Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oscar acceptance speech

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Oh my God, thank you so much! You like me, you really do! There are so many people I want to mention. (Writer name), from the first page, I knew you had written the perfect script. (Director name), I can’t believe you gave me the honor of bringing (character name) to life. My co-stars, (actor name and actor name) – this belongs as much to you as it does to me. My beloved (partner), as valuable as this statue is, you know that waking up next to you every morning is the one prize I value most. 

The only possible thing that would make me happier tonight is if that insane orange orangutan fascist in the White House were to be strung up from the top of the Washington Monument and left to rot -- not just him but all the lying thieves in his cabinet and all the ignorant racist white trash who voted for him. Every time I turn on the TV and see his fat face that’s swollen with the festering puss of misogyny, xenophobia, pedophilia and homophobia, I want to puke. He's not even legitimate, he didn't win the popular vote. All of you watching at home know he is nothing but Putin’s puppet and that if he got his way and all the foreigners, gays and transgenders were exterminated, there wouldn’t be anyone left in this town to create the movies that encourage, uplift, inspire and remind us of our humanity.

I hope all of you who share my fear that the America in which our children are growing up makes Nazi Germany look like Mr. Rogers' neighborhood will remember that, and will never, ever forget the most important thing of all -- that love trumps hate. 

Thank you all so much. I love you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bargain to the Maxx

TD: So what’s in the TJ Maxx bag?

JD: You know I love the Movado watch you gave me for our anniversary. I wear it all the time. Don’t be insulted but … I bought another one. (Opens box to reveal it.)

TD: Nice!

JD: This one’s completely different. It’s gold. The one you gave me is stainless steel. Do you like it?

TD: Sure, it’s great. Why would I get mad?

JD: Well, see the price on the box?

TD: Five hundred fifty dollars. Wow.

JD: OK, that’s the retail price. Look at this tag with TJ’s price: $229.99.

TD: Almost half off. Good for you.

JD: But, it was clearance priced. Just $189.

TD: Another $40 off. Not bad!

JD: I’m just getting started. Today was Senior Day – ten percent off everything in the store for people 55 and older. That saved another $18.90.

TD: So now we’re down to, what, $170 or so?

JD: Yeah, but they added sales tax so as you can see here on the receipt -- a total of $180.31.

TD: Not too shabby!

JD: I had a $100 gift card from my birthday, so that made it $80.

TD: Damn, that’s impressive!

JD: Plus, my account had a $26.49 credit from something I returned a year ago.

TD: OK, you’re at, like, $54 here. 

JD: Plus, for every $200 I spend, I get a $10 credit certificate and I had five of those I was worried were gonna expire so I applied them. Look at this (indicating amount on receipt). A $550 Movado watch for a grand total of $3.82. People around me at checkout were applauding. The cashier said I win the prize for the bargain of the week.

TD: I’ll admit it, that’s pretty good.

JD: Yeah. You’re sure you’re not upset? I really do love the one you got me.

TD: No problem. I didn’t know you needed another watch.

JD: I don’t.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Buy buy Miss American pie

Pizza Hut employee: That will be $16.89.

TD: There’s a poster in the window that says, “Any pizza, any size, any crust, any toppings for $10.” I ordered a large thin crust pepperoni. So why is it $16.89?

Pizza Hut employee: Because you have to ask if you want the $10 price.

TD: I was about to pick up something for dinner at the supermarket next door but saw your sign so I came here instead. Why would I have to ask when you’re advertising for people to come in and order it?  

Pizza Hut employee: I dunno, but the manager said we have to charge full price unless you specifically ask for it.

TD: It doesn't say that on the poster.

Pizza Hut employee: I know. 

TD: Well cancel my order, I don't want it any more.

Pizza Hut employee: Okay.

TD: Is it cancelled? 

Pizza Hut employee: Yes.

TD: I want a large pizza, thin crust with pepperoni, for $10.

Pizza Hut employee (entering order into register):  That comes to $10.60 with tax.

TD (handing over the money): Here you go.

Pizza Hut employee (handing back change): It’ll be ready in 10 minutes.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dryden's Laws

Nothing in life is certain. Except: 

- Your bank’s ATM will be out of service and the screen will direct you to visit the nearest one, five miles away. When you get to that ATM, it will be out of service and the screen will direct you to the one you originally visited.

- When your car enters the car wash, the sun will be shining. By the time it emerges two minutes later, the sky will have turned gray. It will rain on the way home. The sun will come out again as you turn into your driveway.

- The first time you wear a new tie, you will dribble something on it.

- When you're in a hurry at the supermarket,  the cashier’s printer will jam and/or run out of paper.

- When you find an article of clothing or pair of shoes you want to buy, the store will have it in every size but yours.

- The door prize will go to the person who entered just ahead of you.

- The moment you step onto the plane, the flight attendant will announce the overhead bins are full and you have to check your bag.

- When you’re waiting for an important call, Rachel from Cardmember Services will call.

- When you see a story you want to read online and click on a headline, it will turn out to be a video.

- Every time you are confident you’ve overpaid your taxes, you have underpaid. When you are sure you’ve underpaid, you have overpaid.

- The kitchen will be out of what you ordered but your waiter won’t tell you that until he’s served everyone else in your party.

- After you've waited in a phone queue for what seems like hours, listening to recorded messages telling you how important your call is, the person who finally picks up will cut you off. 

- In the middle of a bathroom renovation project, after the demolition but before your new cabinets, sinks, faucets, countertops, flooring, etc.,  have been installed, your contractor (whose references were impeccable) will (a) announce he has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness (b) declare bankruptcy after you’ve advanced him money to buy materials he hasn’t yet delivered  (c) claim he is unable to give you a completion date because all of his employees suddenly decided to return to El Salvador or (d) do all the above if you’re Tom Dryden.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A chicken with its head cut off


My brother Jerry and sister-in-law Nancy just left after a short visit. As we always do, we spent lots of time swapping family stories.

Unlike most brothers, whose childhood memories overlap, Jerry’s and mine don’t. He is older by sixteen and a half years and left for college before I was two; I don’t even remember him living under the same roof. He has stories I haven’t heard. I always have some that are news to him, including this one, which happened when I was 16 or 17.

Whenever it was our mother’s turn to host her bridge club – two or three tables of ladies who dressed to the max for the occasion – she went all out to impress, cleaning the house top to bottom, polishing the silver and agonizing over the menu.

For this particular get-together of her club, mom decided she wanted to serve chicken salad. Sounds easy enough. You go to the store, buy a chicken, cook it, chop the meat and mix in the celery, mayo or whatever else you want to put into it, right?

Not for our farm-raised mother. She insisted the best chicken salad was made with meat from an old hen. She said it tasted better.  

She called a farmer she knew from church who raised chickens. He said he had an old hen he would gladly sell her. She dispatched me -- I had just received my driver’s license -- out into the country to get it.

The day was oppressively hot and humid. When I arrived, the farmer’s wife, an elderly lady I had seen a hundred times dressed in her Sunday best, greeted me wearing bib overalls with no shirt underneath. Living in the middle of nowhere, she was apparently accustomed to dressing that way on hot summer days. It was, at once, fascinating and revolting. It took all the willpower I possessed to avert my eyes.

She took me to the chicken coop where she caught the hen, which fluttered about, trying to escape. She thrust it by the legs upside down into a wooden crate with slats. I placed the crate in the car’s trunk and drove home.

When the old hen and I arrived, mom said she was going to show me how to kill a chicken and told me to fetch a broomstick. At this point in my story, Jerry, who remembered the era before rural Missouri grocery stores like our father’s sold dressed chickens, laughed and said he knew exactly what I was about to describe because, as a youngster, he had watched mom kill dozens of chickens that way.

I carried the crated hen around the side of the house. Mom ordered me to hold with one hand the chicken’s head just above the ground and to hold its back legs with the other.  She placed the broomstick over the hen’s neck, pushed the broomstick and hen to the ground, then stood on the stick, straddling the hen. She grabbed it by the tail … pulled up on its body … and, whoosh, the chicken was decapitated.

Freed from its head, the chicken started running, blood spurting every which way from the gaping hole in its neck, turning the grass red. It ran around in circles a couple of times then headed straight into the street ... and into the path of an oncoming truck which flattened it.

The bridge club ladies were served ham salad.