Gentle Humor

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

Month: October 2010

The Benefits of Growing Older

Many people would say that getting older is cruel payment for gaining experience and wisdom in life. They want the wisdom without getting old, as in, “If I’d known then what I know now,” and “I wish I could go back to high school – I’d sure do things differently.” I can tell you it won’t be any better if you went back to high school all wrinkly and decrepit, but if you mean you’d like to go back with the wisdom you have now and be in the same body you had then – which did not have a muffin-top – then that makes sense.

I wish I’d had the wisdom back then to be braver,  like talk to a boy I secretly carried a crush on for months. I thought the pain of rejection would be worse than the joy of being brave and finding out if he had a crush on me too. I found that out a couple of decades later that he DID have a crush on me, at a reunion. He had not aged well. I dodged a bullet on that one.

This pining love continues to be the theme in umpteen movies, so I guess it’s still going on even though it everyone is so much more open now. Kids seem to do and say anything anymore, particularly the “f” word, but they – the kids on TV and in movies – will carry a torch all school year for some guy they pass in the hall every day, even though their friends are always trying to get them to talk to the guy or ask the girl out or whatever.

That’s one gift of age – you can see these movies and know exactly what’s going to happen. We’ve seen this plot a million times. Girl (or guy) is in love with guy (or girl), but is afraid to tell him (or her) due to the fact that the movie would end too soon.

The girl and guy bump into each other all the time but he doesn’t pay any attention to her until he finally “sees” her for the first time about 45 minutes into the movie. The guy says to himself, “hmmm, where have you been all my life?” and the girl says to herself, “WTF” (because kids love using the “f” word in movies).

Oh that reminds me, I saw a trivia question: “What two words are used the most in the English language?” I’ll leave a little space for you to think………Okay, here comes the answer, which, BTW, I got wrong. The answer is NOT “and” and “the.” The answer is “I” and “You.” Crazy, huh? I think I personally use the other ones more, but in this very sentence I used “I” four times, and “the” only once, so I guess they’re right.

However, I think that, for people age eleven to thirty-five, the “f” and “f-ing” words are the two most often used. Just cozy up to some high-schoolers in a group – I don’t mean get IN their group, they’ll clam up like, uh, clams, I mean hang out in a bush somewhere where they don’t know you’re listening and you’ll hear these words every third word, like this: “WTF, did she f-ing think I’d f with that f-ing f-er?”

I hang out with kids a lot – I frequently hide in bushes – just kidding – I tutor in the library at the high school, a very loud place where the f-word is used way more often than the dusty books decorating the shelves. Back in the day, if we needed to say the f-word on occasion, we’d check around to make sure no grownups could hear lest we get our mouth washed out with soap. Today, kids know they can call Children’s Services Division if parents or strangers on the street come at them with a bar of Dial soap, so they sprinkle the f-word in their conversations like confetti at the Super Bowl.

And yet, according to Hollywood, they are afraid to tell a boy they have a crush on him.

I have more to write about age and the benefits, but I’ll have to think of them first, and luckily I can drag that out into another post since we are all out of time today. Have an effing nice day!

On the Blogging Homestretch

I have written 326 blogs. My goal was 365, and I have been slacking lately because I’ve been busy and tired. But I’m jumping back on the horse and I’m going to make it to the finish line. And by that I mean, I’m going to get up right this minute and get myself a fistful of chocolate chips because I’ll need strength to proceed with this 327th blog tonight.

I went with my husband on a 9 mile hike today. I am give out, as they say in the south. Worn to a frazzle. I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet. I’ve been dragged under something – I can’t remember what but there’s a saying that would definitely describe the throbbing in my thighs and the burning in my feet.

The hike was lovely, we just didn’t realize it was going to be so long. We thought it would be 4.5 miles total, which was doable. Turned out this was double. We also didn’t realize that it would be a steady incline without a break all the way to Ramona Falls. My husband was grunting and moaning like a constipated bear. He is not inclined toward inclines.

I’ve rewarded myself just now with chocolate chips, and boy are they good, but typing about them has caused a major annoyance with my Word for Mac program. Oh, and BTW, I got a new MacBook Pro. I really like it except there isn’t a delete button. There is, but it only deletes backwards. There’s no way to delete forwards, which comes in handy, and my deletion method of choice. Other than that I really like this laptop.

But the Word thing is annoying because sometimes when I start typing a word, some person’s name comes up. Tonight the name is an irritating individual that I served on a committee with years ago who I’d rather forget. When I typed about the chocolate chips, “Chip ______” popped up. This person was universally despised by the high school snowboard team I was in charge of because he was a power junkie who made flippant decisions in the “because I said so” vein that grated on me like someone coughing all through a movie. Even though it has been four years since I’ve had to deal with this individual, thinking about him makes me want to pass gas.

Because of the way Word makes his name come up when I type chocolate chip (there it went again), I have to either stop talking about chocolate chips so I don’t remember him, or else go around passing gas like a bulldog. If you know how to turn those little pop-up name things off, please, PLEASE let me know.

What’s that I hear. My bed is calling me. “I’M COMING, JUST A SECOND.” I guess I’d better go now.

 

A Marathon of Biblical Proportions

I have to apologize right now for taking a week-long sabbatical. Don’t you just hate it when work interferes with doing what you want to do, ie write humor? I have found that being physically and mentally exhausted makes me more cranky and less funny. Who would have thought there would be a correlation?

I could use this as a whine and complain session, but you haven’t waited all this time to hear my woes and sorrows. Well, some of you may have. Some people seem to thrive on listening to others complain. They ask questions that keep disgruntled people talking, like, “How have you been?” or “How’s work going?” These innocent prompts often lead to a virtual torrent of miseries of Biblical proportions.

In case you don’t know what Biblical proportions is, I’ll explain. In the Bible, you got your 40 days and 40 nights of rain, you got your turning all the people of whole towns into statues made of salt, you got your locusts covering the earth. These are things that trump every awful thing you could imagine – thusly, this term is used to describe something extraordinarily out of proportion.

I happened to use that saying this past weekend with my neighbor, Sunny. She was one of twenty people who volunteered with me to help at the Portland Marathon. It was raining cats and dogs – it was raining buckets – someone had opened the floodgates in the sky – in other words, it was a rain “of Biblical proportions.”

We were all bundled up with sweatshirts and rain gear, hats and gloves. Our job was to give water and “ultima replenisher” to Marathoners and cheer them on to the finish line (we were at mile 25 of the 26 point something race – I could look it up but I don’t have internet right this instant). The whole thing was quite entertaining. First, they lined two big gray plastic garbage cans with plastic bags and filled them with water from a fire hydrant. Then we dipped pitchers of water into the cans and filled hundreds of plastic cups. In the other can we mixed the Ultima replenisher, which probably tasted like sweetened ocean water. I didn’t try it because I’m not a huge fan of salty sweet liquids. The runners seemed to like it, though.

We held our arms out with the cups and the runners grabbed the drink as they ran by. This would have been great fun if not for the fact that they grabbed the cups from the first couple of people in the line, and the rest of us stood there with our cup for so long the water got warm. I gave out two cups of water. I wasn’t on the line the whole time, though. My T-shirt said, “Area captain.” It had been made for Goliath – a Biblical character who was a giant. Since David slew Goliath, he wasn’t there, so I got to wear the giant’s t-shirt, which came to my knees and kept getting longer as it got wetter. I walked along policing the line and trying to get people to stand behind the orange cones that were supposed to be the line. The problem was that these people were desperate to give the runners a drink. So they started easing out, and if you stayed behind the cone like you were supposed to, you’d be there all by yourself because everyone else had eased into the runners lane. Pretty soon the runners were practically elbowing their way through the funnel of people trying to get them to take a cup of water, so I had to beat the crowd back to the cones over and over.

Had it been a sunny, warm day, I think the runners would have partaken of our offerings more. However, in our experience, cold rain doesn’t make people thirsty. Plus, many of them had on little water bottle packs so they didn’t need water. But that didn’t stop our enthusiasm. The high school students, including my daughter, cheered everyone on with spry and happy salutations that were quite clever. Some or the runners had their names on their bibs (or jerseys), and some of the names were pretty fun – not your usual “Jason and Heather.” Some of them had names like, “Mom of 4” and “Billy Bob McGee.” So the kids were yelling, “Way to go Kokomo Joe,” and “You can do it, Betty Boop.”

We had about 12 tables set up with beverages because we’d gone to a meeting that told us to keep the tables full of water because we’d go through them so fast. We were supposed to stack them as much as 4 high with layers of cardboard in between so we wouldn’t run out. The cardboard got soaked so we had to abandon that after awhile, but we diligently refilled cups until rows upon rows upon rows of filled cups covered every square inch of every table. At the end of the race, we had to pour out many, many cups. This was a case of too much of a good thing. It was a veritable waste of Biblical proportions, but c’est la vie! Which is French and pronounced, “Parley voo Fron-say” and means, “The show’s over. Everyone go back to your homes and families. There’s nothing more to see here. Break it up, now. C’mon, keep moving, that’s right, keep moving.”

