A To Z Challenge – L

april-challenge

I had an L of a time deciding what to write about for the letter

letter-l

I’ve decided to say a few (hah!) words about

LEVITY

noun, plural levities.

lightness of mind, character, or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness.

an instance or exhibition of this.

Anyone who has read more than a ‘few’ of my words, is probably aware that my writing – in fact my life – is crammed to the scuppers with jokes and humor and comedy. Everyone deserves a smile or two each day.  More than that, there should be a mandatory, Minimum Daily Intake of humor.

Laughing releases feel-good endorphins. It’s almost as good as sex, and group comedy is almost as good as….No it’s not, but it’s still good.  Group humor is the social lubricant that glides tension and stress away.  Sharing a couple of jokes in emails, or at lunch, or around the water cooler makes our lives and our jobs so much easier to take.

It’s all well and good to take your life, your job or your marriage seriously, but All Work And No Play – can make Jack a real pain in the ass. Anger turned outward is aggression.  Anger turned inward is depression, but anger turned sideways….is humor.   😆

Just as science-fiction helps its readers take a serious alternate view of the world and its social situations and problems, humor can accomplish the same, in a light-hearted, nonthreatening manner. Subjects and situations that are a bit too touchy or taboo to discuss or even think about – can be gently joked about, thinking initiated, and solutions suggested.

I even disagree to a certain extent with the, “lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness” portion of the above definition.  Anything, or anybody, who claims to be so important that he/it shouldn’t be joked about, is exactly what needs to have a little (or a lot) of levity applied to its thin skin.

Levity is my fall-back position. If I can’t think of something to write about….publish some jokes.  That’s why H in this series was for Humor, and J was for Jokes, to apologise for that insipid I post.  Don’t ever think just because I or someone else is telling jokes, that we are not taking the subject, or life in general, seriously.  This a serious essay, about a serious subject.

Gerry Seinfeld and a friend once spent an hour debating whether to use the word ‘a’ or ‘the’ in a joke.  He replaced the word ‘dog’ with the more specific ‘German Shepherd’ in a limp joke about a blind skydiver – and the new wording killed.

When I went to the online dictionary, to pick up the exact meaning of Levity, I came upon the following definition.  I’ve included it to show you just how hard I work to levitate all my levity to you.   That’s no joke.

Definitions for lucubrate
to work, write, or study laboriously, especially at night.
to write learnedly.

 

 

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Horse Sh…Play

Clown

My life has been built around humor and comedy. I’m a great believer in amusement and entertainment.  I’m all for fun and frivolity.  Want to get into horseplay?  I think you’re a stupid asshole!

Sooner or later, horseplay ends in injury, damage or death, often sooner than later. At least, most times it ends there.  There are people (I’m sad to say they most often have an XY chromosome mix, though not always.) who go beyond asshole on the stupid scale, and continue.  Almost every workplace has a rule against horseplay.  There are good reasons for that.

The young man who formed the vinyl parts on my auto plant line was quiet and well-behaved. Management changed the part we did, and now we required two formers.  The second one we got was an industrial strength asshole.

The line beside us had four young women behind the press. He and one of them immediately started throwing small, hard balls of vinyl at each other.  One day he said to Mr. Niceguy, “Here, toss this at Elaine.”

He did so….just in time for Janet to step around the press, and get hit right in the eye. The guy who had never before thrown anything, got a written reprimand, and we had a lost-time accident after six months injury-free.   BTW, Mr. Asshole continued throwing stuff.

We bonded thin vinyl to foam rubber, then cut pieces out, usually discs, to fit over steering columns, etc. One of the parts had a steel support added, about the size of a cell phone.  Four protruding feet were hammered over like staples.  One jokester came by and found one near the supply crib.  He picked it up, yelled at our installer, and then scaled it toward him like a Frisbee.

It would have landed six feet short, and clanged across the floor.  Spinning in the air, it looked just like a soft rubber knockout, so my guy stepped forward and caught it in his bare hand.  Fortunately there was no blood, but their friendship was strained for several days.

When I worked at the steel warehouse, management had Southern Ontario carved up into six sections. One outside salesman serviced each piece.  The Inside Sales Dept. had one clerk for each of them.  It was a most redundant system in my opinion.  Three or four bodies could have easily handled the volume of calls, but I guess one-on-one ensured familiarity.

It meant that there was often a lot of free time. Two of the clerks were in their early 20s, like me.  One of them was a convicted kidder.  If anyone was away for washroom or coffee break, and there was a call, another clerk took name and number and left a note, for the customer to be called back.

There are two local Universities, one of them Lutheran. A call-back note might get you the recorded ‘Prayer of the Day.’  With the African Lion Safari fifteen miles away, another note might tell you to call a number and ask for ‘Leo.’  The other University had a Performing Arts Department.  They had a dedicated line that you could call to purchase tickets.  When shows were not running, it played recordings of things like ‘Money, Money, Money’ from Cabaret.  All very amusing.  😳

One day, the fall guy returned to his desk and found a note. A Mennonite he’d never dealt with had decided to set up a metal fabrication shop, and wanted to order a significant amount of material.  When he phoned back, he was answered by a Mr. Bierschbach. (Beersh-bock)

Expecting another prank, he heard ‘Beer Box’, a 24-bottle case, so he went along with the joke.  He told the customer that his name was Carling Labatt, the names of two of Canada’s largest breweries.  This wasn’t terribly unreasonable.  At the time, Carling Bassett, a young female member of the brewing clan, was well-known in figure-skating.

The call went on and on, with him nodding and agreeing, and calling the new customer Mr. Beer Box – but not writing a thing down. When the kidder returned, he had a big laugh about his ‘buddy’s fake call.’

After being assured that the call was genuine, and given the man’s name and pronunciation, he then had to call him back and apologise and explain – and write down the entire order. This was not a good introduction for a new client.  If there’d been another, sufficiently-large local warehouse, I’d have gone with them.

It’s all fun until somebody loses an eye – or a customer – or their job. Fun’s fun, but this ain’t it.  Horseplay is for horses’ asses.

Minutia II

I don’t know whether or not BrainRants wears his when he’s driving, but I saw a post the other day which said that the worst of the bad drivers out there, wear hats.  It could be Dapper Old Dude, with his outdated fedora.  It might be Society Doyenne, the Red Hat lady.  It could even be DUI Doublewide, the reckless redneck, with the bill of his Busch NASCAR cap down his neck.

If they’re going too fast, or too slow for driving conditions, if they’re blocking the passing lane or weaving in and out, cutting people off, there’s a good chance they’re wearing headgear of some type.  If you pull up behind one of them, you might have an urge to try another street or road, but it’s no use.  Their cap-wearing compadres are on that one too.

I saw Doublewide in a video the other day.  He was trying to watch a ball-game, with the extra-long visor of his ball-cap covering his red-neck, and holding his hand out from his forehead, to block the sun, so that he could see what was happening on the field.  Hey, Dummy, that’s what visors are for; you got your head on backwards!  Are you so dumb you can’t even drive a hat?

I recently posted about what Canada isn’t.  It’s interesting, and sometimes disappointing to see what grabs people’s attention.  When I checked, I found that the tag, “Igloos” had caught 27 views, but the “Patriotism” tag had yielded zero.

I’m not a fan of blind, Jingoistic Patriotism.  Like religion and politics, it often goes too far.  In 1775, Samuel Johnson said that, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”  But really??!  No views for Patriotism?  It’s why guys like BrainRants are necessary.  As long as the cell phones are charged, and the lattes are hot – let someone else worry about it.

Back when I first set my blogsite up, and before I knew about luring visitors with tags and categories, one of the labels I put on my posts was Printed S**t.  I used that to not look uncouth.  When I found out about search terms, I changed it to Printed Shit.  I might as well have just left it as it was.  Like Patriotism, I’ve never seen anyone else ever use it.  ….maybe if I changed it to Porn??

I recently watched a video of a wedding.  Instead of the instrumental Wedding Processional, the preacher sang them down the aisle – and did a great job of it too, sort of a Katholic Karaoke.  As the videographer panned from the minister to the bridal party, the shot took in the front of the lectern.  I don’t know what church it was, or where, but the name apparently had the initials S and H, superimposed.  It just looked like a giant dollar sign to me.   $

Dictionary.com, my electronic source of linguistic values, is beginning to seriously disappoint me.  Five times in the last month, it has shrugged its little shoulders and told me the word I was asking about didn’t exist.  I’m not talking about monster words like sesquipedalian.  The last one I tried to look up was cyser.  It’s a good thing that Google and Wiki know about them.  Cyser is merely an apple-flavored mead.

Speaking of shortbreads, (We weren’t??!) BrainRants recently emailed me for some assembly/cooking details of my mother’s/wife’s shortbreads.  Apparently Mama Rants is willing to have a try at making some.  So used to only making them at Christmas, it threw me for a bigger loop than I’m usually in.  I told him to contact us for any further help, and possibly make the bake the subject of a post.  I haven’t heard from him, or seen any results, but, if you smell something nice baking in eastern Kansas.  ….just sayin’.

Everything old is new again.  I made my grandson aware of Lonnie Donegan, a 1960s, British singer of nonsense songs, like the Americans, Ray Stevens or Jim Stafford.  Now he has chewing gum on his bedpost, and a passel of similar songs, in his computer’s music files.

His Mom mentioned the great British comic, Benny Hill, from twenty years before his birth.  Soon he was trolling YouTube and laughing his ass head off.  She has got us DVD sets of British programs like Lewis, and Poirot, and promised that she would get him a big Benny Hill collection for his birthday.  Oh wait, was that supposed to be a surprise??

Music lovers are going back to vinyl records, and more and more artists are releasing in that medium again.  The grandson picked up what, at first glance, seems to be a small, overnight suitcase but, when opened, is an amp/turntable combo which can play 45s and 33 RPM albums.  Of course, it can also burn a CD of the record being played.  I plan to offer him a good-quality pair of ear-muff type stereo headphones which we haven’t used for years.

 

What Canada Isn’t

Canada is a great country, whose one identifying characteristic is, that it doesn’t have an identifying characteristic. Those of us who deal with non-Canadians, spend great amounts of time and effort explaining to the rest of the world, what Canada isn’t.

We are like the middle child in a family. We have to explain to the Americans, that we are not English. We have to explain to the British, and the rest of the world, that we are not Americans. We explain to the French, that even the Quebec portion isn’t French. Vive le Quebec libre somewhere else, monsieur DeGaulle. De gall of dat man, heh?

We are not a colony anymore, and we are not ruled or led by a European county. We are an independent democracy, but we are not Jingoistic about it. We provide socialist support for our citizens, but we are not communist. Although we are a country of large geography and small population, and have acquired the reputation for being a well-mannered Mr. Niceguy, we are not a pushover. Anyone who saw the movie Argo, viewed a piece of American-made hype, but got that message.

We aren’t equipped with a huge set of Armed Forces, but we aren’t afraid of getting our hands dirty, and the job done, to the point that we aren’t often called on to prove it.

One of our home-grown comics, who moved to The States because we aren’t rich enough to afford to pay our best performers what they deserve, said that Canada is a subtle flavor – like celery. But remember, celery is strong and crisp, with lots of fibre….and so are we.

Some of our Provinces, Territories and areas have their complaints and demands, as the siblings in any family do, but we are not coming apart at the seams as the Balkans, and other SSRs did. Canada is not a country which imprisons, executes or oppresses social, ethnic, political or religious minorities.

Canada is not perpetually covered with ice and snow. It is not inhabited by toque-wearing lumberjacks, living in igloos. Canada is not an exporter of wars, aggression, terror or ideology. Canada is not a bucolic backwater, because Canada is not afraid or incapable of adapting to rapidly changing, social and technological climes.

Canada isn’t a troublemaker, or a creepy neighbor, partner, or ally. All in all, what Canada isn’t….is a bad place to live, work or visit. Y’all come now, y’hear?

Canadian Flag

 

But ……………………………Canada Kicks Ass

The preceding political message has been brought to you by a Citizen and booster, as proud of the many things that Canada isn’t, as the many exemplary things that his country is.

 

Flash Fiction – Part 2

You know the drill. Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site. Look at the weekly picture and write a 100 word story about it.

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Ascendancy

Up and down, down and up, that’s all I’ve done almost since that Otis guy invented my older brother. It can be boring. There are those times when I just want to try sideways for a change.

OWW! Watch that thumb, fella. Push the button gently! You don’t have to mash it. I won’t move any more quickly. I’ve been to the fifth floor; it’s boring.

Oh no, here comes “The Kid.” You know, we don’t have to stop at every floor! Where’s your mother?

I think I’ll unhitch my cables, and just go lurk in the basement for a while.

 

Aaahh – They Got Me!

versatile-blogger2They almost missed me.  Here it is, awards season again, and once again I’ve been unfairly passed over.  Not a word from my adoring public.  I didn’t get one of those strange, un-named statues (?) that look like an op-art angel made of gold ribbon, at the amalgamated Canadian Screen Awards show, watched by all 12 people who give a damn.  Surely I’ve had a better story arc than that hit Canadian show….tee-hee-hee  Hold on a sec – I’ve gotta Wiki to find out what Canada considers a hit.

Nothing at the AMA show, even though I can sing better than that Carly Rae Jepsen kid, when the drugs and her ego wear off.  I’m gorgeous!  You deserve me!  Call me, maybe, if you get off on that child pornography charge.

I didn’t get a Golden Globe, although I saw a bunch of golden globes as I surfed by, on my way to a TV program that required both of my brain cells to be awake and functioning.  My buddy Seth MacFarlane woke the crowd at the Oscars up by singing about them.  We Saw Your Boobs!

I thought that the judges at the Oscars were a little nit-picky.  Apparently you actually have to be filmed doing something to get a statue.  My portrayal of a curmudgeonly old fart was much better than Clint Eastwood’s in Gran Torino, and I wander around talking to empty furniture all the time.

When I published my 100th post, four of them had been for various well-deserved blogging awards.  Soon to reach the 200 mark, I hadn’t been inflicted with another award.  I feared that perhaps I’d lost my mind touch, but then realized that, as awesome as you guys are, you were just too busy to render proper obeisance.

Edward Hotspur was out, spreading Technicolor Unicorn piss, Fairy dust and attitude.  Some of it settled as far as www.benzeknees.wordpress.com up in the Great White North.  Benze was using it to melt the ice, and get some traction, in her driveway, when a bit of it blew my way.  That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a gently used Versatile Blogger Award.

As usual, there’s a bunch of rules, and, as usual, because I’m lazy, and much like Mary, Mary – quite contrary – I’ll follow them, or not, as I see fit.  First, I’ve linked above.  Click to visit a nice lady with some interesting things to say.  Second, I want to thank Benze for having the good taste to honor me as I deserve.  Third, I’ve picked up a copy of the Award and displayed it at the top of this post.  If the wife and I can figure out how to do the insert-widget thing, I’m going to dress the place up a bit, by displaying some of these on the sideboard.

Next, I’m supposed to pass this award on to 15(!!??) other worthy bloggers, and comment on their site to let them know that they also can have a big bowl of this worship, with ice cream on it.  Ain’t gonna happen!!  Somebody convinced the dinosaurs to do that, and see what happened to them, extinct.  I should know.  I watched it happen.

If you’re on my blog-roll, and you want a copy of this pretty little picture and an excuse for a post, feel free to grab one.  I’ll testify in court for you.  If you’re not on my blog-roll, but still feel that you are deserving….I saw Nothinggg!  NNothingg!

Now I’m supposed to reveal seven facts about myself.  They’re supposed to be interesting; but I didn’t read anything that said they have to be true, so here goes.

I can still tie my own shoelaces, but I wear boots most of the time, so that I don’t have to bother.

My GPS co-ordinates put me as near as Damn It, to halfway from the equator to the North Pole.

Why is a mouse when it spins?  The answer, of course is, the higher, the fewer.

I would hate to be blind.  The eyesight is normal for my age, and requires glasses for close work.  I love reading and word puzzles and watch a fair amount of TV, much of it non-series.  However, I have always loved the dark, played in places as a kid where I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.  I’ve been down in two Virginia caves, in one of which, the guide turned off the lights, and I experienced total darkness.  Aside from the waste of electricity, and the money to pay for it, my house always looks dark.  I put little 7-watt nightlights in each room, which cast just enough light to get safely from place to place, and only turn on lights where and when they’re needed.  I drive past houses at night which look like the Vegas strip, lights on outside, and in every room.  Are they insecure?

I walked to Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West when I was there, and observed/studied it.  I didn’t go in.  I’m not sure tourists are permitted to go in, or if there’s a fee.  I did see several of his famous six-toed cats, and even managed to stoke one for a second or two.  They’re not feral, but they roam free, and are somewhat leery of strangers.

While I’ve been harassed a number of times in my life by police officers with nothing better to do than flex their legal muscles, I’ve never been arrested or charged with anything.  Some of my readers may find that interesting.  I did have an RCMP officer fingerprint me when I applied for a Security Guard licence.

If you’ve been counting my facts, because you know you can’t count on me, you know that this is the seventh.  I’ve run out of time and space, and want to thank you all very much for coming to this awards show.  Next time, try to dress a little better.

Yuletide Celebrations

BAHBLOODY HUMBUG!

I am soooo glad it’s all over for another year!  The worship of the Great God Commerce dials back till it’s just a dull roar.

 

What?  Too much, too soon?

As the most fascinating man on Earth, I don’t always listen to the radio in the living room or the car, but when I do, I want to hear some classic rock and roll.  This all-Christmas-songs, all-the-time, for 7 or 8 weeks, on all four locally available stations, gets old fast.  Like, right after the second time Gramma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is played on the American Thanksgiving.

I turn the radio off, and start plugging CDs into my five-disc player.  You’ll read about our cookie-making marathons.  I need six hours of non-Christmas in my ear.  We’ve got a half-dozen Rankin Family albums, and another half-dozen Jeff Foxworthy discs.  Christmas is the only time of year we play them.  Include some Jethro Tull and The Guess Who, and we’re good till New Years.

We went grocery shopping one day.  Shortly after we entered, the Muzak started playing The Twelve Days of Christmas.  With the ever-expanding twelve choruses, that song just goes On and On.  I piled a hundred dollars worth of stuff into the cart, and they were still whining about rings and calling birds.  We headed for the cashiers just as they finally came to an end.  Apparently on a random mix, the next song up was….The Twelve Days of Christmas – by a different group.  Check me out, quick, before I check-out on my own.

The streets and roads are back to being inhabited by just the usual batch of stupid incompetents.  I can almost get where I’m going, because all the soccer-moms, who don’t know how to drive their soccer-mom-vans, aren’t plugging the streets and parking lots, and obscuring my sight-lines.  Once, when the son was just learning to drive, I bitched (What a surprise!) about hating to be behind vans and pickups.  Now that he drives regularly himself, he admitted the other day that he understands what I was upset about.

Christmas lights, that’s the least we can do to celebrate the season – literally the least we can do.  An ego-stroking waste of electricity.  There are two homes, side by side, somewhere in Connecticut, which both look like Chevy Chase’s, Christmas Vacation house, with the bearings on the power meter smoking from the RPMs.  Each year, both owners added more and more lights, in an attempt to outdo each other.  Finally, this year, sanity prevailed.  One of the owners put up only one string of lights, forming an arrow, and the word, “Ditto!”

The Sikhs across the street look like a Las Vegas casino.  I put up one little light-decorated wreath outside the downstairs powder-room window….and often forget to plug it in till nine or ten PM.  With all the demons and gargoyles we have in the gardens, it’s a surprise we haven’t had carolling groups which included torches and pitchforks.

I really put the *cur* in curmudgeon.  I’m not against giving presents or getting the family together for a visit and a meal.  If it’s someone’s birthday, or anniversary, give a present.  I just don’t want to be standing beside some guy while I’m just trying to buy a newspaper, and have his pants burn down because his credit card exploded.  Want a “family meal?”  Pick a day and invite the family over.  Depending on the size of your family, it might be less stressful for everyone, to have smaller groups.

Too many people fall victim to the idea that they’re “obligated” to participate in this exercise in excess, and then feel overwhelmed, and somehow a failure.  Something worth doing is not necessarily worth overdoing.  This thing is getting out of hand.  The best of intentions is producing the worst of results.  It really is no wonder that other faiths, other countries and other cultures hate us.  We could be so much more, with so much less.

Peace and love to you all, quietly, sincerely, without all the fuss.