First Humiliation

February 24, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Stephanie Prichard –

My first incident of total humiliation happened when I was age eight. My older brother hadn’t descended into the pit of adolescence yet, so we were friends. He not only acknowledged me as his sister, but he looked out for me. The window of our camaraderie occurred in the two-year time frame of the early fifties when our family lived in Japan.

Dad was stationed at the army base in Yokohama, where we lived on post. Our favorite play spot was a giant hill not far from our backyard. A pleasant walk through a lightly wooded area added to the fun of getting to “Little Mount Fuji,” as we fondly called our hill.

After an afternoon of playing there, my brother and I headed home for dinner. I trudged behind him through the woods, leaving him to guide our footsteps while I let my mind wander. We had explored the woods many times and discovered several small huts inhabited by Japanese families. I wondered if their children spied on our house like we did on theirs.

As we got closer to home, we heard our mother call us. My brother took off at a run, and I picked up my pace to keep up with him. Without so much as a hey-watch-out-sis, he swerved suddenly to the left. Did I say he looked out for me? Not this time.

There was a reason for his zigzag, and I didn’t zig in time. I plunged straight into a four-foot-deep honey-bucket well. A tidal wave of fermented urine and feces splashed high over my head and plopped (notice I didn’t say rained) straight down on top of me.

The shock of my fall ratcheted up as the stench engulfed me. Weeks—months—years of fomenting organisms had churned the waste products of our Japanese neighbors into a powerful, homegrown fertilizer for their gardens, and I was standing up to my armpits in it.

Adding insult to injury was my brother, bent double with laughter at the sight of his poor, little sister drenched in you-know-what. My scream out-powered his mirth, and he hastened to pull me out and lead me—at a safe distance—home. “Whew, you stink!” he said over and over. As I entered our neighborhood, men, women and children backed away, hands over their mouths and noses. Like Pepe Le Pu, a distinct aura trailed me down the street.

At home, the humiliation continued. No sympathetic hug from my mother, no. Instead she made me strip naked outside, at the back of our house, and hosed—yes, hosed!—me off. I was sure all the little Japanese neighbor boys were hiding at the edge of the woods, watching and giggling. Finally I was whisked into the house and submerged in soap and shampoo in a long, hot shower. I didn’t stop crying until I fell exhausted into bed.

As Christians, we carry an aroma too. Second Corinthians 2:15-16 says, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” When the world rejects you for being a Christian, it’s not because you are Pepe Le Pu. It’s because they smell their own death. They smell the “fragrance of Christ”—His amazing humiliation in becoming human and dying for our sins that we might have “life leading to life.” That’s my prayer for my loved ones—life—because it’s no stinking good any other way.

Mistaken Restroom

December 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Stephanie Prichard –

Yep, I did it. Walked smack dab into a Men’s Restroom. I was in such a hurry I raced straight to a stall and was in and out before I stopped short at what was supposed to be the sink but instead turned out to be a row of urinals. Oh my heart! I honestly believe I died in that one microsecond of horrid comprehension.

My next brain-conscious moment was the realization that at least I was alone. Follow that with a mad dash for the door to get out before anyone saw me.

Only, the door was locked.

What?

There wasn’t even a handle to pull. The door was supposed to stand open, and I must have jarred it shut.

I sucked in a lungful of oxygen. Slow down, Steph. Breathe. Take stock of the situation. Think.

It was Election Day, and I was the precinct chairman overseeing the voting procedure for my sector. The poll was located at one of our local high schools, and I’d been there guzzling coffee all day to keep me on my toes against rogue voters and invading high schoolers. When I went out for lunch I’d taken a restroom break, and my bladder had been signaling for the past half hour that I was due for another. Thus my brisk pace into the, ulp, facilities for the other gender.

School was over for the day, which explained the absence of needy users other than (blush) me. Now, instead of dreading discovery, I faced the stomach-acid-blazing fear that I wouldn’t be. I could end up here, locked overnight, with a hard tile floor for my bed and my stiff leather purse for a pillow. What would my poll workers think when I didn’t return to tally the day’s votes with them? Would my husband send for the police when I didn’t show up at home and he found my car all by itself in the school parking lot? Would they think to enter the school and look in … men’s restrooms?

Did I mention I didn’t have a cell phone on me? Uh-huh, live and learn.

I began pounding the door. Yelling. Screaming. Please, somebody had to hear me!

But wait! Had the janitors cleaned the restroom yet? Desperate, I dared a hefty sniff. The odor of industrialized cleansers eradicated any lingering bacteria in my nostrils. My hope for rescue faded. I would have to find my own way out.

The only other escape route was the windows. They were a slight four-foot stretch above my head. All I needed was a little boost and I could climb up and crawl out. I scanned the room for something not bolted to the floor. Something like a bucket I could turn over and stand on. Something that, hey, might be in that closet over there.

Of course, chances were it was locked. I held my breath, gripped the door’s handle, and pulled.

It opened.

Into the school hallway.

I stood, stunned. The truth trickled painfully over my numb gray cells. You know, Steph, where there’s an In door, there’s usually an Out door.

I remember that incident now whenever I face a trial designed by God for my good. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape.” Don’t trap yourself in the emotion of your trials. Look for God’s way out. It’s handier than you think.

Jes Jokin’

December 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Stephanie Prichard –

“Knock, knock.” My five-year-old granddaughter grinned in anticipation.

Oh boy. I didn’t know she’d entered the torture-through-humor years. “Who’s there?”

“Interrupting chicken.”

“Interrupting chicken who?

She frowned. “Wait. Let’s start over. Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Interrupting chicken.”

“Interrupting chicken who?”

“Buh-katt,” she shrieked, in a pretty convincing imitation of a shrieking chicken. “Wait, Grandma!” Tears sprang to her eyes. “You went too fast.”

“Sorry, Ella. Let’s start over.”

She gulped back her disappointment. “Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Interrupting chicken.”

”In—ter—rup—ting—Chi—”

“Buh-katt!” The piercing shriek segued into cackles of laughter.

“Ella, that’s funny!” I hardy-har-harred it up with her.

“Let’s do it again, Grandma! Knock, knock.”

Oh boy.

The delight of humor begins in infancy. Think of the giggles that respond to Peek-A-Boo. The surprise of boo! is the same surprise of the punch-line of a joke. The unexpected evokes laughter. Or, put another way, the abnormal juxtaposed on the normal tickles our funny bone.

That’s why Sarah laughed in Genesis 18:12 when the Lord announced that she, at age ninety, would have a son. “Therefore, Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’” Getting pregnant, juxtaposed on the fact that she was way past her childbearing years, had to be a joke! When Isaac, whose name means “laughter,” was born, Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children?” We are invited to giggle with her at this marvelous contradiction of normal childbearing.

Scripture shows God in several instances laughing in derision. In Psalm 2, “Rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.” Laughable, indeed, to see man’s might juxtaposed on God’s!

Sixty-nine lines in Job 41 describe God’s awesome creature, the Leviathan. “Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.” Nevertheless, sword, spear, javelin, dart, arrow and slingstone are flung at him. Place these paltry weapons next to the Leviathan’s airtight scales of armor, and in verse 29 you find “he laughs at the threat.”

It’s not mockery or derision that creates humor—it’s the juxtaposition of the abnormal on the normal. Unlike the Leviathan, though, we aren’t covered with a hide of armor. We can hurt and be hurt when humor is used as a weapon. But, properly used, humor pleases God. A merry heart, Proverbs tells us, “makes a cheerful countenance,” “has a continual feast” and “does good, like medicine.”

So, here you go, more clucking chickens to make your heart merry:

A pair of chickens walks up to the circulation desk at a public library and say, “Buk Buk BUK.” The librarian decides the chickens want three books, so gives them three.

Around midday, the two chickens come back, quite vexed, and say, “Buk Buk BukKOOK!” The librarian gives them another three books.

Later in the afternoon, the two chickens return, looking very annoyed, and say, “Buk Buk Buk BukKOOOOK!” Suspicious now, the librarian gives them several more books and decides to follow them.

She follows them out of the library, into a park and down to a pond. Hiding behind a tree, she gasps as the two chickens throw the books at a frog. They cackle in fury when he says, “Rrredit. Rrredit. Rrredit.”

Pleeeeze, Not Ice!

September 21, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Steph Prichard –

Because I’m somewhat expressive (I say “imaginative,” my children say “drama queen”), I occasionally lack credibility with my offspring. Take the time I was in Chicago helping my daughter recover from surgery. Every day I walked my grandchildren to and from school, loving the stroll with them between rows of condos on a street bustling with traffic. A right-hand turn down a quieter, tree-lined street led to the school.

It was that quieter (read “deserted”) street that caught my imagination when the sidewalks turned into sheets of ice the very hour I needed to get the kids. “I can just see myself falling and breaking my leg,” I told my daughter. “I’ll be lying there, unable to move, and along will come some man. ‘Can I help you?’ he’ll say, and when I tell him I can’t move he’ll wring his hands in delight and go ‘Mwhooohooohooohaha!’” I paused at my daughter’s rolling eyeballs.

“It’s your last day here, Mom. The kids will be disappointed if you don’t walk them home.” She handed me a scarf and mittens and pushed me out the door. Well, it felt like she did, anyway.

