Dr. Dale Moore

Essayist, bloggerist, philosopherist & ramblerist

Greetings my beloved Droppings aficionados. These Droppings come to you from my recent travels to Jerome Arizona. Lately I have been wondering and pondering, sometimes out loud, “Where did all the hippies go?”  You can imagine the stares I get when I opine that out loud in the local Denney’s.  I miss those good old hippie days. I used to be one ya know and then suddenly one day I wasn’t one anymore.  Not sure how that happened but then if you are a former hippie you totally understand how pieces of your life and the ability to recollect much of that time period fades into, well — fuzziness.  I was a damn good hippie too, not one of those regrettable pretentious types who didn’t know a Zig from a Zag or insisted on Perrier in their bong water — good Lord.  You know who you are and I still don’t like you.

So, on occasion I  do wonder where did all the hippies go?  Up until a couple of weeks ago I was convinced they simply became instinct.  No trace, just gone.  It is a matter of scientific record where the dinosaurs went and how.  Now that was a bad day, huh?  You are grazing, you look up, here is this giant ball of fire from the sky, and kaboom — you are toast.  But hippies?  Did they go the way of the dinosaurs and the bifurcated tri-peckered possum?  Hippies are not extinct my friends. I am delighted to report they are alive and living in Jerome, Arizona.   Moreover, as best I can tell, they all working at the Haunted Hamburger.  I know this because  I have been there and witnessed it.

The Haunted Hamburger is a must stop if you find yourself heading south on 89A just outside Sedona.  I hit the city limits of the most vertical city in America just as the streets were rolling up at about 5:00 PM.   As is my custom, I found a local street-walker, rolled down the window and said, “Where is the best burger in town?”  The incoherence was palpable but the response clear, “Haunted Hamburger at the top of the hill.” Having just climbed a switch-back road straight up 4K feet in my Hertz Rent-A-Wreck, I figured I was fully atop the hill.  But I learned long ago to avoid the blindingly obvious smart-ass response and simply said, “Top of the hill, really?

The joint is literally embedded on the side of a cliff and the view defies the description. Inside I found a Rastafarian gentleman who, by the way has never sipped a Perrier in his life, was serving as the maître d. He is also the chef and hand-mashes a hamburger into a one-toke-over-the-line-sweet-Jesus experience. The waitress was slow-thinking and slower-acting lass,  but nonetheless determined to make my time there memorable as she regaled me with tall tales about the history of Jerome and the glory of consuming red meat at high altitude.

Jerome, once a thriving community,  is now simply a place filled with shops and communities of artisans, mostly good old hippies and a hamburger joint named the Haunted Hamburger. With the sun setting across the Verde Valley, watching the flickering lights of Sedona 30 miles away, I found myself on the side of a mountain enjoying a wonderful two-fisted burger, breathing that rarefied air and wondering how could it get much better…..Haunted Hamburger, really? I’ll be back.

The longer I go on this merry-go-round, the more I am in awe of my unwillingness to consider change on certain things.  I won’t go so far as to say I am immovable, but I am pre-stodgy and getting more and more careless about just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.  Swagger and the inevitable acid tongue of a fast-moving soon-to-be-geezer is a very lethal and an amusing spectacle.  So, to the latest episode. Followers of this blog know that I am prone to fits of baboon-like thinking and curious urges.  Thus what you are about to digest, is straight-up true and the by-product of a clouded soul suffering the loss of several brain cells around the summer of 1969.

Case in point — I am apparently unable to put off the approaching window of retirement nirvana.  I think about it some.  I recently opined while shaving one morning, “I wonder by a quirky chance if at some point I might be eligible for V.A. health care?”   Why I wondered that is not important to this story but for the sake of continuity of thought, let’s go with the premise that the current Medicare system sucks and is itself circling the drain along with most of its client base.

For the record, I do have an open mind and a propensity to hedge my bet having been a practicing Baptist, Methodist, and a Catholic at one time or another. Thus being a free thinker, I am also a believer in holistic healing up to a point — like where the healer, usually named Star Child, starts chanting and burning off some chicken feathers. So fast forward to my shaving moment as I looked in the mirror and said, I am paraphrasing now, “Every man for himself.”  My next action was to hop online and Google the Veterans Administration. Ironically the search list also produced a hit for Viagra on the same page. “This must be a sign!”

