Inadvertently Funny Notes

My first grown-up job was as a liability claims adjuster for a big insurance company. I didn’t know the job existed until I got it, but it was the perfect Venn diagram of my skills and interests.

Because we adjusters went to court a lot, one of the things drilled into us was that in a trial, our notes will be enlarged to wall size and every line, word, letter, and stray mark will be scrutinized, so they better be correct because you will have to explain each of them to a jury of someone else’s peers.

Not a problem. I’ve been a scrupulous note-writer my entire life.

Take, for example, this letter to the Tooth Fairy. Spelling notwithstanding, it’s as factual as it is altruistic.

I’ve since left that insurance job and retained all my permanent teeth, but the lesson in note-taking remained with me. To this day, I need notes like an astronaut needs oxygen. Like a car needs tires. Like a mosquito needs the back of my arm.

Problem is, I don’t always know what they mean afterward.

I used to rely on Facebook to politely baby-sit part of my brain. Once upon a time, I’d be able to save a video or article on my wall that someone else had posted. I’d make a note to myself that I was “saving for later” because I rarely had time to read or watch it in its entirety, but I wanted a reminder to go back and do so. Unfortunately, when I’d go back, I’d see this …

At that point I was left to rely solely on my own wits.

Yeah, you’re way ahead of me.

I’d see things like this:

in red, no less!

I know that I need a reminder to pick up Nala’s poop from the grass before the guys come to mow the lawn every week. (I did rewrite this one to read “pick up poop for lawn guys.” I didn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.)

I know that my husband had a meeting and I wasn’t punishing him by withholding some dubious but theoretically delicious meal from him.

I know that while ants might be a good present for an eight-year-old’s birthday, it was simply two separate thoughts written close together as a thrifty and space-saving technique. I’m sure Amy received something much more in line with her registry and status as an adult. A car perhaps, or maybe a spatula.

You might ask why I save all these notes. An excellent question. Probably in case I need to go to court.

There are also the helpful notes taken in the course of my writing career.

(Gah. Reading this sentence is like watching sausage being made. Took seven tries.
“I do word stuff.” *beats chest like ape*)

You know those were stellar writing days!

But then there are notes like this one I find all too often. I suspect I wrote it in my sleep, although there’s really no way of proving that.

“Doll’s yard. Emails. Joe’s house. Winner?”

Perhaps it’s a very clever Six Word Story in the manner of Ernest Hemingway.

But I doubt it.

What do you think I meant? Have you left yourself any cryptic notes? Were you able to decipher them? Can you imagine seeing notes to yourself projected upon a wall whilst you’re forced to ‘splain ‘em … under oath??

71 thoughts on “Inadvertently Funny Notes

  1. I used to scribble middle-of-the-night notes to myself but since I don’t think I EVER understood them in the light of day, I gave up and now just go back to sleep.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. When I was in the hospital after my spinal surgery—full to the brim with morphine—I texted notes to myself, usually in the silence of the wee hours, about what was going on. That is some hilarious reading!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. That was the idea, Annette. I have all my notes and everything … but I’m still waiting (coming up on 5 years) for the ending to the story! Maybe one of these days.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. From time to time, I’ll write a note on the calendar hanging on my fridge. Attempting to cram sufficient information into a little square often leads to something undecipherable. Oh, well.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Ohmygosh, I do that too! My husband knows I live and die by the calendar, so when he wants to check something—or god forbid, add something—he’ll ask, “what does [gibberish] mean?” … “No idea, honey.” … “Hm. Can we [do some thing with some people] that night?” … “No idea, honey.” … “Um ….”

