Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Wild Kingdom

You remember my bunco club, the Dicey Housewives of West County, don’t you? Yes, the ten of us have been getting together for years on the second Monday of the month to play bunco. There used to be twelve of us, but the other two let sanity overtake them, and they dropped out. We ten survivors probably laugh too much to be tolerated on a regular basis. It’s better this way.

Anyway, over the years we have come to realize that in July and August we are too scattered (geographically, not mentally—that’s permanent) to gather enough members for our usually rousing evening of throwing dice and rotating among the tables. (If you don’t play bunco, just visualize a game of musical chairs punctuated by a gaggle of giggling grandmas asking each other what number we’re on.) So we do what otherwise normal women do—we go out to dinner instead.

Here I will pause to point out that alcohol is not, and has never been involved in our get-togethers. We’re all pretty sure we could be dangerous with a glass or two of chardonnay in us.

But back to our story…

At our August dinner, everyone was laughing, talking and sharing stories. We try to keep each other apprised of the comings and goings in our families, the travels, the remodeling, the moving, the medical issues, the not-to-be-missed recipes, and the ways in which our husbands drive us batty.

Suddenly Jan says, “Oh, Leah—I was thinking about you! The other night I was getting ready for bed, and last thing, I’m about to go to the bathroom. I lift the lid on the toilet and see that there’s something in there! I think, ‘Oh, the grandkids were over earlier, and one of them forgot to flush.’ Then, as I’m about to reach for the handle, I see this thing BLINK at me! Then I realize it’s a frog! I close the lid as fast as I can, and start yelling for Stu (her husband) to come in. My voice got so high-pitched, he thinks I’ve hurt myself or something.”

No, Jan did not take a picture.
Consider this a facsimile.

Jan went on to tell us how long it took for the two of them to get the frog flushed away. The next day, she called the Metropolitan Sewer District to report this, and to see what could be done to keep it from recurring. She was redirected to the water company. Jan thought she had a “you won’t believe this” tale to tell, but the customer service representative at Missouri American Water Company was unfazed. “You wouldn’t believe how common this is,” she said.

She also said that there was virtually nothing that could be done to prevent it from happening again.


This led us all to speculating about what might have happened if it had been a snake or a rat. Yes, we all spoiled our appetites ‘going there’. But we all vowed to keep our toilet lids down at all times, just in case. Not that it would help much if a snake wanted to slither out.

But as the laughter died down and we were all grimacing at the possibilities, I had a thought.

“Jan,” I began. “I’ve never had a frog in my toilet before, so what made you start this story by saying that you thought of me the other night?”

“Well,” she began, “You did have squirrels in the attic, a chipmunk in the ceiling, and mice in the garage. You’ve had more in-house wildlife than anyone I know.”

“So I’m like a cross between Martha Stewart and Steve Irwin?” I asked.

She agreed. I went home and polished my squirrel traps.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'll Take "Names & Jobs" for $800, Alex

By popular request, we’re back with another installment of “I Chose This Profession Because of My Name”.

You may recall that we’ve shared examples in the past of people whose names almost prophesy their professions. Doctors like Dr. Wink (the optometrist), Dr. Bonebrake (the orthopedic surgeon), Dr. Fang (the dentist), Dr. Wisdom (the oral surgeon), and my personal favorite, Dr. Philpott (the urologist.)

And they’re not all doctors. Remember Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut? She fits in quite well here. There was the pilot, Ross Aimer, and the dietician named Kathy Kitchens Downie. If only she hadn’t married Mr. Downie, she could have emphasized the Kitchens more. Still…

So now that I’ve refreshed your memory, here are a new crop of discoveries:

A woman metalsmith whose last name is Hammer. (Sorry I didn’t jot down her first name when I saw her interviewed on the Newshour.)

An expert on animal breeding at an animal preserve whose name is Ron Sweisgood (pronounced “Sways good”.)

An archivist at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia by the name of Sarah Forgey. (Yikes—and they hired her!)

The trading floor guru of UBS, and frequent guest on CNBC, named Art Cashin. How could he have possibly chosen any other profession in the world? Of course, if his name were Cashout he’d have a whole bucket of problems…

The veterinarian named Dr. Hoot! (Thanks to astute reader and blogger “Sunny in Seattle” for contributing this one!)

And my current favorite, the Bangor, Maine Home Depot employee, who, in June, presided over a nest of mallard eggs, and protected them till they emerged: no—wait for it—it’s worth the wait—Brenda Hatch.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

200th Post and Celebrating Two Years

Happy Anniversary to the Blog!

Yes, here at FITNY (no, that’s not a chic New York gym—it’s Funny Is The New Young) we’re turning two years old, and this is my 200th post! That seems worthy of celebration. In other words, let’s have some cake. So while you dig in (chocolate layer cake with chocolate icing) feast on my 200th offering. And as they used to sing in the theme song to Golden Girls, thank you for being a friend!

In all the years I’ve been writing this blog (yeah, I think ‘two’ can be ‘all’) I have refrained from getting political. And that’s not easy for me. I’ve been a news junkie for as long as I can remember, and I thrive on listening to and reading about all things political.

But I decided before FITNY ever saw the light of day that it would be neutral, politically. No commentary, no opinion. Just those slice of life stories that (I hope) make you laugh.

And even I get overdosed on the political at times, and this week has definitely been one of those times. It’s been hard to keep from shrieking at the ‘leaders’ who have their moments in front of the camera and use them to blame others, no matter which party they represent.

So please believe me when I tell you that what you are about to view is completely apolitical. It’s a simple observation that the gentleman who is third in line to the presidency was recently seen quoting Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons) of The Big Bang Theory. This is frightening. Not politically, but socially. Sheldon is brilliant, but insufferable.

I recently caught a news snippet of John Boehner, Speaker of the House, (and yes, if you remember your high school civics class, you know that in the event of the unthinkable, and the president AND vice president were both incapacitated, John “Cry Me a River” Boehner would become President of the United States.) Boehner was in front of a microphone saying, “If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.”

Now I admit to being a little sheltered at times, but the only other time I had EVER heard that expression was earlier this year on The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon told his friends, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d ALL have a merry Christmas!” Which, to be fair, rings a little sweeter than the Boehner version.

[Sorry, but despite my best efforts, I could not find the clip of this rare and special moment in the annals of situation comedy to share with you, my treasured readers...]

So if we were worried about leadership, set those fears aside. Speaker Boehner is taking his cues from a genius-level Ph. D. physicist: Sheldon Cooper. Even if he is fictional. Hey, the guy’s won an Emmy and a Golden Globe, so at least he’s distinguished.

Check it out. And wipe the cake crumbs from your chin—there’s no candy and nuts to be found here, and Christmas is nearly five months away. Good thing there's an anniversary to celebrate! Cheers!