Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Month: May 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Remember What Memorial Day Is About

I got an email from a friend this morning that reminded me what today was all about. I am copying some of it here. I don’t know the copywrite laws on duplicating emails but I hope I’m not breaking them. When you are thinking about your appliance sales and barbecues today, please take a moment to reflect on why the word “Memorial” comes from the word “memory,” and remember the brave men and women who gave their lives so that I could write this blog and you could read it.



It is
the VETERAN,
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the
VETERAN who
salutes the Flag.

How a Morning at Starbucks Defined the Dictionary*

My last blog was about people turning out like their parents and how you had to struggle all through life if you didn’t want to adopt their bad habits. I implied that I had risen above all my parents’ bad habits by being spunky.

However, I had something happen yesterday that caused me to look up the word spunky. Merriam-Webster online said it meant, “full of spunk.” I don’t know about you, but if I’m looking up a word, it’s usually because I don’t know what it means. Having the word’s meaning explained to me by the word itself is going to leave me scratching my head and other parts if no one is looking.

But this is what dictionaries do, and for good reason. A dictionary in the library that tried to contain a complete definition of all words and their derivatives (called “inflected forms” because they often carry communicable diseases) would have to be hauled around on a forklift. Even the ones that don’t have all the words in them are so big they can’t be picked up except by Sumo wrestlers, and have to reside on their own lazy Susan, a device that allows the curious to spin the book around really fast so the dictionary flies off and knocks out the kid sitting at the first table on the right. And, FYI, that device was NOT named after me because my name is SuzANNE, not Susan, even though many, many people here in the Northwest think I’m saying ‘Susan’ because they don’t understand my Southern accent and just nod politely and say “uh-huh” when I talk, lest I repeat myself.

When Merriam and Webster got together to come up with their dictionary, Webster knew what had to be done. He said to Merriam, “Look, there are a million ways you can use every word. Take the very simple word ‘winter.’ Other words you can make with it are winterize, wintered, wintering, wintercation – the list is endless. So here’s what let’s do. We’ll define ‘winter’ and then make everyone refer back to that word when they look up all these other words.”

“I don’t get it,” Merriam said.

“It’s simple,” Webster grinned, sipping a cup of coffee and taking a bite of the pumpkin bread, the house specialty at this Starbucks. “Chew fake do nerd…”

“I hate it when you talk with your mouth full,” Merriam said. “Finish chewing. I’ll wait.”

Webster took another huge bite of banana bread because he secretly loved tormenting Merriam. Merriam knew this, so he got up and said, “I’m going to the bathroom.”

Webster didn’t chew the whole time he was gone; just sat there like a chipmunk with both cheeks puffed out, filled to capacity with date-nut bread.

Merriam knew what Webster was up to, so he took extra time in the bathroom. This was easy because they had one of those cool soap dispensers that turn the pink gooey liquid in the clear glass pump into a nice round ball of puffy white foam that smelled like roses, daisies, and hollyhocks. He washed his hands several times, looking at himself in the mirror and smiling a rakish grin, knowing that the cinnamon roll was still in Webster’s mouth and he would start choking on it if enough time passed.

Back at the table, Webster felt a tickle in his throat but hoped that if he just relaxed and stayed calm he could weather it out, although he knew Merriam would wash his hands over and over because he was a clean freak. The tickle got more persistent, and sent a message to Webster’s brain that said, “Scratch me.” Webster ignored them both. The tickle decided to bump it up a notch, and sent a message to Webster’s brain that came through as a shout. Webster tensed up, ready for battle. The tickle was not backing down. It knew it would win over time, as long as Webster didn’t pour scalding black coffee all over it, in which case it generally retreated. But today it was digging in. Today it said, “Bring on the coffee.  Bring on the ice water. You can’t expect to hold food in your mouth and not swallow and get away with it, sucka. Not on my watch!”

Mirriam, squirting another fun ball of foam, heard a knock on the bathroom door. “Crap,” he said. He dried his hands slowly under the electric hand dryer, not rubbing them together so it took longer. He started the dryer again. The noise of the dryer drowned out the insistent pounding on the door, no doubt by someone full of Starbucks coffee and in desperate need to get in there.

Finally the dryer stopped and Merriam opened the door. A lady with her legs crossed nearly knocked him over as she rushed past. “Humph,” Merriam said to let her know how rude she was.

