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Actual Conversations Heard Following Actual Colonoscopies #1 (a.k.a. TMI Theatre 3000)

NURSE– (shaking my shoulder) Eric? Eric? We’re all done now. Your procedure’s finished.

ME– (Blinking) Really? Wow. That didn’t seem like–

MY BUTT– *FAAAAAAAAAAAAAART!!!!*

ME– Ohhhh… my lord. I am SO sorry!

NURSE– Not a problem. We hear it all the time.

While I was mortified to have involuntarily released such an assvacuation in front of far more strangers than you’d normally care to (a few of which were, fortunately, still yet-to-be-awakened following their own procedures), it was understandable. Part of the colonoscopy process is to pump your guts full of air to help give the scope a better view of the interior of said guts and to give the surgeon room to snake seven feet of it through them. It was but the first of many such ventings to follow. Including one, 20 minutes later, in the restroom of Olive Garden, where I thought I was totally alone and therefore free to let fly, only to hear the voice of some poor soul who’d quietly slipped into the room cry, “Daaaayuuum!” mid-way through my effort. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the presence of mind to scream, “Don’t fart-shame me, dude, I just had a colonoscopy!”

BTW: To my fellow humans who may be due for a colonoscopy and dreading it, mine was really easy and not worth stressing over. The worst part is the prep, where you have to get rid of the contents of your guts by drinking half a gallon of Miralax-laced Gatorade a pint at a time. It’s not pleasant, but it’s doable. My part of the procedure was basically to get nekkid, save for an ill-fitting gown, then answer the same ten questions asked by five different people, then take the best nap ever. As for my results, I am told my colon is immaculate, they didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, and it was so clean you could eat off it.

See ya again in 10 years, colon!

In the Midst: A COVID-19 eBook Anthology

In The Midst: A COVID-19 AnthologyIn mid 2020, my friend Sandy Tritt put out a call for submissions to a Covid-19 anthology she was putting together. As the August deadline approached, I remember wishing that I had something to send her, before remembering that I had actually written something on the topic, way waaaay back, what seemed like years and years before, in April of 2020.

I’m sure there are writers who used their downtime during the 2020 pandemic and lockdown to get a lot of writing done. I am not one of them. Now, Lord knows I have enough stories in-progress that I could have tackled finishing a few of them or even started something new in 2020. But I just couldn’t summon much interest in creative output for pretty much the whole year. A lot of this can be chalked up to just not feeling any love for the craft due to Covid-19, but there were larger factors at play in my life that actually outweighed even a global pandemic for me. The pandemic definitely didn’t help, though.

While I live in West Virginia, I spent most of the first half of 2020 in Mississippi, helping my parents while my dad recovered from spinal surgery. I was supposed to be there for five weeks. It turned into five months. Most of my writing for those months came in the form of Facebook posts and texts updating family and friends on our situation there. I wasn’t entirely without creative output, though. I did manage to write, revise and complete a 10 minute theatrical monologue which was then workshopped, revised more times, workshopped again, and subsequently published in an anthology of Covid-19 writing. As per usual, I had to have a deadline to make me complete it.

The monologue–some might argue short play, due to its formatting–in question was written in response to a March 2020 challenge issued by Jason A.Young, of Clarksburg’s Vintage Theatre Company. Jason challenged a number of West Virginia playwright types to write monologues documenting the pandemic experience in West Virginia. As I explained to Jason at the time, I wasn’t having a WV pandemic experience because I was in Mississippi. While I couldn’t really comment on what was going on back in home, I could definitely shed some light on what was happening to me and my family in my home town of Starkville.

For me and my parents, Covid-19 was only the icing on the already difficult cake that started our year. While my father’s surgery in mid-February had been a success in terms of ridding him of the agony he’d been in for months, due to a pinched nerve, it had not entirely been the instant cure we’d hoped for. He came out of surgery barely able to walk due to months of using his legs incorrectly in order to avoid pain. He then wound up doing nine weeks of in-patient rehab at a nursing home facility while I split my time between hanging out with him in his room there and being at home to take care of my step-mother, Myra.

