real reason I write is because it makes me happy, although I cringe a little when I say that.  I feel the same way when I hear an American Idol judge ask a contestant, “Did you have fun up there?”

Another big motivator for me to keep writing in this modern age of the Internet and Flex Seal (It’s actually liquid rubber in a can.) is the comment section of my blogs.  Here’s an example of the type of comments I usually get.  This particularly inspiring message is from a guy named Louis:

You are in reality a good webmaster.  The web site loading speed is amazing.  It kind of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick.  The contents are masterpiece.  You’ve done a magnificent process in this matter!

Thanks Louis!  You’re so kind.  Here’s a comment from one of my international readers, at least I think he is because I can’t pronounce his name.  Zssjccvmm says in response to a column I wrote about turning a cow skull into a light fixture:

If you are comfortable with the idea, try loading a few of the items that you have in your current diaper bag into the new one to see how it all fits.  Everything that you need should be able to fit into it comfortably and should leave enough space so that you can reach anything you need without having to unpack the whole bag.

Thanks Zssjccvmm!  I’ll keep that in mind. 

Of course, not all of my readers are positive.  When I get a negative comment, I at least hope it includes some constructive criticism like this one from Vohyri:

Obviously like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts.  Many of them a rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the truth on the other hand I will certainly come again again.

Thanks a lot, Vohyri, but don’t bother.

The weird thing about most of my comments is it seems they were written by people who didn’t even read my columns.  This saddens me because what good is it to be a writer if nobody is reading my stuff?  

Again, I have to remind myself that I don’t write columns to get comments from people that don’t read them.  I write columns for the people who do actually read them, but never leave comments. 

These are my fans.  These are my people!

Every once in a while, though, I’ll get a response like this:

I just wanted to say that you are great and the cow head light bulb fixture is a great idea.

When I read this it made my day.  Here’s a person who not only read my cow head column; he actually felt inspired enough to write a comment too.  (It also heartened me to know there’s somebody else out there who shares my taste in home décor.)

What does this mean? 

It means I can’t wait for somebody to ask me again how the writing is going.  I’ll look the questioner in the eye and say truthfully, “It’s going pretty good– you might even say great.”

One of my avid readers agrees.

Impotent gentlemen never had it so good…


Special Note: If you’d like to read Jeff’s column in your local paper, be sure to share your enthusiasm with the editor.  Thanks!

It’s the Story of a Lovely Volcano

“I feel like a person living on the brink of a volcano crater.”  –Agnes Smedley

“I feel like a person living at the base of a live volcano.”   –Jeff’s Plastic Army Man

As back to school season goes into full swing, I feel myself getting that old familiar dread.  Don’t make me go back, Mom!

Not that I have to.  I’m 42 years old and haven’t attended classes for quite a long while.  Every year at this time when the air gets cooler and shopping carts fill with essentials like erasable bond typing paper and Dukes of Hazzard Trapper Keepers, I get a little nostalgic.  Summer is my season and I hate to see it end. 

Like most normal people, I still associate summertime with my early childhood.  You know, doing all the normal things kids like to do– playing hide and go seek until dark, spinning on merry-go-rounds until I couldn’t see straight, and building Brady Bunch inspired volcanoes in my back yard. 

I’m referring to episode #76: “Today I Am a Freshman.”   This show features Peter’s science project volcano spewing “lava” all over his sister and friends.   Here’s a 48 second clip:   


Is this great TV or what?  Keep in mind the scene was filmed in 1972, long before computer generated special effects.  Every time I watch it, strong feelings get stirred up deep inside me.  I mean, did you see the smoke?   Did you see the lava?

Did you see the short outfits those girls were wearing? 

Okay, to be honest, I didn’t notice the girls so much when I was a little kid.  Now that I’m older, I have even more appreciation of the clip, but I’m getting off topic.  Where was I?  Oh yeah– the volcano.

I spent hours as a child wondering how it worked.  The volcano was obviously electrical, but what caused the smoke?  Did Peter use dry ice?  Was there some sort of lava pump hidden under the table?  As I looked around my bedroom strewn with Pick-Up Sticks and old Tinker Toys, I knew I’d never be able to replicate the TV volcano exactly.  I didn’t have the proper equipment, but that didn’t stop me from trying.  I had my own ideas.

