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Customs, Laws and Faux Pas

February 21, 2017

Have you ever wondered why when an infant burps after their morning bottle we all think it’s so cute? Yet, forty years later, the same guy belching after his eighteenth tallboy is absolutely disgusting? Why does a case of unbridled hiccups crack up everyone at the dinner table, but a well-placed air biscuit can clear the room? Like most other societies, American customs have resulted from generations of rules, laws, faux pas and in some cases, no reason at all.

Many of our customs date far back before you were even a twinkle in your mother’s eye. These were times of unsophisticated knowledge and religious beliefs. Mores and values were often steeped in superstition and fear. For instance, people saying “God bless you” after a sneeze, is a byproduct of the epidemics that devastated entire countries during the Middle Ages. Sneezing was usually the first sign that the victim was coming down with the bubonic plague. Friends and family would mutter, “God bless you,” just before sprinting for the safety of the nearest dungeon. I’m happy to say that some of these customs still exist today. read more

All Entries Humor Life and Death Religion

Reincarnation Gone South

October 7, 2016

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how I got here. A month ago, I was contently adjusting to my short stay in Purgatory, waiting for the bus to Heaven. Then, out of the blue – poof – I find myself standing in the middle of Mandelbaum’s Commercial Poultry Farm in Bakersfield, California. Both are a long way from Heaven.

My life came to an abrupt end during a fluke rock climbing accident in Yosemite National Park. Given my vile and contemptible life on earth, it came as no surprise that I’d be sent to Purgatory before I made it past the pearly gates. But, nobody told me about reincarnation. Granted, they said there was an outside chance I’d be forced to spend a little more time on earth before rising to the great beyond, but Mandelbaum’s Poultry Farm? C’mon. Give me a break. Even Bernie Madoff got to enjoy 3 weeks as a Burmese belly dancer before they shipped him off to Hell.

I was dropped into the middle of a chicken coop on a busy Friday afternoon in the form of a mature Rhode Island Red – eight and half pounds of pure Chicken McNuggets. Most of the management had already gone home for the Labor Day weekend, so there weren’t any humans around to complain to. Instead, I was left to my own devices to secure my spot in a pecking order of 8,000 other mature hens and roosters. Looking back, I suppose it could have been worse. If I had arrived a week earlier, I might have already been cut up and slathered with Bar-B-Que sauce on someone’s holiday party platter. Or, I might have woken to find my skewered carcass slowly circling the rotisserie grill in a Gelson’s Market. At least this way, I’d have a couple of days to get to know some of the locals before formulating an escape plan. read more

All Entries Humor Life and Death Religion

Stranded in Purgatory

October 7, 2016

Here I am. Stranded in Purgatory. You’d think with all of the opportunities I’ve had to excel or fall from grace, I’d have gone straight to Heaven or Hell. Instead, I’m trapped here in mediocrity.

Getting stranded in Purgatory is the equivalent of getting a C+ on your Chemistry final – not bad, but not great, either. True, I’ve never gone out of my way for anyone, my entire life. Faced with the opportunity to do something illegal, compassionate or meaningful that could result in some form of positive or negative distinction, I always took the easy way out. Like the time Morrie Fensterman’s wife came onto me at the Christmas party. Instead of ripping off her elf costume and ravishing her on the conference table, I chose to give her a half-assed hickey in the janitor’s closet. Big deal. “You’ll never get into heaven that way,” accused my friends. It also won’t get me into hell. Where it did get me was the head of the line to Purgatory. You have to do something a lot worse than having a tussle with your manager’s wife to earn a lifetime of eternal fire. read more

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