Norman Is Not Funny

“Why is it no one is telling anyone jokes anymore, has the country disintegrated into such a morass of doom and gloom, that no one seems to want to share a good amusing story or joke with each other?”

YokoRobert Redford has a movie called  “A River Runs Thru It.”  In the movie there is a scene where the female lead looks to Brad Pitt and says to him, “Norman is not funny.”  Which is an amusing scene, but in all reality, I suppose you would have to see the movie first to appreciate it.

Out of all the movies my wife has seen in her lifetime, this one scene, seems to resonate with her.  I have not a clue as to why, but she will look at me when I attempt to share something amusing with her, or tell her a joke.

And her reply, is always the same …. “Norman is not funny.”

Now my wife is Chinese and very funny, in her own way.  She will say stuff all the time, that I find amusing as all get out.  We were for example, traveling thru the Panhandle of Oklahoma on vacation, where coincidentally there thrives a very large population of Antelope.  Somewhere west of a little place called Guymon, Oklahoma, traveling down the highway at 65 mph an antelope came up out of the bar ditch and literally leaped over the hood of our automobile!

I was at the very least, shocked and amazed.

My wife looked at me and said:  “What is he doing out here running wild like that, he could hurt someone!”  Now at that juncture of time, it would have not only been appropriate but very politically correct to interject “Norman is not funny” into the conversation.  I on the other hand chose to reply with …. “Uh, he LIVES HERE that is why.”

Why?  Because I don’t like eating tuna fish sandwiches day after day when she finds me not so funny.

Which brings me to this.  Why is it no one is telling anyone jokes anymore, has the country disintegrated into such a morass of doom and gloom, that no one seems to want to share a good amusing story or joke with each other?

When times are good, folks tell jokes, when times are bad … well, you know.  The bible says that “laughter doth the heart good” which means you are a Happy Kamper when you are laughing and quite possibly a back-seat Baptist if you live in Oklahoma.

Here is something else to consider.  It takes a lot of muscles in your face to frown, it only takes a few to smile … I am basically lazy when it comes to this crossroads of my life.  I am going to smile, I am going to grin, she is going to wonder what it is that I have been up to and when I dutifully try to explain it to her … She will simply say … “That not funny.”

Just this past week, I came into the kitchen and she said, “Where have you been?” and I said, “McDonalds.”  She then said, “Why you go there, that is not good for you, nothing healthy.” and I said, “They have a new Value Meal, and I wanted to try it.”

My wife then says to me, “A new value meal.  What is it called?” and I said, “It is called the Obammer.  You order anything on the menu that you want and the guy behind you has to pay for it.”  

It is not easy being Norman, but someone has to do it.

See you at the water cooler.


Lil Buddies

Been hangin on the bus board, it is cold this weekend, and I am shut in.  I am quickly tiring of mind numbing debate on the subject of diesel fuel, who is sticking it to who, where it is, how it is that we cannot have any of it.  It is slowly turning my mind to oatmeal.

The grandkids came by this weekend and that is a GOOD THING they have a tendency to detour my thoughts, and get my mind headed in another direction.  Small children are good for the soul.  When they are here, I no longer think of cheap third world thugs named Chavez or God Awful Kadafi or why there hasn’t been a refinery built in this country for over forty years.

I just sit here, listen to this sweet music of these small children playing with one an another, pet the dog, and savor the moment, like a fine bottle of wine.

They say that “If I had known Grandkids were so much fun, I would have had them first.” and I have to whole heartedly agree.  I suppose there is a grain of truth in there somewhere.  They constantly pull me away from the abyss, by doing nothing out of the ordinary, other than just being themselves.

So today, I find myself sitting here watching these three little dinkers play (my grand-babies) and listening to their seemingly endless chatter, their amusement of just about anything, breaks them out into raucous laughter.  Ear splitting and long lasting laughter.

Their joy is somewhat infectious and it is hard to stay in a bad mood, when you are in the company of these two kids.  Their little brother, who is quite the handful himself (he is just barely two years old), is quickly drawn into it, although I am not sure he understands what all the commotion is about.

You ever notice how small children celebrate life?

They just laugh, and I mean laugh hard, at just about anything.  They laugh for the sheer joy of it and nothing more.  It is that childlike innocence that we all secretly yearn for in our lives, those carefree days where the only problem we had was cramming enough waking hours in the day, devoted to nothing but fun.

You forget to laugh, you have to replace laughter with worry.  Where will I get the money for groceries, where will I find cheap gas, who is going to send these kids thru college, why is the government running amuck?  Over time, all of this, in no certain order, erodes your life, it steals your joy and you find very little humor in life.

“When you grow up … A little piece of your heart dies.”

You also lose credibility with not only the younger set, but some of your peers.  My grand daughter’s favorite expression is … “For Real Grandpa?” … she has a hard time with some of the things I try to explain to her.  She is more preoccupied with “Where do butterflies sleep at night?” and “Do you have any healthy food in your refrigerator?”

And I will patiently sit with her and try to explain why the old bus uses a lot of fuel, and that fuel costs a whole lot of money, and we cannot go to DisneyWorld because it is a long ways away.  And she just looks at me with those big brown eyes, eyes a guy like me could get lost in …. and says …. “For Real Grandpa?”

No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.

An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired. Holding hands, they walked back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk they’d shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally .”

On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money – fifty thousand dollars!

Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back.”

Sally said, “Finders keepers.”

She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.  The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the money, and knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?”

Sally said, “No”.

Andy said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.

Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile”

The agents turned to Andy and began to question him. One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”

Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ….”

The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

Be yourself–every one else is taken.


Vision and Hope

Some days are better than others, sometimes I am rock steady and at other times, shaky and not so confident.

Take yesterday for instance, I was at WalMart getting some salad stuff and I see her, heading my way, down the main aisle.

And she is TEXT MESSAGING while pushing a shopping cart, I am not making this up people, she is pushing towards me and at the same time, looking down, she is texting.

So I stop, I brace myself and I think … Now this is going to be interesting.

The woman, clearly not paying attention to her surroundings and oblivious to other shoppers in the store, continues to text and push forward with her cart.

And then wham!  Head-on collision in the pickle jar section.

This somewhat abrupt stop shifts most of her weight over the handle-bars of the shopping cart, and clearly does not help her keep her composure at the moment.

She is now very flustered, she is embarrassed, and at the same time, a bit peeved.  “Why didn’t you warn me?” she demands, and I just smile.  “You could have at least said something!”  Again … I just smile.  Another quick thought comes to my mind, “somewhere, there is someone that is MARRIED to this” and one last time, I smile.

Each and every day life presents me with new challenges.  There is D.U.I. = Driving Under The Influence, D.W.I.= Driving While Intoxicated, D.W.Y.= Driving While Yaking and now this … T.W.C.= Tex-ting Without A Clue.  As my grandmother was so fond of saying … “I believe I have seen it all Lord.”

Man, if I did not have my sense of humor, I would go bonkers, I am sure of it.

Here is today’s’ impossible life lesson #101, or something like that.  Today we will talk about or discuss: Joy, peace, patience, vision and hope. How to find something that rows your boat, and then hang onto it.  It has been said that with age comes wisdom, and perhaps this could apply here, I don’t know.  But I am finding that I am experiencing some of these tendencies much more frequently now, and that it is paying off. I seem to have more joy than before, not at levels that I would consider “infectious” but still, I am operating at a level that is more enjoyable here lately.

What used to wear me down and break my spirit, no longer is of importance. I also seem to have more patience than before. I still do not share a vision for my life, I am not sure, exactly sure, what it is that God wants of me. But I believe I have a slight inkling of what that might be.  He doesn’t want me tearing his children down, or kicking his creations. No percentage points in being rude, nasty or hateful, so I just don’t do it.

I simply cannot remain super-serious all the time and fill my mind with only the harsh and painful realities of life.  I leave that for the Bill O’Reilly types on the Fox Network.

