The house phone rang as I was cooking dinner tonight. That can only mean one of three things: 1) there's an election coming up I didn't know about and some grafter is calling for my vote; 2) the telemarketers have crossed the final frontier of propriety and are now calling on Sunday (they already, with anti-semitic obliviousness called on Jewish holidays and the Jewish Sabbath); or 3) it's Uncle Slappy, the last person in America who uses a land line.
Fortunately, it was Uncle Slappy.
"Boychick," he began, "I am going to live 45 more years."
"Mazel tov, Uncle Slappy. How did you reach that conclusion? Did your cardiologist call you with some results?"
"Richard P. Cohen, my cardiologist, not Richard T. Cohen, the podiatrist, has not give me a jingle. My phone has lay fallow all day."
"Then to what do I owe your declaration? You stumbled upon the Fountain of Youth while going to the Pac-N-Sav?"
"Feh on the Pac-N-Sav. You do the packing, they do the saving. But it happened at the CVS drugstore, the one in between the Sizzler and the Ground Round."
"You didn't take their cockamamie blood pressure test, did you? Those things have the accuracy of a government budget forecast."
"No," the old man replied. "I bought a styptic pencil. An extra-large one. It's the size of Wilt Chamberlin's thumb."
"And this means that you'll live forever?"
"The last styptic pencil I bought Lyndon Johnson was president. It's lasted 45 years. If this one does the same, I'll live till I'm 130."
"Halavai," I said.
"But in case I shouldn't..."
"God forbid," I interrupted.
"In case I shouldn't, I'm leaving it to you in my will."
With that the old man hung up and I went back to cooking dinner.