lundi, juillet 30, 2007

my curmudgeonly friend

We drove along, trading in palaver as usual.

I expressed that I could no longer bring myself to care what happened to people low enough to vandalize or steal. If they are to be bludgeoned with baseball bats, so be it. As long as I don't have to watch. (I don't have a stomach for violence. Which is why I couldn't sit through even one episode of the Sopranos. However, I suppose if they were strung up, pinata style, and I were charged with the task of pounding them while wearing a blindfold, I might consider it. Just trying to be open minded.)

My co-conspirator laid out his plan to rob otherwise good people and businesses of their livelihood by destroying their signage (with the vulgarity of vandalism if necessary) and replacing it all with handmade cardboard bric-a-brac and tack-on "Gar[b]age Sale" posters that will blow off in the wind and cover the earth in trash. I guess once you concede that a billboard is the Ultimate Evil, minor infractions like destroying other people's property, or covering your community in neon paper products that you have no intention of picking up even weeks after all your crap that you think other people should pay money for has been picked through and the left overs taken to the landfill, seem somehow less egregious.

But it left me thinking, "and I'M supposed to be the ornery one?"

It's what makes us so effective as a team. I'm the homebound curmudgeon; he's the extremist variety; and neither of us makes any sense at all.

lundi, juillet 23, 2007

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

School is out, and that means a good deal of free time for teenagers around the country. What will they do with all this free time, and what should parents have to say about it?
A recent study by the Nevada County chapter of Parents of Entitled, Self-important Teenagers (or, P.E.S.T) reveals that good parents adopt a “get out of the way and let these young people do their own thing” approach.
In a press conference attended by P.E.S.T. members and one reporter, spokesperson Linda Kay Berke-Johnson said: “We despise George W. Bush, and stand by all our earlier statements against anything and everything he does. But at least his twin girls did drugs and used fake ID’s to get into bars and buy mixed drinks.” Area teens reached for comment as they “hung out” at the corner store said, “I don’t know, I’m just hanging out. What’s with all these questions and pressure? You’re stressing me out! Leave me alone! Gosh!”

Dried Fruit

This is the season of Fresh Fruit. During which I consume what many might consider an unhealthy amount of nectarines and cherries. Rest assured, they would be my favorite fruits even if they where available all year. But their limited availability makes them all the more precious. But there is a way to enjoy fruit year 'round: through the miraculous process of dehydration.

I can see where you might want to abstain from dried apricots, given that they are blamed in the infamous "Jason made his poor pregnant wife throw up" incident. (Just don't blame the apricots: the problem is obviously caused by the sulfuric acid they are treated with.)
I can even go along with you on the dried apples. There's something creepy and leathery about them. So even whilst enjoying them, your point is taken.

But how can you have aught against the dried mango? Philippine brand dried mangos are made from the finest mangoes Mother Nature can produce. Full of "sweet memories of Cebu," these delights are as close as you can get to picking it yourself, and not nearly as sticky. I'll go as far as to say that the dried mango is better than the fresh, being cleaner to consume. No pealing. No dripping.
And how can you rail against the sweet experimentalism of the (extremely rare!) dried cantaloupe?

Perhaps the way the sugar concentrates when the water is removed makes these delights too sweet for you. If so, then you should go, as Gibran instructed, out into your seasonless world, "where you will laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."

vendredi, juillet 13, 2007

Man Pain

It should go without saying that women are superior to men in most ways--at least that is what I was raised to believe. In the very least, we can all admit that they put up with a lot more, what with having to share the world with men and the whole menstruation/pregnancy/childbirth thing.

Having said what should go without saying . . . There is a cramp in my right buttock, and I know the cause.

And you women cannot even speak of it, because you have no idea.

I basically drove across the country this past week. And as my auto lapped the miles, a pain began to develop. By the time the car stopped, "docile and omnipotent," at my own stable door, it was a fully fledged cramp. As I went back to the daily grind, it became a dull, lingering ache.

Let me remind the reader that I was, indeed, wearing girl pants on this trip. The stretchy corduroy of legend. This is only significant because said pants have back pockets.
And what does a man, and only a man, have in his back pocket? What has the sexist matriarchy dictated through their fascistic fashionistas that men cram into one of their back pockets? You guessed it. A wallet.

A wallet that initiated a muscular incongruency, an imbalance, large enough to cause an entire buttock to revolt. How long until the rest of me follows suit? And what if other men join me?

I hear you saying: "why didn't he just take the wallet out of his pocket whilst he drove?" The answer: I shouldn't have to. Society is to blame. I've tried. I thinned my wallet down to the bare minimum: License, credit card, Apple ProCare card, Emily Dickinson fan club membership, First aid/CPR certification, a letter from an old friend, and a Canadian 2 dollar bill. That's it. You see how I couldn't get by with less. My wallet is actually thinner than most.

You sit there with your symmetrically cradled buttocks, with your bottomless purse seated comfortably next to you, and you have the nerve to mock. But unless you're going to massage my right buttock, then I suggest you try sitting on that purse as you drive and see what the world is like for people on the fringes of the power structure.

lundi, juillet 09, 2007

Karma Police

I'm still grappling with how good it felt to get my hate on.
But so many people wrote to tell me how bad hate is that the good feeling has to be doubted. They weren't writing to me, mind you. Not directly. But 80 million moral philosophers can't be wrong. (Even Helen Keller came after me. Something about giving my power away.) While no official apology will [EVER] be issued to anyone specific who may have been offended, the issue was taken under advisement with the appropriate authorities.

Hence, because Hate is (apparently) not the answer, so as to avoid "karmic backlash," and--most importantly--lest anyone think I am either a rock or an island, please enjoy making fun of me for the following:


* There was this mass e-mail from a friend in Quebec, about this grocery bagger, who had Downs Syndrome or something,(I forget his name, but doesn't it have to be Jimmy, or Billy, or Danny?) who decided to "make a difference" in the only way he could. He started putting an inspiring "quote of the day" in his customers' bags. People lined up to get in his line because they wanted the wisdom. The mood around the store changed. The florist started giving away flowers. The butcher stopped selling tainted salmon. Basically, the Aliens delayed our annihilation for a good year based on Jimmy's contribution. I was crying all over my keyboard just before I deleted it. And NOT because of the bad luck I got for not forwarding it to at least ten people in the next ten minutes.

* I watched this French movie about a failed musician who goes to a crooked school/home for wayward boys. Of course, he transforms the school. (How do failed musicians do that, by the way? How is it that the people chewed up and spit out by Art are destined to radically alter the perspective of the world's wayward Youth?) Anyway, I cried when they sang--and not just because it was the moment the Mr. Holland's bogus Opus was grappling for. It really was beautiful. Then I cried at the end when he gets fired (of course) and the boys who are forbidden to say goodbye do it anyway by throwing paper airplanes (which he taught them to make) with their thanks written on the wings out the window. It was Dead Poet's Society all over again. I was totally fine with the snotty actor kid killing himself. But man, when they all stand on the desk and say "Oh Captain, my Captain!" I am a weepy mess for a good hour.

* An old friend sent me a package of pictures and souvenirs from Emily Dickinson's house. Before you make too much fun of me for crying at this, you should know that the souvenirs included an acorn from Emily's tree. Can you imagine anything cooler? Either I was crying at the friend's kindness, or over the fact that as a teenager I actually tried that "Somewhere in Time" trick from that sad little Christopher Reed movie. I wanted to go back in time and convince her to marry me. Obviously it didn't work. And no I did not play the soundtrack as I made the attempt to meditate myself backward through the continuum. On second thought, it has to be the friend's kindness, because, while I flagellate myself with guilt over all my teenage stupidity, I never cry about it.

* They Might Be Giants have a song called Ana Ng. If you really listen, really close, at the right time of night, alone in your car as you sit in the parking lot of the job that has been sucking your soul out through every orifice for ten years, wondering what it would feel like to walk through life without the weight of the world absolutely crushing your shoulders, the song inspires tears.

* The 4th of July fireworks in my little town go off right over my house. The noise is deafening and the light is blinding, but it was neither the red glare nor the suffocating sulfur in the air. As I squinted, covered my ears, and hoped the fire department was at the ready, I started to think about the miracle that is America. Yes, I teared up a little.

* This was a while ago, but I enjoyed that hate a LOT, to I'm going further back. I spent Father's day fixing my own meal, enjoying a gift I had purchased for myself, and cleaning up after my slob son and the mother who taught him the art of mess. I didn't really care, because that reality isn't worth fretting about. But as I went out into the night to head off to work (see Reason to Cry #3) I actually did begin to feel a little sorry for myself. Then I noticed a strange neon glimmer from inside the car. My son, who seemed to have spent the whole day not giving a crap, had written "Happy Father's Day" with glow sticks taped to the inside of the windshield. The whole interior of the car was glowing. (See, now YOU'RE crying). I shed a tear of gratitude. Then another because his little gift made it impossible to drive, and was going to make me late for work. Another tear for useless good intentions and good deeds justly punished. Then one more for the realization that what he had really done was make ANOTHER mess for me to clean up. . . And then one last crocodile tear for the fact that being late for work and cleaning up the spent glow sticks in the morning was totally worth it.

So there it is, Universe. I hope that completes my penance. I promise to never again admit in writing to enjoying hatred or rejoicing in anyone else's misery.