Make the Class of 2020 a Meaningful Omelet — Outlandish Ideas to Show True Support

Class of 2020 Outlandish art


So how about the recent Facebook phenomenon where of people of all ages are posting their senior pictures to show support for the Class of 2020? It’s a nice gesture, but it’s engendered legitimate criticism, because — let’s be honest — it takes near-zero effort and does nothing to significantly enrich or achieve anything for the Class of 2020.


The critics have a point. If you want to make a meaningful omelet, you’ve got to break a few eggs. A sincere show of support requires a concerted effort. It should hurt, involve sacrifice, or cost you something. At the very least, you should be willing to suffer some inconvenience for the cause.


With that in mind, here are 10 things you can do to demonstrate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you support the Class of 2020. Are they outlandish? Weird? Ill-advised?  Juvenile? Well yes, but your blood, sweat and tears still mean far more to the Class of 2020 than an old senior photo ever will.  (And tag any photos you post #MeaningfulOmelet2020, so the new grads can see who really cares about them!)


  1. Go to a zoo with some clippers. Shave “Class of 2020” into the fur of the largest animal you can find.


  1. Send $20.20 to a member of the Class of 2020. If that’s too exorbitant for you, go out into your neighborhood in the dead of night and tape 20 cents — in any combination of coins — onto the car windshields of 20 households with members of the Class of 2020.


  1. Women, donate 20 eggs to a fertility clinic. Men, donate 20 million sperm to a sperm bank.


  1. Legally change your name to “Top Admirer of the Class Of 2020.” Or if that’s too cumbersome, change it to the acronym “TACO-20.” Alternatively, if you’re expecting a baby anytime soon, give your newborn that name.


  1. Post one photo each of 20 of your body parts on social media. (No repeating the same part.)


  1. Number a page from 1-20, then write the names of 20 members of the Class of 2020 you know. Time limit 20 minutes. If you can’t name 20, then for every blank, you must pluck out a nose hair and do a shot of Mad Dog 20/20.


  1. Take twice the recommended daily dose of a fiber supplement – such as Metamucil or Benefiber — every day for the remainder of the year 2020. Think of the Class of 2020 every time you enter a restroom.


  1. Send a thoughtful handwritten note to a member of the Class of 2020. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Share your wisdom and encouragement and incorporate a 2020 theme. (Example: “Theoretically, you still have time to experience 2,020 orgasms before you die.”)


  1. Slice your palm open with a sharp knife. Write “Class of 2020” in your blood on a nearby wall or mirror, snap a photo, then post it on every Class of 2020 Facebook page you can access.


  1. Get a permanent “Class of 2020” tattoo in a visible place. Exception: a tattoo on either butt cheek will do if the tattoo says “Ass of 2020.”


We love you, Class of 2020!  #MeaningfulOmelet2020



©Nancy L Walsh, All rights reserved.

Published on Medium at


Pyrography, An Exciting New Hobby

March 14, 2020

So how’s everybody doing as we approach the end of Social Distancing Day 2, staying close to home and avoiding others? How am I doing? Thanks for asking. I’m losing my shit.

But I’ve resolved to try to productively use this time as I descend into madness. I did some research on the world wide interwebs – just an aside, has anyone else noticed that there are actually people out there telling LIES on the Internet?

Anyway, after extensive review and consideration of many tempting options, I’m thinking about taking up PYROGRAPHY, the art of burning designs in wood, leather and other materials. (To be clear, it’s not pornography – it’s pyrography.) This looks like a kick ass fun hobby! Listen to what the ads for pyrography tools say.

        “Use this woodburning tool to add designs to wood boxes, wood plaques, leather belts, gourds and more.”

I very VERY much like the idea of burning things. Plus it’ll give me something to do with all those bland, unadorned GOURDS I have lying around! Maybe I can even attach several festively-decorated gourds to the many leather belts I’m going to burn rad pop art designs into. I might create a new fashion craze!

Look what it says will happen if I buy the woodburning thingy in the ad attached below:

        “The satisfaction you feel after burning a beautiful landscape into an even more beautiful piece of wood is immeasurable.”

That’s right, my peeps! Imma get me some pyrography-based IMMEASURABLE SATISFACTION.

        “Pyrography art makes great birthday, anniversary or even Christmas presents.”

I’m not going to be selfish, either. We’re all in this together! I’m going to share my pyrographic creations with all of you, so we can all experience IMMEASURABLE SATISFACTION despite our social distancing. If you get a package in the mail from me that smells like it’s been in a bonfire, you can be sure I’ve made you a GREAT GIFT!

I’m going to make you all gourd belts, and hideous slice-of-tree-trunk clocks, and plaques with burnt images of Elvis in his pudgy-middle-age-Hawaii-concert-jumpsuit-wearing years. I just found out there’s a Pyrography magazine, and one of the articles (not making this up) is “Burn Your Sneakers!”

The moment I finish writing this uplifting and informative post, I’m going to order hundreds of dollars’ worth of pyrography equipment and supplies! OMG – I just thought of something — I’m allowed to go outside if I stick close to home. I may even pyrography (pyrographize?) the back deck. But why stop there? I’m going to artistically char the entire outside of my house!

I’m also attaching an incredibly attractive montage of pyrography images I unearthed during my exhaustive research. Come on, who wants to join me? IMMEASURABLE SATISFACTION awaits!

50%OFF-Wood Burning Pyrography Kit

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Absolutely no offense is intended by this post. I don’t mean to make light of a serious situation; please understand that I am of the “we laugh so we do not cry” school of coping.


