Episode 21 - The Perfect Time to Die & Things That Suck - The Use All The Crayons Podcast

Episode 21 March 27, 2024 00:11:06
Episode 21 - The Perfect Time to Die & Things That Suck - The Use All The Crayons Podcast
Use All The Crayons with Chris Rodell
Episode 21 - The Perfect Time to Die & Things That Suck - The Use All The Crayons Podcast

Mar 27 2024 | 00:11:06


Hosted By

Chris Rodell

Show Notes

Chris Rodell shares poignant and humorous stories about his beloved mother, reflecting on her Christian faith and their experiences together. He also discusses modern-day inconveniences such as foot-long receipts and the decline of traditional phone conversations, all while imparting witty and thought-provoking tips for colorful living. Join Chris as he weaves together touching family moments and societal observations with his signature charm and wit.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Rodell [00:00:00]: Today, we're going to talk about the birthday and origins of an old original telephone. Things that suck from foot long receipts, to those of us who love lollipops. Hi. I'm Chris Rodell. I've written stories and features for just about every magazine or publication in America. This is the Use all the crayons podcast, where I will share those colorful stories with you. I wrote this around Easter 2017, a year before my mother actually died. I love that woman. Chris Rodell [00:00:29]: She's the one who gave me all my sense of humor, so in many ways, you could say she gave me all I ever had and all I'd ever need. On this weekend, this Easter weekend of deaths and resurrections, I'd like Chris Rodell [00:00:39]: to talk about the one that got away. Jesus lives, and so does my mom. Last Easter, for the latter, the matter seemed in doubt. It was Chris Rodell [00:00:48]: a moment I'll never forget. She nearly died the most perfect Christian death, and I was right there rooting for it. Praying, actually. Many will think me callous, sacrilegious, heartless, blah blah blah. But she's my 84 year old mother. I'm her primary caretaker. I'm the one who takes her to her doctor, the beauty salon, and along with Valcy's, to all her needs. And the one thing this 7 year journey has taught me is to never judge others or myself when it comes to honest emotions and dealing with dementia patients. Chris Rodell [00:01:16]: I dearly miss the way she was. She's always reminded me of Carol Burnett. And as I said, I got my sense of humor from her, and it's fair to say she gave Chris Rodell [00:01:23]: me everything I have. Since we Chris Rodell [00:01:25]: moved her out here to Larobe in August, we see her nearly every day. She's enjoyed the kid' school plays and performances, and sitting by Chris Rodell [00:01:32]: the family fire when it's snowing out, and on the porch when it's warm. And in the moment, she's always very happy. It's just that the very next moment, she doesn't remember a single bit of it. Just Sunday, Chris Rodell [00:01:43]: I took her to The old church in South Hills, where she was, for years, a joyful fixture in the choir. All her friends were there and went with us to a grand lunch at a lively neighborhood restaurant. It was wonderful. She is beloved. And not 30 minutes later, she couldn't recall where we'd been, who we'd seen, or what we'd done. She's been like that for 5 years. Yet, she's incredibly fit with a constitution that impresses her doctor. I can't explain it, but her health is excellent. Chris Rodell [00:02:07]: She could live another 10 years. Hallelujah. Her father lived in 97. So forgive me, but I have morbid impatience for seeing how this all ends, especially after last Easter Sunday. She was with us in church smiling and sweet as ever when it came time for our holy communion. When it was our turn, I assisted her out of the pew and up to the altar, where together 3 generations knelt for our blessings. A covenant that symbolizes the last supper, the wafer and wine represent our savior Jesus Christ. And for an electric moment last Easter, we all thought it was going Chris Rodell [00:02:38]: to kill Nanna. My daughters contend Chris Rodell [00:02:41]: it was the wine down the wrong pipe, but I say it was the wafer because that's what I truly believe, and because, sure, it makes a better story. Chris Rodell [00:02:48]: Either way, she began choking, right there at the altar. She was coughing, gagging, turning red. It was beautiful. Think about it. Chris Rodell [00:02:57]: If mom dies there on the altar on Easter Sunday choking on the body and blood of her savior, could there possibly be a better Christian death? I don't think