Part way into his rehab experience, Mississippi had its first case of Covid-19 and Dad’s facility went on full lockdown. This meant I couldn’t get inside to see him because they were trying like hell to keep Covid-19 out. We could then only communicate with Dad by phone, Facebook video, and by me standing outside of his ground-floor window and talking to him phone to phone.

By the time Jason issued the challenge to write a monologue, I had a few things to say about the pandemic experience. The monologue I wrote, entitled “Fish Bowl,” depicts one side of a cell phone conversation between a father and son looking at each other through the glass of a nursing home room window. It was inspired by the many such conversations I had with my dad through the window of his room during those weeks. And while much of the conversation is fictional, much of it is true. It also quite accurately depicts the way I came to learn that there had been an outbreak of Covid-19 in his facility during one such conversation.

I turned in the monologue to Jason in April 2020. He passed it along to a very talented local actor from his troop named Sean Marko, who made both audio and, later, video readings of it as a kind of online workshop. It helped the revision process immensely to hear how the words sounded and where my tendency toward super long sentences caused train wrecks in the execution. Being back in the collaborative process of theatre again felt great, especially after weeks of avoiding any such output, viewing it as a distraction to my many responsibilities at hand.

Months later, I did another couple of polishes on “Fish Bowl” and submitted it to Sandy for her anthology. She said it made her cry, which I guess is as good a review as a writer is likely to get. She accepted it and it was published as part of In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology in November, 2020.

I guess this is a long way to go to say, “Fish Bowl,” has just been published again in the brand new ebook edition of In the Midst: A Covid-19 Anthology. Unlike the print editions, where readers needed to chose between black and white and a pricier full-color version, though, the much cheaper ebook is in full color.

There’s a lot more tale to tell about my time in Mississippi, both comedic and tragic. I’m now considering the best format in which to tell it.

Website Repairs and Podcast Reduxes

A few long time friends and/or followers of this page might have noticed a couple of changes to this site over the years. I’m not just talking about the semi-once-a-decade sprucing up I do on the visuals (it is a nigh on 25 year old site, after all), or the shifting sands of content; no, I’m talking about the name of the site itself. Oh, it’s always been called Mister Herman’s Home Page–or, at least, phonetically it has–but the actual URL address has danced about when it comes to spelling.

For the first few years of its life, Mister Herman’s Home Page lived in the personal directory of whatever ISP would have me. The site initially served as a repository for funny Top Ten lists that I and my friends had written, in-joke-laced humor pieces, funny graphics I’d made, and more in-joke-laced recipes inspired by the things I used to cook and actually eat during college. Gradually, though, I began to add my writing to the mix, from early short stories, some of which made it into A Consternation of Monsters, to my signature non-fiction Horribly True Tales. The site began to fill out.

Trouble was, whenever I’d move to a new town and get a new internet provider, I’d have to move it all and the web address would change once again, as would my email address. After my 5th ISP change in so many years, though, I decided to bite the bullet and just get the site a permanent address. I bought the URL MisterHerman.com and pointed it to whatever ISP I was using at` the time. And I recall, at the time, debating whether to buy MrHerman.com as well, to avoid confusion, but decided to lean in to the full spelling that I preferred. And, not long after, I set up permanent hosting for the site via an official GoDaddy hosting account. Gone were the days of having to move the site with each new ISP.

Years passed and I decided owning MrHerman.com would be good after all. Alas, someone had beat me to it and set up their own web design service with that shingle. This was annoying, because I’d posted enough writing and told enough people the name of my site that I didn’t want folks to be waylaid on the way there by some Fake Shemp Mr. Herman. (And, let’s be clear, I’m fully aware that I’m the Fake Shemp Mister Herman and the site should really be owned by Pee Wee Herman himself. And if he’d ever like to have it, I’m quite open to discussing it and would cut him a fair price due to all the entertainment he’s given me over the years.) Instead, I just kept tabs on the Fake Shemp Herman. After a handful of years the name became available again and this time I didn’t dawdle in buying it.

