Life Over 56  


Usually about Humorous or Interesting Events


by Z. Hof - Feb. 2024

     Zeb Logan was only 22 when he got a job as a carpenter's helper in Phoenix, AZ in May of 2003. After several months he began to realize the job was taking a toll on him. He would come home tired all the time and wondering if the high wages were worth it.

     When he went to the construction office one day, Zeb was excited because he was told he would be promoted to an apprentice carpenter. While he was in the office, he noticed how fancy all the people were dressed. There was no saw dust or dirty clothes. It made him envious of them. After several month, he decided to go to college and get an engineering degree, so he could work in a fancy office too.

     A year later, his work toward a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering was going well. His grades were good, but working all day and attending classes at night gave him very little time for anything else.

     Three years later he finished his carpenter apprenticeship and was promoted to rough carpenter. A year later he was promoted to a finish carpenter. His climb up the latter and better wages made him think maybe going to college was not such a good idea after all, but he knew better than to fall into a false sense of security. Construction is a feast or famine industry. One day you are on top of the world and the next a slump happens and jobs become scarce.

     He was extremely lonely and started taking dance lessons at a country-western dance studio. One evening he met a girl there named Carla. She struck a nerve in him because she was a lot like his mother. They started going to the nightclubs to dance and be together. After several months they got married and had three children over the next four years.

     Zeb finished his degree and graduated June 30th 2011. A week later he was in the construction office and had an altercation with the superintendent and gave his resignation and left the construction company where he worked since he was 22.

     When he told Carla, his wife, he quit, she was furious. "How are we going to feed the kids," she retorted. "I have been working there for years and the super and I had an argument that I could not solve so I quit. I have my degree now and it is time to move up. Zeb was not one to be put down, he always felt he was in the driver's seat in conversations. Carla knew how stubborn he was and took the silent route.

     Zeb was frustrated. He went to find a job maybe in a big store somewhere. It did not work out the way he expected. A new job was not in his foreseeable future. On the way home from the employment office he stopped by one of the construction engineering firm, (which is a subdivision of civil engineering), to see if they knew where he could find a job as an engineer. The receptionist said, "I was told they needed an architectural engineer here. Would you like to apply for the position?"

     "Yes! I need a break." My wife is livid over me quitting my job. He filled out the application and two weeks later he was called in for an interview. The interview went well and later he was hired as a civil engineer. His responsibilities were to work with the architects and provide engineering details on building structures.

     Two years later, the stress on him was at a boiling point. He went to see a doctor and was told his blood pressure was very high, 138 systolic and 115 diastolic (138/115) and it needed to be addressed. Zeb said, "It will be fine." He was a perpetual procrastinator.

     Several months later he went to the doctor again and this time his blood pressure was 146 systolic and 105 diastolic (146/105). The doctor said, "Your blood pressure is extremely high! You need to get it down." Again he said, "It will be fine."

     His father called and said he was having unexplained belly pains. The doctor said, "I can't drive after I get a CT Scan with Contrast. So, I will need a ride after they do the scan. On the way there, Zeb was following a truck too close and his father said. "Back Off! You are too close to that truck!" Zeb replied with his usual, "It will be fine!"

     Five months passed before his father got an urgent call from Carla who said, "Zeb was in a terrible accident. He ran into a big truck and was taken to the intensive-care-unit at the hospital. I need you to take me there." His father took her to the hospital not quite sure what to expect. When he got there he could not believe what his eyes were seeing, His son was on a ventilator and machines were like an airplane cockpit instrument panel. Zeb was unconscious with no sign of life other than the ventilator noise and other medial devices.

     After a week on life support, the doctor told his father, "I have done all I can medially. There is nothing more I can do."

     Later several specialists were called in and they found all of his internal organs were damaged and his brain function was getting weaker. Five days later life support was removed and he died in a few minutes.


This Story is Inspired by an Actual Event.


