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humor

41

Okay, kids! It is time to play “There’s a Message in There Somewhere.” Yes, it happens to be the title of my book, but it is also something I have done occasionally on this blog over the years.

The premise: I tell you a story, and you try and find a message, or a moral to the story. Coincidentally, this experience happened about 30 minutes before I taught a class last Friday at the LDS Storymakers Conference on that exact subject. Coincidence?

Here’s the story:

There is a large staircase at the Utah Valley Convention Center that takes you from the first floor to the second. It consists of two flights of marble steps. (That is the actual staircase in the photo.) Sure, I could have taken the escalator, but I figured that taking the steps would be good for me.

I had my backpack slung across my left shoulder, and a 44oz soda in my right hand. I executed the first flight flawlessly, but after I rounded the corner and was halfway up the second flight, things got a little messy.

Somehow my right toe caught the lip of one of the steps and caused me to lurch forward. I took another clumsy step forward in a feeble attempt to catch my balance – to no avail. I was going down, but falling up.

It felt like I was falling in slow motion. I distinctly remember rotating my body so that my backpack (Which contained my laptop) would not hit the hard stairs. I also brought my hand up and took the brunt of the fall on my right shoulder.

I lay there for a minute taking inventory. I was relieved:

My body? Elbow and shin dinged up a bit.

Backpack and laptop? Safe.

Soda? Intact and unspilled.  It was a miracle. Somehow I had managed to keep the cup upright, which is a good thing, because it could have been a mess of multiple flights.

My Pride? After taking inventory, I realized that I must look like the biggest dope on the planet, sprawled across several steps, holding a soda in my hand as if it were the Holy Grail. I looked around to see if anyone saw. To my astonishment, nobody did. Hah!

This begs the question: If Brad calls on a staircase, and nobody is around to see it, did it really happen?

Sure, I could have kept quiet about this embarrassing event, but I thought it might make good fodder for the class I was teaching. So I told them about it. Within mere seconds, some knucklehead* in the class posted it on Facebook, and here we are.

I’m sure that as you read about my fall, your first thought was, “I am so glad that he is okay!” I appreciate that, but now it is time to dig a little deeper.

Using this story, see if you can find a meaning, or a moral that could be used to teach a gospel message. That way, my fall will not have been in vain.

*Please post your ideas here in the blog, and not on the Facebook links. (I’ll delete them there, as to not spoil it for others.)

What have you got?

*

9

Snork

2:00am at the McBride home. All the lights are off, except for a faint glow coming from the master bedroom. The light comes from Brad holding his iPad in the air so he and his EC can watch old Tim Conway clips from the Carol Burnett Show. Yep, that’s how we roll.

I don’t know if it was a mental shout-out to the passing of the great Mary Tyler Moore, or something less physiological. I have always grouped the CBS Saturday night line-up in the ’70s as the greatest television night of all time:

  • All in the Family
  • M*A*S*H*
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • Bob Newhart
  • The Carol Burnett Show

All in a row. Really! Saturday night was for TV watching. (Except my folks regularly censored All in the Family and M*A*S*H*.)

Back to last night…

I’m not even sure where it came from, but my EC and I were talking and I said the word “snork,” in such a way that it instantly made me think of Tim Conway. Don’t ask. Really.

Being impulsive, right then and there I had to find the clip so my EC would not think I was nuts. I grabbed my iPad and began looking. At first I thought it was from a Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins sketch, but it turned out to be a Mama’s Family sketch with Dick Van Dyke.

Turns out that the sketch that had embedded the word “snork” into my brain was never actually in the show, but a blooper that had gained wide circulation after the fact. It basically consisted of Tim Conway telling stories about an elephant. The story was fine, but what made it memorable is that he dragged out the story and just destroyed his fellow cast members. They couldn’t stop laughing, or even look up.

That was my favorite part of The Carol Burnett Show for me -watching the actors crack each other up- and nobody was better at it than Tim Conway.

I guess I’m not alone – looks like the clip has been viewed over 14 MILLION times.

Here you go. There is a single (well-deserved) profanity at the end. “Snork” is at the 3:45 mark.

