[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.
Continue reading “My Sister’s Plot to Kill Me” »
This is a desperate plea for help. Not for me, mind you. For my wife, Michele. I don’t know how to put this delicately, but my wife suffers from VID – Vertical Impairment Disorder. She is barely 5 feet tall. And she has remained that height for as long as I’ve known her. I’m doubtful she’ll overcome her impairment any time soon. But I’m a patient husband.
Nobody knows for sure why God chose to punish her by making her so short. Perhaps her parents stopped feeding her when she reached 4’9”. Or maybe, given that she is from Canada, where nine months of the year they live in total darkness, she didn’t get enough sunlight.
Who knows why she is thus afflicted. I would ask her mom, who’s 5’1” or her dad, who’s 5’3”, but I doubt they can shed any light. One thing’s for sure: my wife is often overlooked – unless you look down – way down – to see her.
My heart aches because there is nothing I can do to help her grow to a normal adult height – through no lack of trying. For a while I suggested wearing 8-inch heels, but that was a total bust. I kept falling over. Then I suggested perhaps SHE should wear the high heels. But she had this utterly silly idea about accepting the way God made her. But I would not give up. I bought her a grow light. However, the only thing that’s sprouted so far is the ficus tree. One time I surprised her with a dousing of Miracle-Gro. While it’s done wonders for our house plants (you should see the ficus now!), the only part of my wife that grew was her ire. Actually, she did seem a tad taller when she shouted in my face to turn off the hose.
After several years of trying in vain to coax my wife to a respectable 5’5”, I concluded I was being terribly shortsighted. So, I’ve decided to accept her just the way she is. We are determined to still have a quality life together even though we may have to make a few height-restricted accommodations. For example, Michele can’t reach anything on the top kitchen shelf, so I often will stop watching TV to retrieve the fondue pot or maybe a tall vase for her. And I will do this gladly – unless the game is in overtime.
Continue reading “In Life, My Wife Got Shortchanged” »
[The following text exchange took place between a female business executive named Roxanne and her boyfriend of four years, Virgil, a high school English teacher.]
Roxanne: Dear Virgil, I gotta tell you something and it’s been on my mind for a long time.
Virgil: Good evening, Roxanne. Thank you for your text. By the way, “gotta” is not proper English. I believe you meant to say, “I must” or “I have to.” What’s up?
Roxanne: We need 2 talk.
Virgil: You errantly used the digit “2” as in one more than one. So, you’ve lost me. We need “one plus one talk?” That makes no sense. Please clarify.
Roxanne: Oh, for God’s sake, Virgil. 2 is short for “to.” We need TO talk. I cant wait any longer.
Virgil: Sorry, still not clear on what you’re trying to convey – unless you mean “no, I can’t” in which case, don’t forget the apostrophe since it’s a contraction.
Roxanne: Geez. Okay. Got it.
Virgil: Who’s got what? “Got it” is missing a subject. Who has it? A policeman? The Queen of England? My schnauzer? My brain buzzes with possibilities. Could you clarify who it is that has it and what specifically does he or she have?
Roxanne: Jesus, Virgil. I’m talking about US. We need to talk about US.
Virgil: Capitalizing the letters US only makes sense if you’re referring to our country. But even then, technically you should put periods after the letters since it’s an abbreviation for United States.
Roxanne: Virgil, focus. For the millionth time, I don’t need another syntax lesson.
Virgil: I believe you mean “another grammar” lesson. Syntax is about word order. Your mistake was –
Roxanne: My MISTAKE was taking four freakin’ years to tell you what I should have told you four years ago. It’s over. Continue reading “Breaking up with an English Teacher” »
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.
Continue reading “Day at the Museum” »
Lately, I’ve been carrying a heavy burden that I need to get off my chest. There are many things I feel guilty about, and I just have to come clean about them to my loyal readers – all eleven of you. In the spirit of Stephen Colbert’s Midnight Confessions, I have decided to make my own public confessions to all who care to listen.
[NOTE: Before reading my heartfelt confessions below, please turn up the volume of your speakers, then click on this link, skip past the commercial and wait about four seconds, after which you’ll hear some appropriate background confessional music. Then return to this page to read my confessions. God bless you, my friend.]
Sometimes I can be a bit lazy. Like when my wife asks me to clean the sheets of the guest bedroom after our most recent visitors have left, I will say “Absolutely, honey” but then I’ll simply pull the bed covers over the sheets without changing them.
Sometimes I will tell my neighbor that his lawn looks great, when secretly, deep down in my heart, I know it doesn’t. It really needs to be weeded.
I’m not proud of this, but recently, when I played golf with my buddies, I told the guy keeping score that I got an 9 on the par-3 eleventh hole, when really I got a 10.
When donating food to the homeless, there have been times when instead of putting the Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies in the donation bag, I’ll put in graham crackers. Because I don’t particularly care for graham crackers – unless they’re the cinnamon ones, in which case I’ll probably keep them, too.
Continue reading “My Confession to My Readers” »