Loco for local

One of the things I love about summer, aside from the obvious stuff like not being cold all the time, are the little roadside stands that sell fresh fruit and vegetables. The veggies all probably come from the same farms as they do for the big grocery stores, but we feel better about the road-side stands for some reason.

There’s something about stopping on the way home and picking up some fresh corn or tomatoes on the side of the road, trading actual dollars for goods that connects you with the local growers that’s different than getting the same produce from the grocery store.

There’s something even better than fresh produce at a road-side stand.  Going into a local business and having the owner know you.  Nothing says ‘Ego Stroking’ like the store owner remembering you from your last visit. 

“Hey, how did that spindle rotor work out for you?  Did you remember to torque it counter-clockwise?”

“Yeah.  It worked perfectly.  Thanks for the help.”

Wow!  He remembered me!  Now I’m hooked.

There’s a little Chinese food place near our home that has changed hands more than a rental car, but the current owners are awesome.  I’ve only bought food there about a half-dozen times in the past year – clearly not enough to even keep the lights on, but for some reason the owner knows me by name – it’s like she’s some sort of Chinese Food Savant.  Eerie sure, but very cool.

Picking up steaks at the local butcher is a total rush for me.  The power of deciding exactly which cut of meat will land on my grill and then be served to my family and friends is a total trip.  You can’t deny that choosing each cut of meat after a consultation with your butcher on what would be best for the event is much more fun than standing over one of those chest fridges at the grocery store, battling with shopping carts over a pre-determined packaged hunk of meat.

We’ve been doing some cosmetic updating in our house, and I’ve found myself picking up small items at a local hardware store instead of my usual 15 minute drive to the big box stores that have everything under the sun for any project.

It’s one of those stores that you might see in a small town, where they carry a little bit of everything – barbeque parts, household cleaners, paint, plumbing supplies, building materials, even a gift section.  I don’t know how they pack all that stuff into such a small space – you could wander the tiny store for hours, finding new items around every corner.

Today, I was in again, getting some light switch covers and I got into a conversation with the owner, who was thanking every single customer for shopping there.

“We’ve been here since 1979”, he would proudly say. “Thank you for supporting your local hardware store business”.

He only recently bought it, but he was banking on the history of the store to strike a chord with his customers. With 18 hour work days, his young children help out at the store, manning the cash register, or helping lost customers.  He’s taken only one day off work since opening last fall.  Who has that kind of work ethic?

There is a large chain hardware store coming to the neighbourhood in the next few months, literally a stone’s throw from his little business.

I’ve always been a total sucker for the underdog, and I wish this David well as he battles Goliath.

I know we sometimes complain about high prices in these convenient stores (or convenience stores), but that’s the point isn’t it?  It’s convenient, so you pay a little more.  There’s no way these ‘little guys’ can match what those big box stores sell items for, given their limited buying power and size.  The difference is, it’s helping out your neighbour and maybe giving a job to a young person just starting out.

Something else that deserves a bit of our attention are kids who are looking for simple work – lemonade stands (yes, they do still exist), cutting grass, or shoveling the driveway.

Most of the winter I’m praying for some kid to come and shovel my driveway for me!  For 20 bucks, I can stay toasty warm, save my back and legs and help a kid get healthy, and dream of one day being the next big business entrepreneur.

That’s what I call a ‘win/win’.

I’ve got nothing against large chain stores.  In fact, most of my dollars still end up there, and I won’t be cutting up my store credit cards any time soon.  They do an excellent job of offering competitive pricing, bright clean aisles, and tons of selection, but if all I need is a box of screws or a pound of hamburger, I’m going to try the local independent business first.

So, here’s a challenge to all of us.  The next time you need a bottle of ketchup for the hot dogs, or a paint brush for your home project, or have some industrious neighbour kid knocking on your door offering to clear your sidewalk, consider how in small ways, keeping things local might just be the best thing you can do.

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The Awkward Shopper

I’ve been out doing back-to-school shopping with my kids.

Now that they’re older, with one in university and one in her last year of high school, the old list has changed a bit.  No more backpacks and colored pencil cases.  Now it’s modular shelving and office chairs.

We still managed to drop almost a hundred bucks at an office supply store, getting stocked up on extra paper, binders and pens, just for old times sake.

Today’s shopping was with my wife and daughter – my son, thankfully, was spared (and we were from him) from being subjected to ladies fashion and shoe stores.

While they happily browsed racks and racks of various sizes and styles of outfits, I was in charge of purse-holding, and rack leaning.  The rack leaning becomes a fine art after about 20 minutes of standing next to your ladies while they hold up outfits and say “‘what do you think about this one?”.

Leaning on the rack is the only thing that keeps you from falling over altogether, since these stores are clearly designed as a shopping marathon, and not a shopping leisure event.  No comfy couches, no televisions, no coffee machines.  This is ALL business, mister!

The endless line of clothes that dizzy the eye and the hours of standing on your feet, trying to stay engaged in the shopping process is not the worst of these outings, though.  It’s not even heading to the cashier with an armful of garments to hand over your credit card, or holding the purse – does any guy know how to hold a purse properly?  Really – I’m asking.

The big challenge is knowing where not to look.  Wandering eyes for any man in a ladies clothing store has to be the trickiest part of the process.  Standing there in the store, holding up another rack of clothes (hopefully not underwear), you have to refocus your eyes so that you don’t slip into unconsciousness.

It’s during this ‘refocusing’ that things can get dicey.  You look out, further than the rack directly in front of you, trying to recalibrate your vision, when you realize that you are looking directly at a woman holding up some slinky little number against herself.  This is coincidentally enough, the exact moment that she catches your nonspecific gaze at her.

Nothing can feel more creepy for either parties.  You’re trying your hardest to quickly look away, like you were never looking at her in the first place (which you really weren’t), and she, I assume, realizes that there’s a creepy dude staring at her while she sizes up outfits.

Awkward.

If you’re really lucky, you might catch the eye of another poor male soul, trying his best to look natural in this most unnatural of settings.  There’s a common bond in these unspoken connections – brothers in arms, fighting the good fight for the sake of our precious relationships.

There’s sometimes a silent nod – ‘Hey, brother, I feel your pain.  Hang in there.  You’re taking one for the team’. Somehow, we find comfort behind those desperate glances.

At least we know that we’re not the only creepy stalker dudes hanging out near the undergarments.

Of course, when your lady heads to the change rooms, there’s a whole other level of awkwardness going on.  Now, you’re standing outside the change rooms where ALL the women come out to get opinions on their finds.  You don’t know whether to quickly look away, or give a thumbs up on what they’re wearing.  You’re busted – no way out of it.

That’s one area of the shopping process that you can’t skip out of either – they want your feedback.  They need your feedback.  So, you have to standby and wait, again trying to look natural, leaning against something you shouldn’t be leaning against, hoping that when you hear that change room door open, it’s for you.

If the people who design ladies apparel stores were smart, they’d set up ‘Man Cave’ zones, where we could be within sight lines of our lovely shoppers, but sit in comfort – maybe they could have a TV set up somewhere – heck it doesn’t even have to be on a sports station – the Weather Channel would be better than the alternative.

I know this all sounds rather sexist, but I tell you, it won’t work in a Men’s store, because men don’t shop – they buy.  We pride ourselves not on the great purchase, but the great speed at which we made the purchase.

We’re not in there long enough for anyone to get sore feet or stand awkwardly against a rack of ties.  And we don’t try things on, either.

“Hmmm.  This plain white shirt seems okay, and it comes in large.  I’ll take it”.  Done.

When we get home, and put it on, it might fit – it might not.  If it doesn’t, that’s okay, because the old one was perfectly good – just a couple of stains.  We’ll just keep wearing the old one, kind of like our underwear.

It’s a wonder that the fashion industry hasn’t figured this all out yet.

The Great Divorce

Don’t be alarmed!

This is neither a re-write of the famous CS Lewis novel about our eternal relationship with God, or news of tragic events in my 27 year marriage.

This divorce has to do with my home service providers – phone, internet, and television.  Although our relationship started out as a passionate affair, it ended, as many unions do, in bitter resentment, expensive bills, and angry words.

Like most failed relationships, mine started out with an indiscretion.  A curious glance in a store.  Eyes slowly move down to the curvacious sign,  ‘Unlimited Internet’.  A flirtatious smile turns into a conversation, and things just happen.

It’s not like I went out looking, and I wasn’t entirely unhappy with my previous provider, but you know, sometimes the internet was a bit slow, or I couldn’t get the hockey game because of local blackouts.  Unexpected charges showing up on my monthly bills that weren’t easily explained, and being denied ‘services’ on my e-mail account all began to cause a rift.  You get the picture.

Nothing to throw it all away over, but there were definitely some problems at home.

I got contact information at the store to ‘give them a call’ or check their website for details.  I was flushed.  My heart was beating a little faster with the idea of what might happen.

Back at home, I quickly engaged in a ‘chat’ online.  It was salacious;

“Hi, this is Patrick.  How can I help you today?”

“Hi Patrick.  I think I want to talk to you about switching over my home services.”

“Sure – I can definitely help you with that”.

From there, I was past the point of no return.  Patrick’s slick pitch, his nearly perfect typing, and his promises of a lifetime of crystal clear TV reception had me hooked.

But now came the awkward conversation with my current company:

“Hello. I’m calling to cancel my subscription with you”

“Why?  What did we do wrong?  We can change….please don’t leave”…or something like that.  Once they know it’s over, though, the tone changes in a hurry.  Hell hath no fury like a service provider scorned.

“There will be a 30 day cancellation fee charged to your bill”. Ouch!

“This will commence when you have returned the equipment, in good working order, along with all power connections to one of our local offices”.

“Aw, don’t be like that.  I’m just not happy any more.  I’m sure you understand, right?”

“You should have read the fine print on the contract, Sir!”

“Fine! Charge me whatever.  I just want you guys out of my house”.

And with that, we separated.

Now I could look forward to my shiny new relationship, along with all it’s promises of quiet nights on the couch, channel surfing in High Definition, phone calls with call display, and oodles of limit-free You Tube videos.  Beautiful!

Things began to unravel quickly once they moved in, though.

The first sign that it wasn’t going to go well, was when the installation guy showed up at the door, unannounced, in a competitors uniform.

“Hi, can I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m here to set up you phone.”

“But we signed up with someone else”.

“Oh, don’t let the uniform confuse you – your new company uses everyone to install their service”.

“Really? They don’t do it themselves?”  I felt a little unclean, knowing that my new service provider would use just ‘anyone’ to send to my house.

“How come they didn’t call first?”

“I don’t know, sir.  Do you want me to install it or not?”

“Sure! Come on in”.  I mean, what else am I going to say?  It’s not like the old company would take me back after all the bad blood, and I’m not one to grovel.  Besides, I was still excited about our new relationship and couldn’t wait for them to ‘move in’.

After the service guy hooked up the new phone line, I asked about the internet.

“Where’s your new modem?” he asked, in a rather unfriendly manner.

They never sent me one.  I thought you’d bring it with you”.

“Figures!” The guy says. “They’re always screwing up like this.  Nothing on my work order about setting up internet”.

Oh, boy.  After the guy left, I called my new service provider for some sort of explanation.  Had to be a one-off oversight.  They’d never do this to someone after such a great first encounter.

I sat on hold for over an hour.  Finally, I got someone on the phone, but the phone line was so crackly, that I could only make out part of what they were saying.

Somewhere in the conversation, they apologized for messing up, and assured me it would never happen again.  We’d soon get over this little spat and live happily for years to come.

A new modem would be rushed out right away.

Days go by, and I noticed that not only does the phone not work properly, I don’t have call display.

If you’re like me, call display is the only defense against telemarketers.  Without it, you are doomed to listen to 5 minute pitches on why you need more life insurance, or that your ducts need cleaning and they have someone working in your neighbourhood already.  They can come by for a quote.

This is bad!  I called them back:

“Hello – I’m getting a bit frustrated with you.  First, you forgot to set up my internet, then your new phone line is so bad, I have to use my cell phone to talk to anyone, and now, I’m stuck having to fend off every telemarketer who calls because I can’t screen them.  Do you know how many telemarketers there are out there?”

“Yes, I see you are having some problems.  Unfortunately, we cannot fix your line until tomorrow”.

“I see.  Well, this isn’t a good way to start a relationship, but I’ll give you one more chance.  Please have this fixed tomorrow.  And while you’re at it, I still don’t have my modem”.

Fast forward 3 days…

On hold again – this time, I was on hold so long, that my cordless phone actually ran out of juice, and I was forced to hang up.

At this point, the honeymoon was officially over!

Another attempt.  By the way, if you ever get caught in one of those voice-mail loops, just keep hitting ‘0’ until someone picks up.  Doesn’t always work, but sometimes you get lucky.

“Hello, this is Sylvie.  How can I help you?”

“Hello, Sylvie – I want Patrick.  We had a thing, and he’s the only one who I can talk to.  Where’s Patrick?  He knows my needs”.

“I’m very sorry, but Patrick is not available today.  Can I help you?”

“Sylvie, you’re not going to like this very much, but I’ve had it with you”.

I went on to unload all my frustration on poor Sylvie.  She was a professional, and maintained her composure.  I wish I could have said the same about me.

By that afternoon, I decided to end it.  This one was just not going to work out.  Too many lies, too many broken promises. I was scarred too deeply.

I wanted so badly for this to work, but I just couldn’t do it.  It was tough on the family, of course, and the kids take it the worst.  In the end, though, I had to get out of this relationship before any more damage was done.

After hours of on-line searching, I found my new companion.  Bright, shiny, tons of HD.

I clicked on the ‘chat’ button:

“Hello, this is Daniel.  How can I help you today?”

“Hi, Daniel.  I think I want to talk to you about switching over my home services”.

“Sure – I can definitely help you with that”….

Vigilante Justice and the rise of ‘Pumpkin Cop’

‘Freeze!  Drop those gourds!’

Let me state, for the record, that I am a supporter of our law-enforcement services, and am generally considered a lawful citizen, especially after watching a few episodes of ‘OZ’ (the prison show, not the one about the Tin Man and Dorothy).  Pretty sure I’d end as someones better half on day one if I ever got sent to the big house.

There has been a surge of news reports about vigilante attacks on alleged wrong-does.  Stories like the now infamous Zimmerman trial come to mind.  This blog is not about the Zimmerman trial, so don’t get all excited, although I don’t advocate carrying around a weapon in the event something might happen – I think that’s just looking for trouble, and it’s totally illegal in Canada..

Close to home, there was a story of a local dentist who had her I-phone stolen out of her car.  She was able to track the thieves through a handy Apple GPS system, but the police could not or would not engage in apprehending the aforementioned bad guys.

She ended up finding, confronting, and ultimately regaining her property.  I say, ‘Good for her!’.  She was lambasted on a call-in show a few days later about her ‘stupid’ actions.

I knew a very kind and timid lady who worked in a gift store not too far from where I live.  I’ll call her Doris.  Doris was one of those quiet-spoken people – the kind who would scoop up a spider in a paper and guide it out the door rather than squish it.

One day, a man came into Doris’ store – she was the manager, not the owner. He pulled out a knife, demanding money.  Doris, in a fit of rage, started screaming at the would-be thief and chased him out of the store.  Later, she admitted to me, she didn’t know why she did that. It was a foolish and dangerous thing to do, but something just ‘snapped’ in her about how this stranger would try to take what was not his.

In both of these instances, the comments were similar.  It wasn’t the money, or the value of the item, it was the fact that someone was taking what was not theirs.  It was about invading a moral code that most of us live by, and it was enough to make both of these ladies risk their own safety to protect the sanctity of what was right.

I admit, these are not major crime events, but the base instinct is probably the same, regardless of the severity of the indiscretion.

A neighbour of mine, after finding out that his son’s skateboard was stolen from his garage and was in the hands of a kid who lived around the corner, stormed over to demand that the kid come out and return what was not his.  Of course, no one came to the door.  This guy was so stubborn and angry, (did I mention that he was Scottish?) that he went home, and literally looked through the entire phone book to find the address of the kid.

side note:  this was before the fancy ‘interweb’ and reverse address look-ups. 

He eventually found the phone number, called the kid and told him that if the skateboard wasn’t back in the garage in 30 minutes, he’d ‘take care of the #@*% thief himself’.  No police – just him.

The skateboard was back right on cue.  Clearly, he scared the you-know-what out of the kid.  I bet he went straight after that, too!

Around the same time, we had a number of vandalism issues – mostly stupid stuff that kids would do – spray paint on the cars, or damage to fences and trees.  There are few things worse than bored kids on a hot summer night.

That fall, we had set up a nice front step Halloween display.  Modest, but tasteful.  Okay, it was way over the top.  Bails of hay, decorations looming in the darkness, back-lit styro-foam tombstones on the lawn.  You get the picture.

