Friday, June 4, 2010


Seriously, why do some people bother having kids if they’re going to raise them like goldfish? And frankly, I’ve seen goldfish get better treatment than the children of tonight’s nominees.

And here they are: Absent-Minded Abby, Don’t-Bother-Me Bob, If-You-Don’t-Like-It-Then-You-Take-Care-Of-Her Hillary, Snarlin’ Snake-eyed Snookie, and last but not least, If-You-Do-That-One-More-Time-So-Help-Me-I’m-Going-To-Tell-Your-Mother-And-Then-You’ll-Really-Be-In-Trouble Tyrell.

So let’s meet the … “parents” …

Absent-Minded Abby parks her car in the library’s parking lot. It’s a hot and humid day and the car is in the sun, so she is hurrying to get into the air-conditioned library. The windows are up, except for about a two-inch gap to let some of the trapped hot air out of the car. She’s already beginning to sweat as she gathers her purse, and the books, and DVDs, and oops, a couple of books fall on the ground. Oh no, her cell phone is ringing. She manages to answer it and holds it to her ear with her shoulder. She’s got all the books now, plus the DVDs, and still talking – what a multi-tasker – hurriedly heads into the library.

About four minutes later, she comes running out of the library and heads straight for the car.

Oops. Looks like she forgot to take her daughter out of the car seat.

Don’t-Bother-Me Bob, beer in hand, leans on the fence to talk to his neighbor. Apparently proud of his physique, he sports a holey, sleeveless, sweat-stained, dirty white t-shirt that’s a bit too short for his hanging beer gut. The females in the neighborhood must wait with bated breath to catch a glimpse of those keg-styled abs. And his shorts? Those are hand cut Daisey Dukes, baby, with nicely uneven raggedy edges. And he’s cut them just short enough so that his privates are more public than anyone wants to see. Oh yeah … Bob obviously believes he’s the neighborhood stud.

His son, in yellowed and obviously loaded diapers, is as dirty on the outside as his diapers are on the inside. His tears are leaving streaks down his cheeks through the dirt on his face. He looks like he was eating dirt and discovered it doesn’t taste like chocolate.

“Daddy,” he screams. “Daddy … help.”

Bob yells back, “Just wait. I’m talking to Frank.”

“Daddy,” he screams again. “Help.” By this time the son is but a couple of feet from his dad.

Without looking down, he takes his leg and pushes his son away. “Just wait I said. I’m talking to Frank.”

“Daddy,” he screams even louder. “Help.”

“Go in the house, BJ. Now. When I’m done talking to Frank I’ll come in. Just watch TV or something. Go!”

If-You-Don’t-Like-It-Then-You-Take-Care-Of-Her Hillary pushes the carriage up next to one of the tables in the bookstore’s café. She plops her cottage cheese-looking derriere unceremoniously on the chair. The kid in her carriage starts crying.

In an act of true caring, Hillary very slowly and gently eases the paper wrapping off the mammoth muffin she ordered. The kid in the carriage continues crying.

Suddenly, something clicks in Hillary’s brain. “Hey clerk-lady,” she yells at the café worker. “You forgot to give me my butter. I’d like it now please.” And the kid in the carriage continues crying, albeit somewhat louder.

It looks like her motherly instincts finally kicked in. “Oh baby,” she coos. “See? Mama didn’t forget you.” Unfortunately, she was cooing to the muffin as she spread the butter all over it. And the kid in the carriage has gone from crying to screaming.

Another mother, sitting a couple of tables over, looks at Hillary and says, “Maybe you should check out your child.”

Hillary, apparently recognizing that something is wrong, looks at the other mother and says, “It takes a village, bi7ch. If you don’t like it then you take care of her.”

Snarlin’ Snake-eyed Snookie takes apparently no pleasure in shopping with her two sons at K-Mart. And her sons take apparently no pleasure in shopping with her either. But they make the best of it by running and playing in the aisles, bumping into customers, knocking things off shelves and generally leaving a wake of disapproving looks as they go from aisle to aisle. Snookie does a lot of snarlin’ about the prices, the choices and occasionally, about her boys behavior. When confronted by a store manager - finally - who politely asks her to watch her children a little better, she snarls something about “Why is everything so expensive now?” and then flashes him “the look.”

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and hers are venomous. The manager backs off. Her kids continue with their carnage. And Snookie just keeps snarlin’ along.

And last but not least, If-You-Do-That-One-More-Time-So-Help-Me-I’m-Going-To-Tell-Your-Mother-And-Then-You’ll-Really-Be-In-Trouble Tyrell. Do I really need to say any more?

So there we have our … “parent” … nominees. And the award goes to …

OMG. It’s a five-way tie. Congratulations to all the “winners.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010


How would you react if you heard the following greetings when someone walked into your store?

“Hey nappy-haired guy.”

“Hey Jew guy.”

“Hey homosexual guy.”

“Hey really old guy.”

“Hey ugly guy.”

“Hey short guy.”

“Hey big-nose guy.”

“Hey crippled guy.”

I suspect that if you heard an employee refer to a customer in that way, you would have a serious discussion about the appropriateness and potential insensitivity of such comments with that employee. Whether they were said with innocence or malice wouldn’t matter. It’s likely that you would want such terms not used in the workplace.

So riddle me this: Why does it seem to be perfectly acceptable, if not downright friendly, to greet a really fat man with, “Hey big guy.”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in a store when a really fat man is addressed with that euphemism.

The fat guys never really say anything about it, but by the reaction of many, they don’t seem to like it. And I can’t really blame them.

What they’re ultimately communicating is that the customers are so fat, that they can’t notice anything else but how fat they are, and they don’t want to greet the customer with, “Hey really fat guy,” or something worse. So they try softening the language and saying it in a pleasant manner. Is the fat customer supposed to think, “Oh. He called me a big guy. That doesn’t have to mean that I’m fat. Maybe it means that I’m an important person or something.”

I’ve talked to a number of fat men and without exception they say something like, “I know they don’t mean it to be insensitive, but it is.”

So if you’re one of those people who refers to a guy that looks like Jabba the Hutt, (oh my, was that insensitive of me?) as “big guy,” don’t. Unless of course, you also use the terms noted in the beginning of this post to refer respectively to those customers. And if you do that too? Stop it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


One of my “I need a break” pastimes is a game I call “matching.” I drive to a small to mid-sized parking lot and try to match the people coming out of the store with a car. Or I will try to match the car with what I think the person will look like. Grocery stores are really good for this because they have a lot of customers who go in for a few things and then pop right back out. And it’s as much fun getting some of them almost right as it is when they are really quite wrong. In fact, I find the really wrong matches the most fun.

For example: A guy walks out of Home Depot. He’s kind of a big guy, balding, salt and pepper beard, pot belly. He’s wearing well-worn bib overalls and an equally well-worn tool belt. He has three shopping bags in his cart, a couple short pieces of crown molding, and some copper pipe. I guess him to be a handyman and peg him for the older, white panel van with the three H’s on it (Housewife’s Handy Helper).

He heads straight toward it. He’s almost there. He’s walking by it. Three cars past the van, he opens the hatchback of … wait for it … a Mini Cooper. I bust up laughing. That probably would have been the last car on the lot that I would have matched to Mr. Handy Helper.

Or how about this example: Still at Home Depot. Looking to match the driver of the triple-H utility van. A few people come out. I give them the once over, but guess none of them for the match. None of them were.

A guy in a suit. No.

A harried looking thirty-something mother with two crying kids in tow. No.

A few day laborers, heading in the wrong direction, so … no.

A construction worker-type brute, heading in the right direction. Maybe.

O-o-o-oh-h-h no-o-o-o-o. Did not see that one coming either.

It’s the harried looking mother with the two kids. I love it when I get them that wrong.

And finally, let me share the following: I’m sitting at my favorite corner table at my local Borders Book Store, when I look out the window and see this massive looking black Ford Excursion, with at least 24” of lift, probably 33” tires or so, obviously custom suspended, custom grill, and custom paint job of an eagle grasping a cobra in its claws. This thing looked big, angry and mean. It made my Toyota Highlander look like a Mini. There was an etching in the almost black rear window. It simply said, “Semper Fi.”

So I can’t wait to see the marine who gets out of this bad boy’s toy.

The door swings open. I realize I’m not the only one waiting inside Borders, looking out the windows, to see who gets out of this DFWM behemoth.

The driver stands squarely in black leather military boots, properly spit-shined, next to the open door. At the push of a button, the door closes. “Nice touch,” I thought.

The “uniform” is a pair of Desert Storm camo pants and a black tank-top, emblazoned with a similar-looking eagle and cobra as painted on the Ford. Colored tattoos ran the length of both muscular arms. Square-shouldered with jet black hair, pulled into a ponytail, hanging almost to the waist.

Red lipstick.

Wha-a-a-a-t?!? Bet you didn’t see that one coming, because I sure didn’t.

About four feet tall.

Wha-a-a-a-t?!? Definitely didn’t see that one coming. Wouldn’t even have guessed that one was coming in a millennium.

That’s right. The driver of that big bad boys toy was a not-so-big bad girl. In politically correct terms, she was a “little person,” also known as a dwarf (no disrespect intended.)

It’s doubtful she was a Marine, since they do have a minimum height requirement, but she was definitely Marine-like. And I had to admit, “Man, I love this game.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


“Daddy?” the innocent little voice asked. “Will God be mad at me if I poot in his church?”

“No, honey,” he told her. “But you should try not to so that it doesn’t distract others.”

She seemed content with his answer, even though she seemed to continue deep in thought.

A few minutes later, she asked, “Daddy, will God be mad at me if I poot twice in his church?”

I couldn’t help but smuckle (A word I made up meaning to smile and chuckle simultaneously), but I did so as quietly as I could.

Her father looked at her, a half-smuckle appearing on his face as well. Then he looked at me as my own smuckle was getting dangerously close to an audible laugh.

He looked back at her, and said, “No, honey. But he might get a little perturbed if you do it three times. Do you need to go to the bathroom?”

“No, Daddy. I think I’m done.”

She looked at me, and with big eyes as innocent as her little voice, said, “Sorry if I detracted you. Sometimes my butt can’t help myself.”

“That’s okay,” I told her. “I have the same problem some times.”

Apparently the smuckle was contagious, for with my answer, one seemed to be finding its way to her face. Although hers was more a cute little smiggle (that’s right, a simultaneous smile and giggle) than an outright smuckle.

Fortunately, we all settled down quickly enough, and if she had any more poots she let no one but God know.

I’m not sure what the preacher’s message of the day was, because I found myself lost in my own reverie of possible holy irreverence.

Did Jesus fart? Did he think it was funny, when He was a kid? Did He engage in fart jokes with His friends?

When He was presenting the Beatitudes, in between the “pure of heart” and the “peacemakers,” did He in a moment of silliness, ponder about “the pootmakers”? For theirs is the laughter of many? (Yeah, that one is definitely borderline.)

Is God up in Heaven right now, looking at what I’m writing, and smiggling or smuckling? Or is He shaking his head and thinking, “Really Mr. E.? This is what you’re doing with the gift and passion of writing that I’ve given you?”

And for those who are wondering what I’m wondering, my answer is, “Yes.”

I think Jesus farted. As to the rest of it, not so sure.

But one thing is for sure. God was not mad at the double-poot of an innocent little girl.

Monday, May 31, 2010


1861 – 1865: The Civil War

1898: Spanish – American War

1914 – 1918: World War I

1939 – 1945: World War II

1950 – 1953: Korean War

1960 – 1975: Vietnam War

1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion / Cuba

1983: Grenada Invasion

1989: Panama Invasion

1990 – 1991: Persian Gulf War

1995 – Present: Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq

Lest we ever forget.

“After the battle, we lay down our weapons and weep at what has happened”

Lao Tzu