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  • All of the New Year’s resolutions others need to make
    1/17/2020 The twenties have begun. I know I’m supposed to make New Year’s resolutions to better myself, but I never do. I’m just not very good at self-improvement. There are plenty of other people out there who could resolve to make Dick Wolfsie’s life simpler and less stressful. For example:
    I ask that everyone who will ever be in front of me in line at Dunkin’ Donuts resolves not to spend three minutes deciding on whether they want the 13th donut to be Chocolate Creme or Blueberry Glazed.
  • The Jacks I've known in my life
    1/9/2020 My entire life, people have been saying, “Dick, you don’t know Jack.” Actually, I do. In fact, I know dozens of Jacks. So does my wife. And she has a crush on about six of them.
    Apparently, screenwriters and producers find the name Jack to be very rugged sounding, but as I was growing up, most of the Jacks I knew of possessed questionable masculinity. One Jack in particular couldn’t even navigate climbing a hill, and ended up with a head injury, all in an effort to hydrate himself and his girlfriend, Jill.
  • Tuesdays with Auri
    1/3/2020 It began with a simple phone call to my friend Auri, a computer geek I asked to help me with my successful website, which right now is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a day using social media, like Facebooking, tweeting, and updating your blog. This means cutting yourself off from the outside world. But that’s the price you pay for being social.
    Auri and I decided we would meet in a few days for coffee. I got out my trusty mini legal pad and wrote down the time and date. Then I put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror. At my age, I know I will see it there several times the night before, reminding me of that early morning obligation. This system seldom fails, although one day I accidentally grabbed a list from the previous day and started repeating everything on it. I’m glad I have an honest barber.
  • 12/20/2019 This week I’m sharing one of my favorite holiday columns that I wrote several years ago.
    No one is better at returning presents than my wife; some would say it’s a gift. The only year I rivaled her was 2009. Mary Ellen checked out two novels from the library that I wanted to read. She thought it was a waste of money to actually buy the books. She wrapped them and gave them to me for Christmas. I returned both of them. 
    I don’t have a gift-giving knack. I am not a very good listener, which explains why three years ago I got my wife an Irish Setter for Christmas when what she wanted was an Irish sweater. For a few months prior to our 25th anniversary, she began humming the tune “I Love Paris in the Springtime.” So I got her the sheet music. I thought she would get a kick out of knowing the words. She wasn’t pleased.
    This year, my wife’s unhappiness with my gift selection takes the cake. Yes, she’ll take the cake and then return it to the bakery the next morning. For the first time in our marriage, Mary Ellen has chosen to return something before she’s even opened it—a decision she made by simply observing the package under the tree. It was a Keurig Coffee Maker, the one with the compact individual containers that brew one cup at a time. We have been using a standard Black and Decker coffeemaker, but I don’t like to drink liquids from an appliance made by the same people who manufacture my weed whacker. That’s not the way I want to get my buzz in the morning.
  • 12/13/2019 I have been writing this weekly column, in one paper or another, for 20 years. Every year I have to come up with a new angle about Christmas. I looked over the past two decades and picked my two favorites. Like any column, the basic premise is always true with a little exaggeration thrown in to make it more entertaining. But this one is 100% true, which is why I want to share it again.
    This story began several years ago when the UPS truck pulled up to the curb at our house and we wondered what Brown was going to do for us. We saw the driver struggle with a huge carton the size of a big-screen TV. He maneuvered it to the front porch and left it leaning against the door. I went outside to look at it.
    “Who’s it for?” Mary Ellen asked.
    I checked the label and it was addressed to me, but those stickers can be misleading. Some of our credit cards are in my name, some are in Mary Ellen’s; so when a delivery is made, we are not sure who ordered it and who the gift is ultimately for. If the wrong person opens it, well, there goes the surprise meant for Christmas morning.
  • 12/6/2019 I’d like to celebrate some of the special people I interviewed while doing my weekend segments on WISH-TV in 2019.
    Gregg Bell is 90 and still practices dentistry and is director of that department at Logansport State Hospital. But wait, there’s more! In 1953 Bell won the Olympic gold medal in long jumping, in Melbourne, Australia. When I interviewed him, I asked to him to show me the 26-feet, 5.2-inch distance that won him first place. Greg eyeballed the floor and walked it off within a quarter of an inch.
    Gary Varvel is one of the few remaining nationally syndicated political cartoonists in the country. He is now retired from the Indianapolis Star but offers his work from his website. Gary invited me to his home to see how, with the help of a high-tech software program, he creates his award-winning drawings. I seldom agreed with Gary politically, but there is no arguing with his creativity. He also did a caricature of me. I love caricatures. I don’t seem to get any older in them.
  • 11/22/2019 “What should we do?” I asked Mary Ellen. “It’s getting close to Thanksgiving.”
    “Well, we could call and just ask. But that would be awwwkward.” (Say that last word out loud, in a high-pitched voice.)
    Here was the dilemma. For a long time, we have been celebrating Thanksgiving with our friends the Haversticks at a nice local restaurant. Bob likes to plan ahead, so we usually know around July 4 where we are going and what time we are eating. And where we should park.
    About four years ago, other friends, the Goslings, invited us to stop by in the late afternoon on Thanksgiving and have dessert, or I should say: another dessert. We have looked forward to this every year and assumed they would ask us again. And now we come to what Mary Ellen and I call the Gosling dilemma. It’s getting close to Thanksgiving as I write this and neither Dan nor Noelle had mentioned a thing about it. We see them at church and always have a nice chat. Nothing was said. Then I saw Dan at the men’s group and not a word was mentioned about Thanksgiving.
    “We could just show up,” I said to my wife. “Except for my spilling red wine on their carpet three years in a row, why would they not invite us?”
    “Maybe we shouldn’t go,” said Mary Ellen. “But they might expect us and then be insulted if we didn’t show up. Of course, if we simply went to the door and rang the bell, they couldn’t really turn us away. Could they?”
  • 11/15/2019 I obsess about how my lawn compares to others on my block. I noticed some bare spots this past summer, so I addressed the issue on a trip to a local nursery. Then at the Labor Day get-together, people were discussing Joe’s yard, which was suffering from the same problem. I thought, there, but for the grace of sod, go I. (That was a long way to travel for a joke, I know.)
    Now I have a new challenge to obsess over. It began with a letter from my electric company. The envelope looked like it contained my monthly utility bill, but the contents were far more ominous. The page was titled:
    LAST THREE MONTHS ¬– NEIGHBOR COMPARISON
  • 11/8/2019 My wife and I dress in separate rooms when we are going out for the evening, then we meet downstairs and give each other the once-over. We used to get dressed together, but we realized as we got older that the anticipation of what the other one would be wearing was an inexpensive way to amuse ourselves.
    “So, Dick, what are you going to wear tonight?”
    “I don’t know. What are you going to wear?”
    “Not sure. It depends on what you wear.”
    “I haven’t decided yet.”
    “Oh.”
    This snappy repartee is what has kept our marriage fresh. It also prevents our dressing alike, which is creepy for people older than 50. After this exchange, we go to our separate corners and dress accordingly. We don’t know according to what, because there are no rules anymore.
    I once paid $62.00 for a steak at St Elmo’s, while sitting next to a guy in torn jeans, a tee shirt and a dirty baseball cap. “That is really annoying me,” I told my wife.
  • 11/1/2019 My proofreader, Heidi, left me a voicemail. A text transcription showed up below the notification. The message read: “Hi. I sent your proofed column back, but I haven’t heard from you. I wanted to make sure you received it. Love you!”
    Over the 20 years we’ve worked together, Heidi has left countless messages on my voicemail. They sometimes start out with “Love you” but then end this way:
    …to quit being so redundant.
    …to get a new proofreader.
    …to stop calling me before noon.
    No, this time it just said “LOVE YOU!”
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Sunday, January 19, 2020

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