A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

13 September 2009


So, I'm sitting at the hospital with all the Swine-y people, playing "musical chairs" each time someone comes within a 10-foot radius of me, as, in my head "10 feet" is my safety cushion, my germ-free bubble, my "cone-of-silence" if you will. (Insert deep breath here.)

I came here because there's a good likelihood that I'm having a reaction to a medication I was put on for a couple of days...but I certainly don't want to come out sicker than I came in - hence the "chair hopping".

And, I don't know about you, but I already know how to wear one of those flu masks they hand out. And, by the off chance you don't have a clue...the lady at the sign-in desk tells you, step-by-step, how to use one. And if THAT'S not informational enough - they have pamphlets and charts and Venn diagrams with arrows and X's and...well, you have to be pretty darned daft to get it wrong, right?

Well, maybe.

Don't get me wrong...it's not like I'm saying that ALL the people wearing a mask in the ER waiting room's combined IQ would come out to be 100, but, to look around me...I'd say I'm not far off the mark. Even WITH a hospital worker "reminding" them (after they've already been instructed how to use one)...well, the ingenious (bear in mind I'm not referring to "genius" here) ways a person can don one of these things...literally, are nearly endless. (It's not really endless...but it sounds better that way..."writer's embellishment" and all.)

Here's a few flu mask observances I spied in my nearly three-hour ER wait...you know, before they usher you in the back...for some "solitary waiting":

Mask dangling from one ear. Ummm...two ears...two elastic loops. Coincidence? I think not. Amount of protection rendered: I'd say close to nil.

Mask ON...but below nose. This fashion statement apparently is a crowd favourite as several people were sporting theirs this way. Side note to mask wearers: Mask covering both mouth AND nose will not result in asphyxiation. If it does...keep in mind you're in the best place for it to happen...as you're IN a friggen ER. Mask efficiency: Probably better than nil. Not much...but, we can understand. Sorta.

Mask worn - unless you are talking on your cell phone. Yes, (by the way - I'm shaking my head here...not nodding)...as everyone knows...wearing the equivalent of a tightly woven 3-ply tissue across your mouth blocks out 90% of audible sound (now I'm rolling my eyes) so, naturally, it has to be removed while you chat. Side note: How to compute the average cell phone minutes racked up by the average ER visitor: X = cell phone time; Y = wait time. Y-X = X2. Don't ask me how...it just does. Mask effectiveness: Nearly nil, i.e., gabbing away non-stop for five minutes spreads about as many germs as one ordinary cough; ten minutes equals full-fledged sneeze into elbow sleeve. To determine longer conversations...you do the math.

Mask worn backwards on head. While you might be used to wearing your baseball cap backwards and think it looks cool...wearing your mask the same way doesn't. Approximate safeguard against pretty much anything: Nada.

Mask worn ON your head. No, I don't mean the correct way - I mean ON your head. The top of your head...like a hat. Now I do know it was raining a bit when I came in...but wearing your mask this way brings you about the same amount of protection from the rain as it does from transmitting your germs. Absolutely none.

The lesson I learned in all of this: The Emergency Room gives away free toys disguised as flu masks...and they give away a LOT of them. I also learned when some people are sitting in the waiting room chatting up their friends or watching television or reading their books - they feel fine...until they are called into the Triage Nurse's little room. Then they limp or cough or hold their bellies...then...as if by some miracle...when they reemerge to sit and wait some more...they are again healed! Until they are called to go in the back...when again, they are suddenly stricken.

Lastly, to the woman who was with her effervescently bubbly, cute-as-a-button toddler (who was supposed to be wearing her tiny child flu mask) sitting diagonally from me and right next to the germ-laden, dome-topped, hand-PUSH-operated trash can: Can you be more oblivious to the fact that you REPEATEDLY picked up your daughter's cookies OFF the nasty germ-infested hospital waiting room floor...shoved them with your bare hand IN through the gross, probably never cleaned, spring-loaded, trash can opening to throw them away...and then reached INTO your package of cookies to give your daughter some MORE? Well, if she didn't have anything when she went INTO the hospital...she probably does NOW.


...I hate hospitals.


  1. LMAO!! OMG I can't stop laughing, Mariann!! This was an absolute joy to read... the next time I have to wait for hourssss in the ER I want you with me so you can make these observations and make me giggle insanely. Bravo!

  2. Thank you, Brenda. You are too kind. And I hope we BOTH won't be visiting any ERs any time soon. :)

  3. Ahem, you should really do your homework before you "WTF" the prices for those masks. First, the pricing is for 20 pieces in a box. Secondly, there are more than one manufacturer of this type of product. You happened to pick 3M, which is the "Cadillac" (pronounced the same in English or Spanish) name in that business. Plus, there are many styles/types that do more or less, depending on the protection one needs. And yes, this one of those things I sell. Okay...I have now stepped down from the soapbox. Carry on now.

  4. I loved the blog!!! Pls don't say that someone actually wore it on the back of their head!! Ingenious
    LOL I can't stop laughing

    I wear a mask when around dust or whatnot (due to sinuses) and they can really fog up the old specs...

  5. Amy aka watch4whales21 September, 2009 13:35

    You know....I made a friend of mine a bling-ed out Swine Flu mask complete with glitter and it came to less than $5 with the bling. LMAO

    Amy aka watch4whales