so. I think you'd go right to heaven where Jesus begs your forgiveness, and then escorts you to a really nice balcony suite with free HBO and a stack of chips you can use in Chris Rodell [00:03:14]: the casino, just like Vegas. Hell, you couldn't wish for a better death. Chris Rodell [00:03:18]: I remember my exact thoughts as I sensed mom might be choking to death. Don't anybody touch her. My great fear was some church Budinsky was going to rush up and give her the Heimlich maneuver and save her life. Such heroics would have left me in a terrible quandary. Do I let him or her save my mom, or do I wrestle them to the carpet right there beside the pulpit to ensure The lifesaving does not occur? Alas, it was not to be. Whatever the obstruction, her ever loving will to live overcame it, and the drama was over and she was fine. She still is. Praise God. Chris Rodell [00:03:50]: I continue to spend much of my waking hours tending to her needs and ensuring her comfort. Those efforts include seeing to her spiritual devotions. Oh, yes. I'll see to it again, she partakes of the body and the blood. I'll do so if I have to drag her bony old ass up there myself. It's just what any good son would do. Colorful living tip number 367. Ponder that, given the dietary challenges paleolithic cavemen faced, how surprising it is that Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were tubby, And, yeah, that they had time to bowl too. Chris Rodell [00:04:27]: The visit to the pharmacy had been a model of efficiency. I'd stopped in while I was waiting for some takeout lunch a few doors down. I'd bought a $4.69 anniversary card for my darling, and for me The of those 59¢ lollipops I get when I know I can enjoy The home alone and in peace without the little whiners complaining about me never getting them squat. I approached the register. The friendly older woman smiled and began her interrogation. Find everything you need? I had. Any coupons? No, ma'am. Do you have a wellness card? I did not. Chris Rodell [00:04:58]: In fact, right then All I had was a growing desire to complete my transaction and vacate the store before any of my neighbors saw that I was a grown man who likes to lick lollipops. That'd be $5.57. I gave her 6. She gave me 43¢ as the obligatory receipt began to unspool. For my 2 item purchase, it was as long as the distance from my wrist to my elbow. She picked up a pen and circled a paragraph and informed me if I went online and filled out a customer satisfaction survey, I'd have a chance to win $1,000, and you'll be eligible for great store discounts and sales. Whoopee, I thought. Thank you, she said, and have a nice day. Chris Rodell [00:05:32]: Too late, she'd already ruined it. I'd already begun to calculate just how much the once simple cash transaction had begun to suck. It sucks that she had to ask me 3 questions before she began processing my purchase. It sucks to environmentalists like me that stores feel obliged to hand over every wasteful receipt for every single transaction, even ones involving cards and candy, knowing they'll be in my possession for the 3 seconds it'll take to stroll to the nearest trash can. It sucks to have someone try to tempt me to their corporate website where the suckfest of a transaction will be multiplied tenfold. I guess it could have been worst. At least, she didn't ask me to like her on Facebook. When did so many things begin to suck so bad? I asked my wife for her list of things that suck. Chris Rodell [00:06:14]: Here it is: Meanness and disrespect in politics, Facebook angst, movie theater commercials, strip mall ubiquity, litter and men with ugly feet wearing sandals with toes showing. It's a good list, and I'm relieved she didn't include being married to you. Of course, any reasonable list of things that suck ought to include ebola, prejudice, ignorance, poverty, and Roger Goodell. And because I believe rampant negativity sucks, here's a list of some things that don't. My Bose Wave Radio, Derek Jeter, Love, Joy, Christmas, children, grandparents, and because you've taken the time to Chris Rodell [00:06:48]: listen to this, you. 0, and 59¢ blueberry cream swirl lollipops. Funny, isn't it? One of the few things that these days doesn't really Chris Rodell [00:06:56]: suck is something I could sit and suck all day. Chris Rodell [00:07:01]: Colorful living tip number 366, colorful Chris Rodell [00:07:05]: conversation starter. Tell strangers you have a hunch they must use lots of hand sanitizer in a country named Germany. It was a 146 years ago today, Alexander Graham Bell was issued the patent for the device that