10 July 2010

Meet the White Trash Neighbor

It's time for a new feature on Red Stapler: Meet The White Trash Neighbor.

Here's his back yard, just to give you an idea of what we are dealing with:
White Trash #1
His back yard that abuts MY back yard, which is not going to win the Garden Club grand prize either, but at least there are no rusting hulks out there.

He bought the house and IMMEDIATELY began filling up the yard with trash and rusting metal things.

This post is sponsored by Ativan, which is what I may have to take if Terry, for that is his name, doesn't stop driving me INSANE.

It is Saturday. A warm day. A day when one might conceivably wish to have one's windows open. But no.

Terry has some old 1960's, pre-emissions-control truck and he has been out there for 2 hours revving his engine, producing clouds of noxious fumes. I should leave, you might suggest. Oh, yes, I would if I could. But I need to work.

Ah well. At least he's not doing his other hobbies - welding, shaping sheet metal, or chasing his pit bulls around.

I almost want to stand on my front steps and yell "STOP BEING SUCH A STEREOTYPE." Maybe I'll just take him a case of Bud Light instead.

A waste of our tax dollars

Leaving the street festival, I was waiting at the crosswalk near a family of four.

"Wait," the crosswalk voice chanted. "Wait."

"Mom, the pole is talking to us," said the boy, about 9 years old.

Just then, the light changed.

"Walk...walk...walk," said the pole.

"How stupid is that?" the mother ranted. "The government is spending our tax dollars on that stupid thing telling us when to cross? I can't believe they spent money on that! What is the point of that?"

"Um...it's for the blind," I mumbled.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" The woman covered her face in her hands. "Oh, that makes sense...I thought..."

"Not everything is a conspiracy to waste your tax money," said her husband, smirking.

08 July 2010

Not in Kansas anymore

(I have about 5 bosses now, so if I switch genders when I say "my boss," you know why.)

My boss, who works 3 time zones away: So everything is ok at the office, then?

Me: Well, Friday traffic is awful, but otherwise everything is great.

Him: Why don't you work at home on Fridays, then?

Me: Ok, sure

Me on the inside: YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!

07 July 2010


I became Facebook friends with one of my old journalism professors, Scott Brown.

I was glad to find him, because I could tell him how influential he has been in my life.

He gave me one of the best pieces of advice about writing AND about life that has helped me every day since:

"Be like a shark. Keep moving forward."

He was talking about news writing, of course. He meant that, once you have gone over something, you should move on. No need to rewind the tape and go back over the same territory.

But it has served me in life, too. Mark Twain put it another way, but I like what he said, too: "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today."

05 July 2010

This Little Dog of Mine

She is almost 15 years old, my dog. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have ambitions. She's a hunter, not a fighter.

There is something in the lavender bush and it must be stopped.

She spent about an hour out there today with her head in the bush. I left for 3 hours to go to a meeting, and when I came back? She ran right outside and has been there ever since.

The bush is next to the house. When she gets excited, her tail wags, and I can hear her thumping against the house.

She's slowing down a little, I can tell. She is deaf and has a tremor in a back leg when she sleeps. She groans when she lays down and one of her back legs is a little stiff and weak.

But the lure of the bush draws her ever onward. She gets pollen in her nose and sneezes big, but still, she fights on.

04 July 2010

Giving Tree, feh

I found out today that it was Shel Silverstein who had ruined my life.

Dig this, my cats and kittens: you are a small child. Adults keep coming up to you, bending over but looming large like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons and grinning oddly as they ask, over and over, the same demented question: "Are you a boy named Sue? How do you do?"

Your young brain can't process it. You KNOW you aren't a boy. You don't LOOK like a boy. Sue is not a boy's name. And yet, the question comes again and again. What the everloving hell is going on with these large, apparently incredibly stupid people?

In case you are not aged and decrepit, let me present Mr. Johnny Cash:

Since my family rarely played music in the house, I hadn't heard the song. I didn't know what the adults were asking me or how to respond. I'm pretty sure that "A Boy Named Sue" is what has given me the lifelong feeling that most adults have something seriously wrong with their heads.

(See also: unmarried, loves dogs and cats).

Today I found out that, while the song's popularity may be the fault of the talented Mr. Cash, the lyrics were by Shel Silverstein, he of "The Giving Tree," which, in my mind, is one of the most messed-up books ever written and certainly not suitable for children.

I mean....c'mon!

I GUESS "The Giving Tree" is supposed to be a tender exploration of motherhood and how parents sacrifice everything for their ungrateful bastard children. It always seemed pretty dang creepy to me, though. Can't the tree survive and grow a little taller and prouder and have the child come back for weekends and holidays?

But no. Instead, we have "The Giving Stump." That tells me a lot about how Shel Silverstein's mind worked, and so does "A Boy Named Sue." I wish he would have just gotten an office job and a blog, instead.


One night during a discussion in class at church, I mentioned that my sister had been sick for a long time.

At break, this nice, nice woman, Colleen, asked me "So how is your sister now?"

I took a deep breath.

"Oh, Colleen," I said. "She is dead."

Colleen looked moderately concerned. Ok, really concerned.

"It's ok," I said. Something inside me cracked. I started to smile, then laugh.

"She would think this conversation is completely hilarious. She'd LOVE it."

And she would have. I can hear her saying "Whaddya gonna do? Whaddya gonna do?"
Back to top