Webster, seeing Merriam approaching, pleaded with his throat, “Please just hold on for another couple of seconds.” The tickle was not having any part of it. It started agitating so that Webster felt like his larynx and windpipe were being assaulted by an octopus waving feathers.

Merriam, sliding into the booth, said to Webster, “I see by your cheeks that you are still eating.”

Webster tried to grin. At this very second the tickle brought out the big guns.

TO BE CONTINUED

*As with all historical fiction, the people may be real, but the places and incidents are made up or else the story would be boring. Not that I’m making any of this up, but I want to cover myself just in case. If the law comes after me, don’t tell them I’m hiding under the dictionary.

Little Clones

Have you ever noticed how some people are carbon copies of their parents? I’m not talking about looks, but the way they act. I have a theory about this.

If you are an observant person, and I know that you are, then you can look at what your parents are doing and make judgment calls. I noted, for instance, that my mom spent a lot of time sitting around without really having too much ambition. I also noticed that, when I got older, I wanted to sit around. I loved many, many things about my mother, but sitting around wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I decided to lay around instead, which I considered a change for the better.

Same with my dad. He was old school with the attitude, “Do it because I said so.” Normal kids don’t want to do things they’re ordered to do because it’s usually something unsavory like cleaning your room or kissing your Aunt Jane. If the person would explain why, like: “Clean your room so that the Boogie Man won’t want to move in under your bed because he only hangs out in dirty rooms,” then I’d be in there swooshing through the sticky jawbreakers on the dresser and crusty socks splayed all over like some kind of wild thing until my room was completely sanitized. But it’s no fun being on the receiving end of an authoritarian who won’t bother explaining, so even though it was tiresome, I tried to always explain things to my kids.

“Mom, why do I have to brush my teeth?”

“Because I said, err, because if you don’t spiders will crawl in your mouth at night because they love foul smells.”

The reason I thought about this is that someone I’ve known for years is turning out just like her father. He was always overweight and in his last years he didn’t have the energy to get out of a chair. She’s getting to be the same way. She says she’s “depressed,” but I think she’s just following the family tradition.

My theory is that all people are programmed as infants to be like their parents. The spunky ones take everything in, imitate the good things and fight the bad. The reason it takes a spunky person to do this is because climbing out of the mold takes a lot of energy. You keep sliding back down into that earlier learned behavior.

For example, my mom was an accomplished overeater, and so was her mom before her. I would watch the two of them shoveling food like they were trying to fill up a deep well, and decided that I did not want to be that way. I have their same appetite and I love eating almost better than anything in the world, besides writing this blog for you, my loyal readers, but I refuse to eat so much I get big.

If I were a lazy person, I would just give in to it. In fact, it wouldn’t occur to me to fight it. I wouldn’t even know there was a battle. I’d be glued to some trashy shows on TV and never notice anything except that the bag of pork rinds was almost empty and who could I get to bring me another one. That’s as far as my powers of observation would extend.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being like your parents. My mother was the best momma in the world. I do many things just like her on purpose. She had this fantastic laugh that I try to imitate. Hers was deep and throaty, like a hyena with a bullfrog’s voice. My dad had many good points too. I’m just saying that it wouldn’t hurt you to take a look at what your parents were like and see if the things you’re doing now are imitating their bad points. If that’s the case, then get off your lazy kiester and get your own pork rinds, and bring me a bag, too.

Growing Up Happy

I’m more in the mood to walk down memory lane than to do comedy, so if you feel like a little trip to the past, come join me. When I was a kid, we had the advantage of living in a working class neighborhood, which meant that no one really had much money. I don’t ever remember being jealous of anyone as a kid. When someone got something new, we didn’t want one ourselves, we all just sponged off of them.

Lisa Cain had an outside, under-the-carport ping pong table so there were always five to ten kids (or more) playing ping pong. The Armbrusters had a croquet set, so we’d all migrate en masse to their big back yard whenever that was set up. At our house we had a pole vault and high jump pit, and a homemade ping pong table out in the back yard, so we always had kids hanging around.

If someone was home, we went to their house and started playing with whatever they had to offer in their yard. Sometimes the kids didn’t even come out. The whole neighborhood belonged to us, and we played outside every day the weather allowed. Since this was Tennessee, most days were outdoor days, even during the school year – until it got dark.

