Gentle Humor

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

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 10)

The End of Men

I was looking through Sunday’s paper – yes I still get the paper, mainly because I’m addicted to doing the Jumble Puzzle. Plus they have artsy items of interest.

For instance, there was a review of a book, The End of Men, by Hanna Rosin. I haven’t read the book, and only part of the review, so this makes me the laziest blogger on the planet, but I was drawn in by the catchy title.

It looks like the book is about men being unnecessary – or, as the review said, they’re the new “ball and chain.” I know they’ve driven us crazy all these years, what with doing things ass backwards, half-assed, or with their heads stuck up their asses*, but have women really come this far that we feel men are holding us back or weighing us down?

As the Three Stooges would say with a New Jersey accent, “Certainly.”

Just kidding. I suspect women could afford to be more picky now that we no longer need a man to give us a home or children. And since we work out at the gym, we don’t really need them to open jars for us anymore.

I do think, however, that men are pretty interesting creatures to have around. They probably need us more than we need them, but I believe we are better off with them than not, and I personally would not like to see an end of men in our future.

*This does not imply that I believe they are all jack asses.

Frightening Spam

I logged in to write today’s blog and found this new comment from one of my delightful followers: “Hello, folk! Do you have wonderful leisure time after work day? Are you glad with your chick ? We may advise you good solution of relaxing with ideal female companions. You can look through them on www….”

Hum, I do, in fact, sometimes have wonderful leisure time after work day. Also I bet chick is a typo for check, and well, to be honest, I’m not happy with my check. It could be bigger. And I always have fun relaxing with ideal female companions – who wouldn’t? This website seemed to be a great place for me to visit, and it was so friendly, what with calling me “folk” and all.

So curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked on the link. I can honestly tell you that I was shocked and appalled to find a site with pictures of semi-naked women. These are not the ideal female companions I was picturing. Some of them had chests that would make a jersey heifer jealous – I felt sorry for them – they’ve got to have back problems lugging those things around.

At the bottom of the page was an empty photo box with the words, “Your picture here.” Oh my, I don’t think so. It would take ten of me to make up the size of some of those gals, if you know what I mean. That’s just on the one side.

I sure learned a couple of things tonight. (1) If something sounds too perfect on the internet, it’s probably going be tacky, (2) I will never visit another website from a comment that WordPress recognizes as spam, and (3) I’m thankful that I don’t have forty extra pounds of meat sagging on my chest or I might be SOOO tempted to jump into that empty “Your picture here” box.

Those anatomically preposterous women will haunt me this Halloween Eve worse than werewolves and mummies. Oh the horror!

How to Find Happiness

Happiness. What is it, where do you get it, how much does it cost, why is mine on backorder, and when is it going to arrive?

What is it? That’s easy. It’s feeling good while, at the same time, not feeling guilty. Guilt is a big deterrent to happiness, and it especially afflicts those of us who were raised religious. A lot of things that could make you happy can also make you guilty – like you could steal something and be happy that you have it, but then feel guilty about stealing it – unless, of course, you’re a heathen.

(I only added the part about being raised religious so I could use the word “heathen.” What a great word. I so love the very sound of it.)

Where do you get happiness? In simple things, for instance, winning the lottery. Show me someone who’s won a couple million bucks and I’ll show you one happy honcho.

How much does happiness cost? They say you can’t buy it, and I believe that’s true, because I’ve never seen it in a store. If you find some, please buy it and send it to me.

Why is my happiness on backorder? Ha, ha, that’s funny. But seriously, a lot of the time happiness seems to hinge on some upcoming thing, like, “I’ll sure be happy when I get off work today.” So while I’m working, I’m not really “happy” because I’ve told myself I won’t be happy until quitting time. That’s a lot of unhappy hours.

And when is that backordered happiness going to arrive? Ha ha, another funny comment. I’m full of them – it just delights me. You can force yourself to be happy by doing this very thing. When I make mistakes, like washing a contact down the sink, I start cursing myself for being so stupid. Then I’ll look in the mirror and say, “You’re such an amusing clutz, that’s why I love you,” and I feel better. It’s amazing that I can completely override a negative emotion and talk myself into being happy, or at least not so dejected.

I once tutored this high school student who was perpetually miserable. He wanted to spend the whole hour session complaining about his mom, his classmates, his teachers, everything. Once I got so fed up that I jumped across the table and bitch slapped him. Not really, though I wanted to. Instead I drew a world and a big face looking at it with a frown. I said, “This is how you see the world.” Then I erased the frown and put a smile on the face. “But you could also see the world this way. The world itself doesn’t change. It’s just how you look at it.”