If you are old enough, it will bring back happy memories. If you aren’t, you will probably just think I’m old and stupid. That’s OK. The older I get, the more stuff I have at my disposal that I can laugh at.

 

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35

Punter 2016

Here are a few key dates as I look back on 2016.

January 1: Rang in the New Year with my once-a-year Mountain Dew.

January 2: Began work on New Years goals.

January 5: Forgot all my New Years goals.

January 10: Was shocked to read that David Bowie died, much like his career had thirty years earlier.

January 13: Did not win the $1.6 BILLION Powerball drawing because I did not buy any tickets. You can’t lose if you don’t play.

January 14: Bragged that my daughter Emily won the award for Utah English Teacher of the Year.  I claim partial credit.

Emily reading

January 15: Told a Facebook friend that I thought Trump would win the election. Was immediately un-friended because “Trump is intolerant.”

February 5: Celebrated my EC’s 54th birthday.  Who knew I could be attracted to an older woman?

February 12: Had one of those perfect days.  FOML3, Alex, married a most wonderful girl named Madi. They are perfect for each other, and they did it the best ways possible – in the Gilbert temple.

Alex Madi

February 24:  Sent FOML4 off on a mission to Xalapa, Mexico.  The house suddenly fell silent – but not in a good way.

Dan Mission departure

February 29: An extra day for Leap Year.  Also the day that I officially got tired of hearing the word “Caucus.”

March 3: Lost all 90% of respect for MItt Romney when he blasted Donald Trump. (link)

April 2-3: General Conference. Always a high point of the year.

April 7: Went to the Big Apple with my EC. Saw some great theater, stopped by to offer some advice.

Trump Tower

April 8: Ate Buffalo Mac ‘n Cheese. Further proof that God loves us.

buffalo mac

April 15: Saw the movie “Midnight Special.” Still not on speaking terms with Hollywood.

April 19: Received first shipment of my book, “There’s a Message in There Somewhere.”  It is a groovy feeling opening that box.

Book box

April 20: Found a beehive with a bazillion bees in our wall. Had them exterminated.

April 21: Received dozens of messages about how to get rid of a beehive without killing the bees.  Just a wee bit late.

April 21: Prince died, joining his career.

April 23: Commemorated the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare I tried speaking only in iambic pentameter.  Most people thought I was trying to rap.

Shakespeare

May 2: Had this conversation with my son in the kitchen:

FOML5: You know what I’m sad about?
Me: The Holocaust?
FOML5: No, we’re out of chocolate milk and donuts.
Me: You are so shallow.

May 6-7: Went to the LDS Storymakers Conference in Provo, UT. Met all sorts of wonderful people, learned a lot, and found that the majority of writers are ferociously insecure people. I felt comfortable.

May 10: Got a belated Mother’s Day Skype call from our missionary. Gotta love the technology.

May 23:  I bought a soda with cash. Actual paper money. And I had to think back to where I was supposed to put the change.

May 25: Send FOML5 off on the handcart trek, leaving my EC and I as empty nesters. We suffered those few days. And by “suffered” I mean relished.

June 2: My sweet wife referred to me as “Donkey” in a text message. She is claiming that it was autocorrect’s fault, but I’m not buying it. No matter how I misspell “Honey” it does NOT come out as “Donkey.”

June 14: Found a water leak that destroyed part of our wood floor and disrupted our lives for the next 6 months.

June 20: Weathered Arizona heat wave by staying indoors, pondering why we live in this hell.

124

July 4: Celebrated Independence Day with the fan at the beach. Doesn’t get much better.

July 7: Watched the shark movie “The Shallows,” then immediately went for a night swim in the ocean just so I could post it on Facebook.

July 12: Went to the doctor for a check up. He told me I could use to lose a few pounds. I told him to stop fat-shaming me.

July 18: Celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by staying at a fancy hotel close to home. Lame, right?

August 5: Opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics from Rio de Janiero.  I didn’t watch them, but I did watch at lease three hours of Olympic coverage this year.

August 8: Learned there was some dude named Evan McMullin running for President.

August 19: Read that Donald Henderson died. He was a major force in the eradication of smallpox, but he never had a number one song, so you probably never heard of him. (link)

August 29: Continued my streak of consecutive days passed without playing Pokemon Go!

