Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things I Never Want to Hear Again

I'm not writing anything serious today. It's too sunny, my house is filled with peonies, and after planting flowers I am freshly showered. So I'm as close to happy as I can be.

Sure, I know there are lots of serious things I never want to hear or hear about again -- violence, hunger, oil spills. Not going there.

But I'm going here:

Things I never want to hear again.
  1. The sound of my dog vomiting.
  2. The sound of my cat vomiting.
  3. The sound of a spoiled rotten kid whining.
  4. "I just loooooove WalMart!"
  5. Gas-powered lawn tools operated by a sweaty, shirtless dickhead while I'm planting flowers.
  6. The name Kardashian
  7. Rap music. Yeah, I know I'm not cool. I'm just tired of this shit dumbing down society.
  8. Extreme flatulence in a McDonald's restroom.
  9. Chicks snapping their gum while standing next to me, or anywhere for that matter.
  10. The sound of my garbage disposal tearing up another spoon.

What about the rest of you guys? What sounds annoy you to no end?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Inspector #13

Yesterday morning, as I was donning a new shirt, I happened to notice a bitty label on the inside of the shirt. It had already been washed of course. I’m notorious for not peeling off ALL of the little sticky labels and then having them permanently adhered to the article of clothing.

Inspector 13 had the job of checking out my shirt. I’ve been wondering all day if inspector 13 has any issues with being #13. Does inspector #13 feel cursed? Do black cats cross his or her path all day long? Are ladders placed along #13’s path? Did #13 break a mirror in the last several years?

In reading the label in the back of the shirt later in the day, I attempted to find out more about inspector #13. The shirt was made in Guatemala. Was the shirt inspected in Guatemala or was it shipped off to another country to be inspected? I’m going to assume that the cotton was grown in Guatemala. I could be wrong. Do citizens of Guatemala fear the number 13? Perhaps there it is a lucky number. Is inspector 13 proud to be an inspector? Is this a sought-after job, whether in Guatemala or the United States? Is number #13 working under safe conditions? Is there a chance in hell that inspector #13 has health care?

Then, there are the conditions under which the cotton is grown? Were forests destroyed to grow this cotton? How many people and/or animals were displaced to create these fields? What are the field conditions for the workers? Do the workers arrive each day in the field wondering how to improve their lot in life? Do they feel oppressed by their government? Do they feel forgotten by the government? Do BMWs drive by them as they walk barefoot home from work? Are these workers resentful of inspector #13?

What the hell goes into the creation of my $8.00 Target Boyfriend Pocket T-shirt? Yeah, sure, I could go into a boutique and pay $60 for a similar shirt. Any chance of that shirt being made in the United States from materials grown in the United States? Unlikely. If so, any chance of the workers being treated fairly, provided with healthcare and working under safe conditions? Is there any chance that my thinking about such issues will actually do anything to improve working conditions around the world? Should I go naked to protest injustice in the cotton fields and factories of the world?

Jeez, this post got away from me. I was just giving a little thought to inspector #13. Guess there’s no such thing as a little thought.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mean Teachers


My daughter’s 2nd grade teacher recently left on maternity leave. I’m not sure the substitute teacher is a big hit with her class. I went to school to volunteer in class the other day, and I’m not sure the substitute was a big hit with me either. Each morning, the class gets together on the rug for their morning meeting. They shake one anothers hand and wish each other a happy Tuesday or fun Wednesday or something similar. On the day I visited, the teacher cancelled the happy rug time to berate the children for leaving the classroom in a “mess” the day before. Her tone was not to encourage to class to do a better job, but to humiliate them for their earlier actions. Or so it seemed to me.

At dinner that evening, my daughter asked the hubby and me if we ever had mean teachers. We explained that in the olden days, teachers were pretty much allowed to be mean. My third grade teacher kept a hand-shaped paddle next to her desk and used it when the need arose. I don’t recall any teachers I can call mentors, but I really don’t remember any that ruined my life either. Except one. And I can’t really recall who it was. The memory is just an inky cloud with a whispery voice. And the memory of that voice and what it made me do gives me the shivers.

I believe I was in third grade. The class was learning how to write in cursive. I guess I just didn’t see the point. Why did we have to learn a new way of writing? We already knew how to print, and most of us could have used a good deal more practice with that before learning cursive. I never really mastered either. Could this be the fault of the black cloud with the whispery voice? I’m going to venture a “yes.”

The echoing vault of my memory tells me that this must have been a special class in another room, as the normal beehive-haired, paddle-toting teacher was not a part of this. Nope. It was the snake-voiced witch who cruelly maneuvered our hands through the strokes and loops of cursiveness. I just didn’t get it. My writing was messy and I didn’t care. The witch did. She would float up behind me, and with her snake tongue she would tell me of her disappointment. Then, briefly, the clouds parted and the students were told it was time for art or recess or some classroom enjoyment. But I was to be excluded from this break. Instead she brought me a set of burlap covered boards. Each was printed with a large cursive letter. I was told to repeatedly trace these letters with my index finger. How in the hell was this supposed to help, I wondered (silently to myself). Now, if anyone wants to know how I felt tracing my finger over this rough surface, just go and scrape your fingernails on a chalkboard. I protested that I couldn’t stand the feel of those boards against my fingers. I got no sympathy. Just a disembodied snake voice sharing its disgust with me. Not only was I cursed with bad handwriting, I was a whiner too.

