Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Wonderful Husband

Hello to all the loyal Just a Smidge readers out there. Marc’s wife Sandy here. You can call me Mrs. Smidge. We are having a first here at Smidge World Headquarters. Our faithful writer is down and out with the stomach flu, so I am sitting in. This is a momentous occasion, since aside from a couple of “best ofs,” Marc has not missed a week since beginning this column in 2008. Such a remarkable man!

All I can tell you is that this must be one powerful flu bug, because Marc never gets sick. I can count on one hand the amount of times he’s even had so much as a cold in the almost ten blissful years we’ve been married. He’s almost bullet-proof! I’m so lucky.

Since the Tyrannosaurus Rex of flu bugs has reduced my amazing husband to a pale, quivering, sweaty, huddled mass on the floor, I was not able to get a good answer from him on what my topic should be. The fever must be making him slightly crazy, because all he could say was, “Please, no.”

So, since humor writing is not my forte, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little about what an amazing man Marc really is, and how incredibly lucky I am to have him. Literally every morning when I wake up, I thank God for letting me spend one more day with Marc. His captivating optimism, his intrepid courage in the face of danger, his super-incredible manliness, what can I say? He’s just awesome.

And he is such a hard worker! Up and at ‘em every morning, raring to go. He’s an incredible provider for our family. And speaking of our family, how blessed am I that Marc has given me three beautiful, healthy boys! The icing on the cake is that they all look just like him. Not only will that help them out later in life, when they grow up to be big, strong, devilishly handsome men like their father, but having them around the house as constant cherub-like reminders of my loving husband’s face keeps me sane during the hard times when I’m away from him in the middle of the day.

And I can’t forget to mention how smart he is. I don’t know if he’s ever had an IQ test, but I’m just positive he would be up around genius level. He seems to know everything about everything. And he sure is handy to have around the house when something breaks. It doesn’t matter whether it’s our toaster or our car, he always knows exactly what’s wrong with it. It never ceases to amaze me how many different things have a McGruder valve in them. It’s just a shame that McGruder valves can only be fixed with the one tool that is too cost prohibitive to own ourselves. I’m so lucky I am married to a genius that knows those kinds of things!

And did I mention how good looking he is? I guess I already did, but he’s so good looking it really bears repeating. I just can’t believe how lucky I am to have him. I even think it’s great that he went bald. Not too many people realize this, but men go bald because of high testosterone levels, and let me tell you ladies, I’m not complaining about that, if you know what I mean!

I think I should stop here, because at this point it feels like I’m just bragging. Hopefully he’ll be up and around to take care of next week’s column, because I know that this kind of thing embarrasses him. Did I mention how humble he is? I can’t believe I almost forgot that! Humility is one of his finest characteristics.

I just really can’t believe how lucky I am.

See you soon,

- Mrs. Smidge

Copyright © 2012 Marc Schmatjen

Have kids? Have grandkids? Need a great gift?
Go to today and get your copy of My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh, Marc’s exciting new children’s book. Get ready for a wild rhyming adventure!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Laughable Affair

Last week we received a postcard from a local mega-church advertising their upcoming workshop for married couples. The headline above the incredibly happy looking, above-averagely attractive couple was, "Hot Topic: Affair-Proofing Your Marriage." I read that and laughed out loud. My wife asked what was so funny, and when I handed her the postcard, she laughed even louder.

Now, please don't misunderstand, we don't think that extra-marital affairs or attempting to affair-proof your marriage is funny. Nor did we think that this church's attempt to help affair-proof the marriages of their congregation and the surrounding community was humorous. What we found laugh-out-loud funny was the thought of me trying to have an affair.

"Yeah, right! Like you could keep it a secret!" she laughed.

Hey! Wait a minute, that’s not why I thought it was funny.

She’s totally right, though. I can take no offense to her comment. I can’t keep a secret to save my life. Anyone who knows me well will never tell me anything covert in confidence. It’s not that I’m not trustworthy, per se, it’s just that I’m not hardwired for certain secrets. Let me try to explain. You can easily trust me with your bank account numbers, or your password. I won’t accidentally tell someone those things, because, in my brain, they are supposed to be a secret. Just don’t tell me that Julie Fitzgerald is secretly in love with her pool guy, because my simple brain doesn’t register that in the same “supposed to be a secret” information storage area as a password. I will inevitably end up… Oh crap… Sorry Julie! Maybe Dave won’t read this… See what I mean. My wife is going to be maaaad…

Anyway, obviously my wife had a good point about my inability to keep secrets, but what struck me so funny about the idea of me having an affair was time, or more specifically, lack of time. Between being a husband, a father, a coach, a full-time writer and having a full-time job on the side, I have a total of seven minutes of free time each week. I usually use it to cry. If I had enough free time to sleep with another woman, that is exactly what I would do: Sleep.

Putting aside all the obvious moral reasons why I would never have an affair, and thinking about the pure logistics of it, the idea boggles my mind. Seeing another woman would obviously involve a significant amount of time. What activity do the affair-having scoundrels of the world take that time from? It has to come from somewhere. In my experience, most guys who have an excessive amount of free time in their lives arrive at that point not by being hyper-productive go-getters. And they usually use that free time to wear an imprint of their butts permanently into the couch that faces the TV. Those guys don’t seem like the types to go out and make their lives more complicated with covert trysts and lots of deception, and besides that, their wives would probably notice if they suddenly weren’t in their ass-igned spot watching football, bass fishing, or those Mexican game shows on Univision with the really hot women.

So the affair-having class must be the guys with jobs. Again, having an affair has got to take up at least a few hours a week, at a minimum, right? But that is only after the affair is in progress. You’d have to meet her first, right? Wouldn’t that be a lot like dating again? How on earth does a guy with a wife and a job find time to date!?! More importantly, why would you want to? I got married so I could stop dating. Why would I want to start again? And, what kind of job do you have that allows that kind of free time? I can’t even imagine it.

(Seriously though, if you do have a job with that kind of free time, please get ahold of me and let me know what I need to do to get into your industry, because it sounds like a sweet gig.)

Truth be told, I really don’t even understand the concept of an affair. Even if I had the time, the money, and the lack of scruples, it just really seems like it would be a hassle. I can barely keep my to-do list straight as it is.

For me, the idea of having an affair always brings to mind polygamy, which is a concept I never understood. A polygamist is a guy who said to himself, “Affair? No way man! I want to get married to her, too!” Having a regular affair would be a lot like having another wife, but the polygamists take it all the way and actually get married to more than one woman. I can’t for the life of me figure out why any guy would want more than one wife.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, getting married was the best thing that ever happened to me. I now eat consistently good food, I have a wonderful partner to share my life with, and I can always find my socks. But marriage presents a few challenges that the single guy does not face.

For instance, having a wife seems to lead to fairly regular and excessively long discussions about the past, the present, and the future. Those can be not only time-consuming, but mentally taxing, and downright painful.

Also, getting yourself a wife historically leads to having kids. Having kids historically leads to a lot of shopping. It starts with baby food and diapers, but rapidly escalates to furniture, cars, and houses. It’s really expensive.

To sum up, marriage is good, but it is time-consuming and very expensive. I need a full-time job just to cover the expenses with my one set of wife and kids, and I'm not getting nearly enough sleep as it is. There is no way I could afford to have more than one family on the payroll.

What do these polygamist guys do for a living that they can afford more than one family? And why don't they just keep it simple, go with the one set of wife and kids, and put the extra money in the bank. They would undoubtedly have plenty of extra time to nap, as well. Why don't they want that? I don't get it!?!

(Seriously though, if you’re a polygamist, please get ahold of me and let me know what you do for a living, and what I need to do to get into your industry, because it sounds like a sweet gig.)

Anyway, I am happy to report that to my wife and me, the idea of an extra-marital affair is downright laughable. Suffice it to say, we threw the postcard in the trash. Our marriage isn't affair-proof, it's affair-bulletproof. I need a nap.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2012 Marc Schmatjen

Have kids? Have grandkids? Need a great gift?
Go to today and get your copy of My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh, Marc’s exciting new children’s book. Get ready for a wild rhyming adventure!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resolutions, Part II

Traditionally, I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but since my 2011 resolutions went so well, I was happy to start 2012 with some goals. I gave it a lot of thought over the holidays and finally decided on one main resolution: To get better educated.

There are a lot of areas in my life where I would like to become smarter and more well-rounded, so I plan to pick an area to focus on, give it laser-like attention until I know everything there is to know about it, then move on to another topic. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I am not looking to become the world’s foremost scholar on the Peloponnesian War, or to become a fountain of knowledge about fruit bats. I want to focus on useful things in my everyday life, where I already know enough to get by, but really should know more.

It was at a holiday party this year that the first subject in need of mastery became perfectly clear. Beer.

I have been drinking and enjoying beer for a long time now, and I considered myself to be very knowledgeable on the subject. That is, until someone at the party mentioned that they had just seen a TV show that had tackled the question of the differences between Porter and Stout. It turns out there is no major difference between the two. It’s really just a naming preference. I didn’t know that! Then we started wondering about Amber Ale versus Brown Ale, and if they might be the same thing also, and again, I had no idea.

