I read the other day about a person having an inappropriate case of the giggles. And oh my, a memory jumped up and yelled, “You despicable person, you!”
You – in this case – meaning:
Do you remember the old Mary Tyler Moore episode about Chuckles the Clown? The station’s resident clown was the grand marshall of the circus parade. He wore his Peter Peanut costume, and in a bizarre twist of fate, was shelled to death by a rogue elephant. All the guys at the studio could not resist making terrible jokes, and Mary was appalled at their lack of decorum. Of course, their laughs had played out by the time of the funeral, and they were properly respectful, and it was Mary herself who came down with uncontrollable, ill-timed laughter.
That episode was one of the funniest things I had ever seen on TV.
Until of course I had a similar experience.
At least the occasion wasn’t tragic. I have that excuse, at least.
It was 1986, and I was working in the cable television business. I was based in Connecticut and my boss, Rick, the regional Finance V.P., was based in Virginia. I liked working for him very much. (and not only because it is sweet to have a boss 324 miles away.) He was an intelligent man with impeccable manners. Incidentally, he had a stutter.
We were interviewing companies in order to change credit card processors. Rick came up from Virginia. A very nice man came in from Omaha to pitch his organization’s service. He was smart and friendly and well-prepared. He also had a stutter.
There were six of us in the meeting. We had no conference room in our offices, so we had just pulled chairs around in a circle in the largest office. I sat between my boss and Jim, the credit card company sales rep.
The meeting was productive and cordial, but gradually I became aware that the more that Rick and Jim talked, the more they seemed to have some kind of synergistic effect on their respective stutters. It was almost as if each man’s stutter encouraged the other’s.
Rick had difficulty with W. “W-w-w-when w-w-will w-w-we sign the contract?”
And with Jim, he stumbled over B. “B-b-but b-b-both of us can b-b-buy some time.”
Sitting between them, I listened to these two smart, nice gentlemen:
I liked and respected these guys. I have stutterers in my own family. It’s fine. It never bothers me. And I am a good polite person.
It happened anyway.
I was overcome with the giggles.
I tapped my foot. I covered my mouth and pretended to yawn. I pinched myself. scribbled in my notebook.
I coughed. My shoulders shook.
Eventually, I started to cry.
“E-e-e-excuse me,” I managed to stammer (yeah, it’s catchy). “I have something in my eye.”
And I ran to the ladies’ room and laughed myself silly. Then I composed myself and rejoined the meeting.
A few days later, I was out for a drink with a co-worker who was also at the meeting.
“Did you find it hard to sit in that meeting, and not laugh?” I asked.
“NO!” My friend said, horrified. “OF COURSE NOT! What is wrong with you?”
Oh, I am a terrible person.
“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”
Not my usual post, but SO worth sharing.
And I know he is absolutely correct.
I just had peanuts for lunch, and I can feel them right now gathering in my vagina.
I used to swoon for the Academy Awards. I made it a point to see every film nominated, and I prided myself on being able to predict the winners in every category.
I went to the movies almost every Saturday when I was a kid. My mother sometimes had to search the sofa cushions for the thirty-five cents times three little girls, but it was worth it to her to say goodbye to us for a few hours on a Saturday. The theater was right around the corner.
My peak period though was the early seventies. College. I went to the movies twice a week – at least. And I was an active and opinionated movie-goer right through the late eighties.
Then it all fell apart. Because I married a non-cinema guy.
When I met my husband in 1989 he could identify two actors – John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. More than 25 years later he can identify three actors – John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and Jennifer Lopez. (Although I suspect his identification of J Lo comes from behind.)
I tried to turn my husband into a movie-goer, but I gave up years ago. Mostly because I refuse to pay for a movie ticket for a person who falls asleep before the opening titles are finished.
The last time I was in a movie theater, I saw “Crazy Heart” with a girlfriend. I think that was in 2010.
I do see some movies, but months or years after they have been released. I watch movies on Netflix and HBO. My husbands sleeps through them all. He says, “Wake me up if there’s a sex scene.”
So I am essentially ignorant of today’s movies, and the Academy Award ceremonies are just a fabulous fashion show for me. This bothers me a bit, because I used to be such an expert, and now I am clueless.
I heard an interview on NPR the other day with Terri Taylor, who was the casting director for “Whiplash.” (I confess I had never heard of “Whiplash,” but I looked it up.)
The interviewer asked Ms. Taylor whether there should be an Oscar for casting. And I was dumbfounded.
Because I had never realized there wasn’t.
Picking the right actor for the part is pretty important.
To prove the truth of this, I have compiled a list – and I hope you will add your own suggestions.
Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Olivier in “The African Queen”
John Wayne in “To Kill A Mockingbird”
Al Pacino in “Lawrence of Arabia”
Audrey Hepburn in “Some Like It Hot”
Christopher Walken in “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Sally Field and Dustin Hoffman in “Bonnie and Clyde”
Sidney Poitier in “Shaft”
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in “High Noon”
Bill Murray in “Schindler’s List”
Marilyn Monroe in “Roman Holiday”
Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves”
(…oh wait… )
Because I decided I would no longer drive in bad weather, I have essentially been a shut-in here in Connecticut for the last four weeks.
And that means I did not get to the store to buy a Valentine’s Day card. I did have some chocolate-covered strawberries delivered, but I thought for sure I would manage to get out for a nice big mooshy card. But no. It snowed just about every day and I live at the top of an unpaved windy hill that is a private road so the town doesn’t even plow. My husband has a truck with a plow and sander. Sweet. We actually went out for my birthday to the best, fanciest restaurant in town – in the plow/truck/sander.
But Friday he needed my car to make a fairly long trip, so he wouldn’t have to drive 3900 pounds of sand round-trip, which even given the lower diesel fuel prices, would have been a mighty poor decision.
So he took my car, and a co-worker drove me home. (She made it up and down my slalom course road just fine, which I am sure you are wondering about, since I won’t do it myself.)
So I still didn’t have to drive on the snowy roads. But that was the day before Valentine’s Day, so I still couldn’t get a card.
I did the logical thing.
Early on Valentine’s Day morning, I searched the drawers and found the card from last year (or maybe the year before). I even found the envelope and it wasn’t too chewed up.
Voila. Expensive strawberries and a very pretty Valentine’s Day card, with a beautiful, still true, sentiment that passed for a new sentiment. After all, “I Love You, Sweetheart” is pretty timeless (so who could tell?)
But I felt guilty anyway.
But only for a short while.
We were going out to run an errand – hand lotion and bird suet – two different stops because we weren’t going to Costco -when my husband asked me about bananas.
Every Sunday, I make low-carb egg-and-banana waffles for breakfast.
“How many bananas will you need tomorrow?” Hubby asked.
“Three or four.” I said.
“Sheesh,” he said. “I asked a simple questions. Is it three or is it four?”
“Three if they’re big bananas; four if they’re small bananas.”
“Holy crap,” he said. “Can’t you give me a straight answer? I keep on hinting here, but you can’t seem to take a hint.”
“Hinting? About what?” I asked, still nicely, though perhaps not as sweetly as my guilty second-hand Valentine’s Day card should have required.
“There are four bananas. I want to eat one. But I don’t want to leave you short.”
So there it is.
Bananas seem to be a sensitive subject that you have to hint about. You cannot come out and say, “Will you have enough bananas if I eat one?”
No sir. Too delicate a topic. Apparently.
So I told him, not exactly in my inside voice, to eat the goddamn banana.
Then I went and got my purse and put on my boots, and we did our errands.
At the drugstore (where I no longer needed a Valentine’s Day card) my husband said, “Don’t take too long. We need to get back home.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I’m starving,” he said.
“I thought you had a banana.”
“Shit,” he said. “I forgot to eat it.”
I may use the same card next year.
In honor of Lesley Gore, here’s my post from 2012 where she was part of the topic. Despite my disdain for her photo attire, I liked her a lot back in 1964 – especially “You Don’t Own Me.” What a great song – and very strong for that pre-feminist time.
Originally posted on notquiteold:
A few days ago my husband and I went out to dinner. We went to a very nice restaurant that we don’t frequent very often. But we were really good about ordering the healthiest options on the menu. We’re both making extra efforts to be healthier. Our program is called “Fear of Death.”
About halfway through our tasty, but healthy, entrees, another couple came through the door. The guy looked like a bit like my husband. Older guy, nice looking in a manly way (meaning not too much hair left, but still cute).
His wife was striking too…but not in a good way.
She had platinum blond hair, worn long in a 1962 teased flip. If you are my age, you might recognize this as Lesley Gore Hair.
To go with…
View original 207 more words
I recently read an article about the positive aspects of being over 50. Actually, I read one of those about every week. It’s a pretty common topic on the internet, now that the internet population is aging – rapidly, I might add. (except for me, of course.)
Anyhow, I felt the need to make a comment. Mostly that’s because I always feel the need to make a comment. That’s why I write a blog twice a week. And I will admit it goes back a little further than that. I was putting in my two cents as soon as I could say more than Peek-A-Boo.
I’m actually enough of a commenter to have earned the designation, “Top Commenter,” on the Huffington Post. Which I suppose is an honor, since I’m not really tops at anything other than my willingness to express my opinion no matter how flimsy.
On this topic – the positive aspects of being over 50 (which I know was a while ago back in the first paragraph), I actually feel like I know what the hell I am talking about. (Not that it would have stopped me if I didn’t know what the hell I am talking about.) But since I have been over 50 for fourteen years now, I know a few advantages.
And here’s what I wrote:
I get a thumbnail of the cover of my book (because that’s my Facebook image) and my name and a STAR and the designation “Top Commenter.” The only thing that would improve this experience is if it said “Author” rather than “Controller at White Flower Farm.” On second thought, it could say “Author AND Controller at White Flower Farm.”
And perhaps they could delete the option to “Unfollow.”
But as much I like seeing my name in print, I actually think the comment is pretty good.
Once you get to a certain age, you do have confidence in what you know, and no shame in what you don’t know.
And now that I am 64, I also see a few things that will help me feel even more free.
I’ve given myself a few new rules for the next year. I’ve named these rules “The Freedom of Sixty-Four”:
1. For the last several years, I have changed my diet for the better. I eat real food in moderate quantities. And I feel much better than I have in a long time. But in the interest of The Freedom of Sixty-Four, I’d like to qualify that a little. I will still eat healthy food, but I think I’ve earned the right to only eat the healthy food I like. So long, Kale. Bye-bye, Bananas.
2. I’ve always been careful about getting too much sun. But I still like to get a little tan. I think I look better (and thinner) with a little color. But this is the year I will not tan at all. At 64, I will save my skin and stay pale. Older women look pretty when they are pale. (I hope.) This does not mean I won’t sit in my lounge chair on my patio with a book – which is absolutely my favorite summer activity. But I will wear more sunscreen and put up the umbrella. And if I find that I am not as enamored of pale as I thought I would be, well, there’s always self-tanner.
3. No more driving in bad weather. Now you might be saying, “But Nancy, you already don’t drive in bad weather.” Well, yes, but … but now I will be staying home because I am living up to my Principles. Not because I’m a wimp. See the difference?
4. I’m going to take my own advice when it comes to shopping. I tell everyone to buy only what you love, not what is only ‘good enough’. But I don’t always put this into practice myself. As of now, before I buy anything, I am going to ask myself how much I really love it. If I only buy something I absolutely love, then I will always be wearing something I love, even if it’s pajamas. Imagine how good that will feel.
5. It’s time to slow down. For sixty-four years, I’ve mostly been in a rush. (except for getting married, I guess – that took me forty years.) I talk fast, I eat fast, I clean fast. And that’s been good in a lot of ways. I accomplish a lot for a lazy person. But now I find that I am looking down at my orange peels and I can’t even remember eating an orange. It was probably delicious and I missed it.
6. And most especially, I will write slower. Not like blogging slower. Like writing with a pen slower. For years now, I’ve been finding notes I’ve jotted with great ideas for stories – ONLY I CAN’T READ THEM. Fifteen years ago, I read a book called, “Your Handwriting Can Change Your Life.” It’s time to find that book – wherever the hell it is – and read it again.
I started blogging at sixty.
And each year on my birthday, I have posted a new photo
There’s two reasons why I share my selfie every year:
1. Affirmation. My photos are my way of showing the world (well, a minuscule part of it) that it’s not so bad to be in your sixties. I’m not an old lady yet. I think I look better than I did twenty years ago. That’s what I tell myself anyway. Sixty is not scary.
2. Defiance. Posting my photo at each passing year says, “Screw you, Mother Nature! You are NOT invited to my birthday party!”
So now it’s my birthday (yet again).
And this year I have two photos to share.
This is the birthday when I needed to renew my driver’s license.
My husband chastised me (which your spouse would never do, right?….) for waiting until the last minute. He just doesn’t understand.
With working full-time, I am left with only Saturdays for my renewal. Last Saturday I had a seminar about nontraditional book sales. Which was excellent, especially if you have a how-to book on a subject that would appeal to state governments. (I have a novel that appeals to middle-aged ladies.) But as far as Hubby was concerned, last Saturday was late anyway. Two Saturdays ago was when my husband wanted me to go for my license renewal. In Connecticut, you renew your driver’s license for a six-year stretch. And two weeks ago, I was five days away from my hair appointment. So for the next six years, I would be carrying around an ID in my wallet with a photo of me with gray roots.
Clearly he is out of his mind.
So this Saturday was it. I fixed my hair (concentrating on the front) and put on two layers of makeup. License photos tend towards washing you out. So I wore enough blush to work part-time as a TV evangelist.
I went to AAA rather than the DMV. At Triple-A, their mission is to help you and be nice. At the Department of Motor Vehicles, their mission is…well, something else.
When it was my turn (there was a line, but not like DMV, where you stand in line long enough to have to pee, but you can’t or you’ll lose your place), I explained to the nice lady my extreme dilemma.
“I’m turning 64,” I said. “A six-year license means I have to use this license until I am seventy. SEVENTY! Do you know how scary that is? Please make me look good.” I pleaded.
She told me that the DMV rules say that you can only have one shot. But that she lets everyone have a look first, and gives them a second chance, if they want. “I just think it’s the right thing to do,” she said. This woman is a saint.
Well, my first take was pretty bad. I had those white-surrounded crazy-eyes like a few politicians I won’t name. (but you know who…)
So my helpful lady deleted that one, and warned me that she would have to use the next one no matter how awful it looked.
That really relaxed me.
My remaining shot wasn’t what I exactly wanted either. Because what I wanted was to look like Jennifer Aniston. I asked if I could have maybe four more chances, but the nice woman just shook her head.
Anyway, it really isn’t so bad. And when I am closing in on 70, I think it will look pretty good:
And here’s photo #2. My selfie.
As I’ve said before, the nice thing about selfies is you get more than four chances. I won’t say how many shots I too, but let’s just say, like every year, that I took more than one, but less than two hundred.
And I did not photoshop this. Not that I wasn’t tempted. There are one or two (or fourteen) little issues I’d like to fix.
But this is supposed to be an affirmation of how good it is to be in my sixties.
Just as is.
So here it is. As is.
This is me. I’m 64. This is what 64 looks like:
Last week, I wrote my husband’s inability to find the shaving cream. Although it wasn’t exactly hidden.
And several people commented. Many said that they absolutely could have written this, since it appears we all have exactly the same spouse.
But quite a few also commented that it’s not only men who can’t find anything. Kids are non-seeing beings too.
And that triggered a very old memory.
I was one of those kids. Actually, all four kids in my family were one of those kids. According to my mother anyway. And she is pretty nearly perfect, so she is probably right.
Her favorite expression was: “What? It didn’t jump out and yell ‘Here I am’?”
“It” could be just about anything. A sneaker, the peanut butter, the scotch-tape, a prayer-book. We never knew where anything was, mostly, I guess, because the missing little bastard didn’t jump out and yell, ‘Here I am!”
In 1967, when I was sixteen years old, I did not get a summer job. My sisters needed their summer jobs to earn money for college, but I wasn’t in that situation yet. My mother worked, and my brother was not quite eleven and a bit too young to stay home during the day by himself. So my mom increased my allowance in the summer, so I would stay home with my brother.
I can’t exactly say it was hard-earned money. My brother was an easy kid to take care of. We had a shallow brook in our backyard. That’s an endless source of activity for a ten-year-old boy. He played in the brook all day. At noon, I’d call him to the kitchen door and handed him a hot dog. He ate it back at the brook. He had a hot dog every day. And I read books and watched soap operas.
But I didn’t exactly earn a lot of money either. When I said my mother doubled my allowance, I mean she gave me eight dollars.
Well, one summer day she called me from work.
“I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer,” she said. “So take it out now so it will thaw for supper.”
“Okay,” I said, and went back to my soap opera.
But during the next commercial, I went to the fridge to take out the chicken.
And there wasn’t any.
I took everything out of the freezer. I put everything back. I took everything out again. I sorted it on the counter. No chicken. No whole chicken. No chicken pieces. no chicken livers. I put it everything back.
I had visions. I could see the scene clearly.
My mother comes home from work, and opens the freezer, and pulls out the chicken and says, “What? It didn’t jump out and yell, ‘Here I am!’?”
I knew that chicken would appear for my mother. And we wouldn’t have anything for supper. And it would be my fault.
I went out to the brook, and said to my brother, “I have to go to the store. Do you want to go with me, or are you okay here for an hour?”
My brother assured me he’d be fine and went back to his pollywogs.
The nearest market was Washington Superette, a small grocery store exactly one mile from my house. I had no car. Shit, I didn’t have a driver’s license.
So I walked to Washington Superette and bought a chicken. With my allowance.
And it was on the counter, all defrosted (it had never been frosted) when my mother came home from work.
And I never told her.
But you know, I’ve been thinking about it.
There was NO CHICKEN in that freezer. My mother made a mistake. And I spent my allowance which I truly earned because my brother did not eat worms or knock his teeth out or jump off the roof that whole summer.
And even though it was forty-eight years ago, I think I deserve a reimbursement.
When I see my mother next week, I am going to ask her for three dollars and seventy-four cents.
I’m delighted that the Huffington Post has picked up my little essay from a year ago!
I’d also be delighted if you’d hop over there and give me a “Like” –
Huffpost loves Likes (and so do I)!
Oh, I’ve written a couple of times about how secretive I am.
I was a meanie again this week.
In the morning as I am leaving for work, my husband is making his shopping list. Because he is retired and I am not, he does most of the shopping. I love that. Not that he is retired and I am not – I hate that part – I love that he runs all those errands I can’t stand. When I shop, I want to shop for clothes and makeup, not dish detergent and ketchup.
So anyway, he’s making his list, and he says, “I think we also need some of that nice shaving cream. The tube in the shower is totally squeezed out.”
He is referring to Cremo – the inexpensive but very nice shave cream that we both love.
My husband had a beard for twenty years. When he shaved it off two years ago, he found that shaving made his face really raw. He tried several different brands of shaving cream before stumbling on this one. It’s gentle on his face, and nice and moisturizing for me too. (This is not a paid endorsement… but if the Cremo folks would like to pay me, they can contact me right away.)
End of commercial – back to the story:
So when my husband says we are out of Cremo, I say, “No, there’s another tube in the cabinet in the bathroom.”
“Which cabinet?” he asks.
“The tall one,” I answer. Our bathroom has the usual wall cabinet and under-the-sink cabinets, and then one tall cabinet for linens. Only the one. And we call it the “Tall Cabinet.” It’s clearer to my husband than saying “Linen Cabinet.” Because he doesn’t really relate “Linen” and “Towels.” (Plus there’s a lot more than towels in there.) As sneaky as I am, I do not (at least not always) try to add more confusion.
End of day, and we’re getting ready for bed. Hubby says, “By the way, there was no Cremo in the tall cabinet after all, so I bought two tubes today and put them in the tall cabinet. So now we have two.”
The next morning, I open the cabinet and there they are.
And I SWEAR —- I SWEAR! —- I did not alter this photo in any way.