I Was Dumped by an 80-Year-Old November 22, 2011

Filed under: Humor,Self Deprecation — aniederkorn @ 5:22 pm
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The title of this post alone sounds like some messed-up episode of MTV’s True Life.  Sigh.  If only it were not true.

I take you back to the summer of 1992.  I was hanging out with a college friend who was working on campus for the summer.  Even though this girl was Italian, she was hell bent on going to Pulaski Polka Days.  (The mention of polka should now have you even more intrigued.  Either that, or it explains where an 80-year-old man might come into the story).

Pulaski Polka Days really do not need much explanation.  It’s another Wisconsin festival set in a very Polish town, but obviously it focuses on all Polka, all day long.  Oh and there may be some beer tents involved. 

Aforementioned girlfriend invites a mutual friend along, who then invites his friend.  But let’s be clear here:  they were actually two really hot, fun gay guys we secretly wished were our boyfriends.  We were in serious denial.  Anyway, upon arrival to our selected dancing tent, my friend and Gay One immediately take off dancing.  I was left alone with his “friend” who promptly ignored me.  Thankfully a cute little old man comes to my rescue and asks me to dance.  Even though I was all of nineteen and he was pushing eighty, there was no way I could turn him down.  Of course I would love to dance with you, Grandpa!

So we start to polka, but it doesn’t take long for me to notice that we are just not jibing.  Years of watching Polka Variety Hour before Sunday mass have made me realize that we’ve got a case of CPS – Clashing Polka Styles. 

You see, there are two kinds of polka dancers out there.  One is the bouncing, step-ball-change style (me), and the other is the more complicated, herky-jerky, I-stepped-off-the-boat-from-Poland kind (him).  Try putting the two styles together and you have one awkward mess.  I looked like one of the bouncing twins from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and he looked like he was trying to tame me by having a seizure.  Finally, he just stopped, shook his head and said, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to work.”

And then he left me.  I just stood there, alone and humiliated on the dance floor.  Dumped by an 80-year-old.  Oh, the shame.


20 Things I Don’t Wanna Do Before I Kick the Bucket November 14, 2011

I owe the idea for this blog to comedy writer Barb Best, who first published “25 Things I Don’t Wanna Do Before I Croak.”  Her hilarious list can be found here:

So inspired was I by Barb, I decided to come up with my own list.  To quote Barb, it’s not a Bucket List, it’s a F*ck It List (sorry, Mom).  I will never feel the need to do these things.  For some of you, many of these things might seem fun or even downright dreamy.  Alas, not for me. I just don’t want to do them.  Ever.

1)  Get so drunk that I blame my embarrassing public behavior on “exhaustion.”  (Lindsey Lohan and Kirsten Dunst, you gals are a riot!)

2)  Purposely pet, touch, brush up against, or come anywhere near a cat or anything in the rodent family.

3)  Sleep with an NBA player.

4)  Watch any of the Saw movies.  There’s a reason why they are banned in several countries, and I know enough that I don’t want to find out why.

5)  Take any crap from smug, power mongering school secretaries.

6)  Read Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog.

7)  Have a deep conversation about politics and/or the environment with Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon or Leonardo DiCaprio.

8)  Watch another nauseating Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy.

9)  Go on The Amazing Race with my husband.  Simply moving furniture with him causes our marriage great distress, so I can’t imagine what map reading, puzzle solving, running and cultural misunderstandings (all under enormous pressure) would do to us.  I’m not against being on a reality TV show, however.  That is, if a new version of The Real World is created where they put some hip thirtysomethings in a cushy pad and hand them dream jobs, then sign me up.

10)  Completely remodel another house down to the studs.  Been there, done that, and I didn’t even do much labor.  It’s not as fun or easy as it looks on HGTV.  Most of the time it’s like the horror stories on Holmes on Homes; that show makes me break out in hives. 

11)  Occupy Wall Street.  Yeah, I already know that life isn’t fair.  It’s never going to be fair, and there are always people who will have more than I do, whether they earned it or not.  If life were fair then I wouldn’t have this large thigh gene and a vat of Proactiv Solution at age thirty-eight.  And that’s not even mentioning the most embarrassing  and challenging stuff that’s too personal to share here.

12)  Go on the Atkins Diet for life.  Sorry, but Mama needs her bread.

13)  Go bungee jumping.  Or base jumping.  Or skydiving.  You get the idea.

14)  Run my fingers through Brad Pitt’s beard.

15)  Join the Red Hat Society.

16)  Make crafts out of animal hair.  (Don’t believe me?  Check out this creepy book:  Crafting with Cat Hair

17)  Stop being a Green Bay Packers fan.

18)  Go parasailing in Mexico. It might have to do with this story:  One time in Mexico, the same guy who drove the parasailing boat asked my husband and me if we wanted to buy some blow.  Hmmm.  Let me think about it.  I don’t think so.

19)  Weigh more than my husband.  I just don’t want to be one of those couples where it looks like the wife could beat the crap out of her tiny husband.

20)  Get my picture taken while standing next to a professional model.  Except for a male model…that might be okay.


Desperately Seeking Attention Spans November 6, 2011

I suppose it is appropriate that this post comes a few days after Andy Rooney’s death.  Mr. Rooney was notorious for his weekly rants on 60 Minutes, delivering them in the crotchety, whiny manner of an old guy who doesn’t really give a rip.  You see, something set me off today, and so now I am going to go all Rooney on you and deliver a rant of my own.  It’s about attention spans.  And how so many people (especially older children) seem to lack one.  Normally I would not get too worked up about such things.  However, when a lack of attention span threatens good manners, self-discipline and respect of others, it crosses the line and just makes me a big crankypants.

Now the thing that set me off today was a performance by the Oshkosh Youth Symphony Orchestra.  My fifteen-year-old stepson was performing along with other area kids ranging from middle school to college age.  These kids were going above and beyond their band class; many of them traveled from miles away to do something pretty incredible.  So imagine my irritation when a girl about 10 years old sat in front of me and played games on her DS (portable gaming device) during the entire concert. Really?  Regardless your taste in music, seeing a symphony in person is pretty amazing, not to mention just plain loud at times.  Yet this girl kept her eyes peeled on the little lit-up screen the entire time. 

This bothers me on several levels.  First of all, the fact that she had the device with her showed that she automatically assumed she would be bored.  Secondly, she could not tear herself away from the device for one short hour?  Thirdly, why did her mother allow this?  She was sitting right next to her daughter yet did nothing to stop this absurdity.  Surely they were there to watch a brother or sister perform in the orchestra.  Therefore, you do the right thing and show the proper respect to that sibling.  You listen.  You watch.  You congratulate them on a successful performance or a strong effort.  In my case, you went to watch your older brothers play YMCA football every Saturday morning in the fall.  It was cold.  It was long.  It was boring at times.  But I survived, and I surely didn’t have an iPod Touch in hand so I could play Angry Birds.

To be fair, we were all warned about this, weren’t we?  As soon as MTV-style television and the internet arrived, we were constantly fed short tidbits of information; our brains were interrupted and distracted, and we were doomed to become fidgeting citizens who got bored easily. I see it happening all around me, and I’m not even an A.D.H.D. specialist, nor a cranky 92 year-old journalist.  I do know that I’m guilty of loving plenty of mindless TV shows, some of which insult my intelligence as well as my attention span.  However, I’d like to think that I can go on a long car trip without a DVD player, a Smartphone or a portable gaming device.  Our kids know better than to ask for the DVD player when we are simply driving to Oshkosh.  It’s twenty minutes!  Talk to all the people (myself included) who took long family road trips with only the radio, conversation, and the ABC game.  Excitement was finding a small town with a Dairy Queen so you could score the letter ‘Q’.  Heck, my husband’s family once took their seven kids, a friend and the family dog on a trip to the Black Hills.  (I do have to question their sanity a bit though; seven kids are enough, so what would possess them to bring another kid and a dog is beyond me).

Another common display of the poor attention span would be restaurant dining.  How often do you see families out to dinner, only to see the kids texting the entire time?  Again, why aren’t parents speaking up and taking their phones away?  Not only is it anti-social, it’s rude to ignore your fellow diners.  It’s basically telling them that they aren’t worth the effort. I wonder how these kids are going to have the patience to sit in a lecture hall and take a two-hour test.  Trust me, kids, it will happen one day.  Just you, a writing device, and a little blue testing booklet for 120 minutes.  Unless of course universities build in snack breaks. And then you’ll really see me lose it.