Well, that was just unacceptable, so I am now going to become an expert on beer. I have always believed that the best way to learn about something is to go out and do it, not sit for hours reading about it. Why on earth would anyone want to read about beer, anyway? I think learning about beer should be done the old-fashioned way; by the pint. Off I went to the local specialty beverage shop and bought one bottle of each different style of beer they had to offer. Two-hundred and forty dollars later, I came home with a trunk full of beer. It turns out there are a LOT of different styles of beer! I haven't even started drinking yet, and I am already learning. To keep it all cool I had to completely remove almost everything my wife had foolishly stored in the top half of our refrigerator, like the milk and chicken breasts and cottage cheese, but I’m sure she won’t mind. I’m about to be much, much smarter.

I figure I should go from lightest to darkest, much like wine tasting, so I'm starting with a plain old American lager.  Mmmm. It was good.

Now on to a pilsner. Did you know that it's called pilsner because the style originated in the city of Pilzen, in the Czech Republic? I just read that on the back of the bottle. It's amazing the things you can learn if you take the time to read the labels. It's good too, and has a sharper, cleaner finish than the lager.

On to the ales, I'm starting with the lightest of the category, known as a blonde ale. It has a much different taste than the pilsner, leaving sweet and fruity hints lingering on my taste buds after each delicious sip. It's a medley of different complex favors, offsetting and contradicting the lager and pilsner with far less sharp carbonation. This beer has a slightly heavier feel than the lager, but a much smoother finish than either of the previous two delightfully different styles. This first ale went down really nicely. Yum-o!

Next up is a hefeweisen. The label says that hefeweisen is an unfiltered wheat beer, commonly served with a slice of lemon, and apparently, it is known as "Germany's breakfast beer." Those Germans are so lucky, man! They get to drink beer for breakfast! Maybe they drink it in the morning because it looks like milk. Man, this stuff is cloudy! It's pretty good, though. Sure doesn't taste like milk. Dang, I forgot the lemon slice. Oh, well.

On to the pale ale. Wooo-doggy! this is bitterer than that cloudy breakfast beer! I would not drink this for breakfast. This is much more of a steak and potatos beer. Potatoes? Why does potato have an e on the end when there's more than one? It should be potatoe. Good beer!

This one is an India pale ale. Was it brewed in India? IPA is all it says on the back and some long sentence about a river. I hope it's not river water. This sucker is even bitterer than the pale ale! Apparently it has to do with hops, from what I can read hear on the label's bottle. They must have had something go wrong with the bottle printer, because the words are pretty bluury. Who cares about the printing, though, because that beer was GREAT!

Oh, all right! We're at amber ale. This one was one of the reasons for me wanting to no more about beers. I should get the brown ale out two and drink them together alternatively. That way, I can figure out what the two is between the difference. Hang on.

jhdbfvjhdbh ..m  Whoops. I just knocked the keysboard off the desk. Sorry about that. Saved the beer thow. I couldn’t find the brown ale, so I braut back a Irish stout instead. I’ll just compair the amber stout with the Irishale. The Irish is pretty dark, but yummmy. The amber is dark and yummy to, but not as stout as the dark was.   when I mix them together they make a superdark superyummy superbeer.

Märzen is the next beer I’m drinkin. It has those funny dots over the a. You wood not believe how hard is it to find those dots on my keysboard. I think their called umlats.        thats a funny word.      Märzen is delicioso!

Doppelbock in the house!!!  This badboy has an alcohol comtent of 8 percent. Boccledop is strong!  Thatz way more then the other ones was. Whoooohooo, this is some goooooooooood Dobblepock.

Oatmeal stout is up next up… Is this another breakfas beer? Oatmeal wood be good right now. I’m gonna save this keep it for in the morning tomorow… I’m a lot beerer about smarts four shure now… fhsd;jkvnas’oi


See you soon,


Copyright © 2012 Marc Schmatjen

Have kids? Have grandkids? Need a great gift?
Go to today and get your copy of My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh, Marc’s exciting new children’s book. Get ready for a wild rhyming adventure!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Year in Review

When I sat down to reflect on the year that was 2011, more than a few notable events came to mind. Osama bin Laden assuming room temperature. The European debt crisis and riots. Kim Jong Il, the little North Korean pajama-wearing nutbag, kicking the bucket. Britain’s royal wedding, and their major news agency’s royal cell phone tapping scandal. The equal parts hopeful and scary “Arab Spring” protests and civil unrest happening in almost every country in the Middle East. Iran test-firing missiles and the resulting tension in Israel and the US. And, the tragic Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear plant disaster.

