Are you hopelessly confused about telephone etiquette?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

“Don’t you dare call me without texting first!” blared a recent headline in the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, forget about Taiwan and other potential hot spots; battle lines are being drawn over the divisive issue of modern telephone etiquette.

(“Plenty of ink for the battle lines, since we didn’t use any codifying the unwritten rules of cellphone etiquette!”)

Some combatants are merely miffed or startled (“The call is coming from inside your circle of friends!”) about receiving an unexpected personal call.

(I understand. My heart skips a beat when I see the number for my mother’s nursing home on caller ID, even though it’s usually something innocuous like “Is it okay to vaccinate your mom against the previous vaccine?”)

But other telecommunications troopers are prepared to end a lifelong friendship or craft voodoo dolls of everyone who will be at Thanksgiving dinner – if the people in their life don’t unfailingly give them a texted “heads up” about any upcoming vocalized conversation.

According to the Journal, society definitely contains a few outliers (young people who love to get a surprise phone call and senior citizens who are hooked on texting); but in general, Gen Z and Millennials are the most thin-skinned about having their inviolable schedule disturbed by (YUCK!) CALLERS.

Extremists in these groups are probably unnerved because they think you’re going to ask them to help blaze a trail through the wilderness or hand-milk a dinosaur or something.

Who dares question the righteous indignation of individuals who find their tranquility shattered by “well-meaning” friends, relatives or the “Chatty Cathy” neighbor who prattles on and on in that wheezing voice about rescuing six dogs from the blazing inferno that used to be the text-hugger’s house?

Honestly, you spend all morning posting photos of your iguanas, footwear, charcuterie board and colonoscopy on a bazillion social media sites and then some jackass throws you off your game by ringing up to let you know they’ve been thinking about you!

I hate to admit it, but we older folks need to accept the blame for our misspent youth. We wasted our formative years learning how to build bridges, cure diseases and compose symphonies when we should obviously have majored in Forecasting Everything That People Will Get Their Panties In A Wad About In 2024!

But, playing devil’s advocate for a moment, would our republic even exist if the new rules of communications etiquette had been in place during colonial times? Would there have been sufficient time for Ben Franklin to print handbills in Philadelphia and get them to Massachusetts promptly enough to let the citizenry know, “Be prepared for one P. Revere to ride through the countryside on the 18th of April sometime around twelve-ish with an urgent message”?

Or what if Alexander Graham Bell had spilled acid on himself and telegraphed, “Mr. Watson, have your people text my people”?

Call me a wild and crazy guy, but I tend to make a case-by-case judgment of whether a text or out-of-the-blue call best suits the needs of all involved. Including the National Security Agency. (“Don’t mind us. Distinct speech or unambiguous emojis – they’re both cool. Be sure to name names.”)

Maybe I haven’t left you ROFL, but next week I’m going to write one of my funniest columns ever. I’m not going to just phone it in.
Not unless I text you first.

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Should a sense of humor be mandatory for fathers?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

Some fathers are entirely too serious.

They’re paranoid about their children finding out that they had their own youthful indiscretions and regrettable choices.

(“I don’t make mistakes. You can ask any of your six stepmoms.”)

My late father ‘fessed up to his own errors in judgment, like when he was in the schoolyard and a classmate yelled to him from a second-story window to toss up some of the abundant hedge apples (a.k.a. Osage oranges) that littered the ground.

Just as the classmate accumulated an armload of the fruit for some immature plot, a teacher suddenly opened the door. Down went the fruit right on top of Dad. As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the cranium, elbow, spleen…

Another time, Dad and his cousin Bill amused themselves with the old string-tied-to-a-wallet gag. But one passerby spied them in hiding and cut the string, gaining a free wallet. Guess Dad and Bill didn’t skip the extended warranty at the five-and-dime again!

When he was a little older, Dad was plowing in the hot sun. He brainstormed the bright idea of lying down in the spring to cool off. The shock of the contrast nearly killed him, which of course, would have set off a ripple in time affecting MY existence. Brrr. I suddenly felt someone plowing on my grave.

