Sound and Fury and Exploding Cow Farts

The kid is pedaling slowly down the center of my lane on a busy street that bisects our vibrant downtown district.  It is rush hour, in gloomy winter twilight.  He is wearing dark hipster colors.  He is not wearing a helmet.  The bike has no lights.  A dog trots beside him on a leash that’s looped around the handlebars.  It is a smallish dog with short little legs.  The dog wears a festive bandana.  Although the dog is running just as fast as he can (he knows he’s in the road, where he doesn’t belong), the bike, to keep pace, is barely going fast enough to stay upright.

Hot air ain't always a bad thing.
Hot air ain’t always a bad thing.

And I’m trapped behind them, late for an appointment.

This college town is spider-webbed with paved bike trails and wide bike lanes and designated bike routes.  Had my arrogant young friend deigned to go one short block north or south, he’d have had all the city-sanctified space he might want for his travels with his terrier.  Instead, he looks back at me with righteous superiority and meanders on with apparent unconcern to teach me a lesson about sharing the road.

The Missy O’Meter registers irritation.  Its dial soon circles to hostility.  I feel hot air rising.  The car behind me honks; he cannot see what’s blocking my way.  He sees my short gray hair and my disreputable nondescript car and assumes I’m some quavering old biddy he can intimidate.

He is wrong.  I flip him off (underneath the dashboard, so he won’t see and decide to shoot me).  I mouth words at him in the rear-view mirror, which may or may not be “Sorry about your penis, you ignorant dipshit.”  I feel his anger, and it fuels my own.

I once saw a male dancer wearing one of these -- he needed more hot air to fill it up, though.
I saw a male dancer wearing one of these — he needed more hot air to fill it up.

I’ve been sucked into the hot whirling vortex of misdirected rage – the real cause of global warming.  The huge trash gyre floating in the Pacific has nothing on this.  All over the planet, billions and billions of human beings are huffing and puffing and spewing red-faced spit and yelling and gesturing and fuming and spluttering and throwing tantrums as if their petty personal vexations actually mattered.  Is it any wonder the polar ice caps are melting?

We’re going to go up in flames one day.  Psalm 21:9 says, soothingly,  “Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.”

The bible is wrong about this, as it is about so many things.  Fire may consume us, but no arsonist God sneaking in with accelerant will be behind it.  An errant spark from some bellicose fat man’s overpriced cigar will ignite the vast clouds of hot air we’ve all been belching, and it won’t just be a cow in Germany who suffers.

Flatulence from 90 cows in a Rasdorf barn sparked a methane gas explosion this week that damaged the building’s roof and left one cow with burns.  Said local police, “Methane built up for unknown reasons.”  Hmmmm.  Ninety gaseous cows crammed together in a small barn with inadequate ventilation strikes me as reason enough.  Continue that line of thought!  Billions of human gas-bags crammed together on a small planet with inadequate ventilation — we are doomed indeed.

2 Peter 3:10-12 tells us, complacently, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

The slings and arrows of outrageous bovine fortune.
The slings and arrows
of outrageous bovine fortune.

We can prevent this!  Not through good works, but through the work of Argentine agricultural researcher Guillermo Berra, who has proved that a cow weighing 1200 pounds produces 28 to 35 cubic feet of methane every day.  Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere; farts really are deadly.

Berra outfitted his cows with collection-balloon backpacks that tap discreetly into the lower digestive tract via plastic tubing that enters through the exit.  It’s brilliant!  Think of the implications!  If we collected the effluvium of every blow-hard smoke-and-mirrors congressman in Washington, we’d be well on the way to solving the problem of climate change.  We’d have a limitless supply of natural energy.

And who needs Pinocchio’s nose?  We could gauge the integrity of elected officials simply by the size of their straining methane balloons.

I want Ted Cruz to lead the way on this.

—“I didn’t threaten to shut down the government the last time. I don’t think we should ever shut down the government. I repeatedly voted… to fund the federal government.” Ted Cruz, on Face The Nation last Sunday
“I didn’t threaten to shut down the
government the last time. I don’t think we should ever shut down the government. I repeatedly voted… to fund the federal government.”
Ted Cruz, on FACE THE NATION last Sunday

There is time for all these thoughts and more, stuck there in the street behind Peter Pan and Toto.  Back in first grade, when flatulence was as funny as anything got, we had a classmate with an unfortunate gas problem.  His mother taught him to call his emissions Bottom Burps.  We all called him Fartin’ Phil  (little children are not nice – it’s no wonder the Lord has to suffer them to come unto him).  And then there was prim little Barbara Jane, who never ever farted (and probably still hasn’t) – she Expelled Flatus, per her mother’s careful instruction, and was quick to correct our vulgar vocabulary. Those two mothers should really have made a match of that pair; God only knows what they in turn would have done to their own malodorous children.

I guffaw and snort there behind the wheel.  These are exhalations of a happier sort – I’ve escaped the hot dark cloud of anger, and am suddenly even at peace with the boy on the bike, whose mother doubtless raised him better.  I wave at him the next time he looks back, and go into my yoga class with a happy heart.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

“I’m an EMT,” says the large loud brusque woman, elbowing her way in front of me at the grocery store.  We are standing in the self-check-out line.  “I’m in a hurry.  I’m going first.”

pizza rolls
“”Out of my way. I’m on a roll.”

She doesn’t even look at me as she cuts me off.  She is not in uniform.  She is not taking some urgent medical call on her pager while trapped there at the supermarket.  She is buying a party-size bag of frozen pizza bites and a 12-pack of diet Coke and a carton of mini-cupcakes topped with sticky mountains of Denver Broncos blue-and-orange frosting and a package of toilet paper and the most recent edition of PEOPLE magazine.

Surely, in a emergency, such things might be jettisoned.  Were I bleeding copiously beside the highway, I’d like to think the 911 personnel on duty then would rate saving my life higher than scoring the latest pictures of various Kardashian butts and boobs.

And really – do I want this sort of woman helping me in my extremity?  She’s obviously the type who won’t take the time and trouble to heat the oven and bake those pizza snacks until crisp.  She’ll nuke them in some spattered stinky microwave until steaming and soggy and then eat about 40 as fast as she can without burning her mouth, getting greasy fingerprints all over her glossy magazine’s shocking photos of Justin Bieber’s latest haircut.

“The right of way is something you always give and never take,” intoned my driver ed teacher for the thousandth time (but it was the first time for me, and I hung upon his every word, since he was young and handsome and wore inscrutable dark Ray-Ban sunglasses and I was hopelessly infatuated (Ralph, if you’re reading this, I hope that that past tense doesn’t wound you unduly.  The Missy enthusiasms of age 55 are not those she entertained at 17.  You had your chance).

They were yellow, back in the day.
They were yellow, back in the day.

I hear his voice still, though, whenever I’m behind the wheel.  And sometimes at the grocery store:  Ralph advises me to yield my place to the pushy broad with the Charmin  and practice a Courtesy Stop (at an intersection with two lanes going the same way, the second car to arrive should hang back at bit rather than push out neck-and-neck in some sort of power struggle.  The elbow of the driver of the first car is where the front end of the second car should stop).   I’m not happy about yielding to rudeness, mind you.  I’ll never reach that selfless state of enlightenment – nor do I want to.  I know that bastards and cream rise to the top;  I don’t have to suffer it gladly.

I think I’m subconsciously sabotaging my karma by refusing to evolve to a higher plane of soul.  This assures that I’ll have plenty more opportunities to mess around here on earth, which is really rather fun despite all the woe and pestilence and war and death and unpleasantness while standing in lines.  So I let the boorish bitch win, but I do so grudgingly and gracelessly:  No stars in my crown.

I’m enlightened in some ways, though – at least enough to know that the Fair Sex is not the Gentle Sex. We’ve somehow confused the quest for equality with brutality, and become as bad as the worst men.

Then again, equality is not like smorgasbord Christianity, where you pick and choose only the bits that appeal to you  (“Those oysters on the half shell may be an abomination unto the Lord, but they look damned good to me”).  Equality, I suppose, means shouldering our fair share of the brutal.

Hell is empty and the devils are all here. Macbeth,
Hell is empty and the devils are all here.
The Tempest

While it’s nice to know that the donated organs of 23-year-old Kim Pham saved five lives this past week, it’s not so nice  that she was beaten to death in public by three women her own age, girls who probably spent hours fussing with their hair before heading out to that California club last Saturday night, girls who kicked her head with their designer heels as she lay in the street.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.

Police have numerous video clips of the assault, since a bunch of onlookers stood around and filmed it.  No-one intervened.  They raised their smartphones as shields and watched pruriently from the safety of their screens.  They lifted their fingers to zoom camera lenses in, but did not lift a finger to help.  Real life and real death were playing out at their feet three feet away, and all they cared about was being the first to post the action on YouTube.

Perhaps I should reconsider the karma thing.  Perhaps I don’t want to be part of this inhumanity anymore.  And (worse), I might just be forced to come back as a Texas woman, with kisses sweeter than cactus.

We gotta a little place called Texas
Where the women grow on trees
They’re right there for the pickin’ good buddy
Just as easy as a man could please

Even Jerry Jeff Walker might have trouble with attorney Susan Sciacca, a delicate flower who didn’t take kindly to being cut off on a suburban Houston highway last Thursday.  Suzie, in a fit of feminine pique, forced the man in the other car off the road and into a parking lot, then leaped out and aimed her pistol at him.  Said she to 911 dispatch (gun in one hand, iPhone in the other, shooting a selfie), “He cut me off . . . and I pulled my gun on him. I’ve got a concealed handgun license. I’m a Harris County Prosecutor.”

–and I’m an EMT.  I’m in a hurry.  I’m going first.  Put down the banana and step back from that grocery scanner.  Now.

Prosecutor or no, gun permit and special dispensation from God aside,  the attorney was arrested for aggravated assault.  The whole incident was captured on security cameras – which can’t be blamed for looking on passively.  Suzie should have had a few lessons from my driver ed teacher back when she was young and impressionable:  Courtesy stops do not involve weapons or rage.

But perhaps she was in a hurry.  Perhaps she had a big bag of frozen pizza bites thawing in the back seat, and miles to go before she could attack them.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for visiting!

Pride, Prejudice, Pot, and Pants

Guns don’t kill people.  Pants kill people.

A gentleman in Tennessee recently shot himself in the chin when he took off his pants and placed them on his dresser, “at which time the 25 caliber Baretta pistol in the right front pocket discharged.”

Problem SolvedYou’ve got to love a police report.  You’ve got to love the passive voice.   That gun just went off for no reason, through no fault of the outraged incredulous redneck standing there in his dingy tighty whities. He is a blameless victim.  His pants shot him.  He will probably sue Dickies for the crotch seam that pulled the trigger or the rivet that released the safety catch.

This arming of clothing against God-fearing gun-toting conservatives is surely a liberal plot.

Guns don’t kill people.  4-year-olds kill people.

Last Thursday in Detroit, a 4-year-old girl fatally shot her 4-year-old cousin with a gun the children found underneath a bed.  “The female 4-year-old found a long gun underneath the bed and pointed it at the male 4-year-old and pulled the trigger,” Detroit Police spokesman Adam Madera told CBS.  Those bitchy females – you can’t trust them any more than you can trust what’s in your pants.

This arming of toddlers is surely a liberal plot to make God-fearing conservatives who keep loaded unlocked weapons under their beds look bad.

An uncle of mine just added my name to an email he forwarded to all his conservative cronies.  We don’t correspond, and he long ago dropped me from his distribution list since we agree on nothing but the facts that we’re related, scathingly sarcastic, and smarter than average.  He’s actually a very charming male, just as I am a very charming female; such traits run in the family.  We do pull out political rifles, but we only shoot words at each other, and from a distance.

Just $14.95 when you use your NRA Visa!
Just $15.95 when you use your AARP NRA Visa!

Uncle sent a video called “Liberals With Guns” that I won’t link to here because I don’t want my site in any way connected to it.  Think Rush Limbaugh with closer-set eyes, fatter and sweatier and more self-righteous, wearing a Stetson in a vain effort to conceal his bald spot.  But even Rush doesn’t ingenuously and repeatedly hold a coffee cup up to the camera with his picture and the American flag on it and coyly urge that viewers visit his website to buy it.

It’s a sorry day when I find myself defending Rush Limbaugh.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

I stewed about the damned email for a week and just couldn’t let it go.  It was a loaded gun, stuck in my pants and stuck in my craw (like the bullet wedged in that red Tennessee neck) (that fellow is fine, by the way, and has lived to abuse his pants another day).  I had no choice but to respond:

Favorite Uncle,

I hate like hell to admit that I know you sent this just to get my goat and that it did, indeed, get my goat.

We yuppie bleeding-heart pansy-ass liberal Democrats out here in Colorado can now keep goats in our within-city-limit backyards!  Chickens, too.  I haven’t gotten into that yet, but with pot now being legal and all I suspect I’ll stop shaving my legs and start raising personal livestock.  You’ll have to come out and kill it for me, though.

colorado potI actually think that the pot-legalization bill was a conservative plot.  What it’s done is render marijuana totally uncool — so it worked, as a Republican plan to curb drug use. Pot’s main attraction was the allure of danger (but not too much danger–you weren’t likely to be shot to death while buying a pedestrian eighth-ounce).  Now, your parents can go out and buy a bag full and smoke it in front of you (provided they drive all the way to Denver and stand in line for hours and pay exorbitant rates).  How totally weird is that?  No self-respecting hipster wants to be like his parents.  I predict a drastic decline in pot popularity.  The whole thing, despite frenzied national coverage, is actually a non-event, here.

Don't make me defend myself.
You keep your pants on, hear?

I know that some ignorant woodchuck wearing a big cowboy hat and clutching a .45 as a penis substitute may well be the death of me.  Until then, I will continue to believe that our duty here on earth is to take care of each other.  I had this sweet little grandmother in New Hampshire who didn’t have a pot to piss in — yet she’d give away anything she owned to anyone, with a selfless generosity of spirit that I’ve never seen matched.  Yes, she was eccentric and more than a bit neurotic, and the family ridiculed her mercilessly, but she “got” what life is all about.  When she died, an enormous group of friends and relatives was the poorer for it.

We’re all on the same journey, after all.  Liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, black, white, male, female, Christian, atheist, rich, poor, mouth-breather, effete intellectual — we all end up rotting in the grave.  We’ll all be dead together.  We all have the same terrors.

— except that I am not afraid that the Gov’mint will be coming in the night to take my weapons or my daughters or my Duck Dynasty videos or the supplies against Armageddon I’ve stockpiled in the cellar.  I sleep well, and soundly.

Mind you don’t throw your pants on the dresser in an unguarded moment.

Your fond niece,


Yes, I shamed him with a reference to his own mother.  A female’s got to use whatever comes to hand when she’s rummaging defensively around under the bed.

It’s all for naught, of course.  “For what do we live,” wrote Jane Austen in 1811, “but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”   Our pants are full of pride and prejudice.

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