Written by Larry Usoff on August 24, 2015

Let me start by saying that when it comes to being a handyman around the house, the skills are still there…but, using the most recent fix-it job as an example, reality bit me in the you-know-what.   Here’s what happened.  Our kitchen light was flickering and sometimes wouldn’t light at all, which is an indication that something was wrong with the fluorescent tubes.  Taking the trusty step-ladder out of its hiding place, and bringing the tools I knew would be used, I got up on the ladder and began removing the fixture.   Reality set in immediately and the arthritis in my knees told me that five minutes was the limit on the ladder.  Up and down, doing one little bit of the job at a time, including going to the hardware store and getting a new fixture, then up and down on the ladder again.   What really should have been about an hour job took me about six hours over the course of two days.

Going over some old articles that might be used one day, this one popped up.  It said that the Department of Homeland Security lost track of some six thousand foreign nationals of “heightened concern” and Peter Edge, who is a big-wig there, made the brilliant observation that “some of them could be here to do us harm”.   That was from September 2nd last year and it’s a pretty good bet that we haven’t had much success in finding those six thousand…plus how many others have poured in.  Our Muslim-in-chief, Barack Hussein Obama (love those American names) not only lets them come in through a Swiss cheese-like Southern border, he’s actually importing them from around the world!   Reality, and logic, says that we have an increasingly large population of foreigners in this country that mean to do us harm.

Every year, around the time that the Navy celebrates its birthday, the question posed to me is “Are you going?”   I’d really like to, and it would be a doubly nice thing to be able to go in my uniform.   Unfortunately, reality bites again.   About the only thing I might fit into would be my hat…and there are some that say my head has gotten so big even that might not fit!   The last Navy Ball that I went to was somewhere in the early 1990’s and the uniform could still be squeezed into.   Class reunions are the same situation except that there’s fewer and fewer of us there…now, THAT’S reality.

One of my passions are(is?) hats.  Caps of all types, ranging from the old “newsboy” type to the all-purpose sport cap (which we used to call a baseball hat), adorn a hat rack in my hallway.  From the 1940’s there’s a fedora and a pork-pie hat and, would you believe that there’s no place that could be found that will block a hat?
Oh sure, they’ll sell you one, but try to get one blocked…not a chance.  There’s a cowboy hat, not a Stetson, but a nice one nevertheless, and there’s even a DI hat, and perhaps you’d call it a Smokey-the-bear hat.  About the only cap that I wear with any regularity is the one that says “US Navy Retired” and I figure they pay me to wear that.   If it should come to pass that I win the Lottery big time, and the occasion arises to wear a top hat, it would have to be one of those collapsible types…but that’s not likely to occur, because the reality is that chances of winning the lottery big-time are about one in fourteen million.

When you get to be old, like me, the reality of mortality really bites…and that’s by way of passing along a tip.   If you’ve lost a loved one you’ve probably said to yourself, “if I could only hear his/her voice once more”…and you can make that happen.  Find a program on your computer that will allow you to record your voice, or use an old fashioned tape recorder and tell stories, read poems, tell them about your favorite movies or books.   Through the years people pick up on certain phrases and they may not know that it comes from a famous book or poem…but if you’ve read that poem or quoted that passage from the book, complete with the title and author, you’ve probably solved a mystery or two and, who knows, you might even raise their culture level a bit.

There hasn’t been a time in my memory that the world hasn’t been in danger from one thing or another and, so far, we’ve muddled through it.   True, the dangers now are more frequent and more deadly in their consequences, but we’ll muddle through it, I’m sure.   Many of us of a certain age can remember the “duck and cover” drills in school…when the reality was that the entire building would be blown away, with us in it.  Yeah, reality bites but you can try to bite back.   Give it your best, always, no matter what.


Larry Usoff
Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired. Articulate. Opinionated. Patriotic. Conservative. Cultured enough so that I can be taken almost anywhere. Makes no excuses for what I say or do, but takes responsibility for them. Duty. Honor. Country. E-mail me at: