…funk for the old soul…

Posts Tagged ‘humor’


Posted by crowbiz on October 4, 2009

My reality shows:  Here is Part 1

Many people agree that reality shows are the stupidest thing ever conceived, so of course I’d like to have my own.  



Premise:  A middle-aged woman is sent to live in a Target store for six weeks with only the clothes on her back and her laptop.  She must spend her days and nights using only products and facilities available within the store, with the caveat that all items and services be made available to her:  food, clothing, furniture, the slushie machine, sports equipment, over the counter meds, music, books, OxiClean, employee associate breakrooms and supply sinks, and best of all, the funny red vehicle with the flashing light that they use to drive all the carts inside.  Naturally, the pharmacy would remain off limits;  this is a legal necessity, but unfortunately for a reality show, one that drastically cuts down the drama potential.


Family can visit, but only during regular store hours.  Contestant is allowed outside on Target property for fresh air once per day anytime while the store doors are unlocked, and a supply of produce may be brought in by family once a week.  This is no contest, it’s a vacation.  The stakes are upped by choosing my local Buffalo Target, not a SuperTarget nor some schmancy suburban store with their Starbucks, renovated, Euro restrooms, ergonomic baskets and produce sections.  Furthermore, I’d run into people I know and not be subjected to a lot of perfect-haired, high-heeled Xanaxed mothers pretending that they’re only shopping for paper towels.


At first I’d feel uneasy just opening packages when I needed something, assembling my futon (or maybe an air mattress from the camping aisle?) in public, and enjoying snacks for the taking, but life would quickly develop a routine.  Lots of reading and writing.  There would be internet access for my laptop so I can keep up with my favorite trainwreck sites and also to blog about the fabulosity of living in Target. 


Most likely, I’d find a red shirt and masquerade as an employee associate some of the time, finding ways to pretend to work (associate?), or in my case, pretending to pretend to work/associate.  Misdirecting shoppers guests would be fun; most of them could use the exercise.  I wouldn’t mind dustmopping now and then.  Some days would be spent in disguise when I choose outfits I would never be caught dead in normally – one day I’d be Polyester Civil Servant, another, Community College Tramp.  To break things up, I’d occasionally hide by lying down on a lower shelf, maybe behind some kitchen appliances or bags of dog chow, and if I didn’t fall asleep, see how long it took before someone got a surprise finding a body on a shelf.


Once the lights are turned off for the night, I can blast my own music, light a couple soy candles and hit the air mattress, keeping the snazziest flashlight I can find next to me in case I need to visit the bathroom.  At night, the crew would film me with that creepy night-vision camera that whites out one’s eyes, making me look like a retail Bear Grylls, only I won’t have to whisper about how cold I am or how the raw worm is holding me over for the night.  And never will I have to drink my own urine.


Audiences might grow weary and unbecomingly jealous watching a slacker waste six weeks on Target’s dime, so we should probably incorporate some challenges.  Reorganize the back-to-school section?  Elude shoppers guests with dart guns?  Follow clues around the store so I actually have to earn my Funyuns and Archer Farms Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Biscotti cereal?  


Why Target and not WalMart?  Please, I want to make it out with a shred of sanity and decency left.  Also, if I end up on, there might be a conflict with the network as to who has rights to my imagery. 


Target executives in Minneapolis:  I’m not kidding; we can negotiate the terms; I’m easy to find with a little googling.




Posted in Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Seven Girls a-Gagging

Posted by crowbiz on July 16, 2009

Special thanks to my mother, who brought up this episode a few weeks ago, and recalled her role with perfect clarity – which simply means it jibed with my version – after more than 30 years.

The third grade lunch table at St. John Vianney school was a segregated affair:  boys on one side, girls on the other.  We did have the freedom to choose who we sat next to, but not who appeared across from us.  Thus it was that one day, while sitting with my pal Wendy, we found ourselves across the table from Jerry and Danny, good buddies and too-good-to-be-true opposites.  Jerry was small, impishly handsome and bright.  Danny was large for his age, with prematurely developing acne and body odor, and consistently at the bottom of the class standings (Much to my horror, he later developed a crush on me in our middle school years when his acne and BO reached clinical levels.  This still produces jaw clenching and DT-like shudders in me.) 


