The other night I was watching a documentary on the History Channel on comedy. In one segment they were asking people what the first joke they ever heard was.
I think mine was the infamous "What's black and white and red all over?"
It pains me to admit this, but I did not get the "a newspaper" answer until I was like in high school. I got all the other answers just fine -- you know, "an embarassed zebra," "a skunk with a sunburn," "a referee in a blender." But for some reason my brain just could not make that red/read connection.
One of my favorite jokes was one that circulated around my junior high (since I went to school with Jack Black, I'm guessing it started with him -- you be the judge):
Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? Because it was dead.
Why did the duck fall out of the tree? Because it was stapled to the monkey.
Nigel and I had Frances submit this riddle for her class joke book. The teacher refused to submit it.
Nigel's artist friend came up with the beginning of a joke, but he can't figure out the rest. It starts out with:
A duck and a uterus walk into a bar...
Any suggestions for a middle and a punchline? And while you're thinking about it, what was the first joke you ever heard?
I've been tagged again! I've flaked out on the last few tags, but this one is about me and Nigel, so here goes:
How long did you date?
We first met at a Halloween Party (he was Hobbes of "Calvin & Hobbes" and I was a Dr. Seuss Star Belly Sneech -- a match made in heaven?). We were friends for quite a few months (where I briefly dated "Calvin" and Nigel kept setting me up on dates with the gay guy in the neighborhood -- "But you have so much in common!" He would always say -- yeah, we both like MEN!). We started dating in the spring. We wrote letters and called each other that summer (he was in Switzerland selling fireworks and I was in California digging dead dogs out of a freezer) and then dated again in the fall. We were married in winter (it was 10 below). So, I guess we dated for a little over a year before we got married.
Who eats more?
Oh, definitely Nigel, but I never see him eat. He's a stealth eater. I just know that the fridge is full of food before I go to bed and the next day it's just empty plates and bowls in there (come to think of it, I'm hoping it's Nigel -- is the food eating itself? Can vegetables be cannibals?).
Who is taller?
Nigel says that he's two inches taller than me, but I think we're the same height. My kids think that I'm taller. I guess it matters if he fluffs up his hair or not (he has a lot of hair).
Who is smarter?
Nigel is, but I think I'm smarter and I'm a whole lot louder (as we all know, the more volume, the more intelligence). I've since learned to follow his lead in trivia games because he's almost always right.
Whose temper is worse?
No question, Nigel's. I like to refer to myself as a happy pessimist and Nigel is a miserable optimist. He's convinced that everything's going to go right, so he's always really angry when it doesn't. I'm convinced that everything's going to go wrong, so I'm ecstatic when it doesn't.
Nigel: I didn't win the lottery? What the *&^# am I @*#$ doing with my #$*% life and why does everything $#*@ happen to me!!!
Lois: Hey, I didn't get kidnapped and sold into white slavery today! This was an awesome day!
Who does the laundry?
Nigel. But only because he thinks that I do it wrong. I would prefer to do the laundry because then it would be washed, dried, folded and put away. Nigel prefers to pre-treat every stain with his special voodoo cleaning mixture before he washes it, dries it and then leaves it in a heap in the hallway.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
Is there a wrong side? I guess that we both sleep on the outside of the bed (the inside would be pretty uncomfortable with all those springs -- good thing we don't have a water bed!).
Who pays the bills?
I do (I'm obsessed with my budget and I so love paying my bills online). Nigel likes to be blissfully unaware of how the finances work. As far as he knows, little fairies come in and keep the roof over our heads and the lights on.
Who cooks dinner?
Nigel. I can do breakfast and lunch, but I stink at dinner. Nigel can cook anything and everything. He can't follow a recipe to save his life, but just yell out "Beef Bolagnese" or "Fried Green Tomatoes" and he'll make them from scratch. He even makes his own pasta. He's amazing.
Who drives when you are together?
I do. Always. Nigel doesn't drive. I'm blaming the influence of that Amish farm house he grew up in for that one (but it does mean that we can get by with only one car and it's always mine).
Who is more stubborn?
Nigel. He's East Coast, I'm West Coast. I'm laid back, do whatever you want, I'm flexible. He's much more "my way or the highway."
Who kissed who first?
Can you kiss someone before someone else does? Don't you both kiss together? Are we doing this wrong?
Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Me. Because I usually am wrong.
Whose parents do you see the most?
Mine. We're kind of far from both sets, but my parents live by Disneyland (need I say more?).
Nigel. But I had to force it out of him.
Who is more sensitive?
Nigel. I've got that Scandinavian "don't let your emotions show" thing going. With five older brothers, you learn to get a thick skin (figuratively and literally -- "Want a Hertz Donut?").
Who has more friends?
We both have the same friends, so it's even.
Who has more siblings?
Me. Nigel has one sister and one brother. I have five brothers and three sisters.
Who wears the pants in the family?
Neither of us. We're all nude all the time, baby! Do you have a song?
We don't have "a song," but Nigel says that the song "Cinnamon Girl" by Neil Young reminds him of me. I think that he really means "Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths.
H is for happy -- Dot is always happy, laughing and has a smile on her face. A is for Albert Einstein -- she has a letter from the esteemed scientist. Not one that she bought at an auction, but an actual letter that he wrote to her! P is for prison -- where she served as a stake missionary in her younger days. P is for piano -- she plays beautifully and has been giving lessons for years. Y is for youngsters -- she must love them because she had nine!
M is for mission to England with her husband, Ardale. O is for organ -- Dot's infamous playing of "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning" on the organ while the church was burning down. T is for turtle sandbox -- it was right smack in the middle of our front lawn during my teenage years (so embarrassing). H is for hospitality -- she welcomed everyone into her home (foster children, foreign exchange students, family friends, day-care kids, even a soccer team that she found stranded at the airport). E is for elementary education -- her major in college and she loved teaching. R is for roof -- of course, the perfect place to grow corn on! 'S is for shed -- the scary building in our backyard that she raised guinea pigs in (I must admit that I have never stepped foot in it).
D is for doctors -- she hates them and NEVER goes to them (which is quite ironic because now she works for them!). A is for albatross -- while other mothers were reading Dr. Seuss to their kids, Dot was reading Samuel Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to us. Y is for yelling -- I don't ever remember her yelling. She was one of those old-school mothers who could put the fear of God in you with just one look.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you! You're the best!
Speaking of beauty pageants, did I mention that my nephew, Six, won a "beauty" pageant recently?
Of course, how could he not with his stylish 1970s disco suit, baton twirling routine (complete with whistle and band uniform) and to top it all off, this was his reply in the question-answer portion of the contest:
I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as, uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.”
The other night on TV they had an interview with Miss Utah and it got me thinking about beauty pageants. As you may have figured out, I am not very girly, but there are some girly things that I do enjoy.
I like wearing perfume (though I can't wear it now because my work forbids it), my favorite color is pink and I absolutely love watching the Miss America pageant.
I know, here I hate wearing make-up and I never even brush my hair and I like beauty pageants? Hey, I'm not talking about that slutty Miss USA contest, this is Miss America. It's a SCHOLARSHIP pageant, people!
Maybe it stems from my youth when I used to watch the pageant with my mother, Dot, who would sit there earnestly taking notes and keeping score (I don't know why she bothered, it seemed like Miss Texas always won).
Or maybe it's because when I was young my sister, Myrna, took me to the Miss Clover City Pageant to see her friend compete. It was there that I had my first Shirley Temple and realized that when you're competing on the city level, it's best to have a sponsor with a short name (Myrna's friend didn't win, but she should've gotten a special award for having the longest sash -- since she was Miss Ed Little's Auto Service).
This year the Miss America pageant was awesome because a few days before the pageant they were on a reality show where they had to do various challenges and get makeovers ("Survivor" meets "What Not To Wear").
It was there that we got to see the leadership abilities of Miss Utah, everyone's favorite soldier. Of course, she was so un-girly that it was even driving me crazy. Those are high heels on your feet, Miss Utah, not bear traps! My five-year-old can walk in a pair of stilettos better than you!
It was also where I got to see Miss Florida freak out because she lost a contest and had to jump in a pool and she was petrified of her make-up coming off. This induced massive eye-rolling on my part. Then later on in the show you found out that Miss Florida had been in an explosion as a child and her face had blown off and she had to wear heavy make-up to cover the scars. All of a sudden she went from prissy scaredy-cat to courageous champion.
My favorite was Miss Alaska. She was brash, loud, always said the wrong thing, alienated others, ethnically insensitive, and probably a little bit mentally ill. In my mind, she was the one that perfectly personified the United States of America.
The actual pageant was kind of boring and I don't even remember who won. I just know that it wasn't Miss Utah, Miss Florida or Miss Alaska.
I just heard that the blind lady in our neighborhood is out of town getting a new seeing-eye-dog.
It's about time. She has the worst seeing-eye-dog ever! I'm serious, you cannot believe how horrible this dog is.
He's constantly taking her across the street when the light is red and he actually WAITS for a car to approach before he leads her out into traffic. It's ridiculous.
At church, she'll be walking down a crowded hallway and telling the small children to please ignore her dog (always good etiquette when being approached by a working-dog). What she doesn't realize is that her stupid dog is sitting there eating cookies out of a frightened toddler's hand while she's saying this!
Many times I've had to stop the car and lead her back home because that dog has gotten her completely lost and she no longer knows which way is which. She has my friend on speed-dial because she's gotten lost so many times (and miraculously my friend can find her when all she can do is feel a name on a mailbox for her location).
One time in Stake Conference (a huge church meeting), I was asked to say the closing prayer (always a stressful occasion for me because I have a fear of suddenly contracting Tourette's Syndrome and swearing like a sailor or yelling "coffee pot*" -- which may be even worse than swearing -- during the prayer). I sat on the front row so that there would be less chance of my tripping on the way up to the podium.
The blind lady and her dumb dog sat right next to me. No problem at first, the dog was very quietly sitting under the pew. But as the meeting progressed, that dog would slowly creep farther and farther out from under the bench and he was pushing on my legs, causing them to go higher and higher.
What do I do? What is the protocol when it comes to telling someone that her inept helper-dog has become an unwelcome ottoman? So now my legs are almost horizontal coming out of the pew. Occasionally the dog would jump up and my legs would go flying up in the air -- much to the amusement of the teenage boy sitting next to me. Now, this is a huge dog. No matter how much I moved, the dog was always under me. By the end of this long meeting, my legs were completely asleep! Now how was I going to go up there and say the prayer?
By the time the meeting was over, I said a prayer BEFORE my prayer that I could make it up there on my wobbly, numb legs. I actually made it to the stand and said the shortest prayer ever and hurried back down.
Strangely enough, I got many compliments on that quick prayer. I think everyone was happy to get out of there -- crazy guide-dog under their pew or not.
*This fear stems from an episode of "Oprah" on Tourette's Syndrome where the guest would always yell out "coffee pot!"