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October/November 2010 Humor Writing Contest Results!

Enter "America's Funniest Humor"TM Writing Contest to claim (or regain) a spot in our next Humor Showcase!



Congratulations to all Semi-Finalists in our October/ November 2010 Humor Writing Contest!

(Listed alphabetically by author

Bag Battle
By Virginia Antonelli, New York

Most mornings at work, I read job-related email while chowing down a bowl of breakfast cereal soaked in skim milk. Recently, I purchased a box of organic high fiber, low-fat, whole grain cereal, rich in Omega-3s and dotted with freeze-dried blueberries. The manufacturer calls this product “nutritionally sophisticated” but the eater could just as easily describe it as flavorless.

I expect fortified strands, seeds and flakes to have the texture and taste of pencil shavings, but I will never understand why a blowtorch is required to unseal the freshness bag within the box. If one does a three word Google search on packaging, difficult, and open, thirteen million results appear in 0.39 seconds, most dedicated to the tortuous hard plastic shell casing invented by a descendant of the Marquis de Sade.

Some chip and popcorn bags are impossible to open if you fail to exploit the notch in the lip, others that are notch-less open with ease, and a third group are open-averse unless cut with the jaws of life third cousin twice removed, a scissors. My cereal’s defiant inner freshness bag is in this latter group.

Why must a simple inner freshness bag be welded shut with an adhesive so powerful it could rip flesh off the bone if applied to exposed skin? As I struggle to tear open the obstinate bag that is rewarding me with searing pain in the fingers and thumbs, the sane solution is to stop battling and cut the bag with a scissors. But, who’s sane first thing in the morning?

Certainly not me.

I am as determined to conquer opening this plastic bag with my bare hands as tennis champion Rafael Nadal was to win the career Gland Slam. Yet, the bag could be Rafael Nadal since it is beating me. The best I can achieve is a tracheotomy-sized hole in the center of it.

Logically, I know I should stop, but since I am temporarily insane I must continue. Incensed, I persist, slip my fingers inside the hole, and in a futile attempt to get the bag to open across the top, it resists. I am only succeeding in expanding the hole. Exhausted with playing mouse and cat, the bag one-ups me.

The seam down the middle splits. The cereal spills out onto my desk’s top.

In response to this fiasco of my own making, my boss announces, “The copier needs toner.” I scream inside my head, “Are you blind? Can’t you see I’m having a cereal crisis!” She notices my problem. “And why do you have all that cereal on your desk?” Before I can explain, she walks away.

With my stomach growling like a ravenous pack animal, I replace the toner, glaring at the ripped open cereal bag sitting triumphantly on my desk.

The next day, I eat a bagel.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Sacramento Man Complains That His Brain Has Been Turned into a Public Website
By Carlos Arnade,

Sacramento police reported that at midnight on the 26th of October a worried sounding Sacramento man called 911 to complain that spammers were attacking his website with malicious comments. The emergency operator immediately routed the call to the Sacramento cyber-crime unit that recorded the following conversation:

Operator: "First, what is your Web Address?"

The caller: "It’s like a LLL Address."

Operator: "LLL?"

Caller "My webaddress is:LLL@www.Me"

Operator: "Me?"

Caller: "Yeah I have a ‘Me’ website."

Operator: "Me?"

Caller: "Well, last I heard, I am at me. If I wasn’t at me, I don’t know where I would be. Like, I am not at YOU. Because you are at YOU."

Operator: "I’m at me?"

Caller: "No you are at YOU. I am the one at me."

Operator: "So, what’ the LLL all about?"

Caller: "Local Lobe Location."

Operator: "Local Lobe Location?"

Caller: "My website located inside my local left lobe."

Operator: "Local left lobe?"

Caller: "Yeah, my Brain was converted into a Website."

Operator: "LOL, Wow."

Caller: "It’s LLL WWW."

Operator: "So what’s the WWW about?"

Caller: "Walking Web Wonder."

Operator: "What Wonder?"

Caller: "Local lobe location Wonder."

Operator: "So, it’s a Wonder that your local left lobe has been wired and wedded to a working, website with a local lobe locator latch? Right?"

Caller: "Except I forgot to put up spam blockers and everybody is harassing me and destroying my ability to read the latest issue of Wired magazine."

Operator: "Sir Mr.?"

Caller: "Mr. Einsteinhope."

Operator: "Mr. Einsteinhope. Have you considered seeing a psychiatrist?"

Caller: "I am a psychiatrist, PHD UCLA Class of 1988."

Operator: "Did you hear voices in your head before your brain became a website?"
Caller: "My website only accepts print and pictures.

Right now, I am getting aggressive pop-up ads to sign up for a free subscription to ‘News of the Weird’. I don’t care about weird stories. I just want a good spam blocker."

Operator: "Just how did your brain become a website?"

Caller: "Well, at first, it wasn’t on purpose."

Operator: "The website or the spam?"

Caller: "It really started after the cell phone fell into my left ear."

Operator: "Ear?"

Caller: "I was discussing my ping pong paddle with my workout partner when my wife starts this bark-and-yell confrontation with our dog. The only way I could hear was to lean my ear closer to the cell phone."

Operator: "So?"

Caller: "That’s when I dropped the phone.

But, I did manage to get some inner ear photos uploaded to my computer."

Operator: "Did your computer fall down your ear too?"

Caller: "Not a first. I mean, not until later. After we tried to use it to get the cell phone out."

Operator: "How did you expect to remove a cell phone from your inner ear with a computer?"

