Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Uncle Mort, who attains age 107 come July 4, issues requests for “no talking” and “no chore assignments” about this time every year.

It’s no bother to Aunt Maude. In fact, she looks forward to the week or two annually when her hubby is in deep thought. She charitably calls such interludes “thought.”

Others might more accurately say he’s scheming, trying to figure out how to cash in on his birthday without appearances that he’s cashing in on his birthday.

This year, he is embracing social media. It’s a 180-degree opinion switch. Instead of carping about the internet in general, he’s praising a recently discovered “cash cow” called “Go Fund Me” on Facebook.

He’s been intrigued by what he calls “big bucks” collected to cover all kinds of health issues.


Uncle Mort

Though he is “horse healthy” in general, he has crafted a carefully worded appeal that friends might easily misunderstand, and so far, they are. Truth to tell, Mort is the master of double talk, and sometimes triple.

Here’s what I saw perusing FB the other day. “For my birthday this year, friends may choose to send cash that may be needed for expensive eye surgery.  My ophthalmologist confirmed what I have long believed to be true. While he didn’t mention a specific date for possible surgery, he said he’s 100 percent certain that I have ATTACHED retinas in both eyes. Financial help can be sent via mail, or handed to me at my birthday party.”

He signed it “Mortimer,” as if anyone might wonder who would contrive such a ruse.

When I called him the other day, he said he’s already received $600 by mail from 15 friends, with notes from others promising that they’ll hand him checks at the party.

Mort is leaning on recent action by the Texas Legislature to fatten his personal coffers.

He’s inviting children from throughout the thicket to set up lemonade stands, now that it’s legal for them to operate such stands.

There’ll be a $25 entry fee, and guests will cast votes to determine which kid is selling the best lemonade. “I’m presently contacting Country Time Lemonade to see if they’ll help me,” Mort said. “They offered ‘Legal-Ade’ to help pay for permits and fines for kids across the state who have been cited for failure to secure permits for their lemonade stands before the Governor signed the bill into law. I’m thinking they’ll consider such assistance as positive PR, emphasizing that many “lemon bills” coming through the legislature CANNOT be made into lemonade.”

Actually, the new law protecting youngsters’ lemonade stands starts on September 1.

My Uncle Mort is not worried in the least.

“News of what happens in the thicket rarely trickles out, and even if it does, September 1 will have come and gone before authorities realize we ‘jumped the gun’ on applying the new law a little early down here. Besides, police citing kids operating a lemonade stand several years ago didn’t win friends. Turns out they were trying to raise funds to take their dad to a water park on Father’s Day.

As soon as the birthday party ends, Mort will resume his project befriending left-handers.

“If you don’t think we’re in the minority, notice the door handle when you go to the post office,” he yammered. “The right handle invariably is the one worn smooth by so many ‘righties’.”

He says his first-grade teacher tried to teach him to print letters with his right hand, and his pencil ran right off his Big Chief tablet. “Being left-handed helped me out at high school graduation,” he admitted. He claimed the other 11 graduates were predicted to be “most likely” in numerous fields of adult life. “I was voted most likely to remain left-handed,” he joked. No one dreamed then that he’d count on a “Go Fund Me” appeal to help him celebrate a birthday.

Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments or inquiries to:newbury@speakerdoc.com. Ph.: 817-447-3872. Web: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.

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