The kid bitch slapped ME. Not really, I just love saying “bitch slapped.” I’m laughing right now after typing it. It’s a blessing to be easily amused. But seriously, if you’re waiting for happiness to show up on your doorstep looking like a winning lottery ticket, you’re going to have a whole lot of dull hours. Happiness has a better chance of getting a toehold if you try to find humor in your everyday life – like when you’re reading this, and sending ME that winning lottery ticket.

I went to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago to get some fried okra and brush up on being Southern. Or as Atley, my son Chris’s friend, would say, “Su-then.” He’d make jokes about my accent, saying, “Chris, your mom’s Su-then,” putting an emphasis on the “Su-” part to bring out the accent. It got laughs from everyone, so I went along. When I’d say something like, “Atley, can you pick up your glass and take it to the kitchen?” he’d say, “Suzanne, you Su-then.” Maybe you had to be there to truly appreciate it, but now in my head the word is no longer “Southern” but “Su-then.”

Anyway, on one of the layovers in the airport (no one flies to Tennessee from anywhere in the US without laying over in Chicago or Dallas or both), I decided to write out my top most fun times, and was kindof surprised at the things I wrote down.

They weren’t the times when I went to expensive dinners or to fancy plays or even tropical vacations. They were just regular times with one thing in common. I was with someone and we got the giggles until everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, became funny and we burst out laughing over and over again at absolutely nothing.

I’ll give you a for instance. After high school I dated this guy who was pretty funny – I called him Bangum, a Su-then pronunciation of his name. He had a great bunch of friends who fortunately became my friends, and once when Bangum was out of town, his friend, Adrian Ferguson, asked if I wanted to go see a horror movie at the drive in. This was about the extent of our entertainment options back in the day in Kingsport, Tennessee – going to some B-movie at the drive-in.

The movie was so bad that we could predict every plot point coming way before it happened. It was the kind of movie anyone with any taste would have left after the first few minutes, but Adrian kept making sarcastic remarks about everything and I got the giggles. This prompted his humor to seek loftier heights, and he kept firing funny comments, each one more ludicrous than the last, until I was begging him to stop so I could catch my breath.

He wouldn’t stop. He had a captive audience, and there was plenty of material  on that giant outdoor screen. I can’t remember the plot, seems like it was about an illusionist who was so good that he could actually saw a woman in half – blood squirting out in all directions – and the audience only saw the box with the lady’s smiling head on one end and her wiggling feet on the other. Of course we, the moviegoers, could see the poor sawed lady screaming and guts and blood everywhere.

There was something in the movie about hitting a woman with a rubber hose. It was supposed to be horrible, but the whole concept of someone attacking a woman with a rubber hose sent us both into hysterics. Here’s the scene in our car.

Adrian: “You’d better behave, woman, or I’ll beat you with a rubber hose!”

Me: “Ha ha ha, oh please stop, don’t say rubber hose again, ha, ha, ha, no, no, no don’t I can’t take it anymore, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Where’s the bathroom – stop or I won’t make it, ha, ha, ha, please, you have GOT to stop.”

Adrian: “I’m going to beat you with a rubber hose.”

Me: “HA, HA, HA, oh please, please, please stop, HA HA HA HA HA oh my gosh I can’t breathe, stop, don’t say anything for a couple of seconds, let me catch my breath, ha ha ha.”

Adrian: “I’ll beat you with a rubber hose.”

I don’t’ know if I made it to the bathroom in time. I don’t know if we even stayed to the end of that dreadful movie. All I know is that I laughed longer and harder and with such complete abandon that I didn’t even feel like I was part of the world anymore.

That’s the great thing about going back to your hometown – I got to see Adrian and Bangum during my visit, along with a myriad of other friends and family – and we relived lots of fun times with fresh laughter.

I don’t care what Atley says, I’m darned happy to be Su-then.

Quit Moving Stuff Around on the Internet

Why do they keep moving things around on the internet? Google is the worst. I love Google, but right now they are acting like some neurotic housewife who keeps rearranging the furniture. You come home from a hard day’s work and all you want to do is sling off your shoes and sink into your favorite chair, except it’s not there anymore.

Figuratively speaking, of course. I post this blog in a few places, and one is on Blogger, which is Google’s blog host site thingy. So just now I went to log in to Blogger and couldn’t find it even though I searched high and low – I looked under the beds, behind the sofa, in the kitchen cabinets. It wasn’t there. Figuratively speaking.

