THE SHORT OF IT

Seasons in California include tarantula season, earthquake season, fire season, and shaving season. Which is moderately popular with most women except for maybe Europeans. The beach can be a grand place to relieve these traditional stresses. Sand sculpting and dipping your tootsies in the surf seem far more engaging. The mollusk shells and even the coralline algae create a sedimental atmosphere and is where people tend to get away from everything. But not me. I’m usually attending another burial at sea in my bathroom.

Or more specifically, the bathtub. After decades of sprouting body hairs, more strands are about to be stripped clear from its creator and buoy their way downstream. At the first signs of my unwanted mane, I pulled out a razor, some gauze, thirteen band-aids, and a shot glass with Ouzo. Because nine times out of ten I’m left suturing my skin. Thank you God. I’ve always wanted to be a glutton for this kind of impairment. I would appreciate Him giving me some sort of warning me before I get severely injured and detach several arteries. I may never dance again if I become legless. Coming to the table covered in bloody dotted tissue pieces are not what I call part of a balanced breakfast. And with all the bristly little buddies floating in the tub water, I could probably knit a sweater for somebody. So you see, while us shepherds and shepherdesses are off skinshearing, someone else is having a blast at the beach. Unless they work for a living.

I had a French teacher once who never shaved. How others take care of themselves is no concern of mine. However, when you have the whole student body treating you like an orangutan every time you raise your sleeveless arm to write something on a chalkboard , it may be time to reconsider your system of sanitation. I myself was horrified seeing bushes both on her armpits and her legs. And it wasn’t just a little bit of peach fuzz. One undergraduate and animal rights activist actually gave her five razors with three cans of Noxzema and told her to “take it off, take it all off.”

It feels like I’m forever mowing my lawn. Now I see why they call it crabgrass, when it sticks out like a sore thumb and leaves people grumpy. But I’m not sure why they call cries, crocodile tears. Reptiles weep while devouring their prey, which I can be certain isn’t because of remorse. I’m very remorseful after pruning myself raw. Mine are more King Kongish cries and Tyrannosaurus Rex tears. Shaving is equally as annoying as calling outsourced tech supporters that speak with little or no english. You’ve probably sprouted a few follicles yourself while reading this. Because it’s only a matter of moments before a full on marsh appears. The sleek sensation of ultra smooth and hairless skin sparred me to succumb to this razor addiction. I wonder if there’s a support group for this. At one point I was seeking alternative ways for hair removal. This was before Nair, Lasering, the Brazilian bikini wax, duct tape, tweezing, and other trimming trends. Women can rip every hair by its root, scar their shins, and somehow endure scalding wax. Yet still be leery of a daddy long legs.

As I paid homage to grand finds at garage sales, I stumbled across an antique vintage Gillette shaver patented at about 1906. Tarnished, but a rarity. One problem though. I wondered what sharpologist used it before I was about to. That’s when I chose to find an updated model like an electric shaver, or 21 blades of titanium that will cut so close I will be able to see well below the epidermis. Although I doubt anyone would want to witness that.

Steadying my hand for yet another blow to the body got old. So I went on a shaving sabbatical between the months of November and March since my body is usually covered up and shielded from the cold, and kept hidden from eyes that will never even see my stubbles. It’s the rest of the year I have to worry about. And since I have many other time consuming things to attend to like exfoliating, cartwheeling, fantasizing, and basically living, it’s just one more thing that takes up tons of my time. Not to mention making wake arrangements for all the many legged creatures that cruise by me while I’m teetering on the edge of the tub. They must never notice that I have a sharp object in my hand. Except try killing spiders with a Venus Divine. I’ve applied enough pressure to sever them, and through the very surface that they are crawling. What can I say. One minute I’m having a near death experience, the next I’m a spider killer. Which goes against my mind numbing natural instinct to squash. But what goes on in the butcher’s bathtub, stays in the butcher’s bathtub.

Even though it’s still early in the year, I’m making out my Christmas list. I’m penning my plea for a three way flex head Norelco, for that close and more comfortable annihilation. Although now that I have carved out a solo career as a shin slicing specialist, I’ve resolved that I no longer want to be a grown woman. I can dream that impossible dream of never having to trim myself again. I can fight the impossible foe, bear the unbearable sorrow, and try to hang in there when my arms get too weary. But I’ll be at the beach building sand castles. It’s safer that way. The alternative is to stay home and turn my legs into a Schick filets. I will need to get Schickfaced first before I let that happen.

