Category Archives: Light Hearted

Because sometimes life is funny.

Visitor Parking

For the past eleven years, when I’ve gone to church, it’s been to my dad’s church. When your father is a preacher, it’s pretty easy to decide where you’re going to go. But now that I live six hours away, I have the task of finding somewhere new to go. It made sense to start with a Presbyterian Church. Dad is a Presbyterian minister and I’ve been in that denomination for the past twenty years, at least. This brand of Christian has suited me well enough. I don’t jive with everything they believe, but it’s pretty hard to be a free thinker and buy 100% of any one denomination’s teachings. I always described being Presbyterian as having all the perks of being Catholic, and you get to use birth control.

I am not a closet anything. If I do it, I do it for the world to see. Hypocrisy is not a trait I want to possess or pass to my children. Someone once described me as being subtle like a shovel to the face, and sometimes that makes me a little hard to take. When I started looking for a church, I was a little bit worried. I didn’t want to sell out who I was, but I didn’t want to parade in like a wave of defiant obstinacy.

I started by e-mailing the three PCA* Presbyterian churches in the area. I knew one of the pastors at one of the churches. He was a Christian recording artist when I was a kid, and he stayed at our house once. Certainly that would be the perfect place. But when I visited, the sermon was an hour long apology to the congregation for firing one of the pastors. Apparently, money was tight and they decided to fire one of the preachers, the congregation went into hysterics about it, they hired him back and were now going to spend the next however long doing a total overhaul of the church complete with public ass kissing. Strike one.

I got a response to my e-mail asking for general information about the church from the second prospect. The pastor who responded let me know that their church was a “little different” and explained to me they liked to “emphasize the idea of the parishes of the past where people not only attended church together, but they farmed or worked together, went to the same schools and markets, etc.  Obviously we don’t demand that children all attend the same school, or that adults work in the same businesses, but we do seek to do life together all week, not just on Sundays.” This was the tame portion of the e-mail. I’m sure this idea works well for them, but personally, if I’m going to join a cult, I’d like for it to be the kind with motorcycles and leather jackets. Strike two.

The third church didn’t have a regular church building. They met in a local dance studio. I knew someone who had dated the brother of the pastor’s wife, and they said that he was pretty laid back and cool. The boys and I decided to give this church a try. It had several things that we wanted. The dress code was casual (which we all like) there were lots of kids (which the boys like) and the service started at 10 so I figured we would be out early enough to beat the lunch crowd. I loved the first person I met, not only did she think I was a lot younger than I really am (“You have an eleven year old? Wow, you must have gotten started early!”), but they served real wine instead of grape juice at communion. But after a few visits, the laid back approach to worship started to feel too laid back to me. I’m a little bit OCD♦ and it is very distracting to me for children to get up and walk around during the service, not to mention the preacher seemed to just talk and never get to a point, or at least not in a concise way that held my attention. As much as I hated it: Strike three.

Now what? An old pastor of mine and a good friend of my dad’s, Charles McGowan, used to live in this area, so dad called him up and asked for suggestions. I laughed when I heard his answer. Charles said I should try a local First Baptist Church. I had this thought of typical Southern Baptist churches and I couldn’t believe that the ones here in Tennessee would be much different than those in Alabama. But dad insisted that they were a unique church that was very forward thinking and progressive. I hoped so. When we pulled up to church with the top off the Jeep, we were usually listening to Eminem, not praise and worship music.

I should tell you, that since I have been here, I’ve been very surprised by the subtle differences between this area and my home back in South Alabama. Not only am I the only single parent in either one of my boy’s school classrooms, but in six months, I have yet to meet another single parent. In fact, I haven’t even met anyone who is single. Walking into some back woods Baptist church as the only single parent this side of Nashville, wasn’t something I pictured as enjoyable. But I figured I’d give it a shot. If nothing else, they were located right across the street from this great doughnut shop, and since it would be our first time there, we could use the visitor parking.