Closer to home we had gold setting record price highs, Steve Jobs passing away, occupy Wall Street, and then occupy everything else, the “Fast and Furious” gun running sting gone completely awry, the U.S. losing our AAA credit rating, and then, most depressingly of all, the 2012 presidential campaigns got underway.

As if all the things I could think of weren’t depressing enough, or maybe out of a sense of longing for some good memories, I did an internet search to find out what I was forgetting.

What I found on that search was more depressing than all the bad news listed above, combined. I had decided to look up the top ten internet searches for 2011, and I found two lists, one from Yahoo and one from Google. After reading the lists, one thing has become perfectly clear to me:

We are doomed. Plain and simple.

Here they are:

The Yahoo 2011 Top Ten Searches
1.      iPhone
2.      Casey Anthony
3.      Kim Kardashian
4.      Katy Perry
5.      Jennifer Lopez
6.      Lindsay Lohan
7.      “American Idol”
8.      Jennifer Aniston
9.      Japan earthquake
10.  Osama bin Laden

The iPhone is a camera and video game that can also be used to make telephone calls.

Casey Anthony probably killed her own daughter, but was found not guilty, and has been set loose. Also, she was apparently fairly loose in the first place.

Kim Kardashian is famous for no reason. She was married this year for about an hour and a half. As near as I can tell, the only thing she has ever actually done in her whole life was this year, when she “lost the weight, but kept the curves!” She is the picture in the dictionary under “loose.”

Katy Perry is a pop singer who is also apparently fairly loose.

Jennifer Lopez is a pop singer who wears tight body suits, and may or may not be loose.

Lindsay Lohan is an extremely loose Hollywood train wreck.

American Idol is one of the conduits by which teenagers can become Hollywood train wrecks.

Jennifer Aniston is a Hollywood actress who excited the world by getting married again this year. Since she has repeatedly ignored my offers to leave my wife and elope with her, and since she evidently eloped with some other guy instead, I must assume she is also loose.

You already know about Japan and Osama bin Laden.

Yahoo users went 2 for 10.

The Google 2011 Top Ten Searches
1.      Rebecca Black
2.      Google+
3.      Ryan Dunn
4.      Casey Anthony
5.      Battlefield 3
6.      iPhone5
7.      Adele
8.      Fukushima Nuclear Plant (searched for in Japanese)
9.      Steve Jobs
10.  iPad2

Rebecca Black is a 14-year-old singer who self-produced a really annoying song that so many people hated, she became famous.

Google+ is apparently Google’s answer to Facebook. Since no one has actually ever heard of it, my guess is that Google just put it as number 2 on their list to get it more attention.

Ryan Dunn was a member of the Jackass squad, a band of stoners who became famous for performing homemade stunts that no one who was not stoned 24 hours-a-day would ever attempt. He died while driving drunk.

As far as I know, Battlefield 3 is a video game, presumably about battle. It is most likely the third of its kind.

The iPhone5 is the 5th version of the iPhone. It does not exist yet. There are entire websites devoted to rumors about what it will be like.

Adele is a singer. I am obviously very, very hip, but I had not heard of her until I read this list. I Facebooked her instead of Googling her, for no other reason than to spite this list, and listened to a few of her songs. She is very good.

You already know about Japan and Steve Jobs.

The iPad2 is a giant iPhone4 that can’t make telephone calls. It comes in original white and new black, and replaces the original iPad. Besides now coming in black, the number 2 is the only change from the old model.

Google users went 2 for 10 as well, but were less varied than their Yahoo counterparts, concentrating more heavily on Apple, a tech company that, ironically, isn’t too compatible with Google.

There you have it. That’s what the world searched for in 2011. If that depresses you as much as it does me, just remember this: The Mayan calendar says the world is coming to an end in 2012 anyway, so we shouldn’t have to put up with this too much longer.

There you go. Feel better?

I did notice one glaring omission from our two inadvertent doomsday lists. I have to assume that Charlie Sheen was not on either list for the single reason that he was so over-covered and over-publicized during his cocaine and ego fueled rants earlier this year that no one ever had to actually search his name to hear about him. Winning!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2012 Marc Schmatjen

Have kids? Have grandkids? Need a great gift?
Go to today and get your copy of My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh, Marc’s exciting new children’s book. Get ready for a wild rhyming adventure!