Tag Archive | humour

Graveyards, worth a visit…

Muriel2017It’s been a busy time, so haven’t had time to write earlier. However going through my bookshelves, I found a small book ‘Comic Epitaphs: from the very best old graveyards’ published by Peter Pauper Press. Daughter Susan, who knows I enjoy old graveyards, bought it for me and some of the epitaphs in it are hilarious.

When Susan and I first visited Victoria together, we wandered through their old cemetery looking for Artist Emily Carr’s grave — in the rain. Much to my regret, we never found it.

I’ve wandered through many old graveyards on trips to Europe,

PereLachaise2

Pere Lachaise

but my very favorite is the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Once I spent a whole day there (except for a lunch break), following my carefully-marked map on which I’d circled all the composers, authors, and other special famous people who deserved special attention.

OscarWildePereLachaise

Oscar Wilde’s grave at Pere Lachaise

 

As I made my rounds along the ancient paths at Pere Lachaise, I noticed a moss-covered old crypt with my own family’s surname on it, but by that time was too tired to inquire at the office to try to learn more about them.

 

Here are a few epitaphs from the book Susan gave me. I hope you get as much of a kick out of them as I do.

Here lies Ann Mann

She lived an old maid

But died an old Mann
(Manchester)crossescolor

 

 

 

 

 

 

grim reaper

Here lies Pecos Bill

He always lied

And always will

He once lied loud

He now lies still
(Grand Forks)

 

 

 

Sacred to the memoryskelitons
Of Anthony Drake
Who died for peace
And dear quietness’ sake.
His wife was forever
Scoldin’ and scoffin’
So he sought repose
In a $12 coffin
(Marietta)

 

 

oldjewishcemetBudapest

Old Jewish Cemetery I visited in Budapest

 

Jonathan Grober
Died dead sober
Lord thy wonders
Never cease
(Clinkerton)

 

 

 

Owen Moore
Gone away
Owin’ more
Than he could pay
(Battersea)

Angel

 

Here lies a father of 29
There would have been more
But he didn’t have time
(Moultrie)

 

 

[On an infant]

Since I have been so
Quickly done for,
I wonder what I was
Begun for
Hammondport)

Here lies my wife
A slattern and shrew
If I said I missed her
I should lie here too!
(Selby)

How to open a jar…..

Mom, look I'm telling you 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

After our Arthritis exercise class the other day, friends gathered to chat over coffee. Isabel had given me a gift of a battery-operated jar opener. Goodness knows, I’d done battle with some stubborn tops lately and probably told her so. I said I couldn’t wait to get home to play with my new ‘toy’. This led to a discussion of our children and their toys.

My son, Rafi, was a ‘lets-see-whats-inside’ kid. When he was five, I thought he’d enjoy a walkie-talkie — okay, I would anyway. (This was before computers.) We both loved it and communicated with each other from room to room. The next day, after work, I returned home and found Rafi had taken it all apart. He thought he could put it back together. No more walkie-talkie. He was so sincere, you couldn’t get upset with him.

raf kid dancing

Rafi was a funny wonderful kid

 

70s toy Simon

70s toy Simon

The next thing Rafi took apart was the then-brand-new and very popular Simon game. I got the biggest kick out of it. It lit up! We loved it. If memory serves, it cost over $60, a hefty sum at the time — but well worth it. What happened?? The next evening I learned Rafi couldn’t resist taking Simon apart. He wanted to see how it worked. No more Simon.

I’m a slow learner and since I never grew up, I was soon entranced by a real working watch for children. An educational toy… The inner workings were clearly visible and coloured in bright red, green and yellow. It, too, didn’t last more than a day. Mr. ‘Take it Apart’ was at it again, and the loving woman who cared for him found it impossible to say no to him. That was the last toy I bought for Rafi  which could be taken apart.

I had several employers through Rafi’s growing up years. I asked if I might have any ready-to-be-discarded, no longer functional adding machines, telephones or radios. I’d tell little Rafi my boss wanted him to try to fix them. He happily took them apart with screwdrivers and spent hours working on them. He was perfectly happy — and so was I.

Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Rafi then became interested in building planes out of those kits kids used to play with. He put them together while I was at work. He never bothered reading the directions and there were always a piece or two left over. Yet, they seemed perfectly okay.

