Oh, MIRTH, Where Art Thou?

That’s a question I’ve been asking, even if you haven’t.

sadMind you, it’s not that I’m not mired in MIRTH material. But in this world of woe it sometimes seems to me that silliness is a frivolous waste of time and energy. Surely, if God isn’t going to bother fixing chronic problems like starvation and disease and cruelty and prejudice and war and greed and evil and stupidity and the rampant spread of emoticons, then it’s up to me to do so. I should be building latrines in Liberia. I should be teaching English in Somalia. I should be championing equal rights in Pakistan. I should be protecting albinos in Malawi. I should be fighting righteous ignorance in the US.

grimaceAnd I should be striving to stop people from inserting stupid smiley faces into everything they write as a substitute for actually trying to express themselves.

(Guess which of these is the hardest?)

Instead, I live my modest comfortable life plagued with guilt about letting the noble quest for world peace go by the wayside. To punish myself (have I mentioned a Catholic upbringing?), I read the world news (and the country’s news, and my county’s news) and become paralyzed. How can I crack jokes and live with myself when people are living with such despair and hopelessness? How can I go on living at all when my fellow citizens are ready to elect various village idiots to our highest office? – itself a joke, but not a funny one.

Yet there’s this:blech

America’s 71 million dogs produce 29,000 tons of waste each day.

A company called Flush Doggy is out there ready to provide you with 400 flushable dog poop bags for only $79.99 (free shipping within the US) – a year’s supply. They claim that you will save the planet by using their product. Not help to save the planet, mind you – their website unequivocally states that you will in fact be saving it.

Done! All I have to do is get a big dog, encourage him to take big dumps, buy Flush Doggy bags, and stop with the save-the-earth guilt, already.

But there’s this:

Do we really need to add another daily 29,000 tons of excrement to our already-struggling municipal water purification systems? Wouldn’t dog turd be better off outside — as long as it’s not in my backyard?poop emoji

There’s even a trendy emoticon for a pile of dung. It’s smiling, so it’s shit that must not stink. My father used to point out various folks who thought theirs didn’t – and here’s proof positive! The old man is much smarter than I ever gave him credit for. I gave him lots of credit, mind you – just not enough.

Emojis are plaguing me professionally as well as personally – they’ve been chosen as the departmental Halloween costume at work (you know I live for Halloween). We’re all to pick our favorite expressions and cut them from felt and sew them onto bright yellow shirts and conduct a day’s worth of business so attired. Antennae headgear with bobbing hearts is optional.

It won’t be as bad as the year I worked at a bank and we were obliged to turn the big downtown lobby in to an ocean-scape and dress as mermaids. The bank manager – the only male – got to be King Neptune and stride around wielding a trident. HE didn’t have to wear big fake shells over his boobs. He didn’t even have to wear a codpiece, although that would have suited the fish motif perfectly.Heart-eyes-emoji

So I’ve made progress in life. Instead of shells, I’ll have a big round eyeball glued to each breast. Where else to put them on the front of a T-shirt? Methinks I’ll deliberately choose some that look like nipples. If life gives you lemons, cut them in half and use them as pasties.

Local news was fun today for once, though. My city made headlines on USA Today: “Colorado Town Says Women Can’t Go Topless!”

This really cramps my style.

Despite being busted, I am relieved to live in a place where potential peeks at naked nipples are the peak of our social problems. City council has nothing more pressing up against it. Activists have nothing more rousing to seize upon. Citizens have nothing more tempting to embrace. In recent mammary, nothing more pointed has so served to lift and separate this community.

swakAnd now I must get this off my chest: making MIRTH is much more fun than brooding in udder despair about things I can’t change (like my bustline, despite all those exercises I did as a teenager – I must! I must! I must increase my bust!). I promise to stop neglecting it — and you. I will stuff my Weltschmerz into a Flush Doggy bag and then go down and flash city hall.

“does frankencense cause pooping”

My blog server keeps me up to date on Google searches that lead people to my website. It’s often rather horrifying. I’ve written about cheerleaders and girl scouts and boobs and Bigfoot and underwear and strippers and space aliens and hookers and guns and God and Godzilla and Republicans and ankle socks and outhouses, after all. The Google Overlords stir it all up in a steamy stew of perversion with my name on it.

Who'd have thought this would attract knee-sock fetishists? Except, of course, knee-sock enthusiasts.
Who’d have thought this would attract knee-sock fetishists? Except, of course, knee-sock fetishists.   Missy circa 1968.

