Video can be a Horrible Shock to your Self Esteem . . .

My girls were watching a video from a family get-together that we had at our house last summer and laughing hysterically.

“What’s so funny?” I asked, as I walked into the living room.

Both girls stopped laughing and acted as if they hadn’t heard my question.

“What’s so funny?”

There was still no response, so I turned my attention to the video. The camera that was recording the video had obviously been set on a table or chair and left to record the goings-on, the center of which was a volleyball game that had gone on for most of the day.

As I stood and watched for a few minutes, it became obvious that the girls had been laughing at one of the players in the volleyball game. His lack of coordination and overdramatic reactions to his pathetic attempts at diving for the ball made him a comical center of attention. Other players on the volleyball court chuckled behind his back on the video.

“Who’s the bald idiot?” I asked, still laughing at the poor player’s lack of skill.

Both girls looked at each other for a silent moment.

“Ummm, that’s you, Dad,” my daughter Hannah finally answered.

“Ha-ha, very funny,” I replied, but neither girl was laughing.

I narrowed my gaze at the video playing on the television. I recognized the Star Trek T-shirt that the “bald idiot” was wearing as my own.

“Hey, why is that guy wearing one of my…”

My face suddenly got hot with embarrassment, as I realized that the spectacle, the train wreck, the elephant on the court…was me.

I stood in shock. I knew my hairline had receded a bit, and the back of my head was getting a little thin, but I had no idea it had become bare; bare like the grassless spot on my lawn that commemorates the great hornet/gasoline battle of ’04.

My posture was slouched like a man who had been beaten down by years of climbing trees for a living and accented by a potbelly that was much larger than the one I see when I look down.

My playing skills were terrible…terrible to the point of being amazingly terrible. I had never been a volleyball wizard, but I could, at the very least, hold my own in a game when I was younger. But time after time, I watched myself on the video hit the ball out of bounds, into the net, off my face, or miss it altogether. Worse yet, with each failed bump, set, or spike, I would fall to the ground in an overly dramatic fashion that would best any cowboy movie showdown death. Then I would lie there, flailing like a turtle stuck on its back, until someone finally came over and gave me a hand getting up, followed by two or three minutes of “walking off” my injuries, while I made loud “walking off” my injuries noises.

The video was much too painful to watch. I could still hear myself encouraging other players to “COME ON, GET IN THE GAME!” And my exaggerated grunts and bemoanings coming from the TV as I walked out of the living room. The girls resumed their laughing at me when they thought I was out of earshot.

The video had been a rude awakening to my current state of degradation and lack of coordination. Ever since watching it, I have begun to see myself in an unflattering new light.

More recently, a video of myself dancing at a wedding reception enlightened me to my dreadful loss of rhythm and fashion sense. Mothers in the video are seen rushing to shield their children from my thrashing, dancing appendages. A young couple sitting a table near the dance floor are pointing and laughing at my twenty-year-old dress shoes that I occasionally revitalize with a fresh coat of black magic marker.

My dancing very closely resembled someone who was making fun of someone dancing…in his grandpa’s shoes. Once again, I was mortified to my core.

I now avoid being in a video at all costs. And in the event I end up getting caught on camera, I steadfastly refuse to watch the footage. The volleyball and wedding reception incidents have damaged my self-esteem so horribly that I don’t think I would survive another video episode.

Things to do While My Wife Watches Dancing With The Stars.

I’ve never been a huge fan of dancing or watching dancing. Nor am I a fan of watching bachelors and bachelorettes trying to pick a suitable mate. So it is no surprise that I don’t like watching TV shows that are about these things. It would even be fair to say that, for me, being in the room while these shows are on can be quite painful.

Yet, I do like to be with my wife and daughters each evening while they intently watch their shows. I know it’s not what you would call top-notch family time, but at least we are together.

At any rate, over the different shows many seasons, I have developed some things I can do while I’m sitting there enduring them. I will now share them for the benefit of any other husbands who find themselves in the same predicament.

