It was one of those dinner parties where everyone had had a little too much to drink, and the conversation around the table had grown more . . . shall we say, spirited.  Changes were being rung on the usual male-female antinomies–shopping, burping, etc.–when one of the wives went a little too far.

. . . and don’t get me started on his back hair!”

“Jeff doesn’t know which end of a hammer is up,” a woman named Sally said with a laugh, which the other women joined in.  The men, however, did not.  They knew that no matter how inept your husband may be at home repairs, the male ego is such that you don’t embarrass him in front of other men on this score.

A chilly silence descended upon the male half of the table, which the women–insensitive clods that they can be sometimes–eventually noticed.  I considered my usual gambit for diverting conversation from an uncomfortable topic–”How ’bout those Red Sox?”–but it seemed too transparent.  I considered bringing my philosophical training to bear on the subject–”Does a hammer really have an ‘up’ and a ‘down’ end, Sally?”–but decided it would only prolong the agony.

“Thanks for screwing in that light bulb–my husband could never do that!”

No, what was needed was “direct action,” as the Wobbly Party used to say.  “Sally, I know you probably didn’t mean to, but I think you’ve hit Jeff where it hurts–bad.”

“Well,” she replied, a trifle defensively, “it’s true.”

“There are many true things that needn’t be said.”  I could feel a breeze on my legs from my wife’s efforts to kick me, but she was sitting too far away to make contact.  “If this matter isn’t put right, I’m afraid you two won’t have sex tonight, then Jeff will be grumpy next week, his productivity will fall off, his year-end bonus will be inadequate, you two will end up getting divorced, and your kids will drop out of school and end up collecting deposit bottles and sleeping on heating grates for the rest of their lives.”

“Gosh, I didn’t know it was that serious,” she said.

“It is, and drastic measures are called for.”

“Like what?” she asked.

“The Human Car Wash of Self-Esteem.”

I looked around the table and saw only blank stares.  “I guess this means none of you read my first novel,” I said, and I had a hard time keeping the bitterness out of my voice.

“Uh, I didn’t,” Jeff said.

“Sally–I thought you were going to persuade your book group to read it,” I said sharply.

“We . . . we have so many other books to read first.”

“Chick lit,” I spat out with contempt.  “Let me guess: in this week’s selection, a husband cheats on his wife, or he dies.”

“Actually both,” she said.  “We wanted something with a happy ending.”

“You know, if just one of you would buy a copy of A View of the Charles I might move into the coveted top 8 million books on–but no.”

“But–you have so many unsold copies in your garage,” the guy to my left said.  “It seems such a waste of natural resources to have your print-on-demand publisher crank out another one.”

“I’d like you to know,” I said defensively, that it’s coming out in a second edition, with a new cover, a new title–’Making Partner’–by a new publisher.”

“Why’s that?” Jeff asked.

“So it won’t be associated with the failure of the first edition,” my wife said unhelpfully.

I could feel my face reddening, but I couldn’t let my personal embarrassment get in the way of my mission; to save a marriage that was in trouble.

“C’mon everybody–into the living room for the Human Car Wash of Self-Esteem.”

“How do we do it?” my wife asked, finally joining in the fun against her better instincts.

“Do any of you remember ‘The Stroll’?”

“Remember, you’re the oldest one here,” my wife reminded me, so I had to explain.

“On American Bandstand, the guys and gals would form two lines, and dancers would take turns strolling down between them.”

“That’s it–a dance?” Sally asked.

“There’s more.  As the people make their way through, they close their eyes and we touch them.”

“Like running the gauntlet?” Jeff asked, “the Native American form of torture in which an individual runs between a double file of men who strike him with clubs or other weapons?”

“Sort of, but no weapons, and gently, like the soft foam scrubbers in a car wash.”

“That wouldn’t do much for my self-esteem,” the guy to my left–who was now standing to my right–said.

“That’s not all we do.  We also murmur . . .”


“Murmur . . . words of encouragement and support.  In Jeff’s case, something like ‘You did a great job screwing in that light bulb last weekend sweetie,’ or ‘I can’t believe you know how to pump your own gas!’  Something like that.”

Everyone exchanged looks of bemusement that seemed to say “What have we got to lose?” and “Well, I guess I’d do it for Jeff and Sally,” also “This is stupid but what choice do I have?”

Two women, strolling


Our dinner guests quickly formed themselves into two lines, and it was up to me as host to designate the first human car to be scrubbed.  “I think Jeff’s entitled to go first, since he’s the one’s who’s hurting right now.”

“Okay,” he said, a bit chagrined to be put in a position of weakness, but still needing the help that only the Human Car Wash of Self-Esteem can provide.

“Go ahead, sweetie,” Sally said with an audible lump in her throat.

Go ahead–you’ll feel much better when you’re through.

“Okay,” he said, as he closed his eyes and began to make his way through the scrubbers of his friends’ arms.

“I’m sure you’re not as bad as Sally says,” the wife of the guy to my left said.

“You can’t be any worse than my husband,” another said.

As Jeff was softly stroked by his friends, you could see a smile come to his face.  When he emerged into the drying zone and opened his eyes, he was a new man, no longer sullen and brooding over the uncalled-for insult to his manhood.  “You’re right,” he said.  “That was great!”

“Who’s next?” I said, beaming with pride over the one thing I’ve invented in my life.

“Me, me!” Sally said.  She was like that, a real trouper, always ready to make a party truly special.

“Okay,” I said.  “Any fears, insecurities or troublesome issues we need to address?”

“Well, Jeff did make a crack about my weight last weekend.”

You could almost feel a wave of female hormones about to crash on the beach of our living room, like the roar of a distant tsunami that is faintly heard from afar–not to wax too poetic.

“Jeff!” the wife of the guy on my left said.

“It’s not my fault–she asked me the trick question: Does this outfit make me look fat?”

There were nods of sympathy from the other two husbands.  “It’s a no-win situation,” one of them said.

“All right, let’s put the past behind us,” I said.  “Sally–start strolling!”

She closed her eyes and stepped forward gingerly, where she was met by the soothing caresses of her girlfriends.

“Don’t you listen to him when he answers a loaded question,” one of them said.

“You’re so beautiful–inside and outside,” another said.

It was my turn and I struggled for something to say that would comfort her and at the same time wouldn’t show up her husband.

“You know,” I began tentatively, “the top is the best part of the muffin.”

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Blurbs From the Burbs.”

Views: 77

Comment by Arthur James on September 27, 2013 at 3:34am


Con C. It's so lonely Here.

I noticed everyone is gone.

Never chat about sex Here.

No brag about fornication.

Most lawyers play the sax.

Toot horns in scuzzy pool.

No eat muffins in jacuzzi.

Shower in autumn rains.

Use lanolin goat soaps.

You sure you a lawyer? 

Comment by Arthur James on February 3, 2014 at 10:38pm
I saw this @ koshersaalami's
blog. Maybe we try to get gig
at big-boy salon and pay hacks?
Comment by Arthur James on February 12, 2014 at 9:47pm


Con C. It wasn't very Lonely this Eve.

There's a You-Tub ` Film Crew Here,

and I asked them if Con C. a good

Lawyer. They No Understand You?

Boston Lawyers Know Berry Fruit.

Journalist say` It Berry Fruity Too.

They need more` Quiet Reflection.

IF They call hang` Cell Phone Up?

Say`Plead Filth` No Speak 'ingles'

and No Speak ` Bout` Hackers,

or send` Farmers ` Valentine

Hankies` or comment in

Gads... O, ` Public.

MOM. apology . . .

Comment by Arthur James on February 12, 2014 at 9:56pm


Con C. In the Lobby a journalist tried to bribe?

She offered me ` Misty Creek Goat Milk Soap.

Each bar of soap contains a half or more oz.

goat's milk and is made with grape seed.

palm, borax, grapefruit seed  extract,

essential oils, and no artificial crap.

I send Her to your Boston Law Firm.

Comment by Arthur James on May 8, 2014 at 10:38am


Von C. If I never see this comment?

No problem. I go to see Atlantic Sea?

I consider a visit to Canada, Nova Scotia.


Bye Gosh... IF I was Con C.? That's preposterous?

You'd may as well Be a Bumble Bee or a dirty hippie?

Be a Cute Preposterous ` Horned` Rhinoceros, huh?


I re` read a November ` 2nd ` kosher salami ` 2010

Blog. ` Let's hope he no annoy` Salon, Open` Our '

and the ` www.Salon's ` CEO` or` delete` Con C.?

He seems bold enought ` As ` a ' New` blogger AT?

Blog` kosh` sphere  & ` O  ' ` a ' Fine ` conniver  too?

The Washington Post ` Style Section `  has troll, ads,

and an article ` bout` HUFFPOST ` comment` deletes.

I might go study` Huffington Post ` and hope `um nice.

I read ( no dare commented ) @ Salon ` Unclaimed GG

Territory for many moons before I dared` Comment there.

I felt as IF I was a demented farmer hick` lame derelict.


Then, one day I mentioned ` Strife, Hubris,` Animosity,

and Nasty Betrayal by lawyers` O, brows & ` Eyeballs,

Lo, Woe, And recall ` GG ' blaming Salon ` Interns.

One day - after meeting a DC` government ` Lawyer:

name withheld ... He was a Rabbi Lawyer, sort` Mentor.

He had a crush on Farmer` Michele  One- `L' Michelle.