Have you tried it with Fluffernutter?

Have you tried it with Fluffernutter?

As boys are wont to do, J & D thought it would be funny to surprise their table face-mates with a little gross humor during our peanut butter session.  Jerry hauled from his nose the largest, wettest booger I have, to this day, ever seen, and began to wag his finger slowly, sensuously, scarily back and forth in front of us.  Like a chubby green flame, the booger did an unpredictable dance on his fingertip, catching glints of light from the fluorescent overheads.  Wendy and I were the intended targets of this monstrous display and the only ones to see it, save for Danny, who showed gummy stuck bread in his teeth as he convulsed with laughter.


Well, you all know what’s it like with an accident.  You can’t not look.  The crumpled metal, the roadkill, the broken dinnerware, the overturned wheelchair, you name it, it’s irresistible.  Jerry’s amorphic booger transfixed us like a hypnotic atrocity, the color, shine, and movement rendering Wendy and me powerless to disengage.  We clutched each other’s forearms for support and then it began….

Perhaps simultaneously, Wendy and I started in on a gag jag, punctuated by the occasional cough or airy near-puke belch.  Our eyes filled will retch-produced tears, yet still we could not look away from the offending, undulating finger.  Once our visceral reaction kicked in, Jerry continued the snot show with renewed vigor, darting the booger nearer to us as if to wipe or fling it.  Just as suddenly, he’d draw back the hand and pretend he might eat the booger, aiming it near his open mouth.  Danny was nearly on the floor by this time.

Sensing danger among their own kind, other girls quickly took notice of us.  Wendy and I articulated the trouble as best we could between gags and throat-bound burps.  Before anyone else could see, Jerry abruptly ceased all mucoid shenanigans, offloaded the booger somewhere (?), and sat up neatly and quietly like the altar boy he was.  Evidently, our choked descriptions were adequate, as a few girls’ faces started to twist into disgust and…what was that?…gag a little?  Two of us rapidly became four, then six, and finally seven girls sympathetically coughing and gagging in a hellish chorus.  Eyes teared.  Girls doubled over.  And almost immediately, a lunch lady was summoned to the scene.  Panicking and wondering if we’d been afflicted with a mysterious swift-acting malady (bad Jiffy?  spoiled milk?  why only the girls?), the lunch lady whisked us in single file up out of the basement cafeteria and straight to the nurse’s office.  

St. John’s was a tiny school where the same 25 children progressed from K through Grade 8 together with a rare loss or addition of a kid here and there.  Charitably, I could say the school and church were not well off.  Turquoise painted cinderblock, a basement cafeteria/stageless auditorium/gym (with low ceilings), no lunch program, forced child labor.  Gym classes, when we had them, usually consisted of milling around in the blacktop church parking lot.  We dreaded Mass days, because the church was unheated.  In fourth grade, I remember a substitute nun ordering us to pick the crumpled paper out of the class wastebasket, smooth it as best we could, and use any unwritten-on sides or areas for our work.  You could tell who came from a big family, as the girls would be wearing a hand-me-down uniform in a long ago style – different pleats, maybe even a whole different tone of plaid that been discontinued many years earlier;  boys from these families always had the wrong width tie for the times.  Even the name was cut-rate; who ever heard of Vianney?

And so, the nurse’s office was predictably underequipped.  In reality, we had no nurse; instead, one of the non-teaching nuns filled in when needed, materializing from the convent to wipe a brow, call a parent, dab mercurochrome, or throw absorbent sawdust on a vomit pool before the janitor arrived.  The office even housed the mimeograph machine.  Our unexpected gag-a-thon produced a makeshift response.  Seven girls.  Two cots.  Three World War II issue scratchy wool blankets.  The authorities piled us like cordwood onto the two cots, three on one, four on another, threw blankets haphazardly over us, and clicked on a space heater (yes, just what you want when feeling nauseous).  Lucky me, I was on the lower count cot with Wendy and Kathy G.  Despite the teachers’ attempts to understand the source of our retchfest, they remained puzzled, as none of the girls was able to adequately explain it; most girls didn’t even understand their own gagging as a sympathetic response to the sight and sound of others.

Moments passed.  The room was hushed and warm with the tick of the space heater lulling our gags away.  Soon, all physio systems returned to normal and the Band of Seven lay quietly enjoying the time out of class.  We risked some whispered conversation while the principal, Sister Patricia, called our mothers to come collect us.  As it happened, my mother was the first one called and the first to show up at school, no doubt unhappy that this intrusion had spoiled her own lunch with mid-day “stories.”  By now, all girls were feeling fine and getting chatty.   My mother appeared at the office door and was met with a barrage of amazingly recovered girly exclamations.

“It was so gross!”  “He was going to wipe it on me!”  “Jerry and Danny…” “Ewww!”  “It was so big!”   “Did he eat it?” 

My mother waved us silent and got the straight story from me.  A good little girl, I was careful to give an accurate account of the event, especially since I could see my mother’s face morphing into the “are you kidding me?” look.  

“WHAT?!  You mean to tell me that you’re all in here because a boy picked his nose?  At lunch?!”  My mother’s response dripped of the regret felt by a typical 70s housewife whose few hours of solitude – the tuna sandwich, “Days Of Our Lives,” the mid-day cigarette – had been shattered by the stupidest of interruptions.  (Sorry I couldn’t appreciate that until recently, Mom.  Really, I didn’t ask them to call you.)  “Get up, all of you!” she commanded.  The directives were flying now.  “Were all the mothers called?”  (She was hoping perhaps to prevent another mother’s scuttled day.)  “I’m going right upstairs to talk to Sister Patricia!”  “Get these girls back to class,” she ordered some other adult within earshot.

Cheerfully, we filed out of the nurse’s office and back upstairs to our second-floor classroom.  Some of the girls might have felt sheepish about the whole incident, but not me – I was an original, honest-to-goodness Witness To the Booger.  As we passed the principal’s office, I could hear my mother’s voice intermixed with stop-and-start apologetic exclamations from Sister Patricia, who, auditorially, at least, was up against the wall.  We girls were not disappointed to miss a chance to go home early;  it hadn’t been anyone’s intent in the first place.  The gagging just took on a life of its own and we were swept up in the circumstances directed by adults, as always.  I knew my mother would see this as the school’s mistake, not mine, so I found it in me to enjoy her opening a can of controlled suburban whoop-ass on the authorities.

Once we were all back in our seats and attending to the blackboard, the whole class turned to the door when we heard a voice.  The sound was a groan like the pissed-off voices of a hundred dead souls coming from the hallway beyond:

 “Jerry, Danny, please come out here.”

Posted in Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Sort-of Facts of Life

Posted by crowbiz on June 16, 2009





hilarious cards by wryandginger on etsy

hilarious cards by wryandginger on etsy

The Bunkbed Confidential category is so named for the weird and often heartfelt conversations that seem to transpire at the boys’ bedtime, a usually chaotic time that ends most nights with parental cuddling for each boy in their respective beds.  Since the boys were little, however, they’ve tended to spill the beans to mom rather than Mr Crow, probably out of sheer availability and time logged in mandatory cuddling, and I’m milking this all I can until we hit the monosyllabic grunt years.  The habit and need surrounding the cuddling ritual is so entrenched that there are times when I seriously worry I will have to drive to their eventual dorm rooms and lie down next to them with my hand across their chest.





While we’ve never had anything remotely resembling a sit-down lesson on the facts of life – that is, matters sexual, not mortgage, tax or annoying coworkers – various topics have come up over time and I address them as is, which leads to meandering but informative sessions.  It’s easy to see that SonWon, when given an interesting new piece of bodily information, is eager to think of ways to work it into conversations with others, and I’ve encouraged him to act wisely and not try to become the Merck Manual of Bus 408.  

Way back in first grade, he told me (from the top bunk) that some kids and he were discussing “boobs” at the school lunch table.  “Really?” I said, wondering what he could possibly have contributed to the conversation. “And what did you say?”  He was forthright:  “I told them you had big ones.”   I advised him that “breasts” was a better word to use.  Careful not to dissuade him from disclosing info, I try to keep things lighthearted.  It also helps that he’s had to sit through many of my lectures on very basic brain anatomy and function, and considers me an expert on biological matters.  Whenever I honestly tell him I don’t know the answer to some physiological function like renal failure, he assumes I’m just too tired or busy to bother crafting an reply – I’m holding out on him.

Though SonWon had for some time known that a man’s penis and “cells” from both parents are somehow involved in making babies, we never got to the specifics until one bedtime session when he was in second grade.  He asked the dreaded question about how the man’s cells get into the woman.  Like many kids, he had a fuzzy notion that kissing was involved, since it’s usually the most obvious and intimate physical contact most kids witness between parents – one hopes.  At the time, I was lounging in the lower bunk with SonToo, who was about 4 or 5 and still sucked his thumb.  He was listening closely, as always, wondering if this might somehow be of interest or import to him, but letting his big bro do the talking.

Since matter-of-fact is my normal daily mode, I laid out a hypothetical baby-making strategy in a few simple steps.  The sperm cells come out of the man’s penis, which has to go inside the woman, specifically, the vagina, or as SonWon already knew it, the birth canal.  Then the sperm meets up with the egg for tapas and drinks before merging. (If I’ve misstated something here, someone should email me.  But I think I have the basics right, which, sadly, many people do not.  When teaching Human Sexuality to college students, I inevitably get mired down explaining facts that anyone who has reached the age of 12 should know, but I just pick my jaw up off the floor and continue with impromptu hand-scrawled diagrams.  My penis cross-section is famous, if wince-inducing.  Even more class time is wasted dispelling ridiculous misinformation and rumors that have surprising tenacity, considering I heard the same things 30 years ago.)

SonWon was momentarily mortified at the idea of insertion and insisted I repeat it, since I’m known to prank him with a straight face and weary sigh for extra fool-power.  “You mean it really goes inside the woman’s body?” he asked. I affirmed this.  SonToo, three steps behind at kissing, suddenly sprang upright as if propelled by a broken coil.  His thumb shot out of his mouth with a comic pop, and he shouted in horror, “IN DA MOUTH?!  Eeeewww!!”


photo by Pavel Krok

photo by Pavel Krok

This isn’t what you envision, no matter what your philosophy of sexual education.  I had to literally press him back down, perhaps like some cartoon version of getting a corpse to lie flat in a casket.  This exclamation concerned SonWon, probably making him think he wasn’t listening closely enough and had misinterpreted something about where the penis is supposed to go.  “No, really, Mom, does it have to go in the woman’s mouth?!” he worried.  They followed up with a duet of more “eeeewwwws.”


Haha, you say.  It’s not so ha-ha when you’ve been caught off guard and have to get the game back into regulation time.  A few mental stops and starts slowed my response, what with ideas of oral sex and avoiding explaining oral sex, but I managed something to the effect of “The penis does not go in the woman’s mouth….to make a baby.”  It was tempting to tell them the mouth is the only place the penis should go until they finish graduate school and have good-paying jobs.  Double sighs of relief told me that was enough for them, and they’d be ruminating on it long enough that I didn’t need to burden them with more facts right then and there.  Anyway, I knew the other shoe was not just about to drop, but crash, freight train-like, to the floor from SonWon.

“So that means you and Dad had to….”

There’s nothing like ending the day by hearing your kids’ “eeeeewws” grow quieter and quieter under the peaceful veil of sleep.

Posted in Bunkbed Confidential | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »