Words are wonderful things. Gods are, too. I’ve always fancied a Grecian sort of formula, where a cantankerous bunch of gods vie with each other for followers and power, up to their necks in petty grievances and revenges and seductions and machinations and magnanimous acts of blessing. I can understand these immortals (they are, after all, just like me and everyone I know), and therefore understand why the world is always and forever in such a hopeless mess.
Driving past a neighborhood church this weekend, I was delighted to see this sign posted out front:
BE STILL AND LISTEN TO GODS WORD
How nice! I thought. In this season of Easter and Passover and springtime renewal, they are reaching out to all religious creeds, honoring all faiths, and including any manner and any number of gods.
Not a chance. Those nice Presbyterians wholly forgot about the holy apostrophe. The Lord their God is a jealous God who does not take His grammar lightly, particularly when improper punctuation impinges on His primal position of power.
Words grab the attention, though. Take this recent headline:
Those may not be God’s words, but you can’t pass over an article like that.
Apparently, a plume of hexavalent chromium has spread under Garfield, NJ, putting 3,600 people at risk. When residents sign up for contamination testing, they will be given a kit that contains stainless steel toenail clippers (cheap ones contain chrome), instructions on how to clip the nails (samples from all 10 toes are needed) and an envelope for the clippings.
Just when I think my day job is bad, something like this comes along to comfort me. It could be worse! I could be working in a lab handling 36,000 toenail clippings – some polished, some chipped, some showing signs of fungal infection, some thick and yellowed, some clean, some dirty, some old and gnarled, some young and fine.
Pope Francis I may be ceremoniously washing the feet of Rome’s poor this week, but I doubt even he could stomach cleaning 36,000 toxic toenails.
Words can’t help it if they’re used stupidly. On Toenail Day, I also came across this title:
Woman at Center of Spy Allegations is Enigma
Well, of course she is an enigma. What spy wouldn’t be?
US officials say a 27-year-old university student from China engaged in intimate relations with a married civilian defense contractor more than twice her age and gleaned classified information on US nuclear weaponry, missile defenses and war plans for her pains.
Sometimes I feel sorry for men. Not often, mind you. But this poor schmuck is truly pitiful. Not for betraying his country or his wife, but for betraying his common sense.
The spy is no enigma. There is no mystery about the nature of her physical attraction to a beige bland balding engineer 32 years her senior who happens to have access to classified information. He probably also has tufts of hair in his ears and trifocals in crooked unfashionable frames and bad teeth and a potbelly and spindly white office-job legs and weird toenails.
But the poor man convinced himself otherwise. A hot little almond-eyed chicklet told him he was God-like in the office, and then in bed. She Spake The Word, and he became a believer. He was ready to post those state secrets in big block letters on a churchyard signboard – with proper punctuation, even. Can’t you see him standing taller and walking with confidence, perhaps for the first time in decades? A May spring in his September step? Feeling all suave and vertile?
Words can be fun. Vertile is one my step-daughter inadvertantly invented years ago, a cross between virile and fertile. It’s been in the family lexicon ever since – we use it in public, even. Sometimes we forget to explain.
As an Army reserve officer and defense contractor, the vertile engineer received regular routine security training on the dangers of sexual entrapment as a means to gather intelligence.
The engineer’s penis did not attend to this training. The penis is not designed as a tool for reflective thought. Mother Nature does not use it that way. Men shouldn’t use it that way, either. The penis hears, “You so hot oh yes you give me more now oh you so good yes and just what were the design specs of that surveillance satellite? oh you big guy yes do it to me more oh yes you so good,” and misses the subtle subtext.
“Subtext? What subtext?” I hear my wonderful male friends wondering, grateful that the discussion has turned from toenails and tufts of ear hair to visceral sex.
Which reminds me – words can be dangerous. I attempted to reply to a comment on my last post from work today. The work internet server came back with a big flashing denial, saying “FORBIDDEN: Objectional Content: TITS: Access Not Allowed.” There may have been a siren, too; fortunately, I had the sound turned off. Some IT security person in the district office is going to have fun with that one.
Even if you didn’t read my objectionable TITS post, you should read my college friend Eileen Elizabeth’s wonderful response to it. I bitch and moan about technology, but it’s great fun to reconnect with folks I should never have lost in the first place.
Especially when they leave great comments on my website. Makes it look like people are actually visiting me here. Makes it look like I actually have friends.
Words can be bad — it occurs to me that I won’t be able to check this post from work tomorrow, either. What kind of woman mouths the word “penis” right here in front of God and everybody? Mother raised me better. Perhaps I should have the soles of my feet tested for some sort of soul contamination. I was born in New Jersey, after all. Lived there about three months. How long does hexavalent chromium need to wreak moral havoc?