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The Anonymous Note I’m Not Writing

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I don’t do this — two posts on the same day.  But, you know, global warming and all….

*   *   *

You’ve seen the posts, you’ve followed the links, to a story about where some No Goodnik gets a good scolding.  I followed one such link today on Facebook, thinking I was in for a surefire, feel-good moment (what the heck; my tea needed more steeping).

Instead, my gasted was flabbered. Or however that works.[1]

The post I refer to is being cited on FB and other social media sites as an example of a heroic or “gotcha” response to a cowardly anonymous note.  It is by Suzanne Perryman, identified as a blogger at SpecialNeedsMom.com. Read it before reading further:  To The Author of the Anonymous Note Left on My Car Window  .

To The Author
of the Over the Top Response
to an Anonymous Note Left on Her Car Window:

I sense years of slights and misunderstandings, bitterness and resentment, erupting in your retort to the anonymous Note Writer.  And, although you and I have never met, I know all about you – I know why you do and say the things you do.  Because I am a mother. Because I am…

Oh, no, wait.  I’m not going to second guess your motivations.  That in turn would be condescending, judgmental, patronizing – that would be just what you gave back tenfold to the Anonymous Note Writer.

Anonymous  Note Writer was mistaken.  Although you, in fact, are not disabled (ANW was correct in that observation [2]), your two special needs children were with you, and perhaps ANW did not see them, nor notice your handicapped placard.

It happens.  ANW was in the wrong. Shame on them, right back at them. Crumple the note and recycle it.

Instead, you compose a seven paragraph screed “inspired” by an eight word note.

Really.  Re-read what you wrote, to a person you’ve never met:
“I think I recognize you… I do. Before becoming a Mom, I used to live in your world of black and white, with everything in order, in its place. I had a plan, a schedule, a list of finished projects to check off, checklist and all. How wonderful for you that your life is so structured, so dependable and predictable that you cling to that line dividing right and wrong, black and white, and that you feel compelled to comment when you think someone is coloring outside the lines….

“I recognize where you are from. I used to live there, too. I used to have checked-off lists, awards touting my accomplishments, perfect hair, great skin, sparkly eyes, a quick wit, a clean car, a social life, a large social network, an organized calendar, vacation plans set in stone and no overdue library books. But then I became a mom. And unexpectedly, a mom of a special needs child.”

Sorry about your hair and skin (hint: diminished perkiness of bodily accessories happens to us all. It’s a byproduct of aging, and Life with a capital L).  But, the patronizing:  “Before becoming a Mom….  And then I became a mom.”  A stand alone sentence; a justification for it all?

???????

And the heavens opened and there was a cry from Valhalla, “This woman has given birth!”
And Odin bestowed upon her the gift of self-righteous vengeance and inerrant motivational discernment….”

Two special needs children.  No doubt about it, you have a tough row to hoe.  Yet and still, your being a mother, of any kind of child with any kind of need, does not give you clairvoyant powers, nor a special window into the life circumstances and motivations of other people.

“I think I recognize you… I do (emphasis mine).  I recognize where you are from.”

No, you don’t. You recognize little but your own sense of indignation.

You  know  Not. One. Thing. about the person who left you that note, except that s/he thought you were taking a handicapped space to which you were not entitled.

That’s it.

You do not know that Note Writer’s life is “…so structured, so dependable and predictable that you cling to that line dividing right and wrong, black and white….”.

You do not know Note Writer’s health or parenting status, or life circumstances.  You do not know that Note Writer might be handicapped, or have a handicapped child or parent, and thus had a personal, visceral reaction to seeing what they mistakenly thought was a scofflaw in action.  You do not know that NW may have had a flashback, to the time when they had to assist their shaky, walker-pushing, oxygen-tank using elderly father in navigating across a pothole-ridden parking lot because the one handicapped parking spot by the pharmacy was occupied by a non-disabled person who “just wanted to leave the kids in the car and dash in and pick up a refill.”[3] [4]

Anonymous Note Writer was mistaken. You had the chance to play your Righteous Indignation card.  Bully for you – in every sense of the word.

*   *   *

Full disclosure: I have left an anonymous note on a car windshield.  I wrote it to a Porsche-driving dickhead who parked his pathetic penis substitute in a way that took up four (!) parking spaces in a crowded lot.  The note consisted of a brief yet colorful critique of his consideration-challenged parking strategy.

