You, You, You, Otter Know!!

Look, maaaybe I’m guilty of blocking children’s view of the otters at the marine conservation center.  What is that?  A CRIME?

(Please note in advance that this post is what is often referred to as “a joke”.  Your children are adorable, some of my favorite people are children, blah, blah, blah, etc.  Do not send a Mom Mob after me.  I’ve got enough problems trying to get the Beauty Battalion off my jock for insulting their lie-brows and suggesting that “contouring” is over.  They already wrote “You’re dead, bitch” in bronzer across my driveway and came back later with highlighting powder to really make it pop.)

I get way more enjoyment out of the otters than your kid ever will, and I can say this because your kid can’t be bothered to put down his Nintendo Switch long enough to notice the otters to begin with.  Ignoring otters?!  THAT should be a crime.

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Yeah, we’re all reeeally excited that you rescued the Fortnite princess from the Tetris castle or whatever, Bryson/Greyson/Flotsam.

My attention to otters can best be described as utter otter devotion, and should be rewarded as such by naming me “Honorary Otterkeeper” for the day, where I will get to wear a glittery badge and feed shrimp to the otters from a souvenir bucket that I get to take home with me that says, “That’s an-OTTER story!” on the side with a picture of two otters reading books and wearing glasses.

I would get a personal invitation to the birthing of all baby otters and unlike SOME PEOPLE who have “Little League practice”, I would actually show up every time.

I would give the baby otters interesting names, too, like “Ottermatic For The People”, “And Then There’s Maude-er”, and “Genesis But Before Peter Gabriel Left The Band”.  I wouldn’t give them some totally lame name a kid would give them, like a cat with white paws named “Socks” or the tiger-striped cat named “Tiger”. You’re really breaking the creativity bank there!  What are you, 8?

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Oh, so you actually are 8?  NO EXCUSE.  NEXT!

Don’t worry, you’ll get your turn at the otter tank, Bryson/Greyson/Flotsam – not that you even care!  Your parents are the only ones who are having a conniption over me blocking the tank, anyway.  You were probably here last week and you’ll be back again the next week because for some reason children get to do all the vacation things ALL THE TIME now.

Know where we went when I was a kid?  School.  If school was out?  Home.  You only got taken to an otter tank if your parents had some kind of hideous news to spring on you, like you were moving to Goober, Idaho (Shout out to my fellow Overboard fans!),  or had an incurable form of Leukemia.

Curable Leukemia would only warrant a trip to the McDonald’s drive-thru at best, and there would be no special orders.  You’re getting crushed peanuts on that hot fudge sundae even though you don’t want them, because THAT’S the way it comes.  Hell, you’re getting them even if you’re allergic to peanuts!  “Toughen up, Sally!” is what they’d say as you turned purple and lost consciousness.

If a kid had asked to go swimming with dolphins, any of our parents would have just pointed to the open ocean and said, “Go for it, asshole.”

If you ever, ever made the mistake of saying, “I’m bored!” it was immediately met with, “Then go clean your room.”  (This was a brilliant parental move, by the way.  We figured out pretty quickly to stop complaining that we were bored.)

I mean, for the love of Mike, people.  Otters don’t cut it with these kids?  If your kid is non-plussed by the glorious sight of frolicking otters, I have serious concerns for how they’re gonna feel someday down the road about doing their taxes.

Come to think of it, if I took a kid to an otter tank and they rolled their eyes like, “Whatevs!” I would make them actually do my taxes that year as punishment.  You think third grade is hard?  Wait until you see U.S. tax code.  And I better be getting a fat refund, kid, or your ass is grass.  Orphanage City, sonny boy!

Now, I have heard it’s good to provide children with “motivation”, so I would at least be kind enough to leave my to-do list next to the tax papers:

  1. Take ungrateful kid to that orphanage in the sewer with the scary clown in it
  2. Pick up dry cleaning
  3. Order cake for celebration now that ungrateful kid is living in that orphanage in the sewer with the scary clown
  4. Turn ungrateful kid’s room into otter habitat

(The foregoing are just several of the many reasons I am not permitted to have children.)

All right, hate-mailers, put down your weapons.  I’m sure your kid who can’t be bothered to fawn over otters is going to turn out just fine.  Everyone knows that bored, demanding children only become more pleasant to be around when they become teenagers.  Enjoy your time in Hell, is what I’m saying.

Fine.  So like all old, childless people, I think a lot of “kids today” are spoiled.  That’s a new one!

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.” – THIS IS AN ACTUAL SOCRATES QUOTE FROM LIKE 450 B.C. SO GO BLAME HIM FOR STARTING THIS

If you want to get uppity about it, just know that for my punishment I will have to train an otter family to change my diapers for me when I’m old, I’ll die with no heirs and will be tossed into a shared hobo burial pit, and the only proof that I even existed will be a souvenir bucket with “That’s an-OTTER story!” on the side with two Winger cassettes inside, so relax.  I’ll get mine.

There’s No Way to Explain Cheese Falling Out of Your Armpit

I will have you know, Mr./Ms. Holier-Than-Thou, before you cast judgment on me for that time I stole cheese in my armpits, you should know that it was really fancy cheese – and not fancy as in “Kraft Singles versus store brand”.  Fancy as in fancy.

I know, again with the cheese!

