Monday, April 6, 2015

Tales From Behind the Green Apron

©2015 by LeeZard

What better way to study human nature than wearing the famed Green Apron in one of the cafes that is part the world’s favorite coffee chain? Not only have I learned to take an order in 30-seconds and make – in less than a minute – a grande half-caff soy 130-degree no foam add sugar free caramel and extra caramel drizzle caramel macchiato, I’ve also observed the human condition across every socioeconomic line. It’s been quite a show.

I’ve served Super Bowl champions, millionaires, homeless people, TV personalities, doctors, lawyers, nurses, soccer moms, cops, laborers, po’ trash of every stripe, a few certifiable crazies, a wide variety of canines (“A puppaccino, please.”)[1], the sight and hearing impaired – you name ‘em, I’m their caffeine fix.

Most of them are just plain ol’ folks – just as nice as can be. All they want is their cuppa java, tea, frappachino or smoothie. As in the rest of society some of them take themselves way too seriously. Moreover, some of them take their coffee way too seriously.

I don’t begrudge them that, however; I understand, I really do. In today’s fast-moving digital mile a second world, our pleasures are often fleeting and few and let’s face it, coffee is addictive.

Not only do people take their caffeine fix seriously, they want it fast. Survey after survey shows the most important thing to our customers is speed and the company expects the Green Aprons to make it so. Occasionally things do get bogged down and, for the most part, people understand; shit happens.

Someone adds a drink or two at the window. Another has eight different gift cards with $5.00 on each paying for a $37.67 order. Still another wants to reload their card, a time consuming transaction. It can all add up very quickly and clog the pipeline. At an eight-minute wait we start handing out free drinks. Not a happy time, I can assure you.

Once in awhile a customer or two will get testy. In rare instances things get nasty. Luckily, I’ve only experienced it once in nearly a year-and-half in The Apron but he was a dilly.



It was a typical busy day at one of the busiest stores in Washington State. I was “at the window,” meaning I was at the drive-thru dispensing drinks and taking money. At peak times there is one person taking the drive-thru order at the first stop – menu and speaker/microphone – and a second at the window handing out and raking in the $$. Ideally the whole transaction takes two-minutes or less. A good 30-minutes will see more than 30 transactions; the expectation is more than 40. But, as with the rest of life, the unexpected happens and the times can increase dramatically.

I can average more than 30 transactions per 30-minutes and things were moving along nicely with a long line of cars, but our wait times were good. Inevitably, something happened and the  wait jumped to four-to-six minutes. As usual most people understood but this one dude was clearly angry when he pulled to the window.

angry driverWhen things get crazy like that the tension rises and mistakes happen. In this case, the barista gave this guy our standard 2% milk when he’d ordered non-fat. No big deal, right? It’s a quick fix. Nonetheless, this guy went ballistic – on me. He screamed, he ranted and raved. He threw obscenities like fastballs.

Now I’m good with assholes and bullies. I don’t take their shit personally. They try to intimidate and it doesn’t work with me. I let this guy blow his top for a few seconds and then calmly said, “Sir, there’s no need to talk like that to someone who’s trying to provide you with good service. Let me quickly get you a new drink.”

You would’ve though I’d tossed acid in his eyes; he began an even more irate tirade and his volume rose accordingly. I’d had enough; I was about to close the window on the jerk before I said or did something rash when the driver behind him began to honk her horn. She honked hard and long until the screaming meemie finally drove away. My new hero horn honker got a free drink.



Colorado winters can be mean. Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures hit often and hit hard. One of the things I really like about this company is its policy of being a “third place.” That means after home and work, your local Starbucks is the third place where you feel most comfortable. Sadly, in some cases we are the first and only place, especially in the freezing, driving snow.

