Category Archives: Death

A Canon of Creative Cannonball Uses

Regarding yesterday’s post, “Murder by Mattress“, my husband, Cap’n Firepants, insists that I must be the one trying to kill him – considering that the mattress seems to be more harmful to his health than mine.

“If I wanted to kill you, I would find a much faster way to do it than making you sleep on a mattress that makes you walk crooked for 10 years,” was my reply.  I decided not to list the dozen alternative ways that immediately come to mind for expediting someone’s death.  I don’t want him to become paranoid or anything.

I stand by my original theory that he is out to get me – not the other way around.

I figure that, before my untimely demise, I should probably give out the award I promised for the Most Creative Way to Use a Cannonball.  Although there were many viable entries, I decided to go with El Guapo because he gave me a whopping total of 5 ideas.  This is what he came up with:

-Attach a chain to it. whenever you or Cap’n have to be somewhere and the other can’t make it, bring it as the old ball and chain
-Put it in a cannon on the lawn and point it conspicuously at the annoying neighbor du jour
-If there are any markings on it, you might be able to track down some information on it
-Hang it in the school yard for bad-child tetherball
-Paint it like a balloon and use it for your delightful “lead balloon” comedy/variety show

This leads me to jump to some not-so-obvious conclusions about Guap:

  • He has much experience with cannonballs
  • He has not lived next to our annoying neighbors, who would not be even the slightest bit cowed by such a subtle hint as a cannon aimed at their abode
  • He wants me to get sued
  • He really wants the prize that I offered

I am going to assume that it was the last one, because the “I Wonderbutt, Do You?” award is highly coveted and very rare.

So, here you go, Guap.  Take good care of it.

(I won’t tell you which of Guap’s suggestions I am going to take, but I will tell you that our neighbors, the Clampetts, are, at this moment, making a heckuva lot of noise – and eBay’s cannon listings will be my next stop after publishing this post.)


Murder by Mattress

Cap’n Firepants is trying to kill me.  And he is quite devious about it.  He acts like he loves me and wants the best for me.  But he is really plotting my demise.

After finally getting our mildew mattress exchanged for a mattress of better quality and NO MILDEW smell, my husband began to implement his Plot to Kill His Wife Slowly By Making Her Brain Implode.

“The new mattress doesn’t smell.”

“Yeah, isn’t it great?”

“But it feels like the old mattress.  Not the mildew one.  The other one.”

Oh God.  The mattress that had a cave-in.  The one that was destroying his back so badly that he started sleeping in the other room so he could walk each day without looking like the Hunchback of San Antonio.

“But how can this be?  You tested it in the store.  It’s supposed to be just like the first model – but better!  It even feels firmer to me than the last one.”

“Not to me.”

“Are you insane?  IT IS FINE!  IT’S BETTER!  IT DOESN’T SMELL!”

“It’s not better to me.”

I am reporting him for spousal abuse.

Once I get admitted to the Rubber Room, which is clearly lined with mattresses, I will slowly be asphyxiated by the smell of foam.  
photo credit:

Funerals Get a Bad Rap

First of all, let me state for the record that I love funerals.  I mean, what’s not to like?  People dressed in black, talking in whispers, singing gushy sentimental songs out of key.

My sister, Crash, claims that she hates them.  Which worked out in her favor because she recently just managed to get herself uninvited to one.  She finds this upsetting, so I just want to remind her that she is totally invited to mine when I have one.  In fact, I expect her to attend.  And, just to please her, I already have a smash-bang good one planned, with a flash mob and everything.  It’s going to put the “fun” back in funeral, I promise.

So, we’ll both sit this one out, Crash.  It’s okay.

I am totally having my funeral here. And play will not be canceled. So, everyone better start practicing. Wait till you see the 18th hole…

Sign up Now for Your Trip to Nantucket!

My 365th post is just around the corner, and I am starting to analyze how much I’ve accomplished.  I don’t mind admitting that I’m a bit disappointed.  I haven’t achieved one single item on my bucket list in the last year.  I have not:

  • gotten one billion subscribers
  • gotten invited to spend a week with the writers of The Daily Show
  • gotten a million dollar advance on my book
  • lost 5 pounds

In fact, I’ve gained 10 pounds, which is somewhat distressing.

It’s not for lack of effort, I must point out.  I mean, I did a three day pledge drive – which resulted in the least number of new subscribers daily that I’ve ever received.  I mention Jon Stewart every moment I can, barely avoiding being labeled a stalker.  And I think I would have gotten the million dollar advance if The Bloggess had not beaten me to a publishing contract by a couple of years.

I can’t really explain the 10 pounds, but I’m just going to blame it on my “inefficient colon”.  Obviously, everything I eat is being immediately converted to fat instead of, uh, doing what it’s supposed to do.

Now, I always tell my students that the most important part of achieving their dreams is perseverance, so I would be a hypocrite if I gave up on everything now.  That is what normal, easily discouraged people, would do.  So, I am going to stick to my mantra, which is, “Do what you want to do or prove that it can’t be done by killing everyone in your way yourself trying to do it.”  You are welcome to borrow that quote if you like.

Plus, it’s a bucket list.  Which, I am assuming means that I have until the point that I kick the bucket to finish it up.  I have to check the official rules of bucket lists, but I think that, if you start going in the opposite direction of the items on your list, that means you hold off death a bit longer.  But, you can’t make that your goal, because then you have really changed your bucket list, and you will just speed things up.

It’s complicated.

I do feel like it is time to revise my bucket list, though, so here is the new, improved list:

  • get 2 billion subscribers who are not relatives, but could conceivably be bribed to type their email address into the little box on my right margin (oops, just realized it’s in my left margin – that explains a lot)
  • spend 2 weeks with the writers of The Daily Show.  In their writing room.  Contributing to their writing.  (I thought I should clarify this, because my last goal was a bit too vague, and could have been misconstrued.)
  • write the book for which I will get my million dollar contract
  • lose 1 pound

I know.  That last one is a bit unrealistic.  But I’m thinking of removing the inefficient colon, by force, if necessary, and surely it weighs at least a pound.

Oh, and I’m not calling it a bucket list anymore.  There is pretty much not one thing that I find motivating about buckets, much less kicking the bucket.  So, it is now my Nantucket List.  As soon as I get it all done, I will give myself a relaxing trip to Nantucket.

And, what the heck, my heart is just as big as Oprah’s, I’ll take my 2 billion subscribers with me.

(P.S.  For the BEST Bucket List EVER, click here.  (Thanks, Guapolawesomest, for this reference.  I’ll let you come to Nantucket, too.  Unless that’s where you live.  In which case, why haven’t you invited me, yet?)

A bucket from Nantucket. I kid you not.                              Photo Credit:

The Teachings of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants


One of my students wrote this on my dry erase board, and it made me feel –  well, dead.  I mean, I don’t know anyone alive who has “teachings”.  The only people I can think of that have teachings are  Buddha, Confucius and Socrates.  And, while that “s” at the end of the word “teaching” appears to give my time spent in the classroom an extra sort of  dignity that I never knew it had, I would like to state, uncategorically, that I am not dead.

Oh wait, I think the Dalai Lama has “teachings”, and he’s not dead.  And Yoda.  Who technically isn’t dead when you think about  it…

Since I do have aspirations to join the Order of the Temple of the Jedi, my “teachings” may be similar to Yoda’s.  But, I like to think I’ve put my own spin on them.

Size matters not a lot:  Every year, my 5th graders watch an A&E video that lists the top 100 people of the last millennium.  Because there are a few artists in the list, I always preface the video by reminding the students that sometimes artists portrayed the human body unclothed, and that I expect the students to handle this maturely when it appears on the screen.  This lecture worked fine when we were watching the video on the tiny t.v. in the corner of my classroom.  When we transitioned from that to a big screen and projector, though, I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me when the full-frontal closeup of the statue of David by Michelangelo made its appearance on our 4′ x6′ screen.  To their credit, the kids did not start snickering and guffawing until I tripped over my own feet racing to find the remote.

Do or do not… there is no try but at least give it a try: O.K.  Yoda was so wrong here.  You have got to try.  If I told my kids what Yoda said, their response would be, “Thanks.  I think I’ll choose ‘Do Not’.”  Maybe that works when you are training Jedi Knights who weren’t raised on Earth, but on this planet trying is pretty much the only thing we can do.

Grave danger you are in. Impatient you are I am:  I probably can’t take credit for this one because it’s some weird phenomenon that works with all kids.  If you start counting really loud after you’ve asked them to do something, they suddenly rush to finish it.  You don’t have to give any kind of consequence or even tell them a final number.  They apparently have been programmed to think the world will blow up if they don’t complete their task.

You must unlearn what you have learned when your teacher accidentally showed you a bigger than life-size David statue on the screen:  I wish I could unlearn that, too.