It’s the story, of a lovely volcano…

Mt. Jeffuvious was a magnificent sight to behold.  (To be more specific, I distinctly remember thinking it looked “keen.”)   It stood about two feet high and was constructed from sticks I poked into the ground in a circular pattern.  The skeleton frame looked like a tipi, except the sticks didn’t meet at the top.  Instead, there was a gaping hole I referred to as “the caldera of destruction.”  The whole thing was covered with a thick layer of mud and dirt and the result was a realistic looking mini-volcano.  I filled the inside with dry grass and leaves.

Mt. Jeffuvious, I speculated, had been dormant for 100,000 years.  After all this time, the magma chamber was filled to the brim and she was about to blow.  It was too bad for the villagers living at the base of the mountain.  They were a peace-loving race of plastic army men that drove to work every day in their Tonka vehicles. 

Interesting fact:  One of the villagers drove a Spiderman car.

Sadly for the unsuspecting citizens, their time on this planet was nearly up. 

Jeff the fire god lit a piece of paper on fire with some matches he found in his dad’s garage and threw it in the caldera.  He laughed maniacally, “Hahahaha!”

Villager #1: Did you hear that?

Villager #2: You mean that weird laughing coming from the heavens?

Villager #3: Legend has it that maniacal laughter from the sky means Jeff the fire god is acting without parental supervision again.  We’re doomed.

Flames erupted briefly and white smoke belched out the top.  The volcano looked, well…keen.  Peter Brady, I thought, eat your heart out. 

Then my dad showed up.  He glared at me and ordered,   “Put that fire out right now, Jeff, before you burn yourself!”

Villager #1: Who was that?

Villager #2: The god of punishment.

Villager #3: We’re saved!  When he cools off, I sure hope he buys Jeff a Dukes of Hazzard General Lee.  One of the wheels fell off the Spiderman car. 

Unfortunately for the mighty Mt. Jeffuvious, irresistible forces of nature such as plate tectonics, erosion, and my dad’s shovel completely leveled the once majestic peak.  It only exists today as a memory– a sweet summertime memory from my youth.  Yeah, there’s no doubt about it: summer vacation is the best time of the year.

Unless, of course, you’re an army man living at the base of an active volcano.

Villager #1: Did you hear that?

Villager #2: It sounded like a school bell.

Villager #3: Music to my tiny plastic ears.

Down and Out

“Boxing is just show business with blood.”                           -Bruno Frank

“Housework is just boxing with dog poop.”                          -Jeff Brown

Announcer:  Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the main event.  In the red corner, sporting a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner and roll of paper towels is Jeff “Steamin’ Mad at Dirt” Brown.  In the blue corner, weighing 24 pounds and completely covered with white fur, is his wife’s dog, the American Eskimo “I’m too Old to Have Control Over My Intestinal Track” Traveler.

(The bell rings.)

Traveler:  (Wanders into the living room.)

Jeff:  (Turns off vacuum.)  Do you need to go outside, boy?  (Picks Traveler up and takes him out.)

Announcer:  Jeff is off to an explosive start.  He took Traveler completely by surprise with his fancy footwork.  Traveler is in for a tough fight.

Jeff:  Stay here until you’ve done your business.

Traveler:  Where am I?

Jeff:  Don’t come to the door until you’re done.  Do you hear me?

Traveler:  There’s that mumbling again.  What the- how did I get outside?

Announcer:  Although it’s still early, Jeff appears to be dominating the match.  Traveler isn’t keeping up with all of Jeff’s bobbing and weaving.  He’d better wake up soon or he risks going down.

Traveler:  I have to get back inside.  Where’s the house?  (Turns around and paces in the yard.)

Jeff:  (Watching Traveler from the window.)  Good grief, that dog takes forever to do nothing.  I have work to do.  (Resumes vacuuming.)

Announcer:  It looks like Jeff has backed off.  I’m not sure what Jeff’s strategy is, but this might be Traveler’s chance to get back in the fight.

Traveler:  (Bumps into the front step.)  That’s what I’m looking for.  (He climbs up the step and scratches at the front door.)

Jeff:  (Shuts vacuum off and hears a faint scraping.)  Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about the dumb dog.  (Opens the door.)

Traveler:  (Races back into the house and poops on the carpet.)

Announcer:  I can’t believe this folks!  In an amazing turn of events, Traveler counter-punched Jeff and he’s down on the canvas.

Referee:  (Standing over Jeff.)  One…Two…Three…

Announcer: Jeff’s getting up, but he’s clearly dazed by that powerful blow.

Jeff:  You dumb dog!  Why didn’t you poop outside?  (Grabs Traveler and carries him back out the door.)

