25 Feb

I was a chubby child. Now I’m a chubby adult.  I didn’t realize just how chubby until a few days ago.CHUBBY CHILD 1954

circa 1954, Groesbeck, Texas

I’ve been obsessed with my weight since elementary school. I used to take a can of Metrecal in my lunch sack.Metrecal


The happiest I’ve ever been with my weight was a brief period in the early 1980s when I was heavily involved in the high-impact aerobics movement. I lost so much weight that a rumor was spreading among my co-workers that I had AIDS.

happy thin jerome

circa 1986, Dallas, Texas

Three times in the last 40 or so years I’ve lost in excess of 50 pounds. I’ve done this by dieting, by joining support groups, and one time by consulting a shrink to see if I had an eating disorder. I did not; I was just a pig. Sadly, and inevitably, those pounds always found their way back, settling in for the duration primarily in my love handles region.

France 2000

circa 1999, France

When I retired from work in late 2014 I decided that I’d give myself a break and stop beating myself up because I didn’t have – and probably never would have – the physique of an Olympic decathlete. I switched back to real mayonnaise, I drank real Coke, I developed an almost erotic relationship with peanut butter.  I also ditched my bathroom scale and trained myself not to look in mirrors.

However, as a reasonably sane person, I know that exercise is good for me and I’ve maintained a gym membership for the last 20 or so years. At my current gym, actually the student recreation center at the nearby University of North Carolina-Asheville, I’ve been doing a bit of cardio along with twice-weekly weight training sessions with young Drew, the poster boy for what everyone’s looking for in a personal trainer.

Last Friday, at Drew’s suggestion, I underwent the Bod Pod analysis of body composition [ ]. This is how the procedure looks in the company’s brochure:

bod pod happy

Here’s me last Friday:

bod pod

2016, Asheville, North Carolina

And that’s before I got the results: my percentage of body fat is 37.5!  That puts me in the obese category on the company’s demeaning little chart.  I need to reduce that percentage to the mid-twenties range to be considered healthy.

So it’s back to counting calories, forgoing chocolatey treats at the checkout counter, and reducing my alcohol consumption by at least one-fiftieth.  I’m hoping to get back to my 1977-ish stature at least one more time before I die.


circa 1977, Port Arthur, Texas

Wish me luck!


I was a reference librarian before the f#@*^* Internet!

6 Feb

There’s not a lot I’m proud of.  Anybody can sing I’m an Old Cowhand in Middle English; anybody can authentically recreate Vaslav Nijinsky’s performance in the original Afternoon of a Faun; anybody can make a turnip souffle.  And nowadays, just about anybody can be a reference librarian – thank you, Google.  But I do take a modicum of pride in that the early years of my profession were plied without the help of the Internet. We (and by “we” I mean old, bitter, retired librarians) used reference books, we spent hours in the stacks seeking the requested poem, we used yellow legal pads to keep track of the cost-of-living index!

Why today’s rant?  I was rummaging through some boxes of junk that have remained unpacked since the late 1990’s (really, someday I gotta organize this stuff) and came across this:


It’s a little poem, song really, that I wrote for my fellow reference librarian, Scottie Sims (no relation), and me.  We worked together at the Gates Memorial Library in Port Arthur, Texas (the very same library where Janis Joplin helped out in the children’s department in the early 1960s).  It’s set to the tune of Frankie and Johnny:

Scottie and Jerome were librarians.

Oh, lordy, how they did toil.

They found the answers to questions

Like “Where can I write Farrah Fawcett-Majors?”

And “What makes up the soil?”

They answered them fast.

They answered them good.

Scottie and I worked together from 1975 through 1978 or so.  Here’s a photo of us taken for a feature in the local newspaper.

SCOTTIE AND ME 1976ishLook at that hair!

I had a great time working at that place.  I’ll never forget the time one of the clerks and I stayed after closing time and had some fun with a Polaroid camera . . .Catalog

(Hmm, I’m thinking this is a separate blog post.)

Be good, y’all!

My kingdom for a decent salsa!

29 Jan

I’ve been in Asheville, North Carolina just over a year now, and I can honestly say there’s very little that I miss about Texas.   I don’t miss the oppressively hot summers, I don’t miss the omnipresent jingoism, I don’t miss Republicans. repubs

But I do miss Tex-Mex cuisine, specifically salsa. The salsa I dream about, the salsa against which I measure all others, is the house salsa at Uncle Julio’s, my favorite Dallas restaurant.


Nothing in Asheville comes close. I’m willing to overlook the over-sweet frozen margaritas and I’m willing to overlook the lame queso fundido, but the substandard salsas around here are unforgivable. Fortunately for me, by the fourth over-sweet frozen margarita, I’m unable to hold on to my culinary prejudice.

I guess I also miss not being able to openly carry a gun.  I don’t understand this whole mess, perhaps because I’m perfectly content with the size of my penis. It’s probably just as well since this is how I picture the whole gun-culture in the Lone Star State:cowboy guns

Sleep tight, y’all.


17 Jul


Well, I went to the reunion.  I had a great time.  I didn’t wear my Spanx undershirt.  However, looking at the photo above (that’s my brother Richard, my brother-in-law Jim and my sister Sandra with me), I’m regretting my decision to let it all hang out.  Because it’s really hanging out!  I don’t know why I’m scowling.

My father, Jep Sims, was one of 13 children.  Only two are still living; a 95-year-old uncle and an 85-ish aunt.  That means, bluntly put, that my generation is the next to start dying out.  Oh well, I don’t really have any plans for the next 20 years.

Many of the folks at the gathering spoke fondly of my father, recalling funny things he said and did.  I could have told them a few horror stories, but what’s the good in that?  20+ years after his death I focus only on pleasant thoughts about him.

Here’s a sweet little poem about fathers.  Parts of it could be referring specifically to mine.

THOSE WINTER SUNDAYS by Robert Hayden (1966)

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

I’m b-a-a-a-a-a-ck!

8 Jul

Sorry I’ve been away for so long.  Who knew a stint in Betty Ford would last three months?

But I’m out, I’m renewed and I’m facing a quandary: the Sims reunion.

Each year the Simses gather for a reunion/supper on the eve of the Lost Prairie Cemetery Memorial, an event where people who have loved ones interred therein gather to spruce up the gravesites, reconnect with still-living loved ones and share the bounty of an alcohol-free meal under the spreading oaks.

I hate these things!  The Simses are, for the most part, excessively attractive, excessively successful (in careers that really count), and excessively rich.  I just don’t relate.

In the past decade or so, the only thing that got me through these events was the fact that many of them had gone to seed, after depressingly energetic, athletic youths, while I, on the other hand, had slimmed down and bulked up after an also depressingly sedentary, prone-to-obesity youth.  (My being an obvious, avowed and documented homosexual has nothing to do with it!)

But in the last year or so I, too, have begun going to seed.  My descent to blobdom is not complete, however, and with a few minor cosmetic shenanigans, I could pass for “being in good shape for a man my age.”

My quandary is this: should I wear my Spanx undershirt?  Doing so would give the illusion that I have a somewhat flat stomach and, slight  (but no more than slight!) love handles.

What, you’re wondering, is the problem, Jerome?  Sounds like a can’t-lose scenario.

Well, dear friends, have you ever worn Spanx?

I remember my mother coming home from a social event (believe me, a rare occasion in Groesbeck, Texas) and exclaiming, “I’ve got to get this girdle off!”

Spanx products are, basically, girdles.

So, do I suffer, girdle-bound, for two to three hours while ingesting brisket, potato salad and coconut pie in the presence of my family, or do I just say “Fuck it!” and not add the onus of constricted airways to an evening that can’t end fast enough?




Great Moments in Cinema History, post #2

6 Apr

Great Moments in Cinema History, post #2

ABOUT LAST NIGHT – TriStar Pictures – 1986 – Rob Lowe, star

Further proof that I am old and out of it (one, alas, in a continuing series)

3 Apr


Source: The Inter-Web

Kids today don’t know Dick.  Or Jane.

On a recent ride in my building’s elevator, I found myself in the company of a twee young man and his dog. The man was certainly cute, but the dog was adorable!

Abandoning my usual practice of just keeping my mouth shut (and sucking-in my stomach), I said to my transitory companion, “What a pretty little dog!  What’s that dog’s name?”

“This is Puff,” the young man replied.

“Puff?”  I said, “Puff? Like the cat in Dick and Jane?”


“You know, Puff the cat and Spot the dog from the Dick and Jane books we learned to read with in the first grade.”

“Sorry, sir, I don’t know what you’re referring to. “

I was about to wax poetic about the good old days when the elevator doors opened on his floor.  He and Puff fled in relief.

I was sorry our encounter ended so suddenly.  I was about to share with him my recollections of that other Puff, the one in a land called Honalee.

His loss.


What ever happened to Ron Reagan Jr?

2 Apr

What ever happened to Ron Reagan Jr?

Vanity Fair, July 1986

You! Yes, You! Enjoy this sweet little poem!

2 Apr

At Blackwater Pond by Mary Oliver

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

Blue eyes, baby’s got blue eyes, like a deep blue sea on a blue, blue day

1 Apr

The sweetest thing happened on my journey to work this morning.  Because I was wearing beautiful new shoes, I took the train instead of walking.  The trip itself was uneventful, but when I alighted at the Union Station stop, I struck up a conversation with the DART station agent who looks out for trouble or for travelers needing assistance.

The talk was frothily generic – nice day, do you ride the train often, etc. – but just as we arrived at the crosswalk, she turned to me and said, “Did you know your eyes match your shirt?”

Well, I wasn’t aware of it, but I was wearing a shirt with broad swaths of deep, rich blue and it’s not the first time people have commented on the breathtaking blueness of my eyes.

So I sort of blushed, told her it wasn’t intentional, and thanked her for her kind words.

As I crossed the street to the Morning News building, I sent a silent message heavenward, thanking that higher power  for such a gift.  Had I had any say in the matter, I’d have opted for a longer, thicker penis, but I’m pretty happy with the eyes all the same.