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Eat, Get Poisoned. Don’t Eat, Starve.

I’ve always thought the fastest way to make a bunch of money is to steal a U.S. Mint printing press and start running off 20s in the garage. Not so sure anymore. 

A car wash on the south side of town charges 25¢ for every 15 seconds spent spraying water out a nozzle, occasionally with a quarter-teaspoon of soap added. That’s a dollar a minute. 

Fill the little coin box with eight quarters and it gives you just enough time to flick the switch to “On” and then reach in your pocket for another fistful of dollars. Then a few dollars more. 

The only vehicle I can afford to wash, wax and blow dry, perhaps followed by a light spritz of cologne, is my skateboard. 

Compared to owning a Ukiah carwash Taylor Swift is a wage slave and Exxon execs are performing community service. If I’d thought of opening a car wash when I was 30 years old I’d be a One Percenter by now. 

Ukiah’s Hidden Gem 

Per item per square foot there’s no more rewarding retail spot in all of Ukiah than the West Side Market up on Clay Street. 

It was once a candy store for Trinity School kids eager to get rid of whatever allowance or stolen money they’d accrued over the past few days. The neighborhood grew fashionable and the West Side Market turned into a gourmet-oriented shop, adding “Renaissance” to its name. 

It sold a few years later to more energetic owners and now it’s well worth a visit to pick up lunch, dinner or to browse among the oddball items lining crowded shelves, right across from the finest beer selection in town. Good wine too. 

It’s also got Ukiah’s best sandwiches and I’ve tried ’em all. (Second Place: Schat’s Bakery and Spiro’s Gyros on South State.) The deli counter has all kinds of homemade dishes, some you’ll be familiar with (hummus, a number of potato salads ravioli) and other more exotic and marvelous options. 

I seldom plug businesses in this column, never for gratuities; feel free to visit or not. But the old West Side Market gets a solid gold star or several. 

Do yourself a favor and stroll over. Or drive. Free parking. 

Death By Eating

Many things annoy me as I get older; if I were to pause and count them it would total almost as many as annoyed me when I was younger. 

Health conversations for instance. You can’t gather with even one old geezer for a half hour or until he dies, whichever comes first, and not hear about his or her knees, hips, esophagus, sacroiliac and rheumatism. Then on to more complicated procedures and maladies that I can’t recall because I don’t take notes. 

Add a couple more seniors to the conversation and obviously we are the most afflicted generation in history. No old guy’s ever had sore ankles, headaches and funny splotches on his arm before 2018. Or died. 

By the time everyone in the group has finished their whine it’s tomorrow. 

My impatience with people who can’t stop complaining about their health does not extend to me, however. To the delight of zero readers let me go on and on about my recent near-brush with ill health. If I don’t tell someone, who will feel sorry for me and send a Christmas card next December? 

Felt rotten not long after a Wednesday dinner so the first thing I did was google Covid symptoms. (Not true: the first thing I did was flush the toilet six or eight times.) Then we made an appointment for a Covid test at Rite Aid. 

Next we went to bed, me hot and sweaty and getting hotter and sweatier. In an hour the sheets were clammy and cold, It got worse. 

Between changing t-shirts, and hand-to-hand, cheek-to-cheek combat with the toilet the night passed without incident, although it took 20 hours. Breakfast came and I didn’t know if it was Saturday or June, but I did know I wasn’t hungry. 

Covid test results came back and it wasn’t Covid. That left a few hundred other possibilities and by process of elimination we voted for food poisoning. Food poisoning was an unlikely culprit since both Trophy and I had been dining from the same trough of leftovers, and I was the only one afflicted with reverse vacuum syndrome. 

I can demonstrate. We’ll pause at the bathroom and I’ll unleash whatever hasn’t voluntarily departed in the past four days. Like brain matter, appendix and lungs. Everything else is gone, leaving me sleepy, sicky, sad and sweaty, breathing like a horse, disoriented like Joe Biden, and throwing up whenever and however I don’t feel like it. 

Then it’s time to crawl out of bed, go downstairs and take a nap. Where were the Leave it to Beaver re-runs when I needed them? 

(TWK says it’s fun to be back in Ukiah as the flowers pop, the squirrels scamper and our non-transient population emerges from winter’s slumber to retake the sidewalks. Tom Hine is also thrilled, knowing that returning to North Carolina where there are only the flowers and squirrels will be disorienting.)

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