Announcer:  They’re in a clinch, but the referee ordered them to break.

Jeff:  (Sets the dog down in the grass and lightly swats him on the butt.)  Stay out here and think about what you did!  (Goes back inside.)

Announcer:  Uh-oh, Jeff got warned for hitting Traveler below the belt.

Traveler:  What the- how did I get back outside?

Jeff:  (Tears off half a roll of paper towels and carefully picks up the turds.)  That dog makes me so mad.  I’ll show him who’s the boss.  (Grabs a leash and goes back outside.  He hooks Traveler’s collar.)

Announcer:  Jeff certainly has roared back to life in this barnburner.  Traveler is on the ropes!

Jeff:  (Tugs on the leash.)  Let’s go for a walk, Traveler.

Traveler:  Hold on, big guy, I have to pee first.

Jeff:  Not on the sidewalk!

Traveler:  (Stands in the puddle for a moment, then walks back and forth through it.)

Announcer:  Traveler is raining down a powerful combination of punches on Jeff.  There’s a left jab followed by a right hook.  Jeff’s taking a beating, but somehow holding on.

Jeff:  I can’t believe you, dog.  Come on dummy, let’s go back inside.  (Unhooks the leash.)

Traveler:  I’m hungry.  It’s time for a treat.  (Runs to the kitchen and begins barking by the pantry.)

Jeff:  (Following Traveler.)  No way, dog, you’re not getting any treats from me.  You’ve been a bad boy.

Traveler:  I need a tasty treat.  (Wanders out of the kitchen and down the hall.)

Jeff:  (Begins cleaning the dishes.)  I swear all that dog is good for is making messes.  (Hears a loud thud from the other room.)  Oh, no.

Announcer:  Traveler has turned out to be a real brawler in this fight.  Jeff’s speed and agility are no match for this dog’s raw power.

Jeff:  (Drops a dish and runs down the hall with his hands dripping.)  Oh, no!

Announcer:  Kaboom!  Traveler creamed Jeff’s jaw with a right hook.  It looks like Jeff is going down again.

Traveler:  Here’s my yummy snack.  (He grabs a treat with his teeth and drops it on the carpet.)

Jeff:  Get out of the cat’s litter box you numskull!

Announcer: Jeff has kissed the canvass!

Referee:  One…Two…Three…

Traveler:  (Stumbles and spills litter everywhere.)

Referee:  Four…Five…Six…

Jeff:  (Drops to his knees.)  Why?   (He looks at the ceiling and throws his hands in the air.)  Why?

Announcer: I don’t think Jeff is getting up.

Referee:  Seven…Eight…Nine…Ten.

(Bell Rings.)

Announcer:  There you have it folks.  Jeff is down and out and Traveler is the new champion of the house.

Traveler:  Where am I?

Male Bonding with the Cat

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford  

“My best friend is the one who cleans out my litter box.” – Waterfall 

Let me start this column by declaring my unconditional love for my cat, Waterfall. Although I never really considered myself to be much of an animal person before Waterfall came along, it’s amazing to me how attached I’ve become to the little cretin over the years. And as in all the other relationships in my life, it’s the little things that matter most to me.

I love the way Waterfall purrs when I rub his tummy. I love the way he hops up on the coffee table and gets in my way when I’m trying to watch TV. I positively loved it this morning when he puked right in front of me on the coffee table as I attempted to eat a bowl of Golden Grahams.

Hairballs are a small price to pay for such a luxurious coat. Waterfall has the longest, shiniest, most beautiful black and white fur you’ve ever seen on a cat. People come up to me all the time and say, “That’s the longest, shiniest, most beautiful black and white fur I’ve ever seen on a cat. What’s his secret?”

Filled with the pride usually only reserved for the owners of show cats, I smile and say, “Frontline. It works wonders.”

If the cat looks so darned handsome covered with fur, then everything should look terrific covered with the stuff. That’s what I always say. Well, not really, but you’d think so if you ever came over to my house. I have the handsomest couch, carpet, and kitchen counters you’ve ever seen.

Waterfall and I have a give and take relationship. I give him food and shelter, and he takes drinks directly from the kitchen faucet with his tongue. We’re there for each other too—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Waterfall instinctively knows that if he’s hungry or scared (when I say “hungry or scared” I mean “bored”) that he can come into my bedroom at 2:30 in the morning and meow incessantly until I get up and run some water into the bathroom sink for him. (I recently discovered that he’ll leave me alone if I do this. I don’t know why. I don’t think I want to.)

