Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category
Angie and I took the day off yesterday and headed to our oldest grandson’s school for their annual “Grandparent’s Day” celebration. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Grandparent’s Day is a special time when student’s grandparents are invited into the school to spend time with the kids, eat lunch, and then divest themselves of their life savings at the Scholastic Book Fair, which by happy, pre-planned coincidence, just happens to always take place on the same day.
If you never had this event at your school, or if your therapy sessions have been so successful that you’ve completely blotted out your own childhood, then please allow me to set the scene. Elementary schools are like regular schools, except someone didn’t read the label and put a dry-clean only building in the dryer. So everything is shrunk and inexplicably yellow in color. There are lots of cheerful posters up preaching various gospels of thought about problem solving and rules. Everybody and everything is clearly labelled. The children are led in group recitations of homework, or things written on the board. And once a day, for no clear reason, everyone goes outside and runs around screaming at the top of their lungs while the teachers blow whistles and point a lot.
If you’re looking for the shorthand version of all that, then just picture a cult populated by miniature sociopaths. Congratulations, you’re home.
Angie and I managed to show up to this year’s shindig five minutes late. (Somebody replaced the downtown section of I-75 with a parking lot and forgot to tell us.) Because of our tardy arrival, there was no one posted to point us in the direction of our grandson Dalton’s classroom. Instead, Angie dove into the office while I stood alone in a hallway full of children trying my damnedest to not look like someone their parent’s warned them about.
Once Angie returned with a room number, we dashed directly down the wrong hall, where we were able to confirm that the hallway signage was correct, and the room was in fact not there. Having reassured ourselves of that, we spotted a teacher and asked for directions to the room we were looking for. That conversation went something like this:
Angie: “Could you please tell us where room 106 is? We’re running a bit late.”
Teacher: “Room 106? That’s Mrs. Pond’s classroom!”
Angie: “Yes, that’s right. We’re looking for our grandson’s class. His teacher is Mrs. Pond.”
Teacher: “She’s in room 106.”
Angie: “Right… 106?”
Jaime (whispering): “Lord, whatever I’ve done to deserve this, I’m so very sorry.”
Several minutes later, having forded several streams and lost young Sally to Dysentery¹, we arrived at Dalton’s classroom. It was everything I like to see in a modern classroom. Colorful, well-lit, lots of technology available, and not a student in site. While that pleased me to no end, Angie insisted that the entire experience would be infinitely better if we were actually in the same room as Dalton. So we headed out into the wilds again.
By this time, Angie was more than a bit concerned that Dalton would be in full-on panic mode that we hadn’t come. Visions of tears, broken dreams, and college rejection letters tumbled through her head. And that’s why, when we finally stumbled across Dalton already eating lunch in the cafeteria, his greeting to us was so much more meaningful: “Oh, hi.”
Having located young Dalton, we were immediately descended upon by his teacher, the one and only Mrs. Pond. She introduced herself, praised Dalton, and then did us a solid by assisting us with cutting in the lunch line. The photo above is my tray from said line. I received that Technicolor wonder of modern chemistry for the low, low price of $3.50.
After some solid research time, and conferring with several universities, I was able to confirm with Dalton that the Tater Tots were in fact supposed to be orange. It seems they are Sweet Potato-Tots. Based on taste alone, I would have ventured a guess closer to something in the wood paste family. Having gamely tried all the foods present, I pressed Dalton for details on whether they were being punished for something. He assured me that this was not punishment, but something he called “lunch.” I remain skeptical.
Following lunch, Dalton led us over to the book fair. The Scholastic Book Fair hasn’t changed much from when I was a kid. Rolling metal carts full of the literary equivalent of those sugar-packed kids breakfast cereals. Lots of speciality erasures and bookmarks with corny catch phrases. A variety of novelty pointers that will have a half-life of 5 minutes or less once they hit a classroom. Prices that would make an upscale jewelry house blush.
In an Internet age, where instant comparison shopping is the norm, the Scholastic Book Fair lives in some kind of time bubble that makes them immune from the Amazon.com’s of the world. After all, you can’t very well look at your grandkid in front of all the other kids and tell him he can’t get something there. Grandparent peer pressure, what a concept.
And to add insult to injury, Dalton’s parents have taught him to be a thoughtful, caring child. That tactical blunder meant that I had to buy books for his brother and sister as well, so that they wouldn’t feel left out. I swear, where do parents come up with these crazy ideas?
In the end, we were at Dalton’s school for about an hour. We got lost twice, ate something that may or may not have been food, and bought $15 worth of books for about $50. But we showed up, and at no point did we forget which kid was ours, or what his name was. If that’s not a grandparenting win, I just don’t know what is.
¹ – An Oregon Trail joke. Either you get it, or you don’t.
From time to time, I’ve been getting my blog on about my efforts to lose some weight. One of the most important things that I have learned along the way is that most of weight loss comes down to diet, not exercise. That’s not to say that exercise isn’t necessary or useful, but the lion’s share of my weight loss has come down to paying a bit more attention to what goes in my mouth. (Feel free to make your own jokes here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
In the past, I’ve approached weight loss with a very heavy emphasis on exercise. At one point in our past, Angie and I joined a gym in a failed attempt to battle the bulge. For me, it was mostly an endless nightmare of sweat, elliptical machines, and near limb-loss at the hands of various pieces of overly complicated exercise equipment. But I did learn one very important lesson:
If I never see another old, naked, fat man blow drying his crotch, I’ll be OK.
I don’t know what possesses a man to blow dry his nether region. I’ve toyed with theories as varied as sacred grooming rituals, childhood trauma related to severe jock itch, or a colossal misinterpretation of the written directions that come with hair dryers. Whatever the cause, I have to wonder why they all kept doing it in front of me. And without wanting to sound overly judgemental, why on God’s green Earth were they all so… portly?
At any given, time there were between 5 and 35 people working out at the same time I was. Of those, the great majority looked so fit that I would have not have been at all surprised to find out they worked out at a second gym just to look that good at our gym. Statistically speaking, sooner or later I should have walked into the locker room to find a Hercules wafting heated air at his secondary beard. But it never happened. They were always chubby, old, and disturbingly naked.
For awhile I thought it might have something to do with balding. Most offenders were chrome-dome types, and I thought that maybe they just missed the thrill-filled exhilaration that comes with blow drying. I was even concerned that my hair loss might one day lead me down the same path. But then I saw what can only be described as an aging, overweight Sasquatch performing his own rendition of “no wet ball left behind”. Theory, and retinas, blown.
But as odd as the blow drying down under is, I’m willing to overlook it. What I can’t overlook is the plethora of old, fat, naked guys strutting about. Being a man of girth myself, I’ve always tried to do my part to screen the world from my “vast expanses”. It seems only polite. But these fellows never seemed to be aware of the spectacle they were creating.
And believe me, it was a spectacle. Because they weren’t just strutting about, sans clothes or towel. No, that would have been bad enough. Just to up the ante a bit, they often found reasons to bend over. It’s as if once they were naked, they became extremely obsessed with getting a good, close-up look at their toes. Or perhaps they were all tile floor and grout enthusiasts. Regardless, at least once a week, I’d find myself in a locker room full of old, fat, naked men alternatively blow drying their waistlines and bending over to do various questionable tasks.
I can’t be certain, but I imagine that is what a ballet in hell looks like.
Welcome to the weekend! Let’s take a gander at what caught my eye this week.
- Comedian Jonathan Winters died this week at the age of 87. He was an improv genius, and possibly one of the funniest folks to ever live. If you aren’t familiar with his work, might I recommend taking a look at a bit he did on the old Jack Paar show. Jack hands Jonathan a stick and tells him to do something with it. The next four minutes are an improve comedy clinic.
- The Dayton Daily News, my hometown paper, highlights the alleged criminal mastery of one Israel Frost. He is accused of stealing an item from a local pawn shop, and then attempting to sell it back to that same store. Five minutes later.
- Google Street View is a great way to take virtual trips around town, or around the world. The folks over at Google-Street-View.com have some of the better planned, and not so planned moments captured by those roving camera cars.
Have a great weekend!