Category Archives: Humor

This Joke Works For Any Profession

Verne and Fern were sitting in the living room talking.

Fern said, “I’d like to win the lottery!”

Verne replied, “Why do you want to win the lottery?

“Well,” Fern said, “I’d like to do nothing all day.”

Verne frowned. “You don’t need to win the lottery to do nothing all day! All you need to do is become a Maintenance Person.”

A Week of Days

Earlier in the week, I was driving to work. My kayak was in the shop to have bullet holes repaired, and a nun stole my bicycle Sunday night. At 4 a.m., I typically see a lot of craziness, including what must be a fair share of inebriated drivers. They could be drunk, too. If you’re not keeping up here, you might be 3.2 sheets to the wind yourself. Before the last bend in the street to reach the roundabout, I noted a large commercial truck was coming toward me fast – and on the wrong side of the road. Instead of braking, I absentmindedly moved to the left/wrong lane. The truck passed me on the right, heading away from me. As I rounded the outer fringe of the roundabout, I noticed one of the stop signs was plastered flat again. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that I had switched to the wrong lane about 30 seconds before. I don’t worry about the police, as they typically are some of the worst drivers I see that early in the morning. I don’t blame them. What do you have to do wrong to get assigned traffic patrol at that hour?

Friday, my tire pressure system went bonkers again. (For my car – not my kayak.) I did the magical reset thing again with the hazard light. (This is true. For my car, you have to hit the hazard light rapidly with the key turned to an unfindable spot in the ignition. Weirdly, you then let a lot of air out of each tire in a clockwise motion as the horn honks for each tire. It sounds like a prank, doesn’t it?) I then drove around the block to normalize the sensor. Exiting the car, I realized that I drove around with my phone on the top of the car. I did the same thing a couple of years ago. Since I can’t remember one of the steps to do the magic pressure reset, I use the internet to look it up. For some reason, I instinctively leave my phone on top of the car, just as my ancestors must have done when crossing the prairies of the West.

My wife and I never use real butter. It’s not because we loathe cows, although we do. The last one we had insisted on standing on the coffee table while we tried to watch tv. The wife wanted to make something called Texas Sh#t Cake. Technically, it’s Texas Sheet Cake. Basically, it is 22 lbs. of what amounts to fudge instead of frosting. Legally, you can’t eat it unless you have full coverage dental insurance. The cake almost killed my mother-in-law, by the way. Strangely, it’s a funny story. I’ll bet she tells the story a bit differently than we do. A couple of days later, I surprised my wife by making baked sweet potatoes for her. I thought real butter would make the skins more palatable. And easier to eat. This doesn’t make sense anyway because she’s one of ‘those’ people who don’t eat the skins. She’d be a terrible cannibal, FYI. Even though I microwaved the butter for only 20 seconds, as soon as I pulled it out at eye level and removed the paper towel, the hunk of butter exploded, spraying butter onto my head, covering my glasses, as well as covering every inch of the available counters, cabinets, and floor as it sprayed. Somewhere, I heard a cow laughing at me. It took me forever to clean the kitchen. Luckily, I was wearing my reading glasses during the mishap.

Earlier in the day, I had to reach something over a pile of inaccessible supplies. Typically, I could be described as “stupidly clumsy.” During a typical day, I find myself climbing like I’m a jungle gym assembly tester. It’s just intrinsic to the insanity of what passes for a career. (Note: kids, stay in school unless it is welding school or rodeo clown school.) I was about 6 feet off the floor. I stepped off the side of a pallet of stuff onto a series of large boxes. As I soon discovered, they were literally large boxes with very little content. Just as happens in the I-fell-through-the-ceiling-from-the-attic fail videos, instead of stepping down a foot onto the top box, I crushed through at least 4 feet of empty space. I’m certain I made a long and quick series of nonsensical faces as I plummeted. I didn’t break anything if you’re worried about property damage. Until I took a shower and discovered that the soap burned, I didn’t know I left a piece of skin somewhere in that large box. Note: the pandemic has greatly worsened the safety of millions of workers. I’ll breathe a sigh of relief when we go back to a large, stifling bureaucracy to protect us. I’m not sure I can survive much longer, having an employer watch out for my best interests.