Mrs. Doom

September 2018

So I was on a flight home after a great few days at Cape Cod. The plane was a small Jet Blue blue jet (clever wordplay, yes?), with two seats on either side of the aisle. I was in a window seat, and a 30’ish woman (let’s call her Liz) sat down next to me. She immediately turned to the elderly lady just across the aisle (let’s call her Mrs. Doom) and politely said, “I think you’re in my assigned seat. If this is your assigned seat I don’t mind staying here.” Mrs. Doom checked her boarding pass and said, “Oh, yes. I’m sorry.” Liz nodded and replied, “That’s fine, we can switch seats. I just wanted to make sure.” There was about a 5-second pause, then Mrs. Doom frowned, leaned across the aisle, touched Liz’ arm and said, “You know, maybe we shouldn’t switch seats, because… well, if the plane goes down, the chart they have of where people are sitting won’t be right….” Liz’s jaw dropped and she looked at Mrs. Doom in horror and replied, “Oh don’t say that!”

As you would expect, Mrs. Doom’s beyond-psycho-freak comment caught me totally by surprise and I snort-laughed out loud. (To be clear, it was a feminine, ladylike snort-laugh, not a nasty guttural hog-like bellow). After the snort I continued to silently shake with laughter, which I didn’t conceal well at all. Liz, sensing my mirth, clapped her hand over her mouth. I managed to squeak out, “I’m sorry… that was so unbelievably horrible that it was funny.” Luckily at that moment, a bunch more people boarded and blocked Mrs. Doom from view for a couple minutes. When the aisle cleared again, Mrs. Doom must have realized the depth of the awfulness of what she’d said; other passengers nearby had recoiled from her, visibly shocked. She leaned back across the aisle to Liz and said, “You know, I only said that about the plane going down because I know it won’t happen.” That set me off on another silent body-shaking laughing jag. Liz told Mrs. Doom, “Thanks. It’s OK.” Then Liz turned to me & silently mouthed, “Oh my God!”

As I tried to compose myself, the laughing fit wouldn’t subside, because I started to imagine what it would be like if Mrs. Doom ran Jet Blue. The flight attendants would give the usual pre-flight safety speech, and then add, “In the unlikely event that this Embraer 190 aircraft plummets to earth in a screaming white-hot fireball and everyone on board is incinerated into trace amounts of charred carbon, please be considerate of the hardworking employees of the National Transportation Safety Board who’ll be investigating the crash. Please sit in your assigned seat, or you will cause delays and additional paperwork for the NTSB as they reassemble the debris of the plane to try to determine the cause of the crash. If you switch seats, the tooth fragments melted into what’s left of your assigned seat will be someone else’s and won’t match up with your dental records or the downed flight’s seating chart that the airline will provide the NTSB. If that happens, the investigators will have to fill out several lengthy government forms, which will delay your loved ones getting confirmation that your remains have been identified, and it will of course delay the release of your remains for your funerals. All that hassle just because you didn’t want to play by the rules! Now, sit back and enjoy the flight, and thanks for selecting Jet Blue!”

I never said it to Mrs. Doom, but I think she’d have less air travel stress if she got herself microchipped.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

Notes on the 2018 Winter Olympics

February 2018

              Once I completed my stretching and was sufficiently warmed up, I began the evening watching Olympic women’s snowboarding. A few minutes in, one of the commentators just explained “for those of you not familiar with snowboarding,” what people in the snowboarding biz mean when they refer to a snowboarder’s “front side” — it means “the chest and the front of the body”) versus the “back side” — which means “the back of the body, like your back and your bottom.”) Understanding that distinction is key to distinguishing a “front flip” from a “back flip.” What if I’d had the TV muted? I might never have known… He didn’t talk about left versus right, in case you’re wondering. I think he didn’t want to get into that degree of technical detail for fear of losing the audience. 

♦  ♦  ♦

             They’ve now switched to men’s downhill skiing. A skier named Ryan Something began his descent, and within a few seconds he bobbled, smashed into a gate, fell on his face, lost a ski, and slid down the hill. He came to a stop, face down in the snow. After a few seconds, he managed to collect himself and get to his feet, and limped off the side of the course. The expert commentator said, “I don’t think that’s how Ryan intended for his Olympic debut to go.” I’m so glad that guy is there for us, providing the kind of keen insights that we viewers could never hope to come up with on our own. (FYI, Ryan was bruised but suffered no major injuries.)

♦  ♦  ♦

             So just now they showed a woman luger who was coming down the chute at top speed. She miscalculated and grazed the wall, spectacularly crashed against the opposite wall and then spun, hurtling out of control down the course, with bits of debris bouncing in her wake. Surprisingly, the commentators didn’t say anything about the debris, from which I inferred that it wasn’t little pieces breaking off her sled, but instead little poops of terror that the poor woman was unable to control. (Luckily she wasn’t injured, despite a possible case of what one of my friends with no medical experience termed “terror incontinence.”)

♦  ♦  ♦

             The reason I’ve seen 6 or 7 events in one night is because my husband records an entire day’s competition, then fast-forwards through all the commercials and human interest stories, so we’re going to be able to see the entire Olympics in less than 3 hours. The downside is that I enjoy a lot of those human interest stories. I got mad at him last night because he fast forwarded through Dr. Oz’s expose on groin injuries, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir comparing the aerodynamics of sequins vs. rhinestones vs. feathers, Katie Couric making ramen noodles with Red Gerard, and — the one I most wanted to see — Mike Tirico and Ted Ligety discussing ski socks, callus pumicing and blister care while getting pedicures together.

♦  ♦  ♦

             There was some dead time between marquis events, so they showed part of a curling match. (I think it’s called a match. It could be called a game, a set, an arc, or an ordeal of curling. I don’t know.) Happily, the curling commentators were refreshingly interesting and seemed very knowledgeable. In fact, one particularly astute announcer confirmed something I’d suspected for a long time: some of the best sweepers out there don’t wear grippers on their shoes.