Caller: "I wasn’t trying to physically remove the cell phone. We were trying to upload the information from the cell phone that was stuck in my inner ear to my computer, which my wife was holding against my outer ear. But then, the dog barked and my wife dropped the computer. It fell down my ear and landed right up under my left frontal brain lobe."

Operator: "How could a three foot wide device fall through a tiny channel like your inner ear?"

Caller: "How are babies born? These things happen."

Operator: "If you don’t want your brain to be spammed anymore, why don’t you just quit paying your web-host provider? Then, they will shut down your website."

Caller: “And shut down a quarter of my brain. Do you want me to have the IQ of a Moron? Now, what do I do about these spammers? They are driving me crazy."

Operator: "Ok. We send your story to News of the Weird. Then you just answer your spam and sign up for full time subscription."

Caller: "Subscription?"

Operator: “News of the Weird will send your website a story about the man with the website brain. Then, you lock the message into a repeating-loop. This will send millions of copies of the Weird article about your website-brain to your website-brain.”

“Then your own brain will be back to spamming its own self, just like with any normal person.”

Caller: “Like normal? This call is getting weird itself.”

Operator: “Doesn’t your brain spam itself with weird ideas, money worries, and worn out pornographic thoughts every two minutes? It’s normal”

Caller: "That's it! Help 911! The operator is spamming my brain too!"


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Pregnancy Bliss
By Jessica E. Bach, Kentucky

Pregnancy is absolute bliss! We women began the heartwarming experience of pregnancy, vomiting at the smell of their husbands and favorite foods. Coffee is the devil, and it does not matter because women are not allowed this luxury in fear that their babies may pop out as bouncing circus clowns. They take away our anti-depressants in fear that the opposite may happen.

For weeks, sometimes months, we puke. If we are not puking, we feel like we are going to and have an enormous headache from caffeine withdrawal. We cry and do not know why we are crying. After all, we are so happy to be “having a baby!”

Once the sickness goes away, we eat everything in sight and become walking beach whales. Wherever we go, strangers notice our bulge and believe this is a sign for them to rub all over our growing stomachs. Generally, this leads to a conversation about the four times they were pregnant. We feel so lucky to have met these individuals because otherwise we may have never known that our breasts can produce milk, which is by far the only option! No pressure, stranger.

Everyone knows best when a woman is pregnant, and they will not hesitate to give “expert” advise. It is also inevitable that they will bring up strange topics such as, “What are you planning on doing with your P l a c e n t a?" As if women have time to consider such a thing as taking a cooler full of ice and a zip-lock baggie for placenta holding purposes! Most women cannot even spell “placenta” up until that point.

Frequent visits to the gynecologist require shaving parts that we can no longer safely reach. Despite what men may think, these visits do not feel nice. These people do not use “party favors!” Sorry guys, but we need an ice-pack and a support group to go to straight after these appointments.

Heart-burn is a special time that comes later in the pregnancy. Just one saltine cracker is all it takes for a woman to snuggle up at night with her bottle of antacid. Our backs hurt, we cannot sleep, we pee uncontrollably, we are still crying, and we now eat small animals for breakfast. Life is GOOD!

When the moment comes, women have their hospital bag packed, so there is no need for a “friendly reminder card.” In fact, it has been in the car for weeks! The contractions hurt a bit but after the epidural, which may or may not paralyze a woman, we feel our first moment of actual bliss since the fun began nine months earlier. Labor is like Christmas! At this time, we can meet our new baby and pray that we are not affected by postpartum depression.

After it is all said and done, we love our new little bundle of joy and life could not be better. However, ladies, when the husbands begin to smell nice again, take precaution. Side effects of not taking precaution include repeating all of the above steps. Enjoy baby!

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Why I Love to Write
By Keladria Boyt, Arizona

I love to write because it keeps me from slapping my imaginary assistant, Sally. (We’re good now. Writing heals.) When all I feel like doing is tripping Care Bears and pulling the plug on the jumping castle, I have to write.

In life I’ll be nice, play fair, make you a sandwich and rub your back. But in Writing-Land... why yes I do own the whole damn place. And I’ll call you a ho if I feel like it.

I love to write because it keeps me from doing real work. I can do absolutely nothing all day and call it ‘brainstorming’. People are impressed with that.

Instead of playing with people’s minds, I play with words. I love words. Love to twist them, eat them, blackmail them, spit ‘em out, wrestle them, corrupt them. Then offer them a cigarette and start manipulating them all over again.

In writing, there is no one there to stop my madness.

Writing is good for me. It keeps me from eating cheesecake, collecting cats, and licking the earlobes of hot strangers on the street. It keeps me out of pool halls and strip joints, except when doing serious research, as is required with the job.

In Writing-Land, I trip the bully in the school bus aisle. He lands flat and red-faced. And no one catches me. There is justice.

It lets me create magic, fear, wonder, and some deep belly laughs.

Writing lets me make fun of others in a public forum, under the protection of the 1st Amendment. I love this. I need this.

In writing, I can live vicariously through my slutty characters. When my real love life feels like Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, in my writing, I am Cherries En Flambe. Yes. My name is Bianca. I always have a breeze flowing through my red hair and every man is my uber-skilled “Lovah”.

Writing suits me. Socially unacceptable acts are largely ok, falling under the broad heading of “research”. And I make myself laugh all day -- my favorite thing to do!

Writing lets me go anywhere I want to go. Unlike life. (Restraining order be damned!) It’s the only way to extend my time in La-La-Land, without being committed. Again.

I love writing because my alter-ego, Svetlana, the highly trained KGB spy, can do everything I cannot. (And she veeel eenterrrogate you veeth top-secret torrrture techneeeque. Da.)

I love to write because my wacked-out voice needs to escape. I like to wonder if there are people out there who need my kind of kooky. I needed to read a voice like this when I was young.

