From the category archives:

Everyone is Insane


by Marinka on January 28, 2018

No, those aren’t my measurements.

If you must know, that’s the combination to my new combination lock which comes with its own set of problems.

I started going to the gym recently, the local Y, because it’s less than two blocks away from me and because apparently according to “science” exercise is good for the human body and my newest goal is to live for a really long time and be in good enough shape to fully enjoy Trump’s incarceration and by “Trump’s” incarceration I mean Donald’s, Donald Jr.’s, Eric’s, Ivanka’s, Jared’s, and any and all horses that they may have ridden in on and by “incarceration” I mean “jailed.”

So going to the gym is all sorts of complicated because first you have to find the ID card that was issued to you during happier times. And by “happier times,” I mean when Barack Obama was President and the United States was a superpower instead of a super embarrassment.

Fortunately, my ID card was attached to my keychain, so I was obviously distraught that I didn’t have that excuse to stay out of the gym for another decade or so. But then I couldn’t find a combination lock, or, more accurately, I couldn’t find a combination lock to which I knew the combination. I have plenty of locks that are locked forever because I have no clue what the combination is. I asked my kids if they knew the combinations, in case they were secret savants, but they had no idea and then when I asked my sixteen year old son if I could borrow his combination lock, he said “sure, but I don’t know what the combination is” which was an excellent way to lay to rest any questions of whether I am his biological parent. This may be a good time to tell you that one time, many years ago, I actually went through the whole rigamarole (whoa! That’s a real word, apparently) to retrieve the lost/forgotten combination which involved sending a signed and notarized statement to the MasterLock company swearing that you are the proud owner of the lock and cannot remember the combination and then, a few weeks later, they send you the combination. This is a wonderful time in a lock owner’s life and leads to much rejoicing, and if you’re me, an almost immediate loss of the combination that has been so recently reclaimed.

So I did what any normal person would do and for a while used a locker at the Y without a lock. This was a risk, I knew, but I am nothing if not devout and I just couldn’t imagine a world where the Lord would permit both (a) Trump to be president and (b) my locker would be burglarized. Although this is totally sound thinking, I still spent most of my workout session in fear that someone would open my locker and steal something or throw my keys away or something. And I had to bring my keys with me because my YMCA ID is on the keychain. What, you already forgot that?

The whole experience was absolutely nerve wrecking because how could I enjoy a workout that would launch my career as a fitness model when I was about to lose my keys and my YMCA ID as well as membership loyalty cards to various superstores that were attached to my keychain? This led to my checking in on my locker throughout my workouts with a frequency that signaled to the locker room attendants that I was storing a small child on the top shelf.

It was exhausting and unsatisfying and not just because no one bothered to try to steal anything from me, which in and of itself is offensive.

And then a miracle happened and I bought a lock:


I bought this one because it was different and I thought that since my history with the traditional locks wasn’t great, I would give this one a shot.

In the days that followed, I had to field a number of questions, including, but not limited to the following:

Why would you ever buy a lock without numbers?
Are you a complete idiot?
I know you said you tried twice to the right and twice up, but did you do it in the right order?
Are you sure you’re not a complete idiot?
Were they out of normal locks?
Is it possible that you’re a partial idiot?
You just picked it because it’s purple, didn’t you?

The problem was that no matter what I did, I could not get the lock to open, which, it turns out is a big negative where locks are concerned. But equally as worrisome was the fact that other people that I showed the lock to were able to open it, so it raised a whole bunch of questions about my well-being that no one wanted to address without professional assistance.

Finally after a few weeks of this nonsense, which were so stressful that I could not even think about exercising, I bought a real lock.

And then I started to come up with smart ways to remember the combination.

“Let’s see, 5-35-13,” I thought out loud, “Well, the 13 part is easy because I live on 13th street. And 35 is not a great challenge, because, hey, I’m not 35 anymore! And come to think of it, I’m not 5 anymore either, so done and done!”

Can you think of a problem with the “not a certain age anymore” memory trick? Because I couldn’t until I pushed the lock shut which was the moment that I realized that having celebrated my 50th just last March (gifts still being accepted, but don’t wait too long!) there are forty nine ages that “I am no longer.”

So the only solution is to post my combination here. And hope that Mueller hurries up.

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A Tale of Two Tables

by Marinka on March 2, 2016

Everyone hates my new old table. That sounds like hyperbole but in fact it’s the opposite because in truth everyone despises it. And to make it worse, it’s not hate at first sight. At first sight, it’s a table. But after you sit or what approximates sitting at the table that everyone hates, the table table that’s too low to the ground, you start to feel the stirrings of antipathy that will fester and grow and breed and multiply.

