Humor

The Power of Free Candy

Kids today have it so easy. My son gets a Luigi costume at Target, slaps on a fake mustache, then has us drive him around a few minutes so he can come home with enough candy to put Willy Wonka in a ten year coma. Halloween is just a blip between summer and Christmas to my kids. There’s no magic, no sense of adventure anymore.

Back in the 1970s when I was a kid, times were hard and we didn’t mess around. Halloween was Go-Time. The rest of the year my brothers and I rarely got candy (unless you count the Sucrets we stole out of my mom’s purse), so we prepared for this holiday weeks in advance.

And we were entirely on our own. Mom and Dad rarely bought us a costume. We had to cough up our own spooky designs from whatever was lying around the house. And trick-or-treating? Completely unsupervised and lasted until way past bedtime even on a school night, just like God intended.

We’d spend weeks brainstorming wacky homemade costume ideas: “Hey! I know! We can have Dad cut up some of the foam insulation from the attic and make a giant Pac-Man!” We’d analyze which houses would score the biggest payload: “Okay, rumor has it Mrs. Stevens gives out jumbo-sized Snickers but steer clear of Old Mr. Pitts, he throws moldy popcorn balls or crayons at your head and he smells like cheese.”

Once darkness fell, we’d fan out by ourselves clutching our garbage bag costumes. We’d bravely roam the streets, our sad Hobo faces covered in whatever we could scrape out of my dad’s ashtray, and beg perfect strangers for a Charleston Chew.

Whenever I tell my kids about the hardships we faced back then, they interrupt me and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…whatever, Mom. By the way, that is the dumbest idea for a costume, like, ever, and can you give me back my Kit Kats now? That’s your third one!”

Let’s travel back in time to my childhood Halloweens, shall we?

I’m not sure what I was trying to be here, I’d guess a gypsy, or maybe Laura Ingall’s long-lost Spanish cousin. Either way, it looks like I’m thinking, OH DEAR GOD, please don’t let me be seen in public with these two freakshows! He used up all my Noxzema for this?
I was a witch this year (again) and my brothers were hobos (again). Strangely enough, they didn’t even have to alter their appearance at all. And the hobo sticks came in handy when my brothers threatened to beat me over the head if I didn’t give them my Skittles. Just look into the cold dark eyes of my younger brother and tell me he didn’t intend to mug me later on for all my Pixy Stix.
This year we were all lucky to have ‘store-bought’ costumes. Still, I felt bad for my younger brother who had to trick or treat with Yul Brynner and the freaky-deakiest Raggedy Anne I’ve ever seen.
I’m not sure what’s scarier about this photo, the giant fork and spoon on the wall my brother used to chase me around the house with… the illusion that the entire room is invisible due to my mom’s horrible paint job or the fact that I chose to go trick or treating at the age of 11 dressed up like an Amish hooker.
Finally, my favorite Halloween photo of all-time. You thought I was kidding about the foam insulation Pac Man? It is a sheer miracle my poor brother didn’t suffocate after five minutes in that thing. Oh, and you thought I was joking about the garbage bag? Behold, my genius idea for a costume. Any guess what we were? We had to wear a SIGN to let people know. Probably a good sign it’s a bad costume. 

Well, duh! We were the Fruit of the Loom Grapes!

I think people gave us more candy because they felt so bad for us. Mmm-mmm! Pity tastes delicious!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

___________________________________________________________________________________

Yeah, I admit this post was a re-blog from a post I wrote in 2012. Sorry, but I think eating this Snickers bar is far more important than blogging.

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Humor

Little Post of Horrors

 

Slide1

Happy Halloween, kiddos!

It is I, Count Darlacula! [thunder claps] I’m here to share with you an old post I wrote ages ago about things from the past that truly scared the crap out of me. Namely, rotary phones and spaghettiOs.  What could be more horrifying? The above photo? You got me there. In my defense, it was taken before my first morning cup o’ joe. Joe being our next door neighbor and the cup meaning it was filled with his blood and not actual coffee and whatever, you get the idea.

Well, I’ve got to run off to enjoy some more of that delightfully waxy candy corn. I sure hope by next Halloween it finds its way out of my colon.

Meanwhile, ENJOY! (or not)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Spooky Tales of My Youth

It’s Halloween again! Gather ’round the fire, kids! Time for some deliciously dark and scary stories!

