'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CHEEZY ARMS HAVE NO WHIZ
At some point in the not-too-distant past, the substance inside my arms, between the bones and the skin, was muscle. OK, maybe over the years a little fat appeared to keep the muscle company. But whenever I had to carry boxes, move furniture, or lift something heavy, I could always count on my arms to provide the needed “oomph.” (I believe “oomph” is the official medical term for a unit of musculature effort.)
However, I recently learned that the substance inside my arms is no longer muscle. Somehow when I wasn’t paying attention, that substance between the bones and the skin was transformed into Cheez Whiz.
I discovered this sad fact the other day when I was doing work around the yard. Years ago some kids in the neighborhood nailed boards onto the branches of a huge pine tree on my property. It wasn’t really a tree house; it was merely a platform to sit on, about 10 feet off the ground. The kids who did it either have moved away or gotten their drivers licenses, which means they now have much more interesting things to do than sit on boards 10 feet off the ground, lean against the trunk of a huge pine tree, and stare off into space. Or possibly they were staring into my bedroom window. It’s hard to say.
I finally decided to remove the boards to keep a new generation of neighborhood kids from being tempted to climb the tree and stare off into space—or possibly stare at my wife and me getting dressed for work in the morning.
It would be a simple task, I figured. All I needed to do was get out my trusty hammer, climb up onto a couple of low branches, and then whack the boards with the hammer from below until the nails were forced out.
The first hint of trouble occurred when I started to climb. I know I’m not a kid anymore, nor have I been mistaken for an Olympic gymnast recently, but it took me over five minutes to climb up about four feet off the ground. I was quickly huffing and puffing, and my arms were already weary. Then I began swinging my hammer upward against the bottom of the boards. But my 16-ounce hammer felt like a 16-ton hammer. The amount of force I was able to apply against the boards was approximately equal to the force of a butterfly’s breath—a butterfly with emphysema, that is.
I was getting nowhere, so I decided to climb the rest of the way up, sit on the boards, and plot a new strategy. By the time I crawled onto the little platform I was drenched in sweat and my arms were quivering with exhaustion. I sat there for about 10 minutes catching my breath, and watching my wife get dressed. (Note to self: we definitely need new bedroom curtains.)
As I sat there, I noticed a scratch on my forearm, caused by a sharp branch during my climb. But instead of blood trickling from the wound, there was a yellow gooey substance. I tentatively smelled it. Hmm? Is that…cheddar?
And that’s when I realized that my arm muscles had somehow turned into Cheez Whiz. Well, at least that explains why it was so difficult to climb the tree and swing a hammer.
I never did remove those boards, but I did discover that I now have a reliable source of something tasty to spread on Ritz crackers. Too bad my arms are too weak to reach up and get the cracker box out of the kitchen cabinet.
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