BARE NECESSITIES

I have one word that is enough to articulate parts of my pained chest while being pushed into pancakes. Mammogram. Now add four more words after chills are sent to the rest of my body. Holy mother of pearls.

I get to brag about this topic once more after that delightful phone call that I needed to come in for a repeat mammary scan. Not even Tiffany’s could lighten this moment. I like to set appointments for vacations, not doctor visits. Especially when you have to sit in a waiting room looking at umpteen other eager women reading magazines from nineteen eighty-six who look as though they too have way better things to do than become squeamish strippers. I’ll betcha I could gather a gazillion detest-imonials from other damaged females. I wasn’t a cooperative child. So being cooperative at an older age hasn’t changed much.

Some things I can’t live without. Gorilla glue. Pens before they are out of ink. Night vision goggles. And apparently if I want to stay healthy, mammograms. This is 2014. You’d think by now probing physicists would have been in contact with Victoria’s Secret to manufacture some lovely skimpy attire specially made for this kind of peeper party that would make us feel better at displaying our gems. Because inarguably, women experience the worst wardrobe malfunctions in mammogram history. I could jump on the penning the president bandwagon to cheer on some changes, like budgeting for better B1 and B2 X-Ray devices. I mean after all, if my troopers have to endure the torture, the least the government can do is subsidize my suffering by letting me keep the sultry clothing. Or at least serve me a Cobb salad sprinkled with rose petals, truffles, and Ambien. I could also write those words of Gandhi wisdom on the examination room walls that say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If they do get around to these changes, then I also want to see public service people covering telephone poles in Tommy Bahama florals, and yards of Nate Berkus inspirations wrapping street lights.

Anyone knows that when a woman is in distress, she needs to be held and told how fabulous she is. But when her lovely set of coconuts are smashed and held against a cold plated pressing machine, everyone should keep a safe distance and throw peace offerings in the form of Hershey kisses, or gift cards to Cartier. I am currently in collaboration with myself mostly, but soon movie producers, to do a film revision, calling it One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Chest. Or I could consider Citizen Pain. Because a day without boob screening is a day where I could almost go to jail for immobilizing my bosom buddy Tessie Tumorfinder, who flattened my delicate frontal lobes. Before I could say Tylenol extra strength pain medication, there I was again redoing it because their advanced scanning system missed something. I thought of staging a hostile takeover because I would rather be in my own home counting the fingerprints on the walls. I could easily get a nude artist to capture these fine moments as long as I’m standing still for awhile, and provided he doesn’t require a buffed and bodacious body. He would also have to be totally creative in redefining wrinkles, besides the wretched look on my face.

Why pay for a dramatic musical score when labs turn into free opera houses while ladies sing high pitched solos right along with precision instrumentation. I left my performing arts studio only to make another appointment for next year. The assistant behind the desk said, “Just a moment while I check the appointment book. We may be able to squeeze you in next May!” Her giggle followed by the comedy routine bombed. For some agonizing reason, it just didn’t seem that hilarious.

Take a gander at all the gents out there who get to do other precautionary routines like walking the trash to the end of the driveway before the stink takes over in the kitchen. They take a big chance that a hawk doesn’t scoop down and scalp them in the process or a neighboring dog doesn’t come along and chew on their thighs. They gotta love the fact that they never have to be useful for a digital imaging machine, exploiting their ravishing exteriors. Just for other things I shan’t mention. They can also be grateful they don’t have to spend countless grueling hours in a department stores brassiere section hunting for straightjackets. I mean undergarments.

These times have tested my physical flexibilities. We have to be flexible when someone switches lunch dates, or if we can’t find the can opener and have to use Vise-Grips to pry open a top. Sometimes I have to be a pliable contortionist just so I can reach the bottle of ketchup way back in the fridge. And my toddlers certainly pulled my skin taut when they were clutching me crying for candy. So what’s a minor mammogram after all that? Women are just gluttons for rearrangement.

The next time I see a juicer pressing an orange, I will think of these fine moments. They definitely coincide with having a happy hour, which doesn’t involve alcohol. After my bouts of post traumatic boomerang disorder, I always feel fate hanging in the balance…along with a couple of objects of defection. I began to realize how Whistler’s Mother got her title after years of melon lifting. I don’t have a huge tolerance for pain. Nor do I have a high tolerance for champagne. But I toast my twins anyway after every photography session, and wonder who ever came up with that saying A Pinch To Grow An Inch. If anything, it does quite the opposite.

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

BARBIE VS KEN

Ah, relationships. That enigmatic chore of gaining leverage with the opposite sex. I have enough stories from my past till the cows come home. Unlike horses, who usually return to their stables rather quickly.

All I ever needed to know about love I thought came from having both Barbie and Ken dolls. Time I could have spent learning a few other ways. Like taking binoculars to drive-in theatres. Or hanging out in my parents closet pretending to sort suits and dresses hoping I would catch mummy and daddy playing kissy face. Although if I had caught them doing anything else, I would have felt more at home wearing a rooster costume to a cockfight.

I could have become jailbird Barbie after slaughtering the boys who ruthlessly feasted their eyes on my body parts. Because back then, Mother Nature lined me up healthily and anatomically correct. Except unlike most Barbie’s, I had a gross deficiency in the glamorous life and accessories. I’m not sure why my parents went to all the expense of fixing my crooked teeth when I had a body that looked like Mattel’s creation, only with a larger midsection and not so perfect ribcage. It wasn’t until later that I thought about also living my life in plastic.

When I reached the age of almost married, I was told by Dr. Ruth to greet my guy at the door wearing nothing but Cool Whip. Which meant I could use my anatomically correct chassis to delude a dude if I wanted to. You know, that one aspect of matrimonial training that had yet to be implemented. Unfortunately I wasn’t making a Kraft dessert at the time, so I was out of the creamy topping. I opted for salsa. And since it was hockey season, I spelled out GOAL with tortilla chips across my bedding. Although my boytoy’s lunging technique failed, and he tripped over my entry mat slamming his head into the door jamb causing instantaneous trauma to his motor region. He never even paused long enough to notice my frontal buttons covered in his favorite snack. I held back my surging passion to rush him to Emergency, grabbing whatever I could to cover me. I almost left with two salsa saturated napkins and a salad spinner. Except it was ten below outside. But I must say, I was hot. As in Habenero. I would have married crippled Ken despite his yelling at me for having a dangerous door mat, and the intermittent paralysis on his face. Besides his being hell bent on bringing his buddies on the honeymoon.

All men need the sensitivity to swerve away from pedestrians, and not turn the streets into speedways. One raggedy Andy came over to help me wash my car, and nearly took out the whole neighborhood. I also wanted him to trap a cockroach. Later I found a strange toothbrush in my bathroom, his slippers under my bed, and the roaming roach still surveying his breeding ground. Moving in together can be adventurous, provided you like the person, and that he’s skillfully accomplished in cornering common house invaders. Romeo and Juliet’s love story didn’t end well either. I have this thing for sharpened knives and drinking yucky stuff that might force me into a permanent sleep. Although I was out to find someone who would totally kill himself for me, whose pedal pace was set on slow, and wouldn’t make me scrub HIS hub caps.

In the event that an action packed G.I.Joe appeared to devote his time to marital bliss, there were other requirements. Such as planning for a family, when gamblers anonymous Ken wanted to invest in every slot machine in Vegas. Which would have been fine if he was prepared to live with catatonic Barbie. And sluggish Ken slept way too often. I was probably on NyQuil when I accepted the marriage proposal. Or maybe I just wanted fourteen fondue sets. If it was any hormonal indication that I might be wrong on occasion, marriage sometimes isn’t forever. Supposing couples never fought, they could end up with a few hundred children. Then there wouldn’t be time for tiffs. I married, then divorced. Although it did end amicably. He’s still alive.

Some spendthrifts just can’t splurge on dream houses. But hopefully they can afford dinners out. Something more elaborate than meals wrapped in paper, where Barbie can have Frangelico with her fries. I’d be happy with a two tray deviled egg carrier, nice asparagus prongs, and one birthday party in Paris. No doll likes diving for coins in fountains to help dates pay for meals from vending machines. Then ends up wedded and getting matching T-shirts for her anniversary. I’ve had to develop a convenient chronic cough to ward off guys coming close for a smooch. My breath just isn’t that fresh after a Dairy Queen chili dog. I kiss better after lobster and four glasses of Dom Perignon.

I know a man whose partner complained about their constraining time together. “Our relationship consists of dinners, sex, dinners, sex.” So the teaser told her, “Okay, we can cut out the dinners.” Let’s say Ken and Barbie go golfing together and Barbie says she lost ten brand new balls the day before. Ken might console her. Until she confesses that the balls came from HIS bag. That’s where one problem starts. But it’s dumb if Ken and Barbie ditch each other. Sometimes Ken walks away with just the basketball hoop, and single mom Barbie ends up hemorrhoidal minimum wage Barbie. My Ken could have kept my wedding dress. It’s a moth filled yellowy material that no daughter of mine would want to look at, let alone wear. I’m sure they’d rather have a bunch of Bounty paper towels patched together than climb into a cursed and dusty antique bodice that is sure to be a crowd sneezer.
Nevertheless, I would love to see Mattel manufacturing the married forever bifocals Barbie and BenGay Ken.

