Top Posts & Pages
- Pen never claimed to be mightier than sword
- Song Meanings: Going off the deep end
- 10 reasons I should win HGTV’s 2012 Dream Home
- Ghost says "enough is enough"
- Why we're buying internal organs on the black market
- Things you shouldn't say while camping
- Raccoons vie for world domination, discarded jar of pickles
- The alphabet? That’s like, literally 26 letters, right? Oh, whatever…
Tag Archives: sarcasmImage
Note from the author: I have approved the following message. Unless you don’t agree with it, in which case I will delete this post immediately.
We have a strict approval process in the corporate communications department where I work. When I write a story, it must first be sent to several subject matter experts (SMEs). After they have inexorably mutilated a particular story beyond comprehension, I rework it according to their most arbitrary wants and desires:
SME #1: “Put a line in about how I ate 40 hot dogs on Thursday and became the 2012 state fair hot dog eating champion!”
Me: “I’m going to veto that idea as it in no way relates to this story on bird diverters.”
SME #1: “But it took place on company time…”
SME #2: “This story is way too colorful and fun. Dull it down immediately.”
Me: “I’ve dulled her down once and I’ll not do it again! The story – she can’t be dulled down any further, man! It’s madness; sheer madness, I tell you!”
SME #2 (tsking, yet somhow frowning at the same time): “All these adjectives are unnecessary. We don’t need to know that it was the STATE fair. But, that sure was a lot of hot dogs, wasn’t it?” Chuckles, impressed.
Me: “I feel like Tony Danza from Who’s the Boss?’”
SME #2: “What did you say?”
Me: “I said, ‘sure thing, hoss.’”
SME #3: “Use more filler words, like ‘in order to,’ ‘henceforth’ and ‘thereunto.’ You know, make me sound good.”
Me (under breath): “Putting ‘Knew Mother Theresa’ on your resume couldn’t make you sound good.”
About four years ago when I didn’t know better, I would then send the story back to them with changes made, a subject line of “Final, approved article.”
We are so naïve sometimes, aren’t we?
From there, it’s typically a steady spiral downward. Back and forth we go for at least three more edit sessions before the story is finally stamped with approval. Without fail, I’ll receive an email from an SME a day or two before it’s published telling me they forgot to include someone in on the approval process, and ’round we go again.
I begin envisioning a time long ago when I didn’t need dark chocolate or fanciful daydreams about certain people falling down flights of stairs to get me through the afternoon. (Get it? The chocolate matches my view on working in a corporate environment!)
Then, at long last, everything is approved. Sighs of relief are blown out prematurely as the newcomer tentatively mentions it would be in “our” best interest to send the story to his supervisor as a heads up.
Little does he know it would actually be in his best interest to stay away from any stairwells.
I send the courtesy email as instructed. Once a writer, I am now a mere messenger girl. A very nicely dressed messenger girl, I should mention, one approval away from changing into comfortable, sensible walking shoes and outrageously white socks on my trips to and fro the parking lot. Oh, how the mighty have fallen into the corporate abyss.
Before the horror of it all can sink in, I promptly get a reply back that inspires hope within me – optimism that mankind is truly attentive and courteous of time and effort spent. I open the email eagerly to discover it is an automated “out of office” message and this person will not be returning until next Thursday.
It is Tuesday.
I wait out the week patiently, expelling my pent-up exasperation during dart league. (What can’t shiny, pointy objects and a good imagination fix?) And, although the story is no longer timely or relevant, I will publish it solely because I WILL PUBLISH IT.
Approximately five minutes before deadline, I receive word from the supervisor that they need to rethink the angle of the story since the project is nearing its final stages. Yes, indeedy — the huge, multi-million-dollar project is moving faster toward completion than my 50-word article. I am asked to pull the story until the project’s progress is more definite.
Follow-up emails going without reply, my paranoia grows as I physically walk to the supervisor’s office seeking approval, only to see him nervously dart behind a maze of cubicles. Upon asking the admin if he will be returning anytime soon, she looks at me inquisitively before replying like a pro: “He’s not even in today; he’s at a conference. In Florida.”
We stare at each other for a solid minute without speaking. She holds steady eye contact, not blinking once and never backing down. Two minutes into the battle and blinking furiously, I blame my parents’ genetics for the poor eyesight which has resulted in my wearing of contacts, thus putting me into a no-win situation. The admin begins to shuffle papers neatly into piles on her desk, humming cheerfully. I smirk and grab two handfuls of M&Ms from her candy dish before retreating.
At close of business, I see the supervisor walking to his car in the parking lot and yell his name. He freezes, then continues toward his car after a moment, never looking back. I forgo the temptation to run him over. Too many witnesses.
Forced to eventually scrap the entire story, I am asked about its whereabouts months later by my own manager. I send her a copy of the email trail, and she emails the supervisor about the article. The supervisor responds immediately, saying, “Yes. Ok, let’s publish.”
After the red spots I’m seeing diminish, I muster the ability to email back, “Publish as is, or would you like to give an update to the project?” The supervisor waits at least half a day to respond, choosing at that time to respond with five ambiguous words: “Let me think about it.”
A week passes. I send another follow-up email asking about the story. A day later, I promptly get back two words: “Run it.”
Now, I normally include at least one exclamation point with each thanks to express my gratitude for their direction, but eliminating the exclamation point has become my (non) pointed way of sticking it to the man.
At that time, I am officially dead inside. But, I publish the story anyway.
It comes down to this. Most people have the ability to walk away from work at 5 p.m., or to leave it behind on the weekend. I thought I was one of those people until I realized this approval process has somehow soaked into the inner fibers of my wellbeing.
I now seek approval from everyone before I do or say anything, unsure of my every action and how it might affect those around me, and beaten down from having my own personal thoughts, opinions or agendas. Here are a few dialogue-based examples of ways I have sought consent from others over the last few months:
Me: “I’m going to get the pie. Should I get the pie?” Sits, lost in thought for 10 minutes debating the right choice. “I won’t get the pie.”
Friend: “No, get the pie!”
Me: “Ok.” Holds both hands out in a “STOP” stance. “If you’re sure.”
Me (standing up to declare loudly in the movie theater): “I’m going to the bathroom. Unless this isn’t a good time for you guys. Is everyone ok with me leaving?”
Audience: Various yelling to shut up.
Me: “Anyone need anything? Soda, popcorn?”
Audience: Dead silence.
Me (leaving, then ducking back into theater): “Thought I heard someone. Still no one? Ok, I’ll just bring back one of everything, just in case.”
Me: “I put $10 in the basket at church. Do you think I should have put in more to compensate for daydreaming about pushing people down stairwells?”
Clayton: “The church accepts any contribution.”
Me (signing check with flourish): “$20 it is!”
Me (Getting dressed for work, glancing down): “This shirt isn’t the same blue as the blue on our corporate logo.” Frowns uncertainly.” I better change.”
Me: “Let’s go get some groceries at Wal-Mart.”
Friend: “You shop at Wal-Mart?”
Me: “I meant Trader Joe’s.”
Friend: “That’s right you meant Trader Joe’s.”
Me: “It was a joke.”
Friend: “No, it wasn’t.”
Me: “No. It wasn’t.”
Fishing is generally reserved for outdoorsy people who are patient and entirely comfortable and committed to standing all day long with worm guts underneath their nails, the scent of fish lingering heavily on their…well, everything. People who can wear old, outdated jeans (unbelievable) that have become their “fishing” jeans out in public with muddied shoes and lure-encrusted hats and not feel horrified. These people might buy bait at Wal-Mart and aren’t overly paranoid that someone might snap their photo to be featured on the next edition of “People of Wal-Mart.”
None of this describes me, so imagine my surprise when I found myself the ecstatic recipient of a fishing pole for my birthday this year. Not remotely an avid fisherwoman, I was unable to even identify a box of fishing line upon unwrapping it, putting it together only when presented with a pole next. I was assured it was “a good one,” but with its glittery green sheen and smooth reeling, I knew it couldn’t be too bad.
Plus it was really shiny.
Holding the soft cork handle in my (newly-manicured) fingers, I was reminded of my former teenage hobby of pinning favorite pastimes and memories onto a huge corkboard in a mosaic fashion. Fishing had been absent on that board, but now here I would soon be, instead pinning worms on hooks to be sent to watery graves.
What strides I’ve made in life!
Owning a fishing pole was the first acknowledgement my hobbies were beginning to more freely revolve around the rustic, especially seeing as other birthday gifts were a set of golf clubs and a four-wheeler I got to borrow from a friend to celebrate the occasion.
Outwardly appearances aside, I am not quite the girly girl I used to be, and I like to think I am working constantly toward a new and improved me. Someone who could survive in the woods after dark without (as many) irrational fears (Sasquatch) and someone who can hold her own talking golf and fishing in a board meeting filled with 55-year-old male engineers. I suppose this is all fine, as I have a distinct feeling who’s still vying for the win on the Bachelorette or what Dairy Queen dessert has the least calories (dilly bars) will never be the hot topics I wish them to be.
I used to fish every once and awhile with my family as a kid and remember snagging a sunfish out of the middle of the lake with my Donald Duck pole, droplets of glistening water catching the sun’s rays – and my attention – for one brief second before the helpless fish flopping on the bottom of the boat disheartened me. The last time I was out with my brother, we caught absolutely nothing except a case of the boredoms. Not exactly a great start to fishing becoming my great new passion.
Then Clayton, with his boat, huge tackle box that takes me two hands to lug to the water’s edge, and easy ways of explaining the sport came along, his experience and love for it igniting an interest that grows in me each time we head out, poles in one hand, hand-in-hand.
Regardless of the amount of times we’ve gone, the first ten minutes are brutal for me – the girl with no attention span who likes to see results, results, RESULTS!
Me: “We don’t have all day, fish!”
Clayton: “Actually we do. It’s a weekend fishing trip.”
Me: (nodding pointedly to the water) “Well, they don’t know that!”
Me (ten minutes later): “…Is a weekend still two days?”
Clayton: “Sit down and get comfortable.”
Me (dejectedly bowing down my head): “Okaay.”
Around the time of that conversation (because it happens every time), I’ll wonder why I ever thought putting a worm on a hook, whipping that hook around dangerously (Last year, I caught myself! Literally. Right in the forehead. Mad skills.), and sitting around not catching anything for sometimes hours sounded like a pleasant idea. To keep myself occupied, I sing to myself a tune that always seems to work.
Sure enough, the line will inevitably take off, adrenaline shoots through my body, and I reel in a marlin – usually a pan-sized bluegill or laughingly small baby bass. The fight is real and hard no matter how big the fish is (thank you, lack of muscles!), and the feeling is oddly comparable to finding a glorious pair of expensive heels. In both instances, I usually end up putting each back.
My faith renewed, I begin to cast again and again, usually out-fishing Clayton and feeling quite smug about it, puffing out my chest proudly until I snag my line in a tree 15 feet above my head. A rookie after all, I am forced to puppy-eyes my way into him helping a deflated girl out.
We were in South Dakota fishing last May when I caught my first 11-pound carp, and then my second. The five-minute fights to pull them in were battles that ended with such self-accomplishment and elatedness. Holding the fish in the air as my trophy, I fell a little more in love (and not just because it, too, was shiny).
When things are slow, sunflower seeds and nearby happy-go-lucky ducks with tufted haircuts in major need of maintenance are a welcome distraction. When things pick up? Well, mostly my arm starts to hurt from all the reeling.
I really should lift weights or something. It’s getting embarrassing.
I remember the first time Clayton suggested we keep some bluegill for dinner. Astonished, I replied, “We’re gonna EAT them?!”
It seemed so wrong. So…cavemen of us. I was pumped.
“Yes, but first we have to cut off their heads, gut and descale them,” he said.
It seemed so much more wrong. I teetered on the edge of uncertainty.
“Then we’ll fry ‘em,” he finished.
I was back in.
Previous thoughts of a Pizza Hut medium supreme pan pizza and a half order of breadsticks went down the drain along with the fish scales and slime I would soon be washing off every exposed part of me.
It’s true that the thrill of a big catch and the sense of accomplishment outweigh trekking through poison ivy, warding off biting flies and wading through swamp-like waters. In the last year, I’ve learned to worm my own hook, including how to “thread” a worm (Why, yes, it is as awful as it sounds), and take a fish off the line, noting along the way that their razor-sharp fins will NOT hesitate to slice me into ribbons.
I tell myself that this hobby teaches me patience, which is a virtue I was previously lacking. I tell myself that I’m being like Jesus, except he was a fisher of men and I already caught the one I want to grow old with, walking down piers in our 60s, hand-in-hand and laughing just like the old couples in those heart medicine commercials.
I tell others I can’t go to the bar with them over the weekend because we’re going on a fishing trip, you see, and we wouldn’t even dream of being back until long after dark.
As a precursor to this blog, I want to wallow in self-pity and tell you that I have been sick for seven days. Biblical references state that seven days is the amount of time God spent creating the universe. I, however, have not been as productive in my weakened, congested, head-exploding state.
But Mr. Mucus certainly has.
A quick trip to mucinex.com made my cloudy mind so clear, helping me to better understand this seemingly mythical, but very real, evil character. You see, Mr. Mucus is a workaholic, and last week he became occupied with making my life miserable, putting in extra time at the office to give me a horrendous summer cold. (Could have put his overtime paychecks toward doing something nice, like buying me a pony, but apparently he thought I was just a snot-nosed kid.)
So busy and consumed was Mr. Mucus with this task that he hired more workers to bump up his phlegm inventory and in doing so, created a monster. He named this beast Sinus Infection. And Mr. Mucus saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very bad.
Of course by then, Mrs. Mucus was not a happy camper either, as her husband hadn’t been home in a good five days.
Just as she sought divorce papers, I found Mucinex.
According to Mucinex box information, one of the many benefits of the 12-hour pill (besides destroying all of Mr. Mucus’s inventory) is that it is also capable of making coughs productive.
It got me thinking one sleepless night when Mr. Mucus was once again hard at work and I was being held captive in the harrowing claws of Sinus Infection:
Exactly how productive are these coughs?
I like to think of them in little suits and ties, getting ready for work, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And so, I decided to put together a little pie chart on the industrious side effects Mucinex could have had on my coughs, should the information been taken out of context.
Mucinex made my coughs so productive, they…
In summation, the fight between Mucinex and Mr. Mucus? To put it quite simply, Mr. Mucus doesn’t stand a chance, especially once Antibiotics kick in (the door) to knock him out cold.
When I moved into my apartment complex a few years ago, it never occurred to me to ask whether it was located in a good or bad neighborhood. Maybe it was the sight of the elderly residing in adjacent apartments and strolling daily around the complex like clockwork at 7 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. that put me at ease. Perhaps I was simply too eager to move out of my parents’ house to ask pertinent questions (“And does this cardboard box have plumbing? No? But I see it has mood lighting. What? That’s just daylight streaming in from all the cracks? I’ll take it!” – me, end of rope, 2009).
After more than three years of living here, however, the truth about this particular neighborhood finally came to light – just as the sun peeked over my neat, charcoal gray rooftop.
Rabbits. Bunnies. Menaces to society. Whatever the term, it was spring, they were everywhere and we were clearly on their turf. It was a problem that multiplied in severity faster than you could locate a BB gun.
At first, though, it was cute.
“Look at that baby bunny!” I remember saying prior to “the incident.” “He doesn’t know how to feed himself! Where’s his family? I’m going to give him blueberries – do bunnies eat blueberries?”
It was a dumb question, because bunnies devour everything, my soul included. Completely incapable now of cooing at even the most adorable baby animal, I have become as heartless as Kanye West’s singing career.
Eventually, ominous gangs of rabbits were seen flocking around the complex at all hours of the day, perked ears and wide eyes on our every move, as if they were…casing the joint. Whaaa??
It couldn’t be.
But, as our luck would have it, of course it could.
As Clayton and I warily plotted our garden in the courtyard, I couldn’t help but notice we didn’t seem to be the only ones doing the plotting. Despite the fur balls attempting to look busy eating grass without a care in the world, it was clear their main focus was us. Get an honest day job, ya hooligans, I thought, shaking my fist like the saltiest of veterans.
I jokingly nudged Clayton and told him they had been devising their strike from the very beginning.
My discomfort level rose each day I left for work, passing rabbits that stopped in the middle of their breakfast to stare at me as I drove by, not blinking once (The rabbits, not me – their stony gazes were enough for me to dart my eyes nervously back to the road ASAP, fingers tightly gripping the steering wheel). I soon grew as twitchy as the noses on those seemingly innocent cottontails. Hippity-hopsters. Vermin. At once I knew my nerves could only be calmed by the ultimate rabbit kryptonite: a white fence about a foot tall we wrapped around the exterior of our patio garden. Then, we waited.
It seems we weren’t the only ones.
I knew there was a case of Mr. McGregor’s garden going on when a leaf or two went missing from the sweet basil and surrounding flowers. It was sporadic and not overly-suspicious at first, so I grew accustomed to blaming a few small caterpillars who had recently moved in. This neighborhood is going to hell. Chucking them as far from the garden as I could, my worries disappeared along with them – until a few weeks ago.
It was morning. Going out to check on the vegetables before work as I normally do, I discovered we had been brutally and mercilessly robbed. As if someone took a shovel and scooped every remnant of lettuce from the planter, the dirt had been pushed to one side — an obvious signal that the battle was now fully ON.
As far as evidence, there was none, although I didn’t have my magnifying glass and spy kit from my Boxcar Children fan days to verify that completely. And the crime scene? Well let’s just say it was so neat and clean you could perform triple bypass surgery on it. Even…eat off of it?
Gah! Foiled again!
I was noting with pride that the fence remained untouched when my eyes lit on a rabbit munching clover and eyeballing me rather rudely about ten feet away, a cautious look in its eyes. Owning the look as only a big fat thief could. Because my hair resembled a bird’s nest and I didn’t want to give the elders a heart attack before their time, I rethought my decision to run outside in my skivvies. Still, I glared from a crack in the blinds and, sizing him up, determined there was no way he could have been the perp.
Later that morning, we bewilderedly ran through the list of likely culprits. A bunny was an obvious offender, but they wouldn’t dig the entire string of lettuce out, they would bite it down to the stem like any other animal. A larger animal then, maybe a raccoon? What beef would a raccoon have with lettuce? Keep thinking. The neighborhood ducks – that must be it! Except Sir Quacksalot and Lady of the Lake would NEVER.
By mid-morning, I was 90 percent sure our crop had been stolen by…
I know. It was so hard on us after that, losing that sense of security and all. I no longer felt safe with only a screen door lock, sliding door lock and sturdy pole placed between the door and wall to protect me. Security alarms and outdoor cameras began to float through my mind. If they’re willing to steal lettuce, what else are these thieves capable of? I was abruptly filled with horror. Not the marigolds! Surely, not the marigolds!
No, as a matter of fact, I don’t think I was overreacting.
Fuming, I repeated my story to any coworkers who would listen that day, which were quite a few because hey – this was a huge deal. With each account, I grew more and more certain, and by the time a coworker told me he just had his cucumbers jacked and caught kids stealing it, I was ready to take action.
I returned from work that day ready to wage war, or at least sternly tell my kitten that staying up all night on surveillance was now her sole job, except of course for catching spidies – per usual. As I opened the front door, I noticed Chloe wasn’t lazily lying in the foyer waiting to greet me. Instead, she was sitting in between the patio blinds, intently looking at something (wait for it!)…
…in the garden!!
The robber! And sure enough, opening the blinds quick as lightening, it was a rabbit after all (bet you didn’t see that coming) that stared up at me from its comfy spot in the (painstakingly empty) lettuce bed, a confrontational look in its eye that dared to say,
It was not my imagination that it rolled its head forward toward me like that of a challenging, snarky teenage kid as it gave me that look. The rabbit even had the audacity to sit there until I began to slide open the door, screaming at it to get away. It ran as far as the clover patch and that’s when I knew: it was the one.
As any irrational girlfriend would do, I called Clayton to yell about a whole lot of overdramatic, trivial stuff in the greater scheme of life. Breathlessly explaining the situation, my anger mounting by the second, I opened the door and took off at a full gait toward the rabbit, the phone still firmly attached to my ear. Clayton’s attempt to sooth me went unnoticed as I gave a warrior cry and flicked off my flip flops to get better traction.
Guys, I chased that bunny around the complex. Three times. That dagnam marmot didn’t take me seriously until the second lap. It was so full of our veggies, in fact, that I almost caught it until, running blinded by fury into the parking lot, I realized I had spectators and stopped dead in my tracks. A car of parents saying goodbye to their son looked at me like I was crazy. A neighbor watched me curiously from his deck. A head ducked behind a curtain before I could make eye contact.
My arms fell limply to my sides, the phone still tightly gripped in one and Clayton’s voice a dim, “Hellooooo?”
I decided it would be in my best interest to return indoors.
Later that evening, I knew I had to let it go after maniacally attempting to run over the rabbits with my car after taking a couple gratuitous laps around the complex.
I am now affectionately called the “Bunny Chaser” among those who witnessed the tirade. Even weeks later, neighbors seek me out, telling glory stories of how they killed a bunch of black crows with strategically placed moth balls or chased other rabbits all the way to the bank (literally – there was one across the street).
In the meantime, I’ll be shining up my new BB gun out back in a rocking chair in plain sight, just waiting until next spring.
Guess what! (Guess what, guess what, guess what!) Excluding the fact that I am NOT hyped up on larger-than-normal quantities of caffeine or sugar, this level of excitement can only arise from one thing. However, to up the suspense ante, you must riddle me this:
What do you get when you combine my birthday, Christmas, and my first trip to Disney World, (which, mind you, has yet to happen so you can surely imagine the excitement that would ensue) into one?
I’ve anticipated that many of you have already peeked ahead, but for the sake of fun and games (which you’ve all ruined now, ya buncha cheaters), I’ll give you one more hint:
What is the blogosphere equivalent to getting picked first (albeit, in this instance, it’s probably around the 35-mark, but the redeeming factor is that I got picked. I got picked.) for kickball in gym class?
No guesses? Because let me tell you – there are no stupid answers here most of the time. I want you to find this blog a relaxing atmosphere where you can speak your mind (no pessimistic thoughts, please!), be yourselves and get comfy. Not so comfy, though, that you never leave and insist on bringing over a toothbrush or asking for a small amount of space in my dresser to keep your jammies. Gosh, is it getting hot in here? This V-neck shirt suddenly feels like a noose.
On second thought, maybe this is all moving too fast. I just don’t know if I’m ready to commit to all of you guys…I think I need a little space. So, in the meantime, why don’t you head out to the Byronic Man’s site and check out the latest edition of…
Hey, ______! Let’s play 20 Questions!
Ready for the clincher? This week, I’m the _______!
That’s right, the B-Man has chosen me (ME!) to play his next round of 20 Questions. So, head in his direction to check ‘er out already. It could be just the magical, thrilling ride you’ve been waiting for. Like Space Mountain. Like I would know.
What awaits you on Byronic Man’s blog today
*Free tacos may or may not be distributed. Limit one fictional taco per blogger. Please enjoy tacos responsibly.
OMAHA – A local pen is outraged after continually being recognized as stronger than even the most lethally piercing sword. So livid is the pen, in fact, that it filed a petition today to put the well-known phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword” to rest, claiming it to be inaccurate because a pen could never best a well-made, metal sword.
“The phrase is a metaphor for the written word’s ability to wield more power than unsystematic action, and is not to be taken literally,” said Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who coined the phrase in 1839.
“But I thought actions speak louder than words,” the pen shot back emphatically.
“Yeah, that Michel de Montaigne doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Look, it’s more of a testament to how eloquent words, ideas and opinions can outlast us all, holding the authority to influence others to take monumental action that can forever change the past, present and future. That in itself is incomparable to the fleeting and purely physical use of the sword, with which inflictions can heal in time,” said a matter-of-fact Bulwer-Lytton.
“Because I’m made from plastic and scrappy, shoddy pieces of metal,” said the pen. “I was created solely for promo use at this year’s Chili Cook-Off – face it, the most damage I can do is self-imposed damage to my dignity and mental well-being.”
“I just thought the phrase sounded nice in my play, ok?!” fired back a frustrated Bulwer-Lytton, beginning to stammer nervously. “Besides, I…I always got picked on as a kid from the tougher, more muscular kids. Blasted cricket players…,” he added, rolling his eyes.
“Kids don’t even know proper English these days, man!” shouted the pen defiantly. “They’re not writing on tablets of paper anymore; they’re on their phones or computers and you know what? They’re laughing at you. With acronyms. While playing video games in which they cut off their enemies’ heads. WITH SWORDS! LOL, good sir! LOL, indeed!”
In order to defend its own credibility and to get another double-edged side of the story, a sword was sought to sway accusations that its only skill was brute force. When asked what it thought of all the recent allegations, the sword paused, dumbfounded, and then scratched its hilt, which was decorated to resemble the Incredible Hulk.
“Uuuhhh,” it murmured blankly. “Can you repeat the question?”
The question was repeated, and a pause followed as the sword again lost its single train car of thought.
“Um. Does King Arthur’s sword know about this?” the sword finally asked pointedly.
Bulwer-Lytton blinked before explaining that the Excalibur was purely fictional.
“Get him on the phone, STAT!” demanded the sword.
“You don’t understand,” Bulwer-Lytton said. “That sword is nothing more than a myth.”
“My-th? What the truck’s a myth? Maybe I’m not a sword of many words, but I can still stick it to the man if need be,” said the sword bluntly, albeit also conceitedly as it studied its sheen in the reflection of the reporter’s camera. “Granted, I, too, am up to hilt with that phrase.”
“This isn’t a love handle, after all,” the sword snorted, gesturing toward its hilt before alighting upon a crude joke and laughing deeply. “Check out how hard I can thrust!”
And that settled the credibility issue.
Attention was then turned back to the pen, who upon being asked how the petition was coming along, gave a resigned sigh.
“I couldn’t even get 50 people to sign it. I ran out of ink 15 signatures in,” it admitted pitifully.
Ironically, no one could locate another pen that agreed with and was willing to stand behind the petition. In fact, at one time a ballpoint pen was actually seen shaking the promo pen vigorously, saying, “You’re not inking straight or you’d know you’re ruining this for everyone. This is all we’ve got!”
The pen eventually had to settle for using a #2 pencil, but little did it know it would soon be number two itself in the writing utensil category due to the pencil’s additional power to erase.
The petition died within the hour.
Meanwhile, sources say the sword just won a strongman contest involving the amount of bikini-clad women it could bench lift at once.
(Just for fun, I’ve included some instances from wikipedia.com where the phrase has been humorously used in the past)
- The motto appears in the school room illustration on page 168 of the first edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). The words “pen” and “is” are suspiciously close together leading some scholars to speculate that the illustrator, True Williams, deliberately chose the narrow spacing as a subtle obscene prank.
- In the 1989 film Batman, the insane criminal known as The Joker uses the phrase in a darkly literal sense, after wielding a fountain pen like a dart to wound a rival crime lord.
- British music photographer Kevin Cummins once shot The Smiths vocalist Morrissey in front of a handwritten “pen is mightier than the sword” poster in the background. The writing was styled so that the first two words appeared to be “penis”.
- A recurring GEICO commercial uses the phrase as a question, “Is the pen mightier than the sword?” It shows a ninja wielding and brandishing a sword with elite skills; an amateur defeats him by signing (with a pen) a package for a taser, with which he then shoots the sword-wielder.
My girlfriends and I have had numerous girls’ nights throughout the years, all memorable and predictably filled with wine, cheese, lots of juicy gossip, jammies, and luckily – no arrests. Stealing a friend and whisking her away blindfolded from wedding planning is always a risky situation, especially should you happen to stop at a light next to a cop when doing so. And then wink at him exaggeratedly.
However, there’s always been something I felt missing from girls’ night, so when a VCR was brought to last Tuesday’s get together, the final piece of the puzzle also came into play. Like entering the 90s again, I was suddenly tempted to dig out my slap bracelet and stirrup pants and throw my hair up into a crimped, side topsy tail. After silently paying homage to my ancient black, neon pink and teal New Kids on the Block sweater (RIP), I turned my full attention on that bulky electronic box and the night’s main event:
The Babysitter’s Club movie.
Let me repeat.
The Babysitter’s Club MOVIE!!!!
Yup. Circa 1995.
If I had thought to bring my BSC board game, it would have killed the half hour it took to rewind the videocassette tape. Another ten minutes and we were successfully past previews for Matilda and Jumanji. A flash of nostalgia blinded me more than the abusively glaring lines of static plastered across the screen as we rewound again from fast forwarding too far. Anyone who says they’ve ever stopped a tape right at the beginning of the movie is a big fat liar.
The opening credits were just how I remembered videocassette credits to be – modestly devoid of pixels and full of wacky, neon-colored bubble fonts arranged diagonally with absolutely no thought of design. Magnificent. Combined with the occasional jump of the screen as it refocused itself repeatedly and the out-of-tune soundtrack momentarily deepening the voice of some Mickey Mouse Club singer to that of James Earl Jones and I was certain I didn’t even need to watch the movie anymore because I was in heaven.
The BSC movie characters were similar to the characters in the books I read as a kid, except entirely more embellished. I don’t know how that’s possible, either; Ann M. Martin must have been BFFs with Francine Pascal.
(“That horse isn’t dead yet, Ann – keep beating! You can get at least 500 more miles out of those character descriptors if you just rearrange them slightly per book! Look, instead of “blue-eyed,’ say ‘eyes the color of aquamarine and twice as deep.’ No, don’t use that – it’s mine now. God, I’m so poetic. How about ‘green-blue’? Or better yet — ‘blue-green!’ What’s writer’s block?” – Francine)
In the opening scene, Kristy tucks her (some say “tomboy;” I prefer “Al Borland-y”) button-down shirt into her (elastic-wasted) jeans, giving us a clear glimpse of over-sized boxers. What is rapidly becoming unclear is her gender preference. All these years, was Bart …a cover?
Good, I hated him anyway.
Mallory was introduced next, appearing at a coffee joint wearing a bow tie and suspenders, and lugging around a suitcase half the size of her in lieu of a purse or backpack. I’ll give you a moment to fully visualize.
The poor girl’s already an unathletic redhead! She can’t even go out in the sun! Give ‘er a break!
So, we’ve got a 16-year-old boy and an 80-year-old man, which was…unexpected. Then again, watching the movie at 10 years of age versus 26 does wonders in the way it’s comprehended. Overly-affectionate smiles and shoulder squeezes I thought were endearing then leave me still shuddering now.
I’ll spare you a play-by-play by instead listing some of my favorite parts of the movie, in which we only watched half because much like the 90s, the plot was over almost immediately.
• Cokie Mason, the popular, arch-enemy of the sitters, is played by Marla Sokoloff. You’d know her better as Stephanie’s foe on Full House. Why, yes – she does still wear knee-highs. It gets better. In the movie, she goes out of her way to approach stringy-haired, scraggly and awkward Logan, the only male babysitter of the group and long-term boyfriend of the ever-timid Mary Anne, played by Rachel Leigh Cook, no less. (Why, yes, she does still wear knee-highs.) Cokie squeezes Logan’s arm right in front of Mary Anne (How dare she!), telling him he must be working out, all with an R-rated, scandelous smirk on her face.
I suppose there’s really no surprise there. However, I’m pretty sure when I was 13, I was still making beaded necklaces and sand art jewelry, not flirting with boys with an evil plot to steal them away from girls in my class.
And excuse me, but like hell Cokie was cool enough to be into the Smashing Pumpkins. Probably couldn’t even name one song.
• Stacey’s has a date with Luca, a European who doesn’t seem to have an accent…at all. I know this was filmed in the 90s, but trying is still ok every once and awhile.
Their date sequence was enhanced by the song “Let’s Get Busy,” in which those three words were repeatedly and suggestively sang at the end of each scene. Kicker: She’s 13 and Luca is 17. Hey, 90s – you don’t have to be so creepy all the time, either.
• Jackie Rodowsky on a horse? Please.
• Stacey is so nervous before her date that she asks her mom if she should change her socks. Note: if you’re wearing a short skirt with socks, the design or color of your socks is not going to improve your look, of that I can assure you.
• Dawn totally owned the long flowered skirt with a pastel T-shirt and faded denim vest look. My thirteen-year-old self from the past is still trying extremely hard to not be jealous.
• Kristy’s deadbeat dad is pretty cute when you’re watching the movie as an adult. I am so disturbed right now.
• Those girls carry Kid Kits everywhere. EVERYWHERE. To the movies, to get ice cream, to first base with Stacey. Man, they don’t miss a beat. I guess you never know when you’ll need a “Good Job” sticker.
• I applaud the director’s ability to combine about 100 books into one movie. Granted, we didn’t see the end, so who knows how long it actually was. It could still be playing now. A couple movie titles I would suggest instead of the ever-generic Babysitter’s Club would be:
o Stacey’s first pregnancy scare
o Claudia almost learns basic math
o Kristy comes out
o Mallory’s big chess tournament
o Dawn tries nachos
o Jessi…who’s Jessi?
o Mary Anne learns to knit knee-highs
o Logan looks bewildered (again)!
My girlfriends and I spent the remainder of the night arguing over who gets to be whom for Halloween next year. The problem is that everyone wants to be Stacey, no matter who you are. Yes, even Logan. I bet if you took a poll, three fourths of the woman who read these books would STILL want to be Stacey because life didn’t turn out the way they thought it would. Yay, superficiality!
The books sold us the dream, but damned if the movie didn’t make that dream so eerily inappropriate on many levels. Then again, it may have been the slight bitterness of the wine facilitating these opinions that night.
With my love of candy and artistic skills, I’d most likely be cast as Claudia. If so, I’m going to need some parrot earrings and the ability to make awesome fork wind chimes STAT. Oh, and does anyone have a colorful scrunchie with plastic dinosaurs glued to it I can borrow?