He's share articles about` BC ` hebrew book` Wisdom

Literature` Eclectic ' huh` BC ` Ancient Literature Writ.

He wore blue ` Bib ` Overalls ` IF Visiting the Farmers.

He '`pointed-out ' Chapter & 8 ` & ` JOSUA, NUMBERS,

DEUTERONOMY '` & Explain` LEVITICUS & Expound:


EXODUS, NT` Hebrews, Psalms, and ` Jesus Betrayal.

He ` Quoted` Playwright Book of JOB` HOSEA, AMOS,


HE's Expound hermeneutical, homiletical ` PROVERBS,

and the book of` HOSEA & a book of` Malachi & a book

of` LAMENTATION & a book of` JOEL & Ecclesiastes.

That book is not easy to spell. Chapter ` 7 & 8 ' is Wise.

The Rabbi had a Gentle & kind manner of` Discourse.

I'll go back to Read ` Wisdom Lit after this` comment.


I re` read ` kosher salami's ` November 2, 1010 `post.

I an happy ` kosher salami ` loves good` knock knock

jest` JOKES` as? Who does ` musician ` call IF piano

is Out Of Tune? a Tuna Fish.` Who Call ` to investigate:

Bank fraud` premeditated ` deceit` bank foreclosures?



A Duck Quack

Fraud Cases,


What WASP BEE are

very Healthy? The BEE

that ingest Vitamin BEE.


IF an Australian puts in

a Freezer a Kangaroo?

You Get a ` HOP` CYCLE.


What dog loves ` Hair Salons?

Answer: A Hairy` Sham` Dog

Poodle. As in` Shan People too.


What letter in a ` Alphabet is Nuts?

The Letter ` gosh` craze ` ` Z ' and

Guess Why` Chickens ` make ` nice

Law & Home ` House ` Pets? Guess?



They make great

pets because they

are nice & fowl.


A ` Reddish Irish Setter

Dog in a Knit-Sweater ate

a ` Red Hot ` Jalapeño,

and ` Sitter` Dog get Redder.


IF Salon wants to have big

Hospitable Party Feast on 

Jupiter? Knock Knock.

How Ya's make Sure

a Big` Bash @ Salon

is a Big` Fun Success?

Answer: You Planet.


Knock Knock. Who Knock?

Mustache. Mustache Who?

I Mustache Nice Lawyer a

Few More Simple Questions.


Today was/is another wild day.

I forgot what was gonna convey.

I worry deceiver end in a `Ruins.

Thanks. You never ever delete.

You wise to sip goat milk fifth.


I came back to get ` Shepherds

Way Creamery Goat Cheese, and

some cheeses from ` Jill from a

Farm in ` West Virginia ` I'll

not reveal ` her name. She's

too pleasant ` for` blogosphere 

Reads. She shares ` raw goat 

milk and makes ` goat milk

fudge. No tease` goat bug

candy, and This ` week

I get a ` Gelato Cake.

Gosh... ` Hope this

comment ` No stink.

Comment by Arthur James on May 9, 2014 at 3:44am


I saw this post at the Top of a ` Eulogy.

It seems as if our Neighbors do ` Conk.

Cody Lowery Obit is in `Herald  Mail.

He was 28- Young, After Two Tours

in Afghanistan & One Tour in Iraq -

Cody died. Rest In Peace - The Singer

Pete Seeger wrote a Song - There's A

Time For Everything Under The Sun.


I forgot I was Here 16- hours ago.

Time Flies. There are other death,

but I don't want to bum out folk.

Soon it will Time To Remember

Mothers & Father & Eat Gelato.

Amore Gelato - She's so soothing.

The Amore - Woman has a sin?

No! She has - Singsong Voice.

I see her soon - But, just cake.

She in nice - Men Love Her.

Comment by Arthur James on June 29, 2014 at 1:49pm

I e-Mail To` Bulgarian Gelato
AND ` Watermelon` GELATO. and
WE Barter ` Arugula` Garlic '
and Succulent` RED BEETS, and
SWAN`` SCAPES ` and no bemoan
creepy` SNOOP` and nasty creep!
I LOST ` Comment ' and it was a?
Kind, ` as' Loving` Kind` not ill,
OR SO` as ' NASTY ' ` as ' guess?
` hint '
a ` k '
not ` kind'
and ` naughty!
but` odd days!
O ` no falter!

Comment by Arthur James on June 30, 2014 at 4:26am



SQUARE take nap?

SWUARE blow?

Mr. Bubbles hires?

No blow sax horn?

IF in Sleep Inn &

Sweet's ` Bubble

Bath's ` Horny

Hoe Tub` Today...


I send ` hand carry '

to VAMC ` war weary '

Veterans ` Rap Singer '

and PTSD ` Therapist '

She named ` Hannah '

and hitched to ` Nominal '

Honest bearded` Lutheran.


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