13 Things I’ve Learned from America’s Funniest Home Videos

You can learn a lot of useful life lessons from watching America’s Funniest Home Videos:

1. If you hold a baby up to your face, they will vomit in your mouth.
2. If you hold a naked baby’s hind parts anywhere near your face… heaven help you.
3. If you dance on a table, it will collapse.
4. Little boys always have to pee-pee really, really bad during school musicals.
5. Do not let Grandma blow out her birthday candles. Her dentures will escape.
6. The following things do not mix well together:
~Brides and swimming pools
~Children, baseball bats, and their fathers’—um—delicate areas
~Children, piñatas, and (see above)
~Large people and porch swings
~Ring bearers, flower girls, and dance floors
~Teenage boys and wheeled objects of any kind (This includes, but is not limited to: bikes, skateboards, tractors, pickup trucks, and VW vans from 1978)
~Teenage boys, wheeled objects, and ramps of any kind
~Twenty-something men, video cameras, and weightlifting (Translation: Twenty-something men who are FILMING THEMSELVES working out—usually with no shirt on—which is just wrong, on so many levels.)
~Middle-aged men and rope swings
~Any-aged men and poopy diapers
~Old men and snow
7. If someone with a video camera gives you a lottery ticket, and you win: It is a trick. You didn’t win the lottery. Your “friend” is just mean.
8. 31 burps in 30 seconds is always awesome.
9. Do not sneeze into a bowl of flour.
10. Women in the 80s and 90s all wore floral dresses with bibs, and had horrible hair. Truly. It’s like a whole generation stuck their fingers in electric sockets.
11. Do not get a pet ferret.
12. If you insist on getting a pet ferret, do not hold said ferret up to your face. Unless you were planning on getting a nose job anyway.
13. Come to think of it, do not hold anything up to your face anywhere near a video camera (see #1, #2, #12, and #13). You’re just asking to be on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

The Thirteenth Summer (and Jimmy) on Facebook

The Thirteenth Summer has its own Facebook page, in case you hadn’t heard: www.facebook.com/thirteenthsummer.

I’m posting lots of fun stuff about the book, including some deleted scenes from early manuscripts, inside info on the characters, and updates about the book’s Quest to Become a Movie (It’s been optioned by Hollywood producers, who are already shopping it around to film studios!). If you like the book (or if you just like me!) please also “like” the page on Facebook, and share it with your friends. The more of a following the book has, the better its chances of becoming a movie! 🙂 It also helps, when you read these posts, if you click the “like” button, so it posts to Facebook more frequently. Okay, commercial over. Back to blogging. THANK YOU!

Today I posted this scene in a note on the new Facebook page, and it felt kind of bloggish, so I thought I’d share it here, too, just for kicks. 🙂

One of my favorite things about writing The Thirteenth Summer was revisiting some of the cities I’ve lived in. Being a preacher’s kid, I moved up and down the East Coast throughout my childhood. I wanted to recapture, through Crystal’s eyes, some of the culture shocks I experienced.

When I was ten, my family moved from Atlanta to Boston. First let me say that, now that I live in Georgia again, fall in the South has been forever ruined for me by glorious memories of Boston’s Real Fall Weather . . . the trees a patchwork quilt of color; walking down the road to Wilson’s Farm to buy pumpkins and squash and caramel apples; aahhh, it was spectacular . . . But there were some bizarre moments, too. Like the first time I sat in my fifth grade class and said the word “y’all,” the WHOLE CLASS—I kid you not—turned around and stared at me like I had an alien popping out of my chest. For lunch, the cafeteria served peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. And here I thought fluff was something you did to your hair when you wanted a boy to look at you! (The sandwiches are divinely gooey, and an orthodontic nightmare, by the way.) If I wanted to buy a milkshake in Boston, people would ask me if I wanted a frappe instead. What the heck was a frappe? I’m still not exactly sure. And then there were the jimmies…

In case you didn’t catch it, that was my uber-smooth segue into a fun deleted scene from an early draft of the book.
This is Luke and Crystal in chapter 7, Coffee, Clothes and Cute Company, sight-seeing in Harvard Square with bodyguard Big Al—I’ll never forget my own first visit there. So I say again (dramatic pause here):

And then there were the jimmies…

Luke and Crystal bought cones at a small ice cream shop, and as the large grizzled man behind the counter scooped their cones, he grunted, “You want jimmies on those cones?”

“Excuse me?” Crystal said.

“Jimmies,” he repeated, looking at her as if she was two years old.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand, who’s Jimmy?”

The man snorted and yelled over his shoulder, “Hey Bert, this little girl wants to know who Jimmy is!”

Crystal felt her face redden as she heard a hoot of laughter from the back of the store—apparently Bert was amused.

Luke stepped up beside her. “Hey, now, is that any way to treat a lady visiting Boston for the first time?” Crystal felt her face burn even more. No boy had ever defended her honor before.

The man glared at Luke, leaning over the counter as if to show off his superior size. “Hmmmph. So, jimmies or no jimmies?”

“We’d love jimmies, thank you.” Luke leaned down to Crystal (he was at least a foot taller than she was) and whispered, “I have no idea what they are, either, but we’ll try them, okay?”

She nodded, sure her face was still the color of a tomato.

It turned out that “jimmies” were just sprinkles, and Crystal was disappointed when Luke handed a cone to her. She’d been picturing something more exotic.

“Sorry about the rudeness, no Southern hospitality here,” Luke said between licks.

“Oh, hey, no big deal. And—um—thanks for, you know, sticking up for me.”

“No prob. But now you owe me one.”