1.The natural choice of time-killing activities is to see how long you can get away with making fun of and impersonating things that happen and are said on the show. This can also include doing dances that involve shaking your booty and making fart noises in front of the TV, blocking everyone’s view.

2.Eat a Kleenex. It’s not very tasty, but does occupy your mind and gives one a sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve mastered the eating of a Kleenex, you can up the ante, and try a bowl of dog food, or a tube of toothpaste.

3.Make the cat attack show watchers with the aid of a laser pointer, which most cats will chase with ferocity.

4.For the night’s that seem more torturous than normal, I will see how many thumb tacks I can stick into my body without making a sound. One night while I was playing this game, my wife actually thought that the tears running down my face were due to her favorite dancer getting a low score. She expressed how touched she was that I was so concerned about the well-being of “her” star.

5.And finally, one of my favorites, on night’s when the wife and girls are more focused on the show than usual, I will very discreetly see how many items of clothing I can remove without anyone noticing. I’ve not yet made it all the way down to only my underwear.

A hint though, for some reason, they will notice your shirt being gone before they notice that you are sitting in your underwear, so if you are shooting for total number of clothing items removed, go for the socks and pants before the shirt.

Condiment Rage.

One thing that annoys me to no end is poor quality control in the condiment application department at fast food places.

My double cheeseburger had so much ketchup on it that the inside of my truck now looks like a gruesome murder scene . . . Including the bloody footprints and the red sliding hand print on the window.

I think I can even see some ketchup on the windshield of the car behind me.

Easter (it will never be the same again).

One Easter a while back, I decided that I was going to create the Easter egg hunt of all Easter egg hunts for my three- and five-year-old daughters. I spent nearly the entire day before, purchasing and stuffing plastic eggs with candy, money, and small trinkets. With the aid of a crudely drawn map of our two-acre yard, I meticulously plotted and hid each little treasure. I could hardly wait to see the girls’ excitement as they searched for their Easter eggs.

The next morning, my wife and I led the girls out into the yard and gave each one a huge empty basket. I explained to my wide-eyed daughters that the Easter bunny had hidden Easter eggs all over the yard for them to find.

“What’s an Eeeter egg?” my younger daughter asked.

“You know, like an egg that a bird lays…only the Easter bunny brings it!” I answered, amazed that she didn’t know what an Easter egg was. “You’ll know when you find one.”

So, with a mixture and excitement and a touch of confusion, off they went in search of their Easter treasures.

After about ten minutes, my wife and I walked over to check on the girls’ progress. As I approached my younger daughter, Natalie, I asked, “How many Easter eggs have you found, baby girl?”

“A whooooole bunch,” she said, holding up her Easter basket.

Looking inside the basket, I was surprised to see that there was not a single egg in her basket. Instead, there were several round rocks, a bottle cap, and what looked like the pelvis and legs of an apparently long-dead rodent of some kind.

“Oh, no, baby girl, those aren’t…”

Just then, a blood-curdling scream came from the other side of the yard. My other daughter, Hannah, came wailing and running full speed from behind the shed, still clutching her Easter basket, which contained what looked like a football-size, egg-shaped hornet nest. My wife, who had gone to check on her, was fleeing in the opposite direction, swatting the air frantically.

Like a flash, I took off on a dead run toward Hannah, who was screaming in horror and from the pain of being stung. Snatching the hornet basket from her hand, I veered away from her and threw it like a grenade over the hedge that framed our property.

But there was no time to stop and check on poor Hannah. Instead, my next concern was my wife, who was very allergic to bees.

It took a few seconds of sprinting to catch up to her in the front yard. She was screaming and swatting with all her might at a single bee that was swirling around her head. Not knowing what else to do, I began following behind her, swatting as well and smacking her on the head every time the hornet made an attempt to land.

In her flailing panic, she fell to the ground and began to flounder like a fish stranded on the shore. I feared that her being a stationary target would make her more vulnerable to the attacking insect, so I began to drag her by her shirt collar, which ripped.

