Monday, July 30, 2018

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor

When did you decide what you wanted "to be" when you grew up?

I was in the third grade when I started writing short stories, poetry, and my very first book. (I'm sure you're all dying to read Shut Up, Cheryl. Sadly, it is not available in bookstores, and I possess the single faded and mildewed copy.)

I knew right then--at the age of eight--that I wanted to do this the rest of my life.

Although I took a long detour from creative writing--not seriously pursuing it until I was forty--I did follow a professional writing path in the fields of journalism and communications.

I realize now this is a bit unusual. Some of us don't decide on a career until after high school or college, when we are forced to make a choice. Others choose one path, only to decide later--perhaps even in midlife--that we have a different calling.

When did you decide on your current or future career? How did you come to this epiphany? Through a personal experience that resulted in a newfound passion? Through a new job that exposed you to different skills and responsibilities? By some fortuitous mistake?

I'd love to hear your story. Please share!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Holy Crap! Hidden Treasure in Your Kitchen (Reprise)

I'm sorting through all my stuff, as I anticipate my move next month. (Don't ask me where I'm going. It's still pending--but things are looking up!)

But my stuff. Good Lord, my STUFF!

It reminded me of the last time I moved, just five short years ago. Here's that story:


I’ve created a new game show I'm just itching to pitch to the Television Powers-That-Be.

Here’s the premise: Contestants receive big bucks for crap stashed away in their kitchen drawers and cabinets. It combines the purse-searching giddiness of "Let's Make a Deal" with the lip-curled disgust of "Hoarders."

I'm calling it, "Holy Crap! Hidden Treasure in Your Kitchen."

The pilot episode took place last weekend in my own kitchen. Sadly, host-of-choice Bob Barker was away for another eye-lift. Therefore, I was forced to play the roles of both contestant and host. The pilot went something like this:

Bob (played by me): "So, Sherry, let's start today's first round! Every kitchen contains a spatula or two. I'll give you $50 for each one you own."

Sherry (rummaging through three different drawers): "Oh, my! Wonder of all wonders, Bob! It appears I own twelve!"

Bob: "TWELVE spatulas? All right, here's $600. You might use it to pay for some therapy for your apparent obsession with the perfect burger-flipper.” (Bob rolls his stitched-up eyes toward camera.) “Let’s move on. So, any outdated medicine bottles in these kitchen cabinets of yours? I’ll give you $100 for each one you can find."

Sherry (pulling bottles and jars from cupboards): "Lookie here, Bob! I happen to have seven, including some vitamins expiring in 2001 and a half-finished vial of antibiotics from 2003! Guess that explains this nagging sinus infection I’ve had all these years."

Bob: "Uh-huh. OK, here's $700 plus an extra $50 to help treat the mutant bacteria festering in your body. Let's raise the stakes with this next one. I'm betting a cool $500 that you don't have a Mexican coin in your silverware drawer."

Sherry: "Oh, you'd lose that bet, Bob. Because right here it is! Funny, considering I've never once used Mexican currency while cooking, and I've never even been to Mexico."

Bob: "Hmm. Quite the well-equipped kitchen you have here. But what are the odds you can root around in that silverware drawer and happen upon a child's plastic toy?" (Bob winks at camera.) "Let's say a tidy sum of $200 for a Playskool Weeble?"

Sherry: "Yes, indeedy! Here's one rocking little Weeble, mixed in with all my mismatched forks and spoons. Still standing after all these years, even though my children are grown and gone. Weebles wobble but they don't fall down, you know. Haha."

Bob: "Fascinating, truly.” (He forks over two $100 bills.) “So you said your children are grown? And no grandchildren yet? Then surely you have no need for a sippy cup in your cupboards. I'll offer you $500 if you manage to produce a sippy cup right here today." (Bob folds his arms smugly.)

Sherry (frowning while tossing dozens of Cleveland Indians and Toledo Mud Hens plastic souvenir cups from shelves): "A sippy cup? Oh. I don't think... hmm... could it be, here at the back... Yes! Not only one but two sippy cups! Plus, a Sesame Street thermos, minus the lid, and oh my gosh, a baby bottle! A baby bottle, Bob, even though my youngest child has graduated from college. Do I get extra prize money for that?"

Bob: "No. You only get paid for the damn sippy cups. Here's your friggin' $1,000.” (He scowls, then turns and beams at the camera.) “And that, thankfully, concludes today's show."

Sherry: "That's it? We’re done? But my cupboards are still full. I have lots of stuff in here. Lots!" (Sherry peers into cabinets.) "How about beer koozies? Ask me about those, Bob!"

Bob: "No, beer koozies are not on the list."

Sherry (counting while piling beer koozies onto countertop): "Four, five, six... Maybe just $25 each? Twelve... thirteen... fourteen..."

The TV crew turns off their cameras and Bob walks away, shaking his head. Even as I comprehend that the game is over, I turn to the counter and study my pile.

Twenty-three beer koozies.

Hot damn—I totally mastered my own game! My hoarding has paid off. At least in my television dreams.

So, I'm planning a huge party when my game show gets picked up by a major TV network. I'll splurge on lobster and filet mignon and, of course, an open bar. You're all invited.

I do hope plenty of you are beer drinkers. It seems I have a few beer koozies to put to good use.

And if you’re a sloppy drunk, I've got you covered. You're getting a sippy cup.