Correction – it wasn’t exactly an anonymous note.  I signed it: “From all of Humanity.”

 

Ah, but it’s still Friday.  Let the hijinks continue to ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Flabbergast: to overwhelm with shock, surprise, or wonder. (Webster’s)

[2] But could have been mistaken, as many disabilities do not “present themselves” with obvious or outward physical manifestations.

[3] I witnessed such a scenario at Hillsboro’s (now defunct) Hi School Pharmacy parking lot.

[4] Or to the time when they witnessed an able-bodied person use their disabled mother’s placard to get a better parking space, even when that person was not running errands with wheelchair-bound mom in the car.  I have seen people do this, and have heard people admit – sometimes gleefully, and sometimes guiltily – to doing this.

The Voices I’m Not Hearing

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Yet Another Reason To Go On Living

Someday I shall tell you my penis tattooing joke.  Not today, but someday.

Nine out of ten camels agree, it's the best joke they've ever heard

Nine out of ten camels agree, it’s the best joke they’ve ever heard

*   *   *

Even more reasons to go on living: those fragments of conversation, heard in passing

MH, Belle, K and I, on our way out of a Fred Meyer store, pass a woman on her way in.  Cart Woman, a gritty, out-of-my-way look in her eyes, speedily pushes a shopping cart in which her bug-eyed toddler squirms in the cart’s child seat.  She hiss/whispers to the child:

“You are not going to pee your pants – we’re almost there.”

*   *   *

MH, son K and I made a trip to Tacoma earlier this week, while Belle stayed home and held down the proverbial fort. [1]  It was time to return K to the University of Puget Sound, for his junior year as a “tiny bio” [2] major.

My friend CC’s comment, after she’d heard we’d be helping K move into his first off-campus dwelling, a rental house he’ll be sharing with four or five other students: 

Good Luck with that!
Just don’t go into the bathroom, now or ever, for the well being of your health.

Wise words, but bathroom, schmathroom — the real danger was the enclosed back porch/laundry room, which is also where K’s housemates have decided to keep the recycling containers.  Apparently, the concept of rinse-and-recycle has not sunk in, much to the delight of the local Musca domestica and their various drosophilia cousins.  Also, there is the neglected litter box for the cat-the-boyfriend[3]-of-one-of-the-housemates-brought-in-violation-of-the-lease.

MESS

I must remind myself: what festers in Tacoma stays in Tacoma.

K’s room is one of the bigger bedrooms in the house, yee haw. It was also totally unfurnished and had no closet or shelves of any kind, which necessitated trips to local stores to procure some clothing and other storage devices.  Wednesday morning I drove us from our hotel to K’s house to pick him up for one of the shopping forays.  I stayed in the car while MH fetched K, and as my menfolk were leaving K’s house an older woman from the house across the street scurried out to her front yard and called to K:  “Are you going out?  Would you bring me back a Pepsi?”

K relayed the women’s request to me when he got in the car, and his eyes widened when I said it might be fun to actually bring her back a Pepsi. No, Mom, please…don’t.

K was concerned that he would become, in that neighbor’s eyes, an easy mark.   His housemates, who’ve been in the house since the summer, warned him about Pepsi Woman and her peculiar behaviors.  I asked them for more info when we returned from shopping:  Is PW mentally ill, a classic eccentric, or maybe just has a really big Pepsi jones?

From what K’s housemates have gleaned, Pepsi Woman suffers from a TBI, with the resulting cognitive and behavioral deficits common to such injuries. Her grown daughter checks up on her regularly, but PW gets anxious when her husband isn’t around (he works normal/daytime hours) and tends to “wander” during the day.  She wandered into their house one day – just opened the door and marched inside not long after the housemates had brought back boxes of takeout pizza and uttered the completely ordinary and yet situationally disturbing words, “Are you having pizza?”

It freaked them out, to say the least.

It will provide the housemates with some funny stories, I assured K, although the women’s situation is ultimately and profoundly sad.  Please, be kind to her, I requested.  And I wish I’d gotten her that Pepsi.

*   *   *

less than a week until school starts

less than a week until school starts

A long time ago, long before children, I did not understand why a writer friend hated summer, to the point of cursing with great creativity the school district in which her children attended school, when budget cuts meant they had the shortest school year in the state.  Could not understand, because I didn’t have a school-aged child. 