Anyway, one evening as we were heading to bed, all of us in our pajamas, and the kids tucked into their beds, my wife went to shut off the front porch light, and noticed a couple of kids, standing in our driveway.  I ran to the door to find that a couple of our pumpkins were missing, and a group of kids were running like hell away from the house.  Something snapped in me.

Like some crazed lunatic, I took off after them, in my pajamas.  I don’t even think I was wearing shoes.  The kids scattered into two smaller groups, trying to lose me.

I saw the larger group, still holding a 30 lb pumpkin, heading down the street, while the smaller group dashed into a forested area.  I went after the stupider group, still lugging around the pumpkin.  There were 4 of them. 

Eventually, they tossed the evidence, which smashed on the sidewalk, but I kept going.

The kids rounded a corner, thinking they’d be safe.  They weren’t.  Not even thinking of what I’d do with them when I caught them, kind of like a dog chasing a car, I kept running.  The other kids came around and I was now finding myself standing on a street corner at night, wearing my pajamas, no shoes, and surrounded by a group of teens.

The one thing that saved me was that they were on the defensive and were afraid of what I might do to them – I mean, a guy would have to be totally nuts to chase them that long in his pajamas, right?

When they finally gave up, one of the kids, clearly terrified, yelled;

‘Man, it’s only a pumpkin!’

I said; ‘No, it’s not just a pumpkin.  Its vandalism, and its stepping on my property to do damage.’

I continued, between heavy breaths, ‘Our neighbourhood has been constantly attacked by you little punks, and we’ve had it!’.  No more calling the cops.  We’re gonna chase you right to your front doors and confront you in front of your parents, or deal with you where we catch you.’

Now, I knew full well that I wasn’t going to harm any of them, and there really wasn’t a lot I could do, so I gave them a warning.  ‘You tell your friends that if we ever see them around our street again, up to no good, we’re gonna take care of them so they never forget it’.

These ultimatums are great, because you don’t have to do anything more than scare the bejeezers out of the little runts.  They don’t know that you really can’t do much other than confront them, so it generally works.

When I got back home, my wife wasn’t too happy about me going after a group of teenagers in my pajamas late at night,  and when some of my friends found out about what happened, I earned the nickname ‘Pumpkin Cop’.

I guess I deserved it, but I gotta tell you – we never had another problem after that.

Officially, I’m sure that most police services would tell you not to engage any criminal in this way, but off the record, I’ll bet they’re happy we do.  They don’t have the manpower to show up for every little thing that happens, and I’m sure they’re annoyed by that.  Dealing with kids during the impressionable times of their growth in a scared-straight kind of way might just steer them in a better direction.

The Pumpkin Cop is not unlike Batman.  Trying to keep our streets safe from the ne’er do wells of society.  Now I need a costume and a signal of some sort…any ideas?

The Perils of Humor

A joke is a very serious thing –
Winston Churchill

If asked, most people would tell you they have a good sense of humor.  No one wants to be known as humorless.  It would be a rare thing to have someone inform you, “Just so you know, I have no sense of humor, so please do not try to amuse me”.  Maybe airport security could get away with this, or a judge in a criminal trial, but that’s about it.

Most likely, you’ll get a good hint about their ‘humor quotient’ when they say something like, “I love a good joke as much as the next guy, but…”WARNING!!  This person does not have a good sense of humor!

I think I have a good sense of humor, and I enjoy sharing this gift with others when I can.  I don’t know if anyone else thinks I’m funny, but I do, and I make me laugh, so that’s as good an endorsement as any.

My style of humor tends to be more along the quick comeback or sarcastic genre, and not so much the well thought out, detailed joke type.  Frankly, my attention span is too short for that anyway, and I’m not a really deep thinker either, as you can tell by my previous blogs (you can laugh here if you like…).

There are some challenges, though, when it comes to humor.   The first is timing – especially if you’re the quick comeback type, timing is everything!  You can’t have a witty comeback the next day.  Calling up your buddy the morning after and saying “That’s not a duck!” somehow loses its edginess.

The other key ingredient is knowing your audience.  This has been my ‘growth’ area in the humor learning world.  A great joke can crash like the Hindenburg if it’s told in the wrong social group.  It happens to me pretty regularly.  Picture this: My wife’s family reunion.

