I Don’t Blame Bigfoot, & Other Anniversary Reflections

My 29th wedding anniversary approaches apace, and I must take some space to thank Husband for nearly three decades of devotion.   I must also thank the gods of chaos and fate for arranging my marriage.  I certainly had very little to do with it – I was young and stupid and engaged to someone else at the time.   Husband and I met down at the courthouse one Friday afternoon, said a few quick casual words, and that was the end and the beginning of that.

What was I to do?  Scratch out the groom’s name on the wedding invitations and add a write-in ballot candidate?  Eloping was the only alternative.

Talk of taking space takes me again to the far reaches of space.  I’ve not been able to bleach the image of Simon Parkes and his  7-foot crispy-insect off-world lover from the retina of my brain.  He is very careful to clarify her sex, mind you.  Nothing queer about this relationship, no sir.  He has a lovechild named Zarka to prove it.

Simon-Parkes
She’s Always a Woman to Me

Just when I’m almost over him, Mr. Parkes goes back on national British television to add that his first alien sexual encounter took place when he was six years old.  Asked whether the alien had been concerned about his rather young age, the now 52-year-old replies: “No, because it’s about experience and your soul.”

Souls are at stake, here.  It’s godless gambling, this profligate mating of cards from different suites.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has upped the ante on a bet media personality Glenn Beck threw down on the table.   Beck, fretting over the end of the world as we know it, says the Supreme Court’s Marriage Act ruling will inevitably lead to rampant polygamy: “If you change one variable — man and a woman to man and man, and woman and woman — you cannot then tell me that you can’t logically tell me you can’t change the other variable — one man, three women. Uh, one woman, four men . . .”   (sic).

He becomes rather too publicly excited at the thought of all these possible combinations.  Someone should remind him that such things are best considered late at night, and privately.

And just what, exactly, is a “media personality?”  You’re at the pearly gates, attempting to justify the way in which you spent your days.  Saint Peter takes notes, exchanging occasional wry looks with the Big Guy over the top of his reading glasses.  You say, a bit too defensively, “Yes, but I was a Media Personality!”

Rand Paul trumps Beck’s polygamy play, saying, “ . . . it is difficult because if we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans?”

Human sacrifice!  Dogs and cats, living together!  Mass hysteria!
“Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!”

I doubt he deliberately uses “extension” as a subtle sexual play on words.  I’d like him better if he did.

When I was in the illegal market for a spouse (saddled already with that fiancé, remember), I fell into a very conservative mindset and, to my liberal shame, overlooked non-human options.  I didn’t want a lot of bull or a greedy pig or a stubborn mule or a drooling dog or a silly goose or a cold fish or even a great ass or Bantam cock.  I was after a good heart and good conversation and, with any luck, a good cook.

I suppose such qualities might be found beneath fur or feathers.  Had Bigfoot swept me off my feet with Weinerschnitzel, homemade Spätzle, and a crisp Alsatian white, he might have gotten lucky (Exhibit A).

Exhibit A, which may be exchanged for Exhibit B
Exhibit A, which may be exchanged for Exhibit B

Working on this blog has given me a rather bizarre electronic footprint – I’m a woman who researches sex with aliens, Sasquatch, the end of the world, conspiracy theory, and (even more frightening) conservative talk show hosts.  Saint Peter will really raise his eyebrows when presented with this list.

Browsing for Bigfoot images a few weeks ago, I learn that scientific research proves him to be the genetic product of a human female and some unknown male hominid.

This rankles a bit.  After all, it’s farm boys who torment the hogs and cowboys who take to the sheep.  Impassioned sailors see seals and imagine mermaids.  We girls aren’t the ones generally caught in flagrante delicto with other species.   Isn’t it far more likely that a horny human male humped some buxom primate who was no doubt asking for it?

Exhibit B, which may be exchanged for Exhibit A
Exhibit B, which may be exchanged for
Exhibit A

But, as Simon says, it’s about experience and your soul.  Consider, for example, actor James Woods, 66, and his latest girlfriend, who’s 20 (Exhibit B).  What can they possibly have in common?  The differences of two generations in age make them altogether alien to each other.

Perhaps that’s the attraction.  Parkes and his partner and Bigfoot and his babe will attest.

Former Fiancé and I have our hometown and the desire to get away from it in common, but not much else.  This is at the height of my Opposites Attract phase, which I thankfully outgrow before being trussed up like a sacrificial virgin in white satin and lace.

I take off for Colorado with a boy I think I might love when he grows up.  Sounds wonderfully warm and romantic, eh?  Former Fiancé neglects to tell me that his brother and his best friend are coming along as well, and some girl he’s agreed to drive back to school in Boulder, and her big dog, and two guys we have to drop off somewhere in Wisconsin, and a dresser that needs to be delivered to a friend of his mother’s in Ohio.  We load Former Fiancé’s rusty old baby blue Chevy van and my  little ’72 Volkswagon Dasher up with all the worldly goods of the collective and take off.  We have maybe $400 between the seven of us.

I know I’ve made a tragic mistake before we cross the Pennsylvania border, but in my family one sleeps in the bed one makes, especially if one is not speaking metaphorically.  I sleep there (it’s a sloshy old cold waterbed, which I hate) in a basement apartment for two years, working at a bank while Former Fiancé goes back to school and his brother and best friend and an assortment of other misfits and strays and hangers-on camps out with us.

I am Wendy Darling, living with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

Peter Panned Out
Peter Panned Out

It’s not all bad.

But J.M. Barrie’s Wendy eventually learns to accept the virtues of adulthood.  She leaves Neverland for London, having decided not to postpone maturity any longer.  My Wendy doesn’t get to London, but does the same.

Former Fiancé takes me to an elegant party thrown by a respected college professor for his favorite graduating students.  It is a month or so before we’re to return home and get married.  Former Fiancé, as is his wont, has half a cheap beer, becomes stupid, and begins mooning people.  He is out on the expansive deck, pants down around his ankles, butt up against the expensive plate glass window.   Everyone laughs, shaking their heads.

I do not laugh.  I do shake my head.

“What’d I do?” he asks, as I leave him.  “You’re looking at me like I’m an alien or something.”

I step off the deck of that spaceship, bid Bigfoot goodbye, and go for the Weinerschnitzel and the dry German wine; I never was the cheap beer type.  Twenty-nine years later, I’ve no regrets and a great deal of gratitude.  Thank you, Husband, for all the Spätzle.

Thanks for visiting!  Missy
Thanks for visiting!
Missy

Sex & Sin & (even worse) Empty Ice Cube Trays

For the second time in as many hot summer days I have gone to get ice from the refrigerator and found four empty ice cube trays stacked atop an empty ice bin.

It's a miracle!
The shoemaker’s elves
make these

Now, there are always degrees of sin — at least in my shades-of-gray world.   It’s bad enough to empty the ice bin without refilling it with the dozens of frozen cubes waiting there in readiness beside it.  It’s worse to take all the ice from a frozen tray and put that tray back into the freezer, empty.   It’s even worse to use up cubes from the tray beneath that one and then put them both back in empty, and so on.  Clearly, there must be an especially hot and thirsty circle of hell for those who stand in front of the freezer and take the time to examine four individual empty ice cube trays before stacking them back neatly atop each other on an empty ice bin and then going on with their lives.

I resent this.

shades of grayI also resent no longer being able to say “shades of gray” without quickly qualifying that I’m not alluding to S&M Lite for Bored Middle-Aged Housewives, who, if interested in such things, really ought to be reading the Marquis de Sade or The Story of O rather than tepid trendy topical adaptations.  It’s all been done before, and been done better.

If I examined my life, I’d probably admit resenting the fact that I didn’t come up with the “50 Shades” idea myself and rake in easy millions.  Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living.  But I find that the unexamined life is a lot easier, since it avoids tough questions and having to take personal responsibility for the answers.

Simon Parkes, a 53-year-old driving instructor from North Yorkshire, faced tough questions from his wife this week after admitting to an extramarital affair.  “That caused a few problems,” he revealed in a televised interview. “But it is not on a human level, so I don’t see it as wrong.”

Mr. Parkes’ partner in infidelity is an alien, you see.  She gets him off the earth and into an orbiting spacecraft for extra-terrestrial sex several times a year, if she’s lucky.

There's a lid for every pot
There’s a lid for every pot

Such a forceful resourceful female might have her way with any creature in the universe, yet she has chosen a pot-bellied balding British driving coach.  He must examine his own life enough to wonder about that, too.  Simon says, “the reason why extra-terrestrials are interested in me is not because of my physical body but what’s inside – my soul.”

If Simon is considering his soul, he had best beware the Sin of Onan.  Onan was a nice Jewish boy who disobeyed God’s wish that he impregnate his dead brother’s wife.   Who knows?  Maybe she looked like an alien.  Maybe Onan wanted her heirless lands more than he wanted her hairy person.  In any case, God summarily smote him down, and that was that.

Except it wasn’t.  Early Christian Church Fathers planted the seed that Onan spilled and harvested baleful injunctions against any and all sexual activity, save the solely-for-procreation married missionary sort.

Thou Shalt Not,  because I never could
Thou Shalt Not,
because I never could

I often wonder how the course of history might have changed had those angry sexually-frustrated repressed resentful old farts but gotten lucky a few times.  All that institutionalized misogyny probably has roots in early raging hormones and adolescent heartbreak and the concomitant need for revenge.

If I were Onan, I might just resent having become a catch-all caption for all sorts of sinful pursuits I myself never pursued.

Then again, if I were Onan, I’d be dead, and beyond resenting anything.  And I have empty ice cube trays to resent.  We won’t get into empty toilet paper holders and empty milk cartons.

Consorting with an alien is certainly bound to raise divine eyebrows, unless of course we’re talking Zeus, who’d consort with anything.  Technically, Simon Parkes parks his seed in outer space rather than upon the earth, so a good lawyer might be able to get him off.  He can probably find a good lawyer in a circle of hell near the ice-cube tray transgressors.

Since sin is sin, we must therefore in good faith condemn the masturbating fetuses referenced by Texas Rep. Michael Burgess this week.  Burgess said, on the Congressional record, that male fetuses at 15 weeks of development consciously touch their tiny fetal penises to give themselves pleasure.

Fie upon them!  Burgess was arguing against abortion, but this is an affront to God!  Even in the womb, man is a shameless sinner!  A good lawyer might argue that 15-week-old fetuses are not casting their seed upon the ground, since they’ve not yet set foot upon the earth.  But God sees through such semantics, or ought be able to.

Sometimes, I wonder.

serene do as I say
Do as I say, but not as I said

Semantics are sinful, too.  Tennis great Serene Williams, responding to formal interview comments she made blaming the 16-year-old Steubenville, OH, rape victim for her own rape, has just said, “I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.”

It’s important to note that Williams did not apologize, nor did she deny saying what she supposedly said.  It’s brilliant.  She blames “what was written” for a PR disaster that might just threaten her multi-million dollar endorsement deals with brands like Nike.  And she wouldn’t even have issued that non-apology had there not been a biting backlash from her on-line followers, all potential Nike customers.  She doesn’t deny saying what she said, she just regrets what was written.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  God has no regrets about what was written.

Williams’ words are not especially ambiguous:  “She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position . . .”

It’s so easy for an adult to say what an adolescent should be thinking — or for a god to say what a mortal should be thinking.  But adolescents are in many ways like 15-week-old fetuses – there are big undeveloped holes in their brains.  It’s not always fair to hold them to adult standards.  It’s not always fair to try them in an adult court, even with a good lawyer.

I am the powerful one
I am the powerful one

So when I complain to the residents of the non-profit O’Brien boarding house about the empty ice cube trays, perhaps I am being unfair.  Perhaps I really am the only one here capable of emptying frozen cubes of water into the ice bin, and then refilling those trays with liquid water.  It’s alchemy.  Magic.  Godlike, in its way — and this is the solstice, after all.  If a tennis player merits godlike public adoration, then perhaps I might strive for it, too.

Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for visiting!

Turkey Necks, Terrorists, and Truths

“You’ll have to wait longer,” says the pretty little chicklet behind the Motor Vehicle counter, eyeing me warily.  “Homeland Security red-flagged you.  I gotta get my supervisor.”  She takes a vague offhand look around the crowded room.

Now, I know that Husband, Son #1, Girlfriend of Son #1, and Son #2 all consider me a holy terror on occasion.  Father, Mother, and Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 probably do, too.  I didn’t know that word of my infamy had reached Big Brother.

“Excuse me?” I ask, in what I hope is a casual non-terrorizing tone.  “Homeland Security red-flagged me for . . . what?”