When I log into my Google account, I usually just click on “Account Settings” and that gets me to Blogger. But when I did that tonight, this page came up that looked totally different. I looked all through it for the word “Blogger” and couldn’t find it. “Now where did Google hide my Blogger?” I asked myself, out loud, because I sit and talk to myself all day and night. Sometimes I get hoarse from all that jabbering.

I started clicking on other things in a logical fashion – I clicked on Sites because my blog is on a “site” but only found a website I’d been to a while ago – not sure how it even got there. It’s like when your husband puts a kitchen utensil in the wrong drawer. You look everywhere, cursing about what a waste of time it is, and finally find it in somewhere completely illogical, wondering what possessed him since you would NEVER think to look for it there.

I kept hunting for Blogger, determined to give it the same effort I would devote to finding a missing earring or some other treasure. I clicked a tab that said “More” and a whole list of things dropped down, reminding me of a thief opening his coat to show you a bunch of watches rolling out from the lining. “Aha” I said, out loud, when I saw the word “Blogs.” I clicked on that and got…..nothing. “Holy crap,” I grumbled. “Where in the  hell did Google hide my fricking blog?”

This is how I talk to myself when I get frustrated – like a crazy woman wringing her hands, desperate to find relief when none is in site. Then I noticed a link called “Reader” and clicked it. A whole accordion of articles popped up, one after the other. One had stick figure cartoon drawings talking to each other in such a sophisticated, humorous way that I didn’t get a single joke. A plethora of articles, recipes and advertisements were hiding under that one link like beetles under a rock.

But no Blogger. Finally when I saw a link that said, “Even more,” I got a little excited because there really wasn’t anywhere else at all for Blogger to be except there. When I clicked the link I came to a whole ‘nother long page full of text and icons. Holding my breath, I scrolled down, and there, buried as if under a pile of dirty clothes, was Blogger. Phew – I was so glad but so freaking irritated with Google for hiding it there.

Good friggin’ grief. Would you computer people just get things arranged somehow and then LEAVE IT ALONE. JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!  For a little while, anyway, or else you’re going to send me completely over the edge.

And I don’t have that far to go…

Too Funny to Be Embarrassed

I was in Home Depot the other day buying paint, and while the guy was mixing it I went to the restroom. I had my little dog with me because she’s like a loaf of marble rye or a fur handbag tucked under my arm almost everywhere I go.

About the time I went into the door, the phone rang and it was my husband returning my call. Since I couldn’t wait and I didn’t want to play phone tag with him, I took the call as I rushed into the stall. Usually I can hold the dog and go to the bathroom – don’t ask me how, just trust me. But since I had the cell phone in the other hand, I had to put the dog down.

My husband did what he does better than anything else in the world, he started a fight. “What do you mean you want granite for the countertop? What happened to  laminate?”

“My cousin Nancy says we should get a piece of scrap granite and use that.”

“I’m about sick of your cousin Nancy. That will cost $100 a square foot.”

“Not if we have John install it.”

“This is getting me all distressed.”

“You’re never anything but distressed.”

Right then I heard a lady scream two stalls down, followed by, “You’re a little dog, holy shit you scared the crap out of me. I thought you were some kind of rodent.”

I burst out laughing because it had not occurred to me that the dog would wander several stalls down and that there would be someone else in the bathroom. The woman was no doubt listening intently to me arguing with my husband and was completely off guard. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a small black creature wanders under the stall and jumps up on her wanting to get pet, and her with her pants hanging down around her knees – I couldn’t help but laugh – I’m laughing right now all over again.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. I heard my husband’s voice in the cell phone say, “Well that’s a first.”

“Not you,” I snapped.

“It’s sure a cute little dog,” the woman in the stall said. “But he gave me quite a fright.”

“It’s a girl,” I said.

“Who’s a girl?” my husband asked.

“I’ll call you back,” I said and hung up.

I finished my mission, called the dog and ran out of the bathroom before the other woman could see me, although I don’t know what good that would do if she came across me in the aisles with that dog tucked under my arm. Luckily my paint was done and I could bolt without running into her.

Embarrassing as they are, I love those crazy times when there’s a confluence of circumstances that gives me a few deep belly laughs. I should have sought that woman out and thanked her.

Reason to Celebrate

We have reason to celebrate, albeit a small reason. I had set a goal to write a blog post every day, and I was doing great until about post number 320. Then I started working full time (meaning way over 40 hours a week) at a solar company, and I was too tired to write.

I was exhausted each day and would come home and work at night on my computer trying to set systems in place that would “save time” and make the company “more efficient.” So exhaustion was part of the reason the blogs stopped. The excuse is that developing new systems is not fun – you encounter computer glitches all day, the project starts running way over budget, things don’t work like they’re supposed to – even after 4,000 tweaks. In other words, the humor gets vacuumed out of your life like an elephant sucking up a peanut.