Recently, I told her this and apologized if I seemed insensitive ten years ago. Because I get it. Summer, if you are involved and/or can’t afford help, means a stay at home parent’s life is completely derailed. Everything is on hold. If you are like me, you can’t get anything done because multiple interruptions make you crazy (there’s neuroscience to back me up–well, not on the crazy part…. 

I am the writer friend mentioned in the above excerpt, which is from the blog of the marvelous, wise and witty Attorney at Large.  ‘Twas funny, to read about that situation in a friend’s blog.  And I do not recall her reaction as being insensitive at all.  Only unfamiliar…with a situation which she, as a fellow writer and, now, fellow CHAW ,[4] now is.

(And since she is also, in so many ways,  a better writer than I, she can grimace over the construction of that last sentence.)

Once again, I digress.

The hating-summer thing is only in terms of work.  As in, being able to work on new stories, rather than just keeping up with the business end of things. [5]Scratch the “just,” there is nothing just/merely/simply about keeping up with the business end of writing.  The business end is the end I-most-don’t-want-my-face-near,

ASS

but it is essential, and takes up an incredible amount of time.

There have been a few summers when I have managed the dilemma well (read: lowered expectations re new work to absolute zero). I’m hoping this has been one of them.  I truly enjoyed spending time with K & Belle during their time off, as long as I was able to muffle the should be/could be haranguing voice inside my head, which for some disturbing reason sounds an awful lot like Barry White on helium.

I’ve heard people say that
 Too much of anything is not good for you, baby
 Oh no
 But I don’t know about that
 There’s many stories that we’ve loved
 You’ve shared stories and written stories
 It doesn’t seem to me like it’s enough
 There’s just not enough of it
why aren’t you writing more new stories
 Oh oh, babe….

Fun fact:  I read somewhere that when schizophrenics have auditory hallucinations, regardless of the gender of the person experiencing the hallucinations, the imaginary voices overwhelmingly tend to be male.[6]

Good to know.  Anyway, pretend there is a graceful segue.

Belle starts her senior year of high school next week.  Yee haws, and yikes abound. And I will start pawing through my notes on the next The Mighty Quinn book.  It’s not a sequel, but I found that although as eager as I was to get on to my list of a quabillion other projects, I wasn’t quite done with the characters, and my files contain enough notes on scenario and plot and dialog that I think I could have at least two more books in a…

Insert the appropriate s-word, I dare you. I can’t say it, or write it.  A series?  It was never my intention to write one, and I don’t think I’m going to.  But on to middle school/junior high – with all the weirdness that comes with the territory, including, may the Flying Spaghetti Monster be praised, puberty!  How can I deny myself letting Quinn and Neally et al wreak havoc in that bountiful setting?

Take it away, Barry.  Let the summer end and the hormonal (literarily speaking) hijinks ensue.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] read: scooped all three literal litter boxes. Excellent job, Belle!

[2] Micro and Cellular Biology.

[3] Who is, apparently, becoming housemate #5

[4] Scrambled acronym for At Home Child Wrangler

[5]Bizness includes keeping up with the ever-changing publisher and manuscript/story submission requests and guidelines, querying agents and publishers, sending out manuscripts and tracking them when they return home to roost….

[6] Due to generally shorter vocal cords, smaller larynx, higher pitch, wider range of sounds and more melodious tone, the female voice is more “complex” than the male’s and thus, it is speculated by scientists (or hallucinated) a female-sounding voice is more difficult for the brain to conjure and replicate than a male’s voice is.

The Back Hairs I’m Not Sauteing

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“California is about the good life.
So a bad life there seems so much worse than a bad life anywhere else.”
(Sarah Vowell)

Last weekend/earlier this week my family traveled to Southern California. It was a personal and business trip, visiting my mother and my older sister and her family, and for the biz matters, doing another college exploratory trip for Belle. Monday evening, minutes after our flight took off from the Ontario airport heading for PDX, MH and Belle saw this sight, from the right/east side of the airplane.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=9212007

It was a multivehicle crash, with even more emergency vehicles responding.  Strange, how an event so tragic looked so surreal and…well…picturesque [1]…from the window of an ascending jet plane.

*   *   *

As I have whined about described here previously, I am not fond of trips to So Cal (more specifically, Orange County) for a variety of reasons, and this trip included the cranky-inducing reason of getting up at 3:55 am to make our 6:15 boarding time. In what has become the proud tradition of American aviation, our two hour flight included no breakfast service [2].

