Archives for category: humor

My response to the one word daily prompt, Giggle

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It’s happened to all of us. You’re in a situation where uncontrollable laughter is neither welcomed or acceptable…and you do it anyway.

But damn it, you can’t help yourself. During class, at a meeting, when your parents have told you to go to bed; when you get the giggles, and you know you can’t have them? It’s just about impossible to stop them.

A few years back my daughter and I were at a seminar at her high school on affording college. She got bored and drew a couple of doodles on her hand. The seminar began, and I looked down at her thumb only to see the most misshapenly drawn face she’d ever doodled.

I pointed at it and mouthed something like, “what the hell?” and we both lost it. She knew it was a shitty doodle, and now she knew I knew, and as simple as that, we were in full, red-faced, trying to hide it giggle mode. We sat hunched over, hands covering our faces, trying to do ANYTHING to stop laughing.

I had to get up and go to the bathroom. I just couldn’t sit there sputtering anymore.

It is one of the worst, and the best feelings ever. I mean, a good laugh feels great. But coupled with the shame of being disruptive, and, let’s face it—childish? That takes some of the joy out of it.

My husband tells a story of when he and his brothers could not stop laughing…at his mother’s funeral. They were standing in a cluster and they heard their grandmother burp- somewhat loudly and unapologetically. And that was it…they lost it. Imagine how they looked…sons in quiet hysterics at their mom’s funeral.

But what can you do? This brand of laughter is so infectious…think of all the times on SNL where the actors fought to keep their own laughter under control. More Cowbell, Debby Downer, Hot Tub Lovers…it makes you laugh more watching them trying to suppress their giggles.

Ah, the giggle…it really is all powerful.

 

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We all have them. Days where you are left wondering who you pissed off in the Universe, because that seems to be the only explanation of how many things could go wrong in the course of the day.

For me, that was yesterday.

DISCLAIMER – this post is 90% about the evils of my female plumbing. Turn back if you must…You’ve been warned.

It started at 3:00 am, when I woke up with the beginnings of really bad cramps. I should have gotten up and taken some Advil, but instead I tried to just go back to sleep. By 4:00 am, I was angry for not listening to my inner voice for by now my uterus was somewhere in the F-3 category, classified as severe damage, roofs and walls torn down, trains overturned, cars thrown around.

I got up and took four Advil. 45 minutes later I took a Meloxicam. By 6 am I took 2 more Advil. I was still in pain, but decided to try to go out for my morning walk. Whoever said exercise was good for cramps didn’t have a uterus like mine.

evil uterusI’m convinced there is an evil villain in my uterus – one that says “Sweep the Leg” when I am at my most vulnerable…like when I went camping in college and my period decided to come two weeks early. Try spending a weekend with toilet paper jammed in your crotch. Yes, my uterus was snickering and twirling her moustache that day.

My walk? I didn’t even make it two miles. I headed back home where a hot shower did its best to untie the knots in my back and quiet the ache in my abdomen.

It was also my daughter’s first day of school. Dropping her off was a sobering reminder that I have ten months of brooding, moody mornings in my future.

Work wasn’t much better. I had a meeting with a sales rep who tried to sell our firm an automated system which would pretty much wipe out my job entirely. No thanks, bub. It also feels like the Wicked Witch of the West has unleashed her flying monkeys in my uterus. Time to take more Advil.

I then spent my lunch hour taking my oldest daughter to her eye doctor appointment. Once there I was told that she has no eye coverage. This is after I called Coventry last week and was told that she is covered until the age of 20 – which she turning in a week. Which was why I jumped through scheduling hoops to get her the eye appointment before her birthday.

So I call Coventry and bitch the lady out. Here I’ve wasted my lunch hour, and the time of all those nice people at the eye doctors because some tool gave me the wrong information when I called to confirm their coverage the week before. Oh and this is all while my uterus is screaming “NO WIRE HANGERS…EVER!”

Can I take more Advil? I sheepishly apologize to the eye doctor staff for having wasted their time and call my husband who freaks out and decides that he’s going to call Coventry and cause some heads to roll.

Back at the office I field calls from clients and my husband who has a gal from Coventry on the phone who wants to know if I remember the day and time that I was told the wrong information from the one of the many incompetents at Coventry. I also chat via iMessage with my younger daughter whose complaining that she has no friends in any class at school and is miserable.

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By the time 6 pm rolls around I not only feel brain dead, but feel as if my uterus has dropped out of my body and is trailing 2 feet behind me. I groan as I realize that I have to stop at the store to buy more tampons…I’ve already been through at least six today, along with 3 pads. Ain’t it fun being me?

While trying to put my groceries in the car, my shirt gets caught on the rusty hanger I use for my car antenna. As I look at the sky and think, “really?” it’s all I can do to not rip that antenna out and fatally stab someone with it.

I finally get home, where all I want to do is change and eat dinner. After using the bathroom (and donning the hazmat suit for the subsequent clean up) I pour a drink and go to carry my sandwich into the bedroom. I’ve got “Bachelor in Paradise” all ready to go. I finally get to relax.

Suddenly, the paper plate holding my sandwich begins to buckle. I can’t easily explain how the next few seconds unfolded, but in an attempt to save my sandwich from tumbling to the ground, I jerked my hands, causing half of my drink to fly out of the cup, leaving a fan of wet droplets on the carpet, and a puddle in the plate under my sandwich.

I lost it. I’m bloody, I’m tired, and I’m hungry but right when I was looking forward to just relaxing, life had to bend me over and stick it to me once more.

I got a rag, dropped down to clean up the spilled drink and began to cry. At that point the one thing I was thankful for was the fact that nobody walked in and saw me…in my underwear, on my hands and knees, sobbing while I scrubbed at the carpet.

My sandwich was wet, but I ate it anyway.

Today is going much better. My uterus has calmed considerably…Voldemort has gone into hiding until next month. I thought a lot about my gynocologist yesterday…about how as she peered into my vag during my last visit and said, “you’re menopausal.”

Ha! That’s a good one.

My uterus? It can’t be stopped. Don’t you know that?

This is going to be an odd story to tell, because while I remember certain key elements about this particular weekend, I don’t remember a lot of the connective details. Stuff like eating dinner or who I roomed with, or actually studying the Bible – these points are really nothing but shadows.

When I was in my teens a few friends of mine asked me to come to a Friday night youth group at this church that was just a few blocks from my house. We were not a religious family at all – I believed in God, but had not attended church or even read the Bible.

I will fully admit that my desire to attend this youth group was more social than spiritual. However, there were worse places a teenage girl could be spending a Friday night. And who knows? Perhaps the Holy Book might really make an impression on me.

What made an impression on me instead was this kid Jeff from Tenafly. He was ADORABLE – curly hair and a crooked smile. Uff da. While he has absolutely nothing to do with this story, I feel compelled to mention him because it was my crush on him that pretty much kept me coming back to the youth group week after week.

It’s a cringe-worthy admission.

That winter the youth group was sponsoring a Bible study weekend up in Vermont. I begged my parents to go, and I still can’t believe I was given permission, but on a cold Friday night I was picked up, put in the very back of a station wagon, and carted up to some resort in Vermont.

MEMORY #1 – The Car Ride

When I say “the back of a station wagon” do you remember the ones that had the seat that faced backwards? Yeah, that’s where they stuck me. I was bundled up for the cold, but the car had the heat blasting, and it also had roughly 7 people sitting in it. I got very hot very fast. And I was riding backwards.

I think we were somewhere in Connecticut when I threw up.

I had complained of feeling sick, so they moved me into the back seat, but it was too little too late. While I did manage to get a majority of it out the window, we still needed to stop at a gas station to a) clean me up and b) de-funk the back seat of the wagon. Shortly thereafter they stopped for dinner, where I stayed in the car both too sick and too mortified to do anything more than sleep.

MEMORY #2 – Horseback Riding

The first morning of our retreat we went horseback riding. I was thrilled to be doing this, having never been on a horse other than your average pony ride. The handlers had asked if anyone had riding experience, and my girlfriend Pam raised her hand, and also offered that she could ride an English saddle.

“Hmmm” said my brain – Pam lived in a tiny apartment with her divorced mom and older brother – where the hell did she learn how to ride an English saddle?

This would prove to be troublesome for me down the line.

The handlers let us know that the horses had to be kept in a certain order – horse A (my horse) did not like horse F (Pam’s horse), so they should be kept apart. Fine. Off we went down the trail.

All was fine n’ dandy until I heard a ruckus kicking up behind me. Pam, with her crackerjack English riding skills, was having trouble controlling her horse. It was moving out of its place in line and making its way towards me. Me, as in the gal who is currently riding the horse that hates Pam’s horse. Do you see where this is going?

Once my horse caught sight of Pam’s horse, they both started to run…slowly at first, but before long we were pretty much at a full blown gallop. Now this is where the day really got fun.

My saddle broke.

All I know is that while we were wildly galloping across the field, my body started to slide to the left. The saddle was slipping, and my whole body listed – I only had one leg over the back of the horse and I was frantically attempting to hold on to anything. We were approaching a line of fence, and I thought I was a goner. If the horse tried to jump it, I was fairly certain my head would not clear. Eating barbed wire was not part of my plans when I woke up that morning.

Thankfully one of the handlers caught up to us and was able to stop the horse. Once my feet were out of those stirrups and set firmly on the frozen ground there was no getting back on. After shooting Pam a glaring look, I marched back to the stables on foot.

MEMORY #3 – The Song

My last memory of this weekend actually isn’t a bad one at all. It was Saturday night and we were having a Bible jamboree in the big hall. There were tons of other youth groups from all around the area, and it was a huge crowd. Again, I don’t quite remember how push came to shove, but somehow my friend Carol and I volunteered to sing as part of the evening’s festivities.

The musical director suggested we sing “You Light Up My Life,” a song that was hugely popular at the time. While it was a #1 song, I didn’t know all the words, and I have to say, it made me a little nervous – could I learn them all in the span of a half an hour? We practiced a few times, and then the show began. I was scared, but I had Carol to go out there with me – a partner in crime so to speak.

Ha.

Right before it was our turn she chickened out. I was left with the decision to cut and run with her, or go out there alone and quite literally face the music. I thought of the time the musical director had spent with us rehearsing, and thought it would be a douche move to bail on him.

So I walked out there alone. Me, in my Dorothy Hamill haircut, and sensible Sears clothing. I stood on the stage next to the piano and whispered to him “it’s just me…is that okay? Are you sure I can do this?”

He nodded and smiled and began to play. I got through the song – I remember being too afraid to look out into the audience, which was, in my mind, massive – like Carnegie Hall massive. Instead I just looked at the Musical Director and plodded my way through the song. I’m pretty sure I fucked up the lyrics at one point, but it didn’t matter.

When I finished, he smiled and winked at me, and said “Great job.” And then there was the applause. I remember it being loud, and I remember that it was the only time I could look out into the very large audience. Wow. I’d done it.

When I left the stage, there were lots of pats on the back and congratulatory comments from both friends and strangers. I’ll admit, it felt awesome – I was really glad I hadn’t bailed. And Carol? She was a little envious – and perhaps a bit regretful.

Those are the three big memories from that weekend. We might have gone skiing, but I don’t really remember. I also remember I made the trip home without throwing up, which was a personal victory for me.

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Today I am reblogging a portion of a previous post. Why, you ask? Has she got nothing better to do than to serve us a left-overs? Believe you me, it’s not that – I just need to reiterate what I had stated before because this problem not only still persists, but it’s getting worse.

What could possibly be so bad?

I hate the way folks hand back change! There! I said it!

Below is a post that originally made its way to my blog almost back in January of 2012 – almost three years ago. In that three years NOTHING has changed in the way I get change. Now, did I really think my idiotic little blog would change the world?

No.

But I am really sick of getting my changed handed back in a little pyramid – you know what I’m talking about. The assholes that balance 83¢ worth of change atop a dollar bill and hope they can get it into your hand before the coins topple over. Which they always do.

Heads up….That is a douchebag way to hand back change.

Read on if you want…I give up.


ORIGINALLY POSTED 1.16.2012

On Saturday I went shopping with my youngest daughter. While on the hunt for elusive and impossible to find Skylanders figurines, I picked up this, that and the other thing at a variety of stores. Every time I was handed back change from my purchase, it was done so in the annoying, obnoxious way that has become the retail norm for the past few years: Dollar bills in hand with receipt, and coins placed on top of that.

This makes me crazy. Why? Because half the time the coins roll off your hand onto the floor or the conveyor belt after the slightest movement of your hand. Or because while I am holding my wallet with my one hand, a pile of money precariously balanced in the other hand renders me incapable of anything but utter frustration.

Then I must put my wallet down, transfer the loose coinage to my now freed up hand, pick my wallet back up with my hand still holding the bills, drop the change into the zippered change pocket (which I must unzip with my teeth or the hand still holding the bills which by now are a crumpled wad), and then un-wad the bills and slide them into the appropriate slot. Meanwhile, I am getting more and more rankled because I know I am holding up the person waiting in line behind me who is growing inpatient to get their purchase underway.

I can remember a day when a cashier would hand you back the coins in the palm of your hand first, and then you grabbed the bills with your fingers. This way, you could slide the coins easily out of the hand into the purse and put away the bills in almost one deft movement. Or, if you were quick, you could store the coins before they even handed you the paper money back at all. But it seems as if those simpler days of receiving change are lost forever.

Since I am a meek freak who can almost never speak up unless lives are at stake, I appeal via this blog to any and all folks who handle money. I do not have the balls, guts, or gumption to lecture each and every cashier who hands me my change in this very wrong and frustrating fashion. However, If you are a cashier and you are reading this try to change your ways of giving change. For the love of God, put the coins in the customer’s hand FIRST!

And smile a little when you do it.

Nude PartyCertain blog posts of mine get more traffic than others. One that gets hits every single day is my post about my years at the nude beach in Sandy Hook. So, I thought I’d touch on the popular topic of nudity again, and tell the story of the nude party.

Back when my husband and I were engaged, I was invited to a “lingerie party” by some guys that I used to play volleyball with. I got the invite because these two guys knew that I had frequented the nude beach at Sandy Hook, and we knew some of the same people. When I asked what a “lingerie party” was, I was told you come dressed in your undies or a fancy nightie.

Yeah, that might happen.

The night of the party, hubby and I were just sitting around the house doing nothing. I broached the subject of the party, thinking there was no way in hell he’d want to go, but I have to say, the idea kind of appealed to him. It took a bit of persuading on my part, but at 10 pm on a cold December night, we drove to the address given to me and knocked on the door.

We were ushered in by a middle aged red head who looked like Pinky Tuscadero – she immediately made a pass at me. After a polite, “no thanks” we walked into the kitchen in search of my volleyball friends. The first thing I saw was a pair of naked ass cheeks. The guy turned around and had his package nicely encased in a satin, rainbow, zebra G-string. It was at this point that I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. I wasn’t sure how hubby was going to react to this.

We’d been here less than 30 seconds and I’d already gotten a lesbian come on, and seen a guy in nothing but a G-string. But hubby had a smile on his face. I guess we were strapped into our seats…it was time to enjoy the ride.

The house was filled to the brim with folks in varying levels of dress or undress, if you will. I case you are curious, hubby and I were fully clothed. I think we were the only ones. Some gals were wearing teddies and negligees. Others were topless with just panties on – hubby liked that part. And the men? You name it. Speedos, G-strings, boxers, or total nudity. There was a naked woman with a massage table giving massages in the dining room. And there was one guy whose body was totally shaved.

Totally…

I couldn’t quite place what was odd about this fellow at first glance. You knew there was something missing, but it was hard to pin-point exactly what it was. Then hubby said, “Did you see the guy with the shaved balls?” So that was it! I’d seen all sorts of men’s bits and pieces at the nude beach, but never a dude sans pubes.

We decided to head to the basement to get a few beers. A semi-clad foursome were playing ping pong. There were tables of food lining the walls. A naked guy with a top hat was pumping the keg. It was a wee bit uncomfortable getting a beer because he was holding the tap right in front of his crotch. It was impossible to not get a very good look at what he had to offer. But I was thirsty, so what the hell.

Hubby was hungry, so I said to him, “Why don’t you eat something?”

He looked at me uncomfortably and said, “I would, but the table’s at dick level. I’d hate to think that while reaching for the chips some dude’s balls landed in the potato salad.”

I about died laughing, but he was right. It did make the idea of sampling any of the food somewhat unappetizing.

We really didn’t know anyone except for my volleyball hosts, so we just mingled and watched the party unfold. Folks who had arrived in some sort of attire were shedding what little they had on as the night progressed. While I’d frequented the nude beach years before, it was odd to see folks naked sitting on the couch, or reaching into the fridge. Somehow nudity seemed so natural at the beach, where you really wear next to nothing anyway. But in the house? was all so…domestic, and so very naked.

At one point we went to the second floor to see what was going on – lots of folks were going up and down the stairs, so we figured we’d nose about – besides, I wanted to find another bathroom. I wish we hadn’t. Seems like the upper floors were reserved for those with a taste for swinging. There were all sorts of sexual shenanigans going on, and we high tailed it back down stairs toot-sweet.

After a few games of ping pong and a few more beers we decided to leave.

We drove to the diner for some wee hour of the morning cheeseburger platters and rehashed all that we’d seen. We were both glad we had gone; it was better than just sitting at home doing nothing. Some times those spur-of-the-moment decisions to do something really pay off. And I was proud of hubby. He’d taken a step into a lifestyle that he might not have been comfortable with, and had not been judgmental or jealous. Instead, he had gone with the flow and enjoyed himself.

And we had one hell of a story to tell as a result.

turkeyMark and remember these words. I am done cooking Thanksgiving dinner. No, let’s rephrase that.

Holiday dinners.

I’ve talked in the past about my lack of cooking skills – I’m marginal at best. There are some things I cook well. Chicken soup, creamed spinach, tacos…oh, and I can whip up a mean breakfast. But other than that? It’s hit or miss with me, and I whiff it more often than not.

Let’s take today’s meal and break it down one by one. Shall we?

The turkey was dry. I cooked it for the time recommended on the package, but still it was super dry, even with basting. I told myself this was better than the alternative – undercooked turkey is scary. But, to be honest, my overcooked turkey wasn’t going home with a 1st runner up sash either.

My mashed potatoes were thin and flavorless. I’ll admit I struggle with mashed potatoes in general. Some nights they are flawless…smooth and firm with the perfect amount of butter and salt. And then there are nights like tonight, where I do nothing different – I don’t stray from my potato cooking routine – but they turn out thin and bland. It just pissed me off that I had to settle for the bland variety on a holiday where I’ve already fucked up the main protein.

My spinach? I cooked it last night and it was perfect. I mean, rarely do I whip up a batch where I don’t need to tweak it even one bit. It was that good. Today I put it on the back burner set to Low and went about my business. My sister called, I put up some Christmas lights, I watched some TV. Suddenly, I went back into the kitchen to check the turkey and “gasp!” I saw the steam coming out of the spinach pot.

I had totally forgotten about it. I quickly got a bowl and dumped the spinach nearest to the surface out. The bottom of the pan had a thick film of burned spinach that I am still trying to soak out. I may just have to buy a new pot. My attempts to save the spinach were fruitless. You could taste a slight burnt flavor in it.

My stuffing – same I made to perfection last year – was dry and mealy. I’m the only one that eats it anyway, but hell…it was an hour out of my day to make it.

And my gravy was too salty.

So there was dinner. A plateful of “eh” that I was not thankful for. I was hoping dessert would be a bit of a confidence booster.

I was hoping…on the bright side, at least I didn’t over eat.

I made my oldest a cheesecake – her favorite. The last time I made her a cheesecake it sucked because I had relied on my sister to tell me how much cream cheese to buy, and we wound up buying way too little. This time I had a recipe in hand, the official Philadelphia Cheesecake Recipe,  and followed it to a T with one exception – I added a touch of lemon juice to the batter.

Once our blah dinner had digested and we were ready for dessert, I sliced us up some cheesecake, topped it with some whipped cream and sat down to enjoy. I looked at my daughter and said, “I really hope this is good. I really need this to be good.”

You know how cheesecake is supposed to be smooth and rich? Mine wasn’t. It was kind of, well, flaky. I’m thinking it was one too many eggs, but I added the amount called for in the recipe, and in the exact fashion in which they were supposed to be added. Daughter concurred that it was just “okay.”

This was when I made a decision. I am not cooking holiday dinners anymore. It’s just a waste of my time and my money. For the dough I shelled out to make this meal I could have easily bought dinner out, tipped very generously, and had no dishes to do.

That being said, I think I may spend Christmas with my husband out at his skating rink. Sandwiches and a bag of chips sounds way better than anything I could whip up.

And a lot cheaper too.

Jerry

Back before Jerry Seinfeld was “Seinfeld” my sister and I totally dug his comedy. Having seen him do stand up on your various late night talk shows, we had become big fans. Our quest was to see him live, and living right outside New York City made it a tad bit easier. Or so you’d think.

This was the days way before the internet and online ticket ordering. Sis had heard Jerry was performing at a joint called “Mr. Chuckles” or “Mr. Giggles” somewhere out on Long Island or past Westchester somewhere in the middle of NY state. I can’t remember which, I just know it was a haul to get there. She had called and reserved us seats for his show and we made the almost 2 hour drive to see him live.

When we reached the broken down excuse for a comedy club and she showed the ticket guy the confirmation number, he told us to get lost. There were no tickets held under her name and we needed to step aside. I argued with him for a good 10 minutes, trying my hardest to hold up the line just to piss him off. I knew there was no way we were getting in, so I may as well make his night as miserable as he was making mine.

We went to a bar and drowned our sorrows instead.

A few months later, we got tickets to a show that Jerry was performing at “Bananas,” a comedy club they had inside the Holiday Inn in Fort Lee, NJ. This was great because it was the town right next to ours…no long drive this time! The night of the show I dolled myself up and was looking mighty fine. You know how there are some nights it just all comes together…hair, clothes, make up? This was one of those nights for me!

The “comedy club” was nothing but one of their ballrooms with a stage up front. We sat at long tables that ran perpendicular to the stage. I noticed that when Jerry came in, he simply entered from the hallway door – no backstage passageway – no security of any kind. That’s when I had the idea.

The show was great – he did all his routines that are now considered “classic”…Halloween, the missing sock from the dryer. What can I say…we laughed our asses off. My sister and her friends were such huge fans I had decided to try and get his autograph, which was my aforementioned idea.

While he was taking his bows and thanking the crowd I sneaked out into the hallway and waited. Sure enough, 30 seconds later he came sauntering out of the main doors and was walking down the hall in front of me. I called out to him and he turned around.

This is where it gets surreal upon thinking back on it. I mean, he was famous then, but not that famous. I think his infamous TV show was scheduled to come out a year or so later. Therefore he was still approachable. But when I think of how famous he is now, the fact that I was approaching him is mind blowing for me.

He stopped and I caught up to him and began to chat while we walked. “The show was great,” ” you’re so funny,” “we’re big fans,” blah blah blah. Suddenly we enter a room…his dressing room! He says, “come on in.” I have not stopped talking, yet he doesn’t seem annoyed by me in the least. I tell him the story of how we tried to see him at Mr. Giggles (or Mr. Chuckles – I can’t recall) and how we were refused entry and were treated rudely. His response (which must be read in true Seinfeld voice) was, “Well, I’ll never play there again!”

I told him how my sister and her friend were such big fans, and could I get an autograph. While he was signing the back of one of the club’s fliers, I had another idea. Should I ask him out on a date?

Ok, while you are guffawing & sniggering, let me explain something. Aside from appearing on the Tonight Show, he was really just your typical local stand up comic. He wasn’t a Hollywood dude – he was a funny guy from Long Island. Plus, he seemed very natural and engaging. To just say to him “hey, here’s my number. If you’re ever interested in hanging out, give me a call” seemed like a natural move.

But, as fate would have it, and is so typical for Tracy, the moment was lost. For at that point the crowd was clamoring for his autograph/meet & greet and the once chance I might have had to ask out the man who would one day be insanely successful and rich slipped away. In the snap of a finger our intimate little tête à tête inside his dressing room was over, and I was just one of the crowd again.

