By Bobbe White
Written for the White Pages 11.23.16 at wtad.com
Is that sweat on your forehead? “ Noooo, that’s P2 (P-squared: pressure to perform). Do I hear your stomach churning? I thought so, but figured that’s the shout of glee: “IT’S THANKSGIVING!” I love Thanksgiving, because the gifts are “F4” (F to the 4th power): food, family, friends and football, minus huge outlays of funds for the wrapped kind of gifts. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving, in its intended simplicity, can be “F6″ (F to the 6th power) which includes frazzled and fighting. Ease up on yourself and others. Martha Stewart isn’t slaving away in your kitchen. Your table guests have expectations, which may or may not be met. Enter my Thanksgiving flops, which always tickle me at Thanksgiving. (1) My assignment was pecan pie. While my reputation for culinary excellence is a bit weak, pecan pie is one thing I can do well. Except when it rides on my lap in the car. Apparently, the heater unsolidified the solidified. Three hours later, upon arrival, my royal blue corduroy slacks (stop, it was the ‘80s) looked like flooded farm rows of Central Illinois. Each velvety rib of fabric was like a Mississippi levee, containing brown, syrupy liquid. UGH. Those slacks weren’t salvageable; even the cleaners couldn’t crack the Karo code, which caramelized between the levee walls. My brother-in-law distributed straws, because that was the best way to consume my pie. Starbucks could make millions on this new creation: Pecan Brûlée Macchiato. Unlike today, I was mortified at being the Thanksgiving turkey. (2) When planning Thanksgiving at my first home, I knew some guests liked dry white meat; the others preferred dark. Even if you’ve never prepared a turkey, guess which side is up while roasting? Yep, the Breast. Not that year. I don’t know if I was confused by its anatomy or what, but our breast swam in drippings. I could’ve salvaged my pride, by righting it on the platter, except an observant guest yelled, “YOU COOKED THE TURKEY UPSIDE DOWN! HAHAHAHAHAHA!” Yeah, Ha. I’ve progressed since then, and that’s one thing I’m thankful for, the ability to unexpect the expected. Not everyone will like everything, or the fact that they were asked to bring black olives, instead of green. Big deal. Someone will be late (again). Count on it. Someone else will be missing-for a good – or not so good reason. Deal. Some prefer watching Redskins @ Cowboys; others will fight for the remote to watch the National Dog Show. Big woof. Everyone’s family is just one clown short of a circus. (Thanks, but those aren’t my words; however, there’s a dish towel at the Salty Sun…) I have a bib on my gift shelf I’d love someone to wear, except our youngest this year is 25 ½. It reads, “You’re kidding…I’m related to these people??” And therein lies the rub. Not the dry kind for your bird, but the kind that can rub some of the much needed JOY into the OY of Thanksgiving. Hope for humor during the flops, flaws and faux pas. Be accepting. Unexpect the expected. Because we all get a little bit crazy at the holidays. Well feathers! I left two dozen farm, fresh eggs under my desk at work last night. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to the store I go…
Happy Thanksgiving from the White house.
11/10/16 Can we make America polite again? PLEASE? Another campaign is underway. Not THAT kind of campaign. (You can thank me later for avoiding that OTHER campaign here. You’re welcome.) This campaign involves no pollsters, badges, billboards, bumper stickers, debates or bashing. This one’ been on the DL* (*cool-speak for under the radar). The term, study or project, may be more accurate. The project occurs Monday to Friday at my workplace, grocery; even traveling. I’m referring to “basic greetings”. It’s just one sliver of our overall manners set, but it’s a biggy. My desk position is key here, seeing as it’s the first desk on the right, when entering State Street Bank’s main lobby. We strive for friendliness. Staff also acknowledges lobby visitors as a security procedure. (I.e. we see you!)
Many humanoids have a tendency to look to the right, my way, upon entering. They used to look left, but that was because she was blonder, younger and prettier than I was. I digress. When people enter, we say certain words. You know these: hello, welcome, good morning, hey, how are you, Hi, Ho, hi-ho, the Derry oh… When people leave, there’s a similar greeting. You know them: good-bye, see ya, see you later, thanks for coming in, have a good __________ (afternoon, evening, week-end, and holiday), bye-bye-bye. Honestly, we sound a lot like the Wal-Mart greeters of the banking world…or *NSYNC.
Frankly, I’m amazed at the people who don’t return the greeting. They give me nothing. Not even a grunt. Oh, they heard it; some even make eye contact. Then…….silence, but not one word. Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I get three words, “Where’s the bathroom.” Not kidding. Non-response is awkward and seems to happen more often. Maybe they’re deaf? Could be. Didn’t see me? Doubtful. Rude? Ding-ding-ding.
At the grocery or airport concourse, I sample data encountered in public spaces. I even like to smile at people abroad. Not AT broads, abroad, as in Paris. It’s not as acceptable there. As I anticipated visiting my daughter, she cautioned me against smiling. It’s cultural. That was tough, because I realized that even when I squint in the sun, I appear to be smiling. My apologies for looking pleasant. As impolite as the French seem, I find similar behavior from downtown Des Moines to DFW to Midway airports. People won’t smile back. I recently spent some time in the Carolinas. Now, THOSE people smile. And they greet. It’s lovely, really, quite polite.
Back to France, y’all. In spite of the smile deficit, the French have one encouraging custom. Every shopkeeper or market vendor says, “Bonjour!” (Hello) and “Merci, Au Revoir!” (Thank you… goodbye) ALWAYS. It may not be smiled when said, but it’s guaranteed.
This week, try greetings as you come move about: home, school, work, shopping. And when passing my desk. Please? Thank-you! (More on please/thank-you another time.) If I’m with a customer, in person or by phone, I’ll give a wave, wink or that quick head jerk-nod thing that cool dudes give exchange. All I ask is that you do the same. And in my next life, I’d hope to return as a Southern Belle, y’all. Bye-bye, now!
Written for WTAD.COM “The White Pages”
On Halloween, at Charlotte (NC) Douglas International Airport, a few employees wore costumes, hoping to make waiting passengers smile. It didn’t work that well. There were the usual Wizard of Oz guys, Pillsbury Dough boy and two clowns with neon lime green hair. One of the clowns walked through my gate, offering treats from a bag. He didn’t have too many takers. Sensing a chill in our row, he walked right on by us. Of bad 2016 dress up choices, could any costume be worse than a clown suit? I think not. At least his face wasn’t painted, but seriously, have the airport’s Customer Relations people been living In caves? Nobody likes clowns much this year. Even on Halloween. Maybe two guys were late to work Monday and were told, “Just for being late, you two clowns can have these costumes; thats all we have left.” They should’ve taken a pass and waited to be turkeys or elves in a few weeks. Even before the 2016 creepy clown epidemic, there were many children and adults suffering from Coulrophobia (fear of clowns). Of all the Greek roots, there’s apparently no equivalent Greek word for clown. The closest is Coulro (one who is on stilts). The more familiar version is Clownphobia. The humor version is BOZOPHOBIA, which is right on the button, because whoever let these clowns out and about the terminal is a bozo.
Other than Bozo and friends, there was a witch at the ticket counter, a rabbit at Starbucks and Snow White posing for pictures with some passengers; not overly creative, but employees often have guidelines. One passenger on my Southwest flight wore really odd glasses over her glasses. I think she grabbed them out of the Mardi Gras box instead of the Halloween box. The best costume so far, however, was a Southwest flight attendant. An announcement said, “There will be a very special trash lady making one more pass up and down the aisle, before landing. Please have your trash ready for our special trash lady.” Here she came, in all her glory, wearing a trash bag, stuffed full of newspapers poking out around her neck. On the outside of her bag an empty pretzel package, peanuts bag, gum wrappers and bandage were taped. She wore a coffee cup in her hair. Now THAT’s my kind of Costume! In fact, next year, I may have to copy it for myself. I’ll be called, “White Trash”. I’ve been called worse… Hope you had an enjoyable, safe and chocolately Halloween!
Is the World Series Special or What? Everyone everywhere is buzzing about those Cubbies. Even non-fans have become hopefuls. Except for those Cardinal fans. THOSE FANS. Now, THOSE FANS hold a serious grudge. Me? I love the idea that Cubs can possibly overturn the curse. I love an underdog, like the Cubbies, who year after year after year have high hopes, only to miss the mark. Not this year! Nope, they are there…glued to $2,000 seats at the ballpark or more realistically, glued to their televisions. I asked a couple co-workers, who happen to be Cardinal fans, if they will watch. Their answers were exactly the same.
“If they’re losing, I’ll watch for a bit and flip to the The Voice, NCIS or The Hallmark Channel. In fact, I might finally organize the garage, the attic AND my sock drawer.” And all that’s just the first game…
And if they’re winning?
“No way. I’ll click the remote right through it.” Then they high-fived each other. Birds of a feather…
As the Series progresses, guess who’ll be in the groceries on game nights? And guess who’ll be bragging about getting their Christmas Shopping done? And look who’ll be walking the dog, the cat and the bird without being nagged. The way I figure, the world will stop each game for Cubs fans. But the ONLY way you’d get a Cardinals fan’s cheeks in the seats for the World Series, is if we get a severe, stationary Canadian Clipper weather pattern AND the only other programs on TV, Netflix and Hulu are replays of the Hilz and the Donald’s debates. Then and only then, I’d bet you could get a Cardinal Fan to watch the Cubs. Maybe. If you can get them out of the laundry room or from underneath the car in the middle of an oil change, that is.
C’mon you Cardinal fans, give the Cubbies a break. What’s not to love about the Cubs? They watched the Cards play and win the Series in 2011, didn’t they? Or not. That’s right, they were spackling the walls of the dog’s kennel. And THAT’s what Cardinals fans will do.
Written by Bobbe White, for The White Pages on WTAD.COM
Rekindled Friendship, a Bright Future and Fallen Finches
Last Thursday, the Facebook Messenger indicator was lit. Kind of like, “You’ve Got Mail!” A mutual friend asked me to call Debbie T. Hello past flash! Debbie and I go way back. Waaaaaaay back. Our dad’s worked together at Heintz and Hurley Shoes forever ago and we grew up together –sort of- except she was a parochial and I was a public, but we never held that against each other. We both ended up in Orlando around 1977. Seeing as the only other person in Orlando was my old swim coach, it only made sense to reconnect with someone closer to my age. It opened the door to a social life, rather than remaining a dust collecting doormat in a large city.
While in Florida, I became engaged and married and eventually, Jeff and I moved back to the north. Debbie and I neglected to keep in touch after that move. Cell phones, texting and Facebook were still futuristic. Sure, we could’ve used land lines, but we just didn’t. Sometimes that happens. So, I called her Saturday and we talked. And we talked. And we talked. And we talked. For nearly 2 ½ hours, which by the way, could be my all time record on the phone. It was an instantaneous catch-up. Just. Like. That. (Queue: a snap)
It seems that Debbie and her spitfire friend, Sharon, have had some unusual – make that, unbelievable- health experiences. They now have the desire to share their stories, with whoever needs to hear them. The ladies hope to share their messages through speaking and writing. There are at least two things that were great about getting re-connected with Debbie:
- How cool it is to pick up with a friend, after, ohhhhhhhh, say, 40 years
- That she would think of me to be her sounding board for their dreams
There’s a third thing, which is perhaps the biggest thing: these two women have endured nearly impossible health circumstances and have come through them with unscathed spirits and selfless desire to help others.
There’s one vivid memory, however, of hanging out with Orlando Debbie, that isn’t so great. It’s one which congers up feelings of regret. It may or may not involve two finches, in whose well-being I was entrusted for a week. She delivered them to me in a spacious, two-tiered cage. What Debbie received upon her return, was an empty cage and the birds in a shoe box. And, yet, we are friends, I hope, after reminding her of this sad ending. Gosh, I still feel bad about those birds…
Posted today on THE WHITE PAGES at WTAD.COM
There used to be three taboo topics we were instructed to avoid at all costs:Sex, politics and religion. As everyone discusses the upcoming election, the only taboo anymore would be your grandmother’s perfume, “Tabu”. This post is not to get knee-deep in support or criticism, but may I encourage you to take a break from reality, and watch a couple of episodes of Saturday Night Live (SNL)? I don’t often watch it on the actual night, because I’m out partying like a college girl at that hour. Seriously, we get up at the crack of G-d at our house, so it’s a rare occasion if I’m still awake and alert by 10:30 p.m. Fortunately, in our YouTube world, it doesn’t matter anymore.
I’ll caution you: SNL is not for the prudish. Watch with an open mind. The humor is twofold: the debates – presidential and vice-presidential- are funny, because you get to laugh at both parties. Even at the moderator! Or is he/she the mediator? I’m intrigued by the nuances adopted by the actor, of each candidate’s expressions and body language. Regardless of content, impersonation is truly a talent and art form.
SNL too raw for you? Okay, here’s another suggestion, that I guarantee you will get a boot out of. Search YouTube for “political humor videos” and further, “politicians fail compilation 2016.” You’ll witness world leaders’ mishaps, faux pas and klutzy moves. There’s Obama, where the presidential seal falls off the front of his lectern during a speech and members of Congress, Parliament, the Politburo, and other houses of leadership, fixing their hair, biting nails, picking their ear or nose, surfing the net and even snoozing. You’ll witness dignitaries from Korea and India, whose dentures escape from their mouths at critical moments. One leader bops a man, right on the head, during his speech and then says, “He deserved that.” It could be Curly, Moe or Larry. There are trips, falls and stumbles. For some reason, I found one of funniest scenes to be a foreign dignitary, who was placing a king-sized wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. As he bowed in respect, the big honkin’ wreath, which was as tall as he was, falls right at and on his head. It’s great. Why is this material funny? With SNL skits, the humor – in my opinion- is equally distributed between all subjects. In the political bloopers, these mishaps are only supposed to happen at a local level, like at our offices, not on the world stage. Life is funnier as the bar of importance is raised.
So, do yourself a favor, seek out some humor in all of the political turmoil. It won’t solve the election dilemma, but will offer much needed respite from it. Or as Michael Prichard said, “Laughter is like a dry diaper…it won’t take care of the problem, but it will make it bearable for a while.”