Thursday afternoon, I went to the store to get a cartful of delicious diet tonic water. Evidently, I’ve crossed the threshold into addiction. Since my mask usage proves my breath already smells like a dead hyena, I’ve decided that the sewage water aftertaste of diet tonic water doesn’t really detract from my overall personality. I did wonder why my wife insisted on a 12-foot long couch, though. As I rounded the aisle, I noted a flu shot table in the middle of the aisles, with an attentive nurse seated there. Near it, an older rough-looking gentleman was provoking his counterpart, seated in a wheelchair, to give his birthday already. He said, “Okay, it’s 1962.” Because I was in a great mood, I shouted, “1962? Jesus that’s old!” as I went by. Everyone looked at me – and then back to the man seated in the wheelchair. We all laughed. The only other option was for someone to shoot me. A few minutes later, as I was loading my cart full of diet tonic water, I saw the man roll by. “1962!” I hollered again. He laughed. When he was done, laughing, he laughed some more. I got him one more time near the registers. I’m certain he told that story later. As I was putting the 80 lbs of delicious diet tonic water in the car, a bag ripped, and one of the bottles rolled under the car. I searched for that bottle, even after backing my car away a bit (at risk of life and limb in that horrible parking lot.) I never found it. I can only imagine that someone picked it up with enthusiasm until they noted it was a bottle of diet tonic water. At that point, they probably cursed and hurled it like an insult at a slow waiter.

On the way out of the store, I stopped at one of those automated Lottery ticket checking devices. Of the 22 entries I had, none paid. Out of the last 34 tickets I’ve purchased, none have been winners. This is the longest losing streak I’ve ever had – unless you count the totality of my adult life. “This is so 2020!” I told myself as I crumpled the tickets and discarded them. “Hindsight is 20/20” is going to lose the publicity race and be replaced by “That is so 2020.” Sorry, Raven.

Also this week, I discovered another thing I could do well by not trying. I also rediscovered simultaneously that many people take themselves way too seriously. Holden Caulfield might call them a phony; I’d call them exasperating.

On a similar note, I played “crazy website snipe” a couple of days this week. Using the social media of a couple of genuinely deranged friends, I hid/blocked a torrent of stupidity forever. I can’t be the only person who notices that some people should have the ‘share’ option ripped from their fingers. Meanwhile, I watched a couple of people suffer from trolls and lesser people. Life’s too short and you’re making your cool friends irritated by tolerating the people you wouldn’t invite over for dinner, anyway.

Here’s a reminder, for those who need to know:

The Social Media Wisdom Observation

Say what you will about social media, but it has destroyed the mistaken urban legend that people get wiser as they get older.

We don’t get wiser; we get more sure, which tends to be a dangerous thing.

If you can’t drink diet tonic water, shout potentially hilarious and/or awkward things at strangers at the market, or drive on the wrong side of the road, my conclusion is that you shouldn’t be ice skating, either.

What Kind Of Tree IS That?

56

My friends Maya and Juan invited me to visit their house. They bought it in February before covid. Because Juan had more free time due to the virus, he spent a great deal of time building a patio area in the backyard of his house. He’d told me a lot about it. After months of avoiding seeing it due to an abundance of caution, Maya called and asked me to drop by after work for lunch. She promised to make a huge helping of pico de gallo, regardless of what she prepared for the meal.

When I drove up, I could see that Juan had indeed gone out of his way to make the house the way he wanted it. Plants bordered the front and a single magnolia tree stood in the middle of the front yard. Along the far edge, a series of lush bushes and flowers stood.

Just as I was about to walk around the side of the house, Maya opened the front door and beckoned me to enter. “Juan will be out in a minute. Always late for everything!” she said and laughed. She gave me the tour. As we stood in the kitchen waiting for Juan to emerge, she pointed at the large tree to the left of the brick patio and seating area. “Look at that! Juan was so proud to get that tree. His friend Marcos got that tree from a yard that was completely redone. It’s too bad that they brought the wrong tree. It’s caused some problems with the neighbors.”

Before I could inquire, Juan exited the end of the house I hadn’t seen during Maya’s tour. We bantered and joked for several minutes.

“X, take this glass of tea and sit under the transplanted tree.” Juan handed me a glass filled with tea and ice cubes. “Maya and I will bring lunch in a minute.”

I exited through the French doors and walked across the hand-laid brick patio. Juan had spent a lot of time out there. It was impeccable.

