Archive for the 'Humor' Category

‘Daily Giggles’ have helped us through

If there is a silver lining on what we’ve endured since middle of March, it’s the shared experience we now have.

You cannot minimize how hard it has been on some.

First, for the ill and those who have succumbed to the virus.

But also for the children residing in hard places. For the breadwinners who can’t provide because they cannot work from home. For the parents who can but who have had small kids to care for. For the business owners forced to shut down. For the elders shut in.

Lord, help us.

Notwithstanding the hardships, laughter has helped us through. This shared experience has given us something to latch onto.

Below are my favorite tweets, memes and posts from this season of quarantine, many of them courtesy of a clever relative who sends a text of “Daily Giggles.”

“I’m not adding this year to my age; I did not use it.”

“This quarantine made me realize I have no real hobbies besides going out to eat and spending money.”

“I am now limiting screen time to one hour per hour.”

The meme of Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Back to the Future: “Marty,” Doc says, “Whatever happens, don’t ever go to 2020!”

The image of the perplexed woman on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The question: What day is it? The choices: A. Monday B. Tuesday C. 1982 D. Saturday

“Happy Thursday, everyone. Only two more days ‘til it feels like the same day as today.”

It feels like life is being written by a 4th grader right now: “And there was this virus and everyone was scared and then the world ran out of toilet paper. Yeah, and then there was no school for like a month and then it snowed!”

“Where is Morgan Freeman? Shouldn’t he be narrating this or something?”

“Imagine if you will a world where Cinco de Mayo falls on Taco Tuesday only to be ruined by a virus named after a Mexican beer.”

Me: “This show is boring.” Boss: “Again, this is a Zoom meeting.”

“Homeschooling is tough. Today I had to tell my son he didn’t make our baseball team.”

The photo of a kid stepping onto the school bus and waving back to his mom. The caption: “What moms really want for Mother’s Day”

“Not to brag, but we haven’t been late to anything in two weeks.”

The billboard at the Mexican food restaurant: “Today’s offer: Buy any two tacos and pay for them both.”

“I might sleep on the couch to cut down on my morning commute.”

The picture of a half dozen hot dogs warming in a coffee maker carafe of water with hot dog buns sitting nearby. The caption: “Follow me for more recipes.”

“When we come out of this and ask where you want to eat, I do not want to hear, ‘I don’t know.’ YOU HAD 45 DAYS!”

“For those who have lost track, today is Blursday the Fortyteenth of Maprilay.”

And this one as we start to open back up for business: “I don’t want to hear about your gym workout unless you fell off the treadmill.”

Happy Renaissance!

 

Kevin Thompson writes regularly for The Boerne Star. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.

 

 

Online grocery shopping leads to faux pas

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We Americans live in an ever-advancing convenience culture, but grocery shopping has remained relegated, for the most part, to the aisles of antiquity.

We roam through paths of produce and staples much like market-going Egyptians or Greeks did in the third century before Christ.

Someday, stores will resemble giant vending machines with conveyor belts and robotics that assemble and spit out orders like a Snickers from a snack machine.

Today, however, grocery shopping is still incredibly inefficient, and then they go and put the milk in the back! But not before burying the bread in the middle!

I know, it’s a ploy to get me to fall for that inflatable slip ‘n slide.

Like you, I have been hungry for a way to make getting groceries – and ibuprofen – less painful.

So, when our friendly local grocer introduced online ordering combined with curbside pickup, I logged on to what I thought was the correct, red-colored web site. I proceeded to order $112 of groceries for curbside pickup…IN WAXAHACHIE!

Waxahachie is just south of Dallas. I live hours away near San Antonio.

I wrongly assumed I could easily switch my store preference to my hometown.

Instead, I had to visit a completely different web site and re-select all $112 worth of groceries – which somehow now cost me $118.

At the end of the process, the web site asked “Substitutions OK?” That’s code for “We’ll charge you no matter what’s in stock and throw something in your basket. You won’t remember what you ordered anyway, so don’t worry about it.”

I clicked OK.

When the appointed hour came, I pulled up curbside a little early. I needed to go inside the store “old school” and get some things I forgot to order online.

In the deli line, I noticed a red-shirted personal shopper taking a long look at me. I knew what he was thinking: “That’s the guy who’s getting cinnamon raisin bagels because we’re out of plain. Oh yea, he’ll eat anything.”

Back at the curb, so many cars were in line that it made picking up one’s groceries nearly as time consuming as shopping for one’s groceries in the store.

I’m pleased to report that I have since found a solution for the pickup delay. I now schedule pickups for 8:00 p.m. or later.

I know I sound sophisticated, but don’t take me for an expert. I’ve committed plenty of mistakes.

Two weeks ago, I accidentally ordered so many bags of grapes that I got a cease and desist letter from Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Then, last week more bunches of bananas showed up than we have monkeys – and we have a lot of monkeys. My kitchen felt like Costa Rica.

In a pistachio shell, online ordering is worth the five dollars they charge to send a personal shopper around the store on my behalf. He’s the expert anyway. And he knows exactly the substitutions I like.

A writer discovers a treasure trove

Nearly everywhere I go, I carry a pen and a notebook – or at least a note card. You never know when an epiphany might hit, or a quotable quote might come, or a repeatable joke might fly.

It’s simply hard to remember memorable lines – no matter how hard we try – if we don’t write them down.

I once referred to a notebook as my grown-up security blanket. Without it, I feel in danger of missing a moment.

At this point, I have journals and notebooks and note cards scattered all over the place. I recently found one stuck in the side pocket of an old briefcase I hadn’t used in years.

It felt like I had happened upon a Dead Sea scroll. Why, yes, I do consider my kids’ one-liners holy.

The unearthed notebook’s first entry was a collection of comments from a Christmas morning several years ago.

After all the presents were opened, our oldest son, eleven at the time, said, “Wait. Is that it?”

Our second son offered a similar line of questioning, “Did I get anything else?”

Our fourth son, age four, evidently hadn’t reached the age of jade: “I hope there are presents under the tree tomorrow.”

“There won’t be,” our third son replied.

“Disappointment is how you know you’re alive,” a friend told me recently.

This was confirmed by another friend who told me his Valentine’s plans for the rodeo and a concert had shrunk to “a romantic evening of laundry and frozen pizza.” Kids will do that to you.

Back at Christmas, our daughter was more interested in Santa’s operations:

“Does Santa have any friends?”

“Did you keep any of his texts?”

She’s not always so innocent.

I once asked her, “Is that your second cupcake?”

“No, it’s my first,” she replied.

“Then how did icing get all over your face?” I inquired.

She thought for a minute and said, “My brother threw a cupcake at me.”

Along with finger-pointing, questions flow freely in a houseful of kids.

-“Do doctors get sick?”

-“Was there ice cream when you were a kid? Were there shakes?”

-“How long is fifteen minutes?

-“How big is a Berenstain bear?”

-“When we die, do we turn into a dog or a cat?”

I have tried to make clear that God sent Jesus that we might live with him forever.

“MIGHT live?” a perceptive son replied.

My recovered journal reads on with more kid questions like, “Dad, why do you take a bath everyday?”

“Because dads sweat more than kids,” I answered.

“Do dads sweat more than grandpas?” a son wondered.

I’ll let him know in a few years.

Around a campfire eating s’mores one night, one son made up a joke, “What did the kid say after he ate s’mores? I want s’more!”

Around the dinner table, we often play “high-low” where you give your day’s best and worst.

Our most succinct son once summarized his day this way, “My good news is I have no bad news. My bad news is I have no good news.”

He seems to grasp Solomon’s wisdom in Ecclesiastes 7:18, “A wise man avoids all extremes.”

It’s Time for a Holiday Fish Tale

A great thing about holiday travel is you get to see your loved ones in their elements. For instance, your brother-in-law fishing in his bass boat on a dammed up portion of the Tennessee River.

“That’s why you never give up!!!” my brother-in-law exclaimed at one point during our excursion.

His motivating statement was not referring to a big catch, however. He and his fishing buddy, Dan, had just freed his stuck lure.

The process had taken about ten minutes and included the use of a “plug knocker,” a weighted tool designed to retrieve lines trapped underwater.

“Plug knocker” wasn’t the only vernacular I learned on Lake Chickamauga (‘mauga for insiders). There was also “Alabama Rig,” a massive, multi-hook lure my brother-in-law used. It resembled a small chandelier.

You could probably create something similar by placing a decent-sized magnet into a kitchen junk drawer.

The rig dangled and shined and spun as it hung on the line. In the water, it definitely looked like a small school of fish.

Alabama Rigs are for experienced anglers. As a novice, I used a spinner reel with something called a rattletrap.

“It took my kids a whole year to learn how to cast the Alabama Rig,” my brother-in-law said.

He takes my niece and nephew fishing frequently. Planning is part of his routine.

During our pre-dawn drive to Chattanooga, TN, I was in the back seat trying to catch some zzz’s. My brother-in-law and Dan strategized up front.

“Let’s start at Turkey Foot and catch three or four to get our confidence up,” he told Dan. He was completely serious.

I have historically considered fishing a game of chance. There are fish in a body of water like there are aces in a deck of cards. You drop your line, and, depending on your luck, you may be a winner.

My sister married into a family where such thinking is illogical at best and sacrilege at worst. To them, fishing involves as much skill as any other sport. It also carries the same hope of glory.

“On any given cast, you could catch the state record,” my brother-in-law informed me with the straightest of faces. “That’s why we come here.”

His nod to fishing immortality came midway through our nine uninterrupted hours on the water.

As with any sport, competition is part of the equation. Stealing a fisherman’s favorite spot on the lake is like sitting in Grandma’s pew at church.

“That guy is going straight for the bar!” my brother-in-law yelled to Dan who was closest to the throttle. “Go! Cut him off!”

Judging by the intensity of the moment, you would think Lake Chickamauga was only a few acres across. It is actually fifty-seven square miles. It was created decades ago by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Intensity is how we caught eighteen largemouth bass on a cold and rainy day in late December. My rattletrap accounted for only one of them.

We threw all eighteen back. For serious fishermen, it’s not always about the destination. It’s often about the journey.

Besides, we didn’t actually need the fish as proof of our success. Who wouldn’t take a fisherman’s word for it?

 

Kevin Thompson writes regularly for The Boerne Star. Read more at http://www.kwt.info.

 

Things Kids Can’t Do

Kids – at least my kids – just can’t seem to do certain things.

They can’t turn off a flashlight before setting it down. They can’t put their shoes in the same place twice. And they can’t forget even the slightest promise I make.

“But you said!” they remind me.

This time of year, I’m reminded of another thing kids can’t do: they can’t not believe.

Since the world is bigger than they, kids assume there’s a world beyond them. Hence, the magic of Christmas.

A few years ago, we introduced our gang to The Elf on the Shelf. It was actually the Spanish version, Una Tradición Navideña. Bed, Bath & Beyond was out of the English version. The language barrier wasn’t a problem. The kids got the point.

For those farther behind than I, “The Elf on the Shelf” is a book that came out in 2005. It comes with an accompanying elf doll. Once you read the book, the elf appears in a different corner of the house each day to help Santa keep an eye on things.

Technically-speaking, the elf flies to the North Pole each night and returns to a different place in the house the following morning. It’s fun to explore the house looking for where it landed.

Our elf is a female named Valeria. She has shown up in glass cabinets, on ledges, in stockings and on Christmas tree branches. Once, she appeared on a ceiling fan blade that got accidentally turned on.

We carefully wrapped the fallen elf in a towel and repositioned her in a stable place at a lower elevation.

You’re not supposed to touch Valeria. If you do, The Elf on the Shelf web site gives recommendations to help your elf get its magic back: write an apology, sprinkle cinnamon or sing a carol with your family.

The web site also explains what might have happened if your elf returns from its overnight trip to the North Pole and lands in the same place it landed the day before:

  1. It’s the elf’s favorite spot.
  2. The spot has a great view.
  3. The elf is preparing for a really special surprise the next day.
  4. The elf ate too many cookies at the North Pole and was too tired to move.
  5. The elf did move – work on your observation skills!

The web site makes no mention of a correlation to a parent’s exhaustion level.

No matter the peculiarity of Valeria’s movements, or lack thereof, my kids are still convinced of her magical powers. I can’t make them not believe any more than a grungy mall Santa can make them not believe.

This phrase captures a child’s resilience to doubt, “All things are possible for him who believes.”

In hearing the Christmas story again this year, I was struck by another angle of the impossible made possible.

There were actually two miraculous births: Jesus, born to a virgin, and John, born to a barren woman.

Whether we’re before our prime and scared, or past our prime and sad, the message is the same: God is in the impossible. Believe!

 

Kevin Thompson writes frequently for The Boerne Star. Read his other Christmas columns at www.kevinwt.com/christmas.


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