Gardena, CA
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Articles by Pat Grimes

Striding past the checkout at my local grocery store, I glanced at the rack of magazines’. Not sure which periodical it was, but one cover headline caught my eye: “Don't miss out on six ways to have killer abs!”

The publication was selling itself by sewing the seed of anxiety: ‘oh my gosh, if I don't buy that I might miss out, and then I won't have killer abs.’

We live in an anxious world.  Thank goodness the NFL helps us set aside worries over war, terrorism, income inequality, and climate change (or the lack thereof) with the annual broadcast of the Super Bowl.

American football is the most popular sport among Americans, and the Super Bowl is the single most popular sports program, seen by more people than any other U.S. sporting event.

What is more, the presentation of the Super Bowl is more culturally American than anything seen on TV.  Why, just look at the goods and services that were advertised.

The first substantive shots of presidential skirmish 2016 have been fired. The Iowa caucuses are comparatively meaningful; up till now, the American public has had to subsist exclusively on oversized portions of rhetorical fluff, especially from the remarkably insignificant spectacles that are the candidate debates.

Recent news reports detail the unhappy case of four Tennessee teenagers who drank what they called “dewshine,” a mix of racing fuel and Mountain Dew. Two of them died from drinking this mixture, and the other two became quite ill.

According to Tennessee Poison Center Medical Director Donna Seger, the teens believed the methanol in the fuel would have the same effect as ethanol, the component of alcoholic beverages that causes intoxication. This mistaken belief had tragic consequences.

Another milestone has been passé. Having completed his undergraduate degree and started his career, my younger son is now living in his own place.

He found work not five weeks after last spring's graduation. Since then, he has come to understand one of the unavoidable hassles of working life – commuting to his place of employment.

An out-of-state friend called couple of weeks back, asking if we have the Powerball lottery where I live.  I told him we did.

Well, he tells me, you and I should get some of that $900 million jackpot.  He promised to send me a dollar and I promised to buy a ticket.

Yes, I know the odds of winning such a game are astronomically small, but the purchase was made that day on my way home.

Décor was one of my challenges occupying a new home. As mentioned before, there had been no need for me to make aesthetic decisions the previous 25 years. My former wife was kind enough and keen-eyed enough to make the necessary choices.

According to the Los Angeles Times, some 38 million travelers took to the skies over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I can vouch for this figure, since I had to elbow my way through almost that many people to make my flights over that same time period.

I can give the traveling public and airline industry high marks. No one seemed overwrought over heightened security concerns, and both carriers and passengers rolled with the weather punches pretty admirably.

I found myself near the old neighborhood with a little time to kill. Perhaps feeling the nearness of Halloween, I opted to stop by the local cemetery.

Having walked my dog there in the past, it was familiar ground. It is also the final resting place of some people I had known, including former co-workers, neighbors, and grandparents-in-law.

Human interaction is often complicated and messy. That's probably because we human beings can be messy and complicated, too.

I suppose this has a lot to do with how we evolved; our ability to impart information to one another was heavily dependent on how well we recognized our tribe's verbal and facial cues. Even within the same group, then as now, misunderstandings could lead to dismay or even threats to the group's survival.