Cold and alone, James Walsh waits for a bus outside the Starbucks at 10th and Congress Avenue on Friday, February 4, 2011  He was probably one of the first customers in Starbucks and was hoping that a bus would arrive and deliver him to a 9 a.m. appointment.  About an inch of  snow fell overnight in downtown Austin on Friday, February 4, by Larry when it openedKolvoord...AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMANIn bureaucratese they are “displaced persons.” To us, they are homeless and too often they are invisible. We don’t care who you are, as long as you cause no trouble, you can order a cup of water or an iced venti, half-caff, two pump vanilla, four pump caramel, nonfat, with whipped cream white mocha and stay as long as we are open. I’ve been known to buy a cuppa java or two for those who are too scared, embarrassed or shy and huddle in a windbreak outside.

Just recently I witnessed a heartwarming scene. Two obvious transients standing in front of me at the front register ordered a couple of venti coffees and some sandwiches. This is an unusually large order for these cash-strapped folks but the smartly  dressed woman behind them stepped up to pay for their order. She then followed them to their table and talked with them for about 20-minutes.

I’m sure she was preaching to them, if not trying to recruit them to some church, because when I thanked her afterwards for her kindness she mentioned something about “The Lord.”

Frankly, I don’t give a rip what she said to them. Just the fact that she brought them in and fed them was enough for me.



That crazy busy drive-thru I mentioned above was in Renton, WA, just east of Seattle, right across the freeway from the Seattle Seahawks magnificent headquarters/training facility on the shore of Lake Washington. Frankly, it was the main reason I applied at that particular location but, as usual, I digress.

Needless to say, we are a favorite pre-workout stop for players, coaches, top brass and the reporters who follow them around. Most of them prefer the drive-thru rather than coming into the store. Understandably, they value their privacy and they don’t want to create a scene.

A small few do come into the café and we treat them just like our other regulars, being careful not to draw any unwanted attention to them, especially when they come in with their wives and kids – which they often do. Again, we work hard to make our stores a place where people feel at home and comfortable. It’s in our DNA.

One particular day, more than halfway through the Seahawks Super Bowl season, I was taking orders at the window. A big SUV comes to the order point – it is equipped with a microphone and video camera – and I can barely see the driver; he was leaning away from his window toward the passenger side. I thought he was talking to someone or dealing with a kid. Nonetheless, I could barely hear him.

“Sir,” I asked politely, “could you please move closer to your window so I can hear you more clearly?” He complied, but in the process raised his tinted side window two-thirds up. Though his voice was still muffled I finally got the order. the SUV rolled up I was obviously curious as to who the shy guy was and there, less than three feet from me was the Hawks rising star quarterback, Russell Wilson. Yours truly was both starstruck and speechless

The opposite end of the spectrum entered our café after the ‘Hawks stunning beat down of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVII. One of the defensive coaches – I don’t know which one to this day – walked in proudly wearing his brand new Super Bowl Ring. It is way more impressive in person than any picture can portray. Can you say Bling-Bling -Ring-a-Ding?



I’m not sure why but there is a certain and instant intimacy created between some customers and the barista taking their orders at the front till. You often hear about bartenders as substitute psychologists, marriage counselors, etc. We often find ourselves in the same role from behind The Green Apron. Sometimes, it is surprisingly – and gratifyingly – successful.

I’m not really one for idle and meaningless chitchat like, “So, how’s your day going?” Or, “enjoying the nice weather?” In fact, I prefer to play the goofball (surprise!) telling corny jokes, tossing bad puns and often, singing a song that relates to their name.

As a side note, after spending most of my life thinking I have a tin ear, many customers have complimented my singing and, the more I sing, the more I can hear that I am actually hitting the notes. WTF? But, I digress as usual.

Strangely, my comic behavior sometimes opens the door for serious discussion. For example, a guy my age, after giving his order, asked me to hold his drinks while he went to the bathroom. I, of course, replied with a prostate joke. The guy turned around and asked if I had trouble with my prostate (guys my age will understand this). “Not really,” I replied, “if you don’t count that it’s the size of a cantaloupe.”

This opened the door for a serious discussion with the customer asking me how I knew mine was so large. 
“Haven’t you ever had your doc do an examination or take blood for a PSA test?” 
The guy looked blankly at me, clearly having no clue about any of what I’d just mentioned. I briefly explained the concerns for men our age and urged him to make an appointment to get checked. A few weeks later the man returned, walked up to my register and shook my hand.

“Thanks man,” he said, “you may have saved my life.”

“I went to the doc like you said and my PSA was sky high. They did a biopsy and I have prostate cancer. I start treatment next week. They don’t know if that will work; I may still need surgery. I can’t thank you enough.”

I was floored. It never occurred to me that he might have cancer. I’m pretty up-front with people and I don’t hesitate to offer what I consider helpful advice but I never think about or really worry if they heed that advice. Thank goodness he did.

Some women have volunteered, without any urging from moi, that they went out for their cuppa java, to “get away from that asshole.”  I take that as a need to share and I am extremely sensitive to any sort of domestic abuse, emotional or physical – it’s a hot button – so I don’t hesitate to ask if someone is mistreating them. Sadly, the answer is often, “Yes.”

This is obviously a very delicate situation but I try to give a little encouragement and some helpful information. So often these victims of abuse feel hopeless and trapped. I offer up some local resources and urge them to do research online.

On the lighter side, I’ve had women and men make passes. I think at least one guy hit on me when he said, “I really like the way your (shoulder length) hair curls.” Hmmmm.

Then, it is not rare for another self-styled goofball to come in and try to out-goof me. The results are often hilarious. I consider myself a success when I see a whole line of customers chortling if not outright guffawing right along with us.


I like to tell my customers that I don’t sell coffee and tea; I sell service and I take that very seriously.  It turns out that when you serve and observe from Behind The Green Apron, you never know what service you might need to provide. It’s a challenge that makes my job all the more interesting.

Stay tuned for more Tales From Behind the Green Apron.

[1] “Puppaccino,” simply a tiny cup or cup lid with a small amount of whipped cream – guaranteed to satisfy any canine customer.

--> [2] Though never seen with the vehicle, it is generally believed Wilson drives a Mercedes G Class similar to the one shown. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Ramblin' in The Springs

©2014 by LeeZard

Here are some random thoughts and observations after two weeks in and around Colorado Springs or, as they call it here, The Springs.

There is this somewhat familiar big shiny yellow ball in the sky. It emits tremendous heat and the sky around it is always blue. I do remember something similar in the Pacific Northwest but here it seems more intense, as if it has more confidence it will show up nearly every day. I’m told it even makes regular appearances between blizzards in the winter. What a concept!

As in the Northwest there are mountains here, lots of ‘em. They’re called the Rockies and, while they are quite beautiful, I still find the Cascade Mountains more dramatic. I think this is because the Cascades are viewed primarily from sea level while The Rockies grow from the high plains.
Mt. Rainier From 50-Miles Away
Pikes Peak Up Close
The Springs sits at 6,035 feet – sorry Mile High City – and in the shadow of one of the most famous mountains in America, Pikes Peak. At an elevation of 14,114 feet it is only a few hundred feet “shorter” than the Northwest’s beloved Mt. Rainier. But the so-called gateway to The Peak is at more than 7,000 feet and the illusion is that it is not nearly as mighty as Rainier. Plus, Pikes Peak does not sport the sparkling white glaciers that cover the top of Rainier.  

I can hike to Pikes Peak’s peak in running shoes while my dear friend Peter Sandler had to endure weeks of mountain climbing classes before he could even attempt to conquer Rainier. Still, the Rockies have majesty of their own and I delight every day living in their shadow.

The people in Colorado are much better drivers than those in Seattle and environs. But then, so is almost everyone else in America. I’m told motorists here even know how to drive in the snow, which apparently falls in abundance in winter, one of the area’s distinct four seasons.

The Jeep is celebrated here much like salmon are in The Northwest. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any treaty wars over Jeep purchasing rights but they are everywhere. I’m not surprised since I’ve owned five. Their legendary four-wheel drive is, well, legendary. Out here people trick ‘em out with lots of lights and humongo wheels/tires. I’m sure it’s a macho cowboy thing. My little ’06 Liberty is dwarfed by most of its cousins but it has a nice patina of Colorado mud thanks to my isolated, rural location. I love it!

