Common Cents

July 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Darren Marlar –

Recently Coinstar allowed the American public to give their thoughts on what should happen to the U.S. penny.

For a lot of us, the penny is nothing but a nuisance. For others though (two thirds of those surveyed), Uncle Sam should keep the copper coin in circulation. The survey also found that most people would stop to pick up ole’ Abe if we saw him on the ground looking up at us (84 percent of women and 74 percent of men).

But really, we can’t get rid of the penny. Society would crumble. Think about it. What about penny loafers? They’d cease to exist. And penny arcades are already gone forever!

You could never get paid a “Penny for your thoughts.” You’d have to share your opinions for free.

People would have no need for a savings account, because “a penny saved is a penny earned” would be completely meaningless.

You’d spend money without thinking about it because you could no longer be a “penny-pincher.”

What about “See a penny, pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck”? You’d have to move it up to a nickel or dime – meaning good luck would suddenly be five to ten times more expensive.

Speaking of inflation, making a wish in a fountain would cost a lot more too.  And how do you tell a waitress that she gave you lousy service if you don’t have a penny to put on the table face down?

Of course, this is just my two cents on the issue. Take it now, because if the penny does disappear, I’d have to give you a nickel’s worth of advice, and I don’t have enough bandwidth for that.

Slightly Irregular

June 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Darren Marlar –

Hey, congratulate me… I just turned forty! (Two years ago.)

They say life begins at forty. Turns out they lied. As soon as I turned forty I started losing my hair (finding it on my butt).

I’m near-sighted and far-sighted. I’ve got eyebrows that look like tree branches. I have psoriasis on my cheeks (both sets). I’ve got high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, a toenail that looks like a Frito…

And my friends wonder why I get cranky? Really? How can you not be in a bad mood with irritable bowel syndrome? It’s right there in the name!

“How are you feeling?”


I’m both near-sighted and far-sighted. That means I can’t see things far away and I can’t see things up close. Isn’t that just blind? If you want to have a face-to-face conversation with me you have to be exactly three paces away.

As for losing my hair, I don’t think they should call it hair loss. That kinda makes it sound like it’s your fault that it’s gone, doesn’t it? Like somehow you’ve misplaced it? “Honey – have you seen my hair?! Well, it was right here on the back of the toilet lid!”

I see TV commercials promising a full head of hair – but then I see the side effects. Bad breath, body odor, tongue fungus. I saw this TV commercial that said, “Is Benephyne right for you? Ask your doctor.” But they didn’t say what Benephyne was for. It MIGHT be for hair loss, but it might be for excessive belly-button lint or elephantitis of the arm pits.

So I was at the doctor’s office and I asked, “Is Benaphyne right for me?”

“Well, Darren,” he said, “that’d be a question for your gynecologist.” So I have an appointment next Tuesday.

My mom says I’m “slightly irregular.” What she means is I’m not perfect. I wish she’d just say “not perfect,” because “slightly irregular” makes it sound like you’ve got a colon problem. Slightly irregular sounds like you’re seventy-percent off on the clearance rack.

But we’re all slightly irregular… and still, God has a plan for you anyway. We tend to think of ourselves as puzzle pieces: irregularly shaped with odd markings. Some of us, such as myself, are morbidly obese puzzle pieces. Painted pale. (If I was any whiter I’d be clear.) Puzzle pieces with no perceivable talents other than making people laugh and patronizing restaurants with all-you-can-eat buffets.

Others are smaller pieces, with different attributes, skills, and talents. But we are all equally important to completing the puzzle. No matter what the picture on the puzzle, the entire thing is worthless if even a single piece is missing, right?

God takes us, in the exact form we are, places us into the puzzle, and it turns out we aren’t slightly irregular. We’re perfectly irregular! We fit exactly into the hole God placed us in. We were perfectly shaped after all!

In fact, no other person who ever lived before you or who will ever live after you can fill that hole in the universe as perfectly as YOU can. That’s why God created YOU. He loves YOU that much. YOU are that important to HIS ultimate plan.

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb… Before you were born I set you apart.” Do you know what that means? Even before you were conceived, God knew one day you’d be slightly irregular! He knew you would eventually become torn, ripped, ruffled and stained. But His stains cover yours, making you brand NEW.

And that’s something to remember the next time you feel out of place or useless. Or the next time you’re doing a puzzle. Or the next time your mother calls you names.

What Do You Mean My Comic Books Aren’t Tax Deductible?

May 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Darren Marlar –

The worst thing about being broke? Tax time. There’s nothing worse than seeing how worthless of a person you are… to the exact nickel.

Remember the scene in Star Wars where the Millennium Falcon jumped to light speed and all of the stars came rushing at them? That’s how doing taxes feels to me – but instead of stars, it’s numbers and letters… and IRS agents.  Instead of the Millenium Falcon it’s the kitchen table.  And my wife is Chewbacca (unless she’s reading this, then she’s Princess Leia).

I see all of those numbers flying at me – 1099, W2, W4, 1040, 1040EZ, WD-40, V8, B4… YOU SANK MY BATTLESHIP!

Tax time actually feels, well… taxing.  It’s the only time of the year you’re forced to literally use “deductive” reasoning. And in order to get all of your deductions you have to ask for a receipt every time you buy something. How is that good for the planet? How many forests have we mowed down because we were given a receipt at the car wash?  Sure, I’d like to save the rainforests, but there is no way I’m not claiming a deduction on that Biggie Dr. Pepper I bought in Dubuque.  That was a business trip.

If you buy something to use on the job, it’s tax deductible – so from now on, everything I buy, no matter how mundane, I’m going to use it on the job. In the middle of my comedy shows I’ll pull out last week’s grocery list: eggs, bacon, Preparation-H, big bag of Baby Ruths…

What’s deductible for stand-up comedians? Watermelons and sledgehammers? Rubber chickens? If I put down my occupation as “stand-up comedian” will the IRS take any of my deductions seriously? I can imagine that audit. “You’re deducting Preparation-H? Tell us that joke, Mr. Funny Man!” When is the last time you met anyone who works at the IRS that had a sense of humor?  I’m pretty sure they find IRS agents by looking over the resumes of former DMV workers who were fired for not having enough personality.

I envy parents at tax time, because they have kids.  That means they can celebrate “Dependents Day.” Children: they are little tax deductions. We don’t have kids – just a picture on our fridge of a poor Guatemalan kid.  But he doesn’t count because he’s not “related.”  Whatever.  I guess I won’t even bother asking about my cat then.

I know they’re past due, but I’m not done with my taxes yet. In fact, I avoid doing them as long as I can – everything comes first. I’ll trim my toenails. I’ll trim my wife’s toenails. I’ll organize the sock drawer.  Do you have any idea how awkward it is trying to explain to your neighbors why you’re organizing their sock drawer?

I don’t wait to file my extension – I filed mine the day after Christmas. Why do today what you can put off until Cinco de Mayo? I know I’m not Mexican, but if it gets me out of doing taxes until Kwanza, I’m good to go.

Heck, I’d claim to be Amish if it got me out of filling out a 1040 form. I could be an Amish comedian.

“How many Amish does it take to change a light bulb?”  “What’s a light bulb?”

“You might be Amish: if you ever asked the question, ‘Does this shade of black make me look fat?’”

But no – the Amish pay taxes too.  I checked.  I don’t know why I’m making a big deal out of this.  After all, I only made fifty-two dollars last year.

This Column Brought to You by…

September 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Darren Marlar –

I’ve decided that starting immediately my monthly humor column will be sponsored by the highest bidder.  And why not? Everything else in the world is sponsored to the hilt. Take a look around and you’ll find just about every area of NASCAR with some corporate entity’s logo.

And is it my imagination, or do the Olympics seem to have an “official” sponsor for every product and service on the face of the earth? “The Official Orange Juice” or “The Official Vitamin” of the U.S. Olympic Teams would actually make sense. But what’s with “The Official Soft Drink of the U.S. Olympic Teams”? Do we really need the most finely tuned athletes on the planet endorsing a consumable with no nutritional value whatsoever? Are we soon going to see “The Official Tattoo Parlor of the U.S. Gymnastics Team” and “The Official Body Piercing Supplier of the NFL?”

