You Are Viewing All Posts In The Fun and Leisure Humor Category

I Was Snubbed by the U.S. Olympic Ski Team

Dear U.S. Olympic Ski Team:

Congratulations on an outstanding Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. And hey, that 22-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was impressive on the giant slalom. Well done.

I just have one minor complaint to register: Why did you leave me off the team? I contacted you last summer, telling you I wanted to try out for the men’s freestyle aerials or half pipe or any alpine event you guys thought might attract babes. But nobody ever replied to my text message – which by the way I typed in ALL CAPS to get your attention.

I have to say, your decision to leave me off the roster is confounding. I demand an explanation. When I attempted to get on the team plane for PyeongChang, one of your staffers refused to let me board. I must say he was very discourteous, even after I flashed him a crisp new Benjamin to let me get past.

I demand to know why you refused to let me compete with the rest of the skiers. Was it because I’m 63 years old, and the next oldest competitor was 37? News flash: I checked, and age discrimination is totally against the law. Besides, I may be over 60, but sometimes I use Grecian Formula (dark brown), making me look closer to 50.

Was it because you learned I was married to a Canadian and you questioned my loyalties? Or were you worried my wife would get into a cat fight with the American women’s hockey players? Or maybe you learned about my humor writing and worried I might write a sophomoric column which would create an international incident. I doubt I’d do that (although I confess I’ve never met a South Korean figure skating judge I trusted).

Or was it the minor technicality that I failed to show up on the date of the U.S. Olympic trials last December? That’s extremely unfair. I just overslept that weekend and missed my plane to Park City, UT. I texted, asking about a make-up trial date, but nobody responded to that text either. Do you guys even read your text messages?

Read More…

  • Published On Feb. 22, 2018 by TEJ
  • I Have a Drinking Problem

    I have something to confess. It’s hard for me to talk about. It may even shock you. The fact is, I have a drinking problem. It’s been a struggle, but I’ve been clean and sober for the past six months. Before you congratulate me, I have another confession. I have also been clean and sober for the past 62 years and ten months. You see, technically, I don’t actually have a drinking problem. I have a not-drinking problem.

    I simply don’t drink. Never have. And that’s created many an awkward social situation my entire adult life. A lot of people have difficulty accepting this aberration – starting with my young adult daughters. In their college years, they attended many a party and chugged many a beer. “It’s what you do at college” they claim. Thus, they refuse to believe that spirits never pass over my lips. Nobody could be that much of a boring, uptight nerd, they argue, convinced I must be keeping from them deep dark secrets about my past.

    I attended a university where so many students regularly drank themselves into oblivion, that I started to wonder if it was a pre-requisite for graduation. The entry requirement at most fraternity parties was to chug a pitcher of beer upon arrival. Apparently, it was a violation of the Greek code of ethics to be on frat premises without consuming large quantities of alcohol. The only permissible exception was if you’d already passed out in the hall closet.

    Even now, when I go to a gathering, people just assume I’ll be drinking, like everyone else. The beverage selections typically are two red wines, a Zinfandel, three types of beer, vodka, bourbon, and club soda. Invariably, when I mention that I don’t drink, people assume the worst: I’m an alcoholic trying to stay on the wagon. When I clarify that it’s not that, they assume the even worster: I’m a holier-than thou Prohibitionist who looks down my nose at these sinners whose weak moral failings have led them the bottle. Excellent guesses, everybody, but no, that’s not why I don’t drink (although, yeah, drunken, two-timing Charlie over there making out with the fern is probably headed south when his number is up).

    Read More…

    • You'd enjoy Anne Fadiman's recent memoir: The Wine Lover's Daughter. The framework of the memoir is about how she just…
      Kathy Taylor
  • Published On Feb. 07, 2018 by TEJ
  • My Sister’s Plot to Kill Me

    [This is a true story.]

    One of the following is something I have NEVER done. Can you guess?

    • Eaten oysters
    • Driven 1,300 miles with a rabbit and a parakeet
    • Gone skinny dipping
    • Jumped out of an airplane

    If you guessed, “eaten oysters” you are correct. But also a shout out to my many supportive fans who wrote in “humor writing”. Yes, I actually jumped out of an airplane. But don’t worry. Many of you will be glad to know I survived.

    Normally, I would never do something so stupid. It wasn’t even my idea. You can blame my sister for this reckless fiasco. For purposes of this story, and out of respect for my sister’s privacy, I’m going to refer to her as “Betsy” because, first, that’s her name, and second, I don’t give a rat’s ass about her privacy.

    The year was 1982. Betsy and I were both attending The Ohio State University. One day, for reasons unfathomable to me, she quipped, “Hey, let’s go skydiving!” I could only deduce she was off her meds – or perhaps she was looking for a creative way to avoid working on a term paper. I replied as any loving, older brother would – I berated her for being an idiot. But my sister can be extremely persuasive, by which I mean she questioned my masculinity. Eventually, after badgering me for what seemed like three days, but probably was closer to eleven minutes, I caved.

    Betsy discovered an outfit called Skydive Green County, in a rural community called Xenia, Ohio, where cows outnumber people 50 to 1. We dove into an intensive full-day crash-course on skydiving, which culminated in a static line jump out of a Cessna from 5,000 feet.

    At noon, the class broke for a 45-minute lunch. It took longer than expected for my Last Meal to be served, so Betsy and I arrived back 15 minutes late. I figured, we couldn’t possibly have missed anything important in that short interval. Turns out, I was mistaken – perilously so.

    After seven hours of training, the energy of these thrill-seekers was palpable – that is, of all but one. And he looked a lot like me. All I could think was, “How in the world did I let my crazy, impulsive sister corral me into doing such a daredevil act of insanity? Worse yet, I didn’t even use a 50% off Groupon!” My only consolation was that as a law student, I could one day sue my sister for wrongful death. Or maybe not.

    Read More…

    • Now did she REALLY try to kill you or did she teach you how to live?
  • Published On Nov. 29, 2017 by TEJ
  • The Seattle Seahawks’ Secret Weapon: ME

    I’m a huge NFL fan. I root for the Seattle Seahawks because I live in the greater Seattle area, so it’s the law. The Seahawks have been one of the best football teams in the NFL recently, going to the Super Bowl twice in the past four years.

    After every win, the Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll steps up to the microphone and gives credit to his offense, his defense, and his assistant coaches for executing a great game plan. But not once does he ever mention the team’s primary reason for their victory: ME! That’s right, I don’t like to brag about this fact – because I am one of the most modest, humble people you’ll ever meet – but I am the secret weapon in their success.

    In full disclosure, the players and coaches did play a part in last week’s victory by doing things like scoring points and keeping the other team from scoring. But week after week, season after season, Coach Carroll ignores what I believe is the single biggest factor whenever they pull out a win: I WASN’T WATCHING!

    Oh, I know what you’re thinking. I’m just another freakishly superstitious football fanatic who thinks their quirky rituals influence the outcome of the game. Like the Carolina Panthers fan Nate Bosworth, who must always sit in the exact same spot on the couch and consume exactly 8 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (two per quarter) to ensure his team’s win. Or like Bert Flanderson, who cheers on his Cleveland Browns by wearing his lucky shoulder pads and 42-year old Browns helmet for every game. (Bert, I hate to break it to you, buddy. It’s not working.) Or even Ethel Lembke, a rabid New Orleans Saints fan, who belts out Gloria Gaynor’s feminist anthem ‘I Will Survive’ in full Saints regalia before every game, to nudge her team to victory.

    These people, of course, are seriously delusional. Trust me, their peculiar rituals have about as much chance of affecting the game’s outcome as I have of convincing my wife to buy that Lamborghini I’ve been eyeing. But it’s a proven fact that MY viewership behavior directly influences, no, make that DICTATES the results. I became aware of my powers a few years ago, when I noticed a pattern. Whenever I’d watch my beloved Seahawks play, they’d lose – about 70% of the time. But when I didn’t watch, for any reason, they’d win in equal proportion.

    Read More…

    • Okay, Tim, so I ran a little long. The Mets weren't impressed, either, but you understand. I know you do.
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Nov. 01, 2017 by TEJ
  • Vancouver? – Ya’ Can’t Get There from Here

    [The following is a true story.]

    Here’s a tip you might want to jot down: When your guests from Argentina want to hit the rails to Vancouver departing from Stanwood, Washington, the closest town to my home with a train station, you might want to make reservations. I didn’t – which caused the following chain of events…

    It was the end of a very nice visit with Monique and Manuel. (Not their real names. Their real names are Maria and Jose.) I had already mapped out my day: Drop them off at the station to catch the 9:15 train. Get back home by 9:30. At 9:35 commence sleeping in the hammock. A perfect plan.

    Except for one small miscalculation. I failed to make train reservations for my friends. I wanted to wave “Goodbye” from my car, but decided that might be rude. So, I walked them to the platform. That’s when I heard the conductor announce, “Passengers with reservations only! All Aboard!” Reservations? It’s a ten-car train hailing from tiny Stanwood. Who needs reservations? I immediately had my own reservations – something was not right.

    There is a quaint saying: “The journey is the destination.” Except for that day when the destination was everything: Vancouver, CANADA – on CANADA DAY, the nation’s Independence Day – their biggest annual holiday after National Apology Day.

    No biggie. We’ll just make reservations for the next train, right? Nope. It didn’t leave for another 10 hours. What about a bus? Sorry. The sole Vancouver-bound bus left 15 minutes ago. How about a taxi or Uber? Great suggestion, Tim. Problem solved – so long as my guests were willing to shell out 400 bucks (American) for a 178-mile drive.

    I researched every transportation option I could think of: ferry, rental car, crop duster, Pony Express, you name it. None of them was feasible. And I had a gut feeling that my guests were not the hitchhiking type.

    Read More…

    • LOL National Apology Day. Good one. Though I'm sorry you see fit to mock our…
      Rob McCarrol
  • Published On Sep. 14, 2017 by TEJ
  • A Day at the Races

    I was not sure what to expect when a buddy of mine invited me to join him for drag racing. Contrary to my assumptions, there were very few men sprinting in high heels, makeup and wigs. No, it turns out that drag racing is a completely different genre of entertainment. If you’re not familiar with this sport, let me cover the basics.

    The average race takes less time to finish than it takes to finish the sentence, “the average race takes less time to finish than it takes to finish this sentence.” The fastest dragsters hurtle down a 1,000-foot track in under four seconds. When I told my wife this, her response was, “That’s barely enough time to make it to the first turn.” During one heat I sneezed, causing me to completely miss the race.

    My wife does not understand drag racing at all – in the same way that I usually don’t understand my wife. You see, this sport is all about three things: insanely fast cars, thunderously loud engines that could burst your ear drums, and sexy young women in hot pants and knee-high kinky boots, hanging around the starting line, pretending to serve a purpose.

    When we sat down for the first heat, I almost had a heart attack at the explosion of noise. Imagine the heavy metal rock band Spinal Tap, with their speakers cranked up to 11. Now multiple that by 11 gazillion and you have a rough approximation of how loud these engines are.

    Typically, two racers are pitted against each other in a sprint. Sadly, I did not witness a single car veer off the track into the wall. The closest any car came to disaster was when one dragster’s engine caught fire, causing him to lose the race. My buddy informed me that replacing the engine would cost upwards of $250,000. Given that the average income for a drag racer is $75,000 – well, you do the math.

    Read More…

    • I'm with your wife. I just don't get it. The noise, the need for speed and, especially, the young,…
  • Published On Sep. 06, 2017 by TEJ
  • My Visit to Authentic Scotland (Sort of)

    Recently, my wife and I spent a day exploring Scotland. Okay, technically we didn’t actually travel all the way to the land of Braveheart. But we did the next best thing: We went to a traditional Scottish Highland Games. If you’ve never been to a Highland Games before, it’s a lot like Game of Thrones, but with seriously overweight people who can’t get dates and have no business wearing kilts, along with booths selling Haggis, meat pies, and funnel cakes. But unlike Game of Thrones, I’m happy to report there were very few fatalities.

    My wife is Canadian. Her grandmother immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland with quite a set of pipes – bagpipes, that is. Every visit to Grandma’s included a concert of bagpipe music, complete with Amazing Grace as the grand finale. Apparently, this is how they punish children for misbehaving in Canada.

    It turns out I too have some Scottish ancestry – 1/8th – which qualified me for 10% off on a raspberry scone at MacGregor’s Scones ‘n Cones at the fair. My lineage is through the Hanna clan and can be traced all the way back to the year 1215, to a tiny town in southwestern Scotland called Sorbie. (True!) There is even a 15th century castle there that belongs to my clan, but it’s largely a ruin now. It figures. My ancestors never took good care of their stuff.

    To venture into the Games, we traversed a rickety drawbridge through towering castle walls all made from traditional Scottish plywood, reinforced with authentic Scotch Tape. I could smell the earthiness of moors as we passed the Honey Bucket porta potties. I started to tear up as the strains of a tartan-clad marching band wafted through the air. I could imagine my ancestors trading their wares as I meandered past vendors hawking t-shirts and mugs with expressions like “If it’s not Scottish, it’s Crap.” 

    Read More…

    • Hoot Mon, Timothy! Ye gee us a great read. I'm thinkin' ye'd look real posh in a kilt…
      Eleanor Rushworh
  • Published On Aug. 05, 2017 by TEJ
  • Trading Stories at My College Reunion

    I just returned from my 40th college reunion. It was an amazing experience to reconnect with many people I have not seen in decades. What college did I attend, you ask? Well if you guessed Harvard University, you’re extremely close – in fact, my alma mater shares several letters in common with Harvard, including a V, an R, an A and the entire word “University” (University of Virginia).

    One thing I’ve always preached to my daughters is the importance of being authentic, and to be proud of who you are – which can be a challenge at times when you realize you’re a humor writer. To be honest, I was a little anxious about seeing my old college cronies. Sure, I’ve had my share of achievements since I graduated – like having never once been convicted of a major felony. Or the fact that I am a published author of a book that has sold roughly 100,000 copies (if you round up to the nearest 100,000).

    I arrived at the reunion’s opening reception, and the first person I met was Brett Farnsworth III. I told him I wrote a weekly humor blog. As though he were experiencing an adverse Pavlovian reaction to the word “blog”, Brett abruptly excused himself, proclaiming he had to step away for a phone interview with CNN to discuss his role spearheading NASA’s manned flight program to Mars – ETA: 2022.

    Next, I bumped into Richard Brantley, who lived two doors down in my first-year dorm. “Tim, wow, I barely recognized you with your weight gain. And when did you lose so much hair?” I started feeling a bit self-conscious, but I tried to be polite, asking him what he’d been up to in recent years. “Oh, nothing much,” he started. “Same old – same old. Still Senior Vice President of Global Strategy for Apple. What about you?” A nagging feeling was mushrooming inside me that my career accomplishments might not stack up to those of my fellow alums.

    In an attempt to preserve my rapidly crumbling self-esteem, I went into improv mode. “Um, well, since you asked…. I was recently promoted to Executive Senior Vice President of International Brand Management for P&G – you know, Proctor & Gamble. I just flew in from our Geneva manufacturing facility for the reunion.” Okay, so I lied. Sue me. I just didn’t know how to make “I write blogs about being a bad parent” sound impressive. On the one hand, I felt badly about the ruse. On the other hand, Richard was clearly awed by how I engineered a five percent gain in market share in our consumer brands division in my first quarter in the job. So much for my plans to be authentic.

    Read More…

    • So loved reading this. You've totally nailed why I absolutely refuse to go to reunions at all. (But on…
  • Published On Jun. 24, 2017 by TEJ
  • Day at the Museum

    As a good husband, I try to feign interest in my wife’s favorite passions. It’s easy when we’re talking kittens or kayaking. But the next time my wife asks, “Honey, how would you like to check out this new museum?”, if you have an ounce of compassion in you, PLEASE, for the love of God, STOP ME from spinelessly acquiescing to her heartless suggestion. It’s dangerous to my emotional well-being. The problem is that my wife and I have very different notions about what it means to “check out” a museum.

    It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking a museum of paintings, cuckoo clocks, or the Wisconsin Museum of Cheese. It’s all about the approach. I like to swoop in, catch a glimpse of three or four major highlights, and get out while I still have some functioning brain cells. But my wife – she might as well sign a short-term rental agreement with the museum’s Board of Directors, because she’s planning on staying.

    Last weekend, we visited the Museum of Anthropology and Natural History. Michele got excited because she learned this was the last day of their special exhibit called Fabrics Around the World. I figured, how long could this possibly take? I mean, you have cotton, polyester, and wool, the three fabrics that make up every article of clothing I’ve ever owned. We’d roll through the entire display in fifteen minutes max. I was off – by a factor of five.

    My wife was fascinated by the intricate weavings found in Morocco, the brilliant colors preferred in the hilltop regions of Bhutan, and the myriad methods of felting coming from the British Isles. Meanwhile, my interest in fabrics was focused on a pizza stain I just noticed on my white t-shirt which was woven – I think you’ll find this interesting – in the Philippines, using a traditional polyester blend, made in a sweat shop by a nine-year-old boy named Danilo.

    Read More…

  • Published On May. 07, 2017 by TEJ
  • The Joy of Sleeping

    Three of the greatest pleasures in life – and I’m sure you will agree – are: relaxing poolside in a sunny tropical location, eating cookie dough ice cream, and sleeping. When my number is up, I hope to go out napping on a chaise lounge in Hawaii with an empty quart of cookie dough ice cream on my lap.

    Seriously, is there anything more blissful in life than napping on a rainy afternoon? Oh sure, I hear you thinking, “You don’t want to waste your life away catching z’s, do you?” To which I say, “Of course I do!” I read an article that said on average, human beings spend 33 percent of their lives sleeping. I estimate I’ve spent closer to 38% – but then I’ve always been an over-achiever. (I would have read the rest of the article, but I was snoozing by the fourth paragraph.)

    You know the kind of people I can’t stand? People who get up at 4:30 am to work out at the gym for an hour before zipping through the entire New York Times crossword puzzle, while making a kale & kelp milkshake for breakfast before heading off to work by 7 to cure cancer or feed the homeless – no doubt with kale & kelp milkshakes.

    To be honest, for decades, I used to be one of those people (except for the k & k shakes, that is). But now that I’m retired, I realize that for all those decades, my priorities were seriously out of whack. Lately I’ve discovered the joy of sleeping in. Oh, I still wake up by 5:30, but now I pass the next two hours lulling in bed, debating how long I can stay there before my grape-sized bladder gives out. I love sleeping. It’s that tranquil period between 10 pm and 7 am when I don’t have to wash dishes, do laundry, clean the basement, pay bills or listen to my wife complain about how much time I waste sleeping.

    Read More…

    • For ten years of my moderately interesting media career, Tim, I worked a shift that began at eight in…
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Apr. 30, 2017 by TEJ