When we bought our first computer, my CPA husband and I thought we’d use it for accounting. It was a classic double disk drive — Microsoft?? Rafi had attended a summer computer class and he and his friends were playing/trading Apple computer games. These didn’t work on our computer, so we bought something perhaps called a ‘card’ (program?) to install. I planned to hire someone to do it since we wanted Rafi to be able to use it.

disk for our first computer

Remember these disks?

I’m still intimidated by computers, so imagine my concern when I got home from work to find the computer taken apart, and Rafi, about eight at the time, sitting there, cool as a cucumber, screwdriver in hand, putting the card in. I gulped. He did it. And, it worked. Not surprisingly, Rafi’s grown up to be a handy kind of guy.

One_Touch_Jar_Opener__61279.1431664533.380.380

automatic jar opener

So, what about my new automatic-battery-operated jar opener? Amy came over and the two of us experimented with my brand new toy. Press the button and it makes this fabulous noise, parts move, it does a little dance and removes the top —  just like that! It was so much fun, we opened every new jar I could find in my kitchen cabinets.

I’d love to do more. Have a few I can open? Just bring them over…..

Coffee? An elixir of love?

Mom, thinking 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

Recently, another report on coffee was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. Researchers at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel reported on the benefits of drinking same. Coffee, they suggested, can prevent heart attacks and improve your circulatory system and then some…. I’ve also read coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and liver disease…. Is this all true?

I know for sure that if you have a hiatus hernia (GERD) coffee can give you heartburn. It did when I, myself, suffered with this very common condition. I refused to give it up. I’m stubborn and am addicted to coffee and often had heartburn as a result.

comic old lady

Vertigo, yuk.

Some members of the B.C. Balance and Dizziness Disorders Society (BADD), who have vestibular disorders, believe avoiding coffee helps prevent vertigo. Is this really so? I haven’t a clue, but there’s no way I’d argue with anyone who believes they’ve found something to help avoid what is a most unpleasant condition.

old man woman coffee

Chatting about coffee

The other morning, I ran into Murray at the coffee shop. We talked about the recent report on coffee — he’d heard about it on CBC radio. I expressed my doubts about all these reports.

‘Remember the one about oat bran,’ I suggested, ‘It was supposed to cure all your ills. Then the one which claimed men over 60 who drank coffee were more active sexually.’ (Maybe improved circulation????)

Oh, oh. I had unwittingly touched on a subject Murray and I had never discussed before. I was regretting I’d blurted out that particular study, goodness knows there have been so many conflicting reports about so many things I could easily have chosen another. Well, it was too late now.

‘Coffee???’ Murray said, ‘How?’

‘Ahem, well, yes,’ I cleared my throat, ‘Uh, coffee, it appears, uh, yup, it, uh, according to the study, it affects the….libido.’

‘Coffee, you say?’ Murray was incredulous.

Old man with coffee

Coffee you say???

‘Yes,’ I responded, trying to sound clinical and matter-of-fact. I read it in the medical section of the L.A. Times a while ago. However I don’t know that it’s really true — maybe yes and maybe no.’

‘It was in the paper?’

‘Yup. In the Times.’

‘Well, I’ll be,’ he mumbled, ‘My doctor told me to lay off coffee…’

Doctor 2

Murray, don’t drink coffee

‘Oh, I’d listen to your doctor if I were you,’ I advised, ‘He probably had a good reason. You can’t believe everything…..’

‘But it was in the paper — in black and white!’

‘What does that mean? That it comes from God? Since when does being in the paper mean something is true?’

Murray wasn’t listening, his mind was no longer on what I was saying. He was thinking out loud.

‘That doctor. I had a funny feeling about him. I thought something was strange. I knew that guy didn’t like me. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.’ He thought for a moment longer. ‘He’s jealous of me. That’s it. He’s jealous — that SOB.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous Murray, why would your doctor be jealous of you?’ I meant well, but it wasn’t my day. I’d obviously made another mistake.

‘Why? Why?’ Murray was furious, ‘Why would he be jealous? Ha! A lot you know!’

Birds

What was it Murray couldn’t tell me?

Suddenly he calmed down and added mysteriously, ‘I can’t tell you…but I’m switching doctors.’

Hmmm. What do you make of that?

There is no time……

Sillky Red Hat, MSQRD, 2016

We do  make time for laughter

A friend I like very much, and would love to see, called this week to suggest we meet for lunch. I was pleased. Between her calendar and mine, we were unable to find a day on which we were both free. No time to get together right now. Trudy and I decided we’d like to see “The Jungle Book’, playing now in local theatres. For two weeks we’ve been trying to find an afternoon on which we both can make it. It hasn’t been possible yet. All three of us are retired….

 

 

‘There is no time, no time,

Me Big eyeballs

Rafi visited and took hilarious photos

Not even for a kiss,

Not even for this,

Not even for this rhyme.’

These lines were in a poem our class memorized in grade four. I don’t remember who wrote it, but I’ve never forgotten this part. The author must have been, like me at present, in her golden years. It is so true….

crying funny

Rafi has an app

I thought I was busy when I was a wife and mother of three, with a full-time job, plus being busy with two dogs, one cat, a gopher snake, a rabbit, three chickens, two birds, a lizard and a garden — which held much-loved plants the kids sometimes gave names to. I used to think that after the children grew up and went off on their own — hopefully each one taking part of the menagerie, my life would be simpler.

That time is here. I am comfortably ensconced in an apartment, my only living responsibilities the few straggly plants which refuse to die from neglect. This was to be the well-deserved, less-rushed phase of my life; a time for reflection and repose. After years of driving children to and from classes I’d have given my eyeteeth to attend, I would, at last, have time to pursue my own interests. Ha! Double ha!

me superman

Me as ‘Superman’ 8-year old Gabriel’s favorite

It now takes a larger investment of time just to keep my old body going. I am slower. Everything takes longer. Listen carefully and you can hear my arthritic joints creaking. Then there are all those ‘shoulds’. I ‘should’ spend some time on my Exercycle, which now sits in my bedroom taunting me. I ‘should’ do hand exercises for my painful fingers; neck exercises to retain flexibility; rotate my shoulder joints to help lessen their pain; toughen the muscles in my legs by stiffening them and lifting slowly to reduce stress on my oh-so painful knees; and if I were really good, do exercises to strengthen my core, plus ‘Kegal Exercises’ for my pelvic floor. I attend Arthritis exercise classes twice a week, was a loyal member of a weekly Tai Chi class for years until my knees became just too painful. I’m tired just thinking about all of it!

This body of mine is demanding more attention than I feel able to give. If I don’t walk each day, my stiff body rebels. I won’t even talk about the caring doctors who work hard at helping me keep it going and the time it takes for the many appointments I have with them.

rafiw:beard funny

Rafi with a beard thanks to the app

mewithmustache

How do they do this? .

 

Afternoon naps, which used to be a treat, have now become a necessity.  Zzzzz. Then, there is my determination to reform poor eating habits and lose weight, meaning I must take the time to prepare decent meals. I’m exhausted by it all. Its absolutely hopeless.

Retired friends often say they don’t know how they ever had time to work. There was a time I didn’t understand what they were talking about. I sure do now.

However, we always find time for laughter.

Self-Service Hospitals

Muriel-7

photo by Timothy Spark       

Just had a bone scan at one of our local hospitals the other day. I was there by 9 a.m. (on time) and was done and ready to leave at about 3:30 p.m. They were busy. I waited, and waited, and waited, and then — I was bored out of my mind. After all that waiting, it seemed a simple matter of the technician pressing the right buttons and the machine doing it’s job on it’s own. Interesting….

There was plenty of time for me to think while I waited, especially after I finished my book. I’ve now got a solution for some of the financial costs and delays and crowding within our medical facilities, ‘Self-Service Hospitals’ (SSH). This could increase efficiency and save money for us all. While the idea may sound somewhat revolutionary, it is entirely possible in this age of fantastic medical computer programs.

To begin with, most doctors, interns and nurses could be dismissed; diagnostic testing procedures and pathology laboratories can be eliminated (machines can do it) and cleaning staff can be greatly reduced. What savings!

man with broken leg

It should be easy to make your own cast

Don’t worry. With my brilliant idea, hospitals can remain open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The best part is that the only staff necessary are a couple of admissions clerks, who have access to the Internet and the very clever people at Google. Everything else being automated. Just think of it.

#2 Viagra vending machine

Viagra vending machine

Upon admission, a brief clinical history of the patient and the symptoms causing concern are fed into the medical computer. It spits out an immediate diagnosis and the recommended treatment. If medications are required, you place the proper amount of coins into the slot and your prescriptions are dispensed immediately — no need to go to the pharmacy. They are delivered prepackaged via the ‘Automated Pharmaceutical System (APS), and the patient is merrily on the way home with medications and instructions on how to get well.

