BONFIRE OF THE INSANITIES

Wouldn’t it be loverly if we could ignite all our insanities and watch them burn? Except I’ll take crazy over stupidity any day. I’m a humorist, avid weed removal agriculturist, clean bathtub perfectionist, and all round nutty conversationalist. And it does make me crazy when there’s so much seriousness in the world. Not to mention counting continuously sprouting dandelions, dirty tiles, and those experiences that drive away our wits.

My insanities started at a young age when I was a zit acupuncturist. I learned that there could be averse affects in the practice of pimple popping that may lead to scarring and possibly go deeper into the dermis, saturating the very center of my nervous system and damaging my brain. Or at least that’s what my brother told me. I must have heard from my parents a trillion times, “Have you lost your mind?” My brothers also heard it when they squandered toilet paper by decorating the neighborhood. Then again when they tried to fossilize our pet turtle. I’m sure there’s a fine line between insanity and stupidity. Just for kicks, I put my mother’s electric curlers in the gas oven and turned it on to see what would generate. I thought she was going to kick me to kingdom come. I’m sure I was described as an absurdist. She also said I was temperamental. At the time, I wondered if it meant that I was one part temper, and most parts mental.

Some say illusionists are insane. I guess it depends on what they are imagining. Was I crazy when I conceptualized my fetuses being boys before birth? It’s a wonder I carried children to term when I can’t contain a thought for more than two minutes. After bringing my daughters into this screwy world, I taught them to sing. Because they would soon learn that craziness would be crossing their blood-brain barriers. Teaching them to be vocalists eventually backfired on me. They would complain that I was suffocating them. When I could still hear them, I guess I wasn’t piling enough sandbags at the base of their bedroom doors to prevent me from hearing whines.

The ancient Babylonians based zodiac signs on the constellation the sun was in on the day a person was born. And what we do during pregnancy can determine how a child turns out. Like abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, tuna fish, and swordfighting. I knew that if my newborns came out with any indelible imprints, I’d probably have to spring for reconstructive surgery. Never once did I think about seeing an abortionist. But once or twice I thought of being an adoptionist. Astrologically speaking, we can always go to our horoscope of mind readers to access ourselves. Things that happen may have everything to do with the stars being out of alignment. So maybe it wasn’t me. I could have reaped the wrath from many things, like the times my daughters best friends didn’t attend their birthday parties when there were better cake choices at Safeway. I certainly became a joyist; an emotion elicited by falling in love, becoming a mother, divorcing, and raising kids alone.

The sanity of my very early ancestors was also at stake when they were under the extreme pressure of hunting deadly game and meeting with such impediments as the Andrewsarchus, which was the biggest man eating mammal that ever lived. To think modern man would evolve to be happy and harmonious after gazing into the eyes of those dreadful characters. And if the caveman was building a hut in the sun all day, he was not only in danger of dying from an insanely hungry hovering primate, but also heat exhaustion or lack of UV ultra sunblock. That, or go bonkers not having a nail gun. Today, an urban dweller can cross paths with a rattler or wild boar and call for a rationalist. Or at least somebody holding something more reliable than a slingshot. With the population explosion, hopefully a helper would be more readily available. I wouldn’t want to be a feudist or a defeatist. I’m more of a pacifist. Good things come to those who have the right minds to figure out how to conquer them.

Meeting head to head with a monster scavenger would be enough to morph me into a mixologist. Especially when I overanalyze every grimace that gets in between my God given right to walk around freely and the many other dangers out there. There are those situated far above sea level who don’t get near the proper air concentration needed for the lungs, then the brain doesn’t function to full capacity. Which could result in relying on oxygen masks and rifle ownership. When we get jilted from something, every cerebral cortex handles it differently. I worry some will crack under the pressure of banging their heads against the wall several hundred times. We aren’t concerned when the need for pills has to do with counteracting high cholesterol. But if someone needs sedation to offset hearing little voices, some call it insanity. We all know that repetitive stress can trigger reactions. Thus any confusion created in the old noggin cannot override the body’s natural urge to choke someone.

Sometimes I have temporary insanity. But if I ever get beyond a reasonable point of no return, hopefully you won’t see the crazy in my eyes when I’m holding a serrated knife. I’m more about being a diffusionist. If someone rides the batty bus, or tries getting their dinner quicker by screaming through straws in restaurants, or plays out a manic fear of sandpaper in hardware stores, or sits on a park bench holding a light saber professing to be Luke Skywalker, those things we can only get away with when we’re five. Everyone is insane to a certain degree. Even if I’m Glen Close to being a fatal attraction, I would still have a lot of catching up to do with her.

(You can find posts in the weekend editions of THE PARSON’S SUN – Parson’s Kansas)

MANGO MADNESS

The center for disease control says that my newly developed mango rash should be gone in a few long weeks. Not to worry though. It’s not contagious. I never knew there was such a thing as mango rash. I don’t think any of my ancestors ever got the itchy inflammation either, bless their pawpaw pickin’ hearts. Where was I when they taught the class on how not to touch invisible toxic oil in sap lingering on fruit that may result in severe acute dermatitis? It makes me look like I’ve got the plague, and certainly not so cute. Maybe I could get John Travolta to come over and lather me with cortizone cream, since I have Pulp Friction.

I wash my produce. But it’s kind of hard carrying around hot soapy water to make sure I get clean eatables home safely. I was told that washing before storing could promote bacteria growth and speed up spoilage. But then again, I’m reading this stuff from internet sources who supposedly have degrees I presume are valid. They could have gotten one from a Cracker Jack box for all I know. They never mention that being touchy feely with fruit could turn into a rabid blistery redness protruding from my sensitive skin. I need to talk to all those fair trade farmers who supposedly import only the freshest and finest crops. Next time I’ll have a not so favorite person in my life over to peel one for me to eat, or start hanging out in Coconut Grove. At least I’m eating fruits and veggies and not fast food, since I was produce intolerant as a child. Now I’m wild about mango anything when it combines with chutney, covers chicken, and I can savor beautifully in a beverage. Although, I’m never quite sure whether to devour the tropical delight or use it as a facial cleanser. I’ll have all the same decision making when I’m older I’m sure. Like whether or not to walk in and scare everyone at Bingo after my face is smeared with the orange substance. But I will forwarn you of this. No matter what all those hall patrolling drill sergeants (caregivers) tell me at the nursing home, I won’t be abiding by any curfew. I’ll be the one wearing granny panties to Coachella, snacking on elderberries and mango salsa.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to where the guacamole goes. If I chow on chips and dip, before I know it I’d be a blimp. They say we are what we eat. And a woman has to watch her slightly senior figure. After sitting at the computer all day, my biggest fear is going to bliss central (known as the mirror) to discover my shape has turned into more of a pear than an hourglass, which could quite possibly throw the earth out of orbit if I scream. And I’m sure I didn’t get these sizable creases on my face from sitting around a plush estate childless, surrounded by maids and a mountain of moolah. The lines edging my eyes could have come from eating crowberries. And I know I turn into a bit of a monkey when I eat too many bananas. I guess I’d better be careful eating horned melons. I’d like to stick with eating mangos, my favorite fruit. Let me put it this way. I curse crop cultivators when there’s a shortage. But from now on, I will probably find myself staring down at the potentially dangerous pile of produce looking like a true mystery shopper. It may be a meditative moment that I want turned into a sedative moment. You see, my week has seven days in it. It starts with mango margaritas on Sunday, and could end with mango coladas on Saturday. If it’s really nippy weather, I go outside for about two and a half seconds, then I’ll come in for a hot mango toddy. I’d hate to give up such a grand tradition.

Could it be that the last of the Mohicans touched too many mangos? What about all the other shoppers gathering at the mango mount, or the checkers who handle endless amounts of bacteria ridden items? Do they ever get rashes? I’m not supposed to breathe polluted air, I can’t walk the streets without the worry of getting grounded by a meteorite or a terrorist, I can’t microwave anything in plastic, and now I can’t touch fruit. If they don’t hurry up and find a cure for allergies, I’ll be bankrupt by the time I hit the home from all the remedies and protective products I have to buy. I will have nothing left for my living expenses, in which case I will be calling on birds to share their nests. Except if I become a blimp, I’ll be calling on bears instead to share their caves. That’s why they call it Habitat for Humanity. Hopefully they do their thrifty business of canning plenty of fruit for the winter.

Those Chippendales never showed up for the last few of my birthday parties. I wanted them to feed me grapes, and mangos. They better show up for my wake. So when my busy world is hushed, and God deems me ripe for His pickin’ to the pearly gates, before anyone rejects my ahead of time memorial invitation, it’ll be one heckava partay…. provided someone doesn’t show up named Lucifer holding Devils food cake. I’ve also reserved Incredible Edibles to cater my doom and gloom gala. I just hope for everyone’s sake, they scrub their fruit poisonless before serving it to strangers.

(Read posts in the weekend editions of THE PARSON’S SUN newspaper – Parson’s Kansas)

LOST & FOUND

Once I was driving along, staying perfectly perpendicular to ditches and free from any agitation. I felt so tranquil enjoying a Twizzler and the sweet sound of Jesse Youngblood’s “Nature’s Way.” Nothing could have been finer unless I was on a hilltop in Lake Como slated to do a George Clooney interview. I came out of my trance when a motorcycle whipped by me at maxed speed, practically scoring the whole side of my car. I totally lost my breath. But found it again when I finally decided five minutes later to exhale, and assumed the lotus position for another ten. Which by the way, is difficult to do when you’re pinched between the steering wheel and seat. That wasn’t the first time I lost my breath and regained it.

On another quiet morning as I was driving along peacefully, I saw a child walking directly in front of my car. In the center lane. With green lights. I’d say he took the road more traveled. He looked like an iceberg in the path of several cruise ships. I came to a screeching halt, got out of my car, and tried to escort the lad off the pavement. I was confused as to why he hadn’t learned about traffic dangers when he looked to be about ten years old. I tried talking to him and all he gave me was a blank stare. He was thwarting my enthusiasm to get him to safety when I soon realized he had some sort of learning disability. I went to my car for the M & M’s I had just purchased and was not so pleased to part with, trying to lure this boy to the sidewalk. I implored bystanders to dial 911.

People gawked as if they had seen me in the Monsters vs. Aliens movie. I asked again for help and they continued the silent treatment, further perpetuating the notion that they were only Spanish speaking immigrants. I wanted it proven when I asked, “Did you know that it’s really sunny today in Tuscaloosa?” When they still stood there still staring, I knew I was somewhat in the range of being right. Reading War & Peace wasn’t nearly as long as waiting for a response, and breathing the infective exhaust of car fumes from surrounding idled vehicles began to pale me. I wondered if anyone there knew the concept of CPR in case I passed out, and I hoped they washed their hands and didn’t eat sardines before they left home.

I was wishing an American would come to the rescue. Or maybe a Brit with a sexy accent. Soon a man approached with a famed familiar face, shadowing me from the sun and asked if I needed help. In English. I was temporarily stunned by this spitting image of Antonio Banderas, and I looked around to see where Melanie Griffith was. He wasn’t clad in a cape or Zorro mask, but he felt like a hero to me. He called for a patrolman and before long sirens became a distant melody. An officer grabbed the boy, because obviously he was of the stronger more muscular gender and could hold him down way better than I could. I wanted to make a trade for the law enforcements finest Caribbean blue eyes and flawless skin, along with his police whistle for future run-ins with kids on the loose. Oh, and handcuffs. The child fought the law, and the law won. The boy’s mother came running tearfully. He had wandered away from the house when she was in the bathroom. I love happy endings. But a woman can’t have ten minutes to herself without something going wrong where she’s forced to saunter down the street in her skivvies.

When my first born daughter was of walking and talking age, my husband and I took her to a mall. I was going into a store and assumed my inquisitive toddler would stay with my marital protector while he thought she was coming with me. Communication is such a wonderful thing if you use it. She followed behind me but took a detour down the mall by herself. I returned and noticed that she wasn’t with her dad. It was the moment of motherload traumatization, and way worse than finding a years worth of crushed chewy snack bars behind the cornices. My child strolled into a store and said to the clerk, “My mommy’s lost!” The next thing I heard was my name being called over the loudspeaker. I retrieved her from the Lost & Found as if I was looking for a missing glove. She was fabricating some story about how I got misplaced. I said to the mall attendants, “You think she’s cute now, you should see her when she’s eating spaghetti!”

During one of my moves, I enlisted a few family members to help with packing. In the sheer delight of having helpers, my cupboard campaign managers decided to exercise their rights of authority and throw out whatever it was they thought I didn’t need. I moved, and realized I was missing the most valuable item I owned which dislocated my ample ability to stay calm. I had a round rubber doohickey in my kitchen that can open any bottle or jar. Before I called Amnesty International, I called my wonderful working crew who confessed. They should be glad they didn’t become another statistic on Nancy Grace and I found it within the orifices of my heart to keep on loving them. I searched the universe to find another one of those thingamajigs, and bought myself a lockbox.

I’m one of trillions who has gotten locked out in the dark of night looking for the spare key, tripping over the hose getting thorn poked by a rose bush and a dirt facial. After finding the key, I ended up getting five more made for different hiding places. Remembering where I hid the new ones has now lessened to three.

You can read my blog posts every weekend in The Parson’s Sun newspaper (Kansas)

THE NEVER ENDING STORY

Songwriter Brandi Carlisle wrote The Story lyrics, “All of these lines across my face, tell you the story of who I am, so many stories of where I’ve been.” What lines? She was born in eighty one. She’s still a baby. Although, a baby who possesses a big girl voice that’s emotively epic when she belts out a tune. Joni Mitchell wrote, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now.” Now there’s a woman who’s been through it all. Lived without indoor plumbing or running water, record producer, designed her album artwork, political protester, and her dad worked as a grocer so she was forced to spend countless hours in a supermarket long before her time. She probably had to help count peaches and ate most of the inventory. She gave a child up for adoption then reunited later, after the child went through her teen years. Smart woman.

I have been both a baby and an adult. I can now attest to the fact that the two love a great song and a suspenseful story. But both don’t always agree on things. An adult sees a doctor, where a baby sees Jack the Ripper. I could see a romantic movie with kissing, and my kids would view it as a repulsive act of mashing lips and scrunch their noses yelling “EWWW.” They could see a blouse on themselves, where I could see a blouse with the potential of having the sleeves taped together to create a straightjacket if they fought over the last Fudgesicle. But we’d both see beds as trampolines. I didn’t really want that concussion, but was forced into one when my head hit the ceiling and knocked me out cold.

We did a lot of jumping on beds the last year my youngest child was at home. It was the most fun we had though. The rest was chaos at best. We both went through tons of turmoil. Mostly hers. Okay, mine too. She wouldn’t scrub the driveway like I asked her to. I hated having an oily driveway. I also hated dishpan hands which is why I asked her to do it. After years and years of nagging, she was soooo ready to fly the coop and I was soooo ready for her to go find some other nest to live in. She should be grateful I never fed her worms. And she never died from those dropped Skittles I threw back into her mouth. She was never left in a baby seat on the hood of the car by mistake, or forced into eating liver. If we had been compatible, she could have been rewarded with living in my Martha Stewartesque partly Patty customized dwelling for quite possibly the rest of her life, despite my dictatorial directive. I would no sooner walk into her room to say something when she acted like I wasn’t even there. One time I sauntered in wearing a hoodie and dark glasses, and deepened my voice. She thought there was an intruder and dialed 911. The joke was then put on me. I still wear that hoodie and glasses when driving in case the same policeman pulls me over and remembers me. I wouldn’t want him rolling his eyes at me again.

Those were the days of whine and craft roses. And ahhh, and those nifty sleepovers. Once hitting my pillow of Downey delight, I never quite made it to dreamland with the presence of hyperactive adolescents buzzed on sodas who were getting their ya yas out by darting through halls and jumping on couch cushions. I jumped to the conclusion that it would be the last of my sleepless nights. How wrong I was when I had more teen years ahead, menopause, and two more kids eager to have the same soiree. The VCR was still hot by morning from the captive audience of nocturnal grazing girlfriends who finally crashed and slept through breakfast. There were times my girls had overnighters at their friend’s homes, and I found similarities when I picked them up. Like the Hershey’s bar hangover. I could have fancied writing a novella on Breakfast at Brittany’s. There was no sparkled excitement with Britt’s mother. She was far from being the perky Audrey Hepburn with her nicely coiffed style. This mother dragged through popcorn puffs and loose feathers from pillow fights while delivering toaster strudel instead of her usual eggs Benedict. She did add that sheen of the all-nighter look ready to collapse, and gave me that piercing stare known to moms as YOUR TURN NEXT TIME!

My youngest bundle of sweetness thought I could never do enough to satisfy her every need, when her every need included body piercings and overpriced Abercrombie outfits. Although as she got older, I loved her hand-me-ups. But their tight fitting jeans would only make good skewer covers. And their shorts wouldn’t even cover the mole on my back left cheek. I must have asked her twenty million times to clean her room right and I’d come back to give her the white glove treatment. She said, “Who owns white gloves?” I told her that she should really consider honoring, obeying, and scrubbing the ring around her bathtub. I could have dropped my delightful teen on a street corner, in Yugoslavia. Or donated her to an adoption agency like some moms do. But she had this cute grin that I couldn’t live without.

I used this analogy. “Diego Rivera was overworked too. He was a painter, muralist, capitalist, socialist, married a few times producing a few kids, cleaned sable brushes, and had numerous dalliances with women. I do wonder when that man had time for philandering, and flossing. At least I never had affairs with other women.”

Those remaining years at home were totally devoted to her…..bringing me some medicine to calm my nerves. “Please bring Mummy a margarita!” If I felt eclectic, I’d have her bring me half highballs and half Heinekens.

WHEN NATURE CALLS

I normally do one important thing when I get out of bed each morning. And it sure isn’t lifting weights to tone my triceps. That comes after my morning java eye opener. Only I use soup cans as weight lifters. Empty ones.

There is never a good time to replace that dud toilet. Especially when you are rooming with the homeowner who has a bathroom attached to his master suite that is unavailable to anyone other than his significant other. And you are using the hall bathroom that decided to take a leak leaving standing water, which resulted in the toilet being removed till a decision is made on which plumber can fix it at the right price. I heard quote after quote after quote. At those rates, I thought it would never get fixed. Which brings me to my bulging bladder.

I was out one night, and came home to my roomie already sound asleep. I wasn’t exactly doing a happy dance after hearing Zzzz’s from behind his closed door. I was forced to piddle outside in the shrubs, something I hadn’t done since I was six. Okay, that camping trip was an exception. So was the time I couldn’t wait for those gals to hurry up in the restroom at O’Reilly’s where I once again had to go outside to bare my behind to a bush. You’d think places would provide America’s tax payers top quality service by adding a few dozen more commodes to their establishments, creating integrity and fairness to all.

The next morning I woke, wanting to do what I do every single morning of my life. I began to look as though I was about to have a seizure, moving around like an over filled water bed. I’m surprised I didn’t let the river flow and wet myself right then and there. And I found that trying to relieve the agony by putting pressure on my bladder only put more pressure on my bladder. So I bonded with the great outdoors once more by watering the pachysandra. I didn’t want to rain anyone’s parade. Especially if I saw processionary caterpillars in search of soft soil so they can form their cocoons. I had softened the soil enough to be able to dig to China rather easily.

Now you know what happens right after that first cup of coffee. Sipping a hot brew is often accompanied by a gastrointestinal effect when the colon decides to perform one of its key functions. And too much witholdin’ can create an itty bitty bit of a tummy ache. I highly doubted that any ground crawling critters wanted to see my bum again. Nor was I about to set that good example to anyone in the entire insect kingdom. I just hoped I wouldn’t be seeing myself peeing in some near future remake of Candid Camera or on YouTube. I heard that four out of five people suffer from Paruresis, the inability to pee in the presence of others. So I guess the fifth person must enjoy it. It’s not my kind of fun. But what choice did I have, other than become a frequent restroom attendee at the corner gas station.

Thomas Jefferson said “It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.” Well, I’d have a whole lot of tranquility if I could use a real restroom when I needed to. Plus, happiness would surround me more if I never had to work again. And if those who do work, like plumbers, would just show up instantly when finally called to do their job, I wouldn’t have to strike up conversations with grasshoppers. Then again, the insects could gather round while I do a splendid Ricky Nelson rendition of Garden Party, because I would be reminiscing with old friends who all know my name, but may ask me to stay seated throughout my entire performance. They could certainly catch me before I embarrass them or myself if I walk away with Charmin dangling from my backside. It’s more likely I’d hear one of them singing “Hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom what you do to me!”

That was Tuesday and still no plumber within fixing distance. The weekend came, and no one likes working on weekends. Except maybe contractors who charge double time and want you to throw in a twelve pack and sub sandwiches. Then basically they botch the job and you end up calling someone else on Monday. By then it’s Tuesday again, one week later with no end in sight other than my own.

I like to think I’m a responsible irrigator. When the subject of sanitation is in question, I’m not the only one with an indecent disposal. Dogs do it. Cows do it. So no one should taboo the topic of tinkling, when the ends justify the means of making good compost in places that don’t have privacy doors attached to them. I came up with Plan B, which was knocking on the neighbor’s door at 6am to borrow their bathroom. They weren’t nearly as pleasant as the first five times I asked. I was doing better with Plan A, or using the service station restroom. They don’t call it service for nothing. I’m sure the attendant there was elated to see someone stroll in, interrupting his newspaper reading ritual to witness a woman in moose slippers and no make-up, still lathered in nighttime rejuvenation cream.

All this taught me to arm myself with more absorbent tissues to avoid lingering longer in the nether regions of nature. And fanny bug bites gave me incentive to move. So I got a place of my own where plumbing problems are dealt with more promptly. I thought of residing in a high rise. But if it ever happened again, I might not make it quick enough to ground level.