Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Syrupy Tales of Election Day, Pancakes

0 clever quips

It started as either a clever plan to instill the importance of participating in our democracy in my children or a hankering for butter pecan syrup. 

Since my two children, now 20 and 18, were old enough to stand still for a minute in the voting booth, we have followed an Election Day ritual: Wake up on the first Tuesday of November, cruise to the polling place in the minivan to cast my ballot, and then head out for a breakfast feast. The IHOP is our usual destination — owing to that aforementioned jonesing of mine. My family rarely went there in my youth, but its steep royal blue roof had been such a familiar sight to me over five decades, at least from a car window, that it seemed a perfectly stable and secure spot for building a lifetime memory along with a customized pancake combo. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Life hands you a quarantine, make quarantini

6 clever quips

Tomorrow, I find a restaurant with a huge outdoor patio and indulge in a fresh, hot burger and fries. And, definitely, a cold draft beer. At minimum, I’ll go get a haircut.

That’s how I plan to celebrate the end of my state imposed, 14-day self-quarantine for the high crime of vacationing in a COVID-19 hotspot even though while there I didn’t go out for a burger or a beer or anything vaguely vacationy beyond sitting on the spacious beach beyond our rental’s back deck for hours and hours. I won’t name the location to protect the many conspiracy theorists who permanently live there, but I’ll offer hints. It’s a state where: 

  • face masks only became required in public settings in late June,
  • indoor dining is allowed at 50 percent capacity, and
  •  the riskiest behavior I undertook was showing my Blue State issued driver’s license to the Good Ol’ Boy behind the register at the ABC store.

“Y’all a Yankee?” he asked.

“Not at all,” I replied. “I root for whoever they’re playing.”

He sized me up and down, briefly lifted his Chinese-made KN95 camo patterned mask to empty the accumulation between his cheek and gum into a paper cup, and said, “Doncha mean ‘whomever,’ Yalie?”

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Taking a lickin' at the hardware store

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I’ve always been sweet on trips to the hardware store and, quite honestly, it started with the candy. Those old-fashioned striped stick candies, if you must have details.

It never struck me as odd that places where the air is thick with lawn fertilizer and 3-in-1 oil also specialized in sugary delicacies, cellophane wrapped and flavored with root beer, cinnamon or the exotic if not vague “tropical fruit.” But I was knee-high to a sack of Kingsford briquettes then, usually stopping in on a Saturday with my dad so he could pick up a bag of concrete mix or a propane canister for his soldering torch. And those ol’ mom-and-pops had everything. "Hey, Ethel, we already sell slip joint pliers, right? Let’s stock some cavity inducers while we’re at it?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Mighty Have Fallen

2 clever quips

I contributed to global warming more than usual recently, so: World, I’m sorry. But that tree had it coming.

A 2019 study published in the journal Science concluded the Earth has enough open space to plant more than a trillion trees. This, it noted, is enough to capture some 800 billion tons of carbon dioxide, or roughly the equivalent of a cable news pundit’s daily output of hot air. Actual experts said this could bring greenhouse gas levels down to a number not seen since the days before American women were allowed to vote. 

Yet I, avowed advocate of suffrage and not suffering death by polar ice cap sweat, gave the order to take out a four-story black oak that had shaded our back porch for decades. It was not an easy decision. Initially.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

“Smart” appliances, meet the smart aleck

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DUCK, N.C. – This oven has convinced me that the Luddites were on to something.

To review that historical reference you can’t look up because your cell phone is down to 3 percent,

Calling someone a Luddite today is a put down. It means the person is opposed to technology and, in general, change and progress. That’s not me. I’ve never longed for the days of manual typewriters or using paper road maps. But while I’m not old-fashioned, I do abhor technology that makes me want to drown in Old Fashioneds because it is unnecessarily complex. Or just simply unnecessary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Commence Reacting, Coronavirus Class of 2020

3 clever quips


Thank you for that warm introduction, Dr. Principalperson. And thank you for your bravery. Some would consider it pretentious of non-medical professionals such as yourself to still want to be addressed as “doctor” during these pandemic times.

What did you say, Dr. P? Huh?

Oh, seems I’ve muted everyone’s microphones for my portion of the Zoom graduation ceremony.

See that, my dearest beleaguered faculty, our hardest-working custodial staff, and most of all, you -- The Coronavirus Class of 2020. The ability to click a button and shut up your alleged superiors is just one feature of COVID-19 life that’s not too shabby.

Now let us ponder that phrase: “alleged superiors.”

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