Herb Benham column

Herb Benham

Let’s see, I’m killing people who aren’t dead and putting people out to pasture who still like the taste of the bit in their mouths.

First, I had Harold Meek in a pine box and Ray Mish not far behind him. As of this writing, Harold is doing well having recently celebrated his 47th wedding anniversary with his wife, Kay; and Ray, who is 93 and has a joke a minute, is working full time at Mission Family Mortuary.

Then, I followed the "M&M show" by saying (credit this one to not double-checking a hot tip) that the much beloved pediatrician Dr. Hasmukh Amin was retiring.

Amin is not only not retiring, but at 72, with more than 30 employees including three pediatricians, has never felt better in his life and is still jumping over tall medical buildings on a daily basis.

This latest correction might lead to a new source of revenue for the paper. In addition to the “I’m Still Kicking,” idea that could run next to the obits for people like Mish and Meek, we could have an “I’m Still Working” feature on the same page.

Sometimes people don’t know whether you’ve retired or not and assume you may have done so when you have reached a certain level of maturity. People have asked me for years if I’m retired. They wonder if I work and if I do work, how I can call it work.

After righting the Amin ship and steering it into calmer waters, I tried to sneak through the next week without landing on the rocks but that didn’t work either.

We used the word “culing” in the headline of the column about going through one’s clothes and lightening the inventory. Readers like Lynette Gamez were mystified, mystified being a polite way of saying it.

The correct word is “culling” and that we spelled it with one “l” is galling. I looked up “culing” and found that it is the name of a herbal supplement good for temporarily relieving nausea, diarrhea, bloating and morning sickness. Culing is available for $10.31 per box on Amazon.

“Absolutely amazing for traveling,” read one review. “I was eating at a bunch of street vendors in South East Asia. Every time my stomach started hurting, I would swallow half a packet. I felt 100 percent better within 30 minutes.”

Good to know there is a remedy for morning newspaper sickness should the word “culing” appear instead of “culling.”

I called Gamez and asked if she was an English major. Gamez, an agent with Coldwell Banker and married to Kenny Gamez of the Mexicali family, said that she had not been an English major but that didn’t prevent her from knowing how to read and spell (she said it more tactfully than that).

We talked about the real estate business, which she said was lively given that the Bakersfield has some of the last affordable houses in the state, her five-year career in the business after working in government finance, her once-a-month book club with 12 other women, her husband, who plans to retire in February after working at Mexicali for 50 years, and her favorite books ("Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” “A Painted House” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”).

***

Speaking of good books, I am reading “The World in the Evening” by Christopher Isherwood. This is the first paragraph:

“The party, that evening was at the Novotnys'. They lived high up on the slopes of the Hollywood Hills, in a ranch-style home complete with Early American maple, nautical brass work and muslin curtains; just too cute for words. It looked as if it had been delivered, already equipped, from a store, and you could imagine how, if the payments weren’t kept up, some men might arrive one day and take the whole place back there on a truck, along with Mrs. Novotny, the three children, the two cars and the cocker spaniel.”

Very little culling necessary in writing like this.

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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