Penguin Monkey Hat

I had one of those brief-but-wonderful phone conversations with Jenna the other day. You know the kind–where you talk about little things going on in your lives, swap recipes, laugh over a long-standing inside joke. Nothing earth-shattering or out-of-the-ordinary. Just the kind of conversation that leaves you feeling a little happier than you were before it started.

I must have sounded blue. Because today, I received the world’s best cheer up/get well card in the mail. 

Mad Libs are kind of a thing for us. Years ago, as college students and aspiring writers, we found the exercise to be both stimulating and hilarious. We would sit around on the dorm room floor, illegal candles flickering, Ani Defranco playing quietly in the background, and whip out the most impressive adverbs we could think of–majestically! quizzically! unabashedly! Buried in a trunk somewhere in my storage unit, filled-in and used-up Mad Lib books wait to be rediscovered. 

There’s one thing everyone knows about a Mad Lib. Once you receive the challenge, you cannot acquiesce. And so, I sat down with my Mad Libs card and prepared to fill it out.

Because every good Mad Lib includes food and some type of undergarment.


There’s another thing that everyone knows about a Mad Lib. You have to use a pen. Pencils are for cheaters.


I took my time, choosing words out of thin air. I focused less on thinking up SAT-worthy words, and just jotted down the first words that popped in my head. I found myself smiling for the first time all day. Hours of a tension-filled work situation melted away. I forgot about my aches and pains. And I lived in the silly moment, shared between friends who live many miles apart.


Part of the body: knee pit! Of course! Verb: dance. Because that sounds lovely. Number: 13. Duh. It’s my lucky number. I jotted down each word as it came to me. And finally, the last blank space. Noun. And I thought of Jenna. Mad Lib complete, I sat back, read my work, and grinned.

It was the perfect 5-minute vacation from life. 

In the true art of sharing, here is my completed Mad Lib:

As a busy woman, it’s eagerly acceptable to spend a little time, 
and cookies, spoiling yourself. Consider a full-underwear massage 
at a day spa. Settle in for an evening with a steamy 
oak tree and a hot cup of dish detergent. Head to the 
beauty bubble and tell the stylist to try 
something that complements the shape of your knee pit. 
Pay a visit to your favorite butterfly store and buy 
some gangly new things that will cause men to dance 
in the street and follow you like lovesick stars. Keep your mind 
and body the finely tuned suitcases they are by getting in at
 least 13 minutes of shuffling every day. Really, it all comes 
down to following the Golden Kitty Cat
Treat yourself the way you’d want the perfect friend to treat you.

4 thoughts on “Penguin Monkey Hat

  1. Chirleen Evans

    I LOVE this! I actually did an online one for my sisters virtual baby shower because she’s thousands of miles away in Alaska. The “guests” LOVED it!!! I will have to get back in the habit of doing them, they were always a nice little vacation from life. (hugs)

  2. Laverne Smith

    It really is the little things in life that make our friends the best. The little things they notice. The small acts they do. That make a huge difference and make everything so much better. What a great Mad Libs but what a fantastic friend!! Xoxoxo -LV

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