“I think it’s gone,” she managed to say between panting and sobbing, but I didn’t have time to even think about her words when a police car came sliding into the driveway, and two officers jumped out with guns drawn. I could only assume my neighbor across the street had noticed the commotion and called them…the very neighbor that had been less than friendly to me ever since my “trees are easier to burn standing, than after you cut them down” incident.

So there I was, red-faced and panting, standing over my sobbing wife, who had collapsed on the ground with a ripped shirt, and my hand raised high in the air ready to smack her on the head if the devilish hornet returned. Hannah, the one who had found the Easter hornet nest, was standing not far away, crying loudly. Her lip and the area around her left eye were swollen surprisingly large from what I could only assume were hornet stings. I had no idea where Natalie had gone to.

“Get away from her, you sick bastard!” one of the officers yelled with a great amount of contempt in his voice.

“No, no, Officer! It’s not what it looks like!” I said, realizing how bad the situation must appear.

“Did you do that, too?” the other officer asked, nodding toward Hannah, whose eye was almost swollen shut and her lip nearly as big.

“NO, I was just trying—”

“Hey!” the second officer interrupted. “Aren’t you the idiot who decided to burn his trees down last summer?”

But before I could even begin to explain the logic in the tree burning, Natalie trotted out from around the corner of the house and over to the two gun-holding officers. Smiling, she looked up and said, “My daddy says we can find Eeeter eggs,” and with that, she pulled a piece of hardened dog poop out of her basket and held it up as if to offer it to the officer. His gaze of contempt grew even more intense.

“It’s not what it looks like!” I pleaded, not even sure where to start. “We’re going to an Easter church service!” (I’m not even sure why I thought that would help, but I was desperate.)

Finally, my wife had calmed down enough to begin explaining the situation herself, and a questioning of my daughter Hannah eventually revealed that a hornet had assaulted her. I’m not sure they believed that I had actually hidden Easter eggs, since neither girl had anything in her basket other than rocks, a dead animal, a hornet nest, and dog poop, but I could live with that.

In the years following, Easter baskets were sitting next to the girls’ beds, already filled, when they woke up in the morning. The girls didn’t like talking about the Easter bunny any longer. They had reasoned that he was a bit like Santa, and if you had been naughty in the previous year, you would not find Easter eggs. Instead, you would be attacked by bees, and the police would come and point their guns at you.

 

If you enjoyed this ridiculous story, there is a whole book full of them waiting for you at Amazon.com: Single Family Asylum

Who’s training Who?

When you have children, one of two things is always happening. Either you are training them on how to act like mature, responsible adults, or they are training you to act more and more like a child.

This revelation came to me just the other day when my two daughters and I had just finished watching the highly ridiculous cartoon that my youngest, Natalie, had chosen. Before that, we had watched an even more ridiculous children’s sitcom that my other daughter, Hannah, had picked.

I now figured that it was my turn to pick the show, but this was not agreeable to my darling children. An argument quickly broke out and soon escalated into violence. Fists were flying, teeth were gnashing and hair was being ripped from the roots.

After two minutes of this mayhem, I’d had it, so I announced in a loud voice of authority, “I’ve had it!”

And with that being said, I left to go tell mom . . . . . . I mean my wife, that they wouldn’t let me watch my show, and that Hannah had kicked me, and that if Natalie came and told that I had bit her on the arm, that she had pulled my hair first .

That’s when I realized, “Hey! I’m the adult here!”

So back to the living room I marched and said, “I am your father and you have to do what I say and I don’t need to go tell Mom . . . . I mean my wife . . . . I mean your mother!!!”

I then gave Natalie the most sincere, tongue-sticking-out “Nyaaahhh-Nyaaahhh” I could muster, stomped on Hannah’s foot, and sent them both to their rooms to think about resolving conflict in a responsible, adult-like manner.

I was then able to sit down and watch Bugs Bunny in peace, like a mature grown up.

Many Thanks to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop!

I am honored to have had my  Easter Story posted on the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop website! Surf on over and give my story a like. You can even read other humorous stories by real life authors and columnists (I consider myself to be a pretending author).

Erma Bombeck was the first author I remember reading as a teenager that actually made me LOL! If you are an aspiring or established humor writer, try submitting a post!

How to Make a Dad Mad.

*Turn off the shower when you have finished, but don’t turn the knob with the arrow on it that switches the water from coming out of the shower head, to flowing out the spout. So when dad goes to turn on the water, (which requires that he bends over, placing his head directly in the crosshairs of the shower head) he is blasted full force in the face with freezing cold water for the ten seconds it takes to swear and find the knob with the arrow on it that switches the water from the shower to the spout.

*Repeatedly tell him how outdated his fashion choices are. Then, when he actually has heard it enough times to motivate him to buy some more current looking attire, tell him he looks like an old guy trying to look young.

*In the middle of a heated lecture on not taking care of your messes in the living room and kitchen, point out that his bowl that he used for his fruity pebbles is still sitting on the coffee table from that morning. . . . But be cautious . . . . He will turn red and sputter for a few seconds, after which, you should probably be out of arms reach.

*Let him discover that the source of a seemingly endless supply of fruit flies in the house, are coming from a bowl of some unidentifiable organic matter under your bed.

*Drag him around on a six hour shopping trip that covers thirteen different stores, and then a return visit to eight of them, in an attempt to find a pair of shoes like Emily has, only to return to the very first store we looked in and decide to purchase the very first pair of shoes you tried on. And then, for the bonus dose of fury, tell him the following day that you don’t like them and refuse to wear them.

*Don’t answer the phone when he calls and then tell him your ringer was off, even though he could see you through the glass doors of the school entrance when you pulled the phone out of your pocket and looked at it when it rang.

*In the middle of a heated argument about why your grades are so low, say something like, “maybe I’m just not the kind of person who gets good grades. Why can’t you just accept me for who I am?’’ Even though your teachers and placement tests indicate you are capable of performing at an above average level.

*Leave the screen door standing wide open while you talk to someone outside during the middle of mosquito season instead of talking through the screen provided.

*Tell everyone that you caught him tearing up at the end of Bambi the last time the both of you watched the DVD.

*Spend the change from buying a movie ticket with the fifty dollar bill he gave you because he didn’t actually say he wanted the change.

*Scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. He will then come upstairs and inspect your work. When he tells you that your room is no where near clean, wait until he is back downstairs. Pick up one of the fifty items still on your bedroom floor and then scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. He will then come upstairs and inspect your work. When he tells you that your room is no where near clean, wait until he is back downstairs. Pick up one of the forty-nine items still on your bedroom floor and then scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. Repeat as necessary.

The Chaos of Home Organization.

My wife is an organizer. It’s in her DNA. At least once a month, everything in our house must be violently uprooted from its happy home, and relocated to a new home and new neighbors.

Being that we live in a fairly small house with limited closet and storage space, many of the objects in our house must coexist with other objects that are of a different species, such as the silverware/matches/battery drawer or the crackers/bread/canned soup/mitten and hat cupboard.

This all works out fine until one day when you open what you thought was the silverware/matches/battery drawer only to find that it has now become the pen/pencil/can opener/socks without a match drawer. And the silverware, matches and batteries are not only moved to a new and mysterious location, but they have also been separated and given new roommates.

So now, the batteries live in the battery/Christmas decoration/antiquated VCR plastic tub in the basement, and the silverware shares a home with the numerous phone chargers that no longer fit any of the phones that we own, in the silverware/obsolete phone charger/air freshener drawer, located in the buffet in our dining room. The matches are now living in a decorative vase that sits on the windowsill in our kitchen. I have yet to unravel the mystery of what far away Gulag the crackers, bread, canned soup, mittens and hats have been sent.

Now I’ll admit that I’m not an organizer, so maybe I just don’t understand the logic that goes behind these new location assignments. But I just can’t see the reasoning in deciding to do something like condensing the three overloaded cupboards we have in the kitchen into two, and turning the third into a palatial palace for the iced tea maker and tea bags that we use once a year. An entire cupboard with nothing in it but an ice tea maker!  It was as if she was somehow compelled to create a shrine dedicated to the worship of cold-brewed summer beverage makers. Meanwhile, the rest of our dishes and kitchen appliances are enduring inhumane overcrowded conditions in the other two cupboards.

It’s not just the complete loss of knowing where everything is relocated to, or my failure to see the logic in the organization that bothers me, either. The lack of any kind of warning that a re-organization has taken place can cause grief as well.

One particular morning, I was painfully unaware that the day before, my wife had determined that all my clothes needed to be switched from my side of the dresser to her side, and her clothes now lived on what used to be my side.

Since I wake up an hour before my wife needs to, I usually get dressed in the dark, so as not to wake her. It wasn’t until I actually got to work that I realized when I had reached into what I thought was MY drawer to grab a work shirt, I was actually grabbing and putting on a hot pink t-shirt of hers that said “SEXY LADY” in very sparkly letters across the chest . . . this is not something that the guys you work with will soon let you forget about. I can’t imagine the abuse I would have received if they had seen the pair of flower print panties that fate had determined I would be wearing that day.

 

If you enjoyed this ridiculous story, there are many more waiting for you in book form at Amazon: Single Family Asylum

 

 

The Nerve of some Bloggers (blogging paranoia)

Phone lights up telling me I have a WordPress notification.

(Hopeful wonder)

A new follower! 

(Exuberance)

Blurmuth6650 . . . . What kind of name is that? Just doesn’t sound like someone who would follow a blog like mine. . . . But beggars can’t be choosers.

(Wonder)

So is Blurmuth one of those bloggers with 10,000 followers who is just looking to add to his ginormous follower army? Is this how he got his 10,000 followers? Follow en mass and collect the follow-backs? A purely self-serving following? 

(Annoyance)

Or is Blurmuth a new blogger hoping to scrounge a fourth follower? Too lazy to get out there and blog an earning of followers like the rest of us?

(Arrogance and disgust sprinkled with bits of ego)

I’ll bet Blurmuth didn’t even read a single post!

(Indignant anger)

Hmmmmm. . . The Speakings of Blurmuth . . . An ok blog title but nothing overly impressive. Looks like Blurmuth likes to post about politics and NASCAR. What would make Blurmuth follow a blog like mine? I see he has 347 followers. . . That’s more than me . . . . I’ll bet I deserve 347 followers more than Blurmuth does. I just know Blurmuth is up to some sort of blogging nefariousness.

(Dismissal of the following as not genuine)

I have better things to do than engage with a blogger named Blurmuth who only follows other blogs out of pure Narcissism.

I’ll not even dignify Blurmuth with  the response of a follow-back. I’m going blog surfing elsewhere.

(Changing of blogging gears)

I’ll just browse through Reader and find a more worthwhile blog . . . . Like this one right here . . . Looks like a “Mom Blog”. . . . Mom Blogs can’t resist my excellent family humor. . . . And Wow, this Mom Blogger has 13,900 followers! A mention or acknowledgement from this blog would catapult my blog into the blogosphere!

I’m sure this Mom blog has interesting posts. I’m sure I would really like it if I had time to read one of the posts . . . . But I have other pressing blogging business to attend to. I’ll come back later and confirm that I do in fact like this Mom Blog.

(Click of the mouse)

There! I followed. Time to blog on.

This following better produce some followers of my own. I’ll bet that Mom won’t even check out my blog. She’s probably one of those “I’m too good to respond to the kind gesture of a follow by following back”.

She’ll probably assume I just followed her to serve my own blogging promotion instead of the fact that maybe I actually like the things that she posts . . . . Which I will confirm when I return some day when I have more time and actually read one of the posts.

It’s people like this Mom . . . . And Blurmuth that give bloggers a bad name. . . . . Ohhhhhhhh a Dad Blog! Dad bloggers just love my writing style! Wow, he’s got 5400 followers. . . . 

(Click of the mouse)