Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Lesson

I usually find baseball games boring.  They're 3 innings too long.

But this game was exciting.  The Brewers could clinch a playoff spot with a win.  And it was high scoring.  Lots of action.

There was a Millennial couple sitting in front of me at the game.  The girl, let's call her "Chloe", was sitting just below my sightline to the batter.  Chloe's boyfriend, let's call him "Aiden," sat to her right.

Then this happened.

It's not like the phone was blocking my sightline.  But after Chloe's 22nd selfie I started to find her phone more entertaining than the baseball game.

She'd take a few photos, inspect them, adjust her hair and take a few more.  Inspect those, lean closer to Aiden, and then take a few more.  Inspect those, purse her lips, and take a few more.

What was I to do?

I took a photo of them and posted it on Facebook.

After several innings, Chloe was satisfied with her photo and probably posted it on Instagram.  

Because she's way cooler than I am.

Then my friend went to the concession stand, leaving me alone.  

A couple minutes later I heard a voice in my ear.  Attached to another Millennial.  

Let's call her "Ursula".

Ursula: Do you know those people sitting in front of you?
Me: What?
Ursula: Do you know those people sitting in front of you?
Me: No.
Ursula: I noticed you took a picture of them.
Me: Yeah.  She took like 50 selfies.
Ursula: I don't think that was very nice.
Me: What?
Ursula: They weren't hurting you.  She made sure you weren't in any of her pictures.
Ursula: I don't think that was nice at all.
Ursula: I think that was mean.

I had a flashback to 5th grade.  My blue-haired teacher, Mrs. Crouse, scolded me for making too much noise turning pages in my Math book.  "I don't think that's very nice, Mary Louise.  Your loud page turning is disrupting the class."

Me: You're right. I shouldn't have done that.
Ursula:  I know.  It really wasn't nice.
Me: (Face turning very red.)
Ursula: Not nice at all.

I turned my back on Ursula and I let that encounter completely ruin the rest of the game for me.

It wasn't until days later that I realized that she was way meaner than I was.

Thinking back, I wish I had responded differently.  Ursula probably thought she had taught me a big fat lesson.  In fact, she'll probably do it again the next time she thinks somebody over twice her age is misbehaving.

I should have said, "Oh yeah?  Go to H-E-double hockey sticks."

Or held up my profanity pillow.

Or maybe I should have laughed.

And told her how hilarious she was.

But you know what would have been even better?

I should have taken
her picture.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How to Not Get a Seasonal Job at #%&$

I almost missed the sign in the department store at my local mall.

Interested in picking up extra money for the holidays?  #%&$ is hiring seasonal employees!  

They promised great associate discounts, competitive pay, and flexible schedules.

I considered the fact that Movie Pass has recently restricted the number of movies I can see, which has significantly freed up my schedule. 

When I got home from the mall I mentioned the idea to Dave.  He told me I was nuts, which convinced me to apply for the job.

The online application asked for my previous position and I proudly wrote Director of Customer Insights & Analysis.  When asked how many hours I could work per week I wrote 12.  When asked if I could work evenings I wrote no.  When asked if I could work weekends I wrote no.  

I was confident that I would be the perfect fit for a part-time seasonal position at #%&$!

I was not surprised when I was invited for open auditions interviews.  I checked out my competition.  I was the oldest one in the room (not counting the vending machine.)

Applicants had to fill forms asking for our availability by day.  I wrote:

Monday: 7-4
Tuesday: 7-4
Wednesday: 7-4
Thursday: 7-4
Friday: 7-4
Saturday: -
Sunday: -

The HR person picked up my sheet and looked at me as if I had a unicorn horn protruding from my head.

HER: You are only available weekdays?  No evenings?  No weekends?
ME: Um, yeah.
HER: This is retail.  You have to work evenings and weekends.

But I didn't leave.  I thought once they got to know me they would realize how lucky they'd be to have me as a part-time seasonal employee.

(I could analyze their data for minimum wage if they wanted!)

I had a small group interview with two other applicants.  It went okay until the HR person asked me if I could work on Sundays and I said, "It depends on who the Bills are playing."

It got really quiet then.

She said, "Excuse me?"

I said, "The Buffalo Bills."

Yeah.  They hated me.  And I don't blame them.

They found me to be inflexible and thought that I showed poor judgement.

Who in the world would want to watch the Buffalo Bills play football?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

7 Words You Can't Say in Church

I was initially excited to learn that a women's group wanted us to perform a few vignettes from my play Heck the Dolls with Chardonnay.

HTD is a chick play.  Women love it.

And the three actors who played Sue, Becky, and Rhonda so brilliantly during the initial run were available for the special performance.  One was coming all the way from New York City to perform.

Jim, the Director, consulted with me and we chose three scenes, including the infamous Turkey penis vignette.

Did I mention that the women's group was from a church?

So, Jim was a wee bit concerned about offending the women.  He wondered if the Turkey penis scene would be too much for an audience drinking coffee instead of wine.  In church.

Come on.  Who could possibly be offended by the story of a woman cooking her first turkey who finds it's neck in the turkey's cavity, and thinks that it's his penis?


A few days later I turned on my phone after leaving a movie and it started dinging like a damn pinball machine.  

Apparently, I had missed a few texts.

I scrolled to the beginning of the messages:

Jim: I'd like to change penis to its Thingy.  Ok ladies?  There were 8 penis references in the script.  Who knew?  Anyway I think you guys can have fun trying not to say it.

(Note to self:  Should "thingy" be capitalized?)

Tiffany: Oh, we will have fun alright....

Jim: I know you will.  I cut the damns, too, and changed the hell to heck.

Jim: Are you still having fun?

Tiffany: Umm... that shit is gonna come out.  I've already done that show 2 times.  It'll be muscle memory.

Jim: It is what it will be I guess.

Jessica: Liked "Um... that shit is gonna come out. I've already done that show 2 times.  It'll be muscle memory."

Jessica: I will do my best not to say penis.

Sandy: Penis. Penis. Penis.  There.  I won't say it anymore.

Jim: I shared the script and damn and hell in the Church is freaking them out.  I told her we'd do our best.

Jim: Thank you Sandy ;o)

Jessica: Liked: "I shared the script and damn and hell in the Church is freaking them out.  I told her we'd do our best."

Jim: That was the one word she freaked out about.  Thingy. Thingy. Thingy. Thingy. Thingy. Thingy.

Jim: I love you ladies.  Thank you.

Jessica: Laughed at: "Thingy. Thingy. Thingy. Thingy. Thingy. Thingy."

Tiffany: The one word was damn?  Hell?  Or penis?

Jim: Darn darn darn darn heck heck heck heck.

Lou: I just got out of a movie and read these all at once.  Let's perform the texts.

Jim: That's funny, Lou.  There might be a play in changing a play to not offend anyone.  Got a title.  7 words you can't say in church.

Lou: Don't tell me boob is on that list.

Jim: Penis, hell, damn, ass, porn.

Lou: Shit is ok?

Jim: Penis, hell, damn, ass, porn, shit.

Tiffany: And f*ck.  Hehe.

Jessica: Wow.  One of those is gonna accidentally slip off of me or Tiff.

It was all a moot point.

In the end, the head church lady decided to pull the Turkey penis scene from the performance.

It was probably for the better.

We didn't have to worry about a penis slipping out of someone's mouth in church.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Empty Ham-ded

Hamilton is coming to Charlotte in October.

I know.  I already saw it in Chicago.  But that's why I want to see it again.

It's that good.

Tickets went on sale to the public on August 1, at 8:00 AM.  I logged into the virtual waiting room at 7:05 AM on two different devices.  At 8:00 AM, the powers to be would be randomly assigning numbers to everyone in the waiting room.  

I happened to have a 7:30 AM doctor's appointment that day, somewhat complicating the situation.  I kept a close eye on my phone while Dr. Fravel examined me.  

When he asked, "Are you depressed?"  I responded, "I will be if I don't get my Hamilton tickets."

At 7:55 AM he finished with me and sent me the lab for my blood work.

"I can't go yet," I said.

"Why not?"

"I need to stay put until 8:00.  When I get my Hamilton number."

He rolled his eyes and told me I could stay in the exam room.  The minutes ticked by slowly as I waited for my number.  At exactly 8:00 AM my number appeared.


Say what?

And my laptop at home had an even bigger number.


I read somewhere that there were about 20,000 tickets up for grabs.  If everyone in line bought the 4 tickets they were entitled to, the tickets would be sold by the time they got to number 5,000.

But that was glass half-empty thinking.  

From a glass half-full perspective, not everybody would buy 4 tickets. And some people might only be able to go to certain shows.

At about 11:30 only 16,000 people were in front of me in line.  And according to the progress bar, it looked like about half the tickets were still available.  

I had a chance!

At about 1:00 PM, mean, unwanted messages began to appear on the website.  First, saying there were limited seats available for specific shows.  Then, there were limited seats available in certain sections.  Then, only individual seats remained.  

An finally, the only available seats were for Cats, which was playing at a high school in Gastonia.

My ridiculously high number came up at 3:42 PM and I was invited to purchase tickets.  I was in a near-panic state as I tried to find the best available tickets during the 10 minute window I had to complete the purchase.

This is what I saw:

I did find two VIP tickets for about $500.  But they weren't together. 

I couldn't do it. 

At 3:52 PM I placed a call. 

Hello, Dr. Fravel?  This is Lou.  

I'm depressed.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Runaway

They were twins.  Identical twins.  Looked exactly alike.

But they were as different as night and day.

Their names were L and R.

It was impossible, even for me, to keep them straight. 

It was only after R would disappear that I knew for sure who was who.

L was a homebody.  R was full of wanderlust.

The first time R ran away I thought for sure that L would spend the rest of her life an orphan.  It was 5:02 AM.  I was 57 people deep in line in the Phuket, Thailand airport.  I reached for my ear and gasped.

R was gone.

She must have been hiding at the hotel we had left two hours earlier.

But I had hope.  My friend Bob, who had a later flight, was still at the hotel.  I frantically called him but his phone was off.  I then called the hotel, praying that the operator could speak English.  To my relief, the operator told me that they had found the little runaway and would hand her over to Bob when he checked out.

After a close call, the twins were reunited.

It was about two months before the next "incident".  I was in Louisville visiting my sister.  The girls were asleep on the bathroom vanity.  At least I THOUGHT they were asleep.  I actually witnessed R's escape.  She dove head first into the gap between the vanity and the wall. 

I assembled a search party, bringing together the best of the best.  And high tech equipment such as mirrors, magnets, wire hangers, and duct tape.  Unfortunately for me (and L), R was free once more.

About two months later my sister found the little fugitive while doing a bathroom remodel.  R arrived home via first class mail.

I talked to her about her behavior until I was blue in the face.  I thought I had made headway.

How naive.

I was in Russia when she made her final flight.  We were on a guided tour of St. Petersburg, which required earpieces.

The thing is that I was prepared. I understood how R thinks.  Her criminal mind.  I knew an earbud could provide an escape route.  As a precaution, I placed both girls in protective custody in a zippered pocket of my backpack.

I know what you're thinking.  Why punish L?  She hadn't done anything.

How goofy would I look with just one earring?

Sure enough, the bitch got away.  She made a clean getaway from the backpack. And it was zippered shut.

I asked L how R got away but she was tight lipped.  (Probably mad about being locked up.)

I was full of emotion: anger, frustration, despair.  But after my second glass of wine my attitude improved.  R was gone.  I'd probably never see her again.

And I accepted the fact that R is like Curious George.  She should be free.

The next morning I took my seat in the tour van, ears naked.  I placed my backpack on the floor and saw something out of the corner of my eye.  

Yes!  It was R.  Hiding behind a water bottle.  I grabbed her and gave her the biggest hug ever.

And we had a little heart to heart.

Please don't judge.  I used to laugh at people who tethered their children in public.  

Not no more.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Brain Dead

It was a long, drawn-out death.  Painful to witness.  There was little we could do about his suffering.

He had no health insurance.  Too outrageously expensive.

The groans.  So loud.  And agonizing.

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I would close the door so I didn't have to listen.

He was so young.  He had just turned 5.

That's 45 in washing machine years.

We did what we could to help with his pain.  When the wails became loud, about a year ago, we lightened his load.  Medium.  Then small.

By the end he could barely handle a gentle load.

He still howled.

After a few dozen gentle loads, paralysis set in.  We declared him brain dead at 9:21 PM on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

Dave was the one who ultimately pulled the plug.  I couldn't do it.


It was heartbreaking.

Now we have just our memories to help us get over the loss.  Actually, I believe that you never get over a loss.  You get through it.

Thank God we have so many good memories.

He was quite the trickster in his youth.

Like the time he dyed  my clothes pink.  (I shouldn't have yelled at him.)

And when he would hide socks.   LOL.  I never thanked him for inspiring me to develop the world famous  Nerdling Orphan Sock Prevention Program..

I miss him.

But we're moving on.  We have to.  (Laundry is piling up.)

A new one is being delivered on Monday.  We've decided to try a front load washer this time, in hopes that she will live past 45.  (In washing machine years.)

As I was checking out of the Lowe's adoption agency yesterday, the clerk asked me if I would like to purchase health insurance.  I asked how much it would cost.

$119.97 for 5 years??????!!!!!!!!!

Nah.  Too  outrageously expensive.

Hope she has better genes than her deceased siblings.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Moose Mistake

When the Groucho's Deli waitress brought my moose sandwich to me I took one look at it and knew I had screwed up.

It was roast beef.  I haven't eaten red meat since 1980.

That's 38 years.  XXXVIII in Roman Numerals.

See?  I may be old but I still remember my Roman Numerals.

(Except L.  Is that 50 or 500?)

I looked at the menu and quickly discovered my error.

"I messed up," I announced to Dave.  "There are 2 kinds of moose sandwiches and I ordered the wrong color.  This is the Brown Moose."

So I went to the counter and told Groucho Girl about my mistake and that I should have ordered the Pink Moose.  I had my moose within minutes.

I was halfway through my Pink Moose when Dave said, "That looks like ham.  Maybe you should have ordered the White Moose."

I stopped chewing.  I didn't know whether to swallow the pink moose in my mouth or spit it on the plate.  The pink glob went down my throat like a bowling ball. 

I looked down at the plate.  OMG.  I had eaten half of a damn ham sandwich.

My stomach suddenly hurt.   And Groucho Girl was headed my way.

"Don't tell her," I whispered to Dave.

But Dave was having too much fun with my moose mess.

"She ordered the wrong moose," he told Groucho Girl.   "Again."

"I forgot my reading glasses," I said, as I slipped my reading glasses into my purse.

Dave and Groucho Girl enjoyed a laugh.  At my expense.  She offered to make me a White Moose, but I told her I was no longer hungry.

After all, I had just eaten half of a cute, little, piggy sandwich.

I hoped that I wasn't going to get ill.

And I didn't.

Big sigh.

It has been 38 years since I have eaten roast beef.

And III days since I last ate ham.  

Which looks a hell of a lot better than 3.