Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog - I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Author: Suzanne Olsen Page 1 of 41

Computer Everglades

I wrote this many years ago, before I switched from a Microsoft computer to a Mac and was always having technical problems. I’m on vacation for the next three weeks so will be posting old drafts of blogs I never posted before.

I was all excited this morning because I’m in a blogging frenzy and wanted to type in another post. I plopped down happily in front of the computer and tried to log in. My username is my email, and I have an assortment of passwords I cycle through to get into everything. I tried all the combinations, finally being allowed to log in when I accidently mistyped my email address. That one little wrong letter let me into my blogger account, but caused me to be greeted with a giant red warning, “Your email address has not been verified.”

“That’s because it’s WRONG!” I hissed back at the computer. “Well,” I said, determined to be in a good mood, “I’ll just fix that puppy and I’ll be off and running.”  But no, just like every freaking other thing having to do with computers, IT WON”T LET ME.

After reading for hours and hours, I find out that the mistake is permanent. Up front they happily volunteer to email me a new username, but the one I gave them is wrong and doesn’t exist, so it’s just going to go to Jupiter and back without me ever seeing it.

And how was I able to log in the day before? It doesn’t matter. The computer just does what it wants to do, and you can’t fight it. The most any of us can hope for is to plow through a zillion posts that describe the same problem, and hope some other guy figured out how to fix it, then let him lead you out of your misery one irritating step at a time. I spend most of my life squinting at the screen with my mouth hanging open and a dull headache creeping up my forehead.

To get to the fix, it’s typical to have to elbow your way through lots of pages mostly consisting of capital letters strung together that appear to be common knowledge because they don’t explain them. It would be so much more fun to wade through the Everglades dodging snapping alligators than reading that stuff. By the end of the CMOS’s and RAM’s and CPU’s and ESAD’s, I just want to say, “I’ve got your motherboard right here, you sorry piece of crap!”

It’s late at night now, and I finally got it fixed. Don’t you even think about saying that this time it was my fault and not the computer’s. I might come right through the screen and lunge at your throat like a junkyard dog. If this post isn’t funny, I’m sorry, and if you don’t like it, you can just kiss my CDISK.

Happy Birthday, America!

Sticky post

It’s our 244th birthday! Ever since July 4, 1776 we’ve spent money buying explosives that light up the sky for several nights, booming so loud that old curse when they go to bed at 8:30 and dogs to bark continuously and pee on the floor. 

On the actual holiday, we gorge ourselves on fried chicken, potato salad, and white sheet cakes with strawberries and blueberries and Cool Whip to make the Stars and Stripes that our bellies refuse to digest, stretching our American elastic waistbands beyond their endurance.

We are a good country, formed on sound principles written in the Declaration of Independence – that revered document we celebrate every July 4. The most famous quote says that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our country seems like a mess right now with all the protests. We’ve been here before, but my hope is that after this year is we don’t go back again. I hope we will all remember that pursuing happiness can’t happen when you are angry. No matter what side of a political fence you’re on, if you hate others because of the color of their skin or the nation they came from, you cannot pursue happiness. Hate makes you angry. 

Go ahead, think about that for a minute. Has your child (or you, when you were a child) ever had a hissy fit, slammed a door, and shouted, “I hate you?” Are they smiling and happy? No, they’d kick you in the shin if they could get away with it. Now think about that same child looking into your eyes and saying, “I love you.” That’s happiness right there. It’s dang near impossible to find happiness when you’re angry – and pretty easy to be happy when you love someone.

It’s that simple – if we want to pursue happiness, we have to love each other. I know this goes against what you may have been taught by your angry parents, uncles, aunts, teachers, bosses etc., but it is the truth. And the truth will set you free – give you Liberty, and that will give you Life, and free you up to pursue Happiness.

Those old guys were pretty smart back in 1776. 

The video below was sent to me by my 93 year old friend, Pearl. Another very smart person. It’s a short version of a 1985 documentary where a teacher does an experiment in discrimination. It’s only 6 minutes long and well worth watching. The link to the full documentary is below that – it’s about an hour long. Happy 4th of July everyone!

https://www.pbs.org/video/frontline-class-divided/

The Shanghaied Scissors

Gingher scissors -- so shiny they reflect my garden plants
Gingher scissors — so shiny they reflect my garden plants

Scissors don’t have legs – they can’t walk away. While I was weeding at my community garden plot, my good Gingher’s did not get up on their pointy ends like a ballerina and tip-toe away. Someone swiped them.

The main suspect was a woman who came into the garden talking loud on her cell phone – as annoying as cat shit under a couch. My scissors were lying there right by the path. I was busy staking up my tomatoes, my back to her, and didn’t bother to even say hello since she was blathering on.

This woman didn’t water, she didn’t weed, she didn’t pick anything – she wasn’t there long enough to do any of that. She talked on her phone and then drove away. Now I’m not saying she did it, but what did she come there for except to steal my scissors?