In the summer, we played under the streetlight at the intersection of two streets. One street butted into the other – it wasn’t a thru street so you had to either turn right or left. If you went right, it was a dead end, so no one really drove on our two streets except the people living there, which made the intersection perfect for playing softball in the summer. A manhole cover served as home plate. 1st and 3rd were storm drains, and 2nd base was the intersection of two cracks in the concrete. The only down side to this was when the ball rolled into the 3rd base storm drain. A strong, older kid would have to remove the grate and a little kid would jump in and retrieve the ball. They were only about 3 feet deep and never had any water in them, so it was never anything more than an inconvenience. I got to be the little kid who jumped in and grabbed the ball sometimes, which made me a 5 second hero. Then Phippy Sams pulled me out like I was no heavier than a doll, which was as fun as a carnival ride.

A couple of summers Sandra Mead got together the older kids and put on a variety show. She and the other stars draped blankets over clotheslines to make a long curtain. All the parents attended and we were treated to corny skits and off-key singing that delighted us because most of us had never seen “live” entertainment.

I had one best friend in the neighborhood, Christine, and I spent most of my time with her, but we spent most of our time hanging out with all the other kids. The Gallagher’s yard had a chin-up bar in back that we’d have contests to see who could do the most pull-ups. The Gallagher’s kids were already grown and gone but Mr. Gallagher, who we called Poppy, liked to taunt us to do more by saying,  “pull, pull, pull, you can do it!” My older brother could do a bunch of them, and when we’d all finished Poppy would grab the bar and the muscles in his lean, tanned arms would flex into hard balls as we counted off his pull-ups. He’d do about 50, maybe more, and the girls would get bored and drift away. Poppy and his wife lived on the corner by 3rd base, so everyone hung out in their front yard when we weren’t chin upping in the back. We did handstands and cartwheels for hours, and sometimes brought a blanket to lie on and have a picnic.

My family was the poorest on the street, I suppose, but that made us creative. My brother made the pole vault pit by digging holes in the ground and putting in 4 x 4’s with nails hammered into them at one-inch intervals to hold the crossbar. He worked delivering newspapers on a bicycle to buy the fiberglass pole, and boys from miles around came to use it. They didn’t go much higher than 9 or 10 feet because the poles didn’t bend in those days. They’d land in a pile of sawdust. Girls came, too, but we high jumped.

He also made the ping pong table out of a 4 x 8 piece of plywood that he painted green and put on two sawhorses. It worked pretty well except there were a couple of knotholes that disrupted the ball and sent it in odd directions, but that just increased the challenge. If people wanted a real table, they could walk over to Lisa Cain’s. That’s where we held the ping pong tournaments.

Rocky and Stone Maddox (names we thought were silly but would fit right in today) had a big area to play basketball in their gravel driveway. Kids and younger fathers got up lively games there all the time. The Sams’ who lived a couple of doors down had a tetherball and we’d get tired of basketball and go over there. Sometimes there were upwards of 20 kids and adults hanging out at any given time.

Well now, we’ve come to the end of our journey and wasn’t that a fun little stroll into the past? I don’t know if anyone else had a magical neighborhood like we had with all the adults accommodating the kids in yards with no fences, and everyone with plenty of time on their hands. It wasn’t all perfect, and there was some crazy crap going on here and there, but we had everything we needed to enjoy our childhood. Did I mention the gigantic, outdoor pool about half a mile away, and the grocery store a block down the street with a glass candy case full of every sweet a kid could ever want? Oh, and I have to mention the carnival that came for two weeks every summer and was about a seven minute walk away. I never thought about it until just now, buy my childhood was at the vortex of the universe when it came to opportunities for a good time. There was a park about eight minutes away with tennis courts, and, best of all, we got to go anywhere we wanted without having to check in or even say where we were heading.

All things considered, it was a virtual. Wish you could have been there.

Suzanne’s Law

Do you remember Murphy’s Law? It went something like, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I have invented my own law, called Suzanne’s law. This is a law of the universe that says, anytime you want someone to do something, they will either: not do it, do it but not do it well, or do it but not when you want them to.

This law is proved by my daughter on a regular basis. Here’s an example. I asked her for weeks to get the oil changed in her car. When she finally did, she brought the receipt in the house to show me all the add-on things they talked her into adding on. After I looked it over and heard her explanations (this was her very first oil change), I said, “Put that oil receipt in you glove box to show you’ve been maintaining the car.”

“I will mom.”

“Today?”

“Yes, I just don’t want to walk out there right now.”

If you apply Suzanne’s Law, you know that the oil receipt is still laying in the bonus room floor days later, and will continue to stay there unless ants carry it off or I plant myself in the middle of the room with my hands on my hips, tapping my toe, and watch her pick it up and take it out to her car, at which time she’ll come back into the house scowling and go straight to her room, slamming the bedroom door to let me know how unreasonable I’m being.

My dog has Suzanne’s Law down to a science. If she does something really cute, like cock her head to one side and look up with the whites of her little black eyes showing, and it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your life so you want to share it with someone, it’s guaranteed that she’ll cease doing it the second the other person looks at her, no matter how fast they turn their head.

Another version of this same thing is when she sits or rolls over on demand all day long, but if someone says, “Does your dog do tricks?” and you say, “Yes, watch this,” and then say, “Roll over,” she will just look at your like she’s deaf and not even acknowledge that you are speaking to her. If you say it again and again, she waits patiently, looking at you and maybe cocking her head as if to say, “What up, dog?”

Now that I’ve discovered this new law, which is akin to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in its scope and application, I see it happening all the time. We had a leak in our roof and the roofing contractor was supposed to call this morning by 7:30 to say when he was coming. I called him at 8:00. He said he was coming at 9:30. I called him at 9:45. He got there eventually, but not when he was supposed to – again proving Suzanne’s Law.

Curiously, now that I’ve coined this law, I feel more forgiving toward my daughter. She’s only following a pre-ordained, scientific model of teenage behavior patterns that are consistent with 99.9% of the teenage population.

I feel so much better. I’m going to get a lot of use out of that law until she goes to college. Feel free to use it as well. It may save you from pulling all your hair out.

Can You Keep a Secret?

I wonder how people manage to keep things secret. I haven’t had much luck with it. Once I threw my husband a surprise birthday party and two different friends of his called him to ask, “How do I get to the place where your surprise birthday is going to be?”

Granted, both of these guys have been stoners for years, but you’d think that even in a stupor people would realize that an invitation with the words, “SHHHH – IT”S A SURPRISE!” would know not to mention it. It’s one thing to let something slip, but there was no excuse for that, and it caused me a lot of misery.

Since my husband knew, but I didn’t know that he knew, he thought it would be funny to torture me by driving down to the beach that day with one of his friend’s to go crabbing. They left early in the morning and while they were on the water, his friend kept trying to get him to leave, but Esso said things like, “It’s such a nice day, let’s just hang out some more. You don’t have anything planned for tonight, do you?” When they finally left to come back home, he wanted to stop and eat, stop and buy beer, etc. Julius, the friend, sneaked off and called me to report that they were still in Tillamook and he didn’t know WHEN they’d be home.

I was, of course, a nervous wreck, because we hadn’t made “plans.” We’d talked about going out to eat with some friends but hadn’t firmed it up. I thought this would make things seem less suspicious. Esso finally called and said he was too tired to go out, and that he’d rather just stay home and order a pizza.

The inability of those two friends to keep a secret caused me a whole day of torment and agony. One of them had the gall to show up at the party pre-intoxicated. He parked himself in front of the microphone when it was time to roast Esso and rambled incoherently about who knows what until I bitch slapped him. Not really. I politely nudged him to the side and announced that they were going to take the food away, but he certainly deserved a hefty smack.

The reason I thought about this subject was because I was watching Biography and it was about Paul Newman. Some gossip columnist back in the day kept saying that there were rumors of trouble in Newman’s marriage to Joanne Woodward. For those of you who don’t know who she is, I can tell you that she’s this gorgeous, very classy actress. By sheer coincidence, people have told me I look like her. However, I think she looks like me.

Newman and Woodward got fed up with the rumors and took out a full-page ad in some newspaper saying their marriage was just fine and the gossip columnist needed to go bungee jumping without a cord. They didn’t say that because Joanne would have been way too classy, but they said something, believe you me.

Movie stars have the paparazzi and everyone else watching them, so I can’t imagine how they keep secrets, but they certainly try. When they get discovered doing something like having an affair with the nanny, they first deny it over and over. Then evidence starts piling up, for instance the nanny shares intimate text messages from the alleged perpetrator. Still the star denies it, though not quite so forcefully. “I did not have sex with that woman,” they say, then add, “not that I can remember.”

Another thing that’s interesting, when I was younger everyone thought I looked like Sally Field. People told me that all the time. Now she looks older than me, so I’m glad they’ve changed to Joanne Woodward, who is, as I’ve already mentioned, quite a looker.

