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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