After fetching our rental car we searched for the nearest non-fast food food venue near the Ontario airport. The first restaurant-looking place we came to was a Farmer Boys. Although the chain of restaurants is a “Southern California Icon,” [3] So Cal native moiself had never heard ’em. Guess their iconic status was achieved after I left the state.

But I digress.

Picking at my Farmer Boys breakfast, I realized how spoiled I’d become, living where I live in Oregon. What with the abundant local organic grocery stores, farmer’s markets and our CSA membership I have become used to the idea that eggs should taste like eggs and tomatoes like tomatoes.   Had I been blindfolded I would have had no idea what I was eating, as my over-medium [4] eggs and tomato slices were remarkably flavor-free.

I was in California, supposedly the produce capital of the US if not the world, and it was August, eighty-plus degrees, and a restaurant with the word “farmer” in its name can’t serve a decent tomato and a fresh egg?

tomatoland

*   *   *

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming, Dissing So Cal, to ask readers to engage in a moment of bedlam on behalf of Men With Righteous Cojones.  Specifically, actor Mark Ruffalo, who sent a stirring letter to a reproductive rights rally in Mississippi, [5] In his letter Ruffalo defends women’s reproductive rights and shares his mother’s own experience obtaining an illegal abortion.

“What happened to my mother was a relic of an America that was not free nor equal nor very kind. My mother’s illegal abortion marked a time in America that we have worked long and hard to leave behind. It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives. It was a time that deserved to be left behind, and leave it behind we did, or so it seemed.”

 How I wish Mr. Ruffalo’s eloquently penned sentiments were also a relic. That is, how I wish I could show his letter to my children and their response would be along the lines of, Wow, what was going on back then?

It’s déjà vu all over again.  Nevertheless, it is with great appreciation that I bestow the Men With Righteous Cojones award to Mark Ruffalo.

big_balls_std

    * *  *

When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California it raised the I.Q. of both states.
(Will Rogers

No recounting of a trip to So Cal is complete without my complaining about the region’s water usage. The state has been in a drought since the last time Anthony Weiner sent a weiner-free text,  and this year has been the state’s  hottest year on record, and what did I see during my morning walks around my mother’s neighborhood?  H-two-O, all over the sidewalks and running over the curbs and into the gutters and drains, runoff from all of those consequence-denying, Colorado River-sucking hydro-vampires watering their lawns, their stupid, ugly, vanity, royalty-imitating[6] status-flaunting lawns.  Not only that, I passed several houses with NEWLY SEEDED FRONT LAWNS, as in, the kind that require copious watering to keep the sprouts alive.  Made me want to slap somebody upside the head with a water witch’s dowsing stick.   Which would, you know, hurt.

DOWSE

I have three words for the average So Cal homeowner.  Okay, I have six, but the first three I shall keep to myself. [7]  The second three: Drought. Resistant. Landscaping.

*   *   *

 Back to reasons for the trip: Belle and MH sat in on an Admissions Talk for Claremont McKenna College & the Claremont Colleges consortium, on Monday afternoon.  K and I passed the time at Claremont’s library and then joined Belle & MH for the campus tour, after which we had a couple of hours before needing to get to the airport. Belle, exhausted from the tour (and the summer cold that plagued her during the entire trip) nixed MH’s offer of a drive to/tour of his college, Caltech, which turned out to be a good move as we enjoyed a scenic drive up the San Bernardino’s highest peak, Mt. San Antonio (more commonly known as Mt. Baldy).

LODGE

We had dinner at the Mt. Baldy Lodge Restaurant, where my curiosity if not my appetite was piqued by the entrée menu item described thusly:

“And for all you healthy people….
THE PLUMBER’S WIFE: steamed vegetable medley with chunks of chicken topped with melted cheddar and jack cheese.”

They got me. I had to order it. About the “healthy” descriptor – yeah right. Not with that portion size.

MH was concerned that I might find it necessary to imitate the sartorial accoutrements of the entrée’s namesake.  I assured him that my pants and health would remain plumber-influence free.

PLUMBER

*   *   *

Our friend LAH graciously agreed to house/cat sit during our trip to Southern California. We had her over to dinner last Thursday, the 15th, to enjoy the pleasure of her company and to give her house/cat care instructions.  Somehow, the table conversation was steered to [8] the story about the dinner many years ago wherein I first served Brussels Sprouts to a leery LAH.  Although LAH later came to appreciate the oft-maligned brassica, she gave me a hard time about it that night.  She reminded me that, after that momentous dinner, as she was walking home on a frosty night, she put her hands into her jacket pocket and found an unexpected bonus: a plastic baggie of the still-warm Brussels sprouts.