was destined to dominate the planet. Yes. This is the birthday Chris Rodell [00:07:22]: of the first telephone. I plan Chris Rodell [00:07:24]: on spending the day asking callers how much different they think the first phones would have sounded if they'd been invented by a man named Alexander Graham Horn. Honk Honk. Of course, it's unlikely you'll hear a single phone ring today. With the popularity of ringtones, phones are more likely to sing than ring. You won't dial one either, it's been more than 20 years since most of us have had to dial a phone. I kind of missed dialing. It was very sensory, at once tactile, visual and sonic. I liked the little clicking sound that my old rotary phones made. Chris Rodell [00:07:54]: It gave dialing a phone a real sense of accomplishment, even if the accomplishment was only ordering a pizza. Today, many of us have love hate relationships with our smartphones. We love having them, but hate knowing you're allowed to have one too. The untethered phone has unleashed rudeness and uncouth behavior that have run amok. It happened to me again just the other night. Ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in years. The instant he saw me, he began diverting my attention from him straight to his smartphone. Showed me pictures of his kids, where he vacationed, and 1 obscene gag shot of a fancy wristwatch with a subtle pornographic image in the background. Chris Rodell [00:08:28]: He thought Chris Rodell [00:08:28]: it was hilarious. Wasn't what I think Bell had in mind when he invented the phone. The inventor is one Chris Rodell [00:08:34]: of the most remarkable men in history, made even more endearing when you learn he had a lifelong interest in kites, so he was a genius with a little bit of Charlie Brown in him. That might help explain why the first telephonically spoken word seemed so mundane. Mister Watson, come here. I want to see you. It's not exactly The small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. A good knock knock joke would have been better, but I like that the gist of Belle's call, I want to see you, involved not talking, but getting together. A phone is always a poor substitute for having a really great face to face conversation. What's interesting is how few people today are using Bell's invention for its intended purpose, talking. Chris Rodell [00:09:14]: We prefer text, instant messaging, email, etcetera. So today, a device that was created to get people to talk to one another has evolved into one that is beloved for features that keep us from ever having to do so. It's caused most people's phone communication skills to atrophy, Like, I'm one to talk. Or is it Chris Rodell [00:09:32]: to not talk? I used Chris Rodell [00:09:33]: to have great conversational phone skills. That was back when I was doing so many intense true life stories about people who survived harrowing dramas involving horrific plane crashes, vengeful lovers, or life threatening diseases. I'd spend hours on the phone with these people engaged in conversations that to this day remain indelible to me. It all kind of ruined me for telephone small talk. Today I hate having to talk on the phone. I'm one of those guys who, whenever he wants to reach out Chris Rodell [00:09:58]: and touch someone, wants to Chris Rodell [00:09:59]: be able to reach out and touch them. It's that way with old friends and relatives. I want them all to know that I love them and miss them, but just hate having to call them up to say so. I wish I could echo what Bell said to Watson and convey all I can just say in those 5 words, I want to see you. Of course, maybe that's just one of my individual quirks. Or maybe in light of today's anniversary, we should go ahead and call it what Chris Rodell [00:10:22]: it really is, a hang up. Chris Rodell [00:10:27]: If you enjoy the podcast, we urge you to complete the podcast Road to Success Triathlon of share, rate, and review. Be sure to tell all your friends and urge them to do the same. Thanks to our friends at Headspace Media in Latrobe for technological expertise and for always being gentle in their criticisms. And thanks to Robindale Energy for their gracious and essential support. Interested in visiting Latrobe and the lovely Laurel Highlands? Start your journey at go Laurel Highlands dotcom, or stop at the The Tin Lizzie just down the street from world famous Late Latrobe Country Club and ask for me. John Jamison [00:11:00]: Learn the fine art of knowing precisely when to quit. Chris Rodell [00:11:04]: Thank you. John Jamison [00:11:05]: Yes.

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