Commentary, COVID-19

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Pandemic survival tactics

Captain’s log Day 10 of my confinement…Rations are getting low and I’ve just realized there’s only one more Trader Joe’s ham and Swiss croissant square left in the freezer. Who will get it? Duh hubby who, starved for normal ESPN now charts Coronavirus cases by country with morning updates on whether U.S. is in “bronze” or “silver” category?

The Princess, home from her teaching job across the state and remaining willowy despite consuming far more than her one-third share?

Me, decidedly unwillowy but rather taking on the shape of one of those portable storage units they drop off at your house and then pick up once you’ve filled it up?

Last night, during a low moment, the Princess caught me eating mayonnaise from the jar with a spoon.

“What are you doing?!” she shrieked.

“Hey, you’re the one with the college degree. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“It looks like you’re eating mayonnaise straight from the jar!”

“Give the young lady a prize! Johnny, what do we have for today’s contestants?”

She gave me a worried look and went to look for her father who, it should be noted, puts a box with only ONE ham and cheese croissant square back in the freezer as if it were full like some kind of MONSTER.

Whoa. Gotta shape up. Thank God for these Zoom and Google Hang Out convos with gal pals. This, it should be noted, is the only reason I’ve put on makeup in 10 days of confinement. I’ve only got enough Clinique moisturizer for about 30 days from the look of the bottle and I’m not wasting it on family. These people have seen what I’m doing to mayonnaise after all.

I’m grateful the Princess is home because my tech skills are so low I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to play with my pals without her setting it up. For those who don’t know, you can have a wine party with pals that, on screen, looks like the Brady Bunch opening credits if Cindy and Bobby were holding enormous glasses of Pinot Grigio, that is.

So, yeah, there’s that to look forward to every day.

Like many of you, I’ve decided to incorporate fresh air into my daily routine. Who knew THAT was out there and there’s so much of the stuff? A lot of neighbors had the same idea, which results in a somewhat panicky greeting followed by awkward references to the need for social distancing.

“Hi Celia! Isn’t it a beautiful day today?”

“STAY BACK!!!!! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!”

Yeah, that’s going to come back to haunt me once this is over. If it’s ever over. The good news is we’re really reconnecting as a family. The Princess has suggested we hit up our stash of puzzles and board games. I countered with “that’s nice but how ‘bout we binge “Tiger King” instead?”

Somebody’s gotta be the grown-up around here.

Celia Rivenbark is, like many of you, losing her damn mind. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com for an archive of past funnies.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Trump and the virus

President Donald J. Trump today instructed Americans to stay home and make their own ventilators.

“It’s true,” said Trump, safely sheltering in place in the cavernous confines of Sean Hannity’s empty head. “That’s probably going to be your best bet for survival. The government can’t do everything, especially with me in charge, to be honest.”

When told that public health officials believe as much as 20 to 60 percent of the U.S. population could become infected with the novel virus, Trump responded, “I don’t read so that won’t hurt me.”

Public health experts are concerned about not only the lack of ventilators for patients who will be hit the hardest but also warn of a severe shortage of intensive care beds.

“No biggie,” said Trump. “We built thousands of cages for brown kids in like a week. Finding somewhere for your weakest, oldest relatives to die can’t be that much harder.

As to ventilator production, Trump suggested it could be a good opportunity for “Shark Tank” entrepreneurs.

“The ratings will be phenomenal. Not as good as “The Apprentice” but pretty good.”

Having answered U.S. governors’ pleas for help with obtaining respirators and ventilators with, essentially, “Go find you some,” it’s being left to the millions of Americans who are now trapped in their homes with small children and mouthy teens to figure it all out.

“It’s simple to make your own ventilator,” said one experienced homeschool mom. “My 8-year- old completed a prototype during a juice box break at this year’s Science Olympiad. Jeez, you’d think some of these parents had never even been in a Hobby Lobby. Aisle 10. Everything you need.”

“I want to die,” said a public school mom who told reporters she hasn’t spent more than an hour alone with all three of her children since 2013, adding: “The one thing positive to come out of this COVID-19 lockdown is that everyone will have new respect for our nation’s teachers.”

Nation’s teachers: “Sorry. Could you say that a little louder? The fool in the back of the room who thinks our workday ends at 3 p.m. didn’t hear you.”

From Hannity’s vast, empty noggin, Trump responded to widespread criticism that his dismantling of the pandemic team at the CDC two years ago delayed a timely response to Covid-19, “Look, Obama liked them, so they had to go. He also likes orange juice so, Florida, head’s up, I’m getting rid of that, too. Also singing on key and marital fidelity. Boo ya!”

Trump denied that he was hoping to fire “shawty” as he calls Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was quoted saying, “I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down,” referring to Trump. To which the nation responded: “Are you sure? I mean, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world…”

“I’d fire the little guy, and maybe scarf lady, too, if I’m telling the truth, which I never do, but people say “that won’t look good, sir.” They call me sir, just like that. It’s beautiful.”

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

A weekend humor break with Celia Rivenbark: My Larry David moment

I had a “Larry David” moment the other day. Certainly not my first, or even my 10th but definitely a classic. Here’s what happened: The local franchise of a chain restaurant charged me $4 for a large iced tea. Because this is the South and tea is pretty much cheaper than water, I immediately said: “Do WHAT?!?”

I had just returned from a few days in New York, where, to my amusement, everywhere I ordered iced tea (they DO have it), I was informed in tones varying from undisguised irritation to amusement: “It’s not sweet, you know.” This happened Every Single Time.

Hmmm. My accent has betrayed me once again. All good. I travel with Splenda for this very reason. And, no, it’s not the same but it just has to do. Based on this very unscientific sampling, there must be a ton of native Southerners up in Manhattan whining about how hard it is to get a decent iced tea. Not me! I know the rules and I play by ‘em. Hence the Splenda.

But, in my hometown, the ordering of iced tea is pretty standard stuff. And I seldom pay more than $2.

The perky clerk hastened to explain the inflated price: “It’s $4 because if you buy the large drink, the money goes to the USO and our military heroes.”

“Ahhhh,” I said. “That’s great. OK then!”

“Yes,” she said, clearly proud. “It’s just our way of giving back.”

And that’s when Larry David strolled into my brain, hands stuffed in khaki pockets, and I couldn’t stop him from taking over and falling out of my mouth.

“Is it, though?” I said in an unnaturally high-pitched voice.

She looked momentarily confused.

“I mean, I’m the one who’s making the donation, not you. So, if anybody’s giving back in this scenario, I’m pretty sure it’s me…”

With the bouncy theme from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” playing in my head so loud I’m surprised others couldn’t hear it, I walked back to my car clutching the super-sized do-gooder tea. The only thing missing was Larry’s ubiquitous Prius because, well, Prius.

Here’s my point: We are living in an age where it’s not good enough to just do something nice; you have to self-promote. I did it myself, just then. Shame on Larry. OK, me.

It’s why I find it irritating when the president summons the media to announce, like it’s an “Apprentice” finale, who gets his donated quarterly salary of $100,000 because that’s just the kinda guy he is.

Is it, though?

Recently, Trump announced he would give the $100,000 to the Department of Health & Human Services, the same agency he casually gutted in much larger numbers. Before we get too grateful, remember Trump profited $400,000 last year alone off his D.C. hotel scam and he’s made at least $500,000 by billing Secret Service to stay at his properties during his many golf outings.

Giving back is great. But let’s keep this stuff real…and to ourselves.

Celia Rivenbark of Wilmington, N.C., is a New York Times-bestselling author and humor columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

 

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Dems are too “pure” for their own good

“Purity” is a word you don’t hear that much, unless it’s used to  describe a ring some high school couples wear so their parents won’t think they’re doing it. (Too cynical? I’m sorry. I wasn’t talking about your kid; he or she is admirably chaste, I’m sure.)

So, imagine my surprise when possibly the two most disparate words imaginable formed an illicit relationship of their own. I’m talking about “purity politics,” of course.

We heard the phrase back in the December debate when Elizabeth Warren took Pete Buttigieg to the woodshed-shed for attending a fundraiser hosted by millionaires in a crystal-chandeliered “wine cave” out in California. It should be noted this is my kind of spelunking, by the way.

Warren, who prefers a single can of Old Milwaukee wrested from the bottom of the scratch and dent bin at the Dollar General, was  appalled by such flagrant excess and chastised Pete for putting himself in the position of owing his soul to the rich folk.

Purity is tough stuff, however. Warren was then asked where her money came from (not the widow’s mite of crusty pennies and dimes she gets from couch cushions across this great land but her big lawyer bucks.)

Maybe I’m jaded, but I never expect any politician to be so “pure” as to not owe somebody. That’s just not how the game works although that notion is cute as a basket of kittens. In a wine cave.

Warren kicked off “purity tests 2020.” (I add the year because don’t y’all remember how Bernie accused Hillary of the same fraternizing in 2016 until an exhausted Hillary said even Barack Obama couldn’t pass Bernie’s purity test? Whoa.)

We are now in the high purity season in which Democrats hoping to get the party’s nomination are utterly obsessed with who has lain down with billionaires and gotten up with fleas and who—OMG!—shoplifted in junior high and/or told dirty jokes at the water cooler Meanwhile, the Republicans are like: “Purity? What’s that and who cares? Y’all so stupid.”

Republicans don’t even pretend to worry about such things as moral ambiguity because, well, it’s bigly boring, but the purity tests for self-righteous Dems are growing faster than podcasts hosted by Really Boring People. I’m not sure which phenom is more dispiriting.

The word “purity” is off-putting because it’s almost always tied to something that’s decidedly impure and often outright evil. Think Hitler (not something I’d normally recommend), who was obsessed with a pure race. Or how about those creepy medieval times sheets hung out the window post wedding night when purity was literally a matter of life and death?  I mean, I think that was a thing and not just something I remember from a Monty Python movie.

Saying purity and politics in the same sentence is crazy-making because of its inherent silliness. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no purity in politics. The difference—in my opinion—is Dems tend to use their power for good, not to subvert democracy. So there’s that.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author, columnist and event speaker. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Super Bowl ‘Crotchgate’ critics need to chill

Before we say goodbye forever to what I’m calling “Crotchgate,” let me try to womansplain why so many of us went out of our minds over the Super Bowl halftime show. I shall now base my findings on science-ish. Which is like regular scientific data but with fewer boring parts. My findings are based entirely on comments made by my Facebook friends.

I realize this sounds nuttier than squirrel poo but you have to understand I got a bunch of Facebook friends—a maxxed-out 5,000 on my regular account and nearly 10,000 on my author page. This is not to brag (although, dayum!) but rather to let you know Crotchgate opinions are pretty much evenly divided in my fairly large sample. You can’t argue with science-ish.

This even split is like presidential polls except with body suits and pelvic thrusts. Crotchgate has divided us in ways we haven’t seen since, ohhhh, last week’s impeachment arguments.

Now the thing that surprised me most was the whole Commanders from Handmaid’s Tale vibe of many of the male commenters. They were shocked and offended by the gyrations of two uber fit goddesses, ages 50 and 43, amen.

My response to the menfolk is simple: What part of you doesn’t get that you don’t have the right to tell a woman how to dress/act/think/be? Those of you who ranted about the inappropriateness of scanty clothing and camera angles that revealed body parts you believe should only be revealed in the delivery room, just don’t have a dog in this fight.

Whining that your kids were traumatized (TRAUMATIZED!) was laughable. No chirren were injured in the making of that halftime spectacle. Unless you’ve raised some laboratory-distilled snowflake, that is. One only hopes you get half as wrought up when your precious spawn is happily blowing the heads off hookers in Grand Theft Auto every night.

So, in conclusion, shut up.

Now…the women. My sisteren, my posse, my people…My, Lord. What is wrong with almost exactly half of y’all?

JLo and Shakira, rather than being admired for their athleticism and dance skills are being blamed for promoting sex trafficking and child pornography and using twerking to destroy the feminist movement. More than a few Very Upset Feminists claimed these two entertainers at a football game had destroyed the entire #metoo movement. That’s just silly. Shinnying up that pole just proved these women had thighs strong enough to crack Harvey Weinstein’s bald head like a walnut. Good on ‘em.

The vitriol aimed at these women puzzles me. It’s not like they did something truly awful like invent kombucha.

From where I sit, not twerking or, TBH, even walking all that much in my sixth decade, I find it inspirational, heroic, even, to see these mature women embrace their sexy, athletic selves for what appears to be exactly half of a grateful nation. The rest of you preachers-in-Footloose can keep looking for dark motives and deviancy.

But what a joyless way to go through life.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. To inquire about speaking engagements or to read previous columns visit www.celiarivenbark.com.