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, yes, yes, I’ve probably left more illegible notes than legible ones. I’ve even posted them online in case someone out there is able to tell me what they say. But right now you have me laughing so hard I can barely type this.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. My whole desk is note after note. I really don’t think you’d want to post them on a wall, and certainly not in a courthouse for me to explain. I have a pad and pen on my nightstand too, or I just scream a demand to Siri in the middle of the night “set a reminder to…” Read The Chicks daily letter first… let my authors know that I don’t like that I haven’t been made into a cray cray character yet… set up my next tattoo appointment… you know, all of life’s really important stuff. Big stuff…Life and death stuff.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Though I keep a pen and pad by my bed, my notes to myself are mostly illegible in the morning because I don’t want to turn on the light. It’s really discouraging when I know I’ve finally figured out that pesky plot problem, but now it’s gone. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Let’s talk passwords for a minute. Here’s the scene-I’m researching something and come across a site that requires an account to access. I really want to see the info, so I grit my teeth and type in a user name and password. Maybe I even remember to pull a card from the Rolodex I keep on my desk for such things and write them down. But I’m po’d and hurried because I don’t want to lose my train of thought. Two days later, I’m still researching and come across the same site, but a different reference. I check the Rolodex and realize 1. I didn’t write anything down, 2. I wrote something I can’t read or 3. I can read it, but didn’t include the user name, or indicate which email addy I used (I have three) or indicate capital letters properly… you know the drill.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, I feel your pain, Tom. I AGONIZE over passwords and goodness knows I couldn’t conjure one and remember my train of thought. People smarter than me set up an account they only use for stupid stuff…stores and firewalls that force you to sign up. Sometimes I see one of those accounts on my newsletter subscriber stuff—”sitesI’llnevervisitagain at yahoo dot com.” (They’re always at yahoo, btw.) Purging my list recently I almost got rid of one of those but when I checked further, I saw they had opened and clicked on all of my newsletters over the last year. I felt weirdly honored. And humbled.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. This is one of the best posts ever!
    I write notes all the time. I can usually decipher, even though no one else can.
    My problem? Not putting the notes in a common sense place. I have notes all over the house. “I know I wrote the phone number down. Where the heck is it!” “This happens every month! Why can I never find the instructions for…?”
    Like sight now I keep writing ideas about malice swag for next year. And I have to keep looking up the same stuff cause I can never find the last brilliant idea.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks, Hestia! I do some of that too. Sometimes because I’m lazy, but usually because I’m TOO organized and I’ve already filed it someplace “obvious” (which in this case means “not obvious at all”). Like instead of just having a folder labeled “swag” I made a new label called “April 2022 Malice Swag I May or May Not Use.” But then I’ll file it under Q for the website where I may or may not order it. Or somesuch nonsense. It’s a constant challenge being me.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m an inveterate note and list maker, and now you make me wish I’d kept them all. (Or maybe only some of them.) And am I the only one who does something that wasn’t on my list, then writes it down and immediately draws a line through it on to-do list? I thought not.

    But your tooth fairy note may very well win the prize. We just need to come up for the proper contest, and I have no doubt it would win. And I do believe that with a little work, that last note could be transformed into a wonderful haiku.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Yes, yes, YES! On particularly challenging days you’ll find my list filled with “wake up, eat breakfast, shower, lather, rinse, repeat, get dressed, feed Nala, etc.” I’m SO PRODUCTIVE, I shout to the heavens.

      And it’s funny you mention haikus. We here at Casa Cray-Cray went through a lengthy phase when the kids were in high school where we only communicated via haiku. I have a bunch of them around. And limerick contests. Each one a gem … a GEM I tells ya!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. (I’d like to think I shared my tooth fairy bounty with my dad, but I can’t be sure. After all, a quarter would have purchased FIVE Jolly Rancher Sticks from my local confectioner.)

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Gotta love that tooth fairy note! One of my kids asked me to take photos of them (I mean, since I *assist* the tooth fairy) while they were sleeping. So, later in life, maybe they’ll have combo souvenirs from their tooth-losing days: fun notes & photos!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Tee hee! Thank you, Becky. This is hilarious. I really needed a laugh today.

    Listmaker here too and I do later find some that make no sense but yours take the cake. And Leslie, love that adding later and checking off. 😀

    ps: my parents just sent me some things that they’d kept from when we were little, which included a tooth fairy drawing. Maybe we could have a gallery exhibit. Lol.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. At least they didn’t send you any teeth! Have you seen those creepy plush dolls they make with their kids’ real teeth?? Completely nightmare-inducing. And how do they get them back from the tooth fairy? Seems like a nefarious scam the tooth fairy is playing … double-dipping her proceeds.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Ha! Great blog, Becky! I especially love the visuals. If I could ever find my scattered notes, we really could all have a gallery exhibit.

    My new trick to deciphering notes? I get my kids to translate for me. (And sometimes I return the favor.)

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Becky, your note to the tooth fairy is adorable! (Did she spring for more money knowing you’d give part of it to your dad? LOL!)
    I write everything down — and then lose it. When I schedule my next doctor appointment, I always put in in my iPhone calendar, which syncs with my husband’s, AND have the receptionist write it on a card for me. It disappears off the phone and I lose the card! I end up having to call the office and ask when my appointment is! I’m sure the receptionist thinks I’m an idiot.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, Vickie, I’m such a Luddite the words “iPhone calendar” made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. And the idea of sync-ing with anyone’s phone makes me break out in hives. I have a wall calendar that lives … um … on the wall. It’s impossible to lose it! I’m sure Lisa is right. Your subconscious is protecting you from the scary doctors!

      As to the extra money, I wish I could remember 1) whether she gave it to me and 2) whether I split it with my dad. I’d like to think so, but I really, really loved those green apple Jolly Rancher sticks. I’m sure my dad would have understood ….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I used to do the wall calendar thing because I thought everyone would, um, look at the wall to figure out the family schedule. Nope.