It was a good experience all the way around, except for the men whose nipples bled little waterfalls of red on their shirts – red blood all the way to their waists. Someone had warned me I’d see this. It’s caused by 26 point something miles of shirt bouncing and chafing. If I were a man, I’d get me a man-bra in nothing flat. I would not have bleeding nipples, but that’s just me. We used to have a local band around here called Sweaty Nipples. I’ve got a story to tell about that one of these days.

I want to point out to you who have made it this far that I have not complained even though I’ve got plenty to complain about – i.e. lack of sleep etc. etc. but I will not bore you with that no matter how much of a sicko you are and how much you want to know my miseries. Maybe tomorrow, though.

Why I’m No Longer Embarrassed

The beauty of maturing is that you don’t have to suffer through embarrassment anymore. I remember being in my teens and EVERYTHING embarrassed me. If I walked out of a bathroom with toilet paper clinging to my shoe, it was enough to make me want to commit hari kari.

All I ever wanted to do back then was blend in and not make a spectacle of myself. I’d rather skip a class than walk in late.

Now it doesn’t bother me a bit to straggle in late to something. I have been late to golf tournaments and either (1) begged a golf pro to give me a ride out to the hole or (2) run across several fairways trying to catch up with my team. I wave at everyone I pass and no longer think a thing about it.

Certainly it’s better not to get into situations where I’d be late, but now I see that it’s more important that I’m there than it is to worry about what people are going to think of me. I know my team needs me – I get lucky and hit a decent shot every now and then. I also know that if you are kind to people they’ve forgive just about anything.

Although if someone isn’t kind to me, I’m not embarrassed about what I say. One time I was in a crowded parking lot, it was around Christmas, and I was waiting for someone to back up so I could get their space. It was someone really slow, and they eased out, taking an eternity. When they finally got out of the way and I was pulling in, a car came out of nowhere and whipped into the space. A tacky woman and her hunched over boyfriend got out – she was driving. I yelled, “Hey, you took my space.” She yelled back, “I got there first.” I yelled, “But I was waiting for it.” And she yelled, “So?” And I yelled back at the top of my lungs, “You’re nothing but white trash.”

My daughter literally dived into the floorboard of my car. “Oh my gosh, Mom, please tell me you didn’t just yell across the parking lot and call someone white trash in front of all these people.”

“Well, she is,” I said.

My daughter is embarrassed about everything, and she was shocked. We had just been to church. “What if someone from church heard you?” she asked. She didn’t want to get up, even though the white trashy woman had already waddled into the store. Her boyfriend at least had the decency to look sheepish and shrug his shoulders as if he agreed with me but what could he do?

Years ago I would never have confronted that woman, and maybe I’m white trash myself for doing it now, but I just don’t care. If someone I knew had heard me, I would have been mortified, I guess, but I would have made the best of it.

Maybe that’s the difference. Maybe it’s not so much the fear of embarrassment anymore, it’s knowing that, whatever happens, I’ll manage to get through either by being witty or silly or apologetic or whatever it takes. Plus I’ve discovered that people don’t really pay that much attention to my goings-on. Nobody’s waiting around to see what I might do and pass judgment on me.

If I could give advice to teenagers, I’d say, “Don’t let fear of embarrassment hold you back from anything you want to do.” I’d have a whole ton of other advice, too, if any of them would ever listen, which they won’t. Especially if they’re related to me.

Too Much of a Good Thing

I talked with my cousin Nancy from Memphis a little while ago. She was telling me how the University of Memphis campus has changed since we were at school there.

“The clearest memory I have of the campus and buildings is the parking lot on the way to Central Towers,” I said.

“How come?” she asked.

“Because that was the place I saw that guy squatted down between two parked cars man-handling himself. That thing was so long it would have scared a horse.”

“I think I saw that same guy. Did he have red hair?”

“I don’t know, all I saw was about 17 inches of man-flesh bobbing up and down.”

“The guy I saw was behind a bush just goin’ at it with that man root.”

“Man root?” I laughed.

“You’ve never heard it called ‘man root’?”

“Never have, but that’s what I’m going to call it from now on.”

“Well,” Nancy said, “you talk about long. When I went to spend some time with my dad in Trinidad one summer while he was in Naval Intelligence, he set me up to stay with this young couple who had a house. The husband worked with him. Anyway, this guy’s wife was this sweet little thing, innocent and really pretty. I liked her a lot, but he was a creep.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. His man root was so big you could see the mass of it in his shorts, like he had some kind of creature in there. It rolled around when he walked. Sometimes the tip would poke out the end of his shorts. I’m not kidding, it was like nothing you’ve ever seen.”