30-brain-vending-machine

Need a body part? Purchase it here.

For instance, you arrive at the ‘Self-service hospital’ (SSH) with severe abdominal pain and the diagnosis is appendicitis (APC). The computer recommends an appendectomy, which, in keeping with the facility’s policy, can easily be performed by you. Whenever a surgical procedure is indicated, you deposit the cost in the slot, and out comes a tray with all the necessary instruments and supplies, such as gloves, scalpel, sponges, etc. Need an operating table? Deposit the required coins and out it slides. Need a new body part? Select the proper vending machine.

The best part about this system is that if our politicians still deem more income necessary, automated coin-operated mechanisms can easily be installed to bring in heaps of dough. A wheelchair, for instance, can have a slot for a $2 coin, the elevator can be operated by depositing some money too — depending on how high you wish to go, and a looney can release the lock on the operating room door. Instructions for the surgical procedure pop up on a screen within for $5. Then, since we all like to make our own decisions, we can choose from  the various anesthetics available. Any child can manage it.

old lady in wheelchair

A wheelchair can have a slot for a $2 coin

P.S. I think they’d do well not to give me so much time to think up such brilliant ideas the next time I visit a hospital.

A morning’s chat at the cafe

Muriel-8

photo by Susan Kauffmann

During the years I’ve breakfasted out, I’ve met a few characters. I find it interesting to hear what they have to say. Murray is one of these. He’d been to see his kids, yet seemed in a somber mood, so I asked if something was wrong.

‘I’ve been reading about elder abuse,’ he told me. ‘And I realize I’m being assaulted by my children. It’s devastating.’

‘What are you talking about?’ Your kids are lovely and wouldn’t assault anyone.’

‘Well, ‘assault’ may be the wrong word, but I almost fell over the

Toys on floor with little girl

I could have broken every bone in my body

baby’s stuffed dog lying right in the middle of the floor. Are you telling me it wasn’t on purpose? I could have broken every bone in my body.’

‘Murray, you don’t look where you’re going. That’s not Dorothy’s fault. YOU need to be more careful.’

‘She knows perfectly well I don’t look where I’m going. She should have moved it. Why didn’t she, Huh? I’ll tell you why….’

‘Come on Murray,’ I interrupted, ‘that’s ridiculous. You’re not a baby and Dorothy has a little one of her own to take care of. She shouldn’t have to worry about you too.’

‘Go ahead,’ he was petulant, ‘take her part. Who’s friend are you anyway?’

‘I’m your friend,’ I tried to calm him, ‘and I don’t want you running around with crazy notions about your children trying to hurt you.’

‘Oh, yeah! Trying to?’ his voice raised an octave, ‘What about that stupid electronic stuff they bought me for Christmas? I nearly poked my eyes out when I leaned over to read those buttons, and when I pushed the wrong one, the darn thing hit me right in the face. They know I don’t see well and don’t know how to use those contraptions. They did it on purpose I tell you!’

guy on phone

They know I don’t know how to use those contraptions

‘Oh Murray. It’s always a challenge to adjust to new technology and it’s good for us. You’ll enjoy it when you get used to it and you love music…..’

‘Sure, sure,’ he hadn’t heard me at all, ‘I tell you. Alex and Dorothy together…’

I couldn’t listen to this any longer and interrupted again.
‘Alex and Dorothy??? I think you’re really losing it. They wouldn’t hurt a fly!’

‘Maybe not a fly,’ Murray continued, ‘why should they hurt a fly? Their sick old father is another matter.’

‘What do mean ‘sick’? Are you sick? I always thought you were as healthy as a horse.’

Murray was on a roll. He wasn’t hearing me. He gets like that sometimes.

16388963-angry-mafia suitcase money

They want my money a few years earlier

‘They’re out to get me,’ he wailed, ‘they want my money a few years earlier. How long do I have anyway?’

‘C’mon, Murray,’ I sighed, ‘what did they really ever do to hurt you?’ He thought for a moment.

‘Aha! Alex bought me that Exercycle, that’s what.’

‘Exercise is good for you,’ I was at my wits end, ‘he got you the best bike money could buy. How can you possibly find fault with that?’

619-racing hosp hallway

I may need a heart transplant

‘I get a cramp in my left leg every time I use the stupid thing. Note, my LEFT leg, I want you to know that’s the one closest to the heart. It’s working its way up to my chest a little each time I use it. Soon I’ll need a pacemaker, then a bypass, maybe even a heart transplant, who knows? I won’t survive that Exercycle and Alex knows it — he figured it all out in that little brain of his. What have I done to deserve this in my old age? I’ll sue them.’

‘Sue? Are you nuts? Where do you think you’ll find a lawyer who’ll take on such a crazy case?’

‘Oh, yeah,’ he responded, ‘I hear Joe is going to sue his grandson for aggravated assault.’

‘What? How old is the kid?’

‘Eighteen months,’ Murray said, ‘ he gave Joe a Charley horse bouncing on his knees.’

It was time for me to go home.

**Note: I recognize elder abuse is a serious problem, but Murray obviously had it wrong.

Money-laundering grannies?

photo by Sonja Peacock

photo by Sonja Peacock

‘Are you the Kauffmann that writes that over-the-hill blog?’ the gravel-like voice on the phone sounded like it had recently run over broken glass. Who was it? What did he want? How did he find me?

‘What is this about?’ I asked cautiously.

‘I’ve got something to tell ya, but can’t talk now, it’s too dangerous,’ he continued, hardly above a whisper. ‘We need to meet.’

Meet? This was spooky. I was scared, but intrigued. I hesitated, then made a decision without really thinking it through.

‘Okay,’ I said, ‘Let’s meet at Terra’s on 4th. (That was smart…I’d be safe there, they know me.)

‘Naw, too many ears around, let’s meet under the murder of crows. I’ll see you at 10:15 tomorrow morning.’ Click. Dial tone. I stared at the phone in disbelief.

I thought of taking my Samurai sword along... photo by Amy Wang

I thought of taking my Samurai sword along…
(photo by Amy Wang)

The murder of crows? Gasp! That’s a mere couple of blocks away. He knows where I live! What to do? I thought of taking my Samurai sword along, but hadn’t had enough practice wit it yet, so decided on my walking stick instead — in case I need to defend myself. Well, at least at 10:30 a.m. it’s daytime…..

The next morning if I still smoked I’d have been puffing away at cigarettes

A murder of crows

A murder of crows

as I paced up and down under the murder of crows. The minutes dragged. At one point I put my watch up to my remaining good ear to see if it was still working. It was… I shouldn’t have come… This could be dangerous… It was stupid of me! My overactive imagination was overly overacting at triple high speed. After what seemed like an eternity, a man arrived. It was him, in disguise.

It was him, in a disguise

It was him, in a disguise

‘Kauffmann?’ I froze. My feet were glued to the pavement.

‘Yes…’ Why was I whispering?

‘Listen, I’ve got a scoop for ya. This will make your blog the biggest thing on the Internet.’

‘Who are you?’ I wanted to know.

‘Let’s just say — a friend.’

‘Okay…’

‘You know that proposal to build senior housing next to the church across from the school around the corner?’

‘Yeah, I heard about it.’

‘It was turned down because word leaked out.’

‘What word?’

‘Shut up and listen,’ he continued, ‘I don’t have forever. The neighbours were scared those seniors would corrupt their kids! Here’s the deal.’

‘Okay, shoot.’ Well, maybe that was the wrong thing to say, but after all, I was nervous.

‘Them seniors are all part of a crime syndicate.’

‘What?’

‘I told ya to listen, dammit! What do ya think those old grannies are doing when they make cookies for bake sales supposedly for church? It’s a money-laundering scheme, a front for a Colombian drug cartel.’

‘What?’

‘What? What? What are ya, some kind of echo or something? Just listen, there’s more. All those prescriptions they finagle out of their doctors? Ya think they’re really for lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure? No sir. They sell them drugs on the street and make a bundle — and think of all those kids from the school across the street those fakers could have sold that stuff to.’ I was speechless.

‘And all those canes they carry? Ya think they need them because they’re frail? Or dizzy like you?

They use their canes to mug upstanding citizens

They use their canes to mug upstanding citizens

Uh-uh. They’re weapons lady, they use them to mug unsuspecting upright citizens. They whack them, grab their dough and off they run quick as a wink. Those old meanies beat up kindergarten kids just for the fun of it. They’re also cutting into the prostitution racket…’

‘That I don’t believe…’

They can charge less because they collect pensions

They can charge less because they collect pensions

‘Believe it. Believe it. Grannies can sell their fannies for less ‘cause they’re already collecting government pensions! They’re undercutting hard working young hookers. They also had plans to recruit the school kids for the brothel they would’ve set up in the senior housing right there next to the church. Good thing the project didn’t happen. Then there’s the gambling…’

‘Gambling?’ I gulped.

‘C’mon, ya don’t actually think they’re playing pinochle at those senior

You don't think they're playing pinocle, do you?

You think they’re playing pinocle?

centres, do ya? They rake in plenty. I tell ya, these people are dangerous, they got the whole crime industry tied up!’

‘Why are you telling all this to mu-ME?’ I stuttered, ‘I’m not a reporter.’

‘I gotta warn people somehow.’ he answered and walked off — just like that.

Well, what do YOU make of it?

She only looks as though she knows

I found it. I found it! I was looking for something else amongst my papers and found the poem my late friend Hans wrote for me some years ago.

Here it is:

SHE ONLY LOOKS AS THOUGH SHE KNOWS

By Hans Muller

Hans Muller, Award-winning playwright. Most used comment: 'Muriel, the things you do!'

Hans Muller, Award-winning playwright. He loved words… Most used comment: ‘Muriel, the things you do!’

What are all those ahs and ohs?

She only looks as though she knows,

She assumes a knowing pose

And everybody thinks she knows.

Though all she does is sit and doze

Everyone’s convinced she knows.

Be it market highs and lows,

Be it poetry or prose,

Current economic woes,

The benefits of pantyhose,

She always looks as though she knows.

Any subject that they chose

Makes the public think she knows.

It’s not really that she blows

Her own horn — somehow she glows

With an aura she bestows

Both in turmoil and repose.

Is there a reason to suppose

That she knows what gives — what goes?

Does she laugh at life’s cruel blows?

Does she sweat where others froze?

Can she paint — can she compose?

She only looks as though she knows.

Yet, she never brags or crows

Or looks down her pretty nose

At folk like you and me who chose

Their ignorance not to disclose.

The fact remains, from head to toes

She always looks as though she knows.

Can she tell her friends from foes?

The difference between tos and fros?

Above and belows?

Fingers and toes?

Cons and pros?

Yeses and nos?

I don’t think she knows any of those

She only LOOKS as though she knows.

—————————————————————————————————————————

And brilliant, loving daughter Susan figured out how to copy the original post, so here it is:

May, 2013

Recently, there was a retropective on PBS TV about Wonder Woman. It covered the years since her introduction as a comic book character up until the present.

Wonder Woman in the comics

Wonder Woman in the comics

A weaker Wonder Woman

A weaker Wonder Woman

She had changed many times through the years — for instance, after WW2, when women were supposed to go back to their kitchens after doing “men’s” work in wartime factories, she was not depicted as all-powerful for a time.

The program also showed the lovely Lynda Carter in her role as Wonder Woman on television. Seeing her playing that part took me back…..

I was living in Los Angeles and working as a writer for a public relations firm. My boss was tall, blonde, and beautiful. With my black hair and short round body, I was very aware of my lack of glamour in comparison. Lovely Lynda Carter was one of our clients.

What can I tell you about Lynda? She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, and certainly, her unusual eyes were so beyond beautiful, I can still picture them in my mind.

Lynda Carter's Gorgeous Eyes

Lynda Carter’s Gorgeous Eyes

What I liked most about Lynda, however, was that she was extremely polite, friendly and really nice. Even when she ran into me years later (after she had become more successful) she remembered and greeted me warmly. I liked her for that especially.

Lynda Carter as television's Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter as television’s Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter was just starting out. My boss was trying to get her a movie contract. Boss Linda surprised me when she asked me to go with her to an appointment she had set up with the president of a movie company.

“What in the world for?” I asked, “I don’t know anything about movies or movie contracts.”

“You don’t have to know, ” she responded, “You look like you know.”

I didn’t understand what she was talking about and with much trepidation, accompanied her to the meeting a few days later.

Now, my friends know me to be outgoing and talkative, so it may be difficult for them to believe I actually remained silent during the whole meeting. But I did. I felt out of place, uncomfortable, and certainly had nothing to add to the discussion. I was introduced by name, sat down, and let my boss do all the talking.