While we’re on the subject of wheels, The Springs, like most of America, has its share of shady auto repair shops. I had the misfortune to fall into the clutches of one but I had no choice; the bearings in the Jeep’s A/C unit were about to seize which would’ve taken the whole engine down with it. At 5:30 pm on a Friday I had to use the only place I could find that was still open. The end result was a $670.00 bill that I later found out would’ve been about $300 if I could’ve waited to find an honest grease monkey. Ironically, the place I used was called (I can hardly write this with a straight face) Honest and Accurate Auto Service (ROFLMAO).

Guns. Colorado is an open-carry state and, while you don’t see a lot of openly carried sidearms, as near as I can figure almost everyone has one either on his/her person (a concealed weapon permit is required) or under the pillow at home for self-defense. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering it.

In sports, I am shocked – shocked, I say – by the endemic amnesia that’s crippled the region. Hardly anyone can remember the score of this year’s Super Bowl. Yet they crow about a recent pre-season victory over the champion Seattle Seahawks. So sad. Other fans here are very quick to point out their allegiance to any team other than the Denver Buncos. Given the climate here, it’s no wonder these folks are called fair weather fans.

In Colorado, the term “passive aggressive” is used primarily in Psych 101 classes. Back in Seattle it’s a pastime. You know who you are.
My "Driveway"
Finally, what is it with dirt roads and me? I just love ‘em. I think everything happens for a reason and, when my apartment wasn’t going to be ready for my arrival, I immediately found this amazing 750 sq. ft. loft In-the-Middle-of-Nowhere, CO, otherwise known as Franktown. It is halfway between Castle Rock – my Starbucks gig – and The Springs, where I push my other remaining drug, cigars. 
That's Moi Above the Garage

My palatial domicile is two miles of dirt road off State Highway 83. My Jeeps’ wheels haven’t touched the freeway since I moved in.

Nice to Have Good Neighbors
My nearest neighbors are friendly but have little to say, although they neigh.
The 'Hood'
All in all, it's been a grand two weeks in my new 'hood.'

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Leaving From the Wet Plain

©2014 by LeeZard
Shitty Poster tied to a Shitty Tag Line
I arrived in soggy Seattle February 9, 1974 to become News Director for the brand-spankin’ new KZOK-FM, “OK102-and-a-half.”  It was a shitty tag line then and it still is today. Wouldn’t you want to be more than just OK? As usual, I digress. 

I left Renton, WA, just east of Seattle, on August 11, 2014, relocating to Colorado Springs, CO where, I hear, they have four seasons each year. 

Garden of the Gods, a city park in Colorado Springs
Has it really been 40 years?

 When I arrived in Seattle I was just shy of my 27th birthday, newly married to (I thought) the love of my life and riding the crest of success as a broadcast journalist in the nascent Progressive Rock format on the FM band (can you say Hippy Radio?). Back then you could use the words “broadcast” and "Journalist” in the same sentence with a straight face and we used the burgeoning commercial FM boom to pioneer a style of journalism heretofore unheard of on the airwaves. 

We concentrated on issues instead of events that were important to our listeners. We reported in long-form on these sometimes very dry matters and to engage our audience we wrapped the news in a mix of humor, attitude, music and high-production values. It was our version of Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo Journalism. We weren’t always objective but we strictly observed the tenets of our trade with accuracy and fairness to all parties involved in the stories and the listeners loved it!
Unfortunately we also aped Thompson’s penchant for alcohol and drug abuse, a practice that would play a central part in my Seattle experience.
About a year-and-half after arriving in Seattle, the so-called love of my life left me for reasons that were vague until decades later. In the ensuing years I experienced (sparing you, dear reader, the messy details): 
·      Minor celebrity as one of Seattle’s top journalists (; 
·      The social benefits of the above and being single at the same time
 ·     The agony of having it all ripped away at least in part by letting my ego draw me into a power struggle I could not win
 ·     A brief sojourn back to hometown New York City as an editor for ABC radio News; 
·      A downward spiral into the depths of late-stage alcoholism and drug abuse; 
·      A second marriage, this time to my enabler; 
·      The birth of two amazing kids; 
·      The miracle of recovery and sobriety; 
·      As a result of sobriety, restoring my credibility as a journalist; 
·      Finding my voice, really finding my voice as a writer; 
·      An acrimonious divorce when my enabler’s job description changed; 
·      As a result of the above, a heartbreaking estrangement from my two kids; 
Adam Joseph Somerstein at one-year
·      As a result of the above the birth of a grandson I’ve never seen in person;
·      Building a successful second career in PR, marketing and media relations; 
·      A romantic relationship – a sober, adult relationship – with an amazing woman who was not ready for the commitment I desired; 
·      As a result of the above, the emergence of a loving, deep friendship with the aforementioned amazing woman; 
My Baby!
·      The agony of having it all ripped away in the Great Recession – my six-figure job, a beautiful new home and my beloved 2005 Porsche Boxster S;
Stutz and I have been friends for 42 years!

