Category Archives: Humor

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.)

 

 

 

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 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.

Why 312 Months is a Difficult Age

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Why 312 Months is a Difficult Age

Parenting is a challenge. Just about the time you realize what your 12-month-old means by geya, (read a book) your 312-month-old moves out of the house.

I know what you’re thinking, “Did you count to three? Because the book says counting three will nip unwanted behavior in the bud”. I did and it didn’t.

I threatened to ground him, but he openly defied me as he packed about 500 of the 1200 t-shirts he owns, along with some guitar picks and was out the door with everything he would need to be a guy in the world.

I wasn’t too worried at first. You know what they say, he’ll get to the end of the block and change his mind and they were right, except about the changing his mind. Apparently, he got to the end of the block, went onto the next block, eventually got on the expressway and forgot the saying entirely, which is not as cute as my friend’s son’s story. He ran away from home on a tricycle dressed only in his mother’s filmy pink nightgown. This would be less cute and more creepy if the son in question was 312 months old, but, luckily, this youngster was a mere lad and therefore only raised a few eyebrows and instead of the suspicion of the neighborhood watch.

It’s going on two months since my son became room mates with two women and had to pretend to be gay so as not to raise the suspicion of their conservative and clueless landlord and that, of course, was Three’s Company. My son has become room mates with two women and two men, none of which pretend to be gay, except maybe their cat, who is suspiciously drawn to Broadway musicals.

Still this doesn’t mean hijinks and shenanigans don’t occur on a regular basis. It just means there’s no laugh track and none of the girls are dingbats or future spokespeople for the thighmaster.

The entire situation has thrown me through a loop, but I’ve always been pretty clumsy. On one hand, I want my son to live in the basement of my house and be at my beck and call when it comes to going out for breakfast or watching cat videos on youtube or just so I can mock him in person, but on the other hand…to be honest, there is no other hand. I just want him to live in my basement.

I suppose if he actually considered this his best option, I would doubt my fitness as a mother all the while we were going out to breakfast and I would, most certainly, be making fun of him for his lameness as it pertains to basements. Still, there would be the youtube sharing, but I guess that’s not enough to make life decisions by unless you want to make your mother happy and guilty at the same time, and who doesn’t?

His departure has made me question a number of things in my life. I wonder if I should have had a second child, a girl, maybe, with a sweet manner and the desire to make me happy at all costs. Then I look at the ghosts of their former selves, which are my friend with daughters, and realize that sugar and spice and everything nice business is crap, at least till the daughters move out of your house.

Still, as my friends with daughters sip their crack cocaine in the morning to prepare themselves for the eye rolling and lip curling which is female adolescence, I kind of envy them and wonder if it’s better to wish your child would hit the tricycle trail then to wish they would sit on your lap beyond the time it’s physically, psychologically, and socially a terrible idea for them to do so.

Other vital questions: Now that I’m no longer the mother of a child, does that mean I should stop signing him up for tee-ball in the spring? How many times can I tell the story of him saying “a little bite of Jesus” rather than “a taste of heaven” before the cashier at Jewel quits her job to become an inner city cop? Should I buy groceries for him to stave off scabies or let him eat globs of grease until he learns that Crisco is not a food group?

All in all, it’s part of the evolution of parenting from holding your breath in hopes that he’ll fall asleep so you can finally catch up on the four months of sleep you’ve missed since the introduction of baby monitors in your life, to holding your breath in hopes that he’s happy and safe and, to tell the truth, I still like the breath holding better than not having someone in the world that you made from scratch who may or may not cure cancer or write the next million selling record or introduce you to Chris Martin when that happens, so it’s all good, except for the fact that someone in that apartment is bound to write an wacky sitcom about his or her time living with these room mates and I’ll probably be played by Roseanne Barr as the overbearing, manipulative, nosey mother of the Jesse character, let’s call him Jorge Ponyboy, who barges into the apartment at the most inopportune times and hollers, “Don’t worry about me, I’m just a mother!” each time I arrive.

(The preceding run on sentence was brought to you by Nike.)

In real life, I have tried to control my urge to rent an apartment in the area where my son lives, mostly prompted by the order of protection he took out and I only considered calling my son Jorge Ponyboy for a brief time when he was about ten and discontinued the idea when I found out the amount of paperwork it takes to rename your 120 month old son.