It was my first real office job, and we’d received a particularly fancy holiday gift basket from our biggest client.  Co-workers snatched up chocolates and cookies, and that one weird lady grabbed an apple and said, “Dibs!” like anyone wanted it, and then we all looked at her like she was the saddest person on Earth.  Not because she liked fruit, but because she was such an obvious phony.  Who’s excited about the apple?

If you’re unfamiliar with office gift basket etiquette, it’s suitable to take things from the basket at-will, but it’s expected that any items you take will be consumed ON PREMISES ONLY.  Try walking up and sticking even one item into your bag at the end of the day – in front of people – and see how well that goes over.  Even if it’s the stuff nobody wants, you’re not allowed to just take it home with you.  It could be a year-old summer sausage that the janitorial crew now uses as a door stop.  Doesn’t matter.  It ain’t leaving that office.

Offices have unspoken rules in these situations, and all of them are ridiculous and make no sense at all, which is why you might recall they made a hit TV show called “The Office”.  That show was 98% accurate, by the way.

This basket had two wedges of cheese in it – one cave-aged blue and one goat gorgonzola – and they were from a boutique cheese-maker that was also my favorite craft beer brewery.  Not only was this cheese fancy, but it wasn’t even sold in stores in my region of the country!  Even if I had wanted to be an “honest person” and “buy it” or whatever, that was not an option.

I eyed those cheeses like they were wedge-shaped dairy diamonds.  I checked the fridge every day – no takers.  At the end of the week, both of the wedges were still there, untouched.

My plan was to steal the cheeses, which was going to work out great, because I spent all of my formative years being a thief.  I was counting on my thieving skills to burst back onto the scene like high-waisted jeans and Electric Slide me to cheese theft victory.  It would be like going to back to middle school, but knowing everything I know now.  I was hoping that after so many years of being “a law abiding citizen” (BOR-ing!) that I still had it.

If I had walked into the kitchen with my bag at the end of the day, that would have been a dead giveaway, so I had to pull this off by being quick and light, like a cat burglar.  I waited until the coast was clear and crept away from my desk into the kitchen, but didn’t turn on the kitchen light.  I quietly opened the refrigerator, holding down the button so that the fridge light wouldn’t come on, picked up the cheeses, and closed the refrigerator door.  I was going to just creep back out to my desk and put them into my bag, but then I heard my boss coming down the hallway towards the kitchen.

I was standing there, halfway out of the dark kitchen, holding a wedge of cheese in each hand.  I had no excuse for why I would be doing this, but I had about five seconds to figure out what to do.

I heard my boss’s steps grow closer.  I was wearing a sleeveless dress with a little cropped cardigan sweater over it.  I looked around in a panic and shoved the wedges of cheese under my cardigan, one into each armpit, and walked out of the kitchen.  I crossed paths with my boss, who now decided that rather than stay in the kitchen, he would walk back to my desk with me to discuss some reports.  Goddamn it.

I walked back to my desk with him, arms glued to my sides, holding the cheese wedges against my now very cold armpits.  I stood at my desk, nodding my head and making small talk.  Today was the day the boss apparently felt chattier than he’d ever felt before.

He asked me to hand him the reports that I had on my desk, and I must have looked like a T-rex when I did it, forearms sticking out at 90 degree angle from my body, stiff, with my upper arms still glued to my sides.  I handed him the reports…

…and that’s when one of the cheeses started to slip.

It started sliding eeeever so slowly out from under my arm and down the side of my torso.

The cheese was falling.

Oh my god.  The cheese was falling.

The cheese was falling and my boss was standing three feet away from me and there was absolutely no chance I was going to be able to finesse my way out of a wedge of cheese falling out of my armpit onto my desk.

Even with years and years of reflection, I still can’t think of any level of finesse that would have stood a chance of getting me out of this, besides busting out some disco moves and singing, “It’s raining cheese!  Hallelujah!  It’s raining cheese!  Amen!” and then claiming I had planned the whole thing as an elaborate joke.  The problem is that only a gross weirdo would play that kind of joke, and I had “conveniently” left the fact that I was a gross weirdo off my job application.

There’s no way to explain cheese falling out of your armpit.  There just isn’t.  I’m thinking about it right now and I’ve got nothing.  If you’ve got a plausible explanation, please, by all means, feel free to share it in the comments.  (Keep it clean, you filthy animals.)  You never know –  you may save some other person with cheese in their armpits’ life.

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As luck would have it at that moment, as the cheese was slipping closer to the bottom of my cropped cardigan, my boss closed his eyes and put his head down on top of my counter and said, “I’m so tired of dealing with these reports.”

As he put his head down, I realized this was my only shot.  In one quick motion I lifted my arm, caught the falling cheese, and threw it into the wastebasket under my desk.  Then I created a distraction by shoving some papers off my desk.  I wish someone had been rolling film, because this was the most “I Love Lucy” moment of my entire life.

My boss lifted his head and said, “What was that?”

I said, “I’m just an idiot.  I dropped all these papers.”

He continued the conversation and eventually went away after what felt like three freaking hours.  I retrieved one armpit cheese from the trash, removed the other from my now-frozen armpit, and hid them both in my bag.

Later that night, as I was stuffing my face with stolen armpit trash cheese, doing the Electric Slide across my kitchen, the middle schooler in the high-waisted jeans winked at herself in the reflection of the glass door and thought, “Yep.  Still got it.”

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“And as we say at W.O.B., don’t get any on ya.” – Mike Seaver, Growing Pains