This was originally posted on Huffington Post in 2016. In the wake of another school shooting, it has become relevant once again.
As everyone knows, there was a terrible attack in Paris on Friday, November 13. ISIS has claimed responsibility for it. Right after it happened, all of the various social media sites lit up with different versions of “Pray for Paris.” My first thought was “Why?” While I get that to religious folks praying for someone, or a whole country in this case, is a kind, warm thing to do, it is not the most helpful thing to do. I’m not trying to be a jerk to my religious friends out there. I would LOVE if prayer worked. Think about how different the world it would be.
We would not need to pray for Paris or any of the other places that insane, misguided people have attacked because there would be no such thing as terrorists. Someone would have prayed away that whole “let’s kill each other over God” mess hundreds of years ago.
The world would be jam-packed with people. There would be a lot more babies because the “pro-life” folks would have prayed away all abortions. Also, other people would have prayed away HIV, herpes, hepatitis c, and all other sexually transmitted diseases. So, people who were concerned about catching diseases would stop using condoms. Thus, leading to more pregnancies. No one would ever die because people would have prayed away cancer, AIDS, Ebola, and a host of other diseases along with death in general.
Everyone would be really overweight, and then not. First, people would pray to end world hunger so there would be so much food everywhere that people would become obese. Then, people would pray to end obesity. So, everyone would wake up one morning as though they had spent a month on The Biggest Loser. Slim-Fast, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and all other weight loss programs would go bankrupt.
Every football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or other game would end in a tie. Think about it. You’re praying for YOUR team to win, and your *&#khead neighbor is praying for HIS team to win. Important stuff here. So, it’s a tie. God is listening to EVERYONE. Seriously though, if God is really listening to every prayer, he’s sucking down a trenta espresso every 9 seconds. It’s a lot of work. You would think he’d hire helpers.
I used to pray when I was a kid when I still believed in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and Jesus. Back in the 70’s, I prayed to end the sexual abuse I was enduring. I had tried telling my grandmother about it when I was three, but she told me “we don’t talk about things like that.” So, I used to curl up under my sheets and pray that it wouldn’t happen again. But it continued, just like cancer, terrorism and all of the other horrible things go on even though a lot of us are praying for them to stop.
I know what you’re thinking. If something bad happens, it happens for a reason, right? God chooses which prayers to answer. It’s all a part of God’s plan. Well, then God is one sick dude. He allows people to be raped, tortured, starved, bombed, beaten, and many other things just because it’s a part of his plan. Is he playing some masochistic version of the Sims?
The majority of people don’t question “God’s plan.” They go on offering prayers in person and online. If you really think about it, typing “prayers” as a comment on Facebook or a hashtag on Twitter is really a very useless thing to do. It’s not actually helping anyone but the person who typed “prayers.” That person feels like they actually did something. In reality, they probably typed “prayers,” reached into the bag next to them for another Cheeto, and then went back to surfing the net for fat pics of their ex. Even if the person actually DOES pray, what does this actually accomplish?
Oh, people always have stories of that time that prayer saved someone. Maybe their spouse had a brain tumor and it was completely cured. It’s a miracle! God saved the spouse, right? Nope. Maybe, just maybe, the surgeon who removed the tumor should get credit. He did spend a decade or more in training to do just that. I don’t know about you, but Jesus Christ, MD is not on my health insurance plan.
Religious folks will say, “But, Lisa, GOD put that surgeon in that person’s life to save their husband. God did that.” Oh, silly me. So, God gets credit for giving a person a surgeon but not for blessing them with cancer. Of course. That’s logical.
If we really want to help people, there are tangible things we can do. Does your friend have cancer? Offer to hire a cleaning service for her, or take her a meal. Buy her some warm pajamas. Do something real to help. Want to help the people in Paris? You can donate to the Red Cross and Red Crescent. They are coordinating efforts to assist victims in Paris and other places. Pray all you want, but if you really want to help people, there are ways to do it.
The boy and I have a mutual friend that he works with. She is young, funny, smart, pretty, and single. She has not had much luck with the usual dating apps. She wants to date, but she is also introverted and doesn’t get out much. As she says, “I don’t bar hop or climb mountains. I want to find my couch potato in crime.” So, the boy and I were chatting about her in the kitchen, and the husband was on the couch commenting.
Husband: Well, she’s never going to find a boyfriend watching Netflix.
Me: Wait a minute! What if she could? I bet we could design an app for that.
Husband: Tinder already exists. You can date from your couch.
Me and the son (at the same time) – No!! No!! You could match people by shows.
Husband looks a bit scared because sometimes the boy and I share a brain. He also looks confused because he’s really not a big fan of movies or TV unless it’s Shameless (American and UK).
Me: Yes!! People could choose the shows they stream and the movies they like. We could call it Netflix and chill.
Son: Mom, I’m pretty sure Netflix would sue us for that.
Me: What about Hulu and hug?
Son: No, mom. No.
Friends, does such an app exist? Can you find your partner based on your streaming preferences? If not, can one of you invent this? We can go on Shark Tank together.
When I first heard about “A Quiet Place” I was intrigued. I thought, really? A QUIET movie? Most movies today are SO LOUD. Scratch that. The special effects and music are loud; the dialogue is usually too quiet for me to hear, even with my hearing aids. Whenever my son watches movies in the basement after my husband and I go to bed, I often wake up thinking that we are being invaded by cyborgs or whatever the current alien/monster/robot is. The floor vibrates as the booming effects enter our bedroom through the air vents. So, when I heard Jim from “The Office” (That is who he will always be to me) talking about his new movie with a real, live deaf girl and almost no noise at all, I wanted to see it.
On Sunday, the family and I went to our local “have some booze and eat before you see the movie, heck you can even have booze and food in your reclining seat in the theater” movie theater. I love those. It seems like they are everywhere now. Unless you live in a town where “turn left at the third barn” is one of the directions to your house, you probably have one of these magical theaters. So, my husband, my son, and my son’s girlfriend got to the theater early and had drinks and tasty food. Then, we entered the quietest theater I had ever been to in my life.
Well, actually it was loud at first. We found our group of pleather recliners while the previews were still going. We had to inch past the people that were already in full recline mode, including a man who was at least as tall as Shaq. His feet hung a good six inches over the edge of the recliner. With the previews going, it was still a normal theater. So, we slurped on our drinks and the kids (they are 21 and 22, but still kids to me) crunched on their candy. This all came to an end rather quickly when the movie started.
The great thing about “A Quiet Place” is that it is, well, quiet. Most of the movie is nothing but sign language, sub-titles, and bare feet. Since I can’t hear for shit, I usually have the sub-titles on at home. It was a real treat to have them at the theater because, as I mentioned, I usually can’t hear the dialogue. If you are hearing impaired, “A Quiet Place” is THE movie to see in the theater. Because of this, I LOVED the movie.
The downer to “A Quiet Place” is that it is TOO QUIET. You can hear EVERYTHING in the theater. My ice shook when I took a drink and I felt bad because EVERYONE in the whole damn theater could hear it. Once this fact hit me, I got anxious about the possibility of farting. I literally broke out in a sweat just thinking about gas. In a normal movie, you can get away with a little fart, here and there. I’m not talking about one of those “for the love of fuck somebody light a match; something died in here” farts. I mean your garden variety toot or rubber band snappy sounding fart. In a normal movie, you could totally let loose. DO NOT attempt this in “A Quiet Place.” One time, I changed positions in my pleather seat and it made that sort of fartesque noise that denim scooching across fake leather makes. Two people in front of me looked at me and I wished I knew the sign language for “that was not a fart!”
And then I had to pee. Usually, I can hold a pee for a while if I’m watching a really good movie, but this was one of those pees where your bladder feels like a water balloon that is about to pop. I had to try to quietly walk to the bathroom. So, I lowered my recliner. That made a noise. This woke my husband who always sleeps in movies, so I signed “P P” so he knew where I was going. Then, I put my rain jacket, which crinkled, over my purse in the seat, and walked quickly to the exit. Of course, I ran right into Shaq’s feet and the bottom of his shoes dragged across my new Stitch Fix jeans. Now, I had to wash them or burn them when I got home. I could visualize the germs. When I came back from the bathroom, I did the sideways crab crawl plie to get past Shaq without soiling the other leg of my jeans.
I was able to watch the rest of the movie without causing any distractions, aside from making the fartesque noise again while sliding into my seat, and uncrinkling my rain jacket as I moved it to my lap. My husband went back to sleep after I sat down, and he was able to keep his snores to an acceptable level. I stopped drinking my drink so I wouldn’t make any more ice noise or have to go to the bathroom again. I was ready to sit silently and watch this movie.
And then it ended. Just like that. Really suddenly. I hated the ending. I’m a typical American when it comes to movies, I guess. I don’t want an artsy fartsy make you think ending. I want to know what happens to the characters. I want to know if they live or die. I want to know if they solve this pressing monster issue that has plagued them and caused them to risk ringworm, tetanus, and a number of other things by running around barefoot. The ending of “A Quiet Place” did not tie things up neatly. Office Jim and his co-writers left the audience hanging quietly in their seats. Perhaps there will be “A Quiet Place Two” or “A Quieter Place” or “Seriously, Be Fucking Quiet” movie in the future. If there is, I’m watching it at home. I can’t take the pressure of putting all bodily functions on hold.
Today, as I washed my hands in the margarita scented foamy hand soap, and followed that up with some nice vanilla hand cream, I knew I was doomed. As soon as that vanilla creaminess hit my hands, I thought, “Shit! I should’ve checked the laundry room first!” You see, in our house, the laundry room is where the litter box and the puppy pad is. Lola, our Maltese, does not use the bathroom outside. She is too small and too white for that. She goes on a puppy pad near the litter box, and she usually misses the pad when she poops. That, of course, was the case today. As soon as I washed my hands, I had to clean up shit. So, in my head, as I was cleaning up dog shit, scooping the litter box, and then rewashing my hands, I started to come up with this list of universal truths for pet owners.
You don’t really want to know what that wet spot is.
The cat will always make it to the carpet before vomiting.
The dog will help you clean up the cat vomit.
If you have just washed your hands and put on the good, nice-smelling hand cream, you will need to clean up some sort of animal excrement from the floor within two minutes.
Always use a paper towel when picking up that unknown brown chunk from the floor. Don’t lose a game of mud or shit with yourself.
There’s really no need to buy new dog toys. Just move the couch. Your dog will think it’s Christmas.
If your dog is barking as though the SWAT team is in your yard another dog is probably walking down the street. Or a leaf blew by. Or there is a bird sitting on the bush. Or it’s the evil mail carrier.
Use earplugs if you ever want to take a nap. See above.
Just have someone else express those anal glands.
Ditto for trimming black toenails.
And cat bathing.
You could make your millions by inventing cat-ass flavored dog food, and the cat really wishes you would.
What am I missing, pet owners? What always happens in your house? Leave me a comment so we can build this list.
Son: [sitting at the table with his egg sandwich] Mom, I know we are boycotting the Today Show because you hate Kathie Lee, but I need to see Megyn.
Me: You know that you are the only person under 42 who likes her, right?
Son: Yeah, I know.
Me: OK, well it’s only 8:45 now. Kathie Lee doesn’t come on until 10, so it should be safe. [I change the channel to NBC.]
Savannah Guthrie: [On TV – she doesn’t live with us.] Now, we are going to talk to our own Kathie Lee Gifford about her new book on faith – The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi.
Me: Oh, fuck my life. I can’t get away from her.
Kathie Lee: [On TV – I would NEVER invite her to breakfast.] Blah, blah, blah. Trip to Israel. Blah, blah, blah. My faith. Blah, blah. The rock is Jesus.
Me: What did she just say?
Son: She said The Rock is Jesus.
Me: Did you just picture a metal band with Jesus as the singer?
Son: No. No, mom. I just pictured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a Jesus robe and sandals.
Me: YES!! He would make a great Jesus.
Son: [gets up from the chair and begins mimicking Rock Jesus] I’m here for you, my child. [Gets louder] Now, it’s time for a pec pump! [grabs his chest and makes his pecs go up and down.]
Me: [laughing and choking on coffee and then attempting a Rock voice] You can crucify me but you will never take my strong 8-pack abs!
Son: We’re going to hell.
Me: Totally, and all of the fun people will be there.
I know you don’t quite get what it feels like to hear like a 90-year-old WWII veteran who was stationed next to a cannon for 5 years, even though I have tried to tell you. So, please allow me to clarify things.
I can’t hear so good.
Nope, not even with the hearing aids. You see, the hearing aids magnify ALL sound, not just you. So, if we are in a restaurant, or if the TV is on, or if music is playing, or if there is running water next to me, I can’t fucking hear you.
Especially when I’m in another room, with the door closed, even if you yell. Nope.
If you are my salon person, or aesthetician, and you do that cute, atmosphere keeping, spa whisper thing you all do, because heaven forbid someone should raise their voice in an environment of wax and hair color, I can’t fucking hear you.
My hearing loss is not temporary, and it’s not exaggerated. I really can’t hear well at all.
No, I don’t read lips. So, stop doing that.
No, I don’t know sign language beyond the basic alphabet.
It’s not something I enjoy either. Believe me. It is frustrating. I hate saying “what?” or “huh?” over and over again, and then shaking my head no to let you know I still didn’t get what you were trying to communicate. At this point, I usually just say, “uh huh” and fake like I heard you. Who knows what I have agreed to.
So please, have patience. Look at me in the eye when you talk to me. Talk louder and a little slower than you normally would. Don’t do that high pitched, “I’m a little lady” voice. I don’t hear that pitch. I’m trying to hear you, but I need your help.
Your middle-aged, geriatric, hearing impaired friend
Mama and the Manchild: Forrest Gump Trump Edition
Son: I love me some cheese curls. [Sitting at the table with a sandwich and a little bag of Aldi’s Cheetos knockoff.]
Me: You should bring some of those fake Cheetos to your training class tonight. [The boy works at the library and they are changing computers systems. He has to attend two four hour training courses.] You could get orange dust on the keyboard and people will think Trump was there.
Me: You could trick a kid like that on Christmas. Instead of putting fake reindeer footprints you could put Cheeto dust footprints and tell the kid that President Trump is the new Santa.
Son: Yeah, and there would just be a piece of chocolate cake under the tree.
Me: A BEAUTIFUL chocolate cake. [Attempting a Trump impression. Alec Baldwin’s SNL gig is safe.]
Son: [Takes over and does perfect Trump impression with hand gestures] It would be a BEAUTIFUL piece of chocolate cake. [switches back to his regular voice] And it would have one bite out of it because Trump feels the same about chocolate cake as Forrest Gump feels about chocolate. [Does perfect Gump voice] I ate some.
Me: What, like Forrest Trump or something, or Gump Trump?
Son: YES! That would be perfect. Can you just see Donald Trump sitting on a bench with his suitcase talking to some woman saying, “And then my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars and I bought a shrimping yacht.” [The boy somehow manages to combine Gump’s and Trump’s voices and mannerisms.
Hey, Lorne Michaels, are you reading this? You need to give the boy a job!
If you missed my original post about Mama, please read this first. Then come back and read this.
We did it again. My adult son and I went to the liquor store in our local grocery store. It just made sense to do so as we had to go to Kohl’s and pick up lunch at Panera. It was just so damn convenient.
But it was also scary. As we got out of the car, we both crossed our fingers that Mama would not be working. We just wanted one awkward free visit.
Before we walked into the liquor portion of the store, we looked both ways as though we were crossing a busy street and trying to avoid getting hit by a semi. No Mama. There were just two guys stocking wine right outside the doorway. Big sigh of relief.
I grabbed a bottle of regular Tito’s vodka, the big one, and a small Absolute vodka that was wrapped in blue and silver flip sequins. It was just pretty. Then, I told my son to grab a bottle of good scotch for my husband. Well, I drink it, too, so I guess it’s for both of us.
When we were done shopping, we both walked slowly to the cash register, while looking around for Mama. Our heads were spinning like something out of the Exorcist, just to be sure we weren’t going to suddenly have her in our face saying, “Mama doesn’t judge.” or any of her other catchphrases.
The coast was clear. The man at the register started to ring us up. That’s when Mama walked behind the counter. I held my breath and avoided eye contact as though she were a homicidal male lion. I thought to myself, “Will she recognize me? Does she know I blogged about her? Will she start talking to me? Do I know enough Spanish to pretend I don’t know English? What if Mama knows Spanish?”
Even though I was in a panic on the inside, I managed to remain calm while I swiped my credit card and signed. While I was signing, I heard the guy behind the counter ask Mama, “What happened to that Ketal One I told you to stock?” Mama didn’t know what he was talking about. He didn’t call her Mama, oddly enough.
On our way out of the store, I whispered to my son, “We just dodged a bullet.”
He replied, “I know. I felt my butthole tighten when she walked in. She seemed normal today. Also, I think I know what happened to that Ketal One.”
Mama probably stashed the Ketal One for later, even though she is a Jack girl.
To make a long story short, my son and I should just drive out of our way to go to the real liquor store.
It’s that time of year when the Christmas Nazis and the Thanksgiving Purists have a pissing contest with the rest of the world. Don’t pretend you don’t know them. They’re not opposing gangs in a Kirk Cameron film about how the liberal media grinds up Christmas trees to make Satanic Bibles. No, they are far more irritating than Kirk. You probably know a few Christmas Nazis or Thanksgiving Purists. They may be your friends or family. You might even be such a person. Hell, you could even fit into both groups.
Despite these scary folks, and the fact that I need to bundle up in 19 layers of wool just to get the mail (and that’s just email), I still love this time of year. I hate the weather with a white hot sparkly passion, though. As a native Floridian who is trapped in the Midwest, I shiver from October through May. Still, even with the ice, snow, and endless clouds, I still love the holidays.
The fact that I refer to them as “the holidays” might irritate some people, and those people are Christmas Nazis. They believe that current liberal politics and evil atheists are responsible for “Happy Holidays.” Really, Bing Crosby is more responsible for this all inclusive greeting than President Obama. Christmas Nazis say things like, “This is MURICA! We can’t say Happy Holidays because we are a Christian country!” They think they are defending Christmas, or keeping it pure, or some other such bullshit. In reality, they are simply showing that they don’t know how to read a calendar.
Most of us understand that Christmas is not the only holiday within the four-week period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. There’s also Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Saturnalia. Those are just the holidays that are typically celebrated in the U.S. So, saying, “Happy Holidays” is not about excluding Christians, it’s about including everyone. Also, for me, it’s about talking less. As a work from home introvert, I’d rather just cover everything with two words than list all of the holidays with their appropriate happy or merry. I’m pretty sure Santa, Jesus, and Saturn would approve of simply being nice to everyone.
Some Christmas Nazis are also Thanksgiving Purists. You know, the people who get their panties in a bunch when Christmas items are displayed before the appropriate day. They might as well say, “Thou mustn’t put up thine Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.” Some Thanksgiving Purists get quite enraged about seeing Christmas decorations before turkey day. They post about this major crime on social media sites, some people blog about it, and others talk about it on TV. Some of them actually tell others when they are allowed to put up Christmas trees, lights, and other holiday decorations. It’s like they have some sort of Asshole’s Guide to the Holidays book, along with a color-coded calendar that they refer to. I would like to send people who are upset by seeing Christmas decorations in November on an all expense paid trip to a cave in the Middle East. This way they can get away from the offensive early Christmas decorations and learn about real problems.
Let me hear from you in the comment section. Are you a Christmas Nazi or a Thanksgiving Purist, or are you just someone who enjoys pretty lights and a decorated indoor tree when it’s cold and gray outside?