Category: Blog

My husband and I had a grown-up evening out last night while his parents watched our kids. When we came home, the kids were in bed and this was on the refrigerator.

My daughter is finally getting to the age where she can draw things that actually resemble humans. But as someone who grew up as a card-carrying member of the Drawing Enthusiasts Club, I’m hyper tuned in to what she draws and how.

So, right after I squealed with delight at how edible this is in a way that makes me want to cram it into a sugar-coated candied fig and devour it so that it resides deep in my soul forever, the very next thing I did was notice this. Um . . . my (ahem) unit.

Perhaps it’s a tail. Didn’t we all have tails at one point? Or — dear God no! — perhaps my daughter believes me to be transgendered. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

I promise I haven’t given her a reason to believe this. I don’t have to wax a mustache, not even a stray chin hair (yet). And I think I look pretty damn decent in a dress. I think I still own one anyway. Does a bathrobe count?

But then I thought, Relax! This happens all the time when you draw stick people. It’s a textbook stick people affliction. Certainly the risk is always there when you don’t pay attention to where your lines connect. Common rookie mistake. Some of my best friends drew their stick people this way and still got accepted into college. No big deal.

But then I noticed that my son appears to have either a really bad comb-over or is wearing a toupee. In fact, he has great hair — like thick, beautiful, long California surfer dude hair. So I found this to be grossly inaccurate. Although, I applaud her that the rendering of my husband’s hair is spot-on.

Disturbingly, my daughter looks to have a spider embedded in her bangs. You probably wouldn’t have noticed this had I not pointed it out. Or you probably wouldn’t have noticed this had you never experienced having a spider embedded in your bangs. Because I have. (Read here.)

Why is my daughter the only one with teeth? I asked her this today and she couldn’t explain it. I’ll let her mull it over a few days, give her some time to notice that my teeth are remarkably straight and white, and then I’ll request a meeting to discuss it further.

All of this reminds me of my own childhood drawings that I need to lug out of that old box from our garage. From there, I’ll have to dig through a few hundred high school art class drawings that are only bad in an amateur way and not bad in a cute way, though thankfully not bad in a delusional way. And, after that, I’ll hopefully find the beat-up manila envelope labeled Angie’s Preschool Drawings that my parents once left on my doorstep in the middle of the night (seconds before their tires squealed away).

I bet there are some prize-worthy nuggets in there. I bet there are some I drew of people. I bet there are some I drew of my family. I bet my mom looks like a woman. I bet I’ll put this drawing to shame. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.…

I finally ran out of Circus Peanuts. I wanted to throw them into the bag of other random stuff that I have for you today — like the kids’ party grab bags of yore. But without the Circus Peanuts, it’s not a grab bag. The Circus Peanuts really tied it all together. A theme, if you will. A bag-o-crap, if you want.

So instead of a grab bag, I just have random. Random bits thrown together. No bag. No Circus Peanuts.

But what about raisins? I do have those.

Random encounter. I met a woman at a party last weekend who used to work on the East Coast for — get this! — the guy who launched The California Raisins. “What was he like?” I had to ask. “Oh, my ex-boss?” Actually I had meant my favorite raisin, Beebop. But then I felt dumb so I blurted out, “Of course.”

She said he was still riding out his glory days of living high on the fat hog of stop-motion animation advertising. My favorite nugget — he wore Ray-Ban sunglasses to work. Before they were cool again. That’s how much he wished it was still 1986.

The look on the woman’s face said, This information is probably boring to you.

No, this information is all very important to me. Do you have anywhere you need to be right now? Do you want to get outta here and grab coffee? I had so many more questions to ask, including whatever happened to my favorite 1980s claymation Christmas special, A Claymation Christmas Celebration. I’ve searched in vain for that gem. And if there was time, I’d ask what she had on the Where’s the Beef? lady.

More advertising. I used to (still) get so enraged that the owl in this commercial chomped down on this innocent, trusting boy’s Tootsie Roll Pop that I could hardly see straight. I’m talking serious rage. I’m talking I wanted to rip the head off of that smug owl to see if he had a Tootsie Roll center. It was my earliest taste of injustice. It tasted like poop.

Dynomite! This is Jim, the husband of Darla. Darla of She’s A Maineiac fame. And also of German Clock Girl fame (sorry, Darla). I’ve had this sitting around in my email inbox for centuries waiting to do a new Dynomite! post.

This will probably be controversial, but I’m giving this ensemble a C+. I had to take off style points because polyester by no means has the stretchy give necessary for playing a brisk game of [your guess is as good as mine]. I miss those butterfly collars. Although, they used to be dangerously pointy. If parents didn’t already say it back then, they should’ve said, Don’t run with scissors. And for God’s sake don’t run while you’re wearing that shirt.

Eulogy. Jim’s shirt seems like the perfect segue for this. I hope you’ll join me in pausing for a moment of silence for my favorite Jewish Puerto Rican Sweathog, Epstein. When most Welcome Back, Kotter groupies were all like, “Oh, Vinnie Barbarino!” I was all like, “Oh, Juan Luis Pedro Philippo DeHuevos Epstein!” Robert Hegyes died last month at the age of 60.…

Dear Readers,

This post is not supposed to be funny. It’s about funny. That doesn’t mean it needs to be funny. This note follows a spirited discussion I had with my husband (a.k.a. #1 Fan) when he gently told me this post is not funny. Which made me launch into a belligerent, paraphrased Joe Pesci bit. “Funny, like I’m a clown? Am I only here to amuse you?” To which he responded, “Um, I love you.”

I take criticism well.


P.S. I am not having my period.

I’m making my kids watch Looney Tunes. I own the four-disc DVD set and they can call them out by name. Mom, can we watch the frickin-frackin guy? Yosemite Sam it is then. Of course, I realize they now may be more apt to drop a 300-pound anvil on someone’s head. And, sure, I worry about that. But I’ll be damned if they ever tell me Clifford the Big Red Dog is funny.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had three everynight prayers:

1.) Please God let her be healthy. Extra digits are fine. Just don’t let her have to spend life in a hospital room.

2.) Please God let her have compassion. Please let her care about all of humanity. That includes the 31% who are complete assholes and don’t deserve to share oxygen with us, let alone be allowed to cut in line at Target just because they have two items and are oblivious to the fact that I have a screaming toddler in my cart. Where was I? Oh, yes — compassion.

3.) Please God let her have a great sense of humor. She doesn’t have to be funny. She doesn’t have to be the one at the party telling epic stories. What I mean is, please don’t let her be the one in the greeting card aisle laughing at the dog licking its anus.

Then when I was pregnant with my son, I repeated items 1 through 3, except that just after “. . . at the dog licking its anus” I added “. . . at anything about a woman having her period.”

I’m always intrigued to hear about people’s earliest taste of funny. How do we know what’s funny? Is it learned, is it genetic?

Immediately upon being weaned from the breast, I was bottle-fed a steady diet of The Muppet Show, Three’s Company, Looney Tunes, Saturday Night Live, The Carol Burnett Show, Caddyshack, The Jerk and Meatballs. (I wish I could add to that Monty Python, but my parents were not that cultured.) These shows are not necessarily funny. In fact, I would not stand behind any of them as funny. At the time, they were funny. But at the time, I was a kid. Now when I watch them, I still slap my knee and think, Now that right there is funny! And I have no idea if they’re actually funny or if I’m just amused by the memory of them once being funny.

Funny means a lot to me. In many of my relationships, I can remember the pivotal moment where I thought the person was funny. I mean, really funny. A month after dating my husband, we were sitting in a coffee shop and he presented a secret handshake he had invented for us. It contained ridiculous hand gestures and miming. It ended with jazz hands. I knew precisely then that I would marry him.

And then there was the moment in 5th grade when I moved to a new school and sat next to Kelley. She was caught talking in class. As punishment, she was seated next to Benign New Girl. But we had just received our textbooks, and in it was a picture I found funny. (And I’ll stand behind that as funny.) And I made sure to point it out to her. And she thought it was funny too. And that pretty much cemented our friendship.

We declared ourselves Supreme Spazzes. We embraced all things funny. Most of these things were not funny, but that’s what made them funny. We held sleepovers and then fought sleep to watch ancient reruns of Saturday Night Live and the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV. Yet we still awoke early in time for Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

We decided, in order to carry on our lifelong commitment to funny, we must pair off with SCTV cast members. I would marry Martin Short and she would marry Eugene Levy. Our new surnames would ensure we could continue with our future plans to open S & L Pet Supplies (hamster towns incorporated, if you will).

I’ll be honest, we were freaks. And I wouldn’t want to babysit me back then, let alone carry on a conversation with me. Not that I would understand one bit of it. When normal girls were off making up dance routines to Paula Abdul songs, we were off making up a secret language comprised wholly of things we found funny. (I can assure you, none of these things were funny.) Later, if there was time, we made up dance routines to Paula Abdul songs.

My formative years included revolving periods of being both ostracized and respected for my brand of funny. I earned enough collateral to coin slang words and phrases that were adopted into school dialect. One such word – schmenge [SHMAYN-gee] – continues on in the halls of my alma mater today.

Some people are engraved on team trophies or hall of fame plaques. My living legacy is schmenge. I’m quite proud of that.

But then, I took a gamble and blew it all. It was coming up on our winter break, and we were to vote on the annual movie to watch on the last day of the semester. I decided to go for something obscure and formed a massive lobbying campaign to vote in The Apple Dumpling Gang. I seemed to remember it was funny. I hadn’t seen it since I was 6. When I was 6, I ate playdough.

So I put all my money down on red and hoped it’d pay off big. Just wait until they see this funny. And my classmates took my word for it – it must really be funny.

The day before winter break, a day when kids are typically giddy and drunk on impending freedom, 150 eyes stared somberly at a screen, watching men dressed as saloon girls, riding horses backwards, and a whole lot more of this crap:

A good litmus test for funny — if even 8th graders don’t think it’s funny, it probably isn’t.…