During my 41-year career doing morning show radio, what I found most rewarding was taking the slices of life I observed and making them into fun, funny or satirical stories that, hopefully, the audience would enjoy.
That usually involved altering, embellishing or flat-out lying about an actual incident, but I got pretty good at it.
When the time came to back away from the microphone, I realized that I still tend to see life as a morning show host. My brain still processes everything as a possible story to tell on the air.
So this blog is a written extension of my radio show, a series of true or semi-true stories could just as easily be called, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ALLEN.
Born and raised and still living in Georgia, my stories often have a Southern slant. I offer no apologies for that. I know how to properly prepare grits and cannot imagine life without them. I can also fry up a rabbit.
While I cannot avoid a little commentary now and then, the aim is to entertain, and I hope you enjoy reading these Tales From Tibby.
This is not a story about traveling to Italy. It mentions Italy because that’s where I finally found clarity for my life.
Since clarity is a rarity, it is charity for me to share for thee.
I’m not gonna lie. Since retiring, I’ve struggled.
While comfortably tucked into my career as a morning radio show announcer, I knew how my day would go. I’d finish up work around 10 or 11 am every morning, then go join the old fart golf group that teed off every day around lunchtime. Many years, I would play 150 days or more.
The point is, I knew what I was doing with my days. In retirement, I’m playing maybe 50 rounds a year. That leaves a lot of days in limbo.
To some extent, golf has been replaced by travel. Oh, it’s not all exotic. For example, we’re taking in more live concerts now, so sometimes our trips are just a quick overnighter to hear an artist we enjoy.
We’ve fallen in love with Nashville, Tennessee’s music scene, so we wind up in Music City way more than I would have ever imagined.
Still, we are trying to see some other parts of the world and recently returned to Italy for the second time in two years. And for a second time, we hooked up with a travel guide named Max.
On our first tour of Old Italia, it took Max about one day to figure out what we liked: wine. With lunch.
On our just-completed trip, he didn’t even ask what we wanted to see. Every day, he had arranged a wine tasting at a nice winery, usually with lunch thrown in.
Lunch often lasted for a couple of hours. Afterwards, Max would just drive us around until we fell asleep. When we woke up, he’d tell us of the nice places he had taken us and say something like, “too bad you slept through it.”
In the Tuscany region, we hit a couple of places that are actually referred to as wine castles. Translated to English, that’s a castle with wine.
A castle, y’all. With wine. Take a moment, if you need to.
Besides wine, another thing to love about Italy is gelato. Gelato is actually Italiano for ice cream, but gelato is better. It uses more milk…. something, something, something… so it’s not just like American ice cream.
Gelato is sold in a gelateria. If you think about it, that makes sense. Pizza is sold in a pizzeria; gelato, in a gelateria.
I’m a big fan of gelato. Specifically, coconut, though I’m multi-gelatinous and can swing many directions.
So, the epiphany: I want to open a gelateria in a wine castle.
When I told my wife, she suggested I build the castle from the corks we have in the basement.
It was meant as a snide remark, a dig at me for saving corks, even though I have no plan to do anything with them.
But her idea is brilliant. A cork castle!
Enemy bullets would bounce right off the cork walls. And if someone bombed my castle, what’s the damage? Broken cork? No problem.
“Hey, we need more cork!” And out comes a corkscrew.
My cork castle would also be flood-proof. The same rains that floated Noah’s arc would float my castle. When the rain subsided, who knows what country my castle would have landed in? But it wouldn’t matter. The local chamber of commerce would welcome me. Because I’ve got a castle full of wine.
Who wouldn’t want to be my friend?
Beautiful minds like mine – and Steve Jobs – don’t come along that often. I can only imagine that you’re thinking, ‘Dang, I wish I had thought of that first!’
But you didn’t.
Bring money. I will be charging admission.
Maybe you’ve seen the post – or email – making the rounds about how ‘old’ people should present themselves?
It defines old as 60 or over. So much for 60 being the new 40, eh?
If you haven’t seen it, here’s a sample of some pairings it suggests you avoid:
A nose ring and bifocals
Miniskirts and support hose
Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor
Bikinis and liver spots
Thongs and Depends.
But on a more serious note, I’m here today to address the first item, the nose ring.
*GRUMPY OLD MAN ALERT*
I’m not good with some current trends.
If I’ve not mentioned it before, I hate tattoos. I hate them more on women than men. To me, they look trashy.
I’m trying to adapt. Mainly, because everybody but me seems to have one.
Also, I know some really quality, non-trashy ladies with tattoos. By ‘quality’ I mean I’ve Googled them and can’t find any pictures of them without clothes.
I’ve never liked belly button jewelry. (Unless you’re a belly dancer. In that case, you might as well put something shiny in that cavern.)