Which leads me to the question – why do elephants like peanuts? Maybe it’s the salt. Or maybe they like the crunchy shell, because that peanut completely disappears – they don’t spit out the shell, not any elephant I’ve ever seen. I’m going to ask Google.

I’m back, and glad I took the time to answer this very burning question, which leads to another question: why do we call them “burning” questions? Could it be the same reason that whenever my son gets money, it “burns” a hole in his pocket?

I could ask Google that as well, but I’ll save it for another day because I know you’re “burning” to know the answer to the question, “Why do elephants like peanuts?” The answer, according to “Denny” at Yahoo! Answers, is: “Because African elephants risk their lives in dark caves for halite (NaCl) for their daily diet. Now circus elephants love peanuts because they’re rich in halite mineral, and they’re abundant.”

English teachers would say, “What’s abundant, the elephants or the peanuts?” even though they know exactly which one you’re talking about. They would have passed out a worksheet with this whole answer on it for us to “circle the mistakes” because it is fraught with errors and, might I add, needlessly aggravating. For instance, you are probably scratching your head and saying, “What in the rabbit-assed hell is halite?”

No wait, that’s what my dad would have said. He had all these unusual sayings that he or somebody made up but fit the circumstances so you never questioned what he was talking about.

As to the answer, why couldn’t Denny just tell us, because you and I don’t know what halite is, and we don’t have time to Google it since we’ve gone astray too many times in this blog already. But no, that’s all he said. I knew from high school chemistry that NaCl is sodium chloride, better known to you lay persons as “table salt.”  So the answer, apparently, is because elephants need salt and a peanut has it. The imbecile (that’s a great word by the way, and one I don’t get to use nearly as often as I’d like) went on to say that peanuts originated in Africa, which is at least interesting.

Curiosity got the best of me so I just asked Google, who sent me to Wikipedia, which says: ”Halite, commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride (NaCl).”

Now that that is all cleared up, I  think we should get back to today’s topic (finally), i.e. why do we have reason to celebrate? Because I had time and humor enough over the last year to write a few blogs, and I have reached 365! Which is the goal I set, even though it took me longer to do it than anticipated. Break out the champagne! Hmmm, I wonder why we “break out” the champagne. Is it because we…aw heck, let’s just clink those glasses together and drink up!

Bible Bingo

Last night I won playing Bingo. I won $25 the first game, and when I went up to get my winnings, they also let you pick an additional goofy little prize, and they had a couple of glow sticks, a back scratcher, Pop Rocks, a candy necklace– some really cool stuff. And they had a Bible. A BIBLE. In the bar as a prize for gambling. It was a white Bible in a plastic wrapper about the size of a regular 6” x 9” paperback book.

I did not need another Bible, but the Catholic guilt in me launched a monologue in my head that I could hear even above the pounding music. The guilt said, “You can’t choose exploding candy over a Bible, how could you even think that? Pick it up right now and get it out of this dive.”

I heaved my shoulders back and said to myself, “Look, I don’t need another Bible and I really, really want those Pop Rocks.”

“If you don’t choose it, every one who wins Bingo tonight is going to come over here and make fun of the Bible. You HAVE to take it.”

This argument went on for an inordinate amount of time, but as you may well have guessed, guilt won out and I sheepishly grabbed the Bible and sulked back to the table.

“Oh my gosh,” Laurie said. “She picked the Bible!” Laurie and Olivia burst out laughing as if that was the funniest thing they’d ever witnessed. Olivia grabbed it and looked at the label on the back. “This thing was published in China, the most atheistic country in the world. So you won a Bible published in a godless country in a bar while you’re drinking beer and gambling.”

She tore open the plastic wrap. “Is it written in Chinese?” I asked.

“No it’s in English, but the words are microscopic,” Olivia said.  “Nobody could read this.”

She handed me the Bible, and I thumbed through it. The words were as small as the directions on a medicine bottle, and therefore cannot be seen by the naked human eye.

They kept laughing and making Bible-in-the-bar jokes until the guy came around with more Bingo cards. We bought cards and spread them out, dobbing the free space and getting prepared for the next game. Laurie put her hand on the Bible and said, “For good luck.” Olivia and I put our hands on top of her’s, and then started giggling because of the irony of that – asking the Lord to look favorably upon our gambling.