Missy’s name, rather.

Today’s title came from an April 21 internet inquiry. I’m able to see the query, but not the queer duck who sent it.

Here’s a quandary: I desperately want to use that word “queer” to cleverly tie in with the word “query.” These are the things that delight a geeky pseudo-writer’s heart – poetic niceties and rhyming games and sophomoric alliterative phrases (an especially harsh critic once accused me of intellectual masturbation, and yes, it’s that, too). It’s fun to mess around. Yet that once-respectable old-fashioned word “queer” was perverted or subverted or everted (you see, I can’t help myself) into hate speech. While the LGBT community has reclaimed it with pride, methinks Missy should retire it — after today. My gay friends will forgive me this one last indiscretion (please).

Today’s post ought to be a big winner in terms of web-search terms (there I go again. Perhaps I should just turn off the computer and go scrub the toilet or wash those mildewing towels piled on the floor downstairs; the pile is at least in the laundry room). One paragraph in, I’ve used the words “pooping” and “masturbation” and “perversion,” along with the ever-popular and always-paired “cheerleaders” and “boobs.” What strange new roads will now lead to MIRTH?

On May 5, a lonely soul with double-negative issues searched for “the team who has cheerleader with no panties neither bra” and found me. I fear he was disappointed.   On April 30, someone looked for “small tits asia babysitter” and was directed to my site. Really? I’ve also had “sex with bigfoot,” “exotic bitches panties,” and “raped by hot aliens” show up (April 2, April 24, and May 9). No lie.

You'll live to regret googling on that.
You’ll live to regret googling on that.

I’ll apologize in advance for making fun of you, should you be responsible for any of those searches. Or maybe I won’t. You may THINK you have internet privacy, but some social engineer somewhere is compiling a list of all your shameful prurient late-night obsessive dark-underbelly interests. God is doing that, too, but at least His motives are pure. He won’t be targeting you with ads for blow-up dolls or blue movies or male enhancement vacuum pumps. He just wants to condemn you to hell.

An older gentleman I know works very hard to keep up with technology and probably does a better job of it than I – I have no right to patronize (not that that will stop me). This fellow is apt to say, altogether earnestly, “I’ll just google on that.” That phrase has now become part of O’Brieniana – we are forever googling on stuff.

I’m proud to say there is one item you can google on that will pull MIRTH up as the first and best match — #1 on the hit list, in all the vastness of the blogosphere! That that item exists only in the realm of O’Brieniana does not matter. It is the Segregated Knife, which we treasure along with our Ovulating Fans. People have actually sought on-line information about segregated knives. You can, too – Google will lead you straight to my February 2013 post. There are companies out there who pay big marketing bucks to position themselves at the top of Google searches, and I’ve accomplished it with a joke. Not bad, for an English major.

But I digress.

While frankincense has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years, I don’t believe it causes pooping. My hope is that my use of it here doesn’t – do let me know if that’s a MIRTH subscription side-effect.

On March 29, someone asked the web about “frankenscents and mirth and there uses.” I love the happy misspelling of myrrh. Somebody made my point without actually getting it at all.

. . . if you look closer it's easy to trace the tracks of my tears.
. . . if you look closer it’s easy to trace the tracks of my tears.

Frankincense is an aromatic resin long used in incense and perfumes. In many cultures, it’s thought that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health. A 2008 study went further, reporting that frankincense smoke is a psychoactive drug that relieves depression and anxiety in mice. I’ve not tried that myself (yet), but it’s a mirthful thought. And frankincense oil can be used for relief from bites such as scorpion stings – a cure for the slings and arrows of this world.

Like all good things, this comes at a cost. Boswellia trees are slashed and left to bleed — the lost sap hardens into what are called tears. The tears are then gathered by hand, sorted by size, and turned into fragrant pleasures. How perfectly poignant is that? I suppose it’s what I hope to do here.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!

By The Pricking

I’ve heard that death by freezing isn’t such a bad way to go. Still, it was hard to watch it happen from the warmth and comfort of my home. It also took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, giving me far too much time for guilty second thoughts as I watched precious life seep slowly away. Later, there was the frozen corpse to deal with – I had to have at it with a hacksaw out there in the back yard, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t notice. It was straight from FARGO.

Look Homeward, Angel.
Look Homeward, Angel.

Husband has been very nice to me since I hauled that heavy hulking cactus outside in a fit of pique and left it to die. He has not been thorny or prickly or sharp or mean, and it’s a damned good thing. He’d likely end up out there in a snowbank, too – it’s been a long winter.

OK, OK, it’s arguably spring now (although we had an inch of snow on Mother’s Day). Winter in May sent me back to these half-finished February thoughts.

It was Husband’s cactus, really, and I had no right to kill it. But it fell on me one time too many as I moved it to sweep the floor. Wedged itself into my neck and back and dumped desert potting soil (read, “hundreds of tiny rocks”) all over the room. And its resident spider ended up down my shirt.

I’d been after that spider for years; squashing him was worth his burrowing in my bra beforehand. He’d spin cobwebs all over the ceiling-high cactus, cobwebs that were impossible to brush away given the inch-long spikes and spines. While I am not a woman who lives to clean, cobwebs draped through the kitchen collecting visible grease and dust got to me.

I am sure that your kitchen is free of grease and dust and cobwebs. You never have to scrub the haze of old bacon fat off the cupboards over your stove. You scour the underside of your range hood every Saturday morning, right after you pull the refrigerator out from its niche to vacuum behind and beneath it with a special attachment you ordered just for that particular cleaning job. Inside that fridge, I bet you’ve never had a jar of sun-dried tomatoes grow half an inch of mold tucked away there on the bottom shelf behind last year’s mostly-empty bottles of BBQ sauce and that weird jam your neighbor made. I bet you never find dark wet unidentifiable produce in your vegetable drawers. You never have chronic dark smudges on kitchen drawers where dirty fingers rub, or lacquered dribbles of unknown origin below the counter where your can opener sits. You probably even clean your can opener. You don’t know what the death throes of a potato smell like, never having had one roll to the back of your cupboard and rot.

Yes, that's a wall of wine corks.  And now I've started down the basement staircase.
Yes, that’s a wall of wine corks. And now I’ve started down the basement staircase.

But I digress.

This is a picture of the cactus in his salad days, when he was green in judgment and decided to outgrow the height of his kitchen. For ten or twelve years, we hauled him outside every spring and back inside every fall. He’d put out tall brave shoots during the summer which I had to heartlessly amputate in order to fit him back into the house for the winter. We’ve no room for a large unfriendly cactus indoors. He blocked the kitchen heating duct and threatened passersby and started encroaching on the back entrance. It was very bad Feng Shui.

I seem to have become more-than-usually prickly of late. Perhaps the cactus is haunting me (next time I see that dermatologist, she’ll be pulling out thorns).   Husband, if he were feeling brave, would no doubt agree, especially after the fight we had last night.

Husband meant well, without a doubt. His intentions were good – or not so good, since the fight involved ordering me some lingerie. I know, I know — every gray-haired middle-aged matron should be so lucky as to have a husband of thirty years who still wants to buy her lingerie. Since catalogs of ladies’ undergarments tend to be fussy and complicated things, he warily approached me waving the size chart.

Goldie Hawn I ain't.
Goldie Hawn I ain’t.

A perfectly reasonable and even admirable course of action, say all you males. The horror, the horror! say all you females — at least those of you who carry around an extra 15 or 20 pounds. I died a thousand deaths at a work wellness event lately when a perky young size 4 nurse came at me with a tape measure; I am certainly not going to report those results to Husband. My hope is always that he thinks of me as I was at 25. That is how I think of him, after all. Reality and the harsh light of day are overrated. Tape measures are overrated, too.

So I will take a lesson from the murdered cactus, lest I too be pitched summarily out into the cold. I will watch my barbed tongue and my prickly temper and my thorny disposition. I will not bristle at Husband, at least when he is most vulnerable and trying to be kind. I may even finally lose the fifteen or twenty pounds and eliminate that sharp and needling source of pain (but that’s far too straightforward a solution).

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!

Straining After Cuteness

I was accused of doing just that by a favorite faithful reader after I used “tail” instead of “tale” in my last post, referring to the story of a beloved stuffed mouse. Yeah, it was an eye-roller, although I prefer to think of it as playful. And I didn’t stick in a bright winking emoticon or superfluous quotation marks or irritating asterisks to announce that I was messing around – I trusted you to know that.

Husband doesn’t appreciate it when I mess around, either, but he was more tactful than Retired English Professor; he has more at stake. “You might just have a typo at the end there, Missy – you used tail for tale. Or was that deliberate?” Husband, hoping to get lucky at some point, is always careful not to push his luck.

We all strain after cuteness in our anxious bids for attention (with the possible exception of Retired English Professor). Take my neighbor Betty the Avon Lady, for instance. For starters, she has Betty the Avon Lady emblazoned on both sides of her car.