 ·      Living, for the first time in my life in extreme poverty; 
·      Making friends with whom I will be close to no matter where I live;
·      And, finally, meeting a woman who might be willing to love me in equal measure.

Yeah, that’s a lot crammed into 40-years. If you look at the entire second half of that list, you get a pretty good idea why I’ve relocated to Colorado. Bottom line, it was just the right time in my life; it seemed to me I’d accomplished everything I could in Seattle. It was the right time to leave.
People talk a lot in Alcoholics Anonymous about active drunks often moving in an effort to run away from their problems. It’s called a “geographic.” That was probably me in 1974; I was running away from myself. The problem was, I followed myself to Seattle.
This move is different. My so-called problems are fewer and smaller. Probably the best thing out of my 40-years in Seattle is that I finally grew into the man I’m supposed to be and he ain’t half bad. I hate this cliché but I am actually comfortable in my own skin, fully recognizing there’s always more work to be done to constantly grow and evolve.
This “geographic” is not about me running away from anything. It is about me running to the next chapter in my life. Could anything be more exciting?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Everybody Lies

©2014 by LeeZard
Let’s be honest; everybody lies. We even lie when we tell our kids, “Honesty is the best policy,” because in our heart of hearts we know it’s not always the best policy. We cover our lying asses by calling them “little white lies.” Is that the opposite of big black lies? Isn’t that unfair to anything (or anyone) Black? But, as usual, I digress.
Let us count the top ten (according to LeeZard) little white lies (You can add your own to the list):
1. Santa Claus
2. Tooth fairy
   3. Easter Bunny
   4. Hanukkah Harry (Thank you,   SNL!)
   5. I was only kidding.
   6. I had a great time. I’ll call you.
   7. No, you don’t look fat in that outfit.
   8. I love your hair like that.
   9. Fake orgasms
   10. (Sometimes) I love you.
As the top four attest, we even create great myths around our lies. Then there’s the myth of George Washington’s young admission that he did, indeed, cut down the cherry tree. Does that mean GW never, ever lied? Puh-leeze; the man commanded the Continental Army. History shows that he not only had his small band of spies in New York City while the British occupied it but he also spread disinformation (Lies!!) throughout the Revolutionary War. Yup, war is hell.
Politicians? ‘Nuff said.
Yeah, that's me with with Grandma
My two loyal, regular readers know that I grew up in a perpetual lie because my family invented the game of Grandma. It seems the family consensus was that Grandma could not handle bad news so we developed sometimes-elaborate conspiracies to hide things from her. The most successful conspiracy was the year+ my brother spent in Vietnam. As far as Grandma knew, he never left Okinawa. Likewise the 17-weeks he spent recovering from post-Vietnam Malaria, Mononucleosis and, Tuberculosis. We played Grandma with everyone on Grandma’s side of the family. It seems they were all badnewsophobic.
Granted the latter were not a little white lie but they bring me to my point in all this. Big or small and no matter how justified they seem, lies can do damage. And, no, I am not trying to change the world here; that would be impossible. All I’m suggesting is that we give up the ghost of “never telling a lie.” Who among us can honestly say they’ve never lied in their life?
Perhaps the most honest person I know is Joe, a long-time sober pal of mine in AA – which suggests “rigorous honesty” as a part of recovery. When he shares in AA meetings, Joe will often admit, “I can’t say that I don’t lie anymore. What I can say is that I lie a lot less.”
Now that’s honesty!

