Tag Archives: holidays

Is that a banana in your pocket?

26 Apr

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. You’re supposed to carry a poem in your pocket and share it with friends, co-workers, strangers, etc. I’m all for making the world a little more poetic, so I plan to participate.

While I have a few poems that are definite favorites, given my twisted sense of humor, I thought it would be hilarious to have a poem on hand that is guaranteed to result in an awkward exchange.

I picture someone stopping me at the water cooler to share a verse by Emily Dickinson… then I’d whip out this one in response:

To Speak of Woe That Is In Marriage

by Robert Lowell
The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms. Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes,
and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes,
free-lancing out along the razor’s edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust. . .
It’s the injustice . . . he is so unjust—
whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him tick? Each night now I tie
ten dollars and his car key to my thigh. . . .
Gored by the climacteric of his want,
he stalls above me like an elephant.”

AWKWARD. Even better if the person I’m reading it to is married.

Or making a production of unfolding a large piece of paper, only to quote Shel Silverstein’s two sentence poem, Plunger, which has been lodged in my head since second grade:

Teddy said it was a hat, so I put it on. Now Dad is saying where the heck’s the toilet plunger gone? 

What verse will YOU carry with you today? Any favorites you’ll share?

In full seriousness, here is mine:

so you want to be a writer? 
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.


Who has the Christmas spirit? Hint: might not be me.

14 Dec

I will be buying you some of these. You're welcome.

I recently posted about a gift exchange that jumped the rails due to my keen observational skills. If you missed that post, I’ll summarize: I’ve repeatedly given earrings to a good friend who doesn’t have pierced ears. Blam!

Rolling into the holidays, you might think that I’m operating with a high degree of anxiety, knowing that another gift exchange is in my near future. You couldn’t be more wronger™. Nope. I’m not stressed at all. Know why?

Because instead of exchanging gifts, Betsy and I have decided to adopt a DC family in need and spend our money on them instead. Brilliant, right?!

Well, at least, I thought it was brilliant, until I received the family’s wish list. It’s a single mom with two sons. The boys have legitimate items on their wish lists. But the mom? Know what she wants? A gift card to Victoria’s Secret.

Please excuse me while I go all judgmental and decidedly un-charitable for a moment.

You. Must. Be. Shitting. Me.

Let’s rewind. You have two children that you’re struggling to support, so you think the answer is to… buy sexy lingerie and have more sex and potentially create another baby? No. Way.

I want to sit this woman down and say, “Honey. I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I am happy to be taxed if it means a better standard of living for everyone. But you? You’re going to ruin it for everyone needing assistance by asking for shit you do not need.”

“I mean, I’m happy to help give your kids a good Christmas, and I’m happy to help you pick up some essentials for your household. But Victoria’s Secret? That’s a luxury, not a necessity. If you need underwear, there are many, many other stores that sell them. For a fraction of the price. And with more fabric.”

Actually, it’s the holidays. I shouldn’t judge. This is my opportunity to be someone’s Christmas miracle. I think I’ll take that sentiment to heart, and go beyond what’s on her wishlist. In fact, I already have a perfect idea for a stocking stuffer:

Vocabulary that sizzles. Fo’ shizzle.

26 Dec

To pass time on Christmas day, we started a three-generation game of Tripoli at my parents’ house. (Tripoli is a card game with three stages that includes Michigan Rummy, poker and money cards.)

Near the end of the game, my attention waned, so I got a bit squirrelly. When playing the poker stage, I announced that my hand contained a “fizzle hizzle” instead of saying “full house.”

When it was time to count off, I led with a “tizzle” (two), followed by a “thrizzle” and so on.

My 12 year old nephew got a kick out of my counting style, so when it was his turn to lay down a Jack, he announced it with “JIZZLE!”

And immediately made a swallowed noise of embarrassment that was combination laugh/cough/gasp that let us know he realized he had just said a word that might be a synonym for “ejaculation” at his grandparents’ dining table. On Christmas Day.

Because nothing says “Merry Christmas, Grandma!” like announcing that your pre-teen slang vocabulary now includes fornication. (Fortunately, I’m pretty sure “jiz” is not a word my parents know, because when I later tried to explain the humor to them, they gave me a blank look. Though actually, that might have been because I didn’t do the SNL skit justice when I explained it.)

Next year, by way of a sequel, we’ll have to take home a bag of chestnuts and see what that does for the conversation.

He sees you when you’re sleeping. Or outsources it to a very lazy elf.

15 Dec

"And this, Bobby, is why you should never sleep naked." Creepy indeed.

Since I don’t have kids, I’d never heard of “Elf on a Shelf” until I read my friend Amy’s Facebook status the other night, in which she stated, “I don’t know if we’re organized enough to do Elf on a Shelf this year.”

Apparently “Elf on a Shelf” is a kid’s book that comes with a stuffed elf. The premise is that every night in December he flies to the North Pole and reports your behavior that day to Santa. AWESOME.

So much more effective than hollow reminders that Santa can see you when you’re sleeping or awake. Any rightfully cynical child these days will say, “Doubtful. The dude only has two eyes.” This elf is infinitely more plausible. And the thing that lends credibility? He is in a different place every morning to demonstrate that he left over night.

Except – and here’s what I REALLY like about “Elf on a Shelf,” – it seems that most of Amy’s friends are struggling to remember to move the elf. So the kids are growing suspicious. Or it’s forcing the parents to lie. (Which, I’d like to remind them: Santa KNOWS.)

I was laughing out loud (LOL’ing, if you will) as I read her friends’ comments, which tended to either offer advice or admissions of guilt.

For those seeking advice, we have the following tips:

I set the alarm on my phone at night to remind us to do it. UGH!

I email myself every night to remember!

And the admissions of guilt:

Our elf tends to spend 2 days in the same location. 😦

I’m terrible at it too! but, I’m becoming a better liar/storyteller as to why he doesn’t move. 😉

And by far the BEST response, which makes me want to call a publisher and get this girl a book deal to write the sequel to “Elf on a Shelf.”

We have had Elf for 3 years…this year is the first year I have forgotten…and I’ve done it multiple times….so I played it off like he is “crazy” this year….somethings wrong with him. I.E he ended up in the fridge, upside down in a stocking, half in half out of the front door, stuck on a fan blade while it is spinning. 🙂

I love that not only are these kids being watched by an elf, but they are being watched by an elf that is so mentally unstable he’s half suicidal. And you know what? Even if you’re good, he’s probably going to make up some shit to tell Santa, UNLESS you actively bribe him. Or, you might need to learn CPR because next trip back might land him in the liquor cabinet, face down in a puddle of whisky. With this guy, you just never know.

I love it. I’m just mad I didn’t come up with the concept. It’s like Flat Stanley, but with the power of mind control.

And after all, isn’t that what Christmas is really about? One month where adults are allowed to lie and kids are actually responsive to fear-based behavior management. T’is the season!

I’m just wondering: when is May 5 just May 5?

6 May

Yesterday all my friends had FB statuses about “Cinco de Mayo” and drinking margaritas or having a Corona for lunch. And I got all excited, thinking – what an AWESOME holiday: it’s like St. Patrick’s day for my Mexican friends!

But – after a bit more thought – I came to the conclusion that it is NOT AT ALL like St. Patrick’s Day. I’m in Chicago and the river here was not dyed green. There were no cloggers dancing on bars. I didn’t hear of anyone going out for “kegs and eggs” in the morning. And – most importantly – I am pretty sure  a saint did not chase snakes out of Mexico, because HELLO – isn’t Mexico home to many a rattler???

I actually have no idea what Cinco de Mayo celebrates – other than a date: May Fifth. (That’s right, I’m spelling it out in case you’re dumb and thought it was some kind of mayonnaise festival, you dingdong. But then again, I just admitted my ignorance, so should I be calling you a dingdong? Probably not.)

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