Turns out Olivia played on one of my Bingo cards and won, so I acquired 50 more dollars. Since it was my card officially, I was the winner. I thought the Christian thing to do was split the money  with them because by that time I’d had enough alcohol to make me magnanimous. We coaxed Olivia to go up and get the winnings, and as the extra prize she picked out the Pop Rocks. We also split the three little bags in the package so I ended up with my exploding candy after all. It was Karma – or whatever the equal to that is in the Bible. I believe I made the right choice.

Hanging on to Christmas

It’s January 3rd and my neighbor still has a gajillion (I counted) Christmas lights up in her front yard. It’s lit up like a stadium over there.

I like them, but I was taught that it’s white trashy to keep your Christmas lights on after New Year’s Day. You can leave them up all year round if you want (but that’s technically white trashy too), but if you turn them on Before Thanksgiving or After New Years, then, as Jeff Foxworthy says, “You might be a redneck.”

On the way home from the movie tonight (I saw, “We Bought a Zoo!” which was wonderful if you happen to like heart warming, feel good types ofd movies – I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t get me started about blood and guts in movies. Why? Because I’m already off track with tonight’s subject and surely you don’t want me going even further afield? I didn’t think so).

On the way home from the aforementioned movie, I observed that about every fifth house still had their Christmas lights on. That equates to roughly 20% of the population in Portland, OR being trashy. I’m not sure how to compare this to the rest of the country, what I know about that is skewed because I don’t watch much TV, and the shows my husband has on are things like “Swamp People” and “Pawn Stars.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with people making an honest living navigating swamps with the necessity of subtitles on the screen because you can’t understand their tooth-impaired conversations, or trying to hock their treasures while the TV bleeps more than the Roadrunner because the patrons and pawn shop owners conduct their business via obscenities, but can you imagine the Rockerfellers or Kennedy’s engaged in these activities? I can just see one of these high-brows showing up amongst the assorted scraggly-haired, cuss word slingin’, rifle-totin’ “stars” of one of those shows.

“Oh, sorry there Mr. Rocketfeller, sir, but you jist stepped in a pile a gator shit right there.”

“Oh drat the luck, I will have to have my valet, James, sanitize my Oxfords when we get back to our hotel suite.”

Judging from what’s on my TV, about 98% of the US population is white trash, and the other 2% is merely foul-mouthed, with beeps making up a good 70% of the dialogue. I bet they all still have their Christmas lights up.

Well, that is enough facts and figures for one evening. I have beat this dead horse senseless, and so I will ride him off into the sunset, where my path will be illuminated with the warmth of Christmas lights looking like Santa’s runway all up and down the January streets.

Christmas Is Like NASCAR

Christmas reminds me of NASCAR. It passes by and then it comes around again – over and over. Lately it’s been coming around faster than ever.

In fact, it arrived in Portland, OR around Halloween. I remember a few years ago when people griped about the department stores putting Christmas decorations out before Thanksgiving. We didn’t know how good we had it. Now they are putting things out before Halloween. It’s disconcerting to see red and green decorations and snowy white angels on shelves next to orange ceramic pumpkins and ugly witches.

Even worse than that is the Christmas programs already starting on TV. Used to be – and I’m talking a couple of years ago – you could at least get through Thanksgiving before Santa and Rudolf started showing their red noses on TV. Already they’re running Santa movies – for the last two weeks – and it’s the day before Thanksgiving.

What’s this world coming to?

Trick or treaters in Santa costumes?

Giving trick or treaters those swirly Christmas candies that get gooey and stick together because they’re for “decoration” and nobody actually eats them?

Sell pumpkins as Christmas ornaments?

Get rid of the turkey and have a Christmas ham for Thanksgiving?

When I was a kid it seemed like Christmas took forever to get here. That’s because it was considered tacky to put anything Christmassy out until after Thanksgiving. People already have Christmas lights on their houses – I drove by one a couple of days ago with lights all over their outside tree and a lighted reindeer in the yard. Years ago we would have shunned them into keeping that stuff in the attic until the proper time. Now you just shake your head and wonder what the heck’s the hurry.

This is why Christmas feels like NASCAR to me – it lasts four months by the time you see things in the stores in October and it’s still in the stores in January on the clearance aisles. There’s not a lot of time in between like there used to be – it just keeps whipping back around. About the time you get all those decorations into the attic in late February when football season is over and you can pry the remote control out of your husband’s hand, you get a short lull and then “Tis the Season” is back again.

I love Christmas, I really do. But there’s an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and I’m feeling mighty contemptuous thinking about all those TV commercials I’m going to be watching the next few weeks. They rank up there with mud-slinging political ads for being annoying and repetitive – kindof like the only NASCAR race I’ve attended…

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Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen