Gentle Humor

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

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So Many Lists, So Little Time

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by all the things you have to do? Do you ever make a list to get the things on a piece of paper and out of your head, and then lose the list? Do you spend half the day looking for the paper instead of doing the things on the list that really ought to get done?

I do. Right now I’ve finally found my nice long list but instead of doing any of it I’m writing this blog post – which is also on the list but way down. The first item is to go outside, look for ants to see where their coming into my house so I can seal their tiny gateway with caulk. Then I’m supposed to clean toilets (oh boy!) rake debris out of my beds (we are very messy sleepers). Not to mention rake debris out of flower beds, give the dog a bath (stinks to high heaven), clean the fish tank, mop the kitchen floor, design a website for my brother, write a blog post….

There are not enough hours, and I get nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Yet, when I find an old list (while I’m looking for my current, lost list) in the pile of papers I need to sort through in my office, I see that most of the things on the old list did actually get done. Sometimes I’ll go ahead and draw a line though each item, even though the list is two years old, because it gives me inordinate satisfaction knowing that I got all those things accomplished.  

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Beware Email Scammers

“Hello, this account is infected.” This is what my latest email scammer is telling me. He’s hacked my computer and knows that I’ve been watching porn, and he’s going to let all my contacts know about it – unless, of course, I send him $1,000. In Bitcoin, no less. As if I knew how to use Bitcoin.

I know it’s a scam because I haven’t been watching porn, but I’m sure this guy sends his blackmail to millions of people, and some of them are bound to have been indulging in a little afternoon delight with their computer. I can just picture their panic when they see this email. “Oh crap, if my mom finds out, I’m a goner. Where am I going to get $1,000? Don’t they know I’m fifty-five and still live at home? I don’t have that kind of money.”

One of several of these kinds of emails extorting money

This particular scam is scary because it shows your own email address as the person who sent it. Wow, how do they do that? I asked Google, who sent me to the FTC, which said: “This is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money. If you — or someone you know — gets a letter like this, report it immediately to your local police, and the FBI.” Another site explained in techno mumbo-jumbo how scammers mimic your own email address, but they really haven’t hacked your account. Their advice? Change your password and don’t worry. Just ignore it. 

Okay, I won’t worry, but it really makes me want to do something vicious to these hackers, like locking them in an air-tight room with old-west cowboys who’ve eaten nothing but beans for the past six months. Or strapping them into the passenger seat of a car with a driver who uses the gas pedal and brake at the same time – jerk the jerk, as it were. These people deserve to be tormented in very psychologically annoying ways.

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In Trouble with the IRS – Again

That lady called again – the one who sounds like she’s just finished smoking a couple cartons of cigarettes. She said I’m in trouble with the IRS. I didn’t quite get the reason because she won’t leave a complete message. The recording always starts mid-sentence, spoken with her deep, gravely voice: “…with the IRS. You need to call the tax center immediately to avoid additional penalties and possibly jail time. Call 515 837….”

Like every American, I’m terrified of the IRS. They have the power to bankrupt even famous people like Willy Nelson. Once I got a letter from them saying I’d made an error on a tax return I’d filled out three years before. They charged me nearly two hundred dollars in interest and penalties – the math error itself was only about thirty-nine bucks – but I’m not complaining (in case they’re reading this). I’m just happy I only had to pay three years worth of interest for them to get around to noticing the error.  

I don’t mess with the IRS.

But here’s what I can’t understand. If they’re so powerful, and they’re really after me, can’t they at least leave a whole, intact message?

And why doesn’t the IRS have a 1-800 number to call back? They’re going to throw me in jail AND make me pay for the call?

Also, why is their agent always a woman with a low, threatening voice like she’s at some Mafia funeral – like she’s saying, “You better cooperate or you’ll be next on Guido’s list.” Can’t the IRS hire a regular person to terrify me?