I plopped down in the chair under the branches of the tree. I couldn’t tell it was a transplant. As I took a drink from my glass, a voice said, “You could lose a lot of weight, buddy.” I looked around and saw no one. I turned to see if a window was open. As I turned my head back to examine the area around me, I heard the voice again. “Who bought those clothes for you? Stevie Wonder?” I stood up immediately and slowly did a 360 under the tree. No one was around. Before I could get seated again, the voice said, “Don’t use a bowl to cut your hair the next time!”

I took my glass of iced tea and went to the French doors and entered the kitchen, out of the bright sun.

Before I even said a word, Maya smiled at me. “I see you found out why we wish the trees hadn’t been mixed up when we got them.”

Seeing that I was still a bit confused, Juan added, “Yeah, we forgot to tell you that it’s a SHADE tree.”

Fazoli’s And The Case Of The Missing Dressing

jon-tyson-82ZEOTntP8g-unsplash

*
Many people don’t know that the apostrophe in the Fazloli’s brand name is actually meant to represent a tiny bit of flatulence and regret. I’ll probably get an angry letter from corporate when they read this. Their CEO is busy though, studying for his GED. By the way, I’m one of those weirdos who l-i-k-e-d Fazoli’s. I’m glad that the federal government opted to not require us to wear a special hat as a warning to others.

A friend recently hilariously recapped her working experience at Fazoli’s when she was young, shorter than a table lamp, and evidently 47% invisible. Working anywhere tends to force you to realize that some things are better off unknown. In my case, working at a dairy and seeing clumpy black milk being put into the holding tank ruined me for milk, not that that I was huge fan prior to that. I couldn’t look at milk, knowing that it contained filtered cow manure, urine, and things best left unmentioned.

At its high point, Fazoli’s made it to 400 locations. Northwest Arkansas had several. While I don’t trust my memory, it seems like our franchises went under due to personal financial issues with the owner. If I’m wrong, I apologize. It was a sad day for gourmands like me when they shuttered their butter-infused doors for the last time. During one visit to the location in Fayetteville, I overheard someone tell the manager that “Fazoli’s is the People of Walmart  of fast food.” I laughed then and it still amuses me.

I’ll be the first to admit that Fazoli’s was the bologna sandwich of Italian food. Given that my primary requirement for pasta is “quantity over quality,” I loved Fazoli’s. Just to be clear, I didn’t care if the pasta was made from reconstituted paper products: I loved it. After discovering they had an off-menu “all you care to eat” option, I combined this fact with my unnatural and demonic love of their Italian dressing packets.

I almost always ordered plain pasta as well as packets of the Italian dressing. This caused a lot of confusion. No matter how many times I’d tell the cashier, “I want 2 (or 15, let’s be honest) packets, and please charge me for each,” most of them would confusedly stutter and stammer. Most had to turn to a manager who would stop running and sweating long enough to explain to them that there was a single packet charge. More amusingly, watching them math out the complexities of 25 cents X a number often took several tries. As you can guess based on my previous stories, I would sometimes tell them, “I want 20 packets of dressing.” They would turn to no one in particular and holler, “CAN I sell 20 packets?” It was an infinite series of amusements. It was a sight to behold, watching as multiple people asked me to repeat myself: “Do you really want 25? We’re going to have to charge you? How much is that? OMG, that’s too many!”

Later, they increased the price per packet, undoubtedly in retaliation for idiots like me. It was common for them to forget to give me the packets, even after I paid for them. No one enjoyed returning to the counter and waiting impatiently while our congealed food products sat on the lonely table behind us. That is part of what surprised me about them offering an all-you-can-eat option. There were a few customers who made them regret that offer.

If you’re wondering if I used all those packets? Yes. If I had any left, I would take them home. While in the restaurant, though, I’d also use the dressing as a dipping sauce for the breadsticks.

I continued this tradition at the other dubious chain The Olive Garden. The dressing was always my favorite. To this day, it is one of the few go-to dressings we buy. Sometimes we buy the light version. It contains 50% less of the industrial additives and petroleum as its full-bodied counterpart. If I don’t request an extra bit of dressing on the side while ‘dining’ at Olive Garden, I barbarically dip the end of my breadstick into the bottom of the translucent salad bowl to find a drip of the Italian dressing there. If I don’t have in my bowl, I sneak over to the next table, distract the people eating there, and quickly dip my breadstick in their bowl.

I love all sorts of things on pasta and macaroni. Salad dressing, Louisiana hot sauce, A-1, raisins, wing sauce, soup, sliced tomatoes, fried goat eyeballs (just kidding on that one, I think), and various other things. Let’s be honest: you can take a look at my physique and easily determine the likelihood that my youth filled itself with truckloads of pasta.

I heard rumors that the Fazoli’s breadsticks had enough butter on them to grease the chassis of a 1968 Ford Thunderbird. Because I was born in Arkansas, my immortality convinced me to be unconcerned with such trivial details. I tend to joke that pepperoni will be listed as my official cause of death. They might add in “Fazoli’s butter” as a secondary cause. I imagine a bit of it is still stuck inside my venous system, ready to cause a grease fire once my cremation starts. I apologize to the Berna family if that happens. Crematoriums are expensive.

As for being the bologna sandwich of Italian food, most of us will admit that bologna sometimes is exactly what we need. Even though it is made of the innards of animals too unlucky to avoid being combined into a giant industrial blender and then pressure-heated into cylindrical tubes, we enjoy it. It’s best not to note what is in it. Having worked in meat plants, I can confirm that most packaged meats are made in a process that will immediately remind you of explosive diarrhea, except at these plants, the result is cooked rapidly.

Regarding the garlic overload, I buy minced, powdered, and various forms of garlic by the bucket. It’s a good thing that garlic pills are used anecdotally to treat high blood pressure. There are times when I return home from being gone and am stunned by the wall of garlic and onion aroma that greets me upon my return. I think my cat is growing a Luigi mustache from breathing so many garlic fumes.

While I loved the cheap offerings of Fazoli’s, I can see why people had issues with it. Restaurants employing younger people invariably run into similar issues with consistency, cleanliness, and risk to one’s health and sanity. As the old joke points out, you get to pick 2 out of 3: quick, good, or cheap – but never all 3.

When you factor in that their food was somewhere on the “microwave meal” range, it’s no surprise. While it might preclude me from getting a security clearance to admit I loved their pasta drowned in packets of Italian dressing, I did.

Unlike all the other fast food places I liked, Fazoli’s never made me sick. Not that I know of. That’s saying something. I’m assuming that they irradiated all their food.

I love reading clever reviews of cheap fast food. If I owned a fast-food chain, I’d print such reviews on my own products to be snarky.

As for the picture, it’s to gratefully acknowledge that Fazoli’s was both good and not good simultaneously, an attribute shared by every single fast-food chain in the United States.

P.S. The title of this post suggests another story I’ve not confessed to!

 

Beth Goodrich’s Pumpking Fudge Recipe

2019.01.18_LCHF_Food,_Washington,_DC_USA_09682_(45912943015)

Noted Conway author and chef Beth “Beets” Goodrich finally agreed to share her secret pumpkin fudge recipe after two decades of silence. It’s true in the 90s that she may have inadvertently poisoned a few people. We all need a chance to learn from our mistakes, though. Other than a slight twitch when she’s talking, you might not know how hard she worked to get past her initial failings as a cook. Six boys survived her cooking so it is presumably safe to say she’s ironed out the kinks and emergency room visits.

While we all know Beth through her writing, I’d like to take a moment and explain that her nickname “Beets” arose from the insistence of her well-meaning friends and family that beets taste anything like other than a mouthful of dirt. She can quote numerous scientific studies that prove that beets taste like a mound of desiccated spiders that’s been mixed with Appalachian dirt and powdered. Much like really large white guys were often called “Tiny,” so too did Beth get crowned as “Beets.”

Pumpkin fudge is a ‘real’ thing, even though it may at first seem to one small part of a complex and elaborate prank, one devised by San Francisco hipsters. You’ve probably heard it mentioned in whispers at a church social or in the open cafeteria lines of your state penitentiary. Most fans of pumpkin fudge tend to be easily excited and often have concealed carry permits. If you’re one of the few people who don’t like pumpkin fudge, refrain from mentioning it out loud unless you are in a Siberian cave that’s been sealed close by a nuclear explosion.

While observing college boys using pumpkins as catapult fodder, she realized that pumpkins were not only for insanely dry pumpkin bread that no one really likes or for jack o’ lanterns on Halloween.

After 37 failed tries and one oven that had to be discarded (not to mention burned hair), Beth arrived at her final recipe.

Most of the ingredients are what most of us refer to as “old folks” ingredients such as evaporated milk, corn syrup, and marshmallow creme.

While I hate to be helpful in food posts, I’d like to explain to you what the differences are between evaporated and condensed milk. Both are made from milk with 60% of the water removed. Evaporated milk, however, is not sweetened, unlike its condensed milk counterpart. You’d be surprised how many cooks can’t explain that difference to you.

You should always keep a can of each in your larder. (I’ll explain what in tarnation a ‘larder’ is later after you’ve been put in a coma by reading about cooking.) You never know when a posse of old-timers might come to your house. In such a scenario, you’re going to need some condensed or evaporated milk.

Again, though I loathe being helpful, it is surprising that people don’t know you can add condensed milk to as much water and use it like regular milk in recipes. This can be helpful if you live somewhere without electricity or an icebox. If you hear banjos on most afternoons, you definitely need some condensed milk in your pantry, larder, or cellar. Due to the size of evaporated milk cans, they can also be used as hand grenades in a close fight.

For Beth’s recipe, you’ll need a candy thermometer. I’ll tell you where to stick it later. Beth recommends the combination food thermometer/protractor, in case complex calculations arise. Paradoxically, her Panasonic oven only indicates Celsius, which resulted in some strange issues with her in-laws helping her cook. If you don’t own a candy thermometer, you’re with 65% of the country.

(Related note: biscuits will cook in 2 minutes if you accidentally set the oven to 375 Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. If you don’t catch the error in 15 minutes, your local firefighters will drop by your house unexpectedly to remind you.)

Without boring you with the details of the recipe, I can tell you that even if you don’t like pumpkin, you’ll probably like pumpkin fudge. As in the case with carrot cake, you don’t actually put chunks of carrots in carrot cake unless you’re a sadist, or live in Little Rock.

If you’ve never had pumpkin fudge, call Beth in Conway. She’ll undoubtedly make a batch for you, at no cost, with something like a smile on her face. You can also find her on Instagram by searching for #whoiscookingdinnertonightatthegoodrichhouse.

I know you think I misled you by promising to share Beth’s recipe. I didn’t say I’d share it. I said that she shared it with me. The recipe on MyRecipes is fairly close to what she uses.

Since you’re already voluntarily putting pumpkin in food, you can’t really hurt this recipe, regardless of how you modify it.

P.S. I put bacon in the picture because it’s a known fact that bacon subconsciously obliterates one’s ability to think critically. The fact that you’ve read this far proves it to be true.

My Condition

takahiro-taguchi-_SKIDRiIEtk-unsplash

Not all my posts make me look good. Here’s one…

I was driving on Crossover, on my way to Lowes to purchase completely pointless items, not too far from the marijuana farm. Some people call it “The Botanical Gardens,” but that is EXACTLY the type of fake name a weed farm would use, isn’t it?

I suddenly had to brake harshly to avoid hitting someone who failed to stop while approaching the main road. Because I was unsure I wouldn’t hit them as they entered the road without stopping, I veered to the left slightly. I don’t always do the ‘veer’ thing if I’m in my Ford Focus. It’s led to meeting some interesting people. It’s hard to say “Hello” when the air is filled with screeching brakes and shouting drivers.

A honk startled me. A white van had swerved to the further left to avoid hitting me from behind. I slowed and pulled over for a second. The white van with an interesting business logo on the side pulled ahead in front of me on the shoulder. I was expecting a giant, angry redneck to emerge. Instead, a woman about my age exited the van and stood about ten feet away from the front of my car. People don’t exit their vehicles unless they are very angry, have bees chasing them, or are in the vehicle with more than one teenager.

“What’s wrong with you?” She asked.

Given that she probably didn’t connect the car running through a stop sign and entering the road in front of me to my swerve, I knew it was pointless. I assumed she was crazy, anyway.

“I have a medical condition! You should be ashamed of yourself” I shouted at her.

“Oh! I’m sorry. What’s wrong with you?”

“Stupidity!” I yelled back at her.

Expecting a tirade or curse, I was surprised when she turned and went back to her van, got in, and drove away. She didn’t even give me a laugh.

I was proud of my impromptu answer.

It is possible to live 20 years without coming up with a rapid-fire quip that both delights and defuses the situation.

Food For Thought(less)

gratisography-eating-junk-food

This post is a wild mix of fun facts, commentary, and anecdotes about my life. If you’ve ever ridden a rollercoaster while stitching up a hole in your own abdomen, this post is for you. I give you my word that at least one thing will make you ponder.

*

“I knew my instincts were right about how stupid the guy was. Blondes kept telling jokes about him.” – X

*

People look at me like I’m crazy when I mention déjà rêvé. It’s a cousin of déjà vu, except it’s the sensation you’ve dreamed the moment instead of experiencing it.

*

“Yes, he listens carefully. The problem is that he’s the only one talking.” – X

*

I was born in Brinkley, Arkansas, inside Monroe County. My Mom’s maiden name was “Winston,” we lived on “Easy Street,” and my first pet’s name was “Grandpa.” Some of that’s true if you’re guessing passwords.

*

While I’m not going to cite the amount of beer supposedly lost in beards in the U.K., I am mentioning it only because it means someone has studied and calculated the amount. It reminds me of when I was younger and read “Innumeracy,” and discovered that hair growth rate can be expressed in MPH. (It’s also partially responsible for why I love the measurement “furlongs per fortnight.”)

*

Related to the above, it’s also why I cringe a little when I hear someone say, “it is a fraction of the amount” or something similar. 7/6 is a fraction – and it’s more than 100%.

*

If you don’t have two-factor authentication turned on for everything important, you’re in trouble. If you don’t know what that is, please comment below and provide the last 4 digits of your social security number and a photocopy of your Blockbuster card.

*

Bela Lugosi, Jr., noted vampire actor, was buried in his cape. That’s not the part I find amusing. He was married five times. Are they SURE they know how his wives died?

*

I spent most of my life saying “I have two siblings.” It’s hard adjusting to saying a different number. I’m fascinated by the idea that my long-lost sister is more well-educated, nicer, and honest than all the rest of us combined.

*

I think Edward Cullen of “Twilight” would have been more interesting had he suffered from Arithmomania like Count Von Count (from Sesame Street) did, and as most vampires did in traditional vampire stories.

*

“I had a brush with death, followed by a comb with injury.” -X

*

Using physiological comparison software, I realized on Tuesday that my paternal grandmother is more of a man than I’ll ever be. I’m not sure which of us I’m insulting by saying so.

*

Infrequently, someone will mock me for choosing my first name based on a coin flip. They look at me confusedly when I told them that Portland, Oregon got its name the same way. Had the coin landed on its obverse side, it would be “Boston, Oregon.”  (“Obverse” side is a clever way to call the coin toss when it’s thrown. Most people will say, “What the hell side is an obverse?” You, therefore, win on the vocabulary high ground.)

*

I’m anticipating the next wood-cutting season. I’ve found someone who’ll cut me a few ricks of manchineel wood for a few people. You’ll have to google this to figure out the joke. Who knew such a tree existed?

*

I took one of those courses in Intense Conversations. After meeting my first practice partner and to break the ice, I said, “Yes, I do have a collection. I now own 347 different skull fragments.”

*

The term “buttload” is actually a legitimate measurement. I could explain it to you, but you wouldn’t believe me. Look it up for yourself.

*

Regardless of what the McDonald’s window worker intended, what she said was: “Pull forward to #1.” I should have done exactly that, even though I was next to the highway. Next time, I dare her to tell me to pull forward and #2. It’s gonna get ugly.

*

While I’m no arborist, there’s such a thing as a “fruit salad tree.” I like to mention it from time to time just to see who’s following the conversation.

*

“Kill them with kindness,” the woman obsessed with optimism told me. Thanks for the felony conviction, lady.

*

The first time I almost entered the U.S. Army, I was going to be in the U.S. Army Band. People with musical ability should consider it to be more realistic of an option than becoming a professional athlete. Also, it’s rare for a trumpet-player or guitarist to get shot. Unless they play “Freebird” in the wrong chord.

*

Beth’s grandfather used to say, “She went to Muskogee!” Beth now uses it as a veiled threat to imply that bad kids go there.  Few people know that Muskogee is the only dictatorship in the United States. Okay, I made that last bit up, but you did kind of wonder for a second, didn’t you?

*

“Quotation marks are the devil’s hemorrhoids.” – After reading a blowhard grammarian say that everything about grammar that needs to be said has already been said, I coined this new phrase.

*

Of all the things that I cite for keeping me alive in my youth, I credit these: Grandpa, Grandma, band, books, Barbara, and an ongoing belief that somehow life couldn’t be the sum of what I experienced.

*

“The Consequences Of My Own Actions” is a book I definitely don’t want to read. Ironically, this will be another consequence of my own inaction.

*

I have officially petitioned to become the next Secretary of Defense. (Preferably of the United States.) In my first act, I will order that all bombs be replaced with glitter bombs. Not only will a fifty-five thousand pound bag of glitter exploding a mile over a city send a clear message, but it will keep everyone cleaning for an eternity. Additionally, pretty much everyone will look fabulous.

*

They told me to put on “big boy pants.” Now, I look ridiculous with my legs stuck in really tight pants. Even though the effect is ridiculously slimming.

*

“I talk to my brother twice a day. Luckily, I limit each call to three words per call.” – X

(Hallmark card in the making?)

*

A lot more people would be vegetarians if they had an official hat.

*

I think we can all agree: anyone asking someone to sing a high school alma mater song or fight song should be charged with a felony. If elected President, I will abolish these immediately, or that they all be sung in Gibberish – since that’s what it sounds like anyway. My sincere apologies to the three people in the country who like them, along with the five Bologna Ice Cream aficionados.

*

“People put us in some strange positions. Monday, the mechanic put me into the lotus position and it took me an hour to extricate myself.” – X

*

“Let there be delight…” is a phrase we can all get behind. – X

*

I often say, “I look forward to serving you” while doing customer service because it’s a Hannibal-inspired statement more than one of service.

*

Many people know the word “schadenfreude.” It’s not a German word anymore. It’s English – because we stole it. It’s okay to say it started as a German word, but not to insist that it still is. It’s a subtle difference, but one that purists and the grammar police should note. A few people know that there’s an English-language equivalent: “epicaricacy.” But if you hear someone use it instead of “schadenfreude,” you can be sure they should NEVER be invited to a party.

*

My wife Dawn was actually born in Springfield, Illinois. Her mom Julia got kicked out of the state for illegally boxing without a license. Part of that statement is true.

*

One thing you don’t see a lot of historical shows are squirrels. That’s weird because squirrels were one of the most common pets in early United States history. They were easy to acquire, keep, and replace. Also, people often mention their scratchy claws when objecting to their domestication. Those same people often have toenails that resemble the fingers of Nosferatu.

*

The once ubiquitous breakfast cereal of corn flakes was invented by a desire to prevent masturbation. And not just at the breakfast table, I presume?
*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maskholes Everywhere

pxfuel.com
This picture has nothing to do with the post. 🙂

As I entered Harps, I saw two men milling around without masks or their faces covered. Like most guys at the store, they seemed as if they’d never ventured into a grocery store before.

They looked exactly like you imagine they would. My path intersected a couple of times with them. The younger of the two, a man wearing a black stocking cap, seemed to be aware that his lack of a mask was drawing attention from passersby.

I pulled a plastic sheath of 5 masks from my left back pocket and opened it.

“Would you guys like a mask? No charge.” I stepped closer. I was wearing a mask and social distance didn’t seem to be a factor in their lives. Truth be told, my workplace is much more dangerous than the grocery store, even with people milling around without masks.

The younger guy in the stocking cap stepped and said, “Yeah, thanks!” As he took one from the sheath, it must have dawned on him that his friend didn’t want one.

“Don’t want one, don’t need one,” his older friend said as the other guy took one.

“Mark, you’ve always been a dick, haven’t you?” The younger man said it exactly as a friend would.

“Okay, give me a mask. ” He took one. “Can I have another to shove down my brother’s throat? He never shuts up.”

“You two are brothers? If you don’t mind me saying so, I don’t see the resemblance.” I wasn’t thinking this might sound rude coming out of my mouth.

“Thanks!” the younger man said and we all laughed, even as the older brother punched the younger man’s shoulder.

I handed the younger man the sheath with the other three masks in it.

Apple Strudel Monsoon

rain-puddles

I started with the best of intentions: I stopped at Aldi to buy my mother-in-law another loaf of Apple Strudel Breakfast Bread. I first bought it for her as a whim. As such things go, the bread is pretty fabulous. It is with a begrudging spirit that I give any compliments to Aldi. I’m still very cautious about what I buy there. I will admit, however, that they offer a few things that aren’t available in other places. (Other than typhoid and a persistent rash, I mean.) I blame my friend Marjay for reminding me of Aldi. She shared a social media post yesterday about the dynamics of returning one’s cart.

Given that my job has a work limit allegedly due to the COVID crisis, I ran from my job with glee a little while ago. I should have paid more attention to the forecast. If not the forecast, I should have looked behind me as I drove across Springdale. There was a massive dark cell approaching. Had I noticed it, I would have driven directly home. I definitely would not have parked at the furthest part of the lot, either, something I almost always do when the executive committee chairwoman isn’t with me. (That would be my wife.)

I entered Aldi’s to buy three or four things besides the aforementioned delicious Apple Strudel bread. I ended up with a couple of dozen items and had to retrieve a shopping cart to carry them. It was at that point I noted the massive black wall almost on top of the store. Ignoring my instincts, I put my items in the cart and finished shopping. By the time the helpful cashier was throwing my items in my cart like it was an Olympic qualifying event, we could see the sheets of rain, as well as hear them strike the store’s roof.

I bought some bags, piled my stuff in them, and waited by the long window at the front of the store. My three or four items had blossomed into three large bags of food. Anyone looking at me would have thought I might be a huge fan of Aldi. It was a strange coincidence that today was my biggest Aldi haul in years.

There were several customers congregated along the bank of windows, all staring at the massive storm that greeted us. One woman with a full cart didn’t hesitate. She walked into the rain without wincing, unloaded her cart, and walked back to the front to return it to the corral. She resembled an otter that had just emerged from an overflowing creek. I’m assuming she is the mother of several children; only such unavoidable training could result in that kind of resigned demeanor. Additionally, she owned a minivan. It’s common knowledge that driving a minivan is tantamount to tacit approval to get drenched while doing the weekly shopping.

We watched one brave soul exit Aldi with a bag of groceries. In horror, we watched as he ran across 412. Anyone familiar with the danger would understand. Running across through rain so thick we could barely see across the street was an added element of lunacy.

After several minutes, I decided that the storm wasn’t going to abate. Pushing my cart ahead of me, I exited. As I crossed the main door, an unattended cart rolled by at a very fast speed, heading across the lot and destined to crush someone’s car. An employee cursed and then darted to get it. He was drenched by the time he came back. I half-ran, knowing it was futile. The sheets of rain hit me and surprised me by how cold it was.

At this point, I’d like to mention I hadn’t done my work laundry in a few days. As a result, I wore a pair of my old pants, ones with a much larger stretchy waste. I used my belt to tighten it drastically while I worked. Even so, my pants threatened to drop once or twice.

Because of the heavy rain, my pants drooped as I shuffled across the parking lot. As I half-ran, my pants, belt and all, slipped down past my gray underwear. I didn’t hear a round of applause from any of those employees or customers hiding from the rain at the front of the store. I stopped and got my pants to stay more or less and up and continued on to the car.

I crossed a river between the last rows of cars. The water reached my ankles as I crossed. As I opened the rear door of my car, I realized at the last second that the paper bags had become ornamental at that point. By sheer luck, I didn’t drop any of my groceries. I picked the other bags up like cannonballs and dropped them in the back.

Because why not, I walked my cart back up to the store. I told the employee, “My pants fell off on the way. My apologies for the unsolicited reminder to always wear underwear.”

Driving across Springdale on 412 was another adventure. Several vehicles decided to avoid the overflowing storm drains along the edge by driving in both lanes. I didn’t witness any accidents. While driving, I could feel the water puddling in my seat and on the floor.

When I arrived home, my wife had opened the garage door for me. I don’t park in the garage. I had to carry each of the three soaked bags to the inside of the garage one at a time, placing them on the concrete near the inner door. The rain was cascading across the roof of the car and hitting me in the face each time I opened the car door. Afterward, I wasn’t sure the garage door would close against the wind gusts and blowing rain. I had to strip out of my clothes while standing in the garage, surrounded by my valuable groceries.

Note: despite what you’d think, it is not romantic or sexy to watch your drenched husband bring in the groceries. I base this knowledge on the rapidity with which my wife exited the scene.

I could feel the loaf of Apple Strudel bread chuckling at me while I did. “Was I worth all that,” I’m sure it was asking me.

The cat’s been staring at the dryer strangely ever since I put my soaked shoes in there. He was so startled earlier when the shoes knocked the dryer door open that he bolted across the narrow entrance hallway at supersonic speed, smashing directly into the wall. His only comment was a strange, “Meowwwwwww,” even as he weirdly plopped down on the floor.

I can identify with the cat. Whether my greater error was in going to Aldi or doing so during a monsoon is up to you to decide.