Friday, July 18, 2014

Styrofoam worms on a blustery day

Once, a friend of mine had to chase her wig through Safeway parking lot.

This was a long time ago, when I lived in Tornado Alley; AKA Oklahoma. 

My friend, I’ll call her Dorothy, was what my Grandma would call a “character.”  Her life had angles and quirks I hadn’t encountered before I met her at Tulsa County Courthouse where we worked.

Once, she was late for work, really late.  Unheard of for her.  She called at about the 45 minute mark to say she’d been to work on time that morning, but upon turning into the parking garage, discovered she had forgotten to put in her bridge, a piece of dental work that contained only two teeth, from alternating positions, right in front of her mouth. 

We had no cell phones, so, from her landline at home she called to say that she refused to come into the Courthouse without those teeth in place “looking like a Halloween pumpkin.”  It made perfect sense to her to turn around and drive all the way back home and call from there.  She retrieved her teeth and came to work about brunch time, smiling.

And she wore this wig that she didn’t really need.  She had perfectly good hair.  But, in her estimation, said hair would behave badly on occasion.  When it did, she punished it by collecting it into a net and stuffing it under the wig. 

Or maybe she just slept through her alarm and didn’t have time for her regulation coif.

In any case, the wig looked OK, for a wig.  Close to her natural brown hair color and shoulder length.  Shiny.  Pleasantly styled into a “flip.”  Bangs.

But, to a trained observer, it could be spotted for the pretender it was – no scalp in the part line.  Always a dead giveaway.

Once I saw Dorothy in the process of forcing her glasses back under the thing after she’d taken them off to swab away the residue of Midwestern humidity; so I thought it fit pretty well.  Which begs the question:  I know we’re in Oklahoma, but how big a wind was that?

There was no tornado on the occasion of Dorothy’s escapade.  Just a blustery, gusting wind that must have caught her in an upburst – the kind of upward explosion that will blast your kilt right up over your head. 

It came sweeping down the plain.  (Sorry.)

This tempest surged right through the Safeway parking lot just as she was loading groceries into her car after a hard day’s work.  The gust yanked her hairpiece off, flung it over her car and threw it across the path of oncoming shoppers and their carts.

She said the wig surged ahead of her and paused like a terrier with its toy, teasing her into believing she’d caught up.  Then it lurched again and bumped along the ground, bouncing and rolling like a macabre, shaggy tumbleweed.  It took her all the way from Safeway past Baskin Robbins and beyond.

As she chased it, she formed a plan to put an end to Nature’s little game of keep away.  At last, when she got in range, she lunged forward and stomped on it, flattening it like the bag of hair it was. 

She snatched it up and stood tall with as much dignity as she could muster for one victorious moment.  Then, wig in hand, natural hair plastered to her head and contained under its net, she stalked back to her car and drove her groceries home.

I was missing ole Dorothy this morning after I received an object shipped to me in a mid-sized box stuffed with Styrofoam worms.  That box was housed in a second, inappropriately large box, a huge box, a box for the ages, also stuffed with Styrofoam worms. 

Let me just say that those worms wanted out of those boxes.  And fortuitously, when gust of wind came up in the alley by the recycling bin, they bolted and ran ahead of me like so many minions.

They skittered gleefully toward my neighbor’s fence, laughing all the way, with me behind them in a life-sized game of Whack-a-mole, frantically stomping and collecting them one-by-one, Dorothy-style.

If she could see me now!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A fool and her internet

I’m a sunflower.

Yep.  Oh yeah.  I am a regular ray of sunshine.  Facebook told me so.

The social media giant’s newest package of postponement is delivered as, “What kind of ________are you?  Take this simple quiz and find out!”

I found my floral identity this morning shortly after reading the DailyGood’s article entitled, “How to eliminate procrastination.”

By the by, according to another Facebook/Quiz Social questionnaire, the best tattoo for me is …wait for it … a human skull!  Yes, that’s right.  This little sunflower has a dark side.

Quiz Social zeroed in on my shadow personality and matched me perfectly with that symbolic representation of my cranky alter ego. 

The skull is suited to me, says Quiz Social, because it’s “bold and powerful.”  That is so me! 

I am the bold and powerful sunflower who declares her “opposition to the natural order of things and her unwillingness to be limited by anyone's rules or expectations.”

This nonconforming little blossom cannot be repressed. 

And this:  In the yin and yang yoyo of things, if I were a super hero, I’d be none other than Superman, the Goodie Two Shoes of the super hero set! 

And here’s how they reconcile the skull tattoo with the embodiment of truth, light and the American Way:  “Sometimes you are tempted to use your powers for evil, but lucky for the rest of us, you have a heart of gold.”  It’s me!  So very me!

In a past life I would have been an Egyptian queen, states the Department of the Obvious.

In the next life?  After I answered their quick quiz, the pronouncement came down – I’ll be reincarnated as … a single grain of sand?! 

Not sure I’m looking forward to that in quite the same way I was anticipating my return as a mountain lion or even redwood tree, or Empress of the Universe.
But Quiz Social trots out none other than William Blake to make life on the beach with the masses seem Zen: "To see a world in a grain of sand ...  Hold infinity in the palm of your hand…"  OK…

Sensing the lack of enthusiastic response to such a gritty future, the quizmaster extrapolates, “There is nothing that separates us from the sand.  Nothing separates the sand from God.  We are all here.  We are all everywhere.  We are all forever.”

