Health & Happiness today

As mentioned earlier on Twitter, today it was my turn to do Health & Happiness again at Rotary. For you non-Rotarians, H&H is when somebody gets up and talks about the health and personal news of club members, and tells jokes.

If you’ll recall, last time I did it was the first Monday after my last day at The State, and I led off with:

Did you ever hear the one about the guy who had to do Health and Happiness on the first working day after he got laid off?

And, to use the phrase of Kenny Bania on Seinfeld, on that occasion I killed. In fact, I got a standing ovation — although, truth be told, that was more an expression of support over getting laid off rather than because my material was so good.

Nevertheless, it set a high standard in my mind, so I couldn’t just go out there with some jokes copied from a “clean jokes” Web site (an accepted and time-honored H&H tradition). I needed new, original material. Or at least, new to my audience.

So I recycled some stuff from the last few days on the blog and Twitter. I used the IQ test anecdote for instance. It went over well. No standing O, but lots of plaudits nonetheless.

Anyway, in keeping with my rule of not writing anything without sharing it with as wide an audience as possible, here’s the script I worked from, which I threw together this morning:

Health and Happiness 6/22/09

Remember when our speaker last week asked, “Are you a negative person?” No one replied. So how many of you were like me, repressing the urge to answer, “What’s your POINT?” … [said with an angry, paranoid tone] ARRRGGHH …

Hey, y’all – check out my shiny left thumbnail …

Can’t see it? Well, if you’re nice I’ll show it to you after the meeting.

How many of you have been to Columbiana Mall lately? Well, somebody has, because I had trouble finding a parking space there Saturday … That’s gotta be a good sign for the economy, right? …

Anyway, I was there Father’s Day shopping for my Dad — walking through the Mall, minding my own business, when all of a sudden this pretty girl with an exotic accent grabs hold of my hand and starts buffing my left thumbnail, while giving me a sales pitch about cosmetics from Israel, from the Dead Sea.

I was completely unable to stop her. Men are not equipped to handle such situations. I felt like Barney Fife in that episode when Barbara Eden is doing manicures at Floyd’s Barber Shop. He’s all suspicious at first, saying “Not my trigger finger!” but before she’s done he’s saying Aw, go ahead – do my trigger finger …

But I finally got away. And as I’m walking, I post something on Twitter about it. Before I could leave the mall, I got messages back from two other victims. One was a fellow guy who confessed to buying several products. Another was Sunny Phillips, whom you may know as a Republican fundraiser. She reported, “she just wouldn’t let it go. She tried to stop me again on the way back up the other side 10 minutes later, even calling out for me by name!”

My former colleague Mike Fitts wrote to me, “Yes, they’re ex-Mossad agents (you know, the Israeli secret service) who’ve gone into the Mary Kay business, I’m pretty sure. Three minutes in, I told them where the explosives were hidden.”

Here’s what I’m thinking, as I contemplate my one shiny nail:

If The State had these ladies selling advertising, I’d still have a job!

But I didn’t buy anything, that time… Not that I’m bragging on my sales resistance…

Back to our speaker last week – remember how she talked about how older people fall for those e-mail scams…. You know, “Dear sir, I am the Interior Minister of Nigeria, and I’m trying to give you five million dollars…”

And I knew what y’all were thinking: Those dumb old people, falling for that

But I wasn’t thinking it – no sir, not after my IQ test…

Have I got time to tell about my IQ test?

You know those quizzes people are always taking on Facebook — like “which ‘Friends’ character are you,” or “what’s your real nationality?” Well, I took one of those one day recently, and as I was taking it, a dialogue box popped up saying that some of my friends — one of them closely related to me — had “challenged” me to take an IQ test.

Well, this hit me in one of my weak spots. One of my few skills is that I’m good at tests. Whether it’s the SAT or a current events quiz or whatever, I tend to score way over what you would think by looking, say, at my high school transcript. I play way over my head. Some people have a natural ear for music; I test well. Just one of those things.

Add to that the fact that I was recently laid off, which makes me additionally vulnerable — all that much more eager to show off, if only to myself. You know, the “I’ve still got it” phenomenon.

So I bit. I went to take the test. And boy, did I do well. The questions were so easy as to arouse one’s suspicions under most circumstances. Sort of on the level of, “answer this correctly and you win a free dance lesson.”

One was how many states are in the U.S., and only one of the multiple-choice answers was anywhere near 50. OK?

But instead of thinking, “Hey, wait a minute — what kind of scam test is this?” I’m going, “Man, I’m really acing this! What kind of IQ do you get with a perfect score?!?”

Then, when I’m done with the test, and I’m all eager to see my score, I get a page that tells me I just need to do one thing before my score will post on Facebook — type in my cell phone number, and tell who my service provider is.

Which … I did.

First of all …

my extremely high IQ score never showed up on Facebook.

Second, I started getting these text messages on my phone. Really stupid, irritating text messages, saying stuff like “Which male celebrity from ‘The Hills’ is dating Paris Hilton?” That’s a direct quote.

I would have protested, except that, you know, I didn’t want to tell anybody how I had let myself in for this.

Anyway, earlier last week the Verizon bill came. And I had been charged $29.97 for 3 “Premium text” messages. Yes, ten bucks apiece. So now I knew what I IQ was: it was 29 point 97.

So I got on the horn to Verizon and got them to block all such messages subsequently, which they agreed to do. Of course, by this time one or two more had come in, which will be on my next bill, no doubt. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Because, you know, I had signed up for them.

When I got off the phone, I reported to my wife that I had taken care of the problem, going forward. All done. All fixed. Don’t worry about it.

She asked, how in the world I came to get such messages?

I said, “How about if we just leave it at, ‘I’ve taken care of the problem,’ and not delve into that?”

But she persisted, and I went on to explain…

and she agreed with me that yes, I had certainly flunked the IQ test.

6 thoughts on “Health & Happiness today

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I liked it. It was more authentic than the usual “off the internet” or “cribbed from Reader’s Digest” —why do these guys think they are comedians?

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