August 30: Celebrated my company’s 25th birthday.

September 4: Took my EC to Maine for a week for four reasons: Lobster Rolls, scenery, alone time and belated Anniversary trip. Spend the first 2 days with the stomach flu. I’m such a romantic.

Lobster

September 13: Turned 55 – but I don’t feel a day over 60.

September 16: Attended and presented at the American Night Writer’s Conference. That was good fun.

Anwa

September 17: Became the first official male member of ANWA. Yeah, that’s me – a trailblazer.

September 29: Checked into the local Residence Inn while our floors were replaced. Learned that I am content to live in a small living space as long as there is good internet and maid service.

September 30: Realized I have blown right past gray hair and am going white.

white hair

October 1-2: General Conference.  Always a highlight.

October 8: Went to Disneyland with the entire family, and 25% of the entire total US population. Stood in line for an hour to watch animatronic pirates that were built in 1967.

October 18: Had personal emails hacked by Russian spies.

October 19: Had emails returned from Russian spies with a note saying, “Comrade, your life is boring.”

November 8: Trump wins the president election. Who saw that coming??? Wait – I did. Exercised my restraint muscles by not posting dozens of “I told you so” comments.

November 9: Promptly forgot who Evan McMullin was.

November 17: my son and his wife took my granddaughter away and moved to Utah. What. The. Heck.

November 19: Installed a new oven in our kitchen and did not burn the house down. The oven didn’t work, but it was installed.

November 23: Happy to learn that I am still near the top of Mcat’s kidney donor list, in ink. Never can be too prepared.

November 24: Full of gratitude for all my blessings.

November 24: Sad to hear that Carol Brady died. She was like a second mom to lots of us

Florence

November 29: Lost remaining 10% of respect for MItt Romney when he had dinner with Donald Trump.

December 8: Made my final orthodontia payment. Now ready for the millennium.

Ryan ortho

December 14: Regained 50% of respect for Mitt Romney when he told Harry Reid “Good Riddance.”

December 19: Found out that Zsa Zsa Gabor had still been alive all this time by reading about her death.

December 20: Embarrassed that 15,000 intolerant Mormons would sign a petition asking the MoTab not to perform at the inauguration of a US President.

Inaguration

December 25: Enjoyed celebrating the birth of Christ. Especially enjoyed it being on the Sabbath.

December 25: Read the shocking reports that George Michael had joined his career in death.

December 26: Had a small problem with caramel popcorn. And by “problem” I mean “gorge-fest.”

December 27: Carrie Fisher died, leaving hundreds of celebrities anxiously watching the calendar, hoping to make it through the last few days of the year.

December 28: Wrote my year in review list, on the assumption that if anything noteworthy happens, it can always be added later.

Making it out of 2016 with your life and/or any shred of sanity should be considered a huge success.  If you are reading this, then you are already a winner. As for 2017…

Bring it on….

(Oh, be sure to read the comments. I was informed that I need a proofreader… who knew?!)

2017

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16

old man

Yeah, I’m on one of those kicks when things are making me feel old. Maybe it was from going to Disneyland last week and melting my Fit-bit.

Here are a few things that I’ve noticed lately that make me feel older:

• Guys wearing hats or baseball caps inside restaurants.

• Searching through more than 400 channels to realize that nothing is on, instead of 4.

• Clipping toenails. I should have taken up yoga as a younger man.

• Trying to remember the last time I saw a paper with something written in cursive.

• The media once tried to conceal their bias.

• Jack Bauer first saved the country 15 years ago.

• Waking up with bloodshot eyes – just from sleeping.

• Sting is coming out with a new album, and he’s 65.

• The Arizona Diamondbacks won the Word Series 15 years ago.

• Explaining to my adult children how the A-E ticketing system used to work at Disneyland.

• (More Disneyland)  Remembering that it used to be okay for pirates to chase wenches.

• Seeing that Legos now require following a slavish directions to reach a pre-determined result, rather than letting kids learn to be creative.

• My youngest child bumping me off the keyboard to do something faster than I could do it.

• There were once nine planets, and astronauts walked on the moon. (Last moonwalk, 1972)

• Michael Jackson’s first moonwalk was 33 years ago. (link)

• Once everyone smoked cigarettes, but marijuana was frowned upon. Now marijuana is being legalized, and smokers are the devil.

• All-you-can-eat buffets have lost their attraction. Quality is replacing quantity.

• Trying to recall the last time I received a handwritten letter in the mail, or the last time I wrote one.

• I used to know the location of every LDS temple. All 13 of them.

• Hearing girls drop F-bombs in casual conversation.

• The physics of snow skiing used to thrill me. Now they frighten me. (K.E=1/2mv2.  It’s the “m” that is the kicker.)

• My full-time mission ended 34 years ago.

• BYU won its only national football championship 32 years ago. And we still cling to it.

• I remember that when my dad was 55 he seemed really old.

• Lawrence Welk was part of my childhood.

• I now pay attention to life insurance commercials.

• I have been an orphan for 14 years.

• Witnessing, through the power of social media, just how many really dumb people are out there.

• Driving back home from work because I forgot my reading classes.

• I have had grown-ups, with children, refer to me as a “father-figure.”

• I remember when eating eggs was bad for you.

• Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven, Steve Jobs, Iam Fleming and Adolf Hitler all died at 56. I’m 55.

Now you might look at this list and think, “My, that sounds kind of whiny and negative.”

Yes. Yes it does.

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10

Every now and again, I find myself browsing the aisles of the Dollar Store. Sometimes out of necessity, sometimes just for fun. The other night, my EC needed to get some wrapping paper and bows, and I came along for the ride. Here are a few things I found which merit discussion, and one thing that DRIVES ME CRAZY. (In a bad way.)

Ooga Horns

These party horns have ooga-bulbs stuck on them so people don’t actually have to blow into them. I guess people with emphysema deserve to party just as hard as everyone else. Or, some people are too busy blowing their own horn to be bothered with blowing their own horn.

Home base

I so desperately wanted to shoplift this.  (If you don’t get it, wait a day and email me.)

Small fan

These little battery-powered fans were actually pretty cool – take it from someone who lives next to Hades in the summertime.  My idea?  Make them in white, and sell them to some women I know to take with them into the temple. I know – Genius.

Speaking of genius, some things are just not meant to be attempted, but these “geniuses” persist in creating abominations that should not exist. For example, I give you these:

lemonhead jellies M&Ms

You mess with Lemonheads, you violate my childhood. Reinforcing the maxim: Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Next up: Counting my blessings that I am a man. When it comes to choosing a fragrance, apparently women need to make their choices based on whichever characteristic they need to improve.
Perfumes

I had no idea that a knock-off perfume could improve posture. My recommendation? Use “Cautious” before buying.

Now the guys had some fragrances too:

Quorum

“Jordache Men” seems innocuous enough, but when you read the fine print, you realize that it says that it is “Our Version of QUORUM.”  That’s right folks. They are impersonating Quorum, making them the first apostate fragrance I am aware of.

 

And finally, as we were walking out the door, I saw something that makes me crazy. A donation box. No, I am not anti-charity. I am anti “sneaky” charity.

Food drive

Allow me to explain:

See that box of granola bars on top? I’m guessing it cost a dollar. Some good soul donated it to help with the food drive. Now let’s walk this through, and do some math.

The box of granola bars probably cost the Dollar Store about 75¢. So when that Good Samaritan bought it, the Dollar Store instantly turned a 25% profit. That’s not so bad, and in most cases, it ends there.

But sometimes it gets better…

Next, SOME stores will donate the granola bar to some deserving food bank, and write-off $1.00 as THEIR charitable contribution, and get the corresponding tax break. For the sake of making it easy, let’s say they saved 25¢ in taxes.

What do we have? The store makes 25% on the sale, and saved 25% of their taxes, all because some good person spent $1.00 on the granola bars. They sell more stuff, and get a write-off. What is their skin in the game? Nothing.

So, if you want to donate money to help people, donate money to help people – take your own write-off. Don’t let some stores sucker you into funding their tax write-offs.  I would suggest Fast Offerings as a good place to put your donations.

See – I can’t even go to the Dollar Store without turning it into some kind of preach. Can you imagine being one of my kids?

If you want to look at earlier dollar store posts, here you go: Herehereherehere and here.)

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