Nose and lip studs? Nope.
But I’m trying really hard to be a better person and stop judging the book by its cover. That’s probably my biggest flaw, honestly.
But the one decoration I do not get is the nose ring.
First thought: are you a dang cow?? If we go out on a date, can I hitch up a rope to that thing and lead you into the theater?
I don’t care how otherwise beautiful you are, inside or out, something hanging out your nose does not look good. And there’s nothing – NOTHING – you can do to change that.
Make it silver, gold, bejeweled, bigger, petite, or blessed by the Pope, it’s still something coming out of your nose and needs wiping.
I know, shut up ol’ man!
Just returned from a trip that included a few days in New York City. It wasn’t my first time. We were there just two years ago, so I knew I was getting in to.
I love/hate that place.
The over-the-top weirdness of Time Square. Visiting the M&M store and paying $14 a pound for peanut M’s that would cost about $3 at my local grocery store. A truly unintelligible subway system. The fabulous – use your ‘jazz hands…’ fab-u-louus - Broadway shows.
It’s like no other place. It’s also like no other place should aspire to be, really. Especially the subway trains. The subway system there was designed by chimpanzees who then hired kindergarteners to draw the maps and legends explaining it.
Locals eventually figure it out by osmosis; visitors have no chance.
The way we handle the trains is to wander around in the subway station looking lost until someone takes pity on us and helps.
Mostly, we just walk. We certainly don’t attempt to drive in that carnival.
If you do drive in NYC, you need to be fluent in ‘horn.’ It’s the official language of drivers there.
But here’s what I’ve figured out: Honkers are almost always several cars back in the pack.
The first car in line has stopped because it’s illegal to run over pedestrians. The second car can see what’s going on so sits quietly. Get back to about the fourth or fifth car and all they know is that the light is green and they ain’t moving.
Honking changes nothing, but I reckon it gives the drivers a way to vent their frustration of being in a city where a billion people live and having to deal with another billion visitors who know it’s illegal for you to run over them with your car and will therefore cross the street whenever they dang well want, traffic lights be damned.
The other language of New York City is every other language in the world. Except English.
Look, I’m a bumkin in The City, but I’m telling you, it was rare to hear English conversationally spoken. On the streets, in the subways, in the bars (so I’m told), on the elevators, the conversations were almost always in a foreign language.
That’s more observation than complaint.
To start with, we all know that as a country we’ve become heavily reliant on immigrants for service work. The servers, dishwashers, attendants, hotel staff… the list is endless of jobs immigrants are willing to do for the opportunity to live in the States.
Now, couple that with all the foreign visitors who are simply making NYC one of their must-do destinations, and there’s a whole lot of no speak-y English going on.
What if, I thought… what if we passed a law that required everyone in an American city to speak only English. That would probably cut down on the crowds since so many people would have to learn the language instead of relying on a single interpreter to be the English voice for their entire bus.
Then there’s a possible downside. What if that law not only required English, but required the proper use of the language?
That would shut most Americans out of places like New York City.
So, let me just say this, y’all. I ain’t never gonna go back to that place. Not never, not no how. I don’t know what them farners are sayin’, an’ until them people done learned how to tawk like me, I’d just a-soon stay home.
Somebody fetch me a beer.
Just heard a song from Dan + Shay called ‘Tequila.’ Wow, a song about tequila. How novel!
While that oozes sarcasm, it’s a decent song, and so adds to an every-growing list of odes to a cactus.
Off the top of my head, I can probably name 9 or 10 songs about tequila. There are more, I know. Many more.
Almost all songs about tequila involve drinking too much. From there, we work on secondary themes, like being lonesome, drinking away a memory or doing something stupid.
Tequila songs can also involve a fair amount of promiscuity.
“Who is this cowboy
Who's sleepin' beside me?
He's awful cute, but how'd I
Get his shirt on?
I had to much Tequila last night.”
- ‘Jose Cuervo,’ sung by Shelly West
Hello, everybody, and welcome to TEQUILA TALK. As your host, you should know I fancy myself a tequila aficionado (I drink it), a tequila snob (I like the good stuff), and I may be the only person you’ve ever met that has never gotten sick from drinking it. Like, ever.
Full disclosure: Oh yeah, I’ve overdone it. I’ve just never overdone it on tequila. And I’ll let my sainthood stop right there.
Tequila gets a bad rap, and it’s not to blame. Its smooth, sometimes smoky goodness is a delicious sip, either neat or over a little ice.
There are two main problems we have with tequila.
First, we’ve made it a barroom game to see how much of it we can drink before we puke. Secondly, and a contributor to the first point, barroom tequila shots are usually done with a low-grade product.
