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Thread: Debi Goes to MARS

  1. #1
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    next door to the lady in the vinegar bottle
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    Debi Goes to MARS

    It’s been ages since we’ve heard from Debi Snotenlocker, the Real Housewife of East Hogwash. After years of suffering through her role as materfamilias, Debi has come to one of those fabled “crossroads.” As in the words of the late, great Professor Yogi Berra –-“When you come to a fork in the road, take it” –-Debi does just that, following still another great American thinker, the late, great Rodney Dangerfield. Will she finally get some respect? Let’s study up on her, shall we? The lesson is as simple as A-B- and whatever the third one is in this little ditty which we like to call

    Debi Goes to MARS

    I haven’t seen any colorful foliage, or any squirrels gathering nuts, or birds hopping the red eye down to Rio. The Weather Channel says the high will be about 86 degrees today. But wouldn’t you know it, Brad already took the AC out of the window and packed away all the fans (instead of waiting until Thanksgiving as usual.) One thing’s for sure, though: Fall is sure taking its sweet time coming to East Hogwash. What’s it waiting for – Christmas?

    Summer temps may be hanging on, but about a month ago every mother in East Hogwash exhaled a cool breeze when the little creatures headed out the door. Every year the First Day of School is a religious experience. As soon as the yellow bus pulls away from the curb, I shout, “Hallelujah!”

    September marked a whole new beginning for our triplets, Trip, Trap, and Trick. Last June we got the word from East Hogwash Elementary School that the boys would not be welcomed back. The District Superintendent greased some strings and pulled some palms for the boys to transfer to a new institution. On the day after Labor Day, no cheese bus came. Instead a vehicle with a revolving red light on top pulled up at 6 a.m. Excitement greeted the arrival of the sheriff himself, the Honorable Frank “Third Degree” Burns.

    Sheriff Burns personally escorted our sons to their new home for the next indeterminate number of years. The boarding school is affectionately called “The Resort” (as in “last.”) Even though no visitors are ever allowed inside, Brad and I took a ride out there week ago Saturday to get a gander at the joint. The concrete wall is -- let’s say-- only about 8 feet high. We hear there are plans for a higher wall. Rumor has it that the inmates– - er, we’re supposed to call them “residents”– will be forced to pay for its construction. And we’re told the barbed wire surrounding the building is electrified only a few hours a day. Of course, the residents don’t know that. But why would anybody try to escape in the first place? Who’d leave such a beautiful, state-of-the-art correctional facility?

    With their future secured, I wasn’t worried about the triplets. But I did have some concerns for Milwaukee, my daughter from a previous relationship. After spending a couple of semesters at East Hogwash Community College, Milwaukee announced that she was going to do what she should’ve done right after graduating from East Hogwash High School a couple of years ago.

    ”What’s that, Milwaukee?” I asked. “Do you mean that you wish that instead of going to EHCC, you had stayed for more than one semester at DUH?”

    “No, Ma,” she said between snaps of Juicyfruit. “I’m gonna do what all the cool kids do – take a Gap year.”

    So that’s just what Milwaukee did. Except, the Gap wasn’t hiring, so she went to Old Navy.

    “Well, that’s that!” I declared, slapping my hands together. “Now all four kids-ids-ids have someplace to go-oh-oh, and–-“ Suddenly I realized two things: one, I was talking to myself and two, my words were echoing off the walls. This was a shock. It had been so long since I’d heard the sound of my own voice that I almost didn’t recognize it.

    But I also recognized the Awful Truth: I was all alone in the house. Here was what all the women’s mags warned me about: Empty Nest Syndrome. Actually, in my case it was Empty Nest Egg Syndrome ever since Brad blew through a huge chunk of our savings on Pay-Per-View.

    What now? With the kids away, what could I do to fill up all those idle hours? I thought about getting a part-time job, until I remembered that I didn’t have any marketable skills.
    (Unless you count the ability of my bare feet to locate stray Lego pieces buried in the rug. And there’s no call for that skill now that the company has changed the design and smoothed out the edges. ) *

    I folded my arms and asked myself aloud,”How-ow-ow do I get these skills-ills-ills? And where am I, I-I-I? Fenway Park-ark-ark?”

    Right then and there I knew what to do. It was Back to School time -– for Me!

    Next Monday morning, with a balmy 78 degrees at nine am, I put on my best pair of Mom jeans, searched around for a writing tool that wasn’t a topless marker, and grabbed a slightly used spiral notebook from Milwaukee’s room. Then I headed straight over to the Admissions Office at the Upstate Campus of the Downstate University at Hogwash (DUH) and signed up.

    I filled out all the forms, including a student loan application which--I’m not sure-- might have included signing away the rights to Brad’s retirement pension.

    The lady behind the desk looked at my papers as if I were trying to sneak over the border. Then she glared at me over the tops of her glasses. “Have you matriculated?”

    “No,” I said. “I’m married.”

    A few minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a male student around Milwaukee’s age. To me he looked like that movie actor, whoziface. Chris Something or Ryan Somebody. He had a paper badge stuck to his tee shirt, but I couldn’t make it out.

    “ ‘Zup,” he mumbled. “You the lady from MARS?”


    “Mature Adult Returning Student. You one of those? ”

    “I don’t know,” I said. “If ‘Mature’ means acting as an adult, then yes. But if you mean old and decrepit, then no way!

    “Whatever. I’m supposed to like, show ya around campus so you can decide what kinds of courses to take and stuff?”

    “Gee, that’s really sweet of you, Donny.”

    “Don-TAY. Just like it’s spelled. “D-O-N-T-A-Y.”

    “Sorry, the ink on your badge is smudged. Anyway, I wish my kids would volunteer for something once in a while, and–“

    “Oh, I’m not, like a volunteer. This is part of the like work-study program, to knock a couple guilders off the tuition nut.”

    “But still. It’s so nice that you –“

    Don-TAY shrugged. “It’s either this or shovel out the barns down at the Animal Husbandry department.”

    Another kid walked up and slapped my guide on the back.“Duuuuude!” he yelled. “Like you missed a hot blast up at the frat house last night? Like I almost drowned in a sea of Muckenmire?”


    “ The tube was on and every time some dude on MSNBC was like ’Going Forward, ‘ we chugged down a whole can o’ Muckie? And I’m like so wasted I’m ready to text Rachel Maddow?” This new kid finally noticed me. “Who’s this? Your Mom?”

    “Uh, no, I’m like workin’. Catch you later , Bro.”

    As Dontay started showing me around, I saw a gold-plated limousine racing down the tree-lined campus drive. “Who’s that? Some big millionaire donating to the college?”’‘

    “Nah, that’s Griff Gotwads, the University Athletic Director? Like he’s richer than God?”

    If I knew how to whistle I would have. “Wow. That’s some nest egg for a guy who works only nine months a year.”

    “Nah, like no way. Soon as the football season’s done he’s gone. Pfft.” Dontay made a upward gesture with his arm. “Straight to his private Lear jet and off to the South of France?”

    We passed some middle-aged folks waiting in line. “More MARS people enrolling?”

    “Nah, they‘re like the assistant professors? Signing up for food stamps?”

    It seemed as if we were wandering around aimlessly. Not only that my off-brand sneakers which I got half-off at Wal-Marts were beginning to give way. I convinced Dontay to let me peek in on a class. We ducked into a one-story building that smelled just like home – crayon wax and sour milk. “This here’s the Education Department?” he said.

    “What do you mean? Isn’t the whole college about ‘education’?”

    “Yeah, well, if you wanna be a teacher yourself you gotta learn how,” he explained. “The tricks of the trade and stuff?”

    This struck me as a little odd. How could you spend most of your early life, from age 5 to 18 in school and not get an idea of how it’s done? Wouldn’t you get a clue from watching a parade of teachers from kindergarten through your senior year in high school? That is, if you didn’t have to repeat a grade. If that were the case, you’d probably wouldn’t touch the teaching game with a 10-foot ruler. And who would blame you?

    But the kids in that classroom looked all gung ho about their future as schoolteachers. Their faces were as eager as lottery ticket holders hearing the winning numbers.

