Category Archives: comedy

Why Chris Martin owes me a refund

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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…

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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.)

 

 

 

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Why You Should Get Married.

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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

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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.)

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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.

Why I Can Deal With 56

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Why I Can Deal With 56

Tomorrow’s my birthday! Remember how delightful that phrase used to be? (Assuming you are past the age of looking forward to growing older…21? 40?) I used to lie awake nights and calculate how long I would need to wait until turning one year older. I still lie awake, but in a “holy crap! Has it really been 40 years since I was allowed to date without my husband’s permission?” way.

Back when The Beatles roamed the earth, (together, engaging in cheeky banter), I used to begin looking forward to my birthday on the day after my birthday. Then I went into labor on my 30th birthday which made the whole agitation about turning 30 a pain glazed, surreal blend of terror and amazement where I discovered that I had really constructed an entire human being from materials I had around the house. The doctors told me this would happen, but these were the same people who said I needed to exercise, so I was skeptical.

But there he was, a mostly blue individual who apparently was under the impression that I, a very young person, was his mother and who was I to tell him differently as he didn’t speak English or tell time, if his sleep patterns were any indication. They handed him over with not so much as a owners manual and I learned that my birthday would be, heretofore, a day of preparation for his birthday and because I grew to think of him as the greatest person in the world, I went along with it.

Eventually, my birthday began to climb out from the rubble and became the most important day in everyone’s life once more. You’d think this would make me happy, but like Captain Hook, I was beginning to hear the ticking of blue hair and orthopedic shoes, or what ever sound terror makes.

That was stupid. I was still young in my thirties. Same goes for my forties, I’d like to go back to my forties and kick myself in my still firm flesh. I’ll probably feel the same in my sixties about my fifties, but thank goodness, that’s really far away.

Only it’s not! I’ll be 56 tomorrow, November 11! 56! That makes it fifty years since I couldn’t wait to get my drivers license and gas cost 47 cents a gallon and I used to return bottles to get the money! (That last sentence was brought to you by “In My Day,” the reality show only old people engage in, although most of us are unaware.)

Which reminds me, I am so old that I feel compelled to tell young people how things were in my day, which can only mean this is not my day! When did it stop being my day!?

Was it when I stopped wearing high heels because they hurt my knees? Was it when a late night out meant I could still be home for prime time tv? Was it when I stopped using pliers to pull up my zipper on my pants, not because they were too small, but because they were just right?

Yes, yes, yes, and so much more, most of which doesn’t bother me, because although I have grown older, my immaturity has remained intact. In fact, I recently took a Facebook quiz which tagged me as a 19-years-old, which doesn’t make me immature so much as the fact that I took a quiz, written by 14-year-olds, which placed me as one of their contemporaries and I was happy about it. My goddaughter, who is, by virtue of the year of her birth, actually a contemporary of the authors of the test, came out as 39, because she is an adult.

Despite the downside, which some would characterize as still being alive, but I prefer to consider as being victimized by gravity, I like most of the aspects of November 11. For one thing, I always got the day off of school because, aside from the day honoring my birth, it is Veterans Day. But mostly, if I were asked what three things are most important to me in life I would say world peace and next, that all the people—-(sound of record being removed from the turntable in a less than careful way). Presents, attention and cake, that’s what I live for, oh and love, of course. I live for the people I love giving me presents, attention and cake. (I’ve included a picture of me at last year’s celebration. Yup. That’s me, blowing out my candles. Sad, isn’t it?)

So, tomorrow, just when I got used to saying 55 with a grimace when asked my age, I will begin saying 56 with a grimace and cake on a day which so far as I’m concerned, is all about me…and presents and cake. And when it comes to making a wish, I’ll probably wish for more cake because the rest of my life is pretty good and after all, I’m 56. It’s not like I’m 57. Holy crap.