Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Searching for work with Ivanka T.

In keeping with a tradition of offering simpleton solutions to complex problems when talking to the commoners that goes back at least as far as Nancy Reagan telling teens to “just say no” to drugs, Ivanka (“Giggles”) Trump has launched the Find Something New campaign for the freshly jobless.

Step mommy Melania must be beaming in the seven languages she actually doesn’t speak at this notion. She, after all, came up with Be Best for her anti-bullying campaign launched after she realized she was married to the world’s biggest.

While naysayers have criticized Ivanka as “clueless,” “out of touch with reality” and “as insensitive as Marie Antoinette,” I believe they are being … too kind.

Jeepers, sis. Cozying up to a can of racist beans was bad enough but now Find Something New?

You first, please. I have previously suggested Ivanka pull a couple of late-night shifts at Waffle House and now’s the time. She can wear a cute nametag that says “Vonkie” and speak the sacred language of scattered and smothered, chunked and capped. I realize this is going to be a lot harder than prissing about and telling whatever young Stephen Miller clone who is trying to write her speeches to “just make me sound human” but it’s worth the effort!

Rebranding is exhausting. Just ask Trump family friend Ghislane Maxwell who will most likely never get that chain of after-school day camps for girls up and running now. Thoughts and prayers.

Find Something New. As a tattered nation hopes to do exactly that along about Jan. 20, 2021, perhaps Vonkie is onto something here. Just not in the way she intended: to placate millions of unemployed Americans who now also have to worry about being evicted or endangering their kids by sending them to school.

If you check out the website, as I did, you’ll find lots of skills assessment stuff, some dating back to 2005 because nothing says “I Care” like 15-year-old job advice. The news wasn’t all bad. To be fair, in the name of journalism — a field I highly respect and occasionally participate in — I completed a skills quiz that, in the words of that great American patriot Jethro Bodine, deduced I would excel in either brain surgery or streetcar conducting.

Well. It was almost that bad. After clicking on a few filters, eliminating jobs that required “physical strength” and “not being mostly sedentary,” the skills match indicated I’d make a good “poet.” Yeah. That’ll pay the bills with enough left over for cat food. For the poet.

One hiccup: I accidentally clicked on a quiz for kids and didn’t realize it until the final question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Grow up? Must I? Deal. Breaker.

There’s nothing wrong with getting training for a better job. The problem is when the advice comes from someone who, as the saying goes, was born on third base and thinks she hit a triple.

Celia Rivenbark is so starved for human interaction she gets irrationally excited when Microsoft Word says, “Welcome back!”  

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Will Trump actually go if he loses?

I can’t wrap my head around this notion shared by prominent political folk on both sides that if Trump loses the election to Biden in November, he’ll simply refuse to leave the White House.

Do what?

While I’ll admit it’s amusing to picture his tiny hands frantically clutching the door frame of the Oval Office as military officers heft him upward, his body parallel to the floor, orange beads of sweat bouncing off the parquet…yeah, no. That can’t happen. Can it??

The first time I heard this posited I thought it was a late-night joke, hyperbolic hand-wringing from the far left. But then, I kept hearing it from such strange bedfellows as Bill Maher and Mike Huckabee; Lawrence O’Donnell and Michael Cohen; Joe Biden and Jerry Falwell, Jr.

It could happen, they say with either elation or horror, depending on who’s talking. Trump could reject the results if Biden wins and refuse to leave.

NO, HE CAN’T. THAT’S CRAZY TALK. While everyone knows evicting tenants is notoriously difficult because squatters have rights, too, this isn’t some scofflaw who works the angles to avoid paying his landlord. Kidding! Actually that’s exactly who Trump is. Is it possible he could hunker down and refuse to leave the presidency and the big and occasionally moldy house that comes with?

Nervous Dems, in particular, are acting like we will someday see Trump swing through the doors on The People’s Court (“the best, the highest ratings they’ve ever had, everyone says so…”) while the baritone announcer succinctly describes the scenario of a frustrated plaintiff (that’s us, folks) seeking relief from a toxic tenant who won’t leave and has, just a wild guess, done unspeakable things to the plumbing.

Did democracy die while I was sleeping? Don’t answer that. Ever the aspiring autocrat, Trump, when asked by Fox News last week if he’d accept the election results if Biden wins, said: “I have to see.”

Wait. What? No, lumpy, you don’t “have to see.” That’s not how it works. If it were that easy, wouldn’t Barack Obama have spurned the indignity lumbering toward the Capitol on that rainy day in January 2017 when our nation broke God’s heart? Wouldn’t he have said in that halting way we now crave like a sandwich somebody else makes… “Uhhhh, no. We…believe…we, Michelle and I and our family….will stay. That is right. We will not….be leaving. We have decided….uhhhhh….to stay because this is not going to…uhhh… end well…”

And what then? Trump and Melania would simply shrug their shoulders, pantomime “whattayagonnado?” and slink back to their still-warm limo?

I think it’s far more likely, assuming a Biden win, which I don’t because I’m not a complete moron, Trump will go out pouting and stomping til his bone spurs flare, refusing to participate in the historic “transfer of power” ritual observed by every outgoing president. I think he will disappear and play golf instead. No point in changing it up now.

Celia Rivenbark thinks Ivanka Trump needs to pull a coupla night shifts at Waffle House once this is all over.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Back to school with Betsy DeVos

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Hey kids!

Let’s learn arithmetic with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos! Ready? Let’s get started!

Here’s the first question: If Betsy DeVos owns 10 yachts–which is a true fact by the way, and she thinks she can tell you and your families there is “nothing that says that kids being in school is in any way dangerous”– where do you think we should tell her to put those 10 yachts?

Sorry! Just having a little fun here. Johnny! Stop touching Brandon! You have to stay on your red dot exactly 6 feet from Brandon’s blue dot. What do you mean what is red and what is blue?

Oh, well, never mind. Let’s do another math problem! If 25 first-graders spend seven and a half hours in a 900-square-foot classroom, what percentage could contract a potentially deadly virus and take it back to their sweet ol’ grandma? OK, not everyone at once! That’s right! 100 percent! You are such smart boys and girls!

OK, now it’s time to discuss shapes!

Class, does everyone know what a circle is? Good. How about a square? Excellent. What, then, is this shape?

OK, this is a hard one, unless of course you are a member of Betsy DeVos’s family. That’s right, Samantha! It’s a PYRAMID!

What’s that, Luis? Why is it big at the bottom and tiny at the top? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s say you run a scummy multi-level marketing company that attracts dewy-eyed dimwits to work very hard to recruit other dewy-eyed dimwits. The more you recruit, the higher you will go up the pyramid. At the tippy top, there’s a family that owns 10 yachts. At the bottom, is someone who borrows his wife’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s pontoon boat every July 4th. He, like almost everyone except the tippy top, grosses about $200 a month selling soap, vitamins and, blech, dreams.

OK! It’s time for current events! I’m going to show you two pictures of actual people who have been in the news a lot this week. One is a world-renown epidemiologist and the other person once hosted a creepy game show called “Love Connection.” Now, class, tell me. Who would you rather listen to when it comes to knowing what to do during a pandemic? That’s right! Dr. Anthony Fauci, not Chuck Woolery. Good job! Now for extra credit, can anyone tell me what president of the United States chose Chuck Woolery? Yes, that’s right. It’s Betsy DeVos’s very close friend, Donald Trump! See how we’ve come full circle here? Wow! I love this job!! I love it way more than my other two jobs.

Boys and girls, we have just a few minutes before socially-distanced lunch in our classroom followed by no recess whatsoever and a half hour of screaming, crying and hitting each other as this news sinks in. And, hey, that’s just us teachers! OK, thank you for your attention and for wearing your masks and not once uttering the phrase “all lives matter.” Y’all, unlike Betsy DeVos, rock.

Celia Rivenbark misses free samples at Costco.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Parsing pandemic protocols

I’ve always been quick to judge. I realize this isn’t news to most of you because I frequently get email that begins: “Who are you to judge?” Which just makes me laugh out loud because, c’mon, have we met? It’s what I do. It’s my schtick, my bailiwick, my…hobby.

Well. It’s not like I jog.

So judging it is. And I’m really, really good at it. The pandemic has given me the chance to ramp up my judginess from a simmering, solid 7 on a scale of 10 to about a 12.

At a socially distanced, masked outdoor gathering of five friends last week, I noticed three of the women appeared to have new dye jobs and cuts. They looked gorgeous.

“Did you go to the hairdresser?” I asked one.

“Hmmm?” she said. “Did I? Let me think….”

