What If God Was One of Us.

What If God Was One of Us.

When a person is a reporter such as I, they get to talk to people of a certain caliber. It’s just what we do. For instance, once I interviewed Jack Nicklaus. I stood that close to greatness and that was all I did. I had to record what other reporters asked because…sports.

Another time I was among a group of reporters covering the opening of a new exit on a tollway and—hold onto your wigs and keys—the Governor of Illinois was there and—wait for it—he hadn’t even been sentenced to jail yet.

After a while we can get a little jaded in our search to uncover the truth so, when I was recently sent out to interview the big guy, and I’m not talking about the Deputy Mayor of Bartlett, although he’s a big wig in Bartlett.

I’m talking about the Top Dog, the Great Kahuna, The Man Upstairs, The Chairman of the Board…wait…that’s Sinatra who’s only the Vice Top Dog.

Because this person is who he is, I was asked to keep his name out of print, but let’s just say the letters in his name are also the letters in the word dog. We will refer to him from this point as “G”.

Me: Hello, sir. It’s a surprising honor for you to take time out of your day to meet with me.

G: Don’t mention it. I have all the time in the world…Get it? All the time in the world is what I have.

Me: Yes, sir. Very amusing.

G: Because everything in the universe belongs to me.

Me: Uh-huh. So…How are you today?

G: Almighty. Omnipotent. My arthritis is flaring up a bit.

Me: You have arthritis? Can’t you heal that?

G: No need. I got something from my doctor. Doesn’t make me drowsy. And you know what they say; nobody likes a drowsy Lord of the Universe.

Me: Who says that?

G: Pretty sure I heard it somewhere.

Me: I’ll take your word for it.

G: It is the word of the Lord.

Me: Good to know. Shall we get started?

G: That’s why I’m here. Of course, as we just established, I’m everywhere.

Me: Uh-huh. What is your opinion of the 10 Commandments now that some time has passed? Anything you’d take out or add?

G: I was just thinking about updating them recently. I mean, it’s pretty much a given that you shouldn’t murder or steal, etc. The name in vain thing though, I’ve just thrown up my hands on that one. And coveting? Meh. What’s a little coveting among friends? Most people don’t even have oxen anymore.

Me: But isn’t the coveting thing, more or less, about thankfulness for what you have?

G: Sure. You know the old saying: if you’re on your toes looking over the fence at your neighbor’s stuff, you’re going to get a Charlie Horse.

Me: That’s not a saying, sir.

G: Well, it should be. They can’t all make the Book of Proverbs, you know. Anyway, let’s just say, try to mind your own business. Also, a wife shouldn’t be categorized as a thing someone owns.

Me: Very progressive, Sir.

G: Well, you know, you live, you learn.

Me: Any hobbies?

G: I’m a creative person, so I like to dabble here and there. I’m thinking of trying something new though. People just don’t seem to notice what I’ve put together. I mean, why should you need to tell someone to stop and smell the roses? They’re there! They’re waiting to be admired! As I always say, Gather ye roses while ye may.

Me: Pretty sure that was Robert Herrick, sir.

G: That’s because I inspired him to write that.

M: uh-huh…Anyway, is love all you need?

G: That and a good recipe for chocolate cake.

Me: What was your greatest miracle?

G: The 2016 Cubs.

Me: Very impressive.

G: It took some doing, let me tell you.

Me: I can imagine. What do you think of our political system? Any advice?

G: Could be better. For instance, I’ve always thought a good way to elect officials would be to hold a singing competition.

Me: What now?

G: Like The Voice. The preliminaries are like the primaries and the general election would be the top singers, singing for their life. Now, that’s something I could get into.

Me: What if the winner is no good at governing?

G: Begin another singing contest.

Me: Uh-huh.

G: One can only listen to the Messiah Chorus and Joan Osborne so much, you know? Yeah, yeah, God is good and yeah, yeah God is great. It gets tedious.

Me: Do you have any favorite musicians?

G: Well, I mean who doesn’t love The Beatles?

Me: What about all that mess with John Lennon saying The Beatles are greater than God? Didn’t that upset you?

G: They are much better musicians. I just can’t get the hang of a guitar after playing a lute all these years. Lennon’s been working with me. Did you know he learned to play on a banjo?

Me: I did not. Back to the commandments. Anything you’d add?

G: Oh, sure. If I knew people were going to chew so loudly, I’d have certainly addressed that.

Me: Okay.

G: And people who talk at the theater and concerts and movies. Sometimes I feel like smiting. Good me. If you have to talk go somewhere where you don’t bother anyone, like—Also, put the carts back in the cart corral and hang the clothes back up when your done trying them on.

(At this point a bit of thunder could be heard).

I mean, just don’t be a jerk. Road rage, really? Save your anger for what really matters: like when they cancel all the good TV shows.

(Thunder gets louder).

Me: Huh. Well, that’s about all I need—

G: Wait. One more thing. Stop abusing the less powerful in general. For the love of me! It takes nothing away from you to be kind. (At this point he covered his eyes with his hands.).

(Lighting flashes and rain begins.)

G: Karma’s a thing! And Instant Karma is going to get you…hold on…I’m being told that Lennon wrote that. (Whispers.) He can be a real poop about his music.

Me: Anything else?

G: Well, sometimes he gets crabby about McCartney still touring.

Me: Understandable.

G: I mean, good golly, that boy can entertain.

Me: Yes sir. And he’s pretty cute too.

G: You’re welcome.

Me: Any final words?

G: The love you take is equal to the love you make. As the great prophet said: People can love you just the way you are.

Me: Wasn’t that Mr. Rogers?

G: And?

Me: Nothing, Sir.

G: What was I saying? Oh! Once you love yourself, apply that to your fellow human beings. You know? I should have put that into the book. Imagine. Nothing to kill or die for. A brotherhood of man.

Me: Um, two back up comments. 1: You did make that rule. It’s known as the Golden Rule. And 2: You’re quoting Lennon, again.

G: (Holds up a finger) John! Play something else!

Me: So you can hear him sing whenever?

G: Whenever he’s in the mood. Artists, you know?

Me: Well, thanks for…everything. Please tell John we miss him.

G: You’re welcome and he knows.

Me: Okay—well…

G: Don’t eat too much sugar!

Me: I won’t.

G: It’s not nice to lie to me.

Me: Sorry.

G: I forgive you.

Me: Thanks.

G: Don’t take any wooden nickels.

Me: Thanks. I’ll try not to.

G: I’ll see you later.

Me: Much, I hope.

G: (Pantomimes locking his lips and throwing away the key.)

Me: Well, that’s not disconcerting.

G: (Shrugs) (sings) It’s the circle of life and it moves us all. I wrote that!

Me: Yes, well…it’s lovely. Goodbye, sir

G: Goodbye! Love you!

Me: Goodbye, sir. Thanks for…everything.

G: Thanks for thanking me. Amen.

Me: Amen.

Why a Jamboree and More!


I like to stay neutral here on my blog, mostly because this is my world and what I say goes unless I’m tired and suggest something untoward, in which case, just go on with your lives and don’t wake me up whilst doing so.


Anyway, in the light of a certain speech made at a Boy Scout gathering, I have a few questions that I feel need to be addressed. First of all and of the utmost importance; what the hell is a Jamboree?


Have you ever turned to your colleagues at the end of a difficult work-week and exclaimed, “Hey Fellas! How about we attend a jamboree?”


Seriously, is that how it works? I’ve never worked in an office in my life. I’ve been a preschool teacher, waitress, store clerk, reporter, etc…and not once was a Jamboree mentioned until this year and of course, I have tirelessly researched that fact. Don’t confuse me with the truth.


In any case, is a Jamboree anything like a Hullabaloo?


To clarify, if you’re over 50, you’re probably picturing an American Bandstand knock off of that name, and you would be correct. If you’re under 50 you’re probably thinking, What’s a Bandstand? Well, you won’t hear it from me, go write your own blog about current pop music, ya punks and Paul McCartney.



According to Mr. Webster, a hullabaloo is a noisy and confused situation which begs another question; I can see why the show was noisy, but what were yesterday’s teenagers confused about when they were watching Paul Revere and The Raiders? Perhaps it was the Knickerbockers and tri-cornered hats or perhaps because Sammy Davis Jr. hosted one week. Something about him doesn’t scream let’s scream at him if you get my drift.


If you don’t, go play with your little fidget things. When I was a kid and I wanted to fidget, I had to use my fingers! And I was happy to have them!


So…Hullabaloo. It’s different from a Jamboree in that, according to the dictionary, a Jamboree is a “noisy and unrestrained carouse” while a Hullabaloo consists of confused teenagers wondering what a carouse is and if it was less confusing than Shindig.


Above: Your Grandma not screaming at Sammy Davis Jr. 


Now, Shindig, which has nothing to do with what happens when you walk into the open door of a dishwasher and create another bruise on your leg. Instead, it was another kid oriented pop/rock show that was a replacement for Hootananny, a folk music show and did anyone notice that music related shows in the 60s had odd names? Good thing MTV was invented to be more succinct and then abandon music for ding-dongs participating in shenanigans, which speaks for itself.


Not that it’s a big hoo-hah, but still, isn’t a hoo-hah what the kids call their nether regions? I don’t want to cause a kerfuffle on The Internet as I’d rather not break new ground.


Also, remember what the word thong used to mean? If not, a word of advice, don’t go to a shoe store and ask for one or, if you must, ask someone with a few gray hairs.


So, what have we learned? First we learned that a Jamboree is a noisy and unrestrained carouse and not a mixed cocktail, although it seems there was a mixed cocktail of attendees this year’s Jamboree and also, unexpectedly, shenanigans.


Also, we have learned that Hullabaloo is similar to Shindig and Hootenanny and that you shouldn’t say hoo-hah or thong to Millennials as it amuses them and may turn into a melee.


Clear enough or is it more of a Jamboree?

Why a Puppy


So we have a puppy. Her name is Ella. I didn’t want one, but it turns out it’s mandatory, like death, taxes and having panic attacks during campaign periods.



My son found her mug shot on the Internet. She was behind bars for what we can only assume was a urine related incident, either that or death by adorable…ness.


She is a mix; Yorkie and something other than a Yorkie. We’re not sure what because, after asking a dog groomer and two vets, the best they could come up with was: a Yorkshire Terrier and some sort of terrier that is not a Yorkshire Terrier. It’s hard to say what the mystery addition is, except to say she is long and tall. I think it’s possible that she’s actually two short, skinny guys in a dog suit.


From what we can see of it, she has an adorable face. Her bangs (or fringe if you’re from the UK and can’t help saying things wrong, adding a u to words and eggs to everything else), partially obscure her face to the point that I think she might have cut someone else’s bangs too short in another life and is thereby facing her Karma.


She has two ears, which is a plus for just about everyone, except for people who live next to airports and air horn factories and Ella’s house.


These ears don’t seem to belong to her, as if she tried on a Great Dane’s ears and forgot to give them back. They seem to work independently from the rest of her body as well as each other, especially when she barks. Each utterance brings about a new configuration. Bark! One up, one down. Bark! One back, one up. Bark! One down, one juggling kibble.


We’ve had plenty of time to enjoy this phenomenon, as it appears Ella has been sent with a very urgent message on the level of R2D2, one that we have yet to decipher, but she is determined to deliver. It better not be, “I like chicken” or “Squirrels are ne’er-do-wells” or we have spent an inordinate amount of time with our ears ringing for nothing.


She has a condition, which our vet refers to as “The Zoomies”. (This is the same vet who declared her a Yorkie and something that’s not a Yorkie, so we are not sure if this is an official diagnosis). This condition takes place first thing in the morning when Ella feels the need to be convincing as half Yorkie/half Greyhound or coyote (pronounced Ki-yote to sound fiercer). She runs laps outside, pausing only to maul our nine-year-old Miniature Schnauzer/Yorkie. At first, this came as a surprise to our older dog, Rain, after all, with Ella’s face it’s kind of like being mugged by Shirley Temple.


Once the Zoomies subside, she ramps down to crazy, throwing her toys for herself and continuing to maul our Rain, who, over time has become resigned to her fate, yet cleverly signed up for Kung Fu in her spare time. She’s just that smart.


Once Ella is completely worn out she morphs into the animal we decide to keep. She blinks her eyes in exhaustion, reaches out to be picked up and settles in for a nap, where she adorably stops biting and fighting and sleeps the sleep of the damned…or the innocent. Doesn’t matter. She’s quiet and we can hear ourselves think.


Havoc is not the only condition she imposes when she is awake, however. She makes us laugh when she unconvincingly menaces her mirrored image. She makes us all mushy inside when she looks up at us with flattened ears and smiles. She creates a healthier environment when we desperately attempt to ward off future Zoomies by walking her around the neighborhood at what, for us, seems a pretty steady clip, but, for her, seems to be a frustratingly slow stroll.


For Rain, she has brought a friend to play with and cuddle with in sleep, neither of which was approved of by our late Lhasa-Apso, Grace Greco who seemed to find it weird when we would take her lovies and throw them as hard as we could into another room and demand some space in which to sleep.


Over all, and for the time being, we’ve decided to keep this creature that is almost potty trained and sometimes attempts to eat our rocking chair, which I think makes our family tolerant in the extreme. Consider our reaction if our son came home with a girlfriend and said person almost always used the toilet instead of pooping in our closet and also relaxed by settling down for a gnaw on our furniture.


Plus, there is hope for the future, because, all dogs, like all children, become adults and make us cry when we thing of when they were new and everything they did was darling in our memories. So, we’ll sit back and enjoy what we can and suffer through what we have to, knowing full well one day we’ll say to one another; remember when Ella used to bark at her reflection in the window, in the same way we currently say; remember when Grace hated it when we threw her toys? And cry just a little.



Why Chris Martin owes me a refund


So. I went to see Coldplay for the third time last month. Those of you who’ve read my blog, know me or have driven next to me in traffic know I love Coldplay, specifically, Chris Martin and believe he is magical. Not like a unicorn, because they only exist in the mind of the truly innocent and that guy from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but still as magical as one can be without the ability to spew glitter on demand. On second thought…


I was depending on Chris Martin to help me recover from my Annus horribilis, which is not Latin for hemorrhoids but Horrible Year, a term I learned from Elizabeth the Second after she tripped over a Corgi three years back.


My year, however, has actually been worthy of whatever award they give First World People when life has smacked them about for more than a week or two.


Hold on to your wigs and keys, as Dave Letterman used to say when he cared about what I wanted to see on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love Stephen Colbert and watch him most every night, but I wish I could have my cake and eat it too and, also that Dave would pop up from time to say something smart and snarky before sinking into his beard again, while Stephen Colbert continues to amuse.


Anyway, here’s a list of what has gone on in my life since March 2016. Ironically, I was given a mood leveller in hopes that I would stop dragging my nose on the ground on a regular basis, instead, it knocked me on my ass for 5 weeks while I laid in bed trying not to move my head, which caused vertigo and a plethora of unpleasant symptoms no one truly wants to hear or experience, trust me.


As I pulled slowly from that sinkhole, I fell into the larger crevice of my father’s death, followed closely with my big brother teetering on the edge of death for a number of weeks and then, one week after her 16th birthday, my dog, Gracie Louise Greco barked at her last mail carrier, successfully sending him from my porch, gripped in terror, or so she likely thought.


By this time, it was late June and I pinned my hopes on Chris Martin, who, most likely was blithely unaware and mostly goofy, because as Dr. Phil says, the past is the best predictor of the future.


I had bought my tickets last December, splurging mightily and shockingly to my more pragmatic friends. As a freelance writer, I won’t be taking any solo trips to Paris or even Peoria any time soon. Still, I thought, I love my Coldplay and I took a leap of faith that I would continue to receive a fairly regular, two or three gigs from The Daily Herald on a monthly basis, thereby paying off Chris Martin in hopes he didn’t send out one of his goons to break my kneecaps. Luckily for my legs, I did so and proceeded to squirm and squeal in anticipatory joy for the weeks leading up to the concert.


The concert was at the end of July and I would be in the second row between the stage and one of two runways. He would probably have to sit in my lap to perform a couple of songs as I intended to be in his way. My hope was that I would have my face splashed on the evening news: Local Woman Arrested After Chris Martin Incident.


Sigh. I dreamt of it nearly every night, knowing that this would end my losing streak and begin a new age of delight and peacefulness if I managed to ignore the conventions and subsequent elections.


Unfortunately, and apparently Chris Martin caught wind of my upcoming intent to violate my probation and removed the two ramp, replacing them with one ramp down the middle of the floor. The following ensued.


One week before the show I got a letter from Satan AKA Satan. Dammit, Spellcheck, I’m trying to write Satan and it keeps changing it to Satan.   Hang on. Ticketmaster is the accepted term, but, just for the record, I agree with Spellcheck.


So, the letter was from Ticketmaster, telling me, due to a production change and I was now sitting in the 24th row, unless I wanted to return those tickets and try to do better, which I did. I ended up choosing 12th row floor tickets, which seemed to be stage right, but turned out to be stage Southern Illinois.


Yada, yada, Big Storm, yada, yada $49 parking, yada, yada, jumping kids obscure any view I might had in the steam bath that was the floor of Soldier Field. One more yada, yada, huge storm, buckets of cold water. Concert is cut short, or so I heard as I was in a cornfield in Springfield.


My friend and I muddled our way back to our car in a deluge and it took three days before ducks stopped following me, thinking I was a lake.


So, suffice it to say, I am less than cured of my 2016 malaise and am open to ideas of how to get past this year without having to live through autumn and Satan. Winter. I meant winter. For the record, Spellcheck is on a roll.


By the way, I still haven’t received my refund from Satan. (Ticketmaster. Not Winter.)




Why You Should Get Married.

Why You Should Get Married.

There are many benefits of being married: companionship, shared resources, the understanding that someone else will plunge the toilet if you wander off, pretending you aren’t aware. Oh, and the whole love thing.

Love is something that takes many forms during the life of marriage, starting with sitting outside the bathroom door while the other takes care of business because you can’t stand to be away from each other to–I love you, but do you really have to chew on a regular basis?

I could go on and on about the many benefits of marriage and those of you who read my blog are fully aware that I can and do, but wait! Come back! Just one more thing, and it’s mind boggling! If practiced as it was intended, marriage is a natural deterrent to dating. BANG!  I’ll wait until you dust yourself off before continuing.

Dating, which is the tedious shuffling through human beings to determine which of the species will not drive you into a mental institution over a prolonged period of time, is like mining for diamonds in your back yard; you may find one, but it’s most likely attached to the severed hand of a previous homeowner and you have to turn it over to the police anyway as it’s evidence.

A prolonged period of time is, of course, subjective and can seem much longer than the actual time passing if the person who seemed fabulous when you both separated to your own abodes after making kissy face, now makes you wish your beloved was a serial killer to, at least, put an end to your suffering sooner rather than later, which is probably what happened to the former diamond owner in your yard.

Here comes an adage: It’s better to live alone than to wish murder was an event wherein the murderer gets one oops before suffering jail time.

Having said that, dating is worse. No, it really is. I barely remember the activity because since June 3, 1978, I have repeated the phrase every married person should memorize when asked out for an evening of dinner and bouncy-bouncy: “My spouse frowns on my dating.” You’re welcome.

Now, I’ve never actually asked my husband if dating is OK, but it seemed implicit when I spoke the vows in front of friends and family. I don’t exactly remember what I said because it was so long ago and I was wearing an unusual outfit that made it hard to concentrate, but I got the gist, which is more than I can say about most cultural figures.

Dating is something so bad, however, that even watching other people go through the ritual is wince worthy: the awkwardness, the anxiety, the horror of finding that your coffee companion thinks the moon landing was faked. Jumpin’ Jehosophat! (I heard Katherine Hepburn say that a few days ago and made a note to throw it into casual conversation.)

I remember one discarded candidate of my youth, who considered it a charming and debonair to ring my doorbell in the morning, knowing I was asleep, so I would finally come down at yell at him. Another considered the word, “no,” to be in the same category as a yellow light; speed up and hope not to be stopped by the authorities. That person was the inspiration for the following Jeopardy answer: Your brother’s reputation as a badass who will kill anyone, even innocent by-standers, who even accidentally bump into his baby sister if she whimpers lightly after arriving home and relating the story.

Anyone want to ring in? Oooh. Sorry.  The question is: What is better than birth control? I knew many boys who chose the relative safety of Wheel of Fortune to the well known-consequence of making me tell on them.

Of course, dating has become an entirely different kettle of stinky fish since I was a teenager and we all watched fish grow legs and learn to walk on land as part of the evolutionary process for fun.

Now, in the time I can injure myself while shampooing, you can be rejected by a dozen or more people you never would have considered dating before social media was invented. Not only that, but if you do find your temporary true love, you can be treated to a first row seat describing how much happier your ex is having unfriended you.  Add to that the troubling idea that, while your snookieookums claims to be studying, a seemingly unending stream of photos of your beloved featuring alcohol induced tongue displaying and duck faces, testifying to the fact that your honey bunny is a douche.

So, how do you find someone to marry? A dilemma inside of a dilemma. Figure it out and then get married or agree to abide sharing an abode. It will either save you from the agony of flipping through hundreds of photos of ostensibly available mates or it won’t. I make no guarantees. Whatever works for you. But, for the love of the remote control, don’t marry someone who will drive you to disastrous acts in the future, (unless they pass that oops law, then just take your best shot, one way or the other.)

Why My Mother Wins

Why My Mother Wins

If you’re like me and let’s all bow our heads and pray you aren’t, your mother engrained certain behavior, preferences and prejudices into your supple, young psyche—two adjectives which describe nothing about me at this point in time.

I’m not talking about manners as your family saw them, because, aside from please and thank you and stop hitting your brother even though he started it, most manners are created by societal guy named Norm.

Family dynamics rule the day when it comes to customs and regulations in every household. My mother, for instance, considered using the word “Pop” the Midwestern term for soft drinks, instead of the vastly superior term “soda” to be déclassé and forbade us to use the noxious term. My mother had grown up in Pennsylvania where the term soda is the preference. The trouble is, we grew up in Chicago where I the word pop on the streets.

I went along with my mother because, when we’re living in a closed environment, we figure our parents know what’s up, given the amount of time they’ve spent on earth compared to you, as a child who sprung from the parental loins.  Yes, I found that term slightly nauseating as well and will forbid my son to use it in the future.

When we’re about 12, we realize parental superiority is nonsense and that we, at 12 measly years-old, know everything important that needs to be known and consider our former concept of normal to be —how to be diplomatic?—A steaming ball of crazy, a conception which usually vaporizes at about 21-years-old, but, in my case, is right on.

For instance, my mother and her mother called green peppers mangos throughout my childhood.  I don’t remember when I realized this was wrong, probably when I learned to read the sign over the peppers at Jewel which clearly stated “Not Mangoes”.

But, I digress and return to my original premise which is; my mother is more peculiar than your mother and I can prove it.

When I was a child and my mother monitored my bathroom habits, she felt the need to create words other than poo-poo or pee-pee, et.Al. for feces and urine because, in her eyes, what our body considered waste, my mother considered rude to talk about, even during potty training, which, in the real world, necessitates discussion when you’re two.  (I probably didn’t need all those commas, but I have nowhere else to put them, so I’ll just leave them there for now.)

So, the words my mother created, much like mangos for green peppers, had a definition outside of the context used by the majority of society.  (Did you get my societal norm joke yet?) When I came out of the bathroom, my mother asked me if I had wet or done something special.

I know what you’re thinking, talk about creating a sense of accomplishment far beyond what is necessary, did she also keep little trophies in the cabinets which were bestowed upon you for breathing and sleeping?

Nope. My mother was neither touchy nor feely. My mother was and is a no nonsense woman, unless you call referring to green peppers as mangos nonsensical, and why wouldn’t you?

Still, while I was young and impressionable the phrase “something special” meant what the rest of the world called poop, nonsensical or not

So what? I’ll tell you so what. Some time ago, a major religious figure died in Chicago. I am not a practitioner of his faith, but this is Chicago, so Catholic news leads, even ahead of cat videos.

I was half watching and half updating my Facebook page in a way that would make me appear more normal than I am, when I fell into peels of laughter, proving my quest for the norm was unsuccessful.  Why? A priest was discussing his last conversation with the soon-to-be-late religious figure just before the fellow, who usually wore a decorative hat, found out if God is what he expected or is, instead an angry woman with a celestial rolling pin.

At that dramatic point in time, according to the non-hat-wearing religious figure, the dying leader requested that the aforementioned priest, do something special for him.  Get it?  It was hilarious!

I laughed so hard that crossing my legs became a necessity and my husband demanded an explanation which consisted of him glancing at me, raising his eyebrows and going back to what he was doing because me amusing myself is not an unusual occurrence in his life, and my explanations never seem to justify my level of my mirth…to him.  My son gets the same treatment.  We’ve contacted Amnesty International and we thought they’d be more sympathetic as they laughed as well, but nothing has come of it.

I live in fear of sitting through a eulogy where the speaker makes a comment such as “Hubert brought a little something special into every home he visited.”  I’ve also shamed myself when servers have told me they have something special on the menu.  Even Oprah would send me into peels of laughter when she announced the show was sponsored by a certain airline whose slogan was, “Something special in the air,”.  That probably should be Dave Matthews slogan as well.

Now, I’m making a pretty big assumption when it comes to family weirdness and I’d love to hear your stories as well, I’m sure you all have something special to share or maybe you don’t. Maybe your family is the one and only normal family in the land.  In any case, until you are further notified, my mother wins.

Having said all of this, I want to apologize for the included sentiment at the top of the page.  It is an example of why my life is more difficult than yours and not representative of feelings about you, my valued readers, or reader, as is often the case..  You’re not something special. You’re welcome.

Why Baby Boomers Are Lucky (to be alive.)


When I was a kid, my father whipped me with a cat-o-nine-tails outside of my house if I even looked sideways at him. (I’m not sure why sideways was an issue for him and I certainly wasn’t going to ask).  I walked to school with paper bags on my feet, which may seem less than helpful, but it happened when I was a kid so it was character building.  My parents would play bowling

strict-1950swith kids by setting up pins in the back of a station wagon, and then making quick lane changes on the Eisenhower Expressway and we didn’t die. I disappeared first thing in the morning and didn’t return again until long after all the cops had gone to bed and my mom never even noticed I was gone unless I left uneaten liver on my plate and then it was back to the cat-o-nine-tails.  I thank God for them everyday because it made me the parent fearing, paper bag wearing, bruise displaying, former missing child I am today.

We’ll be back in a minute with our program: Why the Boomer Generation is Lucky to Have a Single Representative Left Alive after this message from Sugar Drops!  Candy Coated Sugar!  It’s what for breakfast!

Those were the days, weren’t they? We faced danger straight in the face and continued to not die.  We were lucky and brave and unaware of what was lurking in the various bushes and all station wagons.

Nowadays, (I guess that’s a word because spell check ignored me), kids are wimps, seat belt and helmet wearing wimps, brought up by simpering parents (our kids and grandkids) who don’t appreciate the lessons we strived to teach them; primarily, making it out alive is good enough for us and should be good enough for the little buggers we produce.

Every kid who runs into trouble does so because his or her parents didn’t take a good swing at them from time to time.  I’m guessing those ISIS characters (and by characters I mean M!!@#  Fu!@#$  A!@#s who should die in a pit of their own mucus) were raised by a bunch of Spock reading ninnies who gave them “a time out” rather than beat them, but I can’t vouch for this as I was raised by a pair of people who harbored within themselves a mix of every European identity and thought reasoning with kids was the devil’s therapy session.

We lived on the South side of Chicago, where all of the European mixes of the day congregated and apparently held meetings on how to deal with youngsters who misbehaved or behaved in developmentally appropriate ways, because most every kid in our neighborhood was very familiar with the dreaded bouncey ball paddle sans bouncey ball.

And I don’t mean to imply or say outright that I felt I was in danger throughout my childhood because, unless I walked between my father and the White Sox on TV, I was either pretty safe or completely unaware of the abundance of hidden dangers.

I rarely did anything apart from my parents that I wouldn’t do in front of them except riding my bike along break neck paths in the nearby woods, dating boys (men) who were far too old for me, trying and casting aside cigarettes, being myself, and watching TV with my friends by way of the kitchen phone.

How’s that life threatening you may ask?  Well, the phone was attached to a cord and could have been a deathtrap if someone had tripped over it as I watched Cat Stevens on Midnight Special in the den, with a phone that began its life in the kitchen. But I was willing to do that, because I was wild.

I was also the youngest and the only girl in my family and my parents either found this adorable or terrifying because I was never spanked despite my transgressions.

My brothers, however, behaved as if they were members of the Hell’s Angels and that was in the first grade, from that point on, my brothers made the Hell’s Angels look like Pat Boone’s family reunion (remember him?  Doesn’t he seem creepy to you now?).  They were spanked plenty and this seemed to encourage them, so who knows?

I spanked my only child three times, and by spanked, I mean swatted the piles of padding on the back of his butt.  I’m pretty sure that’s why he doesn’t remember it.  I spanked him once because he ran out in the street, another time because he chased a squirrel after I explicitly said these words, three times, “Don’t chase the squirrel” and the third time because he ran out in the street while chasing a squirrel.

At some point, I asked myself why hitting the person I loved most in the world seemed to be a good idea when, as a preschool teacher, I controlled an entire classroom full of kids by giving them my patented “I don’t think so,” look.  And it worked.  Still does. There’s something about my face that makes small children freeze in their tracks and comply and don’t think that hasn’t come in handy at restaurants.

So, I gave up making myself feel bad by swatting him with such a light touch that he didn’t feel it and, as a result he has never listened to my directives a day in his life.

I’m exaggerating and embellishing for comic effect, of course. My son grew up without incident and went to college where he began to misbehave by completely ignoring my specific directions that he become a rock star rather than study psychology. And yes, I’m probably the initial reason for his choice of majors.

Studying is not his only focus, however. He also teaches music to ruffians-in-the-making at School of Rock.  (Yes, there is a real School of Rock and no, Jack Black doesn’t teach there,)

He has hobbies too! Like worrying that I’m disappointed in him because he didn’t become a rock star which is balderdash, if balderdash means kind of true. (Not really, Jesse. Find another hobby…like rock stardom!)

Yet, if I met him at Starbucks today and we struck up a conversation I would try to figure out a way to make him my BFF, whatever that means, because, if you leave out the rock star part, and I don’t, he’s turned into the kind of adult I could like very much, because loving him might seem creepy given the age difference between him and me, although I think his devilish good looks might make it understandable.

And not to toot my own horn (and as David Letterman says, “I would if I could”), I think he’ll probably raise my future grandchildren in a similar way so, I’ll probably like them too.  If not, I’ll just give them the face.

All of which goes to show, I molly-coddled him and, as a result, he defied me in the most important ways. No rock stardom for him!  He could hit his unprotected head on a microphone stand or not wear a seatbelt in the back of a limousine, causing him to fall across the laps of girls of disrepute and who knows (or wants to know) what could have happened.

So, new parents, feed your kids too much sugar and surprise them with a spanking now and then, followed by the words my dear old dad used to say, “That was for nothing. Think how bad it will be if you do something.”

Those were the days.  Thank goodness they’re over.