He is a contractor; he lives somewhere in Multnomah County; and he has the same cell phone number that I do.
The calls started about a month ago, presumably about the time “Larry” got his contractor’s license and began making bids. Since then, he has been a busy man, picking up jobs and making sure that his clients know they can call him any time. Day or night. For any reason at all.
Which they do — to my cell phone.
The Hansons, for example, call whenever they change their mind about what color tile to use around the bidet in their new bathroom. For the Gilmores, deciding between cedar shakes or aluminum siding requires at least one consultation a day. And the Reyboulds are still contemplating the ripple effect of kitchen cabinets without knobs. Mrs. Reybould thinks knobs would make their kitchen look more inviting; Mr. Reybould believes not having knobs would stymie their 2-year-old and keep him out of the cabinets for at least another year. Continue reading Hello: My name isn’t Larry
I have a friend in Atlanta who I consider an astute observer. The kind of person who is aware of even the most subtle changes in routine or appearance. Which is why it came as no surprise when I received the following e-mail from him:
I think they shrunk my toilet paper.
According to “Derf” (Note: Out of respect for his privacy I have created a fictitious name that should not be held up to a mirror), his recent purchase of Scott toilet paper seemed “more narrow than normal.”
Because many of you are probably reading this over breakfast, I will not explain how he reached this conclusion, nor will I ever be caught without two-ply toilet paper should he come to visit. What I will tell you is that, after reading about his deductive process, I felt a need to go clean my hands, which I did, by dipping them in kerosene and lighting them on fire. Continue reading Don’t panic: It’s just your toilet paper getting smaller
During the next few weeks, every high school senior who plans to attend a four-year college will sit in a room with dozens of other nervous seniors and be handed a 300-pound Scholastic Aptitude Test. Shortly thereafter, each student will open the exam to page one and choose between a) continuing on with the test, or b) sticking a No. 2 pencil in their eye. That’s because they’ll be answering questions they wouldn’t otherwise face without at least one “lifeline” and a chance to win $1 million.
The reason it’s important to do well on the SATs is because your score tells colleges how smart you are. The smarter you are, the better your chances of getting into a prestigious university because, let’s face it: The last thing any university wants is a bunch of dumb students who need to be educated, even if they are paying $40,000 a year toward a degree which, in many cases, still won’t provide them with their most valuable document — a food handler’s card. Continue reading Got the late shift at Denny’s? Compare SAT scores with ‘Mr. Sizzles’
As you’ve probably discovered, we have entered the annual “awards show” season, which officially began with the Golden Globe Awards, and is due to wrap up some time in April, when David Hasselhoff hosts the coveted Intoxicated Karaoke Performance Awards live from Tijuana, Mexico.
Every year, I watch at least some of these awards shows because, as a columnist, it’s important for me to keep up with cultural trends. I also watch because seeing Nicki Minaj always makes me feel better about the way I dress. However, according to a recent poll, ratings for awards shows have actually dropped. So much so that programming executives are calling it “an alarming trend.”
Anyone who has read my “About” page knows that, in addition to being a humor columnist, I’m also a volunteer firefighter — a subject I have purposely avoided in my columns because, let’s face it:
Entering a burning structure with someone who writes about glow-in-the-dark mice isn’t exactly reassuring.
For this reason, I have tried hard to separate my two pursuits. As I’ve discovered, this is a little like trying to separate marshmallows using a blow torch; the longer you keep at it, the more they blend together.
The truth is, once the emergency is over, firefighters are funny — which is why, after three years, many are still asking, “Why haven’t you written about being a firefighter yet?”
We all make mistakes. The difference is, when you make one, you probably don’t get contacted by someone from the American Chiropractic Association in Arlington, Virginia.
Or maybe you do.
In which case you may want to consider folding up this newspaper right now and going in for an adjustment.
But, unless you mistakenly informed readers that last month was “National Correct Posture Month” when, in fact, we’re all free to slouch until May, I’m guessing you’ve never gotten an e-mail from Angela Kargus, Communications and Public Relations Manager for the ACA.
There are two things I know about Angela:
1) She is very nice.
2) She probably has excellent posture.
As a journalist, I’m trained to recognize even the most subtle signs of trouble.
A misspoken word.
A reluctant glance.
A gang of monkeys destroying a library.
Thanks to my training and experience — and several highlighted newspaper clippings sent in by concerned readers following last week’s column about crazed squirrels — I have painstakingly pieced together what I, as a member of the conservative media, believe is undeniable evidence that animals are planning to take over the world. Continue reading Good reasons to avoid any monkey with a pet Chihuahua
Being a journalist, I naturally have journalist friends who, whenever we get together, want to talk about (yawn) heady issues facing the nation and the world. This is done in a discussion format similar to “Meet the Press,” except that our debates are often interrupted by someone’s beer getting knocked over. Aside from that, it’s just like the show on TV. As you can imagine, our exchanges get pretty heated as each of us presents an important topic of debate.
What is our stance on the Middle East?
Should we overhaul social security?
How do we deal with North Korea?
Or, as I challenged:
Why does the new Bugs Bunny look like he’s been shooting steroids with Jose Canseco?
There are times when, as a columnist, I am faced with the difficult decision of choosing between two equally important topics in order to meet my deadline.
Then there are times like this when, thanks to years of experience and accidentally consuming a quadruple espresso meant for the person next to me at Starbuck’s, I realize both topics can be combined into a single, well-structured piece of journalism.
Which is why, today, we will be talking about how to prepare for holiday shopping with the help of Bigfoot.
As some of you may have heard, a hiker in Utah recently posted video of what appears to be Bigfoot rummaging through the brush.
In addition, some of you may have heard about Thanksgiving.
Technically speaking, I’m still writing it. However, given the volume of cold medication I have consumed, and keeping in mind that I have finally given in and, as a time saving measure, moved my workstation to the commode, there’s a good chance my current location is exactly where this column is headed. Making matters worse, the laptop I’m using is about 10 years old. Getting it open was like shucking a Pismo clam. After opening it, I realized it’s the very same model that caused panic aboard a flight to Miami when it overheated and singed the thighs of an intoxicated businessman.
True, I am not on a plane. Yet there are still some frightening similarities: