When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon-Scented Garbage

I was watching TLC the other night and saw several commercials for “Craft Wars”.  For those of you who have enough of a life to have avoided seeing the commercials or TLC itself, allow me to describe what this craft competition show will apparently be about.

“Hi Tori! By the way, I’m a big fan of your work. Oh…Okay, well anyway, this piece is my interpretation of a happy jack-o-lantern. It will make a great door hanging or as seasonal decoration. The crooked grin gives it a touch of whimsy!” (Image from blog.craftzine.com)

Three contestants are given crafting supplies including all the hot-glue sticks and glitter they could ever hope for.  Then, the host says “Your time starts…NOW!”  The crafter-contestants, who by their very existence make me feel like a superior life form, all scramble across the set to get to the bins of crap that they’ll be making “crafts” out of.  This is essentially the same format that’s used on shows like “Top Chef”, “Design Star”, “Chopped”, “The White Room Challenge” and countless others.  As if watching these scrap-booking, swatch-pasting zealots isn’t bad enough in and of itself, the whole thing is hosted by massive has-been mega-talent, Tori Spelling!  The description above was gleaned from my having viewed a 30 second commercial several times, while I was busy watching some other inane offering on TLC.

It’s truly effortless to sit here and complain about what passes for entertainment these days.  I mean, they make it so easy.  So I sat down to write my rants about just that, but then a deeper thought occurred to me.  With the recent celebration of Father’s Day, I was reminded of what my Dad used to say;

“Turn off that damn idiot box and go cut the grass, dammit!”

Oh wait, wrong Dad quote.  He also used to say;

“If you’ve got a problem with it, then come up with something better or shut the hell up!”

Good point, Dad (My Dad didn’t actually curse that much, but I sure as shit do).  I put on my thinking cap and came up with some programming  ideas of my own.  I’m going to email these ideas to TLC, NatGeo, HGTV, Bravo and A&E.  They’ll be welcome to use any and all of my ideas without having to pay me a dime, but I do want the title “Creative Consultant” and a link to my blog in the opening and closing credits.  Here we go:

The Rolls Royce of Eternal Rest – this baby is a serious upgrade.(Image from Jawdrops.com)

America’s Next Top Mortician – Three morticians are given a challenging stiff to prepare for a viewing and funeral.  They will each have a fixed number of hours to fully prepare the corpse for interment.  Some of the challenges will include pushy, unrealistic family members who want Aunt Bessie to look “more life-like”, ill-fitting clothes for the deceased, and convincing the family they should pay for the up-graded casket.  Finally, what final-rest competition would be complete without the hearse-obstacle course?

Janitors Got Talent – Everyone knows at least one janitor who insists on singing or telling jokes while pushing brooms and emptying trash cans.  Here’s a chance for janitors to shine like freshly scrubbed porcelain!  Each contestant will have to demonstrate their unique talent while brushing toilets, running a floor buffer and refilling the soap dispensers in the women’s bathroom.

Cryo-Bank Tellers  24/7 – This gritty, up-close slice of reality will follow the challenges of round-the-clock employees at a St. Louis sperm bank as they deal with the crazy demands of such a bizarre work environment.  Hand held cameras will follow them throughout the facility with copious amounts of digitized blurring of clients faces, specimen jars and more!  At least once every episode, one of the tellers will lament “The sign on the door said ‘Unoccupied’, Geez I hate when that happens!”  Hilarity meets revulsion when new staff members are pranked and directed to put their lunches in the wrong refrigerator!

Bus Wars – Broad Street Local – Parking Wars meets Cash Cab as Philadelphia’s public transportation passengers are asked impossibly difficult trivia questions.  Contestants are frustrated, angered and embarrassed to realize they can’t possibly win any money.  Tempers flare when the contestants realize that the host/driver has ignored their stops while waiting for one of them to answer the question!

You turbo-charge this thing, put a chain guard on it and go to work. (Image from social.kidspot.com.au)

American Baby-Nose Pickers – Poor little Tyler and Brittany can’t do it themselves with their little bitty fingers!  Whether they use the squeeze ball, a Q-Tip or their own massive adult fingers, Moms and even Dads just can’t rest until that little hanger is out of their babies’ honkers.  The contestants will have to face tough challenges like booger-eating older siblings and the nausea of onlookers.  Tension builds as we close in on the final weigh-in!

My Biggest Fat Gypsy Rose Lee Loser – Theatrical directors and personal trainers team up to direct a community theater production of “Gypsy”, starring the morbidly obese who compete to lose the most weight while dancing and singing the hit numbers from 1959’s Broadway smash!  Wardrobe issues and self-esteem are on a collision course in this emotional competition!  Contestants are pushed to the brink when they have to keep their appetites and salivary glands in check while singing the lyric “..have an egg roll, Mr. Goldstone..”

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m going to go ahead and send the link for this blog to all those networks.  Keep your eyes peeled in the months to come, I think I’ve got a few winners here.  Listen up network execs, as promised, these ideas are there for the taking, and all I ask is the “Creative Consultant” tag and a plug for my blog.  Be warned though, my next batch won’t come so cheap!