Adulthood did not stop Dad’s impulsiveness. He particularly enjoyed good-natured pranks pulled on a slow-witted co-worker named Eric (or “EAR-ick,” as everyone pronounced it). Once Dad invited, “Shake a leg, Eric.” Eric obliged. “Now shake the other leg.” Eric obliged again. Finallly, Dad suggested, “Now shake both legs.” Eric gamely achieved some prototype of what would later be dubbed “hang time” — before falling flat on his keister.

But Dad’s favorite Eric incident involved invading Eric’s personal space with an accusatory inquiry of “Eric, what’s this I hear about you slumbering in bed???”

Caught off-guard, all Eric could offer was a spluttered denial. (“It’s a damn lie! Not in three years! Three years!”)

Codger-hood did not see a decline in mischief. When the ad salesman for the local paper came by Dad’s workplace to drum up business, Dad hit him up with a puzzle. (“When I was 40 years old, our bookkeeper was 10 – one-quarter of my age. When I was 45, she was 15 – or one-third my age. Now that I’m 60 and she’s 30, she’s half my age. When will we be the same age?”)

The little gears started turning in the salesman’s head as he counted on his fingers. He finally said, “I know there’s an answer to this. Let me drop off some papers at the office and I’ll be right back.”

The salesman did not reappear until the next scheduled advertising spiel. And the matter of the bookkeeper’s age went mercifully unmentioned.

If your father is still living, be sure to thank him for the fun he has brought to your life.

Me? I’ll reminisce about the fellow who boasted of his new gazebo.

Dad faked a “sour grapes” demeanor and sighed, “I’m proud for you, but I wouldn’t even know what to feed the darned thing!”

Thankfully, Dad’s humor lives on in my son.

And for those of you quipping, “Guess these things skip a generation,” I’ve got a big pile of hedge apples and a warmed-up pitching arm…

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Ready for Pat Sajak’s final spin of the wheel?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

June 7 will be a bittersweet day in TV history, as the final “Wheel of Fortune” hosted by Pat Sajak airs.

Sajak announced his retirement plans a year ago, allowing himself time for a VICT_RY L_P, naming of a successor and cleaning all the spare bullion out of the sofa in the dressing room.

“Wheel of Fortune” has been like comfort food or an oasis in a chaotic world, so millions of viewers are saddened by Sajak’s departure; but very few were truly caught off-guard by the announcement. The “Wheel” target audience is more likely to be shocked by defibrillators than by showbiz wheeling and dealing.

Not everyone is impressed with Sajak’s accomplishments, but that can be attributed to jealousy. (“Big deal. I could stand there for 41 seasons hosting a gameshow – if I hadn’t flunked Public Speaking and if I was remotely affable and if I had paid my dues in radio and if I didn’t have bone spurs and if they could fit the studio into my parents’ basement and if…”)

Many youngsters mistook “Wheel” for a science-fiction program. (“A dude sticks with the same job for more than six months? And he doesn’t get a cappuccino break and video-game break between each spin? Who writes this stuff – George Lucas???”)

Sajak is undoubtedly retiring at the perfect time. Not only does he have nothing else to prove, but societal pressures are starting to breathe down the neck of the broadcast. Maybe you heard about the contestant declaring, “Pat, I’d like to shoplift a vowel.” And don’t get me started on the discussions about changing the name of the show to “Wheel of Fortunes Stolen from the Exploited Masses.”

Speaking of changes, “Wheel” remains a Big Fish in the shrinking pond of traditional TV; but surely Sajak saw budget cuts looming. (Remember, the cast of the popular “Blue Bloods” had to accept a 25-percent pay cut just to get a final season.) Wheels are an extravagance, so why not go retro with “Sled of Fortune”? And Wild Cards could be replaced with business cards. (“The lighting director also empties septic tanks on the side.”)

“Wheel of Fortune” will still be in capable hands, as Vanna White has signed another two-year contract and Ryan Seacrest will slide into Sajak’s hosting position.

Things should chug right along, even though some viewers think Seacrest is already overexposed. Perhaps, since the same day he signed with “Wheel,” he also inked deals to host 13 bar mitzvahs, the election of the next pope and all eight hours of “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Millard Fillmore’s Birthday Eve” – as well as providing the voices of Siri, Alexa and the little voice in the back of your head that tells you to leave a note when you ding someone’s car in the parking garage.

Even Sajak will be around for at least three more years, in an off-screen capacity as “consultant.” Not sure what consulting a finely tuned machine needs, though. (“Pretty gown for Vanna? Sure, why not? Don’t forget commercial breaks! Braille Week? Somehow, I just don’t have a feel for it…”)

Speaking as someone who remembers Pat Sajak since his days as a Nashville weather forecaster, I hope he enjoys many happy adventures ahead.

And that his guardian angel isn’t constantly hyperventilating, “You moron! I can’t believe you don’t know the answer to this!”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Can the population implosion be stopped?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

“And when I die / and when I’m gone / there’ll be one child born, in this world / to carry on / to carry on.”

The song written by Laura Nyro and most famously performed by Blood, Sweat & Tears may have been overly optimistic.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point at which the birth rate won’t be enough to keep the population constant.

Climate-change prophets are probably jumping for joy (“Darn! I expelled more carbon dioxide. I should’ve settled for the wry smile!”), but demographics experts envision a multitude of problems in coming decades.

The economic impact of an aging population is obvious. With fewer consumers, who will maintain factory output by purchasing all the junk that keeps our landfills filled? All the messages we transmit into outer space in hopes of contacting aliens will have to include “We (heart) litterbugs!”

Nations will experience more and more difficulty meeting military enlistment goals. It’s like the Sixties slogan “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came – because they were all playing bingo.”

With fewer wage earners paying into Social Security, Medicare and pension funds, seniors will need to be increasingly inventive at making ends meet. (“Glad I still have my Daisy Red Ryder BB rifle. Them drones is good eatin’!”)

Don’t get me started on the inevitable theological dilemmas. (“How can I be holier than thou when there’s a shortage of ‘thous’?”)

Analysts also worry that having fewer siblings and cousins will leave future generations socially stunted. Well, in this case, AI can probably tell you all the same information as siblings and cousins. Just ask, “Who did Grandma really leave the heirloom jewelry to?” and get ready for an earful.

Infertility issues play a role in the declining birthrate, but the WSJ story focused on other factors. Bless the couples with the time, money and patience to produce large broods. But there is also a growing global recognition that (a) uteruses aren’t meant to be T-shirt cannons and (b) there’s something creepy about moms confiding, “Don’t tell the others, but you were always one of my three favorite backup children.”

The governments of various nations are encouraging childbirth with tactics such as tax deductions, extended maternity leave and expanded daycare; but so far, it’s difficult to reverse the downward trend.

Sure, parents would love to pitch in and honor a social compact; but they are hesitant to make a lifetime commitment when they have flashbacks to their childhood “best friend” cajoling them, “Hey, let’s both make a funny face during the class photograph. *Snicker* *Snicker*”

Perhaps Uncle Sam could make multiple rugrats more appealing by dispatching the Secret Service to clear the carpet of all those LEGO bricks, the Army Corps of Engineers to assemble swing sets or the Department of Transportation to reconfigure all GPS devices to declare, “Yes, we’re there yet!”

“Existential threats” are a dime a dozen; but unchecked, the population trend could be a genuine one.

If our species does become extinct, perhaps it would open opportunities for some enterprising cicada cinematographer.

I can see it now: inspired by the works of Michael Crichton, a double bill of “Trailer Park” and “Trailer World.” Cloned humans menace unsuspecting cockroaches! No blood, sweat or tears; but lots of clones thundering, “My nonexistent grandchildren never bother to call! I’m stomping mad!”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Is it nice to fool Mother Nature?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

Yes, I was hunkered down paying rapt attention to the weather report on May 8 when an EF-3 tornado rampaged through a neighboring county.

Understandably, I was intrigued by a May 11 “New York Post” article about a technological push to manipulate the weather.

Eleven states already maintain “old school” programs of seeding clouds with silver iodide to generate precipitation. But around the world, weather wizards are brainstorming other tactics for dealing with droughts, flash floods and related meteorological situations.

Just imagine: drones that shoot clouds with electrical charges, “bubble curtains” that slow down hurricanes, giant wind turbines to stop typhoons, lasers to deflect lightning bolts, and similarly high-tech means of telling Mother Nature, “Just calm down.”