I love writing because it lets me expose myself to strangers. And touch them. But it’s just writing. So I can’t go to jail for it.

If I didn’t write, I might spontaneously combust.

(Did I spell that right? Sally, can you Google that for me? And some coffee would be nice.)

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Kick the Bucket on Hallowe’en
By Malcolm Campbell,

Frank N. Stein, owner and operator of the Ghost-of-a-Chance Cemetery at 666 Deadline Road plans a Death by Chocolate Hallowe’en for kids trick-or-treating at “death’s door.”

“This year, we’ll be handing out our usual death bells, death watches, and door-nails to everyone who knocks at the Death’s Door entrance to the cemetery,” said Stein. “We’re especially excited about this year’s ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE OPEN GRAVE CALLS gala. I think we’re going to top last year’s BABY, CAN YOU HEAR DEATH’S RATTLE sing-along.”

Chief gravedigger T. Stone, who laughingly claims he’s the only one on the premises who knows where all the bodies are buried, said he almost worked himself into an early grave getting all the holes dug in time.

“I’m death-warmed-over exhausted,” he said, “but I’ll be cheating the grim reaper again by Sunday night.”

According to a dead letter posted at the cemetery door, every kid who successfully kicks a plastic bucket of dead men’s fingers into an open grave from six feet away will be presented with a “Dead Weight of Chocolate.”

“Most of them aren’t real dead men’s fingers,” said Stein. “We chopped up a bunch of old mannequins and littered the pieces around the place to scare the life out of the younger kids. We had enough dead hands left over to pretty much give everyone the finger.”

“I practiced kicking the bucket all afternoon,” Stone said, “and it’s not as easy as you think. Those kids will have to use a little dead reckoning to get it in the grave.”

Plans to offer vodka labeled as embalming fluid were deep-sixed once the Deadline Road Homeowners Association got wind of it and raised a stink.

“We don’t mind the spirits so much as the thought of hearing the words of that hideous old song ‘National Embalming School’ blasting away all night loud enough to wake the dead,” said association president Darla Norris. “We’re not teetotalers out here. After all, we snapped up our share of the icy six-packs they gave away during the CRYING IN MY BIER festival three years ago.”

Ghost-of-a-Chance began inviting trick-or-treaters onto cemetery grounds 25 years ago when Stein’s father Charles announced that he could no longer afford to “buy enough deadlights and deadlocks to keep out the deadbeats who sneak in every year to knock over a tombstone or two after knocking up their girlfriends.”

Norris, who has lived on Deadline Road for 26 years, said that almost everyone in her neighborhood was conceived as a Hallowe’en trick in the years before “old Charlie Stein made vandalism a dead issue while making death and cemeteries a real treat again.”

The police department’s Dead-to-Rights Hallowe’en Task Force will work the graveyard shift again this year to provide security and to pick up anyone who is dead drunk. Doctors from Memorial Hospital will be on hand to assist anyone who gets one foot caught in the grave. Overflow parking will be available in Potter’s field.

“We’ll be dead to the world by the time the night’s over,” Stein said. “It’s worth it, though. We’re putting the boot back into boot hill to make life better for kids in the here and now while reminding their aging parents to consider us in their plans for the hereafter.”


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Golf Digest For Hacks
Jeff Corkrean, Iowa

Hack: To cut or shape with unskillful, crude or ruthless strokes.

Golf Hack Explained

In golfing terms, "hack” is that guy who strolls onto the golf course and is sure to be presented with the eye rolling of the more talented golfers.

He’s that guy talented golfers dread playing behind. That guy who’s deciding on what cold beverage he needs next as opposed to realizing he needs a pitching wedge instead of his three-wood for the 10 yard chip shot.

Good golfers can sniff hacks out a mile away. They don't need the nose of a basset hound to pick up on the stench of a hack trickling his tee shot 20 yards off the tee-box or the rotten odor of grass and soil chunks traveling further than the ball.

Simply put, a hack is a poor golfer. Just as there are houses considered to be the “Eyesore of the Neighborhood”, a hack is considered the “Eyesore on the Golf Course”.

A hack's golf game could easily be compared to the mentality of most members in Congress:

“I’d like to come back and do this a few more times because I’m not worried about excelling, just trying to have some fun.”

However, through all the hacking melee, this guy who hacks has fun. He enjoys the round in spite of his groundbreaking awfulness. And he enjoys it regardless of the fact he’s charted a birdie as many times as men have charted a catheter being an enjoyable experience.

Without further elaboration on what the golf world describes as a “hack”, here are they are:

Top 5 Reasons It’s More Fun to be a Hack

1. Every Outing is a Good Outing

Good Day For a Good Golfer=Low Scorecard + Good Shots

Good Day For a Hack= Not listening to the wife talk about Feelings + Not cleaning the house + Enjoying cold beverages with friends.

2. Issues like rough terrain, pin placement or doglegged fairways never matter

As a hack you’re just trying to get it near the green or in the vicinity of the fairway. As for hitting off rough terrain, see reason number 3. A hack worrying about these issues is like Lindsey Lohan worrying about her 12 step packet not having paper clips.

3. Throw Offs don’t exist. Throw Ons do.

Drizzle? Beers 9 and 10 starting to catch up with you? As a hack, you never have to worry about these minor blips throwing your game off. If anything, one of these inconveniences may actually throw your game on.

For good golfers, these road bumps may cause some unwanted chinks in their titanium armor. For a hack, your armor is an ugly Christmas sweater to begin with and these chinks may end up being bulletproof. Just aimed too far left? Well toast one to your blurry vision from Miller Light number 9 because it just played into the hands of your breathtakingly horrendous slice.