♦  ♦  ♦

             Winding up tonight’s competition watching biathlon, it occurs to me that it would be a much more interesting sport to watch if the competitors were allowed to shoot at each other as well as at the targets… and if they put bayonets on the rifles.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.








T’s Quote of the Year 2015

September 2015

Today I break with protocol by announcing my wonderful husband T’s Quote of the Year before the December 31 deadline, because he’s not going to top this. It requires a bit of context to appreciate how exquisite it is, so bear with me.

Some background re T: he has many, many terrific qualities, but they don’t include abundant patience or a more-than-5-minute attention span, and in his own words, he “can’t hear for s—t.” He also thinks he’s really funny (which he is, but not everyone appreciates his colorful sense of humor).

So T had to go on a business trip to the Midwest. He left on a Sunday evening. The cab was late, it was raining, and traffic was terrible. At the airport, he ran to security but then had to wait 20 minutes in line to get screened. TSA selected him for additional body wanding (I think he actually enjoyed that part) and wiped his hands for explosives. He sprinted to the gate, only to learn that his flight was delayed.

When they finally boarded, he had a middle seat at the back, near the toilet. It was so crowded they made him check his carry-on bag. The flight was noisy and bumpy, and he couldn’t sleep. After landing, he had to wait over a half hour at the baggage claim. He made it to the Hertz counter, and even though he’s #1 Club BSD status and should get to bypass check-in, he had to wait in a long, slow-moving line to get his contract.

At this point, T’s processing capacity was maxed out. He couldn’t listen or interact or wait any more. Only the most reptilian part of his brain was working, and it just wanted the journey to be over so he could go to his hotel, punch a hole in the wall, and then collapse in exhaustion.

T trudged to the Hertz lot and stopped at the booth to grab the car keys, thinking his ordeal was almost done. But no – in the booth was perhaps the most conscientious Hertz employee in the world, a sweet young woman who painstakingly went over every term of the contract with him.

Before giving him the keys, she accompanied him to the car, where lizard T had to stand there and seethe as she closely examined every inch of the car’s exterior and interior, noting every scrape, nick and smudge on an official form. She made T sign and initial the form in several places, then recited a lengthy litany of rules, which, as she handed him the keys, concluded with, “And there’s no smoking or sex allowed in the car.”

THAT grabbed T’s attention, and his conscious mind sprung into action, the opportunity to be a smartass shoving aside his lizard brain. He shot back, “What? You should’ve told me that earlier! I’ve got a couple of hookers waiting for me downtown right now! What am I gonna tell them?”

The Hertz lady’s jaw dropped, and her expression changed to shock, horror and total revulsion. She took a step backwards.

In the seconds of awkward silence that followed, T’s synapses furiously replayed the exchange in his head, trying to make sense of her reaction. Then it hit him, and T spoke (drum roll) the Quote of the Year for 2015: “You didn’t say ‘no smoking or SEX,’ did you?”

She replied quietly, tensely, “I said no smoking or PETS.”

T jumped into the car and sped away in shame without looking back. He knew he could never fix what had just happened. He knew that sweet young woman would forever remember him as the most disgusting creepy old pervert to ever disgrace the driver’s seat of a Hertz vehicle.

Stay tuned for next year!

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

The Portrait

July 2014

I think once you’ve reached a certain age, you have an obligation to preserve your image for posterity and commission a large portrait of yourself. The portrait must be displayed prominently in your home — in the entryway or on the living room wall — although those with more avant-garde tastes may opt to have theirs painted on the exterior of their house or on their garage door. As long as it’s big and imposing and kind of creeps out your family, pets and visitors, it’s mission accomplished. Those newfangled photos printed on canvas won’t cut it – it must be a proper painting.

For mine I’m going to keep it simple. I’ll be seated in a deep sapphire-blue wingback chair next to a window with a verdant view of treetops and countryside. My schnoodle will lounge on a tufted ottoman next to me. I’ll smile, but in a mysterious way, where you can’t tell if it’s happy or mischievous or demure or simmering with passion, anger or desire.

Makeup will be natural but elegant: black mascara & eyeliner, a touch of smoky eye shadow & saucy reddish-plum lipstick. Jewelry will be bold but understated silver or gold – no stuffy pearls. I’ll wear my hair down & sport a little black dress with a V-neck – one that shows some cleavage. (If you’ve reached Roman numeral “L” and they haven’t yet dropped to the floor, let the neckline plunge, baby – show ’em that the girls are still up & about.) And of course, in my perfectly-manicured hands, I’ll clutch the handle of an exquisitely-woven, well-worn, rich brown leather whip, which loops jauntily around my shoulders.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.


I’m sick. I have a horrible cold or virus or whatever & have been congested & achy & coughing for almost 3 days now. I’m exhausted & drugged up on DayQuil & NyQuil & still feel awful.

I’ve read 4 books on my Kindle, which I think I enjoyed despite remembering nothing about any of them.

The song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald “ keeps looping in my head, along with “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease.

I can’t sleep due to the roaring congestion in my ears, so I’ve decamped to the guest room downstairs with my faithful dog, Jack.

At 2AM, after wandering the house like a ghost, I lay down in the hallway & listened to the alternating snores of my husband & son. They’re very in sync.

At 4AM I sat on the floor of the utility room drinking kombucha & eating pumpkin seeds in the pale glow of the washer & dryer signal lights.

At 6AM, Jack & I watched several YouTube videos about knife making. He thinks in the next life he’ll be a blacksmith.

This afternoon I made a list of all the English words I could think of that have the “mn” combination in them. (I got over 100.) (English major.)

Illness does not become me. I’m really pale & confused & pitiful. Lest you think I’m a total animal, please know that I did brush my hair & my teeth, twice at least.

