Wednesday, June 15, 2011


When I used to come home from the 7th grade I would grab the box of Ritz Crackers, a tub of port-wine cheese, and head into my bedroom where I would watch re-runs of "Petticoat Junction" on the small black and white TV my parents (surprisingly) allowed me to have in my room. It was in this manner I would forget about the minor mean girl acts and other mini transgressions that are part and parcel of being in junior high.

Lots of curves you bet, even more when you get, to the Junction! Petticoat Junction! Why on earth were those girls allowed to bathe in the water tower? That seems mighty unsanitary.

When Lilly comes home from 7th grade she grabs the pita chips, the hummus and flops down on the couch to watch "The Tyra Show" on the big family-room flat-screen TV.

I'm coming out! I want the world to know, got to let it show! Who are all these horrible people shamelessly talking about the terrible things they do?

It is hard for me to imagine two shows that are more ridiculously different than "Petticoat Junction" and "The Tyra Show."

I don't really get what my daughter likes about this show. Wait she's in the room now, I will ask her.

Okay, here is what she said, "I like the Tyra show because there are a bunch of crazy people on that show and they are entertaining to watch. And because Tyra keeps it real."

I (along with pretty much everyone my age and older) do not like this genre of talk show because I find it horribly depressing to learn that I share the planet let alone the same nationality with said crazy people. People like the woman who weighed 600 pounds and aspires to weigh 1000 pounds. Or the parents who took their gay son to a fringe church to have his "gayness" exorcised (beaten) out of him. Or the woman who brought her husband to the show so she could tell him (in front of a national TV audience) that he no longer excites her sexually (but she just couldn't bring herself to tell him before that point because it might hurt his feelings WTF??)

I know the parenting manual says that when your kid watches a show you do not approve of you are supposed to watch it with her and say things like, "Well what do you think about that?" or "That's interesting do you think he handled that well?"

Instead I shout things like, "Oh for god sakes, what a horrible human!" "Who DOES that?" and "Please tell me this is a bad, bad joke!"

How's that for keeping it real?

But this stuff cracks Lilly up. Perhaps this horrible behavior makes the junior high nonsense look tame. I don't know.

I do know that she takes much of what Tyra says to heart and quotes her which leads to scenes like this:

At dinner: "You took too many potatoes. Tyra says your serving of carbs should be no bigger than your fist."

When I was worrying about going without my wig when my hair first grew out, "You have to just be you and be fierce. That's what Tyra would say. Then she'd look at you and say something nice about you," here Lilly looked me over from top to bottom, obviously searching for something nice to say and finally came up with, "You have nice teeth."

And she has learned a LOT about black women and their hair and hair extensions in general. Which is why our new favorite game to play when we watch TV is "Is she wearing extensions?" It also explains when she told the sweet 8-year-old African-American girl at our church, "I like your hair," and the girl answered, "It ain't mine, it's a weave," she was not a bit surprised.

So I don't like that she watches it but at least she's learning. I don't think I learned anything from "Petticoat Junction" except if I ever get the chance to stay at the Shady Rest I should not drink the water.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


This is a repeat because I am told my Aunt Maxine missed it--just as she has missed trump calls for years.

The Trump-inator: Brilliant

When I play Euchre with my family (which is something we do nearly every time a bunch of Zimmermans are together) I have trouble keeping track of what trump is. This should not be difficult--there are only four choices--hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds but I find myself frequently asking, "What's trump?" and hearing the standard reply of "Hearts, Maxine," accompanied by groans at my ridiculous inability to remember something so simple. "Hearts Maxine" is an expression my family uses because my cousin Maxine was sort of the pioneer of forgetful Euchre players and asked what trump was so many times that the phrase was coined.

As the next generation is learning to play Euchre, I find they are even more impatient with my forgetfulness than my own siblings so I have devised a way to keep track. I simply take out four number two cards (you only use 9-Aces in Euchre) and set them at my elbow. When trump is called I turn over the two of whatever suit was called and that way instead of having to ask all the time I can just glance down. This is such a brilliant idea that I have named my stack of four cards "The Trump-inator" Never mind that sometimes the Trump-inator gets tangled up in the discard pile or worse yet the score-keeping cards, it works pretty well overall.

I think The Trump-inator is so ingenious that I am starting to collect other ideas that need a similar solution--situations when people frequently have problems keeping track. Here are a few ideas. I don't actually have a device to solve these problems; I just think it would be cool if there were such a thing. Let me know if you have any ideas and no, "there's an app for that" is not an answer. I don't have a Smart Phone.

1. The Link-inator: this handy device would somehow collect all the websites, YouTube videos, shopping links, and family photos that are referenced in a given conversation and automatically send them to everyone involved. For example, you are out to dinner with your sister and you reference a slutty drunken picture of one of the cousins you saw on FaceBook and she says she hasn't seen it so you say you'll send her the link the next day but by the next morning you realize that you said that about several things and you cannot for the life of you remember what the links were that you thought were so damned funny/relevant/interesting the night before. This would solve the problem and ensure that your sister will never again miss that amazing video of a cat playing piano.

2 The dinner-party-guest-name-inator: This pocket-sized implement has the names of all the guests at the dinner party you are going to along with photos and dotted lines to show who is married to whom. This will eliminate the need for the conversation in the car on the way to the dinner party when your husband keeps saying, "Now what's Susan's husband's name? The Jackass?" and "Will that hot babe from book club be there--what's her name?"

3. The anti-re-gift-inator: This is a discrete stamp noting the date and giver on the bottom of every hostess gift and bottle of wine you receive so that you may never ever accidentally give that bottle of Prosecco back to the person who gave it to you.

4. What's-her-name-inator: Somehow this projects a person's name above her head at a social function so that you will never again know the panic you feel when you realize you need to introduce two people and have somehow managed to forget the name of the person you know best, perhaps someone you know very well and have known for years, I'm just saying, Coffee Friend 2, this could happen.

Just imagine how awesome the world would be if we had these wonderful little helpers. But for now, you can take comfort in knowing you'll never again have to ask what's trump, Maxine.