Sunday 29 May 2011


Can’t imagine why I ever took English in university.  I don’t use more than ten phrases now:
“Stop that.”
“Not now.”
“Say please.”
“Go to sleep.”
“Ask your father.”
“Pick that up.”
“Drink your milk.”
“Don’t hit your sister.”
“Who forgot to flush?”

In particularly lucid moments, I have been known to utter:  “This place is a loony bin,” and “That’s it – I’m joining a convent.”

Janet is visiting with her toddler who is learning to talk.  I am critical.

“You’re making a big mistake, Janet.”

She looks worried.  “He only puts two words together, and he’s nearly eighteen months.  You think I should take him to a speech therapist?”

“Heck no.  I mean encouraging him to talk.”

Let’s face it.  We spend the first twelve months coaxing our kids to talk, and the next twenty years telling them to shut up.

“But I want him to read,” she explains.  “They say early talkers are early readers.”

“I used to read once, “ I say dreamily.  “Once I read Milton.  Now I read Munsch.  And cereal boxes with free prizes.”

She doesn’t look convinced.

“Do yourself a favor, Janet.  Wait until he’s eighteen.  What do you want him to talk for?  Once he talks, he’ll argue!”

I know all about it.  I have two daughters.  We spend every morning reworking arguments.  Practicing for perfection.  This is our quality time.

All my arguments with Natalie seem to conform to a predestined format.  Thinking there might be a way to circumvent such tiresome repetition, I have devised a shortcut.  Argue by Numbers.

Conversation should go something like this:

“Why can’t I No. 37?”

“Because Nos. 3, 5, and 17.”

She answers with a classic 34.  “Everybody else’s mother lets them…”

I counter with No. 51.  “Go ask your father.”

He abstains with a gutless 22.

I get angry.  “That’s it – I’m joining a convent.”

“Too late by about twenty years,” he smirks.

Saturday 14 May 2011


I’ve been getting an awful lot of sales calls from funeral parlors lately, and frankly, it’s starting to worry me.  Granted I’ve been missing a little sleep, but do I really look like I’m ready for the harp and wings?  (Okay, fire and pokers.)

What’s happening out there in the Underworld these days?  Who came up with this PAY NOW-DIE LATER thing?

I’m quite familiar with payment plans.  In fact, you could call me hell on wheels with a credit card.  I have perfected the fast draw.  And years of experience have taught me that you can buy a perfectly good dress now, and not have to pay for it until it is out of style.

But I have to question this whole prepaid funeral thing.  Just why the heck should I pay in advance for something I don’t even want?

All I know is, someone has done a killer <sic> marketing job.  And it’s only the beginning.  Next thing you know, they’ll be doing your colors beforehand.  Or – wait for it – for those who want to look their best on the way out – liposuction! “Let yourself go a bit over the years?  Pre-purchase our after-market body-shaping plan, and let us take a little off the sides…or maybe add a little here and here…”

The fashion industry won’t be far behind.  I can see a side-business dealing in up to the minute stylish clothes that make you look good lying down.

In fact, they could have a phone-in service for people who want to switch their final fashion choice with the season.  Perhaps little tear-off strips attached to your license where you can pencil in your latest choice:  “Please bury me in the royal blue strapless, first drawer on the left…”

And it doesn’t end there.  One telephone salesperson wanted to know if I preferred a forest or lake view, sunny or shady final resting spot.  I can see it now: “The Sun Lover’s Plan – Finally, all the sun you want with no fear of UV”

For those men who want their wives to visit often, they’ll come up with special burial sites next door to major shopping malls.  And certain women I know may elect to be ‘located’ around the seventeenth tee.

There’s a lot of potential still left in this industry, and I’ve come up my own sales gimmick.  You only pay a small deposit for your ‘deposit,’ and you don’t claim it until you need it.  It’s called the “Layaway” plan.