Monday, March 31, 2014

My Neighbor Has a Word with Me

Good morning, glorious readers!  It is a bright and sunny Monday here in the South.  Of course, it is a cold and miserable Monday elsewhere, but you are welcome to visit any time.

Yesterday, I took advantage of the sunshine to mosey over to my neighbors' house to return an umbrella that I borrowed from them when the weather was cold and miserable and wet.  My neighbor Watt took that opportunity to Have a Word with Me:

Me:  "Hello, my Watt!  Here is the umbrella I borrowed.  It is not broken!"

Watt:  "Was it broken when you borrowed it?"

Me:  "No, and it is still not broken.  Because I am being a good neighbor today."

Watt: "Actually, I need to Have a Word with You."

Me:  "I am hearing capital letters when you talk, and it is making me nervous.  What have I done?"

Watt:  "You pulled your recycling bin out to the curb."

Me:  "Yes!  Yes, I did!  This is a thing that I am proud of, since I usually forget to do so until I hear the rumble of the truck, and then I must run and fall and run and pull and fall, it is all very stressful and dangerous."

Watt:  "Well, let me ask you this:  did you read something in the paper about the recycling being picked up tomorrow?"

Me:  "No, I read about a guy who cleared his driveway of snow with a flame-thrower."

Watt: [stern look]

Me:  "It's possible that I was reading the internet and not a newspaper.  And my friend Michelle says that didn't really happen.  And she should know because she lives in North Dakota where they have another blizzard coming.  I feel badly for that Michelle."

Watt:  "What I am trying to say to you is that recycling is not due to be picked up tomorrow."

Me:  " must be.  It's been two weeks since they came, and I failed to remember to pull my bin to the curb."

Watt:  "Yes, but this is not the first or third Monday of the month."

Me:  "I thought they came every two weeks."

Watt:  "They come the first and third Monday of the month."

Me:  "Oh."

Watt:  "Now, come over here and look outside.  What do you see on our street?"

Me:  "There are three other recycling bins at the curb.  Hey!  Maybe I'm right after all!"

Watt: [a second stern look]

Me:  "Maybe the rest of this street also struggles with the recycling schedule?"

Watt:  "Maybe the rest of the street saw you push your bin out there, and, one by one, they have put theirs out as well.  Maybe the rest of the street thinks you read something about the recycling being picked up tomorrow rather than fake stories about clearing snow with flamethrowers."

Me:  "Oh.  So I am a menace to the neighborhood."

Watt:  "I wouldn't go that far."

Me:  "But I am not being a good neighbor.  I am being a bad influence.  Again."

Watt:  "Yes, yes you are."

Me:  "You know, I change shoes and put on a cosy sweater every day when I get home from work."

Watt: [blank look]

Me:  "But Mr. Rogers would still be disappointed in me."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Being a Bad Influence

Well, precious readers, my sister called to scold me for 1. not posting more often and 2. writing too many posts with sex and/or curse words, rendering them inappropriate for my beloved niece, Isabella.

(Hi, Isabella!  This post is for you.)

Ergo*, I decided to refrain from some of my more expressive vocabulary today. Yet I said to myself, "Self," [said I] "if you cannot be a bad influence on your niece, whom should you lead down a path of vice and debauchery**?"  The answer, of course, is obvious:  parents.

Now I assume that most of you, adorable readers, are familiar with the many web sites, and even discussion forums, recounting the terrible, terrible names that some parents are currently bestowing upon their children.   If you are not familiar with this example of the impending death of civilization, then I suggest this site, to bring yourselves up to date:

Yes, these names are bad. Some of them are very, very bad.  But, I ask myself, are they bad enough?  Is there some way to influence those who are willing to claim that the fact that a baby name is "unique" is a good thing rather than the probable source of future parricide*** to choose baby names that are actually worse than Apple, facebook, or Kal-El?

Challenge accepted.

Natalie's Suggestions for REALLY EXCITING Baby Names
 Suitable for Parents of the New Millenium

  1. Zxvtrk Parents seem fond of adding extra consonants to a child's name lately, so why not go all the way?  Since it's impossible to pronounce, you can get that disgusted look of superiority whenever someone has to make you spell it for them.
  2. Moist Possibly the most unpleasant word in the English language, you can claim that you were honoring the works of the great Terry Pratchett.  More people should honor the works of the great Terry Pratchett, so if Moist doesn't strike your fancy, consider Magrat instead.
  3. Aiselle It looks pretty and it's French; that obviously means that it's an excellent name for a child.
  4. Yersina pestis  For that future doctor in the family.
  5. MMXIV Why not commemorate the year of your child's birth in true Superbowl style?
  6. Muisyle  Did your best friend and your cousin ruin your dreams by naming their precious bundles Nevaeh?  Show them that you can not only spell backwards, but also remember that sixth grade unit on Greek mythology!
  7. Chrome.  Because Firefox is so 2008.
  8. Blue Rhinoceros Triangle This would be the best baby name ever.  Ever.
  9. Gazpacho To add to the terror of relatives who tell your child, "I could just eat you right up!"
  10. Hrothgar  I always suggest this name when my friends are pregnant, but they never use it.  Dudes, seriously, this would be a better world if it had more Hrothgars in it.
*Isabella, dear, ergo means therefore.  I use it because I am pretentious, which is a word meaning, "likes to show how smart she is." 

**Precious Isabella, debauchery is a word which means excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures like eating an entire box of thin mints in one sitting. 

***Sweet niece of mine, parricide is a word which means killing one's parents.  Please do not commit parricide, as your mother is the only person in the family who knows how to work my cell phone properly.  Also, it would be wrong.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sexual Conversation at the Grocery Store

Greetings, glorious readers!  I have caught up on grading, and it has made me feel a bit giddy and smug, and when I feel giddy and smug, I am more likely to speak to strangers at the grocery store, and when I am more likely to speak to strangers at the grocery store, I find myself caught up in awkward conversations about frog sex.  

Fellow Grocery Store Patron #1:  "Well, I think it's wrong.  If I want my child to know about sex, I can teach him at home.  The schools should stick to studying frogs and stuff."

Fellow Grocery Store Patron #2:  "And fetal pigs.  We did fetal pigs.  We should make that a slogan, 'Pigs!  No sex!  Pigs!'"

Me:  "Well, you know, that slogan might be confusing since 'Pigs!' sometimes means 'cops.'"

F.G.S.P. #1 and #2:  [blank look]

Me:  "And cops are allowed to have sex, right?  I mean, I don't think you would get anywhere if people thought you were trying to ban cops from having sex."

F.G.S.P. #1:  "I don't think anyone would think that."

Me:  "You're probably right.  But the other problem with your slogan is that pigs--actual pigs, not cops--also have sex.  That's how you get more pigs.  So a biology class that covers pigs might cover pig sex."

F.G.S.P. #2:  "We just cut them up.  We did not study pig sex.  That would be totally unnecessary."

Me:  "I suppose so.  And you said fetal pigs, right?  Because fetuses do not have sex, that I'm pretty sure of.  Well, maybe fetal tribbles do.  Dr. McCoy suggested they were born pregnant after all."

F.G.S.P. #1 and #2:  [another even blanker look]

Me: "But tribbles are fiction.  Probably."

F.G.S.P. #1: "What I'm trying to say is that you can have a good biology class without a unit on human reproduction.  Sex education should happen at home."

Me:  "Now frogs, they also have sex, but we didn't study that part in biology.  Except for identifying the sexual organs when we cut them up."

F.G.S.P. #2:  "Frogs don't have sex, do they?  They come from tadpoles, right?  And eggs?"

Me:  "Yes, but to fertilize the eggs, they have to have sex.  Frog sex."

F.G.S.P. #2:  "Huh.  I didn't know that.  That's a weird thing to think about."

F.G.S.P. #1:  "This is all beside the point.  The point is that we need to talk to the schools about this unit.  It's not decent."

Me:  "Fruit flies have sex too.  Did you guys do fruit flies?  Ours escaped and went everywhere."

F.G.S.P. #2:  "How does something that small have sex?  I mean...isn't there, like, a size limit?"

Me:  "I'm pretty sure size doesn't matter.  Well, okay, it matters to me personally, but..."

F.G.S.P.  #1:  "This is completely off-topic."

Me:  "But all you need for sex is to exchange DNA, I think.  I mean, there is all that budding and splitting down the middle for single-celled organisms, but if you take two of them and they swap some genes to make a new little dude...I think that's all it takes to count as sex. Not necessarily good sex, of course."

F.G.S.P.  #1:  "Are you some kind of biology teacher?"

Me:  "Definitely not!"

F.G.S.P. #1:  "Then how do you know all of this?"

Me:  "Well, I took biology.  You know, in high school."

F.G.S.P. #2:  "I don't remember any of this from my biology class.  Are you sure that frogs have sex?"

Me:  "Frogs.  Fruit flies.  People.  Everybody has sex!"

Grocery store cashier:  "Not in Publix, they don't.  Paper or plastic?"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Real Conversations with Mom: Inquiries about my Colleagues

Mom:  So did you talk to my Deno today?

Me:  I did see him this morning, yes.

Mom:  And what is he doing this weekend?  Does he have big plans?

Me:  I didn't ask.

Mom:  Well, tell him no tennis.  It is too cold out.  He will freeze his balls off.

Me:  Mom, do you seriously want me to warn my chair not to freeze his balls off?

Mom:  No, no, that would be bad.  Tell him not to freeze his buns off.

Me:  Right.  I will definitely do that.

Mom:  Did you see my Kimmy today?

Me: Yes, she was moving very fast, but I managed a rapid exchange of greetings.

Mom:  She is a speedy one.  Did you give her a clementine?

Me:  No.  Was I supposed to?

Mom:  Of course, you were!  Do you think I would give you all those clementines for yourself?  What is wrong with you?

Me:  I don't know what I was thinking.  And they were good clementines, too.

Mom:  You are a greedy fruit eater, a greedy, greedy fruit eater.  No more clementines for you!

Mom:  Did you talk to my George today?

Me:  I did.  He was  a little grumpy.

Mom:  Why?

Me:  Because the Provost went out of his way to say nice things about him during the faculty meeting.

Mom:  I bet he's shy and that provost embarrassed him.

Me: So he said.

Mom:  Well, I understand how he feels.  My poor George. 

Me:  You know, I'd feel really good if the provost said nice things about me in a faculty meeting. 

Mom:  That will not happen; they know you too well.  They know you will get a big head.  Besides, you're never embarrassed.  Do you remember the big giant tin foil hat?  Do you remember that?

Me:  I was in junior high, Mom.

Mom:  Your poor sister.  I'll bet she has nightmares.

Me:  I looked cool.

Mom:  You did not look cool!  You wore a giant tin foil ball on the top of your head!

Me: It was hat day.  And it got my picture in the yearbook.

Mom:  Right there!  That is it!  You do not understand that that is what makes it worse. 

Me:  I don't understand.

Mom:  You know, if he weren't a Braves fan, I would go live with that George.