Tag: Humor

Disco Inferno

Oh, the sting and burn of a sarcastic observation! I don’t care much for the ones that leave scorch marks; but the ones that sizzle like a Texas barbecue sauce are another matter entirely. Gotta love those. And while it’s fun to watch someone poke a political bear, or William Shatner, sometimes we have to suck it up and take the roasting ourselves.

I love making people laugh. It makes me feel good. And then, there are those times where it’s someone else’s quip that gets the laugh. Very often at my expense. It used to mortify me. Now it makes me laugh as much as everyone else. A good zinger is a good zinger. I admire anyone who can pull it off. But i  really admire someone who can pull it off while being nervous and scared in the middle of a medical procedure. That takes a real gift. Or comedic intervention. Channeling the comedians of times past. But you’d be surprised how often it happens.

In the middle of a case, an invasive procedure, we are getting to the “easy” part. The patient has been silent for a while now and appears to have fallen asleep. A favorite song comes on the radio. I start to sing along. From under the sterile drape comes a deadpan and drugged voice, “You’re ruining it!” Commence full-on belly laughter. From then on, whenever any of us in the lab start to sing along with the radio – usually me – someone shouts out, “You’re ruining it!”

As we are preparing a patient for a procedure, he says, “Oh, and if my eyes start to water, i’m not crying. I’m….. I have allergies.” I respond with a sly grin, “Oh, i thought you were going to say that i was so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes.” He turns to me with a leprechaun smile and says, “You wouldn’t want me to lie, would you?” One coworker covers her mouth. The other says, “Ouch!” and laughs.  I responded at that moment with a snarly face and a laugh. But “You wouldn’t want me to lie, would you?” is becoming a standard response to any statement that remotely resembles fishing for a compliment. 

A non-English speaking Latino patient is coming out of anesthesia and begins to thrash. Worried that he will cause himself to fall off the procedure table, the nurse anesthetist calmly reminds him in Spanish that he is still in surgery and needs to not move, which does absolutely nothing. Knowing that when we are sedated, sometimes it takes a momma voice to bring us to our senses, but having to rely on languages i speak, i stick my head under the sterile drape and yell, “Basta!!!” The physician, who is Latino himself, calmly says, “Holly, that’s Italian.” I peek my head out from under, “It isn’t the same in Spanish?”  “I have no idea what you are trying to say, so i’d say no.”  Everyone cracks up. Now, whenever any of us is being impish or silly, another will yell, “Basta!!”

Most of the time, i don’t mind looking silly. Life itself can be pretty silly. So if i slip on a banana peel and slide into a pile of honey and chicken feathers, i’m going to laugh. Ok, that’s never going to happen. But if i am dancing around the office and a loud toot escapes during a Grand Jeté, i will laugh. Yes, that has happened. And it was funny. Or rather, it was funnier than it was embarrassing. Everyone laughed. Including me. I couldn’t help myself. Besides, as someone once told me, “You had better learn to laugh at yourself, because everyone else has already learned how to laugh at you!”

So go ahead. Take your best shot. Zing me. Parody me. Bring it. Tease me. Mock me. Make me laugh. Heckle me. Roast me. Do it. I can feel the sting of humor already. “Burn, baby, burn!”

Yeah, i know. I’m ruining it.

 

 

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

I just took one of those what-the-hell-i’m-bored quizzes on Facebook. This one was supposed to tell me my top 9 qualities and 3 flaws. According to this quiz (Which technically wasn’t, since i didn’t actually answer any questions. It just “analyzed” my profile), i have the following good qualities:  Brave, spontaneous, cool, attractive, optimistic, affectionate, confident, charismatic and humorous. My flaws, as it were, are: Clumsy, impulsive and perfectionist. How the hell it came to these conclusions is beyond me, tho i wouldn’t argue that a lot of them are true. I admit, i took this one three times and it came up with the same answer each time. I wonder what the program is that it uses. Or maybe it just generates a random list. Curious. It was a good time waster. Too bad they can’t make them less wasting and answer things that we REALLY want to know. Like…

Which jeans will make me look like i have a killer butt?

Why, even when i use her recipe exactly, do my baked beans not taste like my Aunt Alice’s?

Why does my dog insist on pooping beside the puppy pad?

How do i avoid weirdos while dating?

It’s not that the current whereabouts of the guy who starred in H.R. Pufnstuf isn’t interesting. It’s not that knowing which Disney princess i am doesn’t make me wonder who earns their living coming up with these things. It’s just that there are things that seem equally pointless upon first glance that might actually do me good.

10 ways to cover up the fact you don’t remember someone’s name.

10 bean-based meals that don’t taste like poverty.

10 apps that will keep you from overspending at Target.

10 things to do with the shower gel you bought before you realized it smelled like your Great Aunt Tessie.

Wouldn’t any of those be great not-as-wasted time wasters? I mean, it’s benign to take a quiz that tells me which cartoon villain i resemble. But wouldn’t it be more beneficial to come up with a  quiz that tells me what wine goes with that particular day’s meal and level of desperation?  Instead of a “Where are they now?” article about the cast of  Benson, how about a “Where are they now?” article about people i am trying to avoid, so i can avoid them better? I mean, there must be a way. It’s no secret that we have no secrets these days. Just saying, if i’m going to be enticed to divert my attention for a few minutes, at least make it worth my while.

In any case, the time i spent on the character analysis is time i cannot get back. Any more than you can get back the time you spent reading this. But i hope i made you laugh. If i did, then the time wasn’t a total waste, was it?

Sidewalk Preaching

So let me tell you about my son.

He is 13 years old with that “Puberty is almost here” roundness and stench. He has me dye his normally dark brown hair black with a green forelock. He is on the lego robotics team and writes most of their scripts for exhibitions. He gets astoundingly good grades in all his classes, except the two he doesn’t like, where he is in danger of failing. (Gifted, it seems, only when he enjoys a topic.) He is a sugar ‘ho and loves all things sweet: Soda, candy, slushies, ice cream, cake, even jello. He loves comic books, especially Ant Man. In fact, i think he’s a bit infatuated with Ant Man. He lives for computer games. He’s a devotee of Top Gear. He has memorized whole episodes of the Simpsons. He can fake battle with a lightsaber better than Mace Windu himself. He likes Panic at the Disco and FallOut Boy, but can also sing along to my corny music and an impressive array of show tunes. Like most other kids his age, he’s a mixed bag.

On one hand, he is intelligent, adorable, funny and sweet. He’s a seanachie since birth and can tell stories on a whim. Occasionally, the stories are true, but he’ll never tell you which ones aren’t. (For months, our apartment manager thought we were British, because he always spoke with a Brit accent when he went by the office.) He has a beautiful singing voice. A flair for acting. And the kid loves to perform. He can make you laugh without even trying. He’s just naturally funny. He has a great vocabulary and can converse with professors as easily as pre-schoolers. He usually does his chores without much reminding. He knows when and how to hug. He has no social fear, or at least never shows any. And he doesn’t give a flip about what other people think.

On the other hand, he’s messy. His bedroom smells like a long-forgotten gym locker. Every damned pair of pants he puts in the wash have exactly one leg inside out. He will sleep in clothes and wear them the next day. He doesn’t notice when he misses the bowl.  He peppers the apartment with dirty socks as if it’s a damned caeser salad. He scrapes the healthy part of dinner into the trash when i’m not looking. Fresh out of the bath, he still smells like pubescent boy hormones and sweat. He cops a rotten attitude, talks back, and has a terrible temper.

But i still think i did ok with him.

Every now and then he gives me a glimpse of the man he will become. The morals, the compass, the humor, and the love inside him. He shows kindness without thinking, he helps without asking. Or he quips at just the right time. At those moments, i know that, in spite of the anarchy and chaos that is my 13 year old boy, he will be ok in the end.

We had a moment like that the other day. We had a little thing to celebrate, and so went to the park, got ourselves some ice cream floats, and strolled. We came across a street preacher. He had his Bibled hand raised and was shouting fire and brimstone. We’re all going to hell! Homosexuals, inter-racial mixing, and liberal Democrats are paving the way to Hades! Turn away from the abominations! Now, we are not church-going people, but my son stopped as we got closer to the man and said, “You know, maybe i should be a preacher.”

