Giveaway · Humor · writing

Let’s Play the Lying Game!

I am such a good liar!

…or am I?

As a writer, I’ve got a good imagination so I like to make stuff up. I’ve been known to elaborate a little when I remember a past story from my life. If I were to give a rough estimate, I’d say about 99.99% of my posts are complete BS. Yep, I made it all up.

Nah, I’m kidding! It was all true! See how good I am at lying?

So do you think you can spot a lie? Time for the misremembering game that’s sweeping our nation –

Slide1

I lied. It’s really time for three truths and a lie. Damn, I’m good.

The following are a few short stories about things that really happened in my life. Really, I swear!

Your job is to figure out which one of the following tales is a lie. Give your answer in the comments. I’ll reveal the lie one week from today.  If you get it right you’ll have a chance to win a signed copy of Stephen King’s latest book Revival!

I lied again.  (Sorry but I’m not on speaking terms with good ol’ Steve-o anymore, ahem.) But you WILL win the right to sing “liar liar pants on fire” at the computer screen — just as good, amirite?

OK, fine — I’ll randomly pick from the winning guesses (who reside in the US, preferably within 5 miles of the nearest snowmobile trail) and mail that lucky person a copy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.* (and yes, I’m being serious now)

STORY #1

One foggy summer night back in 1997, I was driving home from work on a desolate country road. Suddenly a voice sliced through my thoughts:

TURN OFF THE RADIO.

I sat straight up in my seat, the hairs on the back of my neck prickling. I switched off the radio.

MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO CARS IN ONCOMING LANE, the voice commanded.

I peered out at the road, my headlights illuminating a blur of dark pine trees racing past as I zipped along the curves of route 136. Before I had a chance to process why I was hallucinating, another demand:

SLOW DOWN NOW.

Without questioning, I did as I was instructed.  While rounding a sharp corner, I braked and slowed down to 50 mph. Suddenly a dark mass filled my windshield. I slammed on the brakes, my car skidding for several yards into the oncoming lane.  But it was too late, the sudden impact crushed the front of my little Ford Fiesta. I violently slammed forward then backward in my seat, severely twisting my back and neck.

I had hit a moose.

Somehow I managed to drive a short distance to find a phone and call the police (I didn’t have a cell phone back then). Sadly, the moose didn’t survive. But everyone from the cops to the mechanics to the insurance agent told me I was lucky to be alive at all because most people are killed instantly when the moose sails through the windshield. If I were going any faster, I wouldn’t be here right now telling you this story.

Was the voice I thought I heard my own intuition? Or God? A guardian angel? Whatever or whoever it was, there’s no doubt it saved my life.

STORY #2

Our current house was haunted for a time. Lights would turn off and on, TV channels would change by themselves. I’d put something down in the kitchen only to turn around and find it missing. Once my entire family watched as a glass bowl slid straight off the kitchen counter by itself and onto the floor, shattering into pieces.

Sometimes at night I’d feel the faint sensation of someone sitting on the edge of my bed. Once while I was still wide awake,  someone tapped my feet. I thought it was one of my kids so I sat up to peer into the darkness only to find no one was there.

I decided to ask a psychic friend of mine to “channel” the spirit for me. According to her, he was an old farmer who had lived in the 1950s near the very spot where our house now stood. She said he was searching for his tools because he used to fix tractors out in his shed, and this is why we’d find things misplaced. Why did he insist on haunting us? Apparently while alive he wasn’t a spiritual man and therefore wasn’t accepting he was truly dead.

She suggested I politely tell the ghost to “go outside because his tools weren’t in our house”. As silly as it sounds, I did this several times out loud. “Hey, farmer man!” I yelled in between giggles to the empty room. “Sorry, but your tools aren’t here! You can go outside now! Oh — and go towards the light! Thanks and good luck!”

A few days later it seemed to have worked. The air was clearer, no longer heavy with a spirit’s presence. The strange electricity occurrences and creepy nighttime visits disappeared. Our farmer was gone. Maybe he finally found his tractor tools outside in the shed? I chuckled to myself.

The following week my mom who lives right next door called me on the phone. “It’s the oddest thing,” she said. “I think my house is haunted. Someone moved all of the utensils around in the kitchen and the lights keep going on and off!”

Oops.

STORY #3

Back in my 20s, I used to hike at Wolfe Neck State Park off the coast of Freeport, Maine. One overcast day, I invited my mother to come along. We parked our car and started down a long winding trail in the woods that led to the ocean.

We heard a car pulling in, so I glanced behind me and noticed a man jogging in our direction. As he passed us further on down the trail, he took off his shirt and disappeared around the bend. An unsettling feeling washed over me but I shook it off. My mother and I continued our walk, admiring the stillness of the forest and the soft crashing of the waves in the distance.

