Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

You have pee in your bladder.

You’re stuck in the car.

You hope there’s a bathroom.

You hope it’s not far.

So with pee in your bladder and awkward-crossed thighs

You stop at McDonald’s and guilt-buy some fries.

The bathroom is customers only, you see

‘Cause God forbid women do something for free.

You’re back on the road for not half an hour more

When your bladder sends signals you cannot ignore.

And because your cloth car seat you don’t want to douse

You wonder if someone nice lives in that house.

“It might be a murderous, creepy ex-con,”

You think to yourself and decide to drive on.

“Fuck this small bladder, its two-teaspoon yield!

Am I gonna have to squat down in a field?”

You wish once again you could pee in a cup

Or had one of those things where girls pee standing up.

You wonder if this is where all your pride ends.

You wonder if you should start wearing Depends.

But what’s that ahead? A remote port-a-pot?

Do you care who it’s for? No you fucking do not!

No, you screech to a halt and though part of you dies

You just hold your damn breath and you ward off the flies

And you open the door and you don’t look below

And you think to yourself Oh the Places You’ll Go.

 

 

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Master of Tai Chi (warm-up exercises)

Several years ago I bought a tai chi DVD. Aerobic exercise makes me feel like I have a heart problem, and I know I’d hurt myself on exercise contraptions. (Friends no more clumsy than me have broken their feet dropping weights and injured joints falling off the treadmill. The threat is real.) Walking always seemed like enough exercise to me, so I don’t remember why I bought the video, but I ended up loving it. Not aerobic, no bone-crushing items.

One thing I loved about tai chi was that you always keep your spine straight. Your hips, shoulders, and head stay in alignment. You never twist or bend. Knees stay slightly (or more) bent, and you breathe deeply and slowly at all times. Some of the warm-up exercises involve staying in a bent-knee position and staring straight ahead for as long as your legs can do it. Perfect for me! I can stare at a wall for hours and not get bored. It’s one of my strengths. Unfortunately my legs can only handle it for a couple minutes.

Another thing I love about tai chi is that when I do it before leaving the house, for the rest of the day I breathe more deeply and do everything with better posture than usual. I’m one of those people who will melt into your couch when you invite me over. I might lie down. Sitting up is exhausting. But if I’ve done tai chi, I’m a model guest. Not nearly as embarrassing unless one of your other guests voted for He Who Must Not Be Named.

The video has six or seven warm-up exercises and then the “form,” which is what you see people doing in the park and think “Hey there’s someone doing tai chi,” but if you think about doing it in the park yourself you imagine everyone thinking “Hey, there’s a crazy person.”

So I stayed in my living room, blinds closed, and did “play guitar” and “snake creeps down” and got better and better at crouching lower and staring at the wall longer. The prep exercises were going great, so I moved on to the form. The guy in the video did a move and then pivoted. I pivoted, too, and here’s where the problem with tai chi videos becomes evident. At this point you have to turn your head to see the TV. I thought, “I’ll just turn it for a second and then get right back in position.” I turned my head and everything felt out of alignment. My body said “THIS is not tai chi, you idiot!” It didn’t matter anyway. Looking for a second didn’t help. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing by looking for a second.

Next I tried watching the video for a few seconds, pausing the video, and doing that portion of the form. It was no use. I had to watch each three second clip dozens of times and still wasn’t sure I was moving the right way. Short of having a TV on each wall, I’m not going to be able to learn the form from that video. A class would be nice, but there are none near me during the day, I’m busy evenings, and I’m cheap anyway.

So years later I’m quite the tai chi prep expert. Coming to a park near you.

 

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Mary Did You Know? Why Yes, I Did

Long before I heard the word “mansplaining,” I had a vague dislike of the song “Mary Did You Know.”

I can’t be the first to point out to the song’s (male) composer what the angel said to Mary in Luke chapter one:

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[a] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[b] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”[c]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[e] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

I can hear the conversation between Mary and songwriter Mark Lowry now.

“Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?”

“Yes, that’s almost exactly what an angel told me. So, yes.”

“Mary did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?”

“Well since he’s the ‘son of the Most High’ it doesn’t take much imagination to guess that. Also, angels have trodden the earth, so, you  know, haven’t we all.”