I think if I was a pioneer I would have died within a week of my family purchasing their covered wagon.

Please don’t tell me to get a Neti pot. I watched videos about that, too, & it’s just not going to happen.

©NLWalsh, all rights reserved.

Interview with the Young Writer


            My youngest son S has been working on a novel for his 6th grade English class, since November was National Novel Writing Month. It’s really good. It’s an imaginative, post-apocalyptic, violent, fast-paced story about a band of brave warriors whose lives are constantly threatened by relentless, cunning and diabolical bad guys who pursue them 24/7. There are a lot of explosions, gun battles, sword battles and supernatural phenomena, and it actually has a plot.

            He didn’t like using the voice to text app on his computer, so every night he would dictate a few pages and I would dutifully type them. Before we started, he said I couldn’t talk or interrupt him, or ask “any weird questions like you always do.” It was to be solely his work, and I was just there to type silently. I was allowed to ask him to repeat himself if I’d missed something, or to clarify if I wasn’t sure what he said. Otherwise, I was to be seen and not heard.

            When we finally got to the end of November and the end of the story, I asked if it would be OK if I asked him a few questions about it. Grudgingly, he said yes, and here’s how what I’ll call “A Conversation to Nowhere” went:

Me:     Thanks for letting me ask you some questions.

S:         [suspiciously] I’m not changing anything, Mom.

Me:     I’m not asking you to. It’s really, really good. The questions are just to satisfy my own curiosity.

S:         OK.

Me:     The part where they ran inside the abandoned warehouse and the power went out, you said they saw Chainsaw and Penelope [not their real names in the story] fighting. How could they see them fighting if the lights were out and it was totally dark?

S:         Seriously?

Me:     It’s a reasonable question. You said the place was “plunged into darkness.”

S:         They could see a little.

Me:     Like was it one of those emergency lights like in stairways, or were they under a skylight?

S:         Um, I guess emergency lights.

Me:     I wasn’t sure why an abandoned warehouse would have the electricity hooked up anyway.

S:         It’s not real, Mom. No one would care about that except lawyers, like you. [I’m a recovering lawyer.]

Me:     Well, it didn’t change that I enjoyed the story – just sometimes those little loose ends stick in the back of my mind.

S:         Do not even think of asking me when they go to the toilet.

Me:     I hadn’t thought of that, but now that you mention it…

S:         No one cares, Mom! It’s NOT INTERESTING!

Me:     I’m joking, I’m joking! Do they ever go to the dentist?

S:         Ugh! That’s like asking if they ever go to the proctologist! That’s never going to be part of any story – EVER! Like Captain America would say to Thor, “Why are you late to this battle?” and Thor says, “Oh, I was having my anus checked.”

Me:     I didn’t say anything about anyone’s anus.

S:         You’re worrying about details that are so small and stupid.

Me:     I’m really not worrying. And I didn’t want to know about the proctologist.

S:         I know what you’re going to ask next. It’ll be like, “Oh, when do they eat? Do they go to Subway? Why don’t you have them go to Subway and sit around and talk about their feelings?”

Me:     I thought I was the one who was supposed to be asking the questions here.

S:         Go ahead. But only a couple more.

Me:     Do they ever go to the Sbarro at the food court at the mall?

S:         I’m leaving, Mom.

Me:     No! Don’t go – I’m just kidding. I’m sorry.

S:         Was that your last question?

Me:     No, but just a couple more. In the story, Malware [bad guy – not his real name] wears a cloak with a hood that covers his whole face. How does he see to attack all those people?

S:         Who gives a crap, Mom? You cannot tell me you possibly care about that. Obviously he can see – it doesn’t have to explain how. He just can.

Me:     OK, OK. Again, it was just one of those loose ends.

S:         You’re torturing me. Can I leave, or do you have any more stupid questions, like “Do they go to Wal-Mart?” or “What are their hobbies?” or “Oh, do they clean out the lint trap on their dryer?”

Me:     They have a dryer?

S:         Ugggggggghhhhhh! I’m out of here.

Me:     No, no! I get at least one more question.

S:         OK but that’s IT! Go ahead. [Melodramatic sigh.]

Me:     After Leatherneck [also not his real name] dies [due to being impaled by a bad guy with a magic sword], why do they just leave him there in the street?

S:         Because they have to get away from the guy who killed him. They never go back there. And no one cleans up his blood off the street!

Me:     Leatherneck was a major character. Did they have a funeral for him?

S:         No!

Me:     No funeral?

S:         It’s an ACTION story! No one cares about the funeral or the food they serve after the funeral or where the bathroom is at the funeral home!

Me:     If I was Leatherneck’s mom, I would want him to have a decent funeral.

S:         Mom, your questions suck so much that it makes me want to jump off a bridge. We are DONE!

Me:     You could have Sbarro cater the funeral reception!

S:         Stop it, Mom! You’re crazy! [Stomps away in a huff.]
            Sure, it went nowhere, but in a way, it showed that I’ve succeeded as a parent: I am the voice in his head.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

Brenda’s Dumpster

November 2013

I stopped mid-run today to photograph this decal I saw on a construction dumpster. It says, “In loving memory of Brenda Something.” It’s not something you see every day. I considered it for a moment, and my first thought was: a dumpster with a dead person’s name on it strongly suggests that the dead person’s body had, at some point, been IN the dumpster. More specifically, the corpse was disposed of in it. Maybe accidentally. Or maybe she was a victim of foul play, and someone clandestinely put her there in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness.

The dumpster decal idea, no matter how well-intentioned, is just too weird to succeed as a memorial. I didn’t have firsthand confirmation, but I was 99% sure Brenda was never in the dumpster, contrary to what I (and others with similarly honed logic) might infer. The dates on the decal indicate she died at age 52, which is genuinely tragic. She obviously had people who loved her, missed her and wanted to do something special in her memory, which is touching and reflects well on her life.

My guess is that Brenda was the founder or a beloved employee of the waste disposal company. Her co-workers must’ve cared a lot about her. She must have been a truly nice person. But still, I’ve never before seen a death announcement sticker on a dumpster  — or any other waste removal equipment — so to me, there will always be that very-low-probability but nagging thought that Name on Dumpster = Body Disposal in Dumpster, not to mention the possibility of pre-disposal murder and dismemberment.

I wonder about the meeting where they came up with the idea to make the Brenda decals. “What can we do to honor Brenda?” the meeting leader asks. Silence. Everyone looks around, but nobody speaks. More silence. Then a man in the back of the room stands up, but then shakes his head and sits back down. (Since it’s my fantasy meeting, I’m naming him Cleve. He’s 60-ish and skinny with a gray mustache. He’s dressed in worn jeans, a trucker hat, a faded plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and big, slightly-brown-tinted eyeglasses.) The crowd urges Cleve to share his idea. He protests, but finally stands up again. In a twangy Southern accent, he says, “Um, we could have some nice stickers printed up with Brenda’s name on ’em, and stick ’em on our dumpsters.” No one replies, and no one else has any suggestions. They decide to give it a few days, to see if anyone comes up with something else — anything else. No one does, so the decals go to print.

I don’t mean to disparage or disrespect Brenda at all. I just think the whole thing raises strange questions, the answers to which don’t necessarily honor Brenda the way I think they meant to. The total lack of context invites wild speculation, which in my case is grotesquely, irredeemably, inappropriate-hysterical-laughter-while-kneeling-in-front-of-the-casket funny.

I’m sorry if this offends anyone. If you’re offended, I think you should ask yourself what Brenda would do. I bet Brenda had a good sense of humor. I bet she was the salt of the earth, had a sweet disposition, and would’ve laughed at the idea that someone thought her body had been in the dumpster. I bet she wouldn’t judge me like you’re doing now. If you’re still alive when I kick the bucket, you can get back at me by suggesting that my kids print up a bunch of memorial dumpster decals for me.

RIP Brenda – maybe we’ll meet on the high ground, out back, by the big dumpster in the sky.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

To the Man at the Pool

August 14, 2012

Dear Man in the Swim Lane Next to Me Today:

         (1)  Your Speedo was too small. By at least 2 sizes.

         (2)  I got a good look at your Speedo while I was swimming, because I was thrown all around in the massive wake created when you – unlike anyone else there to swim laps – did a cannonball entry, and then got out and did a second one before you started to swim.

        (3)  Despite the posted rule, we all know that not everybody actually takes a shower before they get in the pool. However, for those wearing a half bottle of Polo cologne (like you), it’s imperative that you shower before you get in. Because you didn’t, every person in the pool had to ‘splain to their significant other tonight why they smelled like a lounge lizard.

        (4)  It’s OK to make “UNGH!” noises when you’re weight lifting or during a strenuous tennis match, but swimming is different. You’re not supposed to grunt loudly every time you turn your head to take a breath.

        (5)  It creeps out the other poolgoers when, after you finish swimming, you walk the perimeter of the pool deck for 15 minutes wearing only your teeny swimsuit & clunky dark leather sandals while stroking your own chest hair.

        (6) I bet the Chinese character on your gold chain means “Hirsute land mammal entirely lacking self-awareness.”


                                               One of the Human Flotsam Bobbing in Your Wake

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

A Visit to the Cable Company


After years of hard duty, our cable TV remotes had come to the end of their journey – the numbers had worn off the keypads, buttons no longer worked, & the outsides were held together with duct tape. I called our provider, Cox Cable (ostensibly my friend in the digital age) & asked them to send two new ones. The phone rep said, “We can’t send remotes through the mail in Northern Virginia.” I nicely asked why, did they contain toxic material or something. He laughed, as if I’d said something pathetically ignorant, and said no, that in our market we have to go in person to a Cox Store to get them, & the closest one to me was on Lee Highway in Fairfax.

            Ugh. While that’s only a few miles away, it might as well be on the moon. No offense to Fairfax, but that particular commercial strip is like one of the lowest circles of hell. It’s densely overbuilt with ugly retail that goes on for miles, no trees, and the route to get there is always dense, slow-moving traffic with about 100 traffic lights along the way. Bonus: the store is at a heinous 6-point intersection with lots of restrictions on which way you can turn from where, so you have to circle it & vector in, like the landing pattern for O’Hare. My GPS said it should take 18 minutes to get there. It took 49.

            So I was cheery when I finally walked into the store. There was a long line, which gave me plenty of time to take in the place: a big dingy white box with fluorescent lights that gave it the ambiance of Soviet Russia, a bunch of flat screens with Cox commercials loudly playing on a loop, two empty blue counters with scratched-up Lucite chairs, a pegboard wall with a sparse selection of electronic accessories for sale, four cash registers (one open), and a bunch of Cox Cable posters hung haphazardly on the walls. The woman in front of me in line was carrying an unhappy shrieking toddler. The person in front of her was a 95-year-old man.

            After 20 minutes, it was my turn. I stepped up to the register & politely told the lady I needed 2 new remotes. I gave her the old ones and my account number. She noted it in the computer, turned around, took 2 new ones out of a cabinet behind her, and handed them to me. It took less than 15 seconds. She said, “Thank you. Would you be interested in finding out about how we can save you more money by bundling & switching your phone & Internet service to Cox?” Now, I hate people who yell at airport ticket agents or are snotty to wait staff or act annoyed that they have to stand in line. But that day, after the royal-pain-in-the-arse journey there and the wait, the idea that I would voluntarily do anything to spend more time on this errand was insane.

            Knowing she was only doing her job, I replied, “No thanks – but if they’d like to send me some info I’d be happy to look at it.” Then I had to ask. “I know you don’t make the rules, but why couldn’t Cox just mail the new remotes, or have a service truck couldn’t just drop them off when they have a call near me? I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but why did this have to be done in person?” (In hindsight, I was naïve to expect there’d be a comprehensible or remotely satisfactory answer.)

            She looked at me with great pity, like I’d said something really stupid, cocked her head, smiled & said, “Well, mailing them would be so …” & made a face that suggested extreme ickiness. “If we mailed them, you wouldn’t get to come here & have face-to-face interaction & see what we have to offer. We want you to enjoy the in-store experience.”

            O.M.G. Seriously? In other words, “It’s one of the only opportunities we have to hold you hostage in person”? The in-store experience is a precious gift they’re bestowing on me? Who are their marketing people who came up with that load of utter poo – lobotomized donkeys?

            It took all the self-control I could muster not to twirl around, with my arms outstretched, like Maria on the mountaintop in The Sound of Music, and sing, “Of course you’re RIGHT! I’m SO FREAKIN’ HAPPY! This has been the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! However could I have missed ALL THIS???”

            Then I would have rubbed my body against the flat screens and rolled all over the dirty gray carpet moaning with pleasure, after which I would have kissed the cashier and everyone in line full on the mouth, then exited the store screaming, “! I LOVE COX CABLE! I HAVE NEVER FELT SUCH RAPTURE BEFORE! THANK YOU, THANK YOU! A MILLION TIMES, THANK YOU! I’LL BE BACK TOMORROW, and EVERY DAMN DAY AFTER THAT! YOU COMPLETE ME!! DOES ANYONE HAVE A CIGARETTE?”

            I’m almost looking forward to the next time we need a new remote.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.


September 20, 2013

        I am SO pissed after going to yoga this morning. (By the way, I’m not making up any of this.) First, there’s a substitute teacher — named Petal or Zephyr or Seafoam or something like that — who asks everyone as they enter if they have any physical limitations that she should be aware of. I tell her no, and even though I’m one of only 3 people in there under age 65, she returns to me twice to ask if I’m sure there’s no problems with me.

        I’m directly in front of her when class starts, and she eyes me during the early stretches and says, “You’re air energy, aren’t you? You’re very airy and all over the place.” Since all I’ve done is walk into class and answer a few questions, I’m perplexed and a little put off by this. I’m “airy”? WTF is that supposed to mean?

        The class (a BEGINNER class) continues, and she keeps asking, “Who hasn’t done [name of obscure pose, e.g., Mangled Pelican 1]?” Every time, I’m the only one who raises my hand, and every time, she frowns and says pointedly, “Really? You haven’t?” and makes a note of it on her class list.

        Then, even though there are numerous signs telling people to turn off their cell phones, 15 minutes into class, some woman’s phone starts ringing, and her ring tone is the loud angry barking dog! And she doesn’t turn it off! She answers it and yells, “NO! I’m in yoga class! NO! I told you not to call now! I’m in class! NO! I can’t now! Let’s talk later! OK, talk to you later! NO! My class is NOW! OK, BYE!” Five minutes go by, and IT STARTS BARKING AGAIN. Only then does she turn it off.

        Class progresses, but I can’t really get into a zen place because every 5 minutes, as the instructor walks around, she’ll leans down next to my ear with a distracting and annoying comments, like, “How are we doing here?” “Remember to breathe now,” “May I assist you to get that pose right?” and “You just need to let go of that tension!”

       Finally we lie on our backs to start meditation. The guy in front of me quickly reaches a higher plane of relaxation, and lets loose a series of dense, horrible clouds of flatulence that sear the eyes, nostrils and lungs of everyone in the entire building.

        As the farting subsides, the teacher, who’s still walking the perimeter, gently places a soft, glasses-case-sized beanbag over my closed eyes. She actually has good intentions, but doesn’t realize there’s a big tear in it, and all the little birdseedlike stuffins start to pour out onto my eyes and face. I sit up suddenly and throw off the beanbag, but the pile of seeds already on me then flow down into my shirt, through my sports bra, down the waistband of my yoga pants, and into my underwear. I am sweaty, so the seeds stick like glue to my skin.

    Class ends, and as I’m leaving the room, the instructor tells me she thinks I have a lot of potential if I keep practicing, and to have a terrific day.  

        I am itchy, uncomfortable, stressed, angry and think about murder all the way home. Nama-freakin’-ste.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

A Letter from The Tooth Fairy

I wrote the first version of this for my oldest son, L, who got a huge kick out of it. Four years later, I revised and expanded on it for his younger brother, S. I hope they’ll pass it down to their children and establish a twisted, beloved family tradition.


March 13, 2009

Dear S,

        I’m writing to introduce myself – I’m The Tooth Fairy.  Congratulations on losing your first tooth.  I hear you’re a really nice, good kid, so I’m looking forward to working with you.  Let’s get a few things straight right off the bat.

        1. Never try to stay up and wait for me. I only come in when I’m sure you’re asleep.  Also, don’t even think about trying to catch me. I can fly faster than you’ll ever run.  If you wake up and try to grab me while I’m in your room, I’ll kick your butt. If you try to chase me, you’ll be sorry. One kid from New Jersey chased me as far as his kitchen, but when he got there I beaned him with the toaster. And no photos! If you try to take a photo of me, I will char your blankie in the toaster.

