Denise McDonald Dorman

Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Yes, I Am 12…and Not in Dog Years

In Comedy, Dave Dorman, Denise Dorman, Humor, Life Observations, Practical Jokes, Pranks, Wall Street Journal, WriteBrain Media on January 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I‘ll admit it. I’m not the most sophisticated when it comes to humor. Frankly, I am 12.

Oh, I can grasp and laugh at Dennis Miller’s obscure metaphors 90% of the time–admittedly with a little help from Wikipedia. I revel in the clever comedy stylings of Christopher GuestMonty Python and The League of Gentlemen…but it’s the really immature stuff that sucker punches me. Blazing Saddles. Kathy Griffin. Pee Wee Herman.

What does it say about me that I can’t sit in a board meeting and hear the word “titillate” without smirking? When someone lets go of a squeaker in church, I’m a goner. I’ll admit, I even snuck in a quote about farting when the Wall Street Journal interviewed me a few years back. While I haven’t researched this carefully, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume I’m the very first.

Yes, I am 12.

This has made parenting a six-year-old boy an enormous challenge for me. My “pause laughter” button has never materialized. I spontaneously erupt at his every precocious declaration and sound effect. This is doing neither me, my husband nor my son any favors. I might as well be telegraphing, “Want to avoid disciplinary action? Just make that well-timed comment or fart sound!”

I’m so lucky to have a mature partner in this parenting endeavor–my husband Dave. That’s right. The comic book artist is the mature one in this dynamic duo. Who’d have thunk it? Like my BFF, the brilliant prankster Christina Bouvier whom I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Dave has somehow trained his facial muscles to hide his gut reaction. This comes in handy on occasions like last Friday, when our son informed us in his wide-eyed innocence that “cows have gutters.” Dave’s a true poker face.

Here’s just one example: Once upon a time not long ago, Dave and I stood together in a long checkout line at Lowe’s. Deep within the bowels of my hobo bag, I had forgotten about my new key chain…the one with the cursing man sound chip fob. I never meant to actually use it in public. It was one of those impulse buys I intended to use on Bouvier. It seems my wallet shifted inside of there and jammed the key fob’s talk button. “You’re an A-hole! You’re an A-hole! You’re an A-hole! Eff you, Eff you, Eff you!” the key chain chirped incessantly…and loudly. People in other checkout lines were staring me down. My purse was plagued with Tourette’s Syndrome, yet Dave didn’t bat an eye.

One day my son will be 12, and we will be equals.

 

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The FREAK in the Hot Tub

In Life Observations on June 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

One magical summer during college, BFFs Christina Bouvier, Dee Meister and I really took advantage of our memberships at a local health club. It quickly became our second home. Our routine was a vigorous game of racquetball followed by the hot tub, and finally, the ultimate cool down: a dip in the Olympic-sized pool. Since this pool was renowned for its very showy competitive divers, it didn’t take much coaxing for me to do my dramatic Nadia Comaneci gymnast march across the lower diving board, reach the end, pause, pinch my nose with one hand and do a gigantic, splashy white trash cannonball. Even the lifeguard would look away, snickering.

Oddly enough, the hot tub was co-ed, located in an awkwardly shared space between the men’s & women’s locker rooms.  For a woman alone, this was not a safe place to be. Whoever came up with this brainchild must have been the person behind naming the Fifth Third Bank. If the hot tub was occupied by some strange guy, we simply walked past it and proceeded straight to the pool.

But here’s the thing: I’m the original freak magnet. If something bizarre and socially awkward is going to happen, the likelihood of it happening with me present is statistically and inordinately high. My colleagues theorize that I have a friendly face, and this somehow attracts it.  I think it goes beyond that. It’s some sort of aura I give off unwittingly: Freaks are Welcome Here. If there are 10 people in the frozen foods aisle and I’m the one with my ass sticking out of the freezer whilst inspecting the fish sticks, it will be my shoulder that gets tapped by a stranger asking the time of day, or which aisle houses the anti-itch creme. One day as I paid for my gasoline, a cashier proceeded to tell me about her abortion. I just nodded politely, a deer-in-the-headlights captive audience desperately in need of an exit strategy. Perhaps I missed my calling as a therapist, since people find the need to seek me out and assault me with their life’s non sequitirs.

