I was leafing through an expensive exclusive clothing catalogue today, lusting after things I can’t remotely afford and fighting the urge to start feeling sorry for myself. They tell me that I can choose my feelings as carefully as I choose my words, that I can choose to refuse to feel bad.
I suspect that “they” are not middle-aged women trying desperately to maintain sanity despite raging hormones and hot flashes and insomnia and the fact that everybody and everything in the whole goddamned world is personally and constantly as irritating as hell.
Words came to my rescue. Two of them: Vegan Leather
I laughed out loud and decided I didn’t need those $400 earth-friendly yuppie-correct boots.
Is Vegan Leather made of soybeans, like the Vegan Turkey a friend brought to Thanksgiving dinner? It even had drumsticks, which lay beside the body in weird wrong positions as if the meal were a crime scene (which in fact it was, per the Vegan). Gravity is kinder to dead turkeys than it is to tofu-loaf shaped to resemble dead turkeys.
Is Vegan Leather really all that earth-friendly, if it’s made of plastic and chemicals rather than soybeans? And, if you are a strict Vegan, wouldn’t you object to the very use of the word leather? Calling something that isn’t leather “leather” calls to mind sacrificed animals.
Then again, so does a turkey-shaped soybean loaf.
Words. We take them too seriously or don’t take them seriously enough. And “restraint” is just another word — we say whatever we wish and then use other words to say that we didn’t really mean what we said, which was in fact what we actually meant and was also what we actually meant to say. It’s “dumb like a fox,” as my father says.
Take Don Young, State Representative from Alaska, who just helped Republicans reach out to minorities by calling Hispanics “wetbacks.” Young wasn’t overheard yucking it up with his cronies over a few drinks. He wasn’t spied upon in the privacy of his own home. He wasn’t caught on video speaking at a ritzy fundraising dinner of like-minded old white guys.
Young used the word “wetback” during a formal radio interview. And he’s a well-seasoned career politician; it was not his first interview.
OK, not so well-seasoned. Anything but salt and pepper would have ethnic connotations, after all, and even pepper is iffy, being black and from them faraway foreign parts. Young can probably see Russia from his porch up there in Alaska, but they don’t grow pepper there.
Representative Young is not wet behind the ears. Why in the world would he choose a word that represents ignorance, prejudice and hatred?
Because he wanted to. Slack-jawed stupidity aside, he wanted to. And so he did.
Meanwhile, we have Rush Limbaugh lamenting that same-sex marriage is now inevitable, ” . . . and it’s inevitable because we lost the language on this.”
In other words, words don’t matter until they matter.
Limbaugh claims that the word marriage was snatched from the blessed beds of the righteous and snaked sneakily between the sheets of same-sex couples. Patent failure to trademark the word lost the language and therefore the fight of the Right. What’s next? Vegan Marriage™?
Even The Word is not immune. Catholics in the Philippines have lost the language, like Limbaugh. When Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me,” he was not referring to the crucifixion. Yet Filipino devotees reenact the bloody physical crucifixion of Christ every year.
Last Friday marked the 27th annual crucifixion of sign painter Ruben Enaje, 52, one of the most popular penitents from San Pedro Cutud village. It’s a miracle that his sign-painting skills have not been affected by those repeated hand piercings.
Enaje screamed in pain (into the wireless microphone discreetly tucked into his long hair) as men dressed as Roman soldiers hammered 3-inch stainless steel nails through his palms and feet. His cross was raised and he hung there for several minutes under the searing afternoon sun before the nails were pulled out and he was taken on a stretcher to a first aid station.
Sounds like the bloodmobile: a BandAid, a cookie, and some orange juice after your donation.
It occurs to me that the earth is the ultimate reality television show. God is relaxing in a recliner somewhere, swilling a lite beer and eating Cheetos and laughing and trying to decide just who the biggest loser is.
It might be Diogo Morgado, who plays Jesus in The Bible miniseries.
“I was the only one in the cast who spent four months in Morocco and didn’t get sick,” Diogo said, when asked if anything surreal or supernatural happened while filming. God kept him healthy because He’s his Father, sort of, and He wanted to know how the story turned out.
Diogo was wired for sound, too; perhaps the Filipinos have it right — and they didn’t use special effects or stuntmen. Wonder which version of the show God prefers? Primitive island brutality, or Hollywood magic? Who gets voted off the island?
Limbaugh, with any luck. He made me laugh as loud as Vegan Leather did: “I maintain to you that we lost the issue when we started allowing the word ‘marriage’ to be bastardized.” Hmmm. Doesn’t marriage rule out bastards? Aren’t male property rights and the establishment of legal heirs behind the whole institution? Marriage and bastardization shouldn’t be rushed into bed together.
In the same paragraph, he said, “Marriage is not a tradition that a bunch of people concocted to be mean to other people with.”
Methinks Husband might just disagree with this.