When the meeting ended, we rose to leave. The president of the movie company stood, shook my hand and said “You don’t say much, Mrs. Kauffmann, but I can tell you’re the brains of this operation.”

The brains of the operation?????

The brains of the operation????? photo by Susan Kauffmann

I hope he didn’t see the confusion on my face. It took all the control I could muster to behave like a normal person as we left his office. In the elevator, my boss laughed.

“You have to learn to use what you have Muriel.” she told me, “And you look smart.” I was fascinated by how that woman’s brain worked. One doesn’t forget an experience like that.

Since then, I have learned she was right. Perhaps I was never glamourous, or tall, or gorgeous, but there is something about me that makes people think I “know”. Whenever people ask my opinion about things I know nothing about I remember the day I attended that meeting with my boss to try to get Lynda Carter work in film.

Years later, I told my friend Hans about it. He laughed and wrote a very funny poem for me. Unfortunately, that was long ago and I seem to have lost it. I only remember the first two lines….

“From her head down to her toes

She only looks as though she knows…”

I remember these two lines because Hans would recite them when we were together and someone approached me for information I didn’t possess — yes, it still happens.

So, don’t be fooled by whatever it is in my appearance that lies. It is a sham!  And, let me assure you, appearances ARE deceiving.The truth is, I know very little!

All They Can Do Is Say No……

Photo by Timothy Stark

Photo by Timothy Stark

The car thing

My car is a 1988 U.S. made Toyota Corolla FX, which was never made in Canada. I like it. I’m used to it and it has served me well for many years. So has my local mechanic, whom I am very fond of and who has often been more than kind and considerate. When he said my troubled car needed a new carburetor and that he could not find another for my old faithful, I asked what alternative we had.

My wonderful little 1988 Toyota Corolla FX, not made in Canada

My wonderful little 1988 Toyota Corolla FX, not made in Canada

‘We’ll have to fix your old one.’

‘How much will that cost — about?’

‘$400.’

Was the old car worth it? Perhaps not, but I thought it might be to me — I’m in no position to purchase a new one and not quite ready to give up driving altogether. He’d need it for a week, so shortly after this conversation, I left it with him when I went to Montreal to visit family.

My local mechanic has always been very kind and reliable

My local mechanic has always been very kind and reliable

He had no way to reach me for any changes in cost or confirmation of any kind while I was away. When I returned home and went in to see him, he asked about my trip. I told him I was spoiled rotten as usual, and asked how my little car was.

‘Great. It runs beautifully now.’

‘What’s the damage?’

‘$951.’

‘Yikes! I was not expecting THAT much….’

‘We had to replace a lot of parts, plus rebuild half the carburetor.’

I thought about it for a few moments, what to do? I was ready for $400/$500, but wow. I decided, even though he’s often been very good to me, to ask if there was anything he could do.

‘W-e-l-l, I’ll cut the labor by $200, there’s nothing I can do about the parts.’

I appreciated that. I was also glad I had worked up the courage to ask. $200 is a lot to me. Yes, it was still a lot for an old car, but it is running very well and I am pleased to have it.

telephone

The phone and internet thing

computer

I called my server and the conversation over the phone went something like this:

‘I’m ready to move to another provider for my telephone and internet service.’

‘Are you not happy with our service.’

‘It’s okay, but my friend is paying $45 a month for the same service I pay over $100 for. She also gets free calls to China while I have to pay for every single long distance call I make.’

Poor guy -- has to deal with the likes of me

Poor guy — has to deal with the likes of me

‘But, you realize that’s only for six months, after which her costs will go back up to the regular price.’

‘Six months? Listen, I’m 78 years old. I may be dead in six months. I don’t care about what happens in six months?’ (What could the poor guy say to that?)

‘Well, I could reduce it somewhat for you, but not that much.’

‘Good enough, but I also want free long-distance calls to the U.S. and Canada.’

‘I’m sorry, I can’t do that.’

‘C’mon. You can tell your supervisor I threatened you.’

‘Are you threatening me?’

‘Yes.’

‘What will you do?’

‘I’ll sing!’

‘Go ahead and sing.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes.’

‘Okay. “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, Hug

'Hey, I gotta tell you about this crazy lady who called me today...'