We rounded a corner and there was the man again. Only this time he was holding his clothes in his hands — all of them. Standing there completely naked, he held up his hands, revealing a very sad and direct view of his nether regions.

“Do you ladies know the time?” he asked, like it was perfectly normal question.

My blood ran cold. I panicked, unsure of what to do next. Was this really happening? Is he going to do something else now? Should I scream or run?

Thankfully, I didn’t have time to figure out my next move because my mom disarmed the entire situation by bursting into incredulous laughter. “Time? TIME?” she yelled.  “I think time is the least of your worries, buddy!”

Suddenly appearing embarrassed, the man covered himself up and looked down at the ground.

My mother and I hustled down the path past him unsure of what to do next. When he was out of sight, we quickly make our way back to the parking lot using another path which turned out to be the longest hike of my life. We immediately told the park gatekeeper what happened.  A police officer soon arrived to take down our names and all the details.

“Can you describe the suspect?” he asked.

“Well, we sure as hell weren’t looking at his face, if that’s what your asking!” my mom sneered in disgust.

A few days later, I opened the local newspaper and gasped. Apparently, The Mid Coast Flasher was nabbed, his reign of terror finally over. For months he’d successfully flashed several other women at various spots up and down the coast. His signature move? Asking for the time.  Studying his mug shot, I had only one thought.:

Oh, so THAT’S what he looks like!

STORY #4

image: completelycoastal.com

Around 1998, the movie “Message in a Bottle” starring Paul Newman, Kevin Costner and Robin Wright was filmed off the coast of Maine at Popham Beach, not far from where I lived in the tourist trap outlet town of Freeport.

My house was right next to L.L.Bean’s main retail store,  so most summer nights my younger brother, Chris and I would sit on a park bench downtown to eat a Ben & Jerry’s cone and people watch.

One muggy night in August, we bought our cones and sat down on the bench next to an old man wearing a NY Yankees baseball hat. He responded to our presence by grunting under his breath and pulling the cap down over his eyes.

Minutes ticked by as Chris and I giggled and chatted, both of us noticing the tourist growing more agitated by our conversation.

“Holy shit!” the old man suddenly growled. “Isn’t there anything to do in this godforsaken town but sit and eat goddamn ice cream? Jesus!”

I turned my head and looked straight into a pair of unmistakable baby blue eyes now glaring back at me from underneath the baseball cap.

No, it couldn’t be him! …could it?

Before we had a chance to respond, another man walked up holding two cones. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?” he smiled at us.

“Um….y-yeah….” I stuttered.

The man then turned his attention to the crabby codger on the bench. “Chunky Monkey, right, Paul?”

“Just give it to me for chrissakes,” he grumbled, grabbing his cone. We watched in disbelief as the two men strolled off into the night.

And that was the day I met both Kevin Costner and Paul Newman.

______________________________________________________

Okay! Wow. I’ve lived quite the exciting life, huh?

So what’s the lie? Is it

1) The Voice Saves Darla
2) Ghost Farmer Relocates
3) Flasher Needs A Watch
4) Paul Newman Was One Grumpy Chunky Monkey

If you guys all guess correctly, well then…maybe I should practice lying more?

_______________________________________________________

*If no one guesses correctly I reserve the right to read Amy’s book myself while gloating about how I’m such a good liar.

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Book Reviews · Giveaway

Book Giveaway: The Todd Glass Situation

 

image: Simon & Schuster
image: Simon & Schuster

Growing up and trying to navigate your way through this big scary world is tough for any kid.  But what if you’re also challenged with having ADD and dyslexia? And happen to be gay? Veteran comedian Todd Glass understands what it’s like to feel different and experience the pain of hiding a true identity for years.

In his funny, honest and heartfelt memoir, The Todd Glass Situation, he details his quick rise to stand-up comedy fame and the struggle he endured for decades keeping his life as a gay man secret.

It took the recent spike of suicides among young gay people and a close brush with death to give Todd that extra push to finally be true to himself and everyone else. One night he was finishing up the closing set alongside other comedian friends including Sarah Silverman, when he suddenly felt short of breath and nauseous. Soon the medics arrived.

“Sir, I don’t want to alarm you,” the EMT says, “but you’re having a heart attack.”

I don’t want to alarm you? If he didn’t want to alarm me he should have told me I was fine. Telling someone they’re having a heart attack is very goddamn alarming. “We’re going to take you to Cedars,” he continues. “Is there anyone we should call?”

Right. If I’m dying — which is suddenly starting to feel like a real possibility — I should probably tell the person I’ve been sharing a life with for the last fourteen years. I look through the faces around me until I find Sarah’s. “Call Andrea for me, ” I say, trying to wink. At this point it looks more like an involuntary facial tic.

Sarah winks back. “Don’t worry, I’ll call…Andrea.”

We both knew that “Andrea” is actually Chris, my boyfriend. But there’s no way in hell I’m going to say his name in front of everyone.

I mean, that might make people think that I was gay or something.

Here I am, forty-five years old, possibly at death’s door, surrounded by friends–and I still can’t be honest about who I am.

How the fuck did I get here?

Todd’s book successfully explores these serious issues with keen insight and humor. He details his childhood years and how he discovered at an early age he had a knack for making people laugh.  As a teen he was already a professional stand-up, opening for musical acts such as Patti LaBelle and comedians like Jay Leno. I was intrigued to learn how he climbed the stand-up comedian ladder to success, honing his act over the years while picking up valuable advice from other comedians along the way.

Being funny requires allowing yourself to be vulnerable. You must be fearless when putting your true self out there. At its center this book is about one thing: Being yourself no matter what the bastards say.

Other Things I Learned From Todd Glass:

  • Always embrace all aspects of yourself and let them shine.
  • Screw what other people might think of you.
  • If you’re gay and someone asks you, “How did you know you were gay?” ask them how or when they knew they were straight.
  • I sincerely hope one day there will be no “closet” for anyone gay or bisexual to “come out of”. Because it’s dark and stuffy in there, and smells like mothballs and needless repression.
  • Humor is incredibly powerful and the greatest comedians, like Todd’s idol George Carlin, are truth-seekers. As Todd pointed out in the book, Oscar Wilde once said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”
  • If you’re having a heart attack, always make sure Sarah Silverman is in the room.
Getting Doug with High
image: Getting Doug with High

________________________________________________________________

182940_446039868823211_1482428845_nTodd Glass is a stand-up comedian who has performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Jimmy Kimmel Show, among many other programs. He’s also the host of The Todd Glass Show, a popular podcast on the Nerdist Network.
–Simon & Schuster

________________________________________________________________

I was given a copy of the book, The Todd Glass Situation, by Simon & Schuster in exchange for writing this review. All opinions in this post are my own and not Todd’s, Simon’s nor even Schuster’s.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Dearest Maineiacs — YOU can win a copy of this book simply by responding with a comment below.  Yes, it’s just that easy! Did you ever feel different as a kid? Do you like humor? Do you know what a book is? Are you also good friends with Sarah Silverman? Let me know!

I will pick a winner by random.  All valid entries must reside in the US or Canada (sorry to my one reader from Uzbekistan)

*Deadline to enter is noon EST July 4th*

UPDATE: Congrats to Debbie Harbeson! She was randomly chosen to win this book. Hope you enjoy it, Debbie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews · Humor

What’s so funny?

photo credit: hbo.com
photo credit: hbo.com

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

I wanna live. I don’t wanna die. That’s the whole meaning of life: Not dying! I figured that shit out by myself in the third grade.

People who say they don’t care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don’t care what people think.

The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.

Swimming is not a sport. Swimming is a way to keep from drowning. That’s just common sense!

What year did Jesus think it was?

I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.

–George Carlin

To me, George Carlin was the funniest person on the planet. What made him so funny? Was it his word choice? The way he delivered a punch line? His body language or his tone of voice? Why is it I find him funny, but other people might find him offensive? At its purest form, humor is highly subjective.

There are two main things I do know for sure about comedy: it’s hard to be funny, and there will always be someone who thinks you suck at being funny.

To me? So not funny.
To me? So not funny.

There is a new book out next week, The Humor Code, that tries to attempt the impossible — analyze comedy. Two authors travel the world and the stand-up stage trying to figure out what makes a joke zing and what causes it to fall flat. Along the way, they investigate some pretty bold assumptions about funny people. They wonder if comedians are by nature:

  • Grumpy.
  • Assholes.
  • Introverted grumpy assholes.

I’ve been accused of being a little funny from time to time, although I have to admit, sometimes it’s not intentional. I can only speak for myself when I say that yes, being a slightly grumpy introverted asshole seems to be the foundation of a good humorist. Throw in sharp observational skills and a huge dose of honesty and you’ve got yourself all the ingredients to make a joke.

So what do you think is funny? What type of jokes fall flat for you?  Who is your favorite comedian? Who are the comedians you don’t like? Tell me in the comments below and you’ll be entered into a giveaway with a chance to win the book, The Humor Code. Maybe you’ll read it and finally figure out what’s so funny. Personally, I look forward to reading the books analyzing what is love, death and the meaning behind the existence of cellulite.

The deadline to enter this book giveaway is Monday, March 31. I will pick a name out of a hat at random. I will pick the hat I use at random. I will add my own name a random number of times in the hope I can keep this book. If you are chosen, you must tell me where you live in an email, otherwise it would be hard to mail you this book and then you’d never know what’s so funny.

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