As might be expected the V.A. has a form, well more like an application one might have filled out to be on the Inquisition road crew.  As I read through this maze of bovine excrement I became increasingly depressed at my chances of snagging that V.A. brass ring.  Then I found this very small entry on my DD-214 record. For you non-jar heads that is your service separation document.  At the very bottom in really small print it said, Served in RVN.  I jumped up from behind my computer and broke into song like Charlie finding the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s crib! So like a madman I finished the application for V.A. health care bennies and hit the send button on the off-chance  the new-found bipartisanship in Washington might be failing.

Low and behold a few weeks later I get a letter saying, “Hello sailor! Come on down!”  Allow me one more fast-forward…..to this past Tuesday. I was scheduled for a session called, “care establishment.”  That is V.A. speak for physical, as in exam, as in, well you know.  I arrived at the clinic 30 minutes early. Lab work was at noon, of course a fasting lab, so no food, coffee, cocktails, nosh, nothing.  Labs were a non-event. Then the main event, the establishment of care.  Now, God bless the V.A. On a very serious note it was an honor to be in the same waiting room with men and women who have served our country, it truly was.

So, I am waiting my turn.  A very nice and stern nurse finally calls my name and instructs me to follow her. A stout woman she was and full of authority.  She puts  me in this very MASH4077  looking room. Takes my blood pressure, which is now near stroke level, sticks a wooden stick in my mouth, and shines a light in my eyes with the brightness of an incoming meteor.  I would be the last person to stereotype but honest to God, if my eyes weren’t blurred from the light, I could have sworn the name tag said, Ratchet. Then the interview, what do you eat, do you smoke, do drugs, done drugs, night sweats, COPD, ADHD, ED. “No, but you will be the first to know.”

“Alright Mr. Moore your regular physician is out today so you will be seeing Dr. A.”  “OK, that will be fine, thank you.”  So you know the drill, you sit, you wait, you hear people murmuring in the hallway. Your hands start to sweat, you are feeling nauseous…and then the door opens and viola there is Dr. “A” — Well, I was expecting some old gnarly, funky retired corpsman looking guy with a handle-bar mustache and nicotine stained hands.

Well, Dr. “A” was this jaw-dropping beautiful young woman.  She looked at my chart, I mumbled some incoherent responses. You know how this goes, right?

Dr. A, “Ok, let’s get undressed Mr. Moore.”

Patient, “Huh?” ( How is that for a snappy line?)

Dr. A, “You know, we need to examine you.”

Patient, “But I feel fine, this is just an establishment visit.”

Dr. A, “Mr. Moore……”

Patient, “Really, I am fine.”

Dr. A, “Stop being a baby and drop your pants……”

On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you Dr. A for your service.

So I am thinking, if you can’t remember your blog password one of two things is probable — 1. you are stupid, or 2. you are stupid and should blog with a little more regularity. With respect to being stupid, I have come to the stark realization that even I need help pulling that off and I am making progress on stupid in ways that take my breath way. As for the latter, I suppose it is time to engage that lofty resolution made somewhere between 11:45 PM and midnight this past December 31…the resolution where I promised to maniac blog my brains out, especially since it is clear the resolution about weight loss and exercise seems to have lost traction.

Thus my purpose now. I should probably try to pull something together here to save face if nothing more elegant than that. Bovine excrement aside, I do apologize for the absence but I am sure your heart, if not your 401K, has grown fonder. So, since we have been incognito for a while, let’s take a shot at being under the influence of cognition, at least for this missive. Let’s get caught up shall we?

Politics. Yep, we did, they did, and it rolls on. The pond turned over, end of story. In the words of the Great Gump, “That’s all I’m gonna say ’bout dat.”

Bieber. Youth phenom, big talent, needs haircut, needs an Elvis injection. He should be really be concerned and focused on happens next when his voice changes and puberty comes knockin’. It killed Eddie Haskell’s career along with the Beaver. And Bieb’s — wouldn’t recommend Lil’ Wayne as a singing partner, just sayin’.

Lady Gaga. Recommend you consider refrigeration if you intend to keep the meat dress.

Lincoln Park. I thought I understood you and your creative bent. Boy was I wrong.

Reality television. I have revised my previous calculations and am firmly convinced the gene pool is capable of grander and more epically stunning tripe. We really need a separate awards ceremony for reality television, don’t you agree? My god it is a mosh-pit of intellectual delight from shows featuring people sporting orange spray tans, to the morbidly obese, to dancing with stars, or conversely, who can dance?, or the bachelor, or bachelorette, fishing, fighting, boxer shorts folding competition, who can blow the biggest snot bubble. It is mind-boggling and delicious.