I don’t know why, but talking about this part of a man makes me laugh hysterically. Listening to her story, I was nearly bent over double.

“One time we were all sitting in the living room, and his wife was in a chair where she had to twist her head away to see the TV. He took that thing out and was rolling it around in his lap, like he was stroking a pet. It was as big as one of those things kids float around on in a pool – one of those noodles. I could see him out of the corner of my eye. He was unbelievable. Biggest thing I’ve ever seen. Like something that should be in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”

“What did you do?”

“I couldn’t tell my dad because he would have killed him. And I really liked his wife, so I didn’t want to make trouble. I was in high school and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I had a girlfriend there and asked if I could stay with her and her family, so I switched places with my dad’s blessing and he never found out.”

We laughed some more about unbelievable sizes and getting out of crazy situations. What’s so odd is that just about every woman I know has a story similar to this. Let me go on record right now, and I think I speak for most women, that those things are not, generally speaking, an appealing sight to women. Even Tarzan had enough sense to wear a loincloth. Men, please keep those things under lock and key. And I don’t care what you might think, bigger is not better. I would run like I was being chased by a swarm of yellow jackets if something like that tried to cozy up to me. Oooo, gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

Scary Beavers and Ducks

What a fantastic day for football in Oregon. Both the Oregon Ducks and the Beavers won their games today. I got to enjoy the Beavers game in person.

I think it is amazing, however, that the two most competitive colleges in this state could not come up with more fierce sounding mascots than Ducks and Beavers.

The Oregon State Beavers at least try to make their mascot seem ferocious. On the giant scoreboards, the cartoon Beaver has a chainsaw. When the other team gets a third down, the Beaver fires up the chainsaw and starts cutting down trees one after the other with a determined look in his eyes.

At least the Beaver can get a little respect because, even though he’s a water dwelling varmint who makes his living gnawing on trees, he’s smart enough to use a piece of kick-ass equipment to shred his opponents – at least psychologically. Whenever the chainsaw starts, the crowd roars and this, in turn, psychs out the opposing team.

But what about the University of Oregon Duck? What’s he going to do to his adversaries? Quack them into begging for mercy? “Oh please Mr. Duck, please don’t quack at us any more.”

Or perhaps the Duck could slap them around with his webfeet. I’m just not seeing it. A duck does not bring fear and trembling into my heart.

That Duck is nothing to mess with, though. When the team scores, he gets down and does pushups for the number of points scored. He had to do 51 pushups today in the game against Stanford. The crowd counts along to keep him honest. That’s got to be one strong Duck, even if he doesn’t go all the way down.

Speaking of going down, I’m taking a PE course and they wanted us to do a physical assessment on the first day. I thought I could do about 30 pushups, but I’ve apparently been doing them wrong because I could only do seven the way the PE teacher wanted them done. She made me go all the way down so that my elbows were at a 90-degree angle. Do you know how hard that is? It’s really, really hard, that’s how hard. Try it if you don’t believe me.

But where was I? Oh yeah, at the game today. We sat down in our seats and were smacked with a waft of BO that hit me like the breath of a garbage-eating dragon. It was really acrid. There was a gentleman sitting upwind of us who was spread across the seats of two men. My husband said, “I bet that’s where it’s coming from.” Now this might have been a mean thing to say, but I think that was precisely where the foul odor was coming from.

“Have you got anything aromatic in your backpack?” I asked. My husband dug around but all he could find was a roll of Life Savers. I rubbed a cherry one just under my nose so I could smell cherry instead of armpit. It was somewhat effective.

The day was fun, I got to each a ton of potato chips. I love chips. There can be a table full of exotic foods and I’ll just sit beside the potato chips and gorge on them the whole time. I’ll eat the exotic foods, too, but I’ll continue to graze on the chips all day and night. There’s just something about that salty crunch that I cannot get enough of even when my stomach aches from way too many.

Well, I guess that’s enough excitement for one day. I’ve covered Beavers and Ducks, pushups and potato chips. I guess I’m going to have to live with the fact that Oregon’s mascots are not jungle predators, but are peaceful little creatures minding their own business, at home in the rain we’re famous for and the beautiful outdoors. But tell you what, you don’t want to mess with them, because one might be packing a chainsaw – and the other’s bite is way worse than his quack. GO OREGON!!!

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen