Thought number 1: Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s that I’ve lived the past 32 years as the only male in the house (most of the time), surrounded by as many as five members of that other gender. Girls and women are the dominant figures in the interior decorating aspects of El Rancho Davis. Therefore, we have frilly stuff, flowery bed covers, cute knick knacks, scads of adorable baby-and-little-kid pictures. A collection of tiny turtle figures wearing straw hats and eyeglasses, made of even tinier seashells, on the mantle. Sweet-faced llamas on wall plaques and coffee cups. Uplifting, sunshiny sayings hanging on walls.

Even the main bathroom has signs and expressions of unbounded happiness: “Family Love Faith” emblazoned across a three-compartment ceramic dish that holds Softsoap, lotion and toothbrushes. A guy’s dish would read “Brush Rinse Spit.” Here’s the biggie: there’s a huge sign that tries to look like re-done barn planks proudly declaring LIVE LOVE LAUGH hanging on the wall, inches from the toilet! In a man’s world that sign would read

POOP WIPE FLUSH!

Thought number 2: My aging cat appears to have gone into a self-regulated training regimen. Halfway through his fourteenth year now, he has managed to slim down quite impressively...which he needed to do, quite frankly. Already immense a year ago when his brother--the late, lamented Goliath--passed over the Rainbow Bridge, Kael took that sad event as an opportunity to eat twice as much food as he had been accustomed to. Goliath wasn’t there and somebody had to eat his share. Somewhere along the calendar year...I suspect it was when he discovered he no longer looked studly in his Speedo (the hot young kittens at the kitty pool had begun snickering)...he decided to cut back on the never-ending gourmet feasting. And now he’s taken to shifting weights. Yes, shifting, not lifting. Every day, without fail, I find the dog’s water dish about three feet away from it’s normal spot, with a fair amount of slosh all around the area. Now...it’s a known fact that Maizie the Magnificent has never moved any of her dining area dishes even one inch. She’s a dog...if you move it she can’t find it . My gut tells me she learned that from me. So it has to be the cat.

Further evidence lies in the size of his forearms...all this weight shifting has resulted in significant muscular bulges, a la Popeye the Sailor man. And I’m certain we didn’t buy a case of canned spinach, but there it is, right next to the bottle of extra virgin Olive Oil. The cat worries me.

Thought number 3: Am I the last to find out they’re called BELGIAN waffles? Always wondered why I was the only one who thought it was proper etiquette to belch politely after breakfast or brunch. They’re NOT Belchin’ waffles! I blame it on bad parenting!

Thought number 4: This is a subject that I have ranted about on social media, but I think it bears repeating here: the most annoying ad on TV right now is the insurance commercial featuring the voice of the long-dead French chanteuse, cabaret performer, film star, Edith Piaf. You’ve probably seen it...it features an opening shot of a molded jello setting on top of a car as it motors along, with Piaf regaling us with a performance of “Non, je ne regrette rien.” That translates as “no, I regret nothing.” Utterly pointless.

And as if that’s not bad enough, the jello becomes at least three other things before the hapless driver gets where he’s going. Then you discover that throughout this whole audio/visual debacle, “You’re in good hands!” As Colonel Potter used to say on “M.A.S.H.”, Horse Hockey!

To begin with, why is a French woman who’s been in the ground for 57 years singing about her lack of regrets? The song itself is just awful, by the way, and how does any of that 30 second-long abomination inspire anyone to drop everything and rush out to switch their insurance coverage? For my part, I sit at the ready, thumb resting on the “mute” button on the remote, waiting to display my cat-like reflexes by silencing the madness. And wouldn’t the Alabama vs Notre Dame Sugar Bowl football game just be sponsored by the unfortunate insurance company who paid some absolute idiot a huge amount of money to come up with the worst ad campaign ever foisted off on an unsuspecting public. Nearly broke my thumb and the remote several times during the telecast.

Well, there you have it: my personal collection of the most all-consuming thoughts to be faced in the new year. May your 2021 be immeasurably less stress-inducing.

Contact Lloyd Davis at ldpsu74@yahoo.com

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