Imagine this…

It’s early in the morning and you’re awakened by classical music coming from the bathroom radio. You get up, shuffle down the hall, and fling open the bathroom door. You’re shocked to see Waterfall reclining in the sink with a shower cap on. There are soapsuds everywhere and an empty bottle of Frontline: Bubblebath for Cats is lying on its side on the floor. Waterfall shoots you an annoyed look and says, “Do you mind?”

Waterfall is there for me too. Why just the other day when I was carrying in a heavy load of groceries from the car, Waterfall came right over to me and got as close as he could to my feet. It was almost as if he was trying to say, “Do you need any help, Jeff? If you do, I’m right here, right next to your feet, as close as I possibly can get to them. Hey, watch where you’re stepping!”

I wish Waterfall could speak. It gives me goose bumps when I think about all the male bonding we could accomplish.

Jeff: (Gets up off the couch and heads down the hall)

Waterfall: Hey, Jeff. (Hops on the coffee table) While you’re in the bathroom, do you mind if I take a drink directly from your water glass with my tongue?

Jeff: (Voice from down the hall.) No, not at all. Go right ahead buddy.

Waterfall: While I’m at it do you mind if I dip my filthy litter-encrusted toes into your glass? It would be so refreshing.

Jeff: Be my guest.

Waterfall: Oh, would you like a little pet dander in your bowl of popcorn?

Jeff: That would be just dandy!

Waterfall: I love you man.

Jeff: (Comes back into the living room and points at the cat with both hands.) No, no, no. I love you!

The Big Four Oh…

“Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.” – Jim Fiebig 

“Age and possible lactose intolerance don’t diminish the extreme disappointment I have if a scoop of ice cream falls from the cone.”                   – Jeff Brown

So, I turned 40 recently. Yep, the big four oh, I’m getting old. (If you feel sorry for me and would like to send a card or present, it’s not too late.) Somebody asked me if I felt any different after reaching this milestone (translation: do you feel rustier, stiffer, achy, or just plain like crap?). I shook my head and replied in the wisest, most authoritative, most age appropriate 900 year old Yoda-like tone I could muster, “State of mind, age is. Hmmmmmm.”

I suppose if that were really true, I’d be about 10 years old. I still like dinosaurs, the space program, old cars, pizza, and ice cream. Too bad I’ve reached the big four oh, my aching stomach! For the last year or so I’ve been experiencing on and off again intestinal discomfort (I’ll spare you the details). According to my doctor, as we age sometimes people who have never had problems with milk or dairy products (translation: anything that makes me go “yum.”) may suddenly develop lactose intolerance.

I still don’t know if I have it or not, (I’m being tested) but I’m worried this might be the first domino. Lactose intolerance today, the big four oh, pass me another incontinence diaper tomorrow. Speaking of incontinence, I recently saw a TV commercial promoting the fact that Medicare will now pay for up to 200 brand new clean catheters a month. This apparently is great news for a lot of folks and it makes me wonder how far away I am from reaching the big four oh, I’m so excited because I hit the catheter jackpot!

Where was I? Please forgive me if this column meanders and doesn’t make sense. I have a good excuse because I’ve reached the big four oh, I can’t remember what I was talking about. Doctors say this is closely related to the big four oh, I can’t find my car keys and the big four oh, honey, where’s the new tube of Preparation H? 

It’s not a cure, but I think I’ve found an effective treatment for the big four oh, my aching back and the big four oh, is it cold in here or is it just me? It’s my seed corn pillow. (As the name implies, it’s a pillow with seed corn in it.) Although it’s not related to dinosaurs and it doesn’t have a creamy filling, I love it because you can heat it up in the microwave and it will stay warm for a long time. I pop mine in for three minutes and take it to bed with me during the winter. I place it on, under, or near whatever body part happens to be aching. What I really need is a seed corn mattress, but I’m not sure how to heat it.

My wife is a little younger than I am. (I’m not going into any more detail because I’d like to live to see my next birthday.) Despite this, I think she’s already reached the big four oh, it’s so late I think I’m going to bed. This happens nearly every evening about 8:30 PM. When I point this out to her, she insists that she’s never really been a night person.

If I was younger, I might use this as an opportunity to tease my wife, but at my age I’m older and wiser and, did I mention older? As Yoda would say, “It is smart to provoke your wife not. Yes, hmmm.”

Besides, after having officially reached 40, I’m too tired to defend myself at 8:30 PM- it’s way past my bedtime.