Virtually every day I can find at least one thing to laugh about.
• I often need something to make the serious side of life, more palatable.
• It distracts my attention.
• Reduces tension and allows me to breathe.
• It changes my expectations and soothes the edges of my ragged soul.
• Laughing provides endorphins in the body, natural pain killers, and I often need them, believe it or not.
• When the world gets so ugly and serious, I need these diversions to make all the difference in my ability to cope with life’s crushing demands.
• I do my best to do this one thing. Find treasure and peace in the quiet moments of the day, smile and laugh often.

So here I sit, six-fifteen A.M. in the morning, sippin’ on a cup of coffee, putting down all my “wisdom nuggets” on the page for no one in particular, except myself.  And you know what?

Today isn’t going to be all that great when you step back and take a look at it; it is more than likely going to be ordinary and plain. It is winter time in Oklahoma, it is going to be bitter cold and ugly.  Too often, a lot of my days are like that, simply because my goals at this time of the morning are mostly non-existent.

But I like you, have a choice in the matter. I can sit back and lament the fact that things are possibly not to go just “exactly” the way I would want them to go this day. Or I can choose to trust in the Lord, and see what he brings on the scene.

Laughter doth good medicine.  Trust me, “I am self medicating myself on a daily basis. Anesthesiology for the soul.”  And the absolute best thing about it all … You don’t need a prescription.

It’s free.


Old Man Time


Here we go, third day of a New Year, absolute resolutions.  Here is number one:  “I need all of you to stop sending me these “make seventeen copies of this” and then pass it on for good health and riches stuff.  It doesn’t seem to be working.

Here is another thing we need to stop, or I need to stop.

All these new years resolutions.

I suppose that is what everyone is talking about in the blogging community this morning.  I have not surfed around as of yet, so I am not up to speed.  Personally I feel they are a waste of time, and for the most part, do not serve any purpose other than frustration.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am going to try and do a lot of things different this year, I don’t know if that is a resolution or not, really don’t see it that way myself.  Just making what I consider some changes in my life, trying to do something I think might work.

For instance:  This is the year to seriously consider taking more naps.  Naps make you smarter.  It allows you to reboot your brain, clears your short term memory and makes room for new information (yeah, like I needed that).  When your email inbox in your between-your-ears-high-ground-campus is full you are not going to receive any more mail.

All these so-called E-mail Good luck charms and potions, magic solutions give you an advantage if you believe they work.  I understand that people who carry a lucky charm set higher goals and feel more confident than those who leave their rabbits foot at home.  But really guys, we all know that confidence … not magic is what makes the difference in life.

A good massage boosts your immune system, and lowers the levels of the hormones, which causes stress.  Massage also produces an increase in the “love hormone” oxytocin, which makes people feel pleasantly high. It has been awhile since I was pleasantly high on anything, so I am open for a new experience.  I used to get a charge out of life but here lately, it has been so long for me personally, that I flat out forgot where to hook up the jumper cables.

Now I often do get a kick out of some of this stuff you send, it makes me laugh, and I believe that is a good thing.

Laughing lowers your blood pressure, increases your appetite, a lot of good things come from laughter.  You ever notice little children, how much they laugh?  They laugh for nothing other than the sheer joy of laughing.  I need to remember how to recover some of that joy in my life in this upcoming New Year.

Dreaming seems to improve my outlook on life, might try some more of that, which is going to be kind of difficult, I mean who ever heard of someone controlling subconscious dreaming?  It is possible to some extent to do this during the waking hours of the day.  This morning I am day dreaming again.  The eastern sky is turning crimson and dawn is cracking in the heartland. I am getting somewhat better at this stuff, haven’t exactly mastered it, but I am making inroads into my peace-of-mind exercises. It takes my mind off the day to day grind so familiar to life, and two-dollar ninety-nine a gallon motor fuel.

Sitting here staring out the front window of my shop office, no plans, no ambitions, shut down.  Really would like to be in Florida right now or the Black Hills this summer, it would be a great day to be just about anywhere — anywhere but here.

To be where the weather report didn’t contain the words “storm warning” and the view never seemed redundant or stale.

My mind quickly travels back in time, to grade school and my youth, and how I used to spend an inordinate amount of time at the pencil sharper, grinding away, staring out the window at the nice day and dreaming of better things.

Now some sixty years later, I am back at that proverbial spot (in my mind) and I am still the impossible dreamer, the hopeless romantic.  This morning Old Man Time finds me here.

Facing but one more New Year … I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life is good


Tree Hugger

tree huggerHeard any good jokes lately?

I thought so.

While walking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, a man came upon another man hugging a tree with his ear firmly against the tree. Seeing this he inquired, “Just out of curiosity, what  the heck are you doing?”

“I’m  listening to the music of the tree,” the other  man replied.

“You’ve  gotta be kiddin’ me.”

“No, would you like to give it a try?”

Understandably curious, the man says, “Well, OK…” So he  wrapped his arms around the tree & pressed  his ear up against it. With this, the other guy slapped a pair of handcuffs on him, took his wallet, jewelry, car keys, then stripped him naked and left.

Two  hours later another nature lover strolled by, saw this guy handcuffed to the tree stark naked, and asked, “What the heck happened to you?”

He told the guy the whole terrible story about how he got there.

When he finished telling his story, the other guy shook  his head in sympathy, walked around behind him, kissed him gently behind the ear and  said, “This just ain’t gonna be your day………….cupcake…”

Believe it or not, it wasn’t long ago, I actually heard people talking optimistically about things, the economy, society, the nation.  Every now and then, a joke or amusing antidote, not so now.  It used to be happier around here.

But that seems to have died down again,

It wasn’t all that long ago, when people would off hand say to you “Have A Nice Day” or “You Have A Good One.”  Stuff like that seems to be rare anymore, almost as if it dried up and died overnight in this country.  We as a nation for the most part are part of the walking wounded now, it is as if we have almost turned into a nation of zombies, just pacing our way through the motions.

I guess the oil companies decided enough was enough and it is time to exact another pound of flesh.  Just when we seemed like we were on top of it, and coming out the other side, here they come to punish us again.

knocked down

Perhaps it is just me, but it appears on the outside that American’s are smiling less these days, you just don’t hear many good jokes, people seem to be pre-occupied and they seem to be worrying more.  Happiness it appears is down and sadness is up, and for good reason.

Bought any groceries or gasoline lately, I rest my case.

The obvious culprit in all this is the recession, it did not go away, it kind of took a nap for a little while, but it seems to be back.  So in order to counter it, we are smoking more and sleeping less, yeah, that should work. Some will tell you our problems are not a lack of money, but the uncertainty of it all.  I don’t see many bankers letting go of the money, and if they are, it certainly isn’t in any volumes that I would tend to brag about.

So it must be the uncertainty of it all.

We don’t know if our boats are being lifted with the tide or if we are still sinking, we know not of a rush on the stock market or whether or not we will have a job next week, and that is taking its collective toll.

I find myself idly sitting around day-dreaming of a day when I can escape it all and head out for a new adventure in life. Exotic locales such as Venezuela call to me, places of National Geographic fame beckon to me.  To go from Canaima, through the Sabana, the Jungle and the rivers Carrao & Churu, where you will enjoy ne of the biggest emotions of life.

To be in the midst of the green velvet that is home to the families of parrots (some 900 species at last count), and the jungle cats, who are often heard, but almost never seen.

To be in a land of sparse facilities just nothing but a base camp.  Guides as natives, all experts, who will take you through troubled waters, where just a few have made it.  And you be one of them.  I guess that is why things have to change, we know not, whether it will be good or bad, we just want it to do something.

Life is different at every age, and often, beautiful too.  Thank God.  How boring it would be to stay the same for our whole lives.

Have A Nice Day.


“The cartoon was published by the Center for American Progress” (online)