When it was time for me to leave I gathered my tools and the other things scattered around – string and extra bamboo stakes. I had this nagging feeling I was forgetting something – these day I forget something most of the time. I walked up and down my little ten by twenty foot plot but didn’t see anything else so I left.

When I got home and unloaded I thought, “Now where are those scissors?” Those Gingher’s are expensive – cost me about $30 many years ago. Silver, and the things actually cut. I have ten pairs of scissors all over this house and none will even cut a string hanging off my hem except these Gingher’s and the Betty Crocker ones I got at the Dollar Store. They cut so well I gave a pair to all my friends for Christmas. Yes, I’m cheap, I’ll admit that to anybody – I’m proud of it.

That’s About the Size of It

There were many facets to my father, and not all of them sparkled. The parts of my dad that glowed didn’t outshine his flaws, but they made the journey with him brighter. 

My dad as a young man after eating a SweeTart
My dad as a young man after eating a SweeTart

Gene Patterson was born in 1923. He told us stories of his early years, gathering scrap metal for a penny a pound, near-death experiences flying down a long steep road in a homemade soapbox car with no brakes, hoping a car didn’t come through the intersection at the bottom, skinny dipping in the creek with his friends. In the Navy during WWII he got tattoos – a Navy anchor with a swirly ribbon around it and I think a rose with Mother underneath. That faded red and blue ink on his white-gravy skin were enough to keep me from ever getting branded with ink.

He courted and married Momma in Kingsport, Tennessee, and us kids came right away. Both of my parents were stubborn and independent, which may be why he became a union electrician and worked out of town, only coming home for periodic visits. Momma let us run wild, but when he was home he kept a tight ship, and we resented it, except for his first evening home when he often brought us something exotic like white chocolate. Plus he’d always bring his loose change jar full of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. I’d sit on the floor and stack them into little paper rolls and got to spend them on anything I wanted – usually candy. I don’t know what he gave to my brother, maybe folding money.

The next day, on Saturday, he’d ask me to go to Kroger’s and get something. I’d protest and want to just go to Kabool’s grocery down the street, but he insisted it had to come from Kroger’s, which was about a mile away. Back then I ran everywhere, so I dashed off, got whatever it was and ran home. I’d burst through the door to our little house, tromp to the kitchen, push the screen door open and look in the backyard – nobody around. I’d run to the bedrooms and see my parent’s door closed. I flung the door open and they’d be scrambling into their clothes. I never could figure out why they were taking a nap in the middle of the day.

Social distancing from my kitchen

I have social distanced from activities, family and friends, stores, but what I really need to do is social distance myself from the kitchen. Being home all the time is causing my appetite to surge like a Space X rocket. 

I blame it on boredom. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to do – clean closets, yard work and all that, but it’s not fun. Used to be, back in January, or Pre-C, I’d spend my time going out – you know, with friends and family, volunteering, shopping, book club meetings, luncheons. I’d style my hair and look at all my clothes, get exasperated because I didn’t have anything to wear, start combining my sad glad rags to try and get a new look, create a pile of discards on the floor that I’d hang back up later. After much time and energy I’d leave my house, finally happy to be seen in public.

It gave me something to do. First thing most mornings: walk with a friend wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Then back home, shower, change into nicer jeans and top. Blow dry and hairspray my hair, put on makeup, pick out different shoes – not the muddy ones from the walk. Later, for the evening adventure, try on several outfits, shoes, necklaces, scarves. Hang the rejects back up. Re-do my hair and makeup. Maybe give myself a pedicure.

Now, with just my husband and me here alone, unless I have a Zoom meeting, I dress in baggy, somewhat clean clothes in the morning, let my drab hair hang limp, never wear makeup.

I have nothing to do but eat.

Our Policemen Need Uniforms Like the Italians

A few years ago my daughter and I were in Rome on a Sunday morning having breakfast outside a little cafe. The morning glowed in warm sunshine, blue sky framed the wide-open piazza. The only blight on the scene was a middle-aged, pot-bellied drunk (or lunatic) about 30 feet away. He staggered around in baggy pants and a long-sleeve, grey (formerly white) shirt with rolled-up, uneven sleeves, half a shirt-tail hanging out, waving his arms and raging in gravelly, venomous Italian. No one paid any attention, but I kept my eye on him, worried he’d wobble close to us.

Then a little Italian car drove up and four policemen poured out. I’d already noticed that Italian men are handsome, and these were no exception. Tall and thin, wearing light blue shirts and dark pants, these men looked mighty fine with their olive skin against those blue shirts.