Most of the time, I find better things to do than listen to this song and weep into my chocolate, and when I miss him too much, I drive the 45 minutes to his apartment and take him out to breakfast at Beatles and Bianca, (that’s an inside joke) because I’m glad he’s moving forward and enjoying his freedom and I hereby promise, if Jesse let’s me get away with this one last ode to missing him, I’ll find something else to talk about on my next blog. Maybe something new and surprising like how Chris Martin’s mom must have felt when he moved out.

What I Forgot to Tell My Son

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What I Forgot to Tell My Son

Whilst checking out at Target, I inexplicably shared with the woman ringing me up, that my son was moving out that very day. She peered at me like a small hen who had just rang up all of the ingredients for my world famous fried chicken minus the chicken and then asked if I left my son with anything.

I thought she might have meant torn towels and cracked dishes,license-plate

but she soon clarified she meant advice on how I expect him to behave.

What I should have said was I expect him to behave like he always behaves,

like an enormous galoot that trails coins, socks and guitar picks wherever he goes, but instead I told her, my son is 25 and if he hasn’t figured out what my life lessons were, it’s a little late to start now, although I still call him baby and occasionally try to pick him up, which is beside the point, but absolutely relevant when I visit the chiropractor.

She went on to discuss why teenagers can be assholes, advancing a theory which was neither relevant to our conversation or more than 10% true, but I thanked her because that’s how you get people to stop telling you things, and rolled my cart out of hearing. For all I know, she is still discussing the topic with confused replacements of me, but who can replace me, so never mind.

While driving home, I wondered what he’d say if asked about what I taught him over the time it was my chance to espouse philosophies and demand compliance. One thing’s for sure, it would be quite different than what I think I told him, so I thought I’d try to advise him one last time (kidding! I’ll never let up on him. Poor kid is an only child).

After a great deal of deep thought, here’s what I came up with.

There are seven deadly sins; sloth, envy, gluttony, anger, Curly, Larry and Doc. Try them out, pick which one you like and stick with it. My favorite is sloth, but you’ll need to figure this out for yourself.

Try not to be swarmy or smarmy.

Don’t wear white after Labor Day…or ever. I’m the one who did your laundry so, trust me on this.

Do not befriend or fall in love with anyone who can’t name The Beatles by their first and last names. Only marry someone who can tell you Paul’s first name and Ringo’s given name. The Ringo point is less important, naturally.

Try to be kind. Yes, even to the guy who argues that Yeti’s are eating his potato chips while he sleeps. There’s no need to jeer him unless your friends do and then, of course, join in.

Watch out for women who ask; Notice anything different?

Do your damn homework. Even if it’s irrelevant, like Algebra or Physics.

Even though you will always love me best, you probably shouldn’t tell women this on the first date…or the thirtieth. Maybe just keep that our little secret.

No one is better than you and you are not better than anyone else. Except for people who leave clothes on the floor is store dressing rooms and people who leave their shopping carts in handicapped parking spaces. These people are stupid and evil. Avoid them.

This is not 100% true, but people who use mustache wax are clinically insane 90% of the time. Approach them with caution.

When deciding whether or not to participate in an activity; ask yourself, will this make a hilarious story to tell my mother? If the answer is yes, do it and try to take videos. If the answer is no, move on to the next ridiculous activity you are inclined to participate in.

Never end a sentence with a preposition. (Do as I say, not as I do. Doobie doobbie doo.) Make of that what you will.

If anyone wants to fight you, seem to happy about it and they’ll wander off.

Finally, become a rock star so I can meet Paul McCartney and Chris Martin. I’m sorry but you just don’t meet enough people I want to meet as a Forensic Psychologist. (I know. I just can’t remember the title you’re aiming for.)

Wait. Don’t forget to tell me you miss me with a fiery passion, even if you haven’t given me a second thought in days.

Oh, one more. Lie.

Why You Should Shut Up and Why I Already Have

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Why You Should Shut Up and Why I Already Have

The act of being alive affords many questions which will, if history is any indicator, never be adequately answered. Questions like: Why are we here? (on earth, not the Internet. We’re on the Internet because there’s nothing on TV. The End.) What is the meaning of life? (and I’m not talking about the Monty Python movie) and why do so many people fail to understand that Cilantro tastes like feet?

shut-up

All of the preceding questions will, no doubt, plague the thoughtful denizens of humanity until Kansas is the last ocean front property or until we run out of Oreo’s, whichever comes first, but as far as I’m concerned, there is one question that supersedes the others, one question that is so deeply mysterious that no amount or quality of think tanks will ever be able to even crack the surface of this mystery inside an enigma. And that question is: What the hell is Gwyneth Paltrow thinking?

I kid, of course. The real mystery of the ages is why do people go to musical performances to have conversations? Have they not heard of restaurants or even living rooms or cars?

