Category: humor

One Mop to Rule Them All

We’ve gone through various mopping solutions over the years. (Hey–it’s a busy day, and I don’t have a lot of time to think of topics. AND I think this one could help some of you out there. So if you’ve got any complaints, speak with my manager.) For a while, Denisa used this steam mop thing that I swore was going to explode any second. Then we switched to reusable Swiffer things. But the Swiffer was made for people who must be about three apples tall. My back would kill every time I used it.

And then it broke in half the last time I was mopping. I am literally too much man for that mop. I had to put it back together with duct tape just to finish the job.

So Denisa added “Mop” to her Christmas wishlist, because she’s entirely too practical. And she did a ton of research and settled on The Mop that was The One For Us. “It’s reusable. It’s big. It’s supposed to be great,” she told me.

“This is a mop, right?” I asked. But I am nothing if not dutiful when it comes to following lists. So I ordered the mop. I didn’t wrap it, though, because that thing was a beast, and there’s no way to wrap a mop in any way that doesn’t end up screaming “I AM A MOP” while it’s sitting under the Christmas tree. So I left it in the box, stuck a bow on it, and called it good.

Denisa used the mop. She said it was wonderful. She laughed. She cried. It was better than Cats.

I thought that was a bit of an extreme reaction, for a mop. Then I made the chores chart, and last week I had to mop again. This mop is like a grown up Swiffer. You get the microfiber pad, get it wet with plain water, wring it out, and then stick it on the end of the mop. Then you use it until it’s too dry to mop anymore, at which point you go back to step one and repeat.

Friends, this mop is awesome. It’s wide, so you get your mopping done wicked fast. It’s tough, so you can scrub through stains like a pro, and it has a handle that’s actually made for people of all sizes. My back didn’t even hurt. Plus, if ninjas ever invade our house again, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to use this mop to battle off at least three or four of them while Denisa takes out the rest with that steam mop thing.

In other words, if you’re looking for a mopping solution, you’ve come to the right place.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. It’s better than Cats.

Why Did the Turkey Cross the Road?

Forget chickens, people. If a chicken crosses the road, it’s not going to do much to your car, even at freeway speeds. I’m thinking you’ll get something like a brief white burst of feathers, and then you might have to run the wipers a bit, but nothing structural. Nothing that might involve calling your insurance company.

Turkeys, on the other hand . . .

There I was on Friday. Zip zooming my way to Bangor for my monthly directors meeting. Minding my own business. I love wildlife and my car, and I didn’t set out to harm either one of them that morning. All is well in the world. Until (for some inexplicable reason) a turkey decided that the best time to cross the freeway would be right when my car was coming.

This is Maine, people. it’s not exactly bumper to bumper traffic nonstop. If that turkey had wanted to cross the road, there were many many times it could do so without coming anywhere near an automobile, let alone my automobile.

But no. It chose that precise time. And those turkeys have evolved to blend into the underbrush, folks. It swooped in out of nowhere from my right. One minute, I was looking at a completely turkey-free road, and the next, there’s this large something racing in from the side.

You’d think I wouldn’t have had time to think. That it would have been too fast to come up with a plan. But I distinctly remember having three plans flash through my head the moment I saw the turkey:

  1. Swerve to miss it. This was my first instinct, but when put up for a nomination, the rest of my mind voted it down. Swerving at freeway speeds seldom ends in good things.
  2. Slam on the brakes. Again, dismissed on the grounds that I didn’t have time to check and see who was behind me.
  3. Hit the thing dead on. Nobody spoke up against the idea, so that’s what I went with.

There was a loud thud, and a puff of feathers, along with a limp bird body that got thrown up onto my windshield. I had enough time to think “That’s a turkey!” before the wind caught it and flung it to the side of the road.

“What do I do now?” I wondered. The turkey was off to the side–and quickly disappearing in the rearview mirror. Do I stop and check on it? The thought of me scurrying around the freeway after a demolished Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t too pleasant, and since I knew the thing was well out of the road, I kept driving. Then came the more important question:

Did it do anything to my car?

I mean, I love me some animals, but that turkey had it coming, and my car didn’t. Still, I didn’t hear any noises, and nothing seemed to be broken, so I kept driving.

When I arrived in Bangor, I assessed the damage. It’s up on Facebook if you want to head over and check it out, but it’s not pretty. Significant dent in the hood, broken grill. It’s like my car is missing a few teeth in its lovely smile.

So I’ve been on the phone with the insurance company, and I’m going to get an estimate tomorrow morning. Really, at this point it’s just an irritant, and I realize it could have been much worse. (Anytime you’re driving 70mph and hit something, there’s a whole lot of things that can go wrong.)

But I just can’t help wondering over and over: WHY? Why did the turkey cross the road. WHY???

Potential answers?

