Nutty Games

I recently came across this diary entry from 2010 and wanted to share:

Yesterday on my lunch break I was at Rite Aid to buy some boring things like shampoo.

Cashier: “Do you have the Rite Aid Game of Life™ gameboard yet?”
Me: “No.”
Cashier: “Would you like a Game of Life™ gameboard?”
Me: “No, thank you.”
Cashier: “Would you like the game pieces anyway, in case you decide to get the Game of Life™ gameboard later?”
Me: (Polite, but firm).  “No, thank you.”
Cashier: “I’m just gonna go ahead and throw these game pieces in your bag and then you can use them later if you want!”

That night I’m emptying the bag o’ personal care items and see two game pieces.  Each has a coupon inside.
I open the first one: 50 cents off jar of Rite Aid peanuts.
I open the second one: 75 cents off Fiddle Faddle (the snack food with peanuts in it).

I, of course, have a deadly peanut allergy. I think they’ve been waiting for their chance to git me ever since I transferred our prescriptions elsewhere.  They know I rarely resist a bargain and they’re trying to tempt me into a deadly snackfest! The humanity! The humanity!!!!!!!!!

When it comes down to it, I’m a bit of of a rube.  Online articles keep reeling me in and then disappointing me.  Damp squibs, if you will.

They will say things like, “The Real Key to Happiness (Spoiler: it’s not more stuff!)” or “A Simple Way to Dial Your Anxiety Down”.  And the answer is always (drum roll please) . . . mindfulness and/or meditation.

Look.  I’m not saying mindfulness and meditation aren’t effective.  I might even be able to corroborate these claims if I could stick to a practice with the same diligence as seeking out Clefairies in Pokémon Go.  I’m just saying it would be refreshing if we could all hear a bit more about the OTHER things that help to make humans happy and let off steam.

I want to see the article whose answer is:  “Limoncello!”  Or, “Punching stuff!”  Or, “Exploring Awkward Family Photos!”

Or maybe I don’t need to see it.  Because maybe I just wrote it.

Take Back the Gym

I was looking down, trying to fix my new muthaflippin cheapass earbuds, so at first I didn’t notice the dude in the running lane on the track.  But eventually I saw that he had gone from running to other things.  At first, it was fairly normal things.  Jumping jacks; modified burpies.

But then it got strange.

First, he was doing a sort of kicky backwards jog, and I’m sad to report that jazz hands were involved.  Next lap around, he was doing marching + karate chops.  And after that?  Why, jaunty Rockette high kicks, of course.

I expected to eventually look up and see him doing the Worm, or perhaps a full scale musical number a la Paco’s Puttin on the Ritz video.  (“Hey, man!  Let’s go to the gym and do some Pacos!”)

random bits

Do you ever have random memories pop into your head?  she asked.

His smile was a response, she knows he does not.  Her question was not a real inquiry anyway but, rather, a polite intro to her own reverie.

“I was remembering a very hot August Sunday afternoon.  I was about 9, out on the small porch on my grandparents’ apartment in Revere, Massachusetts.  

The small portable radio is at my side and I am laying on a thin bath towel. on top of the splintery wood floor. When I look up the sky is fragmented into uneven bits by a criscross of  wires that look like they have been there as long as the sky, but that couldn’t be.

‘Love is higher than a mountain, love is thicker than water . . . heaven’s angel, devil’s daughter.’  (Two separate women?  two sides of the same woman?)  Do I never hear that song anymore because it is so awful, or because i have fabricated it?

I feel like the big girls, my cousins who sun themselves by their outdoor pool, who Drink Soda and Talk About Boys.  I like to pretend I am becoming indoctrinated and try to ignore niggling questions like “How do they lie there uncomplaining and baking for hours at a time like glossy game hens?”  and  “Does anyone actually find this fun or is this the modern day Emperor’s New Clothes?”

I am bored but I don’t have the energy to get up for a long time.  The sun erased my will.  Eventually I do go inside, away from the too-intense sunshine and too-friendly hornets.

My mother begins, ‘Don’t let the screen door…’



I understand why the older ladies start wearing shawls.  Once you are marginalized, no-one gives you their heat.  No-one wants to touch you any longer.


He loved her for her quirks.  The way her sounds of pleasure were small questions (“Oh?  Oh?”).  But mostly, for the things she was not.


She looked at the flags and wreaths adorning the gravestones with a grimace – the popularity contest doesn’t even end with death!

I went to 3 different grad schools (two for Comm. Sciences & Disorders programs, and one for Secondary Ed).  Only finished the 3rd one.  I’d explain, but it’s a long story plus I have sold the rights to the Lifetime channel, who will be making a t.v. movie of it starring Meredith Baxter-Birney, costarring Danielle Brisbois as the sassy neighbor.

But I digress.

One summer evening in 1997, I was glaring at application forms.  I was in the middle of round 2 of applying for grad school.  I’d done everything but the essays.  Oh lordy, the essays.  You’d think since I like to write I wouldn’t mind doing essays, but for academic purposes I very much do.  Mind it.  With multiple choice tests, you circle answers and, right or wrong, you’re done.  With an essay, when are you done?  Some might say you are never truly done with a piece of writing.  Yes, well, for something that will be assessed, I find that fact unsettling and unsatisfying.

So, glaring at the applications.  Deeply wishing that some deus ex machina would sweep in and write them, or at least provide a legitimate reason to procrastinate, when the phone rang.  Normally one to ignore a phone, I leapt for it.

The young man on the line said that he was with a marketing research firm conducting a survey about the upcoming feature film “Beautician and the Beast”, starring “The Nanny’s” Fran Drescher.  He said it would take about 20 minutes of my time.  I was needed, people.

I practically shouted, “I’d love to take your survey!”.  He’d obviously had no takers that day because he was very surprised, kept thanking me, and had to rummage around to locate the survey questions.

The takeaway here?  I think your average person is not motivated to take surveys by the chance to win a prize or help a cause.  The big motivator is an opportunity to avoid something worse than your survey.  These are the people to locate, Mr. and Ms. Survey Launcher.  The downside is, your population will be 100% procrastinators.  This would typically not be an issue, however, unless you are looking to gauge interest in, say, a book called, “Get Off Yer Duff and Take Care of That Thing Already.”

Oh, and – you may have trouble getting these folks off the line.  Me, after being barraged by questions about Fran Drescher, beauticians, movie ads, beasts, and who knows what else, had feelings of genuine disappointment when the surveyor was wrapping up.

“So . . . that’s all the questions, huh?” I asked, trying to sound casual.  “You folks researching any other films?”  I could practically hear his finger hovering above the disconnect button.

Fine, I thought.  Just you wait until you decide to apply for school, mister.

Manbun Haiku

Talking to tweens – it can be a struggle.

Me: Sometimes planes look like air sharks up there, don’t they?

Her: Yeah.

Me: I wrote a haiku today!  It’s about man buns!

Her: Yeah?

Me:  Wanna hear it?

<Silence, interpreted as permission to recite>


Your man bun looks like

tumbleweeds in the March winds.

It sure does suit you!

Everyday Complications

Folks, when did things like lunch and haircuts get so complicated?


I had some chowder and a bagel at the eco-friendly bagel shop in the college town. I was finished with lunch, although had not exactly licked everything clean. With trepidation I approached the waste station. I’ve been to this rodeo before, I thought with a sigh.

If any of the millennials had looked up from their devices, they’d have seen a confused middle aged lady muttering and slowly moving fistfuls of detritus first above this trash hole, then that one. Each hole had what appears to be synonymous labels. Is my soup-covered fork Compostable? (Is this the place that uses the utensils made from corn or is that the other place?) Does the bagel paper go in Recyclable, Semi-soiled, Biodegradable, Locally sourced goods, or Decaying matter? I wanted to avoid putting anything in the one marked “Defiler of Mother Earth” – the one that actually goes to a landfill.  I need a Waste Sherpa, I thought.

Lunch can feel more stressful than the work you return to sometimes.



Later that night I tried to read a bit of my paperback before settling in to sleep, and kept having to blow shaggy bangs out of my face. I have managed to find yet another hair stylist who is so petrified of creating a Mullet that I pretty much get a Tellum – an anti-mullet. The back is practically scalped and the front is long and unruly about a week after my cut. So I “trim” the front part, of course (I randomly cut pieces, but with tiny delicate snips like at the salon, so it feels legit).

When I do return to get my hair cut, the stylist assesses my head, wrinkles her nose, and asks, “Who trimmed your bangs?” She wants to know if I cheated on her with another stylist. She knows the trim is bad and can’t wait to insult the Other Woman. But fear not, I paid no money for this.

“So, the thing is . . .,” I begin. And she knows I’ve been tangoing with dull scissors.

“You know we do discounted bang trims between haircuts,” she will say. “Just pop in.”

Yes. The trouble is, it’s at 10:30 pm on a Sunday that I can no longer take the sheepdog situation. I can’t just pop in. Seriously, what working parent “pops in” anywhere? We schedule pee breaks in advance.

Not that a haircut is just a haircut lately anyway. I was getting my hair shampooed recently at the salon, and the stylist asked, “Would you like a complimentary paraffin hand treatment?” She said it in a way that assumed I would know what the words “paraffin” + “hand” + “treatment” mean, perhaps because I am female. (The wrong sized hand-me-down corduroys I wore should have been a giveaway that I’m not much into “beauty treatments”, or “appearance”, but that’s another story).  I DO, however, know the word “Complimentary” and I like it a lot.

I said, “I don’t know what that is, but I’ll try it!”

She brought me and my sopping head to a station with a bowl of hot wax. She directed me to dip my hands in 3 times, one at a time. I kept forgetting to splay my fingers when dipping, so my fingers fused together as one hardened, waxy unit. Then she slipped oven mitts on my hands. I was wondering if I should tip her for this additional service when I realized there was no way in hell I could wrangle cash out of a wallet unless I used my feet.

Which made me think that this would be a great mugging scheme for a high-class area! Offer someone a complimentary paraffin treatment, and once the wax and mitts are on, sha-bam – she’s immobilized and you run off with her Kate Spade bag.  Or whatever it is the fancy ladies carry these days.  I was trying to figure out how much the paraffin and a means of keeping it warm would cost – would the investment be offset by the profits?  If you need a second person to collect the bowl and heating equipment while you escape with the purse, then you’re already splitting the take.  Hmm.

I was lost in this imagining, smirking and spaced out in the fancy salon in my hand-me-down cords and oven mitts, until I was roused and directed to a chair for my next Tellum.

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