A Deal’s a Deal

The pre-nup didn’t mention beheading specifically. I’d like to think our relationship is more civilized than that. (Image from weddingcakes.com)

You’ve probably noticed.  I haven’t been cranking out the hits as often lately.  I know, I know, calling those posts “hits” is a bit presumptuous of me.  Even so, I’ll admit that things have slowed down a little.  I’m sorry.  I realize that I’ve surely disappointed you, and to be honest, I’ve disappointed myself a little too.  As adults, we have to realize that things don’t stay the same forever, things change and that’s just part of life.

I thought this might be a good time to bring up the pre-nup we signed and the vows we shared when you first started following me.

Please don’t try to play dumb with me.  I’ve got my copy right here.  If you choose to skip the fine print or to keep shoddy records, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Anyway, it says right here in the third paragraph that you pledge to follow me in good times and in bad, in periods of bountiful, hilarious posts and in times of minimal writing with infrequent pity-chuckles.

A few lines down it grants you permission to follow others, which I think was pretty progressive of me, especially since I’m writing just for you (those other followers don’t mean anything to me, you’re the only one who matters – you know that, right?).

To continue, if we scan down to the bottom of page one, there’s the clause for unfollowing.  You have the right to unfollow me, but I’m granted 2 weeks advance notice and the right to appeal your decision via repeated, whining emails and, at my discretion, small bribes.  This is only fair, as it gives me ample time to try to scratch out a new, funny post in a pathetic attempt at recapturing the magic which we shared just a few weeks ago when our relationship was fresh and new.

I realize that introducing legal documents into our relationship makes for some potentially hard feelings.  I didn’t want to have to do this, but dammit, I’ve been hurt too many times!  Besides, these papers don’t really leave you in a bad position; you’re still free to come and go as you please.  The rider regarding clicking “like” isn’t even in there anymore!

I think we need to put these papers aside for a minute and clear the air a little bit.  You might not realize it, but my dopey posts only look like the rambling thoughts of a stooge.  I actually go to great lengths to capture the innocent child-like literary voice of a simpleton for your amusement.  It’s hard work, darn it!   What do you bring to the table?  A promise to follow me?!  That’s it?!  I’m doing all the work and all you have to do is read?  Hell, you don’t even have to do that – just stay on as a follower and let me go on thinking that you still care!  I’ll try to amuse you when and if you deem my post worthy of your attention.

I’m sorry.  I lost my head for a minute there.  I’m just in a dark place right now.  I had this Justin Bieber piece almost done and The Good Greatsby beat me to the punch.  All that time and research down the toilet.  Now I’ve got photos of that little gnome Bieber in my media library, what the hell am I going to do with those?  That and the 7 Deadly Sins competition is tougher than I thought.  After I won the very first sin, it only increased the pressure to win again or risk being branded a one-post-wonder.

He’s mocking me. His recycling can has more followers than my blog. (Image from fanpop.com)

It’s a lot of pressure, because…well…because I want to do my best for you.  Because you believed in me and followed me when no one except those other 6 people did.  I know this line is corny, but by golly, you make me a better writer.  I want to make you laugh and write me cute little comments to make me feel better about my strange view of life.  Honestly, you don’t even have to write the comments if you don’t want to  (Actually, the paragraph requiring you to make comments was struck down by the judge weeks ago).

I’m Not a Helicopter Parent, I’m a Surrogate Child!

"Look at that Thompson kid! A sweater vest?! That's not how you dress for competition!! He's yours Brittany! DOMINATE his sweater-vest-wearing butt!" (Image from whatsupshopper.com)

Perhaps you saw the article where the annual Easter Egg hunt in my town in Colorado has been cancelled due to the over-zealous behaviors of some of us parents.  According to the article, in recent years, some of us may have been jumping into the action before the official start of the hunt to make sure our kids got the most eggs.  We sealed our children’s supremacy by finding the eggs ourselves.  It’s a good idea if you really think about it.  I mean, kids have such short legs and they can be distracted by the glory of a Rocky Mountain spring.

You need to FOCUS Brittany!  F-O-C-U-S !!!

It goes without saying that most four-year olds just suck when it comes to competition.  Studies have shown that at that stage of development, children have yet to acquire a taste for the blood of their opponents.  Four-year olds are like…babies!  They need to grow up strong and they need to grow up fast.  Kindergarten is next year and if you’re already behind from going to that mediocre preschool at Mommy’s work, you can kiss the Ivy League schools good-bye.  Then what?!  No kid of mine is going to some damn state school!

Any parent worth their salt knows the only way for a child to ever become a winner, is to have their parents win for them!  Then, when they’re holding the trophy in their stubby little hands, and watching their parents glow with pride, they will begin to understand the joys of crushing their competition (You can assume the parents are glowing with pride, we might be glowing with perspiration from hip-checking that Thompson kid’s loser father into the hedge on the way to grab those two purple eggs).

With the Easter Egg hunting dominated, our happy family can head home to count the spoils of victory.  Sadly, there’s little rest for the victors, as young Brittany has show-and-share in preschool just two days later.  Mom and I are already arranging for Chinese acrobats, flame eaters and jugglers.  The Thompson kid’s parents brought in a live ostrich and the kids got to ride it.  If they think their little twerp is going to beat our Brittany into Princeton ..well…wait’ll they get a load of the show-and-share – that’s all I’m going to say about it.

We’ll see who’s on top when kindergarten starts.  This is war, Thompson.