“Son, you generally have to be religious to be a preacher.”

“I’m serious! I can be a preacher. I know what God wants.”

He shoves his float in my hand, says, “Watch this, ” and heads toward the sidewalk corner. Up on the edge he perches and raises his fist.

“Hey, everyone! Listen up! I have a message from God! Seriously! This is important! God wants to tell you something!”

The street preacher stops and stares. A couple passers-bye look up.

“Stop being assholes! Start being nice to each other! That is all.”

He climbs down and takes his float back. “See?” he says.

The street preacher, dumbfounded, departs. A couple people clap. I am speechless at first, but eventually reply, “I don’t know that i would word it quite that way, but i do think you’ve got the gist of it.”

We are both smiling as we walk and sip. Tho others may be horrified, i am swelling with pride. My stinky, messy, green-haired, selectively-gifted, bad-bathroom aiming boy gets it. He gets it. I must have done something right.

Yup, he’ll be just fine.

Stream of Consciousness

My therapist has taken to guiding me thru meditation. Because, you know, it’s too frigging difficult for me to figure out. Breathe in… Breathe out. Yah. WAY too difficult. Two flipping steps. Two flipping steps that I can’t manage to master.

I love simplicity. Food, art, architecture, fashion: I love when they are seamless and with clean lines. I am, however, incapable of producing such things. I can’t just fry an egg. I have to glaze the pan with bacon grease first, dose it with smoked sea salt and freshly torn herbs from the garden, lay it on a plate with toast and frou-frou jam and perfectly cooked bacon. Even if you told me you only wanted an egg. I can’t help myself.

I tend to complicate things. As my son pointed out to me earlier in the week, I can’t even just say, “I’m sorry.” I have to apologize profusely and explain the screwed up reasoning that devoured my head and made me think that tossing the condiments in the jumble bin in your car console was a good idea. Even tho you don’t give a shit and have already moved on. I should have moved on with you.

I’m supposed to quiet my mind for 15 minutes a day. This is supposed to bring me one step closer to serenity. I need some serenity. Like, I REALLY need it. I’m wired and frazzled and buzzing with short circuits. Serenity seems about as likely for me as waking up next to Liam Neeson. But I know if I can manage to get some, things will get better. SO WHY THE HELL CAN’T I DO IT?????

I am a smart woman. A resourceful woman. Other than pie crust, I’ve been able to manage everything I’ve set my mind to, sooner or later. I can do and do and do and do. The only thing I can’t do is not do. Apparently, God/Goddess/Universe forgot to give me an “Off” button.

For a lot of my life, it hasn’t been much of a problem. I can multi-task like a champ. I am good with creating things on the fly. I awaken with all the ideas that rushed thru my head during sleep. It has served me well, for the most part. It’s only when I need to reboot that I realize I’m incapable of shutting down.

You know when you go to turn off your computer and it gives you that belligerent pop-up saying “Your Thesaurus program is still running and preventing you from shutting down…” ? Welcome to my head. Words, numbers, lyrics, jingles, memes, every mistake I’ve made that day, did I remember to lock the front door, the possibility that a spider will crawl in my window, into my ear, and lay a new colony, and the realization that there has never been a Weird Al tribute album…. All these things still cycling thru my mind. And the bitch is sitting there in her oversized easy chair telling me to “Breathe in…”

I apologize. She isn’t a bitch. She’s actually one of the better things in my life. She lets me vent and helps me distinguish between things I need to fix and things I need to suck up and walk over. She’s been with me a long time now and she’s kept me out of the bin for all this time. No small feat, I’m sure. So now all she has to do is help me find my power button so I can turn myself off.

“Feel your scalp relaxing… Your face… your neck…” I’m trying to do what she says, but instead I’m becoming acutely aware that NONE of these things is relaxed at all. It’s like straightening your leg when you’ve been sitting on it for an hour. Existential ponytail headache. She has already moved on to my shoulders, arms and fingers, and I’m still focused on the stiffness of my ears.

This isn’t working. I’m never going to be able to do this. I must be an idiot. All I have to do is breathe. WHY CAN’T I DO THIS??? Listen to her voice. Just her voice. Concentrate on that. ‘Breathe in… Breathe out…’ I wonder if this is the voice she uses with her daughter when she is upset? Does she use this voice with her husband? Oh, ick! Get that thought out of your head. Not supposed to be thinking about stuff like that. Supposed to be concentrating on breathing. My right nostril is a little stuffy. Must be the leaf mold. All that rain over the last few weeks. I wonder if it’s going to be a rainy fall. Maybe it will be a snowy winter. Remember that winter a few years back when we actually had snow on Christmas? That was really cool. ‘Feel your toes relaxing…’ Toes? What happened to hips and knees? Have I been talking to myself this whole time? God, I suck at this. “

Maybe I should just give up and accept the fact that my hard drive does NOT turn off. That the lags will get more and more and eventually I will crash. Wait. Bad analogy. Computers that have crashed get replaced. I’m not ready to be replaced. (How awesome it is to finally have reached the point where I don’t want to be replaced!) There must be a way. An emergency switch or something. Maybe she can hypnotize me and give me some magic word or something that will turn me off and reboot me. That might work. Because right now, she’s going “Breathe in…” and I’m thinking that I need to pick up mustard at the grocery.

Got any Grey Poupon?

Ok, session is up. I’ve failed again. Still no off button. Still no reboot. BUT I WANT SERENITY!!!!!!! Sigh. I’m going to make myself a cup of tea. That at least slows me down. It’s possible I am getting better at this meditation thing and just don’t realize it. Maybe I am actually calmer than I was. Maybe the planets will align, i’ll wake up with Liam Neeson, and he’ll hit me with some Valium. Maybe he’ll hit me with a hammer. It’s Hammer Time. Hit me with your best shot… Fire away…

Breathe in…. Breathe out.

Forget it. Where’s my tea?

Mums The Word

It slipped out.

I didn’t even know it was coming, and “Pop!”, there it was.

My daughter wrinkles her nose.

“Ma, did you fart?!”

“Damn! That is pungent! My eyes are watering!”

I am mortified. We are in her flower shop, fer gossakes, and I am overtaking the roses, carnations, and freesia combined. I can’t come up with anything to say as I watch her wipe tears from her eyes and back away. I mean, what COULD I say? I could apologize, but really, the damage is done, and I’m sure the color of my face conveys a heartfelt “mea culpa”.

She is waving herself with a palm frond.

I’m looking around for a can of Lysol, but, DUH, it’s a florist! I’m the only one who could need Lysol in a flower shop. There aren’t enough gardenias to cover my accidental fumigation. I’m pretty sure the lilies are wilting. The cooler fan sounds like it is coughing. Great. Just great.

This is as embarrassing as the day I broke the camera at the DMV.

Hold up… Two young guys headed toward the shop. Holy shit! Literally! Short of burning sage, I don’t see how the stench could be vanquished. Now I have tears, as I realize my tail pipe is about to be the talk of some trendy bar tonight. I am running around, fanning the room with two big, waxy leaves. I know they can see me thru the large plate glass window, but the discomposure of being seen doing such an awkward dance is still preferred to them whiffing my indiscretion.

My daughter is laughing at me as she pulls out the arrangement that she assumes they are coming for.

I drop my green fans as the door tinkles open.

I put on my best smiley face, hoping to God and everything magical that the Brick Wall of Sulfur had disintegrated before they entered. As we welcome them and talk about the flowers, I am acutely aware of their facial expressions. I search for wincing. I look for bared teeth. I peek fervently for their eyes to cut sideways with looks of horror or nausea. None appear.

The transaction complete, they turn for the door. As I exhale a sigh of relief, I hear the cork again. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

They turn. “Sorry. Did you say something?”

“Just have a good day!” I say with a smile. Now please hurry up and leave before it hits you! Please, please, PLEASE!!! In the name of everything Holy, go now!

As the door tinkles, I turn to my daughter. An explosive bark of laughter exits her mouth like an untied helium balloon. She runs for the flower cooler, yelling as she goes, “I’m not coming out til it’s gone!”

This sucks. I fan the room once more. Wave the door open and closed a few times. Toss around the aged flower heads in the trash bin. Then I head for the car, where I will be sure to open all the windows before driving off.

It’s true. Everybody farts. And sometimes you just can’t control when. But if you can’t hide one in a flower shop, then it’s the devil at work. Or the kielbasa. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Humor Me, My Child

Walking in Target today, my eldest weedling turns to me and says, “My teabag has burst.” In the context of can opener shopping, this didn’t make any sense, so i asked her to repeat it. “I’m pretty sure my teabag has burst.” Now i have to assume that this is slang, probably for something disgusting. I start to respond, “I……”, but i am at a loss for words as the possibilities of what this could mean zip thru my head like a squirrel on diet pills. Seeing my confusion, she proceeds to tell me that to keep her combat boots – her daily foot attire- from stinking, she placed an herbal teabag in each one that morning. Then proceeded to wear them.

I have no non-flippant response to this, so i move on.

Later, when we are at the car, she removes her boot, and sure enough, a flurry of twigs and leaves flies out into the wind like an elvish  treasure. Then she plucks a pathetic looking bit of sticky paper, the teabag itself, from her sole and resets her boot. I am thinking that if i tried to explain this situation to one of my international friends, they would think it a mis-translation. I can’t help myself. I chuckle til i snort.

My weedlings make me laugh. Sometimes unintentionally, but most often not. They each have a wonderful sense of the absurd. The oldest has a talent for off-the-cuff song lyrics that can pull a giggle out of thin air. The middle is the master of the sarcastic response. The youngest is truly gifted with a pun. And when i say that our home is often filled with us singing, i mean it literally. My son and i do a fantastic version of the Underdog theme, complete with harmony. And under the tutelage of my oldest, we have a song and dance routine that mimics the insanity of navigating a crowded airplane aisle. We frequently go about our household chores quoting movie lines back and forth. And all the while, we are laughing.

Humor is an underrated virtue. In the face of sadness, of stress, of tragedy, and sickness; humor can bring relief, even if it isn’t socially acceptable. After tough days, sometimes all i need is to hear my son sing. On especially disastrous days, it may take watching Llamas With Hats with my daughters to get my breathing back to normal. But they never fail to bring about that improvement. Not just for me, but for everyone around them. After all, the best humor is universal.

Italians tell stories of passion. the Irish tell stories of laughter. Since we are both, my children and i can make you laugh with a passion. And we relish in it. We love to give that gift. To relieve the pressure. To render the darkness insignificant. We have that power. No, we are not alone in our ability… There are so many who possess the same superpower. But i’d put my weedlings up against any of them to run neck and neck. They have it. And they know how to use it.

My weedlings do a funny schtick that is an imitation of me trying to balance, unsuccessfully, a pitcher of water from a dinner half a year back. The next time you are feeling down, ask them to recount it. Or ask my middle daughter to do “The Evil Giraffe”. Or ask my oldest to tell you what lights up and blinks. Or, if it’s been the worst day ever, my son and i will sing “Underdog” for you. I promise it will make you feel better. And in the process of helping you, we will feel better, too. Because, really, what improves your day more than making someone else smile?

I’m An Expert

Twice today i was asked for advice. One was on a topic i am well-versed in. The other was about something that, well, i had to ask myself if they sent the text to me by accident. Surely no one who knows me would use my take on the subject as anything but humor. In any case, it got me to thinking… In my life, i have seen a lot, been thru a lot. I guess that makes me a decent source of advice for quite a few things. But i’m not the Highlander, so there are still many life experiences i have yet to deal with. Shall we rummage thru a general list, in case you should ever need my advice?

– I have traveled quite a bit outside the country. If you need advice on compact packing, surviving layovers, approaching locals, or how to carry your money safely, i’m your gal. But my sense of style is based on practicality, comfort, and looking classier than i am… So if you want advice on how to fit 4 pair of slut shoes into your carryon, you’ve got the wrong broad.