While anything calling itself tequila must, by law, contain at least 51% distilled blue agave, that leaves the other 49% to be distilled from something else. That’s very often corn syrup. And in these cheaper tequilas that nice golden color comes not from barrel aging, it comes from caramel coloring.
I’m not hating on Cuervo Gold, y’all. Despite it being made from a whole lot of sugar and only minimally-required blue agave, it doesn’t taste bad. But even folks who think it does taste bad are willing to toss a few down so we can part-a-a-a-y!!!
I’ll be worshiping at the porcelain alter later, but right now I have never been funnier, prettier, wittier or danced better!
The girl who cuts my hair told me she can’t drink tequila. And why?
“Well, one night…”
…and we all know the rest of that story.
Her drink of choice is vodka.
Have you ever, I asked, sat down with some friends and slammed shots of cheap vodka down your throat until you went blind?
Still, it’s hard to deny tequila has rendered some fun tunes. An all-time favorite became Pee Wee Herman’s dance groove: ‘Tequila’ by The Champs. In fact, that one may be the top tequila song of all time because of Pee Wee’s signature dance – let’s face it, tequila can lead to some pretty stupid dance moves – and because it’s easy to sing. The lyrical content of the song is a total of three words, and they are all ‘tequila!’
Speaking of lyrical content, Joe Nichols had a #1 hit with ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.’ Given its title, I’m not sure why it needed any lyrics. Seems fairly self-explanatory.
Did you see the recent news story from New Jersey about the woman turned away from a flight because of her emotional support animal?
In case you didn’t, the woman had been told in advance by United Airlines that she could not bring her emotional support animal onboard because they couldn’t accommodate the peacock.
A peacock, y’all! Her emotional support animal was a feakin’ peacock!
She showed up for the flight anyway. With the peacock.
Most of us watching or reading that story probably rolled our eyes and gave whoever else was around that look. You know the look.
Also known as the ‘is she on crack?’ look.
This story originally was going to be about her and others like her, people with emotional support animals (ESA). Specifically, people with unconventional emotional support animals.
People wanting to fly with pets has gotten so whacky that Delta has just updated it’s ESA policy, saying, “Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more...”
I had planned to write about the peacock lady. I wanted to write:
Ma’am, number one, that peacock don’t care about your emotions. And number two, I’m betting you’re single.
Then, a couple of things happened.
First, another ESA story emerged involving an emotional-support dog that attacked a passenger on a plane. In this case, though, the dog was a veteran’s ESA.
That a veteran is part of the story gave me pause enough. (Gave me pause… get it? Pause… paws… OK, not that funny). Even putting that aside, though, if you’ve ever owned a good dog, you know that dog does indeed care about your emotions.
So, what do I do? Leave out people with dogs?
The other incident derailing my original story involves a donkey. On my walk past a nearby farm just this week, I stopped and asked the young woman shoveling out the barn what happened to the white horse that had been there for years.
“The white horse died, but we may get another one. That white horse and the donkey were close. The donkey is really lonesome.”
“When we buried the horse, the donkey stood nearby and watched the whole thing. It was like she was at a graveside service.”
The woman spoke of it all very matter-of-factly, like a seasoned farm hand would.
On the farm, when a large animal dies, you take your backhoe or whatever implement you have to dig a hole, you dig that hole, then push the animal in and cover it up. The facts of life.
She spoke just as stoically about the donkey’s loneliness. No emotion, just ‘yeah… the donkey’s lost her buddy. We may have to do something about that.’
But if a donkey can have an ESA, I knew my story idea-in-the-making, poking fun of people with emotional support animals, was going south quickly.
So, I’ve decided to change gears. Let’s look instead at what other animals might make a good ESA.
Like, a turkey. If you ever breakdown emotionally and need a meal, voila! And after eating the turkey, you could be thankful. (Thankful… turkey… Thanksgiving…? Is funny still not happening here?)
How about a fish? Imagine, a friend comes over. She needs to unload her troubles, so you dutifully sit and listen as she drones on, endlessly. And you finally say, “Why don’t you kiss my bass.”
But you mean it. What a friend!
How ‘bout a bumblebee? Maybe all you need to pick you up is a little buzz.
Speak of buzz, what about a buzzard? If you’re a particularly deep person, a buzzard could pick your brain. (And any other parts. Once you’re gone, of course.)
Feel free to offer your own thoughts. There’s gotta be plenty of other animals that would make ESAs.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the (true story) incident recently involving a lady with an emotional-support hamster? After being told she couldn’t have it onboard a Spirit Airlines flight, she flushed it down the toilet.
You can Google up the details, if you want. It’s a weird story.
But I have to wonder what kind of person relies on a hamster for emotional support. I doubt that hamster cared about her emotions.
I bet she’s single.
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