The Elephant in the Room

I’ll admit that I had never heard the term “Elephant in the room” before.  I had to ask my husband what it meant and boy did he paint a picture.  Then I went online and checked it out further.  What I read brought me to several conclusions, the most important of which being that I needed to write a blog just for people like me who may not know the multiple ways that the phrase can be interpreted.

Elephant in the room does not refer to an actual elephant in your room.  At least I don’t think it does.  If that were the case I picture someone sitting on the sofa knitting or crocheting while a gigantic elephant sits next to the sofa with a lampshade on its head much like Uncle Cornwallace after a few too many Crown Royals.
The example given by Wikipedia was the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  I remember reading that as a girl and snicker at my twelve year-old self pointing at the word “naked” as though it were a curse word that had slipped through the cracks, allowing the book to be shelved at the school library.
While I can see how that story would apply I of course take the humorous possibilities and run with them.  For instance the young guy at a party who is laying his charms on all of the pretty girls.  He notices that his shoe is untied and makes a big show of bending over to tie it only to be greeted by the sickening rrriiippp as his pants split down the seam.  He knows they’ve ripped.  He knows that the girls saw everything.  Yet no one wants to be the first to laugh. 
If I were there of course I wouldn’t be able to show such restraint.

Let me set the scene for this next one:  A large conference room in a high-rise building downtown.  You’re there with your boss and associates.  Who knows how it happened.  Perhaps you were running late or just simply forgot to turn off your cell phone.  All you know is that right in the middle of your boss’ lecture on new ideas for company protocol your phone starts buzzing and out of your pocket blares the most inappropriate ringtone you can imagine.  Instinctively, your co-worker’s heads whip around to find the source of the obscene intrusion.  And what do you do?  Look over your shoulder as if it wasn’t coming from you.  You aren’t fooling anyone yet there is no way you will admit to liking Justin Bieber in a corporate setting.
Not all of the elephants are humorous (at least not to those involved).  I first heard the term “Frenemy” on the Tyra Banks show.  These are the people that you pretend to be friends with on the outside but inside you’d just as soon step on their faces as talk to them.  Maybe they are work-related acquaintances or perhaps friends of your parents or spouse.  Or it could be that the person is just someone you have known all your life.  All you know is that nothing gives you greater pleasure than out-shining, out-thinking, and out-scoring this person.  They of course feel the same about you but neither of you will admit to stooping down to an eighth-grade level to compete with the other over something that no one cares about anyway.
And finally we have one of the most embarrassing of all.  Picture this:  You are sitting on the sofa with your significant other watching television, maybe discussing world politics.  All of a sudden, without any advance warning whatsoever, you pass gas audibly.  You heard it.  Your companion heard it.  You know this because of the wrinkling of their nose that is gone as soon as it arrived. 
The situation has become critical.  If you remain silent it will be very apparent that you not only broke wind but are mortified by it.  Instead you try to cover it up either by clearing your throat or trying to mimic the sound vocally so that JUST MAYBE they will think you did it with your mouth.  Yeah right.  It was YOU and you both know it.

Personally, I find that the elephant in the room just makes people even more uncomfortable.  If your cell phone goes off at an inappropriate time then break into dance!  If you accidentally toot in mixed company just say excuse me!  As for the rip in your pants, make sure you have some great underwear on and you’re blessed with segue to a new, less shameful topic.  And that frenemy?  Ahh, just smack em!  You’ll feel better.

...well, maybe you shouldn’t do that last one.

Failed Superheroes

With all of the movies and merchandise coming out centering around superheroes I thought I’d dip into the vaults and shine some light on some lesser-known heroes!  For safety reasons I have also included the strategy for defeating each individual.  They are too powerful to be permitted to run unchecked.

Static Girl
Abilities:  She possesses the power to shock whomever she touches as well as the ability to cause anyone’s hair to stand on end simply by being near enough to reach out to them.
Weakness:  Humidifiers.
Arch Enemy: Dryer Sheet Boy
Static Girl can cause some serious annoyance and embarrassment.  Aside from being worse than the metal handles at the grocery store, she possesses the power to screw up your hair!  Ooh, stay away from her!

Body Odor Man
Abilities:  Able to repel enemies with one lift of his arm.
Weakness:  Unable to get a girlfriend.
Arch Enemy: Mr. Antiperspirant

Body Odor Man is a worthy foe indeed.  Fortunately it is nearly impossible for him to sneak up on you.

 SloMo Boy
Abilities: Master of the art of Creeping.
Weakness:  Unable to outrun anything.
Arch Enemy: Atrophy…and stray dogs.

SloMo Boy's powers are definitely underrated.  He is the ultimate Tortoise in the face of a world of Hares.

Normal Girl
Abilities:  Able to do anything the average woman can do.
Weakness:  Unable to do anything extraordinary.
Arch Enemy: The Plague

Normal Girl is the most relate-able of the bunch.  Everyone loves a contemporary.

Abilities:  Can speak in Binary Code.
Weakness:  Can only speak in Binary Code.
Arch Enemy: Trojan Virus

DataMan can out think anyone!  Any idea or concept you can come up with he's known all along!  Unfortunately we are not advanced enough to benefit from his genius...

So the next time you plunk down twelve bucks to see a blockbuster at the cineplex, take a moment to remember the unsung heroes and all the benefits they bring. 

Does this post make my butt look big?

We’ve all been suckered in at least once.  Some of us more than once.  If you’re me, more than twice.  Since the dawn of time men and women have been finding ways to manipulate one another.  Even back in the days of the dinosaurs the first cavemen and cavewomen, incapable of modern speech, were able to influence each other, convincing themselves that a wooden spear was capable of taking out a gigantic dinosaur.

The social traps of today tend to be much more subtle.  Unlike our poor caveman friend, the people who fall victim to these blunders don’t pay for it with their lives…though they pay with either the guilt of a lie or the embarrassment of the truth. 

The pity of it is that for some masochistic reason that I have yet to understand we set these traps for ourselves!  You don’t believe me?  Let’s look at a few examples:
Of course she’s pretty.  And of course on the day you see her your hair is a tangled mess and your makeup is half worn away if you bothered to put it on at all.  Her hair is thick and beautiful, her complexion smooth and flawless.  She’s pretty.  Yet you still ask your husband or boyfriend if HE thinks she’s pretty.  And when his answer comes it’s just never good enough is it?  “You hesitated…you think she’s prettier than me!”  “You answered that awful fast, you were staring at her, weren’t you?!”

Then of course there is the classic:
The only acceptable answer is “Of course not!” yet we ask it anyway.  Suppose he told the truth…”Honey, you’re beautiful but those jeans are a bit too snug on you.”  Do I really need to describe the carnage that would follow?

Now before you accuse me of being sexist, there are a few traps that men insist we women walk through as well. 

Really?  You have a mirror held up to the back of your head, you are staring right into it, and we are supposed to say “No, you have as much hair as you always have!”  Hey, if you want to live a lie so be it, but don’t include us in your fantasy!

Speaking of fantasy:
Why, oh, why would anyone ask that question?  This time the only acceptable answer is “Of course you are!”  This is a trap for two reasons.  One, you are forcing her to either lie or pick a fight.  Two, if she IS lying then she’s doomed to a relationship full of less than adequate bedroom activity because she can’t take it back later without, you guessed it, another fight.

 Then there are the ones who prey on anyone who will listen.  The more na├»ve the better.  Some will get you without any personal interaction at all! 

Twelve for a buck, eh?  Suuure.  I’m not sure how much money these people make but I’m guessing that it’s a lot.  They even got me when I was about fourteen.  It took me years to get those relentless bastards off my back.

And lastly, here’s another, equally as sneaky tactic:

This one gets you because it sounds so simple.  But our forefathers were right: There is no easy way to make money.  Especially when it requires you to give a complete stranger several hundred to several thousand dollars, no strings attached. 

If someone were to come up to you and say, “You’ll get ten thousand dollars in six months if you give me two thousand dollars now,” you would laugh in their face and keep on walking.  But when you are in a room full of them and they have all of their charts and promises it all seems a little more real. 

But remember…IT’S A TRAP.

The Man's Survival Guide to Pregnancy

Okay guys, this one is for you.  Whether your wife or girlfriend is currently pregnant or not this is a situation that any of you can find yourselves in at any time. 

At the start of pregnancy most women are hit with the plague of morning sickness.  Picture in your head the worst hangover you’ve ever had.  The headache, the nausea, the dizziness.  Now add to that being unable to either take an ibuprofen to attempt to knock it out or even the ability to start drinking again to chase it away.  Include as well the knowledge that no matter what you do it’s not going to go away simply by “sleeping it off”.  You are stuck with it for a few weeks at the minimum and nine months if you are really unlucky.  Top that off with feeling more tired than you ever have in your life and you’ve got a miserable human being.  It’s no wonder your girl lies down at every opportunity.

 The key to surviving this aspect of pregnancy is not to let your mouth get you in trouble.  If she asks you for something then do what you can to oblige but no amount of “walk it off” or “you’ll feel better if…” is going to make it go away.
Another bonehead move that many men make is forgetting to be sensitive to your wife or girlfriend’s feelings.  Her body has been taken over by not only the baby but everything that goes along with it.  And that includes stretch marks, swelling, weight gain, pimples, and unwanted body hair.  None of these things help a woman’s self esteem.  So why would you rub it in by checking out other women in her presence?  Bad!  Bad husband!

Along the same lines, your wife/girlfriend is very much aware of what is happening to her body.  She knows that those cute size eights in the closet aren’t going to fit her again any time soon, if ever.  Don’t rub it in.

Never, never comment on how quickly your food stores are depleted.  She can’t control her appetite and calling attention to it is sure to piss her off.  Just don’t do it.  Trust me on this one.

And finally, don’t assume that you know better than her doctors.  Just because your aunt Carol had a three hour labor doesn’t mean that your wife will.  Just because your secretary ran five miles a day until she went into labor doesn’t mean your wife can.  She doesn’t care if your mom made it through labor without an epidural and she doesn’t need to hear how great these women are for accomplishing these things.

These few words of wisdom definitely will not ensure a stress-free environment but not heeding them will guarantee a war-zone in which having your head mounted on a pike in the front yard as a warning to others is the ultimate prize.

5 Reasons a dragon makes a better pet than a goldfish

I know, I know, it’s the question that’s been burning inside of you for years.  It’s the age old dilemma.  Do I want a dragon or do I want a goldfish?  While no one but you can answer that question (well, actually I could but I don’t want that responsibility) here are a few helpful tips from the Pro Dragon argument.

Menial Tasks:
    Your faithful dragon companion will be more than happy to wake up early to fetch your newspaper, thus saving it from not only the morning dew but also from your neighbor’s sprinkler system.  
     The goldfish however will stare blankly at the newspaper until the sprinklers turn on at which time it will begin to swim frantically, believing the water droplets landing in it’s bowl to be food.

    Nothing will make you feel younger and more vibrant than a ride atop your mythical beast as it soars through the sky high above the noise and pollution of the city below.  Feel the wind blowing tangles in your hair all the while inducing envy in the hearts of the commuters stuck in traffic down on the freeway.
    The goldfish…doesn’t fare as well in this department. 

Home Security:
    Nothing says “Safety” like a watch-dragon guarding the premises.  Even if a burglar were crazy enough to sneak onto your property they wouldn’t make it away with anything…including his or her life.
    If you entrust the safety of your home and property to a goldfish then you deserve to be ripped off.

    Imagine if you will being stranded in a frigid climate with zero visibility in the middle of the night.  It happens more than you would think!  A dragon would absolutely be able to fly you to safety but not until morning when the haze burns off.  But don’t fret!  That same dragon is able to breathe fire, thus saving you both from hypothermia and death.
    If you brought your trusty goldfish on this expedition it wouldn’t be a matter of which of you would survive.  Instead it becomes which of you will be the first to go. 

And finally…Cool Factor:
    Strangers, friends, work-related acquaintances…all will be dazzled when you take your pet dragon for it’s evening walk.  You could be wearing old ratty stretch pants, a stained wifebeater, crunchy sandals, it doesn’t matter.  With a dragon your cool points are increased immeasurably. 
    Taking your fish for a walk however will likely have the exact opposite result.  A leather jacket immediately becomes a flamboyant Hawaiian shirt.  Those trusty Doc Martens transform into dollar store rejects.  At least that’s how it will feel when the same strangers and other folk start pointing and laughing.

So you see, dear readers, the answer is quite simple.  Or is it?  Should we also visit also the reasons that goldfish make better pets than dragons?  Perhaps we will…someday.

Pet Peeves

It starts out normally enough.  You are going about your day in your normal fashion (or perhaps a brand name fashion if it’s a special day) when something happens or you notice something that makes all else fade into the background and all you can focus on is correcting the offense and seeing how many colors you can make someone’s face turn.

Pet peeves. 

They sneak up on you without any notice and are more often than not caused by someone who either doesn’t know better or just doesn’t care.  The latter of which being the people you want to smash under your shoe.  Even worse are the people (usually those closest to you) who think it’s funny to leave that shower curtain open because they KNOW it pisses you off and are looking for a cheap laugh.

Some pet peeves are stranger than others by nature.  Some people can’t stand the sound of people smacking their gum, others hate the sound of Styrofoam being rubbed against itself.  My pet peeves of course are completely rational and normal.

For instance…
What is up with people who insist on standing so close to you in a line that you can feel their breath actually moving your hair??  You take a step forward and they step right with you, well into your personal space.  If I had the ability to transform into a drooling troll-like creature this is definitely one instance where it would come in handy.

 One of my more obscure (yet completely normal and rational, remember) pet peeves is having the toilet paper hanging in the overhand fashion.  It’s supposed to hang down the back!  The back, I say!  I have friends who will hang it overhand and wait for me to go in there because regardless of how bad I need to use the bathroom I will come marching back out, roll in hand, and shout my curses and obscenities.

Then there is the “Double Whammy”.  Two pet peeves for the price of one.  The award for this category goes to my cat.  The little brat knows she isn’t allowed on the kitchen counter yet time and again I’ll catch her up there LICKING PLASTIC BAGS.  The sound of her licking the bag is grating enough but no, it doesn’t end there.  The end comes when I walk into the kitchen and slide in a pile of cat yak with plastic bits mixed in.  GRR

This one is more gross than peev-ish but I include it here anyway.  People who hock loogies and spit in public.  What is that about?  What makes these people think that I want to see the contents of their nose and mouth, let alone hear the sickening splat of it hitting the pavement?  EWW

Another annoyance is when people don’t empty the garbage can, but rather cram it so full that when you open the lid, things ooze out.  It’s not that hard to empty the bin.  It’s even less difficult to say, “Hey, the can’s full, you might want to empty that.”  But no, I walk up to the trash can, so still and seemingly empty, and I can almost see it smiling its encouragement only to open it and be greeted by the smelly garbage beast.

I leave you with one that I believe is shared amongst many of us.  People who say they will be somewhere at a certain time and are ALWAYS LATE.  Not only late, but lacking the courtesy to call and let you know they are running late!

There you have it, my personal list of normal, rational pet peeves.  What are some of yours?

The Great Baton Catastrophe

 When I was younger, we’re talking like kindergarten or so, my grandmother (who was also my legal guardian) decided that it would be a good idea to get me involved in an extra-curricular activity.  While I wasn’t exactly opposed to the idea I was envisioning something akin to a fairy princess meeting or at the very least a guest spot on Sesame Street.
But alas, those options just weren’t in the cards.  She brought me…a baton.  Seriously?  You bring a baton to one of the klutziest kids on the block?  As if I wasn’t enough of an outcast to begin with she decided that I needed a little more punishment.

Of course, what I saw was this:

You hear all of these stories about how kids are encouraged to try new things, to branch out into the unfamiliar.  These tales are usually concluded with epic details of triumph akin to Forrest Gump beating the odds or Bill and Ted managing to ace their history report.  It was firmly believed that not only would this baton class improve my substandard social skills but I was being put on the road to the Baton Hall of Fame.  I was to cast off the shroud of self-doubt and succeed where others had failed.  I was supposed to be the Baton God.

It didn’t quite happen that way.  Not only was I forced to wear a uniform that left NOTHING to the imagination below the equator, I also came to realize that unless I had a death grip on that hated aluminum rod the thing was sure to fly out of my hands with a force usually reserved for quarterbacks in the Super Bowl.
After several…incidents…my baton instructor decided to tell me (in full view of the class, mind you) that I was to grip the baton in my fist and under no circumstances was I to let go of it.  Most baton tricks require you to spin the baton between your fingers.  Not only was I unable to do this, I was forbidden from trying.  That was fine by me.  We had been informed that our baton troupe would be performing in a parade down a main street in the city as part of a holiday celebration and I was in no hurry to chase that baton through an area that didn’t have walls or light fixtures to prevent it from flying too far.

So the big day came.  My grandmother of course had made sure that everyone in the family would be there to witness what she was sure would be my smash debut.  She didn’t even question why she had to drag me out of bed, drag me into the bathtub, drag me to the breakfast table, then drag me to the car.  She blamed it on nerves.  She said that the jitters would only make me better.

She dropped me off at the community center then left to stake out the best seat along the parade route.  My instructor made certain that everyone’s shoes were tied and took a few minutes to drill into us the importance of smiling even if you make a mistake.  “No one will even notice,” she assured us.  “So long as you keep smiling!”  No one would notice?  Hell I was going to outsmile my entire class!

 Despite shaking knees and a pounding heart I smiled like an idiot and marched behind all of the adequate twirlers like the little wind up doll I had become.  I could hear the murmurs of pity coming from the crowd through the sound of the marching band behind us.  When we finally passed my family I could see my grandmother wearing her fake smile.  The same one she usually saved for the days when I brought her a beautiful bouquet of roses that I had plucked from her beloved rose bushes or an amazing mud pie made of part mud and part horse poo.  After the baton troupe passed her seat her head flopped down into her hands.

Once the agony of the parade was over I was left with nothing more than sore cheeks and a cramp in my wrist from holding the baton so tightly.  My grandmother met me back at the community center and ushered me out to the car with barely a smile to my instructor.  We made it home where she sat me down and asked me if I liked baton class.

My answer?  An emphatic NO.

So she told me that I didn’t have to be in it if I didn’t want to.

Really?  All it takes to get out of something that you despise is abject humiliation?  This was a lesson that would stick with me through my teen years, much to my dismay.  But for the time being I was content.  No more baton class!  I was free to return to my usual play…this time with a new archenemy for the Cabbage Patch Dolls to vanquish!

What happened next?  What will the next chapter hold?  Stay tuned.  It could be the Great Adventure of the Shopping Bag Parachute or even the Tale of a Resentful Girl Scout!