Control, control, you must learn control where is my remote control?:  Not just a problem when really well-endowed sculptures suddenly appear on the classroom screen, Remote Control Loss happens to me on a daily basis.  Partly because I have so many to keep track of:  projector, document camera, iPod player, etc…  I’m not really sure what my students learned from this, other than the fact that it was easy to convince me they had turned in an assignment, and I just “must have lost it” – most likely in the same place where I set the remote(s).  I’ve decided that, next year, I will just velcro them to my face.  (The remotes, not the assignments, and certainly not the students)

So, there you have it, all of my wisdom in one handy, printable blog post.  If I decide to come up with any more gems, I will make sure you are the first to know.  If I’m not dead, of course.

I Should Stick to Eating Bon-Bons and Looking Pretty

I made an amateur matrimonial mistake today.  I don’t know why I haven’t learned this in the almost 12 years that I have been married, but maybe confessing it will make it less likely to happen again.

Marriage Rule #37 – Never undertake a really hard “house” project unless your spouse is there to witness it.

You might question the wisdom of this rule.  But there are several reasons for it.

Here’s the scenario:  you decide that you will surprise your spouse by completing a monumental task that you have both been procrastinating.

In today’s case, the task was to box up and move everything out of our 11 foot high wardrobe, which needs to be disassembled before the crew comes to do our concrete floors.  I thought it would be nice of me to empty the wardrobe while the Cap’n and Dimples were out of the house for a few hours today.

WHY THAT ISN’T A GOOD IDEA :  O.K. Well, the primary reason that you should never do this, Kids, is because the work is always far more grueling than your spouse will ever appreciate it to be.  If your spouse cannot see the huffing and puffing involved in performing this work, and the pain and suffering that accompanies it, then you will never reap the rewards you deserve for it.  You will get about the same gratitude as you get for cleaning the toilets.

THE SECOND REASON IT ISN’T A GOOD IDEA:  I should have learned this about 11 years ago when we were in our last house.  Back then, I decided to surprise the Cap’n by taking down the 70‘s era wallpaper in our bathroom while he was at work.  In order to do this, I had to remove a wall-length mirror that hung over the counter.  I stood on the counter to do this and pulled the mirror off of its hangers.  I gently set it on the counter.  It promptly broke in half.  The far half careened toward me, nearly chopping off my nose, and found a nice landing place in my right hand.

In summary, the second reason for not doing anything harder than dusting the shelves when there are no witnesses is that you might inadvertently kill yourself.  And, if you do that, you really will not get the appreciation you deserve for your massive undertaking.

Of course, I didn’t take these factors into account until I was standing on a stepladder precariously balancing a ridiculously heavy box that I had grabbed from the top of the wardrobe.  Wonderbutt was energetically bouncing into the side of the ladder, wondering what great new chew toy he was about to receive.  As I worked hard not to tip the box or myself onto the hard floor below, I remembered Rule #37.  And that spouses are not very grateful for surprises that end up including trips to the Emergency Room.

I’m surmising that my Guardrail Guardian Angel (who takes care of me when I am on the road) was well-rested because I hadn’t driven anywhere today, and decided to help me defy the laws of physics, gravity, and bull-headed bulldogs in order to make it to the ground safe and sound.

I learned my lesson, though.  From now on, I will not attempt anything life-threatening when the rest of the Firepants humans are not around to witness my demise.

That just leaves me more time for blogging, anyway.

This Ain’t Gonna Be Pretty

“Everyone’s gotta die sometime.”

This was my mother’s lackadaisical response whenever, after being bombarded at school with pictures of blackened lungs, I would beg her to stop smoking.

As far as I know, she’s still going strong; we haven’t spoken in years.  But I’ve always thought if Someone Up There really has a twisted sense of humor, I would probably die first – in some ridiculous manner, like “Being Struck By A Flying Model Lawnmower At A New York Jets Halftime Show” or, probably more likely in my neck of the woods, “Being Crushed In Your Car By A Rolling Bale Of Hay.”

Recently, I have been struggling with IBS (Irritated B—– Screaming because no one can diagnose what’s wrong with her stomach).  Cap’n Firepants and many of my friends have cautiously asked me if this could be in any way, shape, or form related to my Diet Coke Addiction.

I won’t tell you my less than polite response to this ridiculous suggestion, but I will say that, in desperation, I have mentioned this possibility to all of my doctors – who have pooh-poohed it immediately.

Trying to Get the Diet Coke Monkey off My Back

Of course, these are the same doctors who have no idea what is wrong with me.

Since my doctors have not only been unable to identify the cause of my issues nor to successfully treat the symptoms, I am beginning to have a little less faith in their advice.

