Ten Commandments for Elevators

ten-commandments.jpgA former controversy in metro was whether or not the Ten Commandments should be posted in public buildings. Now most people probably figured the question of separation of church and state was pretty much resolved a long time ago, but I live in Tennessee, after all, where the question of teaching evolution is still controversial in some circles.

So proponents of a Ten Commandments Law thumped their Bibles, while opponents thumped the First Amendment, and all of them thumped the lawmakers.

Nobody asked me, as usual. But if they had, I would have said that the movie has been on rerun for years. What we really need to have posted in our public buildings is something less controversial like the Ten Commandments for Elevators.

1. Thou shalt avoid eye contact with thy fellow riders. Thou shalt look at the floor indicator, at the door, or at thy feet, but never at the other people in the elevator.

2. Thou shalt expect the elevator to stop at every floor if thou art in a hurry. (God hath borrowed this law from Murphy.)

3. Thou shalt not snooze or thou wilst miss thy floor.

4. Thou shalt not take in vain the name of the fat lady with the large purse, big lunch and tote bag.

5. Thou shalt not kill the person who getteth on with a mail cart and runneth over thy toe.

6. Remember to letteth the elevator door close and to not holdeth the elevator door open to visit with thy neighbors.

7. Thou shalt always face frontwards instead of towards the back – unless thou art on candid camera.

8. Thou shalt not make jokes about elevators getting stuck.

9. Thou shalt never press a button for a floor other than thy own. Elevators do not haveth an “undo” button.

10. Thou shalt not let thy wet umbrella drip in thy neighbor’s shoe; however, that is better than letting it drip in thine own shoe.

Now if anybody wants to lobby a councilman to introduce this bill, you have my permission. However, I’m really not interested in waiting around for that and if you need me, you can find me outside chiseling some stone tablets.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss


Posted in Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Of Boys and Red Balloons


Mylar balloons on ceiling | Jekemp | flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 – 2-12-05

It all started when I walked into Walmart and found that the store had sprouted a forest of helium Mylar balloons overnight. I was an easy mark and quickly joined the hoard of impulse buyers.  Who could resist the shinny dancing globes?

“I must have one,” I thought.  “No, I must have two, one each of my grandchildren.”  I felt rather silly in the checkout line with two balloons floating over my basket, but after all, the balloons were for sale.  How else could you buy one?

I’ve never been able to figure out just how they get the helium in those silvery Mylar balloons. They seal them and fasten them to the string with a plastic clip.  The balloons are then anchored with a plastic disk on the opposite end of the string, making them too heavy to float away if the young owner lets go of the string.

The balloons floated around cheerfully in the car as I drove home.  One was bright metallic red and the other was pink with X’s and O’s decorating it. They were so pretty I was almost sorry I didn’t get one for myself.

My granddaughter is only five months old, and I knew this would be her first balloon.  Babies like looking at bright objects.  I knew she would become excited when she saw it and smile her toothless smile.

“Who are those balloons for?” asked my grandson when I drove up in the driveway, already anticipating my answer.

“One is for you and one is for your baby cousin.”

“Can I have the red one?” He eagerly claimed his prize and I went inside the house. It was hardly any time at all until I heard screams of anguish.  “Oh, no, what’s wrong?” I went to check and found my grandson holding an empty string and looking skyward. The string had come loose from the balloon and it had zoomed away to freedom in the upper stratosphere.  He sobbed helplessly as he watched it go higher and higher.

Promises were made to replace the balloon with another just like it.  After all, it wasn’t his fault that the balloon detached itself from the string. Another trip to Walmart, another balloon purchase, and smiles were restored. Unbelievably, however, the second balloon also failed to survive. It too escaped its string and a second balloon went to eternity before making it inside the house.

“This is getting ridiculous,” said my daughter holding up the two empty strings.  “I’m going to complain.”  She took the empty strings, my grandson, and shortly thereafter came home with yet another balloon. “They replaced it because it was defective,” she said, but the sales person had a hard time not laughing.

