Night of the Living Zombies

I decided to enroll in the humor-writing course that I spoke about last time.  So you can all stop holding your (collective) breath.  Or maybe you should start holding it, in order to prepare yourselves for the tsunami of hilarity that is coming your way!  If the cost of this course is any indication, you should expect tidal waves of funny to be crashing over you just as soon as my instructor starts disclosing all those super-secret humor-writing facts that I am paying big bucks to learn about.  In the future you should avoid drinking any beverages while you’re reading this blog—or at least keep some Windex and paper towels nearby—to clean up after the spit-takes caused by reading my hilarious posts.  No really!  

But I had to make a compromise, of sorts, with this class.  I decided to take it as an online course because the class’s location in the Village was not going to be an easy commute for me.  I did a test run—I attended the open house last week—which ended at 9:00 p.m.  The real class would end at 10:00, and would involve a short but terrifying walk to the nearest PATH station, taking one train a couple of stops to Journal Square, changing trains for the line that would eventually bring me to the hub known as Zombie Penn Station, where I would wait for the NJ Transit train that would take me home.  Here is the problem: due to the late hour the class lets out, I would wind up in this terrifying hellscape pretty nigh on 11:00 p.m.  If I missed my NJ Transit train, the next one wouldn’t come for another hour.  I’m not adverse to late hours—I’m up past midnight every night keeping tabs on my neighbors who apparently enjoy running in circles around their car while slamming the doors repeatedly—but being at the above-mentioned station at that hour was out of the question.  Because, like the sample writing class I attended the other night, my short time at Hell’s Waiting Room afforded me a glimpse of what I could expect every Wednesday night. 

On that particular night it didn’t take long before the first zombie wandered up to me.  She seemed harmless at first, almost sympathetic.  She didn’t try to eat my brains right away.  She uttered these well-rehearsed lines to me in a rapid-fire delivery: 

“Hi.  I saw you here last night didn’t I?  I saw you looked like a nice lady.  I am 50 years old.  I am/was a nurse.  I have four babies.  It’s raining hard out and my four babies and me will have to walk in the rain.  Can you help me out so I can get on the train to Trenton?  I don’t use drugs.  Here, look at my arms.” 

She began to roll up her sleeves to prove her point, although we both knew that wouldn’t necessarily prove anything.  Perhaps she thought it would make me feel better about her eating my brains.  I raised my hands indicating that wouldn’t be necessary.  I didn’t want to see her arms.  

Although I didn’t respond to any of her statements (she really didn’t give me time to) here was what I was thinking about each of her statements, starting with “Hi”: 

“Oh no, zombie lady, please don’t come over to me.  You are mistaken, I’m really not that nice.  And why, 50-year-old zombie lady, do you have four babies out with you on a rainy night at Zombie Penn Station?  And where are these aforementioned children?  Did you leave them with another zombie so you could come over and try to eat my brains?  Why are you going to Trenton with your four babies this late at night?  If I don’t let you eat my brains are you planning to walk to Trenton?  Can you clarify for me–are you really or notreally a nurse?  You kind of mumbled over that.  Please do not embarrass me or debase yourself further by offering to show me your arms.  I’m not here to judge you.  We both know you’re going to eat my brains, so let’s just get it over with.” 

So she ate my brains, and shuffled away, looking for her next victim.  I never saw any of her babies.  As I looked around for them in concern, not really believing I would see them, I noticed the station was full of zombies like her, shambling around, trying to eat other people’s brains.  I sighed with relief when my train came rolling up. 

I didn’t care about the brains, seeing as I still had some left over.  The one thing that keeps bothering me was her offer to show me her arms.  I felt uncomfortable that she felt it necessary to prove her point that way.  It embarrassed me and I still don’t know why. 

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Helpful Reading Key:  In order to have a fuller understanding of this story, go back through it again and make the following substitutions: 

“zombie” = “unfortunate person afflicted with a debilitating drug dependence.”  Or, if you wish, “crackhead.” 

“eat my brains” = “get me to give you five dollars”

Also, Zombie Penn Station is located in Newark, not to be confused with Crazypants Penn Station, which is located in New York City.  Just wanted to be clear on that.

Back to School

I’m going to a writing class tonight in NY.  My first ever.  The fact           that it’s free is the biggest incentive for me to try it.  Of course, I realize that this free class is mainly going to be an hour-long pitch for the 10-week course, emphasizing how crucial it is that I take additional classes (not free) so they can teach me how to become the next Hemingway—which will be interesting, as it’s a humor-writing class. 

I’m sure they will trot out that old admonishment: “Write what you know!”  Well, if this advice is true, and if I am writing about wine, then I will be another Hemingway—a drunk, funny Hemingway.  (I think Ernest had the drunk part down cold, but the funny… that will be the challenge!) 

I hope I’m not expecting too much from this class (because as I have said—it’s free.  And you usually get what you pay for.)  I’m sure all the most carefully guarded secrets of humor-writing won’t be revealed until you pay THE MAN—or the lady—for all I know it could be a lady who collects the tuition—but I feel confident that just by signing up for this course EVERYTHING I write on this blog from now on will be hilariously, devastatingly, pantswettingly funny.  Or am I setting the bar too high? 

Wish me luck.

An Open Letter to My New Neighbors

I was trying to decide whether I would write something SAPPY AND SENTIMENTAL about my youngest child going off to college, or tell you a little about MY NEW NEIGHBORS.  A few posts back, I invited my readers to vote on which story they wanted to hear.  The response was so overwhelming (*crickets*) that it flooded my comments section (with emptiness)—so I went ahead and imagined that you were telling me WITH YOUR COLLECTIVE MIND that you wanted to hear this one.  In fact, I’m sure of it!  So—the neighbors it is!

So, my new neighbors moved in THREE TIMES this week.  Seriously–unless I imagined it, that moving truck was here at least three times, perhaps more.  Even in the wee hours of the morning.  New neighbors, WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?!  Are you ashamed of your tacky brown futons and Corelle dishes?  And WHY do you like to shine bright lights into my TV-room window for several hours starting at around 11:30 p.m?  You are interfering with my Colbert-watching.

I think I need to address a few issues:

Dear New Neighbors:

Welcome to the neighborhood, OK?

Now, enough of the pleasantries—let’s cut right to it:  besides being       LOUD TO THE POINT OF SHATTERING MY NERVES, you speak in a particularly annoying patois, namely STATEN ISLANDESE, which is the most brutal of dialects.  And I speak as one who has been ridiculed for having only the slightest of Hudson County accents (and this criticism was coming from people who claim to come from the fictional city of “Chicago.”)  If you remember from previous posts, these charming but delusional folks were my traveling companions in France—a location which does indeed exist, I can assure you.  They were always spelling out words to me and telling me to SAY them.  Like “C-O-F-F-E-E” or “W-A-T-E-R.”   Since I do not suffer the dual afflictions of Helen Keller (being made to wear hoop skirts and having to live in a red state, poor thing!), I did not understand why they were always spelling words at me, and this made me feel a little self-conscious.  But I would always acquiesce, and when I did, they would laugh and laugh—presumably at my strange (to their ears) pronunciation.  What completely escapes them is that their own ridculous “Chicago” accents are based on a “home town” that is a figment of their imaginations!   But we have talked of this before.

Back to you, my new neighbors.  You are loud—that much is true—but apparently you also desire to kill your either TWO to SEVEN children (I’m not sure of their numbers, but the other day I counted at least six or seven children in your back yard, which abuts with mine, all screaming at the top of their lungs in STATEN ISLANDESE, only in a higher pitch than yourselves.)  The reasons I think you desire to kill your children are as follows:  1.) to reduce their numbers, obviously, and thereby reap the ensuing noise-reduction benefits;  and  2.) because you have introduced into your backyard the most effective child-killing machine known to man:

A TRAMPOLINE!

I have a feeling it’s going to get real quiet around here soon, what with the shattered bones and lost teeth.

Again I say to you, my new neighbors:  Do NOT expect muffins.

How My Mom Invites You to Dinner

First, the phone call:  She tells you what she is going to make herself for dinner (yesterday).  This time, it is pork chops.

“I have four of them,” she says.  “But these darn things won’t be defrosted in time!”  (She took them out of the freezer too late.)  “They are all stuck together.  I can’t get them apart.”  (Forgets why microwaves were invented.)  “I guess I will have hot dogs instead.”  And that’s it.         In her mind she has just invited me to dinner the next night.

Today’s phone call:  “I am exhausted!  I went out and bought four more pork chops … I have even started cooking them already.”  (This is at 12:30 in the afternoon.)  “What time does Jim get home?”  (I am beginning to suspect something.)  When I ask her why she wants to know this, she says, “Because you are coming over for dinner tonight!  I told you I would make these pork chops for you today!”  But she didn’t.  Hahahaha.

And that is how Jane invites you to dinner.