Now I hear that the high cost of players’ salaries is causing major league baseball to come up with some creative ways to come up with cash – including placing advertising on not just all of the walls and displays, but now on the equipment as well. Yep… bats, balls, helmets, all going to the highest bidder.

So, in an effort to help the ideas flow for baseball ownership, I’m making a few of my own suggestions of sponsor placements.

The Presbyterian Church can sponsor the umpires’ chest protectors, with the slogan, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”

The Catcher’s Mask could easily act as an educational tool by local law enforcement. “Write a bad check, and you, too, could be looking through bars.”

Because of the obviously prime placement, the pitcher’s mound would likely have a wealthy sponsor – perhaps Applebee’s advertising their drinks with, “Our pitchers are even bigger!”

First, Second, and Third Base each sponsored by Chickletts because, well, c’mon, that’s what they look like from the upper deck.

And finally (and I’m sure this has already been finalized), home plate will be sponsored by, of course, American Express. After all, you “don’t leave home without it.”

Darren Marlar is a stand-up comedian specializing in clean comedy.  He welcomes your comments through his website at

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth…

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Darren Marlar –

I’ve always wondered… what exactly does the tooth fairy do with all of the teeth she collects?

What possible reason would there be for a fairy to go into the tooth-hauling business in the first place? If you think about it, she has to be selling the baby teeth of children on some kind of child tooth enamel black market. After all, we don’t see “Children’s Teeth” on store shelves or under the counter at pharmacies around the world – so they have to be going somewhere else.

First you must ask yourself where does all of the money come from that the Tooth Fairy leaves for the teeth? The repulsive idea of carrying around saliva-encrusted canines, molars, and bicuspids from the mouths of millions of children around the world must somehow be lessened by the financial reward the Tooth Fairy is able to obtain from turning in the teeth to some underground organization possibly led by a tooth godfather.

The Molar Mafia (which I can only assume exists, as I have no definitive proof), must then have quite a list of buyers. What happens to the teeth at that point is anybody’s guess, but I do have a theory. The Molar Mafia pays a handsome price for the teeth collected – and children of the world only see a small percentage of that.

Have you noticed that the pricing of teeth changes from year to year, generation to generation, and even tooth to tooth? Think about it. Sometimes a tooth earns the child a quarter. Sometimes a half dollar. Some fortunate children may receive a dollar or more for the tooth that is placed under their pillows at night. This can only be due to market fluctuations and possibly DNA testing of the individual teeth to determine their quality and value. This probably also explains why the Tooth Fairy works in the dead of night while everyone is asleep, as it takes time to do all of the necessary tests and experiments on the tooth to determine its value so the Tooth Fairy can then properly reimburse the child for their contribution. We’ll not even go into the possibility of children having gold or silver fillings, as it is blatantly obvious why a Tooth Fairy would be interested in such a rare find.

Regardless of condition, the tooth is taken 100% of the time. What is left, due to the nature of business with supply and demand, is only a percentage of what that tooth is truly worth. My guess is the child gets, at the most, 10% of what it’s worth to the Tooth Fairy. So at twenty-five cents for the child, I’m guessing the Tooth Fairy actually turns the individual tooth over to the Molar Mafia for close to $2.50; quite a profitable business for the Tooth Fairy, considering the billions of children around the world who lose their teeth as they approach their teen years.

Of course, the Molar Mafia is not going to pay that much unless it too has buyers. And as with all underground operations, a healthy profit is to be made by the Molar Mafia… that’s a given. So somewhere out there is another organization willing to pay, perhaps, $5.00 per tooth or more!

Mind-blowing, isn’t it? So the question now is, who on earth would pay $5.00 or more for a single tooth?

Which brings us to the makers of dentures…

Darren Marlar is a stand-up comedian specializing in clean corporate events.  To have Darren Marlar as part of your next event, visit his website at

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