Four Italian policemen in light blue shirts
Four Italian policemen in light blue shirts

When they approached the drunk, he started yelling at them, shaking his fists in a threatening way like he was going to hit one of them. I put my teacup down. “Oh no,” I said to my daughter. I expected these policemen to slam the drunk to the ground, and he’d hit his head on the pavement and he’d be in a pool of blood while they cuffed him, all four of them pinning him down with knees on his various tender parts. Shots might even be fired. I was ready to bolt.

Shelley the Wonderdog

Shelley would have been 20 years old this August – a little Yorkie Poo, about six pounds. What a life she had! We got her in October, 2000 while my husband was on his annual two-week guys’ boating trip. He didn’t want a dog, so the kids and I had to get her while he was gone.

My son was 11 and my daughter 6 when we drove with two of his friends for an hour to Albany, Oregon to meet a woman who had Yorkie Poo puppies for sale. The puppies, the woman told me on the phone, were supposed to be full-bred Yorkshire Terriers, but a rogue poodle down the street had an intimate encounter with her Yorkie, so the puppies were misfits in the woman’s eyes. In ours, they were the cutest things on earth.

Three black puppies were in a large cage in the back of her SUV, one was eager and came right over to us, one hung back in the corner. The third one eased over to us after a little while. My daughter and I wanted them all. My son said, “Let’s take the middle one. He’s not shy but he’s not aggressive either.” He turned out to be a she, which was perfect.

Resting after being chased.
Resting after being chased.

On the trip home we debated about a name, most of which ended in an “e” sound: Blackie, Yorkie, Lovey. After a couple thousand names were thrown out, Matt, one of the friends, said Shelley. We all got quiet. Hmmmm. Shelley. It seemed like an odd name for a dog, but it had potential. For a few minutes we compared it to other names, but Shelley fit her.

She ended up being my dog, though the kids played with her constantly when they were home, and fought over whose bed she’d sleep in. My daughter carried her to bed first, then my son came in and stole her a little later when he went to bed. If my daughter wasn’t asleep yet I’d hear, “Mo-om, Chris is taking Shelley. Make him stop.” I’d go in to referee and find them with all four hands on the dog, tugging her in each other’s direction.

Shelley trying to get Scott's attention.
Shelley trying to get Scott’s attention. My husband grew to love her too.

Death by Sticky Bun

Last week at an outdoor farmer’s market, I didn’t notice this hefty woman coming toward me until she was almost beside me. At the precise second I saw her, she ah-choooooed into her stubby hand. Her sneeze spewed sideways on me like a blast from a fire hose. No social distancing, no sneezing into her elbow, no mask. Oblivious, she lumbered on, enticed by the distant aroma of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, her hand saturated with sneeze goo.

She waddled over to the cinnamon roll booth, fondled her credit card with her wet, germy hand and pointed to the pastry of her desire. The bun lady took her credit card with a hand encased in a vinyl glove, which was instantly contaminated with a gazillion germs. Germs don’t care if they are on your hand or on your glove. They’re happy either way.

My Advocate

My advocate, Laurie, helping me celebrate
My advocate, Laurie, helping me celebrate my first published humor article.

At the end of this morning’s Mass our priest gave us a homework assignment. He told us to think about a person who has been an advocate for us. In his sermon, Deacon Bill defined the Advocate, or the Holy Spirit, as a comforter, counselor, friend and companion. 

Lots of people have been one or more of those to me, but if I have to choose just one, it’s my friend Laurie. I’ve dumped my troubles on her in the most boring and repetitious ways and she’s given me support when she’d probably just as soon slap some duct tape over my mouth.

The best thing is she’ll listen and do it quick. You don’t get much phone time with Laurie, she’s always busy, so you’ve got to launch right into your whining – get right to the point about what a jerk someone has been so she can (a) agree with you and (b) pile more on, even if she’s never met the person, and (c) give her tidbit of either advice, “the person is a jerk, you gotta just walk away,” or sympathy, “the person has always been a jerk, I don’t know how you stand it.”

A Fish Tale for Mother’s Day

This goldfish will be 15 years old next month (June, 2020), if he lives that long…

Have I got a fish tale to tell you. Friday morning I got up around 7 and found our 14 year old goldfish at the bottom of the tank, his fins clamped close, his eyes cloudy, his tail ragged – all very bad omens for a fish. I turned his light on and sprinkled food in the water like I always do. The flakes swirled around him like snow but he didn’t move. Didn’t even twitch. In almost 15 years of life, this fish has always wiggled and splashed and opened his mouth wide to snatch at the food – it’s actually kind of cute the way he carries on. I knew something was seriously wrong. The fish is like me – it lives to eat.

I went to Google right away and of course everyone said the problem was dirty tank water. Goldfish eat a lot and excrete a lot, and ammonia builds up, and nitrites and nitrates. It’s what causes most goldfish to go belly up a few days after your daughter brings one home in a little plastic bag all excited crying, “Look what I won, Mommy, look what I won!” Which is how we ended up with this fish in 2005. 

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Copyright © 2020 by Suzanne Olsen