Since every written question is rhetorical, by virtue of the lack of human give and take, known as conversations, I will answer for all of you who do not talk at performances. No, they have not heard of these places, nor have they heard of grassy hillsides, sidewalks or the library, where apparently talking is now considered in vogue and-spoiler alert!-the topic of future rant.

Maybe talkers, (who will be heretofore referred to as Yapsters) think people wander off of the street, decide to become musicians and begin to make a pleasing sound (unless they’re Yoko Ono) with no forethought or sense of accomplishment, when, in fact, they start picking out tunes on the piano as toddlers, tenderly banging their fists against the ivories looking for that next new sound, which will most likely be, “Go to bed, I’m tired”, which will not make sense to them until they’re old.

For the next ten years, aspiring musicians will be forced to attend lessons, ignoring the pleading teachers and parents who warn said children, if they don’t become rock stars they will have no way of earning a living. (At least that’s what I told my kid.)

Finally, after many student musicians who aren’t meant for the stage have drifted off to concentrate on their acne, those who remain will realize that musical instruments attract members of the opposite sex (or same, not that there’s anything wrong with that Trademark: Jerry Seinfeld,) and will pour their hearts and souls into learning to play, sing and move around the stage without tripping or looking like Joe Cocker (unless you’re Joe Cocker, in which case, have you taken your medicine?), finally rising from their basements and garages to take the stage in some dingy bar or coffee-house, throw back their heads and let their dreams spew out (this is only for metal heads and those band members who accept every drink bought for them,) only to find that the majority of patrons have attended, not to hear the artfulness of the performers musical expression, but because they’ve left their home in order to start a thousand sentences with the word, “Dude.”

This isn’t only the case with rockers or folk singers, but Barbershop quartets and opera singers, although those at the opera start conversations not with “Dude”, but “My Good Man”. In any and all cases, Yapsters not only feel free to gab, chat and generally exhort one another, much to the dismay and/or indignant fury of those who did or did not buy tickets (me), but did leave the house in order to hear the wonder of a human being with the ability to use the same 8 notes (except, once again for Yoko, who has apparently discovered her own musical tools, hitherto unheard by man nor beast) to make a myriad of melodies with instruments and vocal performances, that are so pleasing to the ear as to soothe the savage breast. (Yes, its breast. You have the quote wrong and, once again, the soothing part doesn’t apply to Ms. Ono, bless her heart.)

These talents, and I’ll give you that the word “talent” can be used very loosely in some cases, are every day occurrences to Yapsters. After all, music plays while they ride in elevators, shop in malls and watch Honey Boo Boo, so what’s the big deal, seems to be the “thinking”. The world owes them a soundtrack and they have no sense of reciprocity. So I will explain this in a patient and respectful way, so that, once and all Yapsters will understand. (They won’t, but since I’m here…)

Here’s the deal: Shut the hell up. When you’re in the elevator, shut the hell up. When you’re watching TV, even if it’s something so f!@#cked up that somewhere Shakespeare is weeping into his hands, shut up! Give yourself the chance to intake rather than output from time to time, or at least at the local bandshell when groups of bent old men, who look as if they’re concealing backpacks by wearing them under the fronts of their shirts, have been practicing for a year for this night where they can achieve warm applause for singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” mostly on key in three and 3/4 part harmony.

Shut up at orchestra presentations and piano recitals. Shut up for the ballet and they young man who only knows three chords but is trying his best on open mic night. Shut up for Yoko. You heard me. You knew what you were getting into when you came so shut up and take it.

And while I’m at it, and this is for your own good, shut up for Stand Up Comics because they make a living with their mind and they will not fail to use it against you in the most tortuous way. Think Braveheart but painful.

Make your kids shut up at the movies. When they ask why they have to be quiet when all the other kids are yapping, explaining that the parents of the other kids are Yapsters and Yapsters are the only group it’s ok to throw things at, then proceed to demonstrate this.

Shut Up! Be Quiet! Pipe Down! Zip your Lip! Shut you Pie Hole! Or Your Cake Hole (Your preference) Dummy up, Dummy!

Pretend you don’t have anything earth-shattering to share (and you don’t. Let’s just face facts), until the lights go up and the applause goes down and then you can alienate your friends and family with your constant chatter on a one-on-one basis which is how nature intended, where face to face, we can all contemplate the age-old questions, such as Why Are We Here?

Answer: Because no one publishes my blog posts so you have to be here in order read them. Next question? Ask me when the show’s over.