Another mumbled something about cutting her own bangs and mixing up her own color.

A third was sporting a fresh Brazilian blowout, an expensive salon treatment to make hair super smooth and shiny. She looked ah-mazing.

I haven’t had my hair done since January. No cut, no color. If you were trying to duplicate my current color, you’d have to look for a mouse on the box. A beige mouse with sad, surprising remnants of blonde at the outermost edges of its fur.

I haven’t had my nails done since early February. When a friend bubbled on a Zoom call she had finally “given in” and got a mani/pedi, I judged. And judged some more. It’s too soon, I said. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean we should do it. Prolonged personal grooming sessions are a bad idea.

“Why are you so upset?” asked “Bev.” “Didn’t you say you flew to Maine last month?”

Pardon?

I mean, er, uhhhhh, hmmmmm…

And this is the problem with judging. I mumbled about how plane air is actually safer to breathe than sitting in your own living room and more fun since you could sit in your living room for three hours and still never stand up and be in Maine.

I prattled on about how the planes—four in all—reeked of rubbing alcohol and there was no snack service. Everyone kept their masks on the entire time in airports and in the air.

I gathered judging had gotten a bit out of hand when on each leg of the trip, the flight attendant dutifully read that if we saw a passenger not wearing a mask, we should understand they may have a health condition that prohibits it.

In other words, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s entirely possible the unmasked passenger might not be the uneducated Q-anon tool you think they are so stop with the side eye.”

I think we now know why flight attendant wouldn’t be a good career fit for me. I tend to go off script.

Bev did that thing on Zoom where you can tell someone’s no longer listening and is reading texts from the phone in her lap.

She’s so rude, am I right?

(shirttail) Celia Rivenbark can cancel Disney Plus now.

Commentary, COVID-19

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: COVID-19 provides a lesson for Southerners

The news that my favorite city to visit is slamming the drapes shut, killing the lights and pretending they’re not home has pinched my pride a bit. I can’t honestly blame New York, though. We Southern states have misbehaved and now we’re in “time out” like a bunch of moonshine-addled toddlers because of a mighty spike in our Coronavirus cases.

It’s weird to be on the outside looking in. We’re not wanted? Are you kidding me? That’s OUR line. We’ve even bragged about building walls to keep the undesirables out. You must have confused us with someone else. Someone less.

Nope, we’re the ones with cooties now. Even our tourism dollars aren’t worth dying for apparently. We thought we were special but, of course, we’re not. Thinking we could arrogantly frolic in malls and beaches like normal has backfired like a ’72 Chevy Vega. It might be time for Bubba to admit that not wearing a mask because it violates his sacred freedom to be a complete jerk was, ahem, ill-considered.

Bad enough we Southerners have been banned from New York, Connecticut and, God help us, NEW JERSEY, but now we learn the entire European Union went all mean girls on us and has announced, for now, no Americans will be allowed to visit. We can’t sit at the lunch table so we should just take our trays over to the corner and eat by the trashcan. While Europe’s COVID cases plummet, ours spike because, as a nation, we’ve done a colossally awful job of staying home, social distancing and wearing masks.

They’ve seen our inability to do the simplest things to prevent the pandemic’s spread and now the rest of the world is looking at us like we’re several sandwiches short of a picnic. Sadly, they’re not wrong.

The whole thing has convinced me of this: We need to stipulate that about 10 percent of us are just plain stupid. Maybe more, but I’m trying to be charitable here. I’m remembering all the sermons I’ve heard over the years in which we are asked to step back and try to “find the face of God” in every human. It’s unspoken that this includes “even the exceptionally horrible ones who, when instructed to wear a mask, respond by throwing a cartful of groceries onto the floor at Trader Joe’s.”

Tell the truth. You thought our American specialness would get us out of this mess by now, didn’t you? Our non-mask-wearing president claimed COVID-19 would just “magically disappear” one day. Much as I have hoped his presidency would. Alas, wrong on both counts. We’re not back where we started in March; we’re worse off. Now we have friends IRL fighting it while locked in their bedrooms. Oh. Our bad.

When this is all over– thanks to science, not magical thinking and Lysol enemas– let’s remember what it felt like to be an outsider not welcome in other cities, countries. And grow a little compassion.

Celia Rivenbark turned her office into a bathroom this summer. Potty humor no more, I guess.