         2. I usually give kids $1.00 per chicklet (that’s my nickname for a tooth that’s fallen out). You get $6.00 this time, because this is your first one and you’re almost 6 years old — I’m nice like that for special occasions.  Always place the tooth under your pillow or in your little plastic tooth holder. I’ll know when to come by to pick it up and drop off the dough.  Don’t ask how I know when to show up – it’s complicated, and involves top secret stuff like magic, spying and a sophisticated communications network.

         3. I’ll take the tooth with me unless you leave me a note saying you want to keep it for yourself and why. As long as your reasons are legit, I’m cool with that. I’ve left this first chicklet for you, because your first one is a special souvenir. But after this, they belong to me unless you leave that note, OK? (By the way, tell your mom she’s wrong – I don’t use them to tile my tiny bathroom. It’s nobody’s beeswax what I do with them, anyway.)

         4. If you accidentally swallow or misplace a chicklet, or if it falls down the drain or gets eaten by an alligator or something, please remain calm. DON’T FREAK OUT.  It’s OK – I’ll understand. Just leave me a note under your pillow explaining what happened. Be sure you sign the note, which I will retain for my records.

        5. Don’t try to trick me. I’m the ultimate tooth expert and I cannot be fooled. I’ll know if you try to use the same tooth twice, or if you try to dupe me by putting a fake tooth or an animal tooth under your pillow.  A few years ago, a kid from Florida got greedy and put a set of those plastic vampire teeth with fangs under his pillow, hoping I’d leave him $32.00.  Guess what happened to him?  That’s right – I went straight to the kitchen, got the toaster, and beaned him with it while he was sleeping. And I only gave him 10 cents for each chicklet after that.

         I know I seem grouchy, but I’m actually really nice. I’m just cranky because I never get enough sleep. I’m up all night most nights flying around bringing money to kids like you. But I love it. What can I say – to me it’s more than a job, it’s my life.

        Enjoy being 5 years old for just a few more days. Keep brushing and flossing your teeth every day (I mean it – there’s nothing nastier than a gnarly, rotted-out chomper), and keep working hard in school. Be nice to your brother and mind your mom and dad and we’ll get along just fine. Like I said, I’m happy to be working with a great kid like you.

        See you next tooth! (Get it? I said “next tooth” instead of “next time” – that’s my kind of humor! I slay myself!)

                                                                            — The Tooth Fairy

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

A Special Christmas Carol

December 29, 2014

        I think enough time has passed since Christmas that this post won’t make you question my reverence for the holiday.

        A Christmas story: After my sisters and I were grown, our parents moved, where they befriended a neighbor (“Mrs. X”), an unfriendly, not-so-attractive middle-aged divorcee who got involved with a horrible freeloading boyfriend I’ll call “Cad Deadbeat.” My mom was an extraordinarily friendly, nice person who offered a kind ear to everyone she met, and Mrs. X took full advantage of that, oversharing all the lurid details of her life with her.

        In the space of one year, Cad introduced Mrs. X to the world of cocaine, free love, swinging and S&M (which she liked), gave her herpes and other social diseases, and spent every cent of the hefty fortune she’d gotten in her divorce settlement. Once they ran through all the money, Cad left Mrs. X right before Christmastime for a 19-year-old Bulgarian waitress/stripper. Mrs. X was heartbroken, but rebounded quickly with the first in a long line of horribly-chosen, worthless boyfriends, and continued a libertine lifestyle until her death a couple years ago.

        Mrs. X was extremely indiscreet about her relationship with Cad & their breakup, and my poor mom got to hear all the gory details, which she (of course) shared with us. Over that Christmas, when we were all at my parents’ house, my sisters and I came up with this song about the affair, to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas”. We’ve sung it together with great gusto every Christmas since. It never gets old. To protect their identities, details about Mrs. X, Cad and some of our original song lyrics have been changed. Enjoy.

On the twelve day of Christmas,
Cad Deadbeat gave to me:
Twelve thousand crab lice,
Wrist scars from handcuffs,
Empty bank account,
Big box of porn tapes, 
Some type of fungus,
Tramp reputation,
Tattered leather whip,
Genital warts, 
Crotch infection,
Credit card debt,
And a rare tropical STD!


©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

Ol’ Stink-Eye

Summer 2016

           First off, I realize this story doesn’t reflect particularly well on me, although in my own defense, it was really low-level bad behavior that should have only minor karmic consequences, like a few more days in Purgatory. (By the way, I swear I’m not making this up.)

            It happened during my visit to the grocery store on Tuesday, early in the afternoon, which happened to coincide with the arrival of a big pack of seniors who came on the bus from the nearby assisted living complex. I don’t have anything against seniors, but they clog up the aisles and checkout lines and decimate the yogurt selection. I wasn’t bummed out, but I also didn’t feel lucky to be shopping for groceries on senior day.

            I’d gotten almost everything on my grocery list when I reached the bread aisle. The only other customer there was a senior lady down at the far end, facing toward me. She was tall, with gray helmet hair and a pissed-off expression on her face. When I turned into the aisle, she gave me the nastiest, most seething stink-eye glare ever and held it on me for at least 6 full seconds before I looked away. WTH?

            That was really weird, I thought, and turned my attention to the bread. I threw a loaf of whole wheat into my cart. Then, you know how sometimes you can feel someone staring at you? I looked up and started forward and saw Ol’ Stink-Eye was now parked about 20 feet from me. The second our eyes met, her expression went from her natural “resting bitch face” to a hideous, disdainful, contemptuous sneer that wordlessly telegraphed, “My hate-fire burns deep for you, vile maggot, and I wish I could shank you in the heart and watch the life bleed out of you.” Stink-Eye’s lip curled and I could see a little bit of her teeth. Her extreme hostility was palpable and very disconcerting. I valiantly smiled at her, in an attempt to defuse whatever it was that was happening, but my pleasant-and-cheerful vibes shriveled in the face of her blistering negative energy.

            What was her problem? I’m a peaceable sort. I felt disturbed and kind of violated. I broke our eye-lock and stopped to peruse the hot dog and hamburger buns. I threw some in my cart and pushed on, with my eyes aimed straight ahead, not at her. I just wanted to get past the malevolent eye of Sauron and her cart ASAP. I wanted out of that wretched aisle before she could scorch the joy and light out of my human spirit.

            Stink-Eye was stopped at the English muffins as I passed by her cart. I kept plenty of room between us, since she could’ve been packing. Although I really didn’t intend to, I couldn’t help glancing at her as I passed. In that moment, her face squinched up into a gruesome, beastly sneer and — get this – with eyes still shooting daggers at me, she reached for her brown naugahyde purse, which was open at the back of her cart, snapped the top shut and clutched it with both hands against the cart handle, as if I was going to try to snatch her purse!

            That was enough – I’d had it. She was completely off the rails. I beelined for the end of the aisle. What did I do to deserve this? Nothing! I just happened to be shopping at the same time as the Queen Grandmother of Darkness. At the very end of the aisle, I had to slow down just long enough to pay silent homage to the Tastykakes display and unwrap some cupcakes with my eyes. Then, as I started the U-turn into the next aisle, I did it again. Some primal instinct made me take a quick sideways peek at her. There she was. Her cart was facing away from me, but her neck was twisted almost 180 degrees around (like in The Exorcist) and she was glowering over her shoulder at me, with eyes narrowed and an evil grimace on her face. Unbelieveable!

            I rounded the bend and made it to frozen foods, the last aisle, and felt very relieved. I needed to get waffles, and it took a minute or two to find the whole-grain, high-fiber, least toxic kind. With my Eggos selected, I crossed them off my list, and was about to turn back toward the front of the store to check out when BAM! THERE SHE WAS, just a couple feet in front of me. I hadn’t felt the disturbance in the Force, and from her surprised expression I knew she hadn’t sensed I was there either. She went pale. Her mouth turned downward unpleasantly into an intense, angry pucker-frown, and the rest of her face contorted hatefully as her eyes shot red hot laser beams at me.

            That was the last straw. She’d made me mad, Irish-DNA fighting mad. My thoughts began racing so fast that I couldn’t consciously keep up. This was NOT NICE. I’d had enough of Ol’ Stink-Eye’s abuse. She didn’t own the grocery store — I had every right to shop at the same time as her. It was time to take a stand. If the crazy old bat thinks I’m menacing, then I’ll give her menacing. Silently, I returned her stare and smiled a creepy smile. And in an instant, the idea burst from somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, and I felt myself do the “I am watching you” gesture at her – making a “V” with my index and middle fingers, pointing them at my own eyes, and then pointing them at her eyes.

            Her jaw dropped, and she puffed up her chest in prissy, righteous indignation. She spun her cart the other way in a screeching U-turn, and hauled ass away from me. The whole showdown happened in the space of a couple seconds.

            OMG, I won! She was gone! My brain ratcheted back to normal. It turned out Ol’ Stink-Eye wasn’t so tough, turning tail like that and running away as fast as her orthopedic shoes could carry her. I felt good. The dark clouds had parted and I felt the sun’s warmth. Light had triumphed over darkness. Victory was sweet! It was well worth an extra few hours in Purgatory.

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.

Clearing Customs

July 2016

I’d like to share a recent travel-related embarrassing experience. I returned from France a few days ago, and as required to reenter the United States from another country, I had to fill out a US Customs Declaration form. It included the questions: “Have you visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the US?” and “Have you been in close proximity of (such as touching or handling) livestock outside the US?”

I answered yes to both, because in Normandy, our group stayed at a beautiful chateau on a horse farm. While we didn’t sleep in the stables amongst the animals, we were free to roam the place and hang out at the pasture fence and pet the horses and see the newborn colts and have the whole genteel pastoral experience. (“Willl-burrr!”)

So after deplaning, I waited in a long line to give my form to the Customs officer in the little glass booth. He read it, eyed me and asked, “Were you on a farm?” I said yes and explained. “Oh, OK. I’m not concerned about horses,” he said, and stamped the form and handed it back to me. (I was really curious which animals were of concern, but didn’t ask, as I was pretty sure it would increase the risk of being strip searched.)

After that I went to the baggage claim, found my suitcase, and joined a big sweaty sea of humanity in line for the second Customs checkpoint. As we were funneled forward, I saw there were two Customs officers processing my line: a young trainee (I’ll call him Sprout) and a grizzled older guy (I’ll call him Longtooth) who was overseeing him. Their job was to look at the outside of each traveler’s suitcase (I think to confirm none were leaking white powder, currency or hazmats), check that their form had been stamped, then place it on top of a big pile on the desk, after which they’d wave you through. It was a very quiet operation; all I heard were mumbled hellos and thank yous.

When it was my turn, I handed Sprout my form while Longtooth glanced at my bag. Then Sprout put it in the stack, but when he turned to wave me on, Longtooth stopped him and pointed at my form, frowning. They exchanged a couple hushed words, then Sprout turned back toward me and said, in a booming voice, with better projection than any game show announcer, “WHAT WERE YOU DOING WITH THE LIVESTOCK?” The 100 or so people in earshot all stopped and gaped at me. I could feel them thinking, “So that’s what a depraved international bestiality tourism pervert looks like. Poor defenseless creatures! I hope she burns in Hell.”

(Needless to say, I trotted out of there as fast as I could. My boyfriend Trigger and I had such a good chuckle about it later – he laughed so hard that oats came out his nose!)

©NLWalsh, All rights reserved.