MUST BE THE SEASON OF THE RICH

Learning something new every day is a delight to the mind. I have recently discovered that petrichor is the smell after a rain. The scientific word for locking lips is called osculation. There’s no Betty Rubble in Flintstone vitamins. And there is actually a magazine called SNOB. Russian magnate Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of a big chunk of New York real estate and major basketball team, published this persona of wealth. I guess he thought the world needed one more thing that adhered to the philosophy “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” He was once arrested on suspicion of arranging prostitutes for French Christmas party guests by paying all expenses to have floozies flown to France. If this inclination to see the super rich exhibit their opulence while the majority live in dilapidated dwellings is geared to entice us, there’s nothing like subscribing to insanity.

I don’t suffer from the sort of elite envy that some would have, wanting to own the Superleggera Gallardo Lamborghini amped with mega carbon fiber. For most of us who cannot afford such luxury, we can view one at the Paris Motor Show. But who can fly to France on a whim? I can. Right after I knock off a Brinks truck. And forget that Rolex. I’d go for wrist wear worn by Andy Garcia if he was still ambassador of Baume & Mercier. If I’m going to watch time slip by me, I would certainly buy the strapping device displayed by the strapping man if the credit department would just wait for me to break the ice with Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud. I’d ask him about borrowing a few bucks. A loan is just a fancy term for never paying it back. Then again he may say, “Sorry, all I have is thousand dollar bills!” Then I might say, “Chump change I’m sure, but that’ll do.” Then he may say that he’ll savagely stalk me if I don’t repay him.

I wasn’t born a billion dollar baby. But I’ve lived with some of the finer things in life like Grey Poupon and Lassie reruns. I can afford the Lassie reruns. Sometimes I think my life is tough. Yet someone else got up this morning and went to sit in a microbial lab to dissect chicken poop, or is cleaning out sewers in Harlem. According to a professor at Harvard, money really can buy happiness, but we’re probably spending it wrong when the interplay of cash and joy is subject to diminishing returns. So I guess everything I buy at T.J.Maxx needs to be taken back. And quite frankly, that will just make me mess up my mascara. It’s bad enough I already cry when I’m out of Kahlua. Stores have a lot of expectations. They expect me to spend as if I was Iris fricking Fontbona, that Chilean businesswoman whose net worth is seventeen billion.

Poorness is a particular pill that some are forced to swallow. I have yet to sleep in my car. And I’ve grown very fond of having electricity. But sometimes I go to the refrigerator to make myself a mayonnaise sandwich, minus the mayonnaise, and minus the bread. And I’m almost always out of Ramen noodles. We all venture down life’s roads leading to rags or riches. I don’t want to be that girl on a bridge overlooking turbulent water, contemplating something drastic if they shut off the cable and I can’t watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I’d have to see exactly where I’ll stand in the sea of practicality, and practically filing for bankruptcy if I absolutely, positively cannot be without a Dior blazer. Yet I’m not into enjoying lavishness if it includes extracurricular activities as scandals, or such accoutrements as injected lips and chest. I’m also not into collecting ascots.

There are people who use credit cards as a method to their fadness by never letting their cards cool off and live in preposterously large penthouses in Manhattan. And there are people with fixed incomes. There are people who cut up palms from Palm Sunday and light them to make ashes only to bury them in a sacred ritual while praying for the poor, and those who put up every retention wall to spirituality praying that they win the Lotto so they can live like a king. There are people who file for the federal tax return amount and hold onto it snugly. Then there are those who spend carelessly, or are susceptible to phone scam baiters. “For security precautions, please state your address, social security number along with your siblings social security numbers, your vehicle identification and where you keep your keys. We have recently learned that you didn’t show up for jury duty on the tenth of October two thousand and three, so you owe us the fine of $5,000.00. We also heard that the air in homes can pollute the lungs so we suggest you keep all your windows and doors open at night.”

Some people just know how to make money. If loving what I do have is wrong, I don’t want to be right in the middle of my midnight peeing ritual when an intruder walks by to steal my bedroom set.

I can’t shop nearly as much as I’d like to. But if I ever start having chest pains, I would like to make a quick stop at Nordstrom’s on the way to the hospital in case I don’t come out alive. And if I don’t make it out alive, somebody make sure my girls get that cash promised to me by that respectable woman in a suit who showed up at my door saying I could be a winner of a grand sum of money if I’d buy ten magazines. Except I was upset when the list didn’t include SNOB. I wanted to see what property would cost on another planet because I need more privacy against piracy.

THE PURPOSE DRIVEN STRIFE

I never had a son. I wanted one with all three pregnancies. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my daughters. And I love drama as much as I love spider bites.

I learned that boys bring as much excitement to ones life as girls do. I acquired a stadium full of knowledge from my brothers, and a girlfriend who popped out four of them. Really good toilet bowl aim is all about paying attention. Bologna plus heat ducts don’t equal soothing scents. The spin cycle is not a way to find out if amphibians get motion sickness. And a grill is not a satanic ritual area for adolescent henchmen firing up froggie body parts to the gods while preparing the legs for the family’s supper.

I’m relieved I never had to witness chemistry project explosions with Tonto wannabees sending smoke signals from inside the house. My friend had to promise the local fire chief that she would remove them from her frequent caller list. For someone concerned about having the bomb squad show up, you would have thought the father of the swashbucklers she married would have characteristics more like Cliff Huxtable. Not the unibomber. She did question herself about the outcome of getting together with her man on a night of heavy drinking after they cross pollinated.

With raucousness compounding hourly, she was continuously besieging her troops. ”Why did you sucker punch your brother and put laxatives in his soup?” Her son remarked with the usual childlike response of, “I didn’t mean to hit him and make him stay in the bathroom for three hours, but he wouldn’t give me back the ball!” Her exasperation showed when she said, “What’s next? I didn’t mean to shoot up the post office with an Uzi mom, but they didn’t have any Power Ranger stamps!”

I called this same dear friend one day and asked her why it was so quiet in the background for a change, and that I could actually hear her enunciate. She said, “Buzz Lightyear and Sid Vicious are stationed in Gamma Quadrant of Sector 4. In earth words, they are in time out on the old sofa at the end of the driveway waiting for garbage pick-up.” It was that moment when she looked out and told me she didn’t see the boys on the couch anymore. I told her maybe they went looking for their halos. She replied, “Yeah right, and I’m going looking for the wooden spoon!” Then I added, “Boys will be boys.” She ended the conversation with, “My boys will be the boys who will be taken to a juvenile detention center by the time they reach double digits and I’ll be strapping them to the luggage rack first for that delightful ride.”

One friend’s son now grown wanted to be principal one day. The most he got was seeing the principal, every day. I know someone who sent her eleven year old to the nearby store and he spent her money on Jolly Ranchers. Knowing he didn’t have any more money for his mother’s specific need, police swarmed in after he was caught on camera snatching a package of ranch dressing. The cops pepper sprayed him at gunpoint and proceeded to confiscate the item. Piles of people watched him undressing for the dressing. Some thought it was rather harsh treatment for one so timid and shy. But when the police escorted the boy home, they revealed the other things he did that were documented by surveillance. Her hilarious Henry tried putting Milk Duds and a few Mars bars in lay-a-way. Then the young messiah of messiness opened a bottle of apple juice and dribbled it in a path leading to the restrooms. He turned on every battery powered item in the store, and took boxes of Altoids and put them in all the shopper’s carts. He picked up a Mr. Microphone and yelled, “Everyone in the deodorant aisle for a group hug.” He stood under the security camera whispering “I know you’re in there” and shot the first officer with Silly String which prompted the policeman to use the pepper spray. I know his mother wanted tips from Rupert Murdoch that wouldn’t be financial. Ever since the man’s transcendence into meditation, she too was in search of her “inner calm.”

I know girls are just as mischievous as well. But I doubt they are clandestinely curious to climb high voltage towers to find the true meaning of deep fried. I’ve been known to do a few boyish things in my youth, like peeing in the bushes when I couldn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time. Or the time I showed up to the dinner table with self trimmed bangs and sharpie marker tattoos. Then came the birth of Blacklight paint and I smeared my whole body to glow in the dark. I was all lit up like a Broadway marquee and frightened my mother as I walked around late that night. There was that one more thing to annoy her when she found total evidence of Bonnie Bell’s berry heavenly lip smacker on the mouth of the milk carton. She cured me of that by taking an empty jug and refilling it with Milk of Magnesia. Some things we just learn the hard way.

A.A.Milne once said, “Weeds are flowers once you get to know them.” I think he may have been referring to boys.
(Posts can be seen every weekend in The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)

TICK TOCK

Recognize any of these? “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future” (Steve Miller band). “Time is the corrector when our judgements err” (Lord Byron). “Gone are the Days of our Lives” (soap opera). “Methinks I hate to see wanton hours misspent, so keep refilling my margarita till my ascent” (okay, I made that one up).

Nothing is going to stop the clock. Unless I decide to play water polo and my watch gets submerged and the wetness affects the whole analog system. When we’re young, we wanna be older. When you’re my age, you wanna be younger on a beach in Barcelona with a liposucted body. In my twenties, I was one microscopic wrinkle away from a facelift. Now an elephant and I could probably win a skin lookalike contest. Plus, both of our locomotion is slow. And if I had a nickel for every time I forgot something or got distracted, well, I’m very fond of baby quails.

I know I don’t qualify anymore to be standing in the red light district of anywhere, unless it encompasses some blue and white lights besides. I did ascend halfway to the sky last weekend for some mountain high pleasure seeking and rocket science (fireworks) in the nosebleed section of the San Gabriel hills. My friends were timing my arrival, but it probably would have been a good idea to supply my tank with some more petrol before climbing the big butte. And since everything happens in three hundreds, I almost ran out of fuel, I almost ran out of Good & Plenty’s, and I almost ran off a cliff. The folks I visited said that I oughta be real careful around those parts. A woodsman could show up, look down the deep gorge and say, “Yep, kinda looks like her” then walk away and forget about me. Mountain lions never forget about anyone. And since I’m not Harry Houdini, being stuck in a canyon inside my car with common sounds of the chaparral doesn’t strike me as a fun way to spend my time. I had this choreographed illusion of being in thistle, thick and knee high on the Fourth of July. But timing is everything. I reached my destination punctually to swig Tequini’s, and jumped at the chance to tell my close call story to the chipmunks that were chasing the squirrels. It got me wondering. Rodents never have to worry about time restraints, getting gas, and youth bandits. So why oh why should I?

Speaking of speed demons and prior to mountaineering the mesa, I ran into scores of people that had every patriotic bone in their bodies rushing towards Independence Day festivities. As most Americans poised themselves for patriot games, I’m sure there were umpteen eager mavericks ready to blast themselves into space along with trying to blacken their friends and relatives with homemade rocket displays of their own. I doubt that our founding fathers would appreciate any of their sons, the drunken stooges who are ten percent studs and ninety percent muffins, space lifting their lawns to another planet while practicing pyrotechnology. I myself am no stranger to lighting firecracker candles and singing “God Bless America.” This year’s rendition would have brought Irving Berlin to his knees. I was pretty sure that Friday after the 4th I would be dodging cars and people once again when retailers started their Christmas merchandising.

With time being short and all, everyone is in a hurry. I was in Bed Bath & Beyond one day where everybody seemed to be racing for the registers as if it were a competition who would reach the parking lot first. Which wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except for the fact that the fire alarm went off creating more of a frenzy and I felt like a looter running out without paying for my linens. Not to worry though. I made sure I went back in and paid for my mistake about eleven days afterwards because I had to caulk the bathtub. Then I had engine trouble. Then I had a bad hair day. Then the clock batteries died and I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I did want to make sure I was unblemished in the eyes of Uncle Sam, and that he got his ninety eight cents worth of my tax money. Sammy and I have been through a lot together through the years. But I must say, he was more the pursuer of our relationship. And like clockwork, he shows up on time every year.

I analyzed this position of hurriedness. Not all people want to meet their maker by way of a crowded pedestrian stampede exiting a burning building. I wanted to call the stores’ corporate headquarters to propose another plan of action in case of future alarms. Wouldn’t it be more fire friendly to have someone around who could play down a feverish situation? Something I surely didn’t exercise while raising children, but nonetheless…
They could have musical instruments on hand for customers, and direct people out the doors dancing while singing. With a few lessons, I could be the boogie woogie bugle girl of company B. And they should employ a comedian. Unless of course flammable items ignite like wildfire blocking the only way out, in which case there would be no time to muse.

I know I’m preaching to the rest of the Tequila Tabernacle choir. No one has time to
shave let alone study horology, or waste precious moments on hold. I’ve done so much of it my day, and just recently realized that if you lay the phone down next to a speaker and blast Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, bill collectors and telemarketers aren’t as likely to call back.

No one has ever had to rob me of my breath to have it taken away. But the time will come when I’ll be forced to hand it over freely. Meanwhile, tick tock.