I’ve decided to crowd-source my treatment, and the Crowd seems to think I need to give up Diet Coke.  The good news is, this treatment will cost me nothing.

The bad news is that I will most likely murder someone during my withdrawal.

I pretty much drink Diet Coke like most people drink water.  In fact, when I do drink water, my stomach churns and rebels as though I have just ingested arsenic-laced tea.

I’ve given D.C. up a few times in the last twenty years – most notably when I was pregnant with Dimples.  But, to me, it’s always rated as a not-so-horrible-as-snorting-coke Addiction, so I return to it with a vengeance.

When reports started coming out that diet soda drinkers were actually fatter than their counterparts, I dismissed this as another one of those studies that was missing some key data – until my jeans started getting too tight a few weeks ago.

And then there is my own daughter.

When she asked if she could have a sip of my Diet Coke, all of my maternal instincts instantly screamed, “No, don’t let her start down this road of addiction to caffeine and artificial sweeteners!”

However, it’s a little difficult to justify restricting her from the same vile stuff I pour down my own throat on an hourly basis.

So, as a noble sacrifice for the sake of Dimples, I am going to make an attempt to break this vicious cycle.

Of course, I wouldn’t be upset if my jeans started fitting again.

Plus, I want to prove my doctors wrong.

And, quite frankly, although I am fairly certain I will “die sometime,” I really don’t want my obituary to read, “Diet Coke Ate up Her Internal Organs.”

In the meantime, at the risk of getting myself thrown in the slammer for insider trading, I highly recommend you start selling any stock you might have in Diet Coke.  Their profits are about to suffer a severe downtick.

photo credit: <a href=””>The Rocketeer</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a> 

Open in Case of Emergency

Not to belabor the point, but I almost died the other day.

Just like Ross on Friends when he is “saved” by Joey from a gunshot that turns out to have been a car backfiring, I feel the need to reflect.

And I have realized that, if I had died, or been seriously injured, I would have been up, well, you know, that creek that everyone goes up when they are in trouble that is apparently the color of mud.

I have neglected to make some Arrangements.  And that could be disastrous.

If something happens to me, who will post my blog?!!!!

I made a commitment (I think it was just a mental one, but don’t quote me on that) that I would publish a post each day.  My fan base is growing exponentially (1 is an exponent, right?) and I can’t stand the thought of disappointing my readers.

Being a teacher, I realized that I need to prepare what is essential to every teacher’s toolbox – the Substitute Folder.

Just because I survived my unplanned trip across three lanes of highway – avoiding concrete barriers, dozens of other cars, and miraculously not flipping over – does not mean I will have the same good fortune next time.

So, someone else might have to pinch hit.  And I need to give this person the tools to do that.  Of course, I can’t give him/her the tools I would use myself – because I don’t want anyone else to realize that this Substitute is better than me.  So, I will give my surrogate what is known in the business as “Busy Work.”

Here is my plan:

First, I must designate a Substitute.  I have decided that my friend Emily will fit the bill nicely.  She is an experienced blogger AND she is not the type who will flaunt her fabulous writing skills in an attempt to hijack my magnificently successful blog.

Next, I must create a bunch of suggested topics that Emily can use as jumping off points for her short, slightly amusing, fill-ins while I am recovering from whatever tragedy has befallen me.  You know, mildly entertaining, informative posts about things like climate change and the benefits of exercise.

Third, I must fill Cap’n Firepants in on this plan so that he can begin its execution upon my injury/death/kidnapping by aliens, etc…  He will have to inform Emily and reveal to her my secret, superduper blogging passwords.

Fifth, I should probably ask Emily if she is willing to do this.

I guess that might need to be first.  Hey Em, uh, are you okay with this?

And last, if, indeed, the worst happens…

Well, if you guys like Emily better than me I’ll just have to figure out a way to hijack HER blog.

Wonderbutt has volunteered to step in if Emily declines.

Note to Self: Shut Up

Do you know how sometimes you experience something and think, gosh it would really make me feel better to tell my Significant Other about this, but my Significant Other isn’t really going to benefit from that confession, so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut?  So, you resolve, hey, I’m never going to mention this little item to my Significant Other.  Like never.  Even if I think I’m dying or get really, stinking drunk.

And your Significant Other comes home from work, and you hear the door, and you tell yourself, now remember, Self, this is just between you and me.  What Significant Other doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

And then your Significant Other walks into the room and you blurt out,

“I almost died today!”