The Little Old Lady At 33 East - by Z. Hof, 1883

      She was short, bent and very old. She seemed out of place in these palaces of exotic luxury. She said, "Sonny, when you're finished here you can come over to my place and help me out. The burglar got me last night." "What? Where do you live?" I said.
      "Next door," She said, "Yeah he got me, took the screen door clear off." She stood there just staring. Aren't you coming, Sonny - I'll understand if you don't have time," She said. "I'll be working on this cabinet till nine. I don't leave my tools lying around. I don't want them to walk away from me. I will come and take a look at what you want me to do after I've finished here," I said. She turned and said, "OK." She then turned again and said, "You can come anytime, Sonny, I'll be waiting for you."
    About an hour and a half passed before she came back. She said, "Sonny, I just wanted to thank you for not coming over to help me." (I didn't answer her.) She again said,"Sonny, I just wanted to thank you for not coming over to help me." I glanced out of the corner of my eye. She was standing there deliberate and rocking in as bitter a temper as her frail body could stand. Her lip was curled in a definite scowl. I stood there feeling guilty for not leaving my tools, (machines that cost a thousand dollars) to aid the old woman. She just stood there with her lip curled and glaring at me.
    I felt alone and accused of a crime. I began to become uneasy. I felt the guard at the gate would sic the dogs on me at any time. I thought, this is the risk you take when you work on a mansion with iron gates, dogs and a guard. She said, "That's all right, Sonny, I just wanted to thank you for not coming over to help me. He got me, yes he did."
    Her daughter, a lady of forty, came poking around the corner. I thought, here we go the both of them will jump on me for not helping the old lady. The daughter said, "I'm Jenny," (mule I thought) I said, "Howdy." She said, "Is my mother bothering you?" "No not really, "I said. (I lied) "My mother doesn't comprehend well, she thought the burglar man came last night when I put a new screen on her front window. She wandered over here to tell you about it didn't she?"
    I really felt relieved but, wondered where I should draw the line between my machine's value and the risk of loss while helping someone.

-.-.- A sinking ship has yet to sink -.-.-   November 16, 1983 - by Z. Hof

      I think every one can relate to this at one time or another. I am a ship teetering to and for in a stormy time. Or am I simply thrashing wildly in troubled waters. I feel, at times, when I approach my mail box I'm confident I have gotten above my sinking ship. I open its door only to receive a fresh drench of staggering bills to blind my glimmering hope of ever getting ahead. Some weeks later, once again, I open the door to the dispenser of written news. The mighty little dragon with the power to make me cringe once again threatens to sink my ship.
      I open a white envelope and extract its contents only to find a friend I do not know, who promises me riches beyond my wildest dreams, diamonds, pearls and rubies. Sometimes the cheaper friends promise only worthless trinkets. With each passing day the producer of good and evil punctures my concealed world with a dingy cloud of mail passing swiftly enough so as not to discolor my humor for very long. Yet all I can do is approach the little box without hesitation because I believe it will not pour out its leprous potion upon my feeble sinking ship.
      I have been conditioned to expect the best of all hearts. I take it all in good nature because I know my sinking ship can not sink even though I'm not really sure. Come Friday I know I will get a little larger container to help bail my head above water, even that is of limited use. The locust of previous commitments eat away the very hull of my ship; screeching and scraping at the fiber of my little vessel.
      When did I first see my sinking ship? I guess it is an answer to a mystery. Where and when will I go from here? I don't know. I suppose I will go on as before teetering to and fro on a worried sea not far enough below the surface to sink and not floating high above the water either. I paddle a more weary stroke as time passes. I will not stop. I can say I saw my sinking ship in a restaurant. The cuisine was fish and it was strewn with nautical paraphernalia. It then struck me that we are all really little ships constantly struggling to stay afloat in a troubled world.*

*This was inspired when I took my wife to the Rusty Pelican - seafood restaurant in Phoenix, AZ in the 1983 time frame. It may have closed long ago. I looked up the one In Tampa, Florida. It looks similar to the one we went to in Phoenix.

Again this was really bad. I edited it a lot.

    THINGS THAT DON'T MATTER - November 16, 1983 - by Z. Hof,

  • All too often, I stand under an awesome dome of stars and fail to see them because I am involved in things that rally don't matter. I wish TO have (or take) enough time:

  • TO see the fish follow each other in a high mountain lake.

  • TO see the crystal clear water go peacefully on its way.

  • TO walk a path that winds though a thick undergrowth

  • TO trod a lonely desert and mix with the sand.

  • TO climb the face of a steep cliff.

  • TO gaze upon the countryside from a lofty peak.

  • TO roll with a tumbleweed being blown across an open plain.

  • TO see the snow falling from a mountain cabin window deep in a pine forest.

  • TO watch the smoke curl slowly from an open fireplace.

  • TO do simple things with nature.

  • TO not hear that I can't or won't be what I want to be because I think and feel the way I do.

  • TO be remembered in a good way.

  • TO have and be with my family.

  • TO see things as they really are and not ravaged and polluted.

  • TO see nature's wonders throughout the universe.

  • TO build beautiful and useful things.

  • TO watch my children rise and tumble and help them when they do.

  • TO fulfill and be all of these things and most of all:

  • TO BE ME!

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