Risky Behavior

Shannon Kernaghan Social-Distance-Please-400 Risky Behavior Adventure Challenge Challenges Comedy Culture Dating Friendship Health Humor Lifestyle Love Memories New Years Parties Recreation Sex  warnings uber stories by shannonkernaghan spread the word sharing drinks shannon kernaghan sex risky behavior present day virus kissing hazmat diseases covid-19 audio story alberta

The expression of the day is “risky behavior” compliments of Covid-19 warnings on how to avoid transmission: don’t congregate, don’t shake hands and don’t expect coffee shops to touch your refillable cups. From quarantines and closed borders to canceled schools and supply shortages – the daily number of confirmed cases is alarming.

The meaning of risky behavior sure has altered since I was a teenager. As with previous generations, we had the usual collection of risks, but most referred to the perils of running with scissors and the prospect of having sex.

Fast forward to 2020. As the coronavirus sweeps the globe, I’m convinced that life for young people is becoming more restrictive by the hour. 

How easy I used to have it! When I went to a New Year’s Eve party as a teen, I brought along two invaluable things: taxi fare in case I couldn’t find a sober driver and a roll of mints for breath protection. Locking lips at the stroke of midnight was a given. I can’t recall every name or face, yet I do remember the kissing.

With the present-day virus risk, a few breath mints won’t cut it. Today, if people plan to kiss, they’ll need a hazmat suit as if handling radioactive isotopes. Add the caution of “spread the word, not the disease” – forget about sharing drinks or borrowing a friend’s lipstick. And make room, taxi fare (or Uber account): pack a supply of sanitizing gel, rubber gloves and face masks. If I were currently dating, I’d be a nervous wreck. I’d also need a larger purse for all the required items!

How do these findings translate to modern-day youth? If you’re brave enough to venture out on a date with someone you’ve been drooling over, even a brisk glove-covered handshake is going too far. Instead, blow a kiss from at least six feet apart.

Come to think of it, try not to drool. You might be contagious. I hope you two make a compatible duo because you might end up quarantined together.

Yikes! Dating never felt so risky.

Did You Say Tampons?

Shannon Kernaghan Tampon-Box-cover-400 Did You Say Tampons? Beer Challenges Comedy Drinking Family Fun Health Humor Lifestyle Recreation Relationship Risk Shopping  teeth whitening tampons social life social distance shannon kernaghan scented tampons Rexall pandemic dental Covid19 bleaching teeth audio story

“Want me to buy more tampons?” I called out, standing at the door and ready to walk to Rexall for coffee cream. In this age of Covid-19 and social distancing, a quick friend-free walk followed by a speedy purchase has been the extent of both exercise and social life.

My husband joined me in the hall, saying, “Yes please, but don’t get me scented ones.”

That’s when I started to giggle. “What the fk happened to us? You used to ask for wine or beer, and now it’s tampons!”

Paul had used the last of my supply. Not for the intended reason but to soak up his spit.

Before anyone phones me in concern for my husband’s well-being, he’s fine. He’s so fine that he decided to whiten his teeth with bleaching trays.

Now that we’re in almost-self-isolation – until we run out of cream again – Paul has more time for self-improvement. But sitting with bleach-filled trays in his mouth for an hour a day in this week-long regime makes him drool. A lot.

When you live with someone for years, new behaviors aren’t shocking. But the first sight of him watching TV with a string hanging down his chin made me shriek: “Is that a tampon or the tail of a mouse?” I wasn’t sure which answer would make me feel better. My next comment: “Don’t move, I’m getting the camera!”

Scanning the shelves at Rexall today, I reached for the cheapest $3.49 sale box. Brand names and testimonials weren’t required, only the no-scented request.

Then I told my husband/drool/tampon story to the cashier. Sudden snorting and laughter wrinkled her surgical mask while I handed her my money.

Before I walked more than three steps outside the store, I thought, Wait a minute, $13.25 for sale tampons and a pint of cream? That’s not right.

I returned to her line, positioning myself an acceptable distance from the shopper ahead, and showed her the receipt when it was my turn. “I didn’t intend to pay $10 for a few drool catchers!” She laughed again and hurried with me to the tampon shelf to compare bar codes.

“Sorry, our mistake,” she said, and pointed to the correct sale box. I grabbed it and followed her back to the register for my refund, which required a signature with her non-sterilized pen. Luckily, I had my own pen handy.

Outside again, I swabbed my hands with sanitizing gel. Halfway home, I decided to double-check the new tampon box and . . . Scented, dammit! How did I miss that?

I refused to return a third box so walked further to another store. The place was busy! Aren’t we supposed to stay indoors, I thought, at least until we run out of cream for our coffee?

If anyone needs any scented tampons, let me know. Just wait until we’re pandemic-free before we meet up. I’ve crossed paths with enough people for one day.

And If I do contract the virus, you know I’ll blame Paul and his sparking white teeth.

Stay Young, Cinderella

Shannon Kernaghan octo-drawing-400 Stay Young, Cinderella Adventure Challenge Comedy Dating Fun Humor Lifestyle Love Memories Parties Relationship Risk Sex  turtleneck shannon kernaghan romance ride the wave restaurant dates octopus mr.right hickeys dating curfew cinderella audio story adventure 40 plus female

For women, finding romance after 40 is like searching for a restaurant with perfect lighting – too much is glaring, just enough is mood and too little is dungeon.

Lighting problems aside, I haven’t met a woman yet who’s lived under a rock. That means she has baggage by the time she reaches 40.
Baggage can be the size of carry-on; for others, we’re talking a steamer trunk, the kind travelers once took on lengthy ocean voyages.

When the voyage involves a 40-plus female seeking new romance, get ready for a choppy sea. After all, when you were young, single and dating, your main worries were getting your hair to cooperate and ensuring you had taxi fare home, in case Mr. Right turned out to be Mr. Octopus. 

Today, the typical 40-year-old has bigger concerns than hair and fare when she goes on a date: will she be able to enjoy dinner while wearing tight Spanx, especially with her lactose-intolerance? Should she order that crème brulee for dessert (see above re: Spanx and potential gas)?

Once upon a time, a young woman only had to deal with sneaking home past her curfew, or  trying to cover hickeys with a turtleneck in the heat of summer.

This same grown-up woman, back in the dating scene, must now seek dating approval from her children!

Since I haven’t been single for a while, I sought the wisdom of a higher power – Google. One article I found offered “dating guideposts.” Here are three top tips:

1) “Release your tiger – young and buff is hot, but seasoned and savvy is even better.” I’m allergic to cats. Perhaps I’ll release the hounds instead, payback time for the eight-armed “handsy” octopi I dated when single. And while I admire the writer’s optimism, there’s a fine line between seasoned/savvy and weary/jaded.

2) “Rebuke age myths – show ‘em that when it comes to love, it’s not too late.” For me, it is too late, at least when the subject involves sleep. Most nights I’m ready for beddy-bye before midnight. How will I ever stay up to party at hot clubs with a new date? Cinderella and the stroke of twelve never looked so scary.

3) “Ride the wave – no need to be a barfly or a party hopper. Post a profile with an online dating service.” I get seasick if I ride waves, and I rarely purchase online because I like to see and touch the merchandise. That means I’m not brave enough to rocket myself into cyberspace, or trust what crash-lands in my dating Inbox.

Suddenly, my husband is looking really good. ”Honey, can I rub your feet, how about a snack? . . . I am being serious!”

And how about a dimmer switch, for both your new love life and your restaurant table? It might be time to turn up the heat on romance, but remember to turn down those unforgiving lights.

Audio version song
“The Opening” by Dan Lebowitz

Goldilocks Gets Lip Locked

Shannon Kernaghan Goldi-Locks-Gets-Lip-Locked-400 Goldilocks Gets Lip Locked Adventure Challenge Childhood Comedy Dating Family Fun Humor Lifestyle Memoir parents Parties Relationship Sex  young love teenage love teen love lip locked kissing how to kiss goldi locks first kiss crushes audio story

My friend said that her 15-year-old nephew is experiencing major exam tension. “Gawd, I’d hate to be 15 again!” she added.

“Really? I’d love to get a teenage do-over,” I said.

Sure, I remember being hypersensitive about everything. But I also recall many exciting memories. Accomplishments, discoveries and – best of all – crushes. Boys stopped having cooties and started looking good.

If only I could return with my present-day brain. Oh, the power I’d have over kissing. By fifteen I remained un-kissed, mainly from a lack of options. Namely, the boys who paid attention to me were either too boring or too intimidating. Okay, so maybe I was picky.

I didn’t long for the studious bookworm who brought me gifts from his family trip to Germany. How thoughtful. Nor did I crave the brawling bad boy with engine grease under his nails. I started to feel like Goldilocks who couldn’t find the right bed.

My mom might not like to hear that bed analogy.

Speaking of Mom, years later she sent me a newspaper clipping about the first boy who kissed me, reporting how he was sent to prison for something grand – grand theft auto? grand larceny? 

I forget his crime but thanks all the same, Mom, for rubbing in my superlative taste in dates. And if I had my present brain at age 15, I’d be smart enough NOT to tell my mom about my first kiss!

As for that kiss, it was a memorable moment largely because I never saw it coming. I was on a date with an older boy from my high school. After a party, we rode home with another couple. In the car’s back seat, suddenly – SLURP – he caught me in a serious lip lock. With eyes wide open, I watched the poor guy work so diligently, maneuvering his mouth over mine. 

Was it a good first kiss? I was in too much shock for any useful rating system. Of course I had to break up with him. I wasn’t ready for all that attention from males. 

The next boy I kissed at age sixteen (slow starter me) pulled away from our embrace and said, “Know what would make this feel way better?”

Here it comes, I thought, convinced he was about to expound on the comfort advantage of removing our clothing. I’d heard plenty of juicy stories by then.

“What?”

“If you closed your mouth a little.”

Huh…? I figured the object of necking was to open wide and say “ah.” Instead, I was a big-mouthed bass. I’ll forever be grateful for his kiss coaching, although I had to break up with him too. How could I stand the shame?

While a self-professed slow starter, I was an equally quick learner. Once I figured out how to lock lips without a negative critique, I quite liked everything about necking.

Dear 15-year-old nephew: may you survive the teen years with more laughter than tears. And if you haven’t already, have fun learning how to kiss. It only gets better!

Audio version song Blue Sky Song
  by
Quincas Moreira

You Call This Retail Therapy?

Shannon Kernaghan Therapy-400 You Call This Retail Therapy? Challenge Comedy Culture Fashion Fun Health Humor Lifestyle Memoir Relationship Sex Shopping  therapy snoring stop strips snoring sleeping partners shopping shannon kernaghan rock bottom prices queen bed impulsive glossy lip stick first-aid earplugs audio story

I enjoy a good sale. The best experience is one that melds impulsiveness with rock-bottom prices.

Last week I set out to buy a box of bandages. Instead of going directly from the store’s First Aid aisle to the cashier, I wandered past a section filled with sale items. 

The write-up on one of those items read: “Sick and tired of snoring? Relief is right under your nose.” The front of the box pictures a couple in bed. The man is asleep, mouth open, while the woman is wide awake with eyes that stare towards the ceiling. Her expression? “Kill me now.”

Flip the box over. The “after” shot shows the couple sleeping contentedly. His mouth is closed and hers is upturned in a happy smile. She wears glossy lipstick.

I bought it and saved $6. When I finished pawing through instructions and packaging, all that remained was a tiny piece of opaque plastic resembling a clip-on earring.

At bedtime I re-read the instructions: “Once in position, you can move about, lie down to sleep and even take a run.”

Now why would anyone wear this when running? People might pant, but they don’t snore.

More helpful notes: “The nasal dilator tips are to fit comfortably against the septum.” Since the illustration was too tiny to be useful, I looked up the definition of septum: “The dividing wall or membrane between bodily spaces – compare dissepiment.” I did compare and found “See septum.” 

I was running out of patience. And night.

Then I applied lipstick. Not really but I should have, as a courtesy to my husband. After all, the contents in my bedside drawer scream anything but sexy. The foam earplugs shout, “Turn down the TV, I’m trying to sleep, dammit!” and my cumbersome mouth guard hollers, “Stop clenching your teeth!”

Did I mention the snoring gadget is for me? My husband also snores but with my earplugs in place, I’m oblivious.

By 4:30 a.m. I yanked off the contraption. The instructions had referred to a dilating action; I only experienced pinching, like the slow strangle of tight socks.

As for the dilator with its claims of no sticky strips, no skin irritation and no side effects, I’ll add my own critique: no work.

If my husband doesn’t like my occasional snorts and snuffles, he can move to the couch. At least I won’t have to bother with any lipstick.

After all of this retail therapy, I may need some actual therapy!

audio version song
“Cancun”
by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena

Happiness is an ‘A’

Shannon Kernaghan Happiness-is-an-A Happiness is an 'A' Adventure Career Challenges Childhood Comedy Family Fashion Health Humor Lifestyle Memories parents Relationship Uncategorized  striving stress stirrups shannon kernaghan receiving a prescription optometrist optometric nervous chatter medical learn english math honor rolls high scores family doctor doctor cramfor exams audio story A

I’m someone who strives for high scores and enjoys any that come my way. For example, I like getting an A on tests, even if I’m taking a class for my own pleasure or if it’s a course I don’t like.

Somewhere during my formative past, my parents must have impressed me with the benefits of good performance and honor rolls. As a result, receiving an A in anything still makes me feel all shiny and new.

While I haven’t been to school for the past few years, I did recently take an exam. An eye exam.

Luckily, I didn’t have to cram for this one although I did rest my peepers, keeping them closed in the waiting room. I wanted to hear three simple words: “Everything. Is. Fine.” A healthy diagnosis is like an A on a math test.

Now math I can live without, except when I’m scanning my bank account or taking inventory of the chicken nuggets in my Happy Meal, but I am concerned about my vision.

Before meeting with the optometrist, I badgered the assistant during my pretest: What does this machine do? Should I be seeing those squiggly lines? Has my prescription changed? Did I pass?

The woman smiled, trying to keep up: It checks for glaucoma, yes, no, and yes, with flying colors. 

Now give the girl a lollipop or better yet, a red pepper. I read that peppers are the stuff of good eye health.

And give that optometric assistant a raise, for being so patient.
When the doctor invited me into his office to conduct further tests, I immediately started babbling a nervous shtick as he went through the “better or worse?” drill.

Perhaps it was the physical closeness or the dimmed lighting but while he examined me, I felt the need to share self-deprecating anecdotes, as if fishing for a compliment or trying to get a laugh.

The doctor likely thought, Too much information, I’m only interested in your corneas!

By the time I finished my stand-up (in this case sit-down) routine and he completed the exam, I realized I hadn’t asked a single thing about him. I left the office knowing exactly what I already knew about myself – how boring.

I didn’t mind handing over my credit card to pay the bill, not only because of the efficient treatment and high-tech equipment that put my mind – and eyes – at ease, but because these friendly professionals were forced to spend 30 minutes with high score-seeking me.

For the record, I did get an A – no prescription change and no deterioration. Unless you include my nervous banter during the exam, which needs some improvement.

Next month, I’ll be shooting for an A with my family physician. That gives me a few weeks to brush up my routine. In a small room with stirrups and cold instruments, you know there’s going to be plenty of nervous chatter in the opening act.

At least from my end. 

Audio version song
Elevator
by
Fascinating Earth Objects 

Look Out For the Rats

Shannon Kernaghan Look-Out-for-the-Rats-400 Look Out For the Rats Belongings Childhood Comedy Family Fun Gifts Humor Lifestyle Memories parents Pets and Animals  shannon kernaghan rodents rats pizza rats left brain thinking #shannon kernaghan

I discovered a few rats downtown, and last weekend I brought three of them home with me. They’re not real rats (or married people who pocket their wedding rings when going for a drink after work), but art rats.

A nearby gallery recently held a one-year anniversary and celebrated by selling donated art to raise money for the artist-run shows.

The gallery showcased a roomful of rodent-themed pieces designed from paint, ceramics, wire and needlepoint.

I’m not overly welcoming towards rats, unless they’re the cartoon or stuffed animal variety. But I do like to support our determined artists.

It takes exceptional people to bare themselves for public critique. And it takes courage to enter a creative field when there’s no guarantee of gain or glory. But try they must.

Besides, how many rat sculptures can you create and give to your mother before she stops accepting deliveries? Good thing we have our galleries.

It’s an indisputable fact – artists create because they must.

Why such admiration? Because I’m a left-brain thinker and can’t draw a convincing stick figure. I don’t even have a consistent signature when signing my name to the back of my ID and credit cards. 

My first artistic foray most likely involved Popsicle sticks, gold glitter and glue that ended up everywhere except the target. Years later, my high school dalliance with textiles resulted in a crooked gingham apron that only a mother – the same one with rat ornaments lining her curio cabinet – could love.

I appreciate those who pilot a potter’s wheel or wield a welding rod. For that reason, I’ll continue to collect and cherish their creations.

Will I end up with a Banksy Girl with Balloon piece that sold for $1.4 million even though it was partially shredded at auction? Who cares. I buy art because I like it.

For our wedding, my sister gave us a sculpted piece, a weird little monster named Theobold who wears a turtleneck and holds a cup in his gnarly monster grip. I’m happy to say that the marriage has fared the storms of time better than Theobold.

Although I try to be careful, poor Theobold has been broken on four or five occasions. Last summer he fell off a ledge while I read in a chair several feet away.

Luckily, I’ve retained good gluing skills from kindergarten. As for any financial appreciation over the years, Theobold has too many missing pieces to ever increase in value, but I’ll never say good-bye to him.

Please, no one send me a Rodin sculpture for my next birthday – if my monster is jumping off his ledge, just imagine the trouble The Thinker will get into.

Hang on . . . now my new clay rats are starting to eye me with suspicion. Better buy more glue.

Audio story backing track
Mind and Eye Journey
by
Emily Sprague

Hands Off The Pooch!

Shannon Kernaghan Hands-off-my-pooch-400 Hands Off The Pooch! Challenge Childhood children Comedy Culture Family Fun Health Humor Lifestyle Love Memoir parents Relationship Sex

My husband has begun an annoying habit while we relax in bed: he plays with my stomach as if it’s bread dough.

“Stop it!” I yell and slap at his pawing hand. ”This isn’t Silly Putty!”

Although I’ve never been pregnant, I can empathize when people reach out to rub a woman’s  rotund stomach. Those people envision a beautiful growing baby and are drawn to it, the same way they’re attracted to a puppy or kitten.

Conversely, those pregnant women see a groping hand reaching towards them and they’ve never felt so territorial.

Men must endure similar attention. I’m referring to men who’ve shaved their heads to a downy fuzz.

My hand trembles with desire to sweep my palm across all that fuzz. Now it’s tough to concentrate on what the guy is saying. Downy. Alluring. Must touch.  

There’s nothing sexual about it. If anything, my psyche is probably reconnecting with my youth where I played with my Ken doll, the kind with the peach-fuzz head. Sure, Barbie had great golden locks, but Ken’s head was something special.

Let’s shelve my downy head hang-up and get back to pregnant women. Lately great emphasis is placed on the prenatal experience. Parents don’t simply talk to their unborn babies but also read to them and play selected music.