    Because everybody was sitting at a large round table it was hard to tell who was in charge. I saw a guy a little older than the kids–-but younger than I was! He had a beard and big holes in his jeans. At first I thought he was a homeless person thinking he’d stumbled into the public library. But then I realized he was the instructor fielding questions.

    “Uh, we wanted to know about these uh, like lesson plans and stuff? Under goals, should we like write ‘facilitate the implementation’ or ‘implement the facilitation,’ or what?”

    Meanwhile Dontay reached into his backpack, pulled out a can of Muckenmire’s Beer, and opened it with a snapping sound that echoed through the lecture hall.

    “I’ll be very happy to answer that question, Misty,” the professor replied, “but before going forward –-“

    The moment Dontay heard that phrase, he chugged down all twelve ounces, followed by a satisfying burp loud enough to raise comments on the Canadian border: “How come he’s not drinking Molson’s, ay?”

    The teacher cleared his throat and gave the girl a phony smile. “A gentle reminder that verbs such as ‘should’ or “must” or ‘ought to’ or ‘have to’ are all elitist terms. The phrase ‘needs to be’ is much less offensive.”

    The girl looked stricken, as if she’d just insulted all of humanity.

    “Oh, and speaking of inoffensive,” the teacher continued, “let’s all be mindful of the new list of pronouns replacing the sexist pronouns of the past. You know them all by now I’m sure: Ne, Ze/Hir, Ze/Zir, Spivak. . . “ **

    I turned to Dontay. “Did I hear him right? ‘Spivak’? Lawrence Spivak was the original host of Meet the Press, a show my grandmother used to watch on Sunday mornings years and years ago–“

    I was interrupted by the sound of an angry mob outside. The classroom door swung open and a young guy yelled, “ It’s like a riot? Down in front of the Campus Center?”

    With that, the entire class, including the professor, stampeded out. Dontay and I followed them, just to see what all the fuss was about.

    Down on the commons there was some kind of demonstration going on, with picket signs, bull horns, the whole nine yards. From what I could gather, the crowd was protesting against a statue in front of the Campus Center.

    The statue seemed harmless enough. It wasn’t as if it glorified a brutal dictator or a controversial general or anything. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why people would get worked up about a carved stone figure of a pigeon.

    Then it dawned on me: the organizers of the event were from an animal rights organization. Spivak were irked that late at night drunken frat boys would climb up on the bird statue and poop all over it.

    After that, I marched right back over to the Admissions Office and had the clerk rip up my application. Now I know why they call it the MARS program. Anybody who signs up is as crazy as a space cadet.

    That’s true.

    That’s true, too.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 10-08-2017 at 12:18 PM.

  2. #2
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
    Beyond nowhere
    Hi, Aunt Shecky,

    Its good to have news about East Hogwash. Where did you find that expression "birds hopping the red eye down to Rio"?

    I wonder if at present those new pronouns wont cause more confusion than satisfaction.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 10-07-2017 at 10:15 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, The Middle East, UK, The Philippines & Papua New Guinea.
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    As snappy one liners as ever.

    You never lost the touch.

    Enjoyed it immensely Auntie.

    Best wishes.

  4. #4
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
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    All the way from fall waiting for Christmas to the frat boys pooping on the pigeon, this was funny.

  5. #5
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Loved this, enjoyed the whole way through

  6. #6
    Registered User Melanie's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    North Carolina
    Add me to your fan club. This is a keeper. I've always enjoyed your poetry too. Good to see you again.
    Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    What a clever story indeed!
    I enjoyed your sharp wit, love this very much.
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    Oct 2010
    A rural part of Sweden, southern Norrland
    Just discovered and read this. Sharp-witted and enjoyable.

  9. #9
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    What ho! Poked my nose over the parapet to see what's happening. Soon ducked again. Read this through a trench periscope, and smiled all the way to the bottom. Thanks for that. pip pip. H.

  10. #10
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    next door to the lady in the vinegar bottle
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    Thank you dear fellow LitNetters for saying that Mrs. Snotenlocker's yuks landed. If I run into her going for-, er, in the near future, I'll convey the message. I don't know if we should encourage her, though.

    One more thing about those cray-cray P.C. pronouns. You can be darn sure that folks will start sticking apostrophes in 'em where they don't belong. Then again, who would know the difference?

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