Pssst – Can you keep a secret? I didn’t think so.

Why Scratching Is Bad for the Environment

I went at the crack of dawn this morning to Starbucks to hang some of my photos for a little show I’m having and I listened to NPR news on the drive back home. Actually, it wasn’t the crack of dawn, I slept right through that because I don’t use an alarm clock. The rain, jabbing persistently and vehemently on my roof, awakened me to a dark, dreary, milky-grayish light that informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I was standing on the platform watching the train carrying the crack of dawn fade off into the sunrise (if there had been any, which there wasn’t).

Oh that felt good to write, like a nice long, dog-like stretch after a good night’s sleep. But I am not here to wax poetic. Nor am I here to wax the furniture. Or your car, for that matter. I’m here to try to write something amusing. NPR was telling us about the BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is not in any way, shape, or form amusing. My heart goes out to the millions of fish and fowl that will lose their lives as a result of this tragedy, as well as the millions of people who will lose their livelihoods.

I will try, however, to write something humorous about the oil companies, which some might say is no laughing matter either, but I have to write SOMETHING. The story this morning on NPR was about oil companies scrambling to avoid expensive safety regulation that is sure to be the government’s way of slapping them for being naughty and having yet another massive oil spill. I was grumbling about “those stupid oil companies” when I realized I was, in fact, at that very moment, driving a vehicle that depended on oil to operate (albeit only SOME oil because it is a hybrid which can go two to fifty times farther on a tank of gas than the average car on the road today, not that I’m trying to rub your nose in it).

Then it occurred to me that I would drive a non-oil based car if someone would make one and give me convenient places to re-charge or re-fuel it. I’m going to hear from people in California saying that, in fact, GM made a prototype electric car 20 years ago that ran great and everyone loved, but when the executives at GM met with the executives at BIG OIL (BO) – apt initials, aren’t they? – they decided, after much head and crotch scratching, that it would be in their best interests to NOT have people LOVING the EV1 (their electric vehicle) because it would put all their service departments out of business (electric cars don’t need oil changes), not to mention oil refineries, gas stations, Lava soap and similar products to get mechanics’ hands clean right down to the fingernails, and a plethora of other industries that depend on oil for the lifeblood of their bottom line.

These scratching executives decided that a certain California legislator who had the power to throw out the clean air standards probably had an itch as well, and so they all reached into each other’s pockets and scratched until they were all satisfied that in the end, their mutual bottom line was far, far more important than clean air or, for that matter, innovation, Yankee ingenuity, state of the art technology, or a really cool vision for the future.

These executives snatched back all the EV1’s (they were on loan to 400 consumers to try out), and they crushed them into a mass of metal you could fit into the palm of your hand (although it weighed 8 trillion tons) in order to remove all trace of the vehicles. Instead, they started pushing Hummers (army vehicles seen in old WWII movies), which take two parking spaces and get -4 miles per gallon, and, coincidentally, you can buy from GM.

Small world, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, other companies with Yankee ingenuity (that happened to all be in Asia) started making electric cars and hybrids. These soon became the world’s most popular vehicles. GM responded by building bigger and bigger SUVs and, in a miracle of marketing, sold them because they convinced the general public (who also has the word “general” in their name – it really IS a small world) that their toddlers would not be safe in any car except one that gets single-digit fuel economy.

This marketing strategy worked so well that now it is nearly impossible to find a parking space because, to be safe, these vehicles also need to have one wheel over the line on both sides so that only cars with the dimensions of a two by four can fit in there.

If we fast-forward to the present, we see GM crawling to the Government and grabbing millions of dollars in bailout money with that very same hand that was scratching oil companies and legislators not so long ago.

What has this got to do with the Gulf of Mexico? I would explain it, but I’ve run over my word limit. I apologize for leaving you to scratch your head and figure it out on your own.

Finding the Perfect Card

My brother’s birthday is tomorrow and I forgot to buy him a card. So I went to look in the box of cards I bought just for this contingency. A neighbor of mine years ago gave me the idea – she used to buy cards on sale so she’d have a card on hand for anything that came up.

I thought it was a good plan, so I went to Hallmark and bought some cards that I thought were pretty funny. I also picked up a bundle of cards when my girlfriend dragged me to a garage sale.

I still have most of these cards, even though this was years ago. The garage sale ones were pathetic. Here are some of the sayings (you’ll notice a couple are based on very old commercials):

“How do you spell relief?” (open) “J-A-N-U-A-R-Y! Happy Holidays!”

(Two frogs on a wedding cake) “Two words come to mind on this momentous occasion.” (open) “You fools!”

“How about…” (open) “…a nooner?”

“Double your pleasure, double your fun…” (open) “run your paycheck through the copy machine!”

“Meet me later….” (open) “in your birthday suit?”

Who bought those cards in the first place? Or have they just made the rounds from garage sale to garage sale, picking up new bad cards along the way like snow tires pick up gravel?

The Hallmark cards are funny, but now that I own them, I have a hard time giving them to actual people I know. Many are about aging, and when I think of a friend opening them and reading the message, it seems a little cruel, so even though I love them and laugh each time I read them, I haven’t been able to pass them on. Here’s a sampler:

“You aren’t getting old” (open) “Hell, you were old last year.”

“Don’t let them tell you what people your age can and can’t do!” (open) “That’s what your knees are for.”

“It appears that sucking in your gut like that…” (open) “has blown the hair off the top of your head.”

If someone is really bald, AND has a gut, could I make fun of them by giving them a card pointing this out? Sure, we’d all get a laugh, but it’s a cruel joke on the birthday girl.

At what age does humor about aches and pain turn into a vicious reminder that you are getting old and it’s all downhill from here? People like me who have a sense of humor can see that this is tongue in cheek, but can the one being honored on his birthday? I’d much rather get a card that talks about getting old as being like fine wine – comparing aging to a process in which a sweet, juicy grape is turned into a dry, fermented beverage that’s one step away from being vinegar.

Wait a minute, no I wouldn’t. I DO NOT want to be reminded that I’m “getting older” on my birthday. I want to pretend it’s just another day and I will continue to be immortal. The aches in my joints are temporary inconveniences that WILL NOT be worse tomorrow.

So once again, I’m going to leave those “old” cards in the card box and go buy a new one that will tell my brother how much I appreciate him even though he used to beat me within an inch of my life when we were kids. I hope Hallmark has one that says that – and I’m betting they will.

Demp

Sometimes life deals us a good hand and we are in the right place at the right time. Meeting Mary Morelock at the Legion Pool in 8th grade was one of those times. I knew who she was but didn’t like her because in 8th grade all I wanted was to fit in. She, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care what anyone thought about her, and she said and did anything that crossed her mind.

On that day at the Legion, there were several girls our age there, and we were hanging out together. Some of them went to lie in the sun, which left just me and Mary in the pool to hang out together. “Want to touch the bottom?” she said. “Sure,” I answered. Then we started doing flips off the low diving board, and I discovered I liked her because she was willing to try anything, and she laughed a lot and made jokes out of everything around her.

We spent a lot of time hanging out after that, and when I met her family, I felt like I’d found my second home. They were outspoken, or as we’d say today, not politically correct, but in an honest, and humorous, sort of way.

Mary’s dad, Demp, hung in the background, completely aware of everything going on but preferring to be an observer. Mostly his interactions were a few polite questions, and frequent offers of Little Debbie cakes, which must have been his idea of hospitality. “You want a Little Debbie cake? There’s a whole bunch of them out there in the freezer.” And then five minutes later: “You sure you don’t want a Little Debbie cake?”

When I first heard him say Mary’s name, he pronounced it,  “Murry,” and that’s what I called her from then on, which I later shortened to “Mur.” When we were in high school, Mary had the only car, a Jeep – one of those utterly cool, real Jeeps with a removable tan nylon top like you see in African safari movies. Since she was the only one who drove, we all called her first whenever we wanted to do anything, either alone or as a group. She had tons of friends, so she’d get a lot of phone calls. Demp saw what was going on and started answering the phone, “Morelock Cabs.”

I hung out at Mary’s house so much he nicknamed me, “The Boarder.” He’d say it, even with me in the room, when he talked to Mary about me, as in: “Murry, do you and The Boarder want some stew?”

Once a car full of hoodlums chased Mary’s little sister, Kathy (called Bunny), home because they thought she’d cut them off. When she pulled up to her house, they got out of the car and started cussing and trash talking to her. Demp came out with a shotgun and said, “Bunny, git in the house.” He calmly told the boys to leave, and when they defiantly stood their ground, he raised the gun and peppered their Mustang, shooting the hood ornament off. Word got around and nobody messed with Demp’s kids after that.

