Tag Archives: Christmas

Carry on, my wayward cow

We’ve been busy this month. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s undeniable. (Still, call me back already, grandma – this is starting to get uncool.)

In fact, as the end of the year approaches, just the simple feat of knowing which way is up anymore (Hint: If you see feet, try again) is cause for a celebratory pat on the back (Hint #2: Up, like the 2009 Disney movie starring Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai and John Ratzenberger).

Yeah, I don’t know who they are either. Bad hint.

Hint #3: The opposite of down. (Ooooooh) All together? Fantastic! Then let’s take a few seconds out of this blog to awkwardly pat ourselves on our backs…NOW!

There. That felt good.

Whether you’ve been preparing, cooking, decorating, buying or just working to pay for it all and silently fuming (this means you, dads of America), rest easy knowing you haven’t had the added stress that residents of Plattsmouth, Neb. have for the last few months. Thankfully, this rural community can now cross one last item off their “To Do” list: recapturing the elusive “Ninja Cow.”

Just when you thought it was safe to roam the streets....Ninja Cow!

I know what you’re thinking and I thought the same thing! Ugh, didn’t this cow get recaptured way back on Dec. 7?

Oh, you’re not?

Well, it did. So, why did this story, in which even the Wall Street Journal had a say, grace the nation with its presence just this week? Because in Battleship terms, it’s clearly a “hit” for journalists everywhere.

Oh, it’s not?

Hey, just because it’s the week before Christmas… Does that mean everyone’s priorities, including journalists’, should completely shift toward Jesus’s birthday, Christmas presents and embarrassing themselves at work holiday parties? Is it right for the world to virtually come to a halt to partake in these end-of-the-year festivities?

And, what’s “filler?”

This story is obviously newsworthy, if not for the horribly punned headlines it instigated, alone. Why else – pray tell – are there more than three stories about it in the Omaha World Herald alone?

Exactly.

Dads of America aren’t the only ones fuming anymore. Let me introduce you to everyone from Nebraska. We’re a little bit…disappointed…in you, journalists. At the same time, we find this news story inconsiderately hilarious. We’re stifling our smiles behind fists shaken in fury, but even though we reside on some the flattest land in America, we’re choosing to take the high road and laugh along with you.

So, if you haven’t read about the ordeal, which should be global knowledge by now because of its utter significance to EVERYTHING, I’ll give you the basic breakdown:

There’s this cow, it got loose, and because no one could capture it for months, members of the community are saying it was “very smart.” It also happens to be black, so they figured, let’s throw the word “ninja” in there, too. From there spawned the existence of the Ninja Cow. Just naming it seemed to increase its powers.

The arduous task of capturing this ghost cow gained publicity because it became the responsibility of the American people. A duty that national security says was right up there with capturing Bin Laden. Now, I can’t be sure, but the article didn’t say that Black Ops DIDN’T have a hand in capturing the Ninja Cow.

"We're gonna need to call in an escape specialist. Get MacGyver on the phone, STAT!" "Sir, he's just an actor..." "I said STAT!"

The task increased in urgency because, well, that’s less potential steak for everyone. You don’t get in the way of Nebraskans and their meat. We hand out Omaha steaks as Christmas presents. Plus, multiple stories reported mysterious mud pies found in backyards. AND  in front yards. Can you imagine? Mud pies everywhere. THE INHUMANITY!

It was our duty to clean up the doody. Just a little poop joke for you. Merry Christmas!

The whole situation sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: How many Nebraskans does it take to capture a cow? The story starts with a desperate escape made by one daring cow, continues with an overly excessive kill order and ends with an endearing smile and an “Oooooh, yooooou,” combined with an affectionate tap on the  Ninja Cow’s chin.

May I comment that the media really went to great lengths to make Nebraskans look good. No, really. Thank you, journalists. Very, uh, thorough reporting on your behalf. But, for what it’s worth, people tried to capture this thing with cow noises made from (stresses the Yahoo story) a laptop. Yes, Nebraska has Internet access now. Just got it a few weeks ago. Changed our lives.

Never take pizza negotations lightly...

And biscuits and gravy? Seriously? What PEOPLE like biscuits and gravy anymore? Can you blame that poor cow for not obediently coming forth to be captured? I said breakfast pizza, dammit!

So, if this is the first you’ve heard of our state, welcome to the good life. Sit back, grab an ear of grilled corn and a lucious steak, and throw down a few Third Stones because it’s a slow news day here every day. Even the Ninja Cow wanted to give up on life, as the story claims it continuously threw itself against a fence in an effort to escape numerous times before finally giving up. 

Nebraska. Our state flower should be the Venus fly trap – it does not let go willingly.

What these stories really get at is a greater underlying story. Namely, that the town of Plattsmouth is in dire need for governmental funds, if not only to better illuminate their streets at night. It gets dark here. Hell, we invented the phrase, “black as night.” Don’t look that up because I can’t back it up. (Hey, I should be a journalist!)

The stories also suggest that reporters evidently need one last monumental event to happen before the end of the year. I’m issuing this blog as a call to action for dictators everywhere. We should only need about one more of you to call it a day in order to make some decent headlines for the remainder of the year ( = more pats on back!!!!!).  

This means you, Robert Mugabe. I see you back there, Bashir al-Assad. Don’t be shy.

I’m suggesting that everyone else get back to more important things at hand  instead of reading a bunch of hoopla about a rogue cow from Nebraska on the Interwebs.

Except for this blog, of course.

How Christmas almost had me committed

When I agreed to be a member of my company’s 2011 Christmas Party Planning Committee, it wasn’t because I was filled with Can’t-Sleep-Only-328-More-Days-Til-Christmas spirit, and it definitely wasn’t out of the altruistic kindness of my heart. I can’t even argue that it was to quietly prove my unwavering dedication for my job to colleagues. No, what I had in mind was far more devious. Self-serving, even. I know – tsk, tsk/shame on me/but it’s Jesus’ birthday!! All that. Let me start at the beginning.

She’s a lawyer, so to say she wasn’t aware of what she was doing is pointless. Like Wendy Peffercorn, she knew exactly what she was doing. I was a pawn in getting what she wanted, and at the time, my agreement in the matter was only maddeningly emboldened by my own personal motives.

She wanted out of the Christmas Party Planning Committee. I wanted nothing more than to avoid just saying Christmas Party Planning Committee. Yuck. What a mouthful of corporate pomposity that is for a supposedly fun group of holiday merriment makers (now THERE’S a real title). And to throw the words “party” and “committee” in one name? 

I should have known right then and there what I was getting into.

If our exchange was a wild hunt, guess which snow white animal I'd be. Thanks for nothing, Darwin.

She approached me in person one late Friday afternoon in February, knowing I’d be miles away from the office in the confines of my mind, a prisoner in this 10×10 cube by nothing more than physicality. Smart. She obviously had studied her prey carefully. Unfocused. Relatively new to the company. A girl. Girls adore organizing fun holiday shenanigans, right? Besides, those vats of coffee on her desk scream “I know partying!”

Which, ok. Right on.

I could have said no to an email. Would have indefinitely. But as she menacingly (maybe not menacingly) blocked off my only escape route from my work-sweet-workspace, she schmoozed her way into a yes, confusing me with cunning lawyer-speak:

“Wanna take my place on the 2011 Christmas Party Planning Committee?” she asked. Calculatingly. Craftily.

“Sure, whatever. I’ll do the thing,” I said waving at her in distracted agreement. It was February. It was FRIDAY!

She flashed what I’m sure was a grateful (evil?) smile and the tails of her cardigan upon quickly disappearing down the hallway before I could even look up as an afterthought to ask what my responsibilities would be. 

She blatantly knew she was doing me a disservice. I did, too, but was temporarily incapable of thinking past the season finale of the Bachelorette. (Team Ben!) And sure – my assuredness that I’d be long gone before having to commit any actual time to the committee may have motivated an overly-enthusiastic response. With plans to relocate in May, I had particular reasons for agreeing to be on the committee. Namely, as a resume builder. In my mind, the interview for my perfect position would inevitably go something like this:

Interviewer: “And do you partake in any after work groups or activities? As communicators within the Red Sox organization, we pride ourselves for being well-rounded, involved stewards of the Boston area community.”
Me: “Why, yes! I happen to be on…” (dramatic pause as I lean forward conspiratorially) “…a committee.”
Interviewer: “A committee! Well I never! One hand flutters to chest as she gasps in incredulity. “What type of committee, you sweet, selfless girl?”
Me: “One of the Christmas party planning variety, as luck would have it.”
Interviewer: “Committing your free time to organizing an event that surely forever resonates in and changes the lives of your colleagues? How wonderfully lovely.”
Me:. “I did, didn’t I?” Chuckles modestly. “I guess I did. But you know? That time of year, it’s really about putting the “Christ” in Christmas, you know?”
Interviewer: “We would all do better to think as nobly as you. I think the bear hug – are we well-acquainted enough for a bear hug? – I’m about to give you sums it up, but HIRED!”
Me: “Bring it in for a big one, lil bear!” 

Then we’d dance in circles hand in hand laughing and screaming in joy like little girls before grabbing a skinny peppermint mocha latte together and gossiping about Jed Lowrie’s beautiful beard.  

I bet he conditions.

While the move never came, the 2011 Christmas Party Planning Committee Meetings did with a vengeance alongside an unmistakable hint that I’d perhaps made a hasty decision: the committee’s co-chairs sent a meeting invite  labeled  “2k11 XMAS Site Approval Mtg.”

Oh, God, I thought in a full-on panic. Engineers!

There are going to be so many Excel spreadsheets.
 

Although the meetings were dispersed in a way that made commitment levels tolerable, there wasn’t a discussion about the party that went by that didn’t have me questioning my sanity while simultaneously silencing the voices in my head screaming “AHHHHHHHH!!!!”

Should we have roast beef or chicken? We could have roast beef AND chicken. No, everyone always has roast beef for Christmas. They do? Well, what about pork? Well, we can’t have TWO white meats – that would be ridiculous. We could have steak and pork. I don’t know, I had a cow and pig as pets as a kid. Daisy and Bacon Bits, we called them. I was very emotionally attached. Of course. Understandable…well, what about chicken fried chicken? What, so our guests think they aren’t good enough for chicken fried steak?! Look, Daisy was a member of our family whether you like it or not! How about we discuss side dishes for a while? As long as there are no bacon bits on the side salads.

As part of the communications and decorations committee (Clearly I don’t know how to say no, even when feeding myself to the wolves – “Well, maybe just a little nibble on my arm. Can’t have you starving, can we, cute little wolf…AHHHHH!!”),  I was mostly just looking forward to December’s light at the end of a dark tunnel of “We’re going to have to reword this; it’s not PC enough [for an informal Christmas party]” and

Gingerbread houses are the fruit cake of Christmas decorations.

“What if we got together one weekend and built gingerbread houses for décor?”

Until, finally the night of the party was upon us, bringing me to the only other reason I said yes to being on the committee –  for a well-deserved half day off to decorate.

Of course on that afternoon, I had a mountain of work to get through. The engineers strongly suggested it could wait, as most of our 2011 Christmas Party Planning Committee had decided their efforts were no longer required and said as much nonverbally by not showing up at our last meeting to volunteer to help out. Nice.

I bit my lip, but not hard enough to stop myself from telling them, “First rule of journalism: the news doesn’t wait for anyone.”

They blinked in apathy, not even remotely getting my subtle Fight Club reference. Engineers.

“Guys, seriously. It’s like the rapture.”

Not a peep. 

I took off work at noon.

Surprisingly enough for everyone on the committee, the party went off without a hitch, with everyone’s sanity still somehow in check. The following Monday, the lawyer came to congratulate me on a job well done.

“Now comes the hardest part of all,” she said with a slight smirk. I looked up inquisitively, the horror clearly etched on my face. It was a common theme now.

“Good luck trying to find a replacement on the committee,” she said, the laughter and wryness in her words almost palpable. As she turned and walked down the hallway, her last words and a string of relieved (evil?) cackles echoed in her midst. “Took me three years!”

I can still hear her laughter on the quietest of winter nights.