Tuesday, February 12, 2019

About Town with Joni

          Charles Kuralt was a popular TV journalist years ago, and many of us recall his “On the Road” segments for The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.  He always found something quirky or charming in the nooks and crannies of the U.S. And he would have loved my town.  Yes, because it often exemplifies the folksy goodness he so enjoyed. But also because it serves up a continuous supply of material.  Here are just three examples of things I’ve seen lately, simply by tooling around here:
          This one was in a public restroom where, I can only assume, visitors LOVE toilet paper. They simply cannot get enough, and will swipe-a-wipe to satisfy their craving.  OR… they want the heavy bar holding the paper, for who knows what purpose.
          This is a company that has diminished its motto simply by adding quotation marks.  Like saying your cafĂ© is a “quality” restaurant, it makes the reader question your claim. We’ve all seen people make air quotes as they refer to an “expert” who isn’t one, or a “vacation” that went sideways.
          And in this case, are they not quite changing the rules? Only pretending, perhaps? Or are they changing something, but it’s not really the rules, per se, just perceived rules.  Or maybe we should wonder what’s wrong with the old rules, that they need changing-- Were the old rules too demanding, and now they’ve thrown punctuality and safety to the wind?
          And this one was a pleasant surprise when I was filling out another medical form. On and on the pages went, asking for all my medications, all diagnosed ailments, you know the drill.  Then I came to this section about emotional adjustment, titled CORING.  I know they meant coping, and goodness knows typists can get tired, but this particular typo had me wondering if they wanted to get at the core of all our feelings. AND, if they even glance at these forms before printing them up.
          The top question says, “Since you became ill, have you felt any of the following?” and there’s a blank space for “other,” where you can write something in. I thought about writing, “Increased irritation with typos,” but then thought, nah, these aren’t irritating. They’re entertaining. Awkward and Upward!
Don’t you just want to drive around town all the time and find local  amusement?  FREE local amusement?  I hate to bring up the word, free, and then ask you to buy my books, but they are available here, and for only a modest fee (which is 75% of the word, free).

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Unforgettable Moments in Veterinary Medicine

          I’m not sure why going to the vet has to be so funny.  I just know that often it is.
          The veterinarian where I take our hooligan animals is usually crowded, with at least 8 or 10 pet owners and their various dogs and cats in tow. We’re all a friendly bunch and we get to talking. I always find it sweet that each owner has painstakingly chosen a name for their furry friend, and then tacked on their own last name.
          “Is Muffy Wilson here?”
          “We’re ready for Puddles Amherst.”
          I picture people looking at their newly acquired rescue cat or pound pup, and deciding that they look just like a Sprinkles.  Or Bambi.  Or Nacho.
          But this isn’t the funny part. This happens when you get a noisy room full of pet owners chatting away, and a vet technician comes through the door and shouts, “Who’s eating dog feces?”
          At which point you have never heard such silence. Not one person so much as breathed in any noticeable way. Even the animals were quiet, as if they could understand the question and no way were they going to admit to that.
          All of our eyes looked like fried eggs, just staring ahead and hoping not to garner any attention.  I, for one, was terrified that someone would raise their hand and then the rest of us would all throw up.  But maybe that’s just me.
I promise my books will have no ill effects upon you.  In fact, you can read them at the vet’s while you’re waiting for Fido. Or whomever.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Ready, Set, Reconsider

          We all have dream careers that never actually materialized. Some people wish they could have been astronauts, ballerinas, professional athletes. I will tell you mine. Okay, one of mine: Race car driver.
          This comes as no surprise whatsoever to those who have ridden with me. And I posted here about my race—in the family mini-van—at the local speedway.
          But what I really want is a job that lets me go any speed I want, on any road. Such a job does not exist unless I switch species and become a bug. And we all know how some of them end up. BUT… the closest appears to be Ambulance Driver, right? So I called to see how to apply.
          It turns out you have to become an actual Emergency Medical Tech to do this!  To drive!  I explained that someone should be the getaway, I mean the official driver, and that others can perform the medical tasks. They said no.
          And then, ta-da!  Good friends of our have a son who’s a paramedic a couple of hours away!  They came for dinner and he said he’d see if he could let me on as a ride-along. Can you believe my amazing luck? Granted, it’s not a full time gig, but at least I could fulfill my fantasies one time.
          But then he said two things that changed my mind. One, you might see horrific things you cannot un-see later. Yikes. I was just thinking about the front seat and forgot about the action in the back. 
And second, they don’t even speed! WHAAAT?  It’s true. They even have some gizmo in the truck that measures their speed. And they are very careful not to veer and zoom. They just get other cars to pull over, and while you’re sitting there it seems like they’re speeding.
Well, this defeats the whole point! So now I have to go back to the race track, apparently. Or, I could follow the sterling example of a woman in Oregon whose exploits were recently printed in The Oregonian with the headline: OREGON WOMAN STEALS AMBULANCE AS MEDICS PERFORM CPR, GOES ON WILD 30-MILE JOYRIDE, COPS SAY. 
"Why did they leave it unlocked?" Christy Lynn Woods allegedly asked a Roseburg police officer after Sunday's ambulance chase.
          And I think we can all agree that this requires a special kind of negative number in the common sense department. Especially since the medics needed to get someone to the hospital, hello?
          So my emergency vehicle speeding plan is permanently shelved. Shoulda picked ballerina.
But you may live all kinds of exciting fantasy lives just reading my books. Probably safer, too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Just Sign Here, Please

          In my last blog I told you I signed “Zorro” on all my hospital forms. This is absolutely true. My handwriting is so sloppy that it kind of looks like the way I sign Joni Hilton anyway. But St. Bob found out and was a bit concerned that I might get in trouble. 
          You mean worse trouble than having a mastectomy (twice, if you count the repair), then nose dermabrasion, then having lymph nodes removed? And I lost count of the biopsies in the clinical trial. I’d like to see what further “trouble” they can conjure up!
          Does he think this is going to go on my permanent record? I mean on Zorro's permanent record? 
          Or maybe he’s worried they’ll want to take everything back. Oh, be my guest!  Rewind that tape and return the breast and the lymph nodes? Sign me up. “Uh, here’s the tissue we removed, Ma’am.” And what can they possibly repossess-- stitches? I need those removed anyway.
          How about a lawsuit?  This I would welcome because I guarantee the judge will step down off the bench, come over to me and give me a high five. 
          Same thing happened when I was called to jury duty and then dismissed for being a comedy writer.
          Zorro it is.
Have you ever read a book by Zorro? Aha-- now you can. Well, sort of. Find all my books right here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Alter Ego

Here’s how to look like a super spy. First, have a mastectomy that requires a drain. This handy tube will connect to a little bulb that looks like a hand grenade.  It will rest in a little pouch at your waist.
Now put on any top, shirt, or jacket. You will see a bulge that looks like you are totally packing heat, and lots of it. Folks will think you’re armed with a Glock and a silencer, maybe even a machine gun.
But wait, there’s more. Now have basal cell skin cancer on your nose, which will require a bandage (read: disguise). No one will ever be able to identify you in a lineup!
Last, be thinking of these daring superheroes when you’re in the hospital to have lymph nodes removed later. You’ll be filling out a zillion boring forms as if purchasing a condominium for crying out loud (well, that’s not all they’re for), and you’ll think, “Wait. I’m a caped crusader. I shouldn’t have to sit here and sign ‘Joni Hilton’ on everything.”
And you’ll realize your signature is always such a rushed mess that nobody can read it anyway, right?  And then you’ll do what I did on every one of those forms: You’ll sign them all Zorro.
And then you’ll order my books to read while recovering.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Bandage a Day...

          I think we can all agree that police tape has at least one use.  But now I’m thinking it can be re-purposed to wrap me up after all my recent surgeries.
          Seriously, I’ve had 3 things within 3 weeks.  First, right before Christmas, I went under anesthetic again so we could repair the incision from my recent breast cancer surgery, which didn't hold. I say “we” but I had nothing to do with it. Then we (again, the royal “we”) sanded my nose.
          “What?!” you say? Yes, I had basal cell cancer on the tip—of course the tip because evidently I’m part unicorn—and the stitches came out on that one, too. So it healed all lumpy and on Dec. 31st we had dermabrasion to smooth it out and now I am again wearing a big, beautiful bandage in the center of my face. Hey, you celebrate New Years’ your way, I’ll do it my way.
          And THEN, because we just can’t get enough anesthetic, we had my arm pit lymph nodes removed on January 2nd. Each of these breast deals comes with a drain. I’m telling you, I have more port holes than a ship!
          And yet another bandage.  So, since there’s no tape that says, “Don’t Look Here” I’m thinking police tape could cover me nicely and accomplish the goal of keeping doctors away.  Certainly better than an apple, right?
To  see me without bandages, check out my YouTubeMom videos. Scroll through-- there are hundreds on my channel, and it’s a great way to spend a wintry afternoon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

AD infinitum

         Well, you made it through the holidays. And now, if you are online -----and I believe you are—you are seeing a zillion ads for the things you bought for Christmas or Hanukah.  Or thought about buying.
          Yes, you are being tracked every minute you have a screen before your face. If you so much as Google Wind in the Willows you will be bombarded with ads for toad clothing, toad houses, toad recordings, and toad viewing vacations.
          This also wrecks any surprises you may have planned. By typing in men’s neckties or slippers or sporting goods or games or jackets, you have alerted the world that you now want to see at least 80 ads for these items, and they will pop up when the gift recipient is standing behind you or perhaps on the family computer himself. “Why are there so many ads for concert tickets?” he will ask. 
          If you are in a book club and look into buying The Sun Also Rises from Amazon, you will soon see ads for every book under the sun about the sun.
          It’s like having a nosy neighbor who leans over the fence and says, “So I hear Joni’s getting you a cookbook. Are you taking up cooking? What do you like to cook? My sister is a cook. I thought about being a cook. It was for a Chicago-style pizza place. I have some albums by Chicago. You like music? I know some musicians. Or maybe it’s magicians. You like magic tricks? Speaking of tricks, we had a lot of trick-or-treaters this year.”
          Just to cover my bases, I have VERY nice neighbors who would never do this. But then none of them are in the computer ad business.
          I should run ads for my books!  All you get is a little blurb at the end of my blog, when I could be bombarding the world with graphics and videos!  I am missing the boat (and please do not start sending me boat ads).