When I Saw Hair Standing There

The Buck Stops Here

What in God’s name is wrong with mankind? Besides the mundanities of murder, mayhem, and madness, I mean?

And I do blame God. Any shopkeeper worth his salt says, “You break it, you own it.”  We were created broken, and nothing much got mended during the last divine redemptive effort some 2,000 years ago.

Imagine no possessions — it’s easy, if you try.

Then, imagine all the misguided people who recently bid on a ratty old four-inch chunk of John Lennon’s hair. The triumphant winner paid $35,000 for it, three times the amount the Dallas auction house expected.

How could anyone justify paying thirty-five thousand dollars for the dusty 50-year-old floor sweepings of a German barber?

“Love Me ‘Do!” said John, post hair-cut.  Did he notice his shorn locks set surreptitiously aside, like souvenirs cut from the heads of the Victorian dead? Was he complicit in becoming a secular saint? Did he get a cut for providing a relic?

You’ve Got To Hide Your Locks Away

This, from the messianic figure who exhorted us to Comb Together?

It gets messier and more tangled.  Paul Fraser, the British dealer in memorabilia who scored Lennon’s tresses, will doubtless re-sell single strands at a premium and recoup his expenses many times over.  You, too, can buy a piece of a Beatle and join Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Haircut Band!

Visit Fraser’s website for the opportunity to buy single hairs from the heads of George Washington, John Steinbeck, Elvis Presley, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Lord Nelson, and Geronimo!  At £399.00 each they’re a bargain, given the current exchange rate: $566.92.

I imagine there’s a really lucrative black market for public-personality pubic hairs. Our current obsession with furlessness (see, “manscaping” and “Brazilian waxing”) must ensure a steady supply. I can’t quite pluck up the courage to run an online search, though; we are what we google. Scholarly research on merkins is one thing. Looking to purchase one of JLo’s pubies is another.

merkin 2Admit it – you just googled “merkin” (or perhaps “JLo’s pubies”). Did you find the Amazon merkin deal? A set of four (new, even) for just $8.95, billed as “downstairs toupees.” I’ve even linked to the the site – Mirth gets no kick-backs, but does get a kick out of sharing such opportunities with you. Always make sure your collar and cuffs match.

Dear Prudence, what on earth is the world coming to? Since when is hair clipped from Nowhere Man Justin Bieber worth more than hair clipped from John Lennon?  Fraser’s website also offers a plastic vial of 200 one-inch Bieber hairs (bottle cap initialed by Justin himself) for £35,000.00 (US $49,731.50).

That item qualifies for a layaway plan; We Can Work It Out.  And don’t despair if you miss that deal — Bieber visits his stylist one a month. He could retire and live off his own leavings.

All You Need Is Love – and a gimmick. I don’t suppose you’d offer me big bucks for a piece of Missy Mane? Yes, you may say I’m a dreamer.

For Sale, Cheap
For Sale, Cheap

 

Thanks for joining me here.  Leave a comment! You can be anonymous, even. Without an incriminating hair from your head, I can’t DNA you.

 

Time In A Bottle

So I had a picture of me at 45 posted on Mirth’s About page.  It was a good picture – especially for someone who’s never been photogenic — taken on that birthday at the library where I worked.  Husband had sent a big beautiful bouquet via the trendiest and most expensive florist in town (we must have been fighting bitterly, or I must have been particularly bitchy or depressed; he at any rate atoned for many sins with that fabulous flourish of flowers. We women are a shallow lot).  An impressed co-worker took the photo, and had a gift for the medium. It was a good picture.

cropped missy
That Was Then

But that portrait is now 12 years old – this, in the day of the hourly-updated social-media Selfie.  How did 12 years happen? And I claim to be a woman who doesn’t palaver about her age, who doesn’t dress like a chicklet or giggle like an ingénue or flounce like a cheerleader, a woman who tries to man up to the ravages of time and say, “This is what 57 looks like.”

That in itself is vain, of course, but I tell myself it’s a mature sort of vanity.  “Not too bad for 57” is a fairly modest self-assessment.  One might even call it “humble.”  One might even say, “How pathetic!”

Yet my 57 apparently screams Senior Citizen – and not just to the clerk at McDonald’s, who automatically offers me a free small coffee and warns me in a loud overly-enunciated voice about the dangers of its temperature. Interesting, that as Old People we’re treated once again like children.

Cue the Circle of Life soundtrack.

What’s a handful of years, at this point in life?  Nothing, really – but the assumption, based upon gray hair, that I’m a decade or two older than I am makes me want to mutter naughty words (and I’m a person who flips off other drivers below the dashboard so they won’t see me. Pointless? Perhaps. But, that way, they’re not so apt to pull out a gun and shoot my ass).

This Is Now
This Is Now

I’m still 35 inside, after all. Why don’t people see that?

I got off on this tangent because a co-worker of rather advanced age is retiring and offered to give advice about social security and pensions and retirement options and Medicare and insurance supplements.  Granted, that’s akin to sharing details of the indignities of age-related hemorrhoids or thick yellow toenails or newly-vigorous nose hair. But she meant well, and sent a lunch invitation out to everyone she considered Old.

Far be it from me to turn down a free lunch.

Husband and I get those dinner invitations from financial planners all the time now, too – sit through a scintillating three-hour retirement presentation, share your bank account information with us, and we’ll treat you to an all-you-can-eat deep-fried buffet at the Pig & Trough!

We do turn down those free dinners.

And the impotence remedies – why did the great Google overlords decide that I needed to see adds for motorized vacuum erection aids every time I log on to the internet?  Has “Missy” ever even remotely been an androgynous name?  Or do marketers figure that the way to reach older dysfunctional men is through their older dissatisfied wives?

Some Things Improve With Age

Those marketers don’t realize that when older women are dissatisfied it’s most generally with themselves; husbands are just an easy target.

You see? I’m not always unkind to mine. I can make an expensive-flowers sort of public gesture on occasion.

The picture on my driver’s license is old, too – and almost as good as the one with the flowers. I’d lucked into a trial 15-year renewal term that Colorado has since abandoned, probably because of experiences like mine:  I waltzed into the Motor Vehicle Department awhile ago to update it and was flagged as an imposter by a nervous young clerk.  “I’m sorry. I can’t renew this. It isn’t you,” said she.  “Excuse me?” said me.  “The computer doesn’t recognize you. This is a forgery.”

In due time her supervisor arrived. He looked at me, looked at the license, and then looked at the clerk.  He pointed to my head and said, “Gray hair.” He pointed to the license and said, “Brown hair. Work with me, here.”

I got the renewal, and even got to keep the old picture for another few years.  It’s proving to be a mixed blessing: a bank teller last week checked my ID and said, “Gosh! You looked really good with dark hair!”

Her day will come. I hummed The Circle of Life at her.

Deck the Death Star with Boughs of Holly

My secret life – well, my second secret life, if you count this blogging one – involves singing in a large symphonic choir.

Hmmm. Do you suppose there’s something about this whole Secret Life concept I’m just not getting?

One fine friend tells me that I’m the most indiscreet person he knows. Not so! I tell him. It’s all just fluff and frosting! I never discuss the private layer cake beneath — all those times, for instance, when all the time consumed by choir leaves a bad taste in Husband’s mouth.

Other women take lovers, I tell Husband. It could be worse.

It’s like you have 110 of them who sing, Husband tells me.

When he’s right, he’s right.

I’m in a small Dickens caroling group that’s very busy this time of year, running hither and yon to spread holiday cheer.  Yesterday’s adventure even cheered up Husband:

Storm1
So this happened.

Things start out normally enough – if it’s at all normal to be strolling into a Rocky Mountain Welcome Center early on a November Saturday trussed up in full Victorian regalia surrounded by crowds in cowboy hats and expensive yuppie outerwear and elf boots, with a 10-foot inflatable Santa out in front beside a flamboyant ice sculptor and a carnival cotton candy booth and a “free pony rides” wagon.

A perky volunteer meets us at the door and returns often to play conductor, delighting all the people wedged in the foyer waiting to get at whatever delights lie within the building. Perky Volunteer is dressed in bright neon pink, with a bright neon pink scarf– so you know it is deliberate. Pink? For a Christmas party? Really? She is wearing reindeer antlers with bells, though, which she shakes coyly at key moments during Dashing Thru The Snow.  So you know she got the memo about it being Christmas and all.

Forty-five minutes into our quartet’s two-hour gig, it feels like we’ve been singing carols for endless eons. It takes a lot of fa-la-la-ing to fill up two hours. Fortunately, the crowd keeps moving through and doesn’t notice repetition. We start getting bored, though, and venture from the security of our set performance list into the pieces stuck in the back of our folders – the esoteric carols in weird keys with strange harmonies that usually languish unloved. We find that if you smile and are wearing bonnets and top hats, nobody really notices the singing. We use it as public rehearsal time. Our director likes it when we rehearse.

All is calm, all is bright round yon virgin Christmas carolers (work with me, here). We are right at the “sleep in heavenly peace” part when the first storm trooper marches past. I sort of choke. A second one in full battle dress follows. I glance out of the corner of my eye at the soprano beside me, wondering if anyone else has noticed anything sort of surreal going on.

Her shoulders are shaking. I snort. It’s hard to sing when you’re snorting. The tenor and bass try their damnedest to maintain dignity and continue singing, eyeing us sternly, but then a third Star Wars warrior strolls through – dressed all in black, with breathing hoses and various other high-tech apparatus. I’m not (quite) geeky enough to know that Empire squadron’s name.

Storm2

We four are all but rolling about helplessly on the floor.  Really, there’s a lot of decorum involved with the whole bonnet and top hat thing. You put those on and people expect a certain level of class and deportment. The moment you’re out in public, you’re “on.” You’re not supposed to laugh to the point of possible peeing.

Too much information; sorry.  Perhaps I really am the most indiscreet person I know.

Things calm down. We wipe our eyes and resume our singing duties as the crowd edges past. It isn’t until later, during the Coventry Carol, that the storm troopers pass by again — right during that mournful Herod-baby-smiting bit full of seasonal slaughter. The soprano and I catch each other’s eye and guffaw.

Guffawing is not a typical response to lyrics like, “his men of might, in his own sight, all children young to slay.”

A gentleman who’d been standing near us looks after the troopers and says, “But I feel so much safer now!”

He doesn’t help matters.

The third time the storm troopers make their circuit, we all look straight ahead and think of our dead grandmothers and other very sad things to keep us from collapse. We soldier on pretending that Star Wars is happening in a galaxy far, far away, and refuse to look at each other even peripherally. Whew! We handle it!  It came upon a midnight clear, and the singers kept singing.

That’s when the 8-foot Chick-fil-A Cow shows up.

We caroled 'til the cow came home.
We caroled ’til the cow came home.

Really, there are limits to what you can expect from volunteer carolers, even seasoned ones. The Chick-fil-A Cow is wearing a large sandwich board that interferes with our petticoats. He flails around awkwardly as 8-foot fake cows are wont to do, and causes a ruckus. When storm troopers show up to investigate, we decide we’re done. God bless us, every one.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!
Missy

 

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.

Parts is Parts

The big question remains unanswered. Nobody, as far as I can tell, has even asked it. Am I the only one whose morbid curiosity is piqued? Am I the only one gauche enough to wonder what became of the stolen souvenirs?

sale on partsIt’s Shakespearean, really – the epic stuff of overblown tragedy in the violent days of yore. Thank Christ people are more civilized now. We’ve moved beyond all that dark lusting and evil plotting and vengeful retribution and bloodletting.

In this case there was no blood, since the victim was already dead (natural causes). Embalmed, even – all dressed up with nowhere to go, lying there at the funeral home taking her eternal rest.  Her hair was hacked up, her makeup smeared, and her forehead slashed. Surely it was overkill to slice off her big toe and breasts, even if she was your ex-boyfriend/ex-husband’s (legal status unclear) former girlfriend?

Don’t believe me? You can google on this! Type in “Shaynna Sims/Smith” or maybe “jealous psycho steals shoes of corpse she’d just mutilated.” Just beware the tags your computer will add to your online profile (necrophilia, dismemberment – like me, you’ll get on some really interesting advertising lists. At least you’ll be in good company).

The news tells us that Shaynna was arrested later that day, still carrying a box cutter and switchblade linked to the crime. There is no mention anywhere of either the toe or the boobies.

Parts is Parts (find it on YouTube, you youngsters)

Enquiring minds want to know!

And why the poor toe? Breasts you can see, so to speak, in a case of romantic rivalry. Or take the hand that once caressed what was yours. Take the tongue that lied. Take the ear that was whispered into. But the toe? Toes tend to be fairly innocuous. And why just one? For the sake of symmetry, wouldn’t you want both?

VENGEANCE IS MINE, saith the Lord. I’ve always had a secret irrational fear of those words (surely intoned in a booming Charlton Heston voice), and am happy to let the jealous god handle matters of retribution. It’d sure be nice to see justice meted out as I see fit, though, and sooner rather than later.

All I see now are bastards and cream rising to the top (one of my father’s better aphorisms). Still, I’m too squeamish to take things into my own hands. The most vengeful thing I ever did was burn the original birth certificate of an ex-boyfriend.  I found it in my papers months after he’d moved back east, and ceremoniously consigned it to flames of woe out in the barbeque pit. In memory, I then roasted a wiener on a stick over the embers – but memory is a whimsical and unreliable thing.

Ex-Boyfriend deserved that harsh treatment. Yeah, I’m the one who cancelled the wedding and stayed in Colorado. But he should have been grateful. I spared him a lifetime of misery and a messy Missy divorce. Instead, he robbed me of my typewriter – an arrest-me-red IBM Selectric he’d given me when first we took up housekeeping. That typewriter was the most perfect vote of confidence ever cast for me! Ex-Boyfriend could ill afford it (top of the line, at the time) and he didn’t get the whole “I want to write” thing, but he believed in me enough to invest in the best.

To spite me, he swiped it. To rub salt in the wound, he sent me a pawn ticket for it long after the reclamation date had passed. Vengeance was his, but only for a time. I soon had another IBM Selectric — and another boyfriend.

 Revenge is a dish that tastes best when it is  published.
Revenge is a dish that tastes best when . . . published.

Actually, I already had the other boyfriend. But that’s a story for another day.

What then becomes of trophies fueled by the fires of fury? Perhaps Shaynna the Slasher is a student of Greek tragedy, and planned to serve her man his lover on a plate. She strikes me as a woman more into Burger King than Thyestean feasting, though. Did she plan to mail that toe to him? Did she plot to plant those rootless nipples in his bed? Or did she just toss the tits into the trash, breasts among the cigarette butts?

Whatever happened to that sexy red typewriter? Was there a page of perfect prose in it, lost forever? Where is the treasured pearl pendant that vanished along with it, a gift from my parents when I turned 16? Ex-boyfriend probably gave that to his next girlfriend; he was into recycling before it was trendy.

I hope it brought her joy; I doubt that he did.

Thanks for reading! Missy
Thanks for reading!
Missy