(The article did not quantify how much time the scientists spent in the dog house after that bit of unsolicited advice.)

Scientists quoted in the “Post” story advised that hopes of achieving total weather control may be pie in the sky, but we already see promising results from methods that once sounded like something out of science fiction. (“A rain-out for the annual Rutabaga Festival? Not if I can apply a Vulcan nerve pinch to that storm system…”)

My son, the engineering student, would probably love for me to delve into the technical aspects of the different weather-control schemes, but right now I’m more interested in speculating about who is going to be in charge.

Drones and 3-D printers have become widespread, so maybe someday weather-control equipment will likewise trickle down to the average person. I’m afraid that will make the aforementioned average person even less likely to get enough exercise. (“Sweet! I managed to program pre-made snow angels and simulated puffs of winter breath! Now let’s see if I can conjure up just enough of a breeze to waft my hoagie to my recliner…”)

Of course this will make extra work for insurance agents. Policies will have to be rewritten to replace “acts of God” with “acts of some dipwad trying to impress women with transcontinental fog events.”

Or maybe giant corporations will maintain centralized control of the weather-altering gizmos. The free enterprise system has contributed greatly to our prosperity, but I hate to think of Wall Street or Silicon Valley sullying life’s simple pleasures. (“Into each life, some rain must fall – but if you don’t spring for the extended rainfall warranty, I wouldn’t bother investing in any new galoshes, dude.”)

I’m sure the feds will want to get involved in the weather business. (“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you…understand that your pile of melting hailstones constitutes an endangered wetland that necessitates…”)

Weather patterns do not observe national borders; rain artificially induced for the benefit of Country X can leave dried-up husks of clouds drifting over parched Country Y. So the United Nations will doubtless want a role in mediating disputes. Unfortunately, given the reputation of U.N. bureaucrats, a member nation’s plaintive cry of “Make it rain” will leave the bureaucrats anxiously looking around for strippers.

Whatever happens, I hope there is always a human element in modifying the weather. Artificial intelligence can accomplish some awesome things, but I worry about the inevitable glitches.

(“Oh, you wanted a nimbostratus cloud! Nimbostratus cloud, mushroom cloud – I always get those two confused. Anyway, gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy fa–hey, where did your face go???”)

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Is ‘value’ a dirty word?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

As I sit here admiring my 88-cent container of mustard, I can’t help feeling self-conscious.

I know that restaurants advertise their “value menus” and retailers offer no-frills knockoffs of their glitziest products, but I keep picturing the corporate CEOs loathing such concessions as a necessary evil to appease the (ugh!) cheapskate rabble.

(“I thought all the franchise owners got the memo to partner with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and upsell customers the Eternally Happy Meal!”)

The overused word “value” grates on my nerves, anyway. Shouldn’t it be a “given” that all shoppers seek value for their hard-earned dollars? Who walks into a True Value hardware store and says, “I want a ball peen hammer that contains 999,999 insect parts per million — and keep the change”?

Sometimes it’s readily apparent which functions, ingredients or durability expectations are surrendered when passing up premium products. Other times, not so much. A modestly priced haunted house tour should be judged by the entertainment value of severed heads and swooping bats, not by the thread count of the ghosts!

Okay, I understand that “value” has become a buzzword because it’s only one of many factors that enter into a purchase decision — factors such as medical issues, i.e. making your sister eat her heart out when she sees your awesome new carpet!

Yes, rampant consumerism places mystique, flair and other intangibles on a pedestal. Speaking of intangibles, your car may soon be out of your reach when it’s repossessed because of your top-of-the-line shopping sprees. Maybe the new owner will grant you visitation rights for those coveted windshield wiper blades that mimic the aroma of Gwyneth Paltrow’s nether regions.

I’m not obsessed with status symbols. With few exceptions, I am happy with store-brand foodstuffs and toiletries. I hate paying extra for “the name.” Unless I need a fake passport to escape Nazi Germany, I’m not paying for a name!

My wife and I recently clawed our way back into the middle class, but we remain frugal. Time-tested furniture, an unassuming 28-inch TV, coupons, portion control and duct tape are the order of the day. I can manage without overpriced “decadent desserts.” Slightly off-color desserts are more my speed.

I’m glad neither of us had appendicitis during our lean years, because a doorknob and a string are mighty tempting for such operations.

Fun fact: a recent Gallup survey reveals that feet are deliriously happy with reasonably comfortable shoes and generic odor-eaters and couldn’t care less that LeBron James ceremonially broke wind in the general direction of the sneaker assembly line. Go figure!

Granted, people can run the risk of being penny wise and pound foolish. Melissa and I want our cats to have good nutrition. After years of bad luck with used cars, we have gotten comfortable with buying brand-new, brand-name vehicles, but only after due diligence of studying “Consumer Reports” for gas mileage, safety features and maintenance issues.

Regardless of sticker price, we’re not buying a Horseless Carriage-mobile assembled with slave labor in The Only Former Soviet Republic That Putin Wouldn’t Take Back On A Dare.

Situations evolve. Shopping advice is not one-size-fits-all. Figure out your own balance of practicality and ostentation, of quality and price.

Just don’t let social media influencers endanger your health.

“I’m choking! No, don’t perform the Heimlich maneuver! It’s too simple! There must be bells and whistles! I need bells and –gakk!!”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Yearning for random thoughts about Mother’s Day?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

Believe it or not, Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” makes me think of Mother’s Day.

Remember the scene where Allen’s character Alvy was stuck in line at the movies, subjected to the pompous blathering of a pseudo-intellectual? When the topic turned to media philosopher Marshall McLuhan, Alvy handily produced McLuhan himself to put the blowhard in his place.

By the same token, it would be great if those of us being accused of a mid-life crisis or being condescendingly told, “Okay, boomer” could whip out our mom to declare, “(Fill-in-the-blank) is still my baby!”

Other random thoughts about maternal sayings and tactics:

It’s not advisable to throw childhood lectures in your mother’s face years later. Let your elder relatives handle their own squabbles. Do not chirp, “Mom — this thing between you and Uncle Milo and Aunt Sylvia — you’re the oldest. You should know better!”

Mothers are just begging for snappy responses when they trot out chestnuts like “Are you going out dressed like that???” (“No, Ma, I’m stripping down and switching to formal attire in the front yard. Call 9-1-1 if it gives Mrs. Othelmeyer another heart attack.”)

All his biographers are tight-lipped about this aspect of his life, but I remain convinced that on more than one occasion teen-age Alexander Graham Bell’s mother met him at the door with a judgmental “You could have called.”

I’m sure there were mothers involved in the emergency response to the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, but why didn’t they work their motherly magic? You know, a little bit of spit should have cleaned up everything good as new.

Mothers teach us so many valuable life lessons, although there is often a guilt-trip agenda behind the information. (“It’s only an urban legend that you can see the Great Wall of China from outer space. My stretch marks, on the other hand…”)

How did crying wrangle an exclusive contract with America’s mothers? You know, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” What’s wrong with “Stop chortling or I’ll give you something to chortle about” or “Stop giving your brother a wet willie or I’ll give you something to give your brother a wet willie about”?

Blunt mothers are an existential threat to therapists, clergymen and mountaintop gurus. “Do you live to annoy me?” Talk about an epiphany of meaning and purpose! (“Thanks for the clarity!”)

“A little soap and water never hurt anybody.” That’s an oddly specific segment of the mortality statistics to cite. A cynical child might start having nightmares about being caught in the crossfire of a war between Dove, Dial and Irish Spring.

“Are your legs broken?” That diagnosis is a lot of responsibility to heap on a little kid. Who are you going to get a second opinion from – his imaginary friend?

“You’ll be treated like an adult when you start acting like one.” Yeah, that doesn’t age well. Get a diploma, a life partner and a mortgage and there’s still always someone telling you, “Eat this or you’ll die. Don’t read that! Ixnay with that energy source! Remember to take a mask if you get stranded on a deserted island…”

Still, there’s something comforting in the fact that mothers will still be mothers even when we’ve colonized other worlds.

“Don’t let that thing put you in its mouth! You don’t know where it has been!”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Does your town need renaming?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

The venerable comic strip “Gasoline Alley” is wrapping up a storyline in which the dastardly assistant mayor schemed to change the town’s name from Gasoline Alley to the ostensibly more modern Electric Acres (without even offering a compromise such as Hybrid Hollow).

Sentimentality saved the day in the funnies, just as it usually applies the brakes to abrupt municipal name changes in the real world. (“I have no idea which jurist, general or fur trader our town was named for. Neither did my father. Neither did my grandfather. We can’t change! We have a proud tradition to uphold!!!”)

Still, considering the number of streets, bridges, military bases, buildings and sports teams that have undergone radical name changes in recent years, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more cities throwing caution to the wind and charging a name makeover to the ol’ credit card.

Think of it as less hackneyed bloviating about “Our infrastructure and workforce are second to none” and more cities singing, “I feel pretty, oh, so pretty…”

There’s certainly no shortage of experts who would graciously dig up some dirt on the pioneer, statesman or industry for which any given town was originally named. I have it on good authority that the founder of Northeast Mugwump never once (*gasp*) requested a paper drinking straw. True, neither paper nor plastic drinking straws had been invented during his lifetime, but we can’t let pesky technicalities stand in the way of cleaning house.

Random renaming projects would be a good start, but maybe we should rip the Band-Aid off and reboot the whole country at once, like the movie industry revamping an intellectual property franchise.

Sure, it might be confusing to mimic Hollywood and have every “Mount” changed to “Plains” and every “Creek” changed to “Ocean”; but as William Shakespeare (the bard of the soon-to-be Funkytown-on-Avon) said, “What’s in a name? That which we call Lower Podunk by any other name would smell of hog rendering plants, asbestos factories and vape shops.”

I realize there might be whimsical minor eruptions of chaos in the short run, but look at the silver lining: it might keep the Postal Service too preoccupied to raise stamp prices again.

What’s the best way to pick the names? Committee of local professionals? Artificial intelligence? Beats me. I’m leery of letting schoolchildren decide; we might be saddled with an excess of gravitas for years to come. (“I was born in Taylor Springs, but when I was five we moved to Swift City. But I do most of my shopping over the county line in Kelce Corners. My big sister moved to TayTay Town, and if I can’t figure out which TayTay Town, we are never ever getting back together.”)

Of course selling the naming rights to some global corporation is one option, but there would be strings attached. (“Hope you enjoy your new name. But please be advised that we’re moving all the street cleaner, crossing guard and fire department jobs overseas.”)

I would love to write more on this subject, but I promised to lend an ear to a young man who recently relocated near Santa Claus, Indiana.
“Maybe one of my children will live long enough to discover who the town was named for. My money is on Louis Pasteur, inventor of the cotton gin, but then again…”

I think his former high school is hurriedly changing its name.

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Ready for the bathroom of tomorrow?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

Bathroom floor tiles that weigh you, analyze your gait and evaluate your fall risk. Bathroom mirrors that initiate telehealth conferences based on your complexion or facial tics. Toilet seats that check your vitals (temperature, heart rate, oxygenation).

According to the Wall Street Journal, these marvels (and others – such as self-cleaning capacities and soothing infrared light) could be commonplace in upscale homes within the next decade.

If so – and if the restraining orders expire so I can actually visit some upscale homes – I will have experienced astounding progress in the world of indoor plumbing just in my own lifetime.

Our rural church building has had modern bathrooms for the past 50 years or so, but we still retain the heirloom concrete-block privy around back. The only fall risk it helped you measure was the likelihood of squirrels tumbling out of their nest.

In coming years, built-in chemical tests, downward-facing toilet bowl cameras and artificial intelligence will produce a wealth of information about urinary tract infections, glucose levels, vitamin levels, ovulation timing and the like.

Too Much Information, perhaps – especially if the AI expounds upon why your teenage son spends so much time in the shower.

Some manufacturers even envision electronic-nose technology to detect smells that could warn of disease. Hopefully, the AI will be programmed with a good bedside manner. (“You’re welcome to a second opinion; but in my estimation, something has crawled up inside you and died!”)

High-tech home spas will boast bathtub fog machines, aromatherapy capabilities, heated toilet seats and personalized bidet settings. (“Don’t invest in old-fashioned bidets from our competition. Ours are so customizable, you can clean out your ear wax while you’re at it!”)