I don’t recall any improvement in my cursive handwriting. I do recall a distinct lowering in my respect of authority. Would my life had been greatly improved with proper handwriting skills? Probably so. But by how much? We’ll never know. And now I can type instead. If I could look up the address for that despicable, snake-tongued, black cloud witch, I’d send her a note letting her know how I still feel about her.

Might have to send it c/o Satan.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What are you going to be when you grow up?

“What are you going to be when you grow up?”

If only I had a dollar for each time I was asked that. And another dollar for every time nurse or teacher was suggested. Those were the only options I remember hearing. No one ever suggested astronaut, scientist, doctor, or airline pilot. Never. Nurse or teacher. Pick one kid. Stick with it.

Actually, no one ever suggested “mommy.” I guess those folks thought they were being forward-thinking by suggesting I have a career as a nurse or teacher.

Let me get something straight, though. There is nothing wrong with being a nurse or a teacher. These are some of the most worthwhile jobs out there. Crucial jobs at that. Where would we be without nurses or teachers? Sick and stupid. But, if you were lacking a penis, well, your options were pretty slim. Or so I thought.

I did not become a nurse or a teacher. I’m guessing that this might be the reason I feel that I have never grown up. I didn’t pick one of the two choices I was told I could be when I grew up. Those two jobs were not for me. So how could I possibly grow up if I didn’t pick one.

By not making a choice, I pretty much became nothing. And here I am. NOT all grown up. I still think the word booger is funny. I like cartoons (especially Charlie and Lola). I have a collection of children’s books (that I need to add to). I find a box of fresh crayons exhilarating. I hate peas and lima beans. And if I could find the same kind of paste I used in kindergarten, I would eat it.

Would I have become an artist if someone would have suggested that option when I was a child? I could have received an art degree. Then I could spout all sorts of meaningful words about how the world is reflected in my art instead of just kicking at the ground when talking to someone about my artwork.

Why have I spent 46 years defining my life with some limited options given to me by a few fools back in the 1960s?

If I could get into a time machine and go back to my childhood, with the (limited) knowledge I have now, how would I react to that damn question? Was I sarcastic back then? Could I have given someone a smartass answer and a withering look? I can do both of those now.

When I grow up, I want to be sarcastic and give withering looks.

Look! I’ve grown up!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The New Guns are Here! The New Guns are Here!

Every other Friday, I usually get myself a chocolate milkshake for lunch and go and loiter at Barnes and Noble. I would loiter at other bookstores, but there aren't any. Sigh.

So, I'm rummaging through home, art, and craft magazines when I notice a young teenage boy off to my left leafing through a magazine. His dad is looking at a fishing magazine. I'm assuming son was looking at a gun magazine, because he says, somewhat excitedly, "Hey! Dad! There's a new gun out!."

This is one of those things that I just don't think about often. Actually, not at all. I never wonder what guns will be out this season. If the summer guns will be lighter than the winter guns. If the newest guns will come in an extra long. But the boy's statement got me to thinking.

Why do there need to be new guns? What's wrong with the old guns? Is the kid letting us all know that last season's gun just won't do? Will he be embarrassed to go hunting or mass-murdering with an out-of-style weapon?

Is there an advantage to purchasing this new gun? Was there an ad in that magazine touting the new gun's advantages?
  • New! Shoot more with just one pull of the trigger!
  • This ain't your grandpa's little girly weapon!
  • Automatically fires at dark-skinned men!
  • Don't just be bitter and attend church . . .take your new friend with you!
  • Angry at your boss? Have a dislike for school children? Local prostitutes laughing at you behind your back? You'll be glad to have this in your holster then!
Just knowing that there are new models (is that what they call 'em) of guns coming out all the time makes me feel a little bit queasy. Who the hell is reading that magazine and making plans for the future? Who's going to read that ad/article and think that's just what they need for their next shooting project.

I'll just stick to my arts and crafts magazines. I just hope there's no shoot-out the next time I need to go buy thread or something.

My thoughts and sympathies are already with the next victim. Unless they were in the midst of doing something really, really bad.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Middle-Aged Blogger's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep. I give my brain my spontaneous blogging idea to keep. If it forgets before I wake, tomorrow night I will give it another blogging idea to take.

Yes, I've had some really good ideas lately. Sorry I'll never be able to share them with you. Or with myself.

Getting old kind of sucks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saturday, no camera

I have such respect for all of those bloggers who entertain me with hysterical photos. Sorry, I can't do the same for you. In the future, I really must remember to take my camera with me wherever I go. Unfortunately, I do not have photos of:

Old man contemplating lawnmower. And contemplating. And contemplating. Could have been pretending to be a lawn ornament. Actually, a video would have been better. A time-lapse video may have shown some movement over time.

Portly boy wearing “You Can’t Afford Me” T-shirt. Nothing else need be said.

The "Talk to Yourself" chair in library. I swear I'm going to sit in it next time I visit and see what happens to me. So far, it's worked for three different people.

An escapee from a monastery (I’m assuming it was a costume). He was near my house as I was driving away. Did he ring my doorbell? Is he a replacement for the Jehovah's Witnesses? I think I scared them away by doing my summer housework in small clothing and answering the door all sweaty and panting.

Now, I'm heading out the door to my retail mecca. Target. I will try to remember my camera.