Ghosts In My Life

Robert EbsenA&E

If you didn’t get my drift from the title, then you might get my drift knowing that:

NBC’s “Medium” is one of my favorite TV shows (the other is “House, M.D.”). [The juxtaposition of these two shows — the spiritual and the earthy — may represent the true conflict of life.]

I enjoy locating ancestors via census, passenger and other records.

I speak to my deceased father from time to time.

I really don’t like to gossip about people.

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is my favorite reality flick.

Have I ever seen a ghost? No.

[I wrote the headline for fun. Sorry.]

Have I ever heard ghostly noises? No.

Do I KNOW that ghosts exist? No.

So, what DO I believe?

No Inhibition?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Why do I feel so free to talk to strangers? In the supermarket, on the movie line, in almost any place. Make that ANY PLACE. It is so comfortable. Make that Uncomfortable when my family is with me. My family claims that it’s natural for them to be uncomfortable. I claim that it is comfortable for me. But I agree with my family that their wishes (make that their inhibitions) take precedence over my desire to talk to strangers. After all, I live with and love my family.

That said, I love talking to strangers, and will continue to do so, at least when I am alone. Why do I do this? Good question. Maybe because I feel connected to humanity. Maybe because I want to hear what others have to say. Maybe because I have a screw loose. And just maybe — because I ENJOY talking to people about whatever, whenever.

Too Much Patience?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Have you ever:

Held a door open for 11, 12 or 13 people?

Waited on the telephone during a 10- or 15-minute period of silence? Or, for 30-plus minutes while your wife’s friend talks incessantly about her children and their new house, their car, their — oh well, you know.

I’m reminded of the punch line of a joke I heard: "Patience, jackass."

WHY? Why MUST I continue to wait with dignity?

Why don’t I just change?

What would happen if I eschewed my patience completely and reveled in the absence of it?

What could happen, you ask?

Did I Tell Me?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Hey, I don’t think I spoke to myself yet today.
I suppose I began speaking out loud to myself a long time ago.  But then it was a very occasional thing. Now that I am newly retired, and spending most of my time on a large foam cushion at the computer, I hear myself talking out loud much more often.
"Robert," I hear myself saying, "Did you finish the dishes, make the bed, and ‘pick up’ the TV room?" 
"Did you lock the door?  Turn off the lights?  Call the cemetery (for dad’s plaque)?  Take out the garbage?"

Just BEEP It

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Several years back, I just knew that the invention of the "phone finder button" on cordless phones would be one of the biggest boons to mankind.

I was right.

Now you can buy a wide assortment of beepers you can use to retrieve objects that are "hiding." The beepers are getting smaller and flatter.

I used to go berserk when, almost each day, my lovely wife would announce, "Honey, help me find my ______." Her announcement made me go berserk because of a conditioned Pavlovian-type response: It was paired with a sometime 40-minute quest to locate her keys, one of her address books, her computer memory stick, her favorite pen, her purse or her checkbook.

Berserk no more.

‘Why Didn’t You Tell Me?’

Robert EbsenOP-ED

When you saw that stain on my shirt . . .

When you saw that thing in my nose . . .

When you smelled that odor from my shirt . . .

When you saw that food on my chin . . .

Okay,  I understand.

You didn’t want to embarrass me.

You didn’t want to call attention to something "gross."

You didn’t want to see an awkward reaction from me.


You didn’t want to SAVE me, either.










Tough Steak

Robert EbsenOP-ED

"Medium, please." That’s what I told the waitress this afternoon.

"Medium rare, please." That’s what my mother told the same waitress.

My 88- year-old mother sat there comfortably chewing on her steak. I couldn’t believe it! My steak was so tough. HOW TOUGH WAS IT? OK, it was like soft leather. But my accompanying shrimp, vegetables and potatoes were pretty good.

The next 10 or so minutes presented me with a quandary: 

On the one hand:

Didn’t I surmise upon entering this economy family chain restaurant that a steak might be less than satisfying — and, therefore, wasn’t I asking for what I got?

What Am I? Chopped Liver?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

They shake your hand.
They talk to you. 
They even smile.
But they don’t look at you.
The next time someone is gracious enough to give me a few seconds of their time, but not their full attention, I’ve got a plan.