Back to the health club. On this given day, BFFs Bouvier, Meister and I were all sitting around the perimeter of the hot tub, soaking our legs from the knees down. A Speedo’d man in his thirties entered the hot tub, and proceeded to go underwater in the middle of our threesome, holding himself in a tightly wound little ball. Bouvier, Meister and I all exchanged our WTF look, pretending to converse as though nothing were amiss. A minute went by, and we all started getting highly anxious. What the hell was this Man from Atlantis doing? And why?  And even more worrisome, did he require our assistance?

After some spirited debate, Meister came up with the best solution: “Let’s all hold our breath, and when we can no longer hold our breath, we will grab this guy and pull him out of the water.” Agreed. Brilliant. The three of us sat there, our cheeks puffed out like Louie Armstrong, reddening until we could no longer stand it. Bouvier was the last to exhale. We three stood up simultaneously to go into the water together and rescue this ass clown. He suddenly burst forth out of the water violently, like an angry, sebaceous cyst being popped. Although startled to the point of perhaps leaving a few drops of yellow water behind, we avoided making eye contact with this guy and continued walking past him and out of the hot tub, as though exiting was our original intention.

To this day, we remain perplexed by this incident. Every year, I check the Guinness Book of World Records. Thus far, the person with the record for holding his breath under water bears no resemblance to our guy. I’m just chalking it up to yet another stranger who felt comfortable letting his freak flag fly proudly in my presence.

My First Coffee Spit Take for Today

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Do you have that one stand-out friend in your life? The one you phone first thing most mornings to get your day started on a positive note? I do. Mine is Christina Bouvier, who has had a starring role in my life’s cast of kooky characters since the 7th grade. When you’ve known someone for 33 years, you can pretty much say anything to each other. We speak in shorthand. No need for formalities. No self-editing. Just plain old profanity-laden chatter that would send any man of the cloth running for his holy water. When my husband first got to know me, he said, “I never believed that women really talked like ‘Sex and the City,’ until I met you and your friends.” Mind you, our conversations don’t revolve so much around our own sex lives as they do our observations about other people’s sex lives, but no topic is off limits.

When I call, Christina shouts, “Go!” — her signal for me to start speaking staccato style, in an abbreviated download because we’re both always in one helluva hurry.

Christina Bouvier is a woman of few words, but hers pack a wallop. She ever-so-casually drops these bon mots that have me spraying my last gulp of coffee onto my computer screen. Now my laptop runs on Dunkin’, too. Take this morning’s phone conversation:

Her: “What the fuck is up with Stephen Colbert’s ear?”
Me: “Um, I think I read it was frost bite or something.”
Her: “Well, I wish he would stop tilting his head that way and hiding his God damned ear. Just show me the fucking ear already. I cannot even hear what he’s saying because I’m so focused on trying to see his God-damned ear.”

Christina Bouvier’s running commentary on public figures makes Kathy Griffin’s comedy seem like sunshine, rainbows and peppermint kisses. One night I was over there as the news was blaring in the background. It was toward the end of Pope John Paul II’s life, and the news footage showed him sitting on his throne during a church service, seemingly catatonic. Christina Bouvier, a former Catholic, briefly glanced over and said, “He’s just like that dead guy in ‘Weekend at Bernie’s.'” As I said, few words, but they pack a wallop.

One day, under total anonymity, I hope to get Christina Bouvier on a regular morning podcast so the rest of the world can enjoy that first coffee spit take of the day and hear what real women really say about real people. You know, like the not-so-PC conversations Gayle King and Oprah really have when that satellite radio audience isn’t listening.