[cue creepy organ music]

Once upon a dreary time, I was your age and living through the ghastly 1970s and 80s. [lightning flashes] Times were hard during this digital-free era. My daily life was a constant battle between the forces of good and evil.  So many things went bump in the night. How I survived without today’s technology is a mystery.

When I was 12, if I wanted to call up a friend, I had to wait for my stupid brother to get off the phone. That’s right. We had only one line.

[cue Law and Order music–dunn, dunn!]

Countless hours were spent seething with anger and glaring at the phone cord trailing underneath the closed closet door where my older brother whispered sweet nothings (emphasis on the nothings) into his girlfriend-of-the-month’s ears.

But if the planets aligned just right, I could actually get on the phone for a few minutes and enjoy a private conversation–until my father installed a second phone on the same line in the kitchen. [dunn  dunn!]

Then I’d endure hearing the telltale click of one of my brothers picking up the phone on the other line, and their creepy breathing as they listened to my heated private conversation about how I liked Bobby, but Bobby liked Suzy.

The terror of realizing my brother might have heard something super secret would paralyze me with fear. Did he hear what I said? Is he going to blab it to the cool kids at the lunch table tomorrow? Will Bobby know I like him?!  The phone’s ominous click would seep into my dreams. Click! CLICK! CLICK! Oh, the horror!

When the phone wasn’t free, I’d hole myself up in my bedroom in the attic and blast my music.  Yes, we used to have to listen to our music out loud, with no iPod or earbuds. [dunn, dunn!]

I was the proud owner of a giant boxy beast of a stereo, a versatile, top-of-the-line technological marvel for the 80s. Why, I could either slap a record on the turntable up top or slide in one of my famous mixed cassette tapes of the Beatles/Def Leppard into the deck on the bottom.

Yes kids, back then we didn’t have iPods where you could casually flip through thousands of tunes using your magic fingertips. Instead, I had to sift through a dusty old stack of albums then listen to my favorite song skip on the needle.

Hearing John Lennon sing, “Imagine there’s no–Imagine there’s no–” over and over again was horrifying, my blood would run cold. Imagine there’s no what?! I’d cry. No what, John?! Will I ever know what he’s trying to imagine?

Today, I miss listening to music and forcing everyone else within a 10 mile radius to listen to it too.  Sometimes for fun, we’d crank up the volume so loud, the neighbors down the road would call the cops. You can’t pay for that entertainment, people!

If all the scratches on my records made me sad, I’d head out to rent a movie with my parents. It was a dark and stormy night, when I had to get into my Dad’s wood-paneled station wagon and  actually have him drive me to the video rental store. [dunn dunn!]

Yes, before Netflix, before DVDs on Blu-Ray, there was a time when we had to physically go to a place where people stood around like zombies, milling around displays filled with these things called VHS tapes.

Inevitably, you’d arrive all excited to rent the latest hottest flick that finally came out on video after being released five years earlier (“Hot damn! I’m gonna go rent ET tonight!”) only to find that the 55 copies of ET were already taken.

Still you’d desperately try to bring an empty box up to the counter, only to encounter a smug clerk sneering at you,  “If there’s nothing behind the box, there ain’t no movie. Now do you want to buy these 20 dollar Twizzlers or what, pal?”

So I’d slunk on back to my house, “ET”-less, stomach growling and attempt to whip up some food.  Did I zap some frozen meal in my microwave? Please! Only one friend of mine had one of those new-fangled contraptions. It was bigger than the entire kitchen counter and made such a loud buzzing noise we thought for sure we were getting cancer while watching her spaghettiOs splatter.

Are the SpaghettiOs done yet? I’m not sure, but I think my forehead’s melting.

All we had was my grandmother’s old stove that, if we were lucky, used to short-circuit and mildly electrocute us. [dunn, dunn!]

But only if you held a metal spoon just so and turned the loose stove’s dial at the same time. It was quite the science experiment. My brothers discovered this zapping action by accident one afternoon while making spaghetti-o’s and that was all it took. More cheap entertainment. “Hey! Check this out!” one of them would yell, stabbing the metal spoon down into the pan, feeling the tiny yet delicious jolt over and over again until they saw stars. Explains a lot.

Which brings me to regulating body temperature.  Back in my day, we didn’t have air conditioners or those cutting edge fans that oscillate. What did we do when the temperature hit 110 with 150% humidity? We’d sweat. [dunn dunn!]

That’s right. Sweat a lot. My bedroom was upstairs in the attic and it sometimes got so hot up there in the summer, my John Lennon record would melt into a sad Imagine puddle. So I’d whine and moan and cry to my parents. “It’s too hot! I can’t sleep!” And my father would put his hand on my head and say, “Tough cookies, kid”. What a wise man he was for giving me an extra dose of the tough love of the 1970s.

