Help! I’m trapped in an El Camino wearing a Clown Suit with Mimi Bobeck

If you have never had the…um…pleasure of experiencing a full-blown panic attack, consider yourself lucky.  When I was in my early twenties–back in the days before compact discs and Pantene–I used to have a lot of them.  I worked in a bank and had what was, perhaps, the strangest job description a financial institution has ever concocted.  In the morning, I adopted the role of bubbly receptionist with an Osmond Family grin.  In the afternoon, however, I kissed my sunny disposition adieu and put on my snarly collection officer hat.  Ironically, my desk didn’t change.  Just my persona.  

Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas

I wonder how many customers wandered away thinking, “that little redheaded girl must suffer from a multiple personality disorder.”  Note to self:  stay away from former place of employment and men who drive large white vans with padded interiors.  

Anywho, I blame the sudden appearance of my panic attacks on my unusual job duties.  And on the fact that I was still living among cockroaches.  And I had just been chased down the street by a man in an electric wheelchair.  But you already know about all of that.  

And they thought I was deranged...

And they thought I was deranged…

Amazingly, I was not the lone sufferer of high anxiety.  It turned out that the soft-spoken, seemingly “had her shit together” loans officer–we’ll call her Wilma.  I don’t know why–spent a great deal of her time fighting heart palpitations, dizziness, and an irrepressible desire to flee with her hands up in the air yelling gibberish.  

panic attack

In fact, she introduced me to a sure-fire way to fight the panic.  And it involved lying on the floor.  Now, my fear of being stepped on–particularly by someone wearing golfing cleats–precluded me from flopping spread-eagle on the linoleum beside my desk, aka the Jekyll and Hyde district.

giant cleat

Giant cleats…they DO exist.

 “Wilma,” however had a carpeted office with a functioning door.  Here, we could both lie on our backs, engage in deep-breathing exercises, and imagine our “happy places.”  Hers involved meadows, songbirds, and sunshine.  Mine was Times Square on a July afternoon–which could explain why meditation has never worked for me.

happy place

Thankfully, once I shed the job, the panic attacks–and the need to find a carpeted spot in a low-traffic area–disappeared.  As did my antacid addiction.  And my fear of mental health professionals.

While I have been panic attack-free for twenty years, there are a few things that could potentially tip me over the edge.   

1.  creepy clownClowns freak me out.  Personally, I think there is something seriously wrong with someone who spends their day in big floppy shoes, an afro wig, and lipstick that looks like it was put on by a far-sighted centenarian with a tremor.  

Personally, I have never understood why people flock to circuses.  And I always give Ronald McDonald statues a wide berth.  But no amount of Zoloft could quell the anxiety that sleeping on an actual “clown pillow” would create.  

Seriously.  There are people that actually make clown pillows.  And, there are sick, twisted, individuals with way too much disposable income who buy them.  

Here is a horrifying glimpse of the many innocent pillows that have been defaced by clowns.   

clown pillow handstitchedclown pillow cheshire cat grinclown pillow 5 oclock shadowclown pillow hole in headclown pillow impressionistclown pillow pom pom fringe

Which one would deprive you of the most zzz’s?  Which one is the least horrific?  


2.  This is a strange phobia, I know–especially for someone who loves cars as much as I do–but El Camino’s scare the crap out of me.  I don’t know why.  

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Chevy’s version of the Ford Ranchero (another freak on wheels), it was basically a coupe with a truck box.  Yup, Dr. Frankenstein bred a Chevelle with a C1500 and this is the ugly baby.  

Forget the ’57 Fury.  Christine should have been an El Camino.  Definitely uglier.  And a whole lot scarier.  


3)  The ugliest toy known to man, without a doubt, is the troll doll.  Dolls, as you know, are high on my list of “things that freak me out,” but the worst of all are these rainbow-coloured freaks with bad hair and mongoloid monkey faces.  Their association with Mimi Bobeck does not help either.  She was just weird.  

Since I’m supposed to be regaling you with dendrite-enhancing knowledge, here are a few little known troll doll facts.  

It turns out that it is perfectly okay to refer to these plastic atrocities as “damn trolls” as you are not too far off the mark.  The first collectible troll dolls were created by the Dam family of Denmark in the ’50s and are officially known as “Dam Things.”  

The most collectible trolls are black trolls, 2-headed ones (yikes), those with real mohair, and ones that appear to be the result of an animal pairing.  

DreamWorks animation has acquired the film rights to the Damn Things troll dolls and, apparently, plans to use them in a feature film.  This would truly be a horror flick.

That’s enough about troll dolls.  I’m getting hives.   

What things freak you out?  

Photo credits:  Old folk on Rascals (, Panic attack (, Happy Place (, Giant Cleat (, “Go To Bed” (;clown pillows: handstitched (, Cheshire cat grin (, 5 o’clock shadow clown (, hole in head (, impressionist clown (, pompom fringe (; El Camino (, troll tattoo (

My boobs are itchy, I smell like horse ass, and I can’t stop licking the road.

People who love the winter have something seriously wrong with them.  I don’t care if you’re an acrobatic back-flipping downhill skier, an expert snowperson builder, or the guy who salts our street like it’s a slab of pork rind–no one in their right mind would choose winter over the other three seasons.

In summer, you can like whatever the heck you want.

In summer, you can like whatever the heck you want.

Who wants a nose that feels like it is full of small tenement blocks and bleeds every time you try to “clean it out?”  I know–some of you are probably saying “EW!” right now.  But you are not from these parts.  We may have snow on the ground and damp in the air OUTSIDE, but our toasty homes contain air as dry as a popcorn fart.  Nasal passages don’t stand a chance.  I’m with George Costanza on this one–“with all that dry desert air, I bet that even Moses had occasion to pick.”

God help the women of  Eastern Canada because boobs get itchy.  I bet that every estrogen-owner north of the 49th can’t wait to find a private place to claw at her nipples.  I know that you’re thinking about it right now.  Go ahead.  Scratch.  I won’t look.  I’ll be too busy with my own.

And who in the hell enjoys trying to get the bottom of their pants into a pair of tall boots.  A person can’t wear skinny jeans every single day and normal ones make your boots all bloated and bumpy looking if you don’t put them in just right.  It’s a pain, is it not?

Even a Super Hero wear a boot-cut jean every once in a while.

Even a Super Hero wears a boot-cut jean every once in a while.

And, holy crap–hair really does like to do its own thing in the winter, doesn’t it?  No amount of goop can tame it.  And I have long, curly, red hair.  This is how I look from December to March.

He has quite the "do" going on, doesn't he?  My winter head is bigger.

He has quite the “do” going on, doesn’t he? My winter head is bigger.

You know how much I hate clowns. Just looking at this freak is disturbing me immensely.  His hair is tamer than mine though.

You know how much I hate clowns. Just looking at this freak is disturbing me immensely. His hair is tamer than mine though.

The only difference is that my hair is not wool.  Wool-like, yes.  But not actual wool.

The only difference is that my hair is not wool. Wool-like, yes. But not actual wool.

Please keep in mind, that the only resemblance that I have to these photos is the hair.  I do not have a red triangular nose and pasty white complexion.  Nor do I have Carrot Top’s freakish eyebrows or Raggedy Ann’s missing upper lashes.  And my shoes aren’t sewn on to my feet.

1) 2009-_1356001iElaine Davidson of the UK, also the Guinness World Record Holder for the woman with the most piercings, would have one hell of a time trying to rid her nose of oxygen barriers.  By 2006, she had been been punctured by 4225 piercings.  With that many holes in her, she probably doesn’t float.  Thankfully, she lives in the damp of Scotland and doesn’t have to worry about dry air encrusting her nose.

And, no.  She doesn’t set off the metal detectors at the airport.

shovel racing

2)  My shovel is not my friend.  Spending time with him involves a lot of work.  The snowblower is much easier to get along with.

But it turns out that I have been missing out on a perfect way to bond with my shovel–shovel racing.  Yup.  It really exists and wasn’t created by Canadians.  In fact, this sport was born in New Mexico of all places.

At Angel Fire Resort, in the Southern Rockies, snow-shovel enthusiasts can be seen careening down mountainous slopes at speeds of up to 70 mph.  Holy crap.  Only old-school metal shovels are allowed.  For some reason, visions of Clark Griswold‘s food-varnish-covered flying saucer springs to mind.  But these snow-shoveled psychopaths aren’t in a movie, and trees don’t know to stay out of their way.

A recent variation of the sport involves hooking up your shovel to a horse, shouting a yee-haw or two, and going wherever your equine takes you.  Yup, that’s just where I want to be when Black Beauty takes a dump.  Under her butt on a shovel.

For the entrepreneurial shovel-rider.

For the entrepreneurial shovel-rider.


3)  One thing I really don’t understand is the whole “electrified outdoor clothing” trend.  Why would anyone want electric mitts?  Sure, they’re warm.  But sitting on the electric chair is probably toasty too.

Mitts are meant for snow.  Snow is made of water.  Water and electricity don’t mix.  If you build a snowball in electric mitts, will you electrocute yourself?  I mean, it bodes well for your intended snowball victim.  But it does seem like a rather harsh punishment for engaging in child’s play.

And what happens if your hands sweat?

Stress makes my hands sweat when I’m not wearing heated mittens.  Worrying about my heated mittens killing me will definitely exacerbate the problem.  What if your wearing your heated mittens while riding a shovel behind a horse and the horse pees on your hands?  Will you die under a horse’s ass?

Heated mitts are clearly not for the neurotic.

I have to go.  My nose is bleeding.

Photo credits:  tongue stretch, men in tights, Carrot Top, Ronald McDonald, Raggedy Ann, piercings, shovel dude,  horse poop, autopsy cartoon

An Okra, An Artichoke, and a Mitt With No Ears

I love mascots.  Seriously, for me, they are the highlight of any sporting event.  Who doesn’t love an animal or inanimate object that stands on all fours and, for the most part, acts human.  Well, like a very hyper, Ritalin-needing human.  That doesn’t speak.  And seems to require constant attention.

The truth is–I WANT to be a mascot.  Perhaps not a sports mascot.  I’d live in fear of the other team’s fans.  I’d like to be an advertising mascot.  Well, on nice mild days.  Those costumes must be a bitch in the heat.  The head probably absorbs sweat like a sponge.  It would probably weigh a ton by the end of the day with all that water-weight.  And what if it hasn’t been dry-cleaned since the last person’s perspiration oozed all over it?  Ew!

Okay, so my mascot dreams do have limitations.  But on a not-too-hot and not-too-cold summer day with a zero probability of precipitation, I would love to dress up as something cute with eyes.

I once got to spend a day as the Planter’s Peanut.  That was fun.  Who doesn’t love a monocled nut?  Or is a peanut a legume?  Doesn’t matter.  The fact is that I got to be a fictional and beloved character for a day.  I admit that the costume wasn’t exactly designed for someone who is as “vertically challenged” as I am.  Mr. Peanut had no legs.  Just a body and feet.

I had the opportunity to be an Instant Teller Machine once, but, of course, I was too short.  Apparently, Instant Tellers are at least 5’7″.  Isn’t there a law against height discrimination?  Is there a mascot union that I can file some sort of grievance with?  At least I can take comfort in the fact that the whole Instant Teller mascot thing was cancelled.  The tall people just didn’t want to do it.  Go figure.

1)  So, I decided to look up some mascots on-line and choose my next gig.  I discovered that produce-based mascots are all the rage.  Particularly with sports teams.  This seems strange to me.  I hadn’t realized that vegetables have so much street cred.  I’ll have to keep a closer eye on my tossed salad.  God only knows what trouble such a large group of greens could get in to.  Peer pressure.

Here’s a sampling of what I found.   

I am partial to Artie, but I doubt he intimidates his foes.  Not only is he an edible fellow with a cute name, but he has a so-dopey-looking-he’s-got-to-be-a-nice-guy smile and the same stance and mannerisms as Barney.  The dinosaur, not Rubble.

In case it isn’t obvious, the WuShock is a manly bale of wheat.

2)  There are a lot of product mascots that I love.  If I am completely honest, my “mascot bucket list” (I can’t believe that I just admitted I have one of those in a public forum) would include poking the doughboy’s belly, partying with Red and Yellow M&M, shaking the Hamburger Helper Hand, opening the door for the Excel Gum garlic (and teaching the donut some yoga for better balance), and punching the Snuggle bear.  I know that last bit sounds cruel, but come on–he’s nauseating and spends way too much time in women’s laundry.

I would, however, give the Burger King ‘King’ a very wide birth.  He’s just creepy.  For one thing, he parts his hair in the middle, which only highlights the large cow-lick he has on each side of his head.  Plus, he has no bottom teeth.  He supposedly lives on burgers, so how the hell does he chew them?

Plus, I would never trust him around my children.

Well, Burger King seems to think that children and adults alike will want to dress up as their social deviant “royal.”  This horrific mask is available in several sizes.  If you’d like to buy one, seek help.  (Oops, did I say that out loud?)  You can purchase this here:

3)  In my opinion, the Arby’s Oven Mitt was awesome.  Despite the fact that his voice belonged to Tom Arnold.  It’s not the mitt’s fault.

Oven Mitt wasn’t around for very long, which I really don’t understand.  Ronald McDonald was employed for years and let’s face it–clowns are creepy and he is creepy even by clown standards.  And don’t even get me started on the Noid.

My favourite commercial starring this beloved mitt is the one where he attempts to wear glasses, but discovers (much to his shock and dismay) that he has no ears.

I did, however, find this gem:

So, if you require a mascot to dress up as something cute with eyes, but is shorter than the average mascot, and in no way resembles a clown, let me know.  Just get the costume dry-cleaned first.

Photo Credits: WuShock & Artie (, Okra (, Kernel (Grand Forks Herald), Oven Mitt (Flickr-Roger Coss).