MAMA SAID THERE’LL BE MEN LIKE THIS

My first introduction to the male anatomy was not at home around a father and six brothers. We were vacationing at my Godfathers cottage on the Canadian seaboard one summer weekend when I caught a glimpse of him in the wee hours walking through the hall with his robe open and flesh like thingy protruding. Everyone else was still snoozing. I didn’t want to forfeit a rare chance to bond with the man that held me over a baptismal basin when I was a baby and coochie cooed me. But I was very young and impressionable at this circumspection, plus too shy to ask if he was sleepwalking, or if the dog chewed up his bathrobe belt. It was more than I expected in terms of hospitality. Good thing it was warm or I may have worried he’d get frost nipped. He was consumed with the timely task at hand of groping his tenderloins. It was that moment when my assumption of older men was compiled in one word. Icky.

Time went on. I entered the dating scene, learning the male psyche. One guy in high school peaked the beefcake category, until this Don Juan of a date drove me through a car wash. He thought it was comical rolling down the windows on my side of the car. The laughing hyena watched as the sudsy power wash switched to dry, pressure pulling my skin nearly off my body. I kept thinking if this was his way of winning me over, I’d get more joy out of going over Niagra Falls in a barrel, by myself. There are infinitely better ways to humor me. Going to a male model academy doesn’t make anyone handsome any more than buying a Powerball ticket will make someone rich. Mama did tell me that if I wanted some spice in my life, to marry a man who uses tarragon, and could make me laugh. But Dom DeLuise had already been taken. I also made my pitch to Paul Newman, but some women snag these men up faster than those running for an eleven course meal at Costco vendors.

Eventually I married and it faded like steam on a mirror. I didn’t expect total bliss, but I did expect that a life sentence of unity would be somewhat in sync. Someday my new ship will come. I always consider not sailing into very deep water without knowing how my odds would play out during shark season, if you know what I mean. Tom Petty says “Listen to your heart”, and that it’s going to tell me what to do. Well, it didn’t tell me anything when I dated the smothers brothers, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and other men desperately seeking Suzanne, Marsha, Jane, or anyone else carrying chesticles. I guess I could simply stay home and watch my gray hairs progressing. A single male friend said he’s gone out with Cruella and all sixteen personalities of Sybil. So women aren’t exempt to bad dates. I’ve analyzed the laws of attraction. And there are friends with benefits. I figured that if I can’t be with the one I love, then I can love the one I’m with if he has a stash of chocolate and a bonus mileage Plus Explorer card.

I don’t understand why Snow White didn’t just settle for the seven dwarfs, other than possibly not wanting to escort a band of small people, or tolerate Grumpy. As Petty puts it, “I won’t back down.” So I prepped for one afternoon of enamoring after meeting a man who invited me to a Sunday brunch. He was dashing, yet showed a dark side. I began to think I had a date with Darth Vader. I agreed to this champagne portmanteau, assuming I would be free soon afterwards. When the first bottle of bubbly was served, he was bothered by the fact that I wasn’t joining him in what was to become a drunkfest. I’m not fond of the fizzy stuff, and didn’t want alcohol dampering my project management. He told me his brunches usually last all afternoon, and I could see that I might need to ask the facility if they offered long term care. My date proceeded to get snockered and asked for a second bottle. I sat stone cold sober listening to him babble on about ex-wives and girlfriends. His touchy feely hands hardly facilitated a serendipitous union between us. So when a friend just happened to call to set a tentative meeting, my nose grew long in an explanation that a friend was in dire need of my assistance. I know. I’m horrible. But like Geppetto, when you wish upon a breakfast buffet bar, like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through. I excused myself, hightailed it to the lobby and called a cab. The deal of the decade reduced Calvin Klein dress I got to wear, $29.99. The cost for the taxi, $28.50 plus tip. Watching mister red eyes pile kalamata olives on his plate and trying to stack them, pitiful.

I’ve had other pangs of disappointment when a blind date I hoped was the facsimile of Jason Statham bared more resemblance to Tiny Tim as he tiptoed right through the tulips approaching the restaurant. It turned into a romantic comedy when he threw cash down on the table at dinner and mentioned a motel. That didn’t alarm me as much as the pictures of his pet snake. I have however had some very enchanted evenings with guys who can crack me up and dunk me on a dance floor. A man can bring me a whole rose garden, be a lean machine who is great with cuisine, humanitarian, good Samaritan, organ donor and castle owner, and still be Mr. Wrong. But they are certainly wonderful attributes to be adorned with.

Back to those dwarfs. Someday maybe I’ll find Aimful, Cheerful, Masterful, Peaceful, Artful, Blissful, or my real match, Kooky.

(Posts can be seen in The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas every weekend)