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2014: Never Give Up!

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  Reality star Khloe Kardashian has announced that she is exiting 2013 wanting a fresh start after the divorce from the disappointing marriage with Lamar Odom.  She can hardly wait to turn the page on 2013.  I feel your pain, girl.  Life can be a bitch, and rarely do we get to exit the previous year without getting a little banged up—sometimes completely banged up depending on our individual choices or the ramifications of the choices of other people beyond our control.

2014 David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Use by Permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

I was meditating on this thought as I was watching “A Very Muppet Christmas” with my five-year-old grandson.   Whoopi Goldberg was on the screen playing a “godlike character”—siting on a couch in a field of flowers.  As I drifted off to sleep from the overeating of a standing rib roast, overstuffed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and lots and lots of exquisite wine, I remember thinking that once again another year was slipping by without me losing enough weight so I could be mistaken for Halle Berry in the make-up section of Target.  Suddenly, somebody very Whoop-like was in my TV room and no longer sitting in a fragrant pasture giving advice to a Muppet rep.

Whoopi Name Change Meme

Whoopi Goldberg Meme (apologies Whoopi for the name misspell of the meme generator)

WHOOP-LIKE:   Hey, girl.  I see another year has passed and you’re still moaning about your weight.  Aren’t you a little old for that?  Check out my style—I’m lettin’ it all hang out these days and I’m feelin’ fine.

ME:        Whoop-like, what the hell are you doing sitting on my couch?  How did you get out of the TV?  I know it’s a Smart TV programed to do just about anything, but transporting you out of a Muppet movie is an entirely different subject.  It looks like the alcohol has started to mess with me.

WHOOP-LIKE:   I looked out from the scene into your living room and saw that no one was watching the movie.  Your grandson took off upstairs twenty minutes ago.  I think the reason he left was because you kept alternating between snoring (you snore like a freight train, girlfriend) and moaning the phrase:  “I must get back on my diet—must look like Halle in New Year . . .” What the . . .?

ME:        I’m positive that I did not say that!  The last thing I remember before I fell asleep is my grandson patting my belly and asking me if I had a baby in my tummy (everybody’s a critic these days).  I was so mortified that I mumbled something like, “let’s watch the Muppets, kid” as I pulled his teddy bear in front of my fluffer-nutter tummy and cuddled with him on the couch.

WHOOP-LIKE:   Well, now that I’m here—let’s chat.  2013 is coming to a close—what disappointed you the most about 2013?

ME:        Oh, that’s easy:  Our damn Congress—specifically the heartless, cold-blooded bastards of the Tea Party wing.  Ayn Rand is alive and well in the halls of Congress and Jesus is weeping.

Congress 2013 Year in Review Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by Permission:  Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

WHOOP-LIKE:   Understandable.  That’s it?

ME:        Oh, no.  I hate that we adopted the words “selfie, twerk, and hashtag” into our vocabulary.  I can’t believe they have been added to our dictionary—Webster must be turning over in his grave, because I’m ready to commit hari kari if I read and hear these words ever again.  Also, I wish I’d never joined Facebook, and I’m surprised I didn’t go screaming into the night during the Presidential election season—especially during President Obama’s reelection.  Some of the people I know have lost their fuckin’ minds, and they never found them again. During 2013, some of them dug into their racist and homophobic holes and never came out.  I’m about one click short of posting a note on their FB pages that says:  “Did you notice that the one black friend you had is actually black?” And then one of the worst things about 2013 was the Affordable Care website glitches.   The poor Prez.  The Tea Party was doing cartwheels.  Of course, there was the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook, and the reminder of all the people—especially children—who have died from guns in our inner cities, and yet Congress continues to fiddle while Rome burns . . . there is still no decent national gun control law!  My heart is broken for these families and in total fear for the safety of my own.

WHOOP-LIKE:   I hear you, and I’m crying with you.  But what are some of the things that surprised you about 2014?

ME:        Pope Francis (love, love, love the dude) when he started kicking ass about income inequality and not judging our gay brothers and sisters; Bill De Blasio becoming mayor of NYC with his progressive outlook and his gorgeous interracial family, and the outpouring of affection from all over the world for Nelson MandelaNewt Gingrich surprised me (can you believe it?) for his very elegant and courageous pushback against hateful remarks from conservatives when he wrote a tribute to Nelson Mandela.  When Newt got attacked, he came out swinging with a tight, historical assessment of who Mandela was and why he admired the man—why we all should admire the man.  My jaw fell onto my ample bosom.  Go, Newtie—it’s your birthday!  And then there was Antoinette Tuff—the black woman from Georgia who compassionately talked a white gunman off the “ledge” and not only saved all the students’ lives in her school, but saved the gunman’s life as well.  I could hear the angels doing a “whoop, whoop, whoop” from the heavens in her behalf.  I could hear them laughing at Wayne LaPierre’s stupid gun defense:  “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  Ms. Tuff made me realize that I must never give up hope of doing the right thing and striving to be someone that God can count on whenever I’m in a situation that calls for courage, grace, compassion, and wisdom.

Antoinette Tuff Cartoonist Lowe

Cartoonist: Chan Lowe/ Sun Sentinel

WHOOP-LIKE:   Hum, that sounds like a good list for a starterKeep working on your list while I get back into the movie before my next scene.  It will take your mind off your fluffer-nutter tummy.  One more thing:  did you accomplish anything this year that you’re proud of?

ME:        Yes, yes, yes . . . I published my first book, Monsters’ Throwdown (http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series/dp/1493616099/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388556177&sr=8-1&keywords=eleanor+tomczyk).  I became a writer in 2013!  Can you believe it?  The book is selling well and getting great reviews.  This was a lifelong goal, and I did it!  Oh, and now that I have you here, would you mind giving me a shout-out on The View?

WHOOP-LIKE:   Don’t get greedy, kiddo.  You accomplished your lifelong goal in 2013 and you did it all without being a size six or looking like Halle—go figure!  Are you and WW still in love?

ME:        More than ever!

WHOOP-LIKE:    Than 2014 is starting off to be a very good year for you—a very good year, indeed.

***

I am discovering that each year of our lives has a mixture of good and bad.   We must embrace the good with all our heart while we have it.  As to the bad, we have no control over much of what happens to us, and part of growing up is to never lose hope and never give up as we press on to seize the day.  Of course there are some things we need to let go of—things that are not worth our energy—and that is trying to look like Halle Berry when one is 65 years old and has the figure of a Whoopi Goldberg.  Things like that quest have to be given up—not because they are unattainable—but because they are foolish, and foolishness is the tripwire that keeps us from crossing the finish line on any given day of the year.

2014 Hope Bob Englehart The Hartford Courant

Used by permission:  Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

“Never, never, never give up.”—Winston Churchill

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”—Maya Angelou

 “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”—Harriet Beecher Stowe

“For a writer, I’m not sure that feeling of knowing you’ve just written something good and strong can be trumped. Not because it means I did something right. But because it proves how many wrongs I pushed through to get there.” ― Cara Rosalie Olsen

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”—Michelle Obama

 “God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.”—Chester W. Nimitz

President Obama vs Repub Destruction Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Used by Permission:  Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

REFERENCES

http://theweek.com/article/index/253863/why-newt-gingrich-is-getting-flak-for-defending-nelson-mandela

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/22/the_story_the_right_hates_antoinette_tuffs_courage/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/08/22/antoinette_tuff_911_call_listen_to_the_full_tape_of_ga_school_clerks_call.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Are You Havin’ a Laff?

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I love the way the British say: “Are ya havin’ a laff?” while their words transition from a low pitch to a screechy high note on the word “laff.”  I have a friend who is British and she speaks about laughter as if it were as ubiquitous as air:  “Ah was just havin’ a laff before I rang ya” (I’m sure when she reads this, she’s going to say, “Oh, bloody hell, Eleana; I’m from London, not Belfast—that doesn’t sound a thing like me!”).  I’ll definitely have a laugh at that statement. She cracks me up every time I talk to her because laughter comes so easily to her throat from the wellspring of her being, and I’ll take laughter wherever I can get it—from a knock-knock joke to a comedy club.  That is why, when the Muppets put out a movie after a twelve-year hiatus, I was there.

Google Image/The Muppets movie poster

On the surface I am Miss Piggy.  My motto in life is:  “If you’ve got it—flaunt it; if you own it (jewels that is), wear it!”  When I was looking for a man to marry many years ago, I chose one who preferred diamonds over sports, and he’s never disappointed me regarding the baubles.  Consequently, whether I’m grocery shopping or going to the opera, I’m always “blinged” to the max.  I never leave the house without looking like a million bucks and it doesn’t matter what size I am—I always think I’m sexy.  I’ve been a size 6 and I’ve been a size 20, but I strut my “stuff” and “drop it like it’s hot” every day.  To “represent” my black, bold, and beautiful self the bling is a given, the high heels are standard fare, and the wigs can rival Dolly Parton’s collection any day.

My alter-ego, Miss Piggy (who has a heart of gold), tries to control everything and everyone (including God) to keep her life in perfect working order, and she often fails—as do I—but it is who we are.  I mean, that’s who I am on the outside.

GOOGLE IMAGES/Miss Piggy (Angelic and “Drop it like it’s hot”)

 On the inside, I’m Gonzo the Great who, when he made his first appearance on the Muppet scene, was called the “Whatever” or a “Weirdo.”  Underneath my Miss Piggy facade, I’m a little bit frazzled, more than a little frenetic in thought, and I don’t quite fit in.  In what was thought to be the Muppet’s final movie in 1999, the fans discovered that Gonzo was an alien from a faraway planet in space and was of a different species.  Gonzo is never afraid to try anything, he’s super intellectual, and he is optimistic about everything.  When Gonzo was asked by a human actor on one of the Muppet shows, “Do you really think this (a Gonzo stunt) will work?” Gonzo replied, “No! Isn’t it terrific?!”  Take Gonzo and mix him with a Miss Piggy temperament of “you mess with me and your ass is grass” and that is “moi”!

Google Image, Gonzo the Great

The Muppet movie came out Thanksgiving weekend, and I pulled my husband (WW) out of the bed, kicking and screaming, early Sunday morning to see the 9:45 a.m. showing of what he considers a kid’s movie.   My theory was that we’d beat the church crowd and any little kids who were probably up but still eating breakfast.  I figured most of the kids would come to the gazillion showings after lunch.  I was wrong and so were the handful of other adults who were Muppet lovers.  The theater was wall to wall munchkins—some who were already screaming at a decibel only dogs can hear.  The “child-free” adults tried to protect each other by sitting together in the middle two rows, so that we didn’t have to deal with jack-in-the-box babies going in and out of the rows having to go to the bathroom every five minutes.

Google Image/cryingbaby.jpg

I haven’t been in a movie theater in a couple of years (I can’t deal with the masses), so I’d forgotten all the necessary rhythms and pacing needed to survive a 90 minute movie in a crowded theater. Consequently, I made a major mistake when I tried to overcompensate for lack of sleep the night before and the lack of food that morning.  When I got to the theater, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by ordering a large popcorn (I love the smell of movie popcorn) and a super large Coke to substitute for my breakfast and keep me alert (apparently, every little kid who came to see the movie had the same thought).  The kids (or their nutty parents) and I overcompensated for food and drink that morning and we would all collide like a frantic Muppet scene before morning’s end.

Here’s the deal:  I’ve gotten older and I am beginning to have old people problems.  I now take a blood pressure pill combo that is just for African-Americans because we are prone to high-blood pressure as a race (no shit Sherlock!), and most BP meds aren’t effective on us (the medical community doesn’t know why—personally, I think it is a federalist plot—can we say Tuskegee Syphilis Conspiracy?).   My BP meds have a really potent diuretic in them that gives this poor little Muppet exactly 20 seconds to make it to the nearest toilet.  There can be no dawdling, no obstructions, and no hindrances.  Of course if you’re an idiot and down a 64-ounce Coke during the first 30 minutes of a movie in a crowded theater, then you and your sorry-ass bladder deserve what you get.

Right after Kermit said that the Muppets’ raison d’etre was to bring laughter to their audiences (but before it was revealed what happened to the antagonist who was trying to steal their joy), I had no choice but to pop up out of my seat, leap over the long legs in the six seats to my left, push my way through the crowd, fly down the ramp, and into the lady’s room at the speed of one of the chickens trying to escape an ill-fated meal prepared by the Swedish Chef.

Google Image/Swedish Chef

I barely made it!  As I hopped, skipped, tacked, and danced my way toward one of the stalls in the crowded ladies room (why are there never enough bathrooms for women?), women and children giggled in recognition of my frenetic sphincter-squeezed, twisted thigh-dance as I blew past them screaming:  “OUT OF MY WAY BABIES—GRANDMA’S COMIN’ THROUGH AND HER DAM’S A BURSTIN’!” 

And that is what life will do to you one minute you’re conquering the world as the sexy blinged-out Miss Piggy, and the next minute you’re in full-out Gonzo mode, knowing your plan is probably not going to work.  But being able to laugh at yourself when the transition happens is one of the secrets to “getting over” in this life, the secret of harnessing joy, and the secret of not losing your mind or becoming a drug addict when life knocks the pee out of you.  When I finally caught up with my husband waiting patiently at the exit, he looked at me with a straight face and asked:  “Did everything come out all right”?  We fell into glorious gales of giggles as we made our way home singing the Muppet theme song and asking each other:  “Are you havin’ a laff”?

“Laugh at yourself first before anyone else can.”  ~Elsa Maxwell

Google Image/Buddhist Nuns Laughing

Many years ago WW and I were in our favorite café in Tel Aviv eating lunch and laughing it up with friends of ours who had come to visit us from the States just to cheer us up.  WW and I were living and working in Israel as expats and feeling really lonely and homesick.  We were laughing about some insane predicament we’d found ourselves in as foreigners who could barely speak the language at the time.  A regular Israeli customer of the café who had a rod up his ass (every race, religion, and gender has some of these types of people) came over to our table to loudly chastise us for laughing too exuberantly and allegedly disturbing his lunch.  As he lit into us, he made sure the entire restaurant heard his righteous indignation as he summarily squelched our joy.

“What is it with you rude Americans that you feel the entire world needs to be a part of your conversation and laughter?  Some of us are trying to eat in peace.  Either quiet down or take it outside!”

We were all chagrined that our laughter had allegedly gotten out of hand, so we apologized and stripped the joy-laden topics from our conversation and proceeded to “whisper” about topics with muted colors, because none of us wanted to come across as the “ugly American.”  What our angry Israeli dude didn’t know was that life had been really, really hard for WW and me during that season.  An associate of our business had died a tragic death, we had the staff from Hell who seemed to mutiny every other day, our business had been bombed to smithereens, my husband had been shot at by terrorists, and we had almost lost our older daughter to meningitis.   Being able to turn the dangerous and hard-living situations into stories of absurdity and laugh at them for the first time took away the mind-numbing nightmares and daily panic living in a country habitually at war with its neighbors.  Seeing our best friends for the first time since leaving home was effervescent.

In any case, our humorless café dweller put a damper on what had been a day of joy and great fun.  As my party left the restaurant, I remember looking back at the al fresco patio and furiously locking eyes with the angry diner.  The rather large Israeli challenged me with his eyes, that if I showed one gesture of defiance, he would come out of the restaurant and kick my ass.  After stuffing down my own anger and humiliation, and resisting the desire to “flip the bird” at the Israeli dude, I let it go, shook it off, and turned and walked away.  Much later, that lovely café was blown to bits by a terrorist’s bomb around the same time of day we had eaten there in the past.  I’ve often wondered if that fellow was there (all the diners were killed), and if the last thing he heard before he lost his life was “laughter” or the sound of his angry heart chomping on his falafel and salad.

******

I am discovering that life is all about joy!  Life, in and of itself, is super hard and we don’t have much control over that.  We do have control how we respond to life and therein lies the first step to joy!  I wish I could do a “do-over” with my children in regard to this truth.  I would drill this into their hearts and heads and I think it would make a difference this time.

  • Life is “bat-shit,” crazy-hard and disappointingly mean, Babies.  Get used to it, and get over it as fast as you can.  Because just when you think you’re over the hurdle of one disaster, another one will kick your ass into next week.  Life can turn on a dime like that—so rejoice whenever you can.

Google Image/Nuns laughing

  • Instead of dwelling on the hardness of life, find the joy in the midst of it all and laugh until you pee your pants.  You can always wash the pants, and your heart and those in your life will thank you for the joy you share with them.  (If the people in your life don’t laugh, like the Israeli dude didn’t, then “let them go” because they are to be pitied!)
  • As Christians, you need to know that Jesus was uproariously funny and had (has) a great sense of humor—his humor just got lost in translation by a lot of the people who claim to represent him.  Anybody who would hang out with fishermen one minute and children the next, dine with tax collectors, prostitutes, and Roman soldiers had to have had a wild sense of humor and we inherit that humor at a very early age.

 Google Image/Laughing baby

 “Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.”   – Fyodor Dostoevsky

“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.”  Abraham Lincoln

What makes YOU laugh? 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
45 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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