Gentle Humor

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

Month: October 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

Bad Wine and Spotted Dick

Funny day today. I went to church and the priest had some wine he was getting ready to bless for communion when he stopped cold and said, “There’s something wrong with the wine.” He turned to the choir director, “Can you give us some music while we get this taken care of?”

The pianist started playing a song and one of the altar guys took the wine and headed to the room behind the altar. The priest stood there looking over the congregation, and I wondered, “What could be wrong with the wine? Maybe it turned to vinegar and he took that little drink and nearly gagged. Or it had a fly doing the backstroke in there. Or green mold floating on top. Or maybe it had a tarantula in it. That last one was far fetched – there aren’t any tarantulas around here, but we had quite a bit of time to kill for me to get creative.

This is the same priest I wrote about last week – I won the raffle for him to come and bless my house.  I have not set that up yet because I still haven’t decided on the correct protocol – do I have him for lunch, or just have him do a slam, bam, thank you ma’am type of blessing and send him on his way. After today’s events I’m glad I’ve been indecisive, because now when he comes I can ask him what happened to the wine.

Another odd thing happened – I got behind the zebra car on the freeway. It’s a white car someone painted stripes on to look like a zebra. Then they glued a zebra tail to the trunk. My daughter and I have seen it parked in our area of the city, and we always say, “Look at that zebra car. Who would paint their car like a zebra?”

So today I went down the ramp and got on the freeway, and this zebra car was exactly in front of me. What are the chances of that? I watched that zebra tail – complete with a realistic black tuft at the end – for several miles, twitching in the wind. I got so excited I texted my daughter, “That zebra car is in front of me on the freeway!” She immediately texted back, “Are you texting while you’re driving?” I didn’t answer her.

This evening my cousin Nancy from Memphis called and started telling me a funny story about an older man she was visiting – the husband of a friend who passed away. Each time she visited him in the nursing home she’d ask him questions about his life. Eventually he’d ask, “Now why are you doing this?” He wondered why she was visiting. She always answered that he’d lived an interesting life and she wanted to record his story. On her recent visit he asked her again and she gave him the same answer. He looked at her for a couple of minutes and finally said, “You know, I’ve had an operation.”

Nancy and I both burst out laughing when she told me this. “He thought you were hitting on him,” I said, “and he wanted to make sure you knew he couldn’t make any little Nancy babies.”

“And then there was the time I was at the grocery store,” Nancy said. She was on a roll. “There was this attractive older woman walking down the aisle and I was behind her for a good ways. By coincidence I stopped at the same place she stopped. I was right beside her, and I reached for a can of Spotted Dick.”

“Spotted WHAT?” I said.

“Spotted Dick. I picked up the can and said to the woman, just to make conversation because she was right beside me, “Have you ever had any of this?

“The woman looked puzzled and said, ‘Why, I don’t believe I have.’ She turned away quickly and scurried down the aisle.”

“She thought you were hitting on her, too! My gosh, Nancy, do you just stalk old folks so you can hit on them – it doesn’t matter if they’re male or female? Can you imagine that poor old woman, you’d been following her down the aisles. She finally stops thinking the stalker will pass, and instead you try to make a pass at her with a can of Spotted Dick?”

We laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

“What the heck is Spotted Dick anyway?” I asked, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“It’s sponge cake in a can,” Nancy said, and we laughed all over again at the absurdity of that.

“Who puts sponge cake in a can? And then names it Spotted Dick? Oh my gosh!”

Anyway, as you can see, this has been a most interesting day. And I was fretting because I didn’t know what to write about….

Excavating the Empty Nest

I finished shoveling out my daughter’s room today. It was part two of the cleaning – I got about halfway done a few days after she left for college but after several hours I gave up and closed her door. It was like that TV show about hoarders who won’t throw anything away. She’s kept every item since she was an infant – seashells, pretty rocks, pieces of Barbies –along with candy wrappers and potato chip bags she’d snuck into her room late at night, wadding up the evidence and tossing it under the bed.

I found two portable phones that have been lost for years under there.

Her room hasn’t been really clean in years. Sure, we’d change the sheets and dust and vacuum – but I made my kids clean their rooms, and when she “cleaned” she’d simply take everything strewn in the middle of the floor and piled on top of her dresser and toss them under the bed and into the closet. It would appear to be clean for a day or two, and then you couldn’t walk through it again.

When their rooms became fire hazards, I’d help them deep clean. First we’d pull out all the dirty clothes, some had been stuffed into the closet still wet and muddy where they grew mold and mildew and the odors they cause. Then we’d put away all the books that were tossed on the floor beside the bed. Then we’d arrange the stuffed animals and large toys back on the shelves. That all went pretty fast.

The worst was those little odds and ends left on the floor – things that didn’t really have a place, such as the toys they got for free from McDonalds or those little things they’d win at arcades when they cashed in their tickets.

Both my kids hated to throw anything away  – it all had some unique function or wonderful memory tied to it, but by this point in the process I was ready to be done. I did not want to sweat the little stuff.

In the meantime, they had sneakily wandered out of the room to get something and hadn’t come back.

I finally created a new bin for the McDonald’s toys and little stuff, some of them still in their wrappers. One of these days they’ll be worth a fortune, I’m sure. Just like Beanie Babies.

My son’s friend, Dylan, was obsessed with them. Every time a new Beanie Baby came out, which was about three times a day, he’d get his dad to drive them to the mall so they could buy it. They bought tag protectors to keep the tags from getting crumpled, because that made their “investment” more valuable.

I’d say, “How can something they’re selling to every kid in the universe and a whole lot of their parents be an investment? Something has to be rare before it’s valuable. They’re selling millions of these.” They wouldn’t listen because they kept hearing on the commercials (made by the Beanie Babies company) that they were collector’s items.

They never really played with them, although they’d gently lay their precious Beanie Babies on the floor and admire them one at a time and talk about how valuable they were, like Midas counting his gold. They also threw a substantial amount of money away on Pokemon cards for investment purposes as well.

Today when I was cleaning my daughter’s room, lots of good memories flooded into my head, so I guess it was worth it. I can’t even imagine what my daughter’s dorm room looks like, and thank goodness I don’t have to.

My Dog’s Frito Feet

My little dog’s feet smell like Fritos. She’s lying beside me as I type on my laptop on the sofa, and she just changed positions. The smell of Fritos wafted into the air like incense.

My family thinks the dog’s feet smell pleasant. Fritos is a pleasant odor. On the other hand, our personal human feet are disgusting, especially when they’ve been in sweaty shoes. Perhaps that’s the problem. If we did not wear footwear for hours on end, would we also have pleasant smelling feet?

This is for future pondering because we want to focus on the dog’s feet right now and ask the question, how on earth did a dog’s feet come to smell like a packaged corn chip?

A corn chip is made of corn and salt all smashed together, baked until it has that perfect crunch, and sealed in a bag that is impossible for humans to penetrate without a sharp object or very, very strong teeth. It used to be that you’d get a guy to open a lid for you, but now you have to find a guy to get into a bag of chips. Sometimes, if there’s no guy handy, I’ve had to tear at these bags with my teeth like a savage jackal, over and over, getting a small bit of bag each time, spitting it out and tearing some more until I gnaw a hole big enough to plunge my fist through.

So the grains and salts and other things that go into a corn chip – the chemical composition as it were – and the baking, which alters or at least dehydrates the chemicals – and the packaging which protects the baked chip until the year 4010 because air doesn’t have the teeth to penetrate the seal – how in the universe can THAT smell like my dog’s feet?

My dog’s feet always smell like Fritos except just after a bath. Within a day, the Frito feet are back – all four of them. The rest of the dog may be foul from rolling in dead rodent to try to get the clean shampoo smell off, but those feet are pleasant.

It’s a mystery someone needs to solve, because there is something very, very sick about smelling a dog’s feet and immediately craving Fritos and cream cheese.

If you’ve never tried it, take a normal Frito – not the big ones – and scrape it through a container of Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s quite tasty. Don’t go in too deep or the Frito will break off. BEWARE – you will go through a whole container of cream cheese pretty quick and become a big fat lard because you won’t have the willpower to stop eating them, they’re that good.

Back to the subject, which is, why does my dog have Frito feet? If you know the answer, please don’t hesitate to send it to me via a package containing Fritos. I’m running low.

The Paradox of Paradoxes, Part 2

The action continues from yesterday about paradoxes.

When we come back from commercial, you jump out of the car and say, “Suzanne, is that you?” and I say, “Debbie? Could it be my long lost hairdresser?” and we embrace and make up and set an appointment for next Thursday at 3:15. A paradox because just seconds before you were hell-bent on trying to kill me.

Speaking of hell, on Sunday, with my raffle tickets clutched in my hopeful hand, I was wishing for two things: that I would get my luck back and win a raffle for the first time in a coon’s age, and that I’d win a pie, preferably a tasty pie like peach or blackberry or strawberry rhubarb.

Lo and behold, the first raffle number called was mine! I broke my long dry spell of no raffle prizes! I could just taste that flaky piecrust. Then they announced my prize.

A visit from the priest to bless my house.

Lord have mercy!

(a) My husband is an atheist. Not an agnostic / on the fence kind of believer who’s just not sure. He is absolutely positive there is no God and people like me are simply deceiving ourselves, and basically not right in the head.

(2) I’m a Catholic who likes to go to church on Sunday because I feel good about it, but I arrive a little late and don’t hang around after Mass. I slip in and slip out like a, well, like a Catholic late for church who has doesn’t want to hang around when it’s over. I’ve never even met this new priest and I HIGHLY suspect he doesn’t appreciate it when, ten minutes into his service, he hears the side door creak open and sees me slink in and duck into the first empty pew.

When my raffle number was called, the priest came over and shook my hand. “Call the office and we’ll get this scheduled,” he said.

Get what scheduled? Should I have him over for dinner? Lunch? Dessert? Coffee? Cocktails?

When I told my husband about my prize he said, “I don’t need to be here for that.” No telling what he’d say to this priest. For me, it’s not that the man is a priest, it’s more that he’s a perfect stranger.

However, I believe things don’t happen by coincidence. I won that raffle for a reason. My quandary is more, “What kind of hospitality do I extend to this gentleman coming to bless my house?” But I’m also thinking, “Holy moly, what the heck are we going to talk about?”

The last time I talked to a priest was at a party. I’d just come back from Italy and started blabbering about the Vatican. “It was beautiful but kindof creepy the way they had all those old Popes in coffins all over the place and there was that embalmed Pope in a glass coffin that gave me the heebie jeebies. What’s up with that?”

The priest excused himself immediately and went to talk with an ancient woman who, apparently, offered better opportunity for sparkling conversation than the likes of me.

As you can see, talking to priests is not my forte, hence my shyness about how to handle this visit to my home, though Lord knows this place could use a blessing, and a good cleaning, for that matter. Which is another stumbling block – I’d have to clean. Maybe I could have him come just before Thanksgiving, when I’m going to have to buckle down and get the vacuum out anyway.

The paradox here is that this blessing is not really a blessing, or is it?

Oh well, there are many considerations for me to consider. I will leave with one final paradox, apropos to these most recent events: Be careful what you wish for because it may come true.

The Paradox of Paradoxes

I’ve had an exhausting day of trying to set up meetings. It’s easier with email than making a bunch of phone calls, but still it just takes forever.

Hmmm, if everything takes forever then how come nothing lasts forever? Quite the paradox. I have other paradoxes, but before that you are probably asking what, exactly, is a paradox.

A paradox is two things that seem to contradict each other, like computers are supposed to save time but they need maintenance so often. To remember it, think of para like a “pair a” things that don’t add up. Here are some samples of para – doxes as promised in the last para – graph:

You can save money by spending it.

Youth is wasted on the young.

I can resist anything but temptation.

Nobody goes to that restaurant, it’s too crowded.

Don’t go near the water until you’ve learned to swim.

If you fall down and break your leg, don’t come running to me.

That’s enough paradoxes.

That last sentence was not a paradox, by the way.

Neither was that one.

So I was talking about things lasting forever. This topic has dragged on for quite some time, and perhaps you might say that it, in fact, has lasted forever.

That might be true except that I am about to bring it to an abrupt halt wiith one story that might illustrate several key points.

I was in church on Sunday and they were having this stewardship fair so they wanted us to go over to coffee and donuts and visit the various tables to learn about volunteer opportunities. Each time you went to a table and talked with someone, you’d get a raffle ticket. The prize was a pie. I collected as many as I could. I didn’t even care what kind of pie it was. I like all pies except apple, which I will relish anyway if another pie isn’t handy.

About a year ago I quit winning raffles. Prior to that I could not lose. If there were raffle tickets given out, I won, even if I picked up a torn raffle ticket off a greasy floor with shoe prints all over it.

And then, just like someone had turned off the luck faucet, I went into a dry spell where I didn’t win any raffles.

You might think, “How many raffles is this woman exposed to?” And I would say, “Who wants to know?” Then you’d say, “What’s it to you?” and I’d say, “It’s none of your freaking business,” and you’d say, “I’m damn well making it my business,” and I’d say, “Well you can damn well try and see how far that gets you,” and then you would lunge at my throat with your long, yellow fingernails and try to strangle me, and I’d break free and take off running – in a zigzag pattern so you couldn’t shoot me, and you’d jump in your car and try to run me down, and I’d duck around a corner and find myself in a dark alley with a brick wall at the end and no way out, then you’d turn the corner and I’d be spotlighted as you bore down on the accelerator, and then I’d scream and we’d break for commercial..

Yes, I suppose some things do last forever, like my rambling here, which is……..TO BE CONTINUED.

Aging Gracelessly

As we age, our bodies go through changes. Some are good – like when I was pregnant and my hair got thick – and some are bad – like aches and pains and wrinkles.

But there’s one change I’ve recently encountered that is working out just fine. For some crazy, inexplicable reason, I no longer pass gas – I burp instead.

Please do not think I’m trying to be crude or indelicate. There are many people who emit gas but won’t admit it. I’m just relating the simple facts. I used to pass gas on a fairly consistent basis, i.e. whenever I was awake. I could even pass gas on demand, something I used in order to punctuate social interactions with my brother, such as:

My brother: “How do you like this shirt?”

Me: “Pffffffft.”

Or:

My brother: “What did you think of my speech?”

Me: “Pfffffff  ffffff   ffffff    fffff ffffft.”

As welcome as this communication tool was, it sometimes became a problem. Being gassy by nature was bad enough, but when I ate legumes (beans), which was every chance I got, it became nearly unbearable for my loved ones to be on the same street with me. I have emptied cars full of people when legume-propelled emissions erupted accidentally without warning, completely out of my control.

I’ll admit I enjoyed, to some extent, the leverage my gastrointestinal proclivities afforded me. Such as:

My brother: “I’m not moving.”

Me: “You better or I’ll fart.”

Recently, however, I have been burping, rather loudly, from the very depths of my internal areas. These things are audible from three rooms away, but they lack the persuasive qualities of gas. On the other hand, they don’t cause me nearly as much misery, especially after eating legumes, so I am not complaining. This is one thing Mother Nature got right.

The Boomerang Backpack

When my son was in high school, I got a call from someone who said, “Do you have a son named Chris?”

“Yes,” I said slowly, worried that he was either injured, or more likely, in trouble.

“Does he have a backpack?”

“Yeah,” I said, even more slowly. “Why?”

“I found it in a ditch and thought he might like it back.”

“In a ditch? Where?”

“On Armond Street.”

“Well, sure, he’d like it back, I’ll come right over and get it.”

A few minutes later I’m looking at this threadbare backpack with odds and ends of junk in it. Someone must have stolen it and swiped the good stuff before they tossed it.

When Chris got home later, I held the backpack up and said, “Look what I found.”

His mouth dropped open and his eyes got wide. “Where the heck did that come from?”

“Somebody discovered it on Armond Street in a ditch.”

“Oh my gosh,” he said.

“Was it stolen or what?”

“Uh, no. It’s just a piece of junk. I wasn’t using it anymore.”

“Then how did it get in the ditch?”

“Uh, well, I threw it out the window.”

“You WHAT!?”

“I didn’t need it anymore and it was just cluttering up my car, so I tossed it out the window.”

“You don’t just toss something out the window. Why didn’t you bring it home and throw it in the garbage?”

“I don’t know. What kind of person picks up a ratty old backpack in a ditch?”

“What kind of person THROWS a backpack in a ditch?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t need it anymore. Are there any cookies left?”

“You know better than to litter, for crying out loud. Some stranger has to call me because my son throws a backpack out the window.” I paused for a few moments to show my utter dismay about the situation. “They’re on the counter.”

This is a mini-commentary on what happens to kids when they get to be teenagers. You hound them for years and years, trying to teach them to be good citizens, making sure they give you every tiny wrapper in the car because it’s wrong to litter, and they turn into teenagers with a car and end up throwing everything you’ve taught them out the window like an old backpack.

If you’re lucky, as a parent, some of it will start to come back to them when they get older and aren’t striving to be the exact antithesis of that good little child you worked so hard to mold. And hopefully, those life lessons will come back around and start to make sense – just like that old backpack. (Well, I don’t know if the backpack made sense, but it seemed like a profound way to end this, don’t you agree?)

Even Idiots Get Miracles Sometimes

I’m just so crazy busy right now (cue the violin). I went to work and slogged through the pile in my inbox that just keeps growing even as I get things done. I kept thinking, “I’ve got to leave here by 3:45 at the latest to get to the permit office on time.”

Phone calls and crises distracted me until it was 3:20 – on a Friday afternoon with horrendous rush hour traffic. I snatched up my Mac and rushed out the door, cursing myself for waiting so long.

I started praying that the traffic would part like the Red Sea and I could somehow get all the way across town in time.

The good Lord did his best to get people out of my way, but it was still slow going. I developed a headache, and the nasty tongue lashing I was giving myself escalated to what a stupid idiot I was for not leaving earlier and what the hell was I thinking – I know traffic is much worse on Friday afternoons, I don’t know why, maybe everyone’s headed out of town or going out to dinner, but I know good and well it’s always like that and what the eff was I thinking and why can’t I ever get anywhere on freaking time????

A journey that should have taken an hour took exactly 39 minutes – it was 4:59 when I pulled into the permit office parking lot, grabbed my purse, slammed the car door, breathlessly dashed to the counter and said, “I need to pick up a permit.”

The lady behind the counter said, “We close for permits at 4:30 – didn’t they tell you that when they called to say the permit was ready?”

I buried my head in my hands, partly because I had that splitting headache, and partly because I couldn’t believe I had waited so long to leave the office, and I had driven like a maniac, knowing my crew needed that permit on Monday and the permit office was closed Monday and what in the name of everything holy was I going to do? I stayed there with my head buried in my hands running all this through my mind like a drowning person who sees her life flash before her eyes until finally I let out a huge sigh and looked up at the lady. She looked at me like I was the most pitiful human being on the face of the planet. She said, “Let’s just look at this for a second and see.”

She proceeded to click on the computer and look at the paperwork and click some more and look some more and click and look, and then said, “Do you know if you owe any money on this?” I handed her the check, and she printed out the permit.

I’ve learned a lesson about faith, hope, and love. I saw all of them compressed in that little bit of time. I was praying like a condemned person every time I came up on the bumper of a slow moving car; every time I could see a bunch of red taillights on the freeway which meant that the cars in front of me were slowing down or stopping; every time I came to a stop light. Even my GPS said there wasn’t enough time, but I also knew that God has the ability to make things happen when it doesn’t really seem like it’s possible. So I had faith that he would somehow get me there. I also hoped it would happen, and I hoped that I wouldn’t get turned away by some technicality, which is common in permit offices.

But when I got there and learned I was too late, even though I walked in the door with a full 30 seconds to spare, it ended up being love that softened the clerk into giving me that permit when she wasn’t supposed to – to have mercy on my wretched, headachy soul and rationalize to herself, “this poor woman, do I really have the heart to send her home empty-handed and make her come back?”

When I walked out and got in my car I started crying. I don’t know if they were tears of joy or incredible tears of relief but it was just this magnificent release of overwhelming emotion and the feeling of God’s hand resting on my shoulder and realizing he’d done me a humongous favor.

It’s still hard to believe that God and that nice permit lady had compassion for an idiot like me.