And your Significant Other thinks that, as usual, you are being over dramatic, and as you relate your story your Significant Other gets paler and paler as he realizes that, yes indeed, you almost died today.  Or, at the very least you almost got a huge auto insurance hike, which probably would have ultimately resulted in your demise anyway as soon as he found out.

It rained last night.  I will relate to you the fun of the evening at our house with two dogs who suffer from Storm Anxiety some other time.  But, the point is that I was very exhausted, and the roads were a bit slick when I was driving to work this morning.

I was cruising along the highway at 7 AM, completely commiserating with J.C. on Mix 96 who just got dissed by his mom because he reconnected with his biological father, when I suddenly saw a big metal fender thingamabobber sticking out of the road shoulder on my left.

I swerved to avoid it, swerved back to stay out of the cars in the right lane, and continued to live out every Defensive Driving Don’t Do This video clip I have ever witnessed the three or four times or maybe five times I’ve attended such courses, as I tried to avoid the concrete barrier.

I ended up careening through three lines of traffic, momentarily facing the wrong direction a couple of times, and finally landing in the lane next to the exit lane with a truck barreling toward me.

The truck driver apparently decided he would give me a break, and decided this would be a good time to exit whether he wanted to or not.

I rotated my car to face the right direction, merged right back in to traffic, and continued my trip to work.

Cap’n Firepants listened to the complete story, and, to his credit, said, “I’m glad you’re okay” instead of “Who the hell ever decided to give you a drivers license?  For God’s sake, give me your car keys now!  You’re a friggin’ Menace to Society, Woman!”

Which, I’m pretty sure, was whatHeMeant2say.

Pretty Much the Reaction I Was Going For

photo credit: <a href=””>Joaquin Villaverde Photography</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Four Headings and a Funeral

Animal Insemination.

This is the one occupation I have narrowed it down to that will get respect in 20 years for the special skills that it demands which cannot be replicated by computers – or by people who have spent an hour doing research on the internet.

Saturday Night Live recently aired a skit in which the actors were from the “You Can Do Anything” generation.  As Bill Hader stated, “thanks to technology and everyone being huge pussies about everything, it doesn’t matter if you have skills, training, or years of experience: You can do it.”

We are the monster the internet has created – a world of “experts” in everything from desktop publishing to video production.  We can diagnose illnesses, compose symphonies, and whip up 5 course meals that you would find in 20 star restaurants.  We’re all great at everything.

Since it’s hard to get famous for doing something that everyone else is doing (and quite a few are actually good at), I have been reconsidering my writing aspirations.  I mean, if I want enough strangers at my funeral willing to perform a flash mob routine in my honor (since my friends and family will probably decline), then I’ve got to do something a little more noteworthy that requires a little less effort on my part to define myself as uniquely qualified.

The trick is to find something that is not so far beyond my intellect it would be impossible for me to do, yet not so easy that it has diagrams and videos posted on

I have to admit, I got the animal insemination idea after doing yet another one of my dubious Google searches.  I was looking for chicken sexer, because I had once heard of that job, and thought it might be a possible candidate for my list.  Upon further research, however, I feel confident that chicken sexing will also one day be done over the internet, using Skype, so I can’t really include that one on the list.  Unless genetic engineering precludes that, making the whole process obsolete anyway.

Animal insemination, though, would be difficult to do through a computer.

I briefly considered garbage collection, but now that our garbage collectors don’t even have to get out of the truck anymore, I have a feeling there will not be a lot of open positions.

A few other occupations that I’m on the fence about are:

Golf ball diver

This one would be impossible to do over a computer.  However, will there be anything but virtual golfing available as a sport in a few years?  Are people actually going to be getting off their tuckuses to do anything outside?  I think not.  Sorry, Mr. Golf Ball Diver.  You better start looking for another job.

Funeral Director

Well, I think the Directing of the Funeral could be done over the computer.  Heck, the whole ceremony will probably be done online by then.  I’m not really sure about the embalming process.   So, that’s a possibility.

Crime Scene Investigator

This would be difficult to do over the internet.  However, since I consider myself an expert in this already due to my addiction to C.S.I., I suspect that there are already a few other couch potatoes I would have to vie with for a position.

Crap.  I just thought of cloning.  What’s going to happen to the poor animal inseminators, then, when that hits it big?

I Change My Answer to Embalmer

After all, they’ve been around since King Tut.

I shall be the famous Embalmer.  And people will dance at my funeral, as is fitting for a world-renowned, not everyone can be good at this, Embalming Expert.

Or, I could just go into wrestling.

“The Embalmer” vs. “The Inseminator”

You’d pay for that, right?

photo credit: <a href=””>phauly</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
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