Thursday, April 14, 2011

Old Man and the See

On a drive earlier this week in my white Buick Regal, blasting NPR with my dog Ziggy Stardust at my side--I had a sudden revelation.

I am an old man.

I turned to Ziggy and asked him if this was true, and he said what I assumed to be "yep". I shrugged and took a bite of my tuna fish sandwich. Then started thinking about all the chores I needed to do on the weekend, and how gosh darn short the days seemed to be getting.

"Dagnabbit!" I said to Ziggy. "Things are getting to me lately. Y'know what I mean?" He didn't. Or at least he pretended not to, and started chewing his own foot. But I kept right on thinking about this and that. And this and that really started to get me steamed.

I thought about how the recycling truck had forgotten to come down our street this week and now we will have to smush down the contents of the already-full barrel in order to fit next week's containers. Ugh, how inconvenient!! I remembered how I had forgotten to shut off the heater for the past THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW. And now because of that, my sinuses were dry. I thought about how much I hated the phrase "Poet Laureate" and that I had already seen it used several times this month. I thought about how much I despise Charlie Sheen; but how I despise his live show audience members even more! I thought: if I were a courageous French girl wearing red lipstick, I would lock the doors of the theater during one of his shows and set fire to the whole building thus ridding the world of a generation of idiots and changing the course of history for the better (Inglorious Basterds 2).

Thoughts kept coming. I muttered to myself about the annoying amount of animated films in theaters these days. And how gasoline used to be the same price whether you bought it with cash or credit card. I thought about how facebook used to be JOKES GALORE; and now it's just a place to fund-raise for yourself, dodge spam disguised as fun quizzes, and promote one's own self-indulgent blog (!!!!!!!!!)

And there was much, much more to grit my teeth at, but I was having a tough time concentrating due to the racket squawking from my speakers. "Groan," I grumbled to Ziggy, "I am going to tear my own ears off and make a soup out of them if I hear another yapping word!" (I was referring to the vocal tone of the newscasters on NPR.) Lately, they had really been getting on my last nerve. All I want to hear is the news! Can't a person get informed anymore without having to tolerate whistling "S"s and over-enunciated vowels? Not to mention, each and every broadcaster sounds like she/he was just in the middle of swallowing something--when suddenly a red "On Air" sign lit up above them and they immediately began spewing the news. Pretending, unsuccessfully, not to have a full mouth. While we on the receiving end are forced to listen to world issues filtered through an unswallowed ball of mashed potatoes or candy corn. Or BOTH.**

(**A favorite concoction of NPR announcers, this treat is often available in the studio vending machines and is known around the Public Radio sector as A Mashie Home Cornpanion.)

In a hasty rage I changed the station and landed on a Neil Young song. Lucky find. And on the first try! I sipped my ginger ale and sang at the top of my lungs about looking for a heart of gold as I pulled up to a red stoplight. Which took at least four minutes to change! When the light finally did turn green, I immediately honked at the truck in front of me. MOVE!! Why does no one pay attention? Probably texting. Sheesh.

I was about to honk again when I noticed the traffic was stopped for a good reason: a blind man in his late 70's with a red-tipped cane was crossing the street.

He took lots of small steps. So many. I watched every one. In fact, all the non-dead cells in my brain were then focused on him. How long had he been blind? Was he lost or did he cross this street every day? Did he have someone to take care of him? Is he mad that he can't hear an approaching Prius? Where was he going? Does he wonder why people make such a big deal about HD? Is he so lonely that it hurts in his bones?

Many moments later he was across. But I continued to watch him small-step down the sidewalk as Neil Young's voice in the background sang, "...and I'm gettin' old".

And suddenly I was in tears. Crying, crying, crying. Down my face, off my chin, onto my chest. Even the honk of the car behind me could not shock me into stopping. Ziggy was worried and decided to lean right against my shoulder for a little while. "I was wrong, Ziggy!" I sobbed. I'm not old! I have lots of life to live and I really have nothing to complain about! What is wrong with me??! My life is great. For one thing, I can SEE!!! I should wake up thankful everyday for that alone!

Proud of my new "half-full glass" outlook on life; I wiped my wet cheeks, turned off the radio and rolled down my window. Who needs music?! For goodness sake, I can just listen to the sound of the world around me.

I pulled into my neighborhood and down my street, sporting a huge smile. I love where I live! And golly gee I am happy to be returning home! And what a great day! Another miraculous sun sets on another splendid horizon!

Once home, Ziggy and I hopped out of the car with springs in our steps and wags in our tails and skipped up the driveway. On our way by the mailbox I stopped to peek inside.

"Why look Ziggy, I got a letter! How exciting. I wonder who it's fro--"  I didn't need to finish the question. It only takes me a split second to read a return address. I'm no dummy.

"The Internal Revenue Service?" Ziggy cocked his head to the side and I opened the letter and scanned the info.

"Well, well, well Ziggy, isn't this just the most interesting news? It seems I am being audited. And in addition to that, I owe $3,000 dollars in back taxes. My...goodness."

My half-full glass immediately tipped over. Spilled. Rolled off the table. And shattered on the floor.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Prank You Notes

Boy oh boy, today is gonna be a great day! Why? Because, silly heads, it is my most favorite day of the year! The one day that it is completely okay to lie at someone's face and then when they believe the lie you just told, you get to laugh at them! Hard. For a long time. Then you get to call them an idiot. And embarrass them! Plus, you can just keep laughing and never feel bad about it because it is a world-endorsed holiday. It is "a day which tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness," says Wikipedia. And as always, Wikipedia is right. For today is...Secretary's Day!

 April Fools! (It's April Fools' Day.)

And boy oh boy, have I got some good general foolishness to spread around this year.

First thing on the agenda -- I am going to give out little boxes that look like "presents" to all the individuals I come in contact with. And when each individual asks me what's inside, I will say, "Well I'll tell you one thing, it is NOT a bomb. I swear on the grave of the recently-deceased-turtle-at-my-office this is not a bomb. It is a present tied with a pretty bow. Go ahead, open it." And when they do, it explodes and black bomb dust gets on their face and they run off crying to Papa Smurf because IT WAS A BOMB!!!! HAAAHAHAAAAAAA! Funny stuff. Funny. Funny.

Another "good one" I plan on pulling off is writing a false status update on the ol' FB. Yeah, you heard me. Something COMPLETELY UNTRUE. Hehehe. For example, I might write, "Oh man, just ate chili cheese fries from Del Taco." (Psst...I DIDN'T!!) Or I might post something like, "Hey does anyone want an Ikea dresser? It's practically new. But you have to find a way to come and pick it up cuz I don't have a truck or anything." (Shhh, hehehe...totally wrong! My husband HAS A TRUCK!! Sneaky prank-faced move!) Or I could even pull off the ultimate stunt: changing my profile picture to a photo of me with a crazy blue wig on. And underneath is the caption: "New Haircut." (HA! Not really my hair!!!)

Some other ideas I have bouncing around are:

1)  Sending a mass email to everyone I know, asking for money to start a new theater company! That's funny because I once did that for reals--but this time it's fake. Get it?

2)  Telling everyone in the office that the office turtle is dead. But he's just sleeping!
      R.I.P. Short Stack, the "office turtle". March 28, 2011

3)  Giving my vegetarian friend a hamburger and saying it's made of soy meat. Then after they eat it all I tell them the truth :) hi-LARIOUS.

4)  Asking someone for money to ride the bus, and then using that bus money to buy methamphetamine. (Can't take all the credit for that one. Got the idea from some pretty funny junkies that hang around a quaint/ramshackle/bulletproof glass-encased liquor store in San Pedro (aka Charles Bukowskitown).

Those are some good funnies, huh? You think I am the ultimate prankster right now, don't you? Well I am pretty good that's for sure. But don't order me an Oscar-esque, plastic trophy engraved "Best Supporting Pranktor" just yet. I have also been on the receiving end of many a masterful April Fool practical joke in my day. And I have to give it to these crafty fellows. They got me good!

The best example I can give of a real April Fools' master at work was a certain ADHD-ravaged, wizard of a boy from my second grade class. This young genius stacked 5 lunch pails on top of each other against a brick wall and told me to stand on them. He told me to look over the wall and check if an ice cream truck was there. Well I, being a bit of a genius myself, quickly obliged. Ice cream!!! So close to school??!! This I gotta see. But once atop the tin tower, I immediately noticed that there was (of course) no ice cream truck to be seen. And before I could let the news be known to the other kids, I felt an ADHD foot-filled shoe kick me in the butt. Both the lunch pails and I toppled into a heap, crying. (yes the lunch pails were crying too!) As I hobbled away to the nurse's office on what I would soon discover to be a cracked tailbone, I heard an ADHD-powered tongue scream, "April Fools'!!!". Touché, young man. Touché.

Fortunately for the joy of humans everywhere, jokes like these are not reserved for adolescent boys under the age of twelve. Nope. There are lots of people who keep right on pranking each and every April 1st--long after their thirteenth birthday and well into their Lexus buying, pumpkin ravioli eating, Dave n Busters happy-hour drinking, MMA watching, art-opening attending, Netflix streaming, youtube sketch comedy making, bar method attending, serious adult days. Why, personal examples from the past five years alone are hard to count.

There was the time one of my customers at a restaurant wrote $1,000,000 into the tip line of their credit card receipt and then crossed it out and noted "April Fools!" But then didn't write an amended, real amount. That was pretty darn funny. And the instance where someone handed me a beer they had spit in. The time a friend called pretending to be a commercial agent that wanted to sign me. Oh, and the time my coworkers hid my wallet so that I thought it was stolen.

And even as recently as this morning, this VERY April Fools' Day, I was pranked by a fake billboard on the side of the highway promoting a phony show that supposedly stars Toni Collette with a gap in her teeth, wearing funny hats and doing different silly voices--pretending to have super stereotypical, mulit-personalities. HA! (But I'm no dummy. I caught on to this joke right away. They couldn't fool me! No one would watch such a stupid show. NO ONE. Nice try, "Showtime".)

Wikipedia states that April Fools' Day has been around since Chaucer's era, or perhaps before. That's a long time! Longer than Secretary's Administrative Professionals Day even! This is VERY good news for me and all the rest of you April Fools' Day enthusiasts. Cuz it sure as heck seems like this day is here to stay. And thank goodness! Because boy oh boy, nothing is funnier than a day full of blatant lying -- sending our thin layer of trust in others and that deep-down need to believe that people are essentially good and well-meaning into a complete tailspin. HHEEEEEHHHEEEEHAHAAAHAAAA!!! I'm LOLing so hard I'm afraid I'll puke. I wish this day would never end!***   

***April Fools!! (This day should be punched in the face. Worst day of the year.)