Inspired by L’s generous reminder of one of my better pranks, I launched into infomercial announcer mode:

But wait – there’s more! It’s a cruciferous-cancer-fighting veggie AND a hand warmer!

 Which prompted son K to share his opinion of the vegetable in question:

“Brussels Sprouts are the devil’s back hairs.”

Of course, I had to ask. Why, in K’s opinion, are Brussels Sprouts the devil’s back hairs?

“Because they grow in stalks and are disgusting.”

DEVIL

 Try sautéing your devil’s back hairs in olive oil with diced shallots. And may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Or perhaps “cinematic”

[2] But the beverage service included complimentary beer and wine.  Yo ho ho for SkyWest Airlines.

[3]  Well, according to Farmer Boys.

[4] “Eggs served any style” the menu said, so I asked for poached.  “Any style” translation: any style but poached.

[5] New regulations threaten the state’s only abortion clinic, which has been targeted by an anti-abortion group, the ironically named Operation Save America.

[6] Historians tell us the 17th century European royals flaunted their wealth with lawns, which, besides  showing off castles and manor homes, let the neighbors know that the lawn owner was so wealthy he could afford to use his land as a playground rather than a source of food. Thus, the lawn became a status symbol.

[7] They are best shared with a sympathetic listener, both of us armed with an adult beverage.

[8] “Somehow the table conversation was steered to…” I should come up with a suitable acronym for this phrase, which, in my house, introduces many an anecdote containing (or excusing) a plethora of fart jokes or other stories of questionable taste.

The Power Within I’m Not Unleashing

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Remember the old station wagons, with the reverse rear seat?  Raise your hand if you were a way way back sitter.  Moiself, too.

Waywayback

The Way Way Back. You must see this film, although you may have to wait until it comes out on DVD.  The life of an independent film during the What’s Left For Bruce Willis To Blow Up?, Boom-Boom summer season blockbusters is a brief one.

The Way Way Back got me to thinking about another independent gem of a film, [1] 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine, which got me to re-watching LMS, which got me thinking about the pivotal scene in which Richard, who is trying to make it as a motivational speaker/life coach via his “Nine Steps to Success” program, confronts the agent who has been avoiding his phone calls, the aptly named Stan Grossman.

Richard:
You said it would sell…!

Stan:
That’s what I thought. At the Time.

Richard:
But it’s a great program! You said yourself!   I don’t understand…

Stan
It’s not the program, Richard, it’s you, okay?  No one’s heard of you.  Nobody cares.

…which got me to thinking about the strange phenomenon that is the circular, bastard stepchild of a pyramid-scheming-evangelical-preacher-snake-oil-huckster, Motivation/Success Seminar empire, of which infomercial giant Tony Robbins is the (self-crowned) king.

TR and his imitators are hawking nothing new – it’s all a repackaging and spinning of the positive-thinking, How To Win Friends and Influence People shtick.  There are and always have been legions of people who will listen to anyone with charismatic oratory skills who dresses and sounds and looks “successful” and talks about how successful he is and how he is therefore The One who can help you obtain the magic success formula (paging PT Barnum, please pick up your residuals check in the lobby).

I can’t help but wonder.  What with the “millions” of people attending TR’s Unleash the Power Within  seminars and rallies and Master University sessions and studying The Ultimate Edge tapes (described on his website as “The World’s #1 Personal Achievement System)”  [2]  – including, as per TR’s unsubstantiated mouth fart claim, “leaders around the world” – why isn’t the world a different, more successful place?

Golly gee, if TR’s [3] ultimate edge formula was even marginally effective I’d expect to be ultimately edged out on a simple trip to the grocery store, what with all those power unleashers and fire walkers (after their second and third-degree burns were treated) successfully congregating in the produce aisle.  They’d be everywhere, right?

Other than convincing less successful and/or minimally edged people to give him lots of $$, making him wealthy and adding to his I know the secret to wealth credentials (in the minds of the kind of people who consider purchasing lottery tickets to be a reasonable financial investment strategy), what has TR actually accomplished?  I mean, other than surviving the first and only Clydesdale-to-human head transplant:

TonyRobbins

*   *   *

Consumer Alert
The consequences of online shopping:

After ordering a festive housewarming gift for a friend, you may receive the following email from the seller’s customer service department:

Are you satisfied with Hawaiian Aloha Hula Girl Yellow Skirt Desk Home Office Computer Duster?  Dear Robyn Parnell, we want to ensure you’re satisfied with Hawaiian Hawaii Aloha Hula Girl Yellow Skirt Desk Home Office Computer Duster! If you’re dissatisfied in any way, give us a chance to make things right….    

That’s thoughtful, but, totally unnecessary.  How could I – how could anyone – be dissatisfied in any way with a Hawaiian Hawaii Aloha Hula Girl Yellow Skirt Desk Home Office Computer Duster?

HULAGIRL

*   *   *

“Why is it that when people die, we make such an effort to turn them into saints?
Especially when the entire reason we loved them so much in the first place is because they weren’t.”

That is just one of many passages I highlighted from a book in which I least expected to find highlight-worthy passages.  (It’s okay; read that sentence several times, sober or otherwise, and it’ll eventually make sense).

The book is by actor and standup comedian Alison Arngrim, best known for playing the love-to-hate-her character Nellie Oleson in TV’s long-running Little House on the Prairie. While looking for a picture to accompany a posting on The Mighty Quinn Facebook page (topic: memorable book villains and/or bullies), I came the name of the memoir Arngrim penned.  Who am I to resist a title like, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated

NELLIE

I was initially surprised at my enjoyment of both the book and the author’s style, until I considered her years on the stand-up circuit, where she had time to develop her “voice.” Arngrim’s conversational, droll ironic narrative deftly serves her recounting life with her unconventional parents [4] and then was like an anvil to my head when she matter-of-factly recounts her years of physical and sexual abuse by her older brother.

I love this passage, from a chapter wherein she describes her friendship and early encounters with the man who would become her husband.  No wonder she married him.

I called his home number one day and got his answering machine. I was greeted with a terrible, high-pitched grinding sound, a screaming roar from the pit of hell. I later asked him what on earth it was.

“Oh, that’s my guitar solo,” he replied.

“A guitar solo?” I asked incredulously. I didn’t even know he played guitar.

“Yes. It’s from a song I’ve been working on. It’s called ‘Gozdilla Christmas.'”

Godzilla

*   *   *

As part of our CSA membership we are required to help with the harvest at least twice during the farm’s  29-week growing season.  Son K and I did a harvest help shift on Wednesday, picking herbs, 3 varieties of green beans, and finally tomatoes.  While gathering bushels of the latter crop, I came upon a special specimen. “This one is mine,” I gloated, for obvious reasons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

May all your produce be as photogenic, and let the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] With an incestuous relationship to TWWB, as per shared cast members, studio and production staff.

[2] The #2 “personal achievement system” is some kind of battery operated marital aid.  Or so I’m told.

[3] Or Jim Rohn or Jack Canfield and his “Chicken Soup” or any of the stars on the Self Motivation tour.

[4] Her father was a closeted (if only is his mind; it was obvious to every around him) gay who was Liberace’s personal manager and her stardom-seeking mother provided the voices of, among many cartoon favorites,   Gumby and Casper the friendly Ghost.

THE SELF I’M NOT PROMOTING

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I’ve recently added a new cardio CD into my workout rotation.  Because, reasons (change is good; bored with the old jumping around….).  This new routine is one I’ve become quite fond of, although its “soundtrack” (the various workouts are choreographed to hip-hop music) has leads to several awkward parent-child moments…

embarrassed

…when those too-damn-catchy tunes stay in my brain after I’m done exercising. I will come downstairs, oblivious to what I am humming only to myself (or so I think) and find son K and/or daughter Belle giving me the what-the? eye. Eventually, one or both will ask me why I am singing just-loud-enough-to-hear-what-they-don’t-want-to-hear-their-mother-singing:

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?

Cue the violins:  writers complaining.  Chapter 576 in a never-ending anthology.

“The thing is, it wasn’t always this way. Publishers used to do most of the marketing for the books they put out. The best an author could do was finish the last chapter and then show up reasonably sober for a tri-city book tour. The hope was that the book would eventually be widely reviewed, and then take off on the strength of word-of-mouth. But social media has crushed that seemingly innocent past… 

I also feel a mixture of contempt and sadness when I see other authors (often friends of mine) typing things like “Here’s my new book trailer!” or “I’ll be appearing at Barnes & Noble on Wednesday!” or “Win a signed copy of something so valueless I’m giving it away for free!” mainly because it’s embarrassing to watch their yearning for bandwidth slam against the indifference of a million kitten-occupied Twitter accounts.”

I am not so involved with social media as the author of the above observations, but I can identify with many of the points he makes in his thesis, Hell is self-promotion.

Thus, readers will be spared that particular hell from moiself. This week.

*   *   *

* The pathological homo-hatred of a certain Russian President

* A certain New York mayoral candidate’s ongoing, informal relationship with reality and his bizarre delusions of adequacy

* a certain Louisiana parish is arguing that it should not be held liable for the rape of a 14-year-old girl in a juvenile detention center because the victim “consented” to be sexually assaulted by a 40-year-old corrections officer at the facility.

* noted players and featured conference speakers in the skeptics movement engaging in sexual harassment of fellow conference speakers, attendees and co-workers

There are far too many candidates for AssHat of the Week

AHat

and/or the prestigious EatCatShitandDie Award

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But preparing a dinner party for dear Swenadian friends who have returned to the ‘hood after a summer in Sweden is a much more pleasant task than contemplating which of the abundant doofi [1] shall be awarded which particular prize – even the relatively benign Crabby Carrot Man – and so I shall open it to nominations.

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Your Name could be here!

Except, one thing: that list at the beginning, the fourth one isn’t all bad.  As per the linked article: Rebecca Watson, a major writer and speaker on the skeptic/atheist circuit wrote in Slate last year, the amount of sexual harassment aimed at women over even the tiniest suggestions of how to make the movement more female-friendly is absolutely stunning. Which is, of course, major bad.  But, as little Ms. Sunshine moiself is noticing, the fact that we are learning about this disgusting mess is because more and more women – and men – are speaking up, naming names and corroborating others’ stories, despite the very real and documented fear of personal and professional retribution .

A predatory snake-in-the-grass is a predatory snake-in-the-grass,[2] regardless of worldview.  I admire those with the courage to speak up about this “dirty laundry” more than I can say; thus, once again, graphics will have to suffice.  With apologies to my reptilian brethren and sistren for the snake-in-the-grass epithet, [3] I present all the truth-tellers with the soon-to-be-esteemed, Compassionate and Courageous Snake in the Pond award:

snake

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite,
 and furthermore always carry a small snake.
(W. C. Fields)

Wishing you Fun Friday Flagons, ® and may the hijinks ensue.

Parting note: today would have been my father’s 89th birthday.  I think he would have enjoyed this blog; I know he would have, in his weekly calls to me, proposed nominations for Asshat of the Week.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Yes, plural of doofus.

[2] There aren’t nearly enough footnotes in this post.

[3] There should be at least three, don’t you think?

The Rose-Colored Glasses I’m Not Looking Through

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Earlier this week while working on the Sunday New York Times Crossword puzzle [1]I realized that there is something missing from my life:  more opportunities to use words like credenza.

crossword

 I knew someone in high school who would have helped me find such opportunities, or who would have helped me create them if credenza-using opportunities did not present themselves.  This was the person alluded to in last week’s post.

Steve Glasser was, along with moiself, the instigator of the term “minty,” a rather benign adjective which, for a brief, shining moment, became something of fame-infamy moment for Steve and I in Santa Ana High School.

Steve was the youngest brother of my older sister’s best friend.  Although I cannot recall the specifics of our first meeting (probably via our sisters; I’m thinking, at a LA Dodgers game?) we both had one of those recognition-of-kindred-spirit moments and became best buddies.  Steve was a hilarious, creative, wily trickster, who shared with me a fondness for tweaking the noses of the high school staff who just didn’t seem to know what to do with us. [2]

Among Steve’s many talents, he was a budding and imaginative filmmaker (he later worked in the film/TV industry). I never did get to see the footage from when we – Steven, moiself, his sister, my older sister and younger sister – drove up to LAX to film the Dodgers returning home after a road trip. While awaiting the arrival of the Dodger’s plane we managed to find an empty corridor and, with the help of a borrowed (ahem) airport wheelchair, Steve filmed the improvised-on-the-spot-and-yet-authentically-heartwarming story of a wheelchair-bound girl (yours truly) who was cured of her lameness by a flamboyant faith healer and who then tap-danced ecstatically in rapturous gratitude.

It’s one of my earliest un-PC memories: being pushed in wheelchair past an airport security guard, trying to look authentically crippled (“Give me pathetic, sad, and disappointed,” director Steve suggested).

But I digress.

After the LAX filming incident, on our way back from LA to Santa Ana, we decided to stop at a Norms  restaurant for ice cream.  Although Norms’ motto at the time had nothing to do with the quality of their food or service – or, thankfully, the fact that you could spew your and crackers on their carpet and no one would ever notice as the resulting effluence would sooo match the décor – “We Never Close” was good enough for us. [3]

Norms

Steve and I split an order of Norms mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Although it was not as delicious as we anticipated, it was indeed, “minty” and…well…you know how those you had to be there things go….

Steve and I started using minty as a descriptor, whenever and wherever possible. I had a position of enough power in student government that I could write the bulletin announcements that were read over the intercom by the activities director.  With Steve’s help, over the next few weeks I found a way to insert minty into almost every high school announcement.  Minty became a buzzword of sorts, with certain students thinking (read: pretending) to be in the know as to the true meaning of minty.  Prime example, and the one that got Steve and I called before the Activities Director and the Vice Principal: the upcoming Color Day [4] game and dance, as the announcement read, “is promised to be a truly minty affair.”  That, apparently, was the last straw for some teacher (Steve and I were denied both the name of and the opportunity to face our accuser) who said that Steve and I had hoodwinked the administration and for several weeks had been propagating a known “homosexual slang term.”

The announcements were kaput.  But the spirit of minty lingered on.

Steve died around the time my son was born…has it been twenty years, now? I am thankful for the memories.  Knowing Steve was truly a minty affair.

MINTYpng

*   *   *

Food Fetish Break: Dinner in the Round (aka, I love it when it’s CSA pickup day), featuring
blackberry rustic pies (the gluten-free crust makes them look rather geologic)
and a zucchini-basil-tomato-feta tian

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*   *   *

MH won tickets to a Portland Thorns game, and Belle, K, MH & I attended on Wednesday eve.  ‘Twas my first time attending a professional soccer game.  I enjoyed it, despite having that petty American inside of me, the one who which wishes for more goal scoring and less  deedle-deedle-deedle-dee-dee-doodle-de-deedle-de-do, which, in case you were wondering, is the sound of soccer players running back and forth and up and down and in circles and swiftly and sometimes frantically scurrying about the field in a manner that reminds me of the birds I refer to as the “deet deets”,[5] shorebirds that take turn chasing and then being chased by the waves at the beach.

Trust me, you’d get the connection if you heard me do the deedle-deedle-deedle-dee-dee-doodle-de-deedle-de-do sound.

And, really; can you tell them apart?

DEETDEET   Kathryn Williamson

*****

Cats do weird things, as we all know and as I have documented here.  But yesterday morning took the cake…or took something not even closely resembling a cake, minty or otherwise.

When I was preparing to feed the two kitties that dine upstairs (in “the kids’ and cats’ bathroom”), I removed my favorite reading glasses and placed them on the counter.  Later, sitting down to my own cat food –free breakfast, I picked up our pile of newspapers [6] and remembered that I’d left my glasses upstairs.  No problem, as I have reading glasses stashed every six feet around the house.  When I went upstairs to brush my teeth I intended to fetch my glasses from the kid’s bathroom counter, but they had disappeared (the glasses, not the kids. Or the counter. Or my teeth.).

The glasses turned up.  In the litter box. Still neatly folded, as I’d left them on the counter.

K’s comment, after he realized I intended to retrieve and wear my favorite specs: [7] “When you put on those glasses and look around you’re going to think, ‘Wow, everything looks like shit.’ ”

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And the hijinks ensued.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Alert for those of you who haven’t yet finished it: some really, really, groan-worthy puns await you.

[2] Mischievous, sly (but never malicious) pranksters who were heavily involved in student government and activities and were straight A students – we were difficult to discipline)

[3] And much better than the equally truthful alternative: “Worst food on the planet, but it’s always available.”

[4] Our high school basketball equivalent of Homecoming.

[5] Plovers and sandpipers and the like

[6] Yes, plural.  The Oregonian and the New York Times, and some mornings they play dog pile with their red-headed stepchildren, the Hillsboro Argus and the Hillsboro Tribune.

[7] after thoroughly washing them, of course and ahem.