– Given my line of work, i can give you a decent explanation of tests and conditions relating to Cardiology, Radiology and women’s health. And as a mother of three with long term MDD, i have a reasonable grasp of childhood ailments and mental health. I am happy to impart what knowledge i can. But please don’t ask me if your neurologist is taking proper care of your brain tumor or if you should see a dermatologist about that boil on your bum. I have no flipping idea. (And i REALLY don’t want to see that boil!)

– I spent a generous part of my childhood in a home where alcohol, drugs and various types of abuse were routine. I will help anyone i can to deal with those circumstances or the scars they leave, as my sister and i are living proof that you don’t have to succumb to statistics. But after all we went thru, please don’t ask me to help you put another person thru it. That just makes me want to hurt you.

– I have been married and divorced three times. Two of those, with the fathers of my children, remain amicable. So if you want advice on how to keep a civil relationship after divorce or how to co-parent with an ex, i can give you some ideas that will hopefully get you started on a good path. I can also tell you what i know about divorce law. But if you want my advice on marriage, you might want to request my advice on mental health instead. Just sayin’.

– I have studied and taken extensive college courses in comparative religion. I love good discourse on faith and spirituality, and i am blessed to know people of various religions who are good walking examples of their faiths. If you need a sounding board for your evolving faith or need someone to accompany you to a new religious service, just ask. But if you want me to condone your defamation of a religion that you don’t like, just go ahead and kiss my arse. That’s what it will come to.

– Since i minored in cultural geography in college, see the last bullet for other cultures as well.

– I am a Star Trek fan. If you want a good old-fashioned debate on Kirk vs. Picard, the evolution of the Klingon Empire, or why i think Jadzia Dax was the sexiest ST character EVER, i will be more than happy to do so. Especially after a glass of wine. But ask me about Star Wars, and i’ll start quoting Space Balls on you.

– I can quilt, crochet, sew, and tat lace… But i don’t have the attention span to do large or intricate projects in spite of the fact that i keep my closet stocked for them. So if you are in need for chartreuse yarn and the store has already closed, give me a call. If you want to learn to make a granny square or how to do Irish Chain, invite me over for coffee. If you ask how long it would take me to alter and re-line your brother-in-law’s authentic Civil War reenactment uniform… The very real answer is, “Longer than it takes to read Crime and Punishment.”

– I am a 48 year old woman with kids, curves, and scars. If you want some brand names of large-cup bras that do their job, i’ll let you rifle thru my bureau. If you slip your 22 year old size 2 body into a pair of see-thru jeggings and ask me if they make your ass look fat, my only advice will be some authentic Italian hand gestures.

– I am a tea whore. Seriously. I love the taste, smell and tradition of tea. I buy from a Master Blender, and i can identify the teas “notes” like others deconstruct wine. Tea is my both my caffeine and my valium. The making of it is therapeutic to me. If you are looking for a perfect blend or want to put together a tea gift basket, i am full of ideas! If you want to know how many lipton bags to put in your windowsill iced tea jug, you are out of luck.

– I am a writer. I love words. Especially ones that make you laugh or think. If you received a thoughtful gift and want to word a special thank you, if you are doing the crossword and need an eight letter word for “unreal” , if you got a snarky email and need a witty retort… Honey, i’m all about it. But if you ask me to proofread a message that is essentially a string of texting vernacular, expect to get a raised eyebrow and a witty retort.

– Lastly, what i write on here is who i am. For better or for worse, this is me. If you are having to host a dinner party that includes a rabbi, a Croatian fish farmer, and a transvestite, i’d be happy to attend and keep everyone involved in the conversation. Hopefully, i will also keep them all laughing and help them realize that we all have a lot in common. But if you need someone to speak on the tragedy of orphan beatings at a general assembly of the Papal council, for the love of God, don’t ask me!

We all have our areas of expertise. Every single human on this Earth has a gift that is meant to be shared and wisdom that is meant to be imparted. Most of us have a fair idea of what we can speak intelligently about in times of crisis. To identify the ones who have no idea? Ask them what they can’t tell you about.