Archives for posts with tag: humor

I didn’t think anything could really cheer me up tonight, after a day of news watching.  This Upshout piece proved me wrong. From the first cross eyed lady to Tsar Nikolas acting silly, these pictures of Victorians loosening their legendary stiff upper lip made me smile.

My favorite one isn’t even funny. It’s just cool. I mean, two well dressed women building a snow lady that puts any of our modern day Frostys to shame? Complete with a nice snow dress and icy hairdo, their creation is more a snow sculpture than lowly slapping together of three big snowballs, with a carrot and a couple of lumps of coal. Theirs doesn’t even need outside accessories. Her natural snowy loveliness is all the decoration required. The one above her is a bit scary, once you look closely enough. Not because of the scary face the woman is attempting. No, what creeped me out once I noticed was her waist. Modern “waist trainers” can’t hold a candle to this slave to fashion’s method…whatever it may actually be. It looks like she’s wearing two  funnels under a lot of black lace. Maybe she’s not really trying to make a funny face at all. It could be that her stays are holding in everything all the way up to her face muscles and she has to give a little help to her smile mechanism!

Beyond my fascination with Victoriana, another reason I really love these pictures is that they show how the lack of entertainment as we know it really brought out the creativity in generations of Victorian loonies. Without TV, MP3, DVDs, and the rest of the alphabet of our lives that we can’t live without, however did they survive? No matter how flip I’m being about it, I really cannot fathom life without all our technological marvels. They rose grandly to their situation, however, and well above it.

They had fun with the mundane, because the mundane was all they had. I can’t help but wonder if our Civilization Selfie is missing out. I mean some of  those group poses are really cool. Not that I want to go lifeswap with people who were thrilled when they only had to strike a pose for fifteen minutes in order to make their mark on posterity. But they did leave a legacy of awesome portraits that can make us smile with true admiration of their humor and offbeat style.

Sometimes people will say something to me or near me in such a way that I never forget it. A mundane situation here, an unusual circumstance there, no predicting when or where, each makes me smile whenever I remember.

1. “We can but try.”

This one is from an old British TV commercial. I think it was for spot remover or laundry detergent. A hard working housewife, worn down from a long day of…cleaning spots, and a voice so world weary and resigned that you can’t help sending waves of sympathy to her through the telly. A sigh, a rolling of eyes and she IS you. She is everybody. Wherever you are, whatever you attempt after experiencing that commercial once or a dozen times, you find yourself uttering those words in that exasperated tone. Suddenly you’re back in England, enjoying the block of commercials before your show starts as much as the show itself, and you smile. You did your best. You can but try. You carry on, humming the Benny Hill theme (which is much more difficult than you’d think. Oh well, we can but try).

2. “It wouldn’t be a surprise then, now would it?”

Nestled on the banks of Loch Ness, a small white clapboard building housed a restaurant. One must assume it was frequented by the locals, since it was the only restaurant in sight. Or driving distance. Charmed by my middle aged Scottish waitress, complete with brogans and a brogue as thick as the mists worn by the glowering giant Ben Nevis snugged up almost against the restaurant’s back.

As my dining experience progressed, the veneer of charm wore thin. Beneath her accent my waitress had initially concealed what some might consider a snappish personality that I personally felt was more along the lines of surly. I hate to admit that I was intimidated, but I was. Not at first. Not until the exchange that went like this.

Me (perusing my menu) “This dessert…Ice Cream Surprise…could you tell me what that is”?”

Her (scowling like a lowering loch storm): “Well, if I told you that it wouldn’t be a surprise…(ominous pause, during which I’d swear I heard thunder)…. Now. Would. It?”

Me: “No! Of course not. Sorry. I’ll have that. (I think I threw another “sorry” in right about then) Thank you.”

She sort of sniffed expressively, turned on her heel smartly, and marched away. I waited quite some time, wondering first if she had climbed the frigid looking mountain at her back to retrieve fresh ice to surprise me with. Eventually I started wondering if I could leave some money and sneak away before she delivered my surprise.

I found myself still in my chair, when I heard the pitter patter…clomp…of her brogans, as she approached at last. She plonked a utilitarian white dessert dish down with a strange little flourish, and stood there expectantly.

Finally she could contain her odd mixture of pride, curiosity, and mischief no longer.

“Well? Surprise!”

I looked up from contemplating my glop of melty vanilla ice cream, valiantly attempting to float on a chunky sea of canned…beg pardon…tinned fruit cocktail. I was disappointed, but I didn’t want her to know that. I just knew she’d bellow something scary in that accent I could barely understand, if I showed weakness.
Starting to feel as if I had encountered a female version of The Kurgan, I smiled as valiantly as my ice cream coexisted with its accompanying surprise.

“Thank you. It’s…very nice.”

She nodded, apparently satisfied that I had, indeed, been thoroughly surprised, and clomped away.

I don’t know why I was disappointed. It just seemed too ordinary, I guess, so near the deep, dark waters where Nessie swam across my imagination. What was I expecting? A haggis sundae? Herring a la mode? A Scotch whiskey float?

I think I’d better be grateful for the surprise I got.

3.  “It’s not Nessie!”

Not far from the restaurant there was a museum devoted to Nessie. I thought that was awesome and eagerly went in to see what I could learn. A woman who worked there approached, excited, I thought, to share her knowledge. I thought wrong. This one wasn’t as scary as the waitress, but she was intimidating in her own way.

It soon became apparent that she had either been doing her job for too long or had just finished dealing with the most annoying bus load of tourists ever. Instead of leaping to answer any questions informatively, her grating, high pitched annoyed old lady voice was like a Jack-in-the-Box, jumping forth to shut down any stupid thing a tourist might say. She wasn’t so much an informer of facts as a debunker of myth and mystery.

Her strident battle cry?

“It’s not Nessie!”

Anything she was asked about everything from unusual ripples on the loch surface to suspicious dark shadowy gliding objects would elicit the same bleating response. She was loud too! Nessie herself could have come ashore and crashed through the front window, and all Ms. Negativity would have done was scream even louder that it was not Nessie.

I don’t know what her problem was, but the Nessie Museum experience became a treasured, albeit goofy, memory that sticks with me still.

4. “Did you hear that?”

This whispered question passed between my two Australian companions before a day’s outing. One was a friend of mine, an experienced traveler familiar with “exotic” accents. The other was a friend of hers who obviously had not met many, if any, Americans.

The “that” in question was my pronunciation of the freaking out girl’s name. I’ve always liked the name Jennifer. Now I can’t hear it without thinking of how it amused, thrilled, and halfway awed someone unaccustomed to hearing the Aussie dropped letter R. To me it was Jenn-eh-fur. To its owner it was Jenn-eh-fuh. Vocally, that one letter makes a world of difference.

I totally sympathized. The Australian accent is cool and exotic to me. So I understood what was setting her off. That did not stop me from feeling as if I had become an unwitting performer in a stage play for one. She giggled uncontrollably every single time I found her dropped R. In a way it was charming…for a few hours. Over the course of a day of shopping, lunching, and sightseeing it became tedious.

Over time it’s become a fond memory. Of course now part of my brain hears an echoing giggle every time the extremely common name Jennifer is uttered in my presence.

5. “Howzit, sistahs?”

Somehow it was quite some time before I came to know about Hawaiian Pidgin. I heard what my mainlander ears thought they were supposed to hear, even when they did not.

Early on I was shopping with a friend when a shoe salesman greeted one of us with a hearty “Howzit, sistahs?” On the mainland that would translate into something like “Hi, how are you?”. We thought he was saying we looked like sisters and proceeded to have an exclamation point infested conversation about how weird that was. Much later I proceeded to be embarrassed and wonder how he managed not to laugh at us. Very professional of him. Who knows? Maybe it happened so much that he did it on purpose for amusement to break up the tedium. I hope he was chuckling still the next time he tried to fit a size ten dowager in a muumuu with a size eight.

I’m sure there are more of these memorable moment moments tucked away in the back of my brain. I seem to attract strange incidents wherever I
go. It can make for some awkward situations, but also provide priceless souvenirs.

Glitcherella, my Murphy’s Law infested side, tends to stick to technology to get tangled up in. Tonight it was technology related shopping.

I was grocery shopping in Walmart, minding my own chocolate buying businesses. Okay, I got other things, but not so strangely the chocolate section of this shopping event is what stays front and center of my cart item recall. Milky Way, for the curious fellow chocoholics.  There was a display table prominently positioned for late Father’s Day shoppers. I circled it slowly, in case something good was there, like the harddrive DVR I got one year at such a good price I still think the sticker was a mistake.

Suddenly a Nikon Coolpix digital point and shoot practically leapt into my cart. Um, I helped a little…. Even my old, er…old, old one still takes better pictures than my phone, so multiples of my current megapixels count were just too tempting. Did I mention that it was for a great price? The slightly metallic purpleness of it made it a thing of beauty that matches my dreaming koala hue. Of course I helped it leap.

Big, huge (let’s quote Lela here and make that big, “honking” huge, which concludes the quest for my Futurama quote of the day) mistake.

Apparently, Glitcherella really, really wanted a new camera to torture me with. I have never seen such a shopping disaster in my entire deeply devout shopping life.

Once the groceries were lugged inside and secured, and chocolate cake had been eaten (priorities, you know), I got the camera out of the box. The theme of the night being what it was I shouldn’t have been surprised.  My beautiful new camera was smeared with chocolate! Yes, you read that right. Even a chocoholic does not want a chocolate coated camera! Sheesh.

I must have been in shock, because I actually cleaned the dried chocolate off…the lens cover, part of the front, and a bit of the side. It looked halfway okay and I was really curious to see if it would actually work. I went to put the battery in. The battery compartment door fell off! What the–?!? As I started putting it all back in the box to return it, a glint of light winked (sarcastically) up at me off a scratch by the edge of the lens cover.

Of course I was/am furious. I’m also sensible. I went right for the receipt, called the store, got my figurative hands around the distant throat of a man in electronics and told him exactly what happened. He didn’t even blink (verbally). One has to assume that a customer calling late at night to make sure there will be no problem returning a scratched…broken…chocolate covered camera is not so far outside his norm that it would make him express, at the very least, mild surprise. Jaded much. He said no problem. I said thank you. Then I wrote it all down, including his name. Glitcherella knows all about documentation.

Being an imaginative type, I have a theory of what happened. Someone bought the camera. Said someone’s little chocoholic junior saw it, chortled “Oooh, purple! Shiny!” (my imagination made the grubby handed child a Browncoat; no clue why since Browncoats are good people). Grab, smear generously with melty chocolate, drop harshly, frantic parental repackaging, returning, pokerfacedly saying they just didn’t like it, accepting refund…aaand skeddalling like the scoundrel they are. The store people never checked inside the box. A potential Father’s Day gift for some lucky man who will never see it almost made me happy instead.

The moral of this unfortunately true misadventure in electronics acquisition? There is such a thing as too much chocolate…on a camera.

Also:

Never let Glitcherella go shopping!