humor

All posts in the humor category

New Book, “Chicken Soup for the Fuck You,” is here. 

Published August 19, 2016 by April Fox

My new book, Chicken Soup for the Fuck You: Inspirations, Observations, and Character Assassinations is now available in print and Kindle format via Amazon

Here’s a little about the book: 

“Chicken Soup for the Fuck You” is spit straight from the hyperactive brain of a lifelong oddball who has, to put it simply, seen some shit. In the process of finding her voice after a decade and a half of quiet, April Fox puts a wry spin on politics, religion, and the weird and wonderful aspects of everyday life, including parenting a herd of eclectic children. In between, there are periods of darkness, and those are reflected here too.

In short, “Chicken Soup for the Fuck You” is a feel-good book for people who hate feel-good books.

April’s work has been described as “Intoxicating… Awesome, inspiring, and resonating all the way.”
“…a huge dose of reality.”

“Enigmatic and thought-provoking, but still touching.”

“…filthy.”



Chicken Soup for the Fuck You is a collection of essays (some previously published here) in line with Jon Stewart’s Naked Pictures of Famous People, interspersed with brief one-liners and a few lines of verse. It runs the gamut from Barbie’s role model status to evangelist Pat Robertson’s readiness to come out of the closet to why kids with autism don’t make the best survey subjects sometimes. One early reader said he was laughing on one page, raging on the next, and on the verge of tears with the one after that; another, before reading, hoped the book came with “a piece of the author’s brain.” Chicken Soup for the Fuck You is exactly that: a slice of my brain, stuffed inside a paperback cover and served straight to you, ready to be enjoyed. 

Have A Very Goopy Christmas, Take Two 

Published December 20, 2015 by April Fox

I posted yesterday about my new blog, Math Makes Me Poop, but apparently I was still suffering from Almost-Christmas-Break Teacher Brain and the link I tried to post didn’t actually work. So let’s try this again: here’s a post from the new blog. I hope you like it. 

Have a Very Goopy Christmas  | Math Makes Me Poop

https://mathmakesmepoop.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/have-a-very-goopy-christmas/

Kids are Weird, Man. 

Published December 19, 2015 by April Fox

Edit: Now with a real, live, working link to the new blog! Sorry about that. 

Some of you might know that when I’m not writing, I’m teaching. This year, I’m working with a brilliant, hilarious, adorable kid I call Little G, and I’ve created a new blog to chronicle some of our adventures. We do a lot of out-of-the-box learning and I’ll be sharing posts about that, along with the things that don’t always go as planned-like you’ll see in the post linked here. 

The blog is geared toward people who are teaching, parenting, or otherwise care for small kids, especially those with some learning, sensory, or social differences. It’s still my voice though, and even if you’re one of those people who turns the hose on kids that wander onto your lawn, you might like it. 

Have a Very Goopy Christmas  | Math Makes Me Poop 

Barbie: Taking Our Daughters to the Dark Side, One Pink Stiletto Step at a Time

Published February 19, 2014 by April Fox

When I was a kid, playing with Barbie was a given. Little girls played Barbie, little boys played G.I. Joe, and once you all hit about twelve, your moms quit allowing you to play with both of them together because dammit, Barbie’s not a hooker.

But maybe she is.

I’ve heard a surprising number of mothers say they won’t let their daughters play with Barbie because she’s a bad influence and promotes an unrealistic ideal of beauty to young girls. Okay, first of all, your average girl of Barbie-playing age thinks the height of beauty is bright turquoise eyeshadow, a sparkly tank top that looks like it came off the rack at Discount Drag, your grandmother’s old Easter bonnet and a pair of Dora the Explorer slippers. I’m pretty sure Barbie’s color-coordinated outfits are an improvement.

She has long, blonde hair, blue eyes, and a figure that looks like she got her chest stuck in an industrial vacuum for about four years. Yeah, the boobs are a bit much. I admit, after six kids I look at Barbie lying there all perky after, what, fifty-some years? and when my kid isn’t looking, I slam those pointy little plastic suckers in the kitchen drawer a few times, just for spite. But really? Come on. Kids are surrounded by women of all shapes, sizes, colors… do you really think your daughter is going to grow up with a complex because she doesn’t resemble a hunk of plastic? Nobody raises a fuss because they think their kids are going to grow up depressed because they don’t have giant, misshapen heads like Dora. I have four boys and not one of them has ever screamed from the bathroom, aghast because they’re not eunuchs like all those plastic action figures they play with.

The fact is, some women do have lovely figures and long, shiny hair. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people or less worthy of your respect than anyone else. It’s unacceptable to look down on someone because they’re not conventionally attractive, or they’re overweight, or learning delayed. People do it, but it’s not considered something you do in polite company. So why is it okay to belittle the worth of this poor plastic lady? Yes, I’m anthropomorphizing the doll, because-to use a phrase common in the age group that likes to play with her-you started it. When you say your child can’t play with Barbie because she promotes an unrealistic ideal of beauty, you’re telling her that that is what’s considered attractive, and she might as well give it up.

Beauty vs. the Brain

One of the big arguments I hear is “I want to raise my daughter to know that beauty doesn’t matter, and brains do,” or some minor variation thereof. The thing is, I have two girls that happen to have copious amounts of both qualities, and I’m quite sure mine aren’t the only ones. Now, what are you going to say? Are you going to pretend my girls are the only ones with good looks and smarts? Or are you going to–wait for it–tell me that all parents feel that way about their kids? Maybe even get a little defensive and tell me your kids are bright and beautiful too?

Of course they are. They all are. So rather than telling your daughter she has to be one or the other, why not reinforce that not only will she be both, she already is? I don’t mean you should streak her hair and stick her in miniskirts when she’s five. I’m not saying teach her that she has to look like all the little tarts on the teen soap operas. I’m saying let her cultivate her own beauty along with her brains, and appreciate them both. And in doing that, you have to learn to appreciate your own. If you complain constantly about your post-kid belly or your frizzy hair and then turn on Barbie and accuse her of being a fake plastic tramp, you’re the one teaching your child that there’s a narrow definition of beauty-not the doll. Rather than pointing out how unrealistic Barbie’s perfect shiny hair is, point out how pretty it is when the sunlight catches your daughter’s curls on the playground. Quit slamming Barbie’s poor exaggerated breasts in the drawer and take a minute to think about what yours have seen you through.

When she does well on a test, praise her. When she puts on a new dress, tell her she looks pretty. When she scores a goal in her soccer game, be the loudest voice on the sidelines. Celebrate all of her gifts, not just the ones that aren’t obvious at first glance. Allow her to decide who she is-don’t limit her with your own insecurity.

About that Bad Influence Thing

Okay, so Barbie is a bad influence because she’s hot. Let’s look at the reality of this, shall we? First, she’s plastic. Seriously. Not plastic as in manufactured pop star, but actual plastic, injection molded chemical compounds or whatever the heck she’s made out of. It’s not like she’s whispering in your kid’s ear at night, telling her to pray to the goddess Britney Spears and eat nothing but honeydew melon.

As far as her lifestyle, she lives in a nice house (several, if you’ve kept up with the upgrades over the years) and drives a cute little convertible. She takes her sweet fluffy pets with her on vacation in her RV. Yeah, she went through that kind of tacky “Barbie and the Rockers” phase back in the 80’s, but come on, she’s not even fully jointed; it’s not like she could gyrate or anything. And to top all that off, she was with the same guy for her entire life, and if you’ve ever taken Ken’s pants off, you know there wasn’t any hanky-panky going on.

It’s not like she just sat around eating plastic bon-bons, either. Barbie may be a hottie, but she’s no slacker. She’s been a veterinarian, a teacher, a pediatrician and a businesswoman, among other things. If anything, Barbie is the ultimate feminist symbol: she’s gorgeous, wealthy, takes care of herself, has more degrees than South Florida on an August afternoon, and hangs out with a guy who’s been emasculated. Have you seen those stilettos she wears? Man-killers if I ever saw any, am I right? This isn’t some soft little bimbo teaching our girls to pucker up and have dinner on the table when the man walks through the door; this is a renaissance woman, evolving with the times and showing generations of little girls that they can be anything they imagine they can.

*I first wrote this for Yahoo! several years ago. I feel compelled to point that out, so they don’t come along and try to sue me for reprinting my own work or something.

Harry Potter, Dancing for Boobies, and Paying the Bills

Published November 10, 2013 by April Fox

I’m finally making time to get back into writing for income, not just to purge my head. I’ll be posting articles I write for different web sites here, along with the usual stuff you all are used to. As always, I appreciate your support. (Yes, I can tell when you guys are paying attention, even when you don’t say anything. The internet is awesome like that.) Here are two articles I did tonight; I hope you enjoy.

There’s a new personality test featuring Harry Potter and his merry band of Satanic cohorts: http://www.liberalamerica.org/2013/11/10/harry-potter-personality-test/

And on a more serious and heartwarming note, this courageous woman hosts a dance party in the operating room just before undergoing a double mastectomy:  http://www.liberalamerica.org/2013/11/10/deborah-cohan-hosts-double-mastectomy-dance-party/

On English Classes, Guts and Expectations

Published February 18, 2013 by April Fox

Some of you might know that I went back to school recently. I am required, as part of the standard curriculum, to take an English class. I thought about testing out of the class, but decided to go through with it because I don’t exactly have a ton of experience writing the kind of things college professors probably want to see, and so maybe I’ll learn something about writing for that particular audience. I have to look at it the same way I looked at studying SEO and things like that. I submitted my first weeks essay notes (some of my answers were “a bit brief;” according to the professor’s feedback; he has a point, and I know now that one thing I need to work on is padding my responses), aced the grammar diagnostic (which looked frighteningly like what my kids did around grade four) and finally, this week, got around to writing the first real paper that was assigned. The instructions were to write a descriptive essay; the description could be of a person, an object, a place or an animal. I’m not sure that what I wrote is quite what the professor was looking for, but I’m still learning here. I shared it with my mother (you’ll see why) and she laughed so hard she cried, and then apologized (again, you’ll see why). I thought since she enjoyed it so much, you people might as well. Here, then, is my first official piece of college English writing.

ImageStandoff

It sits in front of me, silent of course, and motionless, but somehow still mocking me. It knows that it has come down to me versus it, and only one of us can win. I know from experience that I will likely lose again, like I have so many times before. Still, I have to fight. I have to try.

The drab browns and greys do nothing to reduce its similarity to some fetid swamp, rank with the stench of those who came before me, tried to brave the horror here, and failed. The smell is nearly suffocating: flesh and earth and over it all, some vague smell that might have once been appetizing, in a different time, under very different circumstances. Now, it only adds a cruel layer of sweetness to the vile mess before me. Not even a strawberry muffin can overcome the travesty that is liver and Lima beans, cruelly placed before me by my mother. The bright red berry bits have been overshadowed, tainted by the ugliness beside them. What was once an eagerly anticipated treat now tastes like bribery, a pale attempt to make me think this meal might be worth eating.

“This isn’t food,” I say, indignant in the way that only nine-year-olds can be. “It’s guts.” I’m right, you know. It’s a liver, straight from the inside of a cow and cooked on the very same stove on which my mother made me pancakes that morning, back before she lost her mind and tried to poison me with the innards of some poor unfortunate bovine.

“Eat your guts,” says my father.

I ponder the wisdom of rolling my eyes or arguing, but while I may be a picky child, I am not a stupid child, and I err on the side of being allowed to watch The Cosby Show that night rather than being sent straight to bed. Instead I stomp pout-faced into the kitchen, retrieve the barbecue sauce and return to my chair. The ancient green vinyl of my padded seat seems to sigh in sympathy as I sit back down and cover the guts on my plate with a quarter-inch layer of the pungent condiment. Sauce oozes down the sides and I think, “This must have been what it looked like inside the cow.” Somehow, I manage not to vomit.

My father, unamused, offers me the bottle of ketchup he just poured onto his own Lima beans. This whole not-vomiting thing is getting harder by the second, and I squeak out a “No, thank you” before washing the bile back down my throat with a giant swig of milk.

My mother, the very woman who created this situation, glances at me. Her eyes are a lovely blue, her hair fluffy in curls around her shoulders. You’d never suspect this tiny, sweet-natured lady of making her children eat guts and beans. And yet, here is the proof: “Eat up, sweetie. Try your muffin.”

I am expected to eat this; all of it, the liver and its accompanying onions, looking like nothing more than neatly segmented parasites, translucent worms just waiting to infect me with some horrid cow disease I’m too young to know about just yet. Anthrax, maybe, or AIDS; I’m nine, I don’t know the difference. The muffin, oh, the poor abused muffin, placed there only to entice me to the table, now rendered inedible by its proximity to one bean that slid away from the rest and is now, in a vulgar display of affection, nestled next to it… this too must be eaten, along with the offending bean and its compatriots. There is no way out of this. I will sit here till the butter on the beans congeals, till my milk goes sour, till, Heaven forbid, I fall asleep face-first into the slab of worm-infested guts sitting squarely in the middle of my Strawberry Shortcake place mat.

I have no choice. The enemy has won again. Knife in one hand, fork in the other, I make the first cut. There is no going back now. Defeated, I begin to eat my dinner.

Why Saying “Happy Holidays” Proves that You’re a Child of Satan

Published December 5, 2012 by April Fox

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You know what sucks?

People wanting you to be happy, but not expressing it in exactly the way you think they should. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than exchanging cursory pleasantries with another person and having them wish you well in totally the wrong way.

It’s that time of year, folks. Peace and love, joy and hallelujah, all that mess and egg nog too. (Which, by the way, makes me vomit, so please don’t try to convince me that it’s delicious and I’ll like it and I should really try it again, for real, it’s great. It’s not great. It smells precisely the way it did when I puked it all over my grandma’s breakfast bar when I was 3, and I’m quite certain that it tastes the same, too.) Anyway, by peace and love and joy et cetera, what I really mean is a bunch of crazy people fighting over the latest battery-operated hunk of trendy obnoxiousness and getting pissed off because other people–and corporations, even–have the audacity to spew disgusting profanities such as… wait, wait. Herd the children out of the room, folks, and if you’re faint of heart, you might want to quit reading because this is some SERIOUS LANGUAGE… are you ready?

Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you: People are out there telling other people–in public!–“Happy Holidays.”

That’s right. “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas.” How fucking offensive is that? We celebrate Christmas in America, not “holidays.” Next thing you know, you’ll be trying to tell us that Christmas is a holiday, like those other days with all the candles and the multiple days and the Anti-Christ and such. From there, it’s not a far stretch to saying that “Merry” and “Happy” mean kind of the same thing. And from there, folks, utter chaos. We live in a country where it should be assumed, without question, that every single person we encounter is of the Christian persuasion, or if not Christian, they at least have the good sense to celebrate Christmas and not one of those ungodly other days. One of those damn holidays, as they like to call them.

I know in some places, folks would be happy to hear a pleasant greeting, regardless of semantics. People might actually mistakenly assume that “Happy Holidays” meant something nice, something kind, something along the lines of, “Hey, whatever you celebrate, I hope you’re happy doing it.” And that, dear friends, is just WRONG. Around here, complaining about someone saying something nice to you doesn’t make you look like a big jackass, no matter what anyone else says (all those heathens with their “logic” and “compassion,” am I right?). It makes you a fine, upstanding American, a good Christian who knows that neither of those things have a got-damn thing to do with diversity or kindness.

Everyone knows Jesus is the Reason for the Season (no really, it has nothing to do with the Earth’s tilt on its axis or anything, you know, scientific like that) and Jesus was all about forcing everyone to acknowledge the holiday that his esteemed followers jacked from the Pagans, slapping his name on it like some cheesy “NEW AND IMPROVED!” sticker on a bottle of cheap detergent. I’m pretty sure it says in the Bible even (right after the part about God hating homosexuals and being down with protesting funerals) “thou shalt not patronize a discount store in which the employees speaketh such sin as ‘Happy Holidays’.”

So for all of you like-minded folks out there, I wish you the opposite of this nasty phrase: a most unhappy holiday. And for those of you with a bit of sense about it, I wish you happy holidays, merry Christmas, blessed Yule, happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and whatever else you might choose to celebrate in this month of–yes, I’m going to say it–holidays.

The Epic Battle Between Bassist and Insect (That was really neither epic, nor a battle)

Published September 5, 2012 by April Fox

It’s not a secret that beloved doesn’t like insects. He will kill them, and I believe he actually enjoys the process, when the electric bug-zapping fly swatter is charged. It is not charged at the moment, and herein lies the problem.

We have errands to run today. Beloved was going to take a shower first, until he spotted a giant mutant wasp in the bathroom. Shower aborted; beloved returns to the bedroom.

Me: We have to go soon. Do you want me to kill the stupid wasp?

Him [Looking adorable in his plaid flannel bathrobe, like some baby-faced resident of The Home for Senile Musicians, lucky for him]: Yes please.

Me: [Sigh] What would you do if you were single?

Him: I don’t know…

Me: You’d kill it.

Him: Possibly… [Note: he totally would have. This is a guy who hiked the Appalachian Trail solo. He would not have surrendered his bathroom to an inch-long insect, mutant or not.]

Me: You know, women get married because they want someone to snuggle up and fall asleep on every night. Men get married because they don’t want to be grown-ups anymore.

Him: [Glare]

Fast-forward till after I looked for the wasp and did not find it, and told the darling bearded bathrobed one that the coast was clear. He comes walking through the house, finally prepared to shower and get on with the day, now that we have like, an hour and a half to get everything done. As he steps into the kitchen, I hear a blood-curdling shriek.

Me: WHAT?

Him: I found the wasp!

Me: Did you kill it?

Him: Does it sound like I killed it?

Me: OK, so pretend you’re not married. What would you do then?

…So he drops his robe.

It’s a good thing he’s cute. Seriously.

*It should be noted that, were he home alone with the kids and there was a wasp in the house, he’d have stomped the little fucker into oblivion by now.

Banished from the Plastic Princess Kingdom

Published May 22, 2012 by April Fox

Off with her head. (This is not one of baby girl’s new dolls.)

Baby girl got a set of Disney Princess dolls from her father’s girlfriend. I don’t have anything in particular against the Princesses, although I vastly prefer Grimm’s Cinderella tale to the sappy sweet animated cartoon versions, simply because I prefer the dark and slightly macabre to the fluff and fabricated happy endings. The argument that the Disney Princesses teach little girls to be dependent on men and only care about beauty and riches is just dumb-if your daughter is learning her values exclusively from a movie and a hunk of plastic with Velcro clothes and tiny shoes (see also: the Barbie Is Ruining Our Daughters’ Self-Esteem movement) you have serious parenting issues and should probably get you, your kid and the innocent scapegoat dolls into therapy, quick. So yeah, my kid likes to dress up in sparkly clothes and imagine life in a palace. Whoop-te-doo, she’s a kid. Imagination is a good thing. Still, I knew as soon as she started pulling them out of the box by their synthetic hair, I was in trouble. I don’t hold any ill will toward the Princesses, but that doesn’t mean I’m into the whole Demure and Helpless role-playing thing, either. I’ve already been banned from playing Barbies (apparently Ken is not, as my Barbie expressed, a simpering wanker) and My Little Pony (well, they should all talk like Cartman. Shouldn’t they?). I could guess what was coming. I tried, though. I really did.

She started by asking me which one was my favorite. Good, this was easy: “Belle, because she likes books and is a good friend, and fell in love with someone because he had a good heart, not just because he was handsome and had a big castle.”

“Mine too,” says baby girl. I knew that. Belle has been her favorite since she was five and declared Snow White “kind of stupid, but pretty.” Even in kindergarten, baby girl knew better than to take an apple from an ugly old hag and eat it, and why didn’t those little guys do their own laundry?

She let me pick whichever doll I wanted to be, except Belle. She snatched Belle up before she finished telling me to choose, the sneaky little vermin. I chose Princess Tiana, since Snow White is stupid, Rapunzel’s hair is too hard to keep up with, Cinderella’s shoes are dumb and Jasmine’s boobs kept falling out of her top, and the last thing I need is a sexual harassment suit filed against me by Disney. Back in the box, hussy. I’m not even trying to keep your top up.

