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Weakly Reader

8 Aug

Our weekly newspaper has a column (“Kountry Kicks,” Butcher’s Block”- some alliterative white-space taker-upper) that occasionally ventures into “writing about what to write about” territory which, to me, is akin to having celebrity chef  Wolfgang Puck personally serve me one of his frozen pizzas- it’s lazy, uncreative and it cheapens us both.

If I was interested in looming deadlines, chasing the muse or burning the midnight oil, I would send out resumes, ace an interview and get my own damn writing job whereupon I would take you out for Happy Hour (because any job that I landed would certainly not enable me to pay full price for booze- especially in the quantities you consume) and complain about it then- over free Grzyby from 4PM-6PM, Ladies Night Every Tuesday.

When I started FA&S I made one promise to readers and, as my only follower, I was in the unique position of keeping it: free ice cream for the first twenty comments.

I gained three and a half pounds in a month but at least I kept my word.  Toward the end I had to single-scoop it, but still.

I also pledged that I would never scrape the bottom of the subject matter barrel by referencing previous spousal affronts (not when so many new ones are created each week!), mining teen angst or deliberately bashing Mom-she suffered enough through the 90’s wearing pleated jeans (with loafers) and sporting a Boys Regular haircut.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it.  It’s just that there’s everything wrong with it.

So this is me NOT writing about how challenging blogging can be and this is you not complaining about ______.

And together we are changing the world one post at a time.  (Or at least avoiding work.)

Of course, “scraping the bottom of the subject matter barrel” is a cliché and while I also committed to avoiding those, I’m out of time and coming up with new material each week is just so hard.

Next week: “Grzyby: Using the Name of a Polish Mushroom to Make Your Blog Post Longer”.

More untapped career choices

31 Jan

Here’s what happens when you’ve been unemployed for a while: the “dream job” that you often fantasized about while AT WORK becomes significant as your six-week review with the “employment solutions counselor” is here and you must have something to show for your time besides a renewed appreciation for the character “Lucky” as voiced by Tom Petty on “King of the Hill.”  (Side note: Tom Petty is a native Floridian.)


So, to my employment counselor I offer:

Second to Naan: a lunch truck that serves, stuffed or topped, freshly baked naan.  You may ask how successful an Indian lunch truck could  be here in Venisonland but that, I feel, is a question more for a counselor with “solutions” in her title than it is for me.  I’m too busy thinking.

Thinking: so obvious yet it appears on my soon to be released “List of Endangered Things.”  I could do this for any number of employers.

Batter Up: a food truck that will deep fry ANYTHING.  From baby shoes to engagement rings as well as the classics: Oreos, apple pies and sticks of butter.  Located in Cooperstown, NY, this service caters to visitors to the Baseball Hall of Fame and is aptly named.

The Truth Booth: a cardboard washing machine box that sets up anywhere (parties, reunions, etc.) to afford privacy.  For a fee, you may bring an individual into the booth whereupon I will tell them what you cannot.  Specializing in: “that hairstyle makes you look like you’re 100” and “your son (daughter) is smoking the (your) pot,” we also create custom rhyming verse like:

“Your spouse is a louse/get him out of the house./Yeah and the other day in the kitchen?/I saw a mouse.  You need to clean, girl.”

or even Haiku:


dry, dusty cooking

eternal sands of marriage

ketchup is my friend.


And from my employment counselor I request:

a part-time, sit down (in one of those vertebrae-aligning kneeling chairs and not a cushy wheely chair) but not too much sitting (as a visit to WebMD indicates that Spinal Stenosis can be aggravated by sitting), number- crunching (but not crazy big theoretical numbers with all kinds of commas and decimals), well-paying position with a mediumsmall-large company and a window.  For my ferret.


I suppose we may have to meet in the middle on this.

Meet in the Middle: a lunch truck that prepares selections from the middle of other restaurant menus and deep fries them.  For a fee.  Comes with a side of truth.

Got a minute?

17 Nov

A former boss once sent a memo stating that, among other things, and so on, projections, graphs, etc., we need to “air on the side of caution,” and, in addition, more stuff, so on and so forth and, third quarter words, more words, etc. and once, during a power point presentation, she ended with a final slide that read: “Wallah!”

As in, there you have it!

As in voila.

Now, she was my boss and I didn’t care because I can be a happy little cog when in worker mode but I am a happier, more productive, cog when I am not simmering over a misspelled word so I let it go.

Still, even the most content queen of worker bees, can take only so much before telling the emperor that she has no writing skills.

I ignored the misuse of ensure vs. insure and even agreed with her that the CEO would certainly find an “amenicable” fix for disgruntled middle management.  Then she crossed the line: she sent an email indicating that the amount of time employees spent on “personnel” matters had become “disconcerning.”

So on Friday, just before 5:00, I stopped in her office with a “What are your plans for the weekend and do you think that we should hire a proofreader before you mess up so horribly that our stock value plummets?” on my lips when she opened with “Got a minute?”

Always a bad sign, the “got a minute?” at 5:00 on a Friday.  The only thing worse is the “quick minute.”  The “quick minute” means that your desk is being cleared out and Edwardo from security will be walking you to your car.

Instead, she asked me to read over the letter of resignation she had prepared as she had accepted a promotion and would be leaving our department.  Yes, she was moving “onward and upward” without ever knowing that it’s possible to move onward or upward independently.  (Like vim and vigor.  While you rarely see vim on its own, I can shake a martini using only vigor.  Just an observation.)

And so the emperor left.  We had a nice party, there was cake and punch and best wishes, et al.

I did not get the emperor a farewell gift but I distributed her farewell letter, as requested, without reading it first.  It was difficult, but it was what she wanted.  In the letter she explained that while she “would miss us, [she] is excited to pursue this opportunity in the South where the people are more gentile.”

Note: I did not get her a gift.  That does not mean that I didn’t give her a gift.

Spot the Theatre Major

27 Oct

At a party:

makes liberal use of the word “wonderful.”  From the crudite to the secondhand smoke, it’s all “wonderful.”  Except life.  Life, my friend, is a Cabaret.

At similar party with a piano in the room:

all roads lead to Streisand who, need I say, is “wonderful.”

In college:

spells theatre using “re” and then complains about constant battles with spellcheck.

At the unemployment office:

believes that everything happens for a reason and not just because she picked the wrong major, then complains about constant battles with student loan officer.

(Because this is a State office, underworked staff members will pretend to care but do nothing until 4:00 when they swiftly head home to complain about constant battles with their supervisor.)


is a blogger.

Maybe I’ll Become a Barrista

20 Oct

I rarely offer advice regarding employment.  I tend to stay in unpleasant employment situations long after the headiness of wielding power, bossing minions and firing incompetents has evaporated.  Oh wait, that’s Donald Trump, not me.  I eat pizza with my hands.

So here I am at the crossroads.  The advice-giving me is telling the hardworking-me that I need to quit my job like, yesterday, even in this economy.  (A quick aside: go ahead, ask me the words that I hope to never, ever, hear again for as long as I live?  “In this economy.”  Why?  Because there is always an economy and that economy will always favor the wealthy, trample the middle class and disregard the poor and that, my friend, will never change.  So enough with “in this economy.”  Besides, I need to quit “in this moment.”)  Wow, that quick aside should probably be a separate paragraph.

So, when you stop fantasizing about being involved in a minor automobile accident, like bumping a parked car, for example- no ambulance, no injury- just a little vehicular incident that takes some time to apologize and check over the damage which results in your having to miss this month’s meeting- when you no longer imagine this scenario, but rather, find yourself slowly driving along Main Street looking for a dented car that is precariously parked, it’s time to quit.

When you begin to wish that the stranger at the gas pump next to you would pass out so that you and only you must stay with that person until help arrives and end up missing next month’s meeting too, give notice.

When you pray that your child gets a slight fever, husband gets a flat tire, friend’s husband gets caught cheating; when you check the weather channel thinking “tornado.  C’mon, baby.  Mommy needs a little tornado.  Or “power outage.  Help me out, NYSEG.  Can I get a glitch?”  Not long enough to melt the Starbucks ice cream in the freezer, mind you, but enough so that the meeting is canceled.

When you find yourself contemplating the loss of full fat/high price frozen confections, just walk away Renee.

Whatever you do, don’t drive.

P.S.  Melted Starbucks ice cream is okay- it’s like an extra creamy cappuccino.  (That I can no longer afford because I quit my job.)

Things at which I excel but will never be paid for

7 Sep


I have slept through the following:

  • bats in the bedroom (twice)
  • mice running across the bed (with me in it)
  • contractions
  • The Blues Brothers Movie
  • shifts at the phone company
  • an entire day and night.
  • I also awoke to the sound of a tree falling through my car.  After deciding that there was nothing I could do right now, I took a nap.

Inventing business names

  • Jiffy Pube- quick, custom genital grooming.
  • For the Love of Gawd- trinkets, tchotchkes, all things hot glue.
  • FUNerals- mixing hilarity with bereavement.  Cards, such as “your loss is our gain” or “I never understood what you saw in her,” sold separately.

Finding song lyrics for any situation*

  • and singing them.  Loudly.

*Note to self: a possible concert tie-in with FUNerals…  Sadfest?  GrieFair?

Opening a book on or near the exact page you need

  • and not just skinny books, either.  Have you ever used “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison?  Good luck finding Quinoa Timbales with Currants and Pine Nuts on the first try.  (FYI: page 535.)

Impressions of little-known actors

  • the ones who rarely go on to do other movies.  Angie, from Dog Day Afternoon, for example.  “Who?” you ask.  Exactly.  I do a great Angie but if I have to explain who she is and what scenes she’s in, you will have no idea whether or not my impression is spot on.  Too bad, because it is.

Not rolling my eyes when an eye roll is clearly warranted

  • when talking with local folklorist Tom Bowes, for example.

Taking deep breaths during a physical examination

  • so deep, so slow, my doctor loses money on this visit.

Pushing buttons

  • if I don’t, who will?

Judging others

  • again, if not me, who?

Being me

  • but what would I do on vacation?  Make Quinoa Timbales with Currants and Pine Nuts?  I don’t even own a ramekin.

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