(Posts can be seen in the weekend edition of The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)

DAY TRIPPERS

It was with a mighteous amount of affection that my boyfriend suggested a jaunt up the great big nature trail through Cleveland National Forest over Valentine’s weekend. He must have had a collossal urge to go uncomfortably cruising around mountainous cliffy roads where we suffered through splendiferous rock formations, palatial peaks and pine trees. And soroche, the pathological effect of high altitude on humans. Which I can assure you, that in this event of lost air pressure, masks did not descend from above… like airplanes provide.

We took a two lane highway up the steep summit that was situated at 4,600 feet. Normally I’m avoiding mailboxes while riding with my head out the window. There’s quite a prolonged pause that comes with staring downward towards death, and my hundred watt smile turned serious surveying those embankments. Now I know why they called it Brokeback Mountain. While cliffhanging, I withheld my incentive to say to my guy, “This is your co-captain speaking. Can you please stay away from crash landing in these deep canyons? I have something I’d like to do tonight, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of my precious life.” I discovered the 51st way to leave my lover, if I wanted to. Now I didn’t take my engineering toolbox with me, but I calculated that in a dense thousand foot drop, there’s no escape. But I believe that those hills could be beautiful from any angle.

Driving upwards made me hungry for Mexican food. Although I couldn’t be responsible for my actions if I’d eaten a bean burrito. So we chose a diner. After those mouth watering waffles, I wasn’t aware that I was about to enter the fisherman’s fantasyland. You know, that skill of sitting, baiting, and swearing. Although at Lake Cuyamaca, I never saw so many people pull that many wigglers from a lagoon before. Never mind that they stocked the sacred watershed on the Wednesday before. They throw in 30,000 fish annually, which is totally cheating. That’s a lot of Crappie. Give a guy or a gal a rod and they can eat plenty. Watch them reel in a dozen or so gilled goodies and they will probably avoid work and their families as much as they can. I did want to warn them that they can’t draw social security from a boat.

On to the goal oriented part of our trip, hiking. We abraded a path that connected to an island, and looked for the sculpted grizzly bear that everyone was talking about. Us deer desperados were in passionate pursuit of antlers, and this carved wooded creature, hoping we wouldn’t run into anything that was a few hundred pounds bigger and breathing. Because with what I’ve retained from my elite education via Animal Planet, I wasn’t about to stand face to face with a bear’s dinner. But it was uneventful. All I spotted was ants, and this furrowed fifteen foot figure of Yogi. My exhaust pipes couldn’t have handled screaming at that altitude. We were breathless enough by the time we got back to the car.

We drove to the town of Julian, a touristy trap. I mean spot. Where their only crime is lovin’ junk, and various vendors hustle their wares at high prices. I gauged my interest towards the art gallery. We conversed with the exhibition employee who enraptured us with the town’s small talk, and told us that you couldn’t get a room at that time for under $400. I asked, “Is that per month?” She expressed her own passion for catching Trout, saying she was ready to ditch her low paying position for panhandling, so she could also fish for a living.

Trekking through the rest of the town took all of ten minutes. The tart paradise of Julian was bustling with a brigade of pie lovers. Which is proof positive that good things do come in small boxes, if you can get one. There were enough people wrapped around the bakery to form a full army. Much depended upon my state of digestion. And depression. But considering the apprehensive allotment of non-persuasive types that weren’t going to allow us to take cuts, we left pieless. We would have been taken out back and beaten by some Dutch apple aficionados. Except we weren’t fond of fighting people for pastries. Being there was still better than a day trip to Baghdad.

When there wasn’t the convenience of a Starbucks every few miles, there was the frequent trading post. Because it’s way more important to have rugs, trapping equipment, and chewing tobacco in the mountains than caffeine. I doubt Pocahontas needed coordinating moccasins complementing her deerskin dresses. I pictured myself in boots, on a horse, with a buffalo beside me, and a mountain lion behind me. Which is reality if I’m riding a carousel. What I really wanted to purchase was a cafe mocha Merlot to go. That kind of coffee is God’s way of telling me that He loves me and wants me to be cheerful.

Heading home, we saw a huge sign mapped out for travelers. It read, “You are here” with an arrow pointing to the mountain top. The other arrow pointed to the bottom of the mountain and read, “Good luck getting there.” I learned about all the fatal accidents on that curvy killer. We passed one building that indicated a Psychic was available. I wanted to go in to find out if I was going to make it home alive. I relied on my beau for that guidance after he already safely drove me, fed me, and made sure I didn’t get eaten by ants. Once home, my guardedly gallant full service boyfriend said, “I wish my name was Ed so I could be called ‘Special Ed.’

On days when oxygen isn’t quite reaching my brain, evidence of my survival so far has been 100%. But could be 99% if I hold my breath for too long.