Betty1The holiday season may be over, but Betty has just added another inflatable Santa to her seasonal front-yard display – this one riding a motorcycle (I figure she hit a good after-Christmas sale). Harley Santa is parked right beside a huge inflatable snowman and large inflatable snow globe that in turn contains three more inflatable snowmen (lit from below at night), near an inflatable teddy bear in a Santa hat and an inflatable reindeer wearing a wreath. These figures are all cleverly arranged to direct the eye to the reason for the season, a near-life-size crèche surrounded by moving light-up wire reindeer and another group of three inflatable snowmen. A cast-concrete angel under the birdbath lends a note of solemnity to the scene, and the Star of the East casts color-changing LEDs over the manger (which for the other 10 months of the year stores disreputable lawn equipment).

The crèche in Betty’s yard stands out because it is not inflatable. Too risky, I suppose – a blow-up doll wouldn’t really do for Mary.

Ha! Even an irreverent heretical sacrilegious lapsed-Catholic like me can apparently feel some need for conventional decency. How interesting! I even cringed a little as I wrote that. Too many bathtub Madonnas where I grew up. Too many May Day processionals. Too many Hail Mary penances and prayers for intercession. We girls all aspired to be Mary – she was the ultimate Cinderella (and the only whiff of estrogen in that testosterone-drenched church).

betty2I once hoped rather passionately to find a religious vocation (too many romantic nun novels at a young and impressionable age. Bet you didn’t know that romantic nun novels even existed). I even went to daily mass for a week or so, until I realized that the tired old priest was only going through the early-morning motions and the black-mustached Italian widows down front were just gossiping and waiting for the service to end so they could scuttle outside for a smoke. Even the vile-smelling homeless guy in the back was only there to get warm. I went to God’s house to find Him, but discovered that He’s an absentee landlord.

Worse, the Italian widows pinched my cheeks until I cried. Those old ladies were holy terrors in their high heels and black lace mantillas, wearing too much rouge and bright red lipstick. And did I mention chin whiskers? I would stare in morbid fascination while they pinched me.

Then again, maybe they pinched me because I was staring in morbid fascination at their chin whiskers. Time grants a different perspective on things.

Betty the Avon Lady does not have chin whiskers, although she does favor Obama is the Anti-Christ bumper stickers, which I stare at in the same sort of horror. Her house is on a corner lot. Her side yard features a 10-foot inflatable dog in a Santa hat that moves his head and wags his tail. He’s accompanied by a chorus line of inflatable raccoons, a penguin with an inflatable igloo, an elephant, and Snoopy siting on his trademark doghouse. Santa hats on everyone unify the theme.

Betty3When I’m depressed in the dreary dark of winter (and this is a near-constant), I have only to walk past Betty’s house for a cure. Best of all is catching it when the power is off – then, everything crowded into that small yard is slumped in tragic puddles of nylon like the wet Wicked Witch of the West. It looks like mass murder took place. It needs yellow police tape and chalk lines. Betty could offer that tableau in February, a segue into her blow-up pastel bunny rabbits in the spring. Christmas, then a crime scene, then Easter: that’s the Christ story in a nutshell, anyway (and that sentence, my friends, strains after cuteness.  At least I’m aware of my sins).

I live in a place – thank Allah and Jehovah and Zeus! — where neither our homeowners’ association nor our father in heaven takes such things seriously. Betty’s yard may be an affront to good taste, but it’s not an affront to God, who after all made her in his own image (i.e., apparently tacky as hell). Her exuberant tribute to the holiday season is not heresy. It’s kitsch. We needn’t stone her. But we might poke a discreet hole or two in a few of those snowmen, come March.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!

Badges and Bastards

Picture of Girl Scouts2I’d forgotten about the white gloves.  Back in the early 1970’s, we Junior Girl Scouts did indeed wear them to complete our uniforms, with our official Girl Scout ankle socks and beanies.  It wasn’t until you became a Cadet that you got to wear hose and heels and a smart beret, along about the time you had breasts to go with them.  Happily free of all those encumbrances, we younger girls were able to throw ourselves wholeheartedly into trying to earn more badges than Philomena Scotch, who cheated and got away with it and faked her way to a fully laden awards sash.

She cheated on cookie sales, too.  Back in the day, girls were actually expected to do their own door-to-door selling.  Hers was the first over-achieving mother to elbow in and take over fundraising responsibilities.  Would that mine had done so!   Whether it were greeting cards or gift wrap or thin mint cookies, Philomena’s mother always made sure that she sold the most.  I’d spend two angst-ridden weeks trudging hopelessly around town trying to sell the required ten boxes of 50-cent cookies, and Philomena would swan into our meeting with a list of 250 orders.  It rankles me still, even after 40 years.

"You probably aren't interested in buying any cookies, are you? Never mind."
“You probably aren’t interested in buying any cookies, are you? Never mind.”

Such are the concerns of Junior Girl Scouts, then and now.  Who did the best?  Who just got a training bra?  Who’s the teacher’s pet?  Who did Scotty Joseph smile at in the lunchroom?  Who has the coolest sneakers?  Who snuck out of the house with pearly white lipstick on?  Junior Girl Scouts do not dwell upon the carefully neutral political ideology of the Girl Scout organization.  Why, then, are the whackos of Waco, TX, doing so?

John Pisciotta is the director of Waco Pro-Life and an organizer of CookieCott 2014, a drive to punish the Girl Scouts of America for their leftist commie secular liberal baby-killing agenda by refusing to buy peanut butter patties or tagalongs.  Take that, you fiends!

I do love it when men busy themselves with our lady parts (she said, ingenuously).  We’re not smart enough to handle these things of ours ourselves, you see.  We need someone with a penis to take charge of our uteruses (uteri?  Uteroes?  YouTubing?). Waving a penis around must feel like wielding a conductor’s baton  – “On the downbeat, ladies!  My tempo, not yours!  I lead, you follow!”  Controlling our collective libido is no more complicated than conducting a concerto – just ask Mike Huckabee.

Leadership is what Girl Scouts is all about, these days.  This cookie kerfluffle, spawning a sea-to-shining-sea boycott, began because the Girl Scout organization posted on-line links to articles in the national media about the inspiring female leaders of 2013.  Some of these successful and influential women happen to support education and contraception and even personal choice.  This renders their civic accomplishments null and void; they are godless harlots ready to lead 12-year-old girls to perdition.

Twelve-year-old girls don’t care about perdition.  They find the facts of life utterly gross.  They have no more interest in penises (peni?  Peniles? Pennies from heaven?) than they have in calculus.

The Crucible
The Crucible

And the leaders they respect come from within their own ranks.  In Adirondack Troop 214, Ivy Ostberger was the uncontested alpha dog.  Yet she was no dog – she was pretty and popular and played the flute (of course).  Life didn’t get much richer than that.  She was ruthless in her power, though; never let it be said that a 5th grader can’t be a royal bitch.  I played the violin and wore glasses and was the last girl I knew to hit puberty – I was no threat to her, except perhaps in having almost as many badges as Philomena (and I dutifully earned mine; my mother wouldn’t just wantonly sign my handbook).

That was enough to inspire Ivy and her cohorts to lock me in the putrid outhouse at Hidden Lake camp one night while they all went off to the council campfire ceremony.  I can still hear them laughing as they stuck a stick through the door handle to trap me inside.  I sat in the spidery dark for over an hour, until one of the assistant troop leaders found me.  She laughed at my plight – she was Ivy’s mother.

That was about the end of my Girl Scout career.  And that was the lesson I learned about leaders and leadership:  The meek don’t inherit a damned thing.  They get locked in the crapper and laughed at.

So good for today’s Girl Scouts for holding better women than the Ostbergers up as role models.  The scouts publish a series of bland age-appropriate handbooks brimming with life lessons  (none remotely abortion-related).  Even those are under fire from Pisciotta and his one-trick-pony cronies.  Says he, “the only person applauded who is pro-life is Mother Theresa.”  Apparently, even her sainted presence can’t offset the pernicious influence of Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, Betty Friedan and the like.

cookie saleGet thee to a nunnery, girl.

You will think less of me when I report with no little satisfaction that, while Ivy went on to become a varsity cheerleader who dated handsome football players and lived the high school dream, she got pregnant before the end of senior year and wound up married right after graduation to someone who subsequently scandalously left her.  That pleases me, even after all these years.  The “Hold a Grudge” badge has always been one of my favorites.

I’ve been avoiding a pushy guy at work who’s been hounding us all to buy Girl Scout cookies from his daughter (or, rather, from him).  Tomorrow, even though he acts like Philomena’s mother and looks like her in drag (she had a better moustache), I will seek him out and buy a bunch of boxes.  No CookieCott 2014 for me.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!