This is the time of year when I acknowledge all the people who made my job as a humorist a little bit easier. Every column I write – there has never been an exception – is based on truth, something that really happened to me or someone I know, or a story in the news. So here’s a big thank you to a few of my sources.
The old “Emily Post Etiquette” book I found in my basement that contains some traditional tips on proper manners. Post advises to never shake your napkin when opening it, which has put a damper on my first magic trick each night at the dinner table.
“Muscle and Fitness” magazine for featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, who repeatedly states that he loves his MF magazine. Obviously, the publication’s initials do not carry quite the same charm as “Gentlemen’s Quarterly.”
The European food conglomerate that “withdrew” one of their frozen appetizers from supermarket shelves because the meat allegedly came from retired thoroughbreds. In racing terminology, horses are not “withdrawn,” but no consumer wants to hear: “Effective immediately, we are scratching our Swedish meatballs.”
The fashion design company lululemon. After discovering their yoga tights became translucent when stretched, they issued this unfortunate press release: “The company is pulling its pants down off the shelves.”
The country of Iceland, where apparently too many intimate relationships are between distant cousins. The problem is that most of the Icelandic natives hail from the same ninth-century Viking settlers whose descendants never left the island. (Except those who went to Hollywood to make Capital One commercials.)
Indianapolis Power and Light for sending out a monthly graph showing how much energy you are using compared to your neighbors. I always thought Mort was just forgetful, but he’s so competitive maybe he figured he could beat me if he never closes his garage door – saving $1.49 a year.
My wife, who was bitten by our cat. The bite swelled while we were with some friends so we all went to the emergency room with Mary Ellen. The Wolfsies have good health insurance, making it a cheaper night out than a movie.
The folks at Hammacher Schlemmer, whose early Christmas catalogue featured a Shark Bait sleeping bag for kids. It contained this endorsement: “It facilitates sleep, even while the child appears as though he is being digested.” Don’t buy one. In two weeks, they’ll be on Craigslist at a fraction of the price.
Whatever it was that got in my nose and made me sneeze 42 times in a row. This is just an estimate, because you don’t start counting sneezes until you realize it’s the beginning of a historic run – and then it’s too late. Belches and hiccups you start counting from the very beginning.
Jamie Lee Curtis, whose commercial for Activia begins with, “I’m having an affair with my yogurt.” This is a great way to get a yeast infection. Or is it the best way to avoid one? I have no idea. I’m a guy.
The entire Jewish population of Sweden who became outraged that there was pork in their moose lasagna, meaning it was not 100 percent Kosher. Or as my rabbi would say: “Not Kosher.” The company pulled the pork-tainted casserole off the shelves, which made it even more popular, because, after all, who doesn’t like pulled pork?
The British PhD candidate whose research concluded that planet Earth would last another four billion years. Asked by a local reporter what he planned to do once he got his degree, Rushby reportedly said that he couldn’t think that far ahead.
And finally, on a serious note, a thank you to myself for resisting the advice of a well-meaning emergency care veterinarian who recommended seven months ago that I put my then-ailing beagle to sleep because he probably only had a few days to live. I have to go now. Toby wants to go for a walk.