Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Why Can't I See My Potato?

I just got my insurance physical to reassure those soulless number-crunching bastards that I don’t have any pesky pre-existing conditions—like a heartbeat or occasional gas…or God forbid, BOTH. 

After every check-up, I hear another rusty nail being hammered into my coffin of denial drowning out my shouts of, “Back off, Reaper Dude! I’m not that old yet!”

During my exam, the 12-year-old Nurse Practitioner (a.k.a. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Child) took my blood pressure and babbled on about prescribing “her new fave BP med” to help with the one I’m already taking.

Great.  Please add another pill to the ones currently bursting out of my daily Pill Minder.  BTW, these are meds I can only recognize by their varied geometric shapes and pastel colors…kind of like a grown-up version of “Garanimals… Garani-Pills!

Okay, now Cindy-Lou-Who-Nurse-Practioner is gazing into my left ear with that ear-thing-a-ma-jig. I breathed a much-needed sigh of relief.  No one has ever found anything wrong using that ear-thing-a-ma-jig.
I was silently cursing my blood pressure update when I heard her Tinker-Bell-Just-Turned-30 voice, “Hmmm… there seems to be something in your ear.” 

Wait. Didn’t she just read that last paragraph?

“Something in my ear…like what? An earworm?  Please just tell me it’s not “ABBA!”

BTW, in my will I have a Do Not Resuscitate, (DNR) ) in case any ABBA song was to lodge itself in my ears.  I'll pull the plug myself if I hear even the opening notes of “Mamma Mia.”

“Nope. Not an earworm,” said the adorable toddler wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope.

“A growth? No way. What in God’s name ever grows in anyone’s ear except hairballs and wax?  Oh! Oh, wait!  I bet it’s one of my wax earplugs—thank you snoring husband. I could only find one this morning when I made the bed. I looked everywhere.  Sometimes I find them stuck in my hair. Gross, right?”

“Sorry. It’s a growth, I’m totally sure. I’m going to refer you to an ENT doc. And, I totally suggest you get a hearing test while you’re there.”

I totally called the ENT for an appointment on my way to my annual eye exam.
I read the eye chart at 20-20—thank you, Lasik.  But, when she peered into my eyes with her eye thing-a-ma-jig she had some concerns.

“The optic nerves can get larger with age.” 


I made an appointment for a glaucoma test and headed off to meet my husband for dinner.

I regaled him with the various enlarged things growing inside me as he flagged the waiter over to order drinks.

“Sweetie, I’m sure you’re overreacting.”

“What?” I said a bit too loudly.  “Speak up. I have a growth in my ear.”

I fished my reading glasses out of my purse and perused the menu.

“To hell with my high cholesterol, I’m ordering a steak medium rare with creamed spinach and a baked potato. You only die once,” I joked trying to recover my aging sense of humor.

I put away my glasses as the waiter arrived with our dinners. 

Bob offered a toast, “May this dinner be just what the doctor ordered! To your health, sweetie.”

Clink. Clink.

I grabbed my knife and fork to dig in.  That’s when I realized something was not quite right.

“Bob! Bob! I can’t see my potato. Why can’t I see my potato?”

“Marianne, it’s pretty hard to miss a baked potato.”

I picked up my plate and held it out in front of me.

“Do you see it?  Is it there?”

“Yes, Marianne.  It’s bigger than your steak.” 

“Are you sure?  Oh, wow. There it is! It’s huge. I’ll never finish it.”

He shook his head, "Are you, done? Can we eat now?” 

I sniffled back tears and retrieved my dinner.

“I’m sorry, Bob. I knew I couldn’t read my menu without my glasses but I… I never thought I’d need them to…to…read. My. Potato.”

With that, I quietly sobbed into my napkin, then dabbed my eyes and put my reading glasses back on.

It really was a lovely potato. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Comedy Writer Seeks Job As A Funeral Attendant

While looking for work as a comedy writer, I registered with online job sites “Monster” and “Indeed.” 

The algorithms they use spit out jobs based on my keywords, “Comedy” & “Writer,” that are funnier than most anything I’ve written.

Here is a sampling of some jobs I’m considered qualified to do:

Cafeteria Food Service: As tempting as this one is I just can’t rock that hairnet. 

Low Voltage Technician: Perhaps this is a job requiring me to find fun ways to teach kids why they shouldn’t put a fork in the toaster?

Dermatologist:  Why not? I never went to medical school but I could write funny Excema prescriptions. “Apply cream on the affected area twice daily while patting your head & rubbing your stomach. It won’t cure your rash but it will take your mind off of it for a few minutes. 

