A Casualty of Infidelity

Thinking back, my mind calls the tune
of a man I knew and the lives he ruined.
I’d forgotten or ceased to care about him.

A quick wit with a malicious streak,
he seemed unconcerned of the havoc he wreaked
on a child, abandoned, embittered,
by his philandering. Set adrift
and hardened by a fate he
neither asked for nor understood.

I looked for his father on-line
last night, to see what he’d
accomplished, with all his
bright imaginings, his playful
words. I found nothing he’d done
that the boy deserved.


Pro-Concussion Group Slow to Articulate Its Message

ATLANTA.  As the nation’s attention shifts to this city for Super Bowl LIII in two weeks, a large assortment of causes will compete for attention in the reflected glow of the biggest sports event of the year.  “We usually get a lot of women’s groups and other whiners,” says NFL publicist Dwight Casey.  “My job is to keep ’em from spoiling a great day of organized violence made possible by commercials with funny animals.”

“Four downs, ten yards for a first down–we don’t need big numbers!”

But one group that is vying for the limelight here represents a backlash against a backlash; Former Football Players With Concussions is a non-profit formed to counteract what they say are unwarranted attacks on head-to-head contact in the game they grew up playing.

“You’re Ted?  I thought I was Ted.”


“We’re in danger of becoming a nation of pansy-asses, like France,” says Ted Miscalso, who was a defensive tackle for Fordham in the early 60’s.  “Name one–just one Frenchman who was ever any damn good at football.”


“Do you know how many grandchildren I have–ballpark?”


Members say they were aware of the risks inherent in the game, and argue that today’s players shouldn’t be let off easy.  “It’s like a fraternity hazing ritual,” says Mike Adamick, a former center for the University of Iowa.  “It didn’t make any sense when we did it, so let’s not mess with success.”

“There’s no money in the budget for helmets this year guys, so do your best.”


Con Chapman, who played tackle football without a helmet before advancing to the relative safety of the organized high school game, serves as the group’s unofficial spokesman.  What, he is asked, is the biggest challenge facing a start-up charity that must overcome growing public sentiment that their beloved sport is too dangerous?  “Colors,” he says as he closely examines this reporter’s necktie.  “Pretty colors.  Nice.”

I Don’t Want to Look at Your Food

Listen up and listen good:
I’ve never taken a picture of my food
and sent it winging into the ether
and frankly, I wish that you wouldn’t either.

Like that time you went to a cheesy casino
and ordered the special, a whole branzino.
It is my deepest and fondest wish
that I had never seen that fish.

I know about the time you had foie gras
that “literally” knocked you on your ass.
I scanned it—it looked pretty plain to me
but you could taste it, I could only see

that you were out having boatloads of fun
while I ate at my counter, a lonely one,
sadder than the diner in “Nighthawks” by Hopper,
enjoying my take-out, an Ultimate Bacon Whopper.

A Lover of Nature, Swept Away

Me and my former girlfriend
went down to the shore by the sea.
She wanted to see a hurricane–
she came up with the idea, not me.

We stood there facing the howling wind
and the spray from the foaming tide.
She braced herself like Lear on the heath,
I wanted to get back inside.

She exposed herself to the elements,
in their fierce unconscious beauty.
I looked at my watch’s sweep second hand
while I did my boyfriendly duty.

“Are we about done here?” I asked at last,
we’d been there five minutes at least.
“You’re so bound up in your narrow little self,”
she said as she sampled Nature’s feast.

I said “I’m going back to the car,
I’ll wait while you wrap things up.”
“Okay,” she said as I walked away,
“I can handle whatever comes up.”

I heard her scream and turned to see
a rogue wave wash her away.
I suppose it was the perfect ending,
to her perfectly natural day.

Moral: You may love nature, but nature doesn’t care.

About That Thing on Your Face . . .

Welcome to the Office of Drs. Irving Milstein and Jeannette DuFresne Dermatologists Professional Limited Liability Company (“us” or “we” or “the doctors”).  While you are waiting, here in helpful pamphlet format are answers to questions you may have about the thing on your face that you have come to see us about.

What is this thing on my face?

You probably have a common skin growth such as a wart, a mole or seborrheic keratosis, which sounds fatal but which is actually quite common.

So is death.

You got that right.

The thing on my face wasn’t there when I was younger.

Common skin growths (“CSGs”) are often associated with old age, because adults are larger than children and so provide CSGs more body mass to feed on.

Is the thing on my face unusual?

We won’t know until we see you, so in the meantime please relax by watching our aquarium full of sluggish fish or reading one of our many early twenty-first century magazines.

Newsweek thinks Hillary’s a lock to be President.

I thought Newsweek was out of business.

Are CSGs common?

Most things on people’s faces are common even though they vary widely in appearance, ranging in color from light tan to black to teal to dusty rose (women’s sizes only).  Some CSGs measure a fraction of an inch, while others are as large as an urban zip code.

So how do I know what the thing on my face is?

One distinguishing trait that all CSGs have is a dull, waxy, pasted-on (or “stuck-on”) appearance, like a spot of warm candle wax on the skin.