“Well, did you know that he’s come to make you new?”

“Listen, have you ever had a baby? Have you ever known a woman who had a baby? It changes your life even if you have a run-of-the-mill baby. Women don’t tell men this because we don’t want you to be envious and because you probably wouldn’t believe it anyway. So, yes, I knew. Yes.”

“Well did you know—”

“An. Angel. Talked. To. Me.”

“Okay, okay, forget about the song. Hey Mary?”

“Yes.”

“Did you know you were blessed.”

“Yes. Also, I knew you were going to say that.”

“You did?”

“Yes. Read Luke 1:48.”

 

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Manhater

Today chef Mario Batali stepped away from his job after allegations arose about his sexual misconduct. One of the tweets about him simply said “I hate this world.”

The tweeter was a man.

I replied, “You don’t have to hate my half.”

Yeah, yeah, women are guilty of sexual misconduct, too, but one gender is grossly abusing its power and hitting the news in hordes lately, and it’s not women. So I suggest that this tweeter does not hate the whole world. I suggest that he’s realizing he hates MEN.

Men, if you are starting to “hate this world,” and have ever accused a woman who complains about her lot in this misogynistic life of being a manhater, I want you to take a good hard look in the mirror. You might be looking at a (gasp) manhater. You don’t hate all men (and neither do women “manhaters,” that’s my point) but you hate that you’re starting to wonder which man will be next. I bet you didn’t expect Dustin Hoffman. I bet you’re starting to wonder about even your most beloved actors.

Welcome to our world. Women have pretty much NEVER been surprised when a man hits the news for molesting an intern. We half expected it. We know that a promotion that didn’t come our way may very well have not come our way because we were a woman, and we had no way to prove it, and suggesting it made us a manhater.

Look in the mirror again. What you see is a face that understands reality a little bit better today. If understanding reality makes you what you always thought was a manhater, congratulations, and welcome.

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A 2017 Election in the Twilight Zone

“We have two issues on the ballot,” my mom told me.

“I don’t think we have any,” I replied. “I didn’t get anything in the mail.”

My mom lives in the same county but a different city.

“Well you might want to drive by your polling place just in case,” she said.

So on my way to work at 10 A.M. I pulled into the parking lot of the community center, and there in front of the door was the polling place sign.

Son of a suffragist! They didn’t send me a sample ballot! Voter suppression! Big Marijuana! Tyrrany!

I parked and walked into the room where I’d voted in the last elections. The volunteer tables were set up with pens and lists. The little booths were just where they’d been last time. The only thing that was different this time was that no one was in the room. I looked into the room next door. Some kind of party with a buffet. I didn’t want to bother them. I looked around the voting room again. Why on Earth would it be empty? Was there an emergency evacuation of some sort? Did I miss the rapture? I thought the chances of a whole room of voters and volunteers making the cut for the rapture while a little girl was still eating at the buffet next door extremely unlikely. Twilight Zone still seemed plausible though.

A man meandered by. I said, “Excuse me, do you know what’s going on with the voting? I didn’t think our city had anything on the ballot, but I saw the sign.”

“It’s a set,” he said.

I waited for him to say more.

“It’s a film set,” he clarified. “We’re filming for History Channel. But good job with your civic duty.”

I gaped. Almost as hard to believe as some Twilight Zone situation. “Well you picked a hilarious day to do it.”

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Alfa Romeo Convertible: Review

The other day my sister and I met at the movie theater, where we dropped our teens and had an hour and a half to kill.

“Let’s go see mom and dad,” she said. This idea may or may not have had something to do with Mom and Dad’s new dog.

So we hopped in her new Alfa. Okay, hopped is the wrong word. When you open a car door, usually the door takes up pretty much the whole side of the car. But in this Alfa, it only takes up the top half and you have to step over about a foot-high ledge like you’re stepping into a bathtub.

“I don’t think I could do this every day,” I said. lowering butt almost to the ground.

My sister got in the driver’s seat. “My goal is just to do it without grunting.”

We roared away, the warm evening air flicking my hair. Why are sports car seats rock hard? I imagined us getting rear ended and thought my back would a goner if we did. Or if it were a flag-flying Trump-loving pickup behind us we’d just get run over and crushed like at a monster truck show.

When we got to my parents I realized that getting out of the car was going to be worse than getting out of a bathtub. In a bathtub you can stand before stepping out. In an Alfa, you have to put one leg over the ledge and sort of roll over and out, pulling yourself by the car frame.

“You did it,” my sister cheered.

Something’s wrong when you need a standing O for exiting a vehicle. So my review of the Alfa Romeo convertible is that if you’re young and strong and flexible, it might be the car for you. I give it the following ratings: power 10, coolness factor, 10, ease of entering/exiting, (keeping in mind that I once almost tore my own throat out with the top corner of my Nissan door when I opened it) 2. I’ll leave my “1” for something that’s harder to get into, like Stanford.

 

 

 

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Comment Awaiting Moderation

So you have a comment awaiting moderation on your blog. Are you a controlling, censoring, narrow-minded pig if you don’t approve it?

This morning I awoke to an email telling me that I had a comment awaiting moderation on my blog about writing. On that blog, I had spent many painstaking hours transferring all 61 days of my Bible devotional (not to mention the painstaking hours to write the book version before that, finding every mention of God’s kingdom in the Bible and spreading them out in digestible-sized daily readings), and now I saw that I had a comment on Day 61. Yippee! Someone had read the whole thing (for free, you’re welcome) and they were commenting to thank me for doing all that work!

Alas, the comment didn’t seem to be thanking me. I’d had a short night of sleep, so as I lay in bed looking groggily at the email on my phone, it took me a while to figure out what I was reading. At first, I thought the comment was telling me that I had it wrong about Jesus’s command to love others. The comment said something about how loving others without worshiping God was wrong, and I scrolled up through my blog post to see if I had said any such thing.

I hadn’t said any such thing, of course. And how easy am I to gaslight if I had to reread my own writing to make sure?

At this point, my thought was to tell this guy where he could put his comment. Don’t be crass. I meant in his own blog.

ANYWAY, then I realized that the whole comment was an unattributed poem. Did the commenter write the poem? I copied and pasted it into a Google search to see what came up. What came up was this same poem in the comments of ANOTHER Christian blog post. “Hey,” I thought. “This guy goes around commenting his poem on everyone’s blogs.”

I considered hitting “approve.” He wasn’t rudely arguing with my writing, after all.

But wait! What if I copied and pasted my work indiscriminately in the comments of someone else’s blog without commenting on their work at all. Would I even think about doing that? Of course not!

So if you are as neurotic as me, I’d like to remind you that there are some kinds of comments you don’t have to approve.

Comments That Are Unrelated to Your Post

Especially if they advertise their own stuff. This is my blog, and I’ll advertise my own stuff and other people’s stuff that I truly admire. For instance, I think you should read my fairy tale comedy Littlefoot Part One. You’re here on a humor blog, so I think you might like it. 99 cents on Kindle. A Kindle app is free, BTW. And if that Bible devotional piqued your interest, it’s over on my blog mlmillard.wordpress.com and it’s called Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions).

Rude Comments

Come on, people! It’s YOUR blog. You do not have to put up with that. And don’t be tempted to approve just so you can reply with that amazing comeback you thought of. They’ll reply back, and it will be a whole big mess.

Whatever Comments You Want

It. Is. Your. Blog.

 

M.L. Millard

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When the Left Forgets to Be Feminist

Last night I watched The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He showed a clip of Rep. Chris Collins (R) saying that the GOP had been quiet about the resignation of security adviser Michael Flynn because “It’s Valentine’s Day, and I guess they were having breakfast with their wives.”

I waited for Stephen to say what I was thinking, which he often does. He didn’t.

After The Late Show I switched to Seth Meyers who made fun of the same Collins quote, and he didn’t say what I was thinking either.

YOU GUYS MISSED THE OBVIOUS CRITICISM OF COLLINS AND THE GOP’S WAY OF THINKING.

The most ridiculous thing about Collins’s statement was not that Valentine’s breakfast was a lame excuse (though it was) but that Republicans speak of high level politicians as exclusively straight males. If he could have added something to his comment to insinuate that the GOP was straight WHITE men, he probably would have. “They were having breakfast AT THE GOLF CLUB with their wives?”

Side note: As I Googled to see which specific whites only golf club I could refer to in the above paragraph, I learned that Augusta National Golf Club accepted black men before it accepted women. 

So step it up, Colbert and Meyers. Women might not be able to get your late night jobs, but we’re counting on you to think of how you’d react to something if you were a woman. We know you care.

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Ants: A Triumph of the Soul

They say Albert Schweitzer fed the ants in his house because he had a reverence for life. I say he had Stockholm Syndrome. Still, as a graduate of Schweitzer Elementary, it’s always with a vague sense of guilt that I wipe away those first few ants of the rainy season.

For some reason, every year I think those first few will be the only ones. Then the next day I think, “No big deal, I can wipe up ten every morning. At least they’re not getting to the food.”

But this year, as with every year, soon there were fifty each morning. We bought traps for outside and pet safe orange peel spray* for inside. Our house smelled orangey fresh. It was almost a good thing we had ants. It smelled like we were riding Soarin’ Over California in Disneyland. Yes. Except for the time the spray ricocheted off a doorframe and into my eye, it was exactly like going to Disneyland.

Gradually everything we owned made its way to the refrigerator. Do ants like coffee beans? I don’t know, but the beans went into the fridge just in case. We started to have avalanches every time we tried to get something to eat, but at least the ants weren’t getting to the food.

One morning I took an open bag of Reese’s Pieces out of the fridge, shoved the avalanche back in (was that a baseball glove?) and set my candy on the counter to thaw while I got ready for work. Twenty minutes later I threw the bag on the passenger seat and munched on peanut buttery goodness all the way down Stony Point Road. Then, sitting at a red light, I saw it. One single ant crawling its way out of the bag and across the seat. Slowly, I brought the bag closer and peered in.

How to describe the feeling you get when you see movement among your Reese’s Pieces. Repulsion? Horror? Anger? When I got home eight hours later, the kitchen was as bad as I feared. They were everywhere.

And that’s when I lost it. “What if I build you a little fairy house outside and put sugar cubes in it? No, the neighbors would be mad if I invited every ant in town.” Yes, I was talking to the ants. Nothing was ever going to stop them. I was a captive in my own house.

No! Not a captive! A humanitarian. I was like Albert Schweitzer. “I suppose you may as well make yourselves comfortable,” I told them. I wasn’t crazy. It was a triumph of the soul.

* Still wipe this spray up as the bottle instructs. I didn’t and I think it gave my cat seizures.

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Physical Comedy Lesson One: How to Drop Groceries

Physical Comedy 

Lesson One: How to Drop Groceries

1. Buy one 4-pound bag dog food, one 14-ounce carton Haagen-Dazs chocolate chocolate chip ice cream (get the ice cream insurance plan if offered), and one small bag chips.

2. Leave checkstand.  Hold dog food bag in crook of left arm, ice cream in right hand, and balance chips on top of the dog food and the ice cream. Don’t balance them too well. Well-balanced groceries always look like they’re dropped on purpose.

3. Exit store.

4. Wait until a man walking toward the store is about 10 feet in front of you. (This part is crucial.)

5. Lower ice cream just enough for the chips to slide off.

6. Try to catch chips by taking a few of your fingers off the ice cream, lunging forward, and attempting to snatch chip bag between fingers and ice cream carton.

7. Fail. (See #8 for details.)

8. Throw ice cream at the approaching person. Make sure carton rolls off your fingers so that it continues its roll right up to the man’s feet.

9. Try to come up with zippy one-liner. It’s funnier if you fail and say something dumb, like “right to ya.”

10. Accept ice cream from laughing man who has picked it up for you. Here’s where having another person in your incident  scene is crucial. You’ll only know you’ve perfected your slapstick if he looks like he’s trying not to laugh but can’t keep it in.

I hope you’ve learned a lot from my first installment of physical comedy lessons learned from real life. If you’d like to know what I create when I’m actually TRYING to be funny, please find my fairy tale comedy Littlefoot Part One on Kindle.

 

 

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