        I’m more modern now and use the phone, but I still haven’t gotten around to syncing it.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. OMG, Becky, this is hilarious! And I could not relate to it more. I’m also a HUGE note taker and list maker. I have notebooks of lists I made at mystery events, where I didn’t write down the name of the event and can barely read what I wrote, but I can’t get rid of them because I might figure out both someday.

    As to lists, the girls who moved into my college apartment after I graduated said they were still finding lists I made six months after I graduated.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. LOL! So you were all about MAKING the lists, not TACKLING the lists! They *are* two very different things. You know what I liked about having kids? When I could write a list of chores, tear it off and hand it to someone, and then—like magic—the things happened. I miss having minions.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. We have a whiteboard in our dining room where notes get posted, including things we need to buy (it doesn’t get done until it’s on the board), tasks, informational snippets, etc. All too often, I find myself looking at The Hubby’s writing and saying, “Uh, what does that say?”

    But the best ones are some of my critique notes. I can read them just fine (love track changes), but I sometimes have to say, “I wrote this comment, hang on while I figure out what I meant.” LOL

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hilarious, Liz! My kids too learned from a very early age that if it wasn’t on my calendar it wasn’t gonna happen. It just took one missed b-day party for them to learn that lesson. The white board grocery list reminded me of a story my son told me from boot camp. They had one of those for the supplies they needed from the Navy: shampoo, toilet paper, socks, etc. But the list always included beer, comfortable couch, iPads, and the like. Hope springs eternal, right?

      Ohmygosh, critique notes … that’s so true!

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I scrawl things on indv’l sticky notes, b/c I love the thrill of accomplishment tossing them into the recycling bag later. As soon as I write one, I stick it into my planner so the nice page doesn’t get messed up. Is that a great idea, or what? So colorful. I can usually decipher my handwriting (or at least the general idea), but my husband rewrites my grocery lists, checking with me in highly annoyed fashion on just about every item. (The default is “ice cream.”) We have no Internet connectivity in our local grocery store (can’t even connect to their app to get the so-called discounts, hmm), so just texting the list is futile.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Weirdly, MY default is always ice cream too!

      I feel so much stress when someone gives me a planner. I love the nice clean pages and the happy little squares to write in, but I simply can’t bring myself to do so.

      I write the grocery list—produce and meat at the bottom, everything else at the top—and hubs and I shop together. I tear it in half, hand him the produce list and then race off to try and finish before he does. It’s rare, but I’ve done it once in a while. I should write it messier to give myself an advantage.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I make so many notes that it is pitiful! And yes, many of them are in decipherable. Then every once in awhile, I go through them and relist them so that I can get rid of the notes and have them organized–things to do, things to order, sites to check out, etc.–so I am wasting more time on those notes… Have been working on them today. Finally got a journal and write them in under categories…. I would not like them on the wall for all to see. My husband was a claims adjuster, so I understand.


  16. This is the first time I’m rating a blog post… 10/5 stars!

    Beck~ I adore ya! You had me snort-laughing along with your Chicks. You guys are the best! Hysterical, and so nice to know I m not alone in the paper and pen struggle. Great post! Virtual hugs to all. The struggle is real.

    I didn’t know you had kids, Jen Chow~ Aren’t you like, 13 or something? Not fair that you have such a youthful face. I’m wagging my finger at you.

    Becky- I can gladly begin a support group for the Chicks and their subscribers re: notes. You did, however out yourself with the pricing of Jolly Ranchers. So, while Jen is 13- you’ve listed yourself as 85. js. and though I do love ya, you’re very wrong. The cherry Jolly Ranchers are #1. LOL! I’m wagging my finger at you too. 😉 Neither of you may tell me where to put that finger, no.


  17. This post made me literally laugh out loud!! I especially love the last note. I think “A Doll’s Yard” would make a great title for an extremely creepy book…that I’d be too afraid to read.

    I’m a copious note-taker, as well, and because I have awful, and I mean staggeringly awful, handwriting, the majority of my handwritten notes are more mysterious than any book I could write. I’ve taken to typing all of my notes, but in work meetings, my fingers don’t always keep up with the conversation–or my brain. And I’m left with oddities like “So lively!” and “Remember: grain.”

    What does they mean? I’ll never know. Until something is due, that is.

    Thanks for this hilarity, Becky!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Personally, I liked “what does they mean?” Hilarious! We should write that book: “Remember Grain in the Doll’s Yard.” It’ll be creepy and wonderful and we’ll be rich beyond our wildest dreams with daily appearances on Oprah’s and Reese’s lists. Movies! Fans! Broadway!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. This was hysterical! Man, can I relate, as I’ve always kept a notepad and pen next to the bed, for my middle of the night “reminders” and brilliant ideas for stories or other artistic projects. BAD idea, especially when I spill my cup of water, to make my great notes even MORE illegible! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, Lynn in Texas! Waterlogged notes would have a kind of ethereal quality to them … like art! No need to read them because art is all about how something makes you feeeeel.


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