the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A routine expedition

Saturday afternoon I checked my mailbox and found a package from a reader named Lindsey full of t-shirts silkscreened with images of the characters from Land of the Lost. I bet half of my readers haven’t ever heard of that television show, and if you’re one of those people then I am very sorry that your childhood was so unfulfilling. I bet you never owned a My Pretty Pony either. These are surely unresolved issues that you should bring up next time your family gets together for dinner, right after your father turns to your sister and says, “You were always the pretty one.”

I was so excited about these shirts that I actually stripped right there in the kitchen to put one on. I gave a cursory glance over my shoulder to see if there were any neighbors passing by the house, and Jon just shook his head because he knows that even if there had been I would have stripped anyway. It’s not that I’m trying to tempt the old Mormon up the street, it’s just I’d have to walk several feet into another room to find a place that you can’t see from the street and that is just too sensible. The part of my brain that would tell me to walk to another room is missing. It’s the same part of the brain that would stop me from putting on a pair of five-inch heels when I know I’m going to be walking half a mile uphill. In that situation all my brain says is THAT’S WHY GOD MADE BAND AIDS!

I chose to wear the shirt featuring a portrait of Chaka, a small chimpanzee-like humanoid:


After I pulled it over my head and straightened it out over the top of my shorts Leta took a step back to admire it.

“I love your shirt, Mama,” she said. I was waving my outstretched fingers around it like a model on The Price is Right, and before I could thank her she continued, “Is that a picture of Daddy?”

  • In the Trenches of Mommyhood

    2008/06/23 at 2:00 pm

    Sleestak! Will and Holly! I’m sooo with you on this.

  • Shannon

    2008/06/23 at 2:00 pm

    4 is such a quotable age. Smart girl she is.

  • Danny

    2008/06/23 at 2:00 pm

    In my language we say: “A childs mouth speaks the truth”
    But I must admit, it looks like my dad as well.

  • Sarah

    2008/06/23 at 2:01 pm

    My favorite part of Land of the Lost was actually the theme song.

  • Liz

    2008/06/23 at 2:02 pm

    And Lindsey’s lovely tee’s can be found where? Before my husband finds out that they exist and then his next thought is “Where was this on Father’s Day?”

  • Kristy

    2008/06/23 at 2:02 pm

    That show scared the shit out of me when I was a kid, but I watched it religiously. The Chaka shirt is awesome.

  • Angela

    2008/06/23 at 2:02 pm

    I totally agree with you about the shoes!
    Great shirt!

  • Carrie

    2008/06/23 at 2:02 pm

    That’s one thing I love about my 4-year-old: Old enough to dispense fashion advice.

  • Amber

    2008/06/23 at 2:03 pm

    Sleestaks! I loved that show so much as a kid, but I was totally freaked out by the sleestaks and used to have nightmares so regularly that my mother made me take down a Land of the Lost poster I had hanging across from my bed. Please tell me there is a sleestak shirt as well!

  • Wicked Stepmom

    2008/06/23 at 2:04 pm



    We have the episodes on DVD! Jealous?

    (And thanks for the earworm, BTW.)

  • Madame Queen

    2008/06/23 at 2:05 pm

    Sleestak’s used to scare the bejeebus out of me — but I watched anyway!

    I loved the themesong, too, though the only part I can really remember is “…in the land of the loooooooost!” followed by that giant t-rex roaring. Good stuff.

  • Tanya

    2008/06/23 at 2:05 pm

    Land of the Lost was the BEST SERIES EVAH!

  • Iver Jane

    2008/06/23 at 2:05 pm

    I loved this show! Time to Netflix it and inflict my husband.

  • Emilie

    2008/06/23 at 2:05 pm

    Oh…what I wouldn’t give for a Bugaloo’s or Whitchy-Poo shirt…

  • Maria

    2008/06/23 at 2:07 pm


  • Vaguely Urban

    2008/06/23 at 2:08 pm

    Chaka is working as a file clerk at a law firm in Los Angeles. Or was as of three years ago. I believe it was a classic Gary Coleman/parent-rip-off-of-child-actor story. Not that that takes anything away from his fine turn as Chaka on LOTL.

  • maarmie

    2008/06/23 at 2:08 pm

    The Sleastacks rock! I tried to explain to my British husband exactly what Land of the Lost is and what it meant to me. Turns out, it doesn’t translate.

  • Colleeen Schmitt

    2008/06/23 at 2:08 pm

    Four year olds are the best!

  • Holly

    2008/06/23 at 2:09 pm

    I LOVE THAT SHIRT! I loved the show Land of the Lost! I think I loved it so much because there was a girl in it named Holly, and my name is Holly. When you’re in grade school, that was pretty much the same thing as being best friends. Where can I get these shirts??? Now it’s a mission for me to find them, so you must help.

  • Laura

    2008/06/23 at 2:09 pm

    I can’t believe it! I loved Land Of The Lost. I thought it was gone forever.. I kept asking people if they remembered it and everyone I asked just looked at me like I was crazy. I kept telling them, “you KNOW Land Of the Lost” what goof balls. Thank You!!

  • Megan

    2008/06/23 at 2:09 pm

    You just try to resist the urge to call Jon ‘Chaka’ the next time he irks you. Just try.

  • Jessica

    2008/06/23 at 2:10 pm

    LMAO! I have never seen that show, but I did have a bunch of My Little Ponies, so I think I’ll be OK. 🙂

  • zeghsy

    2008/06/23 at 2:10 pm

    hahaha… “is that daddy?”!!! *wipes away tear. thank you. i needed that today.

  • Ana

    2008/06/23 at 2:11 pm

    OMG, I loved that show. My mom said I was not a loser for watching. Cool shirts. Where can we find them?

  • sharon

    2008/06/23 at 2:12 pm


  • Tiaras & tantrums

    2008/06/23 at 2:13 pm

    I KEEP WAITING FOR THE RERUNS – This was my all time fav Sat morning show when I was a child!!

  • Heather

    2008/06/23 at 2:13 pm

    WOW! Talk about a flash back. Makes me want to make Battle of the Planets Underwear!

  • Lori

    2008/06/23 at 2:13 pm

    Love the shirt! Such memories. Now you’ve got me wanting one (and a My Little Pony).

  • Stacy

    2008/06/23 at 2:14 pm

    I’m one of those people that has never heard of Land of the Lost and no, I never owned a Pretty Little Pony either. I couldn’t have a real pony, but prefered the company of live ones versus plastic ones when I was around them. Not much has changed. 30 something years later as I still prefer the company of animals than most people. *shrugs*

    LOL @ Leta. Did you laugh when she asks you these things? I wouldn’t have been able to keep a straight face.

  • Amy

    2008/06/23 at 2:14 pm

    Too cute!

  • Bibi

    2008/06/23 at 2:15 pm

    I recently turned my own children onto the Land of the Lost after a friend gave us several episodes on DVD. My daughter informed me that she no longer likes the show; she tells me that it’s for babies. I think she is just befuddled by the cutting-edge special effects of the 70’s.

    I’m also thinking the upside to opening yourself up to all the “constructive” critisism you receive is the AWESOME swag you’ve been getting from your adoring readers. I had a shirt with Jim Morrison on it, and several people asked if it was me. I took it as a compliment, although I’m a girl.

    I think Jon should embrace his Chaka-ness.

  • deb

    2008/06/23 at 2:15 pm

    Oh god that is so funny!

    I remember one episode of this show where the little monkey humanoids were missing and Holly (I think?) was trying to find them calling: CHAAAAKAAAAAA!
    I cant believe I remember this…

  • Darling Reader

    2008/06/23 at 2:15 pm

    LOTL is my favorite! As soon as we signed up for netflix, I got ALL of the espisodes available and watched them over an entire weekend. My 18 month old isn’t talking yet, but he has the nickname of sleestak b/c he walks around slurping/hissing…however you’d describe the sound they made. Those shirts are awesome! As was Leta’s comment.

  • Tori

    2008/06/23 at 2:15 pm

    I’m one of those few that have NO idea what that is.

  • Julie

    2008/06/23 at 2:16 pm

    I SOOO had a crush on Will!!!

  • Schatze

    2008/06/23 at 2:18 pm

    She’s confused by all the hair! It’s a common mistake…

  • Stacey

    2008/06/23 at 2:18 pm

    I so needed that laugh today – thank you so much! 🙂

  • Heather

    2008/06/23 at 2:18 pm

    Sid and Marty Krofft were the SHIT. I think they were eating their weight in acid. They had to have been.

    “H.R. Puf N’Stuf” was my definite fave. Must. Find. Tshirt.

    And yeah. Sleestaks. Nightmare Central.

  • Lovebuzz

    2008/06/23 at 2:18 pm

    Cool shirt! My 19 month old daughter got one of those Kung Fu Panda toys (the monkey) at McDonalds this weekend. This morning she pointed to it and said “DADDY!”

  • sonya

    2008/06/23 at 2:18 pm

    I credit witchy-poo among the many stange childhood characters on TV for my clumsiness and off-center wit.

    I loved that show HR PuffnStuff. I was an oddball kid who didn’t do things like all the other kids. That is why is lurk here!

  • amanda

    2008/06/23 at 2:19 pm


  • Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk

    2008/06/23 at 2:19 pm

    No you’re not. I have no idea what they’re all blathering on about either, but that comment from Leta is priceless. Daddy’s girl!

  • Jeana

    2008/06/23 at 2:20 pm


    I waaaaant a sleeeeestaaaaak.

  • Lisa

    2008/06/23 at 2:21 pm

    OMG, I loved this show – it was the staple of my Saturday mornings (that and Creature Double Feature). My husband truly thinks I’m nuts – what does he know? I thought the sleestacks and their jewels were the coolest.

    I thought you were going to say that Leta thought Chaka was a Geiko caveman guy…

  • AnEmily

    2008/06/23 at 2:21 pm

    Oh snap! I got my kids season one of LOTL last year and they are still terrified of Sleestaks. They couldn’t get past three episodes.

  • Smilf

    2008/06/23 at 2:21 pm

    Love this shirt and love Leta’s comment. LOL

  • Renata

    2008/06/23 at 2:23 pm

    I am trying to remember the words to the song::
    Marshall, Bill and Holly
    On a Routine Expedition
    When the greatest earthquake ever known
    something — something
    Stuck their tiny raft
    Sent them all one thousand feet below
    To the laaannnnd of the lost
    To the laaannnnd of the lost
    (Bird Calls…)

  • Andria and Co.

    2008/06/23 at 2:24 pm

    Snort. Leta rocks.

  • I’ve been praying that on the next episode of LOST they will finally find the Light Crystals and a Pylon. Please, please, please!!

  • BaltimoreGal

    2008/06/23 at 2:29 pm

    OK, I must have. First, my brother would wear that orange Chaka shirt until it fell off his body. Second, these might make my year because Land of the Lost was my favorite show until probably adolescence. I STILL love the song.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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