Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Lesson in Probability.

Once around Halloween when I was like 7 or 8, the local drugstore had a giveaway for a giant (9ft high 4ft wide) inflatable Frankenstein. It was inflated and on display in the store right next to the entry box and from the moment I saw it I knew it had to be mine. So I begged my mom to be patient and stop lecturing me about fairness as I filled out every entry form there was and stuffed them into the box.
And yet, I was still in disbelief when I received a call a few days later saying that I had won. So back to the store we went to pick up my prize. Again begging my mom not to make me deflate it for the ride home. I wanted everyone to see. So we drove home with 4ft of Frankenstein hanging out the back of our station wagon, my face pressed against the window with Major Award Leg Lamp pride.
My little sister called to remind me of this story today because she had recently used the same technique. Her and her friend Necat were at the car wash and it was taking forever so they filled out tons of entry forms to win one of two cruise giveaways sponsored by a local travel agent.
Nessa said when she got out of work today she had 2 messages. The first was from the travel agency saying she had been one of 2 lucky winners of an all-inclusive cruise to the Bahamas. The second message was Necat, saying that she had just won a cruise.
Classic Frankenstein.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

For Insurance Purposes.

We had our annual open enrollment meeting for health insurance at work. Showing up to those meetings is always a bad idea for me. As soon as they mention Death and Dismemberment I feel the need to burst out laughing. Obviously maturity issues come into play here, but I find it hilarious to think how I will be dismembered answering the phone. And they go on and on about the benefits and bonuses you'll get from accidental death on the job and I think, oh that'll be great. A nice fat lump sum of money will do me a lot of good when I'm dead. Then I start to think how I could be killed answering the phones and actually come up with a few scenarios, scaring myself, and the urge to laugh fades.
But the health meetings are just a waiting game for the dumbest question. I don't know why people feel compelled to share personal medical problems at these things but they always do, and I enjoy it. I sit there thinking, this woman is an insurance agent! She's not a doctor! But, keep 'em coming 'cuz we're all getting paid OT to sit here, or more if an eye gets poked out or we die.
So on the dental section she got into discussing oral surgery and if it's very invasive you can sometimes use both dental and medical coverage to pay for it. Or something. I wasn't really listening because I knew people were waiting for her to finish so they could ask her questions about their mouths. She'd already made clear in the medical presentation that she wasn't a doctor. She HAD to be a dentist.
And sure enough, as soon as she asked, "Any questions?" hands shot up.
The restaurant supervisor started asking about a dental procedure she had just had. Literally. She was speaking in mumbled slurs because she still had stitches in there. Dude. Any question you're about to ask is too late.
A Bellman sitting next to me raised his hand and started complaining about an old crown and asked what he should do about it. I felt the corners of my mouth turn up and quickly forced them down getting a tingle in my nose that told me I was about to start crying if I didn't laugh soon.
Agent: Well, I couldn't answer that sir. You'd have to talk to your dentist.
Bellman's Thought Bubble: You're not a dentist?! But my tooth hurts real bad!
Bellman: But do you think the PPO plan would cover that? Even if it looks like this too?
And he opens his mouth and smiles to expose all of his teeth and I turn to look at him the moment he does this, and I can't help myself. I burst out laughing.
Just me.
Not even the Aetna agent. She must get this all the time.
I quickly shut up and made awkward eye contact with the Bellman who probably thought I was laughing at his mouth--which I was. But not because it was bad, just because I think it's funny when people open their mouths for no reason, and ask the dental opinions of those giving power point presentations.
And I would have explained this to him but he looked pissed so leaned over holding the side of my face and whispered, "I have the same thing."
He seemed ok with that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Le Foot.

A few words on the World Cup. Are you people watching this?! If not, you should be.
Here's why:
-Anything that gets human beings across the globe to paint their faces, consume beer, and sing cheesy chants is good. Yes, it is.
-Watching soccer is a workout for your being. Hope, anticipation, patience, excitement, disappointment, pride, are all exercised within a few kicks. Trust me. Even if you don't like soccer or know the countries playing, give one match a try. You'll see what I'm saying.
-In the bubble wrap that is the oceans and crap that surround us, most Americans have no idea the enormity of this game. The Daily Show said something really brilliant. That countries with historical rivalries use the game as a metaphor for war to settle differences. Whereas, Americans are indifferent because we don't need a metaphor for war. We have war.
(Oh, right--could someone start the anthem? Thanks)
In a 0-0 tie against Sweden, the players and fans of Trinidad and Tobago embraced and were moved to tears. A tie. Zero-Zero. When was the last time little American kids were told 0-0 was a good time to stop playing and celebrate. Celebrate the effort-yo!
(OK, and wave some flags here, please)
The fact that a GAME can unite the world is huge. If leaders and everyday people could understand the simple basics behind that, think of how we could all come together for even greater things, like peace, or really good gum.
(And release the doves and eagles now please. What? No eagles? Or doves?! How hard is it to find a dove? Um, magic stores, hello? Sorry everyone this will just take a minute. Well, what do you have? Chickens?! Do they even fly? No, i never got around to seeing Chicken Run. Fine, release them. ...... well, that was lame.)
The World Cup, which is different from the Olympics in that it doesn't include pair figure skating to negate any serious discussion of it's lasting effects, is a chance for the Earth--this spinning mass suspended in the universe--to take part in all that is fundamentally wonderful. Painting faces, consuming beer, and singing cheesy chants.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Look Ma, more pics.

Right, so i just have to share this because it's honestly one of my favorite things ever. So we were in a thrift store and Nessa found a picture of two random people holding hands by a fireplace. All I had to do was look at this thing and i would tear up it was so funny. So we all agreed she had to buy it and put it in her apartment and when someone asked about it, make up a different story every time. I thought the woman looked like a Vicki and the man like a Harold. Anyway, when she went up to pay for it, the woman in front of her (purchasing a pair of closed-toe shoes with painted toes on the outside) starts screaming, "Oh you're buying that?! That thing's been here for months!" Now, why anyone would give away a framed personal picture to goodwill confuses me. But why no one would buy it immeadiately BLOWS MY MIND. When the woman with the shoes got to the register the thrift store worker goes, "Are these shoes or decoration?" And the woman, (seen above holding the picture) still screaming, goes, "I don't know. Whatever's cheaper." Love it!

Sunshine State.

Spent a week in Florida to: a) dog/housesit for my aunt and uncle
b) Help Ness move into her new apartment
c) escape my job and regain my sanity. The night before i left i hung up on a guest for asking for their soup in a bread bowl. It was time to get away.

In regard to A, let me just say, don't do this. It seems like a good idea, have a house to yourself, whatever, but not so much. If the dogs are good, it might be a different story, but these are the worst dogs in the world. They bark and jump on you constantly (I have bruises all over my body) and one of them was diagnosed by the vet as being bipolar so when it looks like he's depressed you have to talk to him for 45 minutes reminding him that "he's the best dog there is." Seriously.
And their backyard is honestly a botanical garden so between watering the plants and giving a dog his daily affirmations, I wasn't feeling it.

Concerning B, any move in our family is a breeding ground for hilarity. Past highlights include me being asked to sit in the closet while Sabrina unpacked (yes Alanis, it is), a ping-pong table flying off the back of my father's truck, an oversized U-Haul getting wedged under a bridge in Queens, and well, you get the idea.
This move for Ness was no exception. And actually, I think because of my literal exhaustion (thanks dogs) and heat exhaustion (thanks heat), everything was five times funnier. I haven't laughed so much in consecutive days since London. It was awesome.
Brina flew in from NY to help because her lists and moving skills are unparalleled. Hands down, the most militantly organized human alive. My moving list would have three things on it. Bed, TV, cereal bowls. The list she made for Vanessa had almost 200 items on it. At lunch she suggested we go through the list and include possible color schemes. I suggested we eat sweet potato fries.
But really, lifting heavy things and assembling furniture is impossible when you're keeled over from laughter. A good laugh is like a foot that's fallen asleep. You're not going anywhere.
So, I think the ability to relay an inside joke and make those on the outside appreciate it is the most advanced skill in storytelling. I don't have said skill so I'll spare you. But think of your most intense laugh. The kind where you literally hold your sides, realize 3/4's of the way through that you've forgotten to breathe and widen your watering eyes as if that will make your lungs expand, only to realize that's not how the respiratory system works. I had a week of that.