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Pardon the repetitive Christmas theme but I am a tad excited. After all, there are houses vomiting twinkling lights everywhere I go!  Blessed old time it is.

As much as I love Christmas (and I do! I do!) there are some maniacs out there who love it a little too much. I am happy to pop the reindeer antlers and red nose on my car. I am overjoyed to listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album over and over again, I love Christmas shopping but that’s where I draw the line.

On the extras section of the Elf dvd, there’s some disturbing footage of Christmas nutters. There’s one lady dressed up in a snowman outfit to be in the christmas nutter documentary on christmas nutters. Dressed in her flammable outfit, she decides to light 15 candles telling the producers to put her out if she catches on fire. Nu-t-ter!

Then there’s the sweet grandpa who makes all his decorations and the buxom lady who has stuffed her front yard full of tacky looking things including a train which has the 101 dalmatians locked in a cage. Her husband keeps saying that her ‘thing’ was to give the little kiddies miniature candy canes, like he was embarrassed about such an outrageous gesture.

The funniest creatures were so into Christmas that they all wore red for the interview. The mother being the main culprit claims she spends 8 hours a day for 30 days decorating the house. Jeepers. She has tiny little towns from all over the world set up on a table supported by a massive JOY! Their house is the ultimate in obsessive christmasness. I’m not sure how involved the grown up daughter or the husband were but they wore the red… just as they were told.

I love taking the kids through those obsessive christmas streets with the massive amounts of lights, dancing Santas and music. There is something magical about it; bringing the community together in a happy kinda way. But it is always good for people to know their limits, otherwise it just seems plain sad.

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It happens. You bought a dodgy present. We all understand. It was a last minute panic present. It was probably for the person that has everything and needs nothing. Perhaps it was a pair of oversized undies or a Danoz Direct miracle bra.

Well, if you’re well aware of the deadline of Christmas and have absolutely no ideas for those relatives that are impossible to buy for, here’s a few tips that will keep you in their good books with that perfect present.

  1. Second hand undies (here I go again), swimmers or gym wear are always a bad idea. If you’re going to go pre-loved focus on furniture and perhaps take the time to repaint or repair.
  2. If in doubt buy a gift card, preferably one that includes a range of stores.
  3. Think before you buy. Does the person really love Horror films or is that just you? Are you buying them liquorice so you can eat it? Try and remember conversations, their homes, their cars, shared experiences and you’ll be fine.
  4. Clothing is always risky. Make sure your taste matches theirs or you will be on the receiving end of the raised eyebrows, fake smile response. And that’s just awkward for everyone.
  5. Avoid inappropriate presents: ie Lingerie for the mother in law, a Weight Watchers voucher for anyone, an R rated film for the 14 year old nephew, Cosmo subscription for the 5 year old niece or ‘Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus’ for the couple that is always fighting.
  6. Be generous but not OTT (over the top). This is not a time to be competitive. Bigger is not always better. Some of the best presents are the cheapest but mean the most because of the thought put into it! So chill, think and enjoy.
  7. On the other hand, cheap is not always the best. $2 shops are great for stocking stuffers but not the main present. Stuff from these shops break… on Christmas day… not a good feeling.
  8. Cooking is great but be aware of allergies, diets and tastes.
  9. Novelty is great if you pick the right person. But these presents are only good for a moment’s giggle so choose carefully. Cos you know they’re just going to end up at the Op Shop.
  10. Re-gifting is a definite no-no. That is unless it’s an awesome item you already have a hundred of and you know, that you know that you KNOW who gave it to you!

Anyhoo, that’s my top ten no-no’s of Christmas. What is the worst present you’ve ever received?

 

<a href="Feet by Petr Kratochvil”>

Image by Petr Kratochvil

Though I am a bit of a night owl, I know when I’m getting sick. I feel really, ridiculously tired, my large feet drag and my little toe always seems to trip me up!

My eyes fade and my skin turns yellow. And the eyes! Don’t mention the eyes. My already dark eyes grow stormy… underneath. The blackness rears its ugly, putrid face and I know uh-ho, something is not right!

Yep I’ve been sick and I’ve noticed that I do and feel funny things when I am taken down by the foul, stinking mucous bug thing. I made a list! Wanna see? Ok.