Embryologists say that the ear is the first organ to develop, that it becomes functional after only eighteen weeks and baby listens actively from twenty-four weeks on.Speaking, reading and singing to a baby before birth is said to enhance its ability to distinguish sounds after birth. Some scientists believe that babies understand what’s being said around them.

I find that hard to believe. If babies understand from an early age, why is it such a struggle to toilet train them or teach them why they can’t throw Daddy’s keys into the toilet? For keys, they have no problem with the flush.

If you have extra time in your busy day, why not buy a device that allows you to hear, record and e-mail your unborn baby’s heartbeat and hiccups.

Here’s one ad I found online: “Listen to these sounds with the baby’s father, siblings or friends. You will also hear the nutrients passing through the placenta.”

I wouldn’t be too keen to share sounds from my placenta; once that child is born, we’ll be treated to enough sounds. My device of choice would be ear plugs.

My own mother was busy with four children before I arrived. Little concern went towards my in utero experience. I’m thankful enough that Mom didn’t smoke, slam shooters or play with hallucinogens while she was pregnant.

As for my non-pregnant pooch, I’ve created a new rule in our household: I’ll let my sweetheart squeeze my belly if he shaves his head and lets me stroke his fuzz. Now that’ll be a Friday night tale to tell the non-kids. 

audio song The Nexxus Riddum
by
Konrad Old Money

Cave Comedians Rock!

Shannon Kernaghan cave-club-drawing-450 Cave Comedians Rock! Career Comedy Culture Drinking Food Fun Humor Parties Read Along

My husband and I watched an old episode of “Seinfeld,” one with comedy highlights from the many years the series ran.

“This is hilarious stuff. Every little bit is funny,” I said. 

“That’s because you’ve already seen the episodes and know the characters,” Paul answered. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t make sense.”

I was about to do what I usually do when challenged – argue – but he was correct. Comedy, much like calculus or Shakespeare, is difficult to understand or appreciate unless you start at the beginning. In other words, you need the Seinfeld 101 course before you can progress to your PhD in HaHa.

While our tastes change, I bet we haven’t altered much over the eons, at least in the way we enjoy laughter and entertainment. 

Stop and think about our early ancestors, those cave dwellers who lived before the invention of the wheel. What do we really know about them? We can only guess what made them laugh out loud, or hoot and holler with chimp-like shrieks. For all we know, they watched stand-up comedians like we do at Yuk Yuks today.

I’d love to be a primordial fly on the cave wall when the first act took place at a rock stage near you: “Thank you, thank you very much. So where y’all from? That crater by the lava flow? I didn’t think any vertebrates still lived there [nervous giggling, hairy foot shuffling] . . . I just flew in from the tar pits and are my knuckles ever tired!”

Now comes the sound of applause or grunts of satisfaction. Hard to tell whether the register is delight or anger, with those prominent jaws and swept-back foreheads.

From the back, a heckler growls something off-color. 

“What’s that, your knuckles don’t drag? Sheesh, there’s a Neanderthal in every cave!” More applause and some supportive rock throwing ensues.

The show ends on familiar note: “You’ve been a great crowd, thanks for coming to Kruk Kruks. Be good to your servers – no hair pulling. And look out for those sabre-tooth tigers on your way home.”

Audience members pull on their animal hides and claim their clubs at the door. The Comedy Cave quickly empties. 

Then, everyone makes a quick (tar) pit stop before queuing up for the drag-through window of the nearest Golden Arches. A Big Mammoth, pterodactyl nuggets, name your poison. Whatever gets you through the Paleolithic night.

With six million years of evolution under our gene pool belt there’s an undeniable amount of variation, but those hominid similarities do exist. We had “Seinfeld,” they had “Trog.”

I’ll never gaze into a campfire the same way again. And I’ll never take my handy canister of Wet Ones for granted, thanks to our ancestors who were there at the dawn of intelligence.

To all of you cave comedians, you rock!

Audio version song “Fancy”
by
Saidbysed