“White to me is a defining color like those huge pillars standing in front of the White House.”


As a youngster, I often wondered why some older folks copped an attitude over the littlest things. Dad would get upset if the morning newspaper was not there before he left for work. Had I analyzed things by TV wisdom alone, I would’ve guessed a lack of Geritol led to his irritability. Geritol’s rarely mentioned anymore for whatever reason?

Back in the day, this bottled elixir was constantly being touted on television as a cure for iron poor blood, anxiety, and irritability. Mom served plenty of collard greens and red beets at dinner, as an alternative means of pumping up our blood with minerals and nutrients. That’s not all her cooked vegetables produced. Ethyl is slang for what I’m referring to. Younger readers will have to look it up. Now that I’ve reached senior status, I understand the root of irritability goes much deeper than lack of iron or sleep.

Early on, I was taught responsibility by my parents. That meant taking a bath, brushing my teeth, household chores, homework, keeping the lawn mowed, picking up our dog’s poo, along with other assigned duties.

Once married, I had to be responsible to my wife, children, employer, and people I didn’t even know. My pastor told the congregation that we needed to be responsible to the man upstairs. When he mentioned we, he meant me in that sense.

Over the years I’ve worked hard and did my best to provide for the family. I believe I’ve succeeded in this area. We never lived at the top of the hill yet managed to survive just the same.

Throughout time, I incurred many tasks that I did not like. Paperwork is one of them. To this day, I do not like having to constantly fill out forms of any kind, especially mortgage refinance papers.

I was in a medical office last week, and the receptionist claimed that I needed to update my personal information. When I told her that nothing had changed, she handed me an electronic clipboard just the same.

Starting down the list, they asked if any of my medications were different, did I have covid at any time, or come in contact with someone that did. Was I having any new issues? It was the usual array of questions that every doctor’s office wants answered, including needing to know if I was white, black, or brown.

I really didn’t fit any of the 3 colors offered. White to me is a defining color like those huge pillars standing in front of the White House. In the movie “Powder”, the lead character was what I’d call white. I’m definitely not black nor brown at this stage, although early on I turned light brown in the sun. These days without sunscreen I remain a reddish hue much like an almost done steak.

The question that had me most confused was the gender one. It asked if I was male, female, bisexual, transgender, and the list seemingly went on and on. I can’t remember them all. A choice of other went with this inquiry; explanation needed if you chose it. At this point I became a bit irritable, yet not enough to intentionally harm myself.

Had I ever considered harming myself was actually one of the questions asked. My body does ache from a bad back and arthritis, but that pain isn’t intentional on my part. I ran out of time before I could answer everything. The nurse practitioner called me back to her examination room, saying I could finish up before leaving.

Getting back to my truck, I remembered that I hadn’t stopped at the counter to complete things.


Next trip in I’m sure they’ll make sure I finish all empty blanks. I have 3 answers ready for blastoff:

  1. New problems: Irritability
  2. Color: Medium well
  3. Gender: Cyborg

Before closing, I found that the late actress Betty White hawked Geritol in the middle 1950’s as a cure all for many ills. Everyone knows that Betty was always cool and calm, never appearing irritable or hostile. The lovable Betty White lived to be 99. Maybe there’s something to this Geritol after all?

Actress Betty White promoting Geritol.

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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