Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Fangled Idears

The common thread in these three stories is that each of us, my Great Uncle Van, Daddy, and I thought we knew what we were doing. And we didn't understand the technology.
My Great Aunt Julie was born in 1900, and married for a short while in the 20s to a man named Van. Now Auntie was always the most modern of women, having worked for a doctor when she was 18 and eventually owning her own business in San Francisco. She was, as the saying goes, not the last to try the new. Which is why she bought Alka Seltzer when it first came out. It hadn't been in the medicine cabinet for long when Uncle Van got a hangover and Auntie offered it to him. As he took the tablet out of the box, she told him that she thought he needed to read the instructions because you didn't take it like a regular pill. And he declared, "I'm a grown man and damn well know how to take a pill!"

Which is why he threw it back in his mouth, drank a glass of water, and proceeded to almost choke to death on the foam that was being created in his throat. It was all Auntie could do to hold off laughing until she had saved his life.

My step-father was born in 1903, so there were many things that we take for granted today that didn't come into the world until he was an adult. He was in his 20s when he went to visit his sister, Thelma, who was the one in his family who tried all the new things. He got in to Palo Alto late and tired and went right to bed. In the middle of the night, he woke up very hungry. Rather than waking his sister, he decided he could just raid the refrigerator. The next morning he told her that he had really enjoyed the left over meatloaf. When she was confused, because there was no left over meatloaf, he showed her the plate (washed, I'm sure, if I know my Daddy, and I do) that it had been on. Which is when she told him he had eaten that brand new product, canned dog food.

The item I fell afoul of was invented before I was born. Whatever excuse there was for Uncle Van and Daddy, did not exist for me.

When I was first married, Dick's Grandmother Smith gave us a carpet sweeper. I really liked it. It got our carpet very clean and was so easy to use. However, before long it broke. It made the carpet dirtier. I called the appliance repair shop (they actually had places like that in the early 60s, when they built things to be repaired instead of replaced) and they told me there really isn't much you can do to repair a carpet sweeper, and so I threw it away.

Twelve years later, I was sitting in a restaurant and the waitress took a carpet sweeper to clean the rug where a baby had spilled Saltines. And then she took it over, opened it up, and emptied it. Oh.


Tabor said...

So you are the one that started the throw-away culture.

J said...

Oh indeed. At least carpet sweepers aren't expensive. Poor Grandpa, eating dog food and then complimenting Aunt Thelma on it! CRAZY! I'll bet she had a good laugh!

Never That Easy said...

I can always count on you for a laugh ~ (and a fabulous comment!) ~
The idea of that alka seltzer in someone's throat; Oh my.

Happy Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

I used to like leaving comments before Beta came along and made it hard for me to do! Now, by the time I figure out how to comment, I've lost my train of thought.

Ron Southern

Maya's Granny said...

Ron, and the really irritating thing is that I don't even have beta!

Betty said...

LOL. Reminds me of the time my disposal broke. I called the plumber and he came and pushed the reset button for me. Duh.

Ginnie said...

Your Alka Seltzer story is almost as bad as the time that a Dr. friend of mine spent a long time explaining to a patient how to insert a suppository. The patient did as he was told but inserted it still in the tinfoil. I'll leave the rest to your imagination!

kenju said...

Oh, I didn't expect that line! You actually didn't know you had to empty it? Too funny!

Once I called an electrician because the light wouldn't come on in the kitchen. We had several switches operating that light and it turned out that one of them was at "half-mast" and all he had to do was put that switch in the up or down position and the light worked fine. My bad!

Dee said...

*Chuckling at this post* We had an older friend who came to tell us what a great buy his wife got on tuna at the store. It was the best tuna he ever ate. He showed my father in law the can and it turned out it was cat food.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Your stories warm my heart J. I can feel that alka seltzer in my throat. And the dog food....too funny.