Well, you asked.

(scene opens in mini-van)

Beta: I think Dad jokes aren’t funny. I bet mom jokes are funny. Mom, tell us a joke.

Me: (wearily) I’m well rested.

Husband: (uproariously laughter behind the wheel)

Me: (takes cue) My children are well behaved.

Husband: (increased laughing) Oh my god! That’s hilarious! I’m laughing so hard I’m crying!

Me: I never have to yell at them to do homework.

Husband: (booming fake stage laughter) It’s too much! Stop! I’m going to have to pull over if you keep going!

Me: My house is clean.

Husband: (pulls over to side of the road, puts head down on steering wheel, hysterical fake laughter)

(cut scene to four kids and a dog staring flatly at the front seat)

Beta: I’m sorry I said anything.

Husband: (to Carrot) Dear, that was wonderful. You should do stand-up.

Checking In

(scene opens in basement)

Me: (quietly walking up behind Bigs, checking laptop screens for shenanigans) Are you both in class?

Both: (doesn’t move, wearing headphones) Yeah.

(shot Beta’s screen tiled with screens bearing kids’ names)

Beta: I’m in music class, the teacher is about to start

Me: (to Alpha) What about you?

(Alpha’s screen a single shot of an empty room)

Alpha: I’m watching my favorite YouTube. “Drying Paint”

Me: (doubles up laughing)

Beta: (to Alpha) Wow. You made her laugh.

Alpha: I didn’t just make her laugh. I got the wheeze out of her.

Here’s the wind up…

(scene opens in dim kitchen)

Gamma: Look at that chonky squirrel! I want a squirrel as a pet!

Husband: (looks out window) Eh, you can’t really have a squirrel for a pet. They’re not domesticated animals.

Gamma: Can I domesticate it?

Husband: You could tame one, but that’s different than domesticating.

Me: (looks up from making coffee) I don’t know how many generations it takes to domesticate something. Gamma, what you really want is to make some Crow Friends.

Gamma: How do you do that?

Me: Well, you need to feed them, but there are so many squirrels here, you’d need to call them to the yard first and then feed them.

Gamma: (skeptical) How do we do that?

Me: You can get a Crow Call on the internet.

Gamma: (skepticism deepens) A Crow Call?

Husband: Yeah! A Crow Call. Watch. (cups hands, leans towards window) HEY CROW! COME HERE CROW!

Gamma: (stares)

Me: (closes eyes) Seriously.

Husband: (laughs himself silly) I’m helpy!

Tough Crowd

(scene opens in dining room)

Delta: (watching Carrot light Advent candles) What are those for mommy?

Me: Each week we light one to remind ourselves what’s important; Peace, Hope, Love…

Husband: (interrupting from foyer) Profits for the candle manufacturers.

Me: ….and Joy. Which your father is.

Delta: No, he is pain and despair.

Me: Well then.

Husband: I heard that.

Random Encounter

Me: Okay, Universe – I really got to sleep tonight, I’m totally wiped out. It’s hotter than hell and the windows are open. Please no drunk AM fireworks, car alarms, random dogs, incontinent skunks, street racers. Can you do that for me?

Universe: Sure.

Alpha: (falls down the stairs at 1 am)

Me: (murderous) What the hell are you doing, Alpha?!

Alpha: Bat in our room.

Me: (stares) Seriously.

Universe. LOL

No One Should Live Like This

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Me: (to Husband walking in) Your mother called, she’s canceling Easter.

Husband: Oh my god! Do you mean he’s still dead?!

Me: (stares, laughs, fumbles for comeback) Okay, I got nothing. Can we start that scene over again?

(Husband exits to kitchen, comes back)

Me: Your mother called, we’re not having party on Easter.

Husband: Oh my god! Were they not able to roll the rock back?

Me: No!

(Husband exits to kitchen, comes back)

Me: (sigh) Your mother called. We’re not getting everyone together on Easter for the family gathering.

Husband: What am I going to do with all these extra nails?

Me: (gives up) That’s it. I’m blogging that and you can’t stop me.

Vague Similarity

(scene opens in doctor exam room, Beta and Gamma suffering each other’s existence, Carrot failing sanity checks)

Doctor: (enters) So, tests came back. They both have strep.

Me: (wearily) Not a surprise.

Doctor: I figured they both had it the way their voices were all garbled, but had to do the test to make sure.

Me: Yeah, they do sound like they have golf balls in their mouths.

Beta: Goth balls?

Me: Golf balls. Sounds like you’re talking around solid objects in your throat.

Beta: Oh, okay. That makes more sense. I was trying to figure out what goth balls are.

Me: Eh, it would probably still work as a descriptor. They’re dark and full of pain. (laughs)

Beta: (stares in WTF)

Doctor: (stares in professionalism)

Me: (sighs) Yeah…you don’t get why that’s funny. When can they go back to school?

Magic Word

(scene opens at cluttered dinning room table)

Alpha: (at laptop) Mom, how do you spell relativ….reali…rel

Me: Relativity?

Alpha: Relatively.

Beta: (hovering around for no reason) He’s looking for a word that rhymes with “orange”.

Me: R-E-L-A-T-I-V-E-L-Y. And “door hinge”.

(stunned silence follows, boys stare, Carrot drinks coffee)

Beta: (mimes mind being blown)

Alpha: Holy shit.

Me: Language.

Alpha: No. Mom. Holy shit. You rhymed orange. That’s insane.

Me: (raises coffee mug and shrugs) Maybe now you’ll believe me when I tell you I know a thing?

Premium American Import

(scene opens in mostly empty Post Office)

Lady behind the counter: Next!

Me: (walks up with large box and custom form, hands both over to Postal worker)

LBtC: (looks at form) You’re sending Cheesy Poofs to England? I love Cheesy Poofs. How do they not have any in England? (begins to type)

Me: Right? They have Starbucks and McDonald’s, what’s with no Cheesey Poofs?

LBtC: (points to monitor) Go ahead and accept the price on the screen and sign your name.

Me: (blinks in sticker shock, signs anyway) I’ll have you know, its cheaper to send Candy Corn to New Zealand.

LBtC: How do they not have Candy Corn in New Zealand?!

Me: That’s what we’d like to know!

Old joke is old

(Scene opens in dim cluttered dinning room)

Me: (typing furiously on laptop)

Beta: (bounces into the room) Mom! I have a joke for you!

Me: (internal sigh) Shoot.

Beta: You have to look at me!

Me: (sags a little, looks up) Shoot.

Beta: (smugly, holds up fingers in a V) I’m a Roman and I’m ordering five beers!

Me: (raises eyebrows, hold up fingers in shape of an L) Fifty bucks? Really?

Beta: (confused) No, see I was…wait…what?

Me: The letter “V” stands for five but the letter “L” stands for fifty.

Beta: (pouts and tries not to smile) No fair, mom.

Me: I might have heard that one before.

In Jokes Make Everything Better

(cut scene-flashback, opens in foyer of Universal Studios hotel, two people having a conversation)

Me: (quietly) Beta, you’ve been talking about food all day.
Beta: I’m hungry all day.
Me: (epiphany moment) Beta, do you eat your feelings?
Beta: (serious face) Yeah. (dork face) Its because they’re so delicious.
Me: (letting it go, talks for other times) Well, its because you put cheese on them.

(flash forward, six people in parked van, most red eyed from crying)

Everyone: (collectively mired in personal misery and sorrow)
Husband: (reaches out, touches wife’s arm gently to get attention, mimes eating)
Me: (nods, collects self, sits up straighter, calls over shoulder) Beta? Do you want to go put cheese on our feelings?
Beta: That’d be great.
Me: (waves to husband to work the car machine)
Gamma: Why are we putting cheese on our feelings?
Husband: I think we’re getting something to eat.

Do you even music?

(scene opens in the dining room)

Me: Okay, Beta, welcome to Tiger Mom Summer school. Time to practice scales! Remember, when you see these two signatures these two notes (points them out, clearly marked as #) are always sharp.
Beta: (slumped in chair, cradling baritone horn) How do you play a sharp?
Me: (looking scale sheet) It has the fingerings right there.
Beta: I don’t think I’ve ever played a sharp.
Me: (deep breathing) You’ve been in band two years. How have you not played a sharp?
Beta: (turning red, tears starting) I don’t know!
Me: Clearly your band teacher has not been putting you through your paces and I have failed you as Nightmare Tiger Mom. We’ll begin with your first scale and it looks like I’m learning Bass Clef with you.
Beta: (begins to weep, plays soggy scale, waits for death)
Me: (finds center, remains calm) It might be an embouchure problem. You’ll have to do lip-ups. Every day you’ll need to lay face down and pick yourself up with only your lips.
Beta: (laughs through his tears)
Me: Okay. Good. Now, again.