I waved to him as we were leaving, and he gave me a head nod and a smile. It was really cool at the time, but is now a “smack yourself in the forehead for being such a chicken shit” moment in my life. I should have grown a pair and handed him my number when I had the chance.

On the one hand I think “yeah, like he would’ve ever called me.” But you never know – I may have had a way better story to tell if I had done it.

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Santa Photo

When I was a small child of 5 or so, my mother, overcome with Christmas spirit, must have actually paid to have our photo taken with Santa. If you knew my dad and his spend thrift ways, you’d know why I’d question her spending good money on a Santa photo – especially this one.

This photo has been a source of family amusement almost since it was taken. It is bad on so many levels, that I seriously question my mother’s sanity on why she decided to have it taken, and furthermore, why she decided to purchase it. Here are several reasons why I would’ve told the Santa photo Department at Bamberger’s to fuggedaboutdit.

Head1. My head. I’m not sure what kind of hairdo my mother fixed me up with that morning, but I am not rocking it. I have a bump that closely resembles a mini volcano.

I look like I have tic tacs for teeth – and I am obviously missing the two front ones courtesy of a a fast ride down the driveway on my tricycle. Little slovie managed to do a face-plant on the pavement and my front teeth hit the ejector seat.

And what is with my hairline? I have some form of bangs but they are more like grass clippings. And for some reason that line across my brow coupled with the fact that my head appears to be square makes me look like the lost daughter of the dude to the left.

Dress2. My dress. Is this a dress or just a t-shirt? Was mom in a rush and plumb forgot our pants? And if it’s close to Christmas, why don’t we have stockings? Bare legged in New Jersey in December? Maybe there was a hint of Indian Summer that day, but most likely the act of  hiking stockings up my chubby little legs was more than mom was willing to do.

Hand3. My hand. And smack dab in the middle of this fa la la la la la photo is my hand. My awkward little hand. I’m not entirely sure what it’s doing. It could be trying to shield my fundies from view due to the fact that my mother dressed me in a Barbie outfit. Maybe I had to pee. Maybe I had an itch. Maybe I farted and was trying to block its escape.

Whatever the reason, it sucks that front and center in this photo it looks like I am digging in my crotch.

the knee4. My Knee. Ok, if you’re going to take me to get my photo taken with the department store Santa in a dress that wouldn’t fit a kewpie doll, and I have a boo-boo on my knee, the least you could do is put the band aid on straight. I can deduct exactly what happened here…while applying the band aid, the adhesive stuck together and mom, in a rush with 4 impatient kids just slapped that fucker on whichever way it would stick.

A straight band aid would’ve been sort of charming. But that thing? It’s like it was applied by a triage nurse at the front lines.

sister5. My Sister. There is a 3rd sister in this photo – can you find her? I don’t know if she was meant to be in the picture and the photographer had a 3 martini lunch or if she was supposed to stay out of the frame, but was foiled once again by the family schnozola. In any case, her nose sticking in from stage right cracked us up for years and years.

You also have to love the placard with the numbers clearly visible in the photo – makes it look like we are getting our photo taken with a prison Santa.

As many flaws as this photo has, I’m thankful it was taken. I never brought my kids to have a photo taken with Santa – the type you dress up for specifically and shell out the dough to Mrs. Claus and her elves. If we did manage to find a short line for Santa and the kids got to sit on his lap, I usually didn’t have my camera.

But my mom managed to rush us out of the house – Bad hair, short dresses and crooked band aids aside to get out photo taken with Santa. Then I imagine she wanted a three martini lunch.

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Everybody has their favorite “Seinfeld” episode. While there are tons of episodes that are good, (The Contest, Chocolate Babka, The Nipple Slip, Soup Nazi, Keith Hernandez) there is one in particular that stands out for me.

The Opposite Episode. It’s perfect. Each character has his or her own story line and they’re all good.

George: Down and out on his luck and totally in the dumps, he decides to do the opposite of every impulse he has. He winds up with a job with the NY Yankees

Jerry: When he loses one job and gets a call for another one, Kramer dubs him “Even Steven.”

Kramer: Goes on tour with his celebrity coffee table book

Elaine: Slowly becomes George.