It started out okay; I asked, in the prerequisite princess falsetto, what we should do today, since we had the day off and didn’t have to do all the usual princess stuff.

“I don’t know,” replied Belle. (Perhaps, like Snow White, Belle is also stupid.)

“We could go to the animal shelter and play with the poor homeless dogs,” suggested Princess Tiana.

Baby girl hit me with her trademark skeptical look.

“Because they need friends. Because, you know, they’re homeless and sad.” Dammit, Princess Tiana is as bad at this cheerfully optimistic stuff as I am. One last try, and then I’m giving up. “We can keep them company till they get adopted and live happily ever after,” I add. That perks up baby girl, and Belle bounces on her wee yellow shoes while she talks.

“We could do that,” says Belle, “Or we could go find the princes.”

Oh boy. Tiana’s about to get exiled.

“Why would we do that?” Tiana asks, “When we have the day off and can do whatever we want?”

“Because,” says Belle. “They’re princes and we’re in love with them.”

“Well,” says Tiana, “That’s fantastic, but we should hang out together today. We don’t need those princes.”

“Yes we DO!” insists Belle, who is starting to sound less and less like a princess and more and more like a pissed off ten-year-old.

“Nuh-uh,” says Tiana, and everyone knows that “Nuh-uh” is about as close to a royal decree as you can get.

Belle bounces on her toes again and makes a noise that sounds oddly like a little girl about to chuck a princess doll out the window. “Yes. WE DO need the princes.”

“Why?” asks Tiana, “Is the toilet clogged or something? Do we need them to fix it? Cause princesses don’t have to do that.” (Hey, I’m allowed to fantasize here too, right?)

“MOM!” demands Belle, sounding eerily like my own angry child.

“Yes?”

“This is why you’re not allowed to play. Princesses don’t have TOILETS.”

There’s a long pause while we both ponder that, and then we break out in a bad case of the giggles. She does have a point. I’m assuming that the princesses, like all the related plastic dolls that my friends and I examined as kids, have no need for toilets. (Related: or a need for princes, for that matter, but that’s neither here nor there and certainly not something you discuss with your ten-year-old.)

After that the Princesses just sat around on the couch for a while, their static knees held stiffly out in front of them and their molded hands placed at their sides, painted eyes staring blankly into space. It was kind of creepy, and I was glad when baby girl stuck them back in their box and toted them off to her room, where they will no doubt engage in appropriate princess conversation about Justin Beiber’s cuteness and what the royal drudge crew should make for dinner.

I, of course, will not be invited.

In Which I Save My Child From A Tarantula, Inflicting Major Psychological Damage on Myself

Published April 19, 2012 by April Fox

Butterflies and spiders are natural enemies, right?

Caution: This post may be traumatic for arachnophobes. 

So the other night, there was a spider in baby girl’s room. We live in an old house, you may remember, with cracks and gaps and a dirt basement below and the outdoors all around, and occasionally, crawly things wander in and decide to hang out for a while. Unfortunately, this wanderer ended up in baby girl’s room. Was he suicidal? Venturing into the Room of Death on a dare from his friends who had heard about the Big Scary Girl Human Who Shrieks When She Spots Things With More Than Four Legs and Sentences Them to a Vicious and Expedient Death? Simply out for a stroll, and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time? We’ll never know.

I’m in the kitchen when baby girl comes bouncing in. “Moooooo-ooooom! Come here!”

Sigh. I’m cooking, or cleaning, or… okay I was probably texting my best friend, but whatever. “What’s up, baby girl? Can you wait just a second?”

“No,” she says. “It’s an emergency. A real one.”

It doesn’t really sound like an emergency, or look like one, with the way she’s poking through the cabinets looking for cookies while she tells me this. But still, “What’s the emergency?”

“There’s a spider in my room,” she says (or more accurately, “a spidow”). “It’s huge and scary. Go kill it. Please.”

So off we go to investigate. Sure enough, there’s a spidow in her room. It is, in fact, huge and scary. It’s at least a quarter inch long, legs and all, and his fangs, though imperceptible to the naked eye, are certainly bared and ready to devour us all. “I’ll put him outside,” I tell her. I have this weird aversion to killing things that aren’t full-grown humans who have pissed me off. [Disclaimer: I would not actually do that, and have not actually done that.]

“NO! Kill him.” Well. I’d rather not. I suggest again that I just put him outside so he can go back to his family. Unfortunately, my little one feels no compassion toward eight-legged trespassers who have the potential to crawl on her face at night. If he was in the living room, he’d be safe. The bathroom, sure, I could put him outside. But this vicious behemoth of an arachnid is in her room and therefore, he must die.

After weighing the agony of killing an innocent creature against the agony of listening to a ten-year-old freak out over the potential spider infestation of her bedroom when it’s already past time for her to be in bed, the solution is clear. “Okay, go get me the spray bottle of bleach. I’ll keep an eye on him so he doesn’t get away.”

“Bleach? You’re going to bleach the spidow?” Baby girl clearly does not pay attention to the way I operate.

“Well, yeah. I don’t think we have any insecticide and I wouldn’t want to spray that in your room anyway, and I can’t squish him.”

“Squish him,” she demands. “Why can’t you squish him?”

“Because it’s gross.”

“Spraying him with bleach isn’t gross?” My logical child… of course it’s gross, it’s a horrible way to die. Even a child knows this. But.

“They crunch when you squish them,” I tell her. That sends her off in search of the bleach.

I contemplate trying to capture the spidow and chuck him out the window while baby girl is out of the room, but I’m old and slow, and also if the spidow disappeared, baby girl would never sleep in there again. So I spray him, and he goes into horrible convulsions, and I’m omigod going to be sick from watching this poor creature suffer but then he’s dead, it’s over, and baby girl says “Yay, he’s dead, thank you mom AAAAAAAAAHH he’s not DEAD he’s MOVING!”

Great. Zombie spider, what the fuck. Not only did he move, but he moved somewhere among the pile of papers that baby girl uses to decorate the floor under her vanity table. “FIND HIM AND KILL HIM.” Baby girl is seriously upset. She’s sobbing, clinging to my back; I have one arm around her, trying to calm her, using the heel of a discarded hand-me-down stripper pump to poke through the papers in attempt to find the spidow and complete the hit.

No spidow. Anywhere. Baby girl climbs on top of my head and jumps onto her bed, grabs her pillow pet and her blanket, and takes a flying leap into the hall. [I knew six years of dance class would pay off eventually. The kid can move, I’m telling ya.] “I am NOT sleeping in there. If you need me, I will be sleeping on the couch.”

This calls for a little bit of acting. I make a big production out of rifling through the papers, and then pick up the shoe and smack it against the floor. I gather up the papers and carry them to the trash, and lie through my teeth to my kid. “I squished him,” I say. “You can go to bed now.”

I know, bad parenting. Whatever. I know the spidow is dead. Anyone who ever read “The Far Side” knows what a spider looks like in the throes of death. I’ll spare you the details, but this guy didn’t make it, I was sure. And anyway, it didn’t work. “I don’t care. I’m not sleeping in there.”

Again with the weighing. It’s not going to kill her to sleep on the couch. She will no doubt declare that she is never sleeping in there again (she did) and she will sleep in there the next night (again, she did). So I tuck her in and give her a kiss and five minutes later, she’s sound asleep, and I go into her room and poke around until I finally find the spidow corpse and hide the body in the toilet, flushing away the evidence.

The next night, last night, I had a horrible nightmare. I was in baby girl’s room trying to kill a spider. This one really was huge, kind of an ant-shaped tarantula. I kept trying to smack it with a shoe, and it jumped on me. Landed on my shoulder and crawled around up there and every time I knocked it off, it jumped back on. I finally half-woke up, realized it was a dream, and snuggled back up to beloved. I was almost back to sleep when I felt it again-the soft tickle of spider legs. It makes me queasy just thinking about it. And then it stopped. And started again. And I realized it wasn’t a spider, it was beloved, breathing on my bare shoulder.

Moral of the story: Bad parenting will haunt you. Just squish the damn spidow and deal with the crunch.

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