Posted by: ramblingki | March 20, 2012

It Could Have Been Worse

In my family, we have what we call “McKinney Luck.”  It’s when something bad happens, but we’re supposed to be grateful it wasn’t any worse.  It is our variation on the “glass half full/half empty, optimist/pessimist, and every cloud has a silver lining” themes, with just a dash of “God works in mysterious ways” thrown in for good measure.

Here’s how McKinney Luck works:  A man, the sole breadwinner for his wife and 13 children, has his arm ripped off in a terrible farm accident involving a thrasher.  The lucky part?  He’s left with enough of a stump that he can be fitted for a prosthetic arm.  Yeah, life is sweet.

That’s an imaginary scenario, of course.  Here are a few actual examples of McKinney Luck:

When my sister was diagnosed with the fastest-moving, non-curable form of lung cancer, she discovered that she lived only a little more than one mile from the nearest oncology clinic.  Was she lucky, or what?

When my brother’s son learned that he had melanoma, it had spread so aggressively throughout his body that the doctors were able to tell him, without equivocation, that he didn’t have long to live.   There was no false hope of survival and no grueling rounds of chemo.  He didn’t have to wait long for the end.  Now, that’s some real luck.

When I was learned I was being “relieved” of my job of 35 years, at the age of 62, on the day before the Christmas holidays, I learned that I would be able to take advantage of the government’s new subsidy program for COBRA.  I paid much less for my monthly premium than I would have had my employers waited to fire me until after the holidays.

The really interesting part about McKinney Luck, you may realize by now, is that it really IS luck.  Granted, something really sad, bewildering, maddening, or costly has to happen before a McKinney can take advantage of silver linings, full glasses and mysterious actions of the gods.  It may take months, or even years, for us to realize we’ve been lucky.  But, eventually, we figure it out!

Posted by: ramblingki | March 11, 2012

You May Now Eat The Bride?

I’m sure you’ve all seen this Jack-in-the-Box commercial by now.  A semi-pathetic nerd announces to his mother that he is getting married.  His mother, who probably thought he would never find anybody, is thrilled!  “Who’s the girl,” she asks?

“It’s not a girl.  It’s bacon,” the young nerd replies.

“Bacon?  Bacon?  You’re marrying bacon?  What the hell is wrong with you?”  That’s how the mother should have responded, but the commercial cuts away to the young man shopping for wedding rings with his betrothed piece of bacon, hoping for her approval of his choice.  They shop for a veil, too.  No need for a dress because bacon really doesn’t look good in white.

The next scene is the actual wedding.  The pastor beams upon the lucky couple — our young nerd and his bacon bride — a huge, nasty looking hamburger, with his hapless bacon bride sticking out on all sides.

After a brief ceremony, the pastor announces, “You may eat the bride.”  As I said before, “Eat the bride????”

Where are the sanctity of marriage zealots when you need them?  Surely, if they object to same sex marriages, they should abhor the idea of a man marrying a piece of pork butt.  And, maybe that pork butt is from a male pork butt! People should be both aghast and agog!  Come on zealots!  Please whip up some frenzy about this.  It’s really, really disgusting.  Truly, truly disgusting, not to mention just plain wrong.  Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that man shalt not fornicate with animals?  (If it doesn’t, it should.)

And Mr. Jack-in-the-Box, you have a son with a round head and little pointy hat just like yours.  How can you subject him to something like this?  You know the other kids are already laughing at him because of his head and hat.  Now they’re probably bullying him and calling him “son of a pork butt pornographer.”

Something has to be done.  Who will step up to the plate (no pun intended) and right this egregious wrong?

Posted by: ramblingki | February 28, 2012

Ode To My Orbs

Alas, wherefore art those glorious orbs of my youth?

Those splendid melons that once sat so perkily upon my chest?

Lovely, round and perky then . . . sad, oblong and droopy now. . . 

They perch precariously upon the lumpy fault line known as my waist. 

Posted by: ramblingki | February 19, 2012

Running Amok with Agog

Recently, I had the opportunity to use the word “agog” in a sentence.  Naturally, I leapt at the chance.  After all, how often do you get to use such a delicious and expressive word? 

Ever since I said, “Oh, it’s wonderful to meet you.  In fact, I am somewhat agog,” I have thought almost obsessively about the word. 

I’ve wondered, “Was Miss Ima Hogg ever agog?”  Can you see the headlines?  “HOGG AGOG”  What would cause a world traveler and sophisticated collector like Miss Ima to actually be agog?  (Well, once she was old enough to realize her parents had named her Ima Hogg, I mean.)  Come to think of it, her name alone had to have her agog pretty much all the time! 

And what if Lady Gaga’s real last name was Agog?  Gaga Agog.  Now, there’s a mouthful.  And if you say it over and over and over, faster and faster, you, yourself will be agog.  It sounds like gagaagoggagaagog…. all Gaga all the time!!!

Have you ever been really, truly agog?  Besides being agog at meeting the person mentioned above, I have only been agog a few times. I was agog when my dinner date sent another man in his place.  I guess I was agog when I was dumped from the job I had held for 35 years, and I suppose there was some agogment when I first learned that money did not grow on trees.  All in all, though, I have led a pretty “agog free” life.

How about you?


Posted by: ramblingki | February 5, 2012

February’s Fatal Flaws

Let’s face it.  February has a lot going against it.  First, there’s that “r” that comes right after the “b” in the word February.  Who ever pronounces that R?   Nobody, that’s who.  When was the last time you heard anybody say FebRUary?  We all know it’s FebUary.  So, why screw around with that extra R?

Then, there’s the whole dilemma about the number of days in that month of FebUary.  Sometimes, it’s 28 – sometimes it’s not?  All the other months are 30 or 31.  What’s so special about February?  I know that the people who make up calendars were trying to accommodate something – I forget what – but I find it confusing.

February comes at a crappy time of year, too.  Right after January, which is also pretty crappy.  The holidays are really, really over by February.  The weather sucks.  It’s ugly outside.  I’m sick of the short days.  (While I don’t quite long for summer, by February, I AM looking forward to spring.)

To make matters worse, February is the month for two of my least favorite events.  Nationwide, there’s the Super Bowl.  Here in Houston, there’s also the Rodeo.  You may think I should just ignore these two events.  Believe me, I would if I could.  But there’s no way!  I might have to go to Outer Siberia to get away from the coverage of these “All American” activities.

However, I do get a perverse pleasure from hating these two events.  I delight in the puzzlement on others’ faces when I respond, “I couldn’t care less,” when asked which is my favorite team.  Better yet, I sometimes answer, “Who’s playing?”  People seem thunderstruck.  The only acknowledgement I give to Super Bowl is to talk with my friend, Arthur, every year to discuss our favorite bean-dip-game-day appetizer.  Here it is, in case you want to make it sometime:

Bean Dip Football Appetizer

Take some bean dip – quite a lot actually.  Fashion it into the shape of a football.  (Use your hands.)  Make the football laces with shoestring potatoes.

The great thing about this dip is that, when someone across the room at your Super Bowl party wants more dip, you simply throw the whole football/dip thing to them.  How’s that for convenient?

Go Yardman Day: A Rodeo Tradition

Back when I had a regular job, in an office full of other people, Rodeo season was even harder to ignore than the Super Bowl.  That’s because management deigned to let us poor employees have a Western Wear Day.  We could wear denim!  Wow.  As if my fondest wish was to show my butt around the office in a pair of faded old jeans.  Over the years, the definition of Western wear apparently lost some of its traditional meaning.  Things deteriorated to the stage where everyone started wearing T-shirts, blue jeans and sneakers on the Big Day, prompting one human resources executive to declare: “This is Go Western Day, not Go Yardman Day.”

The magnanimous higher ups at the office also gave away free ($10) tickets to the Rodeo.  It might as well have been gold the way some people got excited!  Wow – free tickets!!!  That certainly makes up for not having had a raise in three years.  Our management is so generous.  (They – management – of course, kept the sky box/company suites to themselves.)

The idea of actually going to the rodeo is equally as abhorrent to me as the thought of going to the Super Bowl.  The crowds, the shoving, the parking, the noise, the rudeness, the drunkenness, the screaming, the weather, the tiny little figures on the huge screen in the arena, and the very good old boyness of both celebrations sounds about as much fun as a colonoscopy — but without the great drugs!

(I hope I haven’t offended anyone who loves both these February festivities.  I do realize I’m in the minority!)


Posted by: ramblingki | January 22, 2012

Victory Over Grilled Cheese

Today I passed a Sonic without stopping to grab a grilled cheese sandwich.  Hooray for me.

Posted by: ramblingki | January 21, 2012

Woman Behaving Badly

Yesterday, I threw a temper tantrum.   It reminded me of the great “Hair Clip Blowup” of ’95.  You might not have heard of it.  I scared people with that one.  Most friends had gotten used to seeing me as a usually sweet, non confrontational, people pleaser – which I generally am.  But, every once in a while, I get irrationally mad about something and go completely ballistic.  It’s never about anything important or serious.  Those things I let ride, which is, of course, why I subsequently throw these inappropriate wall-eyed fits.

Take the hair clip blowup.  It happened on a hot, muggy summer day in Texas sometime in 1995.  I was visiting friends, and we were preparing to go out, do some sightseeing, and pretend that the weather wasn’t as awful as it really was.  Suddenly, sometime between the time I got up that morning and the time we headed out the door, my hair got too long.  I couldn’t stand it.  It was touching my face.  This was untenable!!  This was outrageous!  I simply could not go on.  Never in the history of woman had anyone suffered this kind of pain, this kind of assault.  “I have GOT to get a hair clip, ” I suddenly announced to my friends.  “Do you hear me?  I can’t go out without a hair clip.  You cannot ask me to go anywhere without a hair clip.  Does anyone have a hair clip?  Quick, get me a hair clip.” I swept my half inch bangs off my forehead dramatically and felt I was about to swoon.  “Is anybody else hot,” I asked?  This hair is making me so hot.  My God, I’m melting.”

I had not brought my own car that day, so I was at the mercy of my friends, none of whom seemed to realize the magnitute of my discomfort.  None seemed willing to make a trip to the drug store for a measly old hair clip.  What was wrong with these people?  I began to cry.  Just a little at first.  I was about to go into heavy wracking sobs when someone finally took mercy on me, raced to the drug store and came back with an asssortment of hair clips, hair bands, hair nets and shower caps. (They weren’t taking any chances.)  As soon as I grabbed a big old hunk of hair (hard to do with hair as short as mine), I was my old self.  It was an amazing transformation.  Even I was dumbstruck with how quickly all that temper and indignity resolved itself.  It left me with the vague unsettling feeling that I was just a tiny bit unstable.

But, I digress.  Back to yesterday afternoon, when I had my most recent temper tantrum.  This one started outside a doctor’s office, where I had gone to retrieve some medical records.  As soon as I turned the office door handle and realized it didn’t budge, I was outraged.  “Incredible,” I thought to myself.  I had called ahead just that morning to make sure the records were ready and to find out if the office was closed for lunch.  (I felt so efficient.)  The receptionist told me the office was closed between 12 and 1, so I made plans to get there before noon.  Here it was – a quarter to 12 and these dastardly fiends were closed! 

I just knew there was someone inside.  Some receptionist, some secretary or medical assistant, just sitting there, eating a bad sack lunch.  They’d hear me knock and come to the door, for sure.  Who am I kidding?  What alternate universe am I living in? 

I knocked on the door, not too loud at first, but loud enough to be heard. Nothing. No response.  I knocked louder, then louder, then louder. Then way loud. I mean really loud. And my knocking had taken on a fast, staccato pace that surprised even me. I noticed that my knuckles were beginning to hurt just a little. 

I switched strategies then and called the office.  “No kidding,” I screamed when a recording informed me that the office was closed.  I was given a string of options about what to do if I were in a medical emergency, if I were a doctor or hospital, if I needed directions to the office, etc., etc.  Finally, I was able to leave a message.  My first message was relatively calm.  “I’m outside,” I explained sweetly to the impersonal machine.  “I came to get my medical records.  Please let me in.”

Subsequent messages (I left five) became less and less polite (although I am proud to say that I did not resort to profanity).  Further knocking became more and more frantic.  Heads popped out of office doors up and down the hall.  My knuckles were beginning to bruise and swell slightly.  Sweat was running down my back, and my face was starting to flush.  “Wow,” I thought.  “What the hell am I doing?” 

I decided it was time to get out of there, before somebody called the police. I mustered all the dignity I could find (which was precious little, I must admit.) I pretended not to see the small group of people on the first floor who undoubtedly heard my lapse of composure. This was only a two-story, atrium style office building, after all.

When I made it safely to my car, I realized that it was now 12:45. If I waited 15 more minutes, I could go back in and get my records. I decided against that, though. I was mad, and I wanted to stay mad.

Posted by: ramblingki | January 4, 2012

Seniors: How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

I know it’s too late to have a nice holiday this year, but you can save these tips for next year.

1.  Try to pretend the holidays aren’t happening;

2.  Wear blinders and ear plugs from mid-October through mid-January;

3.  Drink heavily in moderation.

4. Never underestimate the power of forgetfullness, as in:

a.  Sorry – I forgot to get you a gift

b.   OMG, is it Christmas?

c.    OMG – I was supposed to cook Thanksgiving dinner?

5.  Eat heartily before you go to a big buffet or other holiday food event.  This will prepare your stomach to overeat at the dinner.  It’s important for the host/hostess that you enjoy your food.

6.  Drink heavily in moderation – again!

7.  Have a baby around the holidays.  (I don’t mean have a baby yourself, but arrange to have a baby around for the holidays.)  You can watch them ignore their pricey gifts and focus on the cardboard box it came in.  It’s fun.

8.  Don’t send holiday cards.  This will cause you not to get any in return.  Thus, you will miss all those “My Year In Review” letters tucked into holiday cards.  You can skip all those lies people tell about their overachieving kids, their lavish lifestyles, and their exuberant sex lives.

My list could go on and on, but this list will get you started on your own ideas for enjoying the holidays in 2012.

Posted by: Catherine McKinney | October 10, 2010

Funny Famine

I’m going through a dry spell.  I don’t think I could be funny if my life depended on it.  (Thank God, it doesn’t.) 

Usually I can think of something that strikes me as absurd and worthy of a good laugh.  Something in the news will catch my eye, or a friend will tell me a good story, or I’ll find something amusing on the internet.  But, right now, it’s like a vast wasteland of unfunniness out there.   I guess I’ll just have to wait for this famine to pass and for life to cycle back to where even the most serious of matters gives me a chuckle!

Posted by: Catherine McKinney | October 10, 2010

A Trip to the Store

Why does it end up costing $60 at Wal-Mart every time I head out “just” to get dog and cat food?

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