A Twist of Humor

This is a column with a twist of humor. A new column will be posted every Monday.

Location: Newfoundland

I was born, raised, educated, and married in Toronto. I moved to Newfoundland twenty some years ago with my wife. So far nobody has asked me to leave. My wife asking me to leave doesn't count.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Visitor

A while ago my wife decided that I needed a change of scenery. Thinking only of my welfare, and without my knowledge, she called my two sisters and brother in Ontario and asked if I could stay with one of them. My wife told me it took several days for them to decide who I was going to stay with. It seems there was a big family argument about it. I guess each one of them wanted me stay at their home. It gives one a warm feeling to be wanted and loved like that.

As soon as it was decided who I was staying with my wife had me at the airport. It seems, being the forward thinking person she is, she had the ticket already bought and my bags packed several days before she phoned my brother and sisters. When I was aboard the airplane, as it was moving to the runway, I looked out my window towards the airport viewing deck and I thought I could see my wife dancing a happy jig. A lump arose in my throat and my eyes got misty. This woman loved me so much that she was dancing a jig of happiness because I was getting a well deserved rest.

The flight was uneventful. At least it would have been uneventful except that I wore my old sneakers instead of my new ones. A half hour into the flight my feet hurt, so I took off my sneakers. Well, you never heard such a plane load of whiners and complainers. It got so bad the plane was diverted to Halifax where I was put on a bus to complete my journey to Ontario. I was also banned from flying for six months.

When I was nearing my journey’s end I phoned my sister to ask her to pick me up at the bus station. Curiously I couldn’t reach her or my other sister and brother no matter how many times I phoned or left messages. So I rented a car.

After getting lost a few times I eventually arrived at my sister’s house and knocked on the door and waited…..and waited. Strangely, even though she knew when I was arriving because I had told her on my phone messages, no one answered the door. I walked around the house trying to peek in through a window but unfortunately all the drapes were closed. I saw the drapes flutter a few times as if someone was behind them. I thought for a minute that my sister, who is a playful sort, might have been playing hide and seek with me. I rapped on all the windows and called out several times but no one answered. I guess she didn’t get my messages.

You won’t believe this but the same thing happened at my other sister and brother’s homes. Amazingly they hadn’t received my messages either nor were they at home; and for some reason their drapes were also closed.

I spent a week living in my rental car driving back and forth between my sisters’ and brother’s homes trying to catch them in, but no matter what time of the day or night I always missed them. Talk about bad luck. Occasionally I thought I saw someone through a crack in the closed drapes, but it always turned out to be my imagination.

Finally, even though I knew they would be very disappointed in not having seen me, I left for home in my rental car.
By the time I arrived at the ferry terminal in Nova Scotia I had basically been living in my car for over a week so I immediately sought out the shower facilities in the terminal. I didn’t want to take any chances of being put off the ferry in the middle of the Gulf before I reached Newfoundland. As I learned on the airplane there are a lot of whiners and complainers lurking around just waiting to go into action over the least little thing.

When I got home the drapes were closed and the doors were locked. Fortunately I had a key for this house. Inside I found a note from my wife. It read, “I need a rest so I’ve gone to visit your sister.” Would you believe that?

© Mike Cook 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Movers And Shakers

One of Canada’s most important national institutions is the local donut shop. These revered establishments bind the country together from sea to sea to sea.

There is a reason Canadians eat more donuts and have more donut shops per capita than the rest of the world. These shops are the peoples’ meeting place where we come to socialize and where the nation’s business is conducted by the country’s movers and shakers. Why, I have even heard that the Prime Minister and his staff take their morning coffee break in the donut shop near the parliament buildings where they plot the nation’s course over coffee and jelly donuts.

Just the other day I had the privilege to see and hear some movers and shakers in action at a donut shop. Being one of the ordinary people it wasn’t acceptable for me to sit at the same table as them, but I was close enough to soak up their accumulated wisdom. At the head of that august table was none other than Smedley Smyth-Smith. It is rumored that he is going to run for Member of Parliament in the next federal election.

Smedley has what can best be described as a horsey head and teeth. There are those that say the rest of Smedly can best be described as the other end of the horse. The other two distinguished movers and shakers at the table were Ebenezer, a banker and Dick, a lawyer.

While I was eating my coconut cream donut and downing my coffee I heard Smedley tell his tablemates that he had the solution to the problem of the homeless. He paused after saying this and smugly looked around the table anticipating the encouragement to expand on his statement. And of course it came because who would not want to know how the great man proposed to end the problem of the homeless in our time.

Beaming around the table he said, “We take the homeless amongst us and shoot them.”

This declaration would cause even the most reactionary of people to pause a moment for thought and Ebenezer and Dick did just that. Ebenezer, after giving time for this idea to meander about his brain said, “Eh, would we be allowed to do that? Wouldn’t we need to get government approval? Surely someone would object.”

Dick, who had been looking at the idea from a legal perspective said, “I would have to get my clerk to look it up in my law book back at the office for a definitive answer; however, it’s my considered opinion that if we made proper applications to the proper authorities it might be possible. Besides it’s not like the homeless are cute and cuddly. So we wouldn’t be bothered by a lot of celebrities wanting to have their pictures taken with them and causing problems.”

At this point an exasperated Smedley Smyth-Smith interrupted, “What are you two silly buggers talking about? I don’t mean we shoot them dead.”

Dick’s well-trained legal mind wasn’t going to just let this puzzling statement go by without comment. “If we don’t shoot them dead then how do you propose to shoot them?”

“I mean we shoot them with tranquilizer darts,” said Smedley.

“Why would we do that?” asked Ebenezer through a Boston cream donut.

Smedley looked at his two companions; and seeing that perhaps their intelligence didn’t quite match his own, took a deep breath and explained.

My own intelligence I must admit is not on the same level as Smedley or even Ebenezer and Dick, but what I gathered from Smedley’s explanation was that he intended for the government to round up all the homeless people and have them moved to a hunting reserve where they would be sheltered and fed. They would then have wealthy tourists come in and pay a large fee to hunt down the homeless and shoot them with a tranquilizer dart; and if a small profit was made so much the better.

After his explanation Smedley looked around, smiling broadly, waiting for the inevitable chorus of, “Well done Smedley!”

Dick put down his coffee cup, wiped the apple fritter crumbs from the corner of his mouth, and said, “You’ve overlooked one thing Smedley. You can’t have a bunch of tourists who can’t vote running around the woods shooting tranquilizer darts all over the place upsetting the moose. If you upset the moose you upset the moose hunters who can vote. No Smedley boy, it won’t do.”

At this revelation Smedley looked crestfallen for a second and then he brightened and said, “I do have a backup plan.”

“And what would that be?” asked Ebenezer.

Florida,” said Smedley.

Florida?” echoed the others.

“We ship our homeless to Florida. It’s warm there so they’ll be comfortable and besides Florida is hanging down from the bottom of the States so I don’t think anyone will notice,” explained Smedley.

“I don’t think the Americans will like that,” said Ebenezer. “They’re still upset with us for shipping all that cold air down there, not to mention Pamela Anderson. When they find out they’ll ship our homeless back here. And then I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t steal our idea and ship their homeless and who knows what else here.”

I left the donut shop with the problem of the homeless still unresolved. However I felt better knowing that the country’s leaders are working so diligently on solving this problem, not to mention the problem of poverty and all the other important issues facing us today.

© Mike Cook 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Good Day

I was reading the other day that super model Linda Evangilista is reported to have said that she didn’t wake up for less than ten thousand dollars. I guess anything less would be a bad day for her.

My expectations are a tad lower.

A good day for me begins when I put my pants on without tripping and falling on my nose.

The ingredients for a good day in my world are things like the smile of a small child, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, the sweet smell of spring, my wife admitting I was right and she was wrong.

In no particular order, here are ten other things that would result in a good day for me:

I would consider it a good day if someone other than me took the kitchen garbage bag out when it was full. The only time it gets changed if I don’t do it, is when the Department of Health raids the kitchen and condemns it.

I would consider it a good day if I don’t read that something I enjoy eating or doing will kill me. The list of things that will lead to my premature death now totals 35,004. I know this because the list is bolted to my fridge door and is updated hourly.

I would consider it a good day if I could get into my son’s room without having a backhoe clear it out first. At first glance, this observation might seem like an injustice to my son or an exaggeration, until you know that we once lost him in his room for three days.

I would consider it a good day if I got a lot of junk mail. I know most people hate junk mail but think about this; if the mail box is stuffed full of junk mail then there isn’t any room for bills. There truly is a silver lining in all things.

