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  • 6/13/2019 Whenever I visited Phyllis Baskerville’s toy museum in Fortville, I was mesmerized by the endless array of toys, dolls, board games, records, lunchboxes, and old magazines, each one in mint condition, and all impeccably displayed. She could talk non-stop—and often did—about any toy you expressed interest in. The old Pentecostal church that housed her collection was dubbed Dolly Mamas and was in operation for more than 12 years.
    Phyllis and I became good friends and when she fell ill several years ago, she asked if there was anything in the museum I particularly had my eye on. Was there ever! Both eyes…but I was uncomfortable making the request. She had life-size statues of my comic heroes, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, immaculately dressed in their classic poses, replete with bowler hats. I opted instead for a less extravagant selection, a set of Laurel and Hardy puppets, which I still proudly display on my bookshelf.
  • 6/3/2019 My wife’s birthday is coming up in July and I was pleased to get an email today with the subject: WHAT WOMEN WANT. I’m a sucker for anything that might make me a better husband. According to the ad, they want Dr. Hess Udder Ointment, a concoction created over 100 years ago that makes your hands smooth and feet callus-free. For years, I thought being sensitive, considerate, and romantic was the key. This is how little I knew about the opposite sex.
    With a name like Udder Ointment, it should either be something you spread over that specific part of the bovine anatomy, or at the very least, it should come from the cow’s udder. For example: Vegetable oil comes from vegetables and baby oil is for babies. On the other hand, there’s Lucas Oil and Olive Oyl. I could make fun of both of those names, but I like my seats on the 40-yard line and I’d never antagonize a woman whose boyfriend has huge forearms.
    So how did they come up with this udderly ridiculous name? (I tried to resist that pun, but I am a weak person.) Dr. Hess introduced his original product to turn-of-the-twentieth-century farmers who lamented that their cows’ udders were extremely raw and chapped. The fact that the farmers’ wives and children were huddled next to the wood-burning stove, withered from the harsh Midwestern blizzards, was of little concern. But those chafed udders? How unsightly. Something needed to be done.
  • 5/24/2019 Mother’s Day has come and gone and once again I bought my wife a lovely gift. Father’s Day is getting close, but Mary Ellen never gives me anything. She explains, “You’re not my father; you’re Brett’s father.”
    “But I always give you a gift for Mother’s Day!”
    “Come on, Dick. That’s a totally different situation.”
    This will be the 32nd year in a row I’ve fallen for that.
    I still have hope for this year to be different, so I’ve been skimming through the Father’s Day edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog. I’m not sure what makes the Father’s Day edition any different from any other edition, but I must admit that a set of monogrammed lighted grilling tools seems like something every dad needs. Here are some other actual choices…
    The Campfire Beer Caramelizer: You heat this rod in a flame, dunk it in the beer, and it “caramelizes residual sugars, mellows the flavor and creates a rich creamy head.” That sounds smooth, but—and I’m no expert–doesn’t it make the beer warm? I can’t be the first person to ask this question.
    The Thin Kangaroo Leather Wallet: I’m sorry if this makes me appear callous, but it is ironic that the only animal that could actually carry a wallet, they made him into one.
  • 5/20/2019 For almost 40 years I have shared with my wife the chores of loading and unloading the dishwasher. I’ve hated every single second of this responsibility. I'd rather clean the toilet with my toothbrush, poke a bees’ nest with a broom handle, or clean out the gutters with a teaspoon.
    Last week my wife informed me that I was now forever relieved of dishwasher duty. "Just scrape the dishes and stack them in the sink," she told me. “You're terrible at loading and it seems to get worse by the day. Ever wonder why when you unload the dishes in the morning, everything you flung into the machine willy-nilly has miraculously lined up perfectly in the appropriate slots? Who do you think did that?"
    "Well, it takes almost an hour to run a load of dishes and I hear a lot of odd noises, so I assumed a mechanical realignment was one of the wash cycles."
  • 5/4/2019 There are three things that make a marriage work.  Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are. If push came to shove and I had to guess, I’d say no pushing or shoving would top the list.
