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The Idle American
New Entry for Guiness?...
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 • Posted April 27, 2011

The thought

I’m afraid of becoming entangled in the same dream—or nightmare—with my Uncle Mort.

Maybe the entry would fit in a sub-group under "phobophobia"—a fear of having a phobia. An apt name might be "Mortophobia."…

* * * * *

My fear

Aunt Maude chuckles about the punctuality bit. "He’s never made it anywhere on time and is from a long line of late-comers. His ancestors came to these shores on the Juneflower."…

* * * * *

My old

"It’s pretty amazing he’s as normal as he is," Maude says. "He was delivered by an absent-minded doctor who held him up by his hands and spanked his face."

He has a "by gosh/by golly" record of birth, scribbled on a Big Chief tablet. His birth date was recorded as "June 34, 1912." The doctor, writing in the hurried manner of a physician, scribbled down "Mort," with the last name not discernible. Worst case scenario, maybe the good doctor had to interrupt a hunting trip to first take care of the business end of things….

* * * * *

So Mort

"It gets better," Mort laughs. "I was 23 years old when Social Security came along, so I’ve got a three-digit number." He said his driver’s license—the one that lapsed years ago when he gave up his pick-up to protest high gasoline prices—also was a "short number." He’s vowed to depend on a golf cart—obtained in a trade for his truck—for conveyance the rest of the way.

With computer

* * * * *

I think

The office’s postage budget took a big hit, what with the cost of apology letters "in the mail" to all Texans whose personal information was compromised….

* * * * *

"Like I

He has no bank account, opting to hide his money in syrup buckets, and almost no financial records, since he buys little and barters much. (He disturbed the peace at a Trader Vic’s restaurant trying to trade a few dozen eggs for a meal. Within a few minutes, they sent him on his way, telling him to keep his eggs.)…

* * * * *

Mort rattled

I thought of an experience years ago when Mort and I were trapped between floors on an elevator one hot July day. "One of our deodorants is wearing thin," I joked.

"It must be yours, ‘cause I ain’t wearin’ none," he countered….

* * * * *

It should

Recently, my uncle said he dreamt of sleeping through two jobs—Vice President of the United States by day and air traffic controller by night.

Wow! There’s a whole ‘nuther topic of fears for "fraidy cats" to be scared of!...

* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

be clear why I might fear being in an Uncle Mort dream trap. In real life, I can blame a faulty phone, walk away or fake a coughing spell. But, shackles of dreams are hard to shake.
on about his indifference to the release of his "personal information." My eyes crossed and my hair hurt, partly because some of his claims made sense.
said, I’m the luckiest guy around," Mort laughed. "Officially, the date of my birth is approximate, I have just one name, my Social Security number is three digits, my last driver’s license expired in the last century and my address is ‘way down in the thicket’." (Family lore has it that Mort was the original "007.")
this personal "misinformation" topic came up when Mort learned of the Texas Comptroller’s Office admission of mistakenly transferring unencrypted personal records of 3.5 million Texans, about half of whom are retired teachers. Info was accessible to the public from the Comptroller’s Office servers during most of 2010; it included birthdates, as well as driver’s license and social security numbers.
servers spewing personal information all over cyberspace for "whosoever will" to claim, my uncle could well be least affected….
chose July Fourth as his birthday, and various last name aliases.
uncle describes himself as "the luckiest guy on the planet," beginning with his birth.
may not be as "far out" as it seems. Mort has been calling almost daily, reminding me to "keep July 4th clear" for his 99th birthday party at his place in the thicket. Each time, he emphasizes the practicality of gift certificates and the importance of "being on time."
of mention in Guinness World Records never entered my mind—until now. My recurring fear may warrant my inclusion on the lengthening list of known phobias. (Guinness now names and defines almost 600 phobias.)

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