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

RITES OF PASSAGE

We are all susceptible to transitional periods such as birth, puberty, marriage, having children, and death. I have already transitioned through most of these periods, and death is the only one left. But I’m not about to stand in front of a speeding locomotive just so they can draw chalk lines around me after experiencing that milestone.

I don’t remember my birth, other than my mom screaming bloody something or other. And since I was a Catholic girl, I went through baptism and it was traumatizing. That water was cold. Then I underwent the big C’s. Communion, confirmation, confession, and confusion. I spent a lot of quality time in a dark closet (confessional) acknowledging all my sinfulness to a shadow. I wanted to say, “Why don’t you go first!” One time I waited and waited for this godly authorized proxy to come perform his sacred ritual of penance. I thought maybe he ate too much the night before and couldn’t get into his clerical clothes, or he was thinking up more ways to punish me. So I began to amuse myself by humming and rap tap tapping on the woodwork. I couldn’t have been more humored if a robed Desi Arnaz commented, “You got some ‘splainin’ to do!” But another voice said, “Unless this is the Count Basie Orchestra, I suggest you stop right now.” I wanted to deny what I was doing by telling him there were some loud subterranean termites chomping away at his wood. But that would have been lying. I didn’t need anything more on my conscience. I barely made it to puberty as it was.

But puberty did come. And as a youngster, I lived in the zit-infused angst-oppressed and bothersome battleground of adolescence. I held my own rites of passing through the high school hallways with a resistance to educators, and a sickly severe orange glow, compliments of Quick Tan. Which now wouldn’t be out of place at a face painting booth at the fair. Massai tribes in Kenya do mutilation with crude tools on females as a rite of passage. Thankfully I’m a stars and stripes gal. Plus, I can hardly handle a paper cut. This is also the time when I learned about reincarnation, and believed I was Cleopatra. So could someone explain to me how a sacred torch passing pharaoh got from such a powerful position to cleaning toilets in a California condo? I thought reincarnation meant that people who were mean would come back living in dirt homes. Filled with fire ants.

There are more modern transformations that guide girls and guys to adulthood. Like sweet sixteening, crazy driving, binge drinking, puking, and clumsy sex. My plan was simpler. Mostly because I was forced to go to the all girls Saint Righteousness & Inconvenience High School, living barricades away from boys. I was Patty the pure. Purely problematic according to my mother. She threatened to ship me off to boarding school if I so much as looked at a lad. That, and concealing a high powered weapon (hair dryer) during a church service. What can I say. I was having a bad hair day and wanted to slip away during the sermon to restyle. She thought I would use it on my brother, in front of God and everybody. Anyhow, I knew plenty of people in plenty of universities who had appetites for the opposite sex, and draft brews to prove their sense of balance. Which resulted in projectile vomiting topped off with one heck of a headache, and a strong animosity towards those who made them do it. There were reports of boys claiming they were Keith Richards and girls immitating Janis Joplin after weekends of wild partying. The most common rite of passage is graduation, if they make it that far. Most childhood secrets were confessed to Father Murphy. The others will go to the grave with me.

Puberty to adulthood is one more rite. Although this morning’s Hop-Scotch on the sidewalk has me a bit behind schedule. I passed the milestone of marriage and am no longer betrothed. I didn’t find true love aboard an ocean liner like Rose did in the Titanic. I’d rather stand with outstretched arms in front of three oscillating fans with my hands clamped to a countertop that isn’t going anywhere as I blow kisses to the wind, rather than do a nose dive straight into an icy shark filled sea. But poor Rose never made it to the altar, so she never experienced marital spats. I sure wouldn’t want to give anyone the opportunity come my fiftieth anniversary to gift us with boxing gloves.

Then I had children. I should have hired a voiceover so I could save my vocal chords from shredding. The turmoil of daily disciplining was sometimes the same as explaining Newton’s law of gravity to a goat. But there’s nothing in life so irresistibly contagious as reproduction. Especially when your kids are the last people to use the remaining mouthwash for freshening their dolls and you’re the next person to need it. I must admit I always wanted a son, and a grandson. Now I have one in the form of a furry poochie cutie pie with paws. Except I’m suppressing any urges to take him to Disneyland. Been there, done that. And being sixty-one doesn’t qualify me for special rates at Chuck-E-Cheese either.

I’ll conclude the whole rite of passage knowing that I started my life peeing and pooing my pants and I’ll finish it wearing a diaper. At this point I’ve been transitioning from Twinkies to blood building wheatgrass. I’d like to acclimate to a Bond girl’s level of action adventure before it’s too late. Except I’m sure the neighbors don’t need another Pussy Galore running an organized crime gang, or me copiloting a vehicle that moves with that sort of modified performance. Besides, I’d have to be ageless eye candy, and hope Liberty Mutual consents to my missions.

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