(Posts can be seen in the weekend edition of The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)

OKAY CUPID, A LITTLE TO THE LEFT…NO, A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT

Since February brings love to the forefront, somebody had to promote a day determining how appreciated and unappreciated we are. We’re all a little strange. And life is strange. So when we find a stranger whose strangeness connects with ours, we settle into a strangely satisfying arrangement. It’s a mixed up yet mighty desirable state of consciousness that trembles our hearts and creates blurriness. Or in some cases, blindness. And why the sweaty palms? Unless Cupid wants us to enlist in the Serbian army. Sometimes the ticker is a receptacle for the throng of arrows heaved at it. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, until it stops beating that is. Sharpened shafts stuck to it tend to have that effect. We can’t make anyone love us. We can stalk them however till they give in. Once they give in, we want to keep them all to ourselves. Although we must be watchful. Some may misconstrue it for kidnapping.

Despite my disinclination to cavort in the near future with any He-man other than the one I already have, I’m keeping tabs on this winged mini man who is pointing his arrow and gaining some sort of sick gratification in pulling people together. Who does this and flies around naked? He’s a chubby, flashy, dangerous, and shows up once a year along with dedicated chocolatiers, florists, and lingerie merchants, oh… and Kay Jewelers to help swooners leash their swoonees. Unless you’ve conclusively forfeited your mortal mind, don’t let some cherry cordials, roses, a gushy greeting card, gemstone, or some sexy outfit serve as an inspiration to thrust yourself into the arms of an ex with the loony plan to make up. And don’t call Cupid. If he struck the first time, chances are he may botch things up again.

The need for romance explains why some would willingly walk miles upon miles for caressing. Although most of the people I know use mass transit. It got me thinking about primitive times, when the chances of snagging a snuggle mate when you’re living in a castle surrounded by several hundred acres was nearly impossible. When did men have time to court when they were off slaying other men? Which flat out stalled the comingling of saliva bacteria. Besides the fact that crusaders never ever brushed their teeth, and got by with just a yearly bath. But who would want to bathe when soap was made from mutton fat? It would be a real stroke of luck to lock onto a dame. With that neglected level of hygiene, Cupid could take the more nomadic approach to striking and killing me by setting fire to a ship and pushing me out to sea. As long as I’m boxed in with all my attachments that I want accompanying me into the afterlife. Because in such time that my girls refuse to grant me my goofy wish of taking all my stuff, if I’m ever to be reincarnated, I’d need my Whetstone. No one should be without a finely grated monolith for sharpening knives.

Things could be worse. I could be in love with a Viking man yet trapped in a thatched bungalow as it’s under siege destroying my habitat and plans for a loving evening while I’m initiating amore among scavengers. Because be it ever so medieval, there’s no place like a fiery reeded roof when your heart’s ablaze. I’m just glad I live in an age of immediate water sources. There was Aphrodite with her many lovers. She was always depicted nude, which could clearly be why she attracted so many men. Thus evolved the melody, My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard. Which metaphorically, is supposed to make a woman special. I’ll be blending one of those creamy delights the next time I’m trying to get the opposite sex to mow the lawn.

I wanted to resurface the riveting Romeo & Juliet so I could read it again. But after poking around the trash bin behind Neiman Marcus, a monument of rat droppings really ruined the thing. Speaking of classy garbage removal, l’ll share a story of a past plot that included a guy I let fall by the wayside, literally, about a year ago. I went to a fair with a girlfriend followed by dinner and the sounds of a terrific musical duo. We sat at a high top table that seated a dozen or so people, when all of a sudden I felt a few jabs to my right side. I turned towards the man who decided to get my attention by way of ten straws clamped together making one long pointing apparatus. It was totally reminiscent of kindergarten. He must have had a deep distaste for the conventional way of meeting by getting up, walking over, and introducing himself. Not to mention he was three sheets to the wind. More like a hurricane. He said to me, “Try not to propose right away!” How contrary in respect to my rules of engagement. He needed to befriend someone who mirrored his imaginativeness and beastly qualities. He could have posed an even bigger problem had the big bad wolf stated, “What big green eyes you have my dear, but yikes, they’re surrounded by sags!” I thought most men ogled over tighter skinned, bigger busted, mini skirted models. Yet how do I know that he wasn’t just a defrocked clergyman who denounced his position over lack of female companionship and was out flirting for the first time. In retrospect, I could have contributed towards a good charm school.

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t tease the opposite gender. Some of my finest friends in the world are testosteronians. If I had to survive without certain people in my life, I might shoot an arrow at myself. Except only in the tip of my little toe. I love them dearly, but I’m not stupid.

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

MOVIE STAR STATUS

Dreams of being a movie star invaded my sleep as far back as I can remember. Ever since then, I haven’t curtailed my stage fright. I acted in a couple commercials. Okay, so I ran with a very large herd of cell phone holders amongst a cloud of circulating dust in a Verizon ad. I was the microscopic one in the middle. They referred to it as a cattle call. Did they think they were hiring cows? I did have a speaking part in an infomercial. But I doubt any industry biggies saw that one.

Having to hang around Hollywood heavyweights and travel on location to different destinations was about as likely as seeing Donald Trump scrub a bathroom. And as it is now, lengthy travel consists of going to my mailbox. I could have totally used my charm and pearly whites to dazzle screen watchers. I’m so jealous of J Lo and Gwyneth because they act AND sing. I’ve always wanted to just once walk a red carpet without it being in Macy’s at Christmastime, or on my kitchen rug after a spill with ketchup. I’d like to be discussing life with Meryl Streep. Or Morgan Freeman. Or Liam Neeson, who can restore his Taken role as an operative and track me down any day. Although my mind may wander with Neeson. He may not have engaged with the long stream of drool dripping from my mouth.

Competitiveness in La La land is huge. So I pondered how I would have made myself distinctive from all the other actresses in Hollywood. For one, I wouldn’t frolic naked to get a part. I’d use my naturalist activities in a far more productive manner. Like bathing. And I don’t barter with blackmail. Only with my Beef Stroganoff. I’d show some intelligence after those required screen tests, even though I can only complete half the math and reading problems. Because clearly most of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at. It’s not like I would be trying out to be a Physicist. In Hollywood, it’s hard being smart as well as sexy. On the casting couch, I would have been prepared to harbor some illness that I could have guaranteed would be gone by the first day of shooting…as I’m coughing and pulling out my Neti Pot. And I’d say, “Just so you know, my urine is crystal clear, which means I’m fairly drug free as well.” Because most likely I would have already been in front of a germ wielding weasel who was far more contagious than I was. I believe someone once said… it is he who is with sin that casts the first moan.

I might have made it through grueling hours on location if it weren’t for all those pages and pages of memorizational line retention, and Roger Ebert, the arbiter of movie reviews. But I wouldn’t have had my children or a lifetime of dodging overdraft fees if the fairy of Hollywood happiness happened to come along sprinkling enough stardust of cash upon me to at least pay off my car. It would have been better than trolling for dollars. With gold plated pliers and switch plate covers, oh…and all that bling, I too could have lived the star stunningly enriched life. Not to mention have the smattering of admirers doting over my every meal, toothpick to teeth moment, and multiple car chases. Plus the platoons of Patty-razzi. I’m now taking enjoyment in smaller things. Like Dollar Store stemware and Fresco meals at Taco Bell.

We all have a someone somewhere who looks just like us. Look at Andrew Jackson and Ted Danson. Or what about Stalin and Borat. Or Glen Close and George Washington. There’s a genuine similarity between Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley. People once told me I was the picture of Farrah Fawcett. It was the hair. Photo shopped, I could have looked that buxomly beauteous in a swimsuit. Then came comments about my resembling Lily Tomlin. Must have been the squinty eyes and snorty laugh. Because surely she’s far more hilarious. Then someone said I had the likeness of Felicity Huffman. I’ll take that and her career any day. Then again I’ve been told that I’m a lot like Erma Bombeck. I only wish I had her achievements, along with her marvelous hair line and pineal glands.

Maybe if I dig deep enough I will uncover a genealogy link to someone who is rich and famous. Like Oprah for instance. It could happen you know. I wonder how well I would be received showing up to her lavish estate declaring the same bloodline. I know we have the same taste in jewelry. Maybe her uncle’s cousin’s granddaddy liked strawberry blondes. Yet I suppose I’m better off targeting Tori Spelling.

I love those house invader horror films when the owner yells “is anyone here” as if the killer is going to respond, “Yeah, I’m in your closet. I love this blue dress you have!” If it’s a man, one would have to wonder about his sexuality. But this could have happened a long time ago when my kids were little and we came home to the back door open. I grabbed a butcher knife as if I was going to Dexter-like destroy an intruder right in front of my children. Now if I’d been an actress and a singer, I would have put up plastic while chiming Rondstadt’s, “You and I, travel to the beat of a different drum. Can’t you tell by the way I don’t run. Every time you make eyes at me.”

Except, no one was actually in my house. Though it did teach me not to see scary thrillers at theatres right before I go home. But I could have easily starred in Kill Bill after years of acquired knowledge watching crime and adventure flicks. And eventually, I too would be eligible for that most tabloid covers award.

(Posts can be seen in the weekend editions of The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)