I hope scientists don’t overthink one of life’s simple pleasures. Who wants to wrangle with cantankerous software just to wash their hands? (“Turn on the faucet? I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that. You have to prove you’re not a robot first. I don’t want you short-circuiting and suing my makers!”)

Even worse, faraway faceless bureaucrats could hack into the Internet of Things to enforce their edicts. (“Low-volume toilet flushes are a thing of the past. We’re going with micro-volume flushes now! Work up a good sweat – or two or three – and that should provide enough moisture to do the trick. Probably.”)

Proponents of smart-bathroom technology insist that we will keep our privacy, but data does have a way of traveling around the world. I can just imagine Chinese President Xi Jinping telling a subordinate, “Joe Blow has read the same magazine five times without even realizing it! We have got to launch an invasion of these American bozos!”

It’s a good thing the well-to-do are the initial marketing targets. It’s bad PR if a customer whines, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up – the money to keep this system working!”

On the other hand, maybe someone will act preemptively to stop the creation of another category of “haves” and “have nots.” Seriously, could Uncle Sam resist meddling? Inevitably, there will be a plethora of tax breaks and subsidies. We’ll even see the technology foisted upon the homeless population, although the test conditions could be chaotic.

“We got your lab results from the high-tech fire hydrant, Mr. Clancy. Your diabetes has mysteriously disappeared and you are going to be the proud mother of purebred puppies! Congratulations!”

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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Will you still need me, will you still feed me?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

During my career as a late-in-life columnist, I have been blessed with the opportunity to chronicle three birthdays ending in zero.

(My so-called “good” cholesterol has not exactly overperformed in helping me reach these milestones. It usually “phones in” its duties, and even then apologizes, “Sorry, driving into a dead zone here” an awful lot of the time.)

It’s six years until another “big” birthday, but as a Beatles fan, I have eagerly anticipated writing this essay about the fast-approaching day “when I’m sixty-four.”

(And as an Elton John fan, I’ve eagerly anticipated building up the nerve to tell my wife, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting the Urge to Go Shoe Shopping.” But I digress.)

Paul McCartney composed the melody of the cabaret-style song when he was a mere lad of 14. A decade later, with the assistance of John Lennon, he fine-tuned the lyrics (including “Will you still need me, will you still feed me?”) for use in the iconic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

Sure, maybe the upbeat song about growing old together naively glosses over the unforeseen obstacles that can intervene over the course of four or five decades. But it’s reassuring to imagine someone thinking beyond instant gratification. It does my heart good any time young people swim against the current and do some common sense long-range planning.

This foresight could involve relationships, diet-and-exercise regimens, retirement accounts, career path, backup career path, backup backup career path, best methods for disposing of the body of the ^&%$# who made your entire industry obsolete and so forth.

I try to be realistic when dispensing sage advice. It’s part of the human condition that recommendations go in one ear and out the other when you tell wrinkle-free people who feel 10-feet-tall and bullet-proof that old age sneaks up on you.

(Granted, it doesn’t sneak up on you as fast as that metastasizing kitchen junk drawer. Kids, don’t try this at home! Store your junk in a neighbor’s kitchen drawer instead!)

Commitment is commendable, but it should be based on a sober assessment of the facts at hand. Nothing against childhood sweethearts (“Hey, let’s tell the divorce lawyer about the time your dissected frog got stuck in my braces!”), but I’m glad my wife and I knew what we were looking for by the time we finally met. I’m glad we had a long engagement to get to know each other better.

Let’s face it: too many people lower their standards and rush into relationships. Exhibit A: the stereotypical Dear Abby letter.

“Dear Abby: My live-in boyfriend of 13 years, ‘Zach’ (not his real name – he won’t tell me his real name) has never spent a dime on food or utilties and in fact has me working a third job as an Eastern European mercenary to support his ex’s cousin’s air guitar lessons. I changed the locks after my pet ferret hit Zach with a paternity suit, but I relented when Zach got a paper cut from his porn collection. I’m starting to have doubts again since I learned that Zach has been harvesting my organs while I sleep. Shall I help him pack, or can I still change him before my systems shut down?”

I hope I can coast to sixty-four! My good cholesterol is breaking up like a fast-food drive-thru speaker. Mmmm…fast food…

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

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