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Fighting Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds are fighting at my feeder again. They fight all day long. I’ve discovered that there’s always a bully, and his sole purpose in life is to keep others from taking a drink from his feeder. If another hummingbird zips up and tries to get just a drop of liquid sugar, the bully swoops in, attacks, and chases him back to where he came from, and sometimes chases him all over the place. Selfish little buggers. 

Sometimes while the bully is driving another one off, a third hummingbird zooms in and gulps a sip. Instantaneously the bully knows and darts back to defend his feeder, chasing the third one off. Then they all leave for a few minutes, until it starts over again. Aggressive little brats.

Hummingbirds snatching a drink outside my kitchen window

I have the feeder outside the kitchen window, about six feet from my front door. I can see the bully lying in wait in a bush a few feet away. He’s on the alert, policing his territory. Sometimes when I go outside it feels like he’s attacking me. For something so small, his wings make a lot of disturbing noise, especially when they’re right by my head. The sound is something like a freight train coming straight at me, with the volume turned down slightly. I worry he’ll drive that long, pointed beak right into my temple. I have to crouch when I walk by the front of my house. I know good and well he’s doing it on purpose. Spiteful little creatures.

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My chicken fat thighs

We are going on vacation soon, and our family loves to snorkel, which means I’ll have to wear a swimsuit (groan). The long sleeve rash guard I always wear will hide my sagging crepe chicken fat skin from the waist up, but it leaves the lower half of me exposed to the world – big as life and twice as ugly.  

The first thing when I crawled out of the warm bed this morning, I said, “Hey Google! How do I get rid of old lady cottage cheese on my thighs?” And you already know what Google said. Google came up with some exercise videos so I can watch young lithe girls contort their bodies in impossible exercises, and I know good and well that they don’t have even one lump of chicken fat on their thighs, much less being covered with it like peanuts on a Payday candy bar.

Sample video of the torture we must endure to get rid of cottage cheese thighs

Why is it that every solution to every appearance woe goes right back to changing what you eat and outrageous exercise? I’m lucky that I was brought up at a time when people ate healthy food. A meal was a small portion of meat, one starch (like a potato) a salad, some sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, and maybe another side vegetable, usually green beans because my brother loved them and insisted on them practically every meal.

My point is that I’m not fat or skinny, I’m about average, right in the middle of the body mass index for my height.  I don’t have as much cottage cheese as a lot of people, but it’s still there even though I walk a couple miles every day. So I have to ask myself right now. Do I want to give up some of the food I eat to be skinny enough for a tropical vacation? And do I want to contort myself with heartless exercises? 

Of course I do! The question is, WILL I? You know what? I think I will. I think I’ll do it. I think I can. Maybe. I’ll try. We’ll see. It’s a strong, a very strong, possibility. I know one thing, though. I’m getting tired and hungry just thinking about it. I think I’ll ponder it on my La-Z-Boy, and my oh my a nice bowl of buttery popcorn would sure hit the spot right now. Maybe I’ll think about the vacation tomorrow….

Why Green Book deserved the Oscar

This post isn’t funny, but the movie is so that’s how I’m justifying this little dab of serious writing.

I can’t understand why people are having such a hissy fit over Green Book winning as Best Picture. I know the Oscar usually goes to a film that is stylistically different, so different, in fact, that common movie-goers like you and me leave the theater scratching our heads, wondering what the heck the movie was about. 

People denounced Green Book’s win, saying it was nothing more than a buddy movie. Oh, please. Yeah it’s about two guys from totally different backgrounds who, over the course of many amusing and dramatic experiences, come to accept and respect each other. But it’s definitely not “The Hangover.”

You’ve got a white man who chauffeurs a black man around the segregated south in the early 1960’s for three months. Where’s the humor? It’s in the characters – the white man is a street-wise, New York Italian nightclub bouncer, Tony, who talks like a gangsta with his mouth crammed full of Kentucky Fried Chicken, throws the bones out the window, doing and saying things that make us laugh though he’s not trying to be funny. A family man who loves his wife so much that he writes these just awful letters to her. When he’s approached by real mob types who offer him big money to work for them, he says no. So un-stereo-typical that it makes Tony intriguing on a much broader level than stoner, drunken buddies who get in outrageous situations designed for comedy.