Sunday morning started like a usual Sunday morning. I woke up at eight o’clock on the nose. The boys were still sleeping. As I lay in bed listening to the sweet sound of their little snores from across the hall, I thought about being proactive, getting up, running to the doughnut shop while they were still asleep, and then having a nice breakfast of doughnuts followed by showers and a leisurely time getting ready. Instead, I rolled over and went back to sleep. The great thing about no one expecting you at church, is that no one will be the wiser if you decide to stay in bed and worship in the Church of the Holy Comforter, and that’s what I intended to do.

About an hour later, Dozier came in my room, completely dressed and ready to go. “You said we could go to the Doughnut Palace before church.”

Damn it. I threw the covers back with a huge sigh. “Fine,” I said, “Let me get in the shower.”

I started the calculation of taking the church start time, deducting the drive time, deducting the time to buy doughnuts, deducting the time to eat the doughnuts and deducting the time it would take to get shoes and jackets on both kids and realized that I had 4.7 minutes to shower and get ready. When I got out of the shower, Scout was having a meltdown over his hair. He is growing his bangs out and likes for them to flip in a very particular way, so much that he walks around with his head held at a very certain angle at all times and flips his head around like a go-go dancer about every fourteen seconds. I try to get him to hold his head straight, but then the bangs part down the middle and hang over his forehead. According to him this makes his head “look like a stage.” “Whatever, Scout,” I told him. “Everybody has a bad hair day. Get in the Jeep.”

The wailing and moaning that went on during the Jeep ride covered everything from sucking hair to liking the last church just fine, but all feelings of woe were erased as we parked in front of Doughnut Palace. We were going to be late, but a promise is a promise, so we went in and got in line. We ate inside to avoid large amounts of sprinkles and confectioner sugar all over our clothes and washed it all down as quickly as we could. We raced across the street and found the singular open parking space right up front marked “Visitor Parking.”

Now, not only was I single, but I was late. But as I walked the children in and found the childrens church downstairs, I remembered some wise words of my father. You see, I consider myself to be very conservative, but I make it a point to avoid judging others. That makes me a very conservative individual with very liberal tendencies. Just because I wouldn’t do it, or think it’s wrong to do something, doesn’t mean that I would ever come down on someone else for doing something. That was alright back in the Presbyterian church, but now I was about to walk into the First Baptist sanctuary, and I wasn’t sure how they would feel about my beer drinking, tattoo having, divorced ways. But dad’s words helped me out, “If they don’t accept you for who you are, then you don’t want to go to that church anyway.”

The opening hymn had already been sung and it was a packed house. I found the one seat open, and slid into it just as the preacher told all of the first time visitors to remain seated while the rest of the congregation stood up. Before I knew it, Christine appeared above me like the Cheshire Cat hovering above Alice. She must have been in her early 80s or maybe her late 70s, and thank goodness she had good dental hygiene, for although she had pleasant breath, she had no concept of personal space. She introduced herself to me like only a close talker can, and had me sort of pinned down to the pew as she leaned in over me. After a short eternity, Christine left and I opened my hymnal.

I was soon lost in the teenager in front of me. His body was amazing. His torso was that of a model, as was his style. He sat next to his stylish, yet conservative parents. I wondered how they had raised this metro sexual in rural Tennessee. He was wearing Versace glasses! The detailing on his blue jeans was exquisite. I sat there wishing my vision was better so I could read the type on the buttons. I would love to get those jeans for Dozier (*that’s* how you raise a metro sexual in rural Tennessee). Before I knew it, the sermon was starting.

I was getting excited. The preacher had an outline. He mapped out the points he was going to discuss. He was clear and concise. This was going to be great! And then he began the 45 minute hell and brimstone dissertation on the evils of alcohol. Each proclamation that a single sip of the devil’s nectar would send one barreling to hell was answered with a shout of “Amen!” or “Preach it, Brother!” He outlined the satanic practice of selling wine and beer in stores while the congregation hooped and hollered for him to raise the volume even more.

I was trying to be open minded. I decided that when the sermon was over that I would ask him if they were like the Baptist back home that said you shouldn’t drink, but then you always ran into them at the liquor store buying “cooking wine.” If he was a friend of Charles McGowan, that question shouldn’t offend him and he should answer me honestly. Then I had a thought. Maybe I was at the wrong church†. Sure, I had asked dad three times to clarify that I was going to the right place, but maybe, just maybe, there had been a mistake. So I decided that when the sermon was over, I would ask the pastor if he knew Charles McGowan, and then I would ask him if he really believed all that crap about going to hell if you drank a sip of alcohol. I was cheered back up and optimistic, although I was a bit sad when the family in front of me slipped out during the invitational. I was hoping to ask that kid where he had gotten those jeans.

As the last hymn began, I found someone pulling on my hand, as the whole congregation squished up in the middle aisle holding hands and singing. Thank goodness it was a normal looking young woman beside me. What if I’d been seated next to a nose picker or someone with pink-eye? I made a mental note to slip out during the invitational like the people in front of me if I ever visited here again.

I missed the line to shake hands with the preacher and slipped back around to the tail end of the line. He had been joined by his wife at the door to hug and smile at the members. As I reached him, I extended my hand, introduced myself and asked him if he knew Charles McGowan. He lit up a smile, took my hand and responded; “Now that name sounds familiar.”

His wife interjected, “Are you sure you aren’t thinking about Terry McGowan? We know a Terry McGowan.”

He continued, “Did you fill out a visitor card and put it in the offering plate?”

Yes, damn it, I did. I even wrote referred by Charles McGowan, which Reverend Hitler here obviously has never met. “Yes, sir, if you will excuse me, I need to collect my children.” I was in the wrong church!

I couldn’t walk to the Jeep fast enough. “Get in, boys, let’s get out of here.”

As Scout shut the door and began to buckle his seat belt, he chirped, “I like this church, Mama, let’s go here!”

“We’ll talk about it later, baby, Mama needs a drink.” And with that, we raced past the sign that read “You are entering the mission field,” pulled out onto the highway and began our journey home.

*PCA – The Presbyterian Church is separated into two groups. The Presbyterian Church of America is the more conservative branch and the PCUSA, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. is the more liberal of the two.

♦OCD – although I have never actually been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I do categorize my canned goods and alphabetize them within each category.

† I was, indeed, in the wrong church. After a good belly laugh at my expense, my dad called Charles McGowan and got the name of both the correct church and the pastor. We’ll see how that goes next Sunday.


The Zit Dream

In order to appreciate this dream, you must admit that you have popped a zit. In order to describe it, I must admit to having popped a zit. If this grosses you out, stop reading now.

I dreamed that I woke up with a big-ass zit on my cheek. It was the kind of zit that one normally gets on their chin. Not a little whitehead, but one of those red, shiny, painful ones that looks like someone implanted a jelly bean under your skin while you slept. So in my dream, I did what we all do – had the thoughts of “holy hell, there is going to be no way to disguise this” and started thumbing through my mental card catalog of every article I’ve ever read since reading my first Teen magazine in 1985. Ideas like put ice on it to reduce the redness, cover with toothpaste to dry it out, apply a warm compress…all of this came to mind followed by the one thing that every expert always says, “DON’T SQUEEZE IT!” so what do I do? I decide to squeeze it.

Of course, it is on the first day when you know nothing is going to come out of it. It’s just going to hurt and get bigger. So after that, I went to sleep in my dream and when I woke up in my dream, it was day two. The zit was indeed bigger and looked pretty ripe. So I went through the whole process again. After some fiddling around with it, it hurt even worse, the skin around it had started to peel off and was going to obviously scab (which I knew I would try to conceal, but knew it would only make it look worse, but that wouldn’t stop me; I would try to conceal and powder it anyway), but it seemed like it was going to pop at any second. And you know what I mean. One of those zits that is hard and plump and when it finally pops, it’s like a snake spitting out a watermelon and it hurts like hell to the point that you stomp your foot and when your eyes finally stop watering you notice a big ball of nasty stuck to the bathroom mirror.

Well, in the dream I was just to that point when it happened. It was like slow motion, close up (make that extreme close up) of the zit and it was just about to blow and I just knew that something massive was about to happen and it started to ease closer and closer to the surface of my skin when WHAMMO! I gave the zit a final squeeze and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniature (unwrapped) came out of my face. So there you go. Over and over in my head for the last four days, I pop and re-pop a big-ass zit on my cheek and instead of oil and dirt and puss, out pops a Reese’s Cup.

Now what the hell does this mean? Feel free to interpret.

T.V. As I See It

Tuesday’s gone with the wind and Tuesday night television was like a tornado. So, Scout went to his Dad’s for dinner and Dozier was at home sick (and therefore laying around watching television and not all up in my business) and I took this opportunity to flip back and forth between Dancing With the Stars and American Idol.

I anticipated Buzz Aldrin would be in the bottom two with a close second of Sour Puss Gosselin. However, just fifteen seconds into the show, Tom Bergeron (who I loved on Fox After Breakfast and will forever be indebted to for taking over AFV and getting rid of that damn Bob Saget) announced that Buzz was safe. That was like one big WTF moment for the day. To get over the shock, I flipped over expecting to hear Seacrest saying “This is American Idol” and instead, he’s walking around back stage and the judges are in a big make-out huddle off to the side.

I have way too many observations about tonight to go into detail (I have got to hook up a TV in my bedroom so I can write and watch at the same time!), but I will share a few of the highlights (or low lights) of the evening.

American Idol: Big Mike. The guy can sing, but I swear, every time someone calls him Big Mike, I expect Sandy Bullock to run out and tell him to protect the family. I’m waiting for him to make it to the final show, lean over Seacrest and say “I don’t like to be called Big Mike.”

Oh, Didi…What Becomes of the Broken Hearted…please, this one hit wonder is one of the worst songs in the history of man. I didn’t cry when Paul Young covered it in Fried Green Tomatoes, I didn’t even cry when Rod Stewart covered it, but you blubbered all over Usher like there was no tomorrow. The look on his face – that please, for the love of God, will someone spray her down with Lysol look – that was worth all of your tears. The only thing more painful than hearing that song was when it was over and the camera captured Didi’s friends and family and the dude in the brown t-shirt (friend) looked over at the mom and said “That sucked!” The only thing more painful than that was when Ryan announced to the world that Didi had tried out for American Idol multiple times and planned to sing that particular song just so one person could hear it. Holy hell, chick, have you never heard of American Top 40 Long Distance Dedications?

So right about the time that Uncle Jessie was beating it with the Beach Boys, Casey Jones (aka the cute Bucky) was on stage with his red guitar (which reminded me of Flo-Jo’s mid-80s Nike commercial in which she exclaimed, “Iz got ret toenails.”) singing some song and looking hot. I’m not a fan of blondes, but yowza!

Just before one of the Jonas Brothers got up and sang an Anita Baker song, Subway announced that pepperoni is the new bacon. I have mixed feelings about that, but I was so happy that no one was singing the five dollar foot long song that I just accepted it.

I missed the Haitian dancers trying to raise money, but I did catch the back five of the Len Commandments. Of course the whole show was worth it to see the hot dancer chick elbow the guy in the face over and over again on the replay. Meanwhile, not only did Kate Gosselin stand there the whole time looking like the only thing in her head was the phrase “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life,” but I think at one point she actually mouthed the words, “I want to die.” But I wasn’t watching that closely, so I could be wrong.

Tonight one of the age old debates was settled once and for all. Jennie Garth made it to the next to the final episode on Dancing With the Stars (and she was sort of chunky then) and Shannon Doherty (who has amazing legs) got the boot at the first elimination proving once and for all that everyone liked Kelly better than Brenda. On a personal note, I could have gone without seeing Brenda’s not quite a gap but not close enough together two front teeth after all these years.

Now that Dancing With the Stars was over, I began flipping between American Idol and Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Tonight’s episode featured guest judges Cloris Leachman and Debbie Reynolds. I could have watched Biggest Losers, but it’s the Couples edition and I really don’t want to see fat people sweating, much less do I want to see fat people sweating and holding hands. (No offense meant to fat people. I’m probably just pissed off that they are in a couple and I am not).

Anyway, on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the girls were given the challenge of turning a group of old men (“Silver Daddies”) into “Golden Mamas.” One guy had a full beard, one looked like a serial killer and one was a “displaced mortgage broker.”

Back on Fox, the Latin Shoney’s Big Boy was wearing a picnic blanket for a shirt and one of Taylor Hicks’ suits and Honey, he knocked it out of the park with an acoustic version of a Chris Brown song.

Next, Danica Patrick finally got to use the double order of Bumpits (as seen on tv) while wearing a 70s jungle Barbie outfit. I think Farah Fawcett wore that same outfit without the black leggings on a guest starring role on the Six Million Dollar Man. The pleated front with the bow on the back didn’t work for her either.

Did Ellen mean to leave her bow tie untied? Did she just leave her day job and loosen her tie while sipping on a scotch neat and just wander into the studio? She looks like an episode of Mad Men with an all female cast.

Back with Ru…my favorite contestant, Pandora Boxx, has gotten together with her Golden Mama and chosen the mother’s name…Litter Boxx. As the girls are applying make-up to their “mothers,” one older gentleman mentions Oscar Wilde. The “girl” applying his make-up says, “Who’s Oscar Wilde?” and the displaced mortgage broker with the booming voice says, “That is no homosexual over there! Who is Oscar Wilde? Girl, please!”

At the Kodak Theatre, Prison Boy is singing. This guy could sing the phone book to me. Damn, I love his voice!

So this week, each time a contestant leaves the stage a camera picks up the action behind the scenes. It’s like they stole a page from the Project Runway playbook. Tonight, each time a contestant went back there and the camera followed, Big Mike had on less and less clothes. I kept expecting to see him and Ellen getting loose and sipping a martini.

Speaking of martinis, back at the Drag Race, the girls were hanging in the Absolut Vodka Lounge while the judges debated who was on the line. It was time for the bottom two girls to “lip-sync for their life.” It was Pandora vs. Jujubee in an all out battle of lip-syncing to Debbie Gibson’s Shake Your Love.

The best news of the night came when I flipped over to Fox just in time for a Glee commercial. Only two more weeks until the new season begins. Yay!

I’ve made it clear that the girl with the yellow teeth has my vote (if I actually voted) and Hippy Chick did a great job tonight, but I’m sorry, Midnight Train to Georgia still belongs to the one and only Verona Campbell Andrews. Ain’t nobody can sing it better than my V.

In a tearful last few minutes, Pandora was defeated by Jujubee. She ran off the stage dejected and wrote a sweet little note on the mirror with her lipstick for the other girls to find later.

And just before things got way beyond awkward between Ryan and Simon, Alfalfa came out to close the show with Ain’t No Sunshine Since She’s Gone, which I used to really like but can now only think of Danny Sconyers every time I hear it (thanks, Danny, way to wear your heart on your sleeve).

Well, that’s about all I have time for now, so until next week, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars, after all, when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires can come to you. Case in point? Tomorrow night on American Idol, Ruban Studdard finally has a gig with a live audience.

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.

My parents invited me to the farm to eat fish for lunch with them and my grandmother. True to form, it was great food. Also typical was my mother’s incessant chatter while we ate. I timed it perfectly and arrived as the fish was coming out of the fryer. I grabbed a beer and sat at the table.

Sadie: “Everything looks good. Don’t you think it looks good? I think it looks good. I haven’t tasted it yet. I’m still getting mine ready. How’s yours, Mother? Is your good? John? Yours o.k.? Corey?”

Me: “I haven’t tried it yet.”

Sadie: “Well, if it tastes as good as it looks; it’s going to be great. Do you need some catchup, Mother? These fries look great. We should do them like this more often. There are plenty of hush puppies over here. Do you want another hush puppy, Mother? John, there are plenty of hush puppies. They have corn in them. Corey, I know you don’t like corn.”

Me: “I like corn.”

Sadie: “You like corn? I thought you didn’t like corn. Are you sure you like corn?”

Me: I don’t like bananas.”

Sadie: “Bananas? You don’t like bananas? I thought it was corn. Well, these have corn in them. They were buy one get one free. I think they’re good with corn in them. Did you want another hush puppy, Mother? These English peas look good, too. I always thought English peas just went great with fish. Did you get enough peas? John? There are more peas over here. You didn’t want any, Corey? There’s plenty right here. Wow. There is a little much garlic in this dressing for my taste. This is new garlic ranch. There is a lot of garlic in this. Mother, did you get enough salad? There are more dressings over there.”