More years passed, I wrote a book, and decided to spruce up my page to help market it and myself. I switched to WordPress, which I thought would be the uncomplicated, intuitive, and user-friendly solution to my web design needs. (Ahhh hah ha ha hah ha hah ha hah hah hah ha hah hah ha ha hah ha hah ha hah hah hah ha hah hah ha ha hah ha hah ha hah hah hah ha hah hah ha ha hah ha hah ha hah hah ha ha hah ha hah ha hah hah hah ha hah hah ha ha hah ha hah ha hah hah hah ha hah hahhhhh!) While setting up the new hot site, though, I pointed MrHerman.com to it, allowing MisterHerman.com to remain in its previous form until I was ready to go live. When I did, I just let MrHerman.com become the official new URL for the site, with MisterHerman as its redirecting shadow.

Part of my book promotion involved recording adaptations of a few of its stories as a podcast called the Consternation of Monsters Podcast. Still later, I did the whole thing as an audiobook, but I tend to prefer the podcast versions of the stories, which are not always straight-up word for word readings, but can branch out into stageplays, radioplays, and sound-effects-laden efforts. I spent a lot of time trying to get them right, as well as keeping up with the RSS feed for it so that people could listen to it from whatever podcast app they cared to use.

One day, a year or so ago, GoDaddy called to let me know they were going to be discontinuing the use of the server I was on and needed to migrate me to a new one. They suggested upgrading to CPanel hosting, which would offer me all the features I’d had before and more. Sure thing, I told them. Sign me up. They then said the would set up the new site for me and I could migrate my old site to it over the course of three months they were kind enough to give me, so the old site didn’t have to immediately go away. I told them to just use MisterHerman.com as the name of the new site, and I’d keep the old site as MrHerman until I could get it moved (just like last time, in reverse).

Now, I don’t know if you have ever tried to migrate one WP site to another location, but it’s devilishly tricky. And while there are a number of WordPress plugins that claim they do the migration for you, none of them actually work–or, at least, none of the half dozen I tried did. I really REALLY didn’t want to have to go through every page of code and change every listed addresses from Mr to Mister, though. Then GoDaddy told me that for a mere ten sawbucks–that’s a crisp $100, to you and me–they’d do the migration for me. Sounded like money well spent. I signed right up and within a couple of weeks the site had been moved. I checked a sampling of pages to make sure everything was still there and it seemed to be.

I should have checked more pages. The ones I checked were good, so I, sadly, trusted it all was.

That was months ago.

Recently, I happened to notice that my Consternation of Monsters Podcast was no longer working properly in my podcast aggregator app. I hadn’t looked at it for months–since the last new episode I’d done in 2018, really. But I saw a red triangle with an exclamation point on the show graphic and knew something was amiss. What do you suppose I discovered? Oh, just that while my site had been successfully moved and most of the MRs had been changed to MISTERs, a number–and not a small number–of them had not. In particular, the file of the podcast feed itself was choked with MRs. I can understand GoDaddy not checking such a file, which was not a part of WordPress to begin with, but quite a few links within the site itself, which was WordPress, referred back to the old MrHerman addresses. More horribly true still, I soon discovered that all of my Horribly True Tales stories were listed with the old addresses on their table of contents pages. It seems that while each individual page was switched from MR to MISTER, any page with in-house links to pages on the site did not have any alterations made to its code in this regard.

Super long story short, I’ve been doing some site work this to restore the podcast and its feed to their former glory, as well as all the other broken links on the site. (If you happen to one, how bout drop me a line about it at efritzius AT gmail DOT com).

After much code-work and testing, the podcast is back up and its episodes restored. You can find them all at the main Consternation of Monsters Podcast page, as well as links to blog entries about the stories adapted themselves.

And I can reveal there will soon be news about new episodes in the new year.

Actual Conversations Heard from my Patio #86

SETTING: My patio, where I’m sitting as the wife emerges from our nearby workshop/outbuilding, a.k.a. “The Shop.”

THE WIFE– Hey, Poo, I got a request for you.
ME– Yeah?
THE WIFE– I’m gonna need you to not keep your grandfather’s bullwhip coiled up on the floor of the shop… right behind the door… right where I have to stand to turn on the light… looking an awful lot like a coiled up snake.
ME– Mm. Yeah, I saw that and thought it might be a problem. But I didn’t do it on purpose.
THE WIFE– Uh huh.
ME– I’d had the whip hanging above the door, wrapped around its wooden handle, but it fell, then got pushed behind the door the next time someone opened it.
THE WIFE– Falling on me from above the door would have been way worse.
ME– Yeah. Gotcha.

Actual Conversations Heard at My House #234

SETTING: My house, as my wife is seated in front of the TV, flipping through the viewing choices on Amazon Prime while me and the mother-in-law look on. I spy one of the choices as she flips past it, a movie with a poster that features a closeup of a brightly lit shot of the face of actor Florence Pugh, with pretty flowers in her hair, screaming in anguish.

ME– You should watch Midsommar.

THE WIFE– Really?

ME– Yeah.

(There is a pause as the wife scrolls back to it and starts to read the description.)

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW– What’s Midsommar?

ME– Ohhh… just an incredibly unsettling horror movie set entirely in bright sunlight.

THE WIFE– I don’t want to see that! Why would you tell me to watch that?

ME– I was gonna stop you.

THE WIFE– Yeah, right.

ME– I didn’t think you’d watch it to begin with. I figured you hear the evil mirth in my voice and know better.

THE WIFE– Uh huh.

(Long pause)

ME– You should watch Hereditary.

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Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Doctor’s Offices #83

NURSE—And has anything changed in your medications?

ME—No, I don’t think so. My doctor had me on an antibiotic recently, but other than that I don’t think anything has changed.

(The nurse goes down a list of my medications and supplements until she reaches…)

NURSE— And are you still taking the… Ninjacof?

ME—Um, Ninja Cough? That doesn’t ring any bells.

NURSE— Ninjacov… ninja cough… I guess that’s how this is pronounced.

ME—Well, if I was taking anything else, I would certainly hope it had “ninja” in the title, but that’s not one I’ve ever taken.

(Made her laugh. She then looked up Ninjacof, which turns out to be a cough and sneeze suppressant. I’ve indeed never taken it nor heard of it. Neither of us knew how it managed to get into my record. Must be ninjas.)

Actual Breakfast Table Conversations Heard at My House #117

(Setting: the breakfast table at my house as we’re polishing off the beautiful French toast my moms-in-law made for us. Having finished hers, the wife takes out her current knitting project–a fancy scarf knitted on the bias–to start a new row.)

THE WIFE– (to her mom) I think I figured out why I keep getting extra stitches in this…

ME– (interrupting) Have you been snitching?

THE WIFE– What?

ME– Have you been snitching? (beat) Cause snitches get stitches?

(Long pause)

THE WIFE– You are a dork.

Actual Semi-Paraphrased Telephone Conversations Heard at My House on Saturday #386

*RING*

ME Hello?

AVA’S FLOWERS—Hi, I’m calling for Eric Frizzzoo?

ME—This is him.

AVA’S FLOWERS—Yes, I’m calling from Ava’s Flowers. We got your message requesting a refund and wanted to call and talk to you about this?

ME— Yes.

AVA’S FLOWERS— I understand there was a delay in the delivery of your flowers. Would it be all right if we made the delivery of the flowers tomorrow?

ME— No, it would not be. You see, the flowers were for my wife’s birthday, which was yesterday. And because the flowers were not delivered yesterday, I had to make other arrangements and buy flowers elsewhere. So, no, we have no use for flowers delivered tomorrow.

AVA’S FLOWERS— I see. Well, again, we are very sorry for the late delivery of the flowers. But are you really certain that you would not want us to go ahead and deliver them tomorrow?

(LONG PAUSE)

ME—Yes. I am really REALLY certain.

AVA’S FLOWERS— Very good, sir. If you would just stay on the line for a few moments, I will be right back.

(Five minutes pass before she returns to cheerfully tell me that I will be issued a full refund. Let this be a lesson to you all: Just because a florist is listed first in a Google search of “Rainelle WV Florist” does not mean they are A) actually located in Rainelle; and B) worth a flying fleur. Ava’s, it seems, is some kind of fly-by-night internet outfit that allegedly coordinates florists nationwide to provide local delivery. But their site masquerades as a local florist that has allegedly been in business for 30 years. However, if you Google search “Ava’s Flowers complaints” you will see that actually getting flowers delivered to their customers on time is not really Ava’s bag. You will also be directed to the Better Business Bureau for many many more complaints concerning Ava’s Flowers. Next time, just do what I wound up having to do and go get a lovely arrangement from Kroger.)

Actual Telephone Conversations with Actual Insurance Companies Heard at My House #604

SETTING: My house as I speak to a USAA rep regarding my vehicle, which struck a deer 30 miles from home during my return trip from Mississippi.

INSURANCE REP— … and I understand the damage to the vehicle is along the left front corner, and along both door panels?

ME– Yes.

INSURANCE REP– And I understand the driver’s side door no longer opens?

ME– Yes. I had to climb out through the passenger door. But it still drives fine.

INSURANCE REP– Well, sir, we actually consider the car to be undriveable at this point. If you were to drive it and something were to happen to the passenger door, and it was not able to open either, how would you be able to get out of the vehicle?

ME– Dukes of Hazzard style!

(Pause)

INSURANCE REP– Heh.

(I was just glad she got the reference.)

“Anninversaries” the 20th and the search for presents

Twenty years ago today, some kids got hitched.

(There’s some controversy there, though, cause my bride was actually wearing the preacher’s wedding ring when she said her vows, as hers fell out of his bible and onto the floor, seconds into the ceremony, and he just switched out his own for it to save a big awkward mid-wedding ring search. In a groom-daze, I failed to notice any of it, though, until he handed me his yellow gold ring in place of her white gold band, and all I could think was “That damn jewler! He sold me a painted ring!” It took some complex facial expressions on Ashley’s part to communicate what had happened and I finally realized it was the preacher’s ring. However, technically, I think this also might mean I’m married to him.)

Those kids then said their vows in what felt like a blur, smooched, and walked the aisle. They took their pictures, went to the reception where they hoped to party down on some fantastic wedding grub. Except every time they tried to get even one bite of their very own wedding food, plates were snatched out of their hands and they were shuffled away for cake-cutting and gift-opening and champagne-toasting and garter-tossing and bouquet-chucking. And with each plate-snatching, they were promised that copious amounts of wedding food had been packed for them to take on the honeymoon, so don’t sweat not getting to eat any of it now.

And they stepped out of the reception hall and into the February sun as man and wife. And their friends and family pelted them with bird seed, which ran down in their underwear and made the wedding night a little complicated.

And they piled into an automobile that any right-thinking mechanic would have warned them against traveling to Walmart in, let alone Gatlinburg, but they got there all the same and with most of the trailing cans intact.

And only there, in their cozy honeymoon cabin, the Smoky Mountains smoking outside and their bellies rumbling inside, did they discover that the copious amounts of wedding food that had been promised had been packed into the wrong vehicle.

At least they had the birdseed.

I’ve had 20 amazing years with this beautiful, crazy, mean-as-a-snake lady. I believe I’ll take 20 more.

I love you, Ashley Marie Holloway Fritzius.

We don’t normally buy each other anniversary presents, but 20 years is 20 years. A few weeks before our anniversary date, however, I began thinking what would make a good present for my bride. On major anniversaries in the past, we’ve taken return trips to Gatlinburg. For our 10th anniversary, we returned to our original honeymoon cabin. However, in the intervening decade, what had once been a quaint and remote little a-frame cabin waaaay up in the hills had now become just a house in a fairly crowded neighborhood of dozens of such houses. Walking naked to the back deck hottub during daylight hours was no longer an option. So on our 15th anniversary, we stayed in an entirely different mountain cabin in Pigeon Forge–which was also basically in a neighborhood, but had a better view. This year, though, we don’t have a lot of spare time for even a weekend trip, so I opted for something more material as a present.

In thinking about successful presents I’ve given in the past, the one that came to mind was a graduation present I gave the wife of a painting by local water colorist Jeanne Brenneman. I’d snuck the painting in and hung it on the wall in place of another one, waiting for Ashley to notice it. On the off chance I could create magic a second time, I went to Jeanne Brenneman’s website to peruse what she had for sale. And there I found the perfect painting, a watercolor of northern lights called Cosmic Chaos. Being from Alaska, the northern lights hold a very special place in my wife’s heart. She’s seen them with her own eyes and it’s one of the things she misses dearly about Alaska–one of the things only true Alaskans, who stay the winter-long, get to see on a regular basis. Seemed a good fit.

I wrote Jeanne Brenneman, explained that I was interested in her painting, and asked if it was still available and, if so, nearby–some of her work is on display in galleries far and wide, so it would be my bad luck if it was out-of-town on an extended tour. As it happened, the painting in question was hanging on her studio wall because it was one of her all time favorites too. We set up a time for me to come pick it up, on a day during which the wife was still out-of-town herself seeing her newly born grand niece in Kentucky.

Instead of waiting til our actual anniversary date to give it to her, I decided to do it on the day she returned–since our actual anniversary was packed with other obligations. I decided to hang it in a conspicuous place and wait for her to see it. And I picked the most conspicuous bit of real-estate our walls had to offer–directly beside the front door. It’s a spot we’ve never hung anything in the past, but was a nice chunk of space to accommodate a none-too-small painting.

The wife came home, opening the front door to enter the house, the door itself blocking her view of the painting. Once closed, though, the painting was very obvious–it’s purples and reds standing out against our tan wall. She didn’t see it.

I kept my phone ready to take video, but all I got were four shots of her walking directly past the painting on her way out the door to bring stuff in from her car. After nearly an hour, I finally decided to take the painting down for a bit. Partly this was because she asked me to go to Walmart to get macaroni for dinner, and I didn’t want her seeing it while I was gone, and partly because my in-laws were out for the afternoon and I knew they would want to see her reaction, too.

Later, once everyone was home, I put it back up when she was in the shower and we all began to wait.

Nope. She walked by it several more times, oblivious.

After an hour, my mother-in-law decided to try and speed things up by standing in proximity to the painting hoping Ashley would notice. She noticed Ma acting squirrely, and commented on that, but didn’t see the painting. I began to wonder if she’d already seen it and was just toying with all of us.

Cosmic Choas by Jeanne BrennemanAbout the time I’d set my phone down and given up on capturing the moment, she finally noticed it. Only I didn’t get to see her see it. I only looked up when Ma was smacking the back of the sofa near my head to get me to pay attention. I turned to see Ashley standing directly in front of the picture staring into it with a look of awe on her face. She stood there in silence for over a minute, beaming.

“How does she do it?” she finally asked.

“I know,” I said. “I thought it looked great online, but it’s so much more impressive in person.”

“I love it,” she said.

“Happy anniversary,” I said.

Thanks again, Jeanne. It was just what I’d hoped it would be.

A couple days later was our actual anniversary date. I had a card for the wife and she had a card for me. They both had the exact same envelope and a near identical lump where a ribbon was incorporated into the exterior of the card therein. We burst out laughing, thinking we had–as we have in the past–purchased the exact same card for each other. But, no, just cards by the same company. She had also brought me an anniversary bouquet of Reese’s peanut butter heart flowers (Reese hearts taped to straws) which were poking out of holes punched into the top of a box of Lucky Charms. I was overjoyed. I would show you a picture, but I was forbidden to take one since the bouquet’s appearance didn’t quite match her mental image of what she’d been aiming for. (I took one anyway, but it somehow disappeared from my camera by morning. You might think Ashley deleted it, but it’s gone from Google Photos automatic upload backup, which she wouldn’t know how to access, so I think it genuinely disappeared on its own.)

Actual Conversations Heard at Bedtime at My House That Only People Who Watched a LOT of Saturday Morning TV in the Late `70s, but Whose Wife Did Not, Will Get #34

(SETTING: My house. I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth like a good boy. The wife is climbing into bed, exhausted, teeth unbrushed.)

THE WIFE– I’m going to bed. I don’t think I have the energy to even brush my teeth tonight.

ME– (Through toothpaste) Better watch out, or you’ll get a visit from the Cavity Creeps.

THE WIFE– The Cavity Creeps? What do they do?

ME– (Adopts Cavity Creep voice) “They MAKE holes in TEETH! They MAKE holes in TEETH!”

(Laughs maniacally at own joke.)

THE WIFE– You are officially an idiot.

Actual Bedtime Conversations Heard at My House #283

SETTING: It’s 10 p.m., time for be’bye nite nites and the dogs are dragging tail doing their business outside. Being sleepy, I mistakenly yell at our eldest and whitest dog, Sadie, to get her “brown butt” in the house instead of yelling the same at middle dog Moose, whose butt is genuinely brown. The wife, back in the house, thinks I’m saying something to her.

THE WIFE– Did you say something?

ME– (Entering bedroom) I was telling Sadie to get her brown butt in the house.

THE WIFE– Sadie’s butt is not brown. She doesn’t have any brown on her anywhere. Except her eyes. They’re brown. But they have cloudy gray cataracts.

ME– That’s the worst Lucky Charm ever.

THE WIFE– What?

ME– Cloudy Gray Cataracts are the worst Lucky Charm ever.

(pause)

THE WIFE– What are you talking about?

ME– Y’know…. Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons, Orange Stars, Green Clovers, Cloudy Gray Cataracts, Blue Diamonds…

(long pause)

THE WIFE– You are an idiot.

ME– Come on, that was a nice piece of business.

THE WIFE– You’re a bad piece of business.

Actual Telephone Conversations Heard at My House #7 (a.k.a.: Marriage Shorthand Theatre 3000)

*RING*

ME– Hello?

WIFE– (CALLING FROM WORKHey. I need to access my knowledge repository of all things moviewise.

ME– Okay. Lemme get my hat.

WIFE– I need to know the movie with the baby with the red curly hair. It was sort of a sci fi thing. Early 90s. Kind of with the dwarves. Sort of like Time Bandits…

ME– Willow?

WIFE– Yeah, that’s it. Thank you. Bye.

Actual Telephone Conversations Heard at My House #6

*RING*

ME–
 (ANSWERS PHONE) Hello?

(SILENCE)

ME– Hello?

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– Hello?

(PAUSE)

ME– Hello?

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– Um, yeah. Mr. Frizzzus?

ME– That’s me.

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– Hi. This is Matt, with API.

ME– Uh huh.

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– We just wanted to call to tell you we’d like to send you a $1000 online gift certificate.

ME– I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I have a strict policy here of accepting no solicitation over the phone.

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– (PAUSEUm… This isn’t soliciting. (ANOTHER PAUSEUm… what’s soliciting?

ME– Selling things over the phone.

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– Oh, no. We’re not selling anything. I thought for a minute there you meant soliciting, like on TV shows… you know, like, with hookers.

(SILENCE AS I ALLOW THIS TO SINK IN)

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– Uh, hello?

ME– Yeah, um, listen, this still sounds like something I’m not going to be interested in.

MATT THE STONER TELEMARKETER– Oh, no, it’s really great! It’s…

ME– You have a nice day, Matt.

*CLICK*

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