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The fine art of ant tracking

Twenty-five years ago we moved into a house that was built on a concrete slab. We updated and remodeled it and put lovely carpet, tile, and cabinets over tiny cracks in the slab that are like freeway ramps for ants to come into our home.

I know they’re in the walls and under the carpet because we find gazillions of them every time a microscopic crumb hits the floor. You should’ve seen them inching their way over the fuzzy carpet after someone spilled a can of pop in our living room during a party, without us knowing. We woke up to a black pond of ants on the carpet, with streams leading back to where they came in.

I could do the easy, sensible, logical thing and put down ant traps or spray them, but I don’t like to kill ‘em. Bless their tiny hearts, they work so hard.

Here’s what I do instead. I blow on them, and they start running. The smart ants run back to where they came from. I follow them, wait until they all go into the tiny crack they’ve found to get in, caulk it and everybody’s happy.

The stupid ants don’t know where they came from. I despise those ants. You can tell the minute you blow on them that they’re stupid, stupid, stupid. They either don’t run at all, or they fan out like somebody dropped a grenade in the middle of them. With these stupid ones I have to gently nudge a few in the bottom and they’re like, “Hmmm, I wonder if I’m in danger since a big thing just poked me in the bottom. Or maybe I just imagined it. I think I’ll mosey around some more looking for…what the hell was I looking for?” Dumb, dumb, dumb ants.  

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry?

I eat way more than I need to – always have. I didn’t gain weight as a kid but now I still have a good appetite. The problem is my stomach. It’s spent decades digesting huge quantities of food, and it’s had enough. I can picture it down there, looking up the pipe that leads to my mouth, shouting, “STOP! – NO MORE!”  It protests loudly, with fierce rumblings. The eventual exhaust from my stomach sometimes causes Portland’s air pollution index to go up.

Old habits are hard to break. When “clean your plate” was our every night dinner chant, and the guilt about the starving kids in China weighed heavily, and the food was so mighty tasty – crispy fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, bacon-drenched green beans – I’d eat huge platefuls. I can only remember one food I loathed growing up, and that was eggplant. Vile, vile vegetable. I’ve since made peace with it in eggplant parmigiana, but as a kid I could not leave the table until I’d eaten the whole hideous portion of purple slime. If a human can eat eggplant as a child, they’ll eat anything.

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For $100,000 You, Too, Can Celebrate with the President

Our President is planning to be at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida January 19th to celebrate one year in office by hosting a fundraising re-election dinner (why not plan ahead – he’s already raised over 2 million dollars). You and I can attend if we fork over the $100,000 per couple entry fee. I think that’s reasonable to get to hobnob with a ton of rich folks and listen to a man who has made so many memorable quotes.

My favorite is when he was golfing with some friends in August and reportedly said, “That White House is a real dump!” I guess a person who has always lived like a king (note the website picture below of his Mar-a-Lago Resort) would take umbrage at the humble white house American taxpayers gave him.

I can’t go to the gala – I just found out about it today when I was watching the news about our government’s imminent shutdown (again). No time for my husband to rent a tux or me to lose those extra Christmas pounds so I can fit into my evening gown. Darn! I wish we’d known sooner!

Yeah, and $100,000 is a little spendy, but I’m sure it would be worth it. For $250,000 my husband and I could participate in a roundtable with the President. It breaks my heart not to be able to go!

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My First Square Dance

Square Dancer

When my girlfriend Kerry emailed asking if I wanted to sign up for square dance lessons with her, I thought, “Not no but hell no!” I’d never seen square dancers in person, but the ones on TV are rather, well, square. I pictured them just like you’re probably doing right now, and nowhere did that image fit in my idea of a good time. But I like Kerry and I decided, what the hey? We’ve been going for the last several weeks, having fun tripping over our own feet. Last night was something different, though – a real dance away from our familiar surroundings.

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Copyright © 2019 by Suzanne Olsen