I surviving 2017

How do I do it? I keep in mind the old Estonian saying, “your face should be like Ice”. You see, we Estonians are used to being taken over by many bamboozling buffoons- first it was the Danes in like year 1200, then the Teutonic Knight Order, the Germans, then the Soviets, then the Nazis, then the Soviets again- so being ruled over by bufoonery is old hat to us.


How do we deal with less than savory rulers? We expect only shit from life all day every day. We tough through life and smile for no one expecting nothing but drudgery cold and darkness.

in this way, any brightness seems to us a great and wonderful surprise. Like when your dog lives to be older than 8 or your goat does not freeze into block of ice.

So get your Estonians balls America, its going to be a bumpy knight.

Does retirement cause death?

Dear Great Zamboni-

Is the fact that people who retire are more likely to meet their death in the ensuing years influenced by whether or not they find something to do after retirement?  -SK Dance

You know- this is interesting question. What happens after we get done working and we can “rest” or “retire”? My maternal grandmother, Smolenka Slipuvitz, was a famous cheesemaker and Estonian Olympic fencing coach. Cheese was her vocation, fencing was her passion. Her curd straining and sheep- milking allowed precious little time for her fencing, nonetheless the bills had to be paid. When she retired from cheese, she devoted herself to her students of the saber and the foil, yet her age made movement difficult. Nevertheless, this retirement activity kept her alive with passion until the age of 102.

My step-father-mentor, The Baron von Sthunderstucke, died almost immediately after retiring from the military. He tried golf and stamp collecting but nothing caught traction of him.

So the answer to your question is yes- but more than this, we don’t just start aging or dying on the first day of retirement. We are busy dying and aging every day. I am dying now so are you. If the clock is moving, we are dying. Like the old peasants used to say while they drank hickory wine under the Walnut tree, “new day, some old smell.” Right?

Prepare to die!

What if you died today?

This is my aunt Evelyn.                                                            She died Wednesday night, in Boca Raton Florida. They say Death is a natural part of it all and that we shouldn’t be afraid of it. Zamboni famously has revealed that death is a lot like Las Vegas,which of course is comforting. Nevertheless when people in your life and family die, it gets you thinking.

My mother’s side of the family is rich in women. Her mother had two sisters, Evelyn and Anne, and two brothers (one dying young) and they came to this country with their mother, and grandmother.

As you can imagine, visiting these folks in Florida when I was a kid, I was fawned over, petted and patted quite a bit. But when you’re ten, you want to be James Bond or Terry Bradshaw and not so much to hear, “what beautiful curls he has! Such adorable eyes!”

But Evelyn was special to me from the start. I feel trapped in a cliche right now, because there really was something angelic about her voice. I never heard it agitated or bothered. It was always sweeet, smoothed, patient and as comforting as… I honestly can’t think what. I wish you could have heard it.

This sweetness may have come from her being the spoiled, protected one..I don’t know. Her sister Anne had to be the driven business woman, in the garment business supporting a husband who couldn’t contribute, but I don’t know all the history. I  curse myself for not getting that voice on a tape recorder.

She lived a long time. She leaves behind two daughters, Arlene and Lana. Her husband, Bob,  passed away a while ago. He was a funny guy who for a time had a business immortalizing peoples baby shoes in porcelain.

If you died today, what would people say about you? Personally, I think about it all the time.

And I hope when I die, Evelyn and I can go see Barry Manilow at Cesar’s, I’m sure he’ll still be there.