Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I just invented a summer camp for kids!
Oh, that's good. What kind of camp is it?
Well, it's a half-Star Wars and half-Indiana Jones camp.
Yeah, and I'm going to call it The Star Jones Camp. What do you think?
(long pause) Well, Sam, I think it sounds lots more fun than The Barbara Walters Camp.
Good. Cause we're also gonna give everyone at Star Jones Camp a whip and a light saber. Do you think that's a good idea?
No, Sam. I think that's a GREAT idea.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Mommy, why is that chimp being shot out of a cannon at the circus?
Mommy, why is he flying in that rocket with those other chimps?
Mommy, why did the chimps just land on that weird planet?
Mommy, why did they say that the chimps are heroes now because they defeated the aliens?
Mommy, why are you grabbing your head and making that weird noise?
Mommy, is that Wall-E?
Mommy, is that Wall-E's friend?
Mommy, is that Wall-E in space?
Mommy, is that Wall-E rescuing a plant for the Earth?
Mommy, are you playing Solitaire on your cell phone right now?
Mommy, is Mamma Mia the movie you saw last night when I was sleeping?
Mommy, why won't let your friend Tiffany pick the movie you see ever again, as God is your witness?
Mommy, what's an "A-List Suckfest"?
Mommy, what do you mean, "we're spending the rest of the summer in the library"?
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Suppose you're on vacation with your family for a few weeks. Maybe in the Hawaiian Islands or some other tropical place that smells like pineapples and pot 99% of the time. And suppose that one lovely morning, after wrestling on your swimsuit and dousing your body with SPF 34,000 sunscreen, you decide to casually wade into the crystal clear ocean and just relax for a while. As you stand there, waist-deep in the warm, blue water, your mind suddenly clears and you promise yourself that, from now on, you'll live your life better. No longer will you be an anxious, crabby or paranoid person. No, instead, you'll be like a wave, gently crashing Zen-like onto the shore, able to handle whatever the tide brings your way. Then you smile as a little, yellow fish swims by and realize that, at long last, you're at peace with the world. Everything is calm. Everything is good.
So, supposing all that, what's the worst possible thing someone could say to you at that very moment?
Well, a few things probably come to mind. Like, "Hey, Boobs, is this your bikini top I just found?" or "Watch out! Here comes Hurricane Englebert!" or even just, "Excuse me, but did you see my son's swim diaper float by? He always has trouble keeping it on when he has the stomach flu". But unfortunately, what I heard wasn't any of those statements. (Which is a shame, really, because I could easily deal with all of those things.) (Except for the free-range swim diaper, of course. That crap requires a HazMat suit and the service of the Coast Guard.)
No, what was said to me, while standing in the Pacific Ocean, 15 feet from the shore, basking in my newfound inner peace was this:
"HEY, LADY! LADY! WATCH OUT! THERE'S A SHARK BEHIND YOU! I SAID THERE'S A SHARK BEHIND YOU! GET OUT OF THE WATER! NOOOWWW!!!"
At first, I didn't understand why the large, blonde woman on the beach was screaming at me and waving her arms like a crazy person, so I just squinted at her and yelled back, "What's that? There's a "shelf" behind me? Why is there a shelf in the water? Like a book shelf? Or do you mean a sea shelf? Or a sea shell. Is that what you're saying? Seashell? Well, thanks for telling me, but I'm fine, so..."
"LISTEN, LADY! I'M SAYING THERE'S A SHARK IN THE WATER!"
"What? Ohhhh. You're saying "shark", not "shell"! Well, that makes more sense because I really couldn't figure out why you'd get so worked up about a...HOLY SHIT!! THERE'S A SHARK IN THE WATER! THERE'S A SHARK BEHIND ME! I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE WATER! NOOOOWWW!!!"
"YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN SAYING, LADY! SHUT UP AND GET OUT OF THE WATER!"
As I desperately tried to not freak out and began ungracefully slogging to the shore through water that now felt like frozen molasses, a jumble of thoughts immediately ran through my head. First, wouldn't it be great if I knew how to swim? Second, per The Discovery Channel, don't sharks only attack people if they think they look like prey? Therefore, is my Land's End skirtini making my ass look like a chubby, baby seal right now? Or just a chubby baby? And third, I hate to say it, but that Spielberg was right. This scene would really be much cooler with some awesome theme music right about now.
Finally reaching the safety of the beach, I ran over to my husband and screamed, "OH, MY GOD! I JUST ESCAPED FROM A SHARK!" He looked at me, stunned, and said, "That's amazing!", then started frantically digging around in our beach bag. I stood there shivering, eagerly waiting for him to wrap me in a beach towel and give me ice cream like they do on "Baywatch", but he then surprised me by excitedly holding up an underwater camera, yelling, "I'll be right back!" and running off to the water with a happy smile on his face. I kicked at the sand and wished, for the first and probably only time, that I was actually married to David Hasselhoff.
Then, after I wrapped myself in a towel and finally got my breathing back to normal, the town-crier blonde woman came over to me and urgently pointed to something in the water. And there, right where I had just found my tranquility not five minutes ago, was a 3 foot-long black-tipped reef shark, swimming around like he owned the place. "Wow," I said to her. "That was sure a close call!"
She looked me up and down, thought quietly for a few minutes, then said, "Well, not really, lady. You see, sharks only attack people if they look like prey. And trust me, your legs are too white for that to ever happen."
I smiled at her nicely, said "thank you", and then, like a wave, floated over to my umbrella, crashed Zen-like into my beach chair and immediately reached for my bottle of sunscreen.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I have to step away from the blogworld a bit this week due to something I'll be sure to write about very soon. (Although, don't get your hopes up that it's anything exciting like flying to France to be the godmother to Brangelina's new babies. Because it's not like I wanted to do that anyway, Angie. Gawd. You act like you don't even know me. I mean, haven't you read my letters? Don't you see how perfect we'd be together? Whatevs.)
So in my stead, here's a very funny piece written by my very funny friend Dena Taylor.
SHARPER BLADES, CERTAIN CRIMES
I’m a big fan of true crime shows like 48 Hours Mystery and Forensic Files. I’m so amazed by the lengths people go to to commit a crime and cover it up that I end up shouting things at the TV. And since I’m usually eating dinner at the time and forced to push my partially chewed spinach salad or pizza wad or dark chocolate bar appetizer to the sides of my mouth, my yelling comes out sounding like “LIA! YOU TOWLY KILL 'ER!" and "OHMYGAW! Coo you be mo guilly?” and “Fuheen fweak!”
Shooting a gun is one thing, but stabbing requires actual contact, which is just icky and psycho grody. So I found it particularly interesting when one of the commercials on Court TV (now truTV) was for the "Samurai Shark Knife Scissor Sharpener".
Today’s menacing but meticulous psychopath will be glad to know that the Shark allows one to “easily sharpen serrated edges” — so, less time cutting, more time to get away from the scene of the crime. The official Website includes the equation: Sharp Knife = Get The Perfect Cut and recommends giving these sharpeners as gifts. And, while it doesn’t specifically mention that the possible gift recipients may be friends and family who are currently awaiting sentencing, already incarcerated, committed to an institution whose name includes the word “Haven,” or simply just loved ones on the lam, it does seem like a handy tool they might enjoy.
I know the Samurai is intended to help folks sharpen scissors for crafts, not to cut flesh; to sharpen knives to slice vegetables, not scalps; to sharpen an ax to cut wood for a warm fire in the dead of winter, not to chop off someone’s head for shits and giggles on a slow news day in December. But when I’m watching an episode of true crime where someone was killed by a knife or pointy garden tool, and then see an ad for a knife sharpener on the same channel, I can’t help but see the irony. But then again, I guess ads for shock treatments, lobotomies or isolation cells are out of the question. After all, that'd be tacky.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Everyone knows that a successful party starts with a great guest list. It should be diverse. Eclectic. A mix of people from all walks of life. I know you're fond of those pasty losers from the Robotics Club, Ashlee, but trust me: shotgunning cases of Mountain Dew and reprogramming the neighborhood's garage doors does not a wild teenage rager make. Instead, reach out a little and ask the mean girls. The freaks. The skanks. The playas, the hatas, the skaters, and possibly even a divorced math teacher or two. Don't worry if you don't know them, because no teenager will ever turn down a party invitation. Even when it comes from someone in the gifted-and-talented program.
As anyone who's ever watched the WB knows, the best time to throw a killer "par-tay" is when your parents are out of town. Or at least farther away than across the street playing Jenga at the Wilson's. I mean, honestly, Ashlee. If you want to be a rebel, think like a rebel. Did Amy Winehouse ever ask her mother's permission before snorting lines off the nightstand? So wait until your parents go on their anniversary trip. Or to the church retreat. Or, better yet, wait until your grandma breaks her other hip, the poor thing. Then simply lock up the pets, throw open your front door, and get ready to get your house party on, y'all.
Per proper etiquette, invites should be sent no later than four weeks before an event. However, since most of your guests can't even remember to close their mouths while chewing, it's probably best to wait until the last possible moment to spread the word. Besides, as any insurance adjuster could tell you, teenagers thrive on spontaneity. The day of the shindig, simply text your guests with the message "Party at Ashlee's!" or "PAA!" or "STWPAPBYJ!" or any other of those ridiculous little codes you all seem to prefer over proper English grammar. Or just save yourself the trouble and tell Janice Hopkin's daughter you're having a party. Lord knows that girl's got a mouth on her.
Being a Good Hostess
The beauty of an unsupervised teenage party is that it basically runs itself. After your guests arrive, simply show them which bushes you'd like them to puke in and where your mother keeps the funnels. That's pretty much it. Just be aware that, though a gracious host always knows when a party should end, in your case that determination will probably be made by either your neighbors or local law enforcement. So, if your guests are forced to leave before they can thank you, don't worry about it. After all, nothing says "A good time was had by all" more than a pack of red-eyed burnouts running down the street screaming "Narc!"
Teenage girls love parties with great music because it gives them an excuse to dance on tables and take off their tops. (Which is also something teenage boys enjoy.) So put together a playlist of songs that contain loads of "mad bass." Hip-hop, rap, metal, trance, or anything else that sounds like a toddler stuck in a coffee can should work. Then, once the party's under way, crank up your tunes loud enough to wake every sleeping baby on the block. And, if you find that your sound system isn't up to task, just ask that weird pizza-delivery guy for help. My husband says that jerk's got more speakers in his piece-of-shit Sentra than Best Buy.
Though there's nothing more fun than a house full of unchecked hormones, the day after the party can, unfortunately, be kind of a drag. Nobody likes spending half a day spraying their entire house with Lysol and steam-cleaning the love seat. However, during the two weeks you'll be grounded without mercy, take comfort in all the new "hits" on your Facebook.com and know that it was all worth it just to become slightly more popular this year.
So that's it, Ashlee. I think you're well on your way to throwing the crazy teenage party of your dreams. And, though a responsible mother of two certainly shouldn't tell you that your party would be even better with lots of underage drinking, be sure to let me know if you're free to babysit this New Year's Eve. I might just happen to know where there's an unattended beer refrigerator.
My humor piece, as seen last week on the McSweeneys website.
And to all of you parents of teenagers: Yes, I know my time is coming soon. And when it does, please promise me you'll put down your drink and stop laughing at me long enough to pass along some advice. Because obviously, I'm going to need it.