Everyone hates its top and its legs and this is where I realize that there’s not too much more in terms of tables, descriptively speaking. Oh, its shape. It’s shape is unnecessarily rectangle. I live with my two kids. We need a square table. Or maybe a triangle table, which, by the way, are not as common as you’d think. But why is my wretched table a rectangle? I have no idea.
The table resurfaced from storage shortly after my divorce. Apparently they rejected it at Gitmo and so it came to my home to roost. I originally got the table when I first moved back to NYC after college in the late 1980s and didn’t know any better. You remember the late 80s, right? Well it’s as though Ronald Reagan showed up in your living room, muttering about ketchup being a vegetable. Just say no.

But it’s worse. Because my strongest association with the table was when decades ago I came home one day from my mind-numbingly dull job as a tax paralegal and I couldn’t find my dog Mavis. Mavis was a Basset Hound (until she died. And then she became Bassett Hound ashes, which is different from Angela’s Ashes, but I can’t kick the feeling that there’s an Angela Bassett’s ashes joke in there somewhere.) I looked everywhere for apartment. The apartment had been locked and Mavis didn’t have working thumbs so where could she have gone? It was a mystery and as I sat on the sofa to contemplate the probably alien abduction and the anal probing that Mavis was likely undergoing (interesting fact about Mavis: she had external anal glands which made her very, very stinky, especially during car rides and yet she received more invitations to the Hamptons than I did from neighbors who swore she was their dog’s best friend and they’d have a great time together. “I can come to keep an eye on her,” I turbo-hinted but for some reason not many people took me up on it.) And that’s when I looked at the table that now everyone hates, and saw that Mavis was standing on top of it, like some kind of a Basset Hound statue. I have no idea how she got there, why she got there or when she got there, but as soon as I saw her there, I became convinced that she was going to fall off and break all four of her legs and I’d have to either euthanize her or myself and neither of those options sounded inexpensive. So I went to the table, slowly, as though I would suddenly startle her into falling off and lifted her off, again, carefully, in case she was made out of porcelain, and lowered her to the floor. And then I wondered if this was going to be a daily routine that Mavis and I would undergo and whether this is how most 20-somethings spent their evenings in the greatest city in the world.

So when the table re-appeared in my life, I accepted it and moved on. I have bigger things to worry about, like how many Trump fundraisers I can squeeze in before the primary season is over. But then I noticed that my kids were sort of crowded around the table and then Mama said that the table wasn’t working, so we should get a new one. And I said, yes, sure, which is code for let’s do nothing and never speak of this again and has worked so well for me over the years. Except this time, a few short months later, Mama told me that she found a table to replace the table that everyone hates with one that everyone will love and admire and respect. Can I see a photo, I asked and there were some mutterings and then Papa emailed me a photograph of something that looked like a thimble of a table. Seriously, it appeared to be a table for cats, if they were kittens.
“It’s so small,” I said and Papa explained that it comes with inserts and when the inserts are in, the table is so big, it won’t even fit into my dining room area. Obviously, that’s an appealing characteristic for any table and I’m stunned that more furniture manufacturers don’t resort to this marketing technique. I’m sure it will catch on.

“I don’t think it’s for me,” I told my parents but they did not take the news well.

“It’s really expensive,” they explained in some kind of bizarre reverse-psychology sales pitch.

So for now I’m stuck with the table that everyone hates. But at least it fits into my dining room area, is not expensive and doesn’t have a Basset Hound on top of it. And some days that’s enough.


Dating After Divorce

August 8, 2015

I had it all figured out. After my divorce, I’d start dating again and then I would write the definitive work of great wisdom about dating after divorce. I even had the title all picked out, “Dating After Divorce”! Everyone would read it, immediately get a divorce and start dating, while I counted the royalties […]

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Mysterious Ways

July 8, 2015

I bought new sandals, wedges, the day that my son graduated from middle school last month. They were on sale, although from an upscale store and I spent more on them than I normally would, but they were comfortable and had secure black straps that flattered my Cinderella’s step-sister foot and I thought, “why not?” […]

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A Scene in Front of a Fountain

June 28, 2015

A while back, Papa was telling me about an argument that he had with Mama. “We had real scene in front of fountain,” he told me, in Russian, which I am indicating by writing in English but nonetheless leaving out all the articles, so you can feel the Russianness. Let me know how that’s working […]

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June 11, 2015

Last week I met my lovely daughter’s handsome boyfriend which is one of those things that I file under “about damn time” since they’ve been dating for over a year which is like a decade in teenage years and who knows how long in dog years, although I suspect it depends on the breed, at […]

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D and E

June 5, 2015

The other evening I was having dinner with a friend and she mentioned that at our age, we have to do more than just exercise or just diet, in fact we have to do both. There are many things that I hate about this, starting with that she said “at our age” even though she […]

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On Worry

May 15, 2015

You know how I don’t like to worry you unnecessarily, what with this being a humor blog and all, but I lately I have been suffering terribly. Terribly, I say. It all started a few weeks ago, when the Guy I Went to Ireland With sneezed and then also coughed. “You have a disease,” I […]

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