Repressible Wit

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Vol 38 Issue 28

Family Dog Barking At Evil

MEDFORD, OR—Spraggles, the Reid family's terrier, was barking at evil again Monday, his canine instincts detecting the presence of an unseen sinister force. "What on Earth is he carrying on about?" asked owner Ed Reid, watching Spraggles bark at a hall closet. "There's nothing in that closet but Grandma's old wedding gown and a hammer." Spraggles then headed to the backyard to bark at more evil, this time in the form of a newspaper page swirling in the wind.

Cash-Strapped Michael Jackson Forced To Sell Off Pet Giraffes As Meat

NEVERLAND VALLEY RANCH, CA—Nearly bankrupt due to Sony exploitation and under-promotion, Michael Jackson was forced to sell more than two dozen of his beloved pet giraffes to exotic-meat suppliers Monday. "I will greatly miss Patches and Princess and the other giraffes," Jackson said in a statement read by his lawyer. "But Tommy Mottola has cruelly left me with no choice but to pawn off some of my dearest friends in order to survive." Jackson's financial situation is reportedly so dire that he's also had to make do with a bargain-brand anal bleach.

Police Seek Poorly Drawn Man

DETROIT—Four days after the murder of liquor-store clerk Bernard Golub, police announced Tuesday that they are seeking a poorly drawn man in his 40s. "All units have been advised to be on the lookout for a 5-foot-9 Caucasian with dark hair and a lopsided face that looks all wrong in the jaw area," police chief Jerry Oliver said. Oliver added that the suspect has a scar across his forehead, or possibly just a mistake that wasn't fully erased.

Man Runs Out Of Questions To Ask 4-Year-Old

CAMDEN, SC—Two minutes into the interaction, David Linn ran out of questions to ask coworker Ron Marcone's 4-year-old son Luke. "I asked him his name, his age, if he has any brothers or sisters, if he's started school, his favorite food, what he wants to be when he grows up, and at least 20 things about the truck he was playing with," Linn said Monday. "After that, I just hit a wall." Linn added that he has newfound respect for Bill Cosby.

I'm Really Going To Miss This Task Force

As I look around this table, I see a group of people dedicated to improving the quality of school transportation in the North Rochester School District. More importantly, though, I see a group of people I will be very sorry to leave behind. I don't want to sound too gushy or sentimental, but I'm really going to miss this task force.
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Repressible Wit

If there's one thing I believe, it's that laughter is the best medicine. And your trusty Dr. Jean has been writing you a regular prescription for years. Goodness knows I'm no Whoopi Goldberg (who is?), but I like to think that I, too, have been blessed with the gift of seeing the lighter side of things. And I enjoy sharing my gift with the world right here in A Room Of Jean's Own.

But a recent incident showed me that not everyone appreciates my irrepressible wit. As a gal who tries hard to please, it hurts me to think I have critics, but columnists have to expect this sort of thing. A thin skin won't help you survive in this business, and if you've ever seen me in person, you know nothing about me is thin! (See? I do have a sense of humor about myself!) However, this particular attack was truly a low blow.

A few months before I was laid off from Fashion Bug, I was walking past the Jo Ann Fabrics in our strip mall when I spotted an unfamiliar newspaper rack for something called Pressing Matters, a "free alternative weekly." Always on the prowl for a freebie, I picked it up. I like to think I have an open mind, but Pressing Matters had a pretty "out there" approach. Like, there was swearing in the movie reviews (didn't they realize children could read that stuff?) and a comic strip with a politically opinionated penguin in wraparound sunglasses. (Give me good old Cathy any day!) And, judging from their ads, their chief income seems to come from phone-sex lines and naughty bakers. All in all, not my cup of tea. (Or should I say "slice of cake?")

Anyway, I forgot all about Pressing Matters until last Thursday evening, when hubby Rick burst through the door with a copy in his hand.

"Did you see this thing?" he asked.

I was totally shocked to see Rick holding a newspaper. Had he finally broken the no-reading vow he has strictly adhered to since the last day of high school?

"Yeah, I've seen that paper before," I replied. "How did you find it? Did you mistake it for the used-car shopper?"

"I saw it on the break-room table at work," Rick said. "It was open to an ad for bodywork services with this naked tattooed chick. She was hot, but she's probably a lesbo." (Sheesh! Who's dirtier-minded, this paper or hubby Rick?)

He handed me the paper. On the cover were cartoon drawings of all these local newsmakers and celebrities. Across the top, in big letters, it said, "Our 6th Annual 'Tulips & Thistles Awards'!"

"They give out Tulips to local stuff that's great and Thistles to stuff that sucks," Rick said. "You got a Thistle!"

I couldn't believe it! Sure enough, there I was in the Thistle column, alongside such offenders as the local nursing home that was fined for having patient sickrooms with lead paint and asbestos, and a County Board member accused of bribery! I was cited for a special award.

"Back in 1997, we here at Pressing Matters created the Tulips & Thistles 'Mediabolical' category to 'honor' the dubious achievements of a local media figure," the article read. "Past recipients include big-haired, mush-mouthed Fox-47 Evening News anchorwoman Carol Kerrey, and gratitude-impaired bestselling author Anthony Chapman, who turned down an interview with this very same alternative weekly that in 1991 gave him his start as an essayist and book reviewer. But this year, after a particularly distinguished 12 months by a certain columnist whose life reads like an open—and godawful—book, we decided to create a special new category, 'Least Insightful Newspaper Commentary.' Jean Teasdale is the inaugural recipient, and if she maintains her non-stop barrage of unfunny parenthetical asides, banal observations passed off as brilliance, and suburban solipsism wrapped in the clunkiest prose this side of The Herald's Dean Vukelich, she's a lock to take the prize next year, too. Hopefully, Mrs. Teasdale's editors will come to their senses and evict her from that 'Room Of Her Own' where, frankly, she spends way too much time."

I'm honestly not sure why Pressing Matters dislikes me so. Maybe they just can't handle my sassy, outspoken, take-no-prisoners attitude. Some people don't like a woman to speak her mind, and I noticed only two women in Pressing Matters' staff box, a city-government reporter and an editor-in-chief. What's the matter, Pressing Matters, afraid of a woman's input?

Or maybe they can't stand seeing a real person with real problems express herself. They have to write about boring things like local politics and modern-dance troupes and organic gardening. I don't have to write about any of that stuff! I have the freedom to write whatever I want. In fact, my editor once told me he didn't even care what I wrote! I bet Pressing Matters' writers don't have that remarkable carte blanche.

And another thing: If something is real, and it's true, how can anyone claim it's not good? I write about what I know best: ME. And isn't that what all good writers do?

What hurts most is that this happened right after I got laid off from Fashion Bug. I'm collecting unemployment right now, so this should be a time for me to relax and take stock, not be a public target of ridicule.

But I will persevere, Jeanketeers. As I said before, I'm blessed with some very thick skin!

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