So kids, as you drift off to sleep tonight, watching the latest flick on your iPad, texting away on your smart phone and eating your Hot Pockets in your perfectly temp-controlled bedroom, think of me and the horrors I faced not so long ago.

Nighty night, kiddies!

Oh, and Happy Halloween! (Mua ha haaa!)

blogger of the month

Firsts and Lasts with Angie from Childhood Relived

One fine day a couple years ago, I stumbled upon a humor blog that was hipper than Mrs. Brady’s polyester pant suit, cooler than Shrinky Dinks, and funnier than the fact there was a character on the sitcom Growing Pains named Boner.

angie banner

Angie, the self-described ‘bratass’ from the blog, Childhood Relived, put a humorous spin on 1970s and ’80s pop culture using her own special blend of Pop Rocks and Riunite on Ice.

Her brilliant writing never failed to make me laugh. Plus rumor has it she was once cast as an original member of the beloved Keaton family.

Sha la la la, indeed.
Sha la la la, indeed.

And I’m almost certain she had a bit part on Saved by the Bell: Screech’s Puberty Years

Slide1

Then something big happened. After being Freshly Pressed numerous times and ruling the WordPress Recommended Humor Blog page for months — she had to go and get pregnant.

Continue reading “Firsts and Lasts with Angie from Childhood Relived”

Humor

Behold, the Power of Free Candy

Kids today have it so easy. My son gets a complete Luigi costume at Target, slaps on a fake mustache, has us drive him around a few minutes, then comes home with enough candy to put Willy Wonka in a ten year coma. Halloween is just a blip between summer and Christmas to my kids. There’s no magic, no sense of adventure anymore.

Back in the 1970s, when I was a kid, times were hard and we didn’t mess around—Halloween was Go-Time. The rest of the year, my brothers and I rarely got candy (unless you count the Sucrets we stole out of my mom’s purse), so we prepared for this holiday weeks in advance.

Plus, we were entirely on our own. Mom and Dad rarely bought us a costume. We had to cough up our own spooky designs from whatever was lying around the house. And trick-or-treating? Completely unsupervised and lasted until way past bedtime, even on a school night, just like God intended.

We’d spend weeks brainstorming wacky homemade costume ideas: “Hey! I know! We can have Dad cut up some of the foam insulation from the attic and make a giant Pac-Man!” We’d analyze which houses would score the biggest payload: “Okay, rumor has it Mrs. Stevens doles out jumbo-sized Snickers so be sure to hit her up first… but steer clear of Old Mr. Pitts, he throws nothing but moldy popcorn balls or crayons at your head and he smells like cheese.”

Once darkness fell, we’d fan out by ourselves and bravely trek the streets, clutching our garbage bag costumes, our sad Hobo faces covered in whatever we could scrape out of my dad’s ashtray, and beg perfect strangers for a Charleston Chew.

Whenever I tell my kids about the hardships we faced back then, they interrupt me and say, “Yeah, yeah…whatever, Mom. By the way, that is the dumbest idea for a costume, like, ever, and can you give me back my Kit Kat now? That’s your third one!”

Let’s travel back in time to my childhood Halloweens, shall we?

I’m not sure what I was trying to be here, I’d guess a gypsy, or maybe Laura Ingall’s long-lost Spanish cousin. Either way, it looks like I’m thinking, OH DEAR GOD, please don’t let me be seen in public with these two freakshows! He used up all my Noxzema for this?
I was a witch this year (again) and my brothers were hobos (again). Strangely enough, they didn’t even have to alter their appearance at all. And the hobo sticks came in handy when my brothers threatened to beat me over the head if I didn’t give them my Skittles. Just look into the cold, dark eyes of my younger brother and tell me he didn’t intend to mug me later on for all my Pixy Stix.
This year we were all lucky to have ‘store-bought’ costumes. Still, I felt bad for my younger brother, having to trick or treat with Yul Brynner and the freaky-deakiest Raggedy Anne I’ve ever seen.
I’m not sure what’s scarier about this photo, the giant fork and spoon on the wall my brother used to chase me around the house with… the illusion that the entire room is invisible due to my mom’s horrible paint job or the fact that I chose to go trick or treating at the age of 11 dressed up like an Amish hooker.
Finally, my favorite Halloween photo of all-time. You thought I was kidding about the foam insulation Pac Man? It is a sheer miracle my poor brother didn’t suffocate after five minutes in that thing. Oh, and you thought I was joking about the garbage bag? Behold, my genius idea for a costume. Any guess what we were? We had to wear a SIGN to let people know. Probably a good sign it’s not a very good costume. If you can guess what we were in the comments below, I’ll ship you a truckload of Twix.