Sounds simple, but it’s really very complex – it’s like a perfectly built 7 layer cake. Each scene, while important on it’s own, feeds off the last and builds to the next. Hell, I’m no TV critic. I don’t know what I’m talking about actually. All I know is this episode is freaking funny.

Some of my favorite points are:

  • Jujyfruit – For some reason I love how Elaine crams these horrid candies into her mouth throughout the episode. I personally didn’t think she was good enough for Jake – the most normal boyfriend she had on the whole show. I was kind of glad he broke up with her, especially since she ate popcorn first.
  • Even Steven – When Kramer pokes his finger at Jerry and says “You’re Even Steven,” I die. I also love how Elaine throws his $20 bill out the window, (you know, you could’ve just thrown a pencil out the window) and then Jerry finds a $20 in his coat pocket later on.
  • Kathy Lee Gifford – I’ve always hated this broad, and she sucked on this episode – and I like that she sucked. She keeps bringing up Kramer’s hair, like she couldn’t ad lib anything better. She looks directly into the camera at least once, which makes the scene seem amateurish. Then to make matters worse, when Kramer spits his coffee out, she shamelessly plugs her shitty Kathy Lee Casual clothing line.
  • The Forehead Butt – when Elaine is complaining about her woes, George makes a wisecrack about her moving in with his parents. She asks him if that was instinct or the opposite of what he was going to say (while pinching his cheeks together). When he answers “instinct” (with his cheeks pinched together) she says “stick with the opposite” and smashes her palm into his bald little forehead. I love this for some reason.
  • George in General – I think this is one of his best episodes. His enthusiasm in this new found religion makes for some great scenes. Admitting he’s short, bald, unemployed and lives with his parents, yelling at the bullies in the movies, telling off George Steinbrenner, and swinging his hat around while announcing that he’s been hired by the NY Yankees – it’s gold, Jerry, gold.

It ends in as much the same way it began. With one of Jerry’s friends up and at ’em, and the other down in the dumps. And Jerry? Still Even Steven.

Modern electronics have all but obliterated a part of my childhood school days that I think back on fondly.

There are no more filmstrips.

Filmstrips was this great time where the teacher turned off lights, lowered the shades and turned on the projector. The classroom would then be treated to a glimpse inside a variety of subjects – we’d learn about everything from manners to mammals.

In case you’re not familiar with this archaic instructional tool, a filmstrip was a series of still pictures that were strung together to tell a story. There was a soundtrack that would accompany the film, which would not only narrate the story, but give you a cue as to when to change the picture – usually a beep or a tone.

The best part of the filmstrip viewing experience was if YOU were chosen by the teacher to turn the knob on the projector. What a sense of pride it was to be given this role of distinction! It was your responsibility to keep the story moving!

The narrators were of your typical variety – dry actors who would describe in perfect pitch and tone why Susie should brush her teeth after meals. Then would come the “ding!” and the picture would change.

Yes, it was totally lame, but it was way better than listening to your teacher drone on about punctuation or long division! Plus, they could be very entertaining, but not always in the manner intended. Sometimes the kids and people in the filmstrips were so dorky it was impossible not to goof on them.

For example:

But another caption would be way more fun. One like “Steve’s mother sympathized with Mrs. Logan for having a hang over after drinking one Old Fashioned too many.”

Or how about this Rockwell-esque scene? The deviant mind would notice the rather lascivious look on dad’s face. Look’s like he’s excited to see fresh meat at the table, and he ain’t talking about the baloney sandwiches.

Steve won’t share and little Billy is left to play pocket pool. Who’s having the real fun?

Some captions needed no embellishment. They were just too fucking funny as they were.

I’ll be the first one to admit that filmstrips sorta sucked. They were a glorified Viewmaster outfitted for the classroom. But there’s a timeless beauty to them as well…it was an era where it was still considered ok to shove morality down our throats…where free thinking was evil and a sin.

It was hard not to giggle during those 20 minutes in the warm darkness of the afternoon classroom. The stray giggle or titter rarely elicited a warning from the teacher. Many of these films were outdated even in the 70’s and were so hokey it was a wonder any teacher found them to be acceptable educational tools.

Who knows – after a long day of trying to teach us knuckleheads our 3 R’s – maybe our teacher needed a laugh too.