Socrates of Silly Things

During these Olympic games, I seem to have developed a mild fetish for sour cream Pringles; not a mere craving — far more than that. So yeah, an actual Pringles fetish. Don’t judge. You have your life, I have mine.

Look, I am the Socrates of Silly Things. I wake up each morning hoping the world is still ridiculous, and I didn’t just dream it.

Not that I haven’t been shaken. In my short life, I’ve seen some scary sights. Barkley’s backswing, and the Golden State Freeway on a Friday night. Or some of the stuff that passes for pizza in LA. “Absolute rubbish,” as the Brits would say.

Those are awful sights that you never get past. They put everything else in perspective.

Obviously, these Olympics have taken a lot out of me – I’m up to a can of Pringles per night.

I keep shouting at the kayakers: “Relax a little. Don’t be in such a rush!”

Kayaking is such a beautiful sport, really. Especially when you take it off the clock.

Also stayed up too late watching volleyball the other night. I think of the lives these young women lead, most of it spent diving to gym floors, or learning rotations, or cleaning the scrapes from their bloody knees and chins.

The other night, the Italians seemed to be having more fun than the Americans. I was surprised to see the American women having such a difficult time.

Yet, here they were, the best of the best, struggling against Italy, which as Italian teams always do, seemed more free-form and loose compared to the rigid, more-Puritanical American players. I love our work ethic. Sometimes, though, maybe we just need more pasta and better gorgonzola…better jokes too.

Hey, do the Americans need a team humorist? A satirist? A silly Socrates? I’d put on a toga, I’d munch a Pringle, I’d tell a story. Pretty sure the kids would love it.

I’m free Mondays and some Wednesdays.

Here’s a free sample: This random house painter shows up at my door one day. Asks me, “Hey, anything need painting?”

I say, “Sure, how about that porch out front.”

An hour later, the painter knocks on the door again.

“I’m done,” he says. “Oh, and by the way, it’s not a Porsche, it’s a Mercedes.”

True story.

Humor tip No. 1: Always insist it’s a true story, no matter how outlandish. I tell a crazy tale about an atheist hiker and a prayerful bear. At one point, God speaks from the sky.

After the punch line, I always wait a beat, then say: “True story.”

That’s what that comedian Mike Tirico does too.

Tirico is the poor yutz trying to make sense of these Olympic events each night, some of which I think they make up on the spot.

Wow, what a wonderful job Tirico does with all this. In fact, he is the only American smiling at these Olympic games. He’s a Happy Face, beaming and curious amid our grim, tightly wound athletes.

Bravo! Seriously, Tirico is terrific.

In other Olympic news, we learned the other night, over a sushi dinner in Venice, that my grandbaby (Catty Cakes) is a major head-holder-upper — as in she can hold her head up in ways that really impress the other moms at Mommy & Me class each week.

Hey, all the greats start somewhere. And these Mommy & Me classes can be very competitive.

Seriously, the little showoff is like an ostrich. Even at 3 months, there is no doubt she is Olympic material.

In other sports news, the rapper Megan Thee Stallion is the latest cover girl on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, which pleases me no end, for I predicted the end of civilization within the year.

Now we have it – Ms. Stallion, in her all-beef glory, personifying what the lordly editors of SI insist is our female ideal, even if no one else agrees.

Must be a burden for these editors, being so enlightened, doing all our important thinking for us.

Like me, they are the Socrates(es) of Silly Things.

By the looks of her, Ms. Stallion may have developed a fetish for sour cream Pringles as well. She is curvy as a truck tire and not shy about her various appetites. She admits to being a “certified freak” about love-like physical encounters.

You may also remember her near-perfect rendition of her song “WAP” at the recent Grammys. Such a trill to her voice, a pureness, a crystal ping.

Basically, Stallion is a poet trapped in a stripper’s body. Think W.H. Auden trapped inside Gypsy Rose Lee — no windows or vents.

We live in interesting times.

My son Smartacus and I were discussing an ice cream shop the other day, the one where Demi Lovato allegedly went bananas because there were so many flavors that she just freaked out; later, she took to social media to voice her absolute outrage.

At one point, she used the phrase “step foot” in the store, when most of us would’ve probably said “set foot” in the store. Whatever. The English language is ever blossoming.

