Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sectional Dining - An Exaggerated View

A man walks into a restaurant with his pregnant wife.
Hostess: "Table for two?"
Man #1: "Yes please."
Hostess: "Would you like the conversational section or the silent section?"
Man #1 looks at his wife.
Wife #1 puts her finger to her lips.
Man #1: "We'll take the silent section."
Hostess: "Right this way please."
Hostess seats them and hands them a menu.
Hostess: “Your waiter will be right with you.”

Another couple walks in.
Hostess: "Table for two?"
Man #2 is quite drunk, turns to his wife and puts a hand over one eye.
Man #2: "Yep! Just two!"
Hostess: "Would you like the conversational section or the silent section?"
Wife #2: "Do you have a loud obnoxious opinionated section?"
Hostess frowns in confusion.
Man #2: "I wanna talk!" He gives his wife a disgusted look.
Hostess: "Right this way please."
She seats them at the table across from couple #1 and hands them a menu.
Man #2: “And bring me a scotch and soda!”

Waiter brings his drink and returns to the kitchen.

Couple  #1 sits quietly and studies the menu.
Man #2 opens his menu.
Man #2: "Holy crap! Look at these friggin' prices!
Couple #1 gives him a snotty look.
Man #2 makes a face back at them.
Wife #2: "Mmmm, the prime rib sounds wonderful."
Man #2: "Prime rib? Yeah right, it better be 35 bucks worth of wonderful! No wonder the cows come down with that mad disease…they've seen these friggin' prices!"
Wife #2 whispers: "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't embarrass me tonight."
Man #2: "After all these years and you finally appreciate something!"
Wife #1 tugs at her earlobes.
Man #1 frowning: "Shhhh"
Man #2: "Shush yourself ya’ son of a nutcracker and mind your own business!

Waiter approaches couple #1: "May I take your order?"
Man #1 whispers to waiter: "Isn't this the silent section?"
Waiter: "Well the dividing line is right there." He points to an invisible line between the tables.
Man #1: Do you have any more tables in this section? The man next to us is quite loud."
Waiter: "I'm so sorry sir but we are completely booked."
Man #1 sighs and looks at his menu. "Very well then, I'll have the braised chicken wings with apple and onion gravy with baby vegetables."

Man #2: "They should have pictures on this menu so you know what the hell you're ordering!"
Wife #1 whispers to Wife #2: "Excuse me but we came here for a nice quiet meal, could you ask your husband to keep his voice down?"
Wife #2: "Honey, I've been asking that for 25 years and it hasn't happened yet. Any suggestions?"

Waiter to Wife #1: "May I take your order?"
Wife #1: "I'll just have the goat cheese salad please, I seem to have lost my appetite." She glares at couple #2.
Waiter: "Very well."
Waiter turns to couple #2: "I'll be right back to take your order."

Man #2: "Hey! what's yer name fellah?"
Waiter: "Mick, sir."
Man #2: "Mixer! That should be my damn name with all the booze I drink! Ha ha ha ha. Which reminds me, I need a little scotch to go with this water." He tips his glass and drains it.
Waiter: "Right away sir." He smiles weakly and walks away.

Man #2 to his wife: "Did you hear the news today?"
Wife #2: "I always wait to hear your slant on it."
Man #2: “Looks like the nuclear power plants in northern California have an excellent opportunity to suffer the same meltdown style as Fukushima when we have another earthquake. And we will! Soon! So do we get a warning from anyone? Heck no!  You want to know why?”
Wife #2 calmly sips her water.
Man #2: “It’s because people are more interested in what Kim Kardashian wears on a date with that crapper, Cayenne West!”
Wife#2: He’s a rapper and his name is Kayne.”
Man#2:”Like I care!”

The waiter brings Man #2 another drink.

Man #2 grabs it and chugs it down. “Keep ‘em coming Mixer.”
Waiter: “Yes Sir.”

Man #2: "Damn Secret Service is using our tax dollars to hire prostitutes from Cartagena!” What’s wrong with our prostitutes? Not good enough for them? You know the White House is covering it up! Just like David friggin' Copperfield. They just make evidence disappear!”
Wife #2: "I did hear about those poor inner city children that have to deal with rat infested classrooms."
Man #2: "Aw, bull spit! Gives ‘em a great excuse for not turning in homework…a rat ate it!"

Wife #1 pinches her nose and waves the air as if clearing it of smoke.
Man #1: Would you please keep your opinions to yourself? You're making my wife sick!"
Man #2: "Me? What about you,Lord of the Wings and baby vegetables? You’d make anyone sick!"
Man #1: "Look, my wife is pregnant!"
Man #2: "Maybe you should be talking more! Ha ha ha ha."
Wife #1: "Haven't you heard about the dangers of second hand opinions?"
Man #2: "Ha! I suppose you're gonna teach your kid to be quiet too? Huh? Well, you'll see…one day he'll be pickin up a vowel here, one there. Next he'll be scoring syllables then before you know it he's got a dangling participle and that's when you'll find out he's hooked on phonics!" He threw his head back and laughed.
Man #1: "Knuckle dragging troglodyte! You're the last one I would discuss child rearing with! I've never heard a more opinionated jerk in my life!"

Manager walks over to Man #1.
Manager: "I'm sorry sir but you are sitting in the silent section, I have to ask you to stop talking or I will be forced to move you to another table."
Man #1: "Me!? He's the one doing all the talking!" He points to man #2.
Manager: "Yes, well that's because he is in the conversation section."
Man #1: "But…"
Manager puts his finger to his lips. Man #2 sticks his tongue out at Man #1.

The waiter brings couple #1 their order.
Waiter to Couple #2: "May I take your order now?"
Wife #2: "I think I will have the prime rib…er the Admiral cut with a large baked potato with everything on it….oh yes and add a large Caesar salad with fresh garlic bread please."
Man #2 leans over to talk to Wife #1: "Hey you…bun in the oven…I think I found your appetite! It's right here!" He points to his wife.
Waiter: "And for you sir?"
Man #2: "Just bring me the pig knuckles with pilaf!" He grins.
Waiter dabs the spittle out of the corner of his eye.
Waiter: "Very good choice sir."

Man #1: "Hey! Don’t even pretend to talk to my wife! Don't you have respect for anyone? Is this your first time in a restaurant? I am going to complain to management and have you tossed out on your drunken butt!"

Manager comes over.
Manager: "I'm sorry sir but I am going to have to ask you and your guest to sit at a different table located in the conversation section."
Man #1: "Never mind! We're leaving! What kind of an establishment are you running here anyway?" He throws money on the table and marches Wife #1 out.

Manager turns to couple #2
Manager: "I'm so sorry for this disturbance. Your meal will be complimentary and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening here."
Man #2: "Aw, that's okay…things like that happen. Thanks for the dinner though."

Manager bows and walks away.

Wife #2: "Honestly!" She shakes her head at Man #2.

Man #2: "Hey Babe, pass me over those chicken wings and baby veggies would you?" He points to Man #1's plate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Resurfacing Memory Lane

At the gentle prodding of my husband, BJ, I finally emptied out the last of the boxes since our move in March. For six months I have been inches away from completing the task yet I had thousands of reasons why I just didn’t have the time.  It’s embarrassing to admit but for six months there have been five boxes neatly stacked against one of my living room walls. I just got used to seeing them like they had become some weird part of the furniture.

I sorted through some articles I had saved in the last box and stopped to read one in particular. This is usually what takes me so long to finish a task. Something that is totally unrelated to what I am doing leads me away. Far, far away.

“What are you doing?”

I looked up from the article and Mr. Organized and Focused, was standing in front of me with his hands on his hips.

“I’m doing what you asked.” I placed the article on the stack with the others. “Almost done.”

He laughed and gave me a pat on the head. “Thank you.”

He knows me so well.

It was the title of the 2009 article published by Reuters that sparked my interest. ‘Scientists Find a Way to Block Fearful Memories,’ and I could hardly wait to read it. It seems that there is a period of time, ten minutes to six hours, that a fearful memory can be altered before it is stored in the brain.

Once I finished putting everything in its place, I decided to put this blocking fearful memories theory to the test. I recreated the experiment described in the article. I painted a blue square on a piece of paper. Then asked BJ to give me a mild shock each time I looked at it. He was kind enough to use the 110 outlet instead of the 220. Once we had created the fear memory the first half of the experiment was complete. We made ice cream sundaes with French vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and chopped nuts. Actually, the ice cream wasn’t part of the test but we needed something to do during the 10 minute waiting period. Again I looked at the blue square, this time without the shock. Supposedly, we had reversed the fear memory.  

I was run over by the family car when I was three years old. I can remember getting into the car, pulling on the gearshift until it thunked from Park into Neutral. The car rolled backward slowly at first then it picked up speed. I panicked. I tried to get out of the car only to lose my balance and ended up hanging by the inside handle.  In the next moment I heard my mother screaming. My hand slipped from the handle and my right leg swung beneath the left front tire.  What I remember most clearly on the way to the hospital was asking my mother if the doctor was going to give me a shot. I hated shots.

From then on, our family doctor called me lucky. Another quarter of an inch higher and my pelvis would have been crushed. Since I was very bendy at three, my leg wasn’t even broken, just badly bruised.

Later the same year I was standing at our front door screen. My mother had it double locked to prevent me from repeating the joy ride. A stray dog happened by, looked in the door, through the back window, and saw our cat playing in the yard. He bounded toward the door and used his body as a battering ram. The door came completely off its hinges and I was trapped beneath it while the dog stood on it barking at, well nothing. The cat was gone.

I don’t have a fear of cars, gearshifts, driveways, tires or getting shots. I’m not afraid of strange dogs running by me or cats or even screen doors, but I’ll tell you what, now every time I see a blue square, I scream bloody murder.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Common Sense Isn't That Common

My husband was helping me set up the Bluetooth in my car today.  The quick reference guide was fairly easy to understand but some of the instructions seemed unnecessary. Silly warning labels and tips written by Captain Obvious always make me smile until I realize the cost of the oversized instruction book; the ink and labels are always passed on to the consumer.  But why go to this ridiculous trouble? Well, the main reason is because lawsuit-obsessed Americans have forced them to.

One of the bullet points in the Bluetooth basics said, and I quote: Do not speak at the same time as the other party during a call. If you and the other party speak at the same time, it may be difficult for the other party to hear your voice and vice versa. This is normal.  Why did they include this in the set-up guide? Probably because some blabbermouth called the dealer to complain that their Bluetooth didn’t work. My mother always said, “You have two ears and one mouth dammit. That means you should listen twice as much as your speak.”  Good thing she didn’t write instruction booklets.

I’ve seen labels warning not to iron clothes while you’re wearing them, not to use a curling iron on your eyelashes, don’t use a hair dryer while you are sleeping, don’t use a match to check the fuel level on your lawn mower and a microwave oven may say, not for drying pets. Of course you will always find that silica packet in new electronics, purses and wallets that says, DO NOT EAT.  You know what this means don’t you?  It means that someone in this world has done these things and then tried to blame the manufacturer for the results.  How else would they come up with such nonsense?

I thought it might be fun to make up some additional helpful tips of our own. Here are a few of mine, please feel free to add to the list:

Prescription label: Remove glasses before applying eye drops.
Box of Ammo: Not for sensitive skin.
On a microscope: Use open eye to view slides.
On a cell phone: Do not use as a coaster.
On a mini CD: Do not substitute for Ninja stars.

On an electric stapler: Do not throw at co-worker.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Secrets of a Happy Marriage

There is an abundance of guidance on the Internet, in bookstores, magazines, newspaper advice columns and talk radio about how to keep your marriage healthy. I’m not going to criticize the tips often touted by experts because they are important and I don’t want to disregard this valuable wisdom but there are things that no matter where you research get glossed over.  First, let’s go over a few of the more common suggestions.

Be your spouse’s best friend since the initial chemistry and heady lustful desires eventually cool down, hopefully to a warm steady burn. You want to be able to also be friendly outside of the bedroom. It’s important to marry someone you like too.  I did…this time.

I’ve been told that just allowing yourself to be playful with one another brings you closer together. My husband and I balance buckets of ice water over doors the other will be walking through. Recently I put black shoe polish on the eyecups of his binoculars. In turn he rubbed Limburger cheese on the manifold of my car. I wouldn’t recommend doing these things unless you are truly best friends like my husband and me.

Communication is important.  If we find ourselves bickering, I try not to have the last word, I let him have it and it’s usually, “yes dear.” My husband and I have daily conversation, texts, email but the most imperative question to be answered each day is, what do you want for dinner?  In the time we have been together we have never had to wonder about what was being served as our evening meal.

Don’t take your spouse for granted is usually at the top of the advice list and I do realize how important this is. I have the courtesy to look up from my tweets when my husband walks in the door.  I smile. Since we work on music together we try to be positive, respect each other and offer compliments. Sometimes we don’t succeed but when that happens we make ourselves a gargantuan ice cream sundae.  Ever notice that the world seems like a sunnier place while eating ice cream? No matter how many root canals you get.

Okay, so it’s easy to find these valuable marriage tips and many more involving money, religion, raising children, but as I said before, the genuine, deal-breaking difficulties that cause more marriages to fail are rarely mentioned, so here are a couple.

Paper towels are a chief necessity.  “Messes Happen”, says Brawny, and that handsome lumberjack advertises them, but I find they are just too rough.  My husband prefers them but I like, “The answer to life’s little messes”.  Viva is soft enough to wipe away a tear of gratitude for having such a wonderful marriage. What kind of paper towels do we use? Viva.  My husband brought home a roll of Brawny once and I used it as a base for my silk gladiola centerpiece.

I believe I saved a marriage once with a very simple suggestion. Some friends of ours, a very levelheaded couple, constantly argued over what type of toothpicks to buy. She liked the round ones and he preferred the flat ones. We avoided dining with them so that we wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire of this dilemma. Unfortunately, we eventually wound up at the same dinner party. Just as expected they began arguing bitterly over toothpicks. I finally offered, “Why don’t you buy both kinds?” They looked at each other as if they had just won the lotto. I never heard them argue about it again. By the way, buying two works with toothpaste, body soap, shampoo and mouthwash as well.

Another struggle is which way should the toilet paper roll…over or under?  This debate has been going on for years but there is a science behind why over is right. Hung in the over position, the paper flows freely and tears where you want it to, one-handed. Under has a tendency to hang up and unroll by itself, leaving a pile of unsanitary paper on the linoleum floor. This is preventable by installing the roll properly. Don’t let hanging it under ruin your marriage.

Do you have any comparable marriage threatening issues?