Friday, October 22, 2004

Short Stories

I love rain. I love the way it smells, looks, feels and sounds. I know I'm leaving off the fifth sense, but I still live in Los Angeles and am not willing to get some weird disease by tasting it. When it started raining on Saturday night, I first knew by the change in noise of the nearby freeway traffic. I flung open the front door and immediately started inhaling that freshly damp dirt and street smell that's so unique to a first rainfall. I love the sound it makes on my car roof, and on my hood or umbrella when I'm walking in it. And I get an exhilirating feeling when I am driving on the semi-flooded streets and find a particularly deep puddle that I can sploosh through, sending a mini-tidal wave up in the air. I love sitting in my office chair watching raindrops trickle down the window pane, combining themselves with other droplets and racing each other to the bottom.

However, I know that not everyone is as excited about this as I am. Living in southern California, I am definitely in the minority. In fact, some people get downright panicky when it starts raining here. Still others don't function very well emotionally during bad weather or winter months.

With that in mind, I will simply share a few things with you that have struck my funny bone today. If you're already in a good mood, hopefully it can get better. And if you're feeling as gray and gloomy as the cloudy skies, maybe this will help you too.


A friend of mine owes the IRS some money. Never a fun way to start off a story, I know, but it gets better. I heard this joke about a guy who owed the IRS $3,407. He packaged up his payment and included this letter to the IRS:

"Dear IRS:

"Enclosed is my 1997 Tax Return & payment. Please take note of the attached article from USA Today. In the article, you will see that the Pentagon is paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat.

"Please find enclosed four toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers (value $1029).

"This brings my total payment to $3429.00. Please note the overpayment of $22.00 and apply it to the Presidential Election Fund, as noted on my return. Might I suggest you the send the above mentioned fund a '1.5 inch screw'. (See attached article - HUD paid $22.00 for a 1.5 inch Phillips Head Screw.)

"It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year. I just saw an article about the Pentagon and 'screwdrivers'.


So I sent this to my friend and copied my accountant friend on it, asking if this was a good idea. Her response?

"You're totally good to go. Please take note of C's new future email address,"


Speaking of Martha Stewart's potential roommates and people who try to get something for nothing, we have this fellow to thank for nearly singlehandedly bringing about the demise of The Disney Store, Inc. Not only did he ruin Structure (part of the Limited family) prior to going to TDS, then he picked his away through the ashes and ruins of Disney and went to Wet Seal.

Guess what? He and his cronies are being investigated by the SEC. It's only too bad it took this long for his karma to catch up with him.

Yes, I know that none of that is funny, but my friend's Anna's reaction to the story was, "Now all I can picture is Peter as Martha's new prison b****. Help! I need to rinse my eyes with bleach to get rid of the image!"


One of my former workmates has a cubicle neighbor, Mary, whose new responsibilities, by necessity, attract people down that aisle who wouldn't normally be there, nor are they wanted there. It's not bad enough that Kathy has to put up with those annoyances, but Mary also exhibits certain personal habits that fall into the "annoying" category.

I got this riddle from Kathy today:

Q: What's this?

murmurmurmurmurmurzkdlvjlslkdj; dkfj; murmurqerpoiuadfl;kjweowowodk; murmurmurmur asd;lkasdowekdsd;fl murmurmurmur murmurmurmurmurmuralskdjflasljlsjlmurmurlasdflmurmurlkajsdlfmurm erlajdfsljldjfjmurmur.

A: Mary typing an email.


This is from my sister who is taking a physics class. After I read this account of her very dim-witted lab partner, I've decided that when this person grows up, she'll be in upper management. Probably one of my managers someday. "Do a perfect job, even though I don't know what you're doing. And if I don't like it, you'll do it over until I do. Even though I don't know what I want."

Lab # 2: Velocity and Acceleration, Gravity

My sister and her lab partner are running the paper tape through the measuring device to discover for ourselves that velocity isn't the same as acceleration and to find some number that represents the acceleration of gravity. The partner is upset because the little dots on the paper tape aren't spaced perfectly so their time vs. velocity graph doesn't look perfect and they're not coming up with exactly -9.8 m/s^2.

My Sister: "It's probably the way we fed the tape through, or the way we dropped the weight, some friction or something, right? It's the first time we ever did this, so we probably did it wrong. So let's just run another tape through, because they told us it usually takes a few tries anyway."

Future Manager: "I've got to get to my job. I don't have time to do all this

stuff over again. Let's just cut out the dots we don't like."

MS: "Um, you mean, don't put them on the graph?"

FM: "Yeah, just leave them out. They said we only need 14 data points, and we ran it longer, we got 23, so we can cut out the ones we don't like."

MS: "But then it wouldn't be physics."

FM: "It's just physics 101 lab, it's not real physics."

MS: "So when we leave out the stuff we don't like, and we have these huge gaps in between the stuff we do like, what do we call that? I mean, that isn't the way you do science. We might as well just make up new dots to give us whatever results we want..."

FM: "Tchk! I'm going to ask the T.A."

T.A.: [sound of jaw dropping to floor] [spends next 10 minutes trying to explain to her why we can't leave out the points we don't like]

FM: [she comes back, discouraged] "Your husband's supposedly, like, some kind of scientist, isn't he? Well, why don't you ask him."

MS: "I've vowed never to talk to him about this class."

FM: "Huh? Why would you do that?"

MS: "Same reason I took this long to get around to taking a physics class. Long boring story, gotta learn stuff myself, or else I don't get it. Anyway, it doesn't matter."

[later, my sister broke her "vow" and told her husband this story...]

Husband: [sound of incredulous laughter]


This one isn't so funny as much as interesting. My dad is radioactive.

Yes, you read that right. If I had a Geiger counter and held it up to him, I would get a reading of 48.6 millicurries of radioactivity from him.

My dad was diagnosed some time ago with prostate cancer. He had originally decided to let it go untreated. He's had so many surgeries lately, for skin cancer, hip replacement and other weird cancer-like things, that I think he was probably just tired of dealing with it all.

But then his doctor advised him of this new treatment that wouldn't involve any of the usual cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or (traditional) radiation therapy. When he first explained it to me, all I got out of it was that there would be crystals loaded with something that would be lethal to the nasty cancer cells. Those crystals would be placed in the prostate to fight the cancer. I of course, could not get the image out of my head of little new-agey crystals surgically implanted in my dad's body making little woo-woo noises while they meditated and chanted at the cancer cells.

I was just slightly wrong. It's a treatment called "brachytheraphy," meaning radiation really close up; not directed through a beam like traditional cancer radiation treatment. They are little crystalic seeds that are filled with radioactive material. They are injected into the prostate giving lethal doses of cancer-fighting stuff to the nasty cancer cells. They will stay in him for the rest of his life. More or less.

Pretty cool, huh? No more cancer. The downside is no holding any great-grandchildren on his lap for awhile, but then he doesn't have to be the first one to discover the baby's diaper needs changing. So, not all bad.


Lastly, here's a real joke that still has me chuckling, even though it's been several hours since I first heard it. There may be some advice here on how I can catch me a man!

A man is dining in a fancy restaurant and there is a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table. He has been checking her out since he sat down, but lacks the nerve to talk with her.

Suddenly she sneezes, and her glass eye comes flying out of its socket towards the man.

He reflexively reaches out, grabs it out of the air, and hands it back.

"Oh my, I am so sorry," the woman says as she pops her eye back in place. "Let me buy your dinner to make it up to you," she says.

They enjoy a wonderful dinner together, and afterwards they go to the theater followed by drinks. They talk, they laugh, she shares her deepest dreams and he shares his. She listens.

After paying for everything, she asks him if he would like to come to her place for a nightcap and stay for breakfast. They had a wonderful, wonderful time.

The next morning, she cooks a gourmet meal with all the trimmings. The guy is amazed! Everything had been SO incredible!!!!

"You know," he said, "you are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet?"

"No," she replies. . . . . . . "

Wait for it.

It's coming.

The suspense is killing you, isn't it?

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"You just happened to catch my eye."


Enjoy your day, be safe and find something to laugh at. Er, about.


Reading: "The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club," by Laurie Notaro.

Excited About: ... On second thought, this should really be "Scared to Death About in a Tingly, Halloween-y Kind of Way: Spooky House Haunted Hotel tomorrow night. Ack!

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