  • It was the chicken’s day off.
  • To escape Thanksgiving.
  • Because he wasn’t a chicken.
  • ???

Culturfying My Kids: Weird Al and Michael Jackson

If you’ve been following my posts, you might recall one I wrote a while ago all about showing my kids Michael Jackson and introducing them to the Moon Walk. I’d enjoyed that experience so much, last night I decided the time and come for another “culture moment.”

First up? Showing my kids the music video to Bad. Nothing says late 80s cool like this. It sums it all up in a nice, tidy package. They teach in school when they do the 80s section, right? RIGHT?

This was really just supposed to be the foundation for what was to come, but it brought up several important questions that had to be answered–most of them by DC (my six year old daughter).

  • Why is he wearing all those buckles?
  • Can I get a jacket with that many buckles?
  • Why is he so happy that he’s bad?
  • If I go to school tomorrow and tell everyone that I’m really bad, will I be cool too?
  • What happened to his nose?
  • Why is he standing in front of that grate with all that wind?

These were questions that just didn’t get asked back in the day. (Well, maybe some of them did.) And so I had to explain how cool these music videos were at the time, and how everybody would watch them and talk about them. I think this did nothing more than cement in my kids’ mind the idea that I really must be clueless when it comes to judgment calls. Great.

However.

All of it turned out to be well worth it, because then I got to show them this:

And suddenly, it all made sense to my kids. They were laughing through the whole thing, though DC was a bit confused why they were making fun of the other video so much. (She might still have been attached to the idea of a jacket with all those buckles . . .) TRC thought it was pretty much the funniest thing ever. So that was good.

I hadn’t watched the parody video in years, and I think if anything, it’s gotten funnier in the intervening time. Why? For one thing, the “Bad” video just looks pretentious and strange now. It’s no longer “cool,” though you can clearly see how cool the people in the video thought it was. And so to have Weird Al come along and lampoon it that easily . . . we’re talking T ball here, folks. Comedy gold.

Anyway. Just thought I’d pass that on to you, if any of you are looking for some interesting family activities over the next bit. It was a fun-filled fifteen minutes at the Bryce household.

What’s the Most Comical Near Death Experience You’ve Had?

Long time readers know me well enough by now to know that sometimes I think about some pretty strange things. Up for today’s thought of the day? Comical near death experiences. This isn’t something that happened recently, but I don’t think I’ve blogged about it before, and so I’ll share it with you all this fine Tuesday.

The justification I often use for not doing some death-defying thing is that I don’t want to die doing that, and then in heaven have to sit around telling everyone how I died time after time after time, and feel stupid about it every. single. time. (This is what happens when you really, truly believe in life after death, I guess.) Honestly, I think this stems from the scene in Defending Your Life, where they’re all talking about how they died, and Meryl Streep admits she died by tripping.

Anywho.

Comical near death experiences.

Despite my best efforts, there have still been a number of close calls with disaster. Calls that would have been very embarrassing had that been the way I had to make my final exit. Some were due to my own stupidity, but the one that stands out the most in my mind would have to be the time the toilet exploded and almost killed me.

See? I told you it was funny.

Denisa and I were living at BYU at the time. Student housing, and they had these high-pressure toilets. Toilets that didn’t flush the water down so much as blast it down with a firehose. (Maybe to reduce clogs? I have no idea why. I’ve always been content with a gentle swirl of water to bid the waste adieu.) In any case, that puppy was *loud.* Flush that in the middle of the night, and you might wake up the neighbors.

Still, you get used to anything after a while. And one day I was simply going about my business. Nothing out of the ordinary. I just flushed the toilet and went to wash my hands.

When an enormous *BOOM* went off right behind me. It took me a moment or two to figure out I hadn’t been shot. Some sounds are expected in the bathroom, but this was like I was on a Mythbusters finale. I turned around to see what had happened.

The toilet had exploded behind me, sending shards of porcelain all around the room, knocking the bathroom light off its fixture. The high pressure tank had just lost it, and the lid of the toilet tank had shot up into the air in pieces. A jagged piece had zoomed right past my head.

I reported it to facilities, of course. They’d never heard anything like it happen before. (Whose toilet explodes? Enough to make the company recall the toilet, it looks like. And you thought I was making it up . . .) And at the time, it was just a funny story. But I look back on it now and then and realize it could have been much worse. If it had exploded when I was closer, or the shrapnel had gone a different way . . .

I could have been stuck telling people “I died when my toilet blew up” for eternity.

Close call.

So that’s my story–and it’s a true one, at that. I wondered if any of you might have had similar brushes with fate. Things that are funny to look back on, but could have been quite different had they gone just an inch or two to the left. If you do, I’d love to hear them. Please share!

Operation: Free Pizza–An Autobiographical Short Story

[NOTE: Departments may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent.]

It started the same as any other day at work. A minor crises or two, a slew of emails, some paperwork to push. We were having some computer issues: the catalog kept going down, and some of our internet connections were dropping in and out. Still, nothing a crack team of librarians couldn’t handle.

And then I got the call from IT.

I picked it up with my normal routine: “Mantor Library. This is Bryce.”

“We’ve got an emergency,” the voice said.

My heart dropped. An emergency? From IT? This had to be bad. “What is it?” I asked.

“They’re giving away pizza somewhere in the Student Center. For free. But we don’t know where, and it’s been going on since 11:30.”

I glanced at the clock. 11:53. This really was dire. On a campus full of students, offering free food was like spreading out chum to a thousand starving great whites. Once they got a scent of that blood, eyes glazed over and natural instinct kicked in. That pizza might be on its last legs even as we spoke.

“Roger that,” I said. “What’s the call?”

In seconds we had it all planned out. I was going to run a sweep through the top level of the Student Center, and IT would run a counter maneuver from the ground floor up. The first group to encounter free pizza would establish a perimeter at a table and repel all invaders. If we met in the middle, then we’d know that the worst had happened: the pizza had been consumed before our arrival.

I grabbed my coat and umbrella (you can never be too prepared) and headed for the door. The first few seconds were going to be crucial. If anyone stopped me–even for a moment–our entire plan might disintegrate in front of my eyes. But I knew the key to avoiding distractions: a determined, annoyed expression, and a brisk walk. Even so, I tried to avoid eye contact with people until I hit the Student Center.

As soon as I walked through the doors, my worst fears became realized. Students were everywhere, and they all seemed to have a plate with a piece of pizza on it. The scent of pepperoni wafted through the heating vents, and I worried that might be as close as I’d come to pizza today. Why hadn’t I checked the calendar? How had we let this pristine opportunity pass us by?

IT and I have an understanding. We all keep an eye out for free food opportunities, whether it’s a couple of mini-muffins being handed out at an art reception, or an entire spread of appetizers and brownies at a luncheon. Between our two organizations, we typically have most bases covered. We have connections that spread across the campus, a complex web of interactions that ensures none of us miss a mooch.

Still, even the greats have their off days. We wouldn’t even have known this was going on if it weren’t for a student worker coming back from the pizza and letting IT in on it. What separates the masters from the novices all lies in how they respond in times of trouble. We didn’t waste time worrying. We sprang into action.

No pizza on the top floor. None by the cafeteria. None down in the corner of the building. I kept scoping the halls, every step bringing my expectations lower. And then I saw it: an open door with a sign for pizza hanging on it, right there on the ground floor. Surely IT had gotten there first. The only way this could get any worse was if all of IT ended up with pizza and I was too late for any.

I entered the room, my eyes going straight for the telltale pizza boxes. There were six left. They weren’t stacked up, though–which made it likely that there were still a few slices left after all. Then again, none of the students were hovered around them, which made me wonder if it really was too late. On the other hand, I noticed some canned soda down at the end of the table. I raised my eyebrows. No one had mentioned free soda. It wasn’t pizza, but if I moved quickly, I’d at least get something out of this expedition. I scanned the room for any IT presence. They hadn’t arrived yet.

Typical IT. Claim an emergency, and then take forever to show up.

Well, it would be their loss. I crept toward the pizza, dreading that I’d open the box and find it empty. I lifted the lid.

Cheese. Slightly burned.

I grimaced. It wasn’t perfect, but I’d settle for it in a pinch. I quickly uncovered the other pizzas: green peppers, burned pepperoni, and then some sort of mystery pizza that looked like sausage, but you couldn’t be sure. Obviously we were down to the dregs of the pizza, but even dregs are better than nothing. I grabbed a plate and some napkins, then took a slice of the pepperoni and one of the mystery sausage. In times of desperation, you have to take risks.

As promised, I went to a table and defended the free space until IT arrived. While I was waiting, I decided to give the mystery slice a chance. If it turned out to be nasty, I could always pretend I needed more napkins, then grab a second slice of pepperoni when I went up. You have to keep up appearances, after all.

I took a bite, and my eyes widened. This wasn’t mystery sausage: this was meat lovers! A thick crust topped with a layer of sauce, then ham, then pepperoni, then more ham, then a thick strata of cheese, and then that sausage sprinkled on top. These students had been avoiding it, not knowing what they were missing. Talk about a lucky break. Not for the first time, I thanked the moocher gods that most free food never gets labeled.

IT arrived moments later, and in no time, we were celebrating the spoils of our mission. It had been precarious–even treacherous at times. But we’d overcome adversity. I checked the time: 11:55. Hard to believe it had all gone down in less than two minutes. It’s true what they say: time slows down during moments of extreme stress and hardship.

I sat back from the table, took a deep gulp of Mug root beer, and settled in to enjoy another successful freeloading operation.

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