Word on a Whim

What began as a blog about writing and publishing has become a blog of whatever I feel like writing. Jules Lucton.

Archive for the category “Humour”

Watch With Mother

The place where I work has fixed holidays, which is annoying because they are fixed during school holidays and around bank holidays, and I don’t like crowded places or other people’s kids.  Of course I am grateful that I have a job with paid holidays, but I’ve been there long enough now for such niggles to intrude.  Isn’t that just human nature?  This past week of fixed holiday was good though, as it meant I could spend some time with my Mum around her eightieth birthday.

Mum is very easy to be with.  Stick her in front of a telly with a glass of wine and she’s happy, which is particularly useful now that she can’t get around too well.  I rarely watch TV – the internet is my telly – but there’s something comforting about watching it at my parents’ home when I visit.  Some of the adverts though!  My son had come up for his Nan’s birthday and we’re all sat waiting for it to be late enough to go off to the Eightieth Do and the conversation fizzles out so Dad puts the telly on.  Of course it was adverts but the first that came on was, “Do you suffer from vaginal dryness and itching?”  Well, Dad averted his eyes, frowning slightly as if distracted by a sudden thought.  (It reminded me of when I lived there more than thirty years ago and he would pick up the newspaper and study it if any kind of sex scene came on).  My son played it comical, affecting a genteel expression whilst examining the ornaments on the mantelpiece, as if suddenly noticing how very interesting they were, which set Mum off laughing, infectiously!

Why do such products need to be advertised on television? And why are they mostly to do with women’s things?  “Suffering from nob-rot?  Try Penisil!”    Hmm.  Sorry 🙂

Anyway …  Mum came to stay with us for a few days, so I wiped the dust off the TV screen and looked dubiously at the remote control, but she knew instinctively how to change channels. (Didn’t they used to be called ‘stations’?)  It turned out this was an important time in Coronation Street.  Corrie has been going for as long as I can remember.  Mum used to wash me in front of it with a wet flannel poised between me and the washing up bowl, and if there was any action it had sometimes gone a bit cold by the time it made contact with skin.  I have always found the theme tune depressing – back then because it was time for bed – but now because it sounds like an unhappy cat.  Watching it again this week, I was surprised to recognise some of the characters who are still in it but was also amazed how dark and disturbing it has become.  Okay, I’d had some gin, but I recall one guy self-harming whilst another was being sucked down in quicksand.  In Corrie?  FFS!

Then Mum threw into the mix, “She was married to Sean Bean – she was inbred.”  Trying to make sense of this, I said, “You mean they were first cousins or something?”  Mum said, “No, she was in’Bread’!”  Well, that tickled me!

I live some distance away from my parents and have done for many years – but it’s a worry now they are old.  (Mum has said, in the past, “Don’t be worrying about that – we might just drop dead!”)  The big ’80’ is a wake up call though, and it’s hard to imagine a time when they won’t be just a phone call or text away.  I know they can’t go on forever … but I very much fear that Corrie probably will!

Wacky inventions … who buys these things?

I have always found humour in wacky inventions. For me they existed before the internet, when Dad occasionally bought ‘Exchange and Mart’ if he was thinking of replacing his old car.  It was within these flimsy pages that I noticed such things as The Big Slipper that was taken up by Billy Connolly (google it – there’s a video!)  I was also intrigued by a Blackhead Zapper –  with some vague diagram that suggested a syringe without a needle … it appeared to work by planting the open end over the zit and then pulling until the zit popped and the debris landed in the barrel of the syringe!  I also recall a Body Massaging Wand – recommended for sporting injuries but with small print advice that it was for external use only …

These days, well, nothing has really changed, except there are images available for me to download from the internet and take the mickey out of …

Here are some of the funniest I’ve seen lately:

“Create extra storage in busy bathrooms by utilising the wasted space over the toilet.”

toilet-storage

 

Who (apart from a double-jointed acrobat) thinks the space over the toilet is wasted? Surely the space over the toilet during standing use is so that men can see where they’re aiming without having to bend over backwards? And for sitting use, in my experience, the space over the toilet is where my head goes.  I did wonder if you were supposed to move the scaffolding out of the way on each visit – but looking carefully at the picture it appears that the lower horizontal bar has been fitted behind.  See what I mean?  No way of easily shifting it aside!

Here’s the next one:

“Maximise your storage with this fantastic set of four fridge drawers.”

fridge-trays

 

Marvellous!  How ‘fantastic’! How exactly are we maximising storage space by placing the containers we keep in the fridge into a larger container that has a big sticky-out handle?  These are advertised as ‘currently sold out‘, even though they are £19.99 for a set of four … so lots of people must be buying them.   Really?

This one takes the biscuit, maybe … unless it really does only do eggs or beans:

“Choose between fried, poached or boiled eggs using the interchangeable trays, or alternatively use it to heat beans”

toaster-and-egg-cooker

 

If only I had space on my worktop … but what if I wanted to heat up soup instead of doing beans or cooking eggs?  Would that be okay, or maybe this thing can only manage eggs and beans?  Not sure I could be bothered with the washing up that the interchangeable trays might generate.

