Split Decision by Courtney Mehlhaff

My parents have been happily married for 43 years. So imagine my consternation at seeing this written on their household calendar last weekend:


Not only did I think it was a weird thing to have to schedule, much less remind themselves of, but it appeared this was not their first crack at it. And this time it was in all caps, which to me means the situation is serious.

Turns out they're big fans of the HBO series and didn't want to forget the season two premiere. Whew! These two crazy kids are gonna make it after all.

The Eyes Have it by Courtney Mehlhaff

Over Christmas break, I played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity with my family and some neighborhood friends.

If you're unfamiliar with this game, it features wildly inappropriate, very random, and quite possibly offensive words and concepts that you use to fill in the blanks of hypothetical sentences.

Those with a twisted sense of humor enjoy it. My family finds it hilarious.

On this particular night, someone played a card with the phrase "Having anuses for eyes."

And in a stroke of sheer genius, one of our friends piped up with, "I can't see shit!"

Jurassic Lark by Courtney Mehlhaff

I recently made a $20 impulse purchase at Target in service of a pun.

When I saw this dinosaur cookie jar, I immediately knew two things: I had to own it, but more importantly, I had to fill it with an assortment of teabags. Because . . . .


Totally worth it.

A.I. Don't Think So by Courtney Mehlhaff

Whenever I read an article about how artificial intelligence is the greatest threat to humankind, my first thought is, "Damn straight. For the love of God, stop giving robots human characteristics and emotions! Nobody needs this!" And I have a brief panic attack while I imagine a scenario in which Skynet becomes self-aware.

And then I think about my relationship with Siri. And that makes me feel better.

Because if computers' ability to take over the world is measured by how well this electronic imbecile can understand the simplest of sentences that I speak . . . well, let's just calm down.

I honestly can't think of a single interaction I've had with Siri in the car that didn't make me want to throw my phone out the window.

Just a few days ago I was driving home from out of state, and I texted a friend from a gas station asking if she wanted to hang out when I got back to town.

She replied yes and asked if I'd like to grab dinner together when I arrived.

By that point I was driving again, so I enlisted Siri's help to craft a reply. After five straight minutes of misunderstandings and restarts, my friend received the following message, naturally sent by mistake:

"Hate you Siri I hate you so much"

This was by FAR the least profanity-laced combination of words that Siri could have grabbed out of the air in those five minutes, though they captured my feelings quite well.

When I saw what I'd sent, I tried to rectify the situation with a follow-up message, but I was laughing so hard that Siri kept producing a text that translated "ha ha" into "bubba."

We're safe for now, people. I'm sure of it.

Can't Live With 'Em . . . by Courtney Mehlhaff

I was reminded recently of the best explanation of love and heartache that I've ever heard.

A friend was telling me how they'd unexpectedly seen an ex-boyfriend at an outdoor summer event. They didn't interact -- my friend just glimpsed him in the crowd -- but in that moment, all the memories of their fiery affair and devastating breakup came flooding back.

My friend summed up these intense and competing emotions thusly:

"I just wanted to run over there and bash his head in!"

There was a long pause, during which the anger softened.

"And then hold him, while he died."

An ASS Out of U and ME by Courtney Mehlhaff

I was on a flight from Charlotte to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago. It was the last leg of a trip; it was late, the plane was late, and I was tired. As I squeezed down the narrow aisle, I noticed an older couple already standing in my row, kind of slouched over the seat backs. As I approached, I smiled and said, "I think I have the window."

"Yeah, I guess that'd be why we're standing," the woman snapped, like it was my fault they had an earlier boarding group. But I settled in quietly with my headphones on, determined to be polite.

Shortly before takeoff, a group of bros piled into the exit row in front of us. Big, white, college-aged dudes sporting backwards baseball caps and bravado. Within minutes, I had a seat crammed into my knees. And that's when I lost control of the only thing passive-aggressive people ever lose control of: my inner monologue.

"OF COURSE!" I thought, squirming uncomfortably in my painfully squashed position. "Fucking OF COURSE! First these two give me a bunch of ATTITUDE, and then this. Only a bro would be oblivious to the fact that there are OTHER PEOPLE on this plane, people who don't recline their seats simply because that makes you an ASSHOLE. This guy's had the world HANDED TO HIM ON A FUCKIN' PLATTER -- he's stretched out in an EXIT ROW, for Christ's sake -- but he's still gotta take up EVEN MORE ROOM because NOBODY EVER TOLD HIM HE COULDN'T!"

It didn't help that the two cranky buzzards next to me retained all of the leg room for their teeny tiny little legs.

So I was pissed, but I did not lean forward, tap this monster on the shoulder, and say, "You, sir, are an asshole." No. I remained inwardly steamed, as I am wont to do. This is especially true in airports, where things are increasingly "Comply or No-Fly."

A little while later, after my pack of bone-dry, horrible airline pretzels, I was feeling no more charitable toward the idiot in front of me. But I noticed that he was firing up his laptop, and because it was nighttime, I decided to use the window reflection to angrily check out what he was watching. Some playoff game, probably, or something violent and offensive. Ooh! With any luck, I'd catch him looking at porn (which, to be fair, I have seen men do on planes).

But what I saw instead was that he was halfway through the live action movie "Beauty and the Beast." Like Emma Watson twirling in a sparkly dress and furniture magically turning into people. Like, clearly not something he ordered by mistake from the in-flight catalogue. He was into it.

And I couldn't wrap my head around this. I gaped in disbelief for so long that I inadvertently watched most of the live action "Beauty and the Beast."

When the credits rolled, he went back to the main menu. I was on pins and needles as he scrolled. Whatever would he choose? I'd judged him pretty harshly, but this guy was proving to be an enigma. 

The Lego Batman Movie.

Of course it was. Because you know what happens when you assume.

Arachnids and Acronyms by Courtney Mehlhaff

Here are a couple quick things that made me laugh this week.

First, I'd like to shake hands with whoever wrote this "answer" in the Q&A section for a Home Depot shop vac:



Second, I saw this sign and puzzled for a full minute about why we all had to be so quiet:


I was volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland.

Nevertheless, He Persisted by Courtney Mehlhaff

Some friends of mine have a very smart 5-year-old who never misses a thing (even when you think he's not paying attention). Unsurprisingly, the looming specter of our current president occupies his thoughts somewhat obsessively. 

His mom was recently talking to him about the importance of playing nicely with others. He listened carefully and then declared, "You know who I don't want to share my toys with? Donald Trump!" His mother assured him this would likely never be an issue.

One evening at their house, he was asking an endless stream of questions about 45 after one of the adults (probably me) forgot that mentioning DT would set the kid off. His parents gave a few answers and then said we wouldn't talk about someone so unpleasant anymore.

He considered this very thoughtfully for a few moments. Then he stated matter-of-factly, "OK. We can talk about Elizabeth Warren."