That was then-1
Son #1, Son #2, and woman who may or may not
have been their mother

“It’s your new ID photo,” she says, snapping her gum, squinting her eyes and holding the old license aloft to compare it to my real self.  “Their computer can’t match it to your picture from before.  They say it’s not the same person.  I gotta get my supervisor.”

She trots off, leaving me to consider the ravages of time.

The old license was valid for a term of fifteen years.  It featured one of the few good photos ever taken of me; I’d already been in mourning at having to replace it.

The rapid course of fifteen years — even in the dangerous currents of middle age – shouldn’t be enough to drown out the essentials of identity.  Yes, my hair is short now and comes in a variety of different colors, depending upon whim and whatever is on sale at the drugstore. Yes, I wear bifocals instead of contact lenses.  Yes, there’s a fine filigree of lines and wrinkles on my face, and my neck slopes gently down into what will become a turkey wattle.

Why women wear turtlenecks,
even in summer

But the eyes behind the progressive lenses haven’t changed (at least insofar as how they look; how they look at things and focus is another story).  My grandmother’s chin is still there.  The smile, even when somewhat forced, is still the same.  I may not be my old self anymore, but I’m not yet the old self I’ll see one day in the mirror.

And I can always re-invent myself.  Husband just caught me studying a Google search screen full of top-heavy fake-breasted women.  I hasten to explain that I’m doing research.   He casts his eyes at the screen and then at my modest bosoms (my Grammy always called them bosoms), eyebrows arched in a question.  “Research for my blog,” I say, “not for my person.”  To his credit, he seems relieved.

Whereas a new haircut can always change my life for the better (despite Homeland Security targeting), I really doubt that fake boobs would.

Wanna go bowling, big guy?

But consider Lacey Wildd, whose goal it is to have the largest breasts in the world.  She has undergone countless surgeries and is now up to/out to an LLL cup.   To harness up all that silicon, plastic surgeons actually had to create an internal body sling made of pigskin and her own muscles.

Lacey’s in the news because she wants to go bigger, but can’t find a doctor willing to help enlarge her horizons.

lacey before
No balloon-popping deflation worries

This before shot of Lacey was floating in the flotsam and jetsam of the over- inflated after  ones bobbing around  online.   Wouldn’t this woman be a whole lot easier to maneuver into bed?  Is there really any fun in fondling heavy globs of chemical Jello sewn under someone’s skin?  Are men really that shallow?

We’ll let that be a rhetorical question.

We won’t question Lacey’s motives too carefully, either.  I suspect I’m safe in assuming that she’s not out to make an ironic point (or two), willing to make a caricature of herself for the sake of busting our ludicrous collective obsession with appearance.

My eccentric and rather intimidating Aunt Joan (her brothers still pronounce her name “Choan,” always shaking their heads and smiling) decided at age 40 or so that she wanted big breasts and straight teeth.  She stuck braces in her mouth and some early-1970’s hard plastic grapefruit halves on her chest, and, by God, she was happy.  She always did things her way (segue here to Frank Sinatra).

Joan was beautiful, in her brusque burlesque way.  After college, she ran off to New York City to become a model, caught up in the beatnik  Breakfast at Tiffany’s intoxication of the 1950’s.  She wound up marrying a Painter (capital letter hers), spent summers with him in Mexico, and once smuggled an ocelot kitten over the border in her pocketbook on the way back to the States.

Nice kitty
Here, Kitty Kitty

I can still see that ocelot sitting atop my grandmother’s refrigerator, hissing down upon us on one otherwise Norman Rockwell-esque Thanksgiving morning.   I was little, unable to interpret the undercurrents such seemingly sophisticated foreign things presented – strange bohemian NYC long-haired artists sitting at conservative traditional New England family holiday tables with larger-than-life renegade aunts and snarling wild animals.  I do remember that my grandfather refused to carve the turkey until that growling ocelot was hauled away to stay at the local vet (and, yes, Aunt Joan would have been able to charm said vet into opening his office just for her on a major holiday).

Joan painted herself in bold abstract strokes of color.  I wonder if her husband ever did?  She’d swoop in for Christmas and tell us kids that a big truck would arrive with our present one day soon — it might be a puppy, or something else far too fabulous to imagine.  We’d discount the thoughtful gifts my parents had taken pains to get for us and sit for weeks after the holiday, forlornly watching the road for the Aunt Joan extravagance that never came.  It was cruel.

She never changed her tactics, either.  Dying of lung cancer, she called me out of the blue one black night.  “Missy!” she said, in her low gravely voice.  “This is your dowager Aunt Joan.”  We’d never talked on the phone, but wound up having a wide-ranging conversation.  She promised solemnly that, since I was her very favorite niece, I would inherit all her jewelry.

I sat for weeks after her death forlornly watching the road for that final never-arriving present.

Not really.  I was pleased, somehow, that she stayed absolutely true to herself and her thoughtless promises until the end.

Joan, irrepressible even in 1934,
with my great-grandmother Bridget

She was also known for thoughtless cruelties (and I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, here, in choosing “less” as my suffix rather than “ful”).  On one of her infrequent visits, when she herself has developed a turkey neck, Aunt Joan stops theatrically before a mirror and says to my mother, “Isn’t it a goddamned shame, what time does to our appearance?”

Mother, who can take only so much of this sister-in-law, says with a shrug that it doesn’t matter much as long as we stay strong and healthy.

“Ah, but it’s harder for the beautiful women,” says Joan.

At 75, hospitalized and near death, Joan issues my Father an ultimatum forbidding his telling her partner of many years that her boobs are fake.  She’s been advised to have them removed, since old leaking silicon isn’t doing her dying lungs any favors.  But she can’t bear to part with them or to disillusion  her boyfriend; such things are harder for the beautiful women.

The rest of us have an easier time with mirrors and photos and with Homeland Security scrutiny.  The DMV supervisor took one look at me and my old license, rolled his eyes at the chicklet, apologized for the inconvenience, and pushed the OK button.

My new license is only good for five years.  With luck, and if I don’t go in for new boobs, Big Brother might still be able to recognize me then.

Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for visiting!

They’re God’s Creatures, Too

Girlfriend of Son #1 says perkily the other day, “Gee!  My fish is still alive!  It’s been a whole year, and he isn’t dead yet!”

My kingdom for  a clean bowl
My kingdom for a seahorse —
or a clean bowl

I am good.  I clamp my tongue firmly between my back teeth and smile through the ones in front.  This benighted fish has been blighting my living room for a year.  He isn’t dead yet because I take pity on him occasionally – when the water in his bowl is thick and green and half-evaporated, or when his color has gone from purple to faded grey, which happens when he hasn’t been fed for awhile.  I get a god-like thrill from tending to him – like Lazarus, he rises from the depths to enjoy another day.

Does he enjoy his days, I wonder?  He’s a Siamese Fighting Fish, and so spends his life in solitary confinement.  He does have a castle, so from a materialistic point of view he’s done rather well for himself.  But even the plants he swims around are fake ones.  I read once, in a fit of Feng Shui enthusiasm, that artificial plants are as healthful to have around as real ones – apparently, Ch’i energy doesn’t know the difference as it floats through your space.   Really?  I can’t put a whole lot of faith in a universal life-force that can’t distinguish between a dusty cheap plastic geranium and a fragrant green and growing one.

Playing Solitaire
Playing Solitaire

But I digress.  Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 is always and forever by himself.  Does he mind?  Loneliness is, I suppose, the price you pay for killing anything that comes within range.

In Colorado Springs, a 70-year-old gentleman is paying the price for the same impulse. Gregory Watson has been issued a summons for third-degree assault and prohibited use of a weapon.  He took aim at a squirrel that threatened his castle last Friday.  The squirrel dodged the bullet, but Watson’s next-door-neighbor did not.  That man wound up in the hospital, shot in the arm — and not by a pellet gun.  “He received a minor injury,” says the local paper, downplaying the outrage of being wounded by gunfire while gardening in your own backyard in an affluent American city in peacetime in the middle of the day.

Have I mentioned that Colorado Springs is a bastion of self-righteous religious fervor and conservatism?  It’s on fire again, which is a very terrible thing.  But if artsy aging-hippie left-wing Boulder were burning, Colorado Springs would nod with smug complacency and say that it was clearly God’s judgment.

That there’s one dead beer can, Bubba.

Mr. Watson might enjoy traveling down to the small North Texas town of Aubrey, where for $795 he could spend fifteen minutes in a helicopter firing off an estimated 500 rounds of .233 semiautomatic rifle ammunition. “It’s like the ultimate video game,” Dan Claassen of Helicopter Sniper Adventure told local ABC affiliate WFAA.