My guess is that Demi has not led a life surrounded by books, but there are phone chargers and tattoo magazines scattered everywhere on the couch and carpet. Like at our house, I guess.

Look, you know I’m all about love and laughter. Tolerance too. How do I do it?

Honestly, the Pringles help a lot. I’m also considering taking up Scotch whiskey as a hobby, to complement my Pringles addiction. In the fall, I plan to use them together in a soup – sort of a 90-proof menudo.

You think I’m exaggerating, but I now have a garage full of the damn Pringles — you know, in case Megan Thee Stallion stops by to watch the Olympics with me.

She could also maybe give me a hand with the slow-draining bathroom sink. Think it’s a hair clog…perhaps a raccoon. But you never know till you twist that p-shaped drain out from under the cabinet.

I can just picture it: Megan and me on our flobby knees, twisted under the sink, handing tools to each other in the fading light.

I’ll remind her that getting the drain back together is never easy, what with all those plastic O-rings that never fit snug as they should. Takes 3 times always.

She’ll learn a little about plumbing. I’ll probably grow too. I’ll certainly enjoy her company. Perhaps she is methodical with the hand tools, keeps them organized and within reach, like the pros do.

See, so much to look forward to. Rams camp has opened and there’s pumpkins in the stores. College football is only a month or so away.

And I was noticing the other day that the lovely and patient older daughter — the new mom — has never looked more radiant… glowing in ways I’ve seldom seen her.

Could be that new baby, or it could be coincidence. As any engineer will tell you, correlation is not causation.

Bottom line, my daughter looks fantastic.

If it were me, I’d put her on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Her qualifications? She personifies good health and is the mother of Catty Cakes, a major head-holder-upper and future Olympian.

We’re all Olympic hopefuls in some way, right? Me and my Pringles. You and your tomato plants, or your collection of Bobby Vinton albums, vintage fishing lures or vacation photos from Budapest.

Your kids, your cats, your dogs, your garden, that wine glass you stole from the bistro in Santa Barbara…just walked out one night, refusing to give it up.

All the keepsakes that warm us.

Our personal Olympic gold.

6 thoughts on “Socrates of Silly Things

  1. Love the pics of Catty Cakes. I see she has her own throne now. Well done, Missy. I would rather eat Pringles and watch her hold her head up or pin you in wrestling with her tiny fists of fury than watch most sporting events.

  2. Catty Cakes has clearly mastered “Tummy Time” (strengthens her back/neck muscles which gives her that strong head and neck!) so gold medals to Catty Cakes AND your radiant daughter! Don’t worry. Your Pringles addiction will pass. But you might have withdrawal. Don’t be tempted by a box of Crunch ‘n Munch or Fiddle Faddle. Trust me. By the way, the Cubs just dismantled the team and traded everyone away in the last week or so, so you can get a sharpie and put a big T and F after the W. Might have to move it to the back yard though so you don’t rattle the neighbors 😆

  3. If there’s a humor olympics event in your future, you might make the team. Maybe as the publicist; or the water boy. You’re especially likely to measure up if you show up with copies of your latest cookbook, “Erskine’s Eats”, to give the judges before the trials. They would be too convulsed reading it to deny your inclusion. As for Megan-Thee-Stallion, she is definitely more than the thinking being done for us by the media culture geniuses. She is a lovely original, albeit maybe not in some ways such an uncommon one in this frenetic forced idle of a pandemic. We all have our Pringle tingles of one sort or another. I think Megan may be one of mine. Sometimes that tingle becomes a full blown roar. Pringles are booty, useful in giving you something to shake when the roar overcomes the thinking you’ve been doing. I’d hate to say profound, but I think you are really on to something here…

  4. I love the casual pose of Catty Cakes. Royalty for sure.I eat Pringles to get me through the supermarket, but it’s tricky with a mask and all. Ah, the good old days.

  5. Oh Chris, seriously, did you have to put that SI cover on your post? sigh. Maybe Si could have put an Olympian on the cover, maybe 1 of the female or male swimmers in their long swimsuits. Oh, never mind, I forgot SI is all about sexy suits. So a beach volleyball player, or a gymnast, but female, of course.

    I hope by the time dear little Catty-Cakes is heading off to the Olympics, women & men will wear the same uniforms, like they do in swimming. And maybe by then, SI will just focus on sports.

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