They don’t have the balls to lock me up

Those were the immortal words of one of my in-laws, who is now under house arrest, since all the prison workers took a vote and decided he was too obnoxious to keep incarcerated. Turns out he was right.

A few nights ago, I learned that some unscrupulous hackers were using one of our websites for illicit activities. We’ll just say it could land me in hot water (since “Federal Offense” carries a more negative connotation). As soon as I found out, I took a shower and shaved my legs. I wanted to put off the prison shower scene for as long as I could. I also thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have any books out from the library. Can you imagine the fines if I did ten to twenty?

Honestly, I was more worried about having my computer confiscated than going to the big house. I really need to get my priorities straight. As a writer, my soul is conveniently located in a couple circuits and a Pentium chip. I haven’t gone to church in some time since they don’t have WiFi in the sanctuary and I’m too cheap to get a smart phone.

I don’t have any incriminating evidence, or even porn on my computer. Unfortunately, my daughter borrowed my Nook, and just downloaded some sexually explicit reading material from Barnes & Noble. I can fairly hear the shower water running.

I will maintain my innocence until my dying day, which may be pretty soon if my friend makes her streusel coffee cake and doesn’t bring enough for all the inmates. In order to avoid imminent shivving, I’m asking all my readers to attest to my good character. “She makes a lot of poop jokes, but otherwise she’s okay.”

If you need me, I’ll be at the Starlight Motel in North Dakota. Just ask for Carmen Fuentes at the desk. Hope they serve continental breakfast.

I misplaced my modifier

In seventh grade, I had to take a grammar class. I wonder if kids today are still dragged to the blackboard and forced to diagram a sentence the length of a football field. There was always that one girl in the class (since boys typically communicated through grunts and armpit farts) who could do it without breaking a sweat. I was not that girl.

In tenth grade, I took a remedial grammar class. It started out with the sentence, “Birds eat.” We were asked to identify which word was the noun, and which was the verb. I figured I stood a 50/50 chance of getting it right. The point is that it took me twelve years and a college Spanish grammar class to learn the English language.

The average American would rather eat rusty nails than try to conjugate a verb, so I know that your mind has already wandered off and you are thinking about pizza (thin crust, extra pepperoni). Bare with me. (Translation: let’s get naked together. Also acceptable, Bear with me: let’s go hunting grizzlies. Don’t get me started on “pair.”)

I know I’ll probably be tarred and feathered for this, but I think all Americans should learn a second language. I learned most of my English grammar in Spanish class. As it is, we’re very egotistical about the merits of a language which few people can speak properly. I would suggest Hawaiian, except that they have a definite shipping problem with consonants. They have a strict quota, and once you run out, you have to make up shit like auauieia (translation: the pig ate my socks).

Respect grammar for what it is: a boring exercise in language arts. I’ll leave you with this thought. In my remedial grammar class, a boy, who was sweet on my friend, used one of the most unusual pick-up lines ever. He turned to her and said “Fart is a verb.” (Fart, farted, farten).

Don’t stop till you throw up

I’m in a delicious state of busy right now. I’m talking banana split with whipped cream and two cherries on top delicious. I have that slightly giddy sensation that normally signals either sensory overload or impending aneurysm.

Bring it! … well, not the aneurysm part.

There are two things you should know about me:

  1. I don’t often get a sense of euphoria when there is half a rain forest’s worth of paper crushing my in-basket.
  2. I’m old

So the universe put it to a vote and decided that I was just having too much fun doing my job, and it could not allow the situation to go along unchecked. Last night, as I was dancing around the kitchen making dinner, something happened in my neck. We’re talking apocalyptic weeping and gnashing of teeth something.

Usually, at this point I would run, not walk, to the nearest gallon jug of vicodin … but I’m busy. I mean, I’ve got serious shit to do here, people. I might be called upon to drive, or pee, or do long division, any of which could have disastrous results if one is mentally impaired. Note to self: cancel company team building exercises. Me, my osteoporosis, and a zip-line were probably a bad combination from the start.

Lest you are at this moment reaching for an ice pick to shove in your ear, I am not going to bore you with a rant about the cruel realities of aging. I’m actually feeling incredibly grateful for the last six months spent relatively free of neck pain.

Bottom line, I still have that giddy work-related feeling, so I’ll run with it in spite of muscle spasms, pinched nerves, and an odd rash on my butt—probably unrelated. I may not be running on all engines, but I’m having fun doing it.

And for team building, I think a cribbage tournament will hold less risk of mind-numbing terror, broken bones, and projectile vomiting. We’ll save the zip-line for next year.

Not so common sense

Lacking the basic social skills of a sea slug, I have a hard time dealing with conflict. That wasn’t a problem before the heavens opened up and it started raining idiots. I’m at a disadvantage, because my mother taught me manners with an alder switch to the backside.

Case in point: my friend’s ex couldn’t grasp the concept of “go away.” When he showed up on my doorstep Friday looking for her, my first impulse was “HIDE!” Unfortunately, I’m not built for speed, so after scurrying around the living room like a turtle on crack, I discovered that my friend had nabbed the best hiding spot, leaving me high and dry. As soon as I opened the door, politeness kicked in like a laxative.

Later that day I served him with no trespassing orders, so I managed to redeem myself. Not surprisingly, even after he was banned from the property, he asked if he could see her. Proof once again that inbreeding is a bad idea.

Why the sudden tsunami of people who need an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes? Could it be that I’m getting intolerant and judgey in my old age? It’s not that I’m opinionated, I’m just usually right. People should be queuing up to agree with me.

At the same time, I’m humbled by people like the father I met this weekend at a book fair. His seventeen year-old daughter published her first book at 13, and now has several very successful children’s books to her name. This grizzled biker-looking dude was learning to oil paint with his little girl. You can find her latest book, Hunted Home at Amazon.

As we were sitting out on the pavilion steps chatting, he and my daughter got into a philosophical discussion of relationships. To save my life, the only intelligent thing I could think to say was, “Are my panties showing?” Perhaps I should rethink that judgey attitude.

Strutting your stuff downtown

Is there a correlation between blushing and spontaneous combustion? I’m afraid that if I read Fifty Shades of Gray, I might find out. I’m kind of a vanilla girl, so I admit to some ignorance about safe words, harnesses, and why some people spend good money to see Carrot Top.

I pride myself on an extensive vocabulary, so I was surprised yesterday, when my daughter used a word I’ve never heard before: merkin. I blame it on my revulsion at watching The Real Housewives of Anywhere. Apparently, one of these women sells merkins.

I looked up merkin on Wikipedia, and was nearly blinded by a picture of a hot pink hairpiece pasted to a woman’s lady parts. A merkin is a pube wig!! Even though I’m genetically predisposed to post-menopausal hair loss, there is no way I’m going to walk around with dryer lint glued to my naughty parts.

The first step in wearing a merkin is to have all your God-given hair south of the navel yanked out by the roots. Merkins are for people who like to shake it up with different colors and textures. PETA has recently issued statements condemning the use of animal fur to cover these particular bald spots, although they were blushing as they said it.

Are you shitting me?

Yes, you can purchase a fox or mink merkin. Personally, if I had mink, I’d have my hand down my pants 24/7. I can just imagine the indignant look on the fox who learned that his fur would be used as a human hall runner.

Not to be outdone, they’ve come out with a new line for men called the Jerkin’ Merkin. (OK, I totally made that up, but it has a nice ring to it.) The question on everyone’s mind at this point is, “Are they dry clean only?” I can’t imagine the cleaning bill for such a specialty item, or the looks on people’s faces when you pick up your pubes at the dry cleaners.

What you do in the privacy of your own pants is your own business, but I don’t think there will ever come a day when I decide to super glue something to one of the most sensitive parts of my body. Taking it off would be a bitch.

Wait for it, Mom

I get regular friendly email reminders from FTD to tell me that I have a problem with procrastination. In my defense, it’s often just a case of being an inconsiderate boob being forgetful. Flowers say: a) I walked past the greeting card aisle three times, and was so focused on deodorant and Tootsie Pops that I forgot to stop and select some crappy card containing a heartfelt sentiment; or b) I’m out of stamps.

My mom lives in Arizona, and I don’t. My laughable budget doesn’t allow me to get much farther than the corner supermarket: a considerable distance from her house. Since I can’t be with her for Mother’s Day, I carry her in my heart.

Here are some of the things she taught me, that I have tried to pass along to my children. Editor’s note: I am not making this up.

Paddling is best done with a wooden spoon. It stings real good without leaving a mark that would alert child welfare authorities.

Chores should be a family affair. Just don’t drop the old barn on any member of the family while tearing it down.

Teach your children to do it right the first time. For example: the proper use of firearms should be exercised at all times if you live next to an international airport. (Obviously, this was before the days of Homeland Security).

Play with your children, even if it involves running around in the backyard throwing pancakes at each other. Don’t include syrup, because that would just be weird.

Teach your children proper nutrition. Stamp glue doesn’t count as a food group.

Finally, be sure to worship together–unless you find a church that provides a bus to whisk your kids to Sunday School while you sleep in.

I encourage you to cherish the memories, and show your heartfelt appreciation to the woman who bore you with those special words: Mom, your crappy card is in the mail.

You can’t pick your neighbors

If “Dick” had a piano drop on his head, causing major brain damage that turned him into a nice guy, I wouldn’t waste my time with a moment’s remorse for his misfortune. In fact, it would be cause for some amount of rejoicing. I can honestly say that I never wished a piano-related injury on anyone until Dick moved next door.

First, my apologies to PETA for this allegory. You all are doing a great job, in your own annoying, self-righteous way.

A man was out hunting ducks one day. He had just brought down a nice mallard when a lobbyist showed up and said, “You can’t do that, a%#hole!” Obviously, the lobbyist didn’t know that he was talking to Dick Cheney.

“Never mind that my net worth is more than God’s,” he replied, “my children will starve if I don’t bring home a duck.”

The lobbyist wasn’t swayed. “Tough sh*t. These are living breathing creatures, and your piddling problems don’t matter.”

The lobbyist is now undergoing reconstructive surgery after having his nose blown off.

I don’t own a shotgun, I don’t know any lobbyists, and no ducks (or lobbyists) were harmed in the making of this allegory.

Dick (my neighbor, not Cheney) cusses me out if I mow outside the lines, or park my motor home in my driveway. Mostly, he hates my dogs. I have a Doberman and a Great Dane, so when they bark, people in Nome, Alaska jump.

Being as how they are alive, my dogs need to pee and poop and stretch their legs. I have a fenced in yard, I’m outside with them every minute, and as soon as they bark, I bring them in.

Dick is not satisfied with my attempts to be a responsible pet owner. If I hear, “I’m reporting this” one more time, I think I may go looking for a shotgun … or a piano.

My brains are on fire

I’ve only known a few vegetarians in my lifetime. These are people who have never opened a box of macaroni and cheese in their lives. They shop in the produce aisles, at roadside stands, and at black market Amish bake sales. I’m sorry, but you can chop, parboil, and puree a radish all you like and it’s never going to taste like a Snickers bar.

Years ago, while waiting to pick up my kids from preschool, I noticed one of these emaciated souls eating something that looked like candy. My curiosity peaked, I asked her what it was and she offered me a piece of crystallized ginger. It had nothing on salt water taffy, but tasted sweet, with a nice little bite to it.

Of all the home remedies that were forced on me as a child (one of which involving a hose and warm water, that would make any suspect confess to a multitude of crimes) my mother never gave me ginger. It is a proven remedy for headaches, as it reduces inflammation in the brain.

I’m pretty sure that my brain is in a constant state of inflammation. I don’t suffer headaches often because I possess a skull roughly the size of a gym bag, easily accommodating lycra biker shorts, towels, energy drinks, and oversized brains. But my neurons seem to be under-performing lately.

I can only attribute that to brain cells spontaneously combusting every time I try to form a coherent thought. Admittedly, I killed a lot of brain cells in my misbegotten youth, when I enjoyed a liquid diet that would put down a fully grown wildebeest. In the interest of science, today I’m enjoying a liquid diet composed mostly of diet ginger ale.

If my blog is less chaotic than normal, and noticeably free of dog jizz, then I owe a debt to Canada Dry. Still, I’m not likely to resort to Mom’s method for curing constipation. I don’t have any crimes to confess.

Out, damn spot!

Spring is here and a young dog’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. I share my home with two dogs. Colt had boy-dog surgery when he was young. Maverick (the name wasn’t changed, because he is anything but innocent) still has all his original equipment. Mav is a Great Dane, which is the only size dog they sell at Costco. It means that his boy parts are large enough that you expect 20 clowns to spill out of them at any given time.

One thing all dogs have in common is flexibility. They can reach their noses around to forbidden territories, while we’re still struggling vainly to lick our own elbows. (Go ahead and try it, we’ll wait.)

I have a rather small house with oversized furniture. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for parking a large economy size creature with a maddening tendency to stand up just as you’re stepping over him. Fortunately I have a large capacity wash machine that can handle a queen size comforter. Said comforter is currently on the spin cycle.

Leave Maverick in the guest room for five minutes, and you’ll find him stretched out on the bed, smoking a cigarette and reading Fifty Shades of Grey. He always looks very pleased with his bad self.

I frequently question the wisdom of having big dogs as I get older. Walking them is a challenge, snuggling with them can cause lack of circulation to important body parts, (e.g. legs, arms, and spleen) and I hesitate to think how many pounds of kibble I’ve hefted over the last few years. It’s not for the weak of heart.

You may think that canine self-gratification is a frivolous blog topic, unless you own stock in laundry soap. The math is pretty simple: large randy dog = don’t go to bed without your snorkel and swim fins.

I should point out that Mav is constantly turning his head because he only is able to see out of his peripheral vision. Let this be a warning to your schnauzers and shih tzus, Mom was right when she said it would make you go blind.

REBUTTAL!!! Do you see anything but innocence in his eyes? (he did enjoy fifty shades of grey)

As Karla's closest friend, marketing director and her muse up until now I have been a silent partner. That has now ended as I am the owner of the very inscrutable dog in question. Karla is not the sweet person you all envision!

Power to the old people

I read an article yesterday in the Huffington Post promoting senior empowerment. The writer argued that we torpedo ourselves by living up to senior stereotypes. She further claimed that self-deprecating senior humor causes our self-esteem to recede faster than our hairlines. Phhht!

Seriously, ageism is a crappy deal. A lot of seniors struggle against discrimination in the workplace – and I’m talking about the newly old. I’ve seen the system fail people that I love, but anger and righteous indignation (while frequently justified) polarizes us.

I just don’t think that schooling ourselves to be politically correct about aging is going to empower us. Trying to avoid stereotypes is like ignoring the elephant in the room. We’re all getting older, and it’s scary. I believe that fear is what really robs us of our power, and humor helps to combat the fear.

If you go to the “About Me” page on this blog, you’ll find my mission statement:

“As a humor writer, my goal is to use laughter to diffuse the anxiety of aging; challenge others to bring humor into their daily lives; and prove that there is joy and laughter to be found at every stage of life’s journey.”

When I’m going through shit, finding others who have been through it is very healing. When we relate to each other, we accept our human condition and find that we’re not so very different, regardless of our age.

I may exaggerate and look for the ridiculous in life, but my goal is always to embrace the underlying truth. Facing our fears takes away their power and gives it back to us.