4. Acting Like Your Good is Just as Fun as Being Good

Ever witnessed that guy who hits a bad shot, drops his club and shakes his head in frustration because he knows he should have done better?

As a hack, that will never be you. But you get to act like it.

Hit a bad shot, step back, blurt a couple choice words, shake your head in fake frustration and act like your ball was supposed to land 4 feet from the cup.

A hack knows the odds of his ball actually landing that close to the pin is equivalent to the odds of Tiger Woods guest speaking at a “Proper Civility Towards Your Wife” conference. It’s not a disappointment when a shot goes awry because a hack knows his ball is probably going in the sand, water or resting with the ants in the dirt piles of the lost forest.

5. Camaraderie Effect

It’s an unusual rite of passage that can bring a group of guys together. All the hacks can toast their cold ones to a once considered dark, unskillful tunnel that now sheds a new light on golf enjoyment.

Crowning achievements get in the back seat. Shotgun is being given to all the hacks who swing a golf club as well as Paris Hilton teaches chemistry. To all the guys who probably won’t ever chart a birdie but will devour every ounce of fun to be found on the course; whether in the sand, fairway, woods or water.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Shelve the Shelf Elf
By Jonathan Criswell, Delaware

So they have this thing out now called a Shelf Elf, which is a toy that you place in one room of the house to monitor your kids’ activities, then move to another room the next day, and so on. The Elf, commonly called Christopher Pop-in-kins, because everything holiday related has to have an overtly stupid name, reports back to Santa regarding your kids behavior, probably with a device with a needle that constantly wavers between Naughty and Nice. Because if it didn’t waver, your little angel wannabes will get too comfortable in the Nice Zone and start eating popcorn and peanut butter on the new couch with a false sense of security. I think.

We didn’t get a Shelf Elf this year for the kids because Dad had never heard of one, and because Mom knew (rightly) that our three-year-old daughter Gabriela’s head would explode with anxiety. Santa Claus, jolly as he is, is still a costumed, bearded, fat old man who is a little too nice to kids. (Never underestimate the power of facial hair on young kids.) Thus, Gabby, student of Latin that she is, has declared Santa Claus persona non grata in the Criswell house, though he remains more than welcome to drop off $92,000 worth of toys on the premises. But no closer than 100 yards from the house. If we knew what a restraining order was, we’d have one on Saint Nicholas. But once a year we end up with several garbage bags full of stuff in the middle of the backyard. Food for thought if you want to come ruin our Christmas sometime.

So if Santa is not allowed in the house, certainly one of his spies stands no chance. Especially one that “moves.” We have no need for moving parts in the house, less need for our daughter sleeping in our bed until she’s 26. Because she sleeps upside down and diagonal, her head by someone’s feet and her feet beside the other’s head, and every time she joins us, we wake up holding our lower backs as if we slept in an accordion. So, no.

And all the questions that arise probably would go unanswered. Is Christopher real? Is he alive? Does he talk? Does he see me at Day Care? Does he see me when I’m sleeping? Does he know when I’m awake? He obviously knows if I’ve been bad or good, but does he have so much as a Blackberry for Goodness Sake?

Where does this guy go when the holidays are over? The first thought is that he packs up with the rest of the toys and Christmas accoutrements and lives out of a box in the attic, the same attic where it’s 32 degrees below zero in the winter and 135 in the summer. He’d sit there with a little notebook and devise ways to properly gather intelligence for the next Christmas season, which next year will start in September. Or maybe he just runs away with the circus. Or he finds his way back to the North Pole. These are things we will never know, because we will never own a Shelf Elf.

We will, however, continue to use Santa and his entourage as a behavioral bribing device. As in, if you so much as think of writing the alphabet on your kitchen set in permanent marker again, we will drive your little behind straight to the mall and make you sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. That has worked very well in the past. Don’t think we won’t use it again sometime.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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The Essay that Lets Future Essays Shine
By Pete Lopez, New York

 My recommendation in pursuing any long-term goal is to begin unpolished. A new audience is a blank slate and sparkling right away sets such a high standard that it often results in fizzling out. The key to lifelong prosperity is shinning brighter today than you did yesterday and that’s easier to accomplish when purposely dimming down your original luster. Say a student mispronounces a teacher’s name, a barber clips the ear of a customer or a boyfriend has flowers delivered to the wrong apartment, things can only get brighter.

To confirm my hypothesis, here’s an example of a gleaming flaw when making a dazzling first impression. I call it "Seeing the Butterfly before the Caterpillar."

I used to be a huge proponent of meeting the woman of my dreams at a wedding, especially if it meant courting a bridesmaid. My plan of seduction has me strolling over during cocktail hour after she signals me with a smile. I offer to buy her a complimentary drink and that plants a seed of flirtation to blossom later.

After letting sufficient time pass to play hard to get, I return armed with the big guns. I capture her hand and escort her onto the dance floor. In the heat of the moment, we erupt into the tango. Amid our dancing, I sense the attention of the guests gravitating towards us and we thrive upon it. We swing over near the bride and groom and playfully bump into them. A heart warming awe sweeps over the onlookers and we become the darlings of the evening.

With the night moving perfectly, before I know it, we are back at the hotel bar tossing back shots of Jagermeister at closing call. As we depart arm in arm, I notice the dawn sunlight on her face and am inclined to rest a soft kiss on her cheek. This leads to us passionately exchanging email addresses and heading to our respective lodging quarters grasping onto seeing each other again before long.

On the subsequent morning I am forced to brag to friends, hotel maids and anyone else with ears about being the smoothest man on the planet. Of course as a gentleman, I refrain from sharing the explicit details of the lip locking. To keep the lustfulness of our affair confidential, I yield generic lines such as "Sally Q melted in my arms" and "Sally Q was the first one there and the last to leave. She just wanted me more."

In a brief pause from my boasting, a common friend interjects with “That’s great, I am really happy for you. Sally Q looked stunning last night.”

That’s when my momentum crashes. Why did he mention she looked stunning last night? Does she normally look un-stunning? Have I already witness the peak of what she has to offer? Will the rest of our relationship be trapped in an unfulfilling valley? If I take her out bowling and she has knotty hair, faded jeans and I am sober, will I be bitterly disappointed?

Suddenly I’m unable to comprehend the mess I’m trapped in. Last night Sally Q was an enchanted angel mermaid princess but yet the following afternoon she transformed into a hideous snake haired Medusa.

No longer was I blueprinting a romantic horse carriage ride to a candlelit bowling alley. Instead, I’m debating a name change to Pedro, burning off my finger prints and speaking with an incoherent accent. That spirals into enlisting in the witness protection program and anonymously living the remainder of my life in an agricultural community tucked away in Northern Iowa. My entire world had spun off its axis. I am now on the verge of abandoning my family and harvesting wheat alone, all because I met a girl who looked her best, the first time I laid eyes on her.

Alright, let me stop this fabrication before I write myself leaping off a hotel balcony or overdosing on mini shampoo bottles. I admit the above dramatization loses merit sentence after sentence. Actually this whole composition promotes advice that should be swallowed with a grain of salt or maybe not at all. Besides, the moral of this tale wasn’t, take a modest approach to unveiling oneself or search for a soul mate at sleazy establishments like a Laundromat or crack house. The point was to dull the expectations of readers so it’s simple for my future essays to shine.

P.S. I only know how to tango in my visions.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Read the Instructions
By Kevin OBrien, Missouri

It's a simple instrument. It's a rod of steel with what looks like stubby helicopter rotors at one end. It's used with a power drill. It stirs paint.

I tore it out of its packaging, noting the instructions on the back of the cardboard. Instructions? For this? You've got to be kidding!

I shooed the dog out and got busy. I gave the drill's trigger a few experimental squeezes. The blades flashed impressively. I pulled the trigger with purpose and plunged the tool into the paint.

My wife is used to me making small messes when I engage in a household chore. This mess, however, turned out to be apocalyptic.

The instructions were at the bottom of the trash and I didn't need to retrieve them. I can write my own. In order to save my reader a good deal of grief, here they are:

If your drill is bidirectional, make sure it's going to spin in the correct direction. The tool is designed to force the paint toward the bottom of the can. If it's spinning counterclockwise it will force the paint toward the top of the can. You are then faced with a volcano spewing colorful lava in every direction.

Go slow. If yours is a variable-speed drill, start at the slowest speed and gradually increase it. This method allows you to observe the effects of your actions before they become unmanageable.

Put the tool in the paint before you turn the drill on. This is most important. Otherwise you encounter spouting paint before your mind can grasp what is happening.

My first thought: I've got to clean this up before my wife gets home. My second thought: I won't get this mess cleaned up until the cows come home.

I had certainly painted the kitchen walls. And the ceiling. And the floor, the cabinets, the sinks and the appliances. All in one fell swoop. A blue stripe encircled the entire room but for a small section of wall directly behind me.

I heard a sigh. I turned to see that the dog had returned to check on my progress. When she turned to walk away I swear she shook her head. Then I noticed she had been standing in a puddle of paint. Blue paw prints followed her across the living room carpet.

At least my mishaps are color coordinated.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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My Boyfriend, Johnny
By Jill Pertler, Minnesota

My boyfriend’s back.

I should’ve expected it, what with the change of seasons. Cold weather brings him into town and he appears out of necessity. My husband works 9 to 5 and, quite frankly, when the temperatures drop, I need something to keep me warm during the long, chilly days. I suppose I could turn up the heat, but that would be too easy. I’ve never been one to take the easy route.

I met Johnny years ago. We were off and on at first – I guess we still pretty much are. In the beginning, I wasn’t in the habit of having him around every day. As time went on, things got comfortable. I suppose you could say I came to rely on him. He became a fixture in my life. Guys will do that to you if you aren’t careful.

There are lots of good things I could say about Johnny, but his defining trait involves the fact that he’s never afraid – or too busy – to cuddle. He’ll spend his entire day next to me, close enough to keep me cozy. He doesn’t snore, hog the covers and never ever demands to hold the remote. He warms me up, when I need it and wicks away moisture when I break out in a sweat. He’s a regular miracle, my Johnny.

He’s not the sort of boyfriend you might imagine – one with a head and torso and all. He’s more like a virtual boyfriend, with slim, tapered and muscular legs – well, they would be if my Johnny had any real muscles. His are made out of things like Spandex and Lycra. They enable him to be an exceptional hugger – not too tight, not to loose. Like the baby bear’s porridge, Johnny is just right.

He’s helpful without being ostentatious or flamboyant. Practically no one is aware he’s even around. Let’s just say Johnny knows how to be there without being obvious about it, almost like he’s working undercover.

That’s how I like things. I don’t go around boasting or bragging about having a boyfriend. Usually. Except when I’m talking about my Johnny long john. He’s worth his weight in gold, or at least in advanced-performance water-resistant, antimicrobial, anti-pilling, poly-spandex, dry-wicking, microfiber fabric – which is exactly what he’s made of.