‘Hey, I gotta tell you about this crazy lady who called me today…’

around the neck and a barrel and a heap, barrel and a heap and I’m talking in my sleep, about you, about you, Oh, I love you –etc., etc…..” (Right to the very end of the song. The guy never even interrupted. He listened quietly to the whole thing and then..)

‘Okay. I’ll give you free calls to North America.’

‘Ah, you are a dear. Thank you so much — can I adopt you?’

Then he asked if he could help me with anything regarding my internet service. I told him I had taken enough of his time. I’ll bet he had the greatest time afterwards telling his friends and colleagues about this crazy lady who sang to him that day. Right? And … I am very much enjoying the free long-distance calls I have — until October.

Good Grief, Gift-giving time…..

Gift-giving time

Gift-giving time

Holiday music is everywhere. The stores are full of gifts and sweets hoping you will buy them for friends and loved ones and as usual, I’m not out there much. A reluctant shopper at any time, I am even more so when the shops are busy. Just the idea of gift-giving fills me with unease and trepidation — and no wonder! My own home is filled with gifts I don’t need, but keep — from people I love.
Don't look for me in this picture, I'm not there if I can help it

Don’t look for me in this picture, I’m not there if I can help it


What was the most useless gift I ever received?? There are many, however it may have been the Portuguese bread bag which arrived by mail. Not that I recognized it as such when I opened the package. It was an off-white, 9”
Portuguese bread bag, but I didn't have any Portuguese bread

Portuguese bread bag, but I didn’t have any Portuguese bread

square, fabric bag with a pull-string at the top, and a bright red embroidered flower in one corner with the word “PAN” inscribed on it.
Pan, the god of Greek mythology and his reed pipe

Pan, the god of Greek mythology and his reed pipe

According to Greek mythology, Pan was that happy-go-lucky god of the woods, fields and fertility — the son of Hermes and a gofer for the other gods. He was a musical prodigy, but his body was totally confused, with horns, hoofs and goat ears, all of which didn’t seem to bother him. He had a grand time playing his pipe of reeds, which the clever guy, they say, invented all by himself. You have to admire Pan for not looking at his reflection in a pond and just giving up — that’s how ugly he was.
His persistence in the face of failure with the fair sex is inspiring. He continued to woo one beautiful wood nymph after another even though they kept rejecting him due to his yucky looks. It wasn’t very kind of them, but maybe they just couldn’t get past the thought of those scratchy hoofs in bed. They say the word “panic” is derived from the fears of travelers who heard the sound of Pan’s pipes at night in the wilderness. But, that wouldn’t scare me half as much as shopping for gifts. My family knows. They are kind. They shop for their own gifts from me and I am grateful.
Well, back to that bag. I studied it. Was it a tribute to the Greek Pan? For carrying a small pipe made of reeds? Do I have reed pipes sitting around hoping for a place to snuggle in — in such a bag? I couldn’t figure it out. I called to inquire. After patiently hearing my long tale about Pan and his hoofs and his lack of success with the ladies, my friend chuckled.
“You lived in L.A. for years and don’t know what pan is?” (It does means bread in Spanish.) I remained puzzled. How could any bread fit into such a bag and why would anyone want to put it in there?
I didn't know where to obtain Portuguese sweet bread, which might have fit in my bread bag

I didn’t know where to obtain Portuguese sweet bread, which might have fit in my bread bag


What to do? During past holidays we had fun with what we called a “Stupid Gift Exchange”. We would wrap gifts we’d been given and didn’t need. (If you do this, be sure the gift-giver isn’t at the party.) Friends are sometimes pleased to get something you may not have wanted, but apparently my Portuguese bread bag was not in demand. It was rejected two years in a row and I was required to take it back — twice.
Poor thing. Its red flower turned to an embarrassed scarlet and it sat alone feeling blue, rejected and unloved in my kitchen junk drawer for years. I’d see it now and then and be reminded of its sorrow. It made me sad. After years of this, I finally passed it on as a wedding gift, along with a cheque and a hand-written note revealing the long saga of the poor unwanted Portuguese bread bag.
The young couple who received it must have been moved. They called me long distance just to find out if the sad story was true. Would I make up something like that?
They assured me they knew someone they wanted to give it to. I wonder who it was. Did those people find a use for it and keep it? Did they pass it on again? I wonder who has it now or if it is still being passed from one to another? Did someone happen to give it to you?
Happy Holiday! Here’s to humour, health and happiness in the New Year! Holiday Greets