US Navy Surface Warfare Officer:  Something tells me these folks found out I dated a Navy Midshipman in the ’70s.  That certainly qualifies me for this job since I was in high school, he was in college, and I wouldn’t let him go below the surface. Guess it was kinda like warfare. 

However, the winner in future job suggestions came from the “Ohio Means Jobs” career assessment questionnaire. According to my answers, I’d make a great “Funeral Attendant.” 

I generally don’t find funerals funny. But I was morbidly curious why I qualify to be a Funeral Attendant. I assumed this job wasn’t for someone who merely attended funerals—like a seat filler at the Emmys. 

I found out that Funeral Attendants are responsible for placing the casket in its proper place; arranging floral offerings or lights around the casket; directing or escorting mourners; closing the casket, and storing funeral equipment.

Nothing about this job involves comedy... or, does it?

Perhaps I could tell jokes about a wailing Italian Grandma trying to climb into Grandpa's casket. Although this might sound like a macabre scene from "The Godfather,"  I actually witnessed this at age nine at my own Grandpa's funeral.   Hmm, "tragedy plus time equals comedy?"  Would have worked in "Moonstruck."

Okay, here's a making funerals funny option! How about me playing "Truth or Dare" with the pallbearers?  TRUTH:  Did you ever get a cramp and drop a casket?"  DARE:  Did you ever think about... (Okay, let's skip this one.)

Finally, how about me as Funeral Attendant who pulls my master "Martha Stewart" impression and loudly berates the Funeral Director for serving stale cookies and lukewarm coffee to the bereaved?  Can't you just hear her screaming, "If this person weren't dead they would be after choking on these expired Chips Ahoy! Or they would have died from the shits after drinking this Folgers crap coffee you're serving. NOT a GOOD THING!"

I'm pretty sure none of the above is going to happen--but you never know.  

Apparently, the only real criteria to be a Funeral Attendant is, ironically, being a warm body.  

Maybe it’s time to reconsider that hair net.  
ID 51445354 © Cory Thoman | Dreamstime.com

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Click to hear Norton read!

 ‘Tis the night before Christmas and now that I’m three
The ornaments don’t look as tasty to me.
The ones at the bottom are safe from my jaws
But, oops, my big Lab tail some damage might cause!

The gifts are all tagged for humans ...I see.
So, if I get bupkiss— on this tree, I’ll pee.
My Mom might not like it— her carpets so clean.
 So, I’ll blame it on Stanley! (Don’t care if it’s mean.)

Hey, Santa, I swear I’m man’s best-ever Bub...
Always upside-down for my belly-up rubs.
I’ll try not spend Christmas begging for treats...
Like cookies & chew toys and meat! Lots of meat!

May Santa’s love bring you the stuff you desire...
And, hopefully boozed up eggnog by a fire.
May reindeer drop presents that are tied with a bow
 (and not drop the “other” kind you see in the snow.)

May your Christmas be Merry! May your heart be light!
(And, may your drunk uncle not cause a fist fight!)
May you be surrounded by those you hold dear...
And, may this new Christmas Day bring you good cheer.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Woof Night!

Marianne, Bob, Norton and Stanley

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Macy's Day Charade

The Macy’s Day Parade has jumped the shark… or I should say, jumped the duck. The AFLAC duck that is.

From the moment the over-caffeinated “Today Show” team burst on to my TV screen for this must-see Thanksgiving ritual so began a three-hour parade of promotions for all things NBC, shows, sponsors, Tina Fey.  

This has always been part of the parade but now it has become the parade.

Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker wore their best beauty queen smiles as they shilled in the chilled weather for their 30 Rock bosses and their bosses’ bosses—advertisers.

I actually feel a bit sorry for the “Today” crew.  After getting up 5 days a week hours before the ass crack of dawn you know they’d rather be home snug in bed waiting for their private chefs to arrive.  But, the show must go on.

Here are some of the ridiculous highlights of the Macy’s Day Charade :

1. Acapella stars, “Pentatonix,” perched on the Entenmann’s float surrounded by badly dancing donuts, cupcakes and pastries while they sing the melancholy “Where Are You Christmas?” Sugar and misery, anyone?

2. NBC TV stars’ sharing Thanksgiving memories. Most sounded like auditions for a Nicholas Sparks movie. “I remember Mom (insert sniffle), —when she was with us (insert lip bite, wince) …dropping the turkey when I walked in the door. “Bless the Lord,  you’re home! You’re really home!”  (insert turkey baster wherever needed, wince.)

3.  Diana Ross’ singing wig. Diva Diana’s hair was as big as a float and it kept floating in front of her face. NBC isn’t even sure it was actually Diana Ross. They are suing her wig for fraud.

4.  The “Jolly Green Giant” float which was surrounded by grown adults dressed as corn on the cob. Does anyone over the age of four believe these idiots are actually corn?

5.  Marching bands SUCK.  One band gets the gig. ONE BAND. It would shave a good two hours off of this horror show.

6.  Rockettes. It was 19 degrees outside. For the love of God, get those gals’ gams some goddamned leg warmers & play some “Flashdance.” I don’t care what the crazy “leg guys” want.
7.  Rita Ora missing her lip sync cue. She was obviously distracted by having to sing “wanting to have slept with you” on the whimsically colorful “Crazy Glue” float.
8.  The Today Show’s resident clown, Al Roker, on a motorcycle being chased by real clowns. At this point I took a break to baste the turkey.
9.  Back to the fAFLAC duck float. Are you kidding me, NBC? Even the former AFLAC duck, Gilbert Gottfried, would agree this is too much. (Google “Gottfried Tsunami joke” if you need a reference.)
10.  The ubiquitous Dwayne Johnson plugging The Titan Games and referring to Thanksgiving as the “ultimate cheat day.”  Yes, we love you, Rock, but don’t pass the gluttony guilt. Just pass the goddamned gravy.

The Macy’s Charade 2018.  NBC’s most successful comedy.  

I can’t wait to watch it again next year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

I Never Met A Shirt I Couldn’t Stain

I have a real problem. Or, maybe it’s an actual skill that I’ve been training for all of my life.

Whichever it is, it’s something my husband refers to as “remarkable.” 

Friends, family and occasional strangers are forever pointing out random, and sometimes inexplicable,  stains on most of my shirts.  I’m not a sloppy person, per se, but I have an uncanny ability to propel food from its container, my plate, my fork, my fingers onto my clothing. Hell, I’ve even had other people’s food go airborne finding a safe landing dead center on me. Sometimes I think I should just wear a tasteful tarp. They’re cheap, disposable and can be quite fashionable when cinched at the waist. 

The forensic evidence of my one-woman food fight is clear when I pick up the dry cleaning. Without fail several of my shirts come back with that little, “WE ARE SORRY BUT…” tags around the hanger. 

The tag is pretty humiliating.  After the “WE ARE SORRY BUT…” it goes on to say, “We’ve tried and tried but we find that the stains on this garment cannot be removed without possible injury to the color or fabric.” 

But what that tiny tag really implies is “We’re sorry, but quite frankly, you are the biggest slob of all of our customers. However, we do appreciate your stain business. Good luck at your next meal.”  

One time when at least a half a dozen of these tags came back with the cleaning my husband posted it on Facebook with the caption, “One week of Marianne’s dry cleaning and six of these tags. Remarkable.”

I know why food constantly finds its way on to my clothing. It’s hereditary. I got this from my Dad.

Growing up we constantly teased him about the food stains, usually Italian red sauce, which constantly adorned his shirts. One night after a linguini marinara dinner my brothers and I gave him a round of applause because not one drop landed on his shirt. He was so proud he grabbed his tie and held it up with a flourish exclaiming, “Ta Da!!” And there it was. A fresh greasy dab of marinara sauce under his tie.  Now, that takes some spill skill.

I rarely even know when stains are on me. I remember chatting with Bob while making him a late morning breakfast. I’d had mine hours ago. He stopped in mid-conversation to ask, “What is that?” as he pointed to my chest.

I looked down to see a blob of dried egg yolk dead center in the v-neck of my fresh white tee shirt. “Well, at least I won’t be getting one of those tags from the dry cleaners!” I said as I washed it off. 

Needless to say, that same shirt did not make it through lunch.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018



It’s a thriller themed squirrel Howloween with Norton....
and here’s the text to howl along with him ...  Now it’s your big chance to show Norton some fancy MJ foot work! 

Woof woof woof ha ha ha! 

Woof woof woof ha ha ha! 
It's close to midnight
Something evil’s creeping thru the park
Under the moonlight
I see a sight that almost stops my heart
I try to YAP...
But terror takes the sound before I make it—
I start to CRAP!
Then horror looks me right between my eyes I’m DOGGIE-FIED!

'Cause it’s a squirrel!

And no one’s gonna save me!
From the beast with beady eyes...
You know it’s Squirrel—
Squirrel night!

Scream and howl to fade...

Saturday, October 20, 2018

My Husband Rinses His Ham

"My husband rinses his ham."

My husband rinses his ham.

It all began in our kitchen a few years ago while Bob and I were having a mindless chat about oh, let’s say my obsession with Amazon Prime. 

“Why do you buy fourteen pairs of shoes at a time?” he asked.

“I’m only keeping a couple of them. What’s the big deal?”

“Marianne, the big deal is that you blow up our credit card and even though you ‘only keep a couple of them’ the other dozen sit on our bill until you muster the strength to pack them up and take them to the UPS Store.”

“C’mon, Bob!  Think about how much money I save us when I get a refund for the shoes I’ve returned!” 

Somewhere in the midst of my completely illogical defense that I make money by returning shoes, the doorbell rang. 

“Oooh… Amazon Prime!” I squealed as I ran to the front door.   

When I popped back into the kitchen Bob had obviously started making himself lunch.  I knew because he had all his fave fixings, Sandwich Slims, Pepper Rings, spicy mustard, sunflower seeds, lettuce and toasted bread lined up in an anal retentive protocol usually reserved for the coronation of a king. What was missing was the meat.

That’s when I noticed Bob was at the sink holding several slices of deli ham under the faucet. 

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Rinsing the ham.” 
"Oh, gonna barf!"

“I see that. But, why? Why are you rinsing your ham?”

“Because it’s slimy.”

“Oh my God, Bob, you can’t eat that. It’s gone bad. Throw it out!”

“No way. I rinsed it. It’s fine. I do this all the time” he said as he popped a slice into his mouth.

He rinsed off a couple more putrid slices and stacked them on his sandwich. As he took a giant bite I stared, waiting for him to convulse, retch, go pale, something. 

Not taking any chances I called 911.

“My husband just poisoned himself with a ham sandwich.”

“Stay calm, ma’am. Can you tell us how old the ham was?”

“I don’t know. 10 days, maybe 2 weeks. Please, you have to hurry.”

“Do you know if it was slimy when he ate it?”

“Yes. Yes, it was slimy…viscous, actually. Is he going to die?”

“He could get sick depending on how much ham he ate and whether or not he rinsed it first.”

“What? Rinsed it? Yes, he did, but wait, is that a thing? Who the hell rinses their ham?”

“I do all the time. Drives my wife crazy. Look, I suggest you calm down and keep an eye on him. He should be fine. If not, call us back.”

Bob survived. This time.

Then one day while chatting with our friends, Craig and Mika, I asked if they had viscous ham issues. 

Mika rolled her eyes, “Craig’s like Bob. Eats anything— just like a frat boy.”

“Hey!” Craig protested.  “There’s nothing wrong with the ham. I just give it a quick rinse. But, hey, if it’s really gone bad, you know, BBG bad as Mika calls it, I’ll chuck it.”  

“BBG bad?” I asked.

“That’s Mika’s term for something so foul even he won’t eat it.  BBG… Beyond Bob Goen!”

That’s when I gave up trying to save Bob’s life and promised myself I would never again prevent a man from rinsing his ham.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

I'm Too Loud for Golf


I’m Too Loud for Golf

Bob and I are thinking of retiring sooner than later in, despite the obvious cliche, Florida.

When I told my gal pals they uttered a collective gasp. “You can’t be serious?"  “You’re not that old yet!” What about your skin?”  "Don’t you have to be a meth head to live in Florida?!”  “Or Jewish?!”  

I laughed off the hysterics until Shari offered her two cents.

“Marianne, you can’t move to Florida. You don’t golf.”

“How about tennis?

“You’re way past the legal limit of cortisone shots,” Shari shot back.


“Face it. Your spine is shrinking. How do you plan to get the ball over the net? Next?”


“Good luck finding a sports bra that’ll hold those puppies up through that crap.” 

“Then what’s left? Chair Yoga? Mah Jong with the Jewish widows at the deli? By the way, why is all Jewish deli food beige or gray?” 

Shari got that Shari-look in her eye. “Bob’s got a birthday coming up, right?”

“What’s that got to do with Florida?”

“You’re buying yourself golf lessons for Bob’s birthday. You’ve got a few months to take them. Then, on his birthday, you take him golfing and show him you’re ready for the Sunshine State.”

The notion seemed faintly romantic until I remembered the day I met Bob’s brother-in-law, David, who asked, “Do you golf?” Bob chimed in before I could answer. "No. No, she doesn’t." 

This was going to be a tough task. 

By the time Bob’s birthday rolled around I was ready for an easy round of nine holes—didn’t want to “over impress” him after all. 

Imagine his surprise when his surprise gift was a round of golf with me. That was a fun moment. But, he was a trooper and off we went to the links.

With each successful whack of the ball, I let out an excited “Whoop! Whoop!” and did a “Dab” or two.  

“Hey, I was only 6 over par on that hole! Whoop! Whoop! Is that still a bogey?”

“No, Marianne,” Bob groaned leaning on his club. “There’s no term for being 6 over par other than being 6 over par. And, can you keep it down with the whoop, whoops? This is golf…not beer pong.” 

“But, I’m having so much fun.  Geez, not like those guys behind us. They look miserable. Hey, guys! Watch me birdie this next shot!” I yelled at them and waved.  They just sat in their carts and stared.

 “What’s their problem?” I asked Bob.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe they’d like you to take less than 30 minutes to finish a hole so they can get back to the clubhouse before the next presidential election.”  

Bob didn’t seem to be having as much fun as I was but I wasn’t going to let that ruin how much I was enjoying his birthday present.

Four hours later we finished the ninth hole. I was exhausted but exhilarated. I shouted one more “Whoop, whoop!” and did a final "Dab" to celebrate. I was now a golfer and could officially move to Florida. 

“So, Bob-alu, how’d you like your birthday present?”

“It was a very sweet idea. Torturous…but sweet.”

“Oh, come on. By the time we move to Sarasota, I’ll be much better, I promise.”

“I’m sure you will. But, I won’t be golfing with you.”  He sighed when he saw my disappointment and then said, “Marianne, I love you and you know that. But, I have to tell you the truth.  You’re too LOUD for golf.”

The carts with the foursome who were behind us rolled by overhearing Bob.

They looked right at me with their first smile of the day and together said, “Yes. Yes, she is.” Then they let out a loud “Whoop! Whoop!” One of them even did the "Dab." 

Mah Jong at the deli it is. Pass the pastrami.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"You Gonna Need a Box?"

“You Gonna Need a Box?”
by Marianne Curan

In my profession, which I’ll loosely call “Show Biz,” performers often describe themselves as a “working” actor/writer/host, etc —which even the least hip to that phrase assume that means you’re an “unemployed” actor/writer/host, etc—

If you do claim to be a “working” anything you better be ready to answer the inevitable, “Oh, great! Where can I see you?” 

To prevent stammering into an inelegant babble of bullshit I keep these quick shut-em-up answers handy:

1) “You can’t actually see me because I'm doing a lot of voice-overs… dubbing movies into English. I had no idea Farsi was such a musical language!”

2) “You can see me on “Law & Order.””  Here’s why this works:  Anyone who’s ever held a spear in a high school play has worked on “Law & Order.” No matter what scene or character you describe there’s an episode of it in re-runs that they’ll buy is you. You were undercover, right? I know this because not only have I seen EVERY episode but I also did an episode of “Law & Order.”  (Bet you just made the “dun-dun” noise, right?)

3) “I’m a strict Method Actor and I’m rehearsing a new project about being an unemployed radio host…the hardest role I’ve ever had. But it’s coming along.”   

Okay, I added that last one because I just became an unemployed radio host.

I can honestly say I’ve never been personally fired from a job…any job.  Yes, shows I’ve been on were canceled, pilots for new shows weren’t picked up and I’ve been replaced by younger, cheaper talent.  But, the news always came from my agent, someone on MY side, so it never had the same sting.

That was until recently. My husband and I were co-hosts of a popular morning radio show nearing its 6th full year on the air.  But, one day on our way home from the studio, the phone rang.

A few hours later we found ourselves seated across from our boss, let’s call him Mr. Boss, and the head of HR, Ms. Helfinger. Mr. Boss, shifting in apparent discomfort at the unpleasant task ahead, leaned in to tell us that they were “going in a different direction.” 

“Going in a different direction.” Ha! Why is that the only thing management can come up with instead of saying what is actually happening… you’re being fired?  

Are they really going in a different direction? Did the radio show suddenly decide to manufacture hubcaps? Are they now grooming dogs?  Running a Mathnasium franchise?  That would be “going in a different direction.”

Nope. They’re still a radio station. They still play music on the radio, only now with new hosts.  And we just got fired.

Ms. Helfinger handed us the requisite “Don’t-Sue-Us-Cuz-We-Didn’t-Mean-It-Paperwork” and asked for our keycards (i.e. so we can’t go postal and pin Xeroxed copies of our asses on the break room bulletin board).

We all stood up in awkward silence. I was wavering between giggles and grim when Ms. Helfinger asked, “Are you gonna need a box?”

I almost laughed out loud at the sudden revelation. When you get fired they give you a box! That’s when I knew I’d really never been fired before. I never got a box.

That’s when I spotted two empty file boxes behind Ms. Helfinger’s chair. They were our boxes.

Bob and I looked at each other. “Do you need a box, sweetie?” I asked.  
“I don’t know. Do you?” he replied. 

“Well, I do have my stuffed Minion doll...
 and my Daffy Duck pen holder.” 

“Yeah, I only have a couple of baseball bobbleheads but something tells me I’m not taking them home.” offered Bob.

“No. No, you’re not.” I said with a grin. 

As we gathered our sparse belongings it appeared we would need only one of those boxes. Just one. Our entire 6 years on this show fit into one box.

Mr. Boss and Ms. Helfinger made their heartfelt goodbyes to us and we headed to the elevator for our last trip home from “work.”  Before the doors opened I grabbed Bob by the arm and led him to the stairs.

“No one in radio takes the stairs!” I said. “There’s much less of a chance we’ll be spotted making the “Box of Shame” walk!”  We laughed and quietly sneaked out, my 1st Place Chili Cookoff trophy poking out of “the Box.”

It’s a few weeks later and I’m settling into unemployment. I’m certainly not missing my 7 p.m. bedtime and my 3 a.m. wake-up calls. But, there’s much I do miss… entertaining people. It’s always the first thing you miss if you do what I do.

I found out that the hardest part of my new life is remembering what day of the week it is. Although I solved that by checking my Pill Minder box each morning when I pop my anti-depressants and blood pressure pills. “Oh, look! It’s Tuesday!”

Tomorrow will be Wednesday and so on, and so on. I’ll figure it out. I always do.

By the way, did you see me on “Law & Order?”  

Dun. Dun. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

That's The Pill I Take When I Go To Visit My Sister....

That’s The Pill I Take When I Go To Visit My Sister
by Marianne Curan 

I love reading “birth order” theories. Experts say the firstborn will be a leader, responsible, focused and in control. The middle child will be the peacekeeper and people pleaser always looking for compromise.  And, the youngest, which I am,  will go from being a creative and fun-loving child to become a self-centered, narcissistic asshole as an adult.

By the way, that description of the youngest was written by my sister, let’s call her “Kay,” who is the oldest.  As I always told my parents, “God had the good sense to place my two brothers between us so no one died.”

According to the birth order experts, these are my personality traits (accompanied by my proof of their validity):

Fun-loving: Have you seen the “Farting Preacher” on YouTube? (Link: https://bit.ly/2uDVj7Q
Uncomplicated: Hmm… Just don’t ask my ex, my husband or my shrink.
Manipulative:         Gee, thanks for trying to understand me … (starts to cry)
Outgoing:               Got TSA agents to sing Fig Newton song...twice!  (Link: https://bit.ly/2uzEFGm)
Attention seeker: See above.
Self-centered: I’m sorry. What were you saying?

While we were growing up in cookie-cutter suburbia, Kay, my then super smart, responsible, older-than-her-years sister doted on me. I’m eight years younger so until I hit puberty posed her no threat. 

But, in my teenage years, Kay, now in her 20’s saw every leniency my parents gave me as a double standard. “I never did that when I was your age” I’d hear ad infinitum when I got to wear a bikini, stay out late, get my ears pierced, date and on and on. 

My parents allowed me to do these things because a) they’d learned by child #4 what will and will not kill you and 2) they’d seen my sister chase boys to the point of dropping out her freshman year of college because she only took classes that had good-looking guys in them!  Needless to say, she fell 3 1/2 years shy of getting that coveted M.R.S. degree. 
Then somewhere in her 30’s and me in my 20’s  Kay decided to hate me.  Okay, let’s change that to “dislike” since my Mom hated the word hate. “Hate is a strong word,” she’d say, hating it.

I was having the time of my life in my late 20’s. I had a dream job doing sketch comedy and getting acting gigs, I had a great group of friends…and I was thin. 

Yes, I had the audacity to like staying in shape something my sister was slowly and sadly losing interest in doing. Kay’s rocky relationship with her live-in was getting rockier, she hated her job and she was eating her way through it all. 

But, why did she take it out on me?  

Kay was then, and still is, a “Grass is always greener” kind of person. She never missed a shot off the bow to let me know how lucky I was.  Never a comment about my hard work… only constant comparisons to her lesser fortunes—as self-imposed as they were. 

This pattern got to be pretty old. I longed for the days when she was a straight A student and teen model and I was a gangly grade schooler with braces, glasses and stringy hair. She liked me a lot better then. 

Over the years I learned to expect Kay’s notions of my “grand life” and let them roll over me.  It wasn’t until my father passed away suddenly and we were in the car after his funeral that she unleashed a pent-up tirade that explained it all.

I learned that day that she tells everyone how “self-centered” I am, how I only traveled to my parents to be the “entertainment,” that I manipulated her to avoid helping take care of our parents and on and on. 

According to Kay, I am the poster child for the birth order youngest child (see above).
I refrained from telling her that she is the poster child from a Stephen King novel. 

My father’s death sent me down a black hole for quite some time. I was on anti-depressants and tranquilizers for months.  But, as I weaned off my grief and my meds I had an “Ah-Hah” moment about my sister.

I was with some actress friends meeting a director for our new stage comedy, “The Hungry & Horny Show.”  One of the gals got a blinding headache and asked if anyone had an aspirin. I pulled out my “Pharmacy Purse Pal,” emptied its contents into my hand and watched our new director shriek in horror, “What is all that?”  (I didn’t know at the time that she was sober from an alcohol and drug addiction.)
So, not knowing that, I calmly stated “the little blue pills are Alleve which I take after the gym if I’m sore.  Those pink & white caps are my anti-depressants—THANK YOU JESUS!!  Oh, and those whopping white puppies are Excedrin—probably best for your headache-since they’ve got caffeine. These tiny white ones are Ambien—I am such an insomniac!  They make me sleepwalk… and cook dinner.  I know it sounds scary, but it is so great to wake up the next day and have dinner made…even if the gas stove is still lit!”

That’s when our new director, mouth aghast,  asked, “What in God’s name is that giant orange one?” 

“Oh, that’s my fave! That’s the pill I take when I go to visit my sister!!”

Everyone laughed, even me.  That’s when I realized I was turning a corner back to humor and… sanity. 

I was determined to hold on to that last orange pill. I planned to never take it…even when I did go to visit my sister.

That neon orange life vest is really meant for emergencies…and as much as my sister, let’s call her “Kay,” makes me crazy… it’s never an emergency.  At its worst, it’s a time to remember my beloved Mother reminding me that, “Hate is a strong word.” 


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Norton's Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and as you can see
The ornaments hang at the top of the tree.
The ones at the bottom ‘ol Norton destroyed
So we hung them up high a vet bill to avoid.

The gifts are piled safely locked up in his crate
Away from his jaws and so as not to be “ate.”
“Guilty as charged” he was put in his place
but we just can’t get mad at that heavenly face!

Puppies are cute (which is why he’s still here)
to join in a holiday filled with good cheer!
We’ll keep him and love him and when he grows up

maybe we’ll remind him what he did as a pup!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Diagnosis: I’m A Shitty Sleeper

…I have the auditory capability of a fruit bat.  I can hear someone break a sweat or drop a hint from forty yards

It’s 3:43 a.m. and I am awake. 

I’m not a doctor on call with a patient in labor or a farmer with cows to milk and I don’t have a paper route.  Nope.  None of the above. I am awake because of an accurate diagnosis by my psychiatrist/sleep disorder expert who is also the Chief of Staff of a major psych hospital and a published expert on everything from bad moods to Double-blind Crossover and withdrawal of Neuroleptics in Remitted, Recent-onset Schizophrenics—one of many doorstop sized books in his office.

I am awake because this guy, Dr. Crazy Smart, says that I am, and I quote, “a shitty sleeper.”

This all started when I was about ten. My bedroom was right above the living room where my big brothers were watching TV switching between “Combat” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”  The screams of soldiers in battle would alternate with the bellowing of “Schhhhhullltzzz!” by Colonel Klink—all of it rattling the floor beneath my tiny twin bed.

Jarred from cozy slumber I’d shuffle across my bubble gum pink shag rug and park myself at the top of the stairs. Then in my best future-theatre-major delivery, I’d implore Mike and Bobby to  “Turn. That. TV. Down.” This would be repeated at higher and higher decibels until said TV. Was. Turned. Down.  

The TV really didn’t need to be too loud since I’ve been blessed with the auditory capability of a fruit bat.  I can hear someone break a sweat or drop a hint from forty yards—which is a great attribute if you’re training to be a guide dog or cracking a safe.  But when you’re just an exhausted human being trying to sleep— it’s a pain in the ass.

I mean it’s truly a pain in the ass. 

I’ve been known to dismantle a clock in 30 seconds if it’s emitting even the faintest “tick, tick, tick.”  I’ve buried my husband’s left arm under spare pillows to shut up his beloved Rolex which he only takes off to shower.  How can a watch that expensive be that loud?!!  I keep earplugs handy to mute certain inescapable rackets like the ear shattering explosions and roars of “Duuuddddde!!! You got so destroyed!” coming from my stepson’s Xbox game down the hall. 

I use earplugs to quiet the gnawing grind of leaf blowers erupting like a plague of mechanical locusts at 7 a.m. up and down my block. Heck, I use earplugs so I can’t hear myself think. Even that keeps me up at night.

I especially need earplugs to drown out my Labrador Retriever’s snoring.  Stogie has always snored, but now at 84 (in dog years) his snoring, as Spinal Tap would gauge, “Goes to 11.”  

Every night I’m jolted into consciousness by his strained, wheezy gasps for air followed by raspy choking noises and implosive sighs.  It sounds like someone being strangled and taking an inordinately long time to die.

Older dogs sleep in a semi-comatose state which means Stogie is now immune to the sweat socks I bean at him from across the room.  I’ve always kept a pile right by the bed for just these occasions.  The gentle “thwock” of the rolled up socks used to be enough to gently stir him.  He’d look up, slightly stupefied, then grunt and quietly go back to sleep.

So would I, until I married the above-referenced husband and had the added challenge of his snoring keeping me awake.  Something told me it would not be a good idea to throw socks at him.

Instead, I would gently nudge him. And, just like our dog, Bob looks up, a little stupefied, then defiantly grunts at me.  (Translation: “I wasn’t snoring.”) Husbands never do.

Light also keeps me awake. Even the tiniest glimmer.  Every night I black out our bedroom like a Vegas hotel, turn the alarm clock’s glow toward the wall and, as Bob settles in with his latest novel, I don my sleep mask since they have yet to design a reading light that only illuminates the damned book.

So, yes, my doctor is right. I’m a “shitty sleeper” and have been all of my life.  But, it used to be mild and occasional. 

Then, in my early 40’s I stopped sleeping. Period. This descent into sleep deprived madness was the result of personal and professional life traumas so overwhelming that I told Bob, “Sweetie, I know I promised to grow old with you.  I just didn’t think it was going to happen in three months.”

So here I was in the prime of my life being treated for major depression and sampling anti-depressants like Pez to see which one had the least disruptive side effects. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials rattling off a laundry list of symptoms that should scare anyone in their right mind from taking this shit.  But, ah hah!! I’m depressed. I’m not in my right mind. So, pop, pop. Happy, happy!! And…AWAKE.

Most antidepressants warn against “difficulty sleeping.”  Difficulty? Hmmm… I know difficulty sleeping.  But now, I simply don’t sleep. Dr. Crazy Smart thought it was anxiety so he prescribed some giant horse pill tranquilizers to down with my sleeping pills at night. Pop. Pop. Zzzz. Zzzz. Oh, what a relief it is!  I popped those puppies going to bed and again with my “Up with People” meds in the morning.  Suddenly I was Judy Garland— without the voice. But, now, life was good. No, not good. Tolerable.

These were the years I also got hooked on Law & Order.  Dun. Dun. Numb. Numb.  I’m pretty sure I watched every single episode of every single version which is approximately 6,382 shows, not including reruns.  SVU was my fave. I’m not sure why watching crimes that are “particularly heinous”  was a mood lifter.  Was it because it made me feel like my life was better than the poor prostitutes they’d find strangled and stuffed into Hefty bags? Or, is it because I loved staring at Christopher Meloni? 

Heck, I’m just grateful that eventually modern medicine, Dick Wolfe, and the healing effects of time and a new job helped turn my life around.

I finally crawled out of my black hole into the light of day, went off medication and awaited my new found slumber.  And I waited. And I waited. Usually while watching Christopher Meloni dig prostitutes out of the trash at 3:43 a.m. Dun. Dun. Numb. Numb.

Back I go to Dr. Crazy Smart… bleary eyed and haggard, but happy to be laying on his couch, or any couch for that matter. “Are you taking the Ambien?”  he asks. “No.? I whine. “I’m tired of popping pills.”  Not impressed he asked, “Quick question. Are you still a shitty sleeper?”  

I shot him a dirty look and held out my hand for the prescription.