My husband has been completely understanding about my relationship with Johnny. He isn’t the least bit threatened and hasn’t displayed a speck of jealousy or anger. He appreciates my need to stay warm during the cold winter months and understands my infatuation with long johns. That’s the man I married. He’s loving, giving and kind. He’s just not Johnny.

Thank goodness.

Oh sure, my Johnny is great at keeping me warm, but beyond that, he’s not much more than a pile of polyester. Johnny is a uni-tasker, and he’ll never amount to anything more. For this reason, ours is a relationship of convenience – always has been, always will be.

When it comes right down to it, I need a real man. Someone who wears his own clothes, and not only has two feet, but is capable of standing up on them on his own. I need a guy who snores occasionally, sometimes hogs the covers, has a habit of holding the remote control and is never, ever too busy to kiss me goodnight. That pretty much fits my husband to a tee. What can I say? Between him and Johnny, I have the best of both worlds.

I am one lucky (not to mention warm) gal.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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By Ethan Pulliam, Texas

I came back into my dorm room feeling alright. My shoes were clean and the son was out. The girl I asked out didn‘t tell me she was busy. Everything was great. Hell, I was even lucky enough that my roommate, Mitch, wasn’t in the room.

I had no intention of doing homework so I logged into my computer to play some gangster rap music and chill out. Right after I pressed play on some old school Tupac, that little annoying paper clip that’s supposedly an office aid for Microsoft Word popped up.

“Your mouse seems to be working properly,” the paper clip informed me.

“Well, thanks,” I said out loud having no idea what was to come. I tried to right click on it to close it but the menu didn’t come up and the paper clip went away after a few seconds. I had the volume turned up pretty loud and about a minute later I was leaned back with my eyes shut when I heard WHOOSH!

“Your productivity is decreasing are you okay?”

My first reaction was to examine my crotch. “Well, everything seems to be in order.” Again Clippy disappeared. I opened up another tab to pay my bills and WHOOSH!

“Your typing speed is below average.”

“Now, I’m pissed.” I pressed F1 because that’s what usually brings up the paper clip in word and you can tell it to go away. WHOOSH!

“Your F1 key appears to be functioning properly.”


Every minute or so, WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!

With my day ruined I turned off the music and closed the internet, bills unpaid, and climbed into my bed to sleep. WHOOSH!

I don’t know what it said but that meant I forgot to turn down the volume. Mitch walked in. “SHUT UP!” I yelled at Clippy.

“Your mom’s a crack whore,” he said casually.

“Great, now there are two things I despise in my room. You and Clippy.”

WHOOSH! I looked at the screen.

“Would you like me to go away?”

I sprung out of bed and moved my mouse over the yes button just as he disappeared. I swore unintelligibly for a while.

“Did you put Clippy on my computer?”

“What do you mean?”

I explained everything to him.

“Wow, he talks better smack than you do,” Mitch said after seeing Clippy pop-up a few times.

“Only because he doesn’t have ears.”

Neither one of us knew what to do so we figured the best possible solution was to get in bed and go to sleep. I FORGOT THE STUPID VOLUME AGAIN!

Every few seconds WHOOSH! And to add insult to injury Mitch laughed hysterically every time he heard it despite the fact it was preventing him from sleeping which is the only thing he’s good at.

“Did you put this on there?” I asked.

“No,” he squeezed out in between his laughing.

Quite a few loud F-Bombs later I got out of bed and for whatever reason tried to pull up Word to see if I could get rid of Clippy. WHOOSH!

“Your keyboard is dirty. You should clean it.”

“You’re a jerk but your probably right.” I grabbed a towel and wiped it down. “WHERE THE HELL IS WORD!”

It wasn’t on my desktop, it wasn’t in the start menu, I couldn’t find it in My Computer, I COULDN'T FIND IT ANYWHERE! MY ANGRY YELLING WAS TURNING ME INTO THE GUY FROM POWER THIRST! Whoosh…

I’ve got a computer with a paper clip and no Word. How am I supposed to type my assignments? Do I have a virus? Am I going to have to buy another computer? I’m a college student; I can’t afford that. Finally, I did a search for Word in the start menu. I found it, but I also found a file titled ‘Readme’. So I got sidetracked and opened it. A window popped up.

YOU’VE BEEN CLIPP’D! I continued to read the bit on how “Clippy” is the new hilarious way to prank someone and blah, blah, blah.

I punched Mitch in the face.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Pride Goeth Before Reading Glasses
By Dorothy Rosby, South Dakota

I won't mention any names, but someone I'm married to has been known to misplace his glasses occasionally. I used be smug about this. I wore glasses or contacts since I was a child and I never misplaced them. That's because I never took them off.

At my first childhood eye exam, I couldn't read the Big E at the top of the eye chart without correction. You don't take off your eyewear when your vision is like mine used to be--except to shower. But now, thanks to the miracle of laser eye surgery, I scoff at the Big E, though I'm a little dismayed about how the inside of my shower looks.

After the surgery, I became even more self-righteous when my husband misplaced his glasses. I didn't need glasses at all anymore, except sunglasses. And, I kept it to myself when I misplaced those, which now that I think about it, was fairly often.

But the doctor had warned me that even laser surgery couldn't stop presbyopia, the clinical name for the eyes losing the ability to focus. It's the price we pay for surviving to middle age. (Just a portion of the price, as it turns out.)

Either he was right, or they're making phone book print smaller. And the 60 watt bulbs I use in my lamp aren't as bright as 60 watt bulbs used to be. And I can't read the menu when I go out for a candlelight dinner with my husband. Had I not been so smug every time he misplaced his glasses over the years, I could ask him to read it to me. Instead I order the special a lot more.

But the special isn't so special sometimes. So I finally invested in reading glasses with that same resignation you feel when you buy your first pair of pants with an elastic waistband--not that I've done that yet. And as one who once lived in glasses, I can say the best thing about reading glasses is that I don't need them all the time. And the worst thing about reading glasses is that I don’t need them all the time. If I needed them all the time, I would never put them down. And if I never put them down, I would never lose them.

What follows is a dramatization of how presbyopia could cure smugness--even as it destroys productivity. Let's say I have a headache from reading on the couch by a lamp that isn't as bright as it used to be. I curse myself for not using my reading glasses and go to the medicine cabinet for a pain reliever. I need readers to make out the dosage, but I'm thankful--and a little smug--that I still don't need them often.

Several days later, I go to make a phone call. After looking beside each of our five telephones, under our couch, and behind the hamster cage, I find a phone book. Unfortunately, I can't read it. I have no idea where my glasses are and I can't bring myself to ask my husband if he's seen them. So I ransack my office. I dig under the couch cushions. And I check by the lamp that isn't as bright as it used to be.

Finally I give up and ask my son with the 14-year-old eyes to read the number for me. The whole episode has given me a headache, so I go to the medicine cabinet for a pain reliever, and what do you know! There are my reading glasses. This is lucky because I can't read the dosage without them. One would think I'd remember, but apparently my vision isn't the only thing going.

There are three possible solutions to my problem. I could put a pair of reading glasses in every room where I typically use them. I could hang a pair around my neck. Or I could admit to my husband that I too am having trouble misplacing glasses and enlist his help.

I put a pair in each room.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Announcements On the PA System
By Lloyd S., New York

(Last name withheld by request.)

(Music) Baby, I need your lovin’.. Baby I need your lovin’ BEEP spill on aisle 10, cleanup on 10 please!

(Music) Baby, I need your BEEP Price check from produce at register 5 please!

(Music) Baby, BEEP We have an overflowing toilet in the women’s bathroom, maintenance please attend!

(Music) Baby, I need BEEP Sweet corn locally grown on my farm. Hi, I’m Farmer John from Corn Land Acres and I want to tell you BEEP The toilet still needs attention, Maintenance PLEASE ATTEND! (Music) lovin’… Baby, I BEEP Farmer John telling you about the sweetest corn in the BEEP Still waiting for the produce price check on 5 please!

(Music) Baby, I need BEEP Corn, let me finish telling you about my corn! BEEP Can your corn John. It’s the worst I’ve ever tasted!

(Music) Baby, I BEEP Code Red aisle 6, blind lady’s seeing eye dog bit a stock clerk, Code Red aisle 6!

(Music) Baby, I BEEP Lana report to aisle 6 please, Lana to aisle 6. Seeing eye dog impounded by police, Lana help the blind lady and drive her home. Get car keys from the dog!

(Music) Baby, I need BEEP Another Code Red aisle 6. Motorized shopping cart backed over blind lady, will somebody please attend!

(Music) Bab BEEP We have a special on Hemorrhoid Ointment in our pharmacy department. Only 4.99 for a 6 oz tube. Easy to use too, just apply to BEEP Shut up, you old bag! We have some real problems in this store and you’re jabbering about butt medicine. Doesn’t anybody listen to these announcements? BEEP Old bag am I? They don’t call you Miss-management for nothing lady, I quit!

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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First Grade Is Anything But Elementary
By Terri Spilman, Indiana

You can only get by in life for so long making off-the-cuff and, often times, inappropriate smart-ass remarks. Sooner or later, you find yourself surrounded by young, impressionable children. Children who are looking for answers to everyday questions that are essential to providing a solid foundation for becoming a reasonably intelligent human-being. Peel the sarcasm away and it's a real test to see if there's a smart banana inside. My sooner arrived when I became a volunteer in my daughter's 1st grade classroom and I quickly discovered that I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

The advances in curriculum for elementary school children over the past four decades is astounding. In 1st grade alone, the kids are writing books, reading above grade level, making "literary connections", learning "sparkle" words, giving presentations and taking weekly spelling tests. The only thing I remember about first grade is tasting some mint paste, loving the smell of freshly scented, warm ditto sheets and loosing a pair of burgundy orthopedic shoes in the snow - which my mother made the principal put out an APB to the entire school via the morning announcements in a mad search for my Lurch shoes.

Today during my volunteer time, the teacher asked me to work with a couple of the kids on homophones and their meanings. I'm thinking, wow, they are sure progressive teaching the children not to be afraid of gay people. Then she pointed out a few examples like "rye" and "wry", not "Rush" and "Limbaugh". Oh, homophones, not homophobes! If you're a dumbass like I am and wondering what a homophone is, they are words that sound the same but have different meanings.

As I started going over the words with the children, I came across a few that I had never heard of like "stile" and "gilt." Luckily, the definitions were included in the instructions. I could hide my lack of intelligence until I was asked by the kids to describe how the words are used in detail while providing examples. My memory gets a little foggy at this point, but I recall something about a zoo and a coin in my explanations. However, I had no problem citing an example of "style" not "stile," as my 1st grader asked me to change my maroon mock turtleneck prior to going to school because "the kids do not like that style." Unfortunately, my Hannah Montana hoodie was in the wash so I had to make do with my "in the elderly" sweater from Talbots.

In the afternoon, I made my way to the library for my biweekly volunteer shift. There's nothing like a well-read 4th grader to make you feel dumb as a box of rocks. I'm recommending Captain Underpants and Nancy Drew books to kids that have read through an entire list of New York Times bestsellers. Putting books back on the shelf is also a grand opportunity to realize that I still don't know how to count or alphabetize. After a solid hour of putting books away, I was pretty much ready to kick Dewy Decimal's ass when a book caught my eye entitled, "How To Raise A Gifted Child." As I scanned through each page I wondered, if I can barely pass 1st grade the second time around, is there still hope for my own child?

The good news is yes! Thank God genetics is only a portion of what makes a child gifted. According to the book, in addition to parental guidance and support, a good partnership with the teacher is also imperative. So I guess, even though I may not be able to pass some of the tests or define a few homophones, the most important thing is to be a part of the process. That, and now the homophone kids can imitate a great facial "tic" not "tick," thanks to yours truly.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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How Do You Know When You‘re "In the Elderly"?
By Terri Spilman, Indiana

"Silver Alert: We have a missing housewife. She's 5'5" tall, heavier than she looks, blonde hair with grey roots. Last seen careening down a hill in her old neighborhood riding a 21-speed bike. She's wearing a purple helmet, orange madras shorts and white Keds. Likely has bugs in her teeth. Family is anxious to find her because laundry is piling up and the refrigerator and pantry are empty."

My favorite part of the afternoon is picking up my six-year-old daughter from the bus stop and talking to her about her day at school. Recently, her big news of the day was learning the age of her first grade teacher. My daughter happily exclaimed that Mrs. H was 25 years old. I said, "Wow, she's young. Do you know that I am old enough to be her mother?" She responded with a laugh, "Are you kidding me?" Then, I took the analogy one step further and said, "Now I'm really gonna blow your mind. Do you know that I am old enough to be a grandma?" Her jaw dropped and she had a look of astonishment on her face. After a few seconds of silence she asked hesitantly, "Are you in the elderly?"

Elderly?! I'm only 47 years old! Then I panicked as I realized that I'm a lot closer to 65 than 21. I also started thinking about how old I look and how old I act. You're only as old as you feel right? Well, think again. If you are showing any of these tell-tale signs, you may be "in the elderly."

You can't text without your reading glasses. It's just a fact of life after you turn 40. I'm not being rude by not responding right away. I just can't see a damned thing.

You wear street clothes when you exercise. I have a bad habit of leaving my street clothes on when I take a bike ride around the neighborhood. My street clothes are flanked by my purple bicycle helmet circa 1990. As I rode up to a circle of neighbors during a recent evening gab fest, my husband made a joke because my helmet sits on top of my head like a mushroom. But safety comes first and I am too damned cheap to invest in some modern safety gear. My route is mostly downhill (translated: little peddling means little sweating) so I really don't see the need to dress for the Tour de France.

You shop at Talbots. The advertisements say, Talbots is the classics. I've always been a sucker for a cute sweater set. Yes, you may see some of the patterns on your dining room wallpaper or on an old couch, but they are classic and they fit. Perhaps I would do more shopping at Bebe or Ann Taylor if they weren't embarrassed to stock sizes larger than an 8 on the floor.

You make references to old TV shows. It's not like I'm constantly referring to Vaudeville, but I do make a lot of references to classic television shows from the 60's and 70's. I once had a momentary lapse of memory at a bank drive-thru window. After getting frustrated with the clerk about not being able to pull up my account, I finally figured out that I was at the wrong bank. During my mea culpa, I asked the clerk if Allen Funt was going to jump out. This twenty-something had no clue I was referring to the host of Candid Camera.

You start repeating yourself on Facebook. It's only a matter of time before I start retelling stories on Facebook, only to have some young punk - who I accepted their Friend Request in a weak moment - point out that I need to magnify my screen so I can see what I'm typing. Tuff Noogies Bucko! I can post the same story as many times as I like. Put that in your Friend Finder and smoke it! (Warning: Using phrases such as Tuff Noogies Bucko can also place you "in the elderly".)

Since I’m showing all of the tell-tale signs of being "in the elderly," I’d better pull out the Polident, take a Doan's Pill and get to bed early. Us elderly people need our rest.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Letter Of Recommendation
By Thomas Wheeler, Texas

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138

Re: Letter of Recommendation


I am writing this letter on behalf of Jennifer B. who appeared in my court as a defendant in a drug possession case earlier this week. It struck me, as she testified ad nauseam about her plans for the future, that Jennifer would be a fine candidate for admission to your university. I herein list the reasons for that belief:

1. The admission of this young lady would go far toward meeting your institutional goal of increased diversity among the student body. I doubt you currently have many students with sixteen facial piercings. I suspect you have enrolled very few single mothers with three kids by three different daddies, none of which are presently un-incarcerated (the daddies, not the children). I doubt your student body sports many self-taught art experts. (Jennifer personally designed the dragon-eating-Jesus tattoo running up her right arm.)

2. Jennifer is goal-driven. Why, just over the past two months, she saved enough from her government checks to buy a new patio set from Big Lots. (She says it looks great in her living room.) Next hoped-for goal: To get the tattoo of “Lalo” removed from her neck since that sorry, no-good $%!# knocked her up and left her for that fat ho, Cynthia.

3. Jennifer has great self confidence. She has historically been smarter than her mother, her teachers, Child Protective Services investigators, the cops, all those damn court appointed attorneys and her probation officers. Her quick wit allowed her to materially change her story three times while testifying this week.

You might be concerned regarding her educational deficiencies. She was, however, “this close” to finishing tenth grade and, except for all those attendance and student conduct requirements, would have accomplished this feat. I hope you will accept, as a substitute for formal schooling, her years of practical experience with chemistry, marketing and the theatrical arts. She is also an expert in a language that apparently calls for the speaker to address a judge as “bro.”

Jennifer has it all. Please…get her out of my community.

Very truly yours,

Judge…John Doe

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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