Since the balloon was replaced for free, my grandson had decided to upgrade to a Scooby-Doo balloon, slightly larger, and slightly more expensive. Little did I know that balloon buying was going to become a full-time affair.

We finally learned that a balloon string is not to be trusted. Scooby-Doo was held by the balloon instead of the string until he was safely in the house.  Two lost balloons are enough for one day.

For some odd reason my granddaughter’s pink balloon was fine.  It seems that only red balloons are defective.  Maybe it’s something in their genes that make them restless.

If you should see a shiny red balloon floating in the clouds, please wave as it passes by.  It is an escape artist that has renounced its home to wander the world and explore high places.

One day the grandchildren will also break their strings and go off into the world to find a life of their own.  Maybe the loss of a balloon is not such a big thing after all.

However, from now on I think I’ll just stick to buying clothes, books, and teddy bears. Balloons are way too complicated.

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss
Posted in Family, Holidays, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wishes and Kisses

img_1713While most women want something romantic and nice for Valentine’s Day, my expectations are considerably lower. What I would really like is a nice dinner out somewhere, some place that has waiters and dim lights and where you don’t have to drive-thru and yell your order into a speaker.

Apparently, other women have expectations that are more materialistic. On the radio this morning they were advertising a Hunk of Love Vermont Teddy Bear, a steal at $99. If a man gave me a $99 teddy bear, I would think that cupid has shot him between the eyes — and if not, he should.

My honey’s idea of an appropriate gift usually varies greatly, somewhere between a card and jewelry. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? Of course, if he happens to think of something with diamonds, that is okay with me. But, please, no pajama-gram. Apparently, most women feel the same way as I’ve heard no ads at all for pajama-grams this year.

Of course, the real purpose of Valentine’s Day is not to buy a stupid gift. It is to express your love and affection. I saw of list of thing on the Internet that do not cost anything. One was to write a romantic message or draw a heart on the bathroom mirror. If he decides to do this, let’s hope it is not with my brand new lipstick.

Other similar things included writing love notes and leaving them where she/he might find them, such as on the steering wheel of the car. Most of the love notes I find on my car are not from my honey, but from the police telling me what parking violation I’ve committed and how much the fine is. I don’t think they are sealed with a kiss either.

One rather interesting idea was to sprinkle Hershey’s chocolate kisses on the bed. Unfortunately, any edible gift left lying around my house might be considered a doggy treat by a certain pet and would most probably be rapidly consumed. I wouldn’t want to spend the evening trying to explain to an emergency vet how the dog happened to be poisoned with chocolate and tinfoil.

I think that chocolate is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. That’s probably the reason for the many heart-shaped boxes with chocolates in them that you see at discount stores and drugstores. Like lingerie and a lot of things, this is a gift for the giver as well as the recipient.

Flowers are always a gift that is hard to beat. If you want red roses on February 14th, better order early or you will be stuck with pink or yellow. I’m not sure why red ones are better or why roses are better than other flowers for that matter. Personally, I would rather have something that lasts a while longer than roses. Buttercups are nice, and free, and blooming in February due to the mild winter. My granddaughter has already gifted me with a bunch, though.

Paper cards are still the gift of choice for almost everyone, even if they come attached to something else. They have been around for a long time and history has it that we exchange more cards at Valentine’s than any other time except Christmas. I remember getting a fancy Valentine card from a kid named Bobby Emerson once in grade school. He was fickle, though, and soon jilted me and my card for another woman.

Remembering this makes me think even more than a good dinner is probably the best thing to hope for. If he jilts you later, nothing left around to remind you, nothing to watch wilt and die, nothing to ruin your best new lipstick, and nothing that will poison the dog.

Short of this, I will be happy with a hug and kiss and a Happy Valentine wish — something that will not clutter the living room and have to be dusted.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss
Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

bagel2Someone was bringing cinnamon raisin bagels to the office and toasting them in the office toaster. Every morning I distinctly smelled the aroma of cinnamon drifting around the corner and into my cubicle. Don’t they know that office workers are always starving to death and the smell of cinnamon is enough to turn us into raving maniacs, ready to attack and tear a bagel to bits?

At first I didn’t mind it too much. I mean anyone deserves to have an occasional bagel with his or her morning coffee. Not a big deal. That was before it continued to happen day after day. Just as surely as I settled into my office and was busy working on whatever the current project happened to be, I smelled the cinnamon bagel. The aroma was so deliciously overwhelming that I could practically float out of my chair and follow the wave of scent with my nose like a cartoon character.

I cannot hold my nose and use a computer. I tried closing my eyes, but it didn’t help. “Who is that evil person with the audacity to toast bagels at the office anyhow?” I thought. “I’m telling ya, there ought to be a law!” I tried to figure out who the culprit might be. But by the time I made it into the break room, the evidence had disappeared and only the scent of cinnamon lingered in the air to tingle my nose even further. I would have to go to the grocery store and find cinnamon raisin bagels to satisfy the craving. I could not stand it any longer.

My friend, a connoisseur of bagels, told me that cinnamon bagels are not “real” bagels at all, and that it is desecration of a bagel to put it in a toaster. Anyone with any bagel sophistication at all knows that “real” bagels must be plain and eaten with cream cheese spread, according to tradition. Blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese may pass for bagels, but they are certainly not the genuine things.

Perhaps he was right, but what did I care about the rules for bagel appreciation – especially when that cinnamon scent was drifting across the top of my cubicle, taunting me with its heavenly aroma. Real or not, I had to have a cinnamon raisin bagel, cream cheese was optional.

A trip to the grocery and a dig through the bread racks finally produced the foodstuff I was ravenous for. I could hardly wait to get to the office the next morning and fix my very own cinnamon raisin bagel in the office toaster. I waited for what seemed like hours for the toaster to pop up. When it finally did, I grabbed my bagel, wrapped it in a paper towel and nervously sneaked back into my office like a dog with a juicy new rawhide bone.

Somehow, though, it just wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. Maybe I bought the wrong brand, or maybe I had built my anticipation up too high. I was not exactly certain. Nevertheless, I persisted in faithfully fixing my bagel each morning and hoping the phone would not ring and cause it to get cold before I could eat it.

I still didn’t know who the mystery person was that started the whole thing. Then I saw an empty bagel bag in the trash can one morning. Whoever it was must have run out of bagels. Just my luck! I was hooked and they had kicked the habit! And why were all these people floating into my cubicle and sniffing? Okay, I had a cinnamon raisin bagel. So what! Haven’t they ever smelled cinnamon before? Now I was causing everyone to starve and was scenting the office with cinnamon. They probably thought I was the one that was doing it the entire time.

Sigh! I believed that one day I could kick the habit too, but I only wanted them to quit whiffing my bagel, leave me alone and let me try to enjoy that thing while it was still hot!

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

I Might Be a Redneck

atticDo you have junk around the house that you want to get rid of? Does the trash man refuse to take it because it is too big to fit in the trashcan?

Since I am probably one of the few in my neighborhood without a pickup truck, I just keep such items and stick them in the garage or attic, figuring when I get enough for a load, I’ll pay someone to haul it away. But I never do. It just sits there accumulating dust until I move to another house or the junk takes over and I am forced to get rid of it.

Sounds like a redneck, huh?

Well, maybe YOU don’t do this, but I have a feeling rednecks are not the only ones. Some people can’t even park the car in their garage any more because it is already full – or they have to buy storage sheds just for junk.

Anyhow, the other day I was out in the garage when I stumbled on a rusty old file cabinet in the corner, far past the point of salvaging. I really needed to get rid of that eyesore. It has just been sitting there taking away valuable storage space. Being a proud redneck, however, I hated to pay somebody $20 to haul it away.

Then I remembered seeing this place over on the other side town with a fence around it and big containers. It had a sign on it that said “Community Disposal Center.” Maybe I could give it a try. I decided to check it out first, so I went for a short drive.

I’m telling you, this was a fantastic place! They had huge containers for discarded household items. They had bins for items that can be recycled if you are environmentally inclined, and finally they had compactors for people determined to be their own garbage man.

Has my life become so monotonous that a trash dump excites me, I wondered? I overheard one of the attendants say that county government provides it to help prevent illegal dumping. Guess it probably helps keep stuff off of porches and out of front yards too. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but it is pretty hard to find a convenient dump, especially in an urban area.

With the help of my less-than-excited partner, I loaded that file cabinet in his SUV and took it off to the Community Disposal Center. I was absolutely thrilled! Now I could trim those overgrown trees with a bit of help from my partner again. I’d been putting it off because of the problem of disposing of the limbs. No more problems! A day of pruning, a couple of trips to the Disposal Center and the limbs were taken care of.

Then I remembered that old wheelbarrow I wanted to get rid off, the one with the wheel that keeps falling off and the concrete that dried up in it. That was another trip. I am getting to be their best customer.

I’m having so much fun hauling away junk, there soon won’t be much left at home. Old mattresses, old furniture, old appliances, tree limbs – you name it – they have it. Can you believe I actually saw one guy over there dumping an old couch? Guess he didn’t have room on the front porch for it.

It’s pretty sad when getting rid of junk becomes a major life experience. I never would have believed that it would come to this. But now I can actually think about cleaning the attic again. There must be all sorts of junk up there I could throw out. This could provide me with the incentive I need to get rid of years of accumulation. Yes, I have reached a new low. It takes so little to amuse me these days.

Don’t you wish that you could find a place to get rid of your junk? And, no, don’t even think about bringing all to me. I have enough of my own, thanks – unless, of course, it is a rusty car with a good transmission. I’m sure I could find a spot for that someplace. I wouldn’t want to get my redneck membership card revoked!

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Environment, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Super Bowl Survival Guide


Here it is that weekend again, football’s “last hurrah” for the season.  The whole county will be glued to the boob tube and you hate football.  Face it, if they like football, and probably even if they don’t, they are going to watch the Super Bowl.  No use trying to stop ’em or they will resent you until next football season.

If you can get away with it and don’t mind being out of “the know” completely, it is a great time to shop.  The malls are nearly empty during the Super Bowl because everyone is home watching the game.  But, if you spent all your money at Christmas and need to stay out of malls for a while, then you are probably stuck with the BIG GAME.

Prepare ahead of time. The leftover snack crackers from New Year’s eve are probably on sale at the local discount mart. Pick up a box or two. Also, don’t forget some diet soda for yourself. He will probably remember his own beer, but you might want to pick up some lite beer before he gets a chance to buy the regular, fattening kind.

Don’t count on ordering a pizza during the game. Pizza places are very busy during the Super Bowl and it will take forever to get your order. A pot of chili is an excellent idea and goes with the crackers. You can make it early and have it ready before game time. No point fixing a big meal to be gobbled down or ignored.

Super Bowl parties are a lot of fun. If you owe invitations from the holidays, it is a quick and easy way to pay back. Sit up TVs in various rooms of the house and ask everyone to bring a snack.  You can talk and visit and the guys can do what they do best – i.e. watch sports.

If, however, you are stuck watching the game, here are a few helpful hints.  If you can stand to watch the pre-game show, you will understand a little bit about what is going on.  After the kickoff, you can read a book, do needlework, surf the net, or whatever other solitary activity you enjoy. Do not, however, miss the commercials.

The commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl.  Companies introduce their newest and best and put mega bucks into marketing for the Super Bowl.  Everyone will be talking about such-and-such commercial and you will be out of the conversation if you didn’t see it.

Secondly and equally important: Watch the last 5 minutes of the game!  That will be all anyone talks about anyhow. As long as you have seen the last few minutes, you can be a savvy participant in any post-game discussions. In the event the game goes into overtime, you will, unfortunately, have to watch that too. Any spectacular plays will be re-run a dozen times immediately following the game, so don’t worry about missing something important.

Now, these are football widow survival secrets that I’ve known about for years.  Actually, the “watch the last 5 minutes rule” works for most any sport, but is especially useful at Super Bowl time.

So…Go team!  Rah, rah and all that kinda stuff!  Just remember that the best part is that football season is nearly over, and you will soon have back your significant other – at least until pre-season for next year.

©1999 Sheila Moss
Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Misery Loves Company

woman with a cold or allergy

I had a sore throat. I tried to deny it at first and hoped it would just go away. It didn’t. I tried to doctor it myself with menthol cough drops and salt-water gargle. Finally, I had to admit that it was too serious for cough drops and I needed to go to the doctor for real medicine.

I don’t know why I seem to be writing every year about colds and sore throats. It seems to be my destiny to get a good one about the time the seasons change. I hoped this was my official cold of the season. I really hate being sick.

Martyr that I am, I went into work anyhow. Can’t let a little thing like a sore throat get me down, can I?

My daughter called later. “Can I speak to Sheila?”

“It’s me,” I squeaked.

“Oh, I didn’t recognize you – you sound terrible!”

Good grief, my own daughter didn’t recognize my voice. It must be worse than I thought.

“You need to go home and get some rest,” everyone told me. I knew what they were really thinking: “You need to go home before you give that crud to us.”

Wonder where I got it in the first place? I didn’t remember anything viral going around. Guess I was the first victim of the season. My co-workers probably all thought I was loafing or slacking off. Later this year when they get the bug, however, they will understand.

Right after work, I went to the local convenience clinic to see the doc. He looked at my ears, and throat, and listened to my chest. I was a little worried when he asked if he could pray for me. However, there was no fever, so he didn’t think I had strep throat, just a regular run of the mill upper respiratory and sinus infection. He wrote me a prescription for his favorite drug, guaranteed to zap any germ on the first try.

How long does it take these antibiotics to start working anyhow? My voice was getting raspier and raspier. I sounded like a frog that’s been smoking cigars and my nose was red from blowing it so much. I had a mucus factory in my head.

I went home and tried to take everyone’s well-meaning advice to get some rest. There is only one good thing about illness. It is the perfect excuse to conserve energy and not do anything much. Obviously, I couldn’t clean house because it might make me feel worse. Forget yard work, much too strenuous. I was forced to lay around and watch television. “Where’s the remote control?”

Why is it that when you want to rest the telephone won’t quit ringing? After the sixth call, I gave up trying to rest. “Hello”, I managed to get out. I could hear a hesitance on the other end. My voice was so deep they were not sure to whom they were talking.

So, I was living from pill time to pill time thinking surely sooner or later this medicine would start working.

The next day I decide to go to work in spite of feeling like yesterday’s Kleenex. I had already taken off one day that week. I would just keep spreading my germs around. Maybe if I had held my breath on the elevator and stayed in my cubical with my box of tissue nearby, it would have helped.

My co-workers avoided me. Chickens! Were they worried about a little cold? I was starting to hear sneezes from other cubicles already. They needed to take vitamins like I did. They can’t expect me to take off every time I sneeze.

Besides, don’t they know that misery loves company?

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Registration Renewal


Just in case you wonder, I’m writing from the insane asylum.  I had my auto emissions test today. Here in pollution paradise, we must have our autos tested yearly before we can renew our automobile registration. Every year I get in a dither over renewing my vehicle registration. It isn’t the emissions testing — I can deal with that. The problem I have is that I can’t figure out how much money I owe to renew my license plate.

I do not, for the life of me, understand why such a seemingly simple thing must be so complicated. We receive two pieces of paper in the mail. Mine, for example, says $49 on the white auto registration sheet, plus $2 to renew by mail. Don’t try sending $51 or you will be laughed out of the vehicle registration office. Send the amount on the other sheet, which includes wheel taxes. Now this second sheet gives eight total amounts, and it is up to me to decide which is correct according to the county I live in.

I’m not sure why they give the amounts for counties other than my own because all it does is make me mad since my county has the highest wheel taxes. But, it would be worth paying the taxes if I could just get the deed done. The problem is I have an ego car with a specialized plate, so the amounts on the second sheet are not correct either.

My method to renew by mail is to send the wrong amount, wait for it to be returned with the correct amount figured and re-send it. Drastic, for sure, but it works!

Last year I decided to beat the system and call the motor vehicle office. I had tried it before and it didn’t work – but I figured I’d try it again. So, I called. “Take the amount it says you owe on the second sheet, and instead of the regular renewal amount, substitute the amount from the first sheet and add the mail renewal fee,” said the clerk.

Simple, huh? I don’t understand why there is room for fees for four counties, three of which I don’t give a whit about, but no room for instructions. I finally got my license plate — even though I sent the WRONG amount. Seems the clerk failed to mention that I should add an extra dollar because I needed a plate, not a sticker. Now I would be perfectly happy with a sticker, but for some incomprehensible reason I needed a plate. Neither paper explained why. Some unintelligible law, I’m sure.

This is absolutely ridiculous! I have a college degree and I can’t figure out how to renew my car tag? Why can’t we just be billed for the correct amount? Or, if that is expecting too much, why not at least have cohesive instructions explaining how to figure what you owe so the average person can understand it without a CPA?

Last year I became so irritated that I wrote my State Congress Person a letter about it. She never replied. Probably she was too busy trying to renew her own motor vehicle registration. Anyhow, I think I’ve finally got this thing figured out after years of trying. I’m sending in what I believe to be the correct amount. I’ll let you know what happens.

I understand a registration can now actually be renewed online. Now that’s an idea worth considering. Next time my auto registration is ready to expire, I think I may try it. If you see me walking or hitchhiking instead of driving, you’ll know that’s an idea that didn’t work either.

Copyright 2002-2017 Sheila Moss
Posted in Automotive, Humor, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Wanda and the Catfish


Little Fried Fish by Arnold Inuyaki 2015 cc-by-2.0 Flickr

Wanda is a dumb blond, to put it kindly. She is not the sort of person I would normally choose as a friend, but we came to know each other through a mutual acquaintance. She is a good-hearted person, but intelligence is just not one of her qualities.

On the particular day under discussion, my friend and I were going to visit his mother who was in the hospital in a nearby town. Wanda was a perfectly capable driver, but being Wanda, was afraid to drive on the Interstate. She asked to go with us since she knew my friend’s mother too.

Naturally, it was impossible to refuse to let someone go along to visit someone in the hospital, so we agreed to take her with us. Wanda was the sort who talked incessantly and told rather amusing stories, more by accident than by any deliberate intent.

We had previously decided that after the visit to the hospital, we would stop and eat dinner at the nearby Catfish House. Southerners are connoisseurs of catfish, and passing right by one of the best fish restaurants in the area without stopping to eat was just an impossibility.

Besides, what could go wrong, even with Wanda along? After all, it was only a Catfish House, not an exclusive eating establishment by any means.

Catfish Houses are noted for their food, not for their fine dining atmosphere. Usually somewhat rustic in appearance, a Catfish House is nevertheless the epitome of fine country eating. Catfish Houses serve fried fish on heaping platters with all the “fixin’s” – hush puppies, French fries, white beans, and coleslaw, preferably made with vinegar. This is washed down with gallons of sweet ice tea. I don’t know why this is the standard, it just is. All Catfish Houses know the rules and serve the same thing.

Now to really enjoy catfish, it is necessary to order “all you can eat,” “All you can eat” means all you can consume at the food establishment and does not include doggy bags or taking home any leftovers, another established tradition of the Catfish House.

Everything went well on our little outing as we ate beans and hushpuppies and pigged out on catfish. Waiters continued to bring out additional platters of fish as long as we could empty them.

Wanda enjoyed the catfish even more than we did and kept us amused with true stories of her ex boyfriends and her less than perfect love life. When we were ready to leave, there were fish left on the platter. Wanda looked at the leftover fish with longing eyes and said, “I’m going to take that leftover fish home.”

We explained “The Rules” to Wanda, that you are not supposed to take food out, and that it’s against the policy of the restaurant. “They won’t even bring you a box to put it in,” we said, sure she would change her mind.

“I know,” said Wanda. “But I’m going to take that fish home!”

Nothing would change her mind once it was made up. We were horrified as Wanda proceeded to wrap the leftover catfish up in napkins and slip it into her purse. We were sure we would be busted by the management for stealing catfish.

Well, either the management didn’t notice or didn’t care. We paid the bill and left without getting caught and once outside were actually able to laugh about Wanda’s catch of the day. That would have been the conclusion of the great catfish caper, except for one more item. It seems that catfish pilfering has it’s own particular kind of self-inflicted justice.

The next time I saw Wanda, I asked her if she had eaten her leftover catfish. “Oh,” said Wanda, “The catfish was great – but my purse smelled so fishy that I had to throw it away.”

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Humor, Southern Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Friend Jenny


While I wasn’t looking some overly zealous calories sneaked up behind me and overcame my willpower. Why is it that modern women are expected to be skinny anyhow? Actually, I’ve never seen a woman with a beer belly, although I have seen a few that looked as if they spent a bit too much time grazing at the local food bar.

“NOT ME,” I vowed. “I’ll never let myself get THAT out of shape!”

I said that right after emptying my bank account to spend a year of my life in the company of my new chum and best friend, Jenny. Jenny and I were bosom buddies as long as I was spending money. I bought her prepackaged frozen dinners, her mini granola breakfast bars, her tiny cans of soup, and her tasteless packages of snack food.

She enthusiastically encouraged me to continue to lose weight and to take vitamin supplements, purchased from her, of course. I lived in dread of the day I could not swallow another guiltless chicken sandwich or consume another soy-laced ground beef patty without choking.

Actually, the food didn’t seem THAT bad. I was so determined, and so fat, and so HUNGRY. I actually began to like broccoli without butter or cheese and to imagine that yogurt was even better than ice cream. Shows how desperate I was to be skinny, I guess.

It was easy, TOO easy, to lose weight with Jenny and her diet plan. As long as I stayed on her diet, the pounds just melted away. I tried to forget about my bank account that was also melting away and just to think of the positive result of some day reaching my weight goal.

It’s a nutritionally balanced, totally controlled diet, and you don’t really get THAT hungry. You only get hungry for greater variety, for sweet foods, for thick juicy steaks and restaurants.

Why is it that the body craves the foods that are not good for us instead of those that are? And why are supermarkets so full of the wrong stuff instead of the right stuff? Just try to find rice cakes! And why, oh, why are all the commercials on TV for sizzling fast food that practically makes your stomach growl just looking at it?

The theory is that when you reach your goal weight, and bid Jenny farewell, you will have developed a new eating style based on healthy choices and proper portions. You will continue to choose tasteless, low calorie selections. Should you (heaven forbid) happen to gain a few pounds, you will come running back to Jenny for emergency counseling and a few weeks of recover with her overpriced, cardboard, gourmet selections.

That’s the theory. Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way. Oh, it did for a while. I was  a mere wisp of my former self. I could get back in all my clothes again and zip the zippers. But how sick I was of lettuce with diet dressing and all the other fat-free selections. I continued to eat my daily servings of fruit, yogurt, and vegetables and to take my vitamins. Trouble is, I began to sneak a sweet dessert, or a bun with butter, or maybe a snack after dinner. Little by little I slipped back into my old fattening ways while I continued to think I was thin.

Then one day I could no long zip my jeans. Funny how all my garments suddenly seemed to shrink while hanging in the closet. But the final embarrassment was when I realized that even my underwear was getting too small.

So, do I learn to love my fat and accept myself the way I am, 20 pounds over my ideal weight? Or do I go on another diet and lose it – this time forever, of course – never to be gained back again. Do I continue to gain weight until I can no longer fit into the rest of my clothes and simply puff up and float away like the Goodyear blimp, or do I diet until I lose enough to be able to stand myself again? I get hungry just thinking about it.

“Jenny, old friend, have you abandoned me in my hour of need?” Of course not! She sends me cards all the time so I won’t forget her. I can visit her just as often as my checkbook wants to. I gotta think about this one. Either it’s buy more clothes or buy Jenny’s food. I’m afraid either one will be an investment of gigantic magnitude.

I know there are other, less expensive alternatives – but Jenny makes it SO easy! Get my food bags ready, Jenny! Open the door wide and warm up the digital scales! I’m on my way!

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
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