UPDATE: The mystery of the trash bag costume has been revealed by the too-brilliant-for-her-own-good

Speaker7

She correctly guessed we were:

The Fruit of the Loom Grapes!! Congrats, Speaker7!

**********

Happy Halloween! Care to share any really horrible and lame costumes you once had as a kid?

Humor

Fashion Just Ain’t My Bag, Baby

When I was around 2 years old, I used to parade around the house wearing nothing but footy pajamas, a droopy diaper and a backwards Red Sox baseball hat. My chubby cherubic face was always sporting either a milk mustache or a peanut butter grin; my hands constantly covered in grime and dog slobber. (I lived with five brothers and several dogs after all.) Unfortunately, over the years, my sense of fashion hasn’t improved much. In fact, it’s gone steadily downhill.

Lord knows, I tried. And failed, time and again. I just had no clue how to put together an outfit or match my stripes with my plaids. There was always that girl in school who just knew how to dress. She was always hip with the latest fashions. Her hair was perfect, her makeup flawless. How did I hate her. I was always the one a few years behind on the current trend. What? Garfield scrunchies are out now? You mean to tell me my Mork from Ork rainbow suspenders are already ‘so last year’?

Overall, my clothes, hair and makeup were natural disasters just waiting to happen. Thankfully, my efforts to look good didn’t go unnoticed. Once in the early 1980s when I was in high school, I spent a solid hour hunched over our bathroom sink (while my brothers pounded on the door) holding a curling iron to the side of my head until my ear exploded into flames. I was trying to achieve the then-popular ‘feathered’ look. Very complicated stuff.  Then I spent another hour spraying Aqua Net until there was a permanent cloud hanging in the air, the pungent aroma of burnt hair and chemicals filling my nostrils.  I haphazardly applied makeup, trying desperately to cover up my dark undereye circles with concealor. I happily skipped off to school and couldn’t figure out why everyone was staring and snickering at me. Then I went to the girls’ bathroom and saw in the mirror that I had one perfectly shaped curl sticking out the side of my head. It resembled an odd-shaped airplane wing. The other side, flat and lifeless. Under my eyes, the white dots of concealor still there, not concealing a whole lot. I looked like some sort of clownish airplane, ready to crash and burn.

Ribbon barrette on my left, curling iron disaster on my right

Yep, I was a hopeless case. I still am. Most days I can barely manage to put on a fleece jacket, sweat pants and Bean boots. Good thing I live in Maine, where fashion goes to die.

If you think I’m exaggerating, please, go and check out the proof over at Angie Z’s hystercial blog Childhood Relived. Occassionally she’ll critique some poor slob’s fashion faux pas from the 70s, 80s and 90s. I have no idea where she got that old picture of me circa 1977 in her current ‘Dynomite!’ entry. But I have plenty more where that came from, if she’s interested.

Enjoy and please, be kind. That little girl in the picture couldn’t get a clue if it was on sale at Walmart, buy 3 get one free.

OK, I dug up some more  blasts from the past…(it’s fine to laugh at the next one, I understand. I laugh at it all the time.)

Curling iron skills still haven't improved much
Rockin' the mustard-yellow tights and orange sneaks
Hi, Santa. Um, yeah. All I want for Christmas is to not go out in public looking like Harry Potter in a ugly knit hat.
If Dorothy Hamill and Justin Bieber were to have a baby...
Humor

The Spooky Tales of My Youth

It’s Halloween again! Gather ’round the fire, kids! Time for some deliciously dark and scary stories!

(cue creepy organ music)

Once upon a dreary time, I was your age and living through the ghastly 1970s and 80s. (lightning flashes) Times were hard during this digital-free era; my daily life was a constant battle between the forces of good and evil.  So many things went bump in the night. How I survived without today’s technology is a mystery.

When I was 12, if I wanted to call up a friend, I had to wait for my stupid brother to get off the phone. That’s right. We had only one line.

(cue Law and Order music–dunn, dunn!)

Countless hours were spent seething with anger and glaring at the phone cord trailing underneath the closed closet door where my older brother whispered sweet nothings (emphasis on the nothings) into his girlfriend-of-the-month’s ears.

But if the planets aligned just right, I could actually get on the phone for a few minutes and enjoy a private conversation–until my father installed a second phone on the same line in the kitchen. (dunn  dunn!)

Then I’d endure hearing the telltale click of one of my brothers picking up the phone on the other line, quietly breathing and listening to my heated private conversation about how I liked Bobby, but Bobby liked Suzy.

The terror of realizing my brother might have heard something super secret would paralyze me with fear. Did he hear what I said? Is he going to blab it to the cool kids at the lunch table tomorrow? Will Bobby know I like him?!  The phone’s ominous click would seep into my dreams. Click! CLICK! CLICK! Oh, the horror!

When the phone wasn’t free, I’d hole myself up in my bedroom in the attic and blast my music.  Yes, we used to have to listen to our music out loud, with no iPod or earbuds. (dunn, dunn!)

I was the proud owner of a giant boxy beast of a stereo. It was versatile, top-of-the-line technology for the 80s. I could either slap a record on the turntable up top or slide in one of my famous mixed cassette tapes of the Beatles/Def Leppard into the deck on the bottom.

See, back then we didn’t have iPods where you could casually flip through thousands of tunes using your magic fingertips. Instead, I had to sift through a dusty old stack of albums, then listen to my favorite song skip on the needle.

Hearing John Lennon sing, “Imagine there’s no–Imagine there’s no–” over and over again was horrifying, my blood would run cold. Imagine there’s no what?! I’d cry. No what, John?! Will I ever know what he’s trying to imagine?

Today, I miss listening to music and forcing everyone else within a 10 mile radius to listen to it too.  Sometimes for fun, we’d crank up the volume so loud, the neighbors down the road would call the cops. You can’t pay for that entertainment, people.

If all the scratches on my records made me sad, I’d head out to rent a movie with my parents. It was a dark and stormy night, when I had to get into my Dad’s wood-panelled station wagon and  actually have him drive me to the video rental store. (dunn dunn!)

Yes, before netflix, before DVDs on Blu-Ray, there was a time when we had to physically go to a place where people stood around like zombies, milling around displays filled with these things called VHS tapes.

Inevitably, you’d arrive all excited to rent the latest hottest flick that finally came out on video after being released five years earlier (“Hot damn! I’m gonna go rent ET tonight!”) only to find that the 55 copies of ET were already taken.

Still you’d desperately try to bring an empty box up to the counter, only to encounter a smug clerk sneering at you,  “if there’s nothing behind the box, there ain’t no movie. Now do you want to buy these 20 dollar Twizzlers or what, pal?”

Are the Spaghettio’s done yet? No, but my skull feels like it’s melting.

So I’d slunk on back to my house, “ET”-less, stomach growling and attempt to whip up some food.  Did I zap some frozen meal in my microwave? Please! Only one friend of mine had one of those new-fangled contraptions. It was bigger than the entire kitchen counter and made such a loud buzzing noise we thought for sure we were getting cancer while watching her spaghettio’s splatter.

All we had was my grandmother’s old stove that, if we were lucky, used to short-curcuit and mildly electrocute us. (dunn, dunn!)

But only if you held a metal spoon just so and turned the loose stove’s dial at the same time. It was quite the science experiment. My brothers discovered this zapping action by accident one afternoon while making spaghettio’s and that was all it took. More cheap entertainment. “Hey! Check this out!” one of them would yell, stabbing the metal spoon down into the pan, feeling the tiny yet delicious jolt over and over again until they saw stars. Explains a lot.

Which brings me to regulating body temperature.  Back in my day, we didn’t have air conditioners or those cutting edge fans that oscillate. What did we do when the temperature hit 110 with 150% humidity? We’d sweat. (dunn dunn!)

That’s right. Sweat a lot. My bedroom was upstairs in the attic and it sometimes got so hot up there in the summer, my John Lennon record would melt into a sad Imagine puddle. So I’d whine and moan and cry to my parents. “It’s too hot! I can’t sleep!” And my father would put his hand on my head and say, “Tough cookies, kid”. What a wise man he was for giving me an extra dose of the tough love of the 1970s.

So kids, as you drift off to sleep tonight, watching the latest flick on your iPad, texting away on your smart phone and eating your Hot Pockets in your perfectly temp-controlled bedroom, think of me and the horrors I faced not so long ago. Nighty night, kiddies!

Oh, and Happy Halloween! (Mua ha haaa!)