I CAN’T BE BOTHERED BY FACT CHECKING!

If you have a shallow mind and can think deep thoughts, you too can become a successful columnist or blogger and earn a fraction as much as you can by wearing a paper hat, standing behind a small window, and asking, “Do you want fries with that?”

I once got a call from a reader who complained that I had referenced the wrong Muppett movie in a column. I had this to say about that: “Surely you jest. I cannot be bothered by time-consuming details like fact checking and research. Why do you think I am a blogger instead of a journalist? I mean, besides the fact that no reputable publication would hire me?”

All of my stories contain a germ of truth, but most are more germ than truth.  I carefully edit out any dull facts with the delete key, which is the cybernetic equivalent of Wite-Out. I lie to my readers because real life sometimes is so dull as to be stupefying. You have no idea how liberating it is to be removed from the constraints of truth.

After many years of stretching the truth in order to get a laugh, my nose has reached such Pinocchio-like proportions that I can now type with it, leaving my hands free to sandpaper its splinters and prune the excess foliage from its nostrils.

With that in mind, I will use this week’s blog to answer some questions from my readers.

  1. Is it possible to amass a fortune so large that you can afford to hand out one- hundred-dollar bills to Trick-or-Treaters? Yes, as long as you are willing to moonlight as a drug dealer or a hooker.
  2. Can I achieve great fame as a columnist or blogger? Yes, it is common for a columnist or blogger to have regular contact with Hollywood celebrities. For example, I once used the restroom stall right next to Adam Sandler’s cleaning lady’s cousin. I have her autograph on a section of toilet paper if you want to see it.
  3. My vocabulary and grammar and punctuation skills are poor. Will that hinder my success? Of course not! I have found that if you join every phrase and clause with the word “and,” you can avoid using any punctuation at all for an entire paragraph. If you feel you must use punctuation, look through the dictionary for lots of big words, like “ramification” and “antebellum” then string them together with colons and semicolons, placed every eight-to-ten words.
  4. What if I am stricken with writers’ block? The truth is seldom as interesting as as an unfounded rumor. How else do you explain the success of the tabloids? Make up a story. Write a fictional account of a riot by Aborigines who are protesting the height of the urinals in the restrooms in the Australian Park System. This is way more interesting than an automakers’ strike in Detroit or a 20-point increase in the Dow Jones average.
  5. How can I come up with a good lede to my story? Here is a good example: “Philanthropic philatelist’s photo of a philodendron to compete with pharmacologist’s phenomenal photo of pheasants in Philadelphia Photography contest, with the winner to advance to the Phoenix finals.” Readers will be so impressed by your alliterative skills that they will not bother to read the rest of the article, so fill the space with “blah, blah, blah, blah.” Don’t forget the semicolons.
  6. How important is it to quote accurately? Remember this is not true journalism, so just get the gist of what your subject says and put quotes around it. This is especially fun with politicians. For instance, if he promises, as it was reportedly said by the late Herbert Hoover’s supporters (unless I am making that up) “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” change it to “You are chicken if you don’t smoke pot and have a stolen car in your garage.” That’s close enough. He probably will be amused.
  7. If you follow these guidelines, you too can share the power, the fame, and the glory of a writing career. Give my regards to the Pulitzer committee.

 

MARCHING KIDNEYS AND SIZZLING BOTTOMS

I need a career which requires creativity, style, and flair, rather than actual vocational skills, of which I have few.

Something like marching body organs. One year the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade featured a person dressed up as a human kidney. At least, I assume it was a person in a kidney costume and not a genuine kidney. I have enough to worry about without considering the possibility that my kidney may suddenly leave my body and scamper down Main Street between the marching band and the Daughters of the American Revolution float.

I spent weeks designing and sewing a costume representing a bleeding duodenal ulcer, which, when I pressed a button, oozed like the working model of a volcano I built for the eighth grade science fair, only to be told by the parade organizer that it was in poor taste. Another potential job down the drain.

That’s when I saw a car with a magnetic sign on its side which read “Queen City  Strip-O-Grams.” It was parked in front of the Institute for the Blind. What was it doing THERE?

That could be the job for me! Stripping for the blind! A gal would not even have to remove any clothing. How would they know the difference? They would not know or care that I was a fully clothed senior citizen. I could show up in a ratty old bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, play some blaring bump-and-grind music, then relax in a lawn chair in the front of the room and read a good book.

At regular intervals I could yell out, “Woo-hoo!” and toss an item of clothing into the crowd. I will have to buy some skimpy undergarments if I am to pull off the illusion. My own bloomers are the size of a revival tent. If I pinned the leg holes together, I could use them as a parachute.

They would make a dandy drop cloth for the sofa if I were painting the living room, but if I toss them into a crowd of blind people and they land on someone’s head, he could be suffocated by the billowing yards of fabric. I can just imagine the next day’s headlines. “Sight Impaired Man Killed in Tragic Pseudo-Erotic Dance Accident.”

The Strip-O-Gram company was not interested in my services. There must be a job out there for a person of my unique, although elusive, talents.

That is when I saw that ad recruiting research scientists to participate in in a study of the influence of the MMP-1 gene on human skin. This could be it! My name in bold letters on the pages of prestigious medical journals! All I had to do was print up a phony degree and a fictional resume, and I was in!

The other researchers had found 33 people willing to expose the tender skin of their bare bottoms to direct sunlight .(Go figure. The pay must have been great. Not great enough for me to volunteer for that part of the experiment.)

No, they told me my assignment, should I decide to accept it, would be to stand by, clad in my official white lab coat, clipboard in hand, and discern whether there was a difference between smokers and a non-smoking control group.

The scientists had already discovered that the MMP-1 gene was very active in some bottoms exposed to ultra violet light , but undetectable in others. Why the difference? Was it the smoking habit?

For months I observed the bare bottoms, turning towards the sun, rotating and sweating like stadium hot dogs waiting for customers. Then I meticulously recorded my observations. As the experiment drew to a close, I was summoned to make my report.

“Well, Doctors,” I began, “I studied those bare bottoms closely and it is my considered opinion that none of them was smoking, although several were severely sunburned. The burning flesh smelled a bit like bacon sizzling in the skillet, but there definitely was no smoke arising from the bare bottoms of either group. I would stake my phony career on that. Yes, sir, I …what’s that? You meant that I was supposed to find out if the bottoms’ owners were cigarette smokers? Oh. Sorry.”

They did give me another chance, but this time I had to be a research subject instead of a research observer.

The researchers first withheld food from 50 of us hungry subjects for 12 hours. Then they presented us with a platter of freshly baked cookies. Half of the group were given the cookies, after which they worked cheerfully on the puzzle. The other half, of which I was one,  were denied the cookies and offered a radish instead. My researcher was later found dangling from the nearest light fixture with a radish stuffed up one nostril and a geometric puzzle shoved “where the sun don’t shine.”

Fired again.

The next morning I heard a radio ad in which a modeling agency had several open positions for large sized models. I couldn’t wait to call!

“Hello?” I said, “Is this the Heifer on the Hoof Modeling Agency? I heard in your ad that you were looking for ‘big, bald, beautiful women interested in highly paid careers in the glamorous world of high fashion.’ I am your gal! It wasn’t easy shaving my head. I missed a few spots and my scalp looks like a moth eaten fur coat. Also the razor slipped and cut off my left eyebrow, so I don’t know about the ‘beautiful’ part, but I have the ‘big and the bald’ part down pat. When can I start?

What’s that? you said ‘big, BOLD, and beautiful,’ not big, BALD, and beautiful?’ Oh. Never mind.”

 

 

 

WHAT’S A SOIREE? THAT SOUNDS DIRTY TO ME

I was thrilled to get that party invitation from my coworker Marcus, until I read the part that said, “The soiree will begin at 7 pm.”

Soiree? What’s a soiree? That sounds dirty to me. I am just a red-neck hillbilly and I don’t know nuthin’ about soiree-in’.

I told Marcus, “I don’t do no soiree-in’ outside of marriage. And I am not gonna put up with that kind of smut in our town!”

My plan was to attend the soiree with a tiny camera hidden in my bra and catch the illicit soiree-in’ on tape.

I drafted my cousin Rex to assist in my scheme. Rex is a little rough around the edges, but he showed up at least presentable. He was wearin’ his Sunday overalls and had cleaned most of the manure off his boots. I decided to overlook the fact that he was not wearing his teeth.

When we pulled up in front of Marcus’s big fancy house, I was not impressed. He didn’t have a single pink plastic flamingo or concrete goose in his yard.

Then some fella tried to grab Rex’s keys and steal his truck. Rex worked him over real good. I don’t blame him. The thief kept yelling, “I’m the valet!” Rex said, “I don’t care who you are, you ain’t gittin’ my truck!”

We knocked on the door and Marcus let us in and said to help ourselves to something that sounded like Patty DeFwaguaw. I told Rex I better turn on the hidden camera. Patty probably is some French hooker. This must be where the soiree-in’ really starts.

It turned out pate de foie gras is some kind of goose liver you are supposed to eat. No thank you! Marcus also had what he called a seafood buffet, but it looked like bait to me and Rex. It is a sorry excuse for a party when there ain’t even no pork rinds. Wasn’t no beer, neither. Just something Marcus called Chateau La Fitte, which I think is French for House of Feet. It probably is that kind of booze that barefooted foreigners stomp on with their bare feet. I seen it on TV once. It is a good thing Rex brought his own moonshine.

After a while, Rex got all liquored up and went out to his truck to get his fishin’ pole. We was gettin’ mighty hungry. Rex caught a nice-sized fish in Marcus’s concrete pond out back and built a fire and cooked and ate it.

Boy, was Marcus mad! He said it was his prized koi fish worth thousands of dollars. Rex told Marcus he got ripped off. It didn’t taste no better than catfish.

I tried to get Marcus’s temper fit on tape, but my hidden camera shorted out and set my bra on fire. The doctor says he wants to do dermoplasty on me. Is that dirty? That sounds dirty to me.

But I am ready if that doctor tries any funny business. Rex is coming to the hospital to visit me today and he has got a camera hidden in his overalls.

ZOMBIES AND ROACHES

Death visited the records room at work this week. It was quite a shock to come across the corpse, stiff and dry, lying on its back, its six hairy legs sticking straight up in the air. It was a dead roach.

I could not have been more astounded if I had come across the corpse of long-time-missing Teamster Jimmy Hoffa sprawled on his back on the tile floor.

I had never seen a dead roach. I suspected it was not possible to kill one. Maybe they live on for all eternity like “The Walking Dead.” After The Apocalypse, maybe all that will be left alive are Zombies and roaches.

A generous squirt of insecticide has been known to leave one with nothing but a slight cough and an expression of mild annoyance. On occasion I have soundly stomped on one with my giant Sasquatch-sized foot, leaving a good 40% of its body smeared on the bottom of my shoe, only to have the remaining 60%, none the worse for wear, scurry under the baseboard, where it continued to breed hundreds of hearty offspring.

Girl roaches apparently still are attracted to to a male who is missing a large chunk of thorax, two of its legs, and part of its head.

My first thought upon discovering the corpse was maybe it was not a roach. I could be mistaken. Maybe it is some other kind of insect. So I Googled “roach.” I would like to know what kind of a world we are living in where Google lists the definition of “roach” as the butt of a marijuana cigarette, but makes no mention of the insect scourge of mankind?

I finally found the definition I was looking for under the heading “cockroach.” Surprisingly enough, if you know me at all, I am going to refrain from comment on that compound verb, which could very well be used as the punchline of a dirty joke.

I don’t know how I could stand  the apprehension of reentering the records room if I did not have that bottle of brandy filed under “s” for “snockered.”

The last place I worked, the boss found it and I told him that it was for the Cherries Jubilee that I planned to make him for lunch. In order to be convincing, I had to actually prepare the Cherries Jubilee. I accidentally set fire to the teachers’ lounge, which is probably why I don’t work there anymore.

.

 

THE FLASHER

I am a hiker. After 30 years of hiking, I thought I had seen everything in the woods, until I saw the man with no pants. Yep, a flasher. In a public park.

I stepped off the trail and there he stood across the parking lot, when suddenly he unzipped and “released the beast.”

Yikes! Gross! Hey. Is that for real?! That can’t possibly be real! No wonder he wanted to show it off, the pervert!

If that man is not in the adult movie business, he is seriously missing his calling. He could be a pole dancer and bring his own pole.There is no way he could ever wear shorts and “go commando.” Not even Bermudas; the kind that go all the way to your knees.

He took off running. He could run really fast for somebody DRAGGING AN ANCHOR! It probably had road rash. As he ran, it picked up bark chips and pieces of weeds and wildflowers from the trail. It was starting to look like a third grader’s craft project.

I was so shocked that I said nothing to anyone, but left a note for the park ranger,  and headed for home.

Someone from the park service called me as soon as I got home.It seems that it was not the guy’s first offense and they had been trying to catch him. As I said before…fast runner.

The park service guy asked, “Can you describe the perpetrator?”

“The what?” I asked. “I have never heard it called that before.”

“No, Ma’am, I mean what was he wearing?”

“What was he wearing?! No pants! That’s what he was wearing! I believe I said that in the note!”

“No,” he said, “I mean was there anything unusual about him?”

“Unusual? Well, there was something real unusual about either him or my husband. Not sure which. You tell me.”

“I think I know what you are implying, Ma’am. We have had other reports. Could you describe his…you know…his organ?”

“His organ? Gee, I have never been inside the man’s house, but he did not seem like the musical type. You can’t always tell, though. He could be a real virtuoso in his own home, although I don’t know what that has to do with his flashing in the park practices.

I don’t know much about piano and organ brands. Well, I know the Baldwin brand, but what that guy had was no ‘bald one,’ if you get my drift. Looked like he was smuggling squirrels out of the park. Ha-ha. Somebody should tell that guy about ‘manscaping.’ Walgreens sells depilatories on aisle six. Get the Weed-eater out, Sasquatch.”

After I finished giving the report to the ranger, I hung up and told my husband about the incident.

“And furthermore,” I said to him, “I am really mad at you!”

“You are mad at ME? What are you mad at me for?”

“You told me all men were about the same! You are such a liar! That’s what I get for marrying my first boyfriend at 19. I knew I should have shopped around more.”

 

NO MUSICAL TALENT? ORGAN DONORS NEEDED

It wasn’t until I read the article about young Brian Sheffield’s urgent need for an organ donor that I decided to get involved. At the time, Brian was critically ill and on dialysis.

You have to admire the fortitude of a young man so determined to learn to play a musical instrument. Particularly the organ, which is a difficult instrument to play.

I had inherited two of them. One thing I had not inherited was musical talent. They were just sitting there making me feel guilty. I decided to donate the Baldwin brand, model # 665. It was a small portable one and would be easier to move and more likely to fit in their family room.

I called the phone number listed in the article and said, “I would like to become an organ donor for Brian.”

I had no idea the process of organ donation was so complicated. His mother insisted that I speak to a psychologist, who asked if I was sure that I could handle the psychological stress of donating an organ.

“Sure,” I said. “I have no use for it. It is just taking up space. I have another one. Why are you making such a big deal of it?”

“Bless you, my dear,” he said with tears in his eyes.

Then I was forced to undergo a complete physical exam and blood work-up to ascertain if I was fit enough to donate an organ. I tried to tell them that I did not plan to move the organ myself. I had already hired a professional mover and had given him Brian’s address.

“Ha-ha, You are such a kidder!” he said.

At the hospital before the physical I was given a couple of pills, which they said were to relax me. They must have worked because I dozed off. The next thing I remembered was waking up in the recovery room, groggy, disoriented, and in considerable pain.

“Nurse,” I gasped, “was the organ successfully delivered to Brian?”

“Oh, yes,” she answered. “And it was a near perfect match.”

I guess it was a good thing that I donated the small one with the cherry finish instead of the large oak one. I had a feeling it would match their other furniture better.

Later that afternoon Brian’s family gathered around my hospital bed, laughing, crying, hugging, and kissing. I have never seen such an outpouring of love and gratitude. It made me wish I had gone with the full-size pipe organ instead of the portable one.

Over the next few months I was a frequent guest at Brian’s home, where I was welcomed like one of the family. Brian’s mom seemed puzzled by the recent delivery of my Baldwin portable organ model # 665. She wanted to know how I knew that Brian had always wanted to play a musical instrument.

I thought this was curious, since it was Brian’s request for an organ that had brought us together in the first place.

I said to Brian’s mom, “Brian is positively glowing with good health. I understand that he is no longer on dialysis. The love of music must be a powerful thing.”

“It is all thanks to you,” she said. “You truly saved his life when you donated your kidney through the organ donor program.”

“My kidney? I donated my kidney?! Well that explains the scar.”

“We can never thank you enough for such a selfless act,” she said. “Your heart truly is in the right place.”

“Darn right it is!” I said. “And it had better stay there! I am not done with it yet!”

 

 

LEAVE YOUR DIGNITY AT THE DOOR; IT’S MAMMOGRAM TIME

As if the annual mammogram is not awkward enough, I am one of those women whose anatomy requires the addition of two small stickers with what appears to be a tiny b.b. in the center of each. I call them “mammo ammo.” They are placed in the standard erotic dancer positions. The least they could do is attach a couple of tassels to them. It would make the occasion much more festive, as well as give me a couple of souveneirs to take home.

I like to refer to my annual mammogram as “The Pressing of the Breasts.”It gives it the air of solemnity and reverence usually reserved for foreign coronations, although the “mammo ammo” kind of cancels that out.

Once I got into the exam room, the technician held me hostage by cranking “the girls” firmly into a vice. She then stepped behind her kiosk and directed me to “stop breathing.” In what other occupation does a person tell you to “stop breathing,” except maybe a serial killer who is about to smother you? And she said it in such a calm, soothing voice. It was a little creepy. I half expected her to come from behind her kiosk with a pillow in her hands and growl, “I thought I TOLD you to stop breathing!” I did not want to die topless and wearing nipple pasties.

When it came time for me to change sides, she instructed me to, “flop out of that sleeve and change sides.” I kindly asked her to stop using the word “flop” regarding “the girls” when she is talking to a woman my age. I do not need to be reminded that Isaac Newton was right about gravity.

After every change in position, as she uncranked me, she said, “Good job!” in the same encouraging tone of voice I used to use when my son successfully “pottied” like a big boy.

Good job? Is she talking to me? I am standing up firmly pinned into a vice. What job did I perform? Is she talking to “the girls”? The last time they performed any useful work was before I weaned my son back in 1977. Since then, they basically are useless, lazy appendages. I should sign them up for unemployment and disability.

Whew, I feel better getting that “off my chest.”

On the way out, I ordered an 8 by 10 and a dozen wallets.