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April 5, 2014

As Time Goes By: There's lint in my belly button, and other observations

The Daily Star

---- — It’s a great day in the South — the sun is shining and the temperature is 75 degrees and I find myself in a reflective mood.

I remember reading in the Bible a statement to the effect that someday in my life there will come a time when others will clothe me. I laughed at that time with the mental picture that I had conjured up.

Well, that day has come. I’ve regressed to a point where my wife, Diane, has to dress me else I will cause a social gaff that might reflect on the family name.

So here I am being dressed by family, fulfilling a Bible verse heard long ago. I don’t laugh now, but bless those that help me.

In getting dressed by others gives you time to reflect about thing not thought of since I was an infant. Lo and behold, I looked down and saw that I had a build-up of belly button lint. Where did this come from? I shower every day. Moss does not grow on me, but lint loves me.

In my idle time, I have made the following observations. If you have four pair of socks (eight socks) and put them into the washer you will on occasion find that only seven socks will come out. Search as you might you will not alter the will-of-the-washer – the sock is gone.

(Aside — there have been a few times when I heard ripping and munching noises but could not identify any specific point of origin.) I have come to observe that this will happen with a Kenmore washer as well as a Bendix or an L.G.

Take those seven socks and put them into the dryer. After the appropriate time a buzzer will go off and you will hear a loud “ding! (The “ding” is the important thing to remember.) Upon opening the dryer you will only retrieve six socks (three pair) Where did one sock go?

Remember the “ding” sound? This does not signal the completion of a dryer cycle, as once suspected, but that instant when a trap door on the dryer drum opens and receives one sock as tribute to the robot dynasty yet to come.

Now I know that you are all excited about telling me the function of a lint trap. The lint trap is an extension of the robot dynasty and on command the lint trap stops collecting lint so that the discharge air goes from “safe for a baby to breathe” too, one whiff and you will know where the sock lint has been.

One might get the impression that dryer lint is thus contained but this is far from the truth. The lint trap will slowly allow some lint to “seep” out and blend into the atmosphere.

At this point enter the “navel.” As a small child I was fascinated by my navel and being scientifically oriented made the following observation. The belly button is not a straight pipe to the stomach. It does not accept milk or cereal or fried liver. Try as I would I could never get rid of the liver — cereal like Cheerios just lay there until they could be “picked off” at my leisure. The belly button in all its glory was a sucker for sock and clothing lint that “seeped” from the dryer.

Belly button lint from my early observations did not have any definitive taste; it all depended on what you could add to it to take away the bland taste. Looking under your highchair tray was a good place to start. You could always find some dried on jelly, cereal and on some occasions dried liver.

On another note, has anyone else noticed that commercials have gotten more air time than the shows?

I was watching one of the black-on-white classics a few nights ago and noticed that the beginning was relatively free of commercials but as we started to approach the grand finale the commercials came every five minutes.

What’s going on? I feel like I am “captured,” which is exactly what Madison Avenue wants. I have invested more than an hour and a half in the movie and have got to see how it ends. In my efforts to “surf” the shows, I may have seen bits and pieces of a show but never a total movie in one shot. I still haven’t seen “Gone with the Wind,” from start to finish.

I can only hope that my daughter doesn’t read this because faster than you can say “I’ve got the disc loaded and ready to go,” she will have the televsion loaded for my enjoyment for the next hour and a half. “Hello, Rhett, hello, Scarlet, so good to see you once again.”

Finally how many aluminum cans must be sent to the crusher to take care of our craving for canned soda? There must come a time when input equals output and we can shut down the aluminum smelting plants.

The observation also applies to cars being crushed.

As time goes by my belly button lint will slowly build up, loud commercials will replace the shows and we will be paid NOT to recycle cans — they have too many on hand to store.

Henry Geerken is a three-time NYSUT award-winner writing humorous articles addressing retiree and senior citizen concerns. Geerken also writes for Sail-World, World Cruising Newsletter, regarding his many humorous sailing episodes through the years. He can be reached by email at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at