I would consider it a good day if I remembered to pull in my stomach when an attractive woman came into my presence. It would also be nice if I remembered why I might want to do this and the attractive woman didn’t giggle too much at my efforts.

I would consider it a good day if my zipper stayed up. When your zipper decides to head south, you have to try and surreptitiously pull it up so that no one will notice what you’re doing, while at the same time looking as suave and nonchalant as possible. This is hard to do. The only other alternative is to pretend your zipper is up even though you are feeling a draft where you shouldn’t.

I would consider it a good day if the dogs in my neighborhood didn’t crap on my lawn. I don’t have a dog, but in the course of a year I get enough dog crap deposited on my lawn so that if I was able to bag it and sell it for say five dollars a bag I could then afford a nice winter vacation in Florida.

I would consider it a good day if my car broke down before my warranties ran out and not the day after. It is against the laws of the universe for it to happen that way though.

I would consider it a good day if after a snow storm the snowplow operator henceforth known as the snowplow @#*&%! only plowed one truck load of snow into my driveway instead of the mandatory two or three loads. This would deprive the man of much pleasure but that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make on his behalf.

I would consider it a good day if I woke up one Saturday or Sunday morning and my wife said, “Honey you can put your feet up and watch sports on television all day while I bring you drinks and snacks.” If this ever happened, I would immediately know without a shadow of doubt I had taken up residence in the Twilight Zone.

Even though none of the above happened today I still had a good day because I’ve managed to write another column. This is a major achievement on my part when you consider that after my wife read my column, A Spark of Genius, she was more than a little irritated with me. She has the idea now that I may not be as helpless with tools as I appeared to be. We are putting down hardwood flooring so she told me I had to take up the old carpet and help Reg put down the new floor. Between Reg and my wife I haven’t had much spare time. I’m not letting her read anything else I write.

© Mike Cook 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Shocking Behavior

I have something indelicate to tell you. It has to do with my wife and what goes on behind closed doors in the bedroom. I don’t quite know how to put it. Maybe I should just stop beating around the bush and come right out with it. Here it is. My wife snores. There, it’s out in the open. I feel liberated already. The sky didn’t fall and the sun is still shining or it would be if it wasn’t cloudy and raining and night time. But I’m sure it’s shining somewhere. At least that is the rumor we’ve heard.

What I write of next may seem like a ridiculous exaggeration until you remember I’m not one given to overstatement or half truths. One night my wife was snoring in a particularly provocative cadence when all of a sudden a very excited bull moose made an appearance at our bedroom window. I could tell from the look in his eyes he was there to do some serious courting. Unfortunately for the moose his overtures were not requited and so he departed a very much disappointed if wiser moose.

The problem was what to do about her snoring so that the moose and I could get good nights’ sleep. I didn’t want to embarrass my wife by complaining about her nocturnal trumpeting, so I tried some subtle hints. For instance, once when she was snoring with what I thought was extra enthusiasm, I surreptitiously pulled back the blankets and tenderly rolled her over to the edge of the bed and then I gently pushed her out onto the floor. I then scampered back to my side of the bed and pretended I was asleep while she hauled herself off the floor and back into bed.

I could feel my wife’s eyes as they bored into my back. However, I felt safe because I was wearing the camouflage of an innocent babe asleep in his crib.

I’m not sure but I think I might have overdone it with the subtle hints the other night. My wife is still not talking to me. It seems she resented the pillow I put over her face to smother the sounds of her snoring.

Well I’ve just received some very disturbing news. In the midst of writing this my wife called me to come and hear a recording she made in our bedroom last night. What I heard is almost indescribable. It was a thunderous snoring of a kind that would cause the jackals of hell to cower in fear. It was most certainly masculine in its origins. I am upset, embarrassed, annoyed, angry, and a little ticked off at this revolting turn of events.

Imagine someone having enough cheek to steal into our house, our bedroom, our very own bed even and snore like that.

My wife was reading over my shoulder the previous sentence and when she finished she mumbled about going to a motel and something about a stupid idiot. I don’t blame her for wanting to go to a motel until we get to the bottom of this deplorable situation but I think she is underestimating the perpetrator of this appalling snoring by calling him an idiot.

I have to say to whoever you are, what you did is the most shocking behavior I have ever heard of. Shame on you. By the way you really ought to do something about that dreadful snoring before someone puts a pillow over your face.

© Mike Cook 2006