Friday, May 2, 2014

On 67

©2014 by LeeZard
How to write about turning 67 without sounding sappy and/or maudlin? I’ll take a stab at it because, for one thing, I can’t believe it! People tell me I don’t look 67. I sure as hell don’t feel it, think it or even act it – although I do let my inner adult out when I need it.

I was 33 when my Dad was 67 and he seemed really old. I look at pictures of Dad around that age and he still looks older than I do today. That alone is amazing; many of you know the hard life I led for many years. I like to tell people a lot of bets were out that I’d never make it to 65. But, here I am.

A dear departed friend of mine – the venerable Jim Moss, who died at 90 – used to say in his later years, “At my age, it’s good to be anywhere,” when people asked how he was doing. Even at a relatively young 67 I now get that.

I call my life a miracle for many reasons. First and foremost is my 16-years of sobriety. As I’ve said so many times, if I could do it after 33-years of drinking and drugging, anyone can if they want it badly enough. Secondly, many of you know I’ve escaped death at least once – when an inept doc accidentally and unknowingly snipped a bit too much during a supposedly simple day surgery. I almost bled to death internally without anyone knowing it and a three-day recovery turned into an eight-week ordeal.

Many of you don’t know how much I used to love getting drunk and weed high simultaneously and hitting the road in any weather to drive as far and as fast as I could. This included “commuting” to work for five years 210 miles between Bellevue and Tri-Cities, WA. Thank god I didn’t kill myself and/or others![1]

Most of you don’t know I certainly could’ve died a few years ago when my lower intestine inadvertently twisted closed and 36-hours later miraculously untwisted without surgery. My dearest doc and favorite Deadhead visited me in intensive care shaking his head. “You must have nine-lives,” he mused.[2]

I really haven’t made a big deal about recent birthdays and I’m not sure why I feel the need to write about 67. But, here I sit at my keyboard on May 2, just three days before 67, chewing my ruminating cud.[3]

I can’t (or won’t) sit here and tell you it’s been a good life – so far – or a bad life. That is for others to decide, I suppose. I can tell you it’s been an adventurous life, some of it my own doing and a lot of it simply the roll of the dice.

In my 20-years as a broadcast journalist I had a front row seat for historical events: the original Woodstock; half-a-million people converging on Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War; marching with anti-war protesters outside of Richard Nixon’s 1972 GOP convention; Judy Garland’s funeral and the WTO riots in Seattle to name a few. I’ve tasted tear gas and partied with Peter Tosh. My journalistic career also gave me the opportunity to make my community better, something for which I am eternally grateful.

Frankly, I know I’ve made many more bad choices in my life than good ones, many of them fueled by alcohol and/or drugs. I have to live with that and, where I’ve injured others, I’ve taken responsibility and tried, where possible, to make things right. That, too, is part of living sober. So is being of service to others and I like to think I do that fairly well, especially with those nearest and dearest to me.

I guess the real reason for this meandering monologue is to take a look at where/who I am at 67. As is often the case, it’s nowhere I ever imagined. Thankfully, I can honestly say I feel that I am a good man at heart. I hate clichés but I can also say I am comfortable within my own skin, aware of my faults as well as my strengths. I care less what people think and merely try to do better each and every day.

I never thought I’d be living in virtual poverty – at any age but, again, here I am. Despite that, I can honestly say I am not unhappy. I’ve learned to live and manage within my modest means and can still cherish the many blessings I do have; dear friends and family, a true and loyal canine companion, relatively good health, my ability to write and communicate well and, above all, the ability to appreciate the beauty in the world around me without letting its ugliness overwhelm me.

Finally, I must write about the saddest thing in my life and, it’s something about which I’ve never written. I grieve every day for my two estranged children and, as a result, at least one grandchild. I’ll spare you the details. I will only say I’ve done everything I can to try to close the chasms between us and so far have failed. They do know if/when they want to reopen communication I will always be ready to listen.

No matter where my life goes from here, I do know this:

“I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

[1] Yes, I know, that’s a lower case ‘g’ in god. I use the term god for lack of any other way to describe my spiritual, not religious, higher power. That is for another discussion.

[2] I believe I’ve survived all of that because I’ve yet to fulfill my ultimate purpose in life. That, too, is for another discussion.

[3] As usual, many thanks to the Mexican government for the national holiday.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Greetings From a Nursing Home in Asbury Park, New Jersey

©2014 By LeeZard

In a recent interview with AARP Magazine, Bruce Springsteen revealed that he is reworking the lyrics of some of his classic songs to reflect his aging and that of his fans. LeeZard has gained exclusive access to these lyrics (and the cover art!) with permission to publish brief snippets.

Leezard has also learned the new songs will be released this summer on a new album entitled “Greetings From a Nursing Home in Asbury Park, New Jersey.” Here we go!
Cataract Ranch
Cataract, cataract
Blurry and dark, things are going black,
Open up my eyes, trying to see more
Oh my god they’re tearing, I feel like a dinosaur.

Pee All Night
When I lost my prostate honey sometimes I think I lost my guts too
And I wish God would send me a libido, send me something I thought I’d never lose
 Lying in the heat of the night like we never made love all our lives
I get shivers down my spine and all I wanna do is keep myself dry.

I swear I'll pee all night, I’ve got the prostate blues
I have to leave your tender arms.
And I just gotta pee all night or else I’ll do us harm.

Throwin Up
I stood stone-like at midnight, suspended with my irritable bowels
I combed my hair till it was just right and bundled up some towels
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a nauseous zone and came out with my towels untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, but when they said, "Sit down," I threw up
Ooh... throwin' up.

I’m Goin’ Down
We sit in the car outside your house you're quiet
I can feel hot flashes coming 'round
I go to put my arm around you
And my arthritis tells me you’re way out of bounds
Well you let out one of your bored sighs
Well lately when I look into your eyes
I'm going down, down, down, down
I'm going down, down, down, down, down.

The Rangers had a homecoming
In Harlem late last night
And the Aging Rat drove his rolling chair machine
Over the Jersey state line
Very old girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm milk in the soft summer rain
The Rat pulls into town hikes up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance
And disappear down Viagra Lane

Well the Maximum Lawmen run down more Viagra
Chasing the Rat and the aging girl
And the oldsters round here look just like shadows
Always quiet, holding hands
From the churches to the jails
Tonight all is silence in the world
As we take our stand
Down in Viagraland

My Body’s in Ruins
There is a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And my blood pressure’s falling down
The ER’s door's thrown open
I can hear the organs’ song
But the medical team is gone
My body’s in ruins
My body’s in ruins.

Up All Night
I had my colon cleaned and checked, had her line blown out but it’s achin' like a turbojet
Propped myself up and the bed felt like concrete blocks, I reached for my meds and received a shock
Drank ‘em down with my mouthwash, checked my drawer, there were no more drugs. 
I'm goin' out tonight I'm gonna rock the 24-hour pharmacy.

Yup, That's QE II!
Looking for the Queen of the Supermarket
There's a wonderful world where all you need
And everything you've longed for is hard to grip
Where the bittersweet medicine for your wife is on your list
Where aisles and aisles of lotions and creams await you
And the cool promise of no more dry skin fills the air
At the end of each working day she's waiting there  
I'm looking for the Queen of the Supermarket
As my addled brain turns blue
She’s waiting to help me in aisle number two.

Pile Driver
Rode through forty nights of the hemorrhoid pain
My butt’s like a howlin’ dog
And Preparation H it was in vain
I was down where the itching grows wilder
Baby get me a pile driver.

Well if something on your butt feels a little unkind
Don't worry darlin'
It probably feels like mine
I'll be your gypsy joker your shotgun rider
Baby let me share my pile driver.

Shingles of Fire
When the night's quiet and you don't care anymore,
And your eyes are fried and you can’t stand the pain any more
And you realize you wanna let go
And the weak meds and the cold towels you embrace
Eat at your insides and leave you face to face with
Shingles of fire.