Monday, September 30, 2013

Facebook made me inane!

Evidently, I’m in favor of animal abuse. 

You see, I just can’t bring myself to re-post the picture that came up on my Facebook news feed this morning.  It shows an orange ribbon with a banner that reads:

“I’m against animal cruelty.  Share if you are too!”

I’m not going to click the button!  Of course, I’m not going to pinch my cat either.  Or tell the dog he’s ugly.

But you can’t make me share!  There it is.  Deal with it.

It’s stupid anyway.  Who’s NOT against animal cruelty?  It might be more important to identify those people, don’t you think?  Why doesn’t someone create a post that says “Share if you want to kick the dog,” or, “How many ‘likes’ for Michael Vick?”

I will confess to a twinge of guilt for not re-posting.  It’s only a click after all.  What kind of misanthrope am I?  Why won’t I take two seconds to stand with the masses of decent people against meanness to our fuzzy buddies?

A person can only take so much manipulation, that’s why. 

“Share if you wish there were no cancer.”  Well, duh. 

And if I don’t share does that mean I’m OK with cancer?  If I do share will my wishes be joined in the cosmos with the wishes of all the other really nice people and thereby eradicate that foul disease? 

“Keep this going if you miss someone in heaven.”  OK…

And then there’s, “Re-post if you love your kids with all your heart NO MATTER WHAT!”

Why?  Why would I re-post those pink hearts and balloons? 

Wait a minute…Are you saying I don’t love my kid? 

And if I do re-post (which I do not) – who is my intended audience?  Who am I trying to persuade of my motherly love?  That woman who overheard me threatening my son in the candy aisle of Safeway all those years ago? 

Listen Lady:  #1 Mind your own business!  You weren’t there that morning when he ate an entire tub of chocolate cake frosting on the day we were supposed to take cupcakes to his soccer team.  And #2… Oh I don’t know!  Just leave me alone with your eye rolling and your sharing.

I love the kid, all right?! 

The only logical conclusion in the midst of all this schmaltz is that there are a bunch of miserable posters on Facebook and they’re looking for company.  That’s gotta be it. 

Of course, they’re all my friends…

“Thousands of pictures of babies and puppies and I’ll bet only 10% of you will re-post this picture of a brave soldier.”


And the grammar!  Old English teachers cannot be at peace on Facebook:  There are dozens of aphorisms, witticisms and words to the wise – just the kind of sappy stuff I thrive on – but cannot in good conscience like or share because they’re chock full, chock full I tell you, of misspelled words and poor punctuation.  Damn you, Standard English!

But in fairness, if I’m going to wax curmudgeonly on the posts I peruse every day –
if I’m going to be all uppity about the sentiments of others – I should probably complete an objective review of my own shares and posts.  And who better to do it than me?

So here we go.  Here are samples from the timeline of an erudite contributor to the collective conversation:

OK.  Choosing randomly:

Here’s a cartoon of a pig in a hospital room staring in shock at a ham on the bed.  The pig doctor stands by proudly announcing, “He’s cured!”

I love this one:  It’s a photo of a German shepherd trotting happily toward the camera, smiling, wearing sunglasses, and there’s a cat riding on his back!  And the caption says, “You might think you’re cool; but you’re not a cat riding on a dog wearing sunglasses cool!” 

Cute, huh? 

And here’s that “Stealth Kitty” video.  Priceless!

Oh, I love this line drawing of a young woman gazing into the eyes of her Prince.  The caption:  “You had me at your proper use of ‘whom.’”

And this is classic:  “It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.”  Hahahaha! 

Come on!  You loved it!!

Seriously!  Like and share!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sleeping with one eye open!

When do freckles become age spots? 

These innocent points of pigment used to be cute.  Now, they’re just another element in the conspiracy.   

As best as I can determine – and I have studied the phenomenon – freckles convert to “dark spots,” – the current euphemism for what my grandma called “liver spots,” –
Ew! – at roughly the point when a person looks away.  For an instant.   

That fleeting lapse in attention allows spider webs to convert into cob webs and freckles to go bad. 

It’s that pause between perfect teenage skin, with its concomitant arrogance, and old age.   

You know, that blink of the unsuspecting eye when you’re living your life, somewhere in between flagrantly sunning in a bikini in your backyard kiddie pool and frantically slathering sunscreen on your extremities before dashing from awning to awning if you should happen to find yourself outdoors in daylight. 

It’s that moment when a person wakes to find the Louisiana Purchase mapped out on her fanny. 

It’s that fateful flash when you glance at your reflection in the mirror and say, “Holy Lewis and Clark!”  And you vow not to look again tomorrow because it’s a sure bet that Western Expansion is on “the horizon,” if you know what I mean.  

Recently, a dermatologist, responding to my worries over what seemed to me to be an especially aggressive freckle, a freckle that woke in the wee hours of the night and annexed new territory at will, Attila the freckle, the freckle that ate Manhattan…   

I pointed this thing out to my dermatologist you see, with my head turned slightly away.   I thought she would don her welder’s mask and hazardous waste gear and scorch me with her freezing hot laser wand.   

Instead, she brushed her forefinger across it casually and said with a sinister smile, “Oh, no!  These ‘wisdom spots’ are nothing.  We all get them – eventually.” 

OK.  Two components of that dismissal require attention.   

First, let me just say that the startling transformation from a charming splash of speckles like a reverse image of stars in the night sky to a map of Texas on the back of my leg isn’t nothing!     

My heretofore darling flecks of color, my trademarks, my Opies are turning against me I tell you!  They’re organizing!  They’re forming ranks!  That is not nothing.  It’s something. 

And “wisdom spots”?  Puh - lease.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I haven’t seen that much blatant condescension since our son was a teenager. 

And that’s right Sweetie.  That’s right.  We all get them and your eventuality is closer than you think!  You’re looking the other way right now, I’ll bet.  You’re living your life with your flawless skin and your medical degree and your… 

Oh all right.  She made me mad.  When did my innate good humor morph into to cantankerousness?  Why I’m known for my sunny disposition!   

I used to get compliments on my smile until I discovered that all these years I’ve been YELLOWING! 

What’s next?  Enlarged ears?  Unruly nose hairs??!   

Note to self:  Never ask what’s next.  There’s always something next.  We’re all in line in a vast deli whose menu includes cataracts and four-footed walking canes.   

And our numbers are coming up. 

And so what?  What’s a person to do with this new evidence of treachery?  Just add it to the list! 

Check it off the roster of insults advancing in the night:  You go to sleep a young person and wake up with a crow’s foot.  Then it’s a laugh line.  And suddenly you look like some nut who’s been seized with fits of hilarity over a lifetime spent in a padded room. 

Maybe you’re one of those philosophical types who waves it all off as signs of character.  Life’s lessons.  Sagacity.  Indeed. 

But not me!  I’m not going to chuckle and pat Old Age on the back like an eccentric aunt who made a faux pas at the dinner table.   

No.  I’m bleaching my teeth until I look like Bob Barker.  I’m buying a vat of vanishing cream and I’ll sit in it ‘til I’m all pruned up.   


I see how it is.  Coming and going.  Chinese finger trap.   

I feel so much better now.  Thank you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pilates ~ Caveat Emptor!

My pants came down in my Pilates class this morning. 

The Pilates people don’t tell you about that.  They don’t tell you about those waffle-y rubber floor mats and their gripping power. 

No!  It’s all about your core and your health and feeling so much better.  Oh Pilates!  Pilates!  You’ll be so glad you went to Pilates! 

Well, let me tell you I did NOT feel all that much better with my drawers hanging out!  It could have been a real disaster.  Face it.  It could have been a lunar phenomenon. 

There I was like a teenager doing the prison walk – britches sagging and bloomers, well, blooming! 

Thank goodness I always set myself up like a poker player at the Long Branch Saloon – near the exit with my back to the wall and a clear view of everything and everyone around me. 

I’m no fool you know.  Except maybe when it comes to trusting “fitness experts” who clearly have their own agendas no matter what they say to you with their smiling teeth and their clipboards and their grippy mats. 

I should have known better.   

They’re all skinny for one thing.  There’s always an undernourished one up at the front of the class, sweat free, calling all this “fun.”   

Where are all the normal people at the gym?  Oh, here they are, rolling around on the floor with me like so many sea mammals on the beach at Ano Nuevo, snorting and making sand angels.   

There had better not be any cameras in this joint! 

The trainers are young, too.  I hate that.  Why aren’t the old people running the gym?  We’re the ones with the money!  Oh never mind.  I already know.  We’re not running the gym because we’re on the floor with our feet in the air. 

And who is this Pilates guy anyway?  Sounds like a foreigner.  What kind of name is “Pilates”?  Has to be Greek.  I dated a Greek guy once.  Oily.  Must have been all those olives.   

OK.  Wait a minute.  Checking the web.  Here he is:  Joseph Pilates and his theory of fitness.  Whooptifrickin’do!  

Greek!  I knew it!   

“Pilates was a sickly child suffering from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever… He dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength…  By the age of 14, he was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts.”   

Well that’s just plain creepy.  But OK.  He worked hard. 

Pilates came to believe that the "modern" life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of poor health.  And that was the early 20th century “modern”!   

I don’t know, but I’m thinking they were a wee bit more active back then than we are today.  They walked with their eyes on the horizon for one thing.  That keeps you going at a respectable clip.   

No need to slow down to avoid mis-texting while crossing the parking lot for a scone and a latte. 

Get this:  Pilates started out as a gymnast, diver, and bodybuilder.  But ultimately he earned his living as a professional boxer, circus-performer, and self-defense trainer at Scotland Yard. 

I’ll bet you skimmed right over that one critical detail just like I did the first time through:  Joseph Pilates was a circus performer?  I’m following a fitness routine devised by a CIRCUS PERFORMER?!!   

Why not just call it the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey method of embarrassing yourself and amusing others?  A little truth in advertising, please! 

It all makes sense though, all this stiff-legged toe-pointing, swimming on the ground.  Just put me in a tutu, stand me upright on a trapeze and voila! I’m a Flying Walenda! 

Old Joe’s probably spinning in his grave at the specter of “modern life” in the early 21st century.  Of course he’d be spinning hands free, toes rotated outward, using only his lower abdominals, just like we do in class. 

That’s right.  Once you get really good at it, you never touch the ground.  You breathe deeply, pull those abs up behind your ribs and just drift upwards.  That’s right.  Float.  Now hold it!  Hold it! 

We earthbound beginners however, must struggle against gravity and the Velcro-like connection between polyester workout pants and waffled rubber mats.   

I think I’ll invest in some suspenders. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Everyone needs a walk-up song

My life would be better if I had a walk-up song – something to play me onstage for the start of the day.  An energizer.  That’s what I need. 

Baseball players have walk-up songs – music that’s played – eight bars anyway – as they make the trip from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, weapon in hand.   

That’s what I’m talking about; I need a chorus when I crack my eyes open in the AM – a few “Hallelujahs!” to bring me up to task. 

Baseball players’ theme songs flood the airwaves, throbbing in the ears of the thousands who’ve come to witness the impending duel.  At the Plath household, it’s just me, Mr. Plath, the dog and the cats, but each day’s challenges can be daunting in a relative way. 

So we aren’t talking about ditties here.  We’re talking about anthems to inspire all kinds players, get us focused and put the fear of our mighty bats into the psyches of the opposing pitchers. 

That’s what I want – “Eye of the Tiger,” “Can’t Touch This,” or maybe that catchy C. Lo Green number where he speaks directly to his rival in love.  You know the one, bold, direct, unquotable in a family-oriented periodical. 

OK.  Nobody uses any of those tunes, but you get the idea.  It’s important to have a walk-up song for those crucial, stress-inducing moments when you’re supposed to hit a 94mph fast ball.  Or plan dinner. 

A walk-up song is a brand.  It carries a cache.  It identifies the player, regardless of the playing field, as a force with which to be reckoned.  (Note the no-nonsense grammar.) 

Once his walk-up song starts to play, a batter’s swagger kicks in.  It conveys to his teammates and the world: “No worries.  I’ve got this.” 

I could use a song like that. 

Because right now, I only get out of bed in the morning when the cats make me.   

Like baseball players – the cats have their routines.  They wake up hungry, knowing I control the rations; so they commence their demonstration of will.  And they’re good.  If these cats had a walk-up song, it would be Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” 

I can hear it faintly in their kitty voices:  “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t…!”  They always win.  I get up in the dark and feed them.   

Once a player is in the batter’s box, he has rituals, too.  He pats his bat; kisses the pine tar smeared thereon; taps home plate at the farthest point and the closest.  Some of them sigh, and stretch their backs, then dig their cleats into the trenches, stare at the pitcher and point the bat right at him!   

Pablo Sandoval, SF Giants’ Belushi-like third baseman, skips out toward the pitcher and kicks the bat twice in his direction.  He taps his helmet a couple of taps with the bat head, turns back to home plate and then uses the bat’s handle to trace the name of his daughter in the dirt before facing the pitcher.  Who’s in control now?!   

And the Panda wallops balls inside, outside, down and up. 

I’m not sure what Pablo’s walk-up song is …”Anything Goes”? 

The concept’s a good one.  We have our routine.  All that’s missing is the music. 

I need my own theme song as a coupe de gras. 

Let’s see…The President has the best walk-up song.  So that’s taken.

The theme from X-Files or Alfred Hitchcock would be fun, but what tone would it set for the day?  I cultivate quirky, but one of those two might propel me into, well, the Twilight Zone. 

When I was working in the public schools, I found myself humming the theme from Rawhide under my breath – “don’t try to understand ‘em; just rope and throw and brand ‘em…!”  But I don’t think that applies to my more gentile retired life.  Still, I’m not quite ready for whistling away my days with an AndyGriffith walk-up. 

I’m looking for a track suitable for a game changer.  I have big plans.  I’m making waves.   

Hmm…It needs to reflect my approach to life:  fun-loving and formidable.  Cagey, light on my feet.  I’m thinking motivator.  Confidence builder…Here it comes….I can hear it! 

Mission Impossible!   

Double entendre notwithstanding.