Oh brother!

I’m beginning to see the wisdom of Fred Stutzman, a 2009 graduate student at the University of North Carolina.  DailyGood reports that Fred had trouble concentrating long enough to finish the work for his thesis.  He blamed access to the internet.

Stutzman, like other people I’ve heard of, found himself distracted by the endless supply of sappy pastimes and useless but fascinating crapola at his fingertips — even when she, er, he really wanted to get something done.

Like any addict, he told himself he could disconnect any time he wanted to.  But it wasn’t that simple.  He tried aversion therapy and the ‘step down’ method.  He went cold turkey.  He wore the patch.

OK.  He didn’t do any of those things, but it was hard for him to look away from the screen.  No.  It was impossible. 

So he did what any red-blooded, skull-tattooed sunflower would do:  He went home and created a software program that would solve his problem.  Oh, I should have mentioned – Stutzman was a computer programmer studying Information Science.  

His creation, called “Freedom,” is simple.  All you have to do is turn the application on – after you pay your $10 – tell it how long you want to focus on something, anything other than the electronic pabulum you’re Jones-ing for and it blocks your computer from going online for that amount of time.  

If you have to have a fix before your time is up, you have to turn your computer completely off and reboot, which, in theory, is so much trouble you’d actually rather accomplish something you’re not ashamed of or embarrassed by instead.

I’m thinking of getting it.  Right after this last quiz:  What Tarot card are you?

Seven quick questions and…The Fool!?  I beg your pardon!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The devil and Hobby Lobby

Effective this week, a for-profit corporation has line item veto rights to federal law.  Isn’t that convenient?

Because it is owned and operated by a Christian family, Hobby Lobby can now choose not to comply with any portion of the law that offends their sensibilities.   

Thank you, United States Supreme Court. 

Reminds me of an axiom circulating online this week:  Things happen for a reason; and sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions.

Ahhh!  That helped a little.    

My goal each week is to give you a laugh Dear Reader, but this week’s Supreme Court decision just sticks in the marrow of my funny bone.  It felt good to vent.  Glad to have it out of my system, for the moment, at least. 

But as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declared in her dissenting opinion, “The fight isn’t over.”

I’m with “Notorious RBG” as Justice Ginsburg is now being affectionately called.  I wanna dig out a tie-dyed t-shirt, paint my face and carry a torch.  I wanna sit in.  “Hell no!  We won’t go!”

OK, wrong slogan. 

Breathe.  Breathe.

What the hell are they thinking??  Don’t they have a big picture point of view?!  Of all people the Supreme Court should be able to process the implications of their decisions.  Can’t they see that allowing Hobby Lobby et al to cherry-pick the parts of healthcare LAW they want to abide by sets a bit of a precedence!  Hello?!

You know, I don’t like it that as part of that same “mandated” healthcare package my tax monies pay for Viagra. 

This is a deeply held belief of mine – a when-it’s-over-it’s-over philosophy that I believe men should accept.  I’ve lived my life accordingly mostly because that issue doesn’t affect me. 

So it just naturally follows that I would not fund distribution of such a drug.  Therefore, next April, I’m going to draw a red line on my Form 1040 and reduce my tax burden accordingly.  That’ll work.   

All right, Carolyn.  Mellow!  Mellow! 

You know what?  My blood pressure is up and I want to eat a bag of fun-sized Snickers. 

But I can let this go. 

Let’s talk about something else.  Something completely different...

I woke up again this morning with parrot tongue.  This is a bad sign because I’m being told that someone in this house is snoring.

In case you’re unaware, parrot tongue is a well-documented syndrome whereby an otherwise cultured and genteel person tenderly rests her head on her memory foam pillow and falls asleep instantly, drawing her life’s breath orally.

That is to say she closes her eyes and steps off the precipice into the darkest depths of guilt-free slumber post haste.  Sheep uncounted.  Lips parted just so.

When she wakes, some seven stress-free hours later, her tongue is the tongue of a Mojave Gila monster; her house pets cower in the bedroom corners and her husband hovers gleefully with his iPhone recording ready to play. 

“Ha ha ha!” says he.  “Listen to yourself, Honey!  You could peel the paint off the walls!  Tee hee hee!  Wait until our son hears this!” 

First of all let me just say that, squirrel mouth aside, I do not accept that the racket on that recording came from me.  My assertion is that my husband accumulated those sound effects over time in revenge for that innocent prank I played long ago when I dipped his hand in warm water.

No – those sounds came from somewhere else.  Something else.  Just recently, for example, he had to pry bent nails from warped boards on our deck.  He could easily have had his recorder in his tool belt.

Our neighbor’s dog snarls at the slightest provocation.  We visited Yellowstone when the buffalo were feeling frisky.  Our house is haunted!

I don’t know!  It wasn’t me, I tell ya!

All right.  Let’s say Spouse A is possessed by the devil.  She cannot control the proclamations of the Dark One!  He has a lot on his mind and the volume set on 10.

Spouse B may be laughing but he’s looking frazzled.

This can’t be healthy physically, mentally or matrimonially!  Medical science surely has some relief.

No worries.  This one’s tailor made for Christian healthcare.