Tuesday, April 19, 2016

At 50, a lot of things can be wonky

When the human body gets to a certain age it apparently stops caring. A little extra fat here, an elevated cholesterol level there, some male pattern baldness and then let’s throw in hemorrhoids because, well, nature’s mean.
My last trip to the doctor for a yearly checkup* was spotless – except for one thing. The doctor said something was off with my liver.
My liver? My liver? Who ever thinks about their liver? Raise your hands, people. Anybody? I thought not. … Hey, you in the back. Put your hand down and stop being a smart ass.
In the course of an average day, nobody other than a butcher actively thinks about livers.
A liver is what Hannibal Lecter has for dinner with fava beans and a nice chianti. It’s what you get at the grocery store when buying a whole chicken (and if you think the liver and gizzards packaged in the cavity are from that chicken, you’re sadly mistaken). My liver is what saved me from poisoning myself with cheap booze in college lots of times. Lots and lots.
Thanks, liver.
And I have never considered my liver’s feelings. Nope. Not once.
So, what does a liver do besides taste great fried with onions?
Apparently a lot. Our friend the liver produces proteins vital for blood clotting. Thanks, liver. It breaks down fat cells and converts them into energy. Gosh, liver, I really need to show you more attention. Do you like cake?
The liver also removes toxins from the body like the kind I put into it with my old pal beer.
For the first time in my medical history, my liver enzymes were wonky. Frankly, I’m surprised it was the first time. None of this stopped my wife from telling me the test showed I probably had cancer.
Guys, the No. 1 thing to look for in a mate is not if she’s intelligent, or funny, or looks great in cotton underpants. She needs to be supportive. Thanks for being my rock, honey.
Good God, I’m 50. My liver enzymes are screwy. My wife thinks I have some kind of No-Humor Tumor. I find myself more and more often sitting when I go to the bathroom and I want to yell at neighbor kids who walk on my lawn. What else is wrong with me?
Medical science shows that when a guy turns 50, depression and dementia become more likely, as do prostate problems, bladder cancer, impotence, incontinence, testicular issues and heart disease.
Me in a few years realizing I just pooped.
That’s a hell of a lineup. Batting cleanup is No. 8 Heart Disease. The Big HD is hitting .347 with 114 RBIs.
The males in my family have a history of heart disease. It could be genetic. It could be our mutual love of pork products. It could also be that stress is a factor in heart disease and the Offutt nuclear family is called “nuclear” for a reason.
Turns out wonky liver enzymes are pretty normal and are sometimes caused by a “fatty liver.” Hmm. Fatty liver? Sounds about right. I need a sandwich.

*Go yearly, folks, especially when you’re my age because after 50, parts don’t just stop working, they fall off.

Check out Jason’s new website atwww.jasonoffutt.com.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Worst-case scenarios for 2016

The beginning of a new year is often marked with optimism. You know, a hope for a better tomorrow. But since that garbage never gets us anywhere, let’s look at 2016 through clearer, more pessimistic eyes.
But first, we’re going to return to 2014 to take a glimpse of our future past.
According to 2014’s Fortune Magazine in 2015, “Sears will return to the catalogue,” “Mom jeans get hot” and “The price of lattes will go up.”
OK, so Fortune apparently lost its edge. Let’s see what that year’s Wired said about 2015:
“Entrepreneurs will grow by five percent.”
1) Boring.
2) Even more boring.
“By 2020, the world will generate 50 times the data of just three years ago.” Nice, but since most of that increased data will be either porn or cute kitten videos, I’m not sold on its historic importance.
So, let’s hit you, dear readers, where it hurts. Here’s what’s really going to happen to us in 2016:
·      Dolphins around the globe learn to communicate. They tell us they don’t like what we’ve done with the place and demand Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers that taste like real goldfish.
No. Fuck you.
·      Adam Sandler makes more movies.
·      America stops believing in hockey.
·      Space aliens finally make first contact. They’ve learned to speak through reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard” and nobody takes them seriously.
·      NASA announces 2005 BS1, an almost three-acre asteroid, will strike the earth in 2020 causing cataclysmic damage to the planet. Scientists predict the only things to survive will be cockroaches and Starbucks coffee shop baristas who will spell the cockroaches names wrong.
I really should have gone to the store first.
·      The zombie apocalypse is upon us and I haven’t hoarded enough canned chilli and whiskey.
·      All NFL referees are reinstated.
·      Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner has surgery to turn him/herself back into a man. Jenner now goes by the @ symbol.
·      Sylvester Stallone is hassled by a local sheriff and disappears into the wilderness.
·      Thinking it’s funny, the military names its new computerized global alert system Skynet. Our secret robot leaders are pleased.
·      Scientists create a car that can run on methane from cattle. Environmentalists are even more worried about gas emissions.
·      America is declared a “safe zone” where no one can say anything that will offend anyone else, so legally the only people who can speak are drunken German tourists.
Because naming your kid Ricin is just stupid.
·      Baby names have finally devolved into cartoon sounds. In a couple of decades there will be doctors, lawyers and airline pilots named Pfft, Twack, and Bawoosh.
·      To pay off Greece’s debt, the EU turns the country into a giant Chuck E. Cheese’s. The Parthenon is a surprisingly great venue for Skee-Ball.
·      Researchers discover a new species of lizard mutated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
·      Kanye West says something amazingly stupid an egocentric. Yes, again.
·      The new species of lizard attacks Tokyo.
·      A solar flare disrupts satellite communication. College students drool and bump into things, which means they can’t study, or get to Starbucks, or spell cockroaches names correctly.
·      Seeing their opportunity, talking apes take over the planet.

Thank you. It’s about time.

There'll still be Starbucks. Right Caesar?

Jason Offutt’s novel, “A Funeral Story is available at amazon.com.