Tag Archives: humor

Quote Schmote

Television was an event in our day. If you were lucky, you had cable. If not, you had three channels. One was really just to keep up on Sesame Street without anyone knowing. The shows we watched defined us, as so many publications have mentioned. What the articles don’t offer are funny and random quotes from these shows. Here is a trip down memory lane, via the voices of the seventies:

Tim Conway, on The Carol Burnett Show:

“I was at this freak show one time and I saw these Siamese Elephants. They was joined at the end of their trunks. This trainer made ‘em stand up on their back legs and their trunks stretched. Then this little monkey would come out and dance the merangue. Kinda felt sorry for them. They couldn’t go like the other elephants and go Pffffffhu! All they could do is Snrkin.”

Nellie Olsen, queen of 1800’s snark on Little House on the Prairie:  

“Half the time, you don’t even SMELL like a girl! You’re either sweaty, or you stink of fish!”

Cindy Brady, (The Brady Bunch) on the occasion of the family’s fateful, two-part Hawaiin adventure:

“I’m sure glad Greg didn’t get hurt. It would have ruined our picnic tomorrow!”

Land of the Lost. A time-traveling family, Rick, Will and Holly always had their corduroys in a bunch over some miscommunication with a Slestak or dinosaur. You had to be there.

“Sometimes, Rick Marshall, you demonstrate your intelligence in a strange, but effective, way.”

Batman, from the re-runs of the Batman series, which originally aired in the 1960’s:

“I knew what you were up to Penguin so I gently coated my stomach with buttermilk.”

The Star Trek series:

“He’s dead, Jim.”

“I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget.”

George Jefferson, wealthy dry cleaner extraordinaire, The Jeffersons:

“I’m gonna stick my foot so far up your behind you gonna think I grew there.”

Columbo, the squinty-eyed, trench-coat- for -every-season detective so understated he had a show named after him:

“There are a couple of loose ends I’d like to tie up. Nothing important you understand.”

“I can’t swim, I don’t even like a deep tub.”

After kickball, television was our main form of entertainment in the middle of nowhere. These shows and many more formed our sense of being in the seventies. What are some of your favorites?

 

Toasty Bit #5

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This Toasty Bit comes from a blossoming writer named Laura Cataldi. She recently graduated from college with honors and is pursuing her master’s degree in the fall. Laura has faced more mountains in her young life than many of us combined. Kudos to you, Laura and thank you for your toasty bit of writing! -JK

One of my favorite quotes that floats around the internet goes something like this:

“Tell someone you love them today, because life is short, but SHOUT it at them in German, because life is also terrifying and confusing.”

While good for a laugh, I’ve come to realize that this quote also accurately sums up my experiences as a twenty-something. Perhaps one of the most frustrating and confusing things about being in my twenties has been the constant pressure to have my life figured out. Like everyone else, I was supposed to graduate high school knowing, without a doubt, what I wanted to do with my life. Advice from adults, however, was maddeningly contradictory. “Follow your dreams!” they said. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!” Then the realists stepped in. “Gotta pay your bills. Flipping burgers will help you do that. A Liberal Arts degree probably won’t.” (Whoops.)

So, in the spirit of takin’ care of business, I started working at grocery stores or in other retail settings, just to make ends meet while I clawed my way to a degree that I wasn’t even certain I wanted, all the while being bombarded with more expectations. I was supposed to be building my credit. I was supposed to budget my minimum wage paychecks into paying rent, utilities, and food and have enough left over to save up for a downpayment on my first house. Perhaps it was just the bludgeon that is my personal anxieties, but I felt like the more people around me succeeded, the less I was doing to successfully adult. Because that’s what it’s all about: adulting. You’ve seen the memes. “Cried but did the thing anyway.” “When I was sixteen, I wanted my freedom. Now I’m twenty-six, and I want my mom to make my doctor’s appointments and buy me groceries for my birthday.” Being a young adult today is both terrifying and confusing. I’m hoping that hitting the big 3-0 will bring about the miraculous truths of life, because so far they’ve eluded me, and unlike everything else, I can’t purchase a clue from Amazon.

“Youth is wasted on the young,” they say. I’m inclined to agree, but that’s only because nobody ever told me how to make the most of this time. Some of my peers have it figured out, but as for me, I’m still trying to figure out a healthy balance. Should I pick up extra shifts, or binge-watch more Netflix? A successful adult would pick Option A. I, however, am only three seasons into Grey’s Anatomy, so….

Laura Cataldi

Dance Schmance

Your decade of birth determines not only your preference in style and music but also the Danceway you dance.

Do you have the predisposition to wiggle your rear like an excited pup every time your favorite song is on the radio? Chances have you learned your dance moves in the sixties. Do you feel the need to roll your arms in an upward motion and sway back and forth in the widest possible clothing? Point to the ceiling. Now the floor. Now the ceiling.  You child of the seventies, you.

Slide your feet across the floor as if it were a moon-like surface, or perhaps bang your hair against an invisible wall? Life was good in the eighties. If you have the urge to Macarena or squat-slide your balloon pants across the room in true Hammer style, welcome to the nineties. Beyond that decade, I confess I do not know what motivates your movements. There are some unexplained jerks that just defy logic.  I hope all of my 2000-and-beyond dancing friends have a good relationship with a chiropractor. Why? Umm… no reason.

No matter what your dance-decade preference, at some point your body dictates your movements. Those dance floor high kicks will at some point become more of toe-tap. The hip swirl will evolve into more of a suggestive head bob, willing those hips to follow along.  Those broad dance moves that once defined us are suddenly channeled into much smaller movements.

Look no further than any summer concert series. Rows of lawn chairs interspersed with blankets and gleeful toddlers contain many wishful dancers. The band begins playing a Beach Boys tune and immediately heads begin to bop. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the thoughts of those head boppers projected above us? Dances from every decade would appear. The wide, green lawn would suddenly become a crowded dance floor with booty shakers and sky-pointers dancing side by side.

The decades melt and we are all dancing together. In our heads. Keep those fingers moving.

 

 

Chin Schmin

chin

The chin is a funny thing. It doesn’t matter much for most of our lives. Other than Jay Leno, there has never been a person I’ve heard of in my life whose chin had an impact on their career or social life. “Did you hear about Fern? She got fired from her job for chin-butting everyone in accounting,” or, “women just can’t resist Fred. He points that bulbous chin in a come-hither manner and they are putty in his hands.”

Up until this very moment, you haven’t given your chin any thought, unless it has become an unintended canvass for that smear of chocolate that you thought no one saw you eat but your significant other has so kindly pointed out.  There are personality types connected to chin shape, according to shifty internet sources: square chins are allegedly attached to stubborn people. Protruding chins mean a self- confident type. Rounded- chin people are deeply emotional. Long chins are for those who are loyal and easy-going. People with dimples in their chin are just confused.

There are books dedicated to the strength and elasticity of the chin. Twenty, goofy grimaces in varying awkward positions three times a day and your vaguely- rectangular lower jaw will return to its former, perfectly- square glory. You can even do them in the car, the book states. The ensuing road-rage that will occur when you grimace at the wrong person must be addressed in later chapters that I couldn’t read while performing the Look of Abject Horror exercise. Twenty times.

The chin does assume a position of importance in middle age when suddenly it becomes a compass for trendy reading glasses in search of the printed word. But for now, let’s just concentrate on those chin-ups. Who knows where they might lead you professionally. Or personally. Oooh, Frances – that chin! I’d swear it was sitting on the face of a twenty-five year-old!

 

Looks Schmooks

Old lady

This is the anti, anti-feminism dilemma: When is it ok to put no effort into your look? This story, only slightly altered for dramatic effect, is about one such experience. Recently I made the conscious decision to leave my home in a relaxed state of presentation. That’s a fancy way of saying I was kind of sorry slob.  By the time I got to my destination, sweat and fatigue factored in to the delivery.

At my insistence, we dined in a nice establishment. It took only a minute to realize there was a familiar face already seated in the restaurant, someone who puts considerable time and effort into her aesthetic. Across the table from her sat an equally impressive individual. With cat-like reflexes, I dodged and slithered my way to the bathroom unseen, concerned for the first time that day about what my look might say about me.

The mirror did not disappoint. By this point in the morning, my already beleaguered hair was at a red-level of distress. I took a little water and tried re-styling, only to find a curious sculpture of sweat and hair products forming in the mirror in front of me. I pinched my cheeks, willing them to stand at attention.  There was no way to hide the eye bags or the lack of make-up either. The free-and-easy, I can-look-as-I-please attitude of earlier that morning was replaced by sheer panic.

As I left the bathroom, resigned to the fact that I would have to sit under the table until she was gone and enjoy my salad at eye level, fate intervened. She was waiting to use the very same bathroom I had just defiled with my failed hair and face treatment.

“Well hello!” she said, annoyingly cheery.

“Sorry,” I said as I scurried by.  I felt like I needed to go and take a sympathy shower for her. I ate my meal in self-induced humiliation, occasionally trying in vain to flip that one piece of hair out of my face.

It wasn’t until I got home and showered thoroughly that I realized the source of my shame. I had gone out many times before with, let’s call it “an earthy” look.  The real issue is that age has taken away my  ability to cheat. If I want a certain look that says, “this was entirely effortless,” I need to spend some time making myself that way.

That’s when I realized it wasn’t about looks, it was about time. Do I want to spend extra time to look the way she does? Sometimes. Do I want to look like I just climbed Mt. Everest in yesterday’s clothes? Sometimes. I will make my peace with appearing in public in both states. All salad (and chocolate) will be consumed above chair level from now on.

Hair Schmair

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The greatest statement of any woman’s hair over a lifetime is its rise and fall, somewhat like a housing market graph. Reaching its peak in the 80s, it’s safe to say my hair soared to at least 8 inches above my skull at one point. With the help of perming, paste-like substances and a can-a-day hairspray habit, I was able to maintain this gruesome lifestyle for many years.

To this day, I have a recurring scenario that plays in my brain anytime I drive: It is a warm day and all of the alcohol-based products on my head have fermented to an essence of an empty beer can under the back seat. (Just guessing.) The 70s music blaring on my AM radio has distracted me from the change in speed. The police officer who pulls me over  politely asks for my license and registration. (While this isn’t Southern California and I’m not on a television set, I’m pretty sure it’s Erick Estrada or that  blond guy.) As he dips his head inside my window, his nostrils flare slightly.

“Have you been drinking today, ma’am?”

I gulp. “No, officer. It’s my hairspray.”

He scoffs. “How much ma’am?”

“Half a can. But I’m trying to cut down. I’m only re-styling mid-day now. If it looks bad after five, I have to live with it.”

“Can you step out of the car, ma’am?” At that point, a field sobriety test is performed. Natural clumsiness aside, it is the alcohol smell permeating from my scalp that is my most noticeable flaw.

I begin crying. Confessing my life’s history in hair. “Do you know what was like to have a bowl cut for an entire year? AN ENTIRE YEAR?”

“Can you take it down a notch, ma’am?”
“I’ve been trying for ten years, officer. I just can’t bear the thought of flathead.”

Officer Erick Estrada issues me a ticket and I’m ordered to appear in court, at which time the entire cast of Law and Order may be in attendance waiting for my case.

This story ends in hilarity during a courtroom appearance and a public admonishing about driving while flammable.

With the help of good people, I’ve kicked the perm, hairspray, and some hair product habit. But color? That’s another story.

 

Gym Schmym

gym rat

People who go to the gym often get a bad rap from those who don’t. There is a derogatory (in some cases) stereotype, Gym Rat, who may or may not be obsessed with spandex, neon shoes and full-length mirrors. The aforementioned Rat spends a good portion of her day thinking in pre, current or post workout state. Rat pours a baggy of protein powder into her black coffee.  Rat spends her lunch hour doing squats around the parking lot, oblivious to the sweaty scent she’ll impose on others for the rest of the day.  Rat’s muscles bulge imposingly through her needlessly tight shirt. Rat  is annoying.

In reality, Rat is really more of an oddity than a norm. Many people who go to the gym faithfully, masquerade in public as normal people. The Normals, let’s call them. They are shaped like apples, pears and your grandma. Your grandma may even be going to the gym and you don’t even know it.

One such Normal, a woman we’ll call Gladys Normal to protect her outside world identity, is 86 years-old. She’s so tiny and frail you may have already run over her with your cart at Walmart and not even noticed.  After years of attending an entry-level, just-so-you-can -brag-you-entered-the-gym class, someone told her about the world of indoor biking, spinning, to be exact. “You’re too old for it, though,” they added, in what Gladys took as a personal- challenge kind of voice.

Six years later, this unassuming woman is still spinning. At the end of class, she casts a doubtful eye on those who’ve sputtered. She’s not there to look like Rat and would be horrified at the thought of spandex on or near her body. Gladys Normal is the anti-Rat. 

Glady is so typical of the gym experience that I need to share one tiny detail: The day before Christmas, Gladys entered class wearing a Santa hat and a big frown. “Not feeling the Christmas spirit this year?” I asked, inspired once again that she would wear the traditional happy hat of the holiday anyway, typical of her can-do spirit.

“Not Christmas. I hate THIS crap.” She responded. Power to the Normals.

Bend Schmend

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When you are two or even ten, bending over to pick up whatever is on the floor is something done without thought or regret. Sometimes it includes an eye roll because of the inconvenience involved. I mean, bending, really. As we make our way through the twenties It might take too much effort and into the thirties and beyond, that’s a lot further down than I remembered, things on the floor begin to take on a different meaning. That rogue bite of last night’s lasagna is much more than an eyesore or a statement of modern art on your sock.

At some point in self- dialogue, the negotiations begin. Obviously, this mystery piece of plastic doesn’t belong to the refrigerator door or my phone, so it’s fine where it is. There is no three-second rule with crackers.  The denial stage: Nope, didn’t see it. It only hurts when I walk directly on top of it. Jam? That’s only the current stage of fruit. Wine stage comes next.  And the inevitable state of acceptance: It looks just fine where it is.

What makes this even worse realizing it isn’t just a matter of laziness or age, it’s both. The bending over sound, the one that started for some at age twenty, has gone from a squeak of protest to a full-on, unmistakable Umph or for the hardcore, Groonnk.

There is only one workable solution: develop a great, subtle kick. Sharp and to the side, at a moment when others are least expecting it. Send your floor item to someone else’s space, where it becomes their problem. Let them Groonnk  as you watch in fake disgust. Try it out and let me know how it goes. Just don’t kick it to my side.

Name Schmame

names

Surely you can’t be serious!

I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.

For some people, remembering a name comes easy. It can be six months or six years and your name is still sharp in their memory, along with your favorite cake and the medical history of your entire extended family. For others, like me, remembering a name can become an art form.

Several years ago we left The Known and struck out on a new adventure to another state. Mentally, I stayed in my hometown for several years to come. The things I ate, clothes I bought, and especially the the labels I used were all intrinsically connected the past, whether they were in actuality or not.

It should come as no surprise that I began referring to new people by the names of the old. Kind of like the old coffee commercial, where a voice whispers, “we’ve secretly replaced the regular Crud brand coffee with our Bowel Bounty beans. Let’s see if the customers notice.”

“Hello, my name is Jean.”

“Hi, Jean, nice to meet you.”

Jean looks like Sandra, who used to work at the deli. Therefore, Jean the dog groomer is, for all self-serving intents and purposes, Sandra. I may or may not refer to her dog grooming abilities the next time we meet, when she will squint her eyes and respond, “I’m allergic to dogs. And don’t call me Sandra.”

Now that I’ve expanded my name game to include professions, things have become even more awkward.   I really like visiting with “Eddy,” The Guy Who Looks Like He Should Be A Jockey.

You can understand why it has taken me many years to build friendships.

 

Toasty Bits

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Toasty Bits

Once a month, this blog will include a toasty little bit of writing. Like toasty bits of…well…toast, these will be short little croutons of writing to add crunch to your day.  This may include guest writers from all genres, information for writers, excerpts from my upcoming novels and maybe just something writing-adjacent. It is my passion and I want to share it with others. If you want to pick up a copy of my novella, The Something That Happened in Pepperville, please click here

This week, Toasty Bits begins with…

The masterful voice of Maya Angelou. While not all writing posts will focus on aging, her poetry sums it up the best:

On Aging – Poem by Maya Angelou

When you see me sitting quietly,
Like a sack left on the shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering.
I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it,
Otherwise, I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching,
And my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling,
Don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
And every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then,
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot fewer lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.

Maya Angelou