Hoo, were those sidewalks slick! Barely maintaining my balance, I slipped and slid and skidded ten steps forward, heart thumping, sweat gushing from my armpits. Dare I crawl on my hands and knees? If I could make it to the corner, maybe someone would help me stand and cross the street. But what if no one was there? I’d have to crawl across the street in front of the stopped traffic, and they’d all laugh at me. We drama queens do have our limits, you know.

I eyed the patches of lawn between the sidewalk and condos. Well, duh, why not walk on the grass? The blades, though glazed with ice, would provide texture to tread on. With a sigh of relief, I stepped onto the frozen grass.

And fell.

Yep. Onto the hard sidewalk. With my foot twisted under me. And I couldn’t move.

“Can I help you?” A man appeared out of nowhere.

As if following my own script, I said, “I can’t move.”

I stiffened, waiting for the “Mwhooohooohooohaha!” Instead, he pulled out his cell phone and asked, “Do you want me to call an ambulance?”

“Please! And can you call my daughter too?”

Within minutes, she was skidding across the winter wonderland to kneel beside me. Tears spilled from her eyes. “Mom, I’m so sorry!”

How could I say “I told you so” to that?

An ambulance ride and five hours in the emergency room later, I learned I had broken my ankle. Ouch. The very circumstance I had feared … had come true.

That little drama effected a mighty change in me.

I was a coward, and I had ended up in exactly the situation I was afraid of. What if, instead of squaring off my anxiety against circumstances (pleeeeze, not ice!), I had addressed my character deficiency (I need to be brave)? Until this incident, my prayers for myself and others had pretty much asked for avoidance of any kind of suffering. Please, heal his cancer … give her a happy marriage … don’t let him lose his job. My prayers spoke only to circumstances, not to character transformations. Now I pray, Please, may he trust in Your plan for his life … may she learn to forgive her husband … may he see his shortcomings at work. We don’t know if it’s God’s will to change a circumstance, but for sure we know it’s His will for us to grow in godliness.

Healthy, Healthy Chocolate

August 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Steph Prichard –

At last, science has acknowledged what the rest of us knew all along—that chocolate is good for you. Okay, so the verdict was limited to dark chocolate—we chocoholics can live with that. And what finally pushed the men with pointy heads to that waking point? They discovered little thingies called antioxidants living in dark chocolate, and—guess what?—these antioxidants have their own addictions! They gobble up bad cells called “free radicals” as greedily as, well, we devour a box of chocolates.

The free radicals start out as terrorists that use oxygen to parachute into our bodies and blast our cells with machine guns. The cells, lop-sided now because they lack a crucial molecule, go absolutely whack-o. Foaming at the mouth, they take off on a rampage and beat up healthy cells to steal molecules from them. Then those poor, robbed cells run amok and bushwhack other cells to steal their molecules. And so it goes, blam, blam, blam, one big chain reaction of hold-up after hold-up. The result? Ugh—disease.

All for lack of antioxidant-good-guys.

So, motivated by the desire to be dark-chocolate healthy, I cruised the grocery aisles. Candy bars, chocolate chips, cocoa, ice cream bars—if it said dark chocolate, I bought it. And ate it. My favorite antioxidant host became the ice cream bars that were dark chocolate, inside and out. For dessert every night, I faithfully ate one. I decided to become even more faithful and eat one for dessert at lunchtime too. And if one is good and two are better, why not add a third one for an afternoon snack and have triple the health?

I noticed I was gaining weight, but what’s a pound or two when the gain is in health too? At five pounds, I thought a bit of restraint might be in order, but you know what the –holic means at the end of the choco-? Uh-huh. The antioxidants and I were hooked. Totally addicted to chocolate and free radicals. Sadly, but with great resolve, we decided to bite the bullet and cut back on everything dark chocolate but the ice cream bars.

At ten pounds, when I had to shop for clothes a size larger, reality in the form of a humanoid blob stared back at me from the fitting room mirror. I sniffled, knowing I had to make a choice. It was either another month and another size larger, or go cold turkey and quit. I exchanged my dark chocolate for turkey.

What took one month to gain took three months to lose. Ever since, I have shunned dark chocolate and made friends with the antioxidants inhabiting the fifty-two calories of a raw apple. You’ve never heard of an appleholic, have you? There’s a good reason why.

But, hey, not all cravings are bad! There’s one I’ve gained exponentially from, every bit of it to my benefit. When I became a Christian at age twenty, I began reading the Bible, sometimes in bite-sized pieces, sometimes in full-plate portions. The more I read, the more I gained wisdom for my marriage, my parenting, and every decision I faced, big or small. What could be better than insight straight from the God who made me and loves me? Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Hoo, now there’s an addiction worth indulging in!

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