Let me set the stage – she comes from a small farming community, and everyone in this community is related.  I mean EVERYONE!  There are usually well over 100 uncles, aunts, cousins, and other related types at this annual event.  I can never tell them apart.   Anyway, many of her uncles are farmers – good, hard working, soul of the earth type people.  I come from the city – no earth, no soul.  We have nothing in common except my wife.

While standing around a hay wagon, I was trying to keep up with comments on the ‘JD 1000-S’ model tractor.  There was silent break in the conversation – deadly to the quick-witted. I decided to jump in and tell a farming joke – the only one I knew.  Perfect for this audience right?

“There’s a salesman driving through the countryside, when he passes a farm and sees a pig standing in the field.  The pig has one wooden leg.  Curiosity gets the best of the salesman, so he turns around and pulls up to the farm house.

The farmer comes out to greet him, as any friendly farmer would.  The salesman says, ‘Sorry to bother you, but I noticed you have a pig out there with a wooden leg‘.


Yes!‘ says the farmer. ‘That’s Arnold.  Arnold is no ordinary pig.  Last summer, I tipped the tractor on a boulder over in the north field, and it fell on me. I was pinned and would have died out there, but Arnold heard my screams, and alerted my neighbour to come and help get the tractor off of me’

WOW!’ says the salesman.

The farmer continues, ‘That’s not all! This past Christmas, me and Ma were sleeping, when a fireplace log rolled out and onto the carpet.  The whole living room was starting to burn.  Arnold smelled the smoke from out in the barn and busted out, making a heck of a racket.  It woke us up, and we were able to put out the fire.‘ 

That’s amazing!’ says the salesman.  ‘But, I have one question for you; ‘Why does Arnold have a wooden leg?

Son‘, replies the farmer,  ‘You don’t eat a pig like that all at once!‘.”

Crickets.  Not one of them even smiled.  I guess this kind of animal practice actually makes perfect sense.  Or, it makes no sense at all – they were all probably thinking ‘what a stupid farmer! Anyone knows that once you start eating a pig, you need to do the whole animal at once!’.

Great timing, wrong joke for the audience.  Que the Hindenburg.

It’s the awkward silence that kills.  It’s like heroin to the quick-witted!  It can’t be resisted.  Something has to be said, and it’s often the wrong thing.

Other times, its when you just don’t know what else to say.  I once had an awkward ‘humor’ moment with my dog’s vet.  Just so you know, my dog is fine, so no nasty replies from the SPCA or PETA, or anyone else who thinks there’s nothing funny about pets, please.

I dropped her at the vet because of a problem with her hind leg.  I asked them to call me later with the results.  The vet called.  I should have known that when it comes to your life-long work, everything about your jobs is serious….I should have known.

The vet assured me that they could do a simple procedure that would cost about $1,000.  All the wind left my lungs.  It was a laugh or cry feeling.  Guess what I did?

I blurted out, as a joke, ‘Sure, but she would be okay with walking on 3 legs, right?  You could almost see the Hindenburg floating into view…not the right time or audience  for this kind of quick response.

The funniest part of that incident was that they did do the procedure, but fixed the wrong leg…now I had a dog with 2 unusable legs.  They suggested I put her hind quarters in a sling and walk her around like a wheelbarrow.  Now THAT’S funny!

There was one time that did work for me, even though it was completely off-color and inappropriate.  A group of coworkers and I were tasked with figuring out some prizes to hand out during a large sales convention at a resort.  There were 3 types of social activities:  Golf, fishing, and horseback riding.  Okay, I got this!

Golf and fishing prizes were ‘easy-peezy’.  Then came the horseback riding.  I don’t know anything about horseback riding.  I don’t even know if its considered a sport.  We were stumped.  Suddenly, as if pulled from the headlines, I blurted out: ‘What about a Christopher Reeve award?  We can give it to anyone who doesn’t fall of their horse?’

Pretty sure one of the guys shot beer out his nose. In the end, our Human Resources manager axed the idea.  Something about sensitivity and appropriateness.  I don’t work there any more.

That’s the trouble with humor – it’s like making home-made soup. No matter the ingredients or the time you put into it, someone is going to spit it out in disgust.

Humor is really about personal taste, and has to be served at exactly the right time and to the right audience.  If not….

…but it’s ALWAYS worth the risk.