Archives for posts with tag: Humor

tracey

Hot Fudge Sauce
by Susan W. Goldstein

One of my least favorite, between college semester jobs, was in an ice cream shop . . . excuse me: Shoppe. The owner was a dirty old man who would pinch my butt whenever I was leaning in to scoop from the drums of hard-as-rock ice cream. I was too shocked to say anything, but I am certain that he lost money that summer, as I ate most of the profits when he wasn’t looking. (I mean, have you tried rum raisin with hot fudge sauce?)

One incident evolved into a long-standing family joke. A customer was trying to be helpful, as she pointed out that I had a big drip of hot fudge sauce on my collar bone. I looked down and didn’t see anything, so she pointed. And I began to laugh! It was a beauty mark that would forever be called my “hot fudge sauce.”

I did not return to this store the following summer. Instead, I sought employment at the Weed Pizza Parlor, its unofficial name. At night, after closing, the manager would make pizza that was covered, not in oregano, but in non-medicinal marijuana. I was still a naïf, and would run home to my parents and report what those wild and wicked kids were doing. My folks just advised me to keep working during the day, because summer was almost over and I guess that my mom didn’t want my whiney little self hanging around.

IMAGE: “Hot Fudge Sundae” by Sandy Tracey. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I don’t know why I took these crummy minimum wage jobs, instead of applying for internships or something useful. Perhaps I knew back then that I would one day need to draw from each of these experiences to fuel my writing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan W. Goldstein is Livin’ la Vida Loca in Delray Beach, Florida — if you define such as a sensible bedtime and early rising to begin typing away on her little laptop. She has been proudly published in Mothers Always Write, Silver Birch Press, Mamalode, Medium, and JustBe Parenting, Lunch Box (Issue 11: Summer/Fall 2017 ), and is a winner of Hyland’s “A Mother Knows” campaign. Coming up later this month:  Sammiches & Psych Meds.  Follow her blog, at very-seriously.com.

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Blue Hair and Game Hens
by Karen Sawyer

I was 17 and working as a banquet waitress at a formal event of mostly elderly people. The first course went smoothly, but no one warned me about the slippery main course, Cornish game hens and sautéed vegetables. As I leaned over to serve the plate in my right hand, the hen on the plate in my left hand slipped right off the plate and down the back of a lady whose hair and gown were both a pale shade of blue. We were both shocked and horrified. Not knowing what to do next, I ripped the napkin off her lap and started wiping the greasy mess off her back, then I grabbed the Cornish game hen and ran for the kitchen. My supervisor rushed out and somehow handled the whole situation with grace and charm.

When it was time to serve dessert, my hands had almost stopped shaking and I no longer felt nauseated, so my supervisor sent me back to the scene of the crime. I should have reconsidered when I saw the tall, ice cream-filled parfait glasses sitting on tiny saucers.

Sheepishly, I approached the table of my earlier humiliation. As I set down one saucer, I looked to see an empty saucer in my other hand. I went numb when I realized that the parfait glass was now resting upside down in a woman’s open purse on the floor. She was sitting across the table from my first victim who yelled, “Why is she still here?” I melted into the woodwork and, well, frankly, I don’t remember what happened next but I did get to keep my job.

My boss told me I would look back and laugh. She was right.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at age 17. I don’t have a picture of me at this job but this is the age I was when the incident happened.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What can you say about an incident like this one? As a 17-year-old girl, I thought my life was over.  My parents happened to be dining in the restaurant next door and stopped in after the banquet to say hi. When I saw my dad walk in the door, I completely fell apart.  He didn’t say a word, he just hugged me.  I’m sure he was chuckling under his breath as I sobbed my way through the whole story, but being a good dad, he didn’t say anything except that everything would be okay. I can now see the humor in it and it has made for some good laughs when I’ve shared it with others. It was a character-building night that I will never forget.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Sawyer’s work has appeared in Precious, Precocious Moments, Wounded Women of the Bible, The Secret Place Devotional, guest posts in Mother Inferior blog and Unsent Letters blog, Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend magazine, and MONTROSE ANYTIME magazine. She has contributed numerous articles to ehow, and Demand Media’s other web-based sites. She taught elementary school for seven years before her children were born. Karen lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband of 29 years. They are the parents of two adult children.

gourmet cheese platter

The Art of Cheese
by Jayne Buckland

My first job before I went to Art College was scraping the mould off and rewrapping cheese.

Sixteen years old in a white coat that was too big and a hairnet from my Granny, I was kept in a windowless, whitewashed backroom of a village supermarket doing this illicit activity every Saturday.

There I would spend whole days scraping green furry creatures off the shiny, sometimes sweaty, yellow pieces of cheddar and numerous exotic cheeses for the 1970s’ cheese board. Some of these pieces of cheese became old friends. I would unwrap and scrape them at the beginning of the month and say hello again when they would reappear, sometimes week after week; because I discovered that once the mould had got started it wasn’t going to give up. Its ghost remained, unseen to the human eye.

I would first unwrap the cling-film and place the cheese on the wooden board. If there was mould, I would have to use my wire cheese cutter. The pleasure of this was so satisfying, cutting away through the solid moistness and restoring its original hue. But this enjoyable activity was carefully monitored by the Store Manager to make sure I did not cut too much away. Then it was wrapped in the cling-film and on a heated plate I would seal the plastic and weigh and label it again.

The textures and structures of this most delicious substance, and the joys of cutting, scraping and covering it with a stretchy clear plastic, has never left me. I formed little sculptures to sit on the Deli counter.  Cheddar, Stilton, Gloucester, Apricot Wensleydale, Brie, Chèvre sec, Gorgonzola were part of my new beginning of life in the workplace. They were my small works of Art that would go on sale and bought by Art collectors.

IMAGE: Gourmet cheese plate, found at jerseypottery.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jayne Buckland lives in North London with her three cats. She enjoys the stimulation of the City and the peace and quiet of the Green belt to write. In her Day job, she works as a teacher and the evenings are taken up with singing with the local Operatic Society. Her ambition is to become a full-time writer and artist.

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The Last Year of the Rest of My Life
by Rick Lupert

When I was seventeen
they named me crew member of the month
at the Temple City McDonald’s. I should have
taken it as a warning that they considered me
their kind of guy.

              I was the sweetest virgin
              you ever met.

When I was seventeen
the kind of money you needed to go to
your prom with the Tuxedo and the limousine and
the photographs was the same thing as winning
the lottery.

              I wasn’t old enough
              to play the lottery.

When I was seventeen
I wore a yellow jacket with a dragon on it as was
the custom of our sixth period film class. It was also
the custom to hear dragonfag come out of the mouths
of the people who tossed the ball.

              I learned to love
              refried beans.

When I was seventeen
I beat a man who we all considered
to be a genius at chess. It was at a cabin
in Big Bear. The word checkmate rang out like
the fall of the Roman Empire.

              I built my first empire
              with a Commodore 64.

When I was seventeen
I spent weekends away on a mountain
overlooking the ocean where people would
pretend to see whales and that there was
a pigeon in the room.

              I ruined everything
              for the first time.

When I was seventeen
I wandered around my high school
senior year, burdened every day with
the knowledge that all of this
was ending

              and it ended. I remember it like
              it was yesterday.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My high school senior yearbook photo. This was one of the last times I ever wore a tie.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Seventeen years old set the tone for all of my future experiences. I remember being incredibly sad that High School was ending from the very beginning of the year. I clearly have the ability to be nostalgic about things that haven’t happened yet. Whenever I encounter people from that time, I desperately want them to understand the weight of our shared history, as if it invalidates everything that happened since. And although I never eat at McDonald’s anymore…every time I drive by one, I behave as if I know something everyone else doesn’t.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rick Lupert
 has been involved with L.A. poetry since 1990. He is the recipient of the 2014 Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Distinguished Service Award and was a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets for two years. He created the Poetry Super Highway and hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading for almost 21 years. His first spoken word album — Rick Lupert Live and Dead, featuring 25 studio and live tracks — was released in March 2016. He’s authored 20 collections of poetry, including Donut Famine, Professor Clown on Parade, Romancing the Blarney Stone (both forthcoming from Rothco Press in December 2016),  Making Love to the 50 Foot Woman (Rothco Press, May 2015), The Gettysburg Undress, and Nothing in New England is New, and edited the anthologies Ekphrastia Gone WildA Poet’s Haggadah, and the noir anthology The Night Goes on All Night. He also writes and draws (with Brendan Constantine) the daily web comic Cat and Banana and writes the Jewish Poetry column “From the Lupertverse” for JewishJournal.com. He is regularly featured at venues all over the world. Visit him on facebook.

Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

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Seventeen: Fight or Flight
by Steve Klepetar

When I was seventeen, a man almost hit me
with his car as I crossed the street
on the long hike to school. He shouted through
his window, threatened me, then jumped out, fists
large and ready, until other drivers honked him back.

What made him so mad, I’ll never know.
That I was seventeen, daydreaming lyrics
when he hit the brakes? Did his coffee spill?
Had I ruined his day, or was it already
a shamble of anger, resentment, wasted time?

He had no idea how hot I burned,
how my forehead glowed like heated steel,
how I wandered through the valley of fight
or flight. I heard his door slam, saw his tail
lights flash as he fishtailed down the street

and disappeared into the morning jumble of cars.
All day I felt him rising in me, a poison fish
churning through a muddy sea. I dangled him
from the end of my pen. In gym class I dribbled
him down the court in a fast break of rage.

At lunch, I tore his flesh and washed him down
with a carton of milk.
That night I sat strumming my guitar,
and as I played the three sweet chords I had mastered,
transformed him into a song about a catch yanked over gunwales

flopping, guttering, suffering in a language only I could understand.

PHOTO: Steve Strumming Soulfully (17).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What I remember most about being 17 is how my friends and I infuriated adults, even when we weren’t trying to. Fortunately, I had my guitar and the three chords I knew, and I could sit in my room strumming soulfully while I brooded on the injustice of it all.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, Phenomenal Literature, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including one in 2016). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His collections Family Reunion is forthcoming (Big Table Publishing) and A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) are forthcoming in 2017.

PACKING

I hate packing
by Susan W. Goldstein

I was born in Washington, DC. Then my family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas; Mercer Island, WA; Palo Alto, CA; University City, MO; Chevy Chase, MD; Creve Coeur, MO. Then to Greencastle, IN (college) followed by Indianapolis, IN, where I shifted between four apartments. There I met my first husband. We bought a home in Zionsville, IN, before his job took us to: Chicago, IL; St. Louis, MO; Paramus, NJ; Cooper City, FL; Mountain Brook, AL; Houston, TX; back to Cooper City, FL. Sadly, two different homes after the divorce. Next up: Delray Beach, FL with my new husband; now to another house in same city, with same husband.

No, I was not an Army Brat, which is the usual assumption. I’m just here for the ride. You would think that, after all of those relocations, I should be adept at organizing a move. I’m not. The mere thought of packing throws me into a maelstrom of stress and despair. I hyperventilate at the sight of luggage.

I like the results of moving…making new friends, sampling new restaurants and museums. That part is fun.

But I hate packing.

With a passion. With a passionate passion.

I hate packing.

I procrastinate until the movers are at the door. Only then do I begin throwing random items into boxes and marking them “Susan’s Shit,”“Misc. Crap,” “More Crappola.” This is so unhelpful when it’s time to instruct the movers where to place said boxes. “I dunno, leave ’em in the garage.”

Corporate moves are the best. Somebody else does the packing! Even though one time I opened a box that held the kitchen garbage can, complete with the now stinking bag of garbage.

If only moves generated Frequent Flyer points, I would have enough to travel the world. Or stay at home.

PHOTO: Example of the author’s packing prowess.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This writing opportunity could not have come at a more opportune time. I would so much rather be typing than packing for my  big move.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Peripatetic author Susan W. Goldstein has indeed lived in 26 different domiciles and refuses to pick up a paint brush ever again. Let the walls remain whatever godforsaken color the former owner had chosen. She has been published a couple of times before in Silver Birch Press, plus Mothers Always Write, and Mamaload. She, like most Americans, is working on a novel.

dan sproul photo
I Wish I Were A Drone
by G. Louis Heath

so I can protect my friends
and kill our enemies. This
has been a dream of mine
since the Age of Drones
began. I would deliver packages
to me on time, and check the
parking lot for enemies.

I would become a very safe poet.
My friends would hold me close,
for fear I’d drone on and on, and
bore them to death.

PHOTO: “Drone at Sunset” by Dan Sproul. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, teaches at Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino, and Vandals in the Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Dead Snakes, Verse-Virtual, Silver Birch Press, Poems & Poetry, and Squawkback.

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Flexagility
by Mike Dailey

I can bend at the waist, put my head between knees
See what’s in my back pocket and do that with ease
I can criss-cross my legs and then walk on my hands
I can stand on a ball and juggle six pans
I can place a broom handle on the tip of my nose
And keep it upright while I count all my toes
I can spin on my head maybe six times or more
While bouncing a basketball all over the floor
I can run up a wall, do a back flip and then
Run back up the wall and do it again
I can put both my ankles in back of my head
Then bounce from my chair all the way to my bed
I can unhinge my jaw put my fist in my mouth
I can stare towards the north with my feet walking south
I can do all these things but the thing I can’t do
Get a picture of me doing these things for you

PHOTO: Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling in Royal Wedding (1951).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I liked the challenge of finding something I could not do but wish that I could. At 67 years old, I am not as flexible as I once was, and I was never as flexible or as agile as I always wanted to be. With that in mind, I just started putting down all the flexible and coordinated things that I would have done to impress the ladies had I been able to do so in my youth.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Dailey lives in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. He is a teller of stories in rhythm and rhyme. He has been writing poetry most of his life and has three published books of his poems with a fourth on the way. He leaves the introspective, deep personal poetry to others while he concentrates his poems on the interesting and often odd happening stories that most people overlook.

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Plum talented
by Patrick T. Reardon

I look at
the toilet
and know the
nest of pipes
throughout the
building that
lead to and
from it.

I know the
shut-off valve
and the dip
and rise of
water through
the faucet
in the sink
and tub.

I push the
rodder where
It needs to
go and have
the right touch
to get it
around the
pipe turn.

I face down
shit. I wear
plastic gloves.
I clear clogs
because it
Is what I
do and am
paid for.

I change my
clothes to go
home.

IMAGE: An outbreak of amebic dysentery occurred during the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, resulting in 1,704 cases of illness and 98 deaths. Faulty plumbing at a Chicago hotel had polluted the hotel’s water supply, causing the illnesses. After the epidemic erupted, this poster was issued to promote safe and sanitary plumbing practices. (SOURCE: plumbsmart.com)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There are so many skills that I wish I had, such as dancing, speaking French, playing first base for the New York Yankees, giving birth, running fast, painting (art and walls both), Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, playing the guitar (or any musical instrument), brain surgery, singing, acting, sailing and myriad others. I suspect, though, that I’m worst at dealing with plumbing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is the antonym to the word “plumber” or, for that matter, “handyman” or even “handy.” He has learned how to put words down on paper and on screen and has done so in essays, newspaper and magazine articles, books, poems and grocery lists, often for pay (except for those grocery lists).

AUTHOR PHOTO: Wearing a Yankee jersey is as close as Patrick T. Reardon has gotten to playing first base for the Yankees, but it’s closer than he’s gotten to being able to cope with plumbing.

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Custom Built
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

My father built a car one day
to teach his kids to drive.
A mower engine, clutch and brake,
the smartest Dad alive!

A steering wheel, a seat, two gears,
one forward and one back.
We fought to drive it every day
around the backyard track.

Big brother had to make it go,
wind up the rope, then pull.
With driver and a passenger
the little car was full.

We mowed the lawns, did extra chores
to pay for all the fuel
until we worked out we could charge
the other kids from school.

When Dad came home from work one day
and caught us with the cash
and all the kids lined up for turns
he said we’d done our dash.

The little car was sent away
and, sorry little tykes,
we moaned and moped ’til Dad gave up,
and built a motorbike.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My mother and my niece Bianca taken at our home in Hillary Crescent, Napier, New Zealand, 1973.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father was a watchmaker, a pilot, and an engineer. He built a car when my parents were first married and couldn’t afford to buy one. After that, he built a motorbike, Go Karts, and more cars, including the small one for us kids. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this little car, but I  the photo above shows the car he was constructing when he died in 1972. My brothers finished building it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mercedes Webb-Pullman
 graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at benchpress.co.nz.