Showing posts from June, 2021

Nuts in 2004

JULY 14, 2004 : The new toilet upstairs drives me nuts. "Flush the shit,” said the plumber, “then the Charmin.” But Pop, Betty, and me, we keep forgetting. *   So that new toilet upstairs, it keeps stopping up, it keeps overflowing. This means more plunging. It means cleaning up a flood of piss and poop and spent Charmin squares on a damn near daily basis. That my Toyota Echo’s front and rear bumpers are scraped and nicked up, that there's a ding in the driver's-side door, and another and near the fuel door hatch, and that none of them are my fault, and this is my first new car; and the cost to repair all these scrapes, nicks, and dings will run me between one and two grand — it drives me nuts. What the devil happened to rubber bumpers, anyway? † I blame the body shop lobbyists. That Pop pushes food onto his fork with his forefinger — so that the knife stays clean — it also drives me a little nuts. That he doesn't believe me when I say we’ve got a slight ant / spider

The Backup Beep-Beep-Beeps Bit

[Take the stage and pull the microphone out of its stand. Thank the emcee and the venue. Thank the crowd for attending the show. Comment on how great it is to be back in _________. Assuming there’s nothing else with comic potential to take note of, begin the bit/chunk/routine:] Question: What one annoying thing do trucks, SUVs, minivans, and bulldozers have in common?  [Repeat answers, if any, and, if applicable, consider following up with, “What’s annoying about that?”] The one thing that annoys me most about trucks, SUVs, minivans, and bulldozers is this: Whenever the driver throws any one of them into reverse, the damn thing goes: “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” [Back up slowly as you...]  “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”  [Stop and pause.]  “Beep-beep!”  [Stop and pause.]  “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”  [Continue until laughter, if any, abates.] If you live in suburbia, it’s no big deal, right? A minor inconvenience. But if you’re an urbanite? And the place you rent was built back when

An "URGENT" Letter from Florida

OCTOBER 30, 2001 : Earlier this month, the government warned us about the potential for another terrorist attack. Soon thereafter, two U.S. senators, several newspapers, and the news divisions of multiple TV networks were mailed envelopes full of anthrax spores. Then, a day or two ago, the U.S. Attorney General issued yet another non-specific warning to the public. Police agencies nationwide are already on their highest state of alert. But without something specific to go on, what more can be done? Maybe the CDC should send each of us a hazmat suit. Ask my stepdad, and he’ll tell you that opening the mailbox is now a lot like defusing a bomb. We can blame his wariness of opening the front door to his house on TV news — cable TV news, in particular — which exists to cause its viewers stress. In sooth, if news of newborn puppies and bunnies held our attention as fully as news of strife and calamity, we’d be an entirely different species — and likely extinct by now. But stepdad’s inflame

The Stiffly One

Up on the stage, under the spotlight, The FireVaney draws the back of his hand across his damp forehead. He’s “dying” up there. Nobody’s laughing. Their silence is “murdering” him. FireVaney  People…  [He tries to swallow, but his throat is drier than the Sahara.]  People say...  [He reaches for the glass of water sitting on a nearby stool. In his haste, he nearly knocks it over. He panics and takes too much care to prevent it from spilling. Several members of the audience snicker. The water in the glass quakes in FireVaney’s shaky hand as he brings it to his lips, sips, and then carefully sets it back down. He clears his throat.] People say I’m stiff—  too stiff, too rigid—  herky-jerky.  Throughout my entire life,  I’ve been referred to  as a walking, talking  ramrod;  less flexible  than a lamppost;  from head to toe,  a potential toothpick  for,  say,  King Kong. You’d think at least I could dance the robot.  [The FireVaney makes a meager effort at it. He jerks an arm up—just one