How to Live With a Hairless Cat

We bought her for Jack. After two weeks, his allergies to my gorgeous Persian cat triggered asthma, and a dear friend adopted her within hours of me posting the request on Facebook. So a hairless Sphynx cat came home with us in November 2014. We named her Jonesy, after Ripley’s cat in ALIEN.

Back when we still thought she was lovable…

We were so excited to love on her! The breeder told us they were an affectionate breed. The breeder also told us they loved to wear warm sweaters and tube socks to stay warm. Both of these predictions turned out to be dead wrong. I bought her an adorable red and black buffalo plaid fleece jacket. Jonesy rolled around on the floor moaning like she was having a seizure. I removed it. We tried petting her. She would contort her wrinkly, bald body into a u-shape beneath our hands to escape human touch.

Jack’s hopes for a loving pet were dashed. 

I noticed Jonesy the Cat spending more and more time with my mom and dad, who were living in our basement walk-out apartment. Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer the end of December 2014, and from that point on, Jonesy the Cat never left his side. Dad died in early February, and then Jonesy the Cat decided my mom was her new alpha. As much as her anti-social, nutty behavior drives my mom crazy, she never leaves my mom’s lap. When Mom tries to pet her, she continues perfecting her u-shaped body contortions, even for my mom. She steals pens and paint brushes from the first and second floor of the house and carries them down to my mom, plopping them at Mom’s feet as her offerings.

The most unusual part of Jonesy is her avoidance of Dave, who has always had a way with animals and small children. It’s become the running joke. Rather, Jonesy intuits which of our house guests fear her bald, alien-like appearance or simply hate cats altogether, and those are the victims on whom she foists her obnoxious, laser-focused attention. In the cat world, she is truly the Queen Asshole.

The other day, my BFF Marovich turned me on to the “My Talking Pet” app on her iPhone, which she was using on her employees at work to hilarious effect. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to make this 4-second video of Jonesy, below. I texted it to all of my friends last night and this morning. It got rave reviews. They all agreed it needed to be said. Then I played my new video for Jonesy the Cat. She watched, she sniffed my iPhone screen, and then she jumped down, non-plussed by my creativity. My advice for living with a hairless cat? If yours is as awful as ours, you will experience inordinate relief by doing something like this:

http://bit.ly/JonesieTheCat

While I normally disdain passive-aggressive behavior, this is how far this nasty cat has driven me.

I’ve realized in today’s society, only food and animals are politically correct and safe for comedians to mock anymore. Jim Gaffigan will be the last man standing. Then again, I’m expecting PETA to send me a cease and desist any moment now.

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Buckle Up, Buttercups! It’s College Tour Season

My male partner in crime–my cousin Jeff–took his daughter Leah to an out-of-state midwestern college (that shall remain nameless) for a tour this morning. Aaaand…she won’t be going there. Today could’ve been fodder for an SNL skit. I know this because Jeff called me tonight while they were driving back. The hills of western Wisconsin are filled with cell phone dead zones, which made his retelling of the story even funnier, because he’d almost reach the punch line, and the comedy gods would disconnect the phone. We called each other back 15 times to finish the story.

Jeff and his daughter were led through the campus by two Asian tour guides–Seiko and Gunther. It’s not every day you meet an Asian guy named Gunther, so this was fast becoming a FARGO episode. Seiko, the girl tour guide, was a math major. I mention this factoid because it erupts later in the story. Lest you assume I am making an Asians-are-good-at-math crack, that might make you the racist! Gunther, on the other hand, was a fishing and agriculture major.

To Jeff’s great comedic fortune, this was Gunther’s virgin voyage at playing tour guide. Seiko did her level best to remain positive while trying to engage Gunther into the conversation. Every one of Gunther’s answers only served to further erode his credibility.

Some nondescript, generic university…

As Seiko was showing Jeff’s small tour group the dorms, she asked Gunther which dorm he lived in.

“Oh,” he looked down. “I commute from home.” From there, his reactions were barely on life support.

“So…Gunther,” Seiko asked with as much feigned chipper cheerleader chatter as she could muster, “What made you choose this Midwestern University?!?”

“I didn’t get into the Naval College I applied for, so I just ended up here,” he shrugged, his monotone voice devoid of any joy. Jeff started searching for hidden cameras. Surely this was some sort of a YouTube prank. Or Gunther was setting foot on campus for his first time, part of some witness protection program.

Like two warring, passive-aggressive newscasters, Seiko would try throwing the tour guide lead to Gunther, and he’d just toss it right back at her, with a “No, that’s okay, Seiko…I think you’ve got this…”

Seiko finally got Gunther to talk about one of the buildings. The math building, where Seiko spends most of her time. “Gunther, why don’t you tell our guests about this building?”

Gunther looked down, sullen. “You mostly only go into that building for math classes,” he mumbled. “Except for one class…that’s where I took my public speaking class.” At this point, Jeff and Leah couldn’t even look at each other, choking back their chortles.

Gunther had yet to master the walking-backwards-while-talking part of this gig. He had no self awareness of his personal space, narrowly missing many landmarks and human collisions. Other tour groups were glaring at my cousin Jeff, as if Jeff was somehow responsible for reining in Gunther! These are the ridiculous situations Jeff always finds himself in, getting blamed for stuff that is never his fault, which always make me double over laughing. Jeff can keep a poker face…until he catches a side glimpse of my shoulders quivering in silent giggles. Jeff, Leah and I were all in agreement. It was a very good thing I didn’t join them.

The best moment occurred at the very end, when Jeff overheard Seiko tactfully taking Gunther out of earshot and querying him, “Umm, Gunther…didn’t anyone show you the tour guide script?”

“What? There’s a script?!?” In that singular moment, Gunther demonstrated that he did, indeed, have a pulse.

Jeff spoke up, trying to make Gunther feel better about things. “Gunther, care to join us for lunch?” Leah glared at her father.

“Thanks, man. I can’t–my ride’s here,” he declined politely, his tilted head gesturing toward the nearby parking lot.

Jeff and Leah are pretty sure the middle-aged woman behind the wheel was Gunther’s mom.

 

 

Top 8 Things From 2016 I Won’t Be Missing in 2017

If you have kids at home, then you are more keenly aware of the nails-on-a-chalkboard trends riding the wave through 2016, thanks in no small part to YouTubers (and the Viners, before they were disemboweled). I’ve been thinking about all of the ear-itating stuff Jack has said and done ad nauseum in 2016, and I came up with this list, and in the 11th hour, added a new one of my own.

#1. Dabbing. That weird gesture where they put their head down in the crook of their bent arm. Or, as I call it incorrectly-on-purpose, just to agitate Jack, “Dabbling.”

#2. “Getting triggered.” According to Jack, all of the authority figures in his life “get triggered” at him. This is Generation Z’s nicer way of saying “pissed off.”

#3. Bottle flipping. Enough already with the fucking bottle flipping! Oy! That sound!

Bottle flipping, country style, with the cousins.

Bottle flipping, country style, with the cousins. I almost felt sorry for the birds for a nano-second. Almost. #SorryNotSorry

#4. “Deez nuts.” A viral YouTube video kicked off this phrase, which ended up on one of Jack’s favorite t-shirts, as in “Deez Nuts for President.”

The Quirky Video Where It All Began...

The Quirky Video Where It All Began…

#5. “In my butt.” Jack binge-watched “The Office” and got hooked on the character Stanley’s droll go-to comment for the location of pretty much anything.

Me: “Where’s my pen?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Me: “Where’s my car keys?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Me: “Where did I leave my coffee?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Yeah, I hear this one several times a day.

#6. “I forgot.” I can’t blame this one on YouTube or The Office. This is Jack’s most consistent response to these queries:

  • “Did you brush your teeth?”
  • “Did you do your homework?”
  • “Did you practice your guitar?”
  • Did you bring home your Friday folder?

Oddly enough, I never have to ask “Did you play video games today?” “Did you watch YouTube?” “Did you eat?” “Where’s your phone?” (To which he’d reply, “In my butt.”)

#7. “Dank.” Remember a while back when “sick” suddenly meant cool? As in “Dude, that skateboard is sick.” Well, now the term I usually apply to damp, cold, musty basements has been flipped to mean “cool.” In an ironic sense. This new, stupid term is oft referenced as in “dank memes.” Fyi, parents, here’s the stoner source DNA on this adorable little catch phrase:

Those kooky stoners, always cutting edge on the catch phrases.

Those kooky stoners, always cutting edge on the catch phrases.

#8. Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Holiday Gift GuideMy bff since kindergarten sent me this treasure beyond measure — surely Gwynnie is just doubled over somewhere laughing that anyone takes her seriously. Then again, if those rumors about steam-cleaning her vagina have an ounce of freaky truth to them…Time for me to put some perfumed vegetable oil in a sexy bottle with an eye dropper, start selling it on Etsy and call it a day. There’s a sucker born every minute…apparently with a split ends condition that I’d rather not know about.

screenshot-2016-12-08-19-32-45

Speaking in Shorthand

My cousin Jeff and I share the language of shorthand, born of years together appreciating the same pop culture, inside family jokes, and death-defying adventures, the latter involving my ’73 Cadillac. When we’re together in person, a shared glance speaks volumes. We’re fluent in reading each other’s micro-expressions. There were times we’ve shared the same the brain in ways that were downright eerie, like the time Jeff’s dad, my Uncle Mick, died in an ultralight plane crash. Within a few month’s time of his passing, I had a vivid dream that Uncle Mick was in between Jeff and me, and we were all holding hands, walking over the border from Illinois into Wisconsin. I have this weird affinity for remembering my dreams every morning, but when someone passes over and I have these super-vivid dreams, they are different from my regular dreams. I know I’m supposed to pay attention. I called Jeff’s house to tell him about my dream and his roommate Kelly answered the phone. I told her about it and she freaked out. Jeff had just regaled her with the story of the very same dream from the night before. And then there was the time we were playing Scattergories (we’re a competitive, game-playing family–Jeff was part of that marathon Euchre match I mentioned recently) and we both were tasked with naming a villain with the first letter “I.” We both wrote down “Injun’ Joe,” surprising everyone with our weird groupthink.

When anything funny bubbles up in everyday life, and it often does, as we both see the comedy in everything, Jeff and I shoot each other a fast text. Aside from Blazing Saddles and Throw Momma from the Train, Chris Farley-isms are our oft-quoted go-to phrases. If you’ve never seen SNL’s “Best of Chris Farley” DVD, it’s a must for any comedy collection. (And the recent Chris Farley biography, “The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts” co-written by his brother Tom, is a must-read. For me, it was a gripping, emotional roller coaster of laughter and tears.)

Such an unforgettable life of comedy and pathos.

Such an unforgettable life of comedy and pathos. I’m always thankful to my BFF Darlene for loaning me this book.

The first text today from Jeff (the 2nd text was not for mixed company, so I won’t poke the bear) gives a snapshot of our never-ending conversation, replete with the reference to Farley and Sandler’s Zagat’s Restaurant Guide skit on Saturday Night Live:

 

This scene doubles me over. Every. Time.

This scene doubles me over. Every. Time.

The shorthand of our shared language in a never-ending conversation.

The shorthand of our shared language; it’s a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, never-ending conversation about nothing, but it means everything to me.

 

It takes just a moment out of your day–maybe five seconds–to send a text and show someone you care. If there’s a takeaway from today’s blog, it’s just a reminder for everyone to take the time. Send that text. Jeff and I both learned that hard lesson the day of that devastating ultralight crash. Life’s too short.

Me vs. the Jack Fruit (Spoiler Alert: I Lost)

Yesterday Dave Dorman left for comic book convention Space City Con in Houston, which left Jack and me (a dangerous combo platter by any measure) to our own devices. We had just seen the episode of Bob’s Burgers where Teddy and Bob go to stunt man camp, and Linda Belcher made up this ridiculous song about best friends. The line I couldn’t get out of my head that made Jack and me laugh the hardest: “He helps you pee when you have that thing…” Naturally, I had to belt it out in my best Ethel Merman voice as he was exiting the vehicle to set foot on his school campus yesterday and this morning.

After school yesterday, I made the grievous error of taking Jack grocery shopping with me. We were in the produce section when I asked him to grab an English cucumber. He held it up and announced loudly, “This looks like something that rhymes with Venus!” And so it began. Mind you, this is the same kid who stood before the Christmas windows at Chicago’s Marshall Field’s State Street store  (I steadfastly refuse to call it Macy’s) this past December, thrilled that there was a planetary display so he could rifle off about 100 Uranus jokes. I was doubled over laughing so hard I couldn’t even stop him. Thankfully, so was the crowd standing around us. This may have been the tipping point that pushes him into a career someday as a standup comedian.

That glint in Jack's eye, the moment before he rifled off 100 Uranus jokes to a mostly adoring crowd. I was momentarily paralyzed by my own laughing to stop him.

That glint in Jack’s eye, the moment before he rifled off 100 Uranus jokes to a mostly adoring crowd. I was momentarily paralyzed by my own laughing, unable to stop him.

Eventually my sight line was gratified by an alien-looking produce with a weird texture, about the size of a football. “What is that?” I asked aloud, not really thinking Jack would know.

Xenomorph egg or Jack Fruit? You decide.

Xenomorph egg or Jack Fruit? You decide.

“It’s a Jack Fruit!” he piped up.

“Are you making this up?”

“I swear!”

I  approached this xenomorph egg with a little trepidation. “Where’s your queen?” I said to no one in particular, under my breath. One of the Jack Fruits was cut in half, the orangey-yellow color of papaya, which I love. It had huge seeds dotting its perimeter.

The inside of a Jack Fruit.

The inside of a Jack Fruit.

“What does it taste like?”

“I saw on Youtube it tastes like onions,” Jack replied instantly and with such confidence, I stupidly believed him.

“Hmmm…well, I like onions…maybe we should try this. I wonder how you prepare it?”

At this precise moment–as always happens to me whenever I am in the grocery store–a strange woman approached us. In her thick accent (Jack says it was Russian, I say South American) she declared “Oh, you will love this. My kids eat it like candy! It tastes like pineapple mixed with mango!”

“Really?” I biffed Jack upside the head. “Onions? Really?”

The next part of this bizarre conversation was mission critical. The part where I wish my A.D.D. hadn’t taken over. The strange woman said to me, “Are you allergic to latex?”

The last time I heard that, my new OB/Gyn was stuffing me with his hand like a Thanksgiving turkey as I writhed uncomfortably in my stirrups up the table and away from him, so I automatically replied “No….?” My mind was in another place. When I try to recall the next part of what she said, it was like Charlie Brown’s teacher in my mind, “Blah, blah, blah.” I thanked her and we parted ways.

I plopped the giant fruit into my cart. Eight dollars later, Jack and I were on our way to a new culinary adventure!

After dinner, I took the saran wrap off of the Jack Fruit and started cutting away. This was work! I took a bite and it was really sweet – like candy – almost sickeningly too sugary. After about five minutes of struggling to perform an autopsy on this beastly thick produce, I began noticing this gummy, rubbery white residue on my hands. I stopped and soaped up, trying to rinse it off. It was going nowhere. “Jack!” I screamed, panicked.”Get on YouTube! See how I get this glue off of my hands!”

“Didn’t you hear what the lady said? About the latex?”

“You mean this Jack Fruit is where latex comes from?”

“No! She said to wear gloves when you cut it open, if you’re not allergic to latex!”

“Oh! Now I get it! Well, it’s too late for that. YouTube how I get this off of me! Chip chop!” The more I soaped up and scrubbed, the more it clung to me. I cannot stand being sticky. I had an epiphany. Coconut oil, my miracle cure for everything, would probably take this off. As I was rubbing coconut oil on my hands, Jack piped up from my office, “YouTube says coconut oil works!” My skin and the rings on my hands returned to normal.

I was relaying this whole crazy story to one of my vegan friends, who further confused my reality with this advice:

Note to self: Ask a friendly vegan the next time I get a wild hair up my ass to try exotic produce.

Note to self: Ask a friendly vegan the next time I get a wild hair up my ass to try exotic produce.

So…if you were ever wondering what to prepare for a vegan while your steaks are sizzling on the grill, Jack Fruit is the answer. Apparently, with barbecue sauce. Mind you, there is not enough alcohol in the world to make me try this.

My Pre-Mother’s Day Celebration: Adding to “The Collection”

Since Dave was in Nashville doing a signing for Free Comic Book Day Saturday, two of the Sister Wives and I decided on Cooper’s Hawk for a wine-soaked pre-Mother’s Day celebration. Little did I know, I would get the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all–the first-hand retelling of one of my all-time favorite dysfunctional family stories. I collect these funny stories in my mental Rolodex like some folks collect comic books.

Spontaneity is “Sister Wife” Ophelia’s middle name. It’s what I treasure about her. She rolled in late from an all-day cooking class in Chicago, texting that she was bringing two surprise guests. They were all feeling no pain when they arrived, and hilarious conversation flowed. (It seems the chef they spent the day with at cooking school now wants to cook for all of us at a suite in Las Vegas…Ophelia is that rare person who attracts these bizarre situations as much as I do.)

As I was getting acquainted with my two new friends (as my BFF Marovich puts it, “Denise adding yet a few more to ‘The Collection'”) it suddenly dawned on me that one of them, Jocelyn, must be the neighbor Ophelia once mentioned with the World’s BEST Dysfunctional Family Thanksgiving story. It was as if someone had scripted the Thanksgiving version of Christmas Vacation. Truth stranger than fiction. And Saturday night, I was lucky enough to hear it all from the source DNA. It was just as epic the second time. I’ll try recapturing it for you here, but minus the facial expressions and physical gestures, well, forgive me if I don’t do it justice.

Christmas Vacation, meet Your Spin-Off: Thanksgiving Vacation!

Christmas Vacation, meet Your Spin-Off: Thanksgiving Vacation!

Jocelyn is kind by nature. Kind enough, in fact, to invite her brother-in-law Sparky to their Thanksgiving celebration. Sparky was single, but dating a former stripper with five kids from differing baby daddies. Jocelyn’s husband warned her not to invite Sparky, but Jocelyn prevailed. She was feeling sentimental. Thanksgiving was family time, after all, and they should all be together. Sparky called and informed her that he was not only bringing his stripper girlfriend Astrid, but also three of her kids, and Astrid’s sister. Now Jocelyn had to double the amount of food she was making, but she did so without complaint. She was determined to make it work.

Thanksgiving Day came. Sparky, Astrid, and their crew arrived. Astrid presented Jocelyn with her contribution: a small, square Michelina-sized box of mac & cheese as their (we are Midwestern, so I hope you understand) dish to pass for the meal. Jocelyn graciously accepted the meager offering. For the most part, the meal went fine, and everyone was well behaved. Jocelyn’s aunt wanted to hit a Black Friday sale, so she and Jocelyn left and shopped for two hours. When they returned, that was the start. Thanksgiving Vacation. 

As Jocelyn opened the front door, the entire house was reverberating with the percussive thump-thump-thump of dance club music emanating from the basement. Jocelyn’s elderly mom, aunt and uncle sat upstairs, trauma written all over their faces.

Hands over her ears, Jocelyn braved her way to the basement with a mission to turn down the music. She couldn’t have possibly prepared herself for what she was about to see: Sparky’s stripper girlfriend Astrid, riding the pole in Jocelyn’s basement, while Astrid’s sister was grinding away on a pool stick between her legs. As Jocelyn was stepping into the room, the two sisters merged together, grinding on each other. Jocelyn reports her 9-year-old son’s eyes were bugging out of his head. Jocelyn’s husband was just sitting there in stunned amazement, drink in his hand, slowly raising his other hand to shield their son’s bewildered eyes.

In a flash, Astrid’s daughter got in between the grinding sister twosome, twerking with a familiarity no 10-year-old child should have.

Jocelyn had been married to her husband for nearly 20 years at this point, and never had an issue with Sparky. But this Thanksgiving Day, Sparky was drunk. Caught up in the spirit of things, he tried grinding on Jocelyn. Tried being the key word. Chaos accelerated from totally out of control to insanity in a nanosecond. Jocelyn’s husband flashed her the “I told you so” look as Jocelyn screamed at Sparky to “keep his fucking hands off of (her).” Their nine-year-old’s eyes protruded further, as if that were even possible.

Jocelyn raced upstairs to see what Astrid’s other two kids were doing. She found Astrid’s 13-year-old son standing with his back to her, his iPhone extended at arm’s length, taking panoramic footage of Jocelyn’s upstairs bedroom, casing the joint. As he slowly turned around to complete his panoramic shot of her bedroom, he discovered her in frame, hands on her hips, a fully formed “WTF?” glare on her face. He stopped in mid filming. Jocelyn screamed at him, demanding he erase the footage. He insisted he never took any. It seems gaslighting was his super power. Jocelyn raced back downstairs to the basement. She had to get Sparky to convince this defiant teen to erase the footage. Sparky exclaimed, “You can’t yell at him! He has RAGE issues!” Uncle Sparky never thought of protecting his niece and nephew from Astrid’s volatile, rage issue kid.

Two years later, sadly, Sparky and Astrid are no more. Their true love couldn’t conquer Astrid’s need to have sex with many people. Sparky stopped paying her bills and moved out.

To date, Sparky is still single.

God, how I loves me some dysfunctional family stories. I have a library full of them–from my own family.

Yelp: The New Form of American Literary Expression

Any gathering with my crazy, comedic family spurs me into creative thinking mode. Yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast was no exception. Here, courtesy of my Facebook post, is one of the props I loaded into Jack’s pockets:

This Facebook post will give you some idea of our family shenanigans.

This Facebook post gives you some idea of my family culture…

My cousin Greg, who blew in from Ohio to join us yesterday, has made Yelp.com reviews his own loving form of literary expression. Within our family circle, his reviews are a constant source of entertainment. Adding to the hilarity, his daughter told me a recent South Park episode was dedicated to Yelp reviews, which means, you know, Yelp reviews are now officially “a thing.” A pop culture snapshot of 2015. And here’s a link to that episode of South Park that you MUST see: http://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s19e04-youre-not-yelping

Cartman, the Yelp Reviewer - South Park Episode "You're Not Yelping"

Cartman, the Yelp Reviewer – South Park Episode “You’re Not Yelping”

My favorite South Park scene? This 50-page review by Gerald…for Applebee’s:

Gerald, the genius behind the epic Applebee's review on South Park.

Gerald, the genius behind the EPIC Applebee’s review on South Park.

“And yet, there is more…in this crisp time as Autumn begins to fade, the chef brines chicken in habanero and even adds habanero powder to the crust…but the heat is restrained. You experience the fruity, delicious flavor of this without any spicy pain. I don’t need any more pain. Hell, does anyone?”

God, these guys are comedy geniuses. Writing scripts for South Park would be the dream job for me, right up there with writing for Mystery Science Theater 3000 #MST3K or Bob’s Burgers.

So for Christmas this year, I’ll be self-publishing this hardcover parody gift book:

“YELP–An Exploration in Modern American Literary Expression: The Greg McDonald Edition.”

If you are interested in having your very own copy of this exclusive, limited edition, Modern American Literature Masterpiece, just shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the list. I’m guessing it will be around $30 + shipping, given my previous experiences with Blurb.com. For an extra $100, I may even score you a signature and stick figure pencil sketch from the original author…the unintentional literary sensation, Greg McDonald!

You  know, I always thought I would be the first in our family to publish a literary masterpiece. Who knew Greg would usurp me?!?

 

Introducing: POOP CRATE — My Version of LOOT CRATE for My Fellow Shit Humor Enthusiasts

As I mentioned in a previous blog, our monthly LOOT CRATE arrival turns my life and home upside-down with the useless pop culture tzotchkes that Dave Dorman and Jack enjoy, and I have to find extra space (often the circular file) to store. Occasionally, I’ll find a gem in there, like the BREAKING BAD Los Pollos Hermanos apron, but that’s extremely rare.

Admittedly, my sense of humor is that of a 13-year-old boy, but I know I’m not alone in this. To witness, there’s the recent “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episode–with a guest appearance from my friend @TJHoban–which included enticing someone to eat a shit sandwich.

There’s the recent episode of Better Call Saul–I had no less than 3 friends texting, alerting me to it–where Saul Goodman was asked to represent the inventor of a new talking toilet for children.

There’s the Seinfeld episode where Jerry rides in first class, eating the best sundae of his life while we see Elaine’s cheeks blown out like Louis Armstrong as she holds her breath, trying to use the restroom in coach after a particularly sulfurous passenger.

And then there’s this no-longer-private message on Facebook recently, from my closest cousin:

From my cousin Jeff, whose gift to me one Christmas was the "Coffee Makes Me Poop" mug.

From my cousin Jeff, whose gift to me one Christmas was the infamous “COFFEE MAKES ME POOP” mug.

I’ve passed this humor down to another generation. Much to Dave’s chagrin, our son’s favorite talking stuffed toy as a baby was my South Park Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo …“Hidey Ho, Neighbor!”

It occurred to me, given the dozens of poop-related items I am sent via Facebook, text and email daily, that I should start curating these items into a monthly tzotchke box called POOP CRATE. I encourage all of you, my kindred spirits out there, to pay me a monthly fee to curate and ship them these scatological comedy props. Here is what my theater of the mind imagines my first monthly $19.95 shipment would include:

The Shitbit — Like the FitBit, but instead of tracking you burning calories, it tracks you burning mules.

Remember when The Weather Channel was MTV for old people? Well, here's the FitBit equivalent.

Remember when The Weather Channel was MTV for old people? Well, here’s the FitBit equivalent.

Poo-Pourri — An oily spray for your toilet, to ensure your smelliest poops are stealthy.

Now THERE's the innovative stuff that makes America great.

Now THERE’s the innovative stuff that makes America great.

The Flatulence Deodorizing Pad — I especially love the warning that it’s non-returnable. That made me giggle like a school girl!

A big hit for all of those resident's of Florida's The Villages, who are back in the dating scene.

A big hit–I imagine–for all of those senior residents of Florida’s THE VILLAGES, who are back in the dating scene.

If you are reading this and would like to be on my mailing list for the launch of POOP CRATE, ping me here! You will be #1 for #2!

November 6, 2015 addition: My friend Mike just suggest my new slogan: “POOP Crate: Better than your usual crap.”

The Pranks and Hijinks I Am Sorely Missing

One of this century's greatest inventions. And you thought it was the Internet?!?

One of last century’s greatest inventions. And you thought it was the Internet?!?

I should have left my mani/pedi on Tuesday in ignominy, after my boisterous outburst of laughter. After all, this was one of Chicagoland’s most prestigious spas–one of those where you feel like you should be speaking in a hushed tone at all times while sipping your cucumber water. Instead, the whole room of women soaking their feet, who had no idea what I was laughing about, joined me. Even the lady with resting bitch face joined in, much to my surprise. I was sharing one of my crazy prank phone call stories with my fellow partner in crime that day–Rose–and I literally cried my makeup off laughing so hard. Naturally, this prank phone call story involves my other partner in crime, BFF Marovich and her brother Johnny Rockstar, but I can’t tell that one here. However…I will share here some of the fun we used to have when Marovich was a CEO. God, I miss those days.

When Marovich was CEO of her former company, the hijinks never stopped. I loved being there in the midst of it, as her dedicated outside marketing agency. It was worth the hour’s drive and parking in a terrible Chicago neighborhood. She would challenge her employees to take on all manner of ridiculous dares, all day long. One girl was forced to snake dance down the sidewalk in front of the building on a busy street, enduring the cat calls from every perv driving past. For our amusement, our friend and Marovich’s right-hand person Mary would chug down Diet Cokes and we’d time her epic, signature depths-of-hell belches. I think she reached 10 seconds during her peak performance. Here are just a few of the crazy antics:

Marovich had this phone system at her old company where she could patch together two calls and then listen in. Her mad genius mind patched together White Hen calling 7-11, Bosa Donuts calling Dunkin’ Donuts, and other industry competitors. As each side answered the phone, arguments always ensued over who called whom. Marovich would just kick back and listen for her own amusement (and mine).

Then there was the sweet and long-suffering little old Italian man she inherited from her father’s regime. Antonio became her janitor and errands runner. It’s a miracle we didn’t give him a heart attack. The first time I met and shook Antonio’s hand, it was with the fake rubber hand Marovich suggested I stuff inside of my sleeve. As it fell out on the floor, Antonio jumped. Very high, for such an old man.

Above Marovich’s desk was the antlered head of a giant moose her father, the business owner, had hunted. It was disgusting. Marovich accidentally broke one of the giant antlers. Fearing the wrath of her bombastic, short-fused father, she engineered an ingenious plan to get it quickly repaired. She gingerly balanced the broken antler piece back together and called Antonio to come in and dust her office…including the moose head. (I think this was the time Marovich and I hid inside of the louvered-door closet in her office with Mary, crossing our legs not to wet our pants, suppressing our giggles.) Naturally, Antonio dusted the antler, which flew to the ground and he jumped, mortified. It was like watching sped up, time-lapsed film as Antonio hustled to repair that antler in record time with a wood screw and carpenter’s glue.

Then Marovich’s banker would come in for meetings. At the time, her daughter was young and had lots of stickers at home. Glittery stickers. As her banker was on his way off to his next meeting, Marovich would gently pat him on the back as she ushered him out the door, affixing her daughter’s most glittery My Little Pony stickers to his expensive suit jackets. We always wondered what the people in his next meeting thought. And this was pre-Brony era. (Ever since then, when anyone touches my back, I’m always double-checking for the “Kick Me” sign.)

These are merely a few examples of the innocent fun we used to have. I can’t wait for the day when Marovich is at the helm of another company and we can “get the band back together, man.” I have a perfectly good remote control fart machine that’s gathering dust…

The Short-Lived Laughter Moratorium

Throughout my life, I’ve been told by many that my laugh is infectious…and memorable. To witness, I was riding in this crowded Chicago parking garage elevator with my BFF Marovich after comedienne Kathy Griffin’s concert when Marovich–no surprise–made me laugh. A woman’s voice in the way back section of this crowded freight elevator declared, “I’d know that laugh anywhere!” I whipped around, and there was my kindergarten friend Linda, whom I’ve rarely spent time with in our teen or adult lives (I hope to correct this soon), but my laugh lived on in her memory. At my 20-year class reunion, the most frequent comment I got was, “I really miss your laugh.”

I love to laugh more than anything in the world. Well…there’s maybe one other thing, but I digress…

One of the greatest contributors to my expansive sense of humor is my closest cousin, Jeff. His dad and my dad were brothers, both gone now. His dad died in a tragic ultralight crash. We leaned on each other through that, and more recently, my dad’s death. But we’ve shared so many more good times than bad, attending the same high school together, spending our birthdays, holidays, and vacations together. At one point in our careers, we even worked on the same floor of the same company (and WTF were they thinking, hiring the two of us?!?). Prank phone calls, 90-minute lunches, and hijinks ensued. By the time I left there, quotes from Airplane, Blazing Saddles, The Simpsons, and Throw Momma from the Train were viral vernacular, confusing elderly secretaries everywhere.

My cousin Jeff, who makes me laugh to the point of pain.

My beloved cousin Jeff, who makes me laugh to the point of pain, even without surgery.

About once a week, I’ll get that 312 area code call on my mobile phone, and anyone who knows me well can read my face and realize who’s calling. I’m beaming before I even answer the phone. A low voice says, “DeDe…”–my family’s nickname for me–and then I fasten my seat belt and pray for an empty bladder. I know I’m in for some gut-buster travel story, life observation, or David Sedaris book passage.

An obscure quote from Jeff's & my 2nd favorite movie...

An obscure quote from Jeff’s & my 2nd favorite movie…

 

So I somehow forgot to forewarn Jeff, of all people, that my Wednesday surgery meant a moratorium on the comedy for at least 48 hours. I’d gotten word to BFF Marovich and the Sister Wives, but Jeff missed becoming a line item on my black list. Thursday afternoon I saw that 312 area code pop up on the phone, and I braced myself. I couldn’t even cough at that point without some pain. I had refused all pain killers. This was going to be a rough ride.

Since Jeff holds a prestigious corporate job, I won’t divulge here what he said, but it was worth every ounce of post-surgical pain. In fact, I’m still giggling about it. I would never wish surgery on Jeff, but if he has, say, an appendectomy, I’ve got him on speed dial. And I’ve already lined up a very special, belly jiggling David Sedaris quote.