I think I spiked the football too soon. Did what I tell other people not to do. Performed a victory dance in the end zone and while I was celebrating, caught my spikes in the turf and did a faceplant.

Thursday, the day after knee surgery, I felt like a surgical god. Had I even had surgery? I’d never felt better in my life.

I concluded that I was not like the rest of you people. The weak people. Although there is a place for you in the Bible— the weak people — when you have surgery, you hobble around like Grandma Moses.

Thursday, I took two walks, went to Smart & Final, lifted weights, and at the end of the day, climbed a ladder and changed four air conditioning filters. That’s what kind of steel I’m made from.

Surgery, smurgery. I also quit taking ibuprofen because I was cured!

The way I was feeling, I’d be back on the court next week whipping those guys in the Monday league.

Friday, I woke up from my post-surgical fantasy. The front, back and side of my knee was sore. I could barely straighten the leg. Everything hurt including my pride, which was ripe for a beating. Life is good for that.

Back to ice, the recliner and the real world.


The Taft Union High Garden Club is battling with a pesky gopher (pesky and gopher go together) and reader John Blaylock has offered his services:

“I have caught many gophers (my father taught me when I was a kid) using the simple gopher traps purchased at Lowe's or Home Depot. You have to dig a foot or so to their burrow and set the trap much like you would set a mouse trap. Place it in the burrow and wait 24 hours or so until the Gopher tries to plug up the opening. They don't like openings in their burrows.


“You need to dig under the 'Freshest' mound of dirt to find the current gopher hole.”


“You also have to buy a simple chain to attach to the trap so the gopher doesn't pull the trap in and so you can pull it out (of the hole). Anchor the chain with a large nail.

“Put some dirt over the small chain to hide it.”

Blaylock is thinking about going into business, placing an ad in the paper and charging $20 a gopher. I think he’d be busy.


In the column about driving around Bakersfield and wondering how they were planning to join 58 with the Westside Parkway, going from one side of Stockdale Highway to the other, I mentioned “Darrell” Ebel, a man I swim with who works for Granite Construction. I received this email from Donna Kocks:

“Have been waiting for years for you to mention my nephew Darryl and today you

did!! He has always been such a sweet person, little boy and baby but alas

you misspelled his name, it’s "Darryl" (NAMED AFTER HIS UNCLE WHO WAS NAMED


Sincerely, Auntie Donna

I saw Darrryl (not Darrell) at the pool a few days later and apologized and then asked him how they were going to connect 58 to the Westside Parkway with Stockdale Highway in the way.

“They’re going to build an overpass,” said Darryl (not Darrell). “It should take about three years.”


A musical recommendation that will get your blood pumping and make you want to move: S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or (661) 395-7279.

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