Back On Our Heads


March 16, 2000

Being a good joke teller is an art. I think you're born with it or not. You've either got it or you don't. I'm not sure it's something you can cultivate.

My husband is a good joke teller. I am not. Zoe cracks us up but her punch lines are often convoluted and have nothing to do with the rest of the joke. Her delivery is good though, so when she finally understands the concept of telling jokes I think she'll be good at it.

My friend Les is a good joke teller. He tells this joke about hell. It seems that there are some people visiting the various rooms of hell to see which one they want to spend eternity in. After several stops they go into a huge room where there are hundreds of people standing knee-deep in shit. The visitors decide it's not going to be so bad after all. Then they leave the room. Then the supervisor tells everyone: OK, back on your heads.

As Les and I would prepare to return to the office after one of our many smoke breaks we would always say, "OK, back on our heads."

That was how I felt about going back to work on Tuesday.

I was finally getting some time-off momentum going. No more toddler parties to think about, no more house guests. I could have had some nice weather, and uninterrupted "me" time. But no, I had to go back on my head.

It's been my experience with my boss that whenever you return from time off he feels compelled to torture you. No, "welcome back, hope you had a good vacation." It's more like 15 annoying and unpleasant-toned voicemails full of shit that could have waited until day two of your return, and 25 voicemails that are more of the same, just in a written version.

This time, I'm pleased to say, there was only one stupid voicemail and no unpleasant e-mail's. Furthermore, when he saw me he welcomed me back and said he was glad to see me. Go figure.

On the other hand, he's been in some management training and was filled with pithy phrases and "corporate speak" I find completely insufferable.

And to top if off, I'm sick. I had a really bad sore throat on Tuesday and thought I'd caught Zoe's strep throat. By Tuesday night the sore throat was gone but I was left with a completely stuffed up head, and was sneezing constantly.

Basically I feel like hell.

I left work early Wednesday wishing I was dead. I decided what I needed were some serious cold remedies.

I was standing in the Health & Beauty Aid section at Ralphs reviewing my choices. Conveniently, the manufacturers list all the ails they're going to cure right on the face of the box. No small print to read. I had quite a selection. The thing is, all the cold remedies were offering to treat things that were not bothering me. I no longer had a sore throat. No fever. No coughing or pesky body aches.

But wait, all the allergy cures are right next to the cold and flu cures. Itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion. That was me. OK, so I'm not sick. I have a major case of allergies.

This is bad news. At least with a cold, whether or not I treat it, I'll feel like shit for a while, but in about two weeks I'll be back on my game. Not so much with allergies.

You see, we've had quite a bit of rain here. Then about a week ago it stopped and we've had warm, sunny days ever since. Stuff is blooming and growing like crazy. Pollen for days. For as long as this persists, and I'm afraid that will be until the hot summer months, my allergies will too. This really sucks.

A quick question on a completely unrelated topic: where have manners gone?

On the invitations to Zoe's unicorn birthday extravaganza we asked people to RSVP. Respondez s'il vous plait. Let me know if you're coming. It's commonly used in English. I was under the false impression that people understood what it means. We included names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses. I thought we made it easy. Silly me.

We got approximately eight RSVP's. OK, eight. I figured we'd have maybe 12-15 guests, but, overachiever that I am, I prepared 20 goody bags.

You know how many kids showed up at Zoe's birthday party? No, guess again. No, you're still wrong. 30. Yes, 30 kids.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, a few of the parents-- parents who did not even have the common courtesy to RSVP--arrived at the front door, let their child into the house and then asked what time they should be back.

These parents don't know us from a hole in the wall. Are we ax murderers? Do we have guns in our home? Do we keep a pet boa constrictor? Well we might for all they know. Not one of those rude parents asked. Just dropped off their kid for a little uninterrupted "me" time I guess.

I told one of the ruder parents to be back in an hour. She returned 2 1/2 hours later. She didn't leave a phone number in case of emergency. She never asked if everything went OK. She didn't ask if her little monster was any trouble. Whether or not her kid ate or went potty, or behaved, or hurt herself, or anything. Just picked up her kid and left. And without a thank you.

In spite of the extra kids, or maybe because of it, the party was a huge hit. The weather cooperated nicely. I don't know what I'd have done if it had rained and I'd had 30 kids actually in my house. We kept them all outside. The boys played on the swing set. The girls ran around in circles and screamed.

Zoe's booty included eight Barbies, one Barbie horse, Barbie soap, a complete set of Barbie sheets, with a blanket and throw pillow to match, a Pikachu doll, Candyland, and a Barbie bike and matching pink helmet.

The boy Zoe is madly in love with came. Her best friend, whose mother is a complete freak and is afraid of Chuck, came. The teacher she loves most in the world came. All in all it was a huge success.

Until next time...