News gathering, slash, reporting. Huh, that was fun. The news business continues to provide some of the best entertainment value I have seen except that one time the Caudell twins got freaky at church camp, but that deserves a separate blog entry. It strikes me that news gathering, slash, reporting has full-on taken a page from the reality playbook and decided we yearn to see them being jostled by angry citizens on the streets or absent that, we clamor to see events caught on tape. Yeah, that’s what I want to see, some poor schmo careening down the side of a cliff caught on tape by his honey or his kid.

What I have noticed mostly though is that since my last blog entry, not a hell of a lot has changed save the latest rotation of the globe, which thankfully continues, given the alternative. But the real upside to all this? If you forget your password, a couple of mouse-clicks and your are back in business. Sweet.

Well, well. So much for all my noble intentions — “I am going to blog every single day.” Claptrap. Truth be told I have intentionally been off the grid lately simply because I needed some fresh air.  I have even taken leave from Tweeting and Facebooking for a few days.  Haven’t even flipped it on once since I flipped it off.  The cold sweats and shakes didn’t last long.  I swear it has been downright cleansing, sort of like a cyber high-colonic, ya know?  Look, I am not on a crusade or rant here, but I’m persuaded that deliberately dropping off the grid is a very healthy thing to do.  We should all do it occasionally if for no other reason than as an exercise in perspective checking.  Keeping perspective on what really matters can easily be swallowed up as we frantically make damn sure we are up-to-the-second current with our peeps and our peeps peeps.  Think I’m full of crap?  Marketers have noticed. You have probably seen the recent ad for Sprint. Picture this.  A man and woman are sitting in a restaurant booth, he gets a text from her, she is breaking with him, followed by a status update from her (she is single again), followed by a phone call from her to him, yadayadayada — all while they are sitting across the table from each other.  Hilarious right?  It might be funny if it didn’t strike such an eerily accurate chord.  The lure of social media is powerful intoxicating.  I am knee-deep in love with it. I mean really, who doesn’t love the challenge of trying to get it said in 140 characters or Tweeting how extraordinary your most recent BM was? Good grief yes, there is a hash-tag for that. So I get that you desperately need an update fix, just don’t do it while you are changing lanes in front of me or while we are trying to carry on a  — good-God-Almighty-face-to-face encounter! Talk to me and stop looking down while fiddling with your gadget.  Marshall McLuhan said, “The ignorance of how to use new knowledge stockpiles exponentially.” Maybe he was foreshadowing social media or the sometimes laughable trend of trending.  It’s all about perspective my dearly beloved peeps. Perspective. See you on the grid….

Well my Dropping aficionados it has started, that wonderful and most predictable annoyance known to humankind — political campaigning. That inescapable barrage of nose-pulling, eye-poking, shrieking-shrillness that permeates our airwaves, front-yards, and vehicle bumpers. It’s bad enough you have to endure painful summer reruns on the networks but then add in the stream of political ads and I for one am about ready to curl up in the corner of my den in a fetal position and suck my thumb. It is pointless to attach blame but what the hell, let’s give it a shot.

Right at the top of the list is of course those remarkable people known as the candidates. I saw a recent poll that had the approval rating of Congress hovering around the 11% mark. I’d say outside of their immediate families these bottom-feeders don’t get too many hugs and kisses. Thankfully the rhetoric has shifted though and the winds of positive change are finally blowing. This time it is going to be different. How do we know? Because the candidates say so. Yea right. Just once I love see a political ad that says it straight up — “Hi I am a totally self-absorbed, self-centered prick and if you elect me, I pledge to be an even bigger self-absorbed, self-centered prick.”  Another favorite of mine, “Are you sick of career politicians, ME TOO! Elect me so in 4 years my opponent can bitch about me being a career politician.”

Who else can we throw under the bus? Well how about the rocket surgeons who mandated the equal time provision rule. I am sure it sounded like a good idea at the time but the reality is the stupid rule simply fills the sinking boat with even more  nose-pulling, eye-poking, shrieking-shrillness all in the piously pronounced interest of fairness. What the hell is fair about a string of moaning and groaning pols? Equal time — really? What we are left with is a lagoon overflowing with painfully odoriferous political advertisements, nothing more elegant than that. After enduring a string of commercials longer than a litany to the Saints, it makes me yearn for the occasional Sham-Wow commercial.

So, what is the solution? I think we need a 24/7 political ad reality channel called — RUN DAMMIT!!!! Why wait until the election cycle?  This channel could run back to back, no holds barred, cage-match, bare-knuckle campaign ads one right after the other — in perpetuity. It is ingenuous really. There are 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour span. At 30 seconds a pop that would yield 2,880 mind-numbing political ads. For crying out loud, I’d even pay a surtax on my cable bill just to help subsidize the venture.  I love democracy and I totally get the need for process but for the love of Pete there has to be a better way of informing the body-politic than this cluster-gaggle. Ya know?