Dad: “So Coco, I have a question for you and I’m not sure how you’re going to answer so I’ve been sort of sitting on it.”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “I’ve had all these invitations to join Facebook. If I join, would you be my friend?”

Sadie: “I don’t think that’s a good idea, John. Facebook? You’re a little past that.”

Me: “Whatever, Mom. There are people older than him on Facebook. Dave Burgess is on there. Can’t let the other Presbyterian preacher get ahead of you…”

Dad: “That’s who is asking me to join, other preachers in the Presbytery. So, would you be my friend?”

Me: “I don’t care. It’s not like you don’t know everything I do anyway. The stuff I don’t tell you, people who read my Facebook tell you. You’d might as well read it for yourself. I wouldn’t be Mom’s friend, so if you leave yourself logged in and she can figure out how to get on there and read all my crap then no, but I don’t care if you’re on there.”

Sadie: “I’m not doing Facebook. You don’t have to worry about that. There’s plenty of fish over here. Oh, I didn’t see that big piece under there. Is that bass? That must be the bass. This bream is good. You need to get out there and catch some more fish, John. When are you going to start fishing again?”

Dad: “Is 2:30 this afternoon soon enough?”

Sadie: “Mother, do you want some more fish? There should be enough here for the boys to eat later. Do you want me to box this up and you can take it home for the boys to eat? I think they would eat this. They love fish. I don’t know if they would eat these hush puppies since they have corn in them. Do you want to take this home? Why don’t you just leave it here and they can have it for dinner this afternoon when they come over. If they don’t want it then you can take it home tonight. I think they’ll eat it. Don’t you?”

Me: “That’s fine. Leave it here. They’ll eat it. I don’t feel well. I’m going home to lie down. Thank you for lunch. Love you, Mamie. Bye, Dad. Bye Sadie.”

I drove home. After about two minutes the boys came home. The first thing they both said was “I’m hungry.” Sigh. Wish I had that fish. A text came in from my mother that read, “since pretty u can bring them earlier if u like don’t know when home from kips can text before they come.” I respond with a text that read, “They are home now.” She responded with a text that read, “Since pretty they can come whenever know u don’t feel good whatever u want and they want.” I reply with “they are eating lunch right now.” You guessed it. In came a text. It began, “sorry didn’t send fish thought they eating there…” At this point, I just closed my phone and set it on mute. The fish really was good, but I’m not sure they were worth all the talking.

***Chatter about Curves (whether it would stay open, who should buy it, how it should be run and whether or not old people could handle it) and why college photos are used in obituaries when someone dies in their 90s along with a few other choice items were omitted in the interest of time and my sanity.

The Doctor Is In

I like small towns as much as the next person. There is something about a small town that is familiar and comforting and good. There is camaraderie among the residents that you just don’t find in larger cities. Everyone smiles and waves when they pass you on the street and you are more often than not greeted with a “Hey! Hower you?” when you walk through a door. This since of kindred spirit makes living in a small town seem safe and secure. Then there are the times that those things put you right over the edge. Case in point: the doctor’s office waiting room.

There is something about the doctor’s office waiting room that just seems to bring out the Mayberry in people. I’m not sure what it is, but if I could figure out how to stop it, I certainly would. I, personally, subscribe to the “don’t ask don’t tell” philosophy when I go to the doctor. This policy has worked superbly for years in the military, and one would think it would catch on in the doctor’s office. I stroll in a few minutes early, grab the spring 1988 issue of Gold Digest and sit down and read about Arnold Palmer’s latest golf course, Craft Farms. Those around me, however, simply chat.

In the course of thirty minutes, you will learn why each person seated around you is there, how their children or momma is and what they are thinking about having for lunch. There is always one overly loud guy who knows the name of 60% of the people that walk through the door and he never actually leaves the waiting room because he “ain’t here fer an appointment myself, I just carried Momma down fer her blood werk. You know we have to come onced a munth.”

The token church secretary, usually named Bobbie or Angie, is in her mid fifties, wants to know where everybody else goes to church and is usually growing out her hair. She won’t politely ask, “You look so familiar, do I know you?” Instead, she will simply inquire, “Now what’s your name?” She knows your next door neighbor or at the least someone on your street, and thinks that floral prints are just so classic. “They just don’t ever go out of style.”

It is mandatory that the elderly black woman have on orthopedic socks that are rolled down around her ankles, a simple classic walker with or without tennis balls and at least two of her multiple grandchildren or great grandchildren that she keeps during the day present with her. One of which will be a small boy that will lay with his upper body under her chair and try repeatedly to kick his sister or cousin who is seated two chairs away. After a few kicks, the girl will get tired of this and will announce to her adversary, “You better stop that kickin’ me, LaShon, or I’m gonna tell Big Momma to wear you out!” Big Momma pays them no mind. She is busy rocking ever so softly to the gravel like sounds of her own humming.

Cue the background music. As a preacher’s kid, I like praise and worship music just fine, but why is it that the praise and worship music at the doctor’s office always seems to be sung by the Greater Soprano ADHD Choir? If you don’t have a headache when you go in, you most certainly will before you leave. And speaking of getting sick at the doctor’s office; is there a rule that all waiting rooms must be set to a temperature that rivals the frozen tundra of Green Bay? If the sound of the background music doesn’t drive you to drink, the sound of your teeth chattering will.

You could ask someone to adjust the thermostat, but that would be a challenge in and of its self. Speaking to a staff member in the doctor’s office waiting room is a simple, yet long process. First, you approach the check-in window. Here you will find signs that politely let you know that effective October 15, 1996, your co-pay is due at the time the service is rendered, if you are a walk-in you will be assisted as soon as possible; please do not ask how long it will take and that you please be patient with them as God isn’t finished with them yet. Next, you gently knock on the window that will begin to vibrate loudly and sound as if it is about to fall out. The receptionist behind the glass is usually turned with her back to you and will typically be speaking to the medical records clerk seated on the other side of the room. She will not turn around or acknowledge you upon the first knock. Surely you are a priority, but she must finish telling her coworker that “Trevor got his ball pants all torn up again last night. I tell you, if that summabitch daddy of his would teach that yungin howda slide, I wouldn’t have to keep buyin’ new pants.” If you will stand patiently and allow her to finish, you may then knock again and Wanda (the receptionist is usually named Wanda or June or any other of the eight names that made the list of Top Ten Most Popular Names for Girls in 1953) will look over her shoulder, jerk her chair around, crack the window about two centimeters and ask, “Whachew need, Baby?”

Enter the drug rep. The pharmaceutical salesperson is normally a tall, sleek metro-sexual Adonis with a quick and easy stride, a well cut black suit with a tie that provides a pop of color and a rolling suitcase that looks like the ones the Delta flight attendants use. Immediately, every person on the clerical and nursing staff is available and ready to chat. It’s as if one person’s job is to sit in the back watching the security camera monitor waiting for the first sign of his Buick as it pulls in to the parking lot. He will wheel his bag over to the crowd, flash his pearly whites and announce “I brought you ladies some more of those M&M cookies you seem to like so much. You girls work so hard, you really should take a break and have one now!” For a moment the sound of Big Momma’s humming is drowned out by the giggles and squeals of six to eight middle aged women acting like girls at a slumber party.

If you’re really lucky, you get Adonis’ female counterpart. The female pharmaceutical salesperson is also dressed in a crisp, black suit; only the tailored pants are replaced with a small headband used as a skirt. Her lean, golden legs are rivaled only by her gigantic boobs and if you stopped loathing her long enough to have a five minute conversation with her, you would inevitably discover that she is a former Miss Florida.

Thirty-five minutes goes by, then fifty. Before you know it Big Momma is gone and Wanda is droning on about the cookies with a shrill laugh here and there. And just when you think Billy Bob has conjured a coughing spell that will indeed propel his left lung on to the floor before you, the interior door opens and the nurse says, “Miss Kirkland? You can come on back.”