 

Next we have the Ear Cleaner … well, two Ear Cleaners because if you buy one you get one free , so that “two family members can have their own Ear Cleaner!”

Each Ear Cleaner requires 2 AA batteries (not supplied)

ear-cleaner

 

The dog in the picture below has been zipped into a bag!  He does look rather hot and panicky, and I start to hyperventilate if I look at this for too long.  How the heck is he standing? Maybe someone propped him up and then stepped back and quickly took the photo?  “Good boy!”

Perhaps I should mention that the idea of this … invention is that if your dog goes outside and gets wet and muddy you simply zip him up inside this thing and leave him to dry – so that he doesn’t bring any muck into the house!

I read some funny reviews. One customer was dissatisfied because the bag had left pink fluff on their white dog 🙂

Another was very pleased not to have to clean out the motor-home after the dog had been in it.  Maybe you should get a stuffed dog next time!

dry-dog-bags

A visit from the President

The “President and CEO” of the U.S. company I work for is visiting today.  The building smells of paint – honestly!  The painters were in last week, as well as the window cleaners.   We had the usual email about wearing appropriate attire and keeping the office tidy – it wouldn’t do to give the impression there was any work going on – and there was another request that made me laugh:  “Please ensure there is no preparation of food with strong or spicy odours.”  I don’t know why they didn’t give us all the day off, in case we make the place look untidy, or make a smell.

He is due to visit our department at 2pm and, although I only have another seven weeks left to work here, I am looking forward to meeting him.  In photos and videos he looks like Superman but with more appropriate attire.  Either he is about eight feet tall or else he surrounds himself with very small people.  I wonder if you have to put your height on your CV if you apply for a job as CEO in a large company?

Now I can hear scraping noises outside – and a colleague who normally wears overalls, but is wearing a suit today, is breaking up the compacted snow with a spade and removing it from around the visitor parking spaces – and as I watch a buffet is being delivered.  No onions, I hope.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Well, 2pm has been and gone, and so has our VIP visitor.  He looked older and thinner than he looks on camera – and he also looked eight feet tall, but then his posy were all shorties.

I said to him, “You should come here more often – the place has never looked so clean.”  No I didn’t.  The poor guy was wearing the glazed expression of someone who is jet-lagged and/or does not wish to engage in conversation, and walked through without saying anything.

I shouldn’t take the mickey.  My own home would be so much cleaner if I had visitors more often.

“The Snow Cock.” – Flash fiction

It was no great surprise to Mr Petrov when he looked out of his bedroom window and saw a huge snow cock in the front garden next door.  His neighbours were artists.  Olga was a sculptress who chiselled erotic shapes out of lumps of stone, whilst Luigi painted landscapes – mostly white.

Mr Petrov marvelled at the anatomical correctness as his eyes wandered from the asymmetrical testicles, up the shaft to the skilfully crafted knob.  He had always found Olga’s sculptures bizarre and grotesque, but this one made him smile.  He was still smiling as Olga crunched through the ice to load yet another of her stone sculptures into the van.  It looked heavy.  She was a tall and well-built woman, but surely her husband should be helping her?

By the time he had made it to the sub-zero outdoors, Olga was going by again with yet another sculptured lump of stone, bigger and heavier than the last.  She had to stop for a breather …

“I’m sorry I can’t help you with that, Olga.  You know I would if I could.”  He leaned on his walking stick, already shivering with cold but noticed she was sweating from exertion.

“Don’t worry, Mr Petrov, I can manage.  Hey, did you know we were moving away?”

“No?”

“Yes … to a faraway country where the climate is warm.  I am leaving tonight.”

“So soon?  So suddenly?”

“Ha!  We have not been good neighbours for you … I hope you will get better neighbours next time.”

It was true that Mr Petrov had not enjoyed listening to the arguments next door …  Luigi was a small, fiery Italian and Olga seemed to thrive on lighting his fuse.

“But why isn’t Luigi helping you with this?”

“Luigi?  He has gone already.  Gone to the hotter place.  His landscapes now will mostly be red!”

Mr Petrov shook his head.  How selfish of Luigi to leave his woman to clear the house.  He didn’t know what to say …  “Well, they forecast that it’s going to be warmer this weekend.  We’re expecting a bit of a thaw.”

“Really?”  Olga glanced with regret at the magnificent snow cock she had created.  “But of course I will be far away by then.”

 

It was no great surprise to Mr Petrov when he looked out of his bedroom window and saw that the sun was shining and the snow cock had begun to shrink.  But what was that mark on the top?  By the time he found his binoculars and focussed them it had expanded.  Mr Petrov dropped the binoculars and fell back on his bed.  The knob had melted away to reveal a mop of short black hair.

🙂

 

Writing a good Sex Scene

This is something that I struggle with – writing about it without including gratuitous details or off-putting graphic references to body parts.  Here are couple of snippets from books I have read that really don’t do it for me:

“maintaining his erection against her thigh, he lubricated her with his hand”

Sorry but Yuck!

“she felt the length of his shaft”

They were down a mine, right?

If I am reading a love scene, I feel cheated if the couple go off to bed and shut the door on me, but yet it can be cringe-making to be allowed behind the door.

As a teenager I loved the work of DH Lawrence and must have read just about everything he ever wrote – and how sensitively he wrote it!  Yes, he could be graphic, but then the ‘C’ word in his day sounded okay.  DH Lawrence also describes human emotions as they are, sometimes forsaking delicacy.  His characters feel anxiety in their bowels rather than as a butterfly fluttering in the chest.

Many years ago I read Roald Dahl’s ‘My Uncle Oswald’ (and I might quote this wrong as my copy got passed on along with all the Lawrence books) but I still recall a scene where he is looking through a window and he narrates something like this;

“I am not a voyeur.  The act of copulation is like that of picking your nose.  It is okay to be doing it yourself but to witness someone else doing it is a singularly unpleasant spectacle.”

That cracked me up when I read it and has stuck in my mind since about 1990, and probably explains why I struggle with sex scenes and why I will never be entirely at ease with writing them.  But I hope to keep practising …

Jules

What shall I do next?

I have finally submitted the PDF file to the printers, and the paperbacks are in the process of being printed.  Whilst I’m looking forward to receiving them I am dreading discovering a typo the minute I look inside.  Not that I ever want to read my BF book again – after all that proof-reading.

There are some books I wrote years ago that I could dig up and re-write; all of them completely different from the one I have just finished, and different from each other – or maybe I should try something new?

An issue I have with writing in my spare time is that it doesn’t leave much time for reading other people’s work, but when I decided to read something instead of jumping into a new project, I found I was still in proof-reading mode and was checking out the punctuation instead of enjoying the story.

I will be glad to get my teeth into something new!

 

Appreciating modern materials

At work but away from my usual desk, I must have done some sort of nervous tucking hair behind ears manoeuvre, which resulted in my glasses flying several metres through the air and bouncing across a concrete floor.  These were new glasses (which probably explains why they weren’t in precisely the expected place on my head!) so I was particularly pleased to find they had survived the ordeal,  although  since I’d got a buy-one-get-one-free  offer it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if they had broken.  But it did make me appreciate how much lighter and tougher and probably cheaper glasses have become over the years, and it made me think about Dave – who was my boss about twenty-five years ago, who had severe myopia.  I once tried his glasses on and apart from them weighing a tonne; it was like looking through one of those bees-eye kaleidoscopes things they sell in retro toy shops.

Dave was an unknown quantity, recruited from outside.  He didn’t say much to anyone for the first week or two, so none of us quite knew what to make of him.  He was probably just ‘finding his feet’ but I warmed to the guy the first time I heard him speak.  He had left his goldfish bowl office and was ambling between the desks of our open plan department towards the exit when his fit, young secretary called him back because there was someone important on the phone.  He rolled his eyes and said, “Fucking hell, I was just going for a crap,” and back-tracked to his office to take the call.

Anyway, about the glasses.   He had called us all into his office for a meeting.  He started by asking the lads to tone down the innuendo; the school-boy humour … but there was a wasp buzzing around and people were flapping at it.  “Just ignore it,” he said.  “If you ignore it, it will ignore you.” He went on to explain that he enjoyed a joke as much as anyone, but it was going too far when no-one could say anything without it being turned into something smutty.   Then he moved on to the next item on the agenda – except he couldn’t find his agenda – it had been misplaced.  “Where’s my secretary?  I need my secretary in here.  I need my secretary screwed to the wall …”

Our raucous hilarity must have made the wasp panic.  It did a crazy circuit of the small office we were packed in, and dived for safety behind the thick lenses of Dave’s glasses.  He reacted – like anyone would – by flinging the glasses from his face so they hit the desk and shattered.  Poor Dave, he was an ‘occasional’ contact lens wearer but had to wear them for about a fortnight with streaming red eyes until his glasses were fixed.

Thank goodness for modern materials and BOGOF’S.

Still proof reading ‘The Rise of Serge and the Fall of Leo’

I thought I had been through it with a fine tooth comb but, randomly dipping into it, I spotted a typo that sent me back to the beginning to read the whole damn thing yet again … slowly … looking at the individual words rather than combining them into something I recognised, and yes, I am picking up one or two errors that I missed the previous time, and finding it hard to believe that I missed them.  Other people’s mistakes in prose jump straight out at me!

Yesterday I found one of my characters stoking a dog instead of stroking it.  Oops!  I can’t blame the spell-checker for that one – but I do get cross with it for arguing with me all the time about apostrophe use, to the extent that I begin to doubt myself.  In the book I have frequently used it’s as an abbreviation for it is and the spell-checker keeps trying to persuade me to remove the apostrophe.  That is just one example of the spell-checker being annoying, which prompts me to be a bit too click-happy on the Ignore button, so I end up skipping some of its valid corrections.  See, I do know how to use the apostrophe!   I also know this story so well by now that I have no idea whether it’s any good or not.  I believed it was good when I had just finished writing it, but I am too close to it now to judge it – it has turned into a grammar and spelling challenge.

I only hope that when it is eventually published, people will read it and tell me honestly what they think.

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