Folks who live near the range say they were unaware of the airborne shoots until they heard the assault rifle fire raining down from above.  “The first time they were hovering right over our two acres, shooting at whatever,” said local resident Michael Lauer.  “You really didn’t know (if) they were shooting at you.”

Mr. Lauer should talk to Mr. Watson’s hospitalized neighbor.  Doesn’t much matter what they’re shooting at if they miss the intended target.

The $795 heli-shoot price tag includes safety training, lunch, and an awards ceremony.  I bet, for the right money, the Sniper Adventure people would round up a dray of squirrels to use for target practice – artfully cover a big chicken-wire pen with some camo fabric for that natural look from above, and then fill it with varmints to help complete the wilderness conquest experience.

Grampa & Me
Grampa & Me

Years ago, my own grandfather pulled a Mr. Watson by pulling a trigger in town.  He took aim at a pigeon in his neighbor’s backyard.  Now, my grandfather was a genial outgoing fellow and a passionate bird-watcher.  He kept a long detailed Life List in his battered copy of the Peterson Field Guide (in tribute to him, I have a Peterson’s Guide of my own.  Granted, it’s the Western edition rather than Eastern; tributes are not an exact science.  I tell myself the thought really is what counts).

Grampa loved his birds.  But he hated pigeons.

The family legend goes like this:  Grampa O’B spots yet another goddamned pigeon on his Vermont neighbor’s bird feeder, fetches his rifle, and fires into the yard next door.  This, within town limits.  Now, as my father says, “the goddamned Irish drink too much.”  But this happens during Grampa’s more mellow maturing years, when Vichy water with a shot of bitters was all he drank.  There is nothing to blame but the pigeon and the prejudice.  Grampa’s neighbor, a gentle and respected fellow, approaches (somewhat cautiously) to ask what the racket is all about.  Grampa shoots his mouth off about the goddamned pigeons, whereupon his neighbor says quietly, “They’re God’s creatures, too, Emmet.”

This became a humbling family adage (the goddamn Irish need a little salutary humbling on occasion).

My own father pulled a Mr. Watson last summer, and it even involved a squirrel.  I was visiting, and in the middle of cooking dinner.  Only my dad and I were at home.  And, yes, since the goddamned Irish drink too much, we’d each had an adult beverage or two.  Suddenly, Dad stops mid-sentence and says, “You stay right there.”    He trots quietly upstairs, and I hear a window surreptitiously open.

Bam!  Bam!!  Two murderous shots mar the quiet country afternoon.

Back down the stairs comes my father, swearing because he missed the goddamned squirrel he tried to shoot from the bedroom.

I am rather happy that he missed the squirrel.  There are thousands of squirrels in the woods around his house – killing one is not going to keep them away from his birdfeeder.  Mother squirrels won’t advise, “Remember what happened to your Uncle Earl over at the O’Brien place. You’d best stay away from there.”

I say, with what might have been a bratty air disguised as a tribute to family tradition, “They’re God’s creatures, too, Dad.”

My sense of timing has never been good.

The fruit doesn’t fall far from the family tree.  I catch myself today with intent to kill,  pitching a rock at a goddamned squirrel who’d hung precariously upside down from a narrow limb in order to chew a big hole in my brand-new thistle-seed bird feeder.  If I had a gun, I’d have used it.  That is why I don’t have a gun.

And now, I’ll close and clean the fishbowl as penance.  Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 is God’s creature, too.

Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for visiting!

Bite your Tongue and Pass the Velveeta

“Don’t you have a blog entry or something to do?” asks Husband, somewhat crossly.  So here I am.

Pretty, BUT . . .
Pretty, BUT . . .

We are looking out the patio door at the wonderful jungle of an Eden Husband has created in our small stark square suburban backyard.  When he first started digging up the sod five years ago, I was very alarmed.  It looked like a moonscape out there – one hard flat brown desert rectangle, with a 1960s chain-link fence and a solitary locust tree.

I’m from New England – I want thick ferns springing forth from the foundation of my house.  I want dense greenery you take for granted and don’t have to water.  I want rich black soil, not this hard red clay.  I can’t even get a fern to grow inside my house, much less outside it.