I loved going to her house because she had big speakers in the living room and they were always playing the best music nice and loud. Not ear-splitting, but way louder than anyone else’s parents allowed. At my house, we never got to have our own music in the main part of the house – we had to listen to it in our rooms. My dad always had some Charlie “Yardbird” Parker or Miles Davis music playing that embarrassed the crap out of me. At Mary’s, they had the Allman Brothers, and Demp would sit right in the middle of the speakers, reading his paper and apparently enjoying himself.

My favorite story of Demp was the time we visited Mary’s parents when my kids were about two and six years old. Every time I go to Tennessee I visit Mary’s mom and dad. They moved to a place in the country after their kids all finished college, and my kids have always loved going there. On this day, me and Mary and my kids arrived just after suppertime. Us girls sat on the back porch watching my kids chasing lightening bugs while Demp puttered around in the house. It was about 10 or 11 o’clock by the time we got ready to go. We found Demp in the garage, and we were saying our goodbyes when he offered my kids a pop. I told him no, they didn’t need a pop, but thank you. A couple of minutes later he offered them one again, just like he used to offer me Little Debbie cakes.

“No, Demp, thanks but they don’t need a pop.”

“Suzanne, why won’t you let them kids have a pop?” he persisted.

“It’s late, and if they drink a pop right now they’ll wet the bed.”

“Aw, hell, I wet the bed every night. That don’t stop me.”

That was hilarious on so many levels that it makes me laugh even still.

Demp just went to the Big Cab Company in the sky, and I know for a fact that he’s up there, cracking up Jesus, all the saints, and the apostles with his wit and shenanigans. And he’s probably standing next to St. Peter, offering the newcomers whatever Heaven’s version of hospitality is, over and over again.

Your Blogist Is So Fat

I realize my last few posts make me appear to be a glutton. And I am. But I do work out quite a bit and have managed to stay in the same clothes for years. Yes, they are ragged and worn out, but that’s another blog.

I have to change my ways, though. I read that it’s unhealthy to overeat, even if you don’t get fat. All this talk about being fat makes me think of Yo Mama jokes, so I’ve gathered a few here for our entertainment.

Yo mama is so fat she looks at a menu and says, “Okay!”

Yo mama is so fat she had to go to Sea World to get baptized.

Yo mama is so fat you have to grease the doorway and hold a Twinkie on the other side just to get her through.

This last one is my favorite. I went online to get more and found this really awful. These are so bad I think someone from a non-English speaking country made them up because they aren’t funny and the person couldn’t spell. See for yourself – I copied these verbatim from the website:

Yo mama so fat she used a thin mashine to make her thin instead she became fatter.

so mama so fat her pansy size is is is ***** lose some weight.

I think some people set up websites just to make money from the millions of ads they have on there.

Here are a couple more I found on TIME Magazine’s website that are supposed to be the top 10 Yo Momma Jokes. These are really bad. TIME has no sense of humor:

Yo mama so fat she sat on a rainbow and Skittles popped out.

Yo mama so fat, she jumped up in the air and got stuck.

Does anyone even get this last one? If you do, please explain it to me, because I’m not seeing it.

Here’s a couple I like:

Yo mama is so fat, when she was diagnosed with a flesh-eating disease, the doctors gave her 14 years to live.

Yo mama is so fat, when she gets her shoes shined, she has to take the guy’s word for it.

Yo mama is so fat, she’s got shock absorbers on her toilet seat.

Someone once said, “Don’t criticize the way someone else does something if you’re not willing to do it yourself.” Actually, I just said that as a lead in to these Yo Mama jokes I just made up. They are no worse than some of the ones I’ve seen. Since I made them up, and since I’m complaining about being fat, I changed them to Yo blogist – get it – blog ist – someone who blogs. Do I always have to explain everything?!!!!!

Yo blogist is so fat they sound the tsunami warning every time she gets in the ocean.

Yo blogist is so fat her mobile home is a triple-wide.

Yo blogist is so fat her desk chair cowers when she comes into the office.

Yo blogist is so fat, when she jumps in bed her husband gets catapulted out the door.

Your blogist is so fat, when she sits at the kitchen table, half of her is still in the living room.

Pretty funny, huh? If I think of some more good ones, I’ll let you know. Hmmm. You know what? Buttered popcorn sounds pretty tasty right now. Or a carrot. Decisions, decisions.

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Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen