The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #92, July 2009

Few things are funnier than hearing loss. Okay, not really, but help me make the best of it.

Perhaps it's ironic that the guy who clings to his youth -- by continuing to play in rock bands for decades -- finds that his hearing loss is greater than that of his contemporaries who long ago gave up that scene for stamp collecting and amateur taxidermy. Last Tuesday I was eating lunch at a long table in our noisy workplace kitchen, participating in a conversation about weekend plans, when I heard a co-worker admit she planned to "get some Vicodin." I've since been informed that she actually said "get some biking in," but not before a parallel conversation (about putting truffles shavings on stalks) got sidetracked into a debate of the practicality of putting Vicodin shavings in your socks. I'm sure this is how new fashion trends, network sitcoms, and holy wars originate.

In my big race toward total incompetence, hearing loss is running neck and neck with memory loss. I think. Ever find yourself questioning what something means when you know you used to be certain of it? I do. In the PM years of my life (that's Post-Morissette) I find that I'm insecure about the definition of irony. A recent bit of work-related travel drove this home. By plane. Is it ironic when the airline charges you $15 to check a bag, and also refuses to let you carry shampoo or razor blades in your carry-on? I dunno, but it is good business, and I wish I'd thought of it. Is it ironic that there are signs on certain streets of Washington DC, designating them as "Evacuation Routes," but nowhere along these streets can you find a public restroom? I guess that Depends.

Another consequence of aging is an increased interest in health care, so I paid very close attention when we recently changed plans at work. So far the new provider seems to be working pretty well, but I wonder about their name: Blue Cross. A quick search for common synonyms produces "depressed" and "angry." That hardly gets us started on the right foot, does it? Right after Peter was born we got a bill from Blue Cross explaining that because Peter wasn't listed as a beneficiary on my health insurance, his birth wasn't covered by Blue Cross. Now I'm pretty sure we'll work this out, but if not, that's an even better business model than the airline baggage trick! They could call it the "Not Nostradamus" clause, wherein it is written that if you are not able to predict the future any better than the 16th century apothecary and seer, you will not be covered....

Now don't get me wrong. I'm happy to have health insurance, and, as I said, overall the new program seems pretty good so far. In fact, Blue Cross membership also includes a discount on health club membership - provided you actually visit the health club at least three times a week. With their ability to look into the future, they know that this exercise will decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and increase your general health - and save Blue Cross money. Clearly a good idea - at least in theory. As near as I can overhear, my cube neighbor has been trying to take advantage of this plan for months, but so far the discount hasn't been applied correctly. This causes her to make repeated phone calls to Blue Cross (who blames the health club) and the health club (who blames Blue Cross). The resulting exasperation has increased her stress level and blood pressure. As a result, my attempt at a healthier lifestyle has been to neither attend the health club nor try to obtain the discount, and this seems to be working fine.

My recommended stress reduction plan for you is to join us on Saturday, August 8th when we play a free, outdoor gig as part of Kenny Summerfest. The fun runs from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, with food, family-oriented games, a bounce tent, etc... We'll play from 7:00 to 8:00 followed by Soul Cannon: Adam Levy's All Star Soul, Funk and Rock Dance Party. (I'm a big fan of Adam Levy's work in the Honeydogs and Bunny Clogs, so I can't wait.) Kenny Park is something like six blocks west of South Lyndale between 57th and 58th Streets West. This will be out only gig in August, so we really hope to see you there with your blanket or lawn chair in tow. Happy summer!

Love, Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, The Knights of the Auto Order

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