  1. First I noticed that I became irritable at the most irrational things. First it was a certain someone’s toes! Not the smell or cleanliness factor but the appearance. How dare those toes have that weird triangle shape! And the toe nails! Double ridiculous. Annoying. Hil-bloody-larious! I gave myself a mental forehead slap and moved on with my day.
  2. On the flip side, things that used to annoy me didn’t so much. We all know how irritating a dripping tap can be. Especially when it is constantly dolloping into a half filled cup. Or a toilet running! Geesh what a waste of water… c’mon people, hold down the button! But when I was sick, the toilet ran (LET IT RUN) and the tap dripped (DRIP AWAY MY LOVELY) and I didn’t care, couldn’t care!
  3. In my floppy state I found myself watching animated movies with my kids. I’m talking a whole Tinkerbell movie here. From credits to credits. Usually I take the opportunity to fold clothes or blog or do the darn dishes but stripped of all energy the house sagged with clean and dirty clothes and dishes and, yep once again, I didn’t care! Kinda freeing.
  4. Ah words! It’s funny how you can go from typing umpteen words per minute with minimum mistakes (puff on nails, shine on shirt) to typing like a 6 year old when you’ve had a few days off, a whole heap of medicine and a foggy brain. Takes a while to get your mojo back. So with foggy brain in tow, today I’ve tried to get back on that bike and ride once more into the sunset! (and yes I did just try and type suncet). Eeeek. Brain come baaaacccckkk!
What kinda sick person are you? Funny, grumpy, active or floppy? Or something entirely different?

Ah, if only we could, if only we would… would we? There are so many parenting taboos out there. What would happen if we broke them all? Dream with me.

Kids being hassled at school? The Politically Incorrect Parent (PIP) would march into the playground and follow the bully around for the day. She (cos it would be the mother would it not?) would sit in the kid’s circle at recess, lunchtime, join in with a game or two of Star Wars and sit in a rather undersized chair in class. She would glare at the child and if she sees anything bully-wise, she would stand over the child, poke him or her in the shoulder and stand up for her own child, in a way that only she knows how.

A PIP will point out a booger on any child any time. And if a kid has two stripes of gooey green snot running out of the nose, watch out parents, our beady eyed PIP will call you on it pronto. And no, the PIP does not wipe other children’s noses, bottoms or ooey gooey eyes. And if your kid has nits, the PIP may buy you a nit comb or treatment just to get you going.

Before any playdate, the PIP will ask about the health of your child in the last 24 hours. She will need a doctor’s certificate saying that the kid is no longer contagious, especially when it comes to gastro. No, parents, 3 hours after the last vomit won’t do. The PIP requires a good 12-24 hours vomit free for her precious darling to hang out with your post-vomitous child.

The PIP teaches her child self-defense. This is divided into two sections: school and stranger danger. For school, the good old push on the shoulder is popular or, if it’s a girl, a drag by the hair if things get serious. Stranger danger focuses more on the ‘soft’ spots on the body where you can really get an attacker. She neatly choreographs it, so that it will come natural to her darlings. She also gives her children screaming lessons. When to scream high pitch and when to growl like a pit bull terrier.

A good PIP will provide a written document full of comebacks they can use in various situations in the school playground; such as: “Oh you are!” OR “My dad’s better than yours” OR “Is that your butt or your face?” OR “You must suck at baseball!” OR “You look like a moose!”. Very clever indeed. There’s nothing like a PIP family brainstorm to get the really good comebacks happening.

In the post-political world that we live in, it is vital for the PIP to take a stand and educate her fellow parents in the ways of the PIP. To all the PIPs out there, what have you done to teach your friends the art of Politically Incorrect Parenting? Do share (hands rubbing together excitedly).

Image by Mcginnly

No one likes to make a fool of themselves. You either end up laughing at yourself or crying at your lack of gracefulness. The funniest scenes in movies are when people fall or stick their tongue on icy metal objects, or when animals attack … basically when the unexpected happens, people laugh.

There are a few moments in my life when I’ve felt the fool. My big feet have let me down or my lack of spacial awareness has caused me strife. It’s not pretty. I’m not all that proud but I can look back (now that I’m alone and haven’t done anything too silly lately) and laugh.

ROME: Smack bang in the middle of our 5 month saunter around the globe, I stacked it. Our friends were staying in a hotel with a marble staircase (oo la la… not really). It was their last night in the ancient city and we were young, free and having fun. I was so excited that my reef shoes and I slipped, bumpity bump on my bum down the stairs. It was like slow motion… donk…. donk… donk… splat. Red-faced, I stood up… “I’m ok.. ha ha…hmmm… I think”. I realised that we had weeks of walking, carrying a massive backpack, ahead of us and despair set in. Luckily a lovely waiter at our restaurant understood us sufficiently to grab me some ice and my ankle was ok! I was OK!

SCHOOL: Year 11. 17 years old. Shortish skirt. In the middle of the whole school. Yes I did! We had been sitting on some gravelly cement for ages and unbeknownst to me my leg had fallen asleep. So I stood up, fully confident that my limbs would work and then.. you know that oh-o moment when the unexpected is about to happen? I lunged in front of me and hoped that my sleepy leg would not be noticed by too many people. Much shaking of the leg ensued and my pride was saved.

PARENT’S HOUSE: Talk about sleepy legs. Fast forward ten years. Hubby and I were on lounges facing each other. I had been watching my beloved Gilmore Girls on my laptop (legs crossed, laptop resting on crossed legs) when I decided to get up!  BOTH my legs had fallen asleep and I fell forward, unable to hold myself up, right onto the feet of hubby and into his lap. I couldn’t stop laughing but I had unfortunately injured hubby man so he wasn’t as amused. Oops. Still makes me laugh to this day.

BEDROOM: So, I was being a good little housewife, going through my messy draw when it happened. I decided to put the rather heavy drawer on my bed to get stuck into it. Not sure what I was thinking at the time but I placed the drawer too close to the end of my bed. I then sat down behind it thinking there was heaps of space then I found myself balancing on my bottom on the corner of my bed. For a second I didn’t know what I was going to do. To fall or not to fall? FALL! Luckily I wasn’t injured just highly amused. Sad that no one saw me in my slapstick brilliance, I ran out to tell hubby who didn’t quite get how funny the moment was. No one could have I guess, except for me.

SON: And so the cycle continues. When my son was 2 he started his performance career. He’d often stand on a stool and sing songs like “Jump down now!” (and then he’d jump down). One time he was being a silly monkey in the bathroom. I had just told him not to jump around the bathroom as it’s not fun to fall on when it happened. He did his classic “Jump Down Now!” jumped down, put his hand on the clothes hamper, the lid fell in and he followed. This is a tall hamper so all I could see were these little legs running in mid-air. He was crying. I was laughing. I had my baby girl in my arms so I couldn’t fish him out immediately so he was left there in the dark, running on air until I put baby girl down. Still laughing, him still crying I fished him out and gave him a big cuddle. It was a proud moment.

'Truth' by Olin Warner

Some say truth is subjective. That your truth is yours and mine is mine. I heard of a story once of a woman who was at a supermarket check out with her small son. He was throwing lollies and the like off the shelf and the shop assistant went tell him not to. The mother saw what was going to happen and chimed in with,” Oh, please, don’t tell him what to do, we’re practicing free-range parenting.” A moment later a man, who was standing behind the woman poured a whole carton of milk over her head. He said, “Sorry, I was raised by free-range parents”.

You see the whole subjective truth thing doesn’t really work. There must be rules, there has to be right and wrong or else chaos will rule the world. Kids are great at knowing the rules and eagerly pointing out when someone is breaking them. My son constantly lets me know when I’m doing something I shouldn’t, especially at school. However, there’s a fine line between being an upstanding member of the community, upholding the rules and just being a dibber dobber.

And you have to know when it’s ok to stand up for the truth and how to do that with tact. It’s knowing what is important and what is not. There’s some things you just have to let go and we can’t all be policemen busting the bad guys. Sometimes people just have to be left to dig their own ‘graves’. Consequences baby! Eventually life will catch up with them. They may end up being lonely because of poor behaviour or unhappy because of selfishness. You just need to know when to give a hoot.

Justice is important to me. I can’t stand bullies. To the point where if I see a plant being overtaken by a ravenous weed, I have to fight for the poor thing and rip the bully off its neck! Bit silly really, but it illustrates my point! Likewise, I will almost literally kick the butt of a child who picks on my kids! Political correction and law suit be damned! No one bullies my kids!

Passion is a great thing, especially in situations of injustice but one must be careful not to overdo it! Once again, balance is my best friend, every time! Thinking before acting has had to be moulded over time. It doesn’t come naturally. Survival instincts with a touch of protectiveness is more the go with me! So I’ve learnt to pick my battles, be patient and let life teach people instead of the all-wise, all-knowing me doing it! Ha ha!

Yep. It’s easy to be arrogant and think you know everything. At the same time, permissiveness doesn’t help any one. That is why we have rules and guidelines to make sure everyone in this world gets a fair go. I just wish it worked better for the little people.

I once sneezed in a lecture hall and no one looked my way. It got me thinking. Sneezing is acceptable but if I shouted as loud as I sneezed all would turn around, stare and question my sanity. How funny is our world?

I wonder if there are places where spontaneous shouting is the norm? Perhaps sneezing is frowned upon? The body does funny things… like farting. Every child finds fart jokes so tummy-splittingly funny. And every adult with even a mild sense of humour cracks a smile when the word ‘fart’ is uttered. It’s a funny word for a ridiculous bodily function. FART! Girls fart too, did you know? And I find it’s best to fart when someone is talking about trumpets or baddies or wind. Because it makes it even funnier… or is it just me?

Burping is less funny because it is a controlled thing. You can burp for attention and it doesn’t come out of your bottom, so the funny-o-metre would rank it low on laughs. Sneezing is funny, especially in kids who don’t know how to do it politely. And then for the adults there’s all kinds of sneezes: tiny, lady sneeze; spray sneeze; loud-echo-around-the-neighbourhood sneeze, cough-sneeze, silent sneeze, silencer-sneeze (the one you try to hold in but escapes nonetheless). Hilarious!

On the other hand being smelly is not funny. Deodorant was invented for a reason as were baths, showers, shower gel, shampoo and Glen-20. No one wants to walk into a bathroom and faint. We’re delicate creatures these days, so please do your best and use what is available to smell like roses (or good man smell).

Which brings me to hiccups… (great segue no?). They would have to be the funniest, most frustrating, uncontrollable bodily function (correct me if I’m wrong). What are hiccups? According to the internet, is when the diaphragm contracts over and over again, closing the vocal cords, making the hiccup sound. It can be caused by allergic reactions, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, eating too fast or MORE! It can make you hurl, burp or cause major frustration, cos you know that there are no cures in most cases, except for time. And, mostly the people who find hiccups hilarious are the onlookers not the sufferers themselves.

Ah, the human body; a complex combination of ick and oooo. It can be wildly beautiful and overtly disgusting. It can cause poets to poem and writers to swoon but at the end of the day, what goes in must come out. What could be funnier than that?

God bless our Japanese friends!

 

There’s nothing wrong with being a bit quirky. However, there is a line; one that must not be crossed. For this is a place where muttering cat ladies and boofy hair, blue eyeshadow and fake eyelash-ed women dwell.

Ho ho, no. I like to think I am only part ‘nutter’. I love thinking outside the box; going where the truly sane are scared to go. However, it can go either way. ‘Nutter’ can potentially come off as immature or silly if it is presented in a high pitched and overly excited way. Or it can be totally inappropriate. I have taken a trial-and-error approach to my nutter-hood-dom. Which means there have been many, many times where I have heard nothing but crickets and seen nothing but polite, horizontal smiles. Beetroot!

For example, one day I decided to go through my junk drawer. This drawer is a heavy, old fashioned thing that requires two handed and straight backed, bended knees lifting. And so I lifted the darn thing onto my bed to start the annual purge. Unfortunately, I placed the drawer too close to the end of my bed so that when I sat down I started to teeter on the back corner. Legs were held mid-air, arms were making circles as I tried to balance; “woooow, woooow!” It was like slow motion. I then fell from my fairly high bed onto the floorboards. As I was not hurt I ran into my husband’s studio and retold the story; proud of how funny I was. I quickly realised however, that the event was much funnier for me than for him. Again, beetroot.

The bonus about being only partly nutterfied is that in sensible times, people are not surprised when you have a clumsy moment, as they think you are being funny; a huge cover up! One of my best and most painful clumsy moments came

Image by Smatprt

in a performance at University. We had an audience watching us perform a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In rehearsals there was nothing behind the curtain but as I (a hilarious character) ran behind the curtain to get to the other side of the stage, I realised with a ‘thud’ that some smart person had placed a black, wooden stage rise behind the curtain. My shins were hammered. In my tutor’s comments he said he loved the part where I fell over backstage, it brought out the humour in the scene. Ta da! And again, cover up, beetroot and massive shin bruise and bleed.

I wear the badge, the label, ‘Part Nutter’, with much pride. However, I do fear that as I age and the mind starts deteriorating, that I will slide into the complete Nutter category. So please, if you see me on the slippery slope down into that fearful place, be a pal and lift me out!

Murder, betrayal, blunt trauma, guns, blood. I’m talking thriller baby. According to a UK survey, women are abandoning the romantic novel for the thriller genre. According to the Telegraph’s article, no one wants a happy ending anymore. It makes my mouth curl.

Look at tv. At the risk of sounding old here, tv is going to the dogs. It just gets worse every time I turn it on. Murder, pale bodies, impaled abdomens, abductions. Perhaps real life is boring. Nothing shocks us anymore. Or do we need to be exposed to shocking stories to make our own dull lives look better? Perhaps a little escapism for your Friday night viewing?

There’s something beautiful about purity; not in a strict, self denying, controlling, only wear white way. It’s about embracing a green mind. Why are we content to pollute our heads with disturbing images and stories? There are some things we just don’t need to know.

Why have women switched from happy to horrific stories? Are we tired of sugar sweet romantic tales with predictable endings? These can be comforting and beautiful. You can relax in the knowledge that yes, Mr Darcy will end up with Elizabeth, even when all seems lost. This knowledge helps you relax and enjoy the story; you know that everything is going to be ok.

On the other hand, thrillers take you on an adventure, you never know how it’s going to end or what shocking secrets are just around the corner. And with the modern novel, the main character isn’t guaranteed to make it to the end, so anything can happen.

For me, I like witty romantic novels: mix a litre of humour, a dash of shocking behaviour, two cups of the dramatic and half a teaspoon of creativity; a perfect story. I could read a thousand books built on this recipe and still be satisfied. This is why I simply cannot get enough of Gilmore Girls. I can go on and on and on and on and on and on about that show but it just ticks all the boxes: humour – tick, quirky – tick, drama – tick, happy ending – tick, lovable characters – tick. A fun, fun, deep, moving show. Say no more.

I am content to be uncool. I will buck the yuck novel trend and walk to the beat of my own literature drum (I wonder what that would actually look like?). I am more than happy with full circle, satisfying stories, that end with a smile, with reconciliation and the world once more as it should be.

There’s a youtube guru who sits at my breakfast table in a beanie. He sips his morning coffee and chomps down on his weetbix. His mornings are yellow. They are easy and clean and bright. He loves them. This is his time to shine. Which really means one thing, the singlet dance.

This youtube guru loves to entertain. He loves to compete with his female counterpart to see who can be the funniest. He has a trick he loves to do where a coin mysteriously travels up his arm and into the opposite hand. His other crowd pleaser is where he stands behind a door, with his head peeking around and uses his hand to grab his head and yank it out of sight. Classic guru stuff.

Another fav is where he pretends to be on an escalator as he moves out of a room; small potatoes really. Other entertaining acts include the pony ride, the rumble and of course the extreme hammock swing. He is not limited to extreme sports, however. Oh no. He covers both the macro and the micro.

He cannot help but do the farty hand trick on a daily basis. This was passed on to him from his lovely grandfather, Morty, so it’s a bit special. Put two hands together, catch some air in the middle and pump. Soon you will be delighting your own crowd with uncouth sounds.

The final genre of entertainment is music. He brings much joy to the very local children by trying to outdance his Mrs. This requires some Bon Jovi, Credence or ACDC. His act usually consists of some heavy air guitar mixed with some classic moves from musical theatre. For this, he usually wears a black beanie, white singlet and jeans with cuffs. Think a really bad West Side Story impression. But top marks for effort.

To the youtube guru who sits at my breakfast table, thanks for the fun, entertainment and competition. I hope that you can find it in yourself to come up with some new moves for the new decade.

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