You make them sound rather romantic.

They also enjoy candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach.

What causes CSGs?

Researchers are unsure what causes CSGs.

I thought you guys were the experts.

If we find the answer, the grant money will run out.

Okay, but give me a hint.

CSGs form both on skin that is exposed to the sun, and skin that gets no sun.

What kind of stick-in-the-mud person doesn’t go out in the sun?

Mainly goth girls and male gamers.

That’s not much help.

CSGs can also form when a woman’s estrogen quickly rises or falls, such as during pregnancy, or when a man experiences wild swings in testosterone levels, such as during the loss of a “wild card” game by a local professional sports team.

Where do CSGs appear on the body?

They can appear anywhere, but are most likely to settle in areas that will cause you the maximum embarrassment, such as the face and neck.

Are other types of skin growths sometimes mistaken for CSGs?

Yes.  Warts, moles, heartbreak of psoriasis, and tattoos of Chinese characters that you think spell admirable qualities such as “Courage” and “Fierce” but which actually mean “choice of meat with pan-fried broccoli.”

What’s taking so long?

Low Medicaid reimbursement rates force us to overbook most appointments.

But I have private insurance!

The doctors will see you now.



Right to Marry Metrosexuals Latest Civil Rights Struggle

NEW YORK.  Kirstin Aylward has everything going for her; a great job at a Madison Avenue advertising agency, a body she keeps in trim by running five miles a day, and looks that turn the heads on the older men where she works and on the street.  There’s only one thing missing in her life, she confides to this reporter over brunch, and she knows who to blame.

So many women to ignore, so little time.


“It’s those damned metrosexuals,” she says, lowering her voice to a whisper so that unattached men nearby won’t hear her.  “I’m entitled to get married, and they won’t cooperate.”

“I . . . look . . . marvelous!


The term “metrosexual” refers to a heterosexual urban male who cares more about his appearance, lifestyle and leisure time than courtship leading to marriage with an eligible female.  Despite widespread acceptance of metrosexuality, members of the demographic say they face scorn and abuse from women of comparable age, who criticize them as self-centered and narcissistic.

“I was minding my own business drinking a Perrier because alcohol causes bags under my eyes,” says Jason Cline, a 27-year-old male sitting by himself at the bar, “when this absolute slut thrusts a Miller Lite beer in front of me, as if she owned me!”

“I am so beautiful . . . to me!”


Laws discriminating against the group have been struck down by court decisions in many states, but prejudice against “out and proud” metrosexuals remains a problem in some regions of the country.  “We don’t want none of your Banana Republic-wearing, John-Luke Godard watching metrosexuals ’round here,” says Lee Wayne Goshen of Camdenton, Missouri.  “Why can’t they wear Husky Cut Levi’s and watch Swamp Thing movies like real men?”

Metrosexual marriage is legal in a number of states with cities whose populations exceed half a million, but Aylward says she is considering a move to a less populous area in order to find herself a mate.  “My biological clock is ticking,” she says, “and all they care about is whether it’s a Guess? or a Tag Heuer.”

Substitute Teachers Decry NFL Quarterbacks’ “Crib Sheets”

SEDVILLE, Mo.  The NFL post-season begins in earnest this weekend, but one team of tough, battle-tested veterans is already lining up to scrimmage over a high-stakes issue; the use of Velcro-fastened “crib sheets” by the league’s quarterbacks.

“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”


“What kind of example are we setting for the nation’s schoolchildren if we allow highly-paid young men to openly, notoriously and brazenly walk on the playing field with notes written on their arms?” says Myrna Folkstone, a substitute teacher and the editor of the 2018 edition of Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary.  “Even if they do it surreptitiously or in a clandestine manner, it’s still wrong.”

“1066 Battle of Hastings right.”


The ubiquitous memory aids, known variously as “playbook bands” or “wrist coaches,” are used by quarterbacks to recall previously-practiced offensive plays, such as the “forward pass,” the “flea flicker” and the “Fumble-Rooski.”  Students in American primary and secondary schools are barred from using supplemental materials in “closed book” examinations, although they are allowed to text friends “OMG this car won’t fit in that teeny-tiny space!” during the parallel parking portion of driver’s license tests administered by state registries of motor vehicles.

“Send in a play–this isn’t the unexpurgated edition!”


Substitute teachers, the most widely-abused sector of the nation’s education-industrial complex, are particularly vulnerable to so-called “crib sheets” because they often are placed in classrooms without guidance as to what material the students have covered before.  “I don’t understand it,” says Eloise Whitman, incoming president of the National Association of Substitute Teachers.  “No matter what class I’m assigned to, no matter what time of the year it is, the kids always say they’re still on Chapter 1.”

Goodell:  “Um, not gonna happen, lady.”


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would take the complaint under advisement, but doubted he could persuade owners, coaches and players to change.  “For some reason a lot of these guys have memory problems,” he noted.  “Also, money is life’s report card, and I make a helluva lot more than a substitute teacher.”