Thursday, December 11, 2008

Randomly Firing Synapses

Usually, I try to post a thoughtful, coherent essay. This week, however, my brain synapses fired randomly, mainly because I was hugely stressed out over about ten different things. Much of the stress resolved itself yesterday (Praise the Lord!) but has left me totally limp and more than a bit incoherent. Consequently, this post mentions lots of topics that might one day become full-blown essays but as of now sorely lack anything resembling thoughtful development. My apologies for the mental whiplash you might sustain reading this post’s numerous non sequiturs and dangling questions, but I hope you’ll find a few laughs that make it worth the ride. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to identify with my temporary attention-deficit problem.

I love mail. Not the junk and bills and such, but the Christmas cards and packages, letters from friends and family, and even personal, newsy emails. So does everyone else I know. Why, then, do few people send cards and letters and personal emails? Why do I make hundreds of cards a year and send so few for occasions other than birthdays and Christmas? Why is something so simple so hard? Could I use the word “so” more often in a single paragraph? Probably so.

You cannot ask a group of four kindergartners to guess a number between 1 and 10 to determine who goes first in an activity. Their guesses will include numbers like 42, 100, and 11. I think all those numbers are not between 1 and 10. But I could be wrong. Perhaps it’s the new math.

Random Conversation with Jack
Jack: Mommy, is that the number 6?
Me: Yes, Jack, that is a 6.
Jack: Mommy, are you going to turn into a snake?
Me [puzzled by non sequitur]: No, I will never turn into a snake.
Jack: Are you sure you will never turn into a snake?
Me: Yes, I’m positive.
Jack [relieved]: Thank you, Mommy, for not turning into a snake.
Me: You’re welcome.

Christmas trees decorated by children are prettier than Christmas trees decorated by adults. Sure, if you like that cold, impersonal, designer look, get a grown-up to do it. But I much prefer our tree. In previous years, the kids watched while I decorated the tree, but this year, I think I put about five ornaments on it. Nick, who’s 9, has quite a nice eye for ornament placement and did a particularly good job arranging the glass icicles Liz gave me years ago. Jack asked me to hang his big yellow construction-paper star with silver glitter right under the angel on top of the tree, which I, of course, did. You can’t buy precious ornaments like that at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, and he is ever so proud of it. Jack then proceeded to hang ten ornaments on one branch. It’s my favorite tree ever.

If you are very nearsighted, as I am, take off your corrective lenses, lie face-up under your Christmas tree, and enjoy the beauty of soft focus. You will see angels and sugarplums and the glow of Christmas magic, all without benefit of mind-altering substances. You can’t see these miracles if you have perfect vision. There need to be some perks to myopia, don’t you think?

Why is the perfect gift idea for your mom always on backorder?

After years of addiction, I gave up Coca-Cola in August. Other than losing a lot of weight, I haven’t noticed any miraculous effects from eliminating gallons of high fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring from my daily diet. Unfortunately, my boobs have been swelling up for three weeks out of four ever since. Is this causal or coincidental? Should I start drinking coke again for my breast health? I’m really liking the weight loss, so probably not. But dang, I could use a cold one!

Bad guys in movies can be very poor shots. I noticed this while watching Short Circuit, which I recently bought at Target for $5.50. The movie is cute, despite Ally Sheedy’s humble acting skills, but the army dudes waste a huge pile of ammo trying to destroy Number 5. This made me think of Star Wars, in which the Storm Troopers can’t hit the side of a Bantha. Do the Storm Troopers ever hit anything important? Well, I suppose they do kill Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, but dozens of them are aiming at Han Solo in a hallway on the Death Star and not one blast hits him. And why don’t those robot fighters kill Jar-Jar Binks? He should die but doesn’t. Why, George Lucas? Why? And why did you change the rules at the end of Episode Three and make all the Jedis suddenly transform into pansies who just stand there and let Palpatine and the Clone Warriors kill them? It doesn’t make sense.

Why do dogs always throw up on carpet rather than hardwood, vinyl, or tile?

Safety Tip #657: Never, ever smoosh your middle finger in a door latch. If you do, then definitely don’t yank it out of the closed latch. There will be lots of blood in addition to excruciating pain and you will find yourself trying to decide whether you should throw up or just escape into blessed unconsciousness. Plus, you will look like you’re flipping people the bird as you favor your heavily bandaged, very tender finger for the next few weeks, and you will worry not only about flesh-eating bacteria getting into your violated nail bed but also about unintentionally offending someone armed and dangerous. Ask me how I know this….

I am currently re-reading L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books. Other than the fact that as soon as Anne has children she becomes the least interesting female character in the history of the novel, these books are delightful. The unfortunately bland mommy portrayal is inevitable, however, because at this time in history, James Joyce’s hardcore psychological realism was getting banned everywhere, while Lucy Maud was selling thousands of books that refer to pregnancy as “a soft glow of hope for the spring.” Honestly, you can’t make motherhood interesting without lots of references to bodily function and secretions (titty fairy and post-partum incontinence, anyone?), which at the time were considered vulgar for some strange reason. My, my, how times have changed. Anyway, I’m enjoying my nostalgic visit to the era of repressed Victorian womanhood. I dearly love Anne with an “e” and her children and all the race that knows Joseph.

Speaking of bodily functions and secretions, why do we have ads for erectile dysfunction in primetime television? The ads say, “If you experience an erection lasting more than four hours, seek medical attention.” What, pray tell, are the doctors and nurses going to do? Never mind. I really don’t want to know. But if you haven’t seen Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story, see it soon. It’s a bad movie, really, but completely funny in all the ways that make you say, “This is so WRONG!” while laughing so hard you feel like you’re going to throw up. In it, a character says, “If you experience an erection lasting more than four hours, call in more ladies!” Perhaps this is why such ads exist…to give movies a chance at funny punch lines. That’s a thought.

Speaking of ads, if you get a chance, listen to the non-branded version of the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” If you don’t already know the words, learn them and sing along. Now, don’t you find it hard not to sing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company,” which was the line in the original version of the jingle-turned-pop-hit? Fortunately, the pop song is a great little flower-child anthem full of love and hope and honey bees and apple trees without a mention of Coke anywhere to remind me I can’t have an icy cold Coke while standing on the side of a mountain with lots of other happily caffeinated people. The pop version makes me feel all warm inside, even though I can’t sing a note on key and if I taught the world to sing, the cacophony would be dreadful and wars would break out everywhere. There would be no peace throughout the land. Even in Switzerland.

Why is speculation over what President-Elect Obama will wear to his inauguration considered news? For that matter, why does CNN care even one tiny little bit that Sarah Palin and Oprah Winfrey are sniping at each other? Is the lack of intelligent news coverage a sign of the coming apocalypse? Take a deep breath, Susan, and sing, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, la, la, la, la….”

If God had not wanted us to be happy, why did he put us in a world with mochas, Christmas, red wine, and anti-aging wrinkle cream? I forgot to put on my eye cream this morning and swear I look ten years older. That stuff is a miracle in a tube and makes me very happy.

Another Random Conversation with Jack
Me: Jack! You don’t need to use so much toilet paper!
Jack: But I love you, Mommy!
Me: I love you, too.
Jack: Merry Christmas, Mommy.
Me: Merry Christmas, Jack. [What were we talking about?]


  1. I think you've completely missed the other side of the story on the death of Luke's aunt and uncle.

    I can only assume it's because you're not familiar with the whole story. Here is a video that should clear it all up for you.


  2. Wow, Jot, you had me worried! That was high-larious! Thanks for sharing the "untold" story!

  3. I'm glad you braved the ever present danger of the poorly described YouTube link. :)


  4. Thanks for a wonderful belly laugh this morning. I needed that! Have a wonderful holiday!


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!