If You Can’t Say Something Nice, I’ll Do it For You for $10 and a Foot Massage (The Remake)

I just learned that today is Stop Cyberbullying Day. An educator said so. And I am not one to disagree with a teacher. (Okay, yes I am. But not on this.)

So I thought in its honor, I’d do something I never do: Reprint an old chestnut post back from the early days of Mom101 when there was some trolling business going on around the momosphere. Is it helpful? Not in the least.


My superhero weakness is empathy.

When I was little I saw it as my sworn duty to befriend every new kid, every chubby kid, every weirdo booger-eating kid in my class. It’s always been second nature to put myself in other people’s shoes.

I credit good parenting for this. Also, Davey and Goliath.

Now as an adult I still feel compelled to make people–friends, strangers, the Bangladeshi cab driver–feel good. Let me be clear: I’m no Pollyanna. I can be as cynical and self-loathing as any writer on my side of the Brooklyn Bridge. I agree that The Bachelor is at its best when some blonde chippie runs off the set crying. And I’m certainly not above a good Paris Hilton jab because frankly, she’s worked very very hard to earn it. To not make fun of Paris Hilton probably hurts her feelings and now you know how I feel about that.

And if you come after my family, I’ll cut you, bitch. I totally will. I have a baby nail clipper in my diaper bag and I’m not afraid to use it.

I suppose it’s a bit paradoxical that now this relatively nice person finds herself here in the World of Blog–a forum where anonymity brings out the inner douchebag to a degree that gives PMS a run for its money. I could surely gravitate to the dark side, join the troll patrol. Snark comes easy to me. But when it comes down to it, I’ve got a kid. A really good one. And I don’t plan on messing her up just yet. Which means I don’t want her coming across something I’ve written and thinking, Mommy is mean.

Or worse: Mommy is mean. Yay!

So in honor of Thalia, I’m spreading some love from my insignificant little subdomain. I call it Say Something Nice Day at Mom 101.

In the future, maybe we’ll have an entire Say Something Nice Month with its own website and a big section in the Hallmark store and a few treacly public service announcements. (Hey, maybe we can get Lorraine Bracco!) But for now I’ll start with a day. A day devoted to saying nice things about ordinarily disparaged topics–all with as little irony as I can muster.

I’m just that kind of girl.

Richard Simmons
I sat across the aisle from him on a plane ride from LA to New York. While I admit that he was so, um, energetic that the cabin (quietly) applauded when he fell asleep, he couldn’t have been nicer to the flight attendants. They each took turns sitting beside him and, hands pressed into his, confessed their every dietary woe. He listened attentively and with genuine compassion. He also offered each of them free advice, like “don’t eat the bread.”

New Jersey
If there were no New Jersey there would be no Judy Blume. And if there were no Judy Blume, I would never have been the most popular girl in fourth grade for one week, thanks to my copy of Forever which I shared with my entire class in the hallway ouside the school library. (Especially page 64, heh-heh.)

I’m all for gay marriage, and as such, I’m all for the music they play at their weddings.

Those Motivational Posters
I guarantee you that those inspirational posters you find around the office have helped more than a few people out of some tough spots in life. I myself have looked at that You Don’t Fail Until You Quit poster many a time and thought, you know, they’ve got a point there. Know why? Because you don’t fail until you quit! It’s true!

You’ve got to step back a minute and appreciate the loyalty that some people devote to a hairstyle that’s been out of style going on twenty years. These are strong, confident people, people at peace with who they are. Couldn’t we all take a lesson here?

Kids Who Go to Band Camp
Sure it’s a good punch line; Universal milked it for like three American Pie sequels. But we need to encourage kids to play the clarinet or the tuba or the harpsichord so that they can grow into adults who play those instruments. Without music, what would people dance badly to at their high school reunions? And how lame would porn be?

Bridesmaids Dresses
At least you don’t care when you spill your drink on one.

Jared From Subway
Let’s give the guy some credit, he lost 250 pounds without eating a single crappy ricotta cheese dessert.

The Advertising Team Who Writes the Ads with Jared From Subway
Take my word for it, they’re not happy about it either. I’m sure the client is all, “Guys, you have to use Jared. He’s testing really well in focus groups.” And the team is all, “Fine, but I’m not putting it on my reel.” Then they watch Nike ads and weep openly.

Fudgie the Whale
When I was a kid, Carvel ran commercials that said, “This Father’s Day, get your dad a Fudgie the Whale!” Year after year, my dad would joke, “Where’s my Fudgie the Whale?” After I turned 16, my best friend and I talked a gullible Carvel manager into hiring us as cake decorators. When I wasn’t snarfing down the chocolate crunchies directly from the tub, I made my dad his very own Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake and when I gave it to him he cried. If you make fun of Fudgie the Whale, you hate my dad and you hate Father’s Day and you hate America too.

The Bloomin’ Onion
If you have a problem with the Bloomin’ Onion, you also hate America. This goes double for you, Upper East Siders.

I’m stumped. I can think of nothing good to say because all bloggers are narcissistic navel-gazers who write about the most boring crap imaginable that no one, including their own mothers, would ever want to read in a million years. In fact I don’t even believe that you’re here right now.


22 thoughts on “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, I’ll Do it For You for $10 and a Foot Massage (The Remake)”

  1. I am so glad you republished this. I missed it the first time around.I remember those Fudgie the Whale icecream cakes. I love your Dad and America!

  2. GASP…be still my heart on the Fudgie the Whale story. We only hope our children will think to do something remotely near this for us. I missed this the first time too! It;s kind of like when Oprah takes a vacation and you get to see the reruns that you missed the first time around. (spreading the love) I really wish I could see some more Anna Nicole Smith coverage…they really didn’t give her enough tube time. Maybe she’ll be back on 24/7 when we find out who her baby daddy is! After all it’s what she would’ve wanted.

  3. This is still one of my favorite blogs that you have written! It is great to see it republished, and I don’t think it is a crime to dig into your archives and share your past writings with members of your audience who weren’t around way back when. (Ok, just last year.)Imagine if Sting refused to play Roxanne because he wrote it 15 years ago!In any case, I loved it for the second time. My lighter is lit for you.

  4. I forgot this post until I read about the sullen ad team for Subway. Love it. And Fudgie the Whale is sacred. He beats Cookie Puss, because what other magical figure could also be transformed into Santa Claus? Delish.

  5. This is AWESOME, Mom-101. Davey and Goliath — it’s been so long since I thought about that show, esp. Goliath saying, “Dave-ey,” with all the emphasis on the second syllable and that rising, querying intonation. Sheesh. Some academic or other (gingajoy? HBM?) should deconstruct D&G.And speaking of Fudgie the Whale, what was up with the Carvel spokesman? He always spoke as if he had several scoops of ice cream crammed in his mouth.This is great. Still laughing at the inspirational posters. Yes, they are just so…undeniably true.

  6. Oh Christ. I work for the company that last represented Richard. I was on the creative team, but thankfully only attended brainstorming sessions (yes, with him) before I went on mat leave for a year. There is so so much I could say. No, I’d better not. But if you ever want to see a picture of him KISSING my pregnant belly, I could comply. This was awesome. Don’t know if it’ll help stop cyberbullying, but it will definitely help me stop making fun of mullets.No it won’t.

  7. We too are in love with FTW (fudgie the whale) and lament that Carvel doesn’t often make them anymore. One year my husband drove 40 miles to a Carvel store that would make him one for my birthday. Instead of “To a whale of a dad,” he asked them to write “To a whale of a wife!” The funniest part was all the guys at the store trying to talk him out of it. “It’s not too late to change it sir. I really think this is a bad idea.” I laughed for days.

  8. What a hoot! Sure enjoyed the repost! Maybe I’ll try to say something nice today about my archenemy in toddlerwatching … TV.

  9. Glad you dug this up — I just knew Richard Simmons was a good dude!I obsess over not hurting people’s feelings, so everything I write has so many qualifiers and such — I would probably be a better writer without that trait.

  10. (Wiping away a tear): I spent five years in New Jersey as a kid, watched that Davey and Goliath show religiously (long before I knew it was sponsored by the Lutheran Church), was frequently spooked by Tom Carvel’s TV voice, and for a time commonly asked if I was related to Richard Simmons (because of my ex’s last name). To top it all off, I now live in Jared’s home state of Indiana (and have even collided with him at major concert and sporting events.) You have yanked out many long-buried feelings tied to my identity that I truly need to address – probably with a motivational poster – so I must thank you from the nethermost crevices of my heart. Off in search of more Kleenex.Again, thank you.

  11. This has nothing to do with your (very funny) recycled post, but, what does Nate think of Lucille? He can’t possibly knock Lucille Ball, can he?I am racking my brain trying to think of acceptable comedy-related names. (I am totally convinced now that the only reason he let Thalia get named is because it had to do with comedy).

  12. Izzy, Cookiepuss was a BITCH to make because the nose was a sugar cone and some idiot would stack them too high in the freezer, inevitably crushing all the cones of the cakes on the bottom, so we were always redoing them. Plus, that Beastie Boy song came out like two years earlier so we got crank calls from every yahoo who thought he was original in asking for Cookie Puss and hanging up. Yeah, me and CP? Not so tight.

  13. I have to be careful what I say about mullets or Kyle just may retaliate against my recent haircut by resurrecting his mullet. And while I have misplaced empathy similar to yours, there are limits.

  14. I have no problem with band camp kids and have always assumed that people who made fun of them were simply unskilled morons with no direction in life. I would like to go on record as saying that I was never in band and was not paid or compensated in any way for the views I’ve expressed here today. The End.

  15. May I also mention that my oldest son played first-string clarinet as a middle schooler?Charlotte–er, Samantha…Just couldn’t help kickin’ that dead horse. Apologies. As the French say, ‘C’est plus fort que moi’.(People speak French in Quebec, you know…)

  16. ACK! Davey and Goliath!Carvel ice cream cakes.This is hilarious! And since I missed it first go round—and I was all serious at my spot about bullying—I will take up your renewed challenge for say something nice.Pants with dress.Yes, I said pants with dress. With no sneer. Maybe it’s the old ballet days. Maybe it’s being fashion influenced in the early 80s. But I like the pants with dress. It eliminates the need to shave, spray on tanner, or feel self-conscious. No worries about wind, and you know…it can hide the wrong and flatter the right. I thought Melinda looks FAB in her pants with dress. Simon can eat crow. Hmm. Something nice about Simon. He sips his water very neatly.

  17. Somehow, I just KNEW Cookiepuss was a bitch.My husband made the mistake of going into an inner city Dairy Queen in Philadelphia and asking the sticky 6 foot teenager behind the counter:“Do you have Swirly the Whale?”(For some reason, he forgot both the name and where it was actually made)The youth gave him this frozen you-are-out-of-your-gourd-but-I’m-not-going -to-mess-with-you-I-don’t-get-paid-enough-for-this grin, and said:“I have NO idea what your talking about.”End of discussion. If husband had asked for Cookiepuss, I don’t think he would have come out alive.

  18. You are one hilarious chicka there, Liz. Great piece. Really. When my husband was a valet, he met Richard Simmons and had nothing but good things to say about him. The mullet just won’t die, will it? I’m so tempted to take a pic whenever I see one, but that would be rude, no?

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