Right about now is when I begin to come to the stark and chilling realization that before we know it, summer will be over. You’re saying, “Geeez man, you are chugging down a half-empty glass of water.” I know, I know. You have to admit though, there is plenty of evidence that the end of summer is a chain reaction of man-made carnage. My first sense of this impending doom is around the end of June when all the temporary flower huts start the 60% sell-off of their remaining plants which by a strange coincidence,  coincides with the annual raising of the fireworks tents. Ahhhh, what a glorious moment, punks buying punks. Then, if only for a day, the grand-daddy of them all, the 4th of July.

Talk about getting screwed, the 4th of July is a holiday moment that can only be savored for 24 hours, primarily after dark and only by specific ordinance outside the city limits.  Would the founding forefathers and foremothers stood for such regulation?  Have you noticed there is a strange lull immediately following the 4th of July?  For a few days just after the 4th you hear the sound of an occasional rogue firecracker pop somewhere in the distance — then eventually the sound of the great nothing.

Still, you buck up, shake it off and get excited knowing that there is still tons of summer, right? Labor Day is light-years away. Then it happens. The portable signs start to pop up to alert us in late July, “Back to School Sale!!”  You do your best to ignore this assault on your summertime-sensibilities. Mid-August comes and you have that inexplicable urge — no, a calling really– to go to Lowe’s because you need a lawn and garden fix, maybe nothing more than to spend a few minutes sitting on that Deere you lust over.

You get out of the truck, stride across the blazing hot asphalt parking lot dressed in your cleanest wife-beater t-shirt and go-to-hell ball cap, through the automatic opening doors and there it is, a display of fully flocked and well adorned Christmas trees — in August.  Frozen in time, mouth fully agape, you sense a pent-up primal scream rattling around somewhere in your head as you take in the sight of this seasonal anomaly. If only that fire-hot emotion could be loosened like the Kraken from Greek mythology — but you know better, so you just sigh and move on.

So it goes my Dropping fanatics and there is little we can do about it. Summer is a spirit, thankfully. Summer is eternal for this fool. Drink it in whilst it lasts.

Well my good Droppings fans I have been remiss of late with my blog posting,  but I have an excuse — I just rolled one of those blankety-blank milestones.  I have always found birthdays fun especially considering that  the alternative to not having one decidedly sucks.  You know turning 30 didn’t register a blip, 40 was actually kinda fun, even 50 was mildly tolerable, but 60? Holy crap, this one just might leave a mark. I was surprised to learn candles are not allowed when you hit this one. Some rule about open flames inside the city limits. So with a heightened sense of awareness, I closed my eyes, made a  wish and blew out the token candle. I opened my eyes, and what the??? Where’s my epiphany?

I guess I was expecting some sort of grand epiphany that would clearly signal something different, but there was nothing — as in zero.  Other than the turning of the calendar page, I really don’t feel older. Considering the hard miles on this chassis, I don’t think I look “it” either.  But even I, the most humble and lovable sumbitch on the planet  realizes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so whatcha’ see is whatcha’ get cousin.  Aren’t you supposed to at least feel older? Nope, pretty much the same on that score too.  Maybe the answer is too simple. Maybe it is nothing more than the direct result of all the squeaky clean living I have done over the years — right? Please, even I ain’t buying that load of dung.

So what’s the deal here?!?  Where is my darn epiphany?    OK, let’s run the list.  I have managed to clearly cheat the grim reaper out of 2 interviews — that’s cool. I pay my taxes so Uncle Sam has no bone to pick with me. I brush, floss, and get an annual physical. I have 1.5 dogs. I have weird hobby’s and a bizarre taste in tunes (Bill Monroe to Pavarotti).  I recycle.  I eat right — mostly, almost always. I have five grown kids, as far I a know. Got a mess of grand kids.  I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, well you know, not too much.  Oh, and I refuse to take myself seriously — You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

All in all turning the odometer was pretty much a non-event.  I ate enough carrot cake to make a chubby chick giggle uncontrollably.  I spent some quality time with a lot of great friends talking like pirates and I treated myself to 18 holes of golf  in what was predicted to be record-setting heat.  Breezed through it and still not a single epiphany.  However I do seem to still have a slice from hell that winds up in the next time zone, but then I was doing that 40 years ago so the new milestone did nothing to alter my piece-of-crap golf game.

Screw it. Who has time for an epiphany anyway?