    Mary Ellen and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year.  We’ve been happily married for 37 years; the other two we were sharing a bathroom.
    Communication is vitally important. This is a typical conversation my wife and I have at the dinner table:
    “What are you doing tomorrow, Mary Ellen?”
    “Let’s see, I have my morning exercise class, then a haircut at two, and then book club after dinner. And you?”
    “I’m playing pickleball, then I’m shooting a TV segment and I’m going to write this week’s column.”
  • 4/27/2019 I have watched with great interest over the years the increasing number of athletes who have used steroids and other body-enhancing drugs. As a writer, I am proud of my body (of work) that has not been tarnished by the use of any humor-enhancing or whimsy-producing substances.
    Other humor columnists, I am convinced, have on their shelves at home Milton Berle's Personal Jokebook, the 12-volume Complete Works of Henny Youngman and the Acapulco Gold of humor, Bob Hope's Greatest One-Liners (unabridged). My old friend, the late Soupy
    Sales, gave me a file with his 100 favorite jokes. I have been tempted to look at it, but I don’t want to be tempted to borrow from it.
    There have been periods in my life when I’ve wondered where my next joke would come from. I have sometimes found myself in a comic abyss.  I used to hang around Barnes and Noble and Borders. I haunted Books-A-Million, where I knew I could buy funny cracks at a good price.  At one point, I even loitered at a nearby Half Price Books, but you never know what you are buying at a place like that.
  • 4/20/2019 I always dread the arrival of the monthly AARP magazine. My wife picks through it and confronts me with ways we should amend our current financial and medical approaches to life in our senior years…
    “Listen to this, Dick: men over 50—that’s you since 1997–who eat fish just once a month are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack and will live 10 years longer.”
     “Wow, now that is amazing! So, what’s for dinner?”
    “Turkey burgers. I don’t want to stink up the house. And consider this: chocolate is actually good for you. It says here that chocolate contains antioxidants and that it can prolong your life. But chocolate contains calories and fat that can cause obesity and heart disease. I guess it’s not all good news.”
  • 4/13/2019 I’ve been trying to find recent photos of myself to post on Facebook that accurately reflect my current age. We got out some scrapbooks that featured shots of us during a few recent vacations.
    I found a really flattering one and I couldn’t help but comment to Mary Ellen that I thought I looked pretty good, maybe 10 years younger than my actual 72 years. My wife agreed completely, and then she skipped to the next photo from our cruise.
    “Who’s the old man gobbling down that giant sausage sandwich?” I asked.
    “That old man would be you, Dick.”
    “That can’t be me. That guy looks 85.”
    “You just didn’t take a very good picture that day.”
  • 4/6/2019 For many years, I have neglected my hobbies. Sure, I like to read and work crossword puzzles, but these are not really hobbies. When my wife and I go on vacation we enjoy zip-lining, parasailing and windsurfing, but there is just so much of that you can watch before it gets very tiring.
    This year I made a New Year’s resolution to learn some new skills. I made it in March, which is odd because one of my other resolutions was not to procrastinate anymore. My goal was to have four new interests or activities that would fill the free time I now have since cutting back on my full-time job as a reporter.
    I’m taking a class in boxing. This is a weird thing for me to do because in 72 years I have never hit anyone and, as I told Aaron, my instructor, I have no plans to ever do that. The course is one hour each week and I am doing it with my son. I’m glad I waited until Brett was an adult to share this experience, because no man wants to be decked by his seven-year-old kid. 
  • 3/30/2019 Was it my ego, laziness, or just a deceptive nature? I had resisted this action for several years, but it was finally time: I decided to update my Facebook picture. I also updated my bio pictures on the WISH-TV website. These were not photos of who Dick Wolfsie is; these were photos of who Dick Wolfsie was.
    In one replaced photo, I was standing in front of Market Square Arena. In another I was holding my dog, Barney (who has been gone since 2004), and there was one of me with the late Mayor Hudnut at an Indians game at Bush Stadium. I looked great back in the ’90s. (Author’s note: that would be the 1990’s, not the 1890’s)
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

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