Sunday, August 30, 2015

Exciting News!

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hot Tub Horror

A friend told me this story well over a year ago, and it has provided such ongoing entertainment that I've held off blogging it. Until now [insert maniacal cackle]. 

It goes like this. Some friends went on vacation because they'd purchased a time share. When they got to their destination, the wife was disappointed that the hot tub had been drained. Eager to start relaxing, she threw on her swimsuit, jumped into the tub, and turned on the jets full blast. 

All the husband heard after that was screaming. And screaming. And more screaming. 

So the game I've been playing ever since I heard this story involves asking people one simple question: What came out of the hot tub jets?

Take just a moment to register your guess. 

Go ahead, I'll wait. 

To check your answer, I've compiled a list of responses, which l share with you now. 

Most common:

Southwest inspired:

Perhaps party related:
Vodka (perhaps amazing?)

Non-animal but equally horrifying:

I think this list represents a pretty good cross-section of answers, yet not one is correct. 

When the husband burst into the room, what did he find his wife covered in? 


And I'll leave you with that, just in case you feel like you're having a bad day. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

This post is in lieu of an open letter to young men working in service industries country-wide. Gentlemen, I would implore you to refrain from commenting on a female customer's age, unless you're smart enough to make it flattering. 

I went out for dinner a couple months ago and was being served by a very clueless waiter who admitted he was new to the job. Naturally, I decided to cut him some slack, even after the following exchange:

Me: "What's 'chicken of the woods'?"
Him: "Um, I don't know. I think it's just chicken that's been raised in the woods."
Me: "But it's listed as a vegan dish."
Him: "Um ... I'll get back to you."

First, he never did. Second, I googled it and it's a mushroom. Third, if you don't know, you don't know. But don't make something up!

That conversation aside, what bothered me was how he responded when I ordered a beer. 

Him: "I'll need to see an ID, even though it's obvious. (checks ID) And you're old enough ... surprise, surprise!"

Ex-cuse me, sir? I wanted to bash him on the snout with a rolled-up magazine. Stop it. You're not being cute. You're being a little rude. This is not the way to increase your tip. 

Just last week, another young man was helping me at the Target checkout. He commented on what I was buying, which can be a risky little game, but in this case was floor mats. When I responded nicely, this happened:

Him: "You got dimples. They make me want to ask you to dinner."

Me (in my head): Awww, that's sweet. I still got it! 

Him: "But you're a little older than me, so that's a no-go. I'm only a freshman in college."

Again, I thought about grabbing an Us Weekly out of the stand and smacking him repeatedly. No! No! Bad choice! And yes, if I'd gotten cracking back in my senior year, I could be your mother! So I'm proud of you for not getting involved in an inappropriate relationship! But I'm still a little hurt! Yes, I'd like a bag! Thank you! Stay in school!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Don't Be a Dick

My sister recently spent a week in Texas with her boyfriend. When they stepped outside one morning, they found that someone had vandalized their car (ironically, with a positive message about equality combined with a lewd drawing). While they agreed with the statement politically, they weren't happy about the cleanup. But they did find it amusing that the vandals felt the need to label what was clearly a depiction of male genitalia. Not terribly confident in their artistic skills, apparently. Y'all come back with soap and water now, ya hear?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Smoke if You Got Him

I don't always remember stories that I hear in the most exact detail. Sometimes all I'm left with is an overall theme that really tickled me. In the luckiest situations, I'm able to give the person relating the tale suggestions about how they could spice it up on the next go-round. This is one of those times. 

I was chatting with a friend who used to work as an usher at a large local venue, and I asked about some of the craziest things that have happened on his watch. 

He said that several years ago, one particular patron got ridiculously drunk at a concert. 

The man was escorted to the lobby, where he continued to grow increasingly belligerent, and security was called. But before they could arrive, the man got physical with one of the other ushers. 

My friend, who was outside taking a smoke break, saw this through the glass doors. 

"So I threw down my cigarette, ran across the lobby, and tackled him."

(Although it may not be true, this has always been a flying tackle in my mind, and it shall remain so, because that idea delights me).

"Then what?!" I asked. 

"I sat on him until the cops got there." 

While he isn't a large man, I certainly saw where he could be powerful. "I grew up with brothers. I'm used to that stuff."

"Oh, man!" I said. "I wish you hadn't dropped your cigarette."


"Because how badass would it have looked if you were just perched on that dude having a nonchalant smoke when the police showed up?"

I really hope that when he re-tells this story, that cigarette stays firmly clamped between his lips. For right or wrong, this is how I picture him, sailing through the air on a collision course with awesomeness. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


The greatest benefit of having multiple friends with multiple kids is that there's never a shortage of hilarious stories. I think what I love most is remembering these tales on behalf of the parents, who are usually too busy actually raising tiny human beings to record them for posterity.

Today's anecdote comes courtesy of a friend whose two-year-old daughter is inexplicably obsessed with Jesus. Although she's still too young for Sunday school, and the family doesn't regularly attend church, she insists on being read to from a toddler Bible and often carries rosary beads around the house. My friend also told me she frequently has to remind her little girl that every bearded man they see out in public is not their lord and savior.

So one night, my friend and her husband had another couple over for dinner. When their guests walked in the door, this kid immediately noted the man's slender build and beard, and happily exclaimed, "Hi, Jesus!"

This greeting might have taken a lesser man aback, but their friend's response was perfect. Without missing a beat, he looked down at her and said very deeply and seriously, "Yes, my child."

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pillow Talk

One of my friends has a child who recently started losing baby teeth. My friend told him the tooth fairy would likely visit and leave him some money. 

Although his son appeared quite skeptical about this magical creature, he caught the boy placing the tooth under his pillow just before bed

His son simply looked up, shrugged, and said, "It probly ain't real, but I really want that quarter."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

On one of my last trips home to visit my parents, they received a call from their neighbor, a super sharp lady in her 90s. She said she was having some trouble with her email and wondered if we could come over and look at it.

When I got there, I discovered she'd accidentally hidden a familiar toolbar. I checked the appropriate boxes to fix it, and then asked if there was anything else she needed help with. She paused, then said, "Well . . . I keep getting all these messages from men who want to date me."


"They say something like Zook."

I immediately recalled the existence of Zoosk, an online dating website that's usually advertised in the margins on Facebook, where (of course) this lively lady is also my friend.

"Oh, do you think maybe you got signed up for something by mistake?"

"Well, I don't know, I must have."

I scrolled through her email, which was teeming with requests.  "I can get you unsubscribed from this service, but are you sure you aren't interested in any of these guys?"

"No, take me off of there. I mean, honestly. One of those men was only 83! Now what would I ever want with him?!"

Evidently cradle robbing is still a concern in the nonagenarian world.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Paint By Numbers

Only in Minneapolis will you find trigonometry as graffiti. Just a roving math thug tagging my parking garage downtown. Will they find it one day far into the future and wonder what it means ... like CROATOAN?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Athletic Supporter

A couple years ago, one of my friends and her husband bought their first house together. They then set about slowly getting to know all their new neighbors, usually while on walks with their young son. 

On one such occasion, my friend started chatting with a man who made no attempt to keep his casual racism out of the conversation. When my friend mentioned that the neighborhood seemed very nice, and that it was great to have a park nearby, he commented:

"Yeah, but that park has a basketball court." He gave her a knowing look. "And you know what those attract."

My friend stared at him incredulously. She simply replied, "Athletes?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The password requirements for my work computer have grown increasingly complex. A certain number of capital letters, numbers, and symbols, combined with a minimum character count that stops just short of supercalifragilisticexpialidocius. 

Think you've found the perfect password to fit this complicated bill? Great. Now change it frequently and completely. 

But don't write it down!

The last time I had to create yet another encrypted monstrosity, it was a stressful day. My new password reflected this state of mind, but I assumed it would be my little secret for the next couple of months. 

As it turned out, it was only private until I needed tech support a few weeks later. 

IT person: "I can fix that issue. I'll just need your network password."

Me: (pause) "You want me to just ... tell it to you?"

IT person: "Go ahead."

Me: "Um, okay. It's [a series of numbers and symbols], followed by s-o-d-e-p-r-e-s-s-i-n-g."

IT person: "Are those esses or effs?"

Me: "Esses ... like ... depressing."

There was a very long pause. 

Me: "I was in a really bad mood the last time I was prompted for a password change."

IT person: "Yeah. I can see that."

The web address for this moment begins with FML. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ghost Protocol

I watch a lot of scary movies. This wouldn't seem like the wisest choice for someone who lives alone, has trouble sleeping, and boasts an overactive, worst-case-scenario imagination. But I'm more afraid of aliens than ghosts, so I'm usually ok.

I didn't think twice about popping in "Ouija" at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, mainly because it looked (and was) terrible, and actually a bit boring. I don't put much stock in that kind of thing, especially since my friends and I dabbled with a ouija board in college. On Halloween. At midnight. And we're all still alive to tell the tale. Although I did find out I have a spirit guide name Tikwu, for whatever that's worth.  So when the movie was over, I watched an old Simpsons episode and went to sleep.

I'm fairly certain my rude upstairs neighbor woke me up with one of his thuds around 4 a.m., which wasn't unusual.  What was different this time was that there seemed to be a ghostly figure standing next to my bed.

I stared for a moment, still groggy. When it became clear that this apparition wasn't going anywhere, I began to sit up . . . and then it went somewhere. It rose into the air, hovering near my wall.

Even in my bleary, myopic state, my mind held two thoughts clearly at the same time. Thought #1: You're having a bit of sleep paralysis. This is what it looks like when others see "shadow people" and it's a natural, albeit weird, phenomenon. Thought #2: I have to turn my light on or I'm going to fucking die!

And right at that moment, my eyes came into focus, and I realized that I was goggling at (and terrified of) the light filtering in through my bedroom window. Not only that, but I'd actually batted at it with my hand.

I've often wondered what I'd do if I experienced any of the horrors in these movies. As it turns out, my response to an imaginary threat like a ghost was emitting the weakest, most pathetic little "ahh --- ahhhhhhh" and pawing at the air like a new kitten.

I take a bit of comfort in this, since my real-life response to a legitimate threat like getting mugged was trying to kick the guy in the nuts while apparently screaming loud enough to wake all my neighbors.

You gotta do what you gotta do, people. Even if it's sleeping with the light on for awhile.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Big Boy

Think pretty highly of yourself, don't you, sir.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Redbox

A couple months ago, a friend came to my apartment for dinner, along with her husband and one-year-old daughter. We had a nice meal and then lounged in the living room, while the little girl toddled around.

As I don't have kids, I don't have a stockpile of toys, and I also don't have anything baby-proofed. But I really don't care what any visiting children play with, as long as there's no danger they'll get hurt. Read: I'm fine with broken stuff -- just don't stick anything in a light socket. Or drop one of my 5lb. free weights on your tiny foot. But that's another story.

So this little tyke, just getting her sea legs, motored around my whole place like a wobbly whirling dervish. Then she threw up on the couch. Then we laughed and her mom cleaned it up, and they left, and I went about the rest of my evening.

When I went to watch one of the DVDs I'd rented earlier in the day, it was nowhere to be found. My search of the apartment turned up only a couple of the kid's toys she'd forgotten. Figuring the movie had gotten mixed up in toddler stuff, I assumed it was probably mistakenly hitching a ride home with my friends.

I texted them, saying they could feel free to watch and return it after they unpacked. My friend immediately replied, "Check your recycling."

I wandered into the kitchen, where I keep a brown paper bag on the floor. Sure enough, crammed in between flattened boxes and soup cans was the DVD. I'm not sure if the little girl deposited it there on accident or as a judgment on the quality of the film, but I do know this: Parents are amazing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I worked at a drugstore in my hometown for about 10 years -- after school and on the weekends while I was a teenager, and every summer during college. I did everything from cleaning and restocking to delivering prescription medications, but mainly I worked the till.

This could get slightly boring on your average Thursday night, and we invented myriad ways to keep ourselves entertained. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say I lost several "who has the lowest blood pressure" competitions and know exactly how much my arm weighs according to the Russell Stover bulk candy scale.

One day, when I "had time to lean, so I had time to clean," I found a small action figure, maybe three inches tall, on the floor. It was a little plastic man wearing a shirt, jeans, and a turban. Since we didn't have an official lost and found, I set him on a shelf behind the front counter. Weeks passed with no claim. I named him Raoul.

At some point, on a particularly dead evening, one of my coworkers and I decided to have some fun with Raoul and the key-making machine. I think we sawed his arm off. I'm not proud of it, but that's what happened. Then my coworker suggested we glue a pin back on him. That also happened. I wore him to the company Christmas party that year on my lapel as my date.

Several more weeks passed, and Raoul became a fixture of sorts at the service counter. Until a little boy pointed up and cried, "Hey! That's mine!"

No kidding. After verifying that it was, indeed, his long-lost toy, I reluctantly handed it over.

"Here you go. His name's Raoul now," I said, awkwardly. "He's missing an arm. Sorry about that."

The kid frowned but took him anyway. As he exited the store, I remembered something critical.

"Oh! He's a . . . pin now!" I yelled after him. "So . . . be careful with that, I guess!"

And that's the story of Raoul, who came into my life for a brief but meaningful time, suffered some indignities due to teenage boredom, and then likely went on to injure an innocent child. So it goes.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Where's the Teeth?

I share an online calendar with a friend of mine. He works three jobs, and I try to stay social with my peeps, so it's just easiest to do a quick schedule check when we want to make plans like buying tickets to a show.

Last week I was sitting in the waiting area of my dentist's office when I got a text message. Here's what it said:

"You'll love this: I went in to my dentist appointment today at 2pm, only to discover that the appointment on my calendar was YOUR dentist appointment."

We were in separate offices across the city, but due to a misreading of a poorly color-coded time slot, only one of us was actually supposed to be there. 

He got hearty chuckles from the receptionist. I got my teeth cleaned. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Diamonds in the Rough

At some point in our lives, we've all worked at jobs that were, politely put, less than stellar. When I first moved to the TC, I worked retail at a boutique gift store. It was intended as a short-term gig, a place to land while I got my bearings in a new city. Six months, I reckoned, would do the trick.

Over a year later I was still there. I worked weird hours and could barely pay my rent, but I'd met such wonderful people. My coworkers were so bright and funny that they occasionally made me forget my aching back and the last customer who'd treated me like dirt.

There was a guy in a band who would write little songs, such as his ballad about the Loomis truck driver called "Armored Car of Love." There was a woman who would twirl rolls of wrapping paper like batons, tossing them up in the air with a flourish. There was a girl who would work late nights during the Christmas rush, and we'd dance outrageously to a techno version of Bing Crosby after the store closed.

But the story that makes me laugh without fail involves another girl who was (and is) utterly delightful. We'll call her Heidi.  Because that's her name.  For a few months, we were selling personalized bracelets. You could buy a simple leather band and choose individual "diamond"-encrusted letters to thread on in any combination that suited your taste. 

On one particularly slow afternoon, Heidi decided to do a little shopping. She announced that she was going to make a bracelet for her sister, and proceeded to carefully pluck sparkly pieces out of the trays. She finally turned, quite seriously, to display her creation.

"Do you think she'll like it?"

I'd expected her sister's name, perhaps, or initials, or an inspirational word that held special meaning for them both.  What I saw instead, spelled out in glittery diamond letters, was "POOP."

It was ridiculous. And genius. And still one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

I eventually left that job, partly due to a poor change of management, and partly because having to call 911 after skateboarders threw lit firecrackers into the store didn't seem worth $8 an hour. I was too young and dumb to realize that you shouldn't burn bridges, because I frickin' dynamited that one. But I was lucky enough to know a few real gems, and that's worth a lot.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Drink. Click.

Holy balls, people! It's been almost a month since my last post. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.

I went home to South Dakota and spent a week eating my weight in goodies and generally trying to return to my natural vegetative/hibernating state. 

One night I heard my dad shout that he was watching slides. I roused myself from beneath a heated blanket and made my way to the basement, where I found him clicking through a tray of my parents' wedding pictures from 1974.

I was well acquainted with all the images, since I'd painstakingly scanned, edited, and archived them several years before. But I'd never had the accompanying commentary from a happily buzzed father. 

"Look at that. Look at your mom. She looks like a freakin' movie star!" 

Drink. Click. 

"I never really noticed how pretty that dress was. With the lace on the sleeves and neck ..."

Drink. Click. 

"Whoah! Someone put a lot of work into those streamers."

Long pause while it slowly dawned on him after 40 years. 

"You know, I bet when all of us guys left and went out to the bar, the girls stayed behind and decorated!"

At that moment my mom arrived to confirm, with an amused smirk, that he was correct. Then she joined him on the couch to fill in the rest of the blanks, and they both looked back on each other as if for the first time. 

Drink. Click.