Husband has managed to make me a lush and beautiful secret garden.  But one of the pottery fountains isn’t working very well.  “Looks like that one needs more water,” I say, with what I hope is a casual tone.  “I just put water in it yesterday,” says Husband, immediately on the defensive.  Do I bite my tongue?  Do I shut up and say nothing?  Do I content myself with knowing that since I’ve mentioned it, he will be sure to follow up?

Of course not.  I repeat myself, because I know I am Right.  And the tone of the evening changes.  Not for the better.

Just say no to saying it
Just say NO to saying it

This past week was full of tongues that should have been bitten instead of being stuck out at the public and the press.  Makes me feel better about my own lingual looseness.

In Texas, we have 5th Circuit Federal Appeals Judge Edith Jones saying, “certain racial groups are prone to violence.”  Suppose she means Caucasians?

Asked to explain her remarks, she states that “there is no arguing that Blacks and Hispanics outnumber Anglos on death row and that, sadly, it is a statistical fact that people from these racial groups get involved in more violent crime.”  By way of example, she cites “the fact that a lot of Hispanic people are involved in drug trafficking, which itself involves a lot of violent crime.”

Jones, a Reagan appointee, also defends the use of the death penalty because “a killer is only likely to make peace with God and the victim’s family in that moment when the killer faces imminent execution, recognizing that he or she is about to face God’s judgment.”

Oh, my.

Is this the wisdom of Solomon we’re after in our judges?  Cut that baby in half!  It’s just another godless minority bastard out to defraud the welfare system!  You may rely upon our judicial system – as long as you’re an affluent white self-righteous Christian zealot.

My own tongue needs biting again.  Husband just left a pan of bacon sizzling on the stove while he went outside for a minute (read, “4 or 5”) to start the grill.   What if I hadn’t been sitting in the next room, ever-alert and hyper-vigilant and ready, like a self-righteous Christian zealot, to show the way?  What if I hadn’t trotted out there immediately to mind his business?  My house would be in flames right now.  And it’s no doubt under-insured, or I’d be inclined risk it so that I’d never have to deal with that broken faucet in the kitchen (no, I haven’t fixed that yet).

If not for me
If not for me

Husband finds me stirring his pot when he returns.  “Is there a problem?” he asks, that dry-fountain hostile edge still sharp in his voice.  This is my moment.  I should shut up, knowing that he does know better than to walk away from hot grease on the stove.  Instead, I say (rather primly and probably with my lips pursed), “Well, you did just go outside and leave that bacon unattended.”

I should just paint my tongue black.

But so should the senior US senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss (could even William Faulkner have come up with such a name?), who blames military rapes on “the hormone level created by nature.”  Here’s the full quote, from a hearing on the sexual assault crisis in the armed forces:

“The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

Aw shucks, I just couldn’t help it.  My penis told me to do it.

Even the military, predicated upon indoctrinating absolute obedience to following the rules, cannot seem to enforce rules against the ruling sentiment that boys will be boys – gee whiz, warriors shouldn’t have to bother with the niceties of basic human decency.  Yet what about all the honorable ones who take such things seriously?  Doesn’t this sort of thing just chap their hides?

Perhaps basic human decency shouldn’t be extended to those who grotesquely violate it.

Ha!  You didn’t expect me to get all an-eye-for-an-eye on you  – a bleeding heart liberal with a secret fondness for Hammurabi harshness.  I read about the likes of Jodi Arias and Ariel Castro and become as foaming-at-the-mouth self-righteously zealous and vindictive as anyone I ever criticize here.

Mother always told me to keep them guessing.  “Do I contradict myself?” asks Whitman.  “Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” [1]

And, really,  “Gee, whiz?”  Talk about further denigrating something:  Gee whiz, that bomb went off in Boston.  Gee whiz, those kids got shot in Newtown.  Gee, whiz, that guy suffered thirty stab wounds, a slit thoat, and a bullet in his forehead.  Gee whiz, those women lost ten years in that Cleveland cellar. cheese_whiz

It’s like calling extra-sharp organic aged artisan Vermont cheddar Cheez Whiz.

Not that I haven’t happily eaten more than my share of tasty salty bright orange over-processed viscous artificial cheese food products.  Whitman rules.

 

Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for visiting!

[1] Walt Whitman (1819-1892)  “Song of Myself”