Category Archives: Much Ado About Nothing

Reprinting the column that appears in The Source Weekly, a Brazoria County, Texas newspaper every Thursday.

Extreme Midget Wrestling

MidgetsWhen Extreme Midget Wrestling shows up near you, I’m sorry, but you just drop everything, change your plans, miss your parents’ anniversary dinner, and give away your tickets to whatever is on the stage at Houston Grand Opera so you can go. How many times in your life are you presented with the exciting opportunity to be ringside for midgets in masks wrestling each other? From personal experience, I’m going to say maybe one, if you’re lucky, and that really may be plenty.

Before anyone gets frosty about the word “midgets,” just don’t. There’s enough hate in the world right now, and I am not going to add to it with this. I’m going strictly off their publicity: Extreme Midget Wrestling. It did not say Extreme Little People Wrestling or Extreme Person of Short Stature Wrestling. Or I would have used that. So just stop before you start.

Recently, I’m pleased to say, I was able to cross this off my bucket list without actually knowing that it was ever on my bucket list. In a poorly air conditioned space in a mostly empty mall in Texas City, I stood in line with one of my best buds hoping and praying that we could still get a standing room only ticket for the event for $25. If there were concerns about the stability of my mental state for jumping on this crazy idea, then paying $25 for it pretty much clears up those doubts.

I’m not even going into what they were charging for beer. Trust me, though, beer is pretty much a requirement with midget wrestling. You could almost get by without actually having the midgets or the wrestling, but if you don’t have the beer, you’ll lose 98% of the audience for an event like this.

So it had what one would expect from Extreme Midget Wrestling. Midgets launching off the ropes to land on other midgets on the mat. Midgets smacking each other in the face with trash can lids and yellow “Caution: Wet Floor” signs that I think they found at the mall. There were midgets in tights and capes and one wore a chicken mask thing. The midget referee would count the “knock-out” to about two before there was a miraculous recovery and Cinderella victory.

Those who went ahead to the opera (and in some families, those who opted for their parent’s anniversary dinner) probably had the exact same experience without the beer.

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NASA: Help Wanted

NasaNASA has a “Help Wanted” ad out there looking for a Planetary Protection Officer. I’m guessing the potential candidate will have 3-5 years applicable experience and be willing to relocate. With a salary that tops out around $187K, there’s naturally been a flood of applicants. I’m honestly thinking of applying myself, because if Bruce Willis or Will Smith don’t get the job, I’m the perfect candidate and a natural shoo-in for the position.

I’m actually updating my resume now to indicate my experience with alien beings that speak an indecipherable language, are prone to unexpected fits of destruction, emit strange odors, and exhibit unpredictable behavior. Oh yes, I’ve raised teenagers. Honestly, any mother who has carried a baby for nine months can relate at some level to the whole alien possession thing ala Sigourney Weaver in “Alien” and, honestly, the “Attack of the Body Snatchers” series has a whole different meaning. Others need not apply.

According to Dr. James L. Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, the job is all about protecting Earth from nasty little foreign microbes that come back on space samples and keeping the Solar System from getting Earth cooties. Breaking it down into laymen’s terms: cleaning woman. Again, who is better qualified than a mom of boys? No one that’s who.

I’ve battled flu germs, strep germs, and germs that cause rashes, fevers, hives, snot, intestinal explosions and whining. There is no microbe that will escape the mother who cannot have the whole house go down and certainly doesn’t have time to be sick herself. I’ve beat down head lice, chiggers, poison ivy, heat chafe and whatever it is that makes boys stink. So let’s just start with “All astronauts wash your hands before coming in the kitchen and use a tissue to wipe your nose!” From there, I think, we can manage the rest.

So right after I finish crafting my cover letter, I’ll pull together my references which include two young men who, under my protection, survived all kinds of microbes and those alien years that lasted through most of junior high and high school. They’ll vouch for the fact that you’re better to think twice than tangle with a mom on a mission. I don’t care what planet you come from.

(Thank you NASA for the graphic!)

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Reward Dead or Alive?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFilling in for Jean Ciampi who thinks it’s too stinkin’ hot to work is Guest Blogger and Columnist Buster the Wonder Dog. A distinguished and grateful alumni of the Brazoria County SPCA, Buster currently advocates for animal rights (with the exclusion of squirrels because he believes they get exactly what they deserve).

Recently, I was out patrolling the neighborhood as any good and respectable dog does, sniffing mailboxes, trees, bushes. You know, checking the pee mail. That’s when I saw that someone had stuck a paper on a pole with the picture of a lost cat and the ridiculous claim of a $500 reward. My first thought was that this cat must have swallowed an expensive pair of diamond earrings before it ran away. Because unless the cat is actually a dog, there’s no cat worth that!

LostWho would pay $500 to have a cat given back? Just speaking from the dog’s perspective, I’d pay twice that for someone to load up a whole litter of cats and haul them off. But that’s just me and I’m a dog. Besides, why would you want a cat that, at best, has zero sense of loyalty and, at worst, has a miserable sense of direction? I’m thinking this cat got fed up with that family and moved in with someone on the other side of the neighborhood that has a bigger food bowl. Face it, that’s how cats are.

Of course, there’s a family that’s obviously upset. No one wants to see a helpless animal suffer – even if that helpless animal is a human. Unfortunately, there are just misguided people who actually prefer cats to having a dog. Yes, that’s stupid and those people should have their trash dumped over and strewn across their front yard to mark them as stupid. But regardless of that, this family, sadly, has an attachment to the cat that probably hasn’t thought about them even once. Because, well, that’s how cats are.

The kindest thing to do in this situation, in my humble dog opinion, would be to gently let these caring though confused people know that, for a mere fraction of that reward, they could adopt a really nice, loyal dog who would be smart enough not to run away and be their lifelong best friend. It may just be time to puppy up!

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Dinner Problem Solved

dinerI have brilliant friends. I mean the kind of friends who can solve for X, read Mandarin Chinese, who invent the internet, and can refreeze the polar ice caps with only the power of their minds. But blah blah all that. Who cares about any of that, because my most brilliant friend is the one who told me she’s opening a restaurant and calling it “I Don’t Care. You Pick.” Brilliant, I tell you! Where do you want to go eat? “I Don’t Care. You Pick.” Okay! Let’s go there! It happens a million times a day all over the world. She’ll be rich on the franchise rights alone.

Her new endeavor will likely put a few competitors out of business. The We Always Go There Diner probably won’t last long. I don’t hold out much hope for the We Ate There Last Time Cafe, the That One’s Too Far Grill, or the We Always Go There Taco Shack and Burger Barn. But that’s free enterprise in action, right?

Oh wait, though! Her brilliance doesn’t stop there. Oh no! Then she started telling me about her menu. House specials will include the What’s-In-That Platter, made fresh daily with every possible known food allergen. Substitutions on that one will, of course, be extra. Steaks will always be served twice. The first one will be a dummy steak that will immediately be returned to the kitchen to be recooked “the right way.” Then every meal can be finished off with the Just-a-Small-Piece pie that is the highlight of her Bring Two Forks dessert list.

Kids can choose from the “You Liked It Last Time,” the popular “You Can Pick It Off,” and the “At Least Try It.” The most finicky junior diner, however, might enjoy a large helping of the “It Is Not Yucky.” Each entrée will either be served on plates large enough to push the food around or just thrown directly onto the floor.

Sure there are plenty of problems that plague mankind, but none so grievous as the
“What’s for dinner” and “Where do you want to eat” question combo. It’s that one-two sucker punch at the end of the day that puts you on the mat every time. Now finally, someone has found the answer and it just seems so obvious. Why didn’t someone think of it before?

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Drunk Donkey Driver

SI ExifThere are people who shop at Walmart and then there are “The People of Walmart.” Anyone who needs a brisket, motor oil, bath towels, fertilizer, and hydrogen peroxide but only wants to make one stop and get low prices is simply a person who shops at Walmart. People who buy those things then post videos on social media involving all those items and the corresponding police intervention are likely “People of Walmart.”

The woman in Brownwood, Texas who rode a donkey into the Walmart there is definitely in the People of Walmart category. It doesn’t matter what she was there to purchase, she was riding a donkey. I wasn’t actually at the Walmart to witness the alleged donkey debacle, but it was on the internet, so it has to be true. Therefore it’s my job as a responsible journalist (hahaha) to report on it.

Interestingly, according to the reports, the woman already had several parole violations when authorities arrested and charged her with a DUI. Wow, drunk? Really? Didn’t see that coming! I question, though, whether Driving Under the Influence includes operating a farm animal for vehicular transportation. Maybe she got busted for the Donkey Under the Influence. It says that animal control took the donkey back to wherever he came from, but didn’t mention if he smelled like 190 proof Everclear or if he could pass a field sobriety test. Maybe the donkey is the real perpetrator and the poor woman is just an unwilling participant. … Nah, probably not.

In this poor, intoxicated woman’s defense, it’s not like she was riding the donkey into a Spec’s liquor store which would have really made it hard to defend her in court. Plus, she’s probably not the first person to show her ass in Walmart. Most people, however, usually leave them in a trailer in the parking lot or at least tied up to one of the shopping cart racks. I mean, this is Texas and those things do happen. And, too, she was wearing more than just flesh-colored thong underwear and Saran Wrap, so she’s ahead of the game on some of the other People of Walmart. Maybe she can get credit for that at her hearing. Because the donkey doesn’t seem to have any priors, I hope he gets community service and sobers up.         

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Rules to Live By

woodyWe’ve become the society of “Anything Goes.” There’s almost nothing too weird. Nevertheless, I think a body should still set a few boundaries and rules to live by. Otherwise, there will be no limit to how low you’ll stoop. How long before you’re wearing socks with your flip flops, sporting a man bun or disappointing your dog. Believe me, there’s nothing worse in the world than disappointing your dog. Decide now where you break the deal.

For me, I’ve decided that to live my life in an authentic state, I will never drive a station wagon with fake wood paneling. I don’t care if they’re now classics and cool again. I will forever associate them with Wonder Bread and chicken ala king out of a can and get a stomach ache. In that same category, I will never drive a minivan. No offense to those adorable moms with adorable children doing adorable things who drive around in their adorable minivans, but I’d rather chew glass. If I’m getting out of a van, I’m either being taken to lock up or dropped off at the airport park and ride.

I’ve also made the conscious choice to never wear sequins before dark. Outside the potential hazard of unplanned blinding sparkle, there’s just no reason for it. I understand it doesn’t get dark until after 9pm in the summer, but too bad. Stay home or pick out something else. It’s probably too hot to wear sequins in the summer anyway. Glitter is just tiny sequins, so tack on glitter under this heading.

Now this is just me – I can’t decide what’s right for you – but I’m never going to pierce my nostril. That just seems like an idea that’s one flu season away from disaster. Even cows don’t seem to like that big ring in their noses, so I’m going to side with them and give a decisive and permanent no to nose rings in any form. For that matter, I won’t be mangling my tongue, eyebrow, cheek, or any place else that I’d be embarrassed to tell an EMT about.

Of course, we’re all about Constitutional rights. And by all means, you have the right to do whatever cockamamie thing you want. That includes wearing sequin socks with flip flops when driving your minivan at noon. But trust me, your dog will be very disappointed.

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My GPS Wants Me Dead

hellThere is evil in the world. You don’t have to look too far to find it, actually. I only had to go as far as my own garage. All this time that I’ve been in love with my car (and I do love my car), it’s been quietly festering a hatred for me. And maybe it’s not the entire car that hates me, but for sure the GPS has a desire to see me dead. Recently, it came pretty close to getting its wish!

One night last week I went to a meeting near downtown Houston. I plugged the address into my GPS, believing naively that I’d take the most direct route to my destination. My GPS, however, thought we’d take some crazy joy ride through some weird side streets and loop around through a few neighborhoods before we got to the destination. Since I definitely had somewhere to be, I thought this wasn’t really the time for a nasty confrontation with my car, so I bit my tongue and followed directions.

That was my first mistake. My car now realized what a mushy pushover I could be. When I come out of this meeting, it’s late and dark. I tell the GPS to take me home because I’ve gotten so turned around getting to this place that I’m not completely sure how to get back out. That was my second mistake.

My GPS, hell-bent on taking me down the Trail of Transportation Terror, sends me through parts of Houston that only a truck-mounted automatic assault rifle would make me feel good in. The GPS told me to turn on streets I’d passed two blocks before, to go the wrong way on one-way streets, and to turn onto streets that didn’t even exist. My car had decided I’d suddenly developed a crystal meth habit and needed a dealer, that it was time to make a few bucks “the hard way,” or it just wanted me dead. Those were the only possible reasons it was doing this to me.

I finally made it home in one piece, and I’ve managed to forgive my car. We all have those moments when we go off the grid. But I’m smarter now. Not only do I own a paper map, but I can read it and fold it. Take that GPS! Now who wins?!

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