Reflections in a Mirror (While Shaving): Part 16


When I was younger, my cars tended to be sleek and fast. As I have “matured,” they are boxier and slower. We have become our cars.

In a belated effort to again be sleek and fast, I bought a little black convertible. To those with criticism hurtling past the teeth, sprinting towards your lips, I say: “So’s your mama.”

I can’t seem to get the time and cost estimate even remotely close for my “projects.” ….”It’ll take about a half hour with stuff I already have”… should be tattooed on my butt… that way there’d be an explanation when I’m found face down in sawdust at the end of a twelve-hour day with a smoldering checkbook clutched in my hand.

Somebody should defend mimes… I think. Oh, hell… never mime.

If you come into a restaurant and want to join me, should I extend the invitation even if it isn’t how I wanted to spend lunch? There’s always room since I eat alone much of the time… but that’s a subject for another day.

Rolled out of bed… rolled back in… hard to do from the floor.

I rounded a corner, scared a yellow-belly finch and it flew into a window, knocking itself senseless. I picked it up to protect it from the neighbor cat and patted its head until it recovered. It pooped in my hand and flew away. You’re welcome, you little #%&*.

I can just hear him describe his day around the dinner table… “I was minding my own business when this big jerk scared the #%*& out of me”…

A woman was describing getting her lips “plumped” by having injections of cow fat… or something. AND, once injected, the lips are pushed, pinched and molded into a graceful arc. My toes are still clenched.

Last year I spent nearly $1,000 per 6 oz. bottle for my very own olive oil to be pressed (that $1,000 dollar figure is not nearly as funny as it once was). It tasted great.

This year I took the leap, bought the equipment and pressed the olives myself. I’ve whittled the cost to about $950 per 6 oz. bottle. Very little humor per bottle and it tastes… disgusting.

In our neighborhood, if the garage or barn door is open, bring a beer and sit a while. You can learn all kinds of things.

One neighbor kindly helped me level the olive press I was about to destroy in a single afternoon. Who knew it had to be level?

During one of these visits, I convinced several neighbors to help me push my boat, which I had managed to high-center where it wasn’t wet, back into the water. Their whoops about the degree of intelligence it took to get the boat in that position made me close the barn door for a week.

There’s a reason clichés are clichés… live each day as if it were your last is my current favorite.

My dad postponed adventures for 60 years waiting for the right time. You already know the story because we all have one… the day he proclaimed he was ready to start enjoying life, he got ill and never went anywhere. You just gotta make it up as you go along.

The time I’ve spent debating the unknown with the mirror, I could do it and know whether I can or can’t.

What is it about a certain phrase that turns my head into one of those cartoon whistles with Mickey Mouse pulling the chain? Most of the real ear-burners originate from teen-speak… taken over by adults. Hearing an adult say “totally,” “for sure,” “Earth to…” 10 years after they went out of style is chili pepper for the brain.

If I use teen phraseology, just thump me in the head.  I’m so far behind that by the time I say “not” it really just means not. This morning, I’ll consider myself thumped. Cool.

Another class I missed. How do you say no to a panhandler without insult? OK, OK, maybe “panhandler” isn’t politically incorrect. So what term do I use? What do I call the guy who stood on the same corner for a month, asking me for “gas money” to get back to Portland. I fell for it and donated the first three times and got cussed out when I didn’t give the fourth time. He said I was an asshole for not saying “no” in a way not demeaning to him. What way is that? Seriously, someone give me a hint.

Doug Mudford is a lawyer and partner at Barr & Mudford, with an emphasis on serious personal injury. He may be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, 530.243.8008. Send questions for “That Lawyer Guy” to

Doug Mudford
is a lawyer and partner at Barr & Mudford, with an emphasis on serious personal injury. He may be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, (530) 243-8008, or
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9 Responses

  1. Avatar Steve Brewer says:

    Dude. You're a totally funny man, just awesome

    But mime jokes? Really? That's working Philbert's side of the street.

  2. Avatar Erin Friedman says:

    If you come into a restaurant and want to join me, should I extend the invitation even if it isn’t how I wanted to spend lunch?

    I think people who spend a lot of time talking to themselves (or their reflections) should be left alone in restaurants.

    Very good stuff, Doug. Thanks.

  3. Avatar Phil "Philbert& says:

    I take exception to your use of "mime humor" in your column. I know it's hard to resist, mimes are a sure chuckle and are comedy gold, but, as Brewer points out, that's mime department.
    I'm going to ask you nicely, as if you were a panhandler, to cease and desist with any further use of "mimes" in your already hilarious "Reflections…" Should you continue to mime this field, I'll be forced to hire a good lawyer. Know where I can find one?

  4. Avatar Doug Mudford says:

    Damn…I thought I could slip by one lousy mime joke. Mime mistake.

    Steve, please let Phil know I won't be working the mime side of the street anymore.

    Phil, you may not see this response because you're probably out lawyer shopping (I'll ask Dugan if he knows a good one) but this area is officially yours again. As an aside, the Liver Lovers of America have contacted me about your use of the term "chopped liver" in a negative context.

    Erin, I think you've identified why I often eat alone.

    • Avatar Adrian Wapcapp III says:

      Doug, Philbert is a good friend of mime and I'm sure the minute he needs representation he will call the offices of Wapcapp, Spittle, Belch and Yelle, Inc., a conglomeration of attorneys. I have represented him many times before, (although most of those times have been during parlor games of charades) and if he needs a good lawyer he'll know where to go.

      Now as far as the Liver Lover's Association: Strangely enough, I have recently been contacted by the Good Egg Society for a suit which I cannot handle due to my extensive relations with chickens, guinea hens, ducks and geese throughout Shasta County. I was wondering whether you would be interested in swapping cases, sort of quid pro quo, or at least carpe diem. Buenos noches?

  5. Avatar Steve Fischer says:

    A 'couple' of thoughts…
    If you're face down in the sawdust and the check book is still in your HAND, it just means your wife hasn't found you yet.
    There's a nice lady on this very site who can steer you to really decent olive oil for about $7.99 a quart.
    Save for retirement if you will, but when you get enough saved up for something fun, take a little retirement right there & then. Read about the theory in any "Travis McGee" novel.
    "Cool" still is.
    Somebody needs to invent a litmus test for street corner "recipient" legitimacy.
    The heck with Phil – any insult to mimes is well served and well placed. Besides, they can't hear you.

  6. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Doug, you have some strange reflections while shaving. What's with this obsession of mimes, olive oil and beggers and what your dad did with his retirement?

    I met some people who took a year off from honest work to travel across the nation making money with their sign, "Will work for food". They truly made a $100 dollars a day without woking, giving truly needy people a bad name. face it, they're beggers who need a real job to feed their addiction to food and shelter and a whole lot of other things they want.

    Mimes are another story. They need a lot of attention and laughter and it's not intention to mime them.

    Funny blog. My best to you!


  7. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    There are two kinds of people. The ones who spend the money when it falls into their hands. The others, like your dad and I stow it away for a rainy day. My brother just pointed out that I'm missing out by not splurging while I'm young enough to enjoy it. I'm thinking that I just don't want to be old and poor at the same time. Thanks for the great article!

  8. Avatar Aleta says:

    Doug – Watch out for those open barn doors … neighbors can even ask you to feed their horses (for which I understand some people – who shall remain nameless – require horse-feeding lessons).

    Other thoughts: Perhaps my taste buds are fried from over-consumption of jalapeños and habaneros, but I LIKED your olive oil – both versions! … Second thought: Ownership of a black convertible DOES equate to sleek and speedy … doesn't it?!? (Umm – you know what I have in my garage, right??)

    Keep those Reflections coming … Happy New Year!