 

The Magnificient Spit

Today I was behind a car waiting at a stoplight, and I noticed it was a single guy in the driver’s seat with his arm on the back of the passenger seat. Why I was looking at him I don’t know, but just at that second I saw two white masses, side by side, come sailing out of the passenger window, fly over the grassy strip on the side of the road, and hit a bush a good fifteen feet away.

They had to have been spit or loogies hocked by a mouth that could have launched a satellite. I was utterly amazed. You don’t see freaks of nature like this every day. In fact, I’ve never seen a loogie hurled that far.

That’s probably why he had his arm on the passenger seat – to hold him steady.

My daughter won a watermelon spitting contest in kindergarten. I was quite the proud little momma. She beat everyone by several feet. That child’s mouth was lethal – even to this day you should never EVER get near her teeth if she’s mad at you. You risk coming away with a missing hunk of forearm. But even she could not have launched spit that far.

What was so amazing is that he was so accurate. He had the opening of a window to get through, and you might not think that’s difficult but it is. Not that I’ve ever spit out the passenger side – I’m not brave enough for that and besides I don’t spit. Never have, except if a bug flies in my mouth or something. But on occasion I will eat an apple and find myself holding a sticky core and nowhere to put it. I start thinking about the little birdies or rodents that would be delighted to munch on that core, and why should I deprive them?

But you can’t throw it out the driver’s side – you’d end up with the core in the road, and then some little furry thing eating it would get squashed flatter than a tortilla. So I throw them out the passenger window. And I have to thrust really really to get it into the bushes completely off the shoulder so the little creatures feasting on it will be safe.

I cock my elbow and bring the hand holding the apple all the way in front of my face to get more leverage, and then I fling the arm toward the passenger window as hard as I can.

Nine times out of ten it hits the inside door and leaves a wet, mushy spot before landing on the passenger seat and rolling onto the floor, going front to back on the hairy carpet like some golf course lawn mower, leaving a trail of apple juice over every fuzzy inch.

This is why I was so amazed that the guy got those loogies out the passenger window today. And that they flew so far. It really was truly amazing. Wish you could have seen it.

The Ides of March Part 2

First I feel a little guilty about disparaging George Clooney’s movie last night. But not guilty enough that I’m going to keep quiet because I’ve been thinking more about it. The movie was called Ides of March, about a good politician with good ideas who would probably have done very good things for the country except that he made a mistake and in order to cover that mistake, he had to compromise his values or lose the election.

That part was pretty good, because you often wonder if politicians start out being slimeballs, but this movie shows you they can be regular people wanting to save the world except they have this fatal flaw (generally located between their legs) that causes their downfall or at least becomes their main focus in life – not the ideals for which they entered into politics in the first place.

That part was eye opening and gave me a more sympathetic perspective on the life of politicians. But there was a part of the plot that just didn’t add up, and it distracted from everything. In fact, it made the whole movie seem ludicrous.

However, I can’t talk about it or it will spoil the movie if you decide to see it. But I will say this. It was like someone said, “We need to show that this politician was a good guy but people forced him to compromise against his will because if he didn’t, his mistake would be exposed and he’d lose the election and then he wouldn’t be able to do all the good things he set out to do when he first got into politics. So what could that be? Think. Think really hard. What is something a politician could do that would put him in a compromised position. Come on, we’ve got to think of something. Mmmm, how about a good looking intern?”

That’s how it seemed like the plot got put together. And it just didn’t add up. You can have great actors and great filming and wonderful settings, but if the story seems contrived, the whole thing crumbles.

Enough of that movie – it was irritating but I have to get on with my life. I’m changing the subject.

Better still, I’m going to bed. Besides, I have the TV on in the background and I can’t concentrate. The remote is too far away, and I’m trying to focus but I’ve re-typed things because I kept getting distracted. And now there’s another Cialis commercial on and I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of erectile dysfunction. I HAVE to get up and turn off that TV. When historians look back on these days and try to analyze why television went extinct, they will trace it to the outlandish proliferation of ED commercials. Someone needs to warn the Networks – a “Beware the Ides of March” soothsayer should tell them that they are chasing away people like me with those commercials. I can’t take it anymore. I’m getting up, turning the confounded thing off and going to bed. Goodnight.

Page 1 of 2

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen