Grudge me Not

It’s not that I hold a grudge, it’s more like I strangle the life out of it. Then I relish vengeance and vindication due me. Here are some that are still come readily and joyfully to mind:

1. 1978, First Grade: Mrs. Hedgepeth would not let me go to the bathroom until I had finished my cotton-ball caterpillar. So, I did what any normal 6 year old would do, I created a masterpiece. I also created a mess. As the class filed out for recess, I called Mrs. H back to come admire my magnum opus and my puddle of the floor. That bitch was mine for all of second semester.

2. 1991, Heated Scrabble Game. It might not surprise you that I hate to lose. I played the word “zeitgeist,” hitting the triple letter on Z, a double word score and using all of my letters. It was worth points that can only be expressed with an exponent. Eric challenged. I was affronted. “Zeitgeist” in his woefully provincial 1980 Webster’s dictionary (that was before the inter web) was capitalized. Everyone knows all German nouns are capitalized, and zeitgeist had long been accepted in English usage for some time. I point it out every time I see it in print, uncapitalized, thank you very much.

Incidentally, I’m starting a petition to Words with Friends to add the following as acceptable:


3. 1995ish, A spirited debate (and by spirited, I do mean induced by spirits of the alcoholic sort) about whether or not there was a cupcake called Hoot n’ Toot, similar to Suzy Qs and Ding Dongs. I was the source of much ridicule for the next 15 years. Hoot n’ Toot was the Bigfoot of my social circle, the giant squid. Until, Google proved otherwise–incontrovertible evidence of the Hoot n’ Toot. Note: I have been accused of planting this post and laying in wait for 7 years to unveil it. It actually does sound like something I might do.

Point is, if you don’t want to end up the subject of my blog–just assume I’m right, and no one gets hurt.

File Under…Exists, but Shouldn’t

These are things for which I just can’t find any practical application, whatsoever. Feel free to add to the list.

  1. Baby corn
  2. The Situation
  3. The crossword puzzle in People
  4. Circus Peanuts
  5. Permanent eyeliner
  6. Cursive
  7. Sweatpants advertising “Juicy” on the rear
  8. Glenn Beck
  9. Annual debate over the College Bowl System
  10. Flavored water


I am pretty good at many things. I am super at a very few, but I am confident I have one gift that exceeds all others’ abilities…becoming ensnared on any given protuberance anywhere at anytime with a frequency inversely proportional to the physical probability of such occurrence.

If I have a loop, a strap, a thread, a belt, a hangnail etc. on my person at any time, it will find a doorknob, a cabinet pull, a nailhead, a car door, a twig, a fixture…any stationary object, really. I have gotten stuck to a bathroom stall door with the magnet in my bag. I have ripped open a pocket on a cabinet knob. I have been clotheslined by catching my purse strap on a fence post. I have been tethered to my car by my belt buckle catching on my seatbelt. And that was just last Thursday. I’m not clumsy, but I apparently don’t give anything a wide enough berth. Ever. Apparently I’m so efficient in my conservation of movement, I can hang a loose sweater thread on a wall mounted pencil sharpener. True story.

I think Newton might have had a law about it.  Call it Law of Motion1b: Barbara in motion will tend to find and adhere to an object not in motion to the general amusement of onlookers.

Name Blame

New jeans, starchy backpacks, and the smell of sharpened pencils in the air mean one thing…I get to direct the appropriate amount of snark and derision at the class roster. It gets more interesting every year with more elaborate permutations of spelling and creative combinations of names that were already made up to begin with.

I really don’t think there is a need to make up a name. There are plenty. If you can’t find one in the guide to 50,000 baby names, you just aren’t trying. There are 2 billion people in China and about 15 first names. And I, for one, have never come across a Graxtone Ling.

I know, parents want their child to stand-out, to be unique. But if you think affixing an albatross of a name on poor Gimmee is going to make him unique, you might want to think about the benefits of blending in, say in Cell Block B.

Secondly, I don’t think there is a need to co-opt perfectly well-established boys’ names for girls. Pure boys’ names are practically extinct. Pretty soon all will have gone the way of Leslie, Ashley, Drew, and Ryan. And we’ll be left with Ned. Do you really want that on your conscience? Furthermore, think of all the angst over constant gender confusion when you have to explain that your bundle in the bassinet, “Walter” is a girl. It just leads to a proliferation of bows larger than dinner plates affixed to hairless skulls. Senseless cycle of cruelty.

Made up names are annoying, but made up spellings are worse. Are you asking for your kid to need therapy? If it can’t be found pre-printed on a barrette or pencil case, don’t do it. If you ever find yourself having to say, “It’s Frank, with a ‘Ph'” just step out into traffic immediately.

But I think the real losers in this yearly display of out-weirding one another with bizarre spelling and pronunciation are the Kindergarten teachers. I imagine the first day of school when poor Mrs. Johnson struggles through the roster, calling out names, making corrections and becoming wistful for the slug of Dimetapp in her desk drawer.

Curse You, Tennessee!

Technology has brought many gifts, but it has given me a basic dislike for Tennessee. Don’t get me wrong. Tennessee is a lovely place. I have been to Memphis and Knoxville and probably some other places I can’t readily remember. The people are nice and the food is good, but I wouldn’t shed a tear if they seceded or changed the state name.

Why? Because Tennessee precedes Texas in a drop down box. Anytime I am ordering something online (which is admittedly often) and have to fill out my address, Tennessee gets in the way. Instead of being able to simply type a “T” and move on, there is a 2 step process: “T” and THEN scroll down. Think of all of the time I would save if 1) I either lived in Tennessee or 2) Tennessee went away altogether. The first isn’t really an option. The second would probably require some paperwork. I suppose Montanans have it worse. (Or is it Montanites or Montanians?) All of those other M states do get in the way. Luckily there are only 14 people who live there, and they tend not to be complainers–otherwise they wouldn’t live there.

There is a third way, and I’m all about compromise. So, I hereby propose we change the spelling to Techsas. It’s the same principle as being AAA Auger in the phone book. It has benefits other than leapfrogging over hapless Tennessee. It’s still phonetic and could provide some primo marketing opportunities. I think we could even get Facebook to sponsor the change. Then you could check in all over the state at Facebook on Facebook. Or maybe they are checking in on you. It could get confusing, but would still save me time on, which is all we’re after anyway.

Hypothetical Girl

I think if I were a superhero, that would be my name…Hypothetical Girl. I am the what-if queen. The more remote the possibility of occurrence, the better prepared I am. I have my audition song and outfit ready to go for American Idol tryouts. Never mind that I can’t sing and have no desire to perform whatsoever. But in case it comes up, I’m ready. As for practical matters, as a new mother, I could often be found without a diaper bag, snacks, toys, or the baby for that matter. But I knew what to do in case of a grizzly attack. I’m envisioning a superhero costume for Hypothetical Girl would be the Swiss Army knife of costumes, with lots of pockets and extendable tools. And definitely some bad ass jet boots.

It makes me wonder what my Native American name would be. Hypothetical Girl seems too pretentious. Maybe Girl Who Thinks Too Much While Not Noticing Angry Buffalo Behind Her.

Honor Blog

I’ve been shamed into it. My good friend, Tall Curly Biscuit, and I were discussing our blogs the other night. She said she’d never read mine, which is understandable because I’d never actually publicized it. She gave me that look that said, “An unread blog is just a sad diary and the precursor to living with 23 cats and cyber-stalking Tom Selleck.” Point taken.

So, here it is, my alter-blog. I get to blog for work on all manners of things remotely related to a productive life, but here is where you get the grit, the raw wrigglings of uncensored thought. The mental spew, if you will. Not sure I would.

For those of you who wait in anticipation of my preferred medium: the annual Christmas letter, I’ll try to be good about sharing my particular brand of crazy often and unfiltered.