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Life Can Be Cruel

by Dena Blizzard

Since this month kicked off with April Fools’ Day, I thought, “What better time to talk about life’s little jokes that occur throughout the year?” April Fools’ Day has always been about small pranks or jokes made on friends and family, with the hope of eliciting laughter or genuine good-natured “fool making.” But lately, I feel like life lobs these same pranks on me throughout the year, every day, to make me crazy.

Mind you, these daily life pranks are not life-altering; they are just the day-to-day annoyances that will either make you go crazy or teach you to learn to laugh. Here are a few of my own, can you relate?

No. 1 - The dog that hates my guts
I have two dogs. One is named Coco and he hates me. I really shouldn’t take it personally. I think he hates everyone. He tries to bite people when they attempt to leave the house and he attacked a Fox 29 cameraman in my driveway. The other dog is nice, though. His name is Colby. He’s a black Labradoodle that we rescued last year (which always sounds like I saved him from a fire, but I really just picked him up in my van). So, I’ll look at the bright side, one out of my two dogs likes me. I choose to be happy about that. Yep, that’s what I choose. ... And I also choose wine.

No. 2 - The van door that won’t open
Some people live in fancy houses with fancy cars with minivan doors that open. Not me. I like when only one sliding door on my van works. I mean, sure, kids are constantly getting in and out of one door and inevitably someone gets trapped inside, and so what if the car alarm dings NON-STOP while I’m driving unless I pull over and wipe down the connections with the dirty sock we keep in the back of the seat? I could look at this as a cruel life joke as I watch all the “cool moms” drive by with their car doors that “open.” Instead, I’ll just dream about the car I’m getting after someone smashes into me, in a totally non-life threatening, but “your van is totaled” kind of way. It will be so nice. My new car will have doors that open, a crap load of napkins in the door and cup holders pre-filled with chewed up bubble gum so I’ll feel right at home.

No. 3 - The lot with no trees
My husband and I bought a house on a lot with no trees. That’s nice, right? That’s what we thought until this last snowstorm. You remember “Stella” right? The storm that didn’t bring 10 inches of snow; instead, it brought four inches of snow and all the tree limbs in South Jersey. Well, our neighbor’s trees fell right on our fence.

My neighbor came by to apologize and then tell me that my homeowners would have to cover it because it was on my property. What?! I don’t have trees. I have air. That’s what my husband and I bought; a piece of property with a house on it and some air. Air doesn’t fall on houses; trees do. That’s why we didn’t get a lot with trees. Now, I could replace the fence, but why? So more trees can fall on it? I think not. I could be mad, and, well, I am. There is no bright side to this one. I’m just going to enjoy my air.

No. 4 - The stovetop that ticks
Now, this one may take some time to explain. I’m almost positive that no one else has a stovetop that ticks nonstop like a time bomb, so I like to call this the “Dena Blizzard Special.” In this scenario, you bought a house three years ago with a stove that looks normal except that you didn’t check the stove on inspection because it “looks like a stove” and why would a stove tick incessantly? It’s a gas stove, so it’s perfectly acceptable that it ticks ‘til the gas is ignited EXCEPT that even after the pilot is lit it keeps ticking ... forever! It used to make me crazy, but I’m used to it now. The annoying part is when people are over. I’ll be making something yummy, completely oblivious to the ticking time bomb sound emanating from my stove, and my guests are about to run for cover. You know what, I take it back, this one is funny.

No. 5 - The voice that no one hears
No one listens to me. Not the dumb dog. Not the kids. I won’t even bother mentioning my husband. It’s a cross that I bear on a daily basis. From the moment I wake up I dole out useful advice like “Eggs have protein!” “Don’t let the dog lick you there!” and “Because I said so.” Why is no one listening? This motherly advice has been passed down from generation to generation. I’m pretty sure I listened to my mom. I especially loved her “Everybody loves sardines!” and “Of course the boys like girls with braces and a perm!”

These life jokes are not the end of the world. No one has died here, but it feels like April Fools’ Day every day. This is the life of a mom I guess. Nothing is ever really perfect. You drive a junky car, your dog hates you, trees fall on your fence and your house may blow up but you hold it together. You try to get by the best way you can, every day, just waiting for that single moment where you are the only arms that can give the perfect hug or say the right thing. I live for those moments ... and that’s no joke.

A number of South Jersey comics are donating their time for a fundraising show for veterans through Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey on April 29 at the Ritz Theater in Collingswood. For more information, visit RitzTheatreCo.org/tickets.

Comedian Dena Blizzard is a married mother of three, a former Miss New Jersey and the writer, producer and star of the Off Broadway hit show “One Funny Mother.” In her free time she folds laundry, is a carpool mom and has created a dirty board game called “Chardonnay Go, For Wine Lovers, Moms and Other Shameless People.” Find Dena at Facebook.com/DenaBlizzard or at the Cheesecake Factory.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 1 (April, 2017).
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