In which I almost died but I didn’t so it’s funny instead

The shower in our bathroom is a two-piece affair, with an overhead rainwater-style showerhead and a second handheld one that’s mounted on a grab bar and fully adjustable. I generally keep both running for the entire time I’m showering, and the handheld gets used as a handheld quite a bit as well, because I am a fat man and as a fat man I have nooks and crannies and such a thing makes the whole hygiene process a lot more complete. There’s also a bench in the shower, which technically was put in there to be sat on but which I mostly use as a way to make my feet and legs easier to wash.

Well, today I was finishing that process up and managed to somehow drop the wand, and a lot of things went wrong very quickly. The first thing I did was to look straight down, as one might expect from someone who had just dropped something. Unfortunately, and I don’t think I could have done this again if my life depended on it, I managed to drop the thing in such a way that it landed pointing directly up. Which means that, while balancing semi-precariously on one foot, I dropped the shower head, started a little bit at the loud noise when it hit the tile floor, had time to think oh, shit, I hope I didn’t break anything, then looked down, to be surprised by a rather intense blast of water coming up from the floor and directly into my face.

Telling this story, I feel like it shouldn’t have surprised me to get water in my face while showering, but the direction was unexpected, y’know? You don’t expect the floor to spray you when you’re showering, unless you’re in a much more complicated shower than I was in.

And my surprised reaction to that led directly to being flat on my ass in the shower a second or two later, wondering what the hell had just happened. I then, in rapid succession, went from ow to did I break anything to did I break part of the shower to it would be super to explain what had happened if I’d landed on the shower head, because no one would ever believe that story, ever.

And that led to a mental apology to my wife, because if I had managed to break a bone on the way down– I’m not quite old enough to be worried about breaking a hip in a fall or anything but who the hell knows– my son was in the house but it was going to be several hours until he noticed he hadn’t seen me in a while, and my phone wasn’t going to be reachable without crawling across the shower, and one way or another there is no way I’m allowing any EMTs in the bathroom with me until I’ve managed to put some underwear on, which was also not especially reachable, so I’d probably have just decided to die instead.

But none of that happened, so I thought Okay, there’s today’s blog post sorted, dragged myself up to my feet and finished my shower.

The end.

On Nazis and pregnancies, but not at the same time

I’ve been playing Sniper Elite 5 on the PlayStation 5 lately, because setting the difficulty to something obscenely low and shooting Nazis in the face from a hundred yards away has been about where my brain has been at lately. I like this series, but not as anything I take seriously; I don’t want to be challenged in Sniper Elite 5. I want to be an invincible force of death. I want the Nazis to tell their children that I’ll find them if they’re not quiet and well-behaved, and then I want those kids to tell me where their parents are, because their parents are Nazis and that means I can shoot them in the face.

Also, it’s the anniversary of D-Day. Also also, any time the anniversary of D-Day rolls around, I start thinking about my grandfather, who wasn’t actually at D-Day but joined the Allied assault in France a bit later, eventually being wounded in the Battle of Nancy, being handed a Purple Heart, and rotated back Stateside with a piece of a mortar shell in his ankle that, presumably, is still in his coffin with him, since the surgeons never bothered to remove it.

And today something hit me: I have an aunt named Nancy. And I tried to think about the timeline, and ended up calling another one of my aunts, the one I can bother relatively early in the morning with nonsense like this, and asked her about the timeline between Grandpa getting home and Nancy being born and named. Had my grandfather named my aunt after the battle in which he’d been wounded? It seemed possible, at least; I had to know.

No, as it turns out. Grandma was pregnant with Nancy when Grandpa shipped out, and she was born while he was overseas and named him herself. Tantalizingly, though, apparently my grandmother named Nancy herself and wrote Grandpa and told him the name, and my aunt tells me that his response was that she should “take it (the name, not my aunt) out and bury it, because it stinks.”

It is perhaps indicative of the type of woman my grandmother was– this is the one the name Siler comes from, by the way– that she ignored his, uh, suggestion, and her second daughter kept the name that she gave her. It’s also possibly an indication that Grandpa knew when he wrote the letter where he was heading and where he was likely to see combat, but I’d have to know a lot more about timelines– they’re both gone, so who knows where those letters might be– before I could make a supposition like that.

This led, somehow, to a conversation about the timing of the conception of various and sundry of my relatives; turns out one of my cousins is the product of a “lunch quickie,” and that my grandparents were in the house when another of my cousins from her was conceived. I changed the subject as soon as the phrase “lunch quickie” came up, by the way.

(My birthday is July 5; my mom’s was October 3. I have always assumed I was a birthday present; Dad, if that was not the case, I don’t need further details.)

OK, Zoomer

The following is a true fact: I am an Old. I have written before about how I’m at an age where I straddle the line a bit between Gen X and Millennials; my preferred nomenclature is the Oregon Trail Generation, but that’s not exactly what the cool kids call it. All that said, one thing I definitely am is Old. Yes, the oldest Millennials are old now. They have mortgages– some of them, anyway– and cars and kids and are starting to worry about paying for their college, and whether debt is going to be declared inheritable before they die.

Anyway. My wife and I were out doing some running around today, in two cars because one of the jobs involved bringing the last carload of stuff that we’re keeping back from my father-in-law’s apartment, and I told her that I was going to stop at a local gaming shop that is up by his place. The place is far enough away that if I drive past it I’m probably going to stop, just because I’m not up there very often. Anyway, I puttered around for a bit and decided to buy something and got behind a couple of high school-aged kids who were also checking out. Both of them, as it turns out, were buying card booster packs of some sort; Magic, I think, but I’m not sure and at any rate it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the booster packs were expensive, and I heard the cashier quote a hundred and seventeen dollars to one of the kids, who pulled a handful of twenties out of his pocket, counted them carefully, and handed them over, receiving his change in the expected fashion.

And then the whole world went sideways, as the kid looked at his friend and said “I love these things. The money doesn’t come out of my account, so it’s like I’m not really spending anything.”

There was a moment of frozen silence. The cashier, a man of about my age, made eye contact with me, as both of us realized at the same time that this young man had just used the construction these things to refer to twenty dollar bills as if they were some sort of exotic and rare form of shell- or bead-based barter, and I don’t think either of us really knew what to do for a second. The kid’s friend saw the look we shot each other and also saw that I was either having a stroke or trying not to laugh, and rolled his eyes at his friend without saying a word and ushered him out.

I walked to the counter and placed my purchase in front of the cashier.

“Credit or … these things?”, he said.

And then I ceased to exist.

In which the magic almost happens

I have talked about my car a couple of times recently, so you may be aware that I drive a green Kia Soul. While I certainly didn’t mind the green, I bought the car used and the color was genuinely the least of my concerns; I like brightly-colored cars, which are less popular right now than they used to be, but the green Soul was inexplicably the most popular color and that was what was available, so that was what I got.

There is a name for the phenomenon I’m about to describe, and my former-psychology-major brain cannot quite produce it, but: you have no doubt noticed that once you, personally, own a certain kind of car you see that kind of car everywhere. And even knowing that, I was not quite prepared for just how many Alien Green Kia Souls there are on the road right now. In the years I’ve been driving the car I’ve been playing a little game with myself: how many Alien Green Kia Souls would I see at a given intersection at the same time? Would I ever actually pull up to a four-way stop and discover that there were Alien Green Kia Souls at all four of the stops?

Until today, my record was three of the four, and I genuinely thought I was never going to get past that. I mean … it’s a popular car, but that’s ridiculous, right?

Until today, when I almost achieved the unachievable. Because on the way home today I stopped at a four-way light, two lanes in every direction, and almost immediately noticed that I had tied my record– there were Alien Green Kia Souls both to my right and to my left. I looked at oncoming traffic, hoping to catch a glimpse of, perhaps, one in the distance approaching the intersection, so that I could count it before the lights changed and the two cars on the road I was crossing drove away.

And then it happened: a fourth Alien Green Kia Soul … pulled up in the lane next to me, driving the same direction I was.

Which I think counts as breaking the record, since this is in fact four cars at the same intersection for that brief moment until the other two started moving, but it does not in fact count for the magic situation I have been waiting for for so long, when there are four of us at each of the four cardinal directions.

And in my head, we always notice what has happened, and get out of our cars, and immediately become the best of friends.

But I guess now there are going to have to be five of us.

Dagnabbit

I actually have a story for you, but I appear to have fallen down some sort of rabbit hole this evening and almost forgot about y’all again, and it’s past 9:00